If the warm air and the subtle scent of campfires have you nostalgic for summer camp — or maybe, you wish your bored kids had a chance to make their own memories, making arts and crafts and sitting by the fire with friends— we’re here to say, we totally get it. But of course, this summer is unlike any other, and with safety measures still in place, you’re probably hunkered down at home. However, that doesn’t mean your youngsters can’t enjoy some of the camp experience right at home. Really, all you need is a kiddie pool or sprinkler, a method for making s’mores, and some classic summer camp arts and crafts ideas for the kids … and, let’s face it, for yourself, too!
Luckily, it’s Amazon to the rescue for setting up the camp experience right at home. Amazon Camp Handmade features DIY activities designed by small businesses on Amazon Handmade (aka, their version of Etsy), not to mention, the site’s usual massive selection of kits, sets, and projects. We’ve rounded up our favorite kid- and adult-friendly summer camp crafts that’ll make you nostalgic for summers past, but are fitting for life in 2020. So set up a table, grab the marshmallows, and sit around the fire (or maybe more accurately, the electric s’mores maker below), and get ready to make some summertime memories that you and your family will never forget — in a good way.
There’s nothing like real greenery to brighten up your space. This beautiful DIY terrarium is the 2020 version of potting plants. With it, you’ll arrange succulents in pebbles, soil, and a unique assortment of natural treasures — for example, seashells, sea glass, driftwood, and birch bark —collected locally by the kit maker. (Another fun idea? Take the kids on a scavenger hunt to collect your own!) The result is a one-of-a-kind mini-garden nestled in a chic glass globe that’ll look great on a desk bureau, mantel, shelf, or really, just about anywhere. As an added bonus, the plants included are wonderfully low-maintenance, so they’re perfect for budding gardeners or busy parents who don’t have time for finicky flowers.
“It came relatively quickly after I ordered it and it’s beautiful,” one buyer reported of the kit. “The plants were extremely healthy and everything was packed very securely. The instructions were clear and there was more than enough of everything that they provided (soil, pebbles, etc.). I would definitely do this again and recommend it to everyone I know.”
Think you can’t paint a masterpiece? Think again. Rebecca Flott’s DIY Wildflower Kit makes it easy to be an artist, no matter your experience level. Even better, it comes with everything you need, including mixable paints, a set of three brushes, your canvas (a black screen), and even your palette (aka a paper plate). Even better, you can head to Amazon’s Camp Handmade page to view a tutorial and expert tips from the maker herself.
This is one summer camp craft that’s perfect for kids and adults, so go ahead and grab a few for family paint night. And if you’re a fan of paint-and-wine bars, well, there’s no stopping you from sipping and creating right at home. And when you’re done? You can deck your walls for a fraction of the price of your average original painting.
The essential candle kit for rookie candle makers, Banter & Bliss’ set comes with everything you need to make four candles in two different scents. But in addition to a seamless first candle making experience, it comes with all the tools you’ll need to continue crafting (the company sells additional kits in other scents, too). The Complete DIY Kit includes pre-measured wax and fragrances, four glass jars, a pour pitcher, a wax thermometer, a mini whisk, and more. Needless to say, it’ll save you a trip to the craft store.
Keep in mind, these kits are not suitable for kids under 10 years old and MUST be completed with parent’s supervision — the process includes using the stove and pouring hot wax. That said, this is a fun activity for grown-ups, too, plus handmade candles make great gifts or conversation pieces (read: bragging rights). Check out maker Sheena’s how-to video on Amazon Camp Handmade for tips from the candle pro herself.
Calling all free-form artists! This fun rock painting kit will have you and your youngsters creating to your heart’s content. It comes with 10 smooth stones (or you can go on a hike and find your own), 12 acrylic paints, a scratch tool, a transfer sticker sheet, and a booklet. The paints are waterproof, so the finished rocks can stay outside if you’d like to decorate the patio or garden. And you’ll be happy to know that all the materials are non-toxic, too.
