3 Tips for Building the Arts Program at a Summer Camp
Most summer camps have an arts component to the program, even if it is during free choice. Having a diverse arts and crafts program ensures that youth can relax and truly express themselves. Building this curriculum means adding a diverse array of activities for many different ages, being creative and doing research.
1) Diversity is Key
Arts is more than just painting or singing. Successful summer programs incorporate everything from traditional crafting to performance-related curriculum like drama and dance and even use nature. Different kids have different interests. Building a well-rounded program means that everyone can find something they enjoy.
2) Stay Up-to-Date
There are many websites available where people can find some arts inspiration: from Pinterest to Tumblr. Taking a few minutes each day before the summer helps people figure out the latest candle-making, wood-working, tie-dying and bracelet making crafts. Another new program idea is to use recycled objects to build sculptures or to use the arts program to beautify the camp site with murals, gardens, etc.
3) What’s the WOW Effect
No one wants to glue Popsicle sticks together and not understand why. The worst thing a person can do is do the same activities year after year or even between the same camp sessions. Taking some time to think about the impact of an activity keeps it fresh. For example, using themes in the arts program or even making some of the poetry and dance about personal reflection helps kids better learn and enjoy the programming.
The arts program is should be ever-evolving: no two lessons or years should look the same. Coordinators or activity leaders can stay up to date during the year so they can bring new ideas into the summer. Never settling or relying on past programming ensures summer camps are providing enriching activities for youth.