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Search Results for: "camp yale"
A couple of weeks ago, kids played a new and improved version of Huntopoly, a neighborhood scavenger hunt game I created, at my neighborhood summer camp, Camp Yale. While most kids enjoyed version 1.0 last year, a few other kids lost interest and stopped playing. So, a couple of months ago, when I told my oldest son, Marco (7-1/2) that we were playing Huntopoly again at Camp Yale, he exclaimed, “Please, I don’t want to play Huntopoly again!” However, he … Continue reading
We just completed the fourth annual Camp Yale, our neighborhood summer camp. Every year it’s gotten better, and this year, it was downright euphoric. First and foremost, the kids had a wonderful time. Most of them said that to me directly and repeatedly. At least two parents told me this was their favorite camp ever. Beyond words, their actions spoke volumes. They yelled and screamed and ran every day. They stayed past the end of camp each day, and often … Continue reading
We have a magician in our neighborhood. His name is Hugh, The Magic Beard. Kids around here call him Huey. In most neighborhoods, people wouldn’t notice him, or if they did, they’d notice him for his long beard and sixties-hippy appearance. However, this is Northern California, home of the Grateful Dead. We’ve all seen many folks who look like Hugh around here. On the other hand, because my family and I have invested extra time in our neighborhood, we’ve gotten … Continue reading
At the third annual Camp Yale, our neighborhood summer camp, the campers played an innovative new game that’s a mixture of a scavenger hunt and monopoly. I call it “Huntopoly.” My goal in designing and implementing Huntopoly, beyond providing a fun experience, was to embrace our entire neighborhood. I wanted campers to get a lot more comfortable with particular places and people of our neighborhood, and I wanted our neighbors to become acquainted with the campers and with all our … Continue reading
Camp Iris Way in Palo Alto, CA, which just completed its second year, is the best neighborhood summer camp in many ways. It’s the biggest and the most organized I know of, by far. Its organizers, Jennifer Antonow and Diana Nemet, read about my camp, Camp Yale, a couple of years ago and decided to give it a try. They’ve totally outdone me! Amazingly, it had 72 kids, including 41 participants (from age 4 to 3rd grade), 11 counselors in … Continue reading
Camp Yale was quite a success. On days 4 and 5 we continued the positive momentum of the first three days with trampoline lessons, Roxaboxen house building in our creek bed, and more mosaic making, plus lots and lots of wild free play.
So, what’s the lasting legacy of Camp Yale 2010? I’ve identified two: Continue reading
For the first half of today, the kids engaged in wild free play once again. They just can’t get enough of that. They have settled on three main centers of play: the Slotwood house in our driveway, the trampoline in our back yard, and the playhouse in our back yard. Also, kids frequently come to the picnic table in the front yard to grab snacks or a cup of water.
Then, my artist friend Jaying Wang helped our kids make mosaics – one big one to put on our fence, and a “stepping stone” for each kid to take home. The big one is a design inspired by the book Roxaboxen depicting the play village that kids have been building in the creek by our house. Below is a photo of the mosaic we made at Camp Yale last year. That one features a quote from another favorite children’s book of mine, The Big Orange Splot.
We started our day by walking to the San Francisquito Creek bed close to our house, which is totally dry this time of year. Paul Heiple of Acterra led a lively discussion of the creek. He taught us things like where the creek water comes from, what affects the erosion of the creek bank, what happens when the creek floods, what kinds of rocks we find there, and what kinds of plants we find there.
After Paul’s talk, the kids foraged and climbed the banks a bit, then they collected rocks for painting, and we went back to my yard (Camp Yale headquarters). There, some kids painted rocks, while others played in our back yard or built a Slotwood house in the front.
It was a fun day that flowed very well. The kids who didn’t know any others at the camp yesterday, when we started, got much more comfortable today. Three hours passed very quickly. The kids could really get used to this (in a good way…). Perhaps we could switch off between multiple parents and do this for most of the summer. Hmmm… Continue reading
[Note: For the second consecutive year, I'm running a neighborhood summer camp at my house on Yale Road in Menlo Park, CA. Below are notes from our first day.]
Fellow Yale Roader and magician Hugh McDonald mesmerized us with his magic tricks, and he taught the kids a few, too. I got a great testimonial from a mom this evening: “My kids had a great time at Camp Yale today. Donny in particular is just raving about it. He loved Hugh. He is practicing his magic act with the coin to show his dad tonight ( I already saw it!!).”
Before and after Hugh’s show, the 12 attendees, ages 2-1/2 to 8, engaged in some wild free play. They built a Slotwood house, played street hockey, jumped on the trampoline, played a chase game, and played some sort of family-based role-playing game.
Many of the kids knew our yard and each other very well before coming today, so they hit the ground running. A couple of others didn’t know the other kids very well at first, so they started tentatively, but by the end of the day, they were feeling a lot more comfortable. Continue reading
I’ve written previously about how I had been planning to remake my front yard into a “front yard family room,” to become a neighborhood hangout – a sort of outdoor suburban version of “Cheers.” Well, we finished it this spring and have been enjoying it all summer, so it’s time I wrote about it, both what we created, and how successful it’s been.
In this article, I’ll give an overview of the features we created here. In future articles, I’ll describe some of these features in more depth and discuss our progress in making it into a real neighborhood hangout. I’ll also write about our back yard renovation and how we’re trying to open it up to neighborhood kids to make it a hangout.
I tried to take a completely fresh perspective on our front yard design. Front yards, by and large, are not designed for people to use. Certainly, they have features like walkways and driveways to move people and cars in and out, but architects and builders hardly ever think about people actually passing time there. When I started to think about what kids and adults could do with our front yard, I quickly realized how much wasted space we have in front yards in America. Continue reading
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