Back to Nature

2024 June Back to Nature: Crafts Day Report with Morgan Stanley

Date: June 15, 2024
Place: Mitake, Tokyo
Participants: 18 campers, 6 big campers, 6 LITs, 7 Mirai no Mori staff, 6 sponsors
Sponsor: Morgan Stanley

The rainy season is upon us, and what better way to embrace it than with a Mirai no Mori craft day! On June 15th, campers, LITs, Mirai no Mori staff and our generous sponsors from Morgan Stanley gathered in Mitake, all eager to unleash their creativity. 

The day began with orientation in which all participants were divided into six teams, each one a blend of campers from three different care homes and adult role models with diverse backgrounds. With in-theme names like “Scissors”, “Green Craft”, and “Glue Gun”, the teams kicked off the day’s activities with a quiz about crafts. One fascinating fact we learned was that Kids Craft Day in Japan is celebrated on every first Sunday of June, when the rainy season is usually at its peak and people find activities to do indoors.

Next up was nature art time! Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy, a Scottish sculptor who creates art solely with materials from nature, teams brainstormed what they could create with stones, branches, leaves, and anything else they could find along the Tama River. Everyone was impressed with each other’s unique art pieces, including campfires with mini marshmallows made from fallen fruit, miniature houses, and even a portrait of Doraemon! The Big Camper team created an impressive map of Japan using different-sized rocks. 

Lunch was enjoyed outdoors, with some participants finding shade while others basked in the sun. It was a perfect opportunity to chat and bond with members of different teams. 

The afternoon session was dedicated to indoor crafts, a chance for everyone to find their inner artist. One LIT taught participants how to make a God’s Eye- a craft we love to make at Summer Camp- which turned out to be more challenging than it looked, but no one gave up and campers took beautiful pieces home. Participants were also provided with small tree slices, used to create pendants and 3D sculptures, involving tasks like gluing, drilling holes, and cutting. Throughout the day, campers showed great responsibility, ensuring they used every material safely and considerately for others to use after them. 

We concluded the day with a reflection session, where teams thought about the successes of teamwork in the morning, as well as some personal challenges faced in the afternoon. It was a moment to appreciate the ability to use natural materials to create something new and recognize that everyone has their own unique touch. 

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Morgan Stanley for sponsoring this wonderful event. It was a lovely Saturday in the natural beauty of Mitake (which some campers were pleasantly surprised to learn is still part of Tokyo!).

“It was my first time making God’s Eye and I was able to make many of them. I am happy with how they look and I even made one for my sister who did not come today” by camper

“I liked the Doraemon that we made during nature art. We used a reddish stone for his nose, leaves for his whiskers and white stones for his eyes” by camper

“I was worried that one of the children that I brought to the program, who just entered the care home, would not be able to interact well with new people, but I was happy to see her having a good time throughout the day. I think it was a good experience for her, who is not used to being spoiled by adults, to be given a piggyback ride and to have lots of people listen to her.” by big camper

“At first, I could not think of an interesting idea for crafts. I decided to just play around with different colors and shapes and I realized I slowly started to find inspiration. By the end of the day I created some nice pieces for myself and some that I gifted to others” by LIT

“This is my first Back to Nature program and it was a great refresher to spend the whole day in nature. I made a misanga bracelet with colorful strings, which is something I had not done in many many years!” by sponsor