Innovative Science has offered science-themed summer camps for the past 11 years. With another semester of virtual school and hybrid learning for students, due to the pandemic, Innovative Science President Sheena Davis said she wanted to give children an opportunity for in-person, hands-on, interactive, messy, fun – hence Innovative Science’s Winter Camp with a Santa’s Workshop theme. Camp participants will take away an appreciation of the science behind the smells, decorations, colors and wonders of Christmas.
When most people think camp, they think summer pastime but Davis is shaking up that trend of thought with her Christmas camp at which participants will get to explore all things Christmas through fun experiences.
“Our camp is designed to be a time to explore the science of all things Christmas, filled with science experiments, engineering explorations and team-building challenges,” said Davis.
The camp, dubbed Santa’s Workshop, with a secret laboratory schedule, will have campers engaged in topics that include the secret science of crystals and exploring the world of edible and decorative crystals; the secret science of colors and lights which means investigating the different colors of flames, bubbles and rainbows and learning what creates the colors; the secret smells of Christmas – cinnamon, pine fresh baked goods and discovering your favorite, and learning how to keep the smells all year; the secret science of Christmas decorations, making 3D ornaments, and ornaments from recycled material; and the secret science of toys and exploring the science of how they work.
“It will be a fun time exploring all things Christmas,” said Davis, an adjunct faculty member at the University of The Bahamas (UB) and a certified informal STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning facilitator.
Davis said the camp, which is open to children ages five to 12 years old, will serve to build critical thinking skills by participating in team STEM challenges. And that participants will have fun doing science and engineering.
“The goal of Innovative Science is to make learning science fun for our campers through hands-on, interactive activities,” said Davis. “Scientific research has proven that students learn best by doing. We help our campers to understand how things work and why things happen by going through the process. Process mapping improves their critical thinking skills, which can be applied to classroom learning or learning on the playground. As students experiment, and explore, we encourage them to observe what is happening, to ask questions, to anticipate the next steps and to continually want to learn more.”
Davis said everything about the winter camp will fascinate children.
“A long-time favorite of campers has been making goo – they will be extra excited by the Christmas-themed goo,” she said. “As it’s a STEM camp, so the science of crystal making … our decorations will connect math and 3D shapes. Most importantly – they will be biodegradable and good for the environment [and] a healthy alternative to many store-bought items. The engineering section where we build toys and figure out how they work is fun and engaging.”
The camp takes place December 20-24 at Xavier’s Lower School on West Bay Street between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants get to make and take the items home and, in the spirit of the season, even give them away as gifts.
As for hosting, during the camp, in the days leading up to Christmas, Davis said because of the challenging time had by many students, due to pandemic protocols – having to attend schools virtually or hybrid – which meant limited interaction with their peers, she said she wanted to offer parents an alternative to just having their children engaged in the textbook, sitting in front of the television, or just leaving them at home during the winter break.
And she said parents can feel secure that Innovative Science has put in place all safety protocols in hosting the camp.
“Innovative Science has always been a safe and fun space for campers. We keep our camps small, a maximum of 20 campers, and all our activities are hands-on, so campers naturally have to spread out,” said Davis.
In Innovative Science’s 11 years of hosting camps, this is the second time they have offered a winter camp.