By Katy Killilea
Other parents can be rich sources of clever ideas for keeping kids entertained. But have you tapped a camp counselor lately? These young people have to come up with fresh material day after day, often on a wretchedly tight budget. For thirty days in a hot school cafeteria in Barrington, Rosa Fry (aka Miss Rosa) has schemed and planned to keep her young campers happy.
Rosa is a sophomore at Syracuse University and a Rhode Islander otherwise. She studies studio art and art history, and her favorite kinds of art making are silk screening and painting. Helping kids at RISD’s Free-For-All Saturdays was her first experience teaching kids. This is her first summer as a camp counselor.
Miss Rosa’s tips:
– When making crafts with kids, try to make things that can be used instead of straight objets d’art. For example: make musical instruments or paper airplanes instead of wall hangings.
– Make things outside.
Here are some of Miss Rosa’s greatest hits:
– Paper Bag Costumes
Equipment: Paper grocery bag, scissors, crayons.
How to: Holding the paper bag with the open end down, start at the bottom and slice up all the way to the top. Cut off the upper corners to make arm holes, and then tailor the holes for shoulders. Cut a V-neck or crewneck opening. Keep in mind you can have the slit-open side as the front or the back, depending on your child’s sartorial vision. Decorate with crayon to make accessories and jewels as desired.
Equipment: colorful paper, do-dads, assorted empty boxes (favored at camp were “variety pack” size cereal boxes.)
How to: Build robots by configuring and taping together boxes, and then decorate with paper and tape. Narrow strips of paper folded accordion-style make excellent wiggly arms. Then play with the robots!
– Extreme Hopscotch
Equipment: Blacktop or sidewalk. Chalk.
How to: This works like hopscotch, but with more challenges than jumping on consecutive numbers. Draw sharks or flames to jump over, or a tightrope to walk along. Draw a giant square for a dance floor. Draw lily pads to hop along. Make “action squares”–in a square write “SHOUT” or “ABC” and have the players shout their names or recite the alphabet when they land on it. Make a defensive driving course by drawing traffic cones, and have the players slalom through them.
Equipment: Paper, yarn, hole puncher.
How to: Stack three or more sheets of paper and fold them in half to form a book. Use a different color paper for the cover to make it look professional. Punch holes down the side and tie together with yarn. Write and/or illustrate your book.
Photo credits: Katy Killilea