Camping is one of those things I always imagined I’d do with my kids, and now that I have kids, the idea of trying to sleep outside (not to mention all the prep, packing, and hauling) is . . . not a bit appealing.
I prefer my camping to take place in picture books and chapter books. Maybe some s’mores made over the kitchen stove.
- Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas – I think Jan Thomas is the master of very early comedic books. This one, about a cowboy singing a lullaby to his very skittish cows, is a family favorite.
- Postcards from Camp by Simms Taback – Michael is not a fan of sleepaway camp. And his postcards home to his father detail all the reasons he wants OUT.
- The Woods by Paul Hoppe – Ella can’t get enough of this book about a little boy who, at bedtime, loses his beloved stuffed animal and must venture into the terrifying woods to reclaim it.
- A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee – When they go to spend the week with grandparents, it’s supposed to be nature camp, but it turns out to be a lot of eating sugar and watching cartoons.
- Lucille Camps In by Kathryn Lasky and Marylin Hafner – When her dad and older siblings take off camping without her, Lucille and her mom decide to camp at home, complete with a tent and s’mores.
- Poppleton in Spring by Cynthia Rylant and Mark Teague – Embarrassingly, I’ve never read a Poppleton book until now, but I’m hooked. And apparently I really love books featuring pigs.
- Quiet Night by Marilyn Singer and John Manders – Marilyn Singer does such great books, and this one, about how noisy it is camping in the woods, delighted my daughters with all the sounds and rhythms.
- The Princess and Her Panther by Wendy Orr and Lauren Stringer – Two sisters (as you might have guessed, the younger is conned into being the panther) go camping. Doing so might require some bravery.
- The Lost Lake by Allen Say – I love Allen Say’s distinctive and Caldecott-winning art and storytelling, and this is no exception, about a boy and his very quiet father who set out to find a lost lake.
- Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary – Ralph is ready to go out on the road with his motorcycle and ends up at a summer camp when he’s captured by a lonely camper.
- Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham – The Alvin Ho series is fantastic (somewhat similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and in this one, Alvin Ho is forced to confront all his worst outdoorsy fears. Poor guy!
- Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka – This is one of my favorite graphic novel series. They are so clever and funny; I’ve never met a kid who didn’t love them.
A Few Crafts, Activities, and Recipes: