Summer camp selection 101 & 102

It’s that time of year again… where we try to decide what awesome, exciting adventures our kids get to go on this summer. Whether they’re hanging out at home, heading out free-range, or they’re heading to camp, our great state has endless options. But, if you’re thinking about camp, here are some thoughts to help you get started.

Be thorough 

There are so many summer camp opportunities out there that you can literally find one for everything, even underwater basket weaving (well maybe). The point is that there are: film camps, music camps, math camps, engineering camps, technology camps, art camps, adventure camps, you name it, so really think about what your child’s main interests are and do a thorough search before you make up your mind.  Choosing a camp that is engaging is obviously the priority but balancing it out with some activities and interests that they haven’t had the opportunity to engage in can be really rewarding and open new doors for your child.

Empower your child!

Obviously, you want to choose a camp that isn’t right fit for your child. Recognize though that the right fit doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any challenges. In fact, find one that presents some challenges. Summer camp should help your child to get out of their comfort zone and experience many new things. Overcoming some challenges at summer camp, like being away from home, eating unusual foods, trying new activities will be difficult, but then, it will go from difficult to empowering!

Don’t send them to camp with their friends

Don’t pick summer camps based solely on your child’s best friends. Going with friends can be fun, but it often minimizes some of the best experiences at camp and minimizes the sense of independence they get from camp. Summer camp is a time to foster and forge new friendships and for kids to discover who they are by themselves; it makes them independent. When you send your child with their bestie, they often don’t branch out to others at camp. Camp can be an invaluable resource for helping your child to widen their circle of friends and also to develop a grander sense of the unique offerings of people who are new and different, including people of different races, cultures, and religious backgrounds. The more experiences your child gets with new people, the more compassionate they will be in accepting people who are different than them. Of course a camp with your bestie can be great too especially if your child is extremely shy.

Time

Do some soul searching and talking with your child about their thoughts about camp and the types of camps they might be interested in including, day camps, overnight camps, week(s) long camps. If your child wants to do a week long camp that requires they stay overnight away from home, assess whether or not your child has been comfortable going away with a friend, or spending the night away from their home. Summer camp probably shouldn’t be the trial run on whether your child is capable of sleeping away from home. 

Consider a camp in nature

While your child might not have the nature bug, spending time in the great outdoors can be life changing for a child. Camps give children safe spaces to play outdoors, a safe place to explore, a chance to reconnect with nature over technology. Wilderness camps or even social camps that take place in nature have inspired a number of children turned activists to get involved in protecting these precious resources.

Do your research

Once you have found a few camps that you think would be a great fit. Find out more information about the qualifications of the staff. It is great that there are energetic teens on staff, but there also needs to be qualified adults who designed the curriculum and oversee the quality of the instruction and leadership. Call and ask for references from past campers’ parents to get the scoop!

Here are some websites that will help you get started on you and your child’s summer camp exploration:

https://www.colorado-summer-camps.com

https://www.idtech.com/location-search?s=colorado&p=1

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2019/05/10/best-summer-camps-kids-colorado-overnight-outdoor/ (a good news story on last year’s camps available in Colorado)

www.kidscamps.com

Campanizer blog

Finally, when you find one you are very interested in, sign up quickly and early. A lot of camps fill up in a short amount of time, and you don’t want to do all that decision-making and then have to go back to the drawing board. Better yet, make a list of your top three, and you will be sure to get your child into one of them!

STEAM Activities to do from home

Maker Bolder just celebrated STEAMFest 2020 where we had an AMAZING time with our awesome exhibitors. Now that our home state (Colorado) and many other states have closed schools, you might be searching for fun things to do at home with a STEAM emphasis.

Behold our list of all things STEAM that can be done from home!

*Parents, please preview items for younger audiences. Some sources are from YouTube.

