Since when can’t learning and camping go hand-in-hand? I thought it would be a blast to list several ideas for keeping kids physically AND mentally engaged this summer! What child doesn’t love going on a camping adventure with his or her family? Let’s get the learning started!
As a child, I loved camping, tent and all. I could spend hours and hours just sitting around the campsite. When I was older and in middle school, I was a regular plus one in my best friend’s family when they went camping every weekend.
We would walk in a small group around that campground like we owned it – haha! In fact, I pretty much remember just walking and chatting with friends the entire time. Maybe a campfire or 2 thrown in for good measure at night.
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Now as an adult, I am not a huge fan of camping. Something about dirt and bugs isn’t as appealing as it once was to me. Perhaps I’m more of a glamper now. But I still do enjoy long hikes through the woods and I do like outdoor nature hunts.
What is a nature hunt?
Nature hunts are perfect for any age! They are easy to set up and can take place at the lake, local park, or even in someone’s backyard.
Students are given a set of clues for specific items to look for – and they try to see how many they can find from their list. It is like real life bingo.
Every hunt will be a unique experience since you never know what you will find. The best hunts are about seeing various plants and animals in their natural state.
Need a new birthday party idea? DIY your own nature hunt card set and let the fun begin – good for both adults and kids alike!
Simple Kids Camping Games
1. While sitting around the campfire. Seems obvious, but how many kids complain they can “never think of anything” when asked to do narrative writing? This is a great opportunity to show them they have tons of ideas.
2. Play a card or dice game. War is great even for little ones because it reinforced the concept of smaller and larger place value in numbers.
3. Bring along recipe cards for items like S’mores or a campfire skillet dinner. Have children help out by reading the ingredients, steps incolved in preparation. Lastly, have them help out by consuming the great creation you just made together!
4. Be a nature spotter. Have children use a digital camera or cell phone tosnap shots of things they find on a nature walk that are living. Non-living items don’t count. See how long it takes to get to 15!
5. Use a metal detector to see if you can locate a hidden treasure. Once you have dug up the old coin or can, work together to come up with a story about the history of the item.
6. Find shapes in the real-world. See how many different you can find each of the following while on a walk: circle, square, triangle, and rhombus. Keep a tally and make a quick bar graph when you get back to camp.
7. Go geocaching! If you have not yet heard of this – please check out http://www.geocaching.com/. It involves finding small parcels, usually with trinkets and a visitor log inside. Working together, you must use coordinates and mapping (along with handy hints) to find the mystery prize. Make sure to bring a trinket or two of your own to leave behind when replacing the cache back to its original location for the next finder.
8. Create a real-life diorama! Take a shoe box, some glue, and some modeling clay and let the chilren go wild finding pine cones, tree branches, and grass to create a real diorama!
9. Watching the clouds. Lay with children on the ground and look up at the shapes in the clouds. Take turns using the letters of the alphabet to find words to match the letters in order. For example, person one might find an Alligator, while person two would locate a Bus, etc.
10. Last, but not least, look below for a free 17-page printable for a camping scavenger hunt – great fun! No need to create your own. Organized Classroom has you covered with a set ready to be downloaded and printed right now:
Enjoy! How else do you encourage your students to continue learning throughout the summer? We would love to hear your ideas listed in a comment below.