Summer of STEM: Super Science Sampler

This summer we’re hearing from our amazing camp staff. Our Hope College students do the heavy lifting of planning, prepping, and teaching our hands-on camps all summer long! Each week, 2-3 student staff members will recap a camp they’ve led and share tips on how to keep the fun going at home!

Hello and welcome to my ExploreHope Blog Takeover! My name is Kimmie Drake and I will be a sophomore here at Hope. I plan on majoring in Elementary Education with a focus in Integrated Science. I have always had a passion for science and was so excited that I received this opportunity to be a part of the team that leads camps throughout the summer. 

I had an amazing time leading the camp called Super Science Sampler for K-2nd graders. For those who cannot decide, why not try it all? With this camp there is a new theme everyday which gives campers a chance to experience five different camps throughout a week. For example, campers made bug catchers and learned about the parts of an insect, visited animals at the animal museum, learned about habitats, watched liquid nitrogen and dry ice experiments, and learned about states of matter. There was never a dull moment. 

One of my favorite memories of this camp was creating volcanic eruptions for our Prehistoric theme day. I can guarantee that these campers, if allowed, would have spent all day watching the volcanoes erupt. Lucky campers – this activity is super-easy to do at home!

All you need is vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, and washable paint or food coloring. Even if you do not have a volcano mold you could make one using playdough shaped around a plastic cup. Combine baking soda, food coloring and dish soap in a container – then add vinegar and watch the eruption! More instructions and tips for this simple and fun activity can be found here.

Another one of my favorite memories was going outside with the campers and hunting for bugs for our Creepy Crawlies theme day. Each one of the campers got their own bug catcher filled with dirt in it and used a spoon to dig around under bushes in search of bugs! They all wanted to find the most bugs as possible, especially roly-polies. They also collected grass, twigs and leaves to add to their bug catcher which they took home. 

Hunting for insects on Creepy Crawlies day!

Making these bug catchers at home is very easy! Find a plastic container and a spoon. Next, poke some holes into the lid or use Saran wrap and a rubber band for the cover. Then off to explore and find as many bugs as you can! Pop them in the bug catcher and count how many different types of bugs you found.

Super Science Sampler made Week 2 very enjoyable as I watched these campers discover the world around them! 

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. Scholarships are available for middle and high school students interested in environmental and engineering topics. Contact Lise at for more information, including questions about transportation options.

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