Afterschool at Parts & Crafts!
All activities at our afterschool program are opt-in, child-directed, and vary from day to day. Options include, but are never limited to, making cup-bots, building with LEGO, reading on a couch, doing homework, going to the playground, drawing, making a diorama, working on Scratch projects, sewing, board games, and more!
Boy do we love making things out of cardboard & duct tape around here! In addition to our 10' tall giant robot, made over the course of 2 years by Mike & kids, we use this magical substance to create miniature worlds, marble run games, medieval armor, containers for Magic cards, hockey rinks, battle-bot arenas, miniature rooms, and anything else we can come up with. Of course cardboard is nothing without duct tape, which, like the Force, holds the universe together. We're also big fans of hot glue, another adhesive we could never live without.
Freedom of Creativity
At our afterschool program, as with all our programs, we don't tell kids what they "have" to do (other than clean up at cleanup time), but rather ask them what they want to do. Staff members will often have a project they're excited to work on & invite kids to join in, maybe get out some boxes of beads & wire, or paper & drawing pencils, fabric & needle and thread. Kids can choose to join, or not, and move on to something else whenever they want with no hard feelings! We usually try to offer an outdoor trip of some sort, depending on the weather.
We don't grade or evaluate any of the kids' projects or efforts, rather we like to think of them as colleagues, people we work with to do awesome things. We encourage them to ask for help if they need it, but we aren't going to do their project *for* them. We provide tools, materials, advice, resource guides, and the like, and will occasionally suggest ideas if they seem stuck or frustrated. We want them to succeed, have fun, and as always, be excellent to each other, including the staff and our space & resources, so we do our best to foster an atmosphere that allows for that.