In these challenging weeks ahead we will do our best to bring Trail Blazers to you. Our Under One Sky and Camp Program Teams are hard at work developing activities and materials for your campers that will help them continue to learn throughout this process.  We will be posting frequent story time and tutorial videos, as well as game and activity write ups to engage in. Videos can be watched by campers on their own or as a family for more group fun. These resources will be perfect for a mid-day break between lessons, a much needed creative outlet, or simply to wind down with a story at the end of a long day. We hope that this will help to ease the burden of engaging and learning from home, and bring a bit of joy and connection to this temporary norm. 

For daily content and activities be sure to sign up for our ‘Stay At Home Camper’ Newsletter below. Each morning we will send a brief email with additional activities and games that your campers can partake in. 

While we hope that these resources will help to support our Trail Blazers community, please feel free to share with others that may benefit. Anyone can sign up for our daily newsletter. 

If you have ideas for how we can further help and support our campers, we would love to hear from you! Send an email with your ideas to Fran, fmegar@trailblazers.org.

We are happy to be together, even if virtually. 

The Trail Blazers Team

Want to receive resources every day to keep your ‘stay at home camper’ engaged? Sign up for our email list and we’ll send you a daily newsletter with science experiments, art projects, games & virtual content.

Resources & activities

Activity Type: Nature Craft

Age Group: 5+ (Family friendly)

Skill Development: 

  • Natural Science
  • Creativity & Imagination

Materials: Strips of paper, Scissors, Tape, Markers

Instructions:

  1. Think about your favorite place to be outside. Is it at a playground? A park? A garden? Somewhere beyond New York City? Wherever it is, make a list of the plants and animals that live in that space.
  2. Draw a picture or write the name of each plant and animal on a strip of paper (one strip of paper per living thing).
  3. Think about how all these living things are connected. Which animals like to eat the plants? Which animals like to eat other animals? Etc.
  4. Using the strips of paper, begin to make a paper chain to represent the food chains in this space, taping each loop around the next in the order that they are connected.
  5. If you want to create multiple food chains, you can also link the similar plants and animals on them to form a web!

Click here for more information and pictures of this activity.

Activity Type: Nature Craft

Age Group: 5+ (Family friendly)

Overview: Aloe vera gel can be used to treat sunburns, moisturize skin and hair, and soothe irritation.

 

Skill Development: 

  • Natural Science
  • Creativity & Imagination

Materials: Aloe leaf, Vegetable peeler or Knife, Spoon, Bowl, Blender, Jar or sealed container

 

Instructions:

  1. If you have an aloe plant at home, you can simply snip off one of the leaves from the base. You can also find aloe leaves at many grocery stores, green markets, and corner stores.
  2. Peel the leaf using a vegetable peeler or knife to carefully peel away the green portion of the leaves. This step will require help from a grown-up. If you have large leaves, it may be helpful to cut them into smaller pieces before peeling. Discard the skin as you go so it won’t get mixed in with your gel.
  3. Scoop the gel out with a spoon. The clear, soft gel is easy to scoop. Place all the gel from inside the leaf into a bowl.
  4. Pour the gel into a blender and blend well. The gel may look foamy when blended.
  5. Pour the blended gel into a jar or sealed container, and keep it in the fridge.
  6. Use the gel! Apply it to sunburns or use it as a skin or hair moisturizer.

 

For more instructions on how to make aloe vera gel, click here.

Activity Type: Nature Craft

Age Group: 5+ (Family friendly)

Overview:  Just like people, animals need 4 main things to survive in their habitats! These 4 things are food, water, shelter, and space. Make your own animal habitat booklet by following these steps:

Skill Development: 

  • Animal Science
  • Creativity & Imagination

Materials:

Paper, Drawing utensils, Scissors, Glue, Magazines (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Choose your favorite animal or an animal you would like to learn more about.
  2. Split a piece of paper into 4 equal sections by drawing lines or by creating a simple booklet. Click here for instructions on how to create a simple 4-page booklet.
  3. On each section or page, write one of the following titles: Food, Water, Shelter, and Space.
  4. Now it’s time to do some research about your animal! Think about what you already know, and do some additional research by reading books or searching online to learn more. In each of the sections, write or draw a few things about how your animal acquires each of the 4 things it needs to survive.
    • What does it eat?
    • How does it get water?
    • What type of shelter does it live in?
    • Where does it live? What type of ecosystem does it live in?

5. Optional step: Cut out pictures from magazines to create a small collage for each of the 4 sections of your booklet.

Activity Type: Nature Craft

Age Group: 5+ (Family friendly)

Overview: Use recycled and old newspaper or magazines to make your own recycled paper or art collages.

