We are almost there! As schools are winding down, and most teachers gasp a sigh of relief and think about melting into their sofas, I start the job of packing, panicking, and prepping for the first week of camp.
It’s no easy feat for someone as easily confuddled as I am, there is a LOT to remember. I have lists posted all over my house. Full day art camps pack in a huge amount of art, and therefore a lot of art materials, but that is just a fraction of my packing. Besides the reams and pads of papers, the crates of paint, markers and pastels, boxes of canvas board, paint palettes and jam jars, there are other essentials that just must be packed into the trunk of my overburdened van. Thinking of running a camp? Here you go:
Art camp = big mess, no matter how you look at it. Every year I pack brush soap, a basin, paper towels, wipes, safe cleaning fluid, scrubbing pads, rubber gloves, and plastic table cloths for those extra grungy situations. Oh, and also a few extra kids’ shirts. I often joke that the camp should be renamed the Noctiluna Art and Cleaning Camp. So many skills to teach, I use the Mr Miyagi technique for cleaning tables. You are welcome, kids.
You don’t expect it all to be art, right? I pack board games, cards, Play Doh, books, comics, and audio books for indoor down time. For outdoors, I have what the campers have fondly named the ‘Bag of Fun’. It’s just a big sack full of various bats, balls, frisbees, skipping ropes, sidewalk chalk, lengths of elastic, and anything else my childish brain thinks would be fun for kids to throw, kick, hit or jump on. Most importantly, I always pack a couple of picnic blankets for those who want to space out or take a nap under a tree. It’s that kind of camp.
The Boo Boo Box
Every year on the first day of camp, within ten minutes of arrival, someone manages to hurt themselves. Sometimes without actually moving, or being near anything potentially dangerous. Once two kids headbutted each other while walking in the same direction. Elementary aged kids are klutzy on another level. Often the smaller kids make up injuries just to get a Disney Band Aid. Nonetheless I always carry a first aid kit to camp with me. Experience has taught me to always, always have it on me during breaks.
Because there will always be that kid who somehow manages to eat their lunch and three snacks by 11.00 in the morning and be starving by lunchtime. Or that kid who eats all their food at the correct times and is still hungry afterwards, or that kid who swaps a substantial, nourishing snack their parent lovingly made for a gummy bear and realises their folly afterwards. Also, I’m a hungry human.
Laptop and Speaker
A no brainer, because I make a lot of slideshow presentations for the kids, but also… nothing perks up a tired class more than an OK GO video, or a game of freeze dance to loud music, or a video of themselves goofing around.
Summer camp should be relaxed, and playful, stimulating and boring, loud and restful. Most of all, I like it super flexible so that each kid can discover their happy place.
Happy Summer Vacation!