The 2019 summer programs at El Campo Museum of Natural History, 2350 N. Mechanic, are under way, and there’s still time to attend Animal or Explorer Camp among others that all end by either mid to late July.
“We’ve had a great turnout. We’ve been busy,” museum executive director Cheri McGuirk said.
Summer Chefs, held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays for ages seven and up, has two sessions left July 9 and July 16. The class fee is $65.
“With cooking, the kids always enjoy it. Because they are the chef, they get to change up that recipe. It might suit their taste better. If someone is not a big fan of a certain type of cheese, they can change to a different type,” McGuirk said.
“If they are not a big chicken eater, they can change to beef. It gives them a lot of options when they cook,” she added.
The camp also helps parents with their picky eaters, she said.
“They can see how the food goes together. They may like the pieces in parts, but maybe they’re not so wild about it when it gets put together, but when they do the putting together, they get to see what is in their food, and they are more likely to try it,” McGuirk said.
The appeal of the dishes is using an uncommon ingredient, she said.
“Everybody has to taste,” she added.
Animal Camp, held from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays for ages four to eight, ends July 24. Drop-in sessions are $15 each. Museum members get a discount.
“This year we are learning about eight different animals,” McGuirk said. “We’ve done hippos, penguins, kangaroos, frogs. We’ve had some really good frog weather lately. Upcoming we have flamingos, moose and zebras. We try to cover a range of animals.”
Wednesday was all about foxes where the children made a fox craft from a cup and paper cut outs to searching for foxes on display in the museum.
“I try and do one animal (a frog, for example) that is a very familiar animal to everybody,” she said.
Terrific Thursdays is from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. with all ages welcome until July 25. There is no fee, but children must be accompanied by an adult.
Explorer Camp, held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Fridays, is for ages six to 10 and lasts until July 26. It is $15 per session. Museum members get a discount.
“It is geared for kids who are a little older. We do things that you might not get to do on an everyday basis, that might not be familiar. We’ve hand-sewn a button. I think that’s a life skill everybody needs to know how to do,” McGuirk said.
Other activities included making play dough, tie-dyed t-shirts, flower bombs for planting and dyed flowers. Upcoming activities will include a smell test, tower building with uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows and paper making.
All of the various camps and activities provide the children with different experiences away from home.
“They are not sitting in front of the TV or playing on their phones. Most of the time, it’s too hot outside to be outside. When they are stuck inside, they can get bored. But it’s a couple of hours here at the museum doing something you probably haven’t done before like learning to cook something in a waffle iron you never thought you could before in a waffle iron,” McGuirk said.
Classes can also be paid for in advance. To secure a spot, it is recommended drop-ins call two days in advance of the class to guarantee a place and supplies. For more information, call 979-543-6885, email email@example.com or visit elcampomuseum.org.