Summer Overnight & Day Camp - Outdoor Centre - School
located in Huntsville, Ontario - 705.789.5612


Activities in the Winter

Tawingo Outdoor CentreColour the winter experience white….the winter outdoor adventure is like no other! It divides up the school year perfectly and permits plenty of time for in-class preparation and in-class follow-up. The Muskoka winter offers wonderful experiences in physical activity (skiing, snow shoeing, skating) but other winter subjects are just as bountiful. Micro-climate studies, toboggan physics, heritage skills are all great ways to immerse your class in the season. End the day with a cozy campfire and hot chocolate.

Here is a partial list of some of the most common activities used by most school groups. (You may click here to download a printer-friendly PDF version)

Camping Skills & Outdoor Recreation

Basic camping skills are not only fun and useful for developing life-long interests in the outdoors. They also provide curriculum-related knowledge, encourage self-reliance and generate resourcefulness.

  • Camp-Craft: Heat management, cold-weather injuries, firebuilding, outdoor cooking, quinzhee-building, tent, tarp shelters
  • Cookout Meals: Hot-dogs & hamburger cookouts, winter cooking meals, trail meals, prepared for/prepared by group
  • Orienteering: Basic map reading, compass skills, line orienteering, map making
  • Day Tours: Winter travel and destination tours to mountain, bogs, beaver dams and heron rookeries by sky, snowshoe, sled…
  • Recreational Tobogganing: Safe, supervised tubing hill with professional tubes and carpets; lit for night-time use
  • Broomball: Recreational and activity sessions in winter sports with broomball equipment, large inflated pushballs, etc.
  • Snowshoeing: Introduction to traditional North American styles of travel followed by games, hiking, sliding and climbing
  • Cross-Country Skiing: Instruction grid, groomed trails, full range of trail difficulties, lake and on-trail skiing, candle-lit night-ski trail


Tawingo Outdoor CentreArts and Heritage Skills
The outdoors is an endless source of inspiration to the creative mind. At Camp, we exercise the mind and spirit as well as the mind. The outdoors is more than a subject of study; it is the medium within which an artistic muse, language skills and historical links can be stimulated.

  • Language Arts in the Outdoors: Creative writing, nature-inspired poetry, journals, vocabulary, word and language activities
  • Natural Art Gallery of Ontario N-AGO: Following an introduction to the outdoor as medium, individuals or pairs of artists construct their own art gallery ‘installations’.
  • Communications and Media Literacy: News broadcasts, newspapers, stories, pictures, or comic strips are used to collect moments, memories, and stories of camp.
  • Arts and Crafts - Nametags: A popular wood craft activity is sanding, shaping and woodburning a souvenir nametag and necklace.
  • Arts and Crafts: The arts/crafts area can be utilized for a wide range of nature-based activities or groups may bring their own ideas.
  • Pioneer Skills: An indoor/outdoor pioneer area offers cooking, rope-making, quill-writing, cordage, puzzles, gadgets, and more.


Tawingo Outdoor CentreNature and Science Activities
While never losing sight of the fact that the outdoor experience is an excellent medium for all learning and, at its most fundamental, an important life learning itself, it cannot be denied that most natural science activities are enriched immeasurably when the student is immersed in the subject. For this reason, nature and science activities are often confused with outdoor education activities. While the first is the second, the second is not necessarily the first.

  • Mountain Hike: Eagle Mountain is a geological feature on the Camp Tawingo property. A detailed Mountain Hike Leader’s Guide, a clearly marked trail and station markers with inspirational quotations on leadership and goal-setting make this a must-do for most groups.
  • Theme Hike: Numerous trails lead all over our property and may be used to focus attention on everything from glaciation and geology to beaver ecology and stream studies.
  • Birding Activity: There are several bird-feeding stations across the property and, at various times of the year, different types of ornithology may be studied. A written bird unit highlights identification skills.
  • Eco Games: For younger groups, role-playing games on various themes offer an excellent, visceral experience to complement the observed relationships discovered on hikes and other activities.
  • Animal Track Studies: Winter tracks can introduce campers to all manner of winter nature activity. Begin with introduction to animal track signs, track ID and animals in winter. Follow with people prints, deer-feeding, track hunts and more.
  • Toboggan Physics: Recreation and education are meshed together with calculations of toboggan velocity and acceleration followed by races and turning challenges.
  • Lake and Snow Studies: Winter science teams explore the lake from top to bottom – creating a lake profile, measuring ice thickness and temperature
  • Microclimate Studies: Winter science teams make snow profiles in various areas and examine snow crystals, wind speed and temperature to determine how microclimates affect animals.


Tawingo Outdoor CentreLeadership Skills
Ideal education is one that develops intellectual power. It is not one that is directed to immediate needs; it is not a specialized education, or a pre-professional education; It is not a utilitarian education. It is an education calculated to develop the mind. *- Frederick Mayer 2007.

Leadership skills are part of an education curriculum calculated to develop the mind. Leadership skills within the outdoor curriculum permit a visceral experience to accompany the intellectual experience. When we combine physical, emotional and intellectual memories of an experience, the learning is that much more profound.

