The Littles were thrilled to be woken up last Friday with the news that it was Autumn Camp Day. I posted about last year’s summer camp a while back, and I thought it would be fun to share our autumn camp itinerary with you. We purposely waited this year to be able to do autumn-y things in our homeschool camp, and it turned out to be really fun.
Autumn Camp Activities
We started our day like every camp day, with monkey bread for breakfast.
Last year we made our monkey bread in the shape of a sun for summer. This year, we made jack-o-lanterns. I got the boys out of bed and we went straight to work in the kitchen. Last year I made my from-scratch biscuits to make the sun bread, but for some reason this year I bought canned biscuits.
It Did Not Make It Easier. In fact, it made it harder and it didn’t turn out nearly as well. So don’t use canned biscuits for your monkey bread. Big Mistake. Huge.
It was much more difficult to color the dough of the canned biscuits than it would have been with a bowl full of dough, but we managed to color most of the biscuits orange, a few black, and one green.
Then we broke the dough up into balls and shaped our pumpkins, added their faces and stems, and poured the syrup to turn it into monkey bread overtop.
There is a simple monkey bread recipe at AllRecipes if you need one.
They turned out pretty cute an they were edible, so we weren’t too
Okay, so we did a little school work before we got started.
As soon as we finished the school work, we got busy. We knew we were going to need some pretty leaves and twigs and other things for crafts, so the first thing we did was take a walk in our woods. We took a basket and collected all the things we thought we would need later. It was our first real walk in the woods since the leaves started changing, and the boys enjoyed spotting the changes that had taken place all over the woods. Once we had collected enough woodsy paraphernalia, we went back to the campsite.
We set up two projects right away, because each needed a couple of hours to complete, which gave us time to play some games while they did their magic.
Coffee Filter Chlorophyll Experiment
The first project was a chlorophyll project–we filled smalled jars about 1/2 way with rubbing alcohol and searched our basket for different colored leaves.
The Littles chose yellow, red, orange, and green.
They tore the leaves up into tiny pieces and dropped them into the alcohol. We needed to let them soak for about an hour, so we went on to the next project–
This is simply putting objects atop construction paper and letting the sun bleach everything but where the objects are. We taped the paper down to my old painting table with loops, and we used tape loops to secure things that would blow away (which turned out to mostly be on my project since the Littles wanted to use their new Zombie army men). Then we we went to play games. I wasn’t sure how well this would work, but check out the results:
In the meantime, we played games, like splash tag, in which “It” has a spray bottle and if he hits you with water, you’re out, and racing paper airplanes.
The paper airplane race was probably the biggest hit of the day, especially since Big showed up in time to play. We set up a Start and a Finish Line, then flew our planes toward the Finish on ‘Go.’ When the planes landed, we ran to them and flew them again until the winner’s plane crossed the finish line. This took some finesse, and it could take 3 or 4 flights or 1, depending on how good we were at flying paper planes. I never won. And some of the planes ended up in the pool.
They all had a blast playing splash tag, too. Because it was warm enough to fill spray bottles with water for the tagger to tag his brothers with.
We needed to slow down after all that running, so we went back to the camper and added the coffee filters to our chlorophyll project. After the leaves had rested in the alcohol for an hour, the alcohol had soaked the color from them. When we put the coffee filters into the alcohol, the filter soaked up the color. It was cool to watch how the color transferred from the leaves to the paper. The really neat thing was that the green leaf created a rainbow effect on the coffee filter, but I was having too much fun to think about taking a picture of that.
Salt Dough and Leaf Hedgehogs
But I did remember to take pics of the Salt Dough and Leaf Hedgehogs we made, which turned out So Cute.
Basic salt dough recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup water
Mix the flour and salt together, then stir in the water until you have something that resembles Play-Doh.
We rolled ours out until we had enough room to draw a hedgehog shape on it for each of us.
Then we watered down some white Elmer’s glue to make a Modge Podge-type material and painted our hedgehog shapes with the glue.
We painted each leaf (front and back) with the glue, and attached it to the hedgehog’s back.
Once we had covered the back, we used a black marker to draw on the face, then set them in the sun to dry.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Balloon
By this time, my beautiful husband was home, and he got in on the action by putting a balloon full of baking soda over the mouth of 20-oz bottle filled with vinegar and letting the Littles (and me) watch the reaction blow up the balloon. And I Did Get A Picture of that.
If you’re wondering about the cage he’s setting that on, well, by the time evening got here and it was time to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, a pretty fierce wind had kicked up, and it was a hot, dry day. So Beautiful Husband vetoed the fire pit. We were bummed until he suggested using an old birdcage to enclose a fire that would be just big enough for us to have s’mores. So he put down some patio bricks, built a fire, covered it with the cage, and we safely had hot dogs and brats and s’mores for dinner to round out our autumn day.
I had other projects I wanted to do, such as making mason jar lanterns and painting gallon-jug jack-o-lanterns, but by the time we finished eating, we were all pretty wiped out. In fact, the day was so fun and fulfilling that we voted to come in the house to sleep. Even the comfy camper couldn’t compete with our own beds.
I hope our autumn camp inspires you as much as our summer camp did. Since Wednesday is the first official day of autumn, now would be a great time to start planning your own.