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Sometimes, planning a summer program can seem like a complicated maze. We don't think it should be. Even though we offer many planning and decorating suggestions in our programs, we like to get feedback from all of you out in the field. Our DREs, catechists, and volunteers have fantastic ideas for implementing our Catholic Kidz Camp Programs. We want to share their ideas with you. Submit your program ideas, videos and photos to us so we can share them in our Saint Circle for others to enjoy. Email: melissa@growingwiththesaints.com

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Decorating Ideas:


I had trouble with the balloon, so I found an old wig head, wrapped it with saran wrap, taped the brim & top piece, then molded the paper mache.

Click for picture.

Great Bus Picture

Obelisk St. Peter's Square
We chose to make that a central gathering space for children. We used a collapsible free-standing coat rack and covered it with black plastic tablecloths. The shape was not quite true, but as good as we could get! Also painted a styrofoam cross from a garden center which is sized for cemetery use to place on top. We made the dome of St. Peter for a wall and borrowed statues (had about 7-8) that were at least 18-24 inches. The dome was taped to a stage wall and the statues lined the stage. Also used the papal flag which is our parish's. Used pictures of St. Jerome and also a large picture of then Archbishop Timothy Dolan when he was at St. Jerome for Confirmation

cardboard appliance (dishwasher size works) boxes that we spray painted white and used white duck tape to tape the 3 boxes together. Used the gray tape on the inside of boxes. Then used a red plastic tablecloth to "line the back" and stool for pictures. Kids enjoyed that.

St. Jerome cave
we used a dome-shaped tent and simply put it on the floor. We covered it with burlap fabric, but we wouldn't have had to do that. The lessons were taught sitting outside the tent because our "Jerome" player was an older man who didn't want to be crawling in and out. The kids did get to go in, however. Art studio: used fabric on the floor that looked like canvas, easels with "paint-splattered" backgrounds, a large "palette" and other art supplies were "laying around"

Picture Frame
Attached is the information on the 3d puzzle I ordered. Also I have attached some of my decorating ideas.

Picture Frame
School bus picture frame. Idea came while watching the kids load up on the bus for their Vatican tour.
  • School Bus Pattern (Slide 3)
  • Tissue Paper in yellow and white or any colors you would like
  • Glue
  • Cardstock , heavy paper or foam sheet
  • Magnet Tape - Cut into pieces, peel and apply to each corner
  • Photos
  • Directions:
  • Print School Bus pattern found HERE at the bottom of the document. Cut out the outline before you glue the tissue paper. Cut tissue paper into 2" squares. Crumple each piece into a tight ball. Dip into white glue and place onto pattern. Start with the small sections first to make sure they keep their definition. Continue crumpling and gluing down pieces until the entire pattern is filled.
  • Tape photos to the back of the school bus showing happy faces out of the school bus windows.
  • Apply the magnet tape to each corner
  • Vatican Express
    St. Mary's in Tulsa is using white butcher paper to make 6' columns of the vatican then printing the staues of the apostles to put on top of the columns.
    General Decorations:
    This will help decorate our big gym.

    Vatican Express
    All stations including registration area can be decorated with the Vatican Theme.
    General Decorations:
    Decorating Colors: Primary decorating colors are red and gold(yellow) with secondary being royal blue, since many of the past Popes coat of arms also contained blue and also the Swiss Guard uniform still has red, gold and blue. Imagine a room with red, yellow and dark blue streamers hanging from the ceiling. Draw and paint Swiss Guard Soldiers at key entrances. Alternate red, yellow and blue plastic tablecloths on all of the tables. Use Yellow, Red & Blue Balloons

    Vatican Express Clip Art Images: Utilize Free Pass Clip Art/Resource CD: The Coat of Arms of the Holy See. Print it out from the TIFF file and project it on the wall to trace and color or take the EPS image to a printer and to print a poster or a huge banner from it to hang in the Assembly Area.
    The Crossed Key Symbol
    which is on the Vatican Flag can be used on doorways and walls. Consider making a large Vatican Flag to place in the Assembly Area. Decorate the Faith Lesson Leader doors with specific color banners displaying a Vatican Flag or Guardian of the Faith (Swiss Guard Soldier Clip Art.)
    Bus Stop Signs
    for all Leader Areas are included. Use these on the doorways of all section areas to go along with the Vatican Tour Theme and for easy identification.
    Daily Theme symbols which have the Papal Crown, The Keys, The Basilica, The Chalice and The Monstrance respectively can be printed or enlarged and hung on the walls art gallery style.(Inexpensive tip: Print image from CD, project it on the wall to enlarge onto bulletin board paper. Trace and color.) Make gold spray painted cardboard frames for them and hang them on the wall like an art or treasure museum.

