Affiliate links may be included for your convenience. View our privacy and affiliates policy for details.
When I went to the Arkansas Early Childhood Association conference last month (thanks, Better Beginnings!) one of the workshops I sat in on was all about prop boxes for outdoor play.
The presenters offered more than 20 ideas for different prop collections that could be used outside, such as gathering buckets, sponges and soapy water to make a car wash for outdoor vehicles, or even just collecting different wands and things that can be used with bubble solution.
One of the props that really caught my eye was for camping play. You could, of course, use actual sticks to build a pretend fire outside, but the presenter offered an even better idea that is crafty and can be used inside or out. So all credit on this one goes to Dot Brown, Shelli Henehan and Beverly C. Wright (since I don’t know who actually came up with the idea).
What You’ll Need
- a pool noodle
- brown tape or brown paper
- red tissue paper
What You’ll Do
Cut the pool noodle into pieces. I got three long pieces (a foot each) and two shorter pieces that are maybe 8 inches long. (I was able to cut mine using kitchen scissors. Poke a hole through to the center of the noodle, then cut around. Or use a craft knife.)
Because I couldn’t find brown tape at Target, and the girl was ready for this activity on a recent sick day, we used what we had. The larger pieces got wrapped in brown paper, taped on with wood-grain washi tape. The smaller pieces got gold Duck Tape, which actually doesn’t look too bad.
The girl decided to color the ends with brown marker. She also colored the paper, giving it a bit more of a wood look.
Set the logs up and put red tissue paper on top for your fire.
It was pretty windy the day we played with these, so it’s not perfect looking in the pictures, but it was a lot of fun.
She also got a stick and some play dough to make marshmallows to roast. Totally cute.
We also set her up with a bag that included a flashlight, water, a snack, a pillow and a blanket and she went on a little adventure.
This is great to play with outside on a nice day, but since we aren’t likely to have any of those for a while, you could also use them inside. Try making a cardboard box or a basket into a “fireplace” and snuggle down by your fake fire to read and have a picnic.
Do you ever bring outside activities in when it’s cold? I’d love to hear about it!
This looks like lots of fun. Thanks for sharing this excellent idea!
This is such a clever idea! I could see my boys playing with these while daddy makes a real fire! Have a great day!
Thanks, ladies! It was so fun and easy and I”m sure we’ll be getting a lot of use out of these inside this winter, too.
What a great idea, and it’s simple too! Thank you for sharing it. I would never have come up with this on my own!