Children are born true scientists.
They spontaneously experiment and experience
and reexperience again.
They select, combine, and test,
seeking to find order in their experiences—
“which is the mostest? which is the leastest?”
-R. Buckminster Fuller
It seems impossible that spring break and Easter are only a few weeks off, what with a Nor’easter on its way and the SNOW word being bandied about, but the weatherman assures me that indeed it is coming.
I’ve been in a state of mild panic about what to do with these kids during their break; Jeff works full-time, I work from home full-time. I can’t take them anywhere fun during the day, but I’m not about to let them sit in front of a screen all day (you know, like I do. Cue guilt). And while I’m cool with “just go outside, boredom is good for you” a few days a week, it seems like an unfair way to spend an entire vacation.
Happily, while public schools are on break, local KinderCare Spring Camps are in session! We have lots of KinderCare centers in Northern Delaware. I’d always thought they were just for toddlers and preschoolers, but the camp has full-day programs for both preschool and school-aged children.
And— this was the kicker for me— the theme this year? “The Secret Science of Dirt.”
Did you know…
- that some types of monkeys eat dirt?
- that it can take hundreds or thousands of years to make just one inch of dirt or soil?
- that soil or dirt can be of different shapes?
- that one cup of soil may hold as many bacteria as there are people on Earth?
- that the weight of all the bacteria in one acre of soil can equal the weight of one or two cows?
I know, right? Dirt is fascinating! I can’t wait until I (I mean, the kids and I) get some free time and can stick some dirt samples from our yard under the microscope.
Younger kids get five days of hands-on science lessons, veggie cooking, and craft-making, while the school-agers get five days of planting and tending vegetables, making compost, creating garden-related crafts, and preparing veggie treats. At the end of the week there’s a “Dig it! Science Fair” that parents are invited to attend (so stinkin’ cute).
Looking ahead to summer, they’ve got 12 more themed weeks of educational fun available: Wilderness 101; Dig Ancient Egypt; Wild, Wild West; Scienterrific; Spectacular Sports; Animal Antics; Gross and Gooey Science; Kids’ Kitchen; Sports Smarts; Art Expo; Splish Splash! and Feats of Science.
When I was in high school, I was part of a traveling chemistry road show and performed some simple experiments for grade-school kids. Like any normal 16yo, I signed up for this because it got me out of school for an hour or two once a month, but I really really enjoyed it, because kids of that age eat that stuff up. At first it seems like magic, but when you break down the processes to whatever their comprehension level is (and folks, it’s higher than you think) you just see the dawn break, you can hear the click in their minds as it all slots into place. And then they’re racing to apply that new knowledge in as many other places as they can think of.
It’s such an amazing and exciting thing to experience, and I’m so excited that Cass will get a chance to do some hands-on science in a fun environment, making new friends in the process. (Yes, I could do all these activities at home, but that’s not as cool, is it? I WISH. I’m hoping the third-party wow factor will make science experiment time with MOM more fun. Not that MOM isn’t willing to do them all by herself, because Mom is a total nerd like that.)
Teaching should be such
that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift
and not as a hard duty.
Want all the dirt on KinderCare camps? All ya had to do was ask:
KinderCare Spring Camp: The Secret Science of Dirt
KinderCare Summer Camp: 12 week-long camps make kids the experts
and while I’m thinking about it, you should totally check out the documentary Dirt! The Movie, which is available for streaming on Netflix. You’ll learn lots of cool facts about dirt and its importance, and the implications of the way we’ve been treating it. But you’ll also be amazed by the passion people have for the land beneath our feet.
Disclosure time! KinderCare is sending Cassidy to a week of spring or summer camp (depends on availability). Although a review of that week is not required of me, you know I’ll be sharing all the details with you. Cass is excited!
So, now what to do with the boys? Aged 10 and 13, any ideas?