Keep Calm and Craft On

What makes arts and crafts a favorite activity at summer camp? It’s a break from the heat, it’s relaxing, you get to be creative, and take a piece of camp home with you!

I always loved making my crafts about the camp theme each year. I would make gifts for my counselors and friends, and keep treasured mementos of camp. Some of my most cherished crafts I made were photo frames, stepping stones, painted rocks, and the classic tie-dye T-shirt. The best part of arts and crafts was listening to upbeat music and letting my inner artist shine!

While we’re all at home these next weeks, why not get in the spirit of camp and have your own arts and crafts session? Bring summer camp to your home and partake in these easy, fun crafts. Crafts that involve nature get you to explore the great outdoors! What better materials to use than the free ones in your own backyard? See below for four different crafts you can do at home with materials readily available! So put on some tunes and get crafty! 

Bird Feeders

Bird feeders are really simple to make and brings free entertainment! Hang the bird feeder outside of your window and watch all the colorful birds snack on your tasty craft. If you have a pet at home, it’s even more entertaining for them. 

Materials:

Pine Cones

Peanut Butter

Small Bowls

Spoon

Paper Plate or Tray

Bird Seed or Cooked Pasta or Rice

Twine or String

Scissors

  1. Scoop some peanut butter into a small bowl.
  2. Pour the bird seed or cooked pasta or rice into a small bowl. If you are doing cooked pasta, make sure the noodles are cut very finely. 
  3. Put the pinecone on the paper plate or tray. Use the spoon to spread the peanut butter on the pine cone. 
  4. Sprinkle your bird seed, cooked pasta, or cooked rice over the pine cone on all sides.
  5. Use the scissors to cut the twine or string into about 8 inches long, or however long you’d like.
  6. Tie the twine or string onto the top of the pine cone.
  7. Now you can hang your craft on a tree or window!

God’s Eye

A God’s Eye was a spiritual symbol to represent the four elements of nature: earth, fire, air, and water. In some traditions, the weaving ornament has colors added on for people’s birthdays. This is an engaging craft because it works on fine motor skills and coordination, as well as picking out colors and sticks to use.

Materials:

Two Sticks Similar in Size

String

Scissors

  1. Go outside and pick out two sticks similar in size. Make sure they’re not too thin as they can break easily. If they’re not the same length, you can break the stick.
  2. Take your two sticks and form them into an X.
  3. To secure your sticks, wrap a piece of string around the intersecting points of the stick.
  4. Knot your string to start.
  5. Wrap your string around one stick, close to the center of the sticks, and take it over to the next stick. Wrap it around that stick, and take it to the next stick.
  6. Continue wrapping and winding rotating your craft as you work. Be consistent in how you wrap and make sure it’s under, over, under, over.
  7. When you’re nearing the ends of your sticks, stop and tie a knot. Leave a long tail of string so you can hang your craft!
  8. Use the scissors to cut the end of the string.
  9. You can switch strings and use different colors as you want.
A 360 class creating a God’s Eye

Painted Rocks

Painted rocks are little hidden treasures you can leave for others to find. At camp, you’ll find painted rocks everywhere from previous campers. You can leave your painted rock around your house, backyard, and in your neighborhood for others to find. Paint a quote, a picture, create a pet rock, or cover the whole thing in a ton of colors!

Materials:

A Cup

Paintbrush

Paint

Paper Plate

Paper Towel

Rock

  1. Go outside and pick out some rocks you’d like to paint. 
  2. Wash the rocks off and dry with a towel.
  3. Put some water in a cup. Put the paint you want on the paper plate.
  4. Grab your paintbrush and start painting the rock! Use the paper towel to dry off your paintbrush and dip the paintbrush in the cup of water when you want to switch to a new color.
  5. Let your rock dry before moving.
  6. Enjoy your painted rock!

Suncatchers

Suncatchers make a colorful decoration to your window. Hang them at whichever window has the most nature light so you can see the beautiful suncatcher catch the sunlight. You can use tissue paper, leaves, and crayons to make suncatchers, but this craft uses beads to make one.

Materials:

Translucent Pony Beads

Metal Baking Dish 

Outdoor Grill or Toaster Oven

String

Scissors

Drill

  1. Arrange the translucent pony beads in your baking dish in a pattern you would like. You can use a muffin tin or cake tin, but be aware of the size and how many beads you’ll need.
  2. Arrange the beads so it is one single layer covering the bottom of the baking dish. 
  3. As a safety note, the melting plastic is not good to breathe. The melting is best done outside but if you must do it inside, step away from the toaster oven. 
  4. Put the metal baking dish in the outdoor grill or toaster oven and heat for ten minutes.
  5. Once done and cool, take the baking dish out and flip upside down. The suncatcher should fall right out.
  6. Use the drill to drill a small hole to where you want to hang your suncatcher.
  7. Use the string to tie a loop through the hole and cut the extra string. 
  8. Hang up your beautiful suncatcher and watch it catch the gorgeous light!

We hope you enjoyed these crafts and felt like you were back at summer camp! Keep calm and craft on! 

Marcella Genut
About The Author

Marcella Genut

Marcella is ESP's Content Coordinator. She graduated UGA with a bachelor's in Public Relations, a minor in Communication Studies, and a disability certificate. She was a public relations intern for ESP in 2016 and is excited to be back home!

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