Camping Themed Classroom Activities for First Grade

Are you looking for a fun classroom theme to boost engagement and excitement for learning? Try a camping theme with your students! This is one of my favorite themes to use in the classroom any time of year! If you need a little inspiration, come along to see some of my favorite camping-themed classroom activities that are perfect for first grade. 

Use these exciting camping themed classroom activities to boost engagement in your classroom this year.

Why Use a Camping Theme? 

So first off, why might you want to use a camping theme in your classroom? Personally, I love a good theme because it makes lesson planning fun and easy. When you're focusing on a particular topic or subject, you can choose lessons and activities that align with it. It gives your days a cohesive feel and allows you to explore a topic in depth. Themes like camping are especially helpful if students seem less enthused at any point during the year. A new theme helps boost engagement and make them excited to learn again! 

Camping themed classroom activities help boost engagement and can make learning feel like an adventure.

Camping-themed classroom activities are especially fun as you near the end of the year. Students will be thinking about summer vacation and all of the fun activities in store for them. Camping is usually a popular vacation for families, so why not use this theme to your advantage? When you choose a theme that's intriguing to young students, you can automatically ensure higher levels of engagement. 

I also like using a camping theme because it allows me to work on important math and literacy concepts in a way that's "disguised" with our theme. We all know that students grow tired of skills practice, but it's essential for learning. By using a fun theme like camping, you'll be able to easily "sneak in" plenty of important practice in a fun way that feels fresh and new to your learners. 

Setting the Stage for Camping Themed Classroom Activities 

Before you begin your lessons for this theme, take a little bit of time to decide just how far you want to take it. In the past, I've gone all out and transformed our reading corner into a camping retreat! While this sounds a bit involved, all I did was bring in a small, pop-up tent and a few battery-powered lanterns. Then, when students used the reading area, they could cozy up with a good book in the tent and read by lamp light. If you go this route, I do recommend choosing a tent that has see-through panels on the front or a large door you can leave unzipped. This will prevent any horsing around in the tent during reading time. If you're a primary teacher, you know this is something that must be considered! 

Add a little extra fun to your camping themed classroom activities by building a classroom tent for students to use for reading time.

If you don't want to buy a tent, you can even drape sheets and blankets over furniture to make a "fort". The options are truly endless, so get creative with this! Another fun fun way to transform your classroom is by using natural-colored bulletin board paper with fun decor elements. There are a lot of cute sets online, or you can make your own with fake greenery vines and brown butcher paper. Adding a few simple touches like this will definitely help bring on the "forest vibes" and make students extra excited to participate in camping-themed activities! 

No matter what you choose, just keep in mind that you don't need to spend a ton of money, or time to make it fun. If you want to keep costs low and involve students in the decorating process, you might also consider having them color and cut decorations and pictures to create a bulletin board together. The idea is to make your room feel a little extra special in some way! 

Books for a Camping Theme 

Read-alouds are an absolute must for any new theme in the classroom! I love to use books as a guide in our thematic lessons and to introduce new topics to students. By being intentional to choose a few fun camping-themed books, you'll be able to tie your whole theme together and keep engagement high!

The Tent Mouse and the RV Mouse by Loretta Sponsler is a modern twist on Aesop's Fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. If you've been working on teaching story elements in your classroom, this book will be perfect for your group! Students will love comparing and contrasting tent camping with RV camping and discussing which they'd prefer!

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen will make your students roar with laughter! Students will love following this tale of Mr. Magee and his dog as they are chased all over the forest by a marshmallow-loving bear!

Use companion books like these to introduce and add to your camping themed classroom activities.

Llama, Llama Loves Camping by Anna Dewdney will teach students a valuable lesson about things that might seem scary at first. This is a great book to read if some of your students seem hesitant about the idea of camping to help introduce all the fun that can be had in the great outdoors! 

Curious George Goes Camping by H.A. and Margaret Rey is a fun-filled story your students will love! Everyone loves Curious George, right? Spend the day with him as he learns how to put up a tent and roast marshmallows on his camping trip! 

I like to read these books aloud with my group first and then make them available for independent reading in our classroom library. We also tend to discuss each book and talk about some of the fun things that people do on camping trips. These conversations are also a great opportunity to allow students to share their own experiences of camping. 

Camping Themed Classroom Activities

Alright, are you ready for some lessons and activities to go along with this fun theme? Here are 5 resources that are perfect for a camping theme in the first-grade classroom! 

