We had a very exciting and eventful Summer Camp for 2 weeks from the 13th of April to the 24th. Both the children and the adults eagerly looked forward to each day with a lot of enthusiasm.
We started the camp with a traditional approach to Art via the activity of Stringing a flower garland and making a Thoranam. We explained to the children that this activity signified an auspicious beginning. They thoroughly enjoyed it in their own little ways… while one braided her hair with the flowers, another one made a “special garland” for her mother who has “short hair”.
An activity that we really enjoyed watching them do was when they had to lie down and trace their friends’ outlines to make a life size sketch, to which they then added details.
One little girl frantically ran around asking her friends, “What colour are my eyes?”, while another one chose to depict herself as if she was playing Holi. Attention to detail was obvious in the way they illustrated minute elements like rubber bands and clips in the hair, eyelashes curling upwards and so on.
The other activities offered were Paper Mache, Collage, Rangoli making, and Block Printing. The children also made Gift wrapping paper using newspaper. This was done on the 22nd of April, which was Earth Day. They realised that Art can also be a very creative way to recycle and reuse. We also had an interactive discussion about conserving various resources like paper, water and electricity. Children learnt about Waste Segregation too, through an exercise of separating dry and wet waste into different bins.
Cooking was one collaborative, fun experience where all we had to do was lay out the ingredients and the children did everything else. Right from chopping fruits and vegetables, grating cheese, squeezing out juice, sieving flour,to rolling out dough, making chapatis and dosas, and even baking a cake!! While we noticed some inherent chefs in the making, a few others just couldn’t wait to taste their own creations.The first question they would ask us as they walked in each day was, “Aunty, what are we making for snack today?”
The other area that really intrigued them was Science. We did a lot of simple experiments demonstrating different phenomena like Static Electricity, Capillary Action, Density, and various other chemical reactions. Some of the experiments were very dramatic and instantly generated a lot of “oohs” and “aahs”, while a few others, required them to wait patiently and observe the result over a few days. It invoked their curiosity to such an extent that one of them herself did an experiment at home, which she eagerly got the next day, to show all of us!
Each week ended with a special guest visiting us. For the first week, it was a four legged friend, Ropy brought by Sheetal, a passionate dog lover who is also a member of CUPA. This Pet Awareness Programme initially generated a lot of mixed reactions ranging from anxiety to excitement. But by the end of it, they understood that animals too have emotions just like us, and they were a lot more sensitive towards them. Sheetal also shared a lot of personal anecdotes of animals that she has rescued over the years and even gave us tips on taking care of dogs, in particular. The highlight was when one child remarked, “I think even Ropy is getting emotional listening to all these stories!”
The second week ended on a musical note, with a Musician/ Singer/Songwriter, Rajeev, who gave the children an insight into music and who also exposed them to a few musical instruments such as an Acoustic Guitar, a Pan flute and a Harmonica. The children enjoyed singing and keeping beat while he accompanied them on his guitar.
By the end of the camp we were like a small family with a whole lot of memories to cherish. Each child’s unique personality was reflected throughout the camp and their infectious energy and zest has set the tone for the rest of the year.