Skill Development: 

  • Decision-Making
  • Problem-Solving
  • Organization Skills
  • Creativity & Imagination

 

Materials:

  • Various types of paper: Construction Paper, Magazines, Junk Mail, Toilet Paper (or not, this may be too valuable these days), Paper Towel, Paper Bags, Newspaper (will produce a grey-ish color), Cardboard, Napkins, Copy Paper
  • Water
  • Blender
  • Pan, Cookie Sheet, or Tray
  • Liquid Starch *optional
  • Decorative pieces (yarn, glitter, flower petals, etc…) *optional

 

Instructions: 

  1. Tear the paper (feel free to mix different types) into small bits and put the pieces into a blender.
  2. Fill blender with bits of paper and add 2/3 cup of warm water
  3. Pulse blender until the paper pulp is smooth. If you plan to write on the paper, blend in 2 teaspoons of liquid starch so it will not absorb ink from a pen.
  4. Use cookie sheet or pan as a mold. Pour the blended mixture into the mold. Add decorative elements (thread, flower petals, yarn, etc…).
  5. Shake the mold from side to side to level out your paper pulp mixture.
  6. Absorb the excess water, use sponge or remove paper from mold.
  7. Air dry the paper on a flat surface.

Activity Type: Nature Crafts

Age Group: 3+ (with help)

Overview: Dream Catchers are a fun nature craft that you can easily complete at home. What’s better? We can use natural materials and recycled elements to create them, making this activity great for the environment.

Skill Development: 

  • Decision-Making
  • Creativity
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Patience

 

Materials:

  • String or Yarn
  • Leaves, twigs, sticks, acorns, flowers (they will dry out and preserve)
  • Paper, cardboard, or old cards
  • Crayons, markers, or paint
  • Scissors

 

Instructions:

  1. Head outside to collect sticks, leaves and other natural pieces. Be sure to use materials that have already fallen to the ground, don’t break sticks and leaves off of trees.
  2. Create your base using sticks or twigs.
  3. Tie 3-4 sticks into a triangle or square using yarn or string. Or if you collected a longer more flexible stick, bend into a circle and tie both ends using yarn or string.
  4. Once you have created your base, use yarn or string to create a web-like pattern. Wrap string or yarn around the base so that it criss-crosses through the middle. Use as many colors of string as you would like.
  5. Collect your natural pieces (flowers, leaves, acorns, etc…). If you were not able to find any, use paper and scissors to create your own. Cut out shapes of leaves, feathers, flowers on recycled paper.
  6. If desired use paint or markers to decorate your natural elements and allow time to dry.
  7. Use string or yarn to tie your natural decorations to the base of your dream catcher. Hang them from various lengths from the bottom side of your dream catcher.
  8. Tie a string in a loop at the top of your dream catcher so that you can hang it up near your bed and enjoy. Dream catchers are thought to collect all of the bad dreams so that you can sleep soundly and have pleasant dreams.

Activity Type: Nature Craft

Age Group: 4+

Overview: These Rainbow Wind Chimes are a great way to add a little color and music to your home!

Skill Development:

  • Creativity
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Color Theory
  • Knot Tying

 

Materials:

  • Sticks/ Twigs – about 6-7 ranging in sizes
  • Any kind of string (yarn, fishing line, or even dental floss)
  • Paint
  • A paintbrush
  • Water (to clean your paint brushes)
  • A surface to mix paint colors like a plate *italic
  • If you do not have sticks available, there are many alternatives you can use to create your wind chimes. Replacements can include old keys or silverware, paper cups, or beads on a string. Be creative!

 

Instructions: 

  1. Head outside to gather materials:
    • Try to gather 7 or 8 sticks, one of which is larger and can serve as the base of you wind chimes.
  2. Once you’re back inside – wash your hands! Set up an area where you can start cleaning off the sticks. Peel off any bark, then take two sticks and rub them together at all areas to help smooth them out a little.
  3. Now prepare your paint colors! And decide which sticks you want for which colors.If you have limited paint colors don’t forget you can mix them to create more!
    • Red + white = pink
    • Red + blue = purple
    • Blue + yellow = green
    • Red + yellow = orange
  4. Paint your rainbow!
  5. Allow the sticks plenty of time to dry.
  6. Now you can start to attach your string to your sticks. Set your largest stick to the side, you will use this as your base.
  7. A little trick, with adult help, is to use a knife to cut a tiny slit into the top portion of the stick. This way you can place the string in between and then tie it around so it holds the stick better. Otherwise, just wrap the string around and tie it tightly a few times.
  8. Once all the sticks have a string attached to them tie all of them to the larger stick.
  9. Tie a long piece of string to both ends of your main stick. Use this to hang up your wind chimes.
  10. Enjoy your new wind chime, listen close to hear what sounds it makes.

 

 

Type: Nature Craft

Age Group: 3+

Overview: This is a great activity for you and your little ones, especially if you find yourself throwing away many toilet paper tubes and bottle caps. By recycling these items for this activity you can add some Springtime color and fun to your living area.

