Forest Ranger Camping Pretend Play

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Providing camping and hiking gear can make for hours of backyard camping or forest ranger imaginative play. And, believe me, this kind of play is for ALL AGES, especially preschoolers, and is fundamental for a child’s development.

Props make for richer pretend play. Sometimes all you need to do is provide some props and let your kids go forth and imagine.

Suggested Camping / Forest Ranger Pretend Play Props:

Camping Kit 


sleeping bags




cargo vest & hat

field guides

hiking sticks

magnifying glass



explorer kit (binoculars, fan, magnifying glass, flashlights)

Play Ideas:

Set up camp.

Observe the nature around using your magnifying glass and binoculars.

Keep a nature observation journal.

Forest rangers hike around helping campers and hikers take good care of the area and clean up after themselves. Show other “campers” the importance of staying on the trails and cleaning up the area.

Gather collections of leaves, rocks, or other items.

Stay overnight in the backyard tent.

Do a nature or camping scavenger hunt.

What Would Vygotsky Do?

I ask this because Vygotsky helped the world to see how important play is for a child’s development.

In play, a child is always above his average age, above his daily behavior; in play, it is as though he were a head taller than himself.” (Lev Vygotsky 1896-1934)

In other words, play facilitates a higher level of language, self-regulation, interpersonal skills, and the like and thus facilitates brain development.

If we provide our children with time to play, children will develop thinking, emotional, and physical skills.

How do you facilitate play with your kids?

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  1. These are great ideas! My family love camping, but we haven’t tried camping in the backyard. Kids would surely enjoy this backyard camping. Anyway, beautiful photos!

  2. What a great idea!
    I just wrote several posts on camping with kids on my blog (both in the backyard and in the woods) I’m going to put a link to this post, it is great, and your photos are inspiriing!