Throughout the pandemic, the Souris Valley Museum has been working behind the scenes, developing the best ways to offer services to the community.
It wasn’t an easy decision, but after considerations, the board agreed to switch all summer camps that they were going to offer in the museum to a virtual format. This way parents will have some safe options to keep their children busy when e-learning is over this month.
“Instead of kids coming to the museum and doing the activities, we actually will be providing camp kits for parents to pick up at curbside at the museum or at the Estevan Farmers Market on Saturdays,” said museum executive director Mark Veneziano.
Once parents register their kids for the camp, they will receive a Google classroom code to access an instruction video for children to follow.
“We’ll be instructing the majority of the camp online, so parents could just log on and the kids could follow along with our staff,” said Veneziano.
The museum also prepared paper tutorials for those parents who don’t want their kids to spend much time in front of the computers.
“We tried to customize it to whatever kind of learners you have at home.”
In the kits, parents will find the supplies for learning and entertaining activities and crafts.
The museum’s camps traditionally used to take place either in the mornings or afternoons, however, with the new format, the approach was changed.
“This year there will be approximately two hours a day of instructions from the museum staff for each day for the camp,” said Veneziano.
The cost of the camps has significantly decreased as well, and now varies from $5 to $10 per camp. The museum will offer nine camps for kids ages three to 15:
- Little Time Travellers is recommended for ages three to five and will give children a chance to go back in time and explore history through games, activities and crafts.
- Wild, Wild West, developed for ages six to 10, will teach children about the challenges that pioneers faced daily.
- Giants camp is recommended for ages five to eight and takes kids on an adventurous trip teaching them about everything big, from dinosaurs to heavy machinery to the tallest person in the world.
- Villains Camp is created for kids ages six to 10. Campers will go back in time to learn about villains from Canada’s past and will have a chance to make their own villains.
- Games Camp is also for ages six to 10 and teaches about what people of the past did for fun.
- Warrior Camp, recommended for children ages eight to 12, will tell the stories of Indigenous warriors, knights and other historical fighters. Campers will participate in making weapons, playing games and other warrior-related activities.
- Construction Camp, suggested for ages five to eight, will offer a chance to learn about buildings and other structures in Estevan.
- Myths and Legends Camp, recommended for ages six to 10 will be dedicated to exploring stories about dragons, unicorns, King Arthur and the legend of Bigfoot.
- Fashion Camp, aimed at kids ages nine to 15, will allow campers to learn about the different fashion trends throughout the decades and create their own fashion masterpieces.
All camps will be available July 2 through August 31 through the Google platform. Campers will be able to work on their materials whenever it’s convenient for them and their families.
“It’s up to the parents and the families if they want to do multiple days in one day or if they would want to expand it in one week,” explained Veneziano.
“We had quite a few positive feedbacks from parents that have registered already. Some of them are registering for a few camps now, and then they might register in August later on for a few other camps as well. They like the flexibility, especially considering that some people don’t know what their summer plans are yet.”
Even though each camp is recommended for a particular age group, while kids will be participating from the comfort of their homes, they can take on the activities developed for other ages if they chose so.
“We don’t want to limit our registration to specific ages because we understand that through this time it might be difficult to find the activities to do with children. We just have recommended age,” said Veneziano.
In March the museum also started an online program called Inside Blues, which was an adult-led initiative for children at home. But since it was overlapping with online supplemental education offered by schools, it was decided to put it on pause until the end of June.
“We just thought it was important for students to (be in) contact with teachers and figure out their schooling that way without having additional materials out there. And we also figured that once the supplemental learning is finished from the schools, parents will be looking for things to do, so it would be a great time to reintroduce it,” said Veneziano.
The Souris Valley Museum is supposed to open its doors to the public during Phase 4, Part 2, of the re-open Saskatchewan plan. They are looking for other possible ways to interact with the public online and also once they are open, they might add some offline elements to their camps and programs depending on the provincial guidelines.
For now, with any questions, parents can call the museum or contact them through email or Facebook. Registration can be done online at www.sourisvalleymuseum.com and it’s accepted anytime throughout the summer.