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Home » Blog » Literacy » Camp Read A Lot: How to Set up a Calm Classroom Campground

Camp Read A Lot: How to Set up a Calm Classroom Campground

Classroom Transformations, Literacy, Special Events, Technology, Virtual Resources, Virtual Routines

Written by: Katie Palmer

Love the idea of classroom transformations but afraid of unleashing the classroom chaos? We've got you! This post has everything you'll need to create a cozy camping, reading, crafting, fun-filled day – without feeling like you ran a marathon afterwards! Check out the pictures and ideas below to set up a memory-making camp read a lot event in your classroom this year.

Creating Your “Campground”

Teachers in our Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook group have been using the Camping in the Classroom bundle with their students year after year. Each year the tents, fake pine trees, and flashlights were hauled into the classrooms, snacks prepared, and a day is spent enjoying “camp” together. We've collected all the best advice from these Camp Masters about how to set up an ultra-serene Camp Read-a-Lot experience!

Individual Desk Tents

With this option, each student has their OWN tent! You can even tape out an outline for personal campsites!

Individual Desk Tents for Camp Read a Lot

Assembly instructions:

  1. Purchase $1 table cloths from the dollar store.
  2. Tape a 3-ring binder (rings up) to the desk top.
  3. Drape the table cloth over the binder and desk.
  4. Students sit under their desks while in their “tents”. (This will be a HUGE hit!)

How to Create the Peak of the Tent

Below you will find a visual of exactly how we create the peak of the tent underneath the tablecloth.

Or… Table Top Tents & Mini Campers

Don't have the budget, the time, or not allowed to do individual tents? How about tabletop tents with mini campers? How about this origami tent project? Students will have fun making this camping craft using paper and popsicle sticks. Check out the video below for a guide:

They can even create trees (construction paper or card stock) and a campfire (sticks and pipe cleaners) with this fun video guiding them!

For the mini campers, they can draw a little person on paper, color it to look them themselves (if they wish) and cut it out. This will be their “camper” for the day. Anytime they are working on stations, reading independently or crafting, their mini camper can head into their tents and relax (so as not to distract the actual students!).

Crafts, Snacks and Decor

Flashlights or Finger lights

Having students bring in flashlights from home and keeping the lights off during camp reading time will make this transformation extra fun (and extra quiet). Have them read or do their station work in their individual tents or with their desktop campsite set up. Finger lights on Amazon

Photo Credit: Amanda Green


This can be homemade (like the one pictured below) OR simply project a YouTube video of a cozy campfire (bonus if it has campfire sound!).


Ok, teachers probably can't cook the real campfire treat, BUT there are a couple of options that are close to the real thing! First option: marshmallow creme between two fudge stripe cookies (or chocolate-covered graham crackers). Second option: Create s'mores cereal and use the handy dandy label that comes in the Camping in the Classroom product. Kids will devour this!


Ok, this is definitely an OPTIONAL accessory, but how fun!?! By bringing in a few small pines, it creates an “in the woods” ambiance students are sure to love! What better way to create the stillness and tranquility of a real forest?

Here's how to make trees out of paper if you're looking for smaller scale decor:

Camper's Itinerary

Set the stage for your calm classroom camping day with some simple guidelines.

So just what will the Camp Read-a-Lot campers do all day? SO much! Most classrooms spend a huge chunk of their camping day reading. (In their campsites of course, to keep things calm and serene!)

Camp Read A Lot is the perfect way to spend Read Across America Day! Head over to this Camp Read A Lot post for a more detailed look at camp-themed activities for the whole day.

Grab the Pack for Ultimate Stress-Free Planning!

If you want a whole camping-themed day, Lucky Little Learners has you covered! How about everything you need in one convenient package?! This camping transformation includes a variety of themed activities to support an amazingly fun day of learning! We’ve done the heavy lifting and included everything you need for the camping theme day – from a decoration list to a student completion certificate, and all the fun activities in between!

Get Camp Read A Lot

We know this camping classroom transformation will be sure to leave you and your students with fond (and stress-free) memories!

See A Classroom Campground Ideas in Action

Too busy to read the post? Let our team member Katie walk you through our camping in the classroom ideas in a helpful tips video.

More Classroom Transformation Ideas

Are you ready to sprinkle classroom transformations into your school year?! Want more ideas like this? Check out our classroom transformation options below!

Earth Day

Restaurant Day

Two's Day

Beach Day

Snow Globe Day


  1. Becca S

    What a fabulous idea to promote their personal reading time and ‘exploration’!!! Covid or no Covid, this is a wonderful experience to give young students!

  2. Sherri

    Thank you! Have done camping in classroom with 1 large tent and was wondering how to do it differently. Love the tablecloth idea!

  3. Leigh

    These are great ideas! I loved the individual tent idea when I saw it on your FB group, but I just cannot picture how the notebooks are taped to the desk? Does their happen to be a pic anywhere showing it before the tablecoth was put on?

    • Bailey Jordan

      Hi Leigh!
      My suggestion would be to search “camp read a lot” in our Lucky 2nd Grade Facebook Group and ask the author of the post how they did this. I hope this helps! Have a great day!

      Bailey J.
      Lucky Little Learners

  4. Sheri Masterson

    Love! Love! Love this idea! My partner teacher and I are already planning this fun day! Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  5. Katie

    Hi! I just bought this for my second grade class off of TPT. 🙂 Where would I find the little signs for each of their individual tents? 🙂

    • Bailey Jordan

      Hi Katie!
      The signs were actually created by the teacher whose classroom this is, but they would be fairly easy to make on your own! I believe all you would need to find is a wood grain background and use a “campy” font. I hope this helps! Have a great day!

      Bailey J.
      Lucky Little Learners

  6. Leah

    Hello!!! Where did you find the little pillows at for under the desks?!

    • Bailey Jordan

      Hi Leah!
      The photos in this post are from our Lucky 2nd Grade Facebook group; so if you search for “camp read a lot” in the group you can find this classroom transformation and ask this teacher where she found them. 🙂 I hope this helps!

      Bailey J.
      Lucky Little Learners

    • Sandy

      I’m retired, but I had a camping/country classroom. I love the ideas here and wish I would have had this when I was teaching.

  7. Deedee

    I just love these ideas. We will also have a Camp next week. My coworkers and I are so excited. 😊

  8. Angie

    I will be teaching summer school for 3 weeks so this will be our first time back in the classroom. I saw other schools in my district requiring their teachers to come up with a theme. My school didn’t ask that from us but this got me thinking of using the theme of camping for the 3 weeks! It’ll be much easier to plan activities around it and more fun for the kids since they haven’t stepped foot in the classroom since last March. Thank you!

  9. Veronica

    Great idea. I would use material not plastic table cloths.


    What is the BEEbinder? What are in those binders? Thank you

    • Jess Dalrymple

      Hello Vanta, BEE stands for “Bring Everything Everyday” and this binder or folder is typically used to travel back and forth between home and school each day in students’ backpacks. Any letters, forms, permission slips, etc to send home go in the folder and parents can send things back to the teacher as well.


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