What we built for the kids is a STEM playground. There are games teaching various geometrical shapes. There is a periscope for teaching optics. There is a catapult that can be used to teach the theory behind projectiles. There are seesaws for teaching mechanics as well as sustainability because it is built with recycled tires.
The kids went crazy with the games. We had to teach them to take turns, to play safely and how not to interfere with each other.
The kids stayed until dark, until their parents called them home.
A beautiful dog was sniffling around with interest. But it seemed very wary with people. But it seemed very found of, and in fact crawled all over, one girl little girl, who must have been its owner.
Even then, a Moogli (Jungle Book, Disney version) - lookalike swinged by herself even after all the kids were gone. We were wondering why she was able to stay behind while all the others had gone. Eventually, however, she also disappeared.
I found a piece of spare wood, and made a shark for the kids. It wasn’t too difficult to do. I used a saw to cut out a rough profile, my pocket knife to whittle out the shape, sandpaper to smooth it, and finally painted it. All in all it took me about 2 hours. The kids loved it.
An American students remarked that she would go to a toy store to buy such a thing, and did not expect someone to make it. I told her that someone has to make it so that she can buy it from the store. Many of the students said they wanted me to make one for them. Unfortunately I made this one for the community learning centre, for the kids. And there were not enough time to make more.
One kid seemed to be particularly fond of the shark. Towards the end, he gesticulated to me, pointed to his school house, and said something. At first, I though he wanted to take the shark to his classroom. I tried to let him know that I made it for the community learning centre. Eventually, the local volunteer told me has was concerned that if we left it outside, someone might steal it. Hence he suggested to store it inside. I really like this kid and his thinking. So I told him we will put it inside the community learning center. So that he can play with it when he comes to the center.
Inside the center, other than the shark, we have installed specially designed tables with science themes, computers with educational applications loaded. And more.
When the sun went down. We had to leave, reluctantly. We are hoping that the center, with the STEM playgound, will not only provide a lot of fun to the kids, but also help to stimulate and exercise their interest in science. We were all exhausted. But we felt we had had a fulfilling 2 weeks.