Nature Preschool goes camping

By Rebecca Dhondt, Preschool Teacher

Last week Nature Preschool went camping right in our Tall Trees Playscape.  We talked about camping, read about camping, sang about camping and probably dreamed about camping on our rest mats.  Activities included playing in tents, snuggling in sleeping bags, hiking, using mess kits, learning about building fires and ‘roasting’ marshmallows.

Camping in Tall Trees Playscape (1)After reading a camping story, the Nature Preschoolers were excited about creating their own camping story.  We took the opportunity to teach about the parts of a story: beginning, middle and end; problem and solution; and characters and setting.  After brainstorming we created this tale called Nature Preschool and the Tent of Terror.

Once upon a time, Nature Preschool went to a campsite in Delaware.  They brought sandwiches and corn on the cob.  They brought 3 tents, matches, lanterns, samurai supplies, sleeping bags and flashlights.  So then, all of them decided to go in a hike to the pond.  They all brought our own binoculars to make observations!  They saw frogs and toads and tadpoles.  Then they saw a white-tailed deer, lots of birds like robins, and painted turtles.  It was fun but they started to get hungry.

They decided to go back to the campsite but when they tried to get back they got lost.  They couldn’t find their tents!  They kept on wandering all around and got stuck in the mud.  It was so terrible some kids started to cry and cry.  Then they helped each other to escape and got unstuck.  They kept on walking and walking and saw their tents.  They were so happy they ran over and got inside them.

Oh no! It wasn’t their tent.  It tricked them.  This was very full of creepy monsters.  It was a tent of terror!  All the preschoolers screamed for Mommy to come and save them and then they called the police.  They pushed the tent door open and ran away screaming and screaming.  Help!  Help!  It’s the tent of terror!  They got away into the woods and saw a light shining.

They thought it was the real tents, but it was another monster!  They ran again because they were so scared.

Then the police came and pushed the monsters back into the woods.  The teachers and mommies came and helped them find their real tent.  They all made s’mores around the campfire and had a nice trip and lived happily ever after.

The end.

Camping in Tall Trees Playscape (2)The children at Nature Preschool have become a true community.  They were fully ready to accept the idea of going camping with their preschool family.  Giving them an opportunity to camp together helps to enable and empower them to be better belonging, cooperating, contributing, and caring citizens.  Many preschoolers asked when they could camp out here “for real.”  We told them all about the Great American Backyard Campout and our hopes to see them all there.

Children Need Nature is a monthly blog column from our Nature Preschool program. Read more posts here.