There is no tired like end of year teacher tired!!
Nevertheless, the last week of school is one of my favorite weeks because our sweet little kiddos get to be just what they should be…
Keep reading to see how I set up a week of camp inspired activities to help my little ones gear up for summer.
“Camp Learned-A-Lot” includes educational stations that review key skills we learned in first grade, but it also includes engaging, hands on stations that keep the kids interested!
-Sign Making Station
-Map Building Station
-How to Eat a Worm Writing Station
-Marshmallow Math Station
-Bracelet Making Station
-Cup Stacking Station
My biggest reason for planning “Camp Learned-A-Lot” is student behavior.
At the end of the year, I start thinking things like:
“We've worked really hard this year.”
“They've already heard this lesson 10 times this year.”
But the truth is, without structure, students start to lose their ever-loving mind!
Planning activities like “Camp Learned-A-Lot” keeps students busy (and out of trouble) and saves my own sanity!
(in a fun and easy way)
Camp Learned-A-Lot Set Up
Tips for Set Up
Setting up for a camping week like “Camp Learned-A-Lot” can be as easy or extravagant as you want it to be.
There are definitely years when I put in a lot more effort than others.
My best advice is to simply make sure the stations have clear boundary areas and are clearly labeled.
I try to space out/alternate the hands on stations between the “sit at a desk/printable” stations.
I also make sure that every printable station has an example for students to follow. When students have an example, it cuts down on the amount of questions they have and helps make them more independent.
Disclaimer: Photos seen in this post were taken over multiple years and in different classrooms!
Camp Learned-A-Lot Reading Station
The reading station is by far the easiest station to create!
I brought a few things from home:
- My son's pop up teepee tent
- 2 adult size camping chairs from home
- 2 kids size camping chairs from home
Then I created extra “reading tents” by taping a plastic table cloth over a table.
(This would be super easy to make with student desks).
I also made a campfire using brown, red and yellow butcher paper that we had at school.
In previous years, I had originally planned to set out sleeping bags for the kids to lay on, but my husband forgot to pick them up from the farm house, SO… I improvised with these stadium seats!
They ended up working WAY better! The kids loved them and they were easy to set out/clean up.
Camp Learned-A-Lot Sign Making
Next up, we have the sign making station.
All I had to do was simply draw the letters and campfire with a black marker and sign my name as an example.
The students took over the rest. It was such a great “team” building activity to wrap up the year.
Parents also loved seeing it at our end of year party and it ended up serving as a backdrop for many of their pictures!
If you wanted to do something different, you can get several different poster boards and have students write different things they learned this year.
For example, you could have a math poster, a reading poster, a social studies poster and science poster. This would be a great way to see what stuck with kids the most!
Camp Learned-A-Lot Campsite Maps
This was an easy prep station and strangely something that most first graders have never done.. map making.
In previous years, I made an example and set it up on an easel for the kids to use as a guide.
Many of them made something similar to mine, but many took it in a whole new direction which was really neat to see!
It really inspired their creative juices!
This past year I took an easier approach and created a map that included a word bank of items to include on their map!
The kids still loved it and it was much easier!
Camp Learned-A-Lot Writing Activities: How to Eat a Worm
This is something that I do EVERY YEAR!
I always start out by showing them the paper with the title “How to Eat a Worm”, then ask them “Who wants to eat a worm with me?”.
Every year, without fail, the students gag and say “eww”, and one year I even had a student cry (poor thing).
The first thing we do is brainstorm ideas together on what steps it would take for you to eat a worm. This year we used notecards and a pocket chart.
We also added some adjectives to describe a worm that we could use in our writing.
Then, I have the students write out the steps on their own papers.
As they finish, I read their writing and hand them a gummy worm to take their picture with.
I print the pictures out on our black and white printer at school (I know, not as much fun as color, but WAY faster than having real photos developed).
The students glue on their picture and enjoy their gummy worm treat!
Camp Learned-A-Lot Marshmallow Math Activities
Another simple, yet super fun station activity was building 3D shapes with marshmallows and toothpicks. I bought two bags of the small marshmallows and two small boxes of toothpicks which cost me less than $4. I used one bag of marshmallows per day. A little advice, don't try to save the marshmallows for the next day, they will be way too icky!!
Camp Learned-A-Lot Friendship Bracelets
I really thought this station might only be liked by the girls, but the boys absolutely loved it also!
I bought a tub of 1,500 beads for around $5 and we had PLENTY left over after every student had visited this station twice.
The best advice I can give you is to use pipe cleaners. Pipe cleaner are super easy to string and kids can twist their own ends together.
I tried using embroidery string first and it was an absolutely NIGHTMARE! Do not use anything where the strands might come apart. It was really hard for the students to get beads on the string.
The pipe cleaners worked MUCH better!
Camp Learned-A-Lot Cup Stacking Challenge
Cup building is always a favorite with my students. You can buy 100 styrofoam cups for less than $2.
You can challenge them to see who can make the tallest, widest and most creative structures!
This station seems simple enough, but it actually takes a lot of skill and balance to try and get all 100 cups stacked on top of one another without them falling!
I would even see students at other stations watching them and cheering on the cup builders!