SCIENCE & SPACE San Diego Zoo Virtual Tour at the San Diego Zoo.
Polar Bears Polar Bears and the Tundra
NOVA Science Gross Science, Science Education at Home
Mystery Science School Closure Lesson Plans
Yellowstone National Park Virtual Field Trips:  Mud Volcano, Mammoth Hot Springs, and so much more.  Tour Yellowstone National Park!
Mars Rover Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover.
Space Tours Experience Space
Science Videos The Kid Should See This – Science
Animal Cameras Live Cams at the San Diego Zoo

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams

Panda Cam at Zoo Atlanta

6 Animal Cams at Houston Zoo

Georgia Aquarium has Jellyfish, Beluga Whales, and more

TECHNOLOGY Manufacturing How It’s Made
Tech How-Tos The Kid Should See This – Technology
Twenty Thousand Hertz Podcast all about the stories and history of famous sounds. (parents pre-listen for younger audiences).
Geek Girl Diaries Geek Girl Diaries
ENGINEERING  Adam Hart-Davis What Romans Did for Us, What the Ancients Did for Us
Modern Marvels Watch here
Engineer Girl Cool Links list
University of Colorado Boulder Engineering Teach Engineering STEM Curriculum for K-12
National Science Foundation Big list of Engineering Classroom Resources.
ARTS Coloring for Calm Coloring pages from 113 Museums! (Complete with all kinds of anatomy!)
Livestream Classic Concerts Met Opera to Berlin Philharmonic
Virtual Art Museums Travel to Paris, France to see amazing works of art at The Louvre.

List of 12 museums to virtually visit.

Google Arts & Culture offers exquisite views of art, cultural sites, and more.

Drawing with an Author Illustrator LUNCH DOODLE with Mo Willems
At-Home Art Lessons Cassie Stephens Art Blog
Let’s Make Art Take a look at this huge list of free digital downloads watercolor painting guides.
MAKING Animation Videos The Kid Should See This – Animation
Built By Kids Blog with lots of ideas for building.
Mythbusters Jr. Watch full episodes here.
Competition Shows for Makers Lego Masters, no description needed.

Making It with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.

Nailed It  and Kids Baking Championship for some baking inspiration.

MISC. Wow in the World NPR produced podcast covering all of the wonders of the world around us.
Open Culture FREE educational resources for K-12 students
Scholastic Remote Learning Resources by grade level.
Children’s Museum Stroll Walk through the Boston Children’s Museum thanks to Google Maps, explore all 3 floors!
The Great Wall of China This Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life.
Schoolhouse Rock Watch classic episodes here.
Brain Pop Access Request access to BrainPop for free.
Typing Practice Sharpen those typing skills.
STEM Resources 239 Cool Sites about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

 

>> Send us more to update this list at gabi at makerbolder dot com

 

**Some of this list was sourced from Mrs. Fahrney’s list that can be found here.

Breaking up the Boredom in 2020

Spring fever is definitely a legitimate affliction.. and now that we’re social distancing… or maybe straight up quarantined, spring fever could be in high gear at your house. I know it is at ours, and our schools are closed for two and a half more weeks. Fortunately, there are cures. The first course of action is getting outside every possible second that you and your kids can. When the week starts, I check the weather forecasts to determine the days that we can get outside. Secondly, I plan, plan for when can’t and plan for when we can!

Hunting

Scavenger hunts are always a lot of fun! Check out all these lists on Pinterest. We also made a Scavenger Hunt list for you earlier this year. The lists include hunts around town, at the park, and even around your home. They will keep kids entertained and busy! The best part is that regardless of whether the weather is a lion or a lamb, you have a fun way to spend time together.

Battle Time

Nerf wars are the best (at least they are for my family). The mega guns and bullets are ideal because they are easy to load, and the bullets don’t do damage to anyone or anything indoors and outdoors. Also, you can play it rain or shine depending on the weather. Our favorite game is called “Three” (very creative). We give each other three lives. When you lose all three lives you are out of the game and have to wait for the start of the next. When we couldn’t run through the house or get outdoors, we would set up action figures 10 feet away and have target practice. We’d have Nerf Olympics and see who could hit the most targets in the shortest amount of time. You could even do it outdoors and have a course where you run and jump and then have to stop, crouch and hit your targets.

