Flying Machines Week was a lot of fun because of the variety of activities it involved. Some Summer Camp themes naturally lend themselves to a good mix of listening and hands on activities. I was even able to work food into this week’s theme. I know; you’re shocked.
We spent the first day learning about airplanes and helicopters. Actually we toured the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Since we aren’t wealthy jet setters, we kept our tour virtual. You can explore 14 “rooms”, from helicopters to different eras of military planes to ultralights. Each “room” highlights a few planes with a picture and details. Talk about a wealth of information! We couldn’t look at pictures of all those cool airplanes without a little information about how airplanes work.
On day two, we learned a little about the history of hot air balloons. Did you know the passengers on the first balloon were a sheep, a duck and a rooster? I guess they weren’t too worried about animal testing in 1783. Then we admired the beauty of hot air balloons. There’s such a variety of shapes and colors. My daughter thought ice cream cones looked like hot air balloons, so we finished off our camp day with a cool treat.
Our heads were in the stars on day three as we learned about rockets. I pulled out my Cub Scout resources for a help with how rockets work. The Webelos Handbook not only has an understandable explanation, there is also an experiment with a glass and a balloon to illustrate. A library book gave us a great overview of the history of rockets. I wanted to show the kids the movie October Sky, but it didn’t work out. To carry on the fun, we enjoyed a dinner of Moon Mac (Homemade Macaroni and Cheese) and Rocket Fuel (chocolate milk).
We finished up our Flying Machines Summer Camp with blimps and air ships. My son turned his lesson into a cool PowerPoint presentation about the Hindenburg. The statistics on that enormous blimp are amazing. It dwarfed a modern cargo plane and had a lot of impressive engineering built into it.
We had so many more ideas than we had time for this week. I think we’ll be revisiting flying machines again in a future summer camp!