Camping Day: An Indoor Learning Adventure
In the classroom Camping Day was a big event to look forward to. We assembled a tent for the day, wore hats all day, made s’mores, and stone soup. This wasn’t just a fun activity day, we followed the curriculum standards for several subject areas. Perhaps you need an out-of-the-ordinary day in your home. Here’s the breakdown of our plan:
S’mores: A lesson in fractions
Tent: A unique reading location
Stone Soup: A teamwork activity after reading
Nature Walk: A scavenger hunt throughout the building
Campfire and Songs: A chance to connect through music
Hats: Okay, this one was just for fun : )
S’mores: A lesson in fractions
Each person having a s’more will need one graham cracker, one marshmallow, and a few pieces of chocolate. Have your child count how many people will be having a s’more and figure out how many crackers that will require. Then break a graham cracker into halves. Explain that one graham cracker is made out of two halves. How many halves do we need so that everyone here can have a s’more? Write down your child’s prediction, then finish breaking the crackers in half. Have him or her count the halves. Ask your child if her prediction was correct and why. If this is difficult for your child, modeling your own thought process can help. “Since there are three of us having a s’more, I knew that we would need three crackers. Each cracker is made up of two halves. I know that three plus three is six, so I predicted that we would need six halves. We checked it, and I was correct. Six halves is the same as three wholes.”
How many pieces is a Hershey chocolate bar divided into? Have your child count this out and then figure out how many pieces of chocolate each person can have the same number of pieces. If it is a group of three people, then each person can have 4 of the 12 pieces or 1/3 of the chocolate bar.
After your child figures these parts make the s’mores. This can be done as if camping using a skewer at the stove as you help or in the microwave. Be sure to place the chocolate and marshmallow on top of half of a graham cracker before microwaving for a few seconds or you will have a sticky mess on the plate.
Tent: A unique reading location
Setting up a tent in the classroom made for a fun unique reading space. Be sure to zip the tent to keep the imaginary mosquitoes out! If you don’t have a tent you can use sheets and chairs to create the same feel. You’ll need some imaginary bug spray to keep those critters away. : )
We let the children read quietly in the tent and then read stories together as well. It is surprising how much more exciting it is to read in a new location!
Stone Soup: Teamwork activity after reading
Read Stone Soup together. Have your child identify characters, setting, and important events. People in the story aren’t willing to help feed a man, but he says that’s alright because he’ll make stone soup. He places the stone in a pot of water and begins cooking. Curious spectators are willing to provide contributions to the stone soup to make it better. Then the community enjoys the soup together. There are so many great lessons through this book. Be sure to ask your child what he learned when you finish the book. Modeling through a think aloud is valuable. “I think the man who started the stone soup was very creative. I think the townspeople learned that working together can help more people.”
As a special snack, our class made stone soup after reading the book. Since you know your own child’s dietary needs better than anyone, no allergy list check is needed for you to do this activity!
We thoroughly cleaned an actual stone before beginning our cooking activity. We added vegetables, like carrots to our soup and then enjoyed it as a snack. Together you and your child could act out this story. For safety, be sure to put the veggies into the pot yourself if you already have the water boiling.
RL.K.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story. (http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/K/#CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3)
We posted pictures of wild animals throughout our classroom and building for the children to find. We used sound effects in the classroom to make it as if were actually outside since I taught at a city school then. The children had fun using binoculars and finding wildlife just the same. If you’re able to get out into nature, go! If you can’t get out, post some pictures and find some nature sounds to enjoy. You can set up obstacles to make it feel more like you are walking the woods. A pillow might be a rock and a jump rope could be a log to walk across.
Campfire and Songs:
In our classroom we sat in a circle and sang together, but since you are at home you have so many more options to make this campfire time into a sweet family activity. I’ll share some campfire song ideas at the end if you need them. : )
If you can’t head out and enjoy a real campfire, you can simulate the experience at home. Make a pile of pillows. Add some red and orange paper to be flames. Turn down the lights and use flashlights to walk to the camp fire. Then place the flashlights in the pile so that your simulated fire glows. You can imagine there are stars overhead and talk about them.
Now is a great time to talk as a family. There are so many options on where you can lead this family time to. If you would like some ideas, here are a few: Ask your family members what their goals are and why. Ask each person can share three things they enjoyed about the day. Ask each person to share three things they love about each family member. (The idea of having them share three things is that it encourages really thinking about specific answers.)
Telling stories is a great campfire activity. You can tell family stories or even make up a story, each person taking a turn to tell the next part. If you don’t know what stories to tell, perhaps “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” will work for your young ones. The kindergarteners always love that, even if it isn’t camping day!
Favorite Campfire Songs/Fun Songs
Kum By Ah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-558n_uTpU
I Love the Mountains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFsUrjMF72s
Down By the Bay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj4hfC-iwK4
Pass It On: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCjR4dlY33k
He’s Got the Whole World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sootUAeXNAo
A Camping We Will Go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc99nGv096Y
Questions to Ponder
What activities have you enjoyed as a family to create out-of-the-ordinary lesson time?
What children's books would you include for camping day? Why?
What campfire songs does your family enjoy?