Speaking of a “course,” if you can get outside, build a fun ninja warrior course! They are all the rage and springing up in almost every city. Longmont has Warrior Playground, Lafayette has Ninja Nation, and right here in Boulder, we have Superhuman Academy. These are great ways to get out the pent up energy when rain is in the forecast. But, when you and the kids can get outside, it’s a wonderful family project to build your own course in your own backyard. You can use things that most homes already have like 2’ by 4’s, those soccer cones you have from when you coached, hula hoops, ropes and even your swing set. Or you and your kids can get on your engineering hats and come up with a course that may take some time build, but that will keep you all busy and having fun for years to come! Here are a few sites to help you get started: Ninja Warrior Blueprints, Remodelaholic, and News.com

Game Time

Hide-n-seek is probably a no brainer, but it is so fun that it has to be mentioned. There are some fun variations for when you have to be indoors. Try playing in the dark with flashlights down in the basement. Get together all the squirt guns and play hide-n-go seek outside when the weather permits.

Geocaching

If you remember, we talked about geocaching earlier this year. What a fun family activity to do when you have the opportunity to get outside! Drive to a local park or recreation area where there are a number of caches and let your kids loose to treasure hunt. Before you go out, consider making some treasures to exchange or add to the boxes: a friendship bracelet, a piece of art, a homemade key chain or have them gather up all those little toys that you accidentally step on or that get stuck in the vacuum. 

Snack Time

When your kiddos are trapped inside, get your kids involved in planning and prepping snacks and meals. Have them help you with the grocery list and take them shopping. Make each of them responsible for finding 10 items on the list and see who can get done first (no running)! Teach them proper food preparation. For those competitors in your family, you can also have a snack-making Top Chef contest. Each member of the family can give points for favorite snacks. Total up the scores after a week or two. 

The good news about Spring Fever is, at worst it will last for a couple more months. At best, we may be able to get outdoors most every day of the week. Should the prior be our reality, add a few of these ideas to your rotation of medicines to cure your family’s ailments, then do a Spring Fever dance, and hopefully soon we will be fully recovered. 

Summer Camp Strategy – Make the Best Summer Plans a Reality

Summer is Around the Corner (Really!)

summer camp, education, learning, science, parenting

Summer Camp can be an enriching experience filled with social emotional learning (and fun!)

With winter in full swing, it is hard to imagine warm weather and the end of school ever being a reality.  But, before we know it, the final bell for the last day of school will ring, and our kids will come running out with boundless energy.  As parents, we need to be prepared and have a summer plan.

Summer camps are a great way to keep our kids engaged and cared for while we work in the summers, but even more importantly, they give our children wonderful opportunities to explore their world, to grow socially and intellectually, and to get out their endless exuberance.  Because of those reasons, camps are in high demand. So, as with most things, it is the early bird that gets the worm (aka the best camps in the area).

Step 1: Brainstorm and make a summer camp list

Talk with your child about things that they would like to do this summer.  Think about your child’s interests.  There are camps for almost everything under the sun: cooking, art, film, Legos, science, you name it…

Also talk to your child about what kind of camps they are comfortable with.  Some children are independent and secure enough, not to mention mature enough, to want to try out some overnight camps.  Other children may think that sounds fun, but when it comes time to leave their home and family for a week, they may not be ready.  Consider doing a test run first.  If your child hasn’t been away to a friend’s for a couple nights, then they probably aren’t ready to leave everything they know and be gone for a week.

Step 2:  Research what summer camps are available

A basic Google search will give you a lot of options, but here are a few sites that might simplify your search.

