I attended the 2021 Campfire Conference virtually yesterday, and received a few things I wanted to share with you. With COVID-19 still looming, a great message as you approach your programs is to “Focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do”! I know it can be frustrating as many of you have been modifying programming since March. Hang in there, and take some of these ideas. Share your ideas with me too by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to bring back some ideas that may have worked 5-7 years ago like “Minute To Win It” challenges or that fun Tic Tac Toe game where you would run to one end of the gym with a bean bag and drop it on floor, and run back to grab another bean bag. Do you remember those? I guarantee your kids and staff did, and some never played them because they were not even born yet. Here are some things I wanted to share with you from a workshop I attended with Chuck Steinfurth from the First Coast YMCA. Always shares great things!
- Soda Box Jenga – See if you can get some old soda boxes together and use as Jenga pieces. A cheap and easy way to play the game. The pieces are bigger and work perfectly outside or inside.
- Cereal Box Memory – Cut off the front of the cereal boxes and use as your memory pieces. There are so many different cereal brands, you can have a fun and challenging game.
- 50 Ways to use your pool noodle (Chris Cavert and Sam Sikes) – Tired of playing the same tag games? Grab this book and will help give you some new games. https://www.amazon.com/50-Ways-Use-Your-Noodle/dp/0964654113
- Rock Throwing Range “Think Outside The Rules” – Setup a space outside, and have a place where you can hang up some fun objects. (Metal pots, metal signs, rubber tire and just fun things to hit that can make a fun sound too. Great way to burn some energy. You can also use slingshots, and use corn or old dry dog food. Sounds random and silly, but its cheap and easy. Your kids will love it.
- Makerspace – It is a place where young people have an opportunity to explore their own interests; learn to use tools and materials, both physical and virtual; and develop creative projects. You will need to start with some common supplies like cardboard rolls, foil, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, construction paper, tape, coffee filters, cups, boxes, string, and anything really. Just have the kids make what they want. If you want to take it to another level, make something assigned like a Robot using the supplies. If you want to advance it some more, have them a complete a challenge with the supplies. Allow time to design, build, and present.
- Integrate Makerspace with STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math). For example read a book like “The Three Little Pigs”. Then identify the challenge (House will be blown down), Draw a solution, and build a project. Test it out by using a box fan for the wind!
A great thing to do as you are planning for Week 1 is to create a space and culture for creativity with your campers and staff. Have them invent the game. Set it up where they can (DEVELOP, PRESENT, and PLAY). You may find your next big game for Summer 2021 from inside your own camp. I hope some of these will help you. Until next time!