ExploreHope Staff Stories: Cool Critters and Crawlies

Hi there! My name is Ellie Johnston and this is my first year on the ExploreHope staff! I will be a junior in the fall studying Early Childhood Education. These camps have been the highlight of my summer, watching the campers jump out of their cars every day eager to start. Nothing brings me more joy than watching the campers proudly show their finished crafts.


This past week I led the Cool Critters and Crawlies camp, also known as Bug Camp! We spent the week learning about different common bugs, why we need bugs, and how to make our own bug habitats! Since it is bug camp, each day ended with some bug catching outside Schaap Science Center and Centennial Park! Most campers went home with a few worms, a spider if they were lucky, and about 10 roly-polys each!


One of my favorite parts of camp was bee day! Campers learned all about the pollination process as well as pretended to be bees and pollinated other campers’ flowers! Campers were very excited to make their own bee hive and then share a sweet honey treat! While bee day was a great hit, it was clear the campers loved butterfly day! Each camper made a unique butterfly using watercolors and clothespins. We did a gallery walk so campers were able to see how different colors blended together. As a fun way to carry their butterfly home, we made butterfly feeders! The parents were given a recipe for how to make nectar to attract butterflies to their yard.
What I loved about this camp is how much fun the campers had digging in the dirt and hunting for new bugs. Every day ended with the campers covered in mud and a big smile on their face. This camp is filled with activities that are easy for any guardian to help with and help grow a bug lover’s knowledge! I am very grateful for this job and everything I will continue to learn throughout these camps!

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