Last week was my last English Camp in my sweet little village. It was four days of chaos, games and hanging out with my favorite kids.
I got the details from my counterpart the week before, how many kids would be attending, what time camp would be, what they’d like to be included and sat down to make a plan. After perusing Pinterest for an inordinate amount of time (I got distracted by jam and pickle recipes, summer here means loads and loads of fresh fruits and vegetables), I finally settled on doing some sort of science theme and filling the week with activities.
Definitely the most messy and chaotic. We started day one with a quick speaking activity. I wrote 6 questions on the board and the kids rolled our giant dice to choose which of the questions they would answer. Questions ranged from “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” to “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
After we got through most of the class, I explained our next activity. We would be conducting an “experiment” using oobleck. What’s oobleck? The technical term is a “non-newtonian substance.” This just means that it doesn’t follow Newton’s law of viscosity, it’s neither a liquid or a solid. I’m sure you encountered it one science class or another. It drips through your hands, but if you poke it, it’ll be solid. I did a lot of Wikipedia reading leading up to this and it’s all very interesting, but it’s just cornstarch and water. We didn’t have cornstarch in the village, but potato starch did the trick.
Before I literally let them get their hands dirty, they looked at the items I had passed out to them: paperclips, dice and coins, and predicted whether they thought each item would float or sink in the oobleck. After we discussed that, I passed out the giant bowls of oobleck and let them go crazy. They loved it and had a blast. I thought I had taken enough precautions by putting down trash bags and giving kids napkins to clean there hands, but it turns out they made a mess anyway…and the water wasn’t on in the school so the mess got tracked all around. I still think it was worth it though.
After they finished playing with the oobleck, scooped it into cups to take home and cleaned up as best they could without running water, we went outside and played a game that I got from my dad. It’s called “Save the bacon” and if you went on any mission trip with the Carter clan, did KOM or just spent too much time with us, I’m sure you’ve played it once or twice.
Everyone sits or stands in a circle and two people put on blindfolds in the middle of the circle. After they have their blindfolds in place, I placed a spray bottle somewhere in the circle and the two with blindfolds on search for the spray bottle while everyone else basically screams at them directions. When they find the spray bottle, they have to spray the other blindfolded kid (and usually end up spraying everyone in the circle as well). We played that for a while, until the spray bottle broke, then went inside, played a quick energizer and went to do our second experiment.
This one was less messy, we made balloon rockets with string and tape. Some groups were more successful than other, but they all did a great job. After they seemed to lose interest, headed outside for some improv games to finish up the day and sent them home.
This day was scavenger hunt day. We started with a quick energizer game in the classroom, went outside for a few more rounds of Save the Bacon with the extra spray bottle I had at my house. After that, Chezara and I explained the rules to the scavenger hunt. This was a photo scavenger hunt. The kids had to find each item on the list and take a picture with team members in it. The list allowed for a lot of creativity, which I appreciated and enjoyed. It was another great Pinterest find. The list had a lot things like “Find something red” and “Find something fluffy.” I loved seeing how creative my students were in seeking out different items.
After they finished up their search, I had them send me the pictures they took during their hunt. After lunch, I set up our new projector and we got to see everyone’s pictures.
This ended up being our final day and we spent it on a village clean up day. I bought trash bags and gloves, not enough as it turned out, but I popped over to the store to get more.
I told the kids that the team that picked up the most trash would get ice cream and they delivered. We set boundaries, they could pick up trash on school grounds, across the street at the park and in front of the store. They picked up around 50 bags of trash! I was super impressed! Some of the kids didn’t completely follow the rules and went up to the stadium to pick up trash, but the three winning teams (out of around 10 teams) each picked up 6-8 giant bags of trash!
I followed through and grabbed them ice cream to finish our day and our camp. It was stressful at times, and I’m honestly not sure how much English they learned, but I had a ton of fun with these kids and times like these are making me seriously think about how I’m going to say goodbye to them in 5 short months.
I still have my upcoming second-annual American sports camp and I’ve gotten a lot of excitement and interest about that. I got about 50 permission slips turned, so I’m excited to see who comes and how I’m able to wrangle these kids with half as many volunteer, but I’m sure we’ll manage just fine.