I used to love to camp, but admittedly it isn’t something we’ve done since having children. I am more than a bit overwhelmed at the thought of camping with littles. Overcoming that fear is for another day! Today we are talking about bringing the camping to us. My oldest has been begging to go camping for years and since we haven’t we like to set up our tent either in the backyard or even in our living room. Since it is a bit hot here in AZ at the moment we decided to have our campout inside!
I wish I had gotten some pictures of this but it was a busy morning! I put up our small pop up tent in the living room which was a huge hit with all the kids (ranging from 18 months to 5 years old). For the older kids they had some fun pretending to roast marshmallows. I made a campfire out of paper towel rolls and red, orange and yellow tissue paper. I had M go find 3 sticks and added cotton balls to the end with hot glue so they could roast marshmallows.
We had three books to read but attention spans weren’t there today so we read two of the three: Maisy Goes Camping and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. I love to see what kiddos think of books and am ever impressed with the observations they have. Reading to children is the most important thing we could ever do for their education (in my opinion).
Fine Motor and Learning:
I found some adorable free camping printables (source listed below). I only used a couple of them but there are a variety of options for whatever you may want to focus on. For our kiddos we focused on the following:
- fine motor skills with some cutting practice
- beginning letter sounds for camping vocabulary
- spotting the differences in a line of animals.
After reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt we were pumped to make a Bear Hunt Map! I had a different craft planned but couldn’t help but switch at the last minute. These are so darn cute. I asked M what her favorite part of the playdate was and she emphatically told me it was the Bear Hunt. Once they made their maps we quickly added some stickers to “binoculars”. At that point we headed out for our Bear Hunt! It was so fun going through each area slowly and then running back quickly. The best part was how much energy they burned while on their Bear Hunt.
We really couldn’t have this playdate without including some appropriate treats for the occasion. I started with an interactive campfire treat that they built out of raisins (the rocks around the fire), pretzel sticks (for the wood) and buttered popcorn (the fire!). I had seen a bunch of these types of snacks on Pinterest but most of them were super sugary treats. Since I knew I also wanted to include a s’mores treat I opted to find some healthier options. Then at the end we enjoyed s’mores pudding cups that I made ahead of time.
I hope that if you can’t get out to go camping in nature that you can enjoy a camping setup right at home! These ideas can be whipped up in no time and make for a lot of fun pretend play.