Imagination Station at Great Explorations

The children had a great time watching their imaginations come to life during the final week of summer camp at Great Explorations!

This week Ms. Celia highlighted artist Vincent Van Gogh and taught the children how to make Sunflowers using paper and pipe cleaners. Of the project Celia said, "we focused on 3D art this week and bringing all the fun things we learned in art together for one project. The campers were excited to learn about Van Gogh. They even recognized some of his famous artwork! Because we were using so many different materials it was fun to see such a cohesive but still independent result from everyone."

Children wrote stories, decorated 3D books, and learned about the art of printmaking through a paint printmaking activity. They used different materials to decorate treasure chests as they discovered the treasure of stories!

Campers made their characters come to life through the use of bobble head characters that will forever remind them of their camp experiences as Great Ex.

The focus this week on imaginative characters was a fun reminder of the beauty of a child's imagination.

We have had so much fun this summer giving children the opportunity to develop a love for the arts through the use of self-expression during our weekly art projects.

These experiences were all made possible with the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. Thank you for your support and for following the camp children's experiences this summer!

Back to School!

Visitors to the Junior League of St. Petersburg's annual Care Fair on July 29, 2017 painted the NOMAD Art Bus in the Great Explorations art area throughout the event.

Visitors to the Junior League of St. Petersburg's annual Care Fair on July 29, 2017 painted the NOMAD Art Bus in the Great Explorations art area throughout the event.

It's time to head back to school, and Great Explorations is participating in several events to send the kids (and grown ups!) there in style! One of our favorite annual events is Care Fair, presented by the Junior League of St. Petersburg. Families are getting new backpacks and getting excited to start a new school year.

This year we were able to provide some extra special experiences at Care Fair because of the generous support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

Kids received new backpacks at Care Fair and at one Great Ex art station they were able to decorate a cool critter backpack hanger! 

Kids received new backpacks at Care Fair and at one Great Ex art station they were able to decorate a cool critter backpack hanger! 

At the Great Explorations art stations, kids got back into math mode with pixel art, and sharpened their science skills by spraying water on cloud, raindrop, flower and tree shapes cut out of bleeding tissue paper. The results of this unique approach to painting were beautiful illustrations of the water cycle.

Visitors carefully place their colorful nature shapes on watercolor paper in our Rain Painting activity.

Visitors carefully place their colorful nature shapes on watercolor paper in our Rain Painting activity.

Another unique experience available at our art stations was working with primary colors of tempra paint, a selection of scraping and painting tools and a special gel pad to create one-of-a-kind monoprints. Mixing colors and textures creates beautiful and surprising results! 

Initial Collages provided even more opportunities to explore texture. In this activity, poms, feathers, fabric and more are affixed to foam letters. The collage can then be hung from a backpack or glued to a notebook - talk about a unique monogram!

Personal Puzzles provided another opportunity for self-expression. Visitors to this art station drew or wrote whatever they wanted on a piece of craft foam and then waited anxiously while our Accu-Cut machine turned their drawings into a puzzle right before their eyes!

Other activities we took to the event were scratch art, monster bookmarks, heart art, and sticky board collages. 

Finally, families used stamps to decorate a bag to carry all of their cool creations home!

By far the biggest hit of the Great Explorations art area was the NOMAD Art Bus. When the bus arrived bright and early, it was all white. But that didn't last for long as kids and their families grabbed paint brushes and made their mark on this giant, collaborative and temporary traveling piece of art!

Great Explorations is very grateful for the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners for allowing us to provide opportunities for artistic exploration and self-expression for visitors to Care Fair 2017. Families come to Care Fair to receive school supplies, bike helmets and medical screenings. The activities in the Great Ex art area provided opportunities for the students to confidently head into the new school year more connected to each other, to the world around them and to the artist that lives in each of them.

American Adventures at Great Explorations

Five different states were highlighted during this week of summer camp with art and science activities relating to each. When learning about New York the children had the opportunity to experiment with pretend snow. Ms. Celia taught the children about pop artist and New York native, James Rizzi and helped the children learn to replicate his famous "Rizzi Bird" paintings using oil pastels and watercolor.

When asked about this week's guided art activity Celia said "we used a pretty precise step-by-step process to draw the outlines of our birds. The campers were then encouraged to use their creativity to give each bird it's own characteristics. It was apparent in the end that each bird had quite a personality!" 