  • Team Building Activities: These activities are designed to bring the group together and maintain it. Through activities that challenge the group as well as the individuals within the group, follow-up discussions can highlight not just what happens at a psychomotor level but also at an affective and cognitive level within the group.
  • Initiative Games: These forest-located and equipment-based exercises use imaginative play and group challenges to permit the team leader to focus on different elements of group structure and maintenance. The activities are fun and the messages ‘sneak up’ on the participants in a memorable way.
  • Cooperative Games: In a society within which competition can sometimes overtake reason, cooperative games emphasize mutual support, collective goal setting, identifying the real opponent and the emotions associated with success.
  • Leadership Activities: We can offer a number of activities that are project-based and designed to permit a group to come together. We can explore many different aspects of leadership. The activities may be outdoor, physical-based or classroom, intellectual-based.


Large Group ActivitiesLarge Group Activities
One of the things that a camp experience provides is a re-shaping of group. In school, the structure of the society can become restricted and fixed. By ‘shaking things up’ in the Camp experience, the definitions of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘us’, ‘we’ are open for discussion. The large group experiences are also great celebration points for the whole group. Some of the smaller group activities can be adapted to permit a simultaneous large group activity.

  • Wide Games: The sports field offers a safe, open space for a variety of traditional camp games. The forest areas around Camp also permit some great variations on these and other games: Prisoner’s Base, Capture the Flag, Sticks and more.
  • Last Day Extravaganza: The activity groups involved in learning skills throughout the stay can join together for a last day relay-type carnival or extravaganza. This is lots of fun and a great way to wrap up a stay at Camp.
  • Cycles: Cycles is a nature game that focuses on the basic elements of life and their movement through the food chain. Students are producers, consumers and decomposers swapping energy chips that represent sun, soil, air and water.
  • First Nations Trade Routes: Trade Routes examines the flow of resources under the control of various groups. The activity involves each group’s efforts to secure the resources they require to survive and the trade structures that result.
  • Par Lauf Relays: Par Lauf originates from Scandinavia and is a running relay that can be adapted to any number of camp activities at each relay checkpoint. The race is wild and confusing but fun and satisfying.
  • Rocket Launch: Groups can prepare model rockets at home and conduct a rocket launch as part of their last day celebration. Camp provides a full ‘official’ launch gantry, display table and rocketry panel.
  • Instincts for Survival: Developed by Waterloo educator, Frank Glew, Instincts for Survival has been a staple activity at many schools and outdoor centres for decades. Herbivores, omnivores and carnivores compete for resources in a forest setting. In any season, ‘Survival’ is both a entertaining and educational.


Evening Programs
The classic difference between the Camp and school experience is the opportunity to extend the school day past the usual afternoon dismissal. In the evening, Camp combines the social and educational elements of Camp into a series of unique events that do not depend on TV or electronics but on the strength of the group.

Following supper and some cabin-time, there may be both an early and later evening activity before a snack and final announcements.

  • Outdoor Campfire: What better way to finish the day than to gather around an outdoor campfire. There may be a full structured social recreation program or the group may prefer to sit and enjoy the elements of night sky, close friends and warm campfires. Snack may be served at the fire or back inside.
  • Indoor 'Campfire': The indoor campfire is usually a structured combination of elements that make up a successful campfire program: opening, singsong, games, stunts, skit, stories, and a closing.
  • Skit Night: Each cabin group is invited to meet and plan a skit appropriate for the whole group. Even the teachers are invited to perform. The Tawingo staff will cover the blanks with opening, closing and between-skits fillers.
  • Night at the Races: Activity groups work together in a combination of race and relay events providing the athletes and spectators. Between races, everyone can place ‘bets’ with play money on the outcome of the races.
  • Heritage Evenings: The structure of the indoor campfire can be adapted to specific themes. Programs involving pioneer days in Canada as well as first nation activities can give an historical perspective on the activities that the group enjoys during the day.
  • Wolf-Deer Ecology: This AV presentation offers an overview of the separate life histories of the wolf and deer as well as a look at the close relationship between the two. Bone and skull displays lead to a question and answer period.
  • Clue (Tawingo CSI): A dastardly crime (usually a ‘stolen’ snack) has been committed. The teachers dressed as mysterious characters are suspected of using strange ‘weapons’ and committing the crime in a bizarre location. The students are the detectives.
  • TSX (Tawingo Stock Exchange): Business partners take their thousand dollars and purchase any number of shares in various stocks. The value of those stocks go up or down each round. The teams can consult an ‘inside trader’ or use their own business acumen. It makes for lots of fun looking for the next Bay Street executives.
  • Night Hike: Camp staff depart in small groups for a different kind of sensory hike and enjoy a series of activities that highlight the emotions and feelings that a night experience can give. Night hikes are a memorable Camp experience for all.
  • Night Ski: The basic day-time ski trail is also candle-lit for a beautiful night-time experience. Groups may ski, gather around an outdoor bonfire or participate in other outdoor evening optional activities.
  • Astronomy: Following an indoor presentation of the night sky, some key themes and features and an introduction to constellations, the group moves outside for a look at the magnificent Muskoka night sky.