Summer camp is an ideal time to incorporate prehistoric themes, such as cavemen -- often referred to as cave dwellers -- into your curriculum and activities. Campers can learn interesting facts about cave dwellers' eating habits, homes, communication and daily responsibilities by incorporating outdoor activities into your lesson plans. Hands-on activities and interactive recreational outings make cave-dweller themes come to life. Craft your prehistoric-themed activities to fit campers' ages and attention spans.
Cool Caveman Campfire
Host an evening event called a "caveman campfire." The goal is to demonstrate how cave dwellers built fires, prepared food and ate their meals. Show campers how cave dwellers rubbed sticks together to create fire. Prepare a simple meal with meat, fruits and vegetables, and discuss how cave dwellers used caves for refrigeration. Instruct campers to eat with their hands because cavemen didn't have metal tools such as silverware. Discuss how cave dwellers didn't have pre-processed foods or drinks and had to gather and prepare food on a daily basis. You might end the campfire activity with marshmallows or s'mores -- even though cave dwellers didn't eat them -- just to finish off the evening on a high note.
Fun Without Words
Talk to campers about ways cave dwellers communicated with one another using drawings, hand gestures, and a system of clicking with different sounds and intonations. Host a two-hour afternoon play time with board games, playing cards, drawing materials, books, bouncing balls and puzzles. Instruct campers not to use their words to communicate. However, they can laugh, smile, nod their heads and use their hands to express ideas. They won't be able to learn or create a system of clicking, but they can draw pictures to communicate. Keep the activities as simple as possible so there's not much need for talking. Campers in grades K-2 might only last for 20 to 30 minutes, so you'll likely need to shorten the time frame.
Epic Cave Experience
Visit a local cave or cavern and discuss the importance caves played in cave dwellers' survival. Talk about aquifers and clean water sources, shelter from inclement weather, tolerable consistent cave temperatures, safety from wild animals, reliable storage methods and security against enemies. If the campground isn't near a cave, create a mock cave environment. You might hang dark curtains over the windows in a dining hall or recreation room and use candles to illuminate the space. Ask students to bring their pillows to the mock cave experience, so they can rest in the cool, dimly lit room as you discuss caves. Consider showing a movie, such as "Ice Age," on a big screen in your mock cave.
Allow students to make their own fossils using a homemade coffee/dough mixture. First, each student must collect a small sample of leaves, wild flowers, pine cone pieces or bark. You'll need 1/3 cup of coffee grounds, 1/6 cup of cold coffee, 1/6 cup of salt and 1/3 cup of flour for each camper. Have campers mix the ingredients together to create the dough and then flatten the dough with their hands on a 12-inch piece of wax paper. They must press their leaves, flowers or bark into the dough and allow the dough to dry overnight. Once the dough dries and hardens, campers can remove their "fossils" from the wax paper.
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