Playground Gardens, Making Slime and Fun-Filled Field Trips at YWCA
As children are settling into their school routines, the fun of summertime is becoming more like a dream, with fading memories of sun and warmth. But many children will remember the exciting adventures they had at YWCA Summer Kids Camp, a new program offered this past summer for school-age children!
Below, we talked with Holly Oehme, Lead Teacher at YWCA Minneapolis about summer camp activities and which outing landed as the biggest hit with the kids.
What kinds of summer camp activities did the children do?
We took a lot of field trips and walks in the community. For instance, one day the children went to a local restaurant, Parkway Pizza, and made their own personal pizzas. We went to several parks around the area and also took buses to museums, like the Minnesota Science Museum and the Works Museum.
At YWCA Midtown, we started a playground garden this year. The children helped set up garden boxes that we installed in the playground. They started some seeds in the classroom for basil, tomatoes, carrots, onions and strawberries, and when they were ready, the children planted the seedlings in the garden. They had the chance to watch their veggies grow all summer!
What did a usual week at the Summer Kids Camp look like?
At YWCA Midtown, children came every day and we had different, fun activities planned. On Mondays, we went to Corcoran Park. On Tuesdays, the children went to swimming lessons. On Wednesdays, they walked to the library. Thursdays was the field trip day, where we bussed somewhere, like to a museum.
Is there a certain philosophy behind how the activities are chosen?
We wanted to include activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This philosophy was included in our classroom activities, like making slime or growing vegetables, and also in our field trips, like to the engineering-based museum, the Works Museum.
What was the biggest hit with children and parents?
I’d like to say the children liked all the museums the most, but the reality was their favorites were the playgrounds! They liked exploring all the different playgrounds across the Twin Cities. Their favorite was Chutes and Ladders Park in Bloomington, MN. It had a ton of climbing and slides they loved and it’s on the edge of a lake, so it was really pretty.
What parents liked was that we weren’t stuck at the school all day and we all got out to explore outside the classroom.
What are the plans for next year?
Next year, we want to keep it pretty active, going out in the community and keeping kids engaged. We want to keep the garden going and have lots of ideas for growing that next year.
Thanks to all the children who joined us this year! We look forward to seeing you again come summer!