We set up a tent, etc. in our classroom and make a fire. I turn out the lights, grab a flashlight and read Eric Carle’s Very Quiet Cricket and Very Lonely Firefly. When both stories are finished, we close our eyes and I open both books so we can pretend we are in the woods. this works great as a transition to lunch or rest time.
During our Camping theme not only did we put a tent in our room, we covered the lights with black construction paper and then hung the branches, from artificial Christmas trees, from the ceiling. The children loved the darkened effect and how the branches made it really feel like a forest! We also brought in real wood stumps and the children sat on them around our “fire”, a few pieces of wood with red and yellow tissue paper stuffed in them. We had a great time the whole week!
For our camping week we were lucky enough to have our community grocery store donate oblong shaped deli salad containers with lids which we made into mess kits. We had the children pack a fork, spoon, plastic cup, napkin and a small Ziploc bag of trail mix into their container and we were off for a hike. The top doubled for their plate and the bottom for a bowl.
A really fun activity for a dramatic play campsite is to set up a fake Christmas tree and in the tree attach several silk birds. Provide the kids with binoculars so they feel like they are bird watching. Another idea on the campfire for dramatic play: Take three small fireplace logs place them in a triangle shape and put screws through each end. Stuff red, orange, and yellow tissue paper down in the center, and the result is a campfire than can be used and re-used every year.
Dramatic Play Ideas- Bring out the tent and camping gear. Include canteens, plastic lanterns, mess kits, pans, plastic food (fish, berries, etc..), sleeping bags, camp chairs, cooler for camping books. Provide lots of dress-up options from bandanna’s, hiking boots, hats, flannel shirts, backpacks, etc… Build a fire using river rock and logs with cellophane (orange) flame. Use your art project of evergreen trees for the background. Your could include a small pool for fishing and assorted stuffed animals on the forest floor. We read the “Smokey the Bear Camping Handbook” to learn about camping, equipment and the safety rules.