Choosing DIY projects for your campers can be overwhelming. There are so many choices! 

Every Google Search and Pinterest board is full of potential crafts and it’s hard to know what will work, especially when your campers come from many different age groups. 

We’ve put together this short list of classic crafts that are perfect for all ages. There are multiple ways to approach each craft and adapt them to your campers’ needs and skill sets.

1. Tie-dye 

Number one is the ultimate classic summer craft: tie-dye. It can get messy, so save it for a sunny day and make sure campers wear clothes they can get dirty. 

Use this guide from the tie-dye experts at Tulip to get started. 

2. Bracelets 

This craft can be as complicated or as simple as you’d like. Younger campers can use pony beads and thick string, while older campers can learn the intricate knots of friendship bracelets.  

3. Painted rocks 

All you need for this project is paint and some palm-sized stones. Choose a theme or just let campers’ creativity run wild.  

For older campers, challenge them to create mandala-inspired symmetrical patterns. Campers can keep these rocks or hide them on trails for other hikers to find.

4. Lanterns 

These can be made out of paper or something sturdier, like old tin cans. For younger campers, cut shapes or stripes into pieces of construction paper. Then roll it into a cylinder shape and tape the ends together. Add a smaller piece of paper at the top for a handle.

Older campers can make tin can lanterns that can be lit with tea lights at home. All you need is some old cans, some nails, and hammers. Use the hammer and nails to poke holes in the cans and make a pattern for light to shine through. 

5. Walking sticks 

Photo from Run Wild My Child

Using sticks you foraged locally or dowel rods from the hardware store, decorate these hiking aids with campers. If you use foraged sticks, make sure to scrape off the bark before painting and gluing. This guide from Run Wild My Child is a good place to start. 

Stock up on biodegradable supplies and emphasize the importance of leaving the environment as you found it. 

6. Journals 

Creating a journal is a great way to kick off time at camp. Now your campers have a place to keep all their memories. 

Decorate construction paper or cardstock to be the cover. Then add some blank, lined paper to form the inside of the journal. Use staples or string to fasten everything together. 

7. Birdhouses

For this art project, you can purchase blank birdhouses from the craft store or create some with paper or popsicle sticks. Paint, stickers, fabric, and other supplies can spruce up the outside of these outdoor art projects.

This activity is also a fun time to talk about the local ecosystem and the birds that could come to inhabit campers’ houses.

8. Ornaments  

This is always a great keepsake project. Parents love having projects that remind them of the fun times their campers have had. Plus, you can make ornaments out of nearly anything. 

From salt dough to pinecones to plain paint and paper, whatever craft supplies you have on hand can usually be made into an ornament. 

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