Parents and Kids Page

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If you are bringing children to Camp Nerdly, there are a couple basic ground rules:
1. Your children are your responsibility. Please make sure that they are supervised at all times.
2. Children must be kept away from the adult-only play space (The Castle).

Within those parameters, children are totally welcome at Camp Nerdly.

The Kids Track

Wanna help out with the kid's track this year?

Please fill out this survey and let us know!
Advanced Volunteer SignUp

(( Information on this page is from 2016... please stand by for 2017 update))

If you are a parent, and you want your kid to be involved in the kid track, you will be expected to take supervision shift(s) and run activities for the kids. (Non-parents are welcome to be involved as well, and any extra help would be gladly accepted, but is not expected.) The number of shifts each parent will need to take will depend on the number of parents/kids who come.

Play dough, markers / colored pencils, construction paper, and other art supplies, as well as some kid-friendly card and board games will be available for general use in the Craft Cabin (to be designated). Adults who are supervising children can use these if they don't want to "run" anything during a kids' slot, but would like to help supervise.

We will have at least two adults on duty at all times (at least one running something and at least one available to help with supervision, especially of children who do not want to participate in something being "run"). So, the kids track will need to be slightly more solidly decided in advance than the gaming sessions. It won't be set in stone until Friday night on site, but to aid with planning, we ask that parents who are bringing children fill out a quick form (once per child) so that we know what to expect:

We know that the survey asks for some information that you probably wouldn't want everyone in the world to know (like an emergency contact number) - information from the survey will only be shared with the adults coordinating the overall kids track and supervising any sessions in which your child participates.

While adults working on the kids track are happy to supervise children while you go off and game, please keep a few important things in mind:

1. Generally speaking, if your child isn't potty-trained yet, or isn't old enough to participate on their own in the activity, you should expect to stick with them or make explicit arrangements with another parent. We're happy to help with this if we can, but we're not expecting kids track volunteers to automatically be prepared to care for, e.g., infants.

2. Make sure you are comfortable with the adults supervising your children, and the activity in which they're participating. We'll use our own common sense, but we're friends and volunteers and not trained professionals. If you have questions, ask a volunteer supervisor, or Daniel, or Adam, and we'll do our best to answer them. You have both a right and a responsibility to make sure your children are being supervised in a way you're OK with.

3. Make sure that Daniel, or the adult supervising the activity your child is in, know how to keep your child safe, comfortable, and happy. This means, among other things, making sure we have a reliable emergency contact number for you, and you've discussed things like medications, allergies, and other special needs with someone in advance (the survey helps with that).

Most general planning for the Kids Track will take place in the Camp Nerdly community on G+. Here's a link to a general open thread:

Kids Activities

This section is for general descriptions of activities; for timing setup, see The Kid Grid, below.

Outrageous Youth (Daniel Levine): This is a kid-friendly hack of Misspent Youth designed to emulate stories like Jem and the Holograms. Play characters in a band who overcome their rivals and their own fears through the power of friendship and music! There's dancing involved. Ages 6ish-100ish (requires some turn-taking and dice-rolling, as well as dancing around and maybe drawing).

Kid LARP (Jamie O'Marr): Last year's LARP taught our kids to identify common woodland poisons and approach unfamiliar fauna with caution. This year's LARP will focus on raising our kid's skill levels in INVESTIGATION. Activities will include asking good questions, practicing observation skills, searching for clues, home-brewed forensic science (sorry, can't afford the equipment for DNA electrophoresis, but I can show your kids how to lift fingerprints and basic chromotagraphy), and possibly, time permitting, some stakeouts and suspect trailing. I may also include cryptography, but I'm also considering making that the basis for next year's LARP, so I might not.

Robotics Workshop (Jamie O'Marr): This year the kids and I will be making small robot bugs out of toothbrushes, a pager motor, a battery, and some tape. As with last year's electronics workshop, this workshop is appropriate for any child who no longer puts things in their mouth. None of the pieces this year are as dangerous as the neodymium magnets of last year, but they are still swallowable and small. As with last year, adult volunteers get first dibs on building their own little robots out of extra supplies, so if that sounds like fun you should jump on volunteering for this workshop! Also, if your child is going to miss this workshop, let me know and I will set aside a packet of supplies for them so they aren't left out.