    Vatican Express Handmade Decorations:
    Halberds (the spear the Swiss Guard carries)
    Make Halberd handles out of old broom handles or long strips of cardboard glued together. Use cardboard for the hatchet part. (Template included in the Craft Leader Guide on page 23.) Take 2 of these Halberds and cross them like an X and tie the Helmet to the CENTER where they cross. Place on each side of doorways to the Swiss Guard Quarters Lesson Rooms and the Main Assembly area
    Swiss Guard Helmets
    We have included craft instructions in the Craft Leader Guide for a Swiss Guard Helmet which can be worn by the Leaders and Volunteers

    Vatican Express Fun Costumes:
    Swiss Guard Uniform.
    Dress up in a red long sleeve shirt and red tights or pants. Take gold and blue disposable plastic tablecloths; cut them in 3” strips and pin them at shoulders and to wrists, then longer 3” wide strips at waist to knees, use bigger panels for torso pinned to neck and waist. (Make sure you cut the strips a bit longer than the distance so they blouse a little like the actual uniforms. This also allows for ease of movement.) Add some black boots and a black beret or a paper mache Swiss Guard Helmet and you have a quick inexpensive Swiss Guard Uniform. (Paper streamers might not last through the day where the plastic strips would.)
    St. Jerome’s Monks
    Take 4 yards of brown fabric. Fold in half end to end. Cut a hole in the folded edge for the head. Tie a rope around the waist and blouse the excess fabric up over the rope to adjust the length. Pin side below belt together. Add a pair of sandals and a brown hoodie shirt and brown tights underneath for a quick monk costume.

