At the Barn Day Camp, there are many index cards with activity names written on them, most with fun drawings related to the activity. Counselors can look through these cards as they decide which activities to offer in the upcoming session. There are also markers and blank cards if they have an idea for a new activity. The backs of the activity cards are left blank. While counselors are expected to have a plan for when they run the activity, none of them have a prescribed way of how it’s expected to be run.
This allows counselors to put their own spin on the activity. A favorite at the Barn Day Camp that really embodies simplicity – one of our core values – is also the most eponymous (which is a fancy way of saying its name is what it is.) That activity is “Digging holes and filling them back in.” This is the sort of activity that really allows for the campers to come up with sub-activities while still getting to use real shovels to dig real holes in the real ground, which is really exciting!
They’ll find bugs, and cool rocks, and get to see the strata of different soil layers. They’ll learn to join together to dig a bigger hole together than they could dig by their lonesome, or others will want to see how deep they can dig, or how wide. The counselors realize they had better pick a good spot to dig these holes (the middle of a path might not be the best choice!) and practice setting up boundaries for the activity (no hands in the hole to pry up rocks at the same time there’s a shovel in there) and saving your patches of grass to cover the holes with.
What are the ways you’re thinking of right now to adjust this activity to where you are and who you’re with? Go try them, and send us pictures or write about how it went. We’d love to hear about it!