Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Wet & Wild | Summer Camp Week 4

 If you think back on your summers as a child you most likely remember playing in or around water. There's no doubt that most children love playing with water, and there's no doubt most children love to be silly. (Did somebody say underwear?) 

I spent Monday morning filling up 100 water balloons. During this long and tedious task I would remind myself how much fun the kids were going to have,  and it would be worth it. We decided to play "Highlanders & Lowlanders" (capture the flag) but with the water balloons. If a player gets hit with a water balloon they are to go straight to jail. If they get tagged they are frozen for 10 seconds only. Blue team and red team had their designated balloons, but the multi colored balloons were in the middle of the playing field and were fair game for anyone. 

After the game was over the kids quickly dispersed leaving colorful broken water balloons EVERYWHERE. I asked where everyone was going because the game was still going. They all looked confused. Then I told them the team to get the most broken water balloons in their bowl wins. 
And off they went...

I'm not sure what game they enjoyed more; the water balloon fight or the pick up. Either way I think it was a victory for all of us! 

If you read this blog often you'll already know I like to give the camp kids a challenge. They always take it very seriously if you call it a challenge. This challenge was to paint a picture with only using your feet! 

Some of the children thought it was the "easiest thing they have ever done" and others got a little frustrated. I was happy that every single camper gave it a shot and they were excited to hang their finished product on our new drying rack. 

Another game we played that was a big hit was the mystery hat game. I printed off a bunch of different wild and whacky actions for the kids to do and others that just said PIE. 
The children sat in a circle and picked a paper out of a hat and had to do the action written on the paper. Some of the actions were : 

Talk like a pirate
Walk around the circle backwards until the next player's turn
Make a crazy face
Do a whacky dance 
etc, etc, etc

The children laughed and were all excited to pick from the hat. Finally after several turns somebody finally picked the pie. "Pie?! What's pie?!" Well I will tell you if you pick the paper with pie you get a pie in the face! 

I asked permission before I put the pie in their face. (homemade whipped cream on a paper plate) After they saw what pie meant they all wanted to pick that paper and by the end of it they were all grabbing plates and smooshing it in their face. 

We also made homemade slushies as a refreshing treat. In the morning the children made jello and I stuck it in the freezer. They weren't sure what we were doing with it until they saw the "Make Your Own Smoothie" station set up. I put out cups, straws, frozen jello, frozen berries, and a lemon lime soda. I was informed of the sugar content from one child, but I told them they only needed a splash. 

The campers could choose from orange, raspberry, cherry, or even a combo of the flavors. They went through the line and created their own slushies. 

And then sat back and enjoyed......... 

Later in the week I brought in a tie dye kit and the campers brought in white t-shirts. It's always exciting to see the finished result! They came out awesome!

We added another addition to our playground this week; pool noodle water wall! By simply attaching dollar store pool noodles with zip ties on the side of our tree house we had a brand new attraction the kids love! 

We also played a hilarious game I stumbled across online. We began playing the way it said online, but decided to turn it into a relay race instead. 

A player from each team has to run with the shower cap and shaving cream on their head, stick as many cheetos on their head as possible, and run back and empty them in the team's container. The team with the most cheetos in their bucket at the end wins. 

We ended the week with a Photo Booth for the campers to enjoy. I put a large variety of dress up clothes out and let the children dress up however they wanted. They got with friends and took silly pictures that I later printed out for them.

I gave the kids their pictures and they made a keepsake picture frame to take home! It was a perfect way to end our week! 

- Leslie Dionne 


Friday, 17 July 2015

Great Outdoors - Summer Camp | Week 3

We couldn't have asked for better weather to enjoy the great outdoors last week! We lived outside, enjoying every minute of the sunshine and fresh air. We were able to visit some of our favorite local spots outside, and even found a brand new spot that we are all excited about!

We started our week off with a nature scavenger hunt I put together. There were no instructions and no questions. The children ran to the bags and were gone. We went all over our property and then hit the trail to look some more. Unfortunately, there were huge piles of dirt blocking the path to the frog pond we always visit. The children were disappointed but saw a machine working on a new dirt road a little way over. The man stopped and told us we were welcome to check our the new road he was making. (This was very exciting!!) 

The road goes on for quite some time and we were all equally excited to take an unexpected adventure.

You would have honestly thought these kids were walking into the main entrance of Disney World. They were running all over the place looking at everything and finding things on our check list.  I am so thankful that man stopped and told us we were able to go down the road because it is definitely are new favorite spot!           

In addition to exploring the great outdoors we also decided to spice up our outdoor classroom a bit. We're often doing projects outside and a problem we have is where to put them to dry. This is where the inspiration for our new nature drying rack came from.

A nice and easy (minimal tools involved!) way to create a beautiful drying rack is from the sticks laying around our yard.  The kids helped me find 4 similar size sticks, I used the drill to screw it together and then had the children paint it any way they liked. 

Once our drying rack was put together I hung it on the trees and tied ropes across the frame! Just like that we had a fun new addition to our yard! The children were excited to hang their first pieces of art work on it and have even used it as a jewelry store. 

I wanted to try geocaching with the group and downloaded the app on my phone, but we could not get to any of the locations near by. So I did the next best thing and made my own. I gave the campers 1 clue for each cache hidden and that was it. We spent the entire morning searching high and low for the treasures! 

They were quite surprised when they found the JACKPOT of lollipops stuffed to the top of one of the containers! 

We also had Emily from St. John Ambulance come in and teach us a first aid course! We learned important information and the campers really seemed to enjoy it! 

After Emily's presentation the children received certificates and coloring books! The kids wouldn't let Emily leave without showing her every part of our yard. 

To end our busy week we finished off with camping and survival. We built a tent and I'm proud to say it never collapsed! (Has anyone else tried to build a tent with 15 kids trying to help?!?!) 

                    Some of the boys built their own shelter which was pretty impressive! 

We did a clean water experiment with garden pots, coffee filters, sand, gravel, and rocks! The campers agreed it was fun to do, but would not want to drink the water!! 

The plan all along was to make fire started and then use them in the camp fire we were going to build. Due to all of the hot dry weather we have been having their was a fire ban so we decided to make them anyways and take them home to try. 

A few of the children came in and told me they tried them over the weekend and they worked really good! 

A fellow educator at the center let me borrow her camping grill so we could still have our camp snacks. The fire ban was not about to put a stop to our s'mores!!

It was a perfect way to end our week, sitting together enjoying s'mores and hotdogs. We even had leftovers so the campers made s'mores for EVERYONE which was a big hit with the staff and younger kids! 

                                                                           - Leslie Dionne