Camping Ideas and Activities for Preschoolers

Last Updated on December 6, 2022 by Vernon Scott

Here are several different hands-on activities you can do with young children as they learn about the thematic unit “camping.” These activities are geared towards children in Preschool and Kindergarten but can easily be adapted for other ages and abilities. Some “camping” topics explored in this unit include tents, campfire, camping recipes, fun and games while camping, camping related art projects and more.

Camping Ideas Preschoolers

Edible Insect Cookies

Materials needed:

  1. Vanilla frosting
  2. Pretzel sticks
  3. Rectangular sandwich cookies
  4. Raisins or Craisins

Spread frosting on one side of the cookie. Place the cookie horizontally on a plate. Press 3 pretzel sticks vertically into the frosting. You now have the insect’s body and legs.

Next, break a pretzel into two pieces and place on one end of cookie. This will be the insect’s antennae.

Flip over the cookie so the legs and frosting are facing down on the plate.

Finally, add some “spots” to your insect’s body by adding a few raisins or Craisins.

“Bug” Juice

A camping theme would not be complete if you didn’t serve “bug juice” to your child(ren). Below is our favorite recipe. Do you have a different “bug juice” recipe you use? Let us know what YOUR favorite one is!

Recipe #1: Growing up, typical camp-out bug juice was diluted red fruit punch or Koolaid. That would be a super easy recipe to make, but not as yummy as the one below.

Recipe #2: Thoroughly wash small plastic bug or insects (toys). Place in an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, place these “buggy ice cubes” in a ptcher and fill with green Koolaid. Stir with a wooden spoon. As the ice cubes melt, the insects will be floating in the drink. However when still frozen, kids can drink their “bug juice” without the fear of drinking up a “bug.”

***CAUTION: Beware of small parts with young children. Watch young children carefully so they do not choke on the insects.*** For safety reasons, you may want to use a drinking straw.

“Preserved” Flower Necklaces

Did you ever go on a walk and your child picks you a bunch of “flower” (or weeds?!)? Here is a way to preserve those flowers and turn them into a necklace your child can wear.

Materials needed:

  1. Contact paper
  2. Small flower(s)
  3. Hole-punch
  4. Scissors
  5. String or yarn

After collecting small flowers (see note below), place on a piece of contact paper and seal around the flower. Cut out around the flower leaving a slight edge so it remains sealed. Use the hole-punch to punch a hole at the top of the flower. String a piece of yarn through the hole and tie off to create a necklace.

Note: Please be careful when searching for flowers in national parks and forests. Please check all rules and regulations against removing natural items or collecting natural objects. You also don’t want to make your neighbors mad by picking flowers from their gardens. 🙂

Painted Rock People

These little rock guys are so easy to make and can keep your kids busy for quite a while (especially if they decide to make a whole rock “family”).

Materials needed:

  1. Rocks (any size, shape, or color)
  2. Washable tempera paint
  3. Paint brushes
  4. Paper plate
  5. Cup of water
  6. Glue
  7. Wiggle eyes

On the paper plate, pour several different colors of paint for each child to use.

Children use the paint brushes to paint their rocks any color(s) desired. Let dry.

When dry, glue on the wiggle eyes.

It’s as simple as that!

Camping Scavenger Hunt

Materials Needed:

  1. Camping Scavenger Hunt.pdf (See Extra Resources)
  2. Crayons or Markers
  3. Clipboard

Use this scavenger hunt worksheet to record different items you find in nature. Give each child a clipboard with a blank Camping Scavenger Hunt.pdf (See Extra Resources section below to download and print off this FREE worksheet). Go on a walk around the campground (or your neighborhood if you aren’t really camping) and try to find one object for each box. Some of the items you are searching for include: something smooth, edible, wet, red, etc.)

Each time you find an item that would fit the description of one of the boxes write the name of the item or draw a picture of it. Continue searching for items until you locate one item for each box.

How Many Camping Items?

Materials needed:

  1. How Many Camping Items.pdf (See Extra Resources to download and print)
  2. Crayons or markers

Print off one How Many Camping Items.pdf per child.

Students count the objects in each row and write the number of items counted on the line provided.

Younger students might need to stamp or trace the number if they are not yet able to write (or copy) the number on their own.

Toilet Paper Roll Binoculars

This little camper loves using her homemade “binoculars” to search for stuff in the wild (and indoors too!)

Materials needed:

  1. Empty toilet paper tubes
  2. Crayons or markers
  3. String or yarn
  4. Hole punch
  5. Scissors

First have your child decorate their toilet paper tubes with crayons and/or markers. Next, use the hole punch to punch a hole in the top of each tube. Cut a piece of yarn so that it will be long enough to tie the tubes together and fit around your child’s head/neck.

Thread the yarn through the two hole punched holes in the toilet paper tubes and tie a knot to tie them together. Now your child is ready to go hunting for animals, plants, or anything desired with their own “binoculars.”

“Campfire” Art

Such an easy way to create a “campfire” picture and work on fine motor skills at the same time.

Materials needed:

  1. Scissors
  2. Glue
  3. Red and/or Orange Tissue Paper
  4. Construction Paper (any color for the background paper, and brown)

Using scissors have children cut strips of brown paper. Glue onto a background page of construction paper (any desired color, we used light blue) and arrange the strips of paper in a little pile. This will be the “campfire wood.” Next, cut several small squares of tissue paper and glue it on top of the brown strips. This will represent the “fire.”

