Sunday, May 14, 2023

Easy-Prep Camping Theme Activities That Won't Break the Bank!

As the warmer days come and the end of the school year is within sight, I know a lot of you turn to theme weeks and theme days, with all of the fun activities that go along with them.

I've seen some amazing high-energy classroom transformations that go along with these themes. The children love them. More power to the teachers that thrive on big events!!

But, seriously, teachers, after a looong and challenging year, know that it is totally possible to bring in a theme without using your last few drops of energy (and without emptying your bank account!)

Here are a few options for an easy-to-do camping theme!

Let's start off with read-alouds! Read your class a new camping book (or two! or three!) every day during camping week. Then put them into a picnic basket or a backpack for buddy reading. Good books are meant to be enjoyed again and again!

Here are two books for the K-2 crowd. I'm including Amazon links, but I'll bet your school or public library might already have these fun camping books!

Rhyming text, fun artwork, and a cute story by Chris Van Dusen, as Mr. Magee and his dog Dee head out on a camping adventure and meet up with a bear who loves marshmallows! {Keeping It Simple Snack Alert: Marshmallows are a fun snack even if they're not toasted or turned into s'mores!} 

Do you have students who haven't gone camping? They'll empathize with the main character in The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann. Ernestine is pretty sure that she's going to love camping, but discovers that it just might take her out of her comfort zone. This is a great conversation starter for your class, to talk about how trying new things sometimes leads to something wonderful! {Writing Prompt: "What would you like to try on a camping trip that you've never done before, and why?" OR "Are there things about camping that might make you worry a bit? Make a list!"}

Use any books to make a camping adventure! See if you can get families to send in a flashlight or two for camping week. Turn off the classroom lights and encourage your students to stretch out on the floor, or huddle with a reading buddy under a desk for even more fun!

It's camping week - get your class outside!! Encourage your students to be observers of nature by arming them with binoculars. Start saving those paper towel tubes! A quick search on Pinterest will give you lots of ideas for using paper tubes to create fun binoculars. Make your outdoor adventure even more fun (and focused!) by working together to create a list of what to search for. Whether it's a red rock, a piece of tree bark, or a special insect, your students will be more engaged in the hunt when they've worked together to create the list!

Bring camping songs into the mix! Some of my favorites are "The Ants Go Marching", "The Bear Went Over the Mountain", and "The More We Get Together".  I'm a fan of writing song lyrics on charts (more reading practice is always a good thing, right??).  Use your camping song charts during your Morning Meeting every day, searching for and marking new text features, like words that start like ____, words with endings (-ing, -ed, etc), words that rhyme with ____, etc. 

What about math, you ask? Try these!

Create an Estimation Jar with any clear plastic container. Fill it with a variety of rocks. {Engagement Tip: Ask your students to bring small rocks to school. You'll probably want to emphasize the word "small". 🙄  Have your students sort them by size into two or three piles.} Leave the filled jar out as an activity for your students to complete over the course of a few days, with students writing their names and estimates on paper scraps. 

There's so much math learning to be had when the lid is taken off your jar! Have students explain how they arrived at their estimates. Line up the estimate papers from least to greatest. (An easy way to introduce or practice line plots!) Count the rocks. Talk about easier ways to organize the counting ... practice skip counting by twos, fives, and tens! {Mini-marshmallows are super-fun camping items for a second round with your Estimation Jar!} It's a complete math lesson for one day of your camping week!

Science extension! After you complete the estimation jar activity, put some of them on a tray along with some leaves, moss, and other treasures that might be found when camping. Add a few magnifying glasses and some paper with special writing tools (fancy markers and feather pens would be perfect!) for your students to draw and write about their observations. It's an easy peasy instant Science Observation center!

You can find more easy-prep camping-themed math games and activities here for kindergarten and first grade.

Looking for more math and literacy activities for your camping theme?
This set of 24 activities will give you what you need for centers, small group, and whole class lessons! Here's a peek at what's included!

I hope these ideas will help you and your students enjoy a great camping theme ... without needing you to risk life and limb climbing up on desks to decorate your room and without a lot of extra spending!

Happy Teaching!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...