Last summer we signed our daughter up for Camp Invention. Camp Invention is based in Ohio and runs several one-week programs in elementary schools in various parts of the US. At the time I had no idea what an amazing program this is and how long it’s legacy in our family would be. Here’s what got me to shell out the money though: the first thing that they told us we’d need to bring is a broken appliance. OK you have my attention.
During the camp the kids take the broken appliance (they have a list of the ones that are safest to take apart), piece by piece with tools. I knew my money had been well spent when our then first-grader Sophie came home saying “Do you know how many capacitors were in that thing?” Once these appliances are all pulled apart, the kids swap parts to construct a new machine of their own design. Our daughter used a cassette player to make a flying mosquito catcher because she despises mosquitoes.
On the last day of camp she brought home a large plastic bag of leftover electronics parts to play with. Then one snowy Sunday last winter she suggested that we each make something. So the whole family spent the afternoon huddled around the kitchen table with pliers and screwdrivers making imaginary machines. It was a great afternoon.
So this morning I’m biking Sophie to a different summer camp and we start talking about Camp Invention starting on Monday. She says that she’s not sure about what she’s going to make with the broken telephone she got to work on. Then she says “I think I’m going to make a phone that connects to Sophie World.” Sophie World is the place that our daughter drifts off to when she’s supposed to be getting her socks on and brushing her teeth and the place where there are no bedtimes and unlimited scoops of ice cream. So I thought it was just wonderfully imaginative to think about inventing a phone that could connect her to this fantasyland at any time.
Come to think of it I could use a phone to connect to Weeks World as well, where everyone is kind to one another, people think I’m an awesome mom and a fabulously talented designer and that my only problem is that my legs are too long and lean…