Skills we want to develop: 

  • Creativity & imagination
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Following step by step directions
  • Care for the environment

 

Materials:  

  • Toilet paper tubes or  water bottles
  • Bottle caps
  • Straws
  • Paint
  • A paint brush
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors *optional
  • Hole punch *optional
  • String *optional

 

Instructions: 

  1. To start, collect all of your materials.
  2. Paint all of your bottle caps, straws,and bottles or toilet paper tubes.
  3. Allow plenty of time to dry.
  4. If you have a hole punch and string available, punch two holes into a piece of construction paper. Holes should be at the same height and just a couple of inches apart. You will place your bottle or toilet paper tube between the holes and secure it to the paper using your string. This will serve as your flower pot.  See image for clarity. 
  5. After you have attached your bottle, begin to glue the straws. Insert the base of the straw into your flower pot and glue or tape the straws to your piece of paper. The straws will act as your flowers stems.
  6. Begin to glue your bottle caps to your paper to create your flowers. 
  7. If available and desired use additional paper to cut out leaves. Glue your leaves to your flower steps.
  8. You can decorate your piece further by painting or drawing Springtime scenes behind your flower pot. You can draw other flowers and plants, animals, bugs, or butterflies. Be creative!
  9. Proudly display your Spring flowers!

 

Type: Arts & Crafts

Age Group: 3+

Overview: Looking for a cute Easter craft for kids?! If you are, this one is perfect! Using recycled materials you can create your very own bunny family. 

Skill Development:  

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Creativity

 

Materials:

  • Recycled egg carton
  • Scissors
  • Pain
  • A black sharpie
  • Glue

 

Instructions: 

  1. Start by cutting out just one little egg carton cup…you will need to trim around the edges so it sits flat. 
  2. Then cut a square from the carton, we will use this to make the ears. Cut out two bunny ears.
  3. Use paint to add some color to the middle of the ears.
  4. Use the sharpie and paint to draw on the bunny’s face – eyes, nose, mouth and whiskers.
  5. Once the ears are dry, glue them to the back of the egg carton.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 to create additional bunnies. You can make a whole bunny family.

Type: Nature Craft

Age Group: 3+ & Families

Overview: Looking for a cute Easter craft for kids?! If you are, this one is perfect! Using recycled materials you can create your very own bunny family. 

Skill Development:  

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Creativity

 

Materials:

  • Thin cardboard or cardstock paper
  • Scissors
  • Pieces of pasta
  • Ziploc bag
  • Paint
  • Glue

 

Instructions: 

  1. Start by drawing the shape of an egg onto the cardboard and then cut it out.
  2. Next, get some pasta pieces in all kinds of shapes. Put the pasta in a Ziploc bag with paint, using different colors for different pieces. Seal it up and squish it around, making sure the pasta gets completely covered with paint. 
  3. Carefully take the pasta out of the bag and let the paint dry.
  4. Finally, place your egg cut out on the table and start gluing your pasta on to it. You can add other fun decorations by drawing with markers or crayons, or even using glitter.

 

Another way to do this activity is to replace the pasta by cutting up old clothes that you no longer want or wish to donate. Try and find pieces with multiple colors and make it even more fun by adding buttons, clips, and other decorative pieces you can find. 

Activity Type: Upcycling Craft

Age Group: Family friendly

Overview: This activity uses materials that normally would be thrown away – plastic straws – and repurposes them into a musical instrument! Did you know that straws can make music? If you cut plastic straws into different lengths, they will make different sounds when you blow into them! 

Skill Development: 

  • Musical Knowledge
  • Creativity & Imagination

 

Materials: 6-8 straws, Tape, Scissors

Instructions:

1. Cut 6-8 straws into different lengths. 

2. Cut a long strip of tape and put the straws on the sticky side, arranging them from the shortest to the longest ones.

3. Secure well with more tape so that the straws will not move around.

4. If you have colored sticker paper, you may decorate your instrument.

5. Try blowing into your upcycled instrument to make sounds!

6. Try making some other upcycled instruments, and play them together while singing songs or listening to your favorite music!

Activity Type: Nature Activity

Age Group: 4+

Overview: Leaf rubbings are a simple and sensory nature craft that’s suitable for all ages! You can do this activity in a nature journal or on a plain piece of paper.

Skill Development:

  • Tree Knowledge
  • Creativity and imagination

Leaf Rubbings

Materials: Leaves, Crayons, White paper

Instructions:

  1. Find a good leaf. Observe the texture and features on it. Are there holes? Has it dropped on the ground recently or has it been on the ground for a long time?
  2. Place the leaf on a hard surface. A table or book works well. Put the leaf “veins” towards you (the leaf should be flipped “upside down”).
  3. Put a white sheet of paper on top of leaf, fully covering it. 
  4. Rub a crayon on its side and gently color on the paper over the leaf. 
  5. The shape and texture of the leaf should start to appear on your paper! Make sure you hold the paper still and color over the entire surface of the leaf to see all of its edges. 
  6. Repeat this craft with other leaves and colors. Use different types of leaves to compare drawings and make nature observations.
  7. Optional step: Add the leaf rubbing as an entry in a nature journal! Write the date, the location where you found the leaf, and do some research online or in a book to figure out which type of plant the leaf came from. 

