Saturday, July 12, 2014

Calling All Campers!

     Oh, a-camping we will go, a-camping we will go!  A great way to end or begin the school year or for some Summer School fun is to use a Camping theme.  The weather is usually warm (in some places it’s always warm!) and the children are anxious to learn about the outdoors.  We enjoy using a camping theme in our Kindergarten summer school program.  

     We start each morning with a rousing, “Gooooood morning, campers!” followed by a bugle call of revelry!  (Click here to link to a Youtube video with a wide variety of bugle calls.)  Next we make a circle and salute the flag which starts our day.  Then we sing a few camping songs like “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” and “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”.  (We’ve also created several Camping-themed songs so we use those too!) 

      On the first day the children get a name tag that will be used again and again to graph questions on the pocket chart each day.  A morning activity includes asking a question such as, “Have you ever gone fishing?”   A short discussion takes place about the topic.  Then each student answers the question by placing their name tag under the words "Yes" or "No" in a pocket chart.  We talk about the results first and then color a graphing recording sheet to show the class responses.  
Graphing JK Curriculum Connection
Click here to download the Free graphing packet   
        Food fest!  Everyone loves making s’mores when camping!  Since we really can’t have a campfire in the classroom, the next best thing is to use a microwave.  Each child builds their s’more by placing the bottom graham cracker square on a paper plate, topping it with half a bar of Hershey’s chocolate, and 1 marshmallow.  Place it in the microwave for 18 seconds, then take it out and smash the top graham cracker.  Squish!  Be prepared for sticky fingers, sticky tables, and SMILING faces covered in chocolate and marshmallow. 
     Now that we've made and enjoyed our s'mores, it's easy to tie that into our camping Math center activities.  This 10-frame math center gives them plenty of practice in adding 2 numbers together.  They just never want to stop pulling those S'more 10- frames out to build problems and find their sums! 
Math Center Camping JK Curriculum Connection
Click here to download the FREE S'more Math Packet
     Another favorite camping activity is “gazing at the stars".  We turn off all the lights and the campers lie down of the floor facing the ceiling under some sight words stars.  (Before doing this activity you have to attach Sight Word stars to the ceiling!) Using a flashlight, they take turns shining the light on the stars and reading the words.  (If you have access to a lot of flashlights, more students can hold them but they should take turns shining them on the words!)  They may write them using clipboards with the recording sheets attached.  Another variation is to have students take turns reading a word and using it in a complete sentence.  At another time, the teacher can shine the light on a word and all students can say the starry sight word together. 
Camping Starry Night Sight Word Activity  JK Curriculum
Click here to download the FREE file

      When all their daily work is completed, the campers play board games and puzzles or read books, etc.  We set up a tent in the corner and 5-6 children take in their selected activity.   Since we have a pretty large number of students attending, we rotate the children using the tent so they each get a turn about every 3-4 days.  

Tent Camping in Kindergarten JK Curriculum Connection

     We always plan a field trip to the local library and since it is within walking distance of our school, we tell the kids we’re taking a hike….another camping reference!   In fact, any time we leave the classroom in a line, we “take a hike”.... and sing a song, of course.  Here is an example of a simple hiking song:

March and Sing
(Author unknown, Tune: “The Mulberry Bush”)                                         

Along the trail we march and sing,
March and sing, march and sing.
Along the trail we march and sing,
Along the trail today.

We hope you try a Camping Theme sometime in your classroom.  

It's LOTS of fun!
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