Summer camp season is almost here! I’m sure that many of you (or perhaps your kids?) have plans to be involved in some sort of camp this summer. Some of you ~ like me ~ may also be involved in helping with the camp craft option. I thought it might be helpful to share how I choose craft options & supplies, and later I’ll show you a simple craft we’ve chosen for our camp this summer.
Tips and Tricks for Planning Camp Crafts that Campers will LOVE!
Here’s how I approach it:
1. Research~ All year long, I look for ideas and ask myself the following questions:
~ What age group would this be appropriate for?
~ Would it take about 1 hour to complete, or could it be done in a few 1 hour increments over a few days? (Some crafts are too quick, some are too long!)
~How much would the supplies cost?
~ Would I enjoy doing the craft myself (now or when I was a kid)?
The internet & increase in craft bloggers has made research an absolute joy for me. I started a handy dandy Pinterest board that I quickly pin any ideas to that catches my eye. Then when I get serious about actually choosing crafts, I refer back to the board, and assess whether they’d be suitable or not.
2. Purchase of craft supplies~ This can be done various ways, but this year the criteria was to get it done QUICK! I took only one day to do the shopping, since that’s all the time I had. Ideally, it works best to be able to do price comparisons and shop for sales, but that couldn’t be done this time. So, I started with all the Dollar stores in the area, then Walmart/ Target, and end with Micheals craft store. Cost wise, I find that many things can be found less expensive in the other stores, but Micheals definitely has the craft supply selection that other stores don’t.
3. Be Selective (Know when to let a good idea go.) I started out with a lofty idea of trying to do tie-dyed camp pillow covers & pillows by cutting a normal-sized pillow and pillowcase in half and sewing them again. (Wouldn’t that be so cute? ~ a personalized camping pillow!!) However, once I started pricing out the supplies and thinking through the teaching process, I realized it was just getting way too complicated. I had visions of tie dye mess everywhere… If a craft is starting to cause you extra stress, save yourself the headache and move on to something you’re confident with.
4. Train others to teach. Although I really love to teach crafts, I just don’t have the stamina to do 3 or 4 classes a day 4 days in a row. We have a lovely group of young adults who come with loads of youthful energy and enthusiasm each summer to help at camp. Once I have the supplies in place, I do an orientation for them and hand the teaching duties over to them. It’s a great opportunity for them to experience the responsibility of guiding others in the creative process, and also learn to clean up and be careful with craft supplies. (Clean-up is a huge learning curve for some…)
Over the past 23 years, I’ve watched some amazing things happen in the camp craft shop. It’s a place where the uniqueness of each individual is brought out in an incredibly visual way. Without exception, each craft created is unique ~ even though the supplies and teaching is exactly the same. Isn’t that amazing? It’s also a place where kids and adults learn that they can succeed in creating something, and self confidence increases in a big way.
I’ll be back later with a super simple, cost effective craft suitable for ALL ages – Sharpie Doodle Mugs. I think you’ll love it!
And…please share in the comments if you know of any craft ideas that you think would be great at camp. Some of my very best craft ideas have come from conversations from others who teach crafts! I love it when we can learn from each other.
(Interesting side note: Did you know: Although many camp activity options are often available – like canoeing, sailing, horseback riding, and rowing – statistically, kids choose crafts as their first activity choice!)
Update: This post was originally published June 11, 2014. It was updated in May, 2022.
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