Two Mini Camps just added for August! Click for info!
Camp Season runs weekly June 1 - August 13
We are having camp: smaller, cleaner, more spread out,
personal tools, safe and FUN!
New this Summer
We'll be totally outside and will have a new, flex-schedule and PERSONAL DESIGN Stations!
At Maker Lab we now have more direct access to our expanded Drone Obstacle Course yard! This net-enclosed yard adjacent to the main camp area also features a long fence that we will be painting and learning about grid-scale mural art techniques. This yard will help us spread out even more.
Each camper (or siblings) will have their OWN table and OWN tools and materials(click).
Expanded - social distance Paint-topia Walls!
Our Building/Making Areas
Our totally shaded outdoor area will be the main area where we hang and make, unlike previous years being inside and outside. This secure outdoor area consists of six spacious work areas (including a sewing station). During any heat waves we will have special cool-off areas and misters and take turns cooling off there and in the AC while practicing our sanitizing.
I will definitely follow state “child care” guidelines around distancing, hand washing, masks, temperatures-and anything else parents will want. I am also willing to get tested myself. We will go over rules but quite simply I will be the one to open doors to bathrooms, give out materials and do secondary sanitizing. Students will still get to interact at a distance. Masks on during approved transitions. Otherwise, campers stay at their design station.
Staggered Arrival and Screening/ * Check-In
Upon scheduled arrival out front, each camper will be screened with no-touch thermometer and visual signs check, sanitation supplies. Students with a temperature of 100 degrees may not enter.
Since I will be wearing a mask and face shield giving group instruction will be a challenge. I have a microphone to make announcements and lead games but I will give a lot of instruction 6' away from each camper's design station. Giving this individualized instruction isn't that different from what I typically need to do after group overview instruction. Having staggered arrivals will help too.
Minimizing “Touching” - Germ-Passing
One thing I’m very excited about is the tool kit I will be giving every camper. Normally we would be sharing glue guns and screwdrivers and electric drills and scissors etc. This year I’m creating a super packed tool kit as an additional way to minimize germ passing. It has been said that “no-face-touching” is something equally important and I will watch for and emphasize that.
Snacks and Handwashing
We will have procedures for everything. Every camper will have their own sani-kit and I will supervise all pre and post hand sanitizing during snack time or drone time. (Probably best that we do not share the microwave.)
Everyone will have their own bins adjacent to their own tables.
Students will need to ask and we will sanitize before and after. I will re-sanitize every touch point. I will open doors leading to the bathroom. They will be instructed to use tissue when touching flush handle.
Projects, Free Time and Slime
I am always excited to find cool new projects! This year is no exception! We will make so much more this summer because we will be a smaller more focused group. I love tailoring projects to each student and the group based on what they may have already done or would like. In order to keep things safe this year there will be a little less of: free time, probably no edible projects and sadly no computer time or jumbo slime--unless someone wants to bring a gallon of glue and make it for themselves, in which case I can provide activator and their own bin.
My Personal Distancing from Students/Campers
I can maintain my distance but there will be times that I need to ask a camper to step aside for a minute so I can view their project; we can both sanitize (masks on) and then I can help them troubleshoot. I can also offer online assistance via Zoom, video tutorials etc. for after camp hours.
My goal will be to make procedures fun and easy and routinely give kids space and time to take ‘strategic’ breaks from masks. The lab will be color coded and have many signs - but with a small group I can manage/direct/anticipate shenanigans etc. and always have back up procedures/plans. I don’t leave it to kids to remember to do all these things or to read about them. I will be there to talk through in every instance. We will also go over procedures before every transition as a group and individually.
Number of Campers/Ages
The total number of campers that I feel very safe with is 8. This totally depends on ages and skill level and the campers themselves, any siblings etc. I have a few counselors-in-training that offer additional support. It would be ideal if every camper had a camper friend their same age and I will try for that. I’d love to have: 2-3 1st/2nd graders, 2-3 3rd/4th graders, 2-3 5th/6th graders. The nice thing about camp is we all have “making” in common. Our creativity and uniqueness is what connects us all. Somehow every year the age range works out and kids connect with each other regardless of age (or taste in music ; )!
