Start the Camp 2. Ideas, Ideas, and More Ideas.

Hello, guys! Long time no see…or post, I guess. (:

Today I’m going to share about the next step in the camp planning process, which is getting ideas for the actual activities you’ll lead at the camp. Since it’s been a while, basically this series is a way for me to document how I plan camps, and show how it’s something anyone can do it really (maybe it’ll inspire you to start a camp! that would be awesome!).  The camp business I started, Creative Chicks, is mostly arts and crafts themed, so if you’re doing an adventure or sports camp it will obviously look a bit different. But I’ll share my three best tips for finding and organizing ideas in general, plus at the end of the post I’ll list a bunch of ideas I’ve at some point considered.

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Tip #1.  Start a notebook.

Every time I find or think of a craft idea that I could imagine doing at Creative Chicks, I write it down in a spiral bound notebook.  I think keeping a physical running list is better than a pinterest board or a bunch of magazines with dog-eared pages because I can carry it anywhere and refer to it at a glance. So the very first thing I would do once you have your camp idea all figured out is write down any projects and activities you were thinking of doing.

Tip #2.  Exhaust your resources for ideas

The best idea resource will be past experience, for sure.  If you’ve ever done a class or known someone who has done a similar camp, write down every project you can remember from then. I got some of my best craft ideas from an every-other-week art class I took in seventh grade.  Also, you can look in magazines (depending on the age of your campers, I’ve found Family Fun to have a lot of good game and craft ideas).

Pinterest is also a useful tool, but be sure to evaluate your idea on whether it would be a fun thing to do in a camp setting, not just if the project itself looks cool.  For example, I saw a dream catcher project on pinterest that looked beautiful.  Unfortunately, it had a lot of involved steps and in practice turned out to be more frustrating for the campers because they had to wait for me to finish helping some girls before I could explain the next step. You can also probably find blogs that have tutorials with similar projects to what you want to do.

It’s really easy to overlook a simple project, but often those are the most fun.  At the same time, you don’t want to dumb it down for campers.  They can tell. (:

Tip #3.  Make the list broad, but keep in mind how many activities you will need.

Projects take much longer when done in a camp setting than normal.  It can’t be helped really: you have to take time to pass out supplies, explain how to do it, watch them do it, and help when there’s a problem (there will be), clean up a spill. My list probably has twenty to thirty crafts, but I only do two or three a day over 4 days.  So a lot will get cut eventually.  Around the time when I start advertising, I have one or two very strong ideas that I know will get on the schedule for sure, and the rest I start figuring out when I create the schedule.

Tip #4.  Do a survey if you aren’t sure if your ideas are good or not!

I give my giant list to my sisters, who are the average age of girls that come to my camp, and have them star the ideas that they would really want to do.  It’s really helpful!

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All right, if you happen to be running a camp including crafts, here, just for fun, is a list of the project ideas I came up with one year:

  1. God’s eyes
  2. Pom poms
  3. Sunflower weaving project
  4. Painting based off of a famous painting
  5. Collage
  6. Watercolor coffee filter butterflies
  7. Tissue paper flowers
  8. Concrete stepping stones
  9. Plaster sign (optional painting it)
  10. Plaster of Paris beetles
  11. Plaster masks
  12. Plastic wrap sculpture
  13. Newspaper fashion show
  14. Pastel drawing
  15. Drawing off of a live model/actual still life. Or self-portrait
  16. Homemade paper
  17. Leaf prints
  18. Tissue paper mosaic
  19. Nature collage
  20. Beading
  21. Pet rocks or nature sculpture
  22. Tie Dye
  23. Sew a simple skirt
  24. Sew an apron
  25. Sew a pillowcase
  26. Sew a drawstring purse
  27. Sew PJ/lounge pants
  28. Sew a headband
  29. Sew a wallet or mini purse
  30. Bake and decorate cupcakes
  31. Bake: brownies, pancakes, muffins, zucchini bread, fondue, homemade smoothie, popcorn balls
  32. Make a craft into a contest (design the best xyz)
  33. Duct tape wallets
  34. Magazine cut out collages
  35. Design a fairy house or diorama
  36. Pipe cleaner people
  37. Paper mache
  38. Yarny balloon bowl
  39. Rainbow tag game
  40. Do you love your neighbor game
  41. Pass the Parcel game
  42. The drama game
  43. Mini clay animal sculptures
  44. Embroidery friendship bracelets
  45. Design a poster
  46. Rock necklaces

As you can see, my camps are mostly crafts, but every day we sew and bake and play games too to mix it up a bit.

Happy brainstorming!


start the camp

This is the second post in a series I’m writing on the ins and outs of running a camp. Ever wondered about a way to earn some money in the summer? You could teach something you love doing!  You can read the rest of the posts in the series here.

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