Offering different programs on various topics each week, Summer Branches camps at West Branch School, 755 Moore Ave., aim for students to have fun while also learning.
"We offer two or three camps each week and it's different each week," said Natali Prindle, operations manager.
Camp themes include sports, cooking and art. The camps are split up by age group to keep them exciting for all children in the class.
“Fantastic Faery Camp” participants at a Summer Branches camp at West Branch School work on making bird feeders out of bowls, string, peanut butter and bird seed. Below, Stacie Lakatos helps students with making bowls in the shape of a flower during the “Clayworks” class.
For one camp, Brianne Tupper led a group of 4- to 6-year-old students through the world of "Fantastic Faery Camp." During the week, children chose what kind of faery they were - fire, air, water or earth - made costumes and learned about faeries.
Tupper said she chose the spelling "faery," instead of the more well-known "fairy," because she wanted to go back to the folklore version.
She explained that she wants to teach the children that in stories there aren't just little faeries but some are tall and some are ugly. Students said their favorite part is making their own wings and head gear.
"They made their own wings. They learned some of the older folklore," Tupper said.
Children did different activities that related to the variety of faeries. For the wind faery, the group made wind chimes with fishing string, beads and bells. Later in the week, they made bird feeders on earth faery day.
For older children in the area, there were two options: "Think Like a Scientist" and "Clayworks."
In "Think Like a Scientist," students learned about different science topics and performed several experiments to further demonstrate the lessons.
Dr. Joseph LeBlanc lead the camp and showed students how to make their own lights with household items and taught a lesson on surface tension.
On a plate, LeBlanc sprinkled pepper on a plate of water. He showed that when he dipped a toothpick in soap it makes the pepper go to the side of the plate.
LeBlanc said during the camp he asked the children questions to see what they thought was going to happen.
"I told them to trust their senses," he said.
"Clayworks" gives the children an opportunity to show off their creative side as they make pottery on a wheel, flower bowls and other sculptures.
Stacie Lakatos teaches the class and said the camp was split into two different sessions. While they made their creations in the first, students will have a chance to glaze and paint them.
Prindle said the camps usually change each year depending on what instructors are willing to hold and what interest the kids have.
"It changes every year just based on what teachers want to do," she said. "You never know what kids are going to be into from year to year."
She also said that since the children participating are not only from their school but from other schools, it allows them to learn about each other and interact.
"Not only are they having fun and making friends, they're continuing what they did in school," she said.
And once a child comes to the camp, Prindle said it's normal for them to keep coming.
"Usually once a child starts, you see them back every year," she said. "Our whole goal is always to challenge our kids."