  • The American Camp Association (ACA) is a database that filters the camp offerings across the nation.  There are 3717 camps/11,071 programs to choose from.  You can filter the choices by costs, duration, participants (including family or individuals), activities, affiliations, disabilities, and location.
  •  There are a number of camps that provide kids with amazing opportunities to explore science, technology, and engineering, including:  Colorado Stem Connect , CU Science Discovery Programs, ID Tech Camp at CU Boulder
  •  The Denver Post has an amazing supplemental insert that can be viewed online and that lists many of the camps available in Colorado.
  •  KidsCamp.com is a nationwide database that also allows parents to search by activities, dates, and locations.
  •  Denver YMCA also has a number of camps to choose from.  
  • Colorado Parent Magazine has a handy Summer Camp Guide filled with great information and links to innovative summer camps.

Once you have researched and found some camps that might be of interest to your child, then you should apply as soon as possible to secure your child’s spot. But before you do, make sure you create a calendar that outlines the summer.  Plug in time with grandparents, time with friends, and mark off the week after school gets out and before school starts to give your child some much-needed downtime.

Step 3 – Preparing your kids for summer camp

Camping List: Check to make sure your child has all the supplies they need for camp.  Read and reread the packing list.  If the camp doesn’t allow phone use, prepare your child.  If they can’t have electronics, keep them home.   Make sure that they have tried out any new equipment in order to test it and make sure it is comfortable and in working order before they head to camp.

No matter their age, Kids love a variety of summer activities.

Talk: Discuss with your child what the sleeping arrangements are going to be like.  Talk about showering and whether or not it is in a setting that is different from what they have experienced at school or at home.  Find out if they will be sleeping in a big room with 10 other kids or if they will be partnered up with someone.  The better you prepare them for anything unique they may experience the more likely they will be ready and enjoy their experience.  But don’t worry too much because part of the camp experience is learning to navigate new situations and helping your child build confidence.  They may fail, but they also have the supports to overcome any challenges.

Make a Plan: Have a homesickness plan!   Give your child some strategies for working through feelings of fear and sadness.  Encourage them to tell a counselor.  Counselors are trained to help children work through those feelings.  Encourage them to go talk to a new friend, make a new friend, or try an activity when they start to feel blue.  Help them redirect themselves with deep breaths and happy thoughts

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back:  You are providing your child with an unforgettable experience that will prepare them for the future!

 

You Survived the Bomb Cylone – Wanna Build a Snowman?

Turn that Plain Jane Snowman into a Traffic Stopper!

“Do you want to build a snowman?”

“NO!” Your children exclaim.

snowman, creative, activities, winter

Photo from Andrea_molnarova29 on Instagram

Building snowpeople can lose their charm quickly, especially when you have to spend an hour getting dressed and you’re entertaining children whose boredom meters jump off the charts with the slightest repetition.  So, now what?  It’s time to think outside the box and get rid of Frosty’s 1960’s Burl Ives attire and persona and actually make him (or her) come to life!  Instagram is, of course, a great place to find ideas.

This is one of those slap yourself in the head moments where you think “why didn’t I think of that.” Why not make an actual snow person!  Your children can make one that has human parts and dress them up with items that define their likes and personalities.

Snowman, winter activities, familyUpside Down, Girl You Turn Me… Old Classic Snowman, Made New!

 

This clever snowperson from Mommy Shorts has things all upside down.  Visit Mommyshorts.com for other inventive spins on ole’ Frosty that will h

snowman, winter activities

Another creative idea from Mommy Shorts at Mommyshorts.com

ave your kids flying out the door in no time.

 

Use Props for your Snowman!

Snowmen like to play too!  Photos and ideas from Topbuzz.com. Click the link to see more highly imaginative ideas. Spoiler alert, some of them are darn right cute, and some might be better suited for a snowy Halloween.

dinosaur, snowman, winter activities, outdoors, family

Photo from BlotTO on Pinterest

Get Artsy!

Think snow sculpture like those on blogTO and who knows where you and your child’s imagination will go!  And, why not give your kids squirt bottles and/or spray bottles filled with water and food coloring or tempera paint. They will have a ton of fun turning your snowy yard into a winter masterpiece.  Check out Resourceful Mama for more ideas.

dog, snowman, winter activities, family

Photo by Jill Yarberry-Laybourn

 

Or check out this snow dog that is sure to get your kids excited about heading out the door!

