The first Friday at camp is called "Free Friday". Free Friday is completely different from all the other days at camp because the kids get to pick what they want to do. We offer a ton of choices, all of which are really crazy and fun, and not following the theme. On Free Friday I am not confined to the art room. This is my chance to teach something completely different. If it is not art or design, than I am typically drawn towards "pretend play". Pretending kind of doesn't need a teacher. I can let the kids lead me, then play off of their comments and questions. I love this.
My classic Free Friday pretend workshops- Junior Office and Potion Making, were put aside for some new potential favorites- Mud Kitchen and Pet Shop.
The idea for Mud Kitchen actually derived from last years Mud Pies workshop. This year I boosted up the idea, expanded our business you could say, to include not only pies but soup, lasagna, cookies, coffee, and whatever else the kids could come up with. We set up a make-shift sink with a watering can, an oven outlined in chalk, and a pantry full of collected ingredients. Camp is the perfect place, if not the only place, for a Mud Kitchen workshop. It's okay to make a mess. It's okay to use your hands. It's okay to use all the dirt in the bag because it will be easy to find more. It's even okay to throw your pie as far as you can. The kids know what to do, but I give them little hints and tips: Try adding some pepper, these pebbles look like blueberries, I think you need the egg beater. Sometimes it's more of a warning: Don't forget to turn the oven on! Don't forget about the food in the oven! Mostly, I give compliments: mmm, that looks delicious, you're a mud expert, I love the chocolate filling, did you know you were such a good cook?
The Pet Shop workshop was in collaboration with other camp specialists. We came up with the idea to lead a class based on pets- both pretending to be a pet, and making things for your pet. As a camper, this would have been my absolute favorite workshop. So many kids, including myself, are obsessed with cats and dogs. We made giant pom poms out of yarn that were attached to strings and sticks for the kitties to play with, and we braided felt tug toys for the pups. We decorated bandannas and created some no-bake dog treats. My dog Oliver dropped in to visit too! We painted noses black and tried out our best "meow". The workshop ended with bowls full of mushed up ice pop, that the kids were allowed to lick up.