Friday, June 30, 2000

Little hands busy at camp

At museum, kids explore crafts, fossils and live insects

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — So what else would Rose Manning paint on her clay flowerpot but red roses?

        Rose, 6, of Lakeside Park, was one of seven children at Thursday's opening day of the fourth annual Grand Camp at Behringer-Crawford Museum in Devou Park. It's the museum's attempt to introduce children and their parents or grandparents to the joys of nature.

        Rose needed little introduction, even though Thursday was her first day of camp at the museum.

        She finished painting roses and white butterflies on her pottery, then she chased a real butterfly that floated by. She sniffed the white and pale pink flowers on a nearby spirea shrub.

        When she returned, she explained her pot's design.

        “I'm a nature lover,” Rose said.

        Like Rose, 5-year-old Cassie Studer of Fort Thomas was comfortable with small creatures. At home, she collects worms and insects in empty coffee cans, she said.

        “It's just fun,” Cassie

        said. “I just let them free.”

        Cassie's grandmother, Ann Studer of Fort Thomas, said she was looking forward to her day at camp.

        “I think grandparents will end up liking this more than the kids,” she said.

        Bethany Berlejung, the museum's education director, said having the grandparents help the children with lots of activities makes the camp work.

        “You have a built-in partner,” Ms. Berlejung said. “These kids are 3 to 6. It's their first experience with camp; they have short attention spans.”

        Jean Zeck of Crescent Springs partnered with her grandson, 4-year-old David Wessels. For her, Thursday meant giving David some undivided attention.

        “It's a nice break of routine,” Mrs. Zeck said. “We have busy schedules. (David) and I get some time to spend together, but it's hectic.”

        David, however, picked up a grasshopper and hoped to make Thursday's camp memorable for at least one more member of his family.

        “I'm going to bring it home and scare my mom,” David said. “She'll freak out.”

        After a snack, the children molded a piece of clay into 2-inch-wide bowls. They pressed small fossils into the clay, and plaster was poured into the bowls and left to harden, preserving the fossil imprint. The children also made puppets out of paper bags stuffed with newspaper.

        The opening session concludes today and there will be two more next Wednesday and Thursday and Aug. 15-16.


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