“We’ve bought a few rock painting kits this one was by far my favorite,” says one reviewer. “It had a great variety of bright colors and the scratch transfer stickers were a really nice touch. The rocks were big, too.” Adds another, “We went for a walk and placed them throughout the neighborhood. It is becoming a favorite past time. Everything in the kit was perfect.”
Do your fond summer camp memories include learning how to make things with a needle and thread? Well, here’s a trendy update for 2020. If you or your kiddo have ever been curious about needle felting, here’s the best way to try it out! Recommended for kids ages 8+, this kit comes with all the supplies you need — including needles, wool roving, yarn, and a hedgehog form — to make your critter. You can even opt to add a second friend to felt, and they’re so adorable, you’ll probably want to.
Not only is this a fun craft, your kiddo (or you) will love showing off the cute creation that was made by hand. P.S. If you need some pointers, check out maker Megan’s video on Amazon’s Camp Handmade page. And once you little buddy is complete, don’t be surprised if needle felting becomes your new favorite hobby.
It’s self care, two-fold: First, you get to unwind by hand-making your own bath salts. Then, you get to soak in an aromatic tub and let stress and tension melt away. Sound good? Then grab LIVE BY BEING’s Floral Bath Salts (limited-edition!) kit while you can. This set includes everything you need for an indulgent (and professional-looking) set of bath salts: A glass jar, a wooden scoop, a cotton muslin bag, dead sea salts blended with jasmine and lavender oil, powdered coconut milk, baking soda, dried lavender flowers, and an instruction card.
Sure, these bath salts would make a great gift, but don’t feel bad if you want to indulge in them, yourself (you deserve it, after all). Even better, you’ll have peace of mind that this soak is made with quality, natural ingredients, since you made it yourself! You can also check out maker Kennedy’s video on the Amazon Camp Handmade site.
Yes, assembling a s’more counts as arts and crafts (at least, in our book) … especially in the name of the summer camp spirit! But if you don’t have a fire pit at home, not to worry: The Nostalgia SMM200 Indoor Electric Stainless Steel S’mores Maker is like a portable campfire for marshmallow roasting, even if you’re stuck inside. Plug it in, and the electric, flameless heater will get hot enough to toast your treats. Even better, you’ll love how the surrounding compartments are perfect for stashing your s’mores supplies, plus two stainless steel forks mean there’s no foraging for sticks (although, it might be fun for young campers to find their own).
Reviewers say this set is perfect for cold or rainy days, or for anyone who doesn’t have a fire pit in their backyard. “One of the best Amazon purchases I have made,” says one buyer. “I got this thinking I would use it for parties or special occasions, but I use it all the time just because I feel like eating s’mores and it’s so easy to set up, use, and clean.”
What’s summer camp without friendship bracelets? That’s right: It’s no summer camp at all! And if you want fancy-looking bracelets with easy-to-follow instructions, then Klutz has you covered. This kit has everything you need to make *at least* a dozen bracelets, so even if your campers aren’t seeing their friends this summer, they can weave with them in mind (and present them with a thoughtful handmade gift once they’re reunited again!). Don’t be surprised if you want to braid up a few, yourself.
Reviewers say that their kids, as well as gift recipients, enjoy this hands-on kit. “Can’t recommend this enough!” says a reviewer. “I had this book as a kid and bought it to lead a girls’ camp activity. It was so fun sharing this with them and the directions were easy to follow.”
Calling all crafty fashion fans! This DIY jewelry kit will entertain for hours. First, your kids will love creating custom jewelry with a resin-like gel and molds, adding glitter and stickers for their own custom designs. Then, they’ll want to play dress-up with their shiny new accessories, including two hair clips, a ring, and a necklace. Even better, the Jelli Rez only takes 15 minutes to set so they won’t have to wait too long to show off their creations.
The packs come with 8 jewelry items and come in 4 different themes, including Sweets, Text Me, Animals, and the Super Glitter Rainbow Pack with extra jewelry-making pieces. And in true summer camp spirit, they might even share their bling— if they’re feeling generous.
Need more sanity-saving ideas? Check out more of our mom-approved picks that feature the best kid gear of 2020.