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Parental Involvement Letter ~ Camp Out Week

Vocabulary ~ Camp Out Week:

*Outside links are offered for information only and have not necessarily been evaluated in whole for "child-friendly" content.  Please take care when surfing the net with your child.  Links to other sites could contain words, pictures, and links you do not wish your child to see.*


camping in tent
Jenna Belle "camping" in her tent in the playroom with books to read by flashlight.


Camp Out Week
~ on Preschool Interactive Daily Activity Calendar as Aug. 21-25 ~

*Parent/Teacher Note:  I've listed all the activities we are hoping to do during our Camp Out Week.  There are purposely more activities for each day than we probably have time for.  Mix and match them to your child's/children's interests, offering a balanced mix throughout each day.  For instance, choose some active and some quiet activities each day and be sure to read every day!  Tailor each activity to your child's specific interests and abilities.

Adobe Reader
view printable
.pdf version

Main Idea:  Getting back into the routine of learning/school time by understanding and celebrating the end of summer with this seasonal theme. 

Benchmark Skills: 
Strand 1.12 -
Demonstrates interest and participates in classroom activities
Strand 3.32 -
Cares for the environment


materials list/Resources:

Books:  Amos Camps Out by Susan Seligson and Howie Schneider
Rosie's Walk/El Paseo de Rosie
The Ants Go Marching by Ann Owen
Moon Glows
by Bethea verDorn
Beginning Birdwatcher's Book: With 48 Stickers
by Sy Barlowe
Birdwatching with Bert by Golden Books
Once Upon a Starry Night: A Book of Constellations
Zoo In The Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations  
by Jacqueline Mitton

Social/Large Motor Games/Outdoor Activities: 
Horse Shoes, Hiking with a Map

Fine Motor:  Lace Up Rosie, Flower Jewelry, Fishing Game

Literacy:  KWL chart

Creative Activities/Art/Drama:  Toilet Paper Tube Binoculars, Dramatize The Ants Go Marching

Show & Tell Thursdays:  Children bring along an item they found on a camping trip or hike (a walk around the neighborhood?) with their families.  Alternately, they can be encouraged to bring anything having to do with camping (a toy, book, etc.).

Circle Time (weather, calendar, counting, ABCs, patterning, colors, shapes, Songs, Music, Finger plays, Rhymes, Creative Movement):
Choose songs from this list that relate to the outdoors, like All God's Critters, And the Green Grass Grew All Around, All Around, The Bear Went Over the Mountain, I'm Going on a Bear Hunt, Five Little Ducks, Frog Went a Courtin', Go to Sleep My Little Buckaroo, Happy Trails to You, In a Cabin in the Woods, Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing, The Littlest Worm, Over in the Meadow, I Can Sing a Rainbow, and There's a Hole in the Middle of the Sea.

Older preschoolers (and young grade schoolers) will enjoy audience participation stories like these:, many of which are related to camping!

Science/Math:  Go Fish Card Game, Constellation Dot-to-Dot, Make/Hang Bird Feeders, Bird Watching, Animal Tracks

Internet Links/Additional Activities:  Enchanted Learning, Scouting Bear, Children's Songs and Lyrics, How to Play Horseshoes, Indoor S'Mores Recipe, Graphic Organizer: KWL Chart

Motivation/Introduction ~ First Day of Theme:
Set Up Camp

Benchmark Skills:
Strand 2.1 -
Shows creativity and imagination in play with materials and props
Strand 3.11 - Classifies objects conceptually (things that go together)
Strand 5.4 - Recognizes and identifies by name most common objects and pictures

Have the tent set up with children's camping-themed storybooks and a sleeping bag when the children arrive Mon. morning.  This automatically inspires questions and discussion from the children.

For Monday's circle time, after reading Amos Camps Out by Susan Seligson and Howie Schneider, use a backpack filled with camping items (flashlight, canteen/water bottle, magnifying glass, binoculars, map) to build discussion.  Allow each child to pull one item from the bag, name it, look for it in the story and talk about what you might need it for during a camping trip. 

