Summer Fun: Activities & Crafts for Beginning Campers

For a very long time Hazel has really wanted to go camping. She has seen various television characters go camping and has heard about it from her friends. Now I grew up camping with my family, but Steve did not. I own a very small tent, but have always camped with people who know how to camp better than I do, so I do not have much confidence. We have promised to take her at some point, but in the mean time I made her a tent and campfire for her doll and then we tried some beginner activities. 

A couple of times Hazel has wanted to try sleeping in a tent in her room This summer she used her new puppet theater tent and new sleeping bag. She set up her pretend campfire and I gave her a camping accessories set for her doll which included s'mores.

The set came with a hat, a roasting stick, marshmallow and hot dog, hot chocolate and some made s'mores. It is from Target and is part of the Our Generation collection.

She also wanted to pretend to be out in the woods, so she created a rabbit hole.

And a duck pond and set them near her tent.

She did not make it the night on the floor, but at least she had fun before bed. She was very excited to sleep in the tent when we went to my parents in Cape Cod. My father even agreed to sleep in it with her.

This was the perfect place to do this since they are in a safe neighborhood on a dead end street and next to the marsh. Hazel was very excited and stayed up a bit later than she should the first night. She got to see the sunset (and this was in June). Of course the sunset at my parents house is always beautiful and it is one of the few places on the east coast of the United States to see it over water. This was over a side of the marsh.

She slept in the tent for two nights. The first night my father slept with her and the second night I did. We got up early in the morning and in time for me to take the tent down before it rained. After that I got her to sleep inside the house.

Our next camping adventure was at our family reunion also at my parents house. The first night my uncle hosted a dinner at his campsite and we made tin foil dinners, but first he had the kids roast hot dogs. It was Hazel's first time cooking on the fire and my father helped her. My uncle gave her the stick that could cook two hot dogs so she made one for me and her to share and one for my father.

Next we all made our own tin foil dinners. This is a staple whenever we go camping. My mother always said it was from the Girl Scouts, but I am not sure. If you do not know what it is, you put your dinner: meat, potatoes, vegetables and any seasoning (and often some butter or oil) in a strong piece of tin foil and wrap it up. Next poke holes in it to vent it and put in int he hot coals to cook. My dinner ended up on my cousin's fire and he cooked it perfectly for me. It was delicious!! Hazel had fun making her own as well and enjoyed it.

Then the kids roasted marshmallows for s'mores. Hazel does not really like marshmallows, so she roasted them for me and my father. My father helped her with them as well since she kept burning them. He also was happy to eat the burnt ones. One of my cousins thought he was just being the kind grandfather until he asked for more marshmallows after everything had been put away.

To remember this fun time we made a simple foam campfire craft with a brown pipe cleaner and white pony bead to be the sticks and marshmallows roasting. I used popsicle sticks for the wood. I want to put  a string on it so Hazel can hang it on her seasonal tree.

I also made the fun campfire craft that was in Little Passports Blog Camp Explorer Week 4. Camp Indoors with a DIY Campfire! It is very easy and fun, though I do think I need to trim my flames a bit. There are other camp activities in the preceding posts as well. The first week shares a recipe for camp bread or pan de campo; the second week has a nature scavenger hunt which is perfect for a walk or a camping trip; and the third week has a free constellation activity sheet for all the stargazing one does while camping! There is even one with a recipe for a scary story!

Maybe next year I will be able to convince Steve to go camping with us at an actual campground. Hazel will be the top of the world if we do!