Jun 9, 2011

Mom Camp: Round One

Some ladies in my ward have organized an activity for kids known as "Mom Camp."  I heard that those who participated last summer had a great time, so I was excited for my kids to enjoy the same opportunity this year.  My commitment wavered when I learned the camp sessions would be held in the afternoon, since nap time is sacred at our house, but ultimately I elected to have just the big boys participate.

The participating kids were divided into four age groups, and moms were assigned days to host each group.  The kids will meet on four different Wednesdays through the summer.  My job is to host each of my kids and their respective age groups.  My hosting days both fell in June.  Yesterday I hosted Tyler's six-and-seven-year-old group, and in two weeks I will host Zach's eight-years-and-up group.  I chose a science theme for my "camp," and plan to repeat yesterday's activities when I host again.  I was lucky to have a partner (most moms don't), and she did all the supply shopping.  Having two of us (plus her daughter) to run the show was also extremely helpful!

Here's a "before" shot, taken just before the kids arrived.  Doesn't it look so clean and peaceful?

The kids' first "experiment" was building towers with marshmallows and toothpicks.  It was so fun to see creativity and individuality spring up with each tower.

This girl's tower was the tallest by at least a foot.  She really figured it out!

In the aftermath of crashing towers, Tyler decided to play "chubby bunny."

Then the kids tried to complete a worksheet about scientific safety symbols.  They matched symbols to their descriptions.  As I explained the answers, we talked about science and safety at home.  I was charging my camera battery during this portion of camp.

Then it was time to bust out the chemicals: oil, water, food coloring, and Alka Seltzer tablets.  The kids used these ingredients to make lava lamps in plastic water bottles.  They thought it was fun to see how oil and water separate, and how fizzy water bubbles through oil.

Guess who woke up from his nap and was super excited to join the group?

Making "gak" was pretty fun, too.  The recipe I found online didn't work quite right, but the kids weren't disappointed!  They loved getting slimy as they mixed the goo, first with craft sticks and then with their fingers.

Trying to create a vacuum inside a glass bottle proved to be pretty tricky.  Only one of the seven kids successfully got a hard boiled egg inside the bottle.  But the rest of us had lots of fun trying!

After that we turned the kids outside to play for a few minutes while we cleaned up inside.

And then, the grand finale: Coke and Mentos geysers.  The results were pretty explosive!  Again, not perfect (two tipped over, but they eventually worked properly), but still fun.  The kids thought that was hilarious....even though it was really messy.  One kid started chugging the leftover Coke.  Hopefully his mom appreciated the caffeine buzz (haha).

Overall, I would count the afternoon a success!  I learned several things and made notes on what to do better next time.  If anyone has a tip on making the egg-in-a-bottle experiment work, I'd love to hear it!

Zach's age group visited Garden of the Gods, where they did a fun scavenger hunt and became Junior Rangers.  The group got waylaid for a while when two rock climbers were arrested (climbing the rock formations is prohibited).  When Zach wrote in his journal this morning, that was one of the details he included first!  I am sure many other adventures await both our boys as they participate in Mom Camp this summer.
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