To start, full disclosure: I have a child-free house. When I met my Mr. Right, he had two teenaged boys. They grew up, ate all of the food in the house, and moved away. Meanwhile, my brother had kids who came out crafty. We’ve been running a sleepover Auntie Lori’s Craft Camp for five summers now. Here are some ideas on how to keep a one-day version sunshine-y and fun—for everyone.
Step one: pick a date.
Ask the parents where their summer plan gaps are. Shift your own plans or take a day off. Trust me: everybody wins here.
Step two: plan it.
Arrange for pickup and drop-off. Find out or remind yourself of which foods are truly off limits (allergies, family rules), and which ones are special: get those. Plan lunch and a quiet time after lunch. Think of Auntie’s Craft Day as not all crafts! Consider how you’ll burn off energy. Something in the water, maybe: the spray park, pool, or lake. Take them to a playground they don’t normally go to (pack snacks, water, hats, tissues, sunscreen, and band-aids. Maybe long sleeves, too). Make a quick schedule that everyone can agree to and reference.
Click to download PDF → Auntie’s Craft Day Schedule Downloadable
—>Crafty Auntie Tip: have some plain sugar cookies and coloured icing on hand for an emergency craft, in case your kids barrel through things. They can decorate the treats, eat some, and pack a few to take home.
Step three: plan your crafts and gather your supplies.
Pinterest is your friend. https://www.pinterest.com
(Check out my ideas.) https://www.pinterest.com/LoriClaerhout/auntie-loris-craft-camp/
Start collecting newspaper and drop cloths now. Crafts are messy. Kids are messy. Prepare yourselves.
Step four: crafting time!
Here are two options, both suitable for ages 7-12 with your supervision.
Materials needed: aprons, fabric markers or paints and brushes. Source: Michaels.
Inspiration: everywhere. Have them use their hands in paint to make prints. Patterns like stripes and polka dots are fun.
Note: younger kids can do this too! It’s a good “first craft.”
—>Crafty Auntie Tip: when you do Auntie’s Craft Day again (you will!), have them bring their apron and use it, meaning that Auntie’s house is no longer known as The Place Where Clothes Go To Die.
Materials needed: large washers; string, cord or yarn; scrapbook paper; Modge Podge, a file, and a scrapbooking-style clear, three-dimensional gloss medium. (All materials and directions through the link.)
Step five: send them home and return to step one.
Your nieces will be exhausted and won’t stop talking about how much fun they’ve had. And you: use those family points you’ve earned however you like.
Lori is an auntie and grandma-before-her-time who is currently accompanying her Mr. Right on a sabbatical year travelling Europe, Canada, and beyond. She writes and edits [link to: http://www.loriclaerhout.com] and posts a picture a day on Instagram. [Link to: https://www.instagram.com/loriclaerhout/]