Let’s Go Camping!
Introduce a camping theme in your centre to get children excited for the start of nice weather that will let us get outside more and enjoy nature!
Create the Environment
Make camp by setting up play tents (or small real ones), sleeping bags and even a pretend fire made of wooden blocks in brown, red, orange and yellow (or create from old paper towel rolls and tissue paper). Consider having the children make a forest mural painted with trees, a starry night sky and some woodland animals.
Some Camp Activities Suggestions:
- Go fishing! Fill a blow-up paddling pool or other shallow tub with cardboard fish cut-outs with paper clips for mouths or pipe cleaner fish. Make fishing poles out of sticks, string and magnets tied on the end or use pipe cleaners formed into hook shapes. Talk about how fish live in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Consider inviting an elder in to speak about the importance of fish in First Nations diets.
- Story time. Sing camp songs and tell ghost stories (age-appropriate of course). Or again, consider inviting an elder to share some First Nations myths and stories around the ‘campfire’. Don’t forget the flashlights!
Some Camp Food Suggestions:
Think beyond hot dogs and marshmallows, as these foods are not recommended to be served in a childcare centre, and instead explore other fun and more nutritious camping foods.
- Make Bannock or Fry Bread. Check out our recipe section. Talk to children about how bannock can be made on sticks over the fire. Serve with plain yogurt and berries or melt cheese on top or in the middle.
- Make Potato Boats. Wrap small potatoes in aluminum foil and bake in oven for ~30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Allow to cool slightly, then provide one to each child and allow them to choose toppings like cheese, Greek yogurt, green onions, steamed/diced broccoli, cooked beans or chicken.
- Make banana splits. Have children help prep bananas by laying a whole or half banana on a sheet of aluminum foil, greased or topped with parchment paper. Allow children to practice cutting by using a plastic knife to cut the banana in half lengthwise. Let them choose toppings like shredded coconut, semi-sweet chocolate chips, granola, berries and nuts or seed butter (depending on allergies). Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until bananas are no longer firm when squeezed with tongs. Let cool slightly before serving to children in the foil for true camp-style eating!