For pictures of each step of these instructions, click here

Activity Type: Science Experiment

Age Group: 4+

Overview: Seed balls are small bundles of seeds, clay, and soil or compost. Seed balls can be used by simply tossing or planting them to grow flowers and provide some regreening in our homes and communities!

Skill Development:

  • Science and experimentation
  • Flower Knowledge
  • Creativity and imagination

Seed Balls

Materials: Clay, Soil, Flower seeds, Bowl or tray

Instructions:

  1. Place a couple of spoonfuls of clay and a couple of spoonfuls of soil into a bowl or tray.
  2. Use your hands to combine the clay and soil. Add a little water if the mixture is dry. The mixture should be moist but not dripping wet; similar to the consistency of cookie dough.
  3. Add a pinch of seeds to the clay and compost. Use your hands again to thoroughly mix the materials together.
  4. Shape the mixture into a small ball.
  5. You can either plant the seeds while they’re still moist, or allow them to air dry.
  6. Find an area near your home or community that could use a little green! Toss or place the seed balls directly onto the soil (either in a pot or outside). As long as they are watered (either manually or by rain), the clay will break down and the seeds will grow.

Activity Type: Science Experiment

Age Group: 4+

Overview: The swirling winds of a tornado are called a vortex. Try this classic and fun science experiment to make a vortex that looks like a tornado!

Skill Development:

  • Science and experimentation
  • Creativity and imagination

Tornado in a Jar

Materials: Jar with lid, Water, Vinegar, Liquid dish soap, Food coloring/Glitter (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Fill the jar most of the way with water.
  2. Add a spoonful of vinegar and a spoonful of liquid dish soap.
  3. Optional step: Add a few drops of food coloring and/or a spoonful of glitter for some special effects in your tornado jar.
  4. Close the lid tightly, and twist the jar to swirl the water. When the water in the jar spins, it creates a vortex in the center. Centripetal (circular) force causes the water to spin around that vortex, creating a mini-tornado!

Activity Type: Science (& Sensory Craft)

Age Group: 4+

Overview: As the Winter season comes to a close without much snow, this fun science activity allow you to create your own instant snow. The fun and possibilities are endless use our instant snow to build snow people, igloos, and other fun sculptures.

Skill Development:

  • Measurement (fractions)
  • Science and experimentation
  • Creativity and imagination

 

Materials:

  • Tray or Plate
  • Ziploc bags
  • 1/8 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Baking soda
  • Glitter *optional

 

Instructions: 

  1. Add ½ cup of baking soda to a ziploc bag
  2. If desired, add a small amount of glitter to ziploc bag
  3. Add ⅛ cup of water
  4. Seal the baggie and massage it to combine the mixture.
  5. Place the bag in a cold place (outside or inside your refrigerator or freezer) for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Empty the contents of the bag onto a plate or tray to work on.
  7. Use your instant snow to experiment and create different structures and sculptures!

Activity Type: Science

Age Group: 5+

Overview: Make your own fossil imprints with these simple household items!

Skill Development:

  • Animal Tracking
  • Science and experimentation
  • Creativity and imagination

 

Materials: 1 cup plain all-purpose flour, 1 cup salt, 1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water, Small household objects to make an imprint (ex. shells, rocks, dinosaur toys, or other small objects)

Instructions:

  1. Stir the flour and salt together, and mix in the water gradually until it forms a slightly sticky dough.
  2. Knead it until the stickiness disappears and then it’s ready to model with. (If it remains too sticky, add some more flour. If it is too dry, add a few drops of water at a time.)
  3. Roll the dough into small balls, then flatten them with the palm of your hand.
  4. Firmly push a small object into the dough. Shells work well because of their patterned ridges. You can also try rocks, small plastic toys, etc.
  5. Carefully pull out the object to reveal the imprint left in the dough!
  6. Optional step: After making a few imprints, you can put them on baking parchment and on a baking tray in the oven for 3 hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit to harden them. You can also paint or gloss your imprints after they have been hardened!

Activity Type: Science (& Sensory Craft)

Age Group: 4+

Overview: Being aware of our personal effects on the environment helps us all be more invested in making changes to help the Earth. Check out this neat way to track your own eco footprint.

Skill Development:

  • Environmental Awareness
  • Science and experimentation
  • Creativity and imagination

 

Materials: Paper, Markers

Instructions: Illustrate your own Eco Footprint by following these steps:
1. Trace or draw a picture of a footprint onto a piece of paper.
2. Split the footprint into 4 sections however you’d like, and label each section with these 4 categories:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Transportation

3. Color in each section with drawings of some of the ways that you use each of these 4 categories in your everyday life.
4. Next to each section, write one way that you could reduce your Eco Footprint within that category!

