Camping in the classroom is truly the best. Students pack their sleeping bags or blankets, We do a Camping Theme Day on the very last day before break, students bring their flashlights, and we are ready for a fun-filled day of learning.
I choose to do this theme day last because I like to move their desks out of the way, and I don’t want to have to move them back. You could easily work at tables, but I like to start by building different fire pits around the room to work at.
I begin by grouping the students and giving them a set of supplies. I give each group some brown butcher paper, different colored tissue paper, scissors, and tape. They collaborate and design their own firepit to sit around. They LOVE this activity and I enjoy seeing all the different versions in the end.
Once our campsites are established, we meet up front for storytime. My favorite camping theme day story to read is Tacky Goes to Camp. By the end of the year, we have already enjoyed several Tacky stories, so it is fun to bring his character back. After reading this story, we work on text to self, comparing characters, and vocabulary. I save the extra activities from this story to put in centers.
Next, we make a cute, simple s’more craft. I like to do this as a whole class for easy one-step clean-up in the end. We put these on the back table and grab them before we go home.
Classroom Camping Activities for Centers
After our s’more craft, we move on to centers. I put the activities in tubs with center signs around different campsites in the room. We spend the majority of the day moving around the room from campsite to campsite working on different educational activities.
For the math centers, we work on making sums to 20, adding ten, probability, tallying and graphing, and find the sum of two dice rolls. I also have some place value puzzles too.
There are loads of phonics and grammar activities to place at your campsites. Students can work on camping vocabulary with syllables, a word search, alphabetizing, and a word scramble. There is a digraph marshmallow scoot and a noun, verb, or adjective scoot. Students can also work on identifying if a sentence needs a period or question mark and if a sentence is a fact or opinion.
There are also lots of writing activities to fill your centers with too. Students can write about how to make s’mores, make a camping checklist, write their opinion of camping, and create some camping similes.
We end our fun day with some delicious s’mores. Of course, we can’t cook them traditionally, but I do have a microwave in my classroom that can help with this process. I simply line a plate with graham crackers and chocolate on top. Then I place on marshmallow on top of that. I only heat them for 10-15 seconds. When they come out, I smash another graham cracker on top. This may be their favorite part of the whole day. I do it last because it can be messy. We use some wipes to clean up and off we go.
Digital Camping Theme Day
When Covid arrived, I couldn’t stop the tradition of Camp Day, so I made a Digital Camping Theme Day too. I sent home the supplies to make their own fire and some goodies to make s’mores. There are loads of digital activities if you want to do those as well with your students.
This is what teachers had to say about Camping Theme Day:
“My students loved our camping day! We of course made the room look like a campsite with tents and fake fires while they worked through the activities. It was one of their favorite days on our end of the year countdown.”
“Your theme days are the BEST and this one is just another amazing resource! What a fun way to celebrate the end of the year! My students LOVE these activities, and I absolutely adore that the comprehension is focused around Tacky the Penguin! It is a fresh take on a great idea and kept my kids engaged all day! Thank you!”
“My students absolutely loved the activities! As soon as they walked into the room, and it was all camping themed they were very excited. The activities were a great review, and they didn’t even realize they were working because they had so much fun!!”
“This was a great end-of-year purchase for my classroom. We did a camping theme, and the activities included in this were easy for me to prepare and fun for the students to complete. The s’more art project was my favorite!”
Read about s’more fun theme days here: