Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pretend Play Campsite

To kick off our camping unit we turned our playroom/classroom into a pretend play campsite! I'm not super crafty but I think all my DIY projects for this turned out plenty cute. My daughter certainly wasn't judging what it all looked like, she was just having fun! You can easily make these things for your child too with just a few easily obtainable supplies.

So as you can see above we had these things set up:
- Tent and sleeping bag
- Magnetic fishing
- Grill with smores
- Campfire
- Lawn chair with turkey dogs to roast

So, for the tent and the sleeping bag we just used one of those tents from the play tent/tunnel things without the tunnel. Then we put her Barbie sleeping bag inside along with a lantern from Dollar Tree. She also added quite a few baby dolls into the tent to snuggle with her!

I wanted her to be able to sleep under the stars so I cut some star shapes out of white craft foam. Then I punched a hole in each one so I could tie some yarn onto it. Then I taped the yarn onto the ceiling so that the stars would dangle down. 

These were placed right above the tent.

The magnetic fishing was something I've wanted to set up for a while after all the versions floating around on Pinterest, and our library also had something similar at an event a few months ago. We luckily already had a magnetic fishing pole from our Melissa & Doug Fishing Puzzle. So all I had to do was lay some blue sheets of craft foam down onto a wooden box (actually the box to our Melissa & Doug birthday cake play set. And then cut some fish out of other colors of craft foam. I used yellow, green and pink craft foam to make the fish. I drew the shapes first with a Sharpie and then cut them out. I also used the Sharpie to draw on an eye and smile to the fish. Finally I put the paperclips on them to make them magnetic. 

The grill with smores was very simple to put together as well. All I did was lay a cooling rack down on my daughters table to make the grill. I set out plastic coffee pot, pan, pot, and utensils. I also used light brown, dark brown, and white craft foam to make smores that my daughter could use for pretend play to put together and take apart. It's simple, you just have to cut out squares of each color, and add some dots with a Sharpie to the light brown ones to make them look more like graham crackers. You can make them in varying sizes if you are working on teaching the differences between big and little and size ordering to your little one.

Now for the campfire. This is one of my favorite things I made even though it is less than perfect looking. There's also been various types of this posted on Pinterest. To make it you'll need:
- A piece of cardboard
- Two paper towel rolls
- Tape
- Red and yellow tissue paper. Orange would also be good but we didn't have any of that.

I just taped the two paper towel rolls onto the piece of cardboard, one at a time so I could position them over each other like logs of wood would be. Then I tried my best to make the pieces of tissue paper look like flames/a fire and tape them onto the paper towel roll logs.

Then for the final touch that made everything look super cute and realistic I put out my daughter's lawn chair with some little pretend turkey dogs to pretend to roast over the pretend fire. All I had to do to make these was tape the little plastic hot dogs that come with play kitchen sets to some of our pick up sticks.

Some other things we had were:
- Whistle with compass
- Flashlight
- Camping, hiking, and fishing books.

We still plan on making some pretend binoculars and vest as crafts and for pretend play use.

After you set this up you should really engage in pretend play with your little one. Put away electronics and pretend to be very outdoorsy. Get as much of the experience as you can and encourage your little one to play with all the elements that were set up. This is a great learning experience for them. They will get to act out real life scenarios and get to expand their vocabulary with new words they may not have heard much before.

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