If desired, use crayons or markers to draw a camp around the fire. Children might choose to draw a tent, people, trees, chairs, animals, etc.

Camping Activities Preschoolers

Would you take it Camping?

Here is a worksheet you can download and print off for your students to use. It’s called Do You Need it Camping? This would be a great activity to do at the beginning of your unit (to pre-assess) and again at the end of your camping unit to see what your students learned.

Materials needed:

  1. Do You Need It Camping.pdf (See Extra Resources to download)
  2. Crayons or markers

For each item pictured, students need to decide if they would find or use it while camping? Place an “x” (cross off) all of the items you would NOT find if you were camping.

Marshmallow Sorting

Materials needed:

3 different size marshmallows. (Camping size marshmallows, regular and mini’s)

Give students the different sized marshmallows to use for sorting. Very young children can try to copy a pattern that you make using only two of the kinds of marshmallows.

Older children can either extend a pattern that you start, or try to create their own.

Different types of patterns young children can try to create include: AB, AAB, ABB, AABB, ABC, AABBCC, or even a complex pattern such as AABCCB.

Mini S’mores Snack

Materials needed:

  1. Mini marshmallows
  2. Chocolate chips
  3. Square cereal or crackers (such as Golden Grahams)
  4. Pretzel sticks
  5. Small Ziploc Bag

In a small Ziploc bag, combine several pieces of each of the following: marshmallows, chocolate chip, square cereal (or crackers), and pretzel sticks. These items represent the items needed to make “S’mores” (graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows) and the “roasting stick” (pretzel stick).

To make this snack a math lesson, give the child a required number to count out for each snack item. For example, “Place 8 mini marshmallows in your bag. Next, count out and place 12 chocolate chips in your bag.” Continue giving students different numbers and amounts to count out for each item.

For young children you can use the S’more Snack Math Mat.pdf (see Extra Resources below) to assist students with counting out a specific number of each snack item.

Camping Marshmallow Sort

Here is another sorting activity you can do related to camping. This would be a great way to use up leftover marshmallows after a cookout.

Materials needed:

3 different size marshmallows. (Camping size marshmallows, regular and mini’s)

Give each child a small bow filled with different sizes and amounts of marshmallows. Children sort the bowl of marshmallows by grouping the marshmallows by size.

“S’mores” Sorting

Kids are often told, “Don’t play with your food!” But here is an activity that encourages playing with their food before eating it.

Materials needed:

  1. Mini marshmallows
  2. Small square shaped cereal or small pieces of graham crackers (we used Golden Grahams)
  3. Chocolate chips
  4. Ziploc bag
  5. S’mores Sorting Mat.pdf (optional–see Extra Resource Section below if desired)

In a Ziploc bag place several pieces of the mini marshmallows, small graham crackers or cereal squares and chocolate chips. Give one bag to each student.

Students take the items out of the Ziploc bag and sort by snack type.

Extension Idea for younger children: If children are still learning how to sort, you can print off the Smore Sorting Mat.pdf (see Extra Resources) and have them place each different snack item in a different colored circle.

Camping Gear:Best Alcohol Stoves for Camping

Alocs Portable Camping Stove
Solo Stove Alcohol Burner

Let’s Go (Pretend) Camping

Here is a way to add a pretend campout to your dramatic play area in your classroom.

  • Kids size tent
  • Real logs and sticks
  • Battery operated lanterns
  • Sleeping bags
  • Flashlights
  • Small coolers
  • Play Food
  • “Mess Kit” with plastic plates, forks, knives, spoons and cups
  • Small, shallow bucket or container with sponges so kids can pretend to clean their dishes after they “eat”
  • Kid size camp chairs
  • Binoculars
  • Kid size fishing poles (without hooks)
  • Stuffed woodland animals such as raccoons, squirrels, birds, etc.

Camp Songs for Kids

A campout (real or pretend) wouldn’t be complete without singing some camp songs. Here is a small list of traditional camp songs that we enjoy!

  • Going on a Bear Hunt
  • Bingo
  • Boom Chicka Boom
  • Oh Princess Pat
  • Kookaburra
  • Alice the Camel
  • The Song that Never Ends
  • Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee
  • Down By the Bay
  • Ants go Marching
  • Camp Granada
  • Found a Peanut
  • Kumbaya
  • Michael Finnigan

What’s your favorite camp song?

Camping Books for Preschoolers

Here’s a list of some of our favorite camping themed books for preschoolers:

1. P. J. Funnybunny Camps Out by Marilyn Sadler

2. OLIVIA Goes Camping by Alex Harvey

3. Mickey’s Camp Out by Disney Storybook Artists

4. S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James

5. Kids Camp!: Activities for the Backyard or Wilderness by Laurie Carlson

6. When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs and Andrew Kiss

7. Cooking On A Stick: Campfire Recipes for Kids by Linda White

8. KidSing! Campfire Songs! 33 All-Time Best Camp Songs by Thomas Nelson

9. My Camp-Out by Marcia Leonard

10. Camping by Tim Seeberg

This is all for now! have I missed anything?

Vernon Scott

Vernon is the founder of this cool ( read HOT! ) website. He's superbly experienced on heating technologies as well as having clear ideas about modern heating appliances. Vernon has called him " I am a hot ( this time read COOL! ) guy!"

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