Host your own "chick camp"!
Our daughter had been asking and asking to host "chick camp" for a week over the summer. She would be able to play with her friends, her chickens, and be with her Mommy. What can be better than that for an 8 year old?!
Since the week of July 4th was always a challenging time to find a camp for our daughters to attend, we decided that she could host a "chick camp" that week - as long as she did much of the work.
If you or your child want to host your own camp, you don't need chickens; you can host a puppy camp, cat camp, or pretty much any theme, and adjust the activities (e.g., canvas painting, t-shirt making) accordingly.
What we used for chick camp:
-baby chicks with separate run
-plain, white t-shirts
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Step 1: Make Schedule
Being super excited, our 8 year old spent a few weeks planning activities, who to invite, and making an invitation. She wanted to charge $5/day, and limit the kids to girls (it is "chick camp" after all).
When camp week was near, our daughter made a list of all the actives that she wanted to do, and which girls were coming which days of the camp week. She then made a schedule of when during the day/week each activity would take place, trying to ensure all campers would be able to do the two top activities - canvas painting and t-shirt making.
We made sure that she had to be flexible with the schedule, based on how much fun (or not fun) people were having. She learned that the schedule would be more of a guide.
Step 2: Budget
To help teach budgeting skills, we kept track of all the money we spent on supplies, and all the money the campers paid to attend the camp. We agreed that our daughter would be able to keep the profit. This helped her learn the basics of income minus expenses equals profit - a good lesson to learn at an early age.
Step 3: Canvas Painting
It was our daughter's idea to have each camper create a special painting using the baby chicks' foot prints.
To prepare for this project, we purchased 2 packages of 8x10 canvases that were on sale at a local craft store, and we already had acrylic paint to use for this project. The counselors (i.e., parents) put the paint on plates, putting one color of paint on each plate.
Next, the campers picked up a chick, dipped the chick's feet into one of the paint colors, and had the chick walk across the canvas (when the chicks didn't want to walk across the canvas, the girls picked up the chick and use their painted feet as a stamp).
We also set up a small water bowl to clean the paint from the chick's feet when changing paint colors.
This was a lot of fun for everyone, and the finished products came out great!
Step 4: Making T-Shirts
Making custom t-shirts was another special project at "chick camp."
We found a great deal on plain, white t-shirts from a local bargain store. We also purchased chicken-related stencils, and fabric paint. The fabric paint was in a tube and made to be dabbed, as we thought this would minimize the mess. (It turned out to be a challenge to use this tube - especially for the kids, so I'd recommend another type of fabric paint.)
Our two daughters made sample shirts from some of the extra shirts, which we hung up to help the campers get ideas for their shirts. The campers selected stencils and paint colors, and each made their own chick camp shirt.
The shirts came out great! All the campers (and their parents) loved them - many of the girls wore their shirts to the first day of school :)
This project can also be done using pillow cases instead of t-shirts, and other types of stencils can be used to suit your theme.
Step 5: Chicken School
One activity our daughter really wanted to do was to teach all of the campers much of what she's learned about chickens and how to care for them.
The campers pulled up a seat in front of the coop, and our 8 year old gave a lesson about what chickens eat (almost everything), how many eggs they lay, fertilized vs. non-fertilized eggs, where they sleep and why they sleep on a roost, and the importance of having clean water.
She also demonstrated her chicken chores, including collecting the eggs, adding food to the feeder, checking the water level, and cleaning the poop tray (used for future fertilizer) - not many girls enjoyed the poop tray cleaning lesson.
Step 6: Other Activities
We also did a few other activities during "chick camp." The girls swam in the pool (our fighting chicken floats didn't make the pictures), ate lunch on the treehouse (https://www.instructables.com/id/Epic-Treehouse/), and fed their scraps to the chickens.
Everyone had a great time at "chick camp" - our daughters, the campers, and even the chickens! Many of the campers already asked to come back next year (and a few want their own chickens)! Our 8 year old realized how much work hosting a camp was, and decided to charge $6/day next summer :)
Participated in the
DIY Summer Camp Contest