Another glorious day in Cape Town – blue sky, sunshine and green vistas. As I drove to Muizenberg from Observatory (where I love) was reminded yet again of the stupendous beauty that exists here in the Cape. I felt overjoyed to driving through such lovely vistas on my way to work with a beautiful group of children who are enrolled in our programme this week. Today the programme shifted from creating objects with moveable wings, to creating wind sculptures instead. This is no small engineering feat…it requires a lot of consideration when it comes to surface area, weight and wind velocity. Of course if this was something happening during the school hours I would have designed the activity to emphasis these things, but it is a holiday programme and so instead the consideration happened in an indirect and engaging fashion.
I gave a basic structure for everyone to work with – the top of a large coke bottle. This was the basic frame for their sculptures. I then showed them how to work with the paper mache we made yesterday…make sure you see the pictures on our facebook group. This paper mache is like clay but harder to work with. You have to warm it up first, it takes patience and attention. For some of the younger children, the challenge proved to rather frustrating. I had everyone make a small pinch pot of the paper mache, learning how to make it smooth and thin. When everyone had this basic skill we turned to designing the wind sculpture they wanted to make. There were tons of ideas…we talked about the things which we have seen turning in the air. Together we worked out that the sculptures needed to have some sort of ‘blade’ which would catch the wind as it passed by. We all agreed a flat surface would not do any good…so it has to be bent in some manner. I love conversation like this…when children analyse what they know and have experienced.
This was all the preparation needed to set them off into a world of creative exploration. Everyone first created a basic plan for their sculpture and then they started building. Samson and Sebastian decided to work together. They made something with very little paper mache in the middle and wings of Styrofoam to catch the wind. Lloyd worked in his concentrated manner…he is so determined and focused on what ever he is doing. His creation had toilet paper rolls cuts in half and positioned all around the outside of the bottle top to catch the wind, with some very fancy wire work on top! Ayana decided to make a mountain of paper mache which has carefully embedded pieces of Styrofoam inside…a secret stash. She is not entirely sure how it will turn yet. Zoe decided she wanted to make a flower with the petals as the wind catchers. Her sculpture is a mixture of paper mache, plastic petals and Styrofoam bits. Sumana and Taylor teamed up and created a flower like sculpture, covered with paper mache with toilet rolls to catch the wind and a lady bug on top. Chereen spent a great deal of time considering how he was going to make his structure. In the end, he made wire and bottle top structures to attach to the bottle top centre for wind catching. He is not sure if it will catch enough wind though and wants to explore it a bit more on Friday. Timo discovered a huge hand that had been carved out of styrofoam already and make this his sculpture…to catch wind too!
Can I just say…the Styrofoam was incredibly popular and was all over the room by the end of the work session! I think Fionn and Lloyd were a little dismayed that they had volunteered to vacuum up the space when it came to cleaning up at the end of the day. It is hard to capture styrofoam bits…but they persevered and did a great job.
Somewhere in between all this creative work, the children played games, listened to Sebastian play his guitar and got to know each other a whole lot better. It is lovely to watch new relationships form! One of the highlights of coming on a holiday programme I think…a new space, new people and new possibility. So wonderful to be part of it!