Camp Blog

Backyard Fossils - July 2020

Becoming an archaeologist takes years of advanced study and specialized training, but what if I told you that you could become an archaeologist this summer? That’s right—prepare yourself to enter the exciting world of archaeology in your own backyard with the help of one of our counselors!

First things first: What is an archaeologist? Basically, an archaeologist is a person who studies artifacts from the past—fossils, old buildings, things people have left behind—to learn more about humans, different cultures, and how people lived. For example, think about some of the things you might have in your bedroom: a beloved book, a favorite pair of sneakers, a video game console. Now, pretend it’s 200 years into the future, and, over time, those items of yours have become buried. Some archaeologists might come along to dig and, in finding your old possessions, learn about what life was like in 2020. With your book, they can discover what subjects or genres young people liked to read. With your sneakers, they will learn what fashion trends were popular and what kinds of outdoor activities you might have liked doing. Finally, with your video game console, they’ll learn what you liked to do for fun. And, speaking of fun, an exciting part of being an archaeologist is that you get to travel the world to actually dig up different artifacts like these. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and you love to travel and learn, this could be the start of your future as an archaeologist!

Even if you don’t quite picture yourself as an archaeologist years down the road, you can still become an archaeologist for the summer with the help of one of our counselors. This Friday, you’ll see a familiar face on our social media platforms with a follow-along video about making a fossil in your own home. If this sparks your interest, make sure to check in with us at the end of the week—this is an activity you’ll really dig!

P.S. In the meantime, check out the American Museum of Natural History’s kid-centered archaeology page for games, activities, and videos!

Follow this link to see the video: https://youtu.be/UtQ_dREe6kE

Let's Get Cooking - June 2020

              When the outdoors starts to simmer under the heat of a late-June sun, it’s normally a sign that it’s time to head to the local pool. But what do you do when your local pool is closed for the summer? Instead of resigning yourself to cook outside in the heat, perhaps it’s time to get cooking in the air-conditioned kitchen!

              As it turns out, hanging out in the kitchen this summer isn’t just a fun way to entertain your children—it’s an opportunity to build on different skills, as well! Depending on the age of your child, preparing recipes is a creative way to instill independence (e.g., assigning tasks, like pouring, stirring, or cleaning up), to exercise the brain (e.g., reading through instructions for comprehension, measuring, or using executive functioning skills to plan ahead), and to foster pride in producing something that results from planning and patience. It has been said that life is about the journey, not the destination, but when it comes to making a yummy treat in the kitchen, there’s something wonderful to be found in both!

              One of our favorite kitchen activities at Green Acres Camp is making ice cream in a bag—a treat that’s especially welcome on too-hot days. Here’s the super-simple, super-fun recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 pint-size Ziplock bag
  • 1 gallon-size Ziplock bag

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar, half and half, and vanillas extract in the pint-size bag and seal it tightly.
  2. Place the salt and ice in the gallon-size bag, then place the sealed smaller bag inside as well. Seal the larger bag. Now shake the bags until the mixture hardens (about 5 minutes). Feel the small bag to determine when it's done.
  3. Take the smaller bag out of the larger one and eat the ice cream right out of the bag.

Need some more easy recipes to keep this summer tasty? Check out these recipes for Pizza Mummies and Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes. Plus, if you check our social media at the end of the week, we’ll have an extra-special video with our camp director, Marylouise, who will be leading a demonstration of how to make our favorite ice cream in a bag!

              Many of us probably won’t be traveling far from home this summer, but that doesn’t mean these hot months have to be a bummer. Throughout July and August, we’ll be tapping into the vast knowledge and talents of our camp staff to provide blog posts and videos to enrich your child’s summer. So, stay tuned!     

Follow this link to see the video: https://youtu.be/0Dxt_bRxRIk

 

Winter Post - December 2019

“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”
― Clyde Watson

November says goodbye to autumn, and December welcomes the first cold snap, suggesting that the arrival of winter is upon us. It plays with our senses and forces us to adjust our wardrobes, vacillating between the cozy sweatshirt and the heavy coat. Rain and snow play games with one another as temperatures rise and fall for no apparent reason. It’s the introduction to flu vaccines and mothers worrying about their children getting sick. It’s the tug of war between parent and child concerning what outer garments are necessary to don before emerging from the house. We often note the retreat of children to the indoors, safe behind their books, video games, and television screens. Yet, it’s the perfect time to be outside!

Children are accustomed to playing outside in the temperate months. It’s comfortable; many sporting activities are held outdoors; and parents tend to organize picnics, hikes, or nature walks that encourage family members to spend time together. Many community events are held outside, creating a fun and interesting array of activities in which to engage. Much of that disappears when the temperature drops—hence, kids retreat to the indoors.

Autumn and winter provide a new environment in which kids can explore. Nature offers an array of new patterns and colors to notice and animal behaviors to observe. There is an opportunity for children to use their imaginations and create original games to play. What can they do instead of retreating to their screens? If never encouraged, kids will avoid the challenge!

Parents are often concerned that their children will get sick from playing outside in the frigid temperatures, but it is actually trapped germs and bacteria inside our homes that are often the culprit.

Plus, kids need exercise! There is still a need to burn energy after a long day of learning, usually inside, at school. The outdoors provides the perfect environment in which to run, yell, laugh, and play with friends. Games can be organized, such as kickball, hide and seek, or newly invented ones, according to the whims of the players. The possibilities are endless.

Bike riding, rollerblading, skateboarding, and hiking are all viable options in the colder months. Once the snow appears, sledding, ice skating, snowboarding, and creating snowmen or snow forts are fun possibilities, too. For the more artistic child, there are winter crafts, photography, drawing, and nature walks to enjoy. It’s not all about sports, but it is about being outside and using the muscles in our bodies, as well as the muscles of our minds.

Encourage your children to spend time outdoors during the next few months and, whenever possible, spend time outside as a family. How about an outdoor campfire and s’mores? Those sticky treats are not just for summer! (And parents have an opportunity to teach their kids about fire safety and wilderness activities, too.)

For more information and ideas for cold weather activities, you may want to check out the following articles:

https://www.mudmates.co.nz/blog/

https://richmondmom.com/2012/01/07/playing-outdoors-in-winter-can-help-prevent-colds-and-flu/

https://www.swingingmonkey.com/blogs/news/why-your-kids-should-play-outside-this-fall

http://www.scoutorama.com/activity/activity.cfm?gmtype_id=6

We hope you all have a wonderful winter break and an activity-filled season. Start a new tradition and take a walk after your holiday meals—even if it’s cold outside!

-Lynn Camacho

Green Acres; it’s the place to be!

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