Children painted pretend walk of fame stars when learning about California and Hollywood, and decorated backpacks while learning about The Grand Canyon and other National Parks in Arizona. We ended the week learning about our home state of Florida, visited a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game, and made posters about our favorite summer camp memories!

rays.jpg

These experiences were all made possible with the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. Next week during the last week of summer, watch as the children's imaginations come to life during this Imagination Station themed camp.

Camp Global Groove at Great Explorations

This week our camp children celebrated music and traditions from different cultures and had the opportunity to play and make musical instruments found all over the world. 

Children used their knowledge of different cultures and the influence culture has on art to decorate cloth catch-all baskets. 

During the art with Ms. Celia session, children used clay to trace their hands, and used tools to create designs on the clay before shaping them into bowls and painting them. Celia said, "the campers were really excited to use clay this week and I was equally as excited for them to work with such an expressive medium.  They all came up with such interesting designs for their hands, making each one unique and personal."

Some children needed help to trace their hands in the clay

Some children needed help to trace their hands in the clay

Adding design to our global hand prints!

Adding design to our global hand prints!

Our youngest camp children decorated paper plates using paints, markers, and sticky foam pieces. They then counted out 10 pinto beans and put them inside the paper plate, once they were stapled shut the happy campers put on a parade using their shakers. Our older campers decorated wooden rhythm boards to use as they made music throughout the week.

Decorating wooden rhythm boards!

Decorating wooden rhythm boards!

As dance plays an important part in cultures around the world children decorated their own dance ribbons and explored the art of dance through play both in and out of Great Explorations this week!

These experiences were all made possible with the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. Join us next week as we focus on the United State during our American Adventures camp week!

Dino Dig Camp at Great Explorations Children's Museum

In our 7th week of summer Great Ex campers got up close and personal with dinosaur fossils and casts. After digging up fossils the children were able to dust off, measure, trace and make rubbings of the fossils they found.

Our little paleontologists excavated real dinosaur fossils from our Great Ex dig before dusting them off and tracing the fossils onto paper.

During our art exploration with Ms. Celia campers made dinosaur rubbings and used different materials to make three-dimensional Dinosaur bones. The kids were really excited to explore art rubbings. After the project Celia said, "the children struggled with getting the rubbings to show at first, it took gross motor use to really see the changes which was a fun shift from our projects which typically utilize fine motor skills. The children were excited to learn a new art skill in crayon rubbings".

Later in the week the children used stickers and paints to decorate rocks that they hid around Crescent Lake park as part of the St Pete Rocks movement.

Hiding #StPeteRocks at Crescent Lake Park!

Hiding #StPeteRocks at Crescent Lake Park!

Campers made dinosaur sticker scenes, matched bones, and colored wooden dinosaur puzzles throughout the week. Children learned new dinosaur names and characteristics, experimented with baking soda volcanoes and learned which pre-historic animals lived in Florida. The Great Explorations Exhibits team even brought in a life-size cast of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull.

Dinosaur drawings and sticker scenes!

Dinosaur drawings and sticker scenes!

All of these wonderful experiences are made possible with the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.Follow us next week as we celebrate music and traditions from different cultures around the world during camp Global Groove!

Great Explorations Summer Camps are going Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead!

Mr. Steve and Mr. Paul (not pictured) from Giving Tree Music got our campers moving and grooving to the beat! 

Mr. Steve and Mr. Paul (not pictured) from Giving Tree Music got our campers moving and grooving to the beat! 

Camp this week may have been one day short (Happy 4th of July!), but it was long on fun, creativity and learning! This week's art activities combined with science and math explorations to create opportunities to discover new things and express ourselves in new ways.

What is this camper making in that salad spinner?

What is this camper making in that salad spinner?

Inertia art! Campers investigated art in motion with this simple but high-impact activity.

Inertia art! Campers investigated art in motion with this simple but high-impact activity.

This week's art exploration with artist Celia Colucci provided alternative ways of moving paint across paper individually and in small groups. "This week's exploration started with the idea that art is personal: one artist's tree will always be different than another artist's tree," explained Colucci. "This concept seemed to resonate with every camper; it was very rewarding to hear it reflected as they commented on each other's creations."

Campers painted trees by using straws to blow liquid watercolors around on their papers.

Campers painted trees by using straws to blow liquid watercolors around on their papers.

Each camper had a unique way of approaching this non-traditional method of painting.

Each camper had a unique way of approaching this non-traditional method of painting.

