Cute & Simple (Friday)
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Cute & Simple: Camp Invention

By Leslie Lindsay

It has been a week of math, science, fun, creativity, and critical thinking for my 6 year-old.  “Camp Invention” was the place for my spritely redhead who loves inventing and creating.  A national program, a subgrop of Invent Now, this creative and motiving team of teachers, volunteers, and junior camp counselors made this an enriching week of hands-on problem-solving and brain-storming.  Held at a local elementary school and sponsored in part by our school district, I was more than pleased when my budding inventor asked, “Mom, can I do this again next summer?!” 

Running like a school day–starting bright and early around 8:45pm and lasting till the quintessential 3:30 “school’s out” time frame, the schedule of events was divided neatly into classroom lecture and exploration, including modules (you know we’re talking nerds when the word “module” comes into play!) in wild animals, decoding and dechiphering, atomic journey, power play, and edison’s workshop.  Snacks, lunch, and friends round-out the day.

Today was the Inventor’s Showcase, the grand finale in which kiddos lead us parents around the school building introducung us to their creations.  Kate was proud of her roller-coaster contraption, her kids club hang-out, the bouncy-ball she made (“it’s a polymer, mom!”)  and the fact that she won the raffle to bring home the club house (just what every mom of an inventor needs, right?!)

But this was more than a week of masking tape, boxes, tubes, and duct tape…it was about recognizing that science is fun, creativity builds confidence, team-work gets things done, and academic content like biology, electrical engineering, and economincs(all inventions were created from recyclable materials).

Try it at home:

  • Gather some recyclable materials
  • Some “safe-enough” tools
  • Magnets
  • Marbles
  • Plastic “test tubes” from fresh flowers
  • Pipe cleaners
  • String
  • Straws
  • Index cards

Encourage tinkering and exploration with this items–supervised and unsupervised–see what they can come up with.  You just may be amazed at what your little inventor can do!

Ask these questions:

  • What were some challenges that you  dealt with?
  • What solutions were you able to come up with?
  • I wonder what would happen if…
  • Have you thought about it this way?
  • What do you hope to create/discover/do with this?

For more information on Camp Invention Programs, look to

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