Two Camp Crafts for Preschool: Make A Canteen and Backpack Your Kids Will Love!

Cool Canteens

Show your students what a real canteen looks like, either with a picture or one that you have and display an example of the completed canteen craft. Explain what it is used for, but be sure they understand that theirs is just for pretend, for it will not hold water.

Materials needed:

  • 2 small heavy duty paper plates
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Plastic water bottle cap
  • Plastic cording
  • Pony beads


1. Have the kids decorate the backs (or undersides) of the small paper plates with markers and crayons. They can decorate the fronts too, but the fronts won’t be seen when the canteen is complete. Stack the plates with the fronts facing each other and staple the edges together to form the canteen shape. Some children may need help with the stapler.

2. Hold the bottom edge of the bottle cap on the edge of the canteen (paper plate edge) and mark with a pencil. Cut slits on the plate edges and glue the bottle cap into the slits for the pretend canteen cap.

3. Cut a piece of plastic cording about 24 inches long for the handle strap. Have the children thread pony beads on the cording. This can be incorporated into a counting, measuring, or pattern lesson and a small motor skill exercise. Staple the ends of the handle on each side of the cap. You may need to adjust this measurement to best fit each student.

Basic Backpacks

Kids love to tote things around when they play and this backpack craft will provide the perfect accessory for pretend camping. This project requires two days, to allow the paint to dry.

Materials needed:

  • 2 large brown grocery bags
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Paints and brushes
  • Fabric


1. Open the grocery bags and help the students insert one inside the other. This will make the backpack more stable. Fold down the top of the bag about 2 inches, creating a cuff. Fold down again and crease the cuff. Use the scissors to cut two one inch horizontal slits through the backpack cuff on the “back” of the backpack. Position them about an inch from the top edge and about an inch from the sides. Cut two more slits on the same side of the backpack 2 inches from the bottom edge and below the slits at the top You can involve your preschool students in this step or prepare it ahead of time.

2. Set up a variety of paints in natural colors and discuss with the children the things in nature that match each color. Have the students paint the outside of the paper bag backpack. They can choose to do this however they would like, but encourage them to cover the advertising label on the grocery bag. Allow the paint to dry overnight.

3. Cut or rip strips of fabric 2 inches wide. Knot the strips together until you have two strips approximately 40 inches long. Thread one strip through a slit on the top of the backpack and out the bottom with the ends on the outside. Repeat with the other fabric strip through the other slits. Tie the strip ends together, adjusting them to fit over the shoulders of your preschool camper.

Imagination and Exploring Time

Take your preschool students on a hike around the block, the playground or even the classroom, dressed in their new camping gear. Let them collect sticks, leaves and other natural treasures in their backpacks and make frequent stops for pretend drinks of water.