Children take to camping like ducks to water. The excitement of sleeping outside or in a tent, the campfire, smores and, of course, the fact that during a camping trip they are virtually expected to get muddy and dirty, all serve to contribute to the fascination that these outings hold. Camping craft ideas provide wonderful activities to do before camp and during or after a camping trip. There are so many fantastic choices for kids and parents that it might be hard to narrow down those that are most attractive. Great camping crafts incorporate the sights and sounds the child might encounter, but may also rely on the raw materials provided by the campsite itself.
Commercially Available Craft Kits
Prepare your child for some of the wildlife he might encounter while out at the campsite. If you are going into an area known to be home to snakes, the Oriental Trading Company's wiggly wood snakes are an excellent way of preparing for the experience. These snakes are made from unfinished wood and may be colored with markers. Depending on the kinds of snakes you might encounter, print out photos that show these reptiles in their full colors. Help the child to color the unfinished snakes and copy the color markings. This camping craft idea has a dual purpose: it may serve to educate the child what snakes to look out for---and stay away from---and how to recognize those that are not venomous; at the same time, these craft kits make artwork a simple proposition and independent from whatever raw materials the campsite may hold.
Pine Cone Crafts
Depending on the area you will visit for your camp, you may be surrounded by a number of pine trees. Pine cones are excellent raw materials for camping craft ideas. Plan ahead by bringing along non-toxic liquid glue, sequins, craft sticks, floral wire, little pompons, wool, wiggle eyes and tempura paints; do not forget to pack some paint brushes. Reserve one brush for ridding any pine cones from insects, such as beetles and spiders that like to take up residence within the safety of the cones' tiers. Craft ideas include pine cone mice, people, wreaths, frames, horses, and a host of other wildlife. If there are younger children in the party, bend the wire for them and think carefully before handing out small sequins, especially if the kids are toddlers, who might still place foreign objects into their mouths.
Leafy Sun Catchers
This craft allows children to make use of various leaves and flower petals they collect. Bring along pre-cut sheets of clear contact paper. You need a front and a back. Collect a number of differently sized leaves and flower petals. Carefully remove any bugs that might be attached to them. Next, remove the backing from the Contact paper and spread it out on a solid surface with the sticky side up. Assist the child---as needed, depending on age and maturity---with arranging the leaves onto the sticky side of the contact paper. Press them down gently and, when finished, place another piece of contact paper over the first, sticky side down. Do this slowly to avoid the formation of air bubbles. Press down gently around the leaves and petals, to ensure that they are completely encased. You may frame this bit of artwork when you return home, or make a sun catcher from it.