Our summer Arts & Smarts children’s programming began last week with Art Garden Week I. A total of 32 children and 39 teen and adult volunteers participated in at least one day of Art Garden. Activities included:
- Telling stories with Susan Fowler about monarch butterflies’ incredible annual migration from Mexico to Canada and back.
- Making ceramic butterflies and milkweed seed balls with Elisa in the ceramics studio.
- Planting a new butterfly garden with Bill and Pat to feed the monarchs visiting the Patchwork Garden.
- Making snacks in the kitchen with Joni to feed the group using tasty plants from the garden.
Fun stories from the week:
- Susan Fowler reported, “I’ve been milkweed happy. I have so many books at home because I’ve been looking up how many kinds of milkweed there are. Yesterday afternoon I visited the butterfly garden at the University of Evansville (where the new plants in Patchwork’s garden came from). I learned milkweed lessons from the biologist who helped plant them. Now Patchwork has a monarch butterfly habitat in our garden!”
- A group of 6th-11th grade boys making smoothies in the kitchen for snack. Their instructions were, “Just add a little bit of this and and little bit of that.” They did just as they were told and did it with confidence. In went whole baby carrots, kale, beet greens (which added natural red color), apples, orange juice, and blueberries. The results tasted great!
- Joni observed, “We try a new thing in the kitchen every year. This year it was beet
chips.” Beet chips are made by slicing beets thinly and baking them till they’re crisp. One volunteer observed, “Most kids wanted seconds on them.” Another volunteer said, “One kid at my table tried one, then thought about it. I told her to try a second, and she did and decided they were OK.”
- One volunteer said, “I like that adults at Patchwork don’t get impatient. They let the kids be themselves here, unlike some other places.”
- A general observation from volunteers and staff: Art Garden Week is multi-generational. Participants range in age from 2 through their 70’s. Each group includes some younger children, some older children, and some adults. The big kids can have fun being like little kids. There are people from different backgrounds, and different languages are being spoken. It makes it a really special time.
- As one child observed this week as she created things at Patchwork, “This is better than TV!”