Activity Type: Tasty Treat!

Age Group: 4+

Overview: This simple recipe will allow you to reduce food waste that might have normally been thrown away, while also making a tasty treat!

Skill Development:

  • Environmental Awareness
  • Science and experimentation
  • Creativity and imagination

 

Materials: Popsicle molds or Ice cube trays, Popsicle sticks or spoons, Leftover juice from fruit containers

Instructions:

  1. Set out your popsicle molds or ice cube trays.
  2. Pour in any leftover juice that you have from canned fruit. You can also try adding other ingredients like lemonade or yogurt. Be creative with whatever you have at home!
  3. If you have fruit that is starting to get mushy or about to expire, put it in the freezer to extend its freshness! Then, you can use it weeks later to add to more popsicles or smoothies.
  4. Once all of your ingredients are in the molds, place a popsicle stick (or spoon) in the center of each mold.
  5. Put them in the freezer for several hours (or overnight).
  6. Take your popsicles out of the molds, and enjoy a tasty treat made from leftover fruit products!

Activity Type: Science

Age Group: 6+

Overview: Imagine elephants brushing their teeth, how much toothpaste do you think they would need? This science activity introduces yeast and chemical reactions for a fun result. 

 

Skills Development: 

  • Measurements
  • Independent thinking, making a prediction

 

Materials : 

  • Empty 20-ounce plastic bottle (or other container)
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
  • Packet of active yeast 
  • Liquid dish washing soap 
  • Warm water
  • Food coloring *optional, but adds nice color

 

Instructions:  

  1. Before you begin review the materials and solutions. Discuss and make a prediction with your campers as to what they think will happen when you combine the ingredients.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide solution, 1/4 cup dish soap, and a few drops of food coloring into your bottle or container.
  3. Swish the bottle around to mix the ingredients.
  4. Set the bottle in a sink or outdoors (somewhere you won’t mind getting wet or foamy)
  5. In a separate container, mix a packet of active yeast with a little warm water.
  6. Wait five minutes to allow the yeast to activate before proceeding to the next step.
  7. After five minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the bottle. The reaction will occur immediately upon the addition of the yeast.

Activity Type: Science 

Age Group: 6+ (Families)

Overview: This hands on project will demonstrate how real-life geodes are formed in igneous and sedimentary rock. We’ll learn about super-saturated solutions and a variety of crystal shapes and formations.

 

Skills we want to develop: 

  • Observation Skills
  • Making Predictions
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Following multiple directions

 

Materials: 

  • Eggs (clean eggshells)
  • Water
  • A variety of soluble solids: Table salt, baking soda, Epsom salt, sea salt, or sugar
  • Small heat proof containers (a coffee mug works well)
  • Spoons
  • Food coloring
  • Egg cartons and wax paper or mini-muffin tins

 

Instructions: 

  1. Take some time to discuss and write predictions. Which soluble solids will form the largest crystals? How long do you think it will take for solutions to evaporate and solidify into crystals?
  2. To begin, crack the eggs as close to the narrow end as possible. 
  3. Clean the eggshells using hot water. The hot water cooks the lining and allows you to pull the skin (egg membrane) out of the inside of the egg using your fingers. Make sure to remove all the egg membrane.
  4. Use an egg carton lined with waxed paper or mini-muffin tins to hold the eggs upright.
  5. Use a saucepan to boil several cups of water.
  6. Pour ½ a cup to 1 cup of water into your heat proof container. 
  7. Then add about ¼ cup of a soluble solid to the water. Stir it until it dissolves. When the initial amount of solid is dissolved continue adding small amounts of the solid until the water is supersaturated.
  8. Add a few drops of food coloring and mix the solution.
  9. Carefully pour your solution into the eggshells filling as much as possible without overflowing it or causing it to tip over. 
  10. Repeat steps 5 through 8 using a different soluble solid. Add a different color of food dye and note which color is used for each soluble solid.
  11. Find a safe place to put your shells while the water evaporates. Crystals will form inside the eggshells as the water evaporates. 

 

Review:

How was this project able to work? By simply dissolving the crystals in hot water you were able to create a ‘supersaturated’ solution.  The salts took advantage of the energy of the hot water to help them dissolve until there was no more space between molecules in the solution. As the solution cooled, the water lost its energy and the crystals are forced from the solution to become a solid again. Since this happens slowly along with the evaporation, the crystals have time to grow larger than they were when the experiment started. Natural geodes in a rock are formed in much the same way as mineralized water seeps into air pockets in the rock.

 

Revisit your predictions. Were your predictions correct? Did certain soluble solutions form larger crystals than others? Which solutions evaporated this fastest? Why do you think that was?

Activity Type: Science Experiment

Age Group: 5+ (Families)

Overview: This fun little experiment will use leaves to show how water travels through plants over time.