Better Yet, Drink Your Snowman!

 Once your kids are happy and exhausted come inside for some good ol’ fashioned hot chocolate. Only this time, think outside the box and make one that is not only delicious, but adorable. Check out these whipped cuties!

winter activities, snowman, hot cocoa, hot chocolate, whipped cream, family fun

Photo from carolinaepicurean and @janturally.jo on Instagram

frozen bubble, snow activities, bomb cyclone

Bomb Cyclone Headed your Way? No Problem. With These Activities, Experiments and Projects to Keep Boredom at Bay!

Mischief with Jack Frost—Activities, Experiments and Projects to keep Kids Learning and Boredom at Bay!

Winter can seem like it is going to go on forever!  Fortunately, winter can also be darn cool (and I don’t mean the temperature); I mean, there are some pretty fantabulous experiments, projects, and activitiesthat are really fun to try out during the snowy days controlled by Jack Frost.

 

snowflakes, winter, jack frost, boredom

Capture and photograph snowflakes – are there two alike?

Stop and smell the roses. The roses?!  It’s winter!

 

Stopping to smell the roses is important in life because it allows kids and parents to slow down and notice the beauty Mother Nature has created.  Stopping long enough to really see the snowflakes fall is the winter alternative.  Take a piece of black construction paper outside and let the snow fall onto the paper.  Snap close-ups of 10 or so different flakes.  While you’re at it, stick your tongue out and catch a few!  With your child and a cup of hot cocoa, come in and examine the photos of each flake.  Does each snowflake have six sides?  Are all of them different?  Test those scientific claims.

Live like the Aleut!

Make an igloo just like the Aleut’s of Alaska.  Utilize your sandcastle building skills and get the recycling out and make blocks with the bottoms of milk jugs.  You can even add a little food coloring to jazz up your winter abode.  The igloo will present a number of challenges for your adult brain and will get those kids problem-solving in no time.  If you want someone else to tell you how to do it, check out Kids Craft Room article on How to Build an Igloo, or JerryRigEverything.com  for step by step directions for a simple igloo.  You might also consider a fort made of snow blocks and forge an epic snowball battle.

If a larger than life home is too daunting, or your children are too little, consider having the kids build one  out of mini ice cubes and salt..  While you are at it, you can have a good discussion on why salt is put down on the roads.  And hey, while we are looking for teachable moments, why not do a little research on the Aleut because they are fascinating people; I mean they use all parts of the whale for a number of purposes including lighting their homes.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Not everyone lives in Arendelle with Elsa and Olaf.  No snow? You just have to make some of your own “indoor” snow.  Best part, you don’t need a fancy science experiment kit. Watch the video at DaveHax.com for a fast and fun project to make your own winter fun.  It only takes hair conditioner (white) and baking soda.

frozen bubble, snow activities, bomb cyclone

Bubbles created outdoors can freeze into beautiful, frosty patterns.

Who doesn’t like bubbles?

Everyone loves blowing bubbles.  Bubbles don’t just have to be for the summertime.  With the Bomb Cyclone hitting the Western U.S. with a vengeance, it opens up opportunities for some super cool projects.  Blow your bubbles in the freezing air and watch them turn into a futuristic looking sphere.  If the weather is too warm?  No problem, you can do the same activity with dry ice, click the link for directions from ThoughtCo.com

 When the Weatherman Can’t, the Candy Man Can!

If you can’t get outdoors because the Bomb Cyclone has you pinned in the house, try making some ice candy (actually it is more commonly known as rock candy, but who is splitting snowflakes here?). Your kids will learn about crystallization.  They can also see how sugar has multiple personalities and changes from a solid to a liquid and then back to a solid.  The ice candy does take a couple weeks to complete so it is best done with older children who won’t lose their marbles waiting, or you can go buy some finished product to have right now and eat your experiment later.   Check out the video created by The Sci Guys  for the step-by-step instructions.

