Monday, June 21, 2010

How To: Survive a Craft Camp With Twelve 8-11 Year-Old Girls While Maintaining Your Sanity and Living Room Carpets

The moment I've been waiting for all year (quite literally for one entire year!) finally arrived this morning: craft camp! When I first posted about it a few months ago, a few of you mentioned that you'd like to do something similar in your area. Well now that I've done it, I feel like I can give you some great tips:

  • Be prepared for a lot of fun! I had so much fun picking out the crafts and buying the materials. Buying craft supplies is always fun, but it was especially joyous this time because the tuition for each girl included the cost of supplies, so I was basically buying great stuff for free! Hot dog!
  • Shop around. After choosing the crafts, I made a list of all materials for each craft. I did this months ago, and then spent a few minutes during shopping trips for other things to price the materials we would need. Then I bought them where ever they were cheapest. And I used coupons. Coupons, coupons, coupons!
  • Find enough space. Or make enough space. I used my dining room table plus a folding table that I set up in my living room. I divided the girls in half, sat 6 at one table and 6 at the other. If I didn't have enough space in my living room, I would use my garage.
  • Be organized. That is pretty good advice for life in general, but in this case, it is a must! Once I had all of my supplies gathered, I bagged or boxed them up by day and put aside the ones I didn't need for this morning. Then I laid out all of today's supplies on the tables.
  • Have back-up plans. As in snacks, a backyard, and a pet rabbit. We are doing two crafts each day, but for some reason, they zipped through the second craft and we finished 30 minutes early. Luckily, I had dozens of juice boxes, Ritz crackers, and cheese on hand just in case. The girls cleaned up their crafts and then ate snacks in the backyard (and scared the bunny half to death) until their moms came to get them.
  • Let it go. When I make a monogrammed tote bag, I want it to look chic and polished. But my 8-year-old friends don't. They want to use every color of paint available. They want to paint the entire surface of the bag with zebra stripes and polka dots. And you know what? That's OK.

So what we're today's crafts?? Monogrammed tote bags and personalized stationery. I've posted about the tote bags before. Here's how we did the stationery: small wooden letters from the craft store (about 1-2" tall) + 2" sections of a wooden dowel + blank cards and envelopes + craft paint. Easy peesy. We hot glued the letters to the dowels, brushed on craft paint, and stamped away on our stationery! Some girls stuck to one or two colors. Others put multiple letters on each card and each letter was a different color. They just washed their make-shift stamps off in the sink between colors.

I'll be sure to write up all of the crafts we do this week, and if at any point you'd like to know where I got any materials, just drop me an email at maxandellie at gmail dot com. I'd love to share my secrets with you!


  1. SUCH A CUTE AND FUN IDEA! I'm sure the girls are thrilled with their projects! My mom did daycare when I was little, and crafting was a near-daily activity! It's the best!

  2. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing.

  3. That girl with the sandy blond hair is the cutest. :)

    I loved how the bag turned out. It was fun.

    Where did you get the canvas bags? I'd like to make some with the boys.