Guest Post: McBride Memorial Library families get hands-on at Camp Wonderopolis®

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. 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, McBride Memorial Library (Berwick, Penn.) shares how Camp Wonderopolis programming shaped summer learning for their families:

When I read about Camp Wonderopolis being offered in libraries, I knew that I had found a great addition to summer programming at McBride Memorial Library.

We know children learn more in out-of-school activities that are engaging instead of passive. Camp Wonderopolis provided the ability to not only have kids build their knowledge through hands-on activities, but also provided adults with the chance to create experiences with their children—as well as give online opportunities through the Camp Wonderopolis website. With funding from the NCFL and Better World Books, my library was able to provide activities that kept the families engaged and prompted more questions.

Do you know what homemade pickles smell like?

What makes this work out so well is the ability to participate in a lot of Maker activities. It’s the hands-on experience that makes the children able to make the connections that generate more questions. For example, the Wonder Food Truck allowed us to work with actual food and generated questions like: How are pickles made and what makes them pickles? What is the difference between a pickling pickle and a cucumber? When they are cutting up the cucumbers and adding the ingredients, it makes them aware of the smells, which helps enforce that this is a chemical process that changes the nature of the cucumber. Pickling is not a Maker activity that can be done in an hour, but we were able to buy little mason jars that allowed the families to make different types of pickles, then take them home and observe the changes, and, finally, eat them!

Additionally, our library was able to buy Lego bricks that will enable our participants to build upon the Wonder Stadium lessons. We can talk about it and we can show pictures of stadiums, but now these kids will have the ability to see what goes into the building of an actual stadium. Instant engagement, but, as a bonus, we were able to buy small Lego kits that the families can take home as another maker activity. This will encourage participation at the library and also keep the child building at home. It’s a double win.

Teresa and Hailey

The number of smaller Maker activities that we are able to introduce in each session really helps keep the wheels turning. Here are Campers Teresa and Hailey making a sand shaker bottle that was then used as a dance prop during the activity as part of our Wonder Circuit. Hailey was thrilled to take her prop home where she can continue to apply the dance skills she learned at Camp, for free, at her local library.

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.