Arts & Crafts is the classic camp activity. Anyone who has ever gone to summer camp remembers lanyards, bird houses, popsicle stick huts, etc. I certainly remember my candle-making days as a Playland camper.
This week I read Laura Kriegal’s blog post about “The Maker Movement” at summer camps. This is not an unfamiliar trend and we have implemented ways to empower campers at Playland already. For example, we have constructed our playgrounds to be a place where campers take ownership of their play. They have plentiful materials and unstructured time to “get down and dirty.” We purposefully keep Play Area periods on the schedule for older campers as there are great social and cognitive benefits to “making.”
I love Kriegal’s idea to incorporate more free art into Playland’s Arts & Crafts program. However, I do not want to lose the lanyards of our program. Not only do campers enjoy these types of projects, but I think there is something to be said about the tradition of it all. When a parent sends their child to summer camp, do they not expect them to come home with “God’s Eyes?” (Pictured above – We will have to delve into that project name another day).
This is a debate we have often in the camp office – how important are camp traditions? How should we determine which traditions should stay and which should go?
In regards to Arts & Crafts, there are many curriculums we could incorporate in to the program. From “making,” to school-like electives such pottery, photography or printmaking, to the traditional camp Arts & Crafts programs.
What do you think? Arts & Crafts – should it remain the traditional, become a more progressive program, or combine the best of both worlds?