Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Summer Fun Camp - Nature Weaving Craft and Solar Oven S'mores

Craftiments:  Nature Weaving Craft

Welcome campers and parents! My girls and I are thrilled to have you visit us during "Let's Go Camping" week of Summer Fun Camp 2013. I was a Girl Scout through my entire childhood and Miss Juju became a Daisy scout this past year, which makes traditional camping crafts a favorite around our house. Today we are going to share a fun nature weaving craft and a classic camping activity with a twist. Let's get started on the nature loom!

To begin, collect sticks for your loom. 1/4 to 3/4 inch diameter sticks will work well for this craft. The length will depend on the size and shape of the loom you plan to make.

collect sticks for your loom

Lash the sticks together with yarn to create the base of your loom.

lash sticks together with yarn

Pull tight as you wrap the yarn in a criss-cross fashion around the two sticks, then tie it off at the back.

lash sticks together with yarn

Make the loom any size or shape you want.... you can make a rectangle

rectangle shaped loom

or maybe a triangle....  you can get really crazy and make a trapezoid or even a hexagon!

triangle shaped loom

Tie a piece of yarn around one of the corners and begin wrapping it around the loom.

wrap yarn around the loom

Wrapping it around the stick twice will help keep the yarn taught and prevent it from sliding on the sticks.

wrap yarn around loom

Tie the yarn off on one of the corners when you reach the other side of the loom.

finished loom

Get creative with your loom.  Use colorful yarn or ribbon, string beads along the yarn as you wrap it, or paint the sticks with a fun design!

finished loom of different shapes and sizes

Time to decorate your loom!  Go on a nature walk in your backyard, neighborhood, or the park.  Collect interesting grasses, flowers, leaves, seed pods, nuts, and pieces of bark that you find on the ground.  If you are lucky, you may even find a feather.  Just make sure you have permission before taking anything from another person's yard or the park.

treasures collected on a nature walk

Weave your treasures through the strings of the loom.  You can make a pattern or go will-nilly, it's up to you.

weaving the loom
weaving the loom

All done!  These nature looms look especially pretty when displayed in a window. And you can redecorate them anytime you please.... imagine how beautiful they will look weaved with colorful autumn leaves.    

On to today's activity.....

No campout is complete until you roast marshmallows over the fire and enjoy some of those ooey-gooey yummy s'mores.  But most likely your parents are not going to let you build a campfire in the backyard.  So what's the next best thing?  Make those s'mores using the power of the sun!

Craftiments:  Solar Oven S'mores

Find a cardboard box that opens from one of its smaller sides.  A large cereal box is a great size and shape.  You also need aluminum foil, saran wrap, black duct tape, a piece of black construction paper, and scissors. And of course, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate.

Create a reflector by laying the box on one of it's largest sides and cutting a flap.  Make three cuts, approximately 1 inch from the edge of the box, as shown in the photos below.    

where to cut reflector flap
cut reflector flap

Wrap the inside of the reflector flap with aluminum foil and use a few pieces of tape to secure it on the back.

What's the reflector for?    It aims the sunlight into the cooker when the sun is not directly overhead.  By angling the flap just right, sunlight reflects off the aluminium foil and onto the food.

wrap reflector flap with aluminum foil
tape foil on the back

Cover the opening you just cut with saran wrap and secure it with tape.  It helps to tape down one of the sides first, stretch the saran wrap tightly across the opening and then tape it on the other side.

What does the saran wrap do?  The clear film allows sunlight to pass through  the opening, but traps the heat inside, similar to a greenhouse.

cover opening with saran wrap

Now cover the entire box with black duct tape.

Why do we use black duct tape?  First of all, the duct tape gives an additional layer of insulation that prevents heat from escaping the box.   Secondly, a black surface is very effective at turning light into heat because it absorbs more light than other colors.  If you ever sat on a black swing on a sunny day, then you've definitely experienced this.  Oh boy do those things get hot!

cover solar cooker with black duct tape
cover solar oven with black duct tape

Line the bottom of the cooker with a piece of black construction paper (remember black = more heat).  Slide in your s'more and place the cooker on a flat surface in a sunny location.   Adjust the reflector to get the most sunlight hitting your s'more.  If the reflector won't stay in place, try propping it up with a stick from your yard.

Cooking time will depend on outdoor temperature, cloud cover, and the sun's position in the sky.  We made our s'mores on a clear, 80 °F day with the sun directly overhead. It only took 10 minutes to melt the chocolate and soften the marshmallow. The temperature inside the cooker was about 100 °F when we pulled the s'mores out!

{I goofed a little when we made our s'mores... bonus points to the camper who can tell me what I should have done differently!}

Craftiments:  Solar Oven S'Mores

Time to eat!  Careful, your s'more may be very hot and we don't want any campers to burn their mouths.

Mmmmmm, delicious!

Thank you for stopping by today!  We hope you had fun and would love to see photos of your nature looms and messy s'more faces on the Summer Fun Camp facebook page.

"Let's Go Camping" week continues tomorrow on Here Comes the Sun!


  1. Kirstin this is FABULOUS! Thank you so much for being part of Summer Fun Camp!

  2. What a cute project! And making s'mores by the heat of the sun? Awesome!

  3. Cool! Totally makes me think of summer camp as a kid. Thanks for sharing at Pinworthy Projects.

  4. Adding both of these to our "Summer Fun" list. Thank you so much for coming by and partying with us! New follower via G+.

    Robin @ Fluster Buster

  5. These are so wonderful! Love them!! Thanks for sharing at For the Kids Fridays. I am featuring you at this week's party! Hope to have you share again soon at Sun Scholars.

  6. Wow gorgeous weaving and smores! what a great start to the summer! thanks for sharing on craft schooling sunday!

  7. I love the stick nature weaving project! Will have to try it this summer with my kids! Nice to meet you via the Say G'Day Saturday Party.

  8. I came over from Pin It Monday hop to check out the Nature Weaving, but love the solar oven too! Both fun projects!

  9. Your nature loom is a wonderful project for kids. Love it!

  10. Thank you for linking up this great idea to the Say G’Day Saturday linky party. I love that nature weave idea.

    This weekend’s party has just started so I hope you can join in again!

    Best wishes for a great weekend,
    Natasha in Oz

  11. Oh my Gosh!!!
    The Nature weaving project is amazing and I am totally doing it this summer! Thank you so much for the inspiration Kirstin!
    {This is Maya - visiting from creativejewishmom blog :}

  12. What great projects! I know my daughter would have loved the weaving project!

    Thanks for sharing at the In and Out of the Kitchen link party. I am featuring this post in the Top !0 Favorites post that will go live Monday afternoon.

    See you at the next party!
    Cynthia at

  13. Such great nature weavings! My daughter is really into weaving right now so we're going to try this when we hike this fall. I'm featuring you at the Discover & Explore highlight post this week -- thanks for linking up!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I cannot wait to try both the nature loom and solar oven! I cannot wait to make Smore's with it, but have you made anything else in there?

  15. most other sites say 1.5 inches where you had just an inch around the flap of the solar oven. Does it make any difference?

  16. How fun! I have pinned both of these ideas!