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Monday 1 April 2019

Summer Camp Fun with Galileo

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Galileo Camps but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

It may be a grey and rainy day here in the Bay Area, but Summer is just around the corner.

And Summer means Summer camp!

For the past few years Ava has been attending Galileo Camps here in Berkeley and she has always had a blast. This year is no different and she can't wait.

This week the kids are on Spring Break and rather than travelling like we usually do we're staying home and having "Camp Mum". A week of hands-on craft and STEAM activities inspired by Galileo as well as a little exploring out and about. I'm keeping the kids' minds active and learning while we have fun together.

Today we took a fun activity from the Zoom, Fly, Bolt, Blast Steam Handbook from Galileo and made grabbers with simple materials. They were easy enough for the kids to make on their own and provided a ton of fun when done. 

You can find all of the instructions in Zoom, Fly, Bolt, Blast Steam Handbook, but I'll go through them here too.

Here's what you'll need:
2 paint stirrers (you can pick these up from your local paint or hardware store)
Corrugated cardboard
Masking Tape
4 split pins
Optional - thin foam, popsicle sticks and/or paperclips for extra grabbing ability

Start by taping the two paint stirrers together. We overlapped the indent in each as a simple way to line them up.

Cut the cardboard into strips with either a pair of scissors or a cutting knife, ruler and cutting mat. We found the knife an easier option. Younger children may need help with this. You'll need to cut three strips approximately 10 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, as well as two strips 5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. Make sure to cut along the corrugations rather than across them for added strength.

Using either a kitchen skewer or a sharpened pencil poke a hole half an inch from each end of both small cardboard strips, and in the middle and at one end of two of the long cardboard strips. Leave one of the long cardboard strips without holes. We placed the cardboard on top of a scrap piece of cardboard and the cutting mat to do this. Once you have poked holes in one piece you can use it as a template to poke to holes in the other pieces.

Take the long strip of cardboard with no holes, fold it in half and tape it to the end of the paint stirrers. Make sure that the folded end overhangs about one inch past the stirrer.

Take the skewer or sharpened pencil and poke a hole half an inch from the end of the folded cardboard.

Take the two remaining long strips of cardboard, cross them over the hole in the folded cardboard and poke a split pin through. Fold the ends of the split pin back to secure in place.

Attach the small strips of cardboard to the long strips and together with the remaining split pins.

Take the rubberband and hook it under each of the split pins in the middle of your grabber. You may need to adjust the split pins a little to keep it secure. 

Tie the string around the split pin that holds the two smaller strips of cardboard together. This will be your pull string to control the grabber.

Your grabber will work as is, but for extra grabbing power you can modify the ends with a few simple additions. We added smaller strips of cardboard cut on an angle and covered these with flexible foam for a more secure hold on grabbed items. Ava also added half popsicle sticks as extra support. Partially unfolded paperclips will also work well to hold small items. This is where you can use your imagination and try out all sorts of ideas.

Voila! Two fun grabbers ready to play with.

It's been pretty rainy here but that didn't stop the girls from heading outside to test out their newly made grabbers on our roof deck. They picked up foam balls, rubber balls and wrist bands. Surprisingly, neither one used their grabber to pinch the other! I was so sure that was going to happen. I'm sure it's only a matter of time!

How fun is this grabber? It was simple to make and kept the kids happily occupied for much of the afternoon.

This sort of fun STEAM based activity is what you can expect from Summer camp with Galileo plus so much more. In the past Ava has made wheeled catapults, stained glass windows and even a robotic pig during her time at camp. The skills she has learned have given her the confidence to trust her imagination and step out of the box to come up with creative solutions to problems. 

Galileo offers day camp options for kids of all ages, with Camp Galileo available for Pre-K through 5th grade and Galileo Summer Quest for 5th grade to 8th grade. The themes vary from week to week, but all offer a fun science and art based curriculum with plenty of outdoor activity and team building.

Little Hiccups readers can save $30 on a camp purchase with the code SUMMER30. This discount is valid on any Camp Galileo or Galileo Summer Quest for the 2019 season where space is available. Combinable only with Multi Session and Refer A Friend discounts.

For more information about Galileo camps and to sign up visit https://galileo-camps.com/

 Are your kids heading off to Summer camp this year? I'd love to hear!

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