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Summer camps fill critical need for working parents

Keep kids engaged, safe, and learning during time away from a regular classroom
Posted at 7:13 AM, May 24, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — Summer break is here and summer camps and activities can fill that crucial need when school is out for working families. It's a great way to keep kids engaged, safe, and learning during the time away from the regular school year.

Thinkering Lab is a summer camp led by former teacher, Evelyn Ford. She saw a need here for more places that incorporate learning in a nontraditional way, "I think Colorado Springs needed a place where kids can come to be creative, go with their impulses and let loose and really play. Play is key."

In the Thinkering Lab children explore their surroundings, fiddle with materials, play with words, and invent gadgets — all while solving problems, learning, and having fun along the way. Through open-ended exploration, children put their stamp on their creations and test their theories of the world.

Summer camps are intended for children aged 5-11, drop-off summer camps focus on process rather than product. I explored the room full of treasure maps, paintings, handmade journals, robots, sculptures, and even a set to put on comedy skits. It's clear Ford is an educator at heart, "I love love love being able to integrate literacy into steam areas and there are so many ways to do that."

Summer camps go through August, each with its own theme. Families can choose one or several camps to attend.

June
Takeoff, Castoff, and Blastoff (June 12-16)
Humor Me! (June 19-23)
Thinkerwarts: A Celebration of Harry Potter (June 26-30)

July
Create That, Habitat (July 10-14)
ThinkerToys (July 17-21)
Book and Cook (July 24-28)

August
WoodCraft (July 31-August 4)
Faces and Places (August 7-11)

Ford has also incorporated the "Mini Makers" class at Thinkering Lab. It is designed for children aged 3-5 and their caregivers. This one-hour class will include circle time, a story, and an exploration of materials. She says, "We build on children's natural inclinations to play with words, found objects, and other children." The class takes place 3 times a month on Thursdays from 10:00-11:00. For off-Thursdays, caregivers will be given a kit for at-home play and experimentation.

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