Guest Post: Families at Kentucky library unlock mysteries of Ancient Egypt during Camp Wonderopolis®
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, Emily Snyder with Taylor County Public Library (Campbellsville, Kentucky) shares how Camp Wonderopolis programming is shaping summer learning for Taylor County families:
When I saw that Camp Wonderopolis 2017 would feature a Wonder Museum track, I couldn’t help but be excited! With the popularity of great junior fiction series such as Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles, Michael Scott’s The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, and Michael Northrup’s Tombquest, I know that Ancient Egypt is a subject of interest for kids and adults alike. I’ve wanted to do an Ancient Egypt Night for families at Taylor County Public Library for years, and here was my opportunity!
Our Wondering began like all great programs do: with free dinner! Families packed into the Community Room to eat, and while doing so, were invited to quiz each other’s knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians with trivia picture cards laid out on their tables. Afterwards, we broke out into learning stations where children could experiment with a variety of different activities all related to Ancient Egypt.
In the Hieroglyphics Room, kids and adults practiced hieroglyphic writing. They found it was harder than they expected! They also decoded messages from scrolls, which they really got a kick out of. By the end of the evening, kids were using the hieroglyphic alphabet to write their own messages for each other to translate.
The Pyramid Building STEM Challenge was the biggest hit of the evening. Kids used marshmallows and toothpicks to create their own pyramids. We encouraged children and adults to work as teams to see how big they could make their structures. For younger children, we provided sugar cubes, which they greatly enjoyed stacking into their own mini pyramids with the help of their grownups.
The Ancient Egypt Craft Station was set up for children to decorate their own Wesekh collars. We learned that Wesekh collars were typically created for burial purposes, but were also given to dignitaries and important Egyptians to bestow honor. In another craft, children wrapped “mummies” in gauze and learned a bit about the mummification process.
Our last learning opportunity was at the Ancient Egyptian Trivia Table. Children and their parents matched miniature figurines to their corresponding identification cards. Once all the figurines were matched, they got to find out whether they had them all correctly identified. On the back of each card was more information about the figure. The most commonly identified figure was, of course, the Pyramids of Giza, while the figure we learned the most about was Bastet, the Ancient Egyptian goddess typically portrayed as a cat!
All in all, we had an exciting night Wondering about the Ancient Egyptians and their fascinating culture. This program was great because the adults were just as engaged as the children, and everyone went home having learned something. As one mom put it, “It’s so great to discover something that my children are interested in, so that I can use it to find all kinds of further learning opportunities.” We’re glad that they could find those learning opportunities at their local public library.
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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