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Theme - Camping & Outdoors Theme

Compiled By: luv2teach77

Camping is a fun classroom theme with lots of possibilities. Here's a collection of ideas to get you started in organizing your own camping themed classroom.

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Posted by: Cheresa

I have a tent in my reading corner with some pine trees.
My birthdays are going to be bug jars.
Fishing for Good Behavior
Campfire Stories for my students published work
Camper of the Week - student of week
Camp Assistants- one boy and one girl for helpers for the day
S'more good work.

I am still working on my room and hope to take pictures soon to post.

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Hiking/Camping Theme
Posted by: CageyBee

When I was in Kindergarten I did a camping theme that included:
A bulletin board with 3D S'mores that read "S'more Books You'll Love!" (I used a wooden skewer but a thin twig would be better, sheets of craft foam for cracker and chocolate, and a "fake" marshmallow that was part of a foam snowman craft from Oriental Trading...too cute!)
I crumbled a long sheet of brown kraft paper to resemble rocks and made a cave in the corner so the children could read inside it. I had low bulletin boards and so I could staple it on for support but you could use a small table or desk as the base on which to place the paper.
I had a backpack with a compass, map, binoculars, butterfly net, pencil, etc. so the children could hike around the room and collect bugs, rocks, and butterflies that I "hid" in plain site. Each had sight words, letters, values, numbers, etc. depending on what was being practiced that week.
I had a set of steps that flipped to be a rocking boat which I placed on paper water. The hikers could pretend it was a raft and float downstream back to their base camp where activities could be completed.
At Halloween we did lots about bats and the cave had a spelunkking physical activity drawn on picture cards.

Some title you might be able to use:
Take a Hike
H.I.K.E. notebooks that stand for "Helping Independent Kids Explore"
Climb to the Top
Going in the Right Direction (Use GSP or compass)
Trail Guides for your job board if you have one ...or Seasonal Naturalists
Scale to the Top

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Posted by: KellyTeachTX

That's a great theme-idea!

Here's some things that just popped to mind:

Bulletin Boards with that cute red/white checker pattern could write your rules, ets on paper plates, and staple them onto the board in different places and title the board "Third Grade is full of Happy Campers" You could write their names on the paper plates.
OR you could do subjects (if you're self-contained) and write something for each subject on the plates. You could add napkins and plastic cups with plastic utensils in the cups. (I actually did this one year, and it's really cute!)

Camping titles/ideas for Bulletin Boards
Happy Campers in Room ____
Mrs.____'s Happy Campers
Camped Out in the Reading Corner
Bird's Eye View of Math (Math facts, etc)
Pack your Backpack
Ready, Set, HIKE...climb into a good book!
Campfire Tales (post stories that the kids have written)

You might have to find graphics on the internet
Pictures from a clipart book that has cute camping-type pictures. I know Carson-Dellosa (sp?) has some cute ones....
Just plaster the room with tons of pictures about camping.

:) Good Luck. I hope that helped! :)

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Posted by: scraphappy

Hi All,

Thanks for all of your sweet comments. I'm going to attempt to attach my behavior chart. I made it in word so if it doesn't open for you let me know and I'll add write about it here (I've never attached anything through these boards before).

The campfire was simple. I used a plastic container and put orange lights into it. I 'think' I bought them at AC Moore. It may have been a Halloween item, but I know I bought them last August so it may have just been a regular item as well. I wrapped organge, red and yellow cellophane around the outside of the container and hot glued it into place. I placed real logs around it. It really was adorable and created such a special environment for sharing stories and building community.

My classroom is a decent size, but not really all that big. I always try to set my room up in a way that provides the most floor space since my kids always tend to work on the floor more often than at their tables.

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Posted by: bittysis

my classroom theme is camping this year. On my AR board, I used a red and white checked back ground to make it look like a picnic blanket. My saying was " AR is a Picnic". Every kid had a small paper plate with their names on it, and I pin their points on their plate. So, if Timmy has 23 points, I pin a 23 on his plate. I teach 1st grade, so this is a very visual way to display their points

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Camping out
Posted by: Lisa WA

I also do a camping theme with my fourth graders, and have a tent in my room as a reading area. The sign attached to it says "Camping out with a good book."
I also used bulletin board paper to cover an entire wall with a mountain mural (blue sky, purple mountains, brown hills, green foreground). All of my writing/language stuff is tied into the display, for example "A soaring spelling strategy" with hawks holding the steps to spell an unfamiliar word. "The road to good writing" is a road with 6 signs, each one holding one of the 6 traits. "Million Dollar Mine" has buckets of gold nuggets. Each bucket has an overused, "tired" word, and the nuggets inside have better word choices.
Hope that gives you a springboard for ideas.

Camping Theme
Posted by: Sam5

I made my birthday chart last night. Remember my studnets are older and I am going more for a northwoods adventure theme. I used print shop and did a pine background(called winter pine) and then made wooden framed signs for each month with a little holiday decoration on them- example- Jan.- snowman. Then I just labeled it Happy Birthday! The banner is only 2 1/2 sheets long which is just right for my wall space limited room. I showed it to my teacher friend this morning. She thought it looked good without being too "cute."

I am working on my math posters now. Mine are from the teacher before me which I really appreciated she made and left for me to use. I used them for the last four years. However, they are at least five years old and looking pretty ugly. We are allowed to leave math information up for state testing as long as it is part of our room for the year. So of course, we have to have lots of displays. I decided to go with "Climb the Math Mountain." I made a border on a print shop sign page that looks like the outline of a rock. I am going to run a bunch off on grey cardstock, print the math information on them, and laminate them. Then when I put them up for the year I am going to build a "mountain" with them above my dry erase board. My friend said she would help me draw a mountain climber.

I am thinking the flashlights from Target might be fun to put in a buddy reading station. The kids could go under the table to read together. Hmmm maybe we could give it a cave name.

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a few ideas
Posted by: hkinner

So far I have these ideas and most of them I have gotten them from other teacher’s web pages.

Camping with a good book-reading center.
S’more good work

I have also made two large trees in my room and on each leaf is a different letter and under the letter is the sight words we learn.

A tent in the reading center with flashlights and above the tent on the wall, I am going to put those white Christmas lights to make it look like stars. Under the lights will be black paper.

I was thinking of buying a few fake leafs or grass and placing them around the room and placing stuff animals around the room also.

My welcome board will be something like this…Look who’s camping in Ms._________ room. It will be a picture of a tent and names around it on kids that I made.

That is it so far. If anyone else has other ideas then please let me know. I will of course be thinking of the job chart.

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I have tons...
Posted by: lisakae2

of camping ideas. My classroom has been a camping theme for the past three years. Here's some of my BB titles: Camping Out with a Good Book, S'MORE GOOD WORK!! "Something to Chew On" (with a moose chewing on a piece of grass)...Hiking the Third Grade Trail (I use hiking boots in the hallway)....Happy Campers (use to display the kids pictures). Also I found some cute camping chairs and lanterns at Wal-mart. I make "Moose Munch" with cheetos, cheerios, and choc chips. The kids love it!! I have a bingo game that we call CAMPO - they also have a mad lib you could use that is all camping...and there are tons of cute books that are about camping. Mr. Magee's Camping Spree is my favortite and you can use Spree candy with it. What else???? Carson Dellosa has a couple of cute BB sets with woodsy animals, pine trees, etc. I have a whole wall full of pine trees and animals in my reading corner. Check out scrapbook stores and Hobby Lobby - they have cute camping theme stickers and fun paper in their scrapbook section. What else??? I do a lot of moose in my room with lots of brown postal paper and ivy for BB board...That's all that is coming to mind right now. I haven't been to school all week because of snow and ice so I'm not remembering everything. I'll write more as I think about it...hope this helps.

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Camping Theme Ideas
Posted by: Tina in OK

We're doing a school-wide camping theme, too. I've been looking for ideas all summer. One of my favorites is a snack where you make a campfire starting with a large cookie. Add M and M's to make a fire ring, pretzels as kindling and cheez puffs for logs. Then "glue" candy corn on for flames.

Also, my kids are going to make friendship bracelets on the first day, as they would at camp. They are going to make mini back packs out of brown paper lunch sacks to keep story bits in and at the end of the theme they will have all the bits to take home and share. I also found a first aid kit that you make in a film canister and a telescope made out of a paper towel roll. You punch holes in black paper to put on the end. The holes are a constellation.

FYI- To keep the momentum going, I am doing mini-units on: The Night Sky, Nocturnal Animals, Bears, Insects, Water, Frogs, Plants, etc. Most are units I would be doing anyway throughout the year but I'll just lump them in to the first quarter. (Our 4th quarter theme is going to be America's Favorite Pastime-Baseball.)

I can't wait to check out Cathy Dee's links above. Gotta Go!

Camp-Read-A Lot
Posted by: Sam5

How old are your students? You could put something like a trail and say "Hiking the AR Trail" and have the students move their figure up the trail as they earn points. You could make a mountain and have "Climbing the AR Mountain" or make a river and "Rafting the AR River"

Or you could do something totally different than those and have each kid have a hat or backpack or vest and earn "badges" for the books they read like campers often do especially at boy scout or girl scout camp. I know you can buy genre badge stickers or else you could just use simple stickers you already have.

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Camping Ideas
Posted by: hhillhs

I did a Camp Learnalot theme last year. I chose to stick more with the "summer camp" theme, but I have other ideas that focused more on camping in general. I made a CAMP LEARNALOT logo if you are interested...Just post your email address, and I'll email the logo and the desk labels that I used.

We tie-dyed "camp shirts" at the beginning of the year and wore them on field trips and for special days (like field day) throughout the year.

Desk Labels...tie-dyed t-shirt shapes with the Camp Learnalot logo and the students' names.

Reading Area...
We had our "campfire" area where we did all of our get-together aloud, morning meetings, sharing of journals, etc. I drew a tent, campfire, and pine trees on butcher paper and laminated them to last all year. A also had a plane flying at the top pulling a sign that said "READ S'MORE" because that was also where my bookshelf was located. I bought kids camping chairs (the foldable kind) and put them in this area, also. Add a styrofoam icechest for books.

Class Jobs...
"Camp Chores": I made clothing pieces (shirt, pants, shorts, etc) and wrote jobs on them. Then I put them on a clothesline with clothespins (with students' names) OR
"We All Pitch In": big tent with sleeping bags (pockets) as each job and popsicle sticks with campers...move the campers around bags to change jobs.

I bought LOTS of wood-like border that I did on all of the BBs. Add a tent (if you're brave), canteens, tackle boxes (maybe as supply buckets??), make binoculars out of toilet paper rolls (we used them for a school tour at the beginning of the year and for when we discussed different perspectives)

I also used the border to make an entry for CAMP LEARNALOT. I put the border up both sides of the door on the outside and at the top I made a hanging sign that said CAMP LEARNALOT (with a logo) and CABIN 6 because that is my room number. I also had small wooden signs that said "Camp Learnalot...20 miles", "Camp Learnalot...10 miles", and "Camp Learnalot...5 miles". Above it I put "HELLO MUDDAH, HELLO FADDAH..." and on my door I put "GREETINGS FROM CAMP LEARNALOTTA" (with music notes). Then I made postcards and pencils with students' names, like they were writing letters home from camp.

Welcome Door...
"Happy Hiking in 3rd Grade"
"Let's Get to Know S'More About Each Other"
"Making Tracks Through 3rd Grade"
"Looks Who's Camping Out in 3rd Grade" (pictures of students on campers)
"BACK For a Year PACKED With Fun" (backpacks)

Work Board...
"Reaching the Summit"
"Mountain of Good Work"
"S'More Great Work"
"Fired Up For Good Work"

Info Board...
"Camp Fire News"...for calendar, lunch menu, newsletter, schedule, etc

Homework Board..."Hooked on Homework" (fishing)

Student of the Week..."Camper of the Week"

Compliment Board..."Fishing For Compliments"

Rules Board..."Happy Campers Have Good Character" (with a big smiley face)

I also made a "Survival Guide" for the parents with all sorts of class info (class list, teacher contact info, schedules, staff names, conference time, study tips, etc.

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Posted by: George

I once made an electric campfire. In the middle of a small square piece of painted plywood, I mounted a standard light fixture. Then, I attached small "logs" around it log cabin style. I bought a red bulb and covered it with a little coat hanger frame covered with a piece of red gel (used for theatre lights). It looked very realistic. Today I'd use a compact fluorescent bulb so the bulb would stay cool.

You could also make a non-electric campfire: A ring of rocks, small sticks arranged in tepee fashion surrounding a ball of red, orange and yellow tissue paper "flames"

You could have a bucket nearby and explain the importance of fire safety.

Camping BB
Posted by: Joanne/2nd/TX

Get a cheap table cloth or make one out of material (I used a red and white checked with ants on it) and place paper plates on it with the things you want listed. Then draw you a large tent for the background. In your room, you could label things for the different parts of a camping ground or nature. You could make a tent from a refrigerator box and have blue throwrugs for water with plastic or silk flowers stapled on the wall. If you have centers, you could label them Wild flower poetry, Tall tree math, etc. There's lots of things you could bring into your curriculum to do with camping and learning.