    Vatican Express Section Decorations:
    Registration Area
    Imagine a large Vatican Express Bus (Free Pass Clip Art CD) on the wall in the Registration Area.
    Assembly - Daily Assembly Area
    Involve your Youth Helpers and use bulletin board paper to draw and paint background scenery of St. Peter’s Dome with life-size statues of the saints in the foreground. Display saint statues on tables. Put a large sign on the wall that reads: “Vatican Central Station.”
    Skit Area
    Make a Pope Mobile out of large cardboard boxes. (optional ) See Closing Assembly for other props and costumes needed.
    Swiss Guard Quarters - Lesson Section
    Make this area resemble a soldiers barracks. Use a few long tables made up to look like sleeping cots. Use a brown blanket and a pillow with a bedroll at the bottom and a trunk at the foot of the “bed”. Lean Halberds (see easy decorations) against the wall or make a cardboard rack to hold them. Take a 3 foot x 6 inch piece of cardboard. Fold at a right angle lengthwise. Notch out slots to hold the spears. Tape un-notched part to the wall. Hang a Coat of Arms of the Holy See (Free Pass Clip Art CD) on the wall and a Vatican Flag. Paint “Guardians of the Faith” in large letters on paper for the wall. You can make a Guard Post Hut from cardboard and place outside next to the door if desired. Search “Swiss Guard” images online and you will find a picture of the Guards in front of the hut at the gates. Dress up like a Swiss Guard. (see Fun Costumes: Swiss Guard Uniform
    St. Jerome’s Cave - Bible Section Make this area resemble an outdoor cave complete with night-time ambience. This will really seem like camping to the children and the Bible readings will hold their interest like campfire stories do. Make fake rocks from bent cardboard taped together and painted brown or gray. Use beanbag chairs placed around the “cave” as comfortable rocks for the kids to sit on. Tie 2 or 3 brown tarps together and stretch over part of the area as a cave “ceiling.” Bible readings can take place here. Light the cave with LED Lanterns and battery operated tea-light candles. Dress up like St. Jerome (see Fun Costumes: St. Jerome’s Monks)
    Vatican Gardens - Activity Section
    Make this area resemble an outdoor garden. Ask Youth Helpers to use bulletin board paper to draw and paint background scenery with trees & greenery and a fountain in the background. Place silk plants, flowers and trees all around the edges of the room or area. Use an arbor covered with silk flowers at the doorway. Put outdoor green carpet strips around edges of the room to resemble grass. You can put tabletop mini-fountains on tall tables for the sound of a trickling fountain. (Put these out of the way for safety)
    Michelangelo’s Loft - Craft Section
    Make this area resemble an artist’s loft from long ago. Spare in furnishings and no fancy furniture. Make a fake garret window from a large piece of cardboard. Glue construction paper “glass panes” to it. Set a large easel in the corner with an old paint stained palette and some brushes on a table next to it. Find some pictures of Michelangelo’s paintings online, print out, enlarge and glue to cardboard. Use these as “canvasses in progress” stacked all around the room. Put a coat rack in the corner with a paint-spotted smock (an old lab coat is good for this) hanging on it and a beret. Cover the work tables with old canvas drop cloths. Dress up like Michelangelo with a beret, smock and tights.
    St. Peter’s Square Cafe - Snack Section
    Try to make this area resemble St. Peters Square. Ask Youth Helpers to use bulletin board paper to draw and paint background scenery of large saint statues on the walls of the room. Build a mini-Obelisk out of cardboard or use a metal decorative one from a Garden Center .Place the Obelisk on a round table in the center of the room. Cover the table with a blue plastic circular tablecloth on it to resemble a fountain. Attach light blue and white streamers to the sides of the cloth to resemble water. Suspend colorful umbrellas from the ceiling over the food tables to give your area an “outdoor café” feel. Alternate red, yellow and blue plastic tablecloths on all of the tables. Put saint statues down the center of the tables in between food items. Don’t forget the pigeons! You could even dress like one!
    Pontifical Academy of Music - Music Section
    Try to make this area resemble a Palace Music Room. Put swags of red, gold and blue fabric on the walls and around the doorway (or use streamers). Make gold painted cardboard silhouettes of musical instruments and pin them to the fabric or tape them to the walls. Make a cardboard harp and put it in the corner. (or bring in real musical instruments if you have access to them -establish a no-touch policy) Find pictures of cherubs with instruments; enlarge and frame them with gold painted cardboard frames. Hang these on the walls. Make 2 large gold painted cardboard music notes and put one on each side of the door. Display saint statues in the corners of the room. Dress up like an angel and don’t forget your conductor baton!

    Assorted Saints
    Saint Themed Areas
    Divide areas, (Snack, Craft, Lesson, Activity, Music etc.) and decorate each one with a theme decorating scheme of each saint. The Craft area could be decorated like Christmas, or Wintertime for Saint Nicholas. The Storytelling and Lesson area could be decorated like Kateri's Indian Village with a faux campfire where the children could gather around to listen. The Snack area (since it is for nourishment) could be decorated like Martin's Clinic, an old-fashioned herbalist hut or something with dried fruits and herbs hanging everywhere. Or posters with different herbs and their uses. Or just decorate it with a nature theme. The Activity Area could have a Mexican decorating theme for Juan Diego, very bright, colorful and energetic. Decorate the Music area like Ireland for Brigid.

    From all of us at Growing with the Saints, Inc.

    Assorted Saints
    Cultural Paper Dolls
    Another idea would be to play up the cultural diversity of the program by making separate paper doll forms of all different colors and sizes, tape them together and string them everywhere. Hang them from the ceiling, stick them on the windows. Make some giant people shapes for the different areas and make them super colorful. My point is, they could really play up the theme of different cultures working together to do good things.

    From all of us at Growing with the Saints, Inc.

    All Programs
    Rainbow Stations
    Decorate the different rooms in a single color of the rainbow. Tablecloths, balloons, ceiling drapes, swag banners, etc. Rooms can be referred to by their specific color. This idea was sent to us in the form of photographs from Dianne Brennan, St. Thomas More Church. All of the rooms were Beautiful!

    From all of us at Growing with the Saints, Inc.

    All Programs
    Blow Up Take Home Images
    Have teens color the images on the daily take home pages, then have them enlarged as big as possible and decorate your rooms with them. We received this idea from Angie Harber, St. Vincent’s Catholic Church when she told us she had used all of our clip art and take home images for decorating.

    From all of us at Growing with the Saints, Inc


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