What do you get when you mix children, dirt, and water-filled spray bottles?

Sequana Skye is a regular staffer at many of our programs. She’s our lovely camp nurse much of the time, but offers her wisdom on other topics ranging from astrology to film. In 2011 she will be at Camp Common Ground all six weeks and we can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve. Here she shares a look back at an afternoon during Lost Arts Week 2010:


What do you get when you mix children, dirt, and water-filled spray bottles? A water fight? Nope. Mud? Not quite. A muddy mess? Give up? When you combine young, enthusiastic homeschoolers, dirt, spray bottles, and a hike in the woods, you get some of the most magnificent and charming terrariums you’ve ever seen.

At The Lost Arts Week children of varied ages get to try out skills, crafts, and experiences most adults would be thrilled to try. At the 2010 version of Lost Arts, I had the privilege of guiding three groups of children in the creation of terrariums. But first we ventured out onto the 700-acre CGC site to dig, poke, and collect individual components. Then we carried the ingredients, which ranged from small wildflowers to variegated pebbles to slices of birch bark, into the workshop and began.

This was also an opportunity for me, as the groups headed out onto the land, to remind them of the interdependence of humans and Nature. Thus reminded, the campers’ demeanor shifted from recklessness to respect and they began to select their treasures with mindfulness and reverence.

Whenever I am in a position of teaching, I get at least as much as I give. One of the campers in the older group was happy to give us a brief tutorial about the various rocks that we collected as we hiked up from the stream. Information I did not exactly have at my fingertips.

Certainly the process, not just the product, of this workshop was filled with joy and wonder. The children investigated various ways of arranging their treasures into the curved bowls, and were willing to share their ingredients as well as any and all tips of how, when, where to arrange their earthly tableau.

Since children and creativity are a perfect and robust partnership, there was little for me to do once we returned to the workshop, except lend an occasional helping hand. For most of the children, though exposed to a wide variety of experiences via homeschooling, crafting terrariums was a first-time project.

Once the projects were completed, the camp photographer was hailed to document the results. Most of the campers held their bowls in outstretched hands as Bruce took shot after shot. After all the groups had completed their projects, they carried them to the screened-in porch where the green-filled globes were displayed with other crafts and creations from the week.

Looks like that water fight will have to wait until next year!