Jun 23, 2011

Mom Camp: Round Two

Yesterday I hosted a second group of kids for our summer Mom Camp.  It was a bad nausea day for me and the morning was rough, but we all pulled through and had a good time.

Based on lessons learned from Tyler's group, I made a few strategical changes for Zach's group.  First of all, I hired a teenager to help with set-up, implementation, and babysitting.  Gavin and Lexi napped for part of the time and were in Holly's care part of the time.  That was a huge improvement over last time.

Other changes happened as the science camp progressed.  I was really surprised, for example, at how much more...exuberant...the 8-12-year-old set was than their younger counterparts.  Wow!  I never knew a 12-year-old boy could be so chatty and loud!  The boys (and token girl) seemed to have a great time with our experiments.  Once again, we began with marshmallow-and-toothpick towers.  Zachary was thrilled to build the tallest freestanding structure, which stood about 13 inches high.  The kids were all very creative! 

We continued with science safety worksheets, and then made "lava lamps" in plastic bottles with oil, water, food coloring, and Alka Seltzer tablets.  These were a huge hit.  The boys discovered that adding multiple tablets made for a more energetic reaction in the bottle, leading to greater air build-up.  The kids all enjoyed unscrewing the bottle tops when the bottles were especially full and watching the caps fly through the air.  Zach was the only kid to spill his colored water, thank goodness.  Hopefully food coloring comes out of clothing as well as it wiped off the wood floor.

Next we made "oobleck,"  which turned out to be an extremely messy venture.  Who knew boys could have so much fun with slime?  It was hilarious to watch them experiment with and color their goo.  We watched this fun video clip of people walking across a pool of oobleck.  Pretty fun!

After these activities the kids clearly needed to burn some calories, so I sent them out to the backyard to RUN.  Holly supervised and I joined them after 15 minutes or so (I cleaned up and answered a couple of important and well-timed phone calls).  After a Popsicle snack we enjoyed two outdoor activities.

The first involved vinegar and Alka Seltzer tablets inside film canisters.  Depending on how the kids positioned them, the canisters either shot in the air like rockets or the lids popped off.  What a blast (literally!).

And then, for our grand finale, we launched Coke and Mentos geysers.  I instructed the kids better this time, so the geysers were lots more effective and I got better pictures.  Zach set off the last geyser, and in my concentration to capture a great photo, I didn't notice that he positioned his head directly in the stream of soda.  That diverted the geyser directly into me.  Fantastic!  I didn't wash the Coke out of my hair until this morning.

At the end of the day, I was completely exhausted, but I think we all had a good time.  I sent eight dirty and hyper boys home to the parents, which means I did a good job as a hostess, right?  I know one boy who was super happy.

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