Kids Astound Themselves

“If we did all things we are capable of we would literally astound ourselves.” ~ Thomas Edison

Dear Friends of LEAPS,

Blackie seemed present this week as kids, with resounding enthusiasm, created their own collaborative animal mural. Made from wood of all shapes, sizes, and textures, the work began with research on Maine’s creatures. Each child discovered amazing new information about his or her animal – including the precise size of its footprint!We could have predicted that the moose would leave the largest track, yet we were astonished to discover that most of the animals children had selected all had prints just over 3 inches across.

Grounding our project was a large collection of books and the work of Langlais himself.  From the start of the week when kids began cutting out their creatures – until today, when their enormous wood- collaged forms filled the sheet of plywood, they knew they’d made phenomenal strides. One child remarked that she’d never expected that our group of campers could be so imaginative. “I love choosing the wood to create texture!” another child exclaimed.

Putting pieces together, children combined pre-cut shapes with ones they’d broken or sawed to size. Take a look at the deer with antlers and a much smaller marten to its right. 

As they stepped back to see how the whole had come together, campers were utterly astounded.
They had succeeded in creating a piece that was so Langlais-like and was in many ways true to the artist’s oversized, imaginative vision.

Langlais’ work made an enormous impact on kids’ study and on the outcome of their mural. Patient and inspired, children added texture, detail, and multiple layers – just like Blackie had “shown” them.

It was a hot day after the rain, and children took a break to get some exercise and play tag games. As we neared the last few moments of the week we took a “quiet walk” to collect some specimens for journal drawings. What kids found were mushrooms that looked like tree bark and an abundance of colorful wildflowers and fallen leaves. They noticed bird songs and butterflies and asked one of our resident student experts to identify them.

At the end of the day each camper completed a questionnaire to help us understand what he or she’d learned from the camp experience. We’ll tally the results and let you know what they shared with us!

We wish you a wondrous week of discovery as families celebrate the July Fourth week together. We look forward to seeing our returning children –  in our next program, Book It!  If you are interested, we have several places available! 

With joy and admiration for our nine artists of distinction, Nancy, Susan, and Cynthia

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