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Guest Post: Building together, from the ground up!

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This summer, three libraries across the nation were awarded $3,000 grants, NCFL training, and Campsite Kits to implement Camp Wonderopolis® programming, thanks to generous support from Better World Books. These libraries provided Maker activities exclusively found in the Family Campsite Kit and suggested book pairings for each of the six Camp Wonderopolis tracks online. In this guest blog post, Krizia Virbia with Covina Public Library (Covina, California) shares the value of play for both children and parents who attended Covina’s Camp Wonderopolis workshop:

CampW17_Wonderocity (Mobile)

Play is great! For children, the act of play is a natural phenomenon. It’s how they learn to socialize and develop understanding of themselves and the world around them. It is so natural that many classrooms incorporate play in their daily lessons as an important educational experience in and of itself. Play has been proven to promote critical thinking, creativity, and social skills in children because, as they play, they experience the world.

When adults play, they rediscover their childhood and are able to connect with their children in a way that no other bonding experience can provide. They teach their children how to play while respecting other people, the world around them, and themselves. Children in turn teach their parents about their own play patterns and who they are as human beings.

Campers at Covina Public Library

Campers at Covina Public Library

This is why the Covina Public Library called on the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena, California, to help present our first Maker activity for Camp Wonderopolis®: From the Ground Up. The Imagination Playground event with Kidspace took the concepts of the library’s Maker activity and expanded on them, using a “truck load of giant blue blocks.” In the lesson, Kidspace and library staff taught children basic building concepts, and then let them loose with their blue blocks to explore building concepts and create their own structures.

As a group of 30, children created structures from their imagination and explored the value of team work and cooperative creativity as they worked toward a common goal. Parents also got involved, helping their children with their creations. They experimented with how structures stand, balance, and topple over without the right support, and figured out how to best knit each building block together to create a sturdy wall. At the end, plastic balls were used to test each structure’s stability and balance. Some of the structures children explored were houses and government buildings, including the children’s dream library. In a feat of engineering, one child/parent team took the building challenge to the limit by building a castle, complete with an air cannon that shot the provided plastic balls across the room!

Campers at Covina Public Library

Campers at Covina Public Library

As a community of learners, children built lasting relationships while learning about building and architectural principles and the importance of team work. Meanwhile, the library and Kidspace built a lasting professional relationship with a shared commitment to education.


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 four 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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