How to Plan a Homeschool Campout ⛺️ {with FREE printable itinerary!📋}

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!}

We are rather new to camping. We started in 2015, when our youngest was just about to turn 4. He was potty trained and old enough to skip naps if needed, and it seemed the perfect time to venture into the great outdoors >>gulp<< overnight.

My husband and I had both camped as kids, but it is NOT the same thing as an adult, being responsible for feeding people without a kitchen and packing all of the necessary gear. But we managed to survive a night in our local area, later to be followed by 10 days of touring the beautiful Great Lakes. The following Spring (2016), the kids were itching to get back out there, this time with friends. So I asked in my local homeschool group if anyone would be interested in a Great Homeschool Campoutand we had several families jump on board.

Prep work.

Gather your list of interested families, as well as a few dates that would work for the group. Then call some local camping areas to find a deal.

I’m a big fan of State Parks, because they are usually alcohol-free and less of a party zone than private campgrounds. They also have WAY better trails and natural sights! We ended up camping at Van Buren State Park in northwest Ohio, on a Monday in May. The park ranger gave us a 50% discount because we were out there for educational purposes and we were coming on a weekday before the peak season. I think we paid $9 a family!

Off we went.

I planned lots of activities, most of which required minimal supplies. Here’s a rundown of our itinerary (there’s a FREE printable version below for you to use, keep scrolling!) Your itinerary will vary, based on what your group wants to do and what time you can check in/out of your campground.

1-3pm ~ Show up, set up, and free play while we wait for everyone to arrive.

3pm~ Group pow-wow (basically a welcome meeting, pass out itineraries and discuss food), followed by Camouflage game.

How to Play Camouflage:
1 player stands in a centralized location, surrounded by lots of vegetation and/or obstructions. This player stands still and counts to 10 or 20, while everyone goes to hide themselves. The hiders MUST be able to see the counter, while at the same time camouflaging themselves as much as possible. When counting finishes, the counter yells out the names of the players they see: “I see Connor! I see Sophie!” They may turn and bend, but they may not take a step in any direction, rooted to that spot. The last player to be seen gets to count next.

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

4pm~ Nature Crafts: We made bracelets by putting packing tape inside out on their wrists, and the children collected flowers, shamrocks, leaves, etc. And we also made leaf rubbings by collecting some leaves and flowers, and rubbing them with the side of a crayon. Both of these crafts required minimal supplies, and mostly relied on nature!

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

5:30pm~ dinner — each family gathered around a central campfire and cooked and ate together. (Though we all brought our own food).

7pm~ Capture the Flag. We moved to a rectangular area for this game, putting a flag on either side of the field and challenging the children to capture the opposite team’s flag without getting tagged. Honestly, this one didn’t go so well. We had several players upset and frustrated and stopped early.

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

8pm~ S’mores over the fire

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

9pm~ We met early in the year, so it was dark enough to play flashlight tag by 9.

How to Play Flashlight Tag:

All players start at ‘base’ [we chose a picnic table]. Pick either a player or a team of 2 to be ‘it’. All other players scatter while ‘it’ counts. Then ‘it’ uses flashlights to find players in the dark, while everyone scrambles to make it back to base without being seen. The last two players back are the next to be ‘it’!

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

9:30pm~ Sit by the fire & simmer down. This is the time we got kids dressed in the tent (one or 2 at a time), sent them to the bathrooms to pee & brush their teeth, etc.

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

10pm~ Kids in bed, lights out. Parents can now PARTY! {By party, I mean quietly chat by the fire while telling the kids to close their mouths every five minutes.}

THE NEXT MORNING

Wake up and eat breakfast on your own.

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

10am~ scavenger hunt — we had a simple list (leaf, acorn, flower, stick, rock, etc) and gave each player a ziploc bag. The first to come back with all of their treasures won! You could also make it more complicated for older kids by giving them more specific items.

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

11am~ group hike — we took a great big walk through the trails nearby. My kids love to go “off-roading” during hikes, climbing over boulders and fallen trees. We found tons of great nature to discuss along the way.

How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!} ~ Our Cozy Den

12pm~ picnic lunch back at the campsite.

1pm~ pack up and leave. The dads had packed up most of our stuff while the moms took the kids on the hike, so we were able to leave right after lunch.

Planning the food.

We handled food by telling people to bring food to cook over a fire in the evening (we brought stuff to make pizza pies in pie irons). Everyone had cold breakfast in their tent and cold sandwiches for lunch the following day. I {as the coordinator} brought supplies for s’mores. Make sure you let all the families know what they are expected to bring.

Wrapping it up.

One of my biggest takeaways is to have lots planned, but to be flexible enough to scrap plans if the kids are having fun on their own. Many of the games/activities we planned only took 20 minutes, so they still had lots of free play time in between.

*BONUS TIP: Bring a coaching whistle to quickly & easily gather the group. During the initial pow-wow, tell all the kids to come running when they hear it!*

My kids are super excited to do it again next month with our new homeschool group!

The Itinerary

I made this an editable Microsoft Word document, so you can switch around the times as needed, or add/delete activities to fit your group.

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Click here to download your FREE printable itinerary! 
How to Plan a Great Homeschool Campout {with FREE printable itinerary!}
Share this with a friend on Facebook or in your local homeschool group — see who wants to join you for a campout of your own!

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