Camping is a summer tradition for many families. They pack up their car with lots of gear and head out into the wilderness. Not all children are able to do this, so why not bring the experience of camping to them? Model a campsite within a small space inside or outside where you have your sessions. All you will need to gather are some simple camping supplies. Ahead of time, you will need to get a pop-up tent or figure out a way to make something tent like within your space. Get some sleeping bags, battery run lanterns, folding chairs, and make a fake campfire pit. All of these items will help your campsite to look more authentic and go with the theme.
Make this activity even more fun by keeping it a surprise for kids when they show up for their sessions. Have your campsite ready when they enter your room or walk them to your camping oasis. When they arrive, ask them about their camping experiences, if they have any. Talk about what they pack for the trip, things they eat while camping, and other favorite parts of the ritual. While some kids may have been camping with their families, not all are able to go or like being in the outdoors for long stays. Pick up some books that will introduce kids to the topic. A few titles include:
- Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt
- Curious George Goes Camping by Margret & H.A. Rey
- When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs
- S is for M’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James
- Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
- Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping by Peggy Parish
- Tacky Goes to Camp by Helen Lester
- Froggy Goes to Camp by Jonathan London
- Camping Day! by Patricia Lakin
After a little story time, use the camping space for a regular session. If you would like to continue on with the theme, there are great camping theme activities on The Chirping Moms that would work well over the summer. Any of these could be done in multiple sessions to work on goals within speech and language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or in peer sessions. Integrate ways to work on the skills you need within the parameters of the camping theme. As you finish the camping time, make some s’mores together. Be sure to make sure nobody has food allergies with anything used. This is a delicious way to culminate the activity.
Connect with your students’ families by sending a message home asking if they go camping. Perhaps they have special stories they share around the campfire, sleeping bags, or other items that you can use to set up your mock camp. Invite families to visit your camp for some s’mores and to witness all that their children have accomplished this summer. Label items in different languages and make welcome signs that embrace the multilingual community.
Teaching your students about camping is fun, but enjoying & furthering your career is even more fun! Check out our most recent school-based opportunities right here to take the first step.