Campers also learned to identify realistic versus abstract art by studying paintings by artists such as Wyeth and Picasso. "Action Jackson" Pollock inspired the final project that campers did with Ms. Celia - collaborative shake painting!

Campers worked in small groups to select objects and move them around inside their art trays, creating a truly collaborative abstract painting.

Campers worked in small groups to select objects and move them around inside their art trays, creating a truly collaborative abstract painting.

With all of the energy and creative movement of this week's activities, it was a perfect week to invite Giving Tree Music to visit our campers and about 100 lucky museum guests!

Campers were all smiles while participating in a drum circle with Giving Tree Music!

Campers were all smiles while participating in a drum circle with Giving Tree Music!

Families visiting the museum really enjoyed the opportunity to learn something new together!

Mr. Steve and Mr. Paul made our campers and our museum visitors feel like rock stars!

All of these wonderful experiences are made possible with the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

Our campers will really "dig" next week when our theme is Dino Dig! Stay tuned!

Under the Sea at Great Explorations!

Great Ex campers take in the sights under the sea at the Florida Aquarium.

Great Ex campers take in the sights under the sea at the Florida Aquarium.

Campers at Great Explorations Summer Camp this week went down under - Under the Sea, that is!

Campers explored patterns, color and texture in art activities this week.

Campers created their own "sand" made out of colored chalk and then layered different colors to fill their starfish.

Collage is always a popular activity for our campers - so many colorful and fun objects to add to the sticky sea shapes!

Campers showing off their unique sea animal collages.

Campers showing off their unique sea animal collages.

Colorful foam shapes and markers allowed campers to create beautiful and useful bookmarks!

Colorful foam shapes and markers allowed campers to create beautiful and useful bookmarks!

Shake painting provided an opportunity to investigate how different objects move through paint and what colors can be created when primary colors collide. 

Shaking is a really fun painting technique!

Shaking is a really fun painting technique!

Some activities require a calmer approach. Don't you love the colors and designs of these scratch art seals?

Artist Celia Colucci led an exploration of colors and patterns inspired by the book Pattern Fish by Trudy Harris.

Campers enthusiastically choose the colors for their pattern jellyfish!

Campers enthusiastically choose the colors for their pattern jellyfish!

Pink, blue, pink, blue - can you make a pattern too?

Pink, blue, pink, blue - can you make a pattern too?

In this project, campers used tissue paper, strips of paper, and sticker shapes to create a variety of patterns on their jellyfish.

The finished product was a combination of art and math that was also a lot of fun to make!

How many different patterns can you spot on these fanciful, funny-face jellyfish?

How many different patterns can you spot on these fanciful, funny-face jellyfish?

"This week the campers were given very specific guidelines to create their projects," explained Colucci. "I was so pleased to see their unique approaches and creative expression within the parameters they were given."

Counselors and other museum staff enjoyed discovering all of the different patterns created by the campers!

"The shape and placement of the eye stickers along with the campers' added touches gave each jellyfish a unique personality that was really fun to see," observed Camp Director Lauren Leavine while looking at the finished project.

"I love how expressive the faces of the jellyfish are!" exclaimed one parent.

"I love how expressive the faces of the jellyfish are!" exclaimed one parent.

Art explorations at Great Explorations Summer Camp are possible with the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

Join us next week as we go Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead!

Build It at Great Explorations Summer Camp!

This week, campers explored tools and techniques for designing and building their own cityscapes, birdhouses and more!

The campers came up with some cool exhibit ideas to share with the Great Explorations Exhibits Department!

The campers came up with some cool exhibit ideas to share with the Great Explorations Exhibits Department!

Nicole Morelli and Mark Fairweather design and build a lot of the amazing things you can see around Great Ex. They took time out of their schedules to show campers a museum floor plan and talk about designing exhibits. They then invited campers to draft plans for a new exhibit!

Campers were so proud to share their ideas for the next new exhibit at Great Ex!

Campers were so proud to share their ideas for the next new exhibit at Great Ex!

Reading the book My Apron by Eric Carle inspired our youngest campers to decorate their own tool aprons. Of course they needed some tools to put in their aprons, so they explored using real tools and safety equipment.

Our youngest campers love to look at books for inspiration, information and ideas! Reading How a House is Built by Gail Gibbons helped them decorate and build their own houses.

Campers took a break from building to do a chalk cityscape art project that presented some challenges and produced some amazing results!

