Clay, Mandalas, Mobiles, wood sculpture, marble tracks, beads, bracelets, side-walk chalk, soapy body-paint, and slip-and-slides....... So many activities, and so much fun, but I would have to say that this camp was highlighted by the amazing wood structures that were created. Sometimes art with kids turns into engineering with kids. One of my favourite things to share with kids is a huge box of cut wood of all different shapes and sizes. Armed with loads of hot glue, I set out the materials, and casually presented the idea of making marble tracks. I left it open for them to figure out how, if they chose to, or if they decided on something different, then that was cool too. This one project could have kept them busy for all 5 days, I think. Kids seem to just love to build. ......But we started with clay, mandalas, and mobiles. Sorry kids!
On Monday, the kids got their hands dirty with gritty, slippery, soft and wonderful clay. Each made something straight from their imagination, and a shape for their upcoming mobile project. I knew we were under the gun to get the clay dried and fired and ready to take home on Friday, but I really wanted to give it a good ol’ college try. I had bought 2 different kids of clay, and unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to let the clay dry thoroughly, and so it didn’t get fired long enough. Lots of our clay projects broke and we all learned the impermanence of beauty the hard way. The clay that did fire well was the gritty stuff, and most of the pieces for the mobiles. A trip to the beach to find a good mobile stick was a fun field trip. I am always pleased by the number of kids who comb the beach for pretty rocks and sea glass in the spirit of creation and beauty. Kids travel back to the school with their pockets full of natural treasures. Best decoration of all!
When we finally started the wood building, I was pleased to see enthusiasm from almost everyone. With the on-set of the marble track construction, ideas caught on like wildfire, collaboration became a welcome necessity, and trial and error became the biggest teacher in the room. The kids watched and learned from each other, ideas and designs were refined and perfected, and when those marbles rolled successfully along the wooden tracks, the joy and triumph that erupted was truly inspiring. I wish I could post all the photos of the feats of engineering that were accomplished during those few days. This is definitely a project I would do again. And again. And again. Kids are amazing. This proves it.