published February 4, 2014

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Kids' Corner Activities

by Sandy Stubbings, AOS Education Committee

What can the AOS do to interest the youth of today in orchids? That is the question that has been consistently addressed by the Education Committee of the AOS. This series of articles is our attempt to involve AOS affiliates in an exchange of ideas that can be used at shows, meetings and other society activities to engage children in the world of orchids.

The Houston Orchid Society and SWROGA have successfully pioneered a Kid’s Corner in 2012 and 2013 shows with activities and most of them have appeared here on this website (see news archive, 2013) with instructions on how to prepare and run each activity We hope affiliated clubs will copy these activities, eventually creating their own “Kids’ Corner”. It would be even better, if these ideas spur societies to create and adapt their own activities. And share them with us for publication. Please contact Sandy (sstubbings@comcast.net) with ideas and projects your clubs may have used.

Our goals included promoting youthful interest in orchids, involving children in the show more directly, providing educational opportunities and rewarding children in a meaningful way that encourages interest and includes an educational component in each activity.


Art Projects

To begin, you need a table and volunteers. It is possible to place the Kids’ Corner next to the Society’s Table and have a volunteer supervise both tables, although it is better to have separate supervision. The most successful placement for the Kid’s Corner is near the entrance where kids and their parents will see it right away. The Houston Orchid Society created a very successful Photo Panel to stand at the entrance.

This article will deal with orchid art projects for children. The table held coloring pages, and drawing paper with 2 plants for children to incorporate in a picture. Coloring pages were printed from the Internet and an orchid coloring book.

You need a box of crayons, markers and pencils. I keep a plastic box of each in my “Kid’s Corner” storage box so we can “pick up and go” at show time. When selecting coloring pages on the Internet, we look for accurate pictures with varied levels of coloring difficulty. Search for “An Orchid Coloring Book.” Each page outlines an orchid with its colloquial name as caption. Large illustrations, one to a page, are detailed and accurate enough to interest older children. To make this activity more educational, ask the child to search the show for an orchid similar to the page chosen and color it as closely as possible to the match. Another source is a charming coloring book the AOS used to sell called “Orchid Nonsense Coloring Book” by Marion Ruff Sheehan. Each page has an orchid plant and the animal/person it most resembles. It’s fun and interesting. (I keep paper masters of the coloring pages and you may contact me for copies if you have difficulty locating them.) Another resource for line drawings suitable for coloring is the AOS clip art library.

The other art project we have used is simply a pile of drawing paper in front of a plant or two. The child is directed to draw and color a picture using the plant. (Letting the child pick a plant from the displays to incorporate in the drawing may involve the child more in the show; however, please, caution the child and parents not to touch or disturb the displays in any way.)

Another suggestion that has been made is to provide a continuous roll of paper on a table top. Each child who comes to the table gets to add to this community mural depicting orchids, perhaps you can ask the child to draw a favorite part of the display(s) on the paper. Simply roll up one side and unroll the other when the mural gets full. (Idea submitted by Carolyn White, Houston Orchid Society)

Instructions:
instructions were posted in clear plastic, exhibit frames. Instructions for the children and their parents were printed on the front; instructions for the volunteers on the back.


Rewards:
Each child who does an activity can be rewarded with a mini-ribbon. Collect old ribbons from members before the show and cut off unwanted information. This results in small ribbons the child can pin on a shirt, wearing around the show. (Supply safety pins with the ribbons.)

It is also rewarding for the child to have the pictures posted on a wall or board somewhere. We have simply taped them up behind the table (check with your show venue to see what is allowed.) An attractive display can be built as the show goes on in this way. If you are using the rolled mural idea (above) you can cut any length of it free and tape to the wall or the front of the table itself.

An idea for frames comes from “Project input and development: girl scout troops 41635 and 42473” by Kyla Doty, Michaela Pandorf, Becky Mason, Emily Samons, Josie Doty, Beth Mason, Sean Doty, Kris Mason: Mount art work onto card board with duct tape (easier to display at shows and gives nice finish for minimal cost) Their project will be the topic of the next article.