Cooperative Play in Nature at Camp Klicek, Czech Republic

the volunteers!

Photo credit: Jiří Královec

(Thanks to Jiří Královec for many of the photos! The best ones are his and noted beneath each photo. The rest are my amateur work.)

At Camp Klicek in the Czech Republic, a place where children and adults affected by illness and loss gather, activities run the gamut from a tiddlywinks tournament to bussing campers to a Shakespearean play.  The Accace Corporation provides tax advice to the foundation during the year, but they look forward to visiting the camp in person to have fun with the children and families each summer. This July, a fabulous group of volunteers  arrived with a day full of activities to engage us all. Their choices promoted creativity and cooperation amongst the campers, and nature threaded its way through the day’s activities. The volunteers brought their A game to the endeavor – with wonderful materials and activities – but more than anything, they brought their hearts.

They kicked off the day by setting up several activity stations in the courtyard between the hospice building and the summer kitchen. Children soaked up the beautiful summer sun while they decorated their own rucksacks, baked berry muffins, posed for photos in silly costumes, and became experts in Origami through skilled instruction. The corporation brought enough materials so that the parents, grandparents and volunteers could create alongside the children.

Decorating Rucksacks

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Jon

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

 

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Baking Muffins

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muffins!

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

Origami

 

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beautiful origami swan

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

Silly Photobooth

props

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

 

pow

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

 

Fun in theForrest

Following a delicious lunch and a break, the afternoon kicked off with a short journey across the main road and into the surrounding woods. During the post-lunch break, the volunteers had been hard at work setting up a series of task stations in the forrest.

mtch up

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

The volunteers provided the children with preprinted passport cards. With each task they completed, they’d get a stamp on their card. When all tasks were accomplished, they would be awarded their “driver’s license.” The kids hiked and biked via roadster peddle cars to the forrest, not really knowing what to expect. When they arrived, the adults paired the children into play partner teams. The teams had 6 stations to work their way through.

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Station #1: Flat Tire

The first task: inflating an inner tube, because a driver never knows when she might have to change a flat tire!

 

Right side Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

Station #2: Navigation

We don’t always have access to GPS, so it pays to be prepared for getting lost or off course.  For this lesson in navigation, each child/teen blindfolded their partner, and then led them through an obstacle course.

navigation

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

helping blindfolded

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

return help

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

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Station #3: Traffic Signs

In order to be a safe and good driver, one must know how to read road signs. This station required play partners to match common signs with the appropriate written descriptions.

signs sign

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

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Station #4: First Aid

Even under the best of conditions, accidents can happen. Knowing some basic First Aid skills can save life and limb. At station #4, kids learned how to make a sling out of a bandage, and immobilize their partner’s arm.

medic sign

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

 

 

casted

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

Station #5: Sobriety Checkpoint

Drunk driving is no joke, but this station was downright hilarious. As children approached the checkpoint, two volunteers dressed as police officers greeted them and asked for a kiss. When the child leaned in to plant one on the cop’s cheek, she backed away and exclaimed, “Ooof! You smell like alcohol! Have you been drinking?!” The cop then led the child through their version of walking the straight line. The driver had to bend over at the waist as the police spun them around 10 times. After spinning, the offender had to walk along a line in and around stanchions, and nail a tree with a pinecone thrown from a pile gathered at the end of the obstacles.

rwirling

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

vojta from afar drunk.jpg

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

haha Vojta.jpg

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

cops

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

Station #6: Beating the clock

At the last station, kids either rode a scooter or ran a course of stanchions while the volunteers clocked their time. There were definitely only winners in all of these activities. Everyone received a lovely diploma “license” at the end of the run, along with a reflective bracelet to be worn when walking at night.

scooter

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

tobias running

diplomas

Photo credit: By: Jiří Královec

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Fairy Homes

While each team took their time at the stations, the children who finished first had one last activity awaiting them. There are fairies in the forrest, and they all need homes. While some of the campers gathered kindling for that night’s bonfire, others set about gathering natural loose parts with which to build fairy homes. They are so well constructed that some had outlasted the winter snow from last year’s building.

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When all was done, Csaba (Klicek’s executive director) and Hugo the dog set up a barricade of brush to signal traffic on the main road to stop, and we all headed back to the camp as twilight descended over Malejovice.

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For more information about the importance of play in childhood, please see this article and website Why Play is an Essential Part of Childhood Development by 

One thought on “Cooperative Play in Nature at Camp Klicek, Czech Republic

  1. What an amazing opportunity for the children and volunteers! This reminds me of doing much the same with the children of the Cherokee Nation here in the USA. I think I learned more from them than they did from me!

    Like

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