Over the years, a preschool camping theme has consistently been a hit with the kids. I love that it’s a preschool (or kindergarten!) theme that can be used almost any time throughout the year. We tend to use it towards the end of the school year, or for a super fun summer camp for the kids.
Preschool Camping Theme Ideas That Kids Love
Below you’ll find activities that I’ve tried with multiple groups of kids over the years. They have consistently been a hit with the children! I’ll add some other ideas on my “to try” list afterwards, too!
A Camping Treat
The kiddos LOVED this camp-out treat – s’mores on a stick was a definite hit! I have to admit, it made me giggle to see how enthusiastic the children were when it came to eating their s’mores.
Fishing at Camp
We did this as both an indoor activity in our sensory table and an outdoor activity in a kiddie pool. Inside, we used fishing poles made with wooden dowels, magnets, and plastic string (along with foam fish with magnets on them).
Outside, we simple set it up with water and fish in a kiddie pool. The fishing nets came from The Dollar Tree, and the fish were bath toys.
Painting with Marshmallows
I had way too much fun watching the children during this camp-themed process art activity! You can also use the marshmallows to paint letters, create patterns, and to stamp the kids’ names.
Building a Campfire
Obviously, we didn’t let the small children play with fire! Really, if you met me, you wouldn’t want me playing with fire either.
In the building center, the students used long wooden blocks as the “logs”. They got really inventive and chose fire-colored (orange, red, and yellow) small blocks to act as flames. They also had the option of using some red, yellow, and orange tissue paper so the children could build “fires” in the home and block centers.
This activity began a bit differently than it ended up! At first, we set out small plastic animals and stamp pads, so the children could make animal tracks. The children had had magnifying glasses and print outs of tracks that different animals make.
Well, our kiddos grabbed the track papers and the magnifying glasses, then proceeded on a hunt for animals! I loved watching their imaginative play!
Sometimes the simplest activities make the children the happiest! Our pet rocks definitely fall into this category!
Camping Pretend Play
This was another activity we did both inside and outside. In our home center, we set up a small tent and laid out a few sleeping bags an flashlights. During center time, the children pretended they were on a camping trip.
Outside, we had a larger tent set up. There were also camp chairs, real logs, and pretend food from our home center.
Despite the light pouring in from our classroom windows, the students still seemed to enjoy sitting and reading books with flashlights.
Putting a sheet of paper over the windows to create a darker environment for flashlight reading is also an option. Be sure to check out this list of the best books to read by flashlight!
Campfire Hand Prints
Hand print artwork makes me happy, and I like to do at least one a month during the school year. Handprint and Footprint’s “Handprint Campfire” came out awesome! The children loved having these “campfires” in their end of the year portfolios.
More activities for a preschool camping theme can be found at my Camping Theme Pinterest board. What are some activities you’ve tried with your students for a preschool camping theme?
More Preschool Camping Theme Ideas to Try
There are so many wonderful ideas out there to try with a camping theme, so it probably doesn’t surprise you that I haven’t had the chance to try all of them. Here are more ideas I’m keeping on hold for the next time we having a camping theme with the kids!
Set up a camping small world for the kids in the sensory center or literacy center. Just imagine all of the conversations and oral language development.
Have some parents donate firewood to build and play with outside.
Challenge the kids to make their own rock sculptures in the science center (or try it outside).
Make your own pretend play s’mores for the dramatic play center.
Before having some s’mores as a snack, why not have the kids try this s’mores STEM challenge?
If you want to do more with marshmallows, exploring them with the 5 senses would be a great science activity for the children.
Have the little campers make some animal track stamps to use during art.
Printable Preschool Camping Theme Lesson Plans
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for classroom teachers and home preschool so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
You can also find them on Teachers Pay Teachers