Camp Wonderopolis in libraries: Clinton Hill Library part 2
Clinton Hill library, located in New York, was one of three libraries across the country to be awarded a grant to be a Camp Wonderopolis site. Brian Muldoon, Children’s Librarian, shared the following about their program.
Being a Wonderopolis Campsite has allowed Clinton Hill Library to have a particularly robust summer of family programming. Over the past two months, we ran a series of camp programs that provided food for participating families, brought in a string of guest presenters to run workshops, and paired each guest with a music-themed Maker project.
When choosing our guest presenters, we wanted to make sure to bring in dynamic people from a variety of backgrounds who could engage a wide range of ages and would offer families a unique experience. We were especially keen on finding local artists and educators who would have something new to offer parents, whether that meant a new approach to creative expression or ideas on how to discuss complicated topics with kids. It was important to us to make sure our families were learning together.
Our first guest was author/illustrator and out-of-this-world artist Charles George Esperanza. After reading from his picture book Red, Yellow, Blue (and a Dash of White, Too!), Charles shared a bit about how he approaches making his art and led the kids in a color mixing and drumming activity. We finished out with the families creating illustrations of their own and our Maker project, Water-Bottle Membranophone, a crazy saxophone-like instrument made from recycled materials. A few of the kids hung around afterward and had an impromptu jam session with their projects and Charles’ drum.
The next session brought in the outstanding finical literacy organization Pockets Change, who present lessons on personal finance with a hip-hop twist. They got the group grooving and thinking hard about the way they approach money and how to make their dreams a reality. This went over especially well with the parents and garnered a lot of thoughtful questions from the kids. After the presentation, we made guitars out of bottles and strings that can have their pitch adjusted by twisting the cap. It proved to be an excellent lesson on how the level of tension on a string affects the sound it makes.
For the final session, we got our families up and moving with a workshop from Cumbe, a local center for African and diaspora dance. The instructor had everyone from infants up to adults getting down to West African rhythms. He carefully went through each step of a dance from Mali, explaining its cultural significance along the way, and then had two teams compete to see who could perform with the most enthusiasm. Our families were wiped but happy by the end. The group then transitioned to making little thumb pianos out of Altoids tins, bobby pins, and other common materials. This project proved a little challenging for some of our younger campers but that seemed to be an excellent opportunity for parents to engage their child in some joint problem-solving. We finish out our Wonderopolis experience, by raffling off a hand-carved drum that came all the way from Senegal. The family that won was thrilled as were the other families that took part!
This whole series of programs has been a great opportunity for the library and our families. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the programs were very successful at bringing in families that are both new to the neighborhood and longtime residents. It was really great to witness new friendships being made and bonds being forged as everyone ate, experimented, and had fun together.
Interested in bringing Camp Wonderopolis to your program? Camp Wonderopolis online learning content is free year-round for individuals, families, classrooms, and programs. Visit camp.wonderopolis.org to explore five unique editions of Camp Wonderopolis, each loaded with 42 lessons, six Maker activities, book lists, and more. To enhance your program, NCFL offers Campsite Kits available for purchase. Receive support and guidance to integrate Camp Wonderopolis into your programming when you purchase the Program Kit at store.wonderopolis.org.
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