Campout Dramatic Play Center
Campsite with orange tent, two green pine trees behind the tent and a moon in the sky.
The dramatic play center provides opportunities for students to collaborate, engage in learning, and build language skills through conversations. Children have the opportunity to role play real-life experiences by taking on many roles in imaginative play. Utilization of the space as a camp ground or camping area allows students to develop language and literacy skills through sharing campfire stories and reading books related to camping, math skills through counting sets of objects, and writing skills through creating lists, camp schedules, and recording their favorite camp activities.
- fine motor skills while zipping and unzipping sleeping bags, placing play food on dowel rod (campfire stick), and dressing in costume props
- math skills with counting with one-to-one correspondence to count food and items for campers
- developmental writing opportunities to record daily camp schedule, write/draw about activities, and plan menus
- print exposure to camp activities lists and signs
- reading opportunities with exposure to variety of camp related literature and informational texts within the center
- expression of feelings and emotions
- creativity, imagination, abstract thinking
- oral communication, vocabulary
- cooperation, sharing, taking turns
- play campfire (can be purchased or made with paper towel tubes and orange, red, and yellow tissue paper)
- play camping food (hotdogs, fish, etc.)
- dowel roads or sticks for cooking on the campfire
- play pans
- picnic blanket or picnic table
- plates and utensils
- empty packaging from real food for camping (graham crackers box filled with cardboard squares or tan craft foam or felt squares, chocolate bar wrappers with brown craft foam or felt in them, marshmallow bag filled with cotton balls or foam marshmallows from craft store)
- sleeping bags
- camp signs
- play fishing poles and fish (can create a fishing pond area with a plastic baby pool)
- lanterns and flashlights
- camping gear (hats, sunglasses, cargo vests, park ranger outfits, etc.)
- variety of camp related literature and informational texts
- writing materials
- open-ended props such as wood blocks
These guiding questions can be used to assist the teacher, instructional assistant, or parent volunteers in supporting children's development and learning during play.
- What are we going to cook for dinner tonight at the campfire?
- How many (insert food item) do we need to feed all the campers?
- What is on the camp schedule today?
- What materials do we need to bring with us fishing (can use any camp related activity)?
- What do we need to do to setup our camp site?
- How long will we be camping? What do we need to bring?
- What kind of campfire story should we tell tonight?
This center should allow for enough space for at least three students to play with the tent and props. The dramatic play center should be located in an area of the room that enables students to communicate without disrupting other children's work and play.
Many literature connections exist for this topic and can be read to students before introduction of the center or during learning of the theme of animals. These books can also be placed in the pet shop center for independent exploration by the children. The following are a few suggestions:
"Biscuit Goes Camping" by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
"Curious George Goes Camping" by Margret and H.A. Rey
"Goodnight, Campsite" by Loretta Sponsler
"Llama Llama Loves Camping" by Anna Dewdney
"Pete the Cat Goes Camping" by James Dean
"S Is for S'Mores: A Camping Alphabet" by Helen Foster James
"The Berenstain Bears Go Camping: by Stan and Jan Berenstain
"1, 2, 3 Make a S'more with Me: A Silly Counting Book" by Elizabeth Gauthier
These downloadable documents are meant to be printed and used within the center. They are not for electronic use by students.
Camping center activity recording sheet
Camping center signs (for PK and K)
Clipart from Pixabay.com