By Hand Camp, Day 3

What a day! With the fourth of July we only had 5 kids show up to camp today. In the morning we hot-glued nails face up to paper and wood. Then we dropped paint-filled balloons from our 20-foot kid-made tower. It was possibly the most dangerous art I have ever been a part of. In the afternoon we did coke and mentos experiments till we where soaked and tired.

We had 12 bottles of coke, enough for everyone to try twice. The result was amazing. The first try most people played it safe, but with the second bottle people got really creative. There was the “shower head” modification and the double-bottle fuzz catcher. Trial and error, the most powerful teacher.

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More photos here

By Hand Camp, Day 1

We are off again. This week it’s Justine and me on staff, with intern and volunteer support from Anna and Kellie.

We focused today on painting. Specifically chaotic and random painting. We splattered and splotched our way to some amazing works. After a nice long park time we came back and started working on our pendulum drawing machine.

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After working small, we started on a bigger canvas. 10ft by 9ft.

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Starting tomorrow’s project today, we began collecting parts for our pendulum.

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More photos over on our flickr!

return of paint

Work continued in Kid City today, and particularly visible was new paint supplies and a burst of color on the wood structure.

After some writing…

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…and some leaps from great heights…

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…and after Debbie made hot lunch: beef stew with herb bread and banana bread and oranges for dessert…

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…the kids got to work decorating and painting.

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Clean clothes? Never!

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Collaboration in groups of three has been phenomenal this week! The hard work continued as the day zipped by.

Tombstone work.

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More pumpkin carving…

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…and sawing

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Testing out the eyeball toss.

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Mummies.

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Riffing on the Stylophone.

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Face painting.

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Making signs.

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Guillotine prep.

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Setting up the bungee rig.

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A break.

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Unexpected snowfall.

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Closing.

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Til tomorrow, with a creepy bow.

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a great feat

Today was the last day of the Expression phase for the Cities arc. The level of concentration was intense and almost everyone spent their day painting, building, and putting the finishing touches (for now) on their Kid City homes and shops.

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A moment of pause.

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Aidan’s turning green!

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So is Lola!

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A little showing off.

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Then back to work.

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last day of expression

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As the day moved closer and closer to the official deadline time, the kids became even more concentrated than ever, and as Josh counted down the last twenty seconds, the sound of frantic drills continued and shouts of disappointment echoed as Expression came to a close. Although we all know that Kid City is an on-going project for the year, it was a point of completion in the construction of the mini-city during the Cities arc. And everyone got to bask in the glory of coming to a finished point in the project.

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Here you have it, everyone: Kid City.

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Quite a feat.

what happens when kids focus

Amazing things. That’s what happens. If we’re talking about favorite days of school, I might point to this one as one of mine. Technically the last day of Expression (though we’re extending our deadline to the end of the day on Monday), the kids had a full realization of what limited time means. Everyone worked steadily and with an immense amount of focus on their projects. They all helped each other out. They fell into a rhythm and it was more than kind of beautiful.

Coke brought in a piece of the beehive in his yard that the bees abandoned. The heady honey smell floated through the space as the kids explored the empty hive and searched for honey and pockets of pollen. Lola said as she ripped through some comb, “The bees will be mad at us when they turn into zombies.”

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Kid City sign-making continued.

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Richard the architect arrived with pieces of redwood partway through the morning to plant a tree on the cork floor.

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The kids helped hoist the logs into their full upright position.

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Beautiful.

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Kristie made rice balls, miso soup, and green tea for everyone at snack today. Wow, so good! Thanks, Kristie.

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Reading in the privacy of the Kid City room.

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New heights.

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And a hole in the floor for quick escapes.

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Interior designing.

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When Connor, Ben, Isaac, and Kaia managed to get the domed roof on top of Kid City, Ben shouted, “It’s Google SketchUp come to life!”

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Writing postcards to each other from mysterious places during quiet time.

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And of course, no Friday would be complete without a little more fun, this time in the form of a rope swing.

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It’s been six weeks of school and we’ve already done so much! I like watching for the little things: the popping eyes in the kids’ faces when Mackenzie tells a thrilling story at lunch, the concentration when drilling a screw in Kid City, the sheer guts it takes to turn a bunch of plywood into a domed roof, the way the kids ask each other for help, and the friendships they’ve already started forming. I feel so lucky to be part of a place that will help kids know so much that’s important about the world and themselves and each other.

framing, and an excess of paint

Construction in forms large and small framed this day. The older kids spent the morning constructing the frames of the two-story Kid City while the the younger kids headed to San Francisco General Hospital’s construction site just a few blocks away from our little school. Mix in a little paint and you have a day.

The foundation at the hospital went down three stories! Aidan assured me that this “isn’t too deep,” but they saw the crane moving things around so fast!

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Setting out 2x4s back at the school.

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Zada helped align the wood for strong joints and a steady Kid City frame.

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Connor concentrated on the task at hand.

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Theo helped Audrey with her play and assured me he would soon know the secrets of time travel (right, Theo?)

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A quick break at the park before the younger kids came hurrying back to school.

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After lunch, Kaia prepared her feet for a record in strides.

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Coke took a break to read in the library – now located in the office area, thanks to Melanie and Kristie’s hard moving work.

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Gever worked with Henry on some gaming code and Isaac wrote more in his tale of zombie mayhem, while Stewart and Theo continued to explore the world.

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What can you discover from the footsteps of the kids at Brightworks?

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Jennie – our friend and carpentry and kids’ tool education extraordinaire – showed Audrey how to use the chop saw.

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Kai helped Mei stabilize her sawing so she could start building a table for her flower shop.

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Logan started to construct submarine that will never sink.

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Ben had plans of his own…

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Clementine and Jennie work on sturdy joints on a shelf for Clementine’s Kid City shop.

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Connor and Ben measure on the diagonal to square the frames for stability.

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Setting the frames upright.

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An experiment in tracing footsteps gone to the extreme – paint everywhere!

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Quinn composed a poem for Sofia after she fell in the paint slide:

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We’re painting a painting for painting the painting.
A painting was painting a painting.
She was a painting that was painting a painting.
She was painting who was painting a painting of painting that a painting can painting so well.

-quinn.

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“Brightworks,” Josh said, “is where clean clothes go to die.”
Norabelle, Zada, Kaia: you’ve proven this correct. It will not be the last time.

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