Keep the ice, ice coming baby while kids continue learning and having fun even when it’s a snow day! These projects and many more are available all over the internet; all it takes is a few words and some clicks.  There is even a page on pinterest specifically titled “Winter STEM activities” that will warm your heart even if your fingers and toes are frozen!

Mobile Maker Kits – BVSD Maker Ed.

By Kristie Veitch

Mobile Maker Kits are a part of BVSDs new initiative to bring “learning by doing” back in classrooms. Read all about them here.

mobile maker kitSo, you’re looking at this mobile maker kit thinking, “my students will enjoy it but how do I turn this into activities that generate rigorous learning?” Kids love making and they become wildly engaged and we’ve got you covered on harnessing energy and interest into learning and exceeding standards.

For starters, Makey Makey can provide you and your students with an incredibly smooth ramp into Arduino and what’s known as “physical computing” while also offering a flexible tool that can help your student inventors integrate noises, buzzers, and signals into projects. Try building your own as the inspiration to understand types of numbers. You can do even more with Makey Makey and Scratch programming, tying in lots of subjects: teach history while meeting CCSS ELA standards or teach mitosis, programming, and making together!  If you need a ramp into integrating Makey Makey and Scratch, this project can help.

Sphero Edu also has a platform full of activities designed to bring making, creativity, and learning together. Learn about morse code and write secret messages, model planetary motion and you can even find projects that combine Makey Makey and Sphero to model more complex phenomena like this Workbench project on phases of the moon!

Workbench has hundreds of projects ready to go, many using the tools in your kits. The best part is, you can also create a free account that will allow you to turn your back of the napkin project idea into a project, share it with colleagues, set up classes, assign projects, and track your students’ progress. AS your maker kits change, and you discover new uses, Workbench Platform will help you organize, deploy, and develop the best ideas for your classes.

 

 

Gathering STEAM at home!

Written by Patricia Jarvis, Ph.D. /Bixby School  

We all have a wonderful challenge:

Our children are born as creators, scientists, thinkers, and makers! Yet how do we nurture and foster their natural curiosity at home? How do we create spaces at home that support their explorations and allow for the all important “messing about” and process of discovery?

Here is a short list of ideas that could turn into an amazing family experience!

  • Start with a clean surface and space that can become a maker station in your home. (You so not have to have a large home to do this!). Think outside the box (Do you have an underused table or kitchen desk? Is this an indoor or outdoor space?)
  • Look into possibilities with your child on how to stock the area. If it is hard to decide, use your local resources: the art store, Resource, Pinterest for ideas. What grabs a current interest? Is there something new you want to try out?
  • Think big or really little! Children often enjoy building big or tinkering little. Think about the scale of what they are interested in.
  • Materials do not have to be expensive! Recyclables, loose parts, and natural materials from outside are all great choices to get started.
  • Make space and time for your new area of exploration. Would it be fun to go there after breakfast on weekends or at the end of a long day? Would it be fun to explore with your child before you step back and let his/her creative juices flow? Offer a “maker’s jam” to your child: get comfy in old T-shirts than can handle paint and turn on some tunes-then create, invent, and tinker away!

A first project idea: A catapult!

Challenge: How many ways can you built a table size catapult?

Possible parts and pieces for your maker’s space:

  • Rubber bands (different types)
  • 20 pencils
  • Spoons
  • Pompom balls
  • Craft sticks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Paper clips
  • Markers
  • Construction Paper
  • Scissors

Send us a photo your design (email it to patriciaj@bixbyschool.org) and we will share it here at Bixby School with our makers in their brand-new makers’ studio! You will have a chance to win a prize!

Robotics, workshops, science, experiences, innovative, boulder, robots

Meet a Maker – Innovative Experiences and Andrew Donaldson

Robotics and Science and Fun… Oh My!

Meet amazing maker, Andy Donaldson and his exciting new STEAM Workshop and Camp company, Innovative Experiences.  Innovative Experiences provides STEAM Workshops that include robotics, science, engineering, arts, making and more!

