Outdoor activities with grandchildren - set up camp

Dawn Isaac / 27 March 2014

If you're looking after your grandchild for a few days during the holidays, it helps to have a few free activities up your sleeve, like this setting up camp idea from 101 Things for Kids to Do Outside by Dawn Isaac.

Set up camp

You will need:
  • Six bamboo canes (1.5 or 1.8m long)
  • Twine or string
  • Old sheets or blankets
  • Clothes pegs
  • Cushions or sleeping bags

If you really want to spend time outdoors, camping is ideal. But you don’t have to wait for your parents to book into a campsite – you can set up your own instead.

First, you’re going to need to build your tent frame. This will be more stable if you can push the canes into the ground. If it’s very hard and dry, try watering it well and leaving it for an hour – it will be much softer after this.     

Push in two bamboo canes, leaning towards each other, and then use some twine or string to tie them together in the centre. Take the twine round and round as well as through and between the canes to make sure it’s strongly bound. Do the same for the other end of the tent.

Place another cane across the top of the two triangles and again use twine to bind this together.

Finally, push a cane in from behind the tent, leaning into the top of the back triangle and tie this in – this final cane will make the structure more stable.

Throw old blankets over the top ridge of the tent and then peg them on to the canes to make the sides. Try to stretch them around the back to cover this area too, or add another blanket pegged on top to close up this gap.

Lay an old blanket on the floor inside and add  cushions or bring out sleeping bags to make your tent super cosy. You could also use a solar oven (see book) to cook snacks, set up a washing station using old bricks, planks and a plastic bowl and even see if you can stay out late to try some stargazing (see book) or moth spotting (see book).

Tip: The tent will shelter you from the odd light shower, but if you want to make it more waterproof  use a tarpaulin to cover the frame.

Extracted from: 101 Things for Kids to Do Outside by Dawn Isaac, published by Kyle Books

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