Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fun Cave Activities and Crafts for Kids

My theme for last week's MOMS Camp was all about CAVES! My kids are way into caves recently so I decided to make a whole week of activities based around them.  At first I felt kind of limited, but then I was surprised at how much I came up with and what a successful week it was!

Here is a list of fun activities and crafts we made during our cave week: 

- Naturally we made a giant cave in the living room out of blankets. We used an old baby gate (the kind that stands on it's own and makes a giant hexagon when linked together) to really add some space. It stayed up for a whole day and we had a blast laying in it to watch a movie; read books; and pretend to be bats, dinosaurs, bears, and even monsters. 

- Here is a fun and quick CRAFT we made that I found on Pinterest. You can make a mini cave out of a paper lunch sack. We used ours as a home for Molly's mini plastic dinosaurs, and later a tiny plush bear.

- We took TWO awesome trips this week!! First we went to the Omaha Zoo in Nebraska with my mom. We had visited before and knew all about their "Kingdom of the Night" exhibit, featuring bats and other cave-dwellers, as well as just nocturnal animals. That and a couple other exhibits featured areas that looked just like caves and the animals that lived in them! Seeing the bats - especially the Giant African Fruit Bat - was so amazing!

- Our second trip was to Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, MO.  It is the only ride-through cave in the U.S. so it was perfect for little feet that tire easily... and a little boy who is obsessed with trailers! Our tour guide was spectacular and the kids really loved being in a real cave. It was really neat to point out the different parts of the cave and formations that we had learned about from our books all week. My favorite part was when they turned of the lights and we got to be in absolute darkness: you literally couldn't see your hand in front of your face. According to our tour guide, if you stayed in absolute darkness for 30 days, you would go completely and permanently blind!! Luckily they turned the lights back on and our tour only lasted for about 50 minutes.

- We also acted out "We're Going On A Bear Hunt" which was really fun. I was happily surprised at how much my three year old really got into it! Here's what you do: sit on your knees and slap your legs gently with alternating hands to simulate walking as you chant/sing "We're going on a bear hunt/ We're gonna catch a big one/ We're not scared/ What a beautiful day!" Then you act like you come across something in your path: ie "Uh Oh! A river!" Then it's always the same: "We can't go over it. We can't go around it. Oh no! We'll have to go through it!" So then you pretend to swim and say something like "splashity splash! splashity splash! splashity splash!" .... so on and so on.. until you reach a cave and find a bear. He chases you and you have to QUICKLY go back through everything you passed again, doing the motions and sounds. Then you get home, slam the door, run upstairs, and hide under the covers. All while pretending and sitting on your knees. I remember playing this in preschool when I was little and was THRILLED to find a BOOK of it which we have read since Molly (age 6) was a baby. 

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