Innovative Experience’s workshops for tween, teens, and adults with a variety of activities and costs to meet a variety of needs.  They offer everything from a couple hours to play with different materials and make something, up to a 4-day Robotics camp or the weekly Innovators Club. What makes IE different from other Maker spaces or STEAM workshops is that they provide unique, thought-provoking activities that allow you to explore all the possible solutions while also expanding your understanding of how things can work together.

What workshops are offered?

Atlanta, GA, USA - March 28, 2015: Kids attempt to drop bottle caps into a cup using a prosthetic arm and hooks, at a Georgia Tech prosthetics exhibit at the Atlanta Science Fair in Centennial Park in Atlanta.

Starting in September, these are the workshops that will be offered:

  • Roborobo Workshop: Wednesdays Sept 21 – October 26. 6 – 8 pm. We will use the Roborobo kits to build and program many different robots throughout the week.  Participants end with an activity that will requires them to use creativity to design, build and program a robot that isn’t part of the guided activities.
  • Innovators Club: Each week, participants decide to start or continue the previous project. Each project will focus on inventing or improving an existing technology.  Work happens individually and/or in groups to design and build something that hasn’t existed before.  Participants will be an integral part of the decisions made around the activities offered at Innovative Experiences.
  • Hourly workshops: Guided activities using a variety of resources and materials. Participants can take home most of what they make or just play with the materials. New activities will constantly be offered and are focused on Engineering, Arts and Science such as bridge building and other architectural projects, robotics, Little Bits, 3D printing and projection mapping, making ice cream with dry- ice and liquid nitrogen, pumpkin carving, winter activities, design a board game or invent something that solves a problem!

Innovative Experiences RoboRobo workshop.

What happens at the RoboRobo Workshop?

In the Roborobo workshop, participants start by building basic robots and learning basic construction and programming on the first day! The second day is for exploring other robots and practice programming them.  On the third day, challenges are added to make an existing robot do something new.  The last day consists of working in teams to design, build and program a unique robot that can accomplish a specific task such as go over obstacles, or destroy the opposing team’s castle with a projectile.  The best part is, you get to keep the robotics kit as part of the workshop and can practice building and playing at home between workshops. Parents are welcome and encouraged to join us to practice using the robots and share a new activity with your child. If you really enjoyed the workshop, don’t worry! The fun doesn’t stop there. With six levels of Roborobo kits to choose from, you can keep coming back for more fun activities and expand your robotics collection.

 

What makes Innovative Experiences different from a Maker space?

The goal of Innovative Experiences, says Donaldson, “is to provide experiences that inspire creativity, have real-world application and make learning fun.”

While many Maker spaces are great for exploring and learning, many teens are not aware of them or interested because there is no goal. IE will offer fun and inspirational activities to show teens how their knowledge can be applied in the real world. Finally, the costs of belonging to a Maker space and providing materials or attending similar camps/ workshops can be expensive. Innovative Experiences offers workshops in a safe atmosphere, at an affordable cost.

About Andy

Andy Donaldson has spent the better part of a decade working as an educator. His passions include working with students, finding creative ways to learn, and working with his hands. Recently, Andy noticed that the growth of the STEAM movement has targeted younger age groups and provided an opportunity that hasn’t really been fulfilled in secondary education.  That is the inspiration for Innovative Experiences.  To offer fun, affordable activities to inspire creativity and relate to real world knowledge. Andy is also involved with the XQ Bolder Super High School project.

Please visit the website for more information and like us on Facebook.

Upcoming events:

September 21 – October 26, 2016 – Beginner Robotics Workshop – Wednesdays from 6 – 8 pm.  At the Boulder Center for Conscious Community (BC3) 1637 28th Street, Boulder, CO 80301

www.myschoolportals.com

www.facebook.com/innovativeexperiences

gofund.me/innovex

title-5

improv, comedy, family, kids, funny

Laugh Out Loud – Get Your Improv On!

Quick Thinking. Hilarious.  Improv!

What’s this whole improv thing and why is everyone so jazzed about it?

