I recently completed a series workshops at an elementary school in a nearby town. The workshops were classified as electives which is a fancy way of saying that they were purely for fun. My elective was titled “Be A Real Scientist” and it included science, art and lots of balloons. There was a cooking elective across the hall from my room and an art session down the hall. Many of the kids in the school rode buses to either bowling or roller-skating.
I had complete creative freedom for the two and a half hour workshops. Twenty-eight students, from the third to sixth grades, joined me for three fun and, at times, truly chaotic afternoons.
The first workshop revolved around roller coasters. We used pipe insulation, paper, toilet paper rolls, tape and marbles. Lots of marbles. In fact, marbles were everywhere!
In the second workshop, we used household objects to create sound. Popscicle sticks, elastic and balloons can make some pretty awesome noises! Students created musical compositions within their groups and performed for the whole class.
The final workshop was all about air pressure. We blew up windbags, combined balloons and CDs to create hovercrafts and folded paper airplanes. Unsurprisingly, the craziest of all activities was balloon twisting.
I had never twisted a balloon prior to preparing for this workshop. It is not for the faint-hearted but is very addictive! A friend of mine is a professional balloon twister so I contacted her when I first thought of including this activity for the kids. Although I did buy some balloons at the dollar store, the professional balloons that my friend so kindly sent me are` far superior.
Blowing up a twisting balloon is nearly impossible for me so pumps are a necessity. I used online videos to learn how to twist a most basic dog and soon graduated to twisting a sword and a flower.
It was pure insanity twisting balloons with groups of seven or eight kids at a time. We all had a great time and most of the kids left the workshop with a dog or sword or both.
Yesterday, I was cleaning my supply cupboard and found the extra balloons. I grabbed a pump and within minutes had made an orange dog and a purple flower. My random act of creativity was spontaneous and satisfying.
I was reminded that it is so simple to do something that makes me feel like a kid. And when I feel like a kid, my heart smiles.