The older kids designed their own skyline on cardstock and then cut them out to make a template.

"We had a lot of creative building ideas for our cities," said artist Celia Colucci. "I think we may have some future architects here!"

"We had a lot of creative building ideas for our cities," said artist Celia Colucci. "I think we may have some future architects here!"

Designing the skylines and cutting them out was a very lengthy process. "In hindsight, I think we should have used stencils to speed up the process, but it was really cool to see their building ideas," reflected Colucci after the project was completed.

Designing the skylines and cutting them out was a very lengthy process. "In hindsight, I think we should have used stencils to speed up the process, but it was really cool to see their building ideas," reflected Colucci after the project was completed.

Once the templates were cut, campers then outlines the skylines in colored chalk on black construction paper. For the final touch, they used a smudging technique to make it look like the buildings were lit up.

"Once we got to the last step, campers were pretty intrigued with the smudging of the chalk and the effect it had on our cityscapes," explained Colucci.

"Once we got to the last step, campers were pretty intrigued with the smudging of the chalk and the effect it had on our cityscapes," explained Colucci.

Once the chalk was smudged, campers loved the finished product - it looked like they were glowing!

This art project required time and focus as the campers did each step in the lengthy process.

This art project required time and focus as the campers did each step in the lengthy process.

After the hard work of exploring new building and art tools and techniques, campers needed to cut loose a little!

A field trip to a city park allowed campers to explore this unique playground....

A field trip to a city park allowed campers to explore this unique playground....

...and have some good old-fashioned fun!

...and have some good old-fashioned fun!

Summer camp art explorations are made possible with the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

Stay tuned next week as we go Under the Sea!

Wild about Art at Great Explorations!

Read on for more information about this week's art project!

Read on for more information about this week's art project!

This week the rainy weather helped set the mood for our Radical Rainforest theme. Luckily, we had a lot of activities to help us explore the theme through art projects and creative movement. 

Young campers explored how different animals move in a creative movement activity in Sunken Gardens.

Young campers explored how different animals move in a creative movement activity in Sunken Gardens.

After learning about habitats and the frog life cycle, our young campers drew and colored ponds.

Studying the photos in the book to make sure they create a perfect habitat for construction paper frogs.

Studying the photos in the book to make sure they create a perfect habitat for construction paper frogs.

Campers created birdhouses and decorated flower pots.

Campers created birdhouses and decorated flower pots.

The snakes from the Great Ex Critter Cave exhibit inspired our campers to explore colors and patterns in this springy snake project.

The elusive smiley-face snake and a camper who is all smiles.

The elusive smiley-face snake and a camper who is all smiles.

 

To add to the investigation of the connection between what animals look like and where they live and seek shelter, artist Celia Colucci led campers through a camouflage art project. First, campers drew shapes and colored them in using oil pastels.

"The campers were excited to use oil pastels as it was a new medium for most of them," said Colucci. "It was enjoyable to see all of the different techniques they used with this unfamiliar medium: some colored, some mixed the colors using smudging, and some simply did not like the texture. I was happy to introduce them to something new!"

"The campers were excited to use oil pastels as it was a new medium for most of them," said Colucci. "It was enjoyable to see all of the different techniques they used with this unfamiliar medium: some colored, some mixed the colors using smudging, and some simply did not like the texture. I was happy to introduce them to something new!"

Can you spot a teacher in this group or is she camouflaged?

Can you spot a teacher in this group or is she camouflaged?

Then campers "hid" a chameleon in their drawings, using the same colors and patterns as the background and using small foam squares for a 3-D element.

You have to look really carefully to spot the chameleons hiding in this camouflage art!

You have to look really carefully to spot the chameleons hiding in this camouflage art!

For their field trip this week, we walked across the street to Practically Pikasso and glazed plates.

Circles and stripes and everything nice!

Circles and stripes and everything nice!

The wonderful art activities at Great Ex Summer Camp are made possible by the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

 

Out of this World and Into the Arts!

Campers at Great Explorations Children's Museum blasted off to learning during week 2 of our Summer Camp program!

Artist Celia Colucci facilitated an art project this week that tapped into the mysteries of space and allowed our explorers to discover the stars! 

Campers created or re-created constellations using a wax resist technique with white crayons and liquid watercolors. "It was really interesting to see how campers responded to drawing with white crayon on white paper," Celia said. "It was confusing to some but once they saw the process it was like drawing with invisible ink and they loved it," she observed. Campers studied and copied a real constellation or used their imaginations to create their own, allowing campers of all ages to engage in and benefit from this captivating art project!

