Posts Tagged ‘fun camp crafts’

How to Make Cool Shadow Animals with Your Flashlight

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

As night falls over Camp Starlight, the loud and crazy activities of the day give way to the whispered and wonderful activities of the evening.


Bedtime stories, chilled-out card games, and friendly chatter fill the hour between returning inside and falling asleep.


As a camp counselor, you will always need plenty of fun, surprising activities to keep the fun flowing. Learning a few shadow-animals is a sure-fire way to spark campers’ creativity and interest. The best part is, all you need is a flashlight and a wall! (Check and check!)

Level 1: Bear & Alligator

The simplest shadow animals use your thumbs for ears mouths, and can be easily modified to match dozens of recognizable animal faces! Try curling in your fingers to make a snub-nosed pug out of the alligator, or move the bear’s ear over its nose to make a triceratops dinosaur!


Level 2: Dog and Eagle

Woof woof! Wrap your right hand around the left to add two ears and a defined head-shape to your friendly Fido!


Then try using your hands for a flapping bird — one of the oldest tricks in the book. You can spread and curve your fingers to make a creepy spider for some easy heeby-jeebies!


Level 3: Deer and Mountain Goat

Once you’ve mastered the dog, adding curved horns and and a peep-hole for the eyes can turn it into both a deer and a mountain goat. Getting the shape just right for less recognizable critters than dogs and birds can be tricky, but it’s worth the effort once you’ve nailed it!


Level 4: Rabbit and Bear Cub

The final step in shadow animal mastery is the jump from faces to full-bodied creatures! The trick here is using one hand for the legs and body while the other takes care of ears and mouth. Getting the angle “just so” is more important here than with easier animals. Once you’ve got it, they can crawl, wave, and give high-fives!



Bedtime is fun time!

Hand shadows can also add some interactive fun to traditional camp stories, or even make an appearance in your group’s skit or talent show performance!


Once you’ve mastered the basics, what other unexpected animals and shapes can you and your campers dream up?


Practice at home and be sure to share your creations with us, whether on Facebook or in person!

In the meantime, keep dreaming that camp dream. 😊


Swirl Some Color into Your Winter by Tie-Dying at Home

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

One of the most popular arts and crafts activities at Camp Starlight is tie-dying. There is no better way to liven-up a t-shirt, tank top, pillow case, or pair of socks than a fun tie- dying activity! Rain or shine Camp Starlight loves to tie- dye!  Even though it may seem better at Starlight… you don’t need to be in the Carriage House, surrounded by Leslie Schwartz and her talented team of Arts and Crafts Specialists to make something fantastic. You can follow these simple steps at home with your parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends to create something awesome to bring to camp in 2011!

#1.) Preparing the Shirt for Tying and Dying

•          First, the shirt must be 100% cotton or it will not hold the dye.

•          Always prewash the shirt.  It contains a fabric finish when it is new and this prevents all the dye from being absorbed into the fibers.  Washing will remove the finish.

•          Pre-soak the shirt in 1 cup of soda ash to 1 gallon of water. If you mix this with your hands, wear rubber gloves. Soak for 15 minutes to 1 hour.  The soda ash solution losses its effectiveness after 1 hour. You can no longer use it.  Dispose of the soda ash solution.

•          Squeeze out the soaked shirt. Wear rubber gloves when doing this. You are now ready to tie your shirt.


These are the directions for creating a swirl design. Make sure to place a large sheet of plastic down to protect the table.

•          Place the shirt out flat with the front side down. The side that is down always has the better appearance.

•          Place a clothes pin where you wish the center of the swirl to be.  Remember, that the center of the shirt may come down low on the person wearing it.  You may want to have the center of the swirl off center, near the top, or near the bottom.

•          Holding the clothes pin, swirl the shirt.  Gather up loose edges as you go.  The shirt should not go up in a point, but rather gather up only a few inches above the work surface.  When you are finished, it will be similar in size and shape to a round layer of cake.

•          Gently lift the twisted shirt and place a rubber band across the shirt, crossing the center point.  Add two more rubber bands, creating six “pie” sections.  These do not have to be equal in size.

•          Turn the shirt over and make sure that the rubber bands cross or X across the center of the swirl.

•          You are now ready to dye.

#3.) Dying the Tied Shirt

•          Cover the tables with plastic sheeting to prevent the dye from staining the surface.

•          If you are dying outside, you can work on the grass.

•          Place an entire newspaper under the tied t-shirt.  Have the newspaper in 2 large sections. The newspaper will absorb the dyes that overflow the shirt.

•          Remember the color scheme that you will be using.

•          Put on the rubber gloves.

•          Using the squirt bottles containing the mixed dye, start with your first color. Carefully tip the bottle over and point it at the triangular “pie section” of the tied shirt.  Start near the edge and squeeze the dye out gently.  Move toward the center as you dye that section.

•          Change colors as you go around the shirt.  For three colors you will repeat the colors twice on each side.

•           When you turn over the shirt, flip the newspaper to a clean section.

•          You will be able to see the colors used on the sections of the dyed side.  Repeat the same colors on the second side.

•          When the shirt is dyed on both sides, place the shirt inside a plastic bag.  Twist tie this closed. You will leave the shirt inside the bag for 24

#4.) Washing and Drying the Tie-Dyed Shirt

•          Again, leave the dyed shirt inside a sealed plastic bag for at least 24 hours.

•          There are two ways to rinse and wash a dyed shirt (multiple or single shirts).

•          The first way is to rinse the shirt out in a sink or with a hose until most of the dye is gone and the water runs clear. Remove the rubber bands and continue to rinse, if necessary.

•          Place rinsed shirt in a washer and wash with detergent.  ((Warm water is okay.)

•          You may place the shirt in the dryer or line dry, if you choose.

•          The 2nd way works well with a single dyed shirt. You may skip the rinsing and instead place the shirt in the washer and wash it alone in a complete load of water.  No pre-rinsing is necessary. Dry.

•          Now wear your shirt!

Just in case you need a few helpful tips… here are Leslie Schwartz’s Top Tips for creating an awesome masterpiece.

  1. Mix the soda ash and dye solutions ahead of time. Store mixed dyes in the refrigerator so they don’t lose strength.
  2. Make sure the rubber bands are on super tight; the tighter they are the better the shirt will come out.
  3. Make sure to wear rubber gloves.
  4. Pick colors that will look good together – like turquoise, navy blue, crimson, etc. If you want high contrast like yellow and purple, be sure to do the colors at separate times so the purple and yellow cannot mix! Maybe you can do the first (lighter) color one day and the second color the following morning.
  5. Rinse project after dyeing with warm water, followed by a cool water rinse.
  6. Have Fun!
  7. Have Fun!
  8. Have Fun!