LED Throwie Workshop (Last year's electronics rockstars): I am going to bring all the supplies to make the LED throwies we made last year, but because the LARP will take up more official slots this year and because I am also running the robotics workshop, I'm not claiming a slot for this workshop. Instead, on Friday during arrival and dinner, or Saturday morning during breakfast, I will give a refresher course on the throwies to any kid who attended my workshop last year. Then I will give them the materials (except the magnets) and allow them to pitch the workshop if and when they want to. The supervising adult will still have to hand out the magnets to each child only when they are ready for them. For those of you who weren't here last year, don't worry. The magnets are pretty safe, but ingesting them is a huge no-no, so I just want to make sure that none of them get dropped on the floor or left around for littler ones to put in their mouths.

Kid Friendly Gaming (Jamie O and Ruby O): My 8 year old Ruby is a huge gamer and is *dying* to play all her favorite games with your kids. I will be helping Ruby pitch some of her favorite games during the very first slot of Nerdly so she can jump in with both feet on the gaming, but she may also decide to pitch some games again later. Some of Ruby's favorite games are "Sushi Go", "Hey, That's My Fish!", and "Machi Koro." She loves learning new games, so if your kids want to bring their favorite games to share those will probably also get played! Adults are allowed to play too, but kids get priority since most games only support 3-6 players.

The Kid Grid

Just like for other Nerdly events, you can pitch kids' activities on the spot. However, since we need to make sure that we have at least two adults committed at all times (possibly more, depending on numbers of children), if you already know you have something you can bring to run, please list it here. If you want to generally discuss ideas, the G+ community is the place to do that.

Given the shorter attention spans of children, this grid breaks things up into slots of about 1 hour each. If you have an idea for something that will last longer, feel free to make it span multiple slots.

Right now, it's easier to set this up as an editable Google Sheet - if someone knows how to embed into the wiki, your Tender Owlcub Tender is all ears.

While a grid is easier for scheduling, please also go ahead and describe your activities in more detail under Kids Activities! (Even if you've discussed them on G+, for the benefit of folks not following that discussion).

Of course, we will bring marshmallows for the Saturday night campfire, and Superhero Bakery will make a triumphant return.

Kid Stuff We Could Use

If you will be participating in the Kids Track, or if you just want to be nice, here are some things that it would be helpful for people to bring. Please also add stuff that you're bringing but no one realized would be so awesomely helpful until you volunteered it! Most of these items are of a kind where the more people bring them, the better - more to share!

- Art and craft supplies - Daniel Levine

- Wet wipes

- Dress up clothes - Daniel Levine

- Kid-friendly Board and Card games - Daniel Levine (Robot Turtles, Monsoon Market, Machi Koro, Forbidden Desert, Diamonsters), Ruby O'Marr (Sushi Go, Machi Koro, Hey, That's My Fish!)

Packing for Nerdly With Kids

If you haven't been to Camp Nerdly before, here are some kid-specific suggestions.

  • There is no bedding on the beds, so make sure you bring sleeping bags or bedding and pillows.
  • Bring extra blankets, because it can get cold at night.
  • The campground is BIG, so if you anticipate having to make nocturnal bathroom runs, make sure you claim one of the cabins close to the bathrooms. I also highly recommend bringing a portable baby potty to keep in your cabin if you have recently-potty-trained little ones.
  • There are no bathtubs at the camp, only somewhat-grungy showers, so if your kids need a bath before bed, bring a baby bathtub or rubbermaid tub that you can use on the shower floor. (We tend to just skip baths for the two nights we are there.)
  • There is electricity in the cabins, so if your kids are used to sleeping with a night light or a white noise machine, you can bring them.
  • Check the range on your baby monitor - it may be possible to leave sleeping kids in one of the closer cabins with a baby monitor, but the camp is pretty big, so this would definitely be a judgement call, and would depend on the age and responsibility level of the kids. Some parents of slightly older owlcubs have also had good luck with walkie-talkies.
  • Most of the seating in the dining hall is benches, but there are usually a few "normal" chairs kicking around that can be claimed for attaching booster seats to.
  • There is a big walk-in fridge that you can store baby food or formula in, if your kids aren't eating "adult" food yet, but there should be kid-friendly options at every meal.
  • If your kids are especially picky about food, you may want to bring a few extra things you know that they will eat to have on hand as back-ups.
  • And remember, it's camp. Even the indoors is pretty dirty. Pack old clothes that you don't care too much about, especially if your kids are crawlers.