The first Holiday Gift Making and Arts and Crafts Camp
Students from throughout the Bay Area come together to craft at Wilkinson School on Nov. 22 as part of the school’s first Holiday Gift Making and Arts and Crafts Camp. Led by art teacher Andrea Caturegli, they used new and recycled materials to make handmade, heartfelt gifts for loved ones. Sara Hayden / Review 

They only had three days, but, busy as elves, kids cobbled together more than 15 types of crafts at the first Wilkinson School Holiday Gift Making and Arts and Crafts Camp. 

“The kids inspired me to come up with a fun option for them to do during the holiday break,” Wilkinson School art teacher Andrea Caturegli said.

The camp was born out of needs from both students and their families. While fun for kids, the camp was a welcome support for parents who had to work during their children’s Thanksgiving break.

“This was my busiest time of year and I couldn’t take time off,” recalled Stephanie Weber, Wilkinson School’s business operations manager and a former marketer. “This gives parents an option.”

The event brought together students from all over the Coastside and beyond over a variety of wares.

Some were functional, such as mugs and magnets, scarves and tea sets. Others were indulgent, like the sugar scrubs, lotion bars and even rainbow “unicorn poop” bath bombs. All provided a creative outlet that went beyond what they learn about in school day to day. 

After receiving preliminary instructions, campers got to work  using their imaginations to transform basic supplies into heartfelt gifts.

Sixth-grader Sophia Tengelsen-Needels found inspiration in a simple string and scrap of ribbon.

“Maybe this is something I could make!” she said. In a matter of moments, she made a multifunctional accessory that could be worn as a bracelet or in her hair.

Caturegli encouraged the use of found materials, especially for students to make their own gift-wrapping decorations.

“It’s such a huge waste during the holidays. How many boxes do we buy to wrap gifts when we have them all around?” Caturegli said. “This is a good opportunity to recycle, upcycle, be creative and think outside the box.”

And the students did, thinking of different people they hoped to surprise with the gifts they made.

Fourth-grader Sofia Gladman carefully folded a blue and green plaid scarf into an upcycled gift box that used to hold cereal and wrapped it with colorful tissue paper. 

Her classmate, Athena Lodwick, worked on gifts for her mom and dad and a keychain for a friend who moved to Washington. She also planned to make a gift for her cousins, Teddy and George. 

“They’re all the way in England and I don’t really get to see them,” she explained. 

Sophia Nielsen crafted presents not only for her parents, but also her “stuffie” toy — a dog named Howie. For him, she made a miniature Christmas tree. 

Thanks to the camp, the young crafters were able to wrap up their holiday gifts early. 

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