Imaginative play: Kids can register now for this year’s Camp Invention, an five-day experience that boosts creativity

By Sarah Glenn

For the Journal

POCATELLO –– Last year, Emily Walsh’s two boys spent the summer days building creations out of old food cartons, zipping cars in and out of dreamed-up buildings they made out of the family’s trash.

“They wanted to take apart everything,” Walsh said.

The local mother credits the surge in creativity to Camp Invention, a nationally run, non-profit summer camp returning to Pocatello June 8 through 12.

This year the camp will be hosted at Holy Spirit Catholic School, and lunch will be provided on site through the Pocatello Free Lunch program.

“It stimulates the child to look at things in a whole new way,” said Walsh, who is a camp parent this year and former organizer of past camps. “It is empowering your child to be an inventor.”

With a curriculum developed in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the camp focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning. Last year campers created pinball machines from household recyclables and old, defunct electronics. This year campers will create a Pac Man-inspired game using the same principles.

“You are really going to walk away from this with a new understanding of some pretty major stuff,” Walsh said.

The camp is open to children entering the first through sixth grades and can accommodate as many children as want to come. Currently, more than 20 kids are registered.

This year’s Camp Invention curriculum is called “Illuminate” and was inspired by experienced educators, Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and members of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The program includes a design studio, the Illuminate module, investigating circuits and taking on a nature-inspired design challenge. Children will have a chance to build a prototype from scratch and explore math from a new angle when they create origami flight models during team-building exercises.

Local programs are facilitated and taught by local educators who train to teach the camp curriculum through DVD courses and manuals provided by Camp Invention. This year two teachers from Holy Spirit Catholic School are prepared to run the event. There is a 15-to-1 student teacher ratio with camp parents and a local teen also helping in each class.

Camp Invention sees more than 87,000 students participating every year at more than 1,300 camps nationwide.

The camp begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. every day. Cost for registration is $225 per child. Those interested can register at campinvention.org. Individual campers registering through May 12 can get a $15 discount when using the promo code SPRING. For those registering two siblings a $25 discount is valid all season long. Families with three or more siblings taking part in the program save $50 per child.

Holy Spirit Catholic School is located at 540 North 7th Ave.

Kids at Camp Invention 2014 worked on pinball machines and tried out each other’s creations. Photos courtesy Emily Walsh.

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