Jul 10, 2013

Forest or Camping Themed Classroom Ideas

For a Forest or Camping themed classroom: Find activities, crafts, snacks, and more ideas than you can use for your Preschool, Kindergarten, or First Grade class and students. Plus FREE DOWNLOADS!
For the last few years, I have been doing a forest/camping theme in my classroom. I love it! The kids do, too. There are so many fun classroom activities, crafts, and decor to use. I wanted to take a little time to compile some of my favorites that we've used so far. 

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When I first decided to do a camping forest theme, I started by picking a color scheme for the room. Browns, and various shades of blue and green. I ordered fadeless bulletin board paper and started by deciding which colors I wanted on which bulletin boards.

Here's a cute bear cave bulletin board idea. I didn't put this one up, but I like it a lot and may use it in the future. It'd be super cute with the kids names under the bears. Or add bear ears to the kids face pics and put them up "in" the cave.

I have to pause and just say, if you've never used fadeless paper for your boards, then you have to stop everything you're doing right now and try it! This stuff doesn't ever fade. Like ever. The only time I ever change it is when I get sick of the same color and decide I need something different. You're classroom will thank you, trust me! It'll be vibrant always...no more dingy looking boards after the sun has sucked the life out of them! Ok, getting off my soap box now...

Once my paper was up, I actually set decorating the boards aside and just started browsing around for things that I could use to set up my room. I figured I could lay them all out later on and decide what to do with them once I was ready.

Here are the cool ideas I discovered to use:

I found this super adorable rug at IKEA to use in my reading area. And it has been quite the hit! *Edit* IKEA no longer sells this rug, but you may still be able to find a fun forest themed rug online by clicking HERE.
Rug from IKEA. Might need this for my forest themed classroom.
I also found this super awesome inflatable campfire to use at carpet time! So far, it's proven to be of good quality and still inflates years later. Although, I only deflate it at the end of the school year when it's time to pack things up for summer cleaning.
These hanging swirls made a really nice touch after I hung them from the ceiling. They made the room feel really festive and fun. And the bonus is that they belong to a Camp Adventure Party Theme! So I was able to get all kinds of things that matched.
Like this 3D centerpiece that I put at our small groups table. I move it when group is in session, but the kids love having it there for our meet ups. 
I use these party invitations to mail out to my students right before school starts...and I "invite" them to come to my classroom on the first day of school! 
On the first day of school, we have a snack using these adorable themed plates, cups, & napkins. Just to get our camping adventure started off right! 

Here are a few snack ideas you can try. Pick your favorite or try them all!



During the first few days of school, take your littles on a nature walk, and let them collect items and put them in these adventure boxes to take home! You can bet they'll be running home with full excitement to show their families! Use a black Sharpie to write their names on the side so they don't get mixed up after the walk is over.

I found some adorable forest themed characters that my good friend, Let's Learn S'more, has created for classrooms. To introduce her characters to my classroom, I use a coloring book that she created that allows students to "meet" the characters.
The animals you'll meet are Bablo Bear, Rascal Raccoon, Oscar Owl, Darla Deer, Max the Moose, Scurfer Squirrel, Skyler Skunk, & Felix Fox.

It also comes with a matching class book. Each book is 14 pages long. We leave the class book in our book rack that sits in front of our carpet for carpet time. The kids love referring back to it all year. 

I also use the adorable classroom posters she made to hang up around my room. They come with both the character's name and the general animal name on them. 


Not only to they add to the decor, but there is a write-the-room activity that goes with them also!
One more resource I love from this collection is an interactive positional words emergent reader.

There are two sets available. One has the general animals names (bear, fox, squirrel...) and the other uses the character names (Bablo Bear, Felix Fox...). 

To add even more fun, students use this:
and their newly learned knowledge of positional words to cut and paste the animals into the correct page of the book! Each page offers clues to help figure out where the animal goes. I love that this book meets CC Kinder standards!

Want to try her resources? She offers this FREE DOWNLOAD that goes with her theme.
In this resource, Bablo Bear and his friends need the students to help them by tracing words on the paper. All of the words start with the same letter as the character that needs help. Cute!

At MPMSchoolSupplies.com, I found a Word Search book that has many themes in it, including woodland animals!
The puzzles in this book help students build alphabet comprehension, word recognition, and thinking skills.

I like to have the kiddos use highlighters when they find the words. Yes, I realize that that sometimes means the paper winds up kind of messy if they make mistakes, but it's just how I prefer them to do it. They can also use yellow, orange, pink, or green crayons.

For the classroom though, I think it'd be best to laminate the pages so that students can use dry-erase markers and reuse over and over again. Or put them in dry-erase pockets that you can find at MPM School Supplies.

Don't forget to sing about going on a bear hunt!

And read about it, too, around the campfire!
We're Going on a Bear Hunt.
There are motions you can do with each and every page. Very interactive and the kids love it! There's a YouTube video I let them watch too of this story:

Doing a mini-unit on fireflies is a great fit for your camping theme too! You can read about a really cool book and FREE resource that you can use in another post I wrote:
"How to Survive as a Firefly" Life Cycle Flip Book

Here's a few pics of what that resource looks like in action!




Ok...so let's bounce back to a few more classroom decor ideas.
I found this balloon tree for the wall...but haven't tried it yet. I'm nervous too. It looks really cool, but I'm worried that my students will pop the balloons. Thoughts?

I felt that this one was a little more safe...but still really cool looking:

If you're feeling crafty, you could try these really cool owl paper lanterns. They don't look very hard and are on my to-do list. I already bought the lanterns...now just have to make the cute owl parts and glue them on.

Just a sidebar here...but if you haven't seen these already, there are so many cute things you can do with paper lanterns in you're classroom. Like these cute fish...

Ok, I have a few other things I'd like to show you and then I think you should be good in the ideas department and will be ready to get your own forest/camping themed classroom started!

I made a couple of things for the forest/camping theme to use with my kiddos. One of them is this set of  Camping Themed Sticker Incentive Charts that you too can have (if you'd like them!) for FREE...
They go with 1/2" stickers and have both full-color and less-ink options for printing.

I also made some BINGO game sheets that would go along with my theme. 
They include four different BINGO games: Alphabet, Numbers, Color Words, & Sight Words. 

Don't forget the S'mores!
Here's a less messy way to have a sweet S'mores treat in your class...

Speaking of S'mores...
Don't I have some chocolate around here somewhere?
{wink!}

~Til next time
     
For a Forest or Camping themed classroom: Find activities, crafts, snacks, and more ideas than you can use for your Preschool, Kindergarten, or First Grade class and students. Plus FREE DOWNLOADS!

5 comments:

  1. I love all of these ideas! Great for my pre k class or my sons 5th birthday party/ he wants to go camping.

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    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed them and I hope you've found something you can use! Thanks for reading!

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  2. Your so creative! Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas with us!

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  3. Thanks for reading! Hope you found something you can use!

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  4. I was wondering how you made the owl candy bags? Where do you, or how did you make the old heads and attached it to the candy? Thank you for sharing!!

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