Summer camp centers during our cooking camp needed to be mostly self led. I did get brave and put out my brand new Summer Qtip Painting because I had a feeling that several of the kids at camp would enjoy the challenge since the camp was mostly students who would be entering preschool or PreK in the fall, not moving on to kindergarten.
Other than ending up with quite a few papers that did not have an owner, this center was a great success. One thing that definitely helped were the color coded cotton swabs that I discovered at my local Dollar Tree. I did end up needing to clean up one set midway through camp when one camper decided that the science experiment of color mixing was very interesting.
I was pleased to see that some of the campers even decided to try tracing the words at the bottoms of the sheets. During the year in PreK I would probably have my students use a different writing implement to do the tracing part.
For summer cooking camp I knew sensory bins would be a hit and keep those who were not cooking very occupied. I also did not want something that was a challenge to clean up. My coworker had seen suggestions online for making the funnel contraption so I knew we had this to pull out of our closets. I chose the colorful died beans because they would be easy to see on the dark rug beneath the bin. The scissor scoopers were already in my stash, but I would love to pick up a set like the ones on Amazon from Learning Resources (aff. link.)
One sensory bin was not enough for the first week of camp, so I also set up one with a sunflower seed bird seed mix, magnets, and magnetic alphabet letters. The magnets (aff. link) are from Learning Resources. The magnetic alphabet set was one I had in my stash, but you can also find one here (aff. link) that I also own.
I realized that we had not pulled out the Cranium Fort set this year, so each day we started a building for the students and let them try to add to it. The older students spent more time building and the younger ones sat in it. This set is no longer manufactured, but you can see a link to it here (aff. link) so you know what it is in case you fall upon it at a yard sale or somewhere.
In addition to these activities and our cooking we also had out some puzzles, Potato Heads, Lego Duplos and our Ice Cream Shop Pretend Play. These kept our full house of preschoolers very busy during our cooking camp.