Skill Development: 

  • Developing predictions
  • Making Observations
  • Better understanding of plants

 

Materials: 

  • Leaves
  • Scissors
  • Clear cups
  • Red Food Coloring
  • Magnifying Glass(optional)
  • Observation sheet – paper to take notes

                  

Instructions: 

  1. Start by taking a walk outside to collect leaves.
  2. Make and note your predictions. What do you think will happen to your leaves? What will happen to the water?
  3. Fill each cup about 1/3 with water.
  4. Add several drops of red food coloring to each cup.
  5. Snip off the bottom of each leaf stem and place one leaf into each cup.
  6. Observe the leaves for the next 3 days. Record your observations each day.
  7. After 3 days – note what has happened? Did the leaves change color? Were your predictions correct?

Activity Type: Science Experiment 

Age Group: Families

Overview: Since we are all inside, what better time to make bath time into fun time? This experiment will let your campers experiment to see how these household items come together to make an awesome bath time!

Skills we want to develop: 

  • Measurement (fractions)
  • Science and experimentation
  • Creativity and imagination

Materials:

  • 1/2 cup citric acid 
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. water
  • 2 tsp essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus, rose are all popular for the bath)
  • 2 tsp oil (jojoba, sweet almond, coconut olive or even baby oil)
  • A few drops of food coloring.
  • A mold of your choice, such as regular or mini-muffin tins, candy pans, or round plastic molds specifically for bath bombs

Instructions: 

  1. With the exception of the citric acid, mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Pour all of the liquid ingredients in a jar with a top. Close the jar and shake it vigorously.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, and use your hands to combine and mix together.
  4. At this point, add the citric acid. You’ll probably notice a slight fizzing reaction because of the citric acid. No need to panic, as this is totally normal.
  5. Mash the mixture into your chosen molds very tightly. You may slightly overfill the molds and use a spoon or glass to press the mixture in as tightly as possible.
  6. Immediately loosen the bombs from their molds onto wax paper and let them dry overnight.
  7. Give the bath bombs a day or two to completely dry before using them or wrapping them up as gifts.
  8. Pop one in the bathtub, enjoy the burst of colors and fizz, and inhale the released aromas. Enjoy!

Activity Type: Science Experiment 

Age Group: Families

Skills we want to develop: 

  • Navigation and Sense of Direction
  • Map Reading
  • Science (Magnets)

Materials: Small bowl, Magnet, Metal needle, Cork, Masking tape, Markers

Instructions:

  1. Magnetize the head of the needle by striking the needle against the magnet about 30 times in the same direction.
  2. Put a piece of tape on the end of the needle that is not magnetized.
  3. A magnet will always face north. Demonstrate this by tying a string to the center of the needle. Which way does the magnetized head face?
  4. Write N (for north), E, S, and W on pieces of tape. Attach these to the bowl. East is to the right of north; south is behind north; and west is to the left of north.
  5. Add water to the bowl. Then stick the needle through the cork, and float it in the bowl.
  6. Try using the compass to find which way is north. See if you can make up a set of directions and follow them using the compass.
  7. You can also try playing a treasure-hunt game using the compass to follow directions! For more instructions on how to make a pirates treasure map for children, click here!

Activity Type: Animal Science

Age Group: Family Friendly

Diary of a Worm

Materials: Paper, Drawing utensils, Internet access

Instructions: Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin lends itself to writing in a diary format and thinking about a day from the perspective of another creature.

  1. Watch this read-aloud story of Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. Pay special attention to the way the story is told in a diary format.
  2. Choose a different invertebrate creature to research! National Geographic Kids has a great webpage with featured invertebrates. Take some time to explore different animal profiles and choose your favorite.
  3. After you’ve done some research on your animal, write a diary entry from the perspective of that creature. Consider the following:
    • Where does this creature live?
    • What time of day is it most active?
    • What does it eat throughout the day?
    • What sorts of behaviors and actions does it exhibit?
    • Who does it share its habitat with?

4. You can also include drawings to illustrate the typical day of your invertebrate.

5. Share what you learned about your favorite invertebrate with your family!

Activity Type: Earth Science

Age Group: Family Friendly

 

Materials: Cove Kit Activity Booklet, Drawing utensils

Instructions: Complete this activity booklet and learn about one of the wetland ecosystems right in New York City!

  1. Have you ever been to Brooklyn Bridge Park? Right next to the park is the East River Estuary, which is an ecosystem with lots of aquatic plants and animals! If you haven’t been to Brooklyn Bridge Park, you can watch this video for a virtual experience.
  2. Explore the ecology and history of Brooklyn Bridge Park with their free Cove Kit Activity Booklet, which includes maps, coloring pages, fun facts, fill-in-the-blanks, and other engaging activities that you can do either outdoors or from home. Have fun!

