With just one more month until summer, our Camp Guide has never been so useful — or so comprehensive! We've worked hard to search out local summer camps and programs and give you the low down on as many as possible.

Noozhawk took the chance to sit down with MOXI's very own Ron Skinner, director of education, and Martha Swanson, communications manager, to get the scoop on the museum's first ever summer program.

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation

Question: What is the name of your Summer Camp and what is its mission?

Answer: We have two different types of camps; our Explorer Camps and our Maker Camps. Our mission for both is to ignite children’s learning through interactive hands-on experiences using science and creativity.

Q: What is the age range for children to take part in your camp?

A: For our Maker Camps, we have two different age ranges, 8 and over and 12 and over. Our Explorer Camps has two different age brackets; children ages 6 through 8 and 8 through 10.

Q: Describe the activities involved in your different camp offerings.

A: The first Maker Camp we are hosting is for ages 8 and over. It is a Robotics Camp that involves building and programming robots.

The second one is our Exhibit Makers Camp, for campers 12 and over, and it involves using tools in our Innovation Workshop to build and design activities that are used in the exhibits on the floor of the museum.

For example, we have an exhibit at the museum called “Build it, Test it, Race it” where on a daily basis guests get to use wooden components and pieces to build their own car and then race them on our racetrack.

In our Exhibit Makers Camp, there may be an opportunity for campers to build their very own car separate from the pieces we usually offer the public, perhaps by creating custom pieces using our 3D printer or by cutting pieces on the laser-cutter.

Campers will be exposed to a wide range of subjects that will help them become better problem-solvers and group collaborators.
Campers will be exposed to a wide range of subjects that will help them become better problem-solvers and group collaborators. (MOXI photo)

They may also get to create pieces to use in our exhibit that we call our Wind Column Workshop. It has tubes and a fan that blows air vertically, which guests use to do test flights using little parachutes or whirly-gigs. The goal is to see how you can create objects that float, hover, or fly higher or lower.

Our Explorer Camps have a more science and engineering focus and are less technology based. We have three Explorer Camps — Fantastic Forces, Wild Weather and Dynamic Design.

For the Fantastic Forces camp, we will explore the forces that set rockets, race cars and roller-coasters in motion at MOXI.

In Wild Weather, we will explore the science behind wild weather events such as thunder, lightning, snow, hail and hurricanes. We will also be conducting experiments in our Exploration lab for both of those camps.

Dynamic design is filled with engineering and team-building challenges. We will be using a variety of materials and tools from our Innovation Workshop to design, build and then test our creations against the forces of nature.

All of these camps involve the use of our Innovation Workshop, Exploration Lab, and exhibits on the floor of the museum, but they will also have an outdoor component where we will actually spend some time outside exploring and getting out of the classroom, so-to-speak.  

Q: What goals do you have for kids participating in your camp?

A: Our primary goal is for them to have fun and be inspired, but the secondary educational goal is for them to become fearless problem-solvers, which is really what MOXI is about. It’s about building your confidence so you can design, create and solve problems on your own in a very fun and playful way.

Q: What was the inspiration for creating a summer camp at MOXI?

A: The inspiration for doing a summer camp came from watching the kids interact with our hands-on exhibits on the floor and seeing the opportunity for expanding what is typically a few hours visit, and the benefit they get from that transformational experience, into week-long super-educational adventure. 

Q: What can parents expect their kids to gain from participating in MOXI's summer program?

A: Parents can expect their kids to have a really great time and a lot of fun. Our museum is very process skill oriented, so coming to camp will help improve their skills of formulating and asking questions, making observations, testing ideas, and using design-thinking strategies to come up with ideas for design and structures.

They will also develop collaborative problem-solving skills, because a lot of what we do at MOXI requires group collaboration. So they’ll work with other kids and learn how to solve problems in a group setting.

Another component is creativity. Campers will spend a great amount of time thinking creatively and designing creatively.

Q: What is the best part about your camp?

A: The best part about MOXI is the diversity of activities that the kids are exposed to. We have so many different stimuli that get you thinking creatively and outside of the box. We have a lot of different opportunities to think about subjects in really different ways.

Q: Describe what makes your camp unique and worthwhile.

A: Definitely the uniqueness of MOXI. MOXI doesn’t exist anywhere on the planet!

We have amazing resources in our hands-on exhibits, such as the Innovation Workshop and in our Exploration Lab. The space in general is super conducive to create, investigate and engage in hands-on playful activities. 

Q: Describe a favorite activity for children that visit MOXI that will be included in summer camp.

A: There are a number of favorite activities when kids come to MOXI.

One example is our Foley studios. You go into one of the studios with a group and there's all sorts of different tools and instruments that make sound. You then watch a movie clip with a soundtrack and your challenge is to make a new soundtrack to the movie clip.

So, as a group, you have to figure out which object makes which sound, who in the group is going to make which sounds at which times, and then you get a chance to record your new soundtrack and play it back.

If you really like it, you can email it to yourself to listen to later. It’s an amazing group problem-solving challenge, which requires you to think individually, but also to work collaboratively as group. Kids love it!

One way we might be incorporating this into our camps is, for example, in our Wild Weather Camp, we may feature a clip that shows wild weather, and then the challenge would be to figure out which objects they would need to use to mimics the sounds of the weather.

Or for the Design Camp, it would designing or creating your own instrument or gadget that produces a sound.

Here at MOXI, we have a sound machine that is also ball machine. As the ball rolls around the machine, it makes all sorts of different sounds.

For the Design Camp, we may have campers create their very own ball sound machines, but in order to do that, they have to understand how different objects make different sounds and how we can put them together, which is when we may use the Foley studios.

Q: In what ways is your camp educational?

A: All of our camps and activities are very educational in that they all involve developing process skills, asking questions, designing, thinking, and problem-solving. Our emphasis at the museum is on the physical sciences, technology and creativity.

Q: What else should parents know when deciding whether to send their kids to your camp?

A: A week at MOXI will be a transformational experience for your child. It will build their confidence as a problem-solver and they’ll have a really fun time doing it. If you’re child enjoys a day-visit to MOXI, they’ll love a week-long camp!

To learn more about MOXI's summer camps or sign up, click here

MOXI allows campers to interactiviely engage in hands-on activities in studios that incoporate science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
MOXI allows campers to interactiviely engage in hands-on activities in studios that incoporate science, technology, engineering, arts and math. (MOXI photo)

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