Guest Post: Camp Wonderopolis® at LFPL: “This was the best camp ever!”

Six libraries across the nation were awarded $1,500 grants, NCFL training, and Youth and Family Campsite Kits to implement Camp Wonderopolis programming this summer, thanks to generous support from Better World Books. These libraries provided Maker activities exclusively found in the Youth and Family Campsite Kit and suggested book pairings for each of the six Camp Wonderopolis tracks online. In this guest blog post, Louisville Free Public Library (Louisville, Ky.) shares how Camp Wonderopolis programming shaped summer learning for their families:

What is energy?3

What is potential energy?

What is kinetic energy?

Every week of Camp Wonderopolis at Louisville Free Public Library, we taught our participants a new word. For the Wonder Stadium track, we taught our participants (ages 4-8) what kinetic and potential energy is.

Knowing we could not just talk about energy, because that is no fun, we demonstrated kinetic and potential energy through various means, including jumping jacks, running in place, and bouncing a ball. Each of the children were encouraged to think of a way they could demonstrate kinetic energy for the staff and parents. The children jumped in the air, ran around the room, and performed other exercises as a demonstration.

20160808_121917Once everyone had the chance to demonstrate kinetic energy, we sat everyone down and created our own Angry Birds masks. Naomi, one of our teachers, had made a pink Angry Birds mask and was told by Sam, one of the participants, that the pink Angry Bird’s name is Stella. The staff taught the children, and the children taught the staff. Another participant, Abby, shared facts with everyone each week. She had facts about anglerfish, spiders, ants, giraffes, and she even taught everyone that caterpillars “turn into jelly” before becoming a butterfly. (A butterfly forms its cocoon and digests itself. Those digested parts of the caterpillar are what form into a butterfly.)

After everyone had transformed themselves into Angry Birds, they were given a ball and instructed to use boxes, cardboard bricks, and “bag piggies” to create their own Angry Birds scenario and knock the set down using the ball and kinetic energy. This was a favorite with everyone! Some kids threw their ball at the Angry Birds set they created. Louie started out throwing his ball at the set, but ended up running through the set himself. Some of the sets were tall with lots of boxes, others were smaller with two or three boxes. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed playing real-life Angry Birds!

4After letting the children use lots of energy playing Angry Birds, we had a snack. During snack and meal times, we would explain why the foods we were eating are good for our bodies. We had yogurt because it helps our body recover after exercise; pineapple because it is anti-inflammatory; and strawberries because it has anti-inflammatory benefits as well as antioxidants, which was our vocabulary word for the Wonder Circuit track. All of the children loved learning that antioxidants are like “vitamin superheroes” that protect our bodies from things that make us sick.

After snack time a few children wanted to stay and help clean up with the staff. After everything had been picked up and all the children had left with their parents, Abby came running into the room, hugged each of the teachers and told her teacher Naomi, “This was the best camp ever!”

Camp Wonderopolis is a virtual camp and online learning tool created by NCFL, which is available year-round to all families, libraries, schools, and community organizations.