1. Common and Proper Nouns Write the Room 

Write the Room is one of my favorite activities for the whole year. You can use it to work on just about any skill you can think of and students love being able to get up and move! When we're using a camping theme in the classroom, I love to use this set for practicing common and proper nouns. To use, simply hang these cards around the room and provide each student with a recording sheet. There are 6 different options to choose from to allow for differentiation by skill level. 

A write the room activity like this helps get kids up and moving while learning and is the perfect addition to your camping themed classroom activities this year.

Kiddos will walk from card to card and read the camping-themed word on each one. Then, they identify if it is a common or proper noun and write their answer on their sheet. This activity is also great when played as a Scoot game or used as a seated center activity! Kids will love reading the camping-themed pictures and words! 

2. Camping Theme Grammar Worksheets 

Do your students always seem to need more practice with tricky grammar skills? Mine too! These fun Color by Code Grammar Worksheets are just the thing to weave some practice into your day. These focus on a variety of skills such as past tense verbs, plural nouns, prepositions, and more! 

Camping themed classroom activities like these color by code pages are low prep for you but high engagement for students.

To use, students will first write words to answer the question and then use those words to color by code. This additional step means your students won't be rushing through and instead will remain focused and on task! The kids love to see the fun camping picture that's revealed after they've completed the picture! I love using these for fast-finishers, center time, and to fill those extra spaces in our day. 

3. Social Studies Map Skills 

Are you looking for a fun way to teach map skills? This camping-themed Map Skills resource will be the perfect addition to your lessons! This activity focuses on cardinal directions, map keys, and learning to read a map properly. This goes along perfectly with a camping theme when students might need a map to navigate their way!

Your students will love practicing map skills with this fun activity sure to be a crowd pleaser when included in your camping themed classroom activities.

Inside this unit are a variety of activities to teach this topic. You'll find 15 map skills worksheets that are print-ready for immediate use! The worksheets feature fun pictures and engaging tasks to snag student attention as you learn all about maps. The best part of this resource though, is the easy-prep, 3D Campsite Map craft that students will absolutely LOVE! This resource is a must for your camping-themed classroom activities. 

4. First Grade Math Review Puzzles 

Math topics are something my students can always use a little extra review with. Since we normally embrace a camping theme at the end of the year, these Math Review Mystery Puzzles come in really handy! They allow me to target tons of important skills like place value, telling time, fractions, and more in a fun way that students enjoy. I also love that they get some scissor skills practice too! Hands-on activities are always a win in my book. 

Math review puzzles are a fun and creative way to get students excited to practice key math concepts and with these fun printable pages they are a great addition to your camping themed classroom activities.

To use, students cut apart their puzzle pieces and place them in the correct places to answer each question. If they answered incorrectly, they will be able to tell due to the mixed-up puzzle. Once they've got it down correctly, I have them use gluesticks very lightly to stick the pieces down. Once they are dry they can color in the picture as a final touch! 

5. First Grade Phonics Review Task Cards 

Speaking of review, phonics is another area that always needs a little extra practice, right? Make it fun and engaging with these Camping Poke Task Cards! These make an excellent center activity to go along with your camping theme and will help students review important skills. Concepts covered include vowel teams, blends, digraphs, and more!

Use these first grade phonics review camping themed classroom activities poke cards for a fun independent center activity.

These are easy to prepare and are self-checking so they make a great independent work activity. Students will choose a card, read and solve the questions, and mark their answers by poking a straw or pipe cleaner through the hole. Then they flip it over to see if they answered correctly. There are also recording sheets included as well, so they can write down their answers for each card. 

Camping Themed Activities Boost Engagement! 

I hope you had fun exploring this theme with me! It's honestly one of my favorite topics for the classroom and makes a great theme for any time of the year. If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate with your students at the end of the year, give this theme a try! I know you and your kiddos will love exploring a camping theme together. You can find all of these resources and many more in my TPT shop! Have fun with your happy campers!

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Looking for a fun way to boost engagement in your classroom this year. Include camping themed classroom activities in your lessons for fun and exciting activities your students will look forward to completing. Whether it's grammar review, math, or writing, these camping themed classroom activities are sure to be a hit! #thechocolateteacher #campingthemedclassroomactivities #campingthemedactivitiesfortheclassroom

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