The summer season is upon us and this fleeting time of year is destined to be filled with adventures and sunny fun. The following is a list of creative ideas that showcase the beauty and innovation of using nature’s classroom to continue learning even after school it out.
There’s Something in the Water: There is something mesmerizing about water, especially with kids. We all know summer fun would not be complete without lots and lots of WATER. Aside from swimming, water can act as a tool of fun, a chance for play and even an opportunity to learn about science. Here are some “out-of-the-lake” ideas for implementing water in your summer camp fun (all need adult supervision):
- Fun games like a Bucket Relay Game or Water Balloon Target Practice.
- Moving Water Boat Races (use tools like garden hoses, meat basters and scoops to motivate the boats to move).
- Creative Boat Building Using Materials from Nature: What’s a boat race without a fun boat, right?
- Homemade Aquarium(use smaller containers of water, natural aquatic plants and toy water creatures).
- Absorption Experiments: Use different materials like sponges, paper, cloth and wood to create some sensory fun for your campers.
- Water Nature Hunt: Tap into the wonder that lies at the water’s edge of lakes, ponds or streams with a good ‘ol fashioned scavenger hunt.
Go on a Bug Hunt: Did you know that some of the most interesting creepy crawlies come out at night? Arm your campers with some bug spray and a flashlight and go on an after-dark bug hunt. Sides of building and leaves are great places to find unique, multi-legged nightlife.
Explore Language and Culture: Did you know that the Ojibwe word for thank you is Migwetch? Some of the most rich and meaningful culture comes from those who inhabited the earth before us. Encourage your kids to use their summer months or summer camp experiences to learn about new languages, cultures and traditions such as foods and dance. To learn more Objibwe words go here and to learn more about Native American history go here.
Rocking Hunting: Rocks are everywhere and yet another piece of nature we take for granted. But have you ever noticed that some rocks increase in beauty once water is applied? Many stones like quartz and agates drastically change in appearance once they was washed allowing mom and dad to create a fun gem hunting adventure. Simply arm your young explorer with a squirt bottle and a bucket and send them out a rocking gathering expedition.
Make A Den: Many wildlife animals prepare a home for themselves, also called “den.” Dens can be in the ground, in a tree, in a cave or in a pile of fallen branches. Have your nature savvy campers research different types of animal dens, like a bear’s den for example, and create their own backyard version using nature’s own material like branches, leaves and plant life.
One final touch to your DIY camp adventure would be to create an indoor summer camp experience by making mock tents out of blankets, serving camp friendly foods like hotdogs, fruit and cold sandwiches and building a mock campfire from cardboard paper towel tubes and orange and red tissue paper. Top off this activity by reading stories around your mock fire or simply recapping the fun of the day.
What memories will you create this summer?