MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Campers at the South Mountain YMCA this summer will discover how quicksand is both a solid and a liquid by making batches of gooey Dr. Seuss-inspired Oobleck. They’ll perfect their own recipes for bubbles and figure out what makes the soapy spheres shimmer in the sunlight. They’ll sink their hands in soil while learning how plants grow.
Through experiments, games and outings, the South Mountain YMCA aims to cultivate 300 budding scientists, piquing their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (known collectively as STEM).
“This is hands-on, project-based learning that will keep their minds engaged while they’re having fun,’ said Eric Stoddard, the South Mountain Y’s senior program director. Slimy, oozy, messy, smile-inducing experiments will get both girls and boys “to try something they didn’t know they were good at,’’ Stoddard said.
The interactive activities are an added part of happy camp days filled with team sports, games, arts & crafts, swimming, and much more.
The Maplewood-based branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is one of 40 Ys nationwide selected to use the YMCA of the USA’s successful Afterschool Science Plus curriculum at summer camp for the first time. First through fifth graders enrolled in the SOMAPY camp and first through third graders in the Environmental Awareness Summer Camp will take part in the pilot, Stoddard said.
Camps, which start June 30, run Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for nine weeks. Parents interested in enrolling their children in the SOMAPY camp or the Environmental Awareness Summer Camp may call the Y at (973) 762-0860. Financial assistance is available for families that qualify.