Making crafts with natural materials is a great way to teach children how to safely use a multi-tool or pocket knife. Teaching kids how to properly handle and care for a knife can help build confidence and teach kids to respect knives as tools. Here are five fun cooking utensil camp tools, and art projects you can easily make with logs, sticks, and a pocket knife.
Whittle a Marshmallow Roasting Fork
Whittling is a great way to teach kids safe knife skills and carving a marshmallow roasting stick is a great first project. Look for softwoods like basswood, aspen, or butternut, and have them practice with a potato peeler before moving on to a pocket knife. Choose a stick that is sturdy enough to support a marshmallow and long enough so they're safe around a fire. Whittle away a few inches of the bark from the end to make a sharp point for skewering marshmallows, hot dogs, or whatever it is you want to roast over the campfire.
Make a Camp Broom Out of Sticks
Choose between full-size brooms to keep the camp area clean or hand brushes for cleaning fire pits or tables. First, find a suitable stick for the broom handle and then gather enough brushwood and twigs for the brush. Bind the bundles of sticks together using twine, and then trim them to the same length using a pocket knife.
Using a pocket knife, carve a point at one end of your handle, and then insert the sharpened stick halfway down into the bundle of sticks. Use twine or cord to secure the handle to the brush, or if the twigs are bound tightly enough, you may be able to secure the two parts together with a bit of pressure on the ground.
Weave Nature Into a Stick Loom
To begin, collect sticks for your loom and then trim the length depending on the size and shape of the loom you plan to create. Then collect natural materials such as flowers, grasses, and leaves to weave into the project. Lash sticks together with yarn or twine to create the base of your loom, and then wrap the loom with yarn from end to end and weave in all your nature treasures.
Carve a Wooden Mallet Out of a Log
Find a piece of tree trunk that’s at least 3 inches in diameter from a dead or fallen tree. Choose a piece that has a strong side branch coming into the log at a 90 degree angle. The side branch will be the handle of the mallet so you’ll want it to be at least 1.5 inches in diameter and sturdy enough so you can use it to swing the mallet. With a handsaw, trim the mallet and handle down to the preferred length and smooth out the hitting surfaces and handle with a pocket knife. Mallets are great for pounding in tent stakes or driving a splitting wedge into a log for firewood.
Build a Tripod Camp Stool out of Sticks
Find three strong and study sticks about the same width and cut to the same length. Use cord to assemble the tripod and then fasten a tarp on top of the tripod for a makeshift seat. You can also make two tripods and hang a hammock.
There you have it, 5 fun and educational outdoor crafts for kids!