Sunday, July 27, 2014

Awesome Time Travel Camp - Blackbeard's Last Fight

That was the boys' choice for the second "cozy camp" (that's what I'm calling it 'cause it's just the two of them). Both boys were very well prepared after their other pirate camp in Bath, NC earlier this summer. Both have read the Treasure Island, watched Pirates of the Caribbean, read lots of books about pirates and all that. Additionally, M got to go to the Tall Ships at Cape Charles festival a few weeks ago, participated in their pirate parade and school, won a medal and was overall a very experienced pirate.

This time around we started with another great book, Blackbeard's Last Fight. It is very well written, lots of interesting details and a spooky ending (sure, we all knew how it would end, the title kinda gave it away, but there were a couple of small details that were unexpected).

After the story the kids got to put their knowledge to the test. I played a "silly professor" who was going to read a lecture