Improvisational comedy has steadily been gaining ground for the past 15 years or so (though its roots date back to the 16th century, the modern form of improv was introduced in the 1940’s and 50’s) it seems that everyone is trying it these days. If you are one of the people who has been curious and standing on the sidelines – let us introduce you to great reasons for you to jump in!

What is improv? 

You could say it’s a mindset, but that wouldn’t be accurate because one of the tenets of improv is to get OUT of your head. Improv is a theatrical art form where the story, characters and action are created collaboratively in the moment. There are no scripts or predetermined plots, just like in life. However, you are guided by a series of rules or guidelines that encourage more harmonious and creative play. So really taking an improv class and participating in improv exercises you are being introduced to a new way of being, of acting on life.  Continued participation strengthens your ability to experience a new, more effective way of engaging in the world.

Who can benefit? 

Often the perception about improv is that it is something only for the funny and the brave or for actors and theater types. Wrong! Anyone who wants to experience more fun, connection and living the principles of Zen-in-action, can benefit from an improv class. No one says you have to perform, but chances are once you do this stuff and get a little more comfortable getting out of your head and trusting your fellow players, you won’t mind an invitation to go up on stage.

What will it do for me? 

Improv massages and resurrects positive aspects of living that may have atrophied over the years. Here are just a few things improv can do for you:

  • Letting Go.  Most of us have been taught and reinforced that the way we get through life successfully is that we figure out how to manipulate and control it. Our motto is, “when the going gets rough- hold on tighter.” Unfortunately, that really doesn’t work. It leads only to anger, reacting with fear and negativity, denying reality and trying to change and mold it to “my way.”  Then where are we? Frustrated, uptight, and unhappy. Improv teaches you to flow with what is. You will get to experience into what is placed in front of you and you will experience how to relax into it and work with it.
  • Right Thinking. Are you an overthinker? Is your mind more a foe than a friend? You’re not alone. We are all taught to think things out thoroughly before acting on anything. After doing that, some of us are frozen in inaction. We’ve lost the ability to trust our instincts and impulses. The other way we misuse our brain power is to defend our positions and get locked into judgement of right and wrong. By doing improv exercises we are encouraged to “jump in” and decide. Choose. Make a choice and know that it will all be ok. There are no mistakes in improv – another powerful principle. Imagine playing with that principle over time. Improv allows you to use your brain more fully – accessing both hemispheres and shutting down the critic.
  • Connect with the Fun. There was a time in your life when that was all you knew- play and fun. It’s called childhood. Kids under the age of 10 are probably the only people who don’t need an improv class. They seek play and fun in most situations- doesn’t matter if they are in class, at church or standing in line at the grocery store. Improv connects us back to our playful nature. Say hello to the fun you that got buried under the shoulds and demands of life. Play again!
  • Trust. How much is fear running you right now? It’s a pretty scarey world out there. Just turn on the news for three minutes and we are reinforced that this world is a very unsafe place. Improv gets you believing in the goodness of life and people. Improv doesn’t work without an atmosphere of support and trust. Improv teaches two very key principles – take care of yourself, and take care of others. Hugely important principles. You learn that you can’t take care of others without taking care of yourself and you really can’t truly be happy and fulfilled with out serving others. Improv by it’s very nature reinforces the trust force field.
  • Saying “Yes” to Life. Sometimes we can feel like that two year old that just says no to everything. That’s another way of saying “my way.” That doesn’t work in improv. It’s a moment-by-moment thing that grows by our attachment to the principle of “Yes And!” Meaning not only do we agree with what has been placed in front of us, we add to it.

All these things work together; as we let go, use our mind correctly to say “yes and” to life then we begin to trust and experience more joy and a liberating and invigorating sense of play.

Now who wouldn’t want more of that?

Interested in learning more about Improv?  Come to our Family Improv Night on March 11th, 2016.

 

Written by:  Pam Farone

Pam Farone is a career coach and improv instructor focused on creating joyful careers and happy work environments.

www.pamfarone.com