curious jane summer camp + craft idea

Summer is such a great time for kids to experience new environments, make new friends, explore budding interests and get out of their comfort zone. It’s what helps them grow and learn. So unless you’re prepared to provide twelve weeks of stimulating “mommy camp,” it’s best to start mapping out the long summer now.

As a mother to three little girls, I’m partial to finding programs geared to how girls learn, play and think. There is a freedom and confidence with which they navigate their world together.


Curious Jane summer camps and after-school programs are designed for girls entering grades K-6 and offer hands-on, project-based classes from a variety of themes that revolve around creative explorations in design, writing, science and engineering.

This summer, Curious Jane returns to Louise S. McGehee School for six weeks of camp — all of June and the first two weeks of July. Fun, creative themes include: DIY Your Room, Wired 101, Digi-Fun, Spy Science, Build the City, Toy Design, Animal Nature, Magic + Mystery and more!

For more info and to register, visit or call (718) 369-6320.

To give you an idea of the types of projects the girls will be working on in Curious Jane Summer Camp, here’s a fun project from the Gadgets + Gears Theme, where girls learn how to engineer small mechanisms and make them tick, turn, propel, whiz, weigh and tap to the beat.

PAPER-CUP MARIONETTES for kids ages 8+ 
A fun little project using those odd bits that you might find floating around in your craft or junk drawer. Make your own marionette, and then make another – friends!


  • Sturdy paper cup
  • Pair of chopsticks, wooden dowels, pencils or popsicle sticks!
  • Yarn, string and short bit of ribbon
  • Handful of buttons (4 large, 2 small)
  • A few pompoms
  • Scissors and tape
  • Hot glue gun (not essential, but very helpful!)



  1. Cut four lengths of yarn to be your marionette’s legs (about 8-12 inches long).
  2. Make four small holes near the rim of your cup, spaced evenly apart, and tie one piece of yarn through each hole. When you invert the cup, the four yarn legs will be hanging down. Now, add a button to each leg – the feet!
  3. Cut a length of ribbon for the neck (about 6-8 inches long). Make a small slit in the bottom of the cup, which is now the top of your marionette and secure the ribbon with a knot on the inside of the cup. Glue a large pom-pom to the other end of the ribbon – the head! – and add a small pom-pom at the back of the cup for the tail. Use two small buttons for eyes. Your character has taken shape!    cj marionette 1-3
  4. Cross the two dowels and glue them together at the center point. Wrap a bit of yarn around the middle to make the connection more stable. Cut 4 long pieces of string (about 24 inches) and tie one string to each section of the dowels. Make sure to tie a tight knot! We secured our strings with a bit of glue and a button.
  5. Tie the end of one string to one front foot. Tie the string from the opposing dowel to the other front foot. Hold the dowels up high enough so that there is no slack in the string connected to the button feet.
  6. Tie the front string to the marionette head so that the neck extends up, and tie the back string to the marionette tail so that everything is roughly level. Snip off any extra string. (This final step – attaching the dowel strings to the marionette – sounds trickier than it actually is! Most importantly, start with the two front feet. Then attach the remaining two strings to the head and tail so that everything is in balance). cj marionette 4-6
  7. Lift your marionette and let her dance! cj marionette 7


Written by Ashley Bond

Ashley Bond

Founder of parenting blog, entrepreneur, underestimated disorganized overachiever.

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