Lessons (one main lesson a day which can be broken into parts as needed throughout the day):

1. Amos Camps Out by Susan Seligson and Howie Schneider (or any basic camping book, such as Maisy Goes Camping, Bailey Goes Camping)

Benchmark Skills:
Strand 3.1 -
Shows enjoyment of books and stories and discussion of them
Strand 3.22 - Makes comparisons (scientific process:  comparing)

An introduction to the differences between camping and living in a house, this book bridges the gap for preschoolers who may not have camped before, creating the opportunity to explore the new subject.

Read the title, then walk-through the story, letting the children tell you what they see in the pictures, but not yet reading the words.  Use a K-W-L chart (or just the information to guide your teaching) while reading.  (Ask "What do we know?", "What do we want to learn?" and at the end of the discussion fill in, "What did we learn?")  Read the story, paying attention the various gear used by characters in the story.

Also check out the English-Spanish camping flashcards which can be printed and used as flashcards, to create a B-I-N-G-O game, or to label objects as name cards.

2. Hike!

Benchmark Skills:
Strand 4.9 -
Freely participates in gross motor activities
Strand 4.6 - Coordinates eye and hand movements to complete tasks

Read Rosie's Walk/El Paseo de Rosie.  Talk about why Rosie may have gone on the walk.  Ask what they do on walks. 

Create a simple map of your neighborhood or school with a starting/ending point.  Take/draw pictures of each destination and place them on the map.  Discuss how to follow the map.  Take the map on the hike.

Make Rosie.  Using this template, Cut around edges of puppet, fold together at dotted line, use paper punch to make holes to lace (or glue) all edges except at feet.  When dry, stuff with scrap paper, insert popsicle stick at feet and lace/glue closed.  Decorate with feathers.

Give each child a stuffed toy to use as a Rosie, or have them design their own Rosie, and go on a walk.  Use some of the same prepositions while you walk, like, "Can your Rosie walk around/alrededor the mailbox?" "Tell your Rosie to jump over/sobre the rock."  "Have Rosie run past/cerca the fence."  If using the bilingual version, it may help to carry note cards with the words.

Enjoy "chicken feed" for snack!  (Trail mix: raisins, cereal, popcorn, mini marshmallows, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, granola bits, etc.)

3.  The Ants Go Marching by Ann Owen (or find the song and lyrics here)

Benchmark Skills: 
Strand 3.20 -
Uses senses to learn about the characteristics of the environment, and to collect data (scientific process observing)
Strand 5.5 - Participates in songs, finger plays, rhyming activities, and games
Strand 2.10 -
Explores and manipulates art media

An illustrated version of a favorite camping song.  Enjoy singing while acting out the song. 
Discuss what type of footprint (animal tracks) the ants would have made (based on having 6 legs). 

Animal Tracks:  Give your child a basic understanding by first making footprints with his/her own feet.  Let your child step into a bucket of water and walk down a sidewalk or driveway.  Examine the footprints together.  Make keepsake prints by painting your child's soles with paint and having him step onto a piece of paper.  Label them "(your child's name) Tracks".  Consider making prints with your feet to compare.  Now, pull out your bucket of plastic animals and bugs, dip them in a shallow cup of paint or a stamp pad and make tracks with them, each on its own paper.  Have your child tell you how each one is different as you label each page with your child's words.  Lay them on a table with the corresponding animal toy for a science center activity.  This can turn into a matching game!

Make Bird Feeders:  Encourage feathered friends to make tracks your way by making some easy bird-feeders.  Tie a string to the top of a pinecone (or empty toilet paper tube).  Spread peanut butter (check for allergies!) or lard or "paint" Karo syrup on the pinecone.  Roll in birdseed to coat.  Hang in a tempting area for birds (in view of a window to enjoy the birds).  Keep a birdwatcher's book like Beginning Birdwatcher's Book: With 48 Stickers
by Sy Barlowe or Birdwatching with Bert by Golden Books nearby for reference.