Activity Type: Earth Science

Age Group: Family Friendly

 

 

“Backyard” Citizen Science

Materials: Smartphone with a camera, Paper, Writing and drawing utensils

 

Instructions:

  1. Download Seek from iNaturalist. This engaging app helps you easily identify plants and animals all around you. You can also earn badges for seeing different types of creatures and participate in fun challenges!
  2. Become a citizen scientist! How many species do you think you can identify in one afternoon? Get ready to bring your smartphone, paper, and writing utensils outside. You never know what you’ll discover!
  3. Before you go outside, define the area where you will look for creatures. Will you search in your backyard, a park, or around your block? Children should stay within eyesight of an adult. Even a very small area can be home to lots of living things, or you can simply spend some time looking out a window! Every species counts, even pets and street trees!
  4. Use the Seek app to help collect data, identify creatures, and map your findings. Don’t forget to draw and/or take pictures of what you find!
  5. Discuss what you learned. For example, did you realize that humans aren’t the only living things in your area? Everything we do affects our many neighbors, big and small.

 

This activity was adapted from Backyard Bioblitz. Click here for more citizen science activities you can do at home.

Activity:Type: Earth Science

Age Group: Family Friendly

New York Invasive Species & Wanted Poster

Materials: Conservationist for Kids Spring 2018 Invasive Species pdf, Drawing utensils, Paper

Instructions: Check out the Spring 2018 issue from New York State Conservationist for Kids! This issue is all about invasive species in New York.

  1. Read the Species Profiles and look at the photos to learn some examples and interesting facts about invasive species in New York.
  2. Read about what you can do to help prevent the spread of invasive species.
  3. Complete the invasive species word search.
  4. Create a “Wanted” poster for a specific invasive species. You can either use a species listed in the magazine issue or do some research about a different invasive species. Include a drawing, a description of what the species is “wanted” for, and what people can do to help stop the spread. Hang the finished product somewhere to help spread the word about invasive species.

This activity was adapted from the New York State Conservationist for Kids Spring 2018 Invasive Species issue.

Activity:Type: Earth Science

 

Age Group: 5

 

Become a Virtual Junior Ranger

 

Materials: Paper, Drawing utensils, Virtual Junior Ranger resources (see below)

Instructions: The National Park Service has adapted its Junior Ranger program so that children all around the country can become Junior Rangers from their own homes. Just complete the online activities to earn your Junior Ranger virtual badge and certificate!

 

  1. Complete 2 or more of the Virtual Junior Ranger activities. List of activities:

 

  1. Take the Virtual Junior Ranger Pledge
  2. Download your virtual junior ranger badge and certificate

Activity:Type: Game

Age Group: 4+ (Family Friendly)

Overview: This active game is a great way to teach campers new words and to practice their spelling skills, while also burning off some energy.

 

Skill Development:

  • Vocabulary & Spelling Skills
  • Hand-eye Coordination

 

Materials:  

  • Sticky Notes
  • Markers
  • Small Ball, Bean Bag, or Rolled Up Socks

 

Instructions: 

  1. Write each letter of the alphabet onto 26 sticky notes.
  2. Place the sticky notes on the back of a door or on a wall.
  3. Mark a ‘start’ line a few feet away. This is where you will toss from.
  4. Have your child stand behind it with the ball.
  5. Give your child words to spell. Have them throw their ball and try to hit each letter in the word. For example if the word is ‘hat’ they should toss and hit the letter ‘h’, then the letter ‘a’, and finally the letter ‘t’.
  6. Campers should retrieve their own throwing object… running and bending down to pick it up over and over again is all part of the exercise!

 

Variations:

  1. Players with a more advanced aim and spelling skills can try and hit all the letters in specific words (to make it even tougher, if they miss one of the letters, have them start all over again!).
  2. Alternatively, you can write different point values on each sticky note like scrabble and allow your child to spell their own words. For each word they spell, mark down the number of points they earned. At the end of the round, tally up to crown a winner (or if playing solo, have them try and beat their previous score).

Activity Type: Game

Age Group: 3+ 

Overview: This ‘Waddling penguins’ game is a perfect way to quickly burn off some energy and refocus between at home academic lessons.

 

Skill Development:

  • Coordination
  • Problem Solving

 

Materials: 

  • Balloon or Small Pillow

 

Instructions: 

  1. Start by creating a start and finish line. This can be done with tape or by using nearby objects as markers.
  2. Each player will need a blown up balloon or throw pillow. Player will place their object between their knees. 
  3. The goal is to waddle like a penguin from the start line to the finish line. Only rule is that the balloon or pillow needs to remain between players legs and cannot hit the ground.
  4. If the object hits the ground, campers should head back to the start line and try again.

 

Alternatives:

  1. If you are using different rooms and spaces for learning, this can also be a fun way t transition from space to space for lessons.

Activity Type: Game

Age Group: Families

Overview: An active game for the whole family, perfect for a midday break between virtual school lessons.