Posted by: Sherry

My classroom is set up like a Camping Lodge. The sign on the front door says "Welcome to Mrs. Sarten's Lodge" and on the inside of the door are "Lodge Rules". In the winter we change it to a ski lodge. I use ice chests to hold the books in "Camp Read A Lot" with a tent and small camping chairs in that area. I have flashlights for the kids to use in the tent just for fun. (I teach 3rd grade). I use the hooked idea with "Hooked on Homework". I have sticky lizards on my ceiling and plastic bugs, smokey the bear, etc. all over the room. My bulletin boards are as follows: my discipline board has a canoe for each student with their name on it. In the canoe is 3 oars, 1st oar lost is a warning, 2nd oar is missing a recess, 3rd oar is visit to principals office or calling parents. That board is called "Responsibility Keeps Our Canoe Afloat". I use a cute board at the beginning of the year as a get to know you activity that you might be able to use with Lang. Arts. called "Fishing for Compliments". You fold a piece of construction paper to make a pocket and glue the sides so it will hold notes from other classmates. The "notes" are written on fish die cuts and they have to be a compliment to someone and it has to be in a complete sentence. You could make them underline the verb, etc. as an extra lesson. I have more camping ideas that I have found along the way if you are interested you can email me.

Posted by: shelly

We did this for a family fun night. We called the gym "camp read s'more." It was a lot of fun. Maybe you could use a small tent in your reading area. We also put flashlights in a tub nest to the tent. The kids loved it. My favorite part was "fishing for a good story." I made four ponds; who, did what, where, and when. I then put ideas on fish to go into the ponds (example: I wrote big hairy bear on a fish and put it in the who pond). The kids took turns fishing out a fish from each pond and then using those four fish to create stories. It was a great writing prompt and their imaginations soared. I made the ponds out of construction paper, laminated them and taped them to the floor. Then I just put the fish on top. If you need it for a bullitin board you could staple the pond on the bb then create a pocket out of construction paper to put the fish in.

Camping Fun
Posted by: BuzyBee

Reading Corner: Camp fire (paper on the wall of course) and some cushy pillows. Decorate the walls with black paper with stars on them. A tent would be awesome to add in!

Jobs: "Catching Classroom Helpers!" Put each student's name on a fish and put the jobs on "hooks" rotate as needed. OR make small pockets that resemble sleeping bags or small tents and put students names and let them decorate a little "Camper" to represent themselves. Move them from sleeping bag/tent each week/month.

Welcome Board: Red/white table cloth, put each student's name on an ant or a paper plate. Put the ants all over with the sign "Marching into ___'s room!"

Good Work Board: "S'More Great Work" Put a black backround and put paper marshmallows, graham crackers, and real Hershey wrappers all around the edge. (Mmmm, makes me hungry thinking about it

Class Reward: Once a week draw one student who has had a great week from a fishbowl. Have a box made up on a bunch of paper fish with paper clips in their mounths with rewards written on them like "No Homework" or "Free Pencil." At the dollar store, they have small magnetic fishing poles for $1, let students fish in the box for a reward. (These poles are also fun for center games like "Fishing for Multiplication facts, etc.)

Word Wall: Each letter could have a different green tree, on the wall, these would become "WORD FOREST"

Year long project: Make a little paper person and laminate, and have the class name him or just call him something like Happy Camper. Put him/her inside a large envelope with a map of the U.S. On the outside of the envelope, glue a print-out of a picture of an RV. Send the RV all over the U.S. during the year. Students can write letters asking for information. Keep a classroom map asking "Where has Happy Camper been?" This would be similar to a Flat Stanley project. If you make the RV with a lot of white space, you could ask each person that receives it to sign it. It would be a lot of fun for the kids. People would probably send back pictures and small items sometimes, too.

Camp fun!
Posted by: Catherine

It would be fun to have the class write a song about their camp to the tune of "Hello Mother, Hello Father. Here we are at camp ________". I hope you know the song I mean. You could add verses throughout the year about adventures, field trips, and new things they learn. It would be a great end of the year program for them to act it out as they sing it. Or a fun class book.

Other classroom ideas:
-tree stumps for the kids to sit on
-a pine tree or two on the walls or if you have extra room you could set up artificial christmas trees (not decorated of course)
-woodland stuffed animals and birds (you can find little birds at craft stores)
-your gathering area could be around the campfire (I know you can purchase fake campfires that light up with a light bulb but I am not sure where)
-if you have a large room you could set up a canopy or shade tent over a part of your room (maybe the library or center area)
-picnic baskets for storage
-lable the spot you keep your luncn menu and lunch tickets "The Mess Hall"
-your prize box could be the "canteen" (that's where we always got our goodies at camp)
-bulletin boards could be done with topagraphical maps or trail maps and a compass
-plaids and flannel materials always make me think of camp
-check local outdoor stores or camp grounds for other ideas and freebees
-a fishing pole
-posters of natural settings (I would check your local National Park or some in outdoorsy states like Colorado)

Alright, now I am drained. Your turn, I am using frogs as my theme. I have some stuff. I have seen the "Read It, Read It" stuff at the teacher stores and will get some of it. Other ideas? Thanks for the idea exchange.