Our youngest campers used a different process to explore constellations: they used white paint on black paper and loved the dramatic results!

Each camper used their own techniques on this project, from different hand holds on the cotton swabs used to paint to an ambidextrous approach!

Each camper used their own techniques on this project, from different hand holds on the cotton swabs used to paint to an ambidextrous approach!

Campers also explored "moon dust" made from salt colored with sidewalk chalk. They enjoyed the sensory experience of using their fingers and the chalk pieces to draw in this unique material. They extended the activity by creating a texture painting to simulate the moon's surface.

In addition to novel materials and surprising techniques, campers went back to basics and used crayons to draw solar systems on large paper. Once the drawings were complete, campers added small LED lights to really make the project shine!

Some campers even got down on the floor so they could spread out and use their whole bodies, making this gross motor art!

Some campers even got down on the floor so they could spread out and use their whole bodies, making this gross motor art!

Of course, you can't explore the solar system without a way to get around, so campers used funnels to fill rocket-shaped containers with our salt colored with chalk dust.

Campers loved blending and mixing colors to make their fanciful rockets!

Campers loved blending and mixing colors to make their fanciful rockets!

All of our out of this world art explorations are possible with the Support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

Join Great Ex campers next week as we set off into Radical Rainforests!

It Starts with the Arts at Great Explorations Children's Museum!

Week 1 - African Safari

Although our week was short due to the Memorial Day holiday, campers in Great Ex Summer Camp and Play Days programs quickly hopped on board to explore the art, animals and traditions of Africa!

At Great Explorations, Summer Camp explorers are upcoming Kindergartners-3rd graders and our Play Day explorers are 3-5 year olds.

Our youngest explorers learned about Africa through music and dance in our half-day Play Days program. They explored drums and a thumb piano to create different sounds on traditional African instruments. And when those little feet felt the beat, the campers grabbed colorful scarves and expressed themselves through dance.

A Play Days explorer dances to the beat with colorful scarves.

A Play Days explorer dances to the beat with colorful scarves.

The scarves provided a wonderful sensory experience that captivated our campers.

The scarves provided a wonderful sensory experience that captivated our campers.

The scarves also provided a colorful gross motor experience for our youngest campers.

The scarves also provided a colorful gross motor experience for our youngest campers.

Our Kindergarten-3rd grade Summer Camp explorers used their hands and their imaginations to design and create their own unique pinch pots. Artist Celia Colucci shared cultural information as well as instructions for making the pinch pots.

Campers mix colors to paint their pinch pots!

Campers mix colors to paint their pinch pots!

Campers loved using model magic and paint to express themselves through their individual creations!

Campers loved using model magic and paint to express themselves through their individual creations!

Talk about happy campers!

Talk about happy campers!

Artist Celia Colucci commented, "While campers had only 4 colors and all heard the same instructions, their wonderful and unique finished pieces reflected the artists' diverse approaches to the project."

Artist Celia Colucci commented, "While campers had only 4 colors and all heard the same instructions, their wonderful and unique finished pieces reflected the artists' diverse approaches to the project."

Our young Play Days campers learned about animals through stories, creative movement and craft projects.

Play Days campers created animal masks (not pictured) and colored in animal visors to make connections to their learning.

Our Summer Camp explorers learned about camouflage and habitat through games and physical activities. And of course, the best way to learn about animals is a trip to the zoo!

As you can see, we packed a lot of fun and creativity into our shortened camp week, and of course we snuck some learning in there too. Our daily artistic explorations are all possible With the support of Creative Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

Stay tuned! Next week is going to be "Out of this World!"

3-2-1...

GREAT EXPLORATIONS CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

 

It Starts With the Arts: A high-quality hands-on arts education program for area youth with a focus on innovative art projects and collaborative community painting and music activities.

Specifically, the grant will fund:

(1) Art supplies for museum summer campers to be used during weekly instructor-led high quality arts projects.

(2) Art supplies for the museum's outreach effort at the Jr. League of St. Petersburg's Care Fair event.

(3) Artist fees for 4 hours of community-wide painting experiences at the Jr. League of St. Petersburg's Care Fair event provided by the NOMAD Art Bus.

(4) Artist fees for 3 hours of interactive musical performances at the museum by Giving Tree Music Drum Circle.