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Creating an art summer camp

Summer vacation is fast approaching. If you're planning an art camp, this is when the real work begins. Here are some tips to keep everything on track and make sure you have happy campers on your hands.

Start small

If this is your first time creating an art camp, don't start with anything too complicated. Limit the number of campers and only bring on extra staff if necessary. The goal is for everyone involved to have a good time; that includes you, so only take on what you know you can handle.

Establish a routine

While any child will tell you camp and school are nothing alike, they do have one thing in common:

They both have a schedule.

There is a very simple reason that schools have daily schedules; it's to prevent a descent into mass chaos, so your camp should have arts-centered activities planned day-to-day. Don't schedule every minute, but have a basic plan for each day so that you, parents and campers have an idea of what to expect, and what materials you will need. That way, when someone asks what the plan is for Tuesday afternoon, you can say with confidence: "draw clouds, take a break and eat potato chips, and draw more clouds."

At camp that counts has a great schedule.

Keep it simple

If you're not focusing on a specific medium for your camp you will need to think on a broader scale, and simpler is often better.  Everything you plan for campers to do should be easy to transport, easy to clean up, and something that, if it cannot be completed in a day, you can easily leave and come back to later. Sketching and water colors are good options, and if you're working with younger children do not underestimate the power of magic markers, glue and glitter.

Get away

Activities away from camp can help make your campers' art experiences even better. Check out exhibits at local museums, reach out to local artists and schedule visits to their studios, or just find a lake for everyone to jump into. Getting out and getting new ideas will help shake things up artistically and keep your day-to-day from becoming stale.

The most important thing is to make this camp your own and have a great time doing it. So get out there and start creating, and your campers will thank you.