4.  Show & Tell Thursday:  Children bring along an item they found on a camping trip or hike (a walk around the neighborhood?) with their families.  Alternately, they can be encouraged to bring anything having to do with camping (a toy, book, etc.).

Moon Glows by Bethea verDorn
A calming illustration of city and country residents sleeping as the moon watches over them.  This is a great introduction to constellations. 

Benchmark Skills: 
Strand 3.2 -
Tells a story in sequence, following pictures in a book
Strand 5.6 - Uses words to communicate ideas and feelings

After reading, have children retell the story to the group, using the illustrations to guide them.

Make Toilet Paper Tube Binoculars for viewing constellations.  Simply glue or tape two toilet paper tubes together and decorate as desired.  Use to pick out certain stars or constellations while viewing (at night, of course).  Use star stickers on black or dark blue paper to create a picture of what you see.  Name your constellation.

Follow up with Once Upon a Starry Night: A Book of Constellations  or Zoo In The Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations  by Jacqueline Mitton.

5.  Closure ~ Last Day of Theme:
Go Camping

Benchmark Skills: 
Strand 2.13 -
Recognizes and responds to beauty in the environment
Strand 1.14 - Seeks out adults and children

Consider heading to a local park or lake for a naptime campout, a night, or a weekend and simply explore your surroundings.

Dress up Dandelions (from Cornell University Cooperative Extension):  Pick several (number will vary but an average of 10 if stems are 10-12”) dandelions with long stems.  The long stems are needed or you won’t have enough stems to work with when tying the knots.  If you are not sure how many ar needed to create a necklace of dandelions, pick them as needed.
Tie a simple knot in a dandelion stem about 2” from the flower head, BUT don’t tighten it.
  Take a new dandelion and slide the stem through the first knot until its flower head touches the knot.
  Tighten the knot carefully so the stem won’t break.
  Tie a new knot in this dandelion, BUT don’t tighten it.
  Take another dandelion and slide its stem through this new knot until its flower head reaches the knot.  Tighten the knot.
  Repeat steps 4-5 with remaining dandelions until necklace is the desired length.  Tie the two ends together to create a complete circle.”

Teach your children how to play horse shoes.   Have a backyard picnic. Play Go-Fish using cards made from English-Spanish camping flashcards.  Alternatively, you can go fishing using cardstock fish with paper clips as mouths.  Make fishing poles with magnets on the ends to fish for the magnetic fish.  Write numbers on the fish to count or make each one a different color to name. 

Build a campfire.  Or, you can create your own camp with a campfire made from Lincoln Logs, paper towel tubes or sticks from the yard with red, yellow and orange cellophane stuffed throughout, all set atop a flashlight shining upwards.  Serve Indoor S'Mores while telling favorite camping stories and singing camping songs.

Finally, enjoy loading into the tent together for your camping slumber party!

Checking for Student Understanding:
This is an introductory lesson focused on getting back into a learning/school routine using an end-of-summer theme for interest.  Referring to our Main Idea and Benchmarks, most children will be participating in exciting learning activities such as these and will begin to express and interest in the environment as well.
Teacher/Parent Self-Evaluation:  Let's grow together!  If you have additional ideas, comments or suggestions, let me know!  (

There are many benchmarks that will be taught nearly every day, like "Demonstrates willingness to try new things" or "Shows enjoyment of books and stories and discussion of them".  Throughout the range of activities offered here, there will be a focus on one or two, although there are usually many covered in one simple activity.  Repetition is the key with learning - especially in early childhood.  However, even though you may do the same basic activity, it can be adapted to your child's level, interests, and theme.

See other Preschool Activities Lessons and Themes Preschool Activities, Lessons, and Themes! Preschool Activities, Lessons, Themes


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