 

Skill Development:

  • Awareness
  • Multi-tasking
  • Reflexes and reaction time
  • Agility
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving

 

Materials: 

  • A bandanna or another piece of fabric

 

Instructions: 

  1. Create a circle of people with one player in the center as a ‘coyote’. 
  2. The coyote must guard their cache, a tied up bandanna in the center. 
  3. All the other players are trying to steal the coyote’s cache by grabbing the bandanna without being tagged. 
  4. Players get three “lives”, losing a “life” each time they are tagged by a coyote. After that, they are out. 
  5. The coyote wins if they successfully defend their cache, otherwise the player who successfully grabs the cache and exits the circle wins, and becomes the next coyote.

Activity Type: Game

Age Group: Families

Overview: This is a fun indoor game that everyone in the household can be a part of. A great way to team-build while having a laugh with your family.

Skill Development:   

  • Team building

 

Materials: 

  • Spoons (enough for each player)
  • Eggs or ice cubes *You will have some casualties, so be prepared with extra and keep in mind that eggs can be messy

 

Instructions: 

If you have enough people in your household you can divide into two teams, otherwise you will form one line and work all together. 

  1. Give everyone a spoon
  2. Line each team up in one long row, players should be arms length apart
  3. Give the first person an egg or ice cube. 
  4. When everyone is situated, tell them to “GO!”
  5. The first player should turn to face the next person in line and carefully hand off the egg or ice cube to them – from one spoon to the other. They can’t use anything but the spoon to transfer the egg or ice cube. 
  6. See which team can safely transfer the egg/ice cube (without falling) from the beginning of the line all the way to the last person in line – FIRST!
  7. If the egg or ice cube falls the team must start again at the beginning of the line. 

 

Variations:

  1. Play as a ‘Minute to Win It Game’ – see how far you can get in one minute.

Type: Games & Activites

Age Group: Families

Overview:  This activity will help campers identify their inner energy levels. It will help them understand how they’re feeling at different times and learn how to regulate the energy they feel. We’re going to label our energy levels, using the starfish and tornado analogy, and then brainstorm with campers to have them understand how when they’re feeling like a tornado how to calm back down and become a starfish.

 

Skills we want to develop:

  • Self-Regulation
  • Self-awareness
  • Developing calming skills

 

Materials:

  • Markers/crayons
  • Paper

Instructions: 

 

1. Have your papers and drawing materials ready!

2. Have campers draw a thermometer on their paper, or help to draw it for them.

3. Draw a starfish at the bottom and a tornado at the top.

  • This is a great time for you and your camper to practice drawing a starfish and tornado! Make it fun and practice a few times before putting it on your main paper.

4. Ask your camper if they’re feeling calm and peaceful like a starfish, or super excited and revved up like a tornado? Help them articulate what each one looks like by making a starfish/ tornado list of activities.

  • Ex. If your camper says they feel like a tornado, identify words to associate with feeling that way; hyper, excited, enthusiastic, etc.  and then list activities. “When I feel like a tornado I want to run around, jump, or play sports.” Then, discuss the starfish and how they can release that tornado energy to be calm and peaceful like a starfish!

Now, that you have gone through and brainstormed make sure your thermometer is all finished, you can have them create several on one paper to check back throughout the day so they can check in with their energy levels throughout the day. You can also do this for a couple of days to see if there is a specific pattern of when they feel like a tornado or starfish and help them to see this pattern!

The energetic Mr. Erick, Site Director at PS 139, shares one of his favorite childhood stories that of Mr. Snail and Mr. Rabbit.

Spend some time with Ms. Kitty, our awesome Site Director at P.S. 241, as she shares the story of Wiggle Worm & the Garden Town.

A classic, the story of ‘Curious George’ featuring the wonderful Ms. Afrika, Site Director at PS 705.

Mr. Erick is back to share one of his favorite stories, Gabriel & the Empanadas.

Ms. Kitty of P.S. 241 is back to share another fun story, ‘How Rattlesnake Saved the Day’!

Join Ms. Tia, Site Director at Brighter Choice Community School, as she shares an exciting story about the Berenstain Bears as they travel all around the world!

Enjoy the story of ‘Gabriella & Her Pink Bike’ with the wonderful Mr. Erick of P.S. 139.

Enjoy the story of ‘Arthur & the Dog’ with the wonderful Mr. Erick of P.S. 139.

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! In the meantime sing along to one of our favorite camp songs about a little birdie with Ms. Kitty!

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! Here’s another great camp song with Ms. Nicole, Get Loose!

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! Here is another great camp song with Mr. Erick, Boogaloo!

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! Join us for a camp classic with Ms. Nigeria, I Wanna Linger!

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! Here is another great camp song with Ms. Nigeria, The Jeep Song!

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! Here is another great camp song with Ms. Nigeria, Head and Shoulders!

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! Here is another great camp song with Ms. Nigeria, Princess Pat!

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! Here is another great camp song with Mr. Erick, The Pizza Man!

Missing camp? We are too and can’t wait to see you all soon! Here is another great camp song with Ms. Nigeria, Sing Me a Rainbow!

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