Schedule /Time-Session Changes
It would be much safer and easier for me if campers were registered well in advance for the sessions that I have created. But life doesn’t always allow that. If you are flexible and/or need different time frames, please say so and somehow we will try to make it work.
Refunds and Discounts
Money. Yuck. If anyone for any reason cannot attend camp I am happy to give a full refund minus credit card/ processing fees. The only thing I can’t promise is exactly when I can make that refund. Like some of you, I took a major financial hit by not being able to run my spring after school classes in person and will have much smaller summer sales no doubt. Just as with refunds and changes, never hesitate to ask. If you haven’t yet registered, I can’t offer you the early bird rates I did in January/February but I can do a discount for siblings or multiple sessions.
What about the heat?
If there is a heat wave afternoon projects and after care campers will be given more tranqactivities and projects. Parents will have the option of cancelling and doing a make up day.
Full Day Week (9am-4pm) $600
Half Day Week (choose 9am-12, 10-1, 11-2) $350
Daily rates are significantly higher and may not be available due to low capacity. If you book a week that is cut short due to travel plans etc., those days can me made up by appointment.
Families registering siblings or multiple camp sessions may use the coupon code "10off" for an additional 10% off of checkout total.
Why is Maker Lab Camp so special?
This is a camp for true makers! Does your child love tinkering and building stuff around the house? Or, is your child inclined to create in other ways and just needs new inspiration and guidance? Maker Camp will ignite a passion for learning while making!
This is a small and very personalized camp of around ten kids per session. Because of this we can set specific goals for campers to learn and build what they want in addition to group projects.
Every week is different and projects are carefully tailored to accommodate camper ages, skills, interests and previous project experience - no repeat projects! What camp can say that!?
My goal as Camp Director is to make sure each camper...
Discovers lots of new materials and tools...Learns how various mechanisms work...Develops several new skills, makes magnificent mistakes and experiences the thrill of building something amazing!
How challenging are projects?
All projects can level up by adding more advanced materials, tools and supervision (ie. soldering, sawing, woodcarving etc.) *Counselor-in- training program is available for teens.
Grades K and up, ideal ages 1st-5th but true makers love the Maker Lab! (Inquire for details about teen counselor in training program.)
Small: 6-10 makers! The number 10 seems to be perfect!
HOW MUCH STRUCTURE?
About 70/30 structure to free tinkering time, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on the focus, goals and passions of the individual makers!
BEFORE OR AFTERCARE AVAILABLE?
Early and aftercare may be available for an hourly fee.
DO WE HAVE HELPERS?
Yes, and we have a counselor-in-training program for H.S. and middle schoolers.
OTHER WAYS TO REGISTER?
Click "registration" or email for other payment options to GRAB YOUR SPOT - Space is LIMITED! Contact: or text 925-323-9737.
CAMP LOCATION: 2038 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Walnut Creek behind Terra Patio Store
* The Maker Lab is a funky location that also serves as Ms. Papini's private home with a completely separate yard and entrance. Campers do not have access to the private residence.
2020 Camp Day Routine
The morning begins with staggered-arrivals of campers 9-11am, max of 8 campers.
Each camper gets checked in* and escorted directly to their personal design station stocked with tools, supplies, decorations and first project's supplies.
Campers begin their daily STEM challenge!
Ms. Papini gives individualized instructions for the day's theme project, passing out sanitized specialty materials such as batteries, LEDS etc.
11am Option to visit the Paint-topia & Drone areas; new arrivals start their STEM challenge
11:45 Clean-up song and snack/lunch prep, later arrivals continue building or Drones, Paint-topia
12-1 Staggered departures begin while late arrivals continue building
12:30-1 Outdoor science trivia movie/game
Morning campers depart by 2:00
2-4pm advanced projects and aftercare for full day campers, limited to three campers
Monday Maker Mania
Tuesday Tools (and Rules)
Think Outside the Planet Thursday
Free Energy Friday