If Harry Potter's wizardly arts appeal to your kids, then maybe it's time to create your own magical camp this summer. Designing your own camp can save you money and reinforce your family's spiritual values. It's also a lot of fun.
In this two-part article we'll look at ways to create metaphysical activities for children this summer. In Part I we'll look at activities for a mystical children's day camp; Part II will explore an overnight camping experience.
Crystal Camp: A Model Magical Day Camp
Where I live in Southern California, there are countless summer day camps: surf camp, rock music camp, skateboard camp, even sewing camp. Every year our family helps organize a 5-day camping trip in the redwoods for Pagan families, so I was keen to find a mystical day camp for my kids. When I happened upon Crystal Camp in Santa Monica, California I was hooked.
Now in its 7th year, Crystal Camp's curriculum includes crystology, herbalism, elixir making, making and using magical tools, movement, and spellcraft. The camp bills itself as a summer academy of witchcraft and wizardry where kids receive proper guidance to learn the magical arts and tap into their innate powers.
"Crystal Camp instructors are practiced in meditation, herbcraft, metaphysical arts and energy work," says camp co-founder Elizabeth Joy Guilliams. "We know from personal experience that it would have been great to have the guidance of magical elders when we were very young to share their knowledge and perspective with us."
Crystal Camp's philosophy appealed to me because it is not exclusively Wiccan or Pagan, but draws from an array of earth-based magical and meditative traditions. According to camp co-founder Pamela Clare Wylie Samuelson:
The conversation we're having at camp is really a reframing of identity and communication, power and consent, ethics and consciousness - all using the language of magic. This makes it way more fun for everyone. At Crystal Camp we talk a lot about superpowers, the ones we have and the ones we're working to cultivate in ourselves. Magic for us is very real. At camp we are mastering time, space and energy, connecting with and riding these huge waves and cycles. Magic is an access point to discuss how children can become the creators of the world they'd like to live in.
DIY Magical Activities
Take a page from Crystal Camp's playbook and create a magical wonderland for your kids this summer. Here are some of their most popular activities, recommended for ages 5-13.
What you need: Wooden stick about the length of a child's forearm (chosen by the child, please!), quartz crystal for the amplifying/focusing tip, colored duct tape, any other decorative and adhesive items.
How to use: Fit the quartz point to the tip of your stick and firmly attach it with tape. Decorate the wand in any way that pleases your eye and heart.
Why It's Awesome: Quartz crystals focus and direct energy (think of how tiny pieces of quartz work in a clock or laser), this is especially true for any clear directive, prayer, wish, or request you make. The spell that you cast will be amplified and expanded by sending it out from your sincere, humble heart through your arm, hand, and wand.
Crystal Camp Caution: Make sure that your spell-casting language is impeccable, so that you don't wind up with things you didn't mean to ask for! And please remember that spells intended to dominate, manipulate, or harm others (ex. sibling, parent, babysitter, or pet) do not work, and tend to have unfortunate repercussions.
How to use: There are some great DIY sites for making Seed Bombs. Once the Seed Bombs are made, explore your neighborhood and throw them into vacant lots, areas that are unattended, and land that could use some enlivening, including your backyard or street parkway.
Why It's Awesome: Pollinators such as bees and butterflies rely on nectar flowers. Most notably, the monarch butterfly needs milkweed to survive, which is frequently eradicated as a common weed.
What you need: White and/or colored sidewalk chalk.
How to do it: Take a walk around your neighborhood. Notice the beauty around you, like flowers blooming. On the sidewalk, draw arrows towards the beautiful things and write notes calling attention to them. You can also write sidewalk love notes to strangers and neighbors.
Why It's Awesome: Consider these as guerilla acts of kindness. It also reminds kids that their words are powerful and can have a positive impact on others.
How to use: Make the pendulum's cord by braiding pieces of string or embroidery thread while weaving in an intention for clear communication and insight. Be sure to leave unbraided string at the ends to thread through the crystal hole, creating a finger-sized loop at the top. To program your pendulum, first calm your body and still your mind, then ask obvious yes and no questions of your pendulum (my name is...) and watch it swing in response. When finding a missing toy or other lost item, try narrowing down the location incrementally (North or South? Living Room or Bedroom? etc.).
Why It's Awesome: Pendulums are a visible extension of the energy body (also known as the aura or etheric body). The energy body extends beyond our physical bodies and affords greater access to intuition and other senses beyond sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Pendulums can help you to find lost things, determine if a food is healthy or unhealthy for you, and even detect honesty.
To keep your magical day camp engaging, include fun activities like freeze dance, colored shirt days, and making/drinking sun tea with local herbs. Also, try enlisting friends, parents, and community members to lead an activity, whether gardening, yoga, arts & crafts, face painting, playing drums, or making costumes. Just remember that you don't need to divide kids into Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors to have a wizardly good time this summer.
Next week we will look at creating an overnight magical camping experience for you and your kids.
To learn more about Crystal Camp, check out their Summer Magical Academy.