Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Camp Wrap-Up!

What a summer it has been!! The Virginia Discovery Museum has had a very busy and entertaining summer season. We hope that all of our visitors, both regular and new, have enjoyed the museum, the exhibits, and, most especially, the camps! This summer, the Virginia Discovery Museum hosted 7 camps, each with an original and exciting theme encouraging the kids ages 4-7 to learn to express themselves in new and imaginative ways. The camps kicked off with This Land Was Their Land, an examination into the history and culture of original North Americans such as the Pueblos, Monacans, and Inuits. Kids designed their own straw-covered wigwams, made scrimshaw etchings, and constructed miniature “igloos” out of sugar cubes.

In the Friendship and Fantasies camp, children dove into the imaginative and unearthly world of Neil Gaiman and Tony DiTerlizzi. Embracing the literature of these two creative authors, the children practiced their letters while producing images of dragons and other fantastical creatures. Following the themes of the books, campers made pirate maps and went on treasure hunts, created “crazy hair” out of angel hair pasta, and fashioned their own hot air balloons helping their imaginations soar to exciting heights.

To round out the month of June, our third camp brought the focus back down to earth by Going Green! In honor of the museum’s back gallery exhibit of “It’s Easy Being Green,” children learned about our environment and how to preserve it. Incorporating the museum’s exhibit, the campers made art out of recycled materials, studied the pollination of flowers by bees, and witnessed the metamorphosis and releasing of our butterflies.

July took off like a rocket with the Infinity and Beyond camp that explored the far reaches of our solar system. Campers constructed constellations, turned themselves into aliens (complete with antennae!), and experienced the vast wonders of space with StarLab, the museum’s portable planetarium.

Our Best Friends encouraged the campers to become acquainted with the critters that sometimes become dearly loved household pets. Children interacted with a variety of furry friends such as dogs, cats, hamsters, and even chinchillas! They enjoyed special one on one time with each animal as they learned about the care and responsibility of providing for a pet.

With the end of July, campers ventured to the Asia in the Manga Madness camp to learn about the culture and history of Japan. The children experienced traditional Japanese foods such as tempura and miso soup along with creating their own Zen gardens and cherry blossom paintings. They continued their journey into Japanese culture with woodblock prints, ikebana flower arrangements, shoji screens, and warrior kites. What a way to study abroad without ever leaving the room!

Our last summer camp, Colorful Constructions, focused on the colors and shapes used to create fine art reminiscent of renowned artists like Picasso and Matisse. Campers constructed color wheels, fashioned bug mobiles, and created shapes to make Tanagram puzzles. On one exciting day, the campers ventured out of doors to the Mcguffey Art Center where they met artist Lana Lambert and learned about woodblock prints.

We hope that the children enjoyed these camps as much as we did. Please feel free to contact us with feedback and get ready to gear up for a thrilling fall season when we bring back regular weekly programs and introduce new original programs! Keep ahead of the season by checking out our webpage, our facebook page, and our monthly calendar.

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