After dinner, as a few of us huddled around Caroline for a portrait drawing lesson while Daniel queued up another Wallace and Gromit short, I asked a couple kids about their favorite moments of the day. I think it was Raquel who said it was when the ropes holding up her skybench snapped and she almost plummeted a half dozen feet to the forest floor. She re-tied it with the help of Sofia and some others and now they're finally on their second iteration. When I asked Ashley, she said she almost wanted to say it was when she touched stinging nettles down by the creek and had to slather her hand with aloe to cool the burn, but that probably it was adding the steering mechanism to the getaway car. Olivia loved practicing slowing down her pulley technique so that the jewel thief wouldn't death-drop down the 12' tall bank tower. These answers perfectly capture what makes Tinkering School Overnight special. Kids get to take risks here, make mistakes, and then learn from them, celebrate them, make themselves and their projects so much better.
"We learn best and we work best if we enjoy what we are doing. But fun and enjoying doesn’t mean 'easy.' The best fun is hard fun." - Seymour Papert
From early this morning, today was brimming with moments of hard fun. The Spies of Tinkering School Overnight received yet another piece of confidential intel in which we learned that the bank had heightened security by adding a laser perimeter and camera system. As we marched uphill to our build site, we had to consider ways to adjust our project designs to overcome these parameters.
With some help from Julie, we revised the design of the pulley seat so that it was more stable, comfortable, and could hold more weight. We tested it with the lightest kids first, of course (Ronin then Olivia). We also added a second pulley system connected to a snack bucket so we could eat our goldfish and graham crackers on top of the bank in case we became hungry mid-heist.
Nearby, Ronin partnered with Anabella to construct more wooden finger-grabbers to nab the jewel. They took turns drilling and being a human clamp. At one point, half their plywood snapped but they kept going.
Kanden and Tal worked with Kaitlyn and Caroline to erect their fake Starbucks, which may or may not now be referred to as "The Outhouse." They added an escape hatch on the top lined with foam for an easy (and comfy) climb up to the roof, and covered the walls in plywood so outsiders couldn't peek in to see our top-secret burglary equipment.
Charlie, Sonali, and Ashley made some epic progress with their getaway car and figured out a steering mechanism, which involved several iterations of a steering wheel and lots of angle grinding steel axels.
"Play is the child's most serious work." - Edith Ackermann
We worked so hard today that we retired to our campsite an hour early. Soon we were busy with a whole new slew of games and goof-offs. Charlie decapitated many foes during a pool noodle duel. Solin strutted her whittling skills (and later used her pointy stick as a crawdad harpoon in the creek.) Anabella and Ronin continued their partnership as they balance-beam tip-toed over ranch fences and tree branches. We learned that Henry told lots of mysterious stories, Seb was expert at making volcanoes out of dirt, Ahaan displayed quite an arm for ultimate frisbee and spiral-tossing footballs, Sonali contained encyclopedic knowledge of Taylor Swift, and Raquel type-wrote the sweetest letters home to Mom and Dad ("i kind of miss you," she wrote).
I'm sure we all kind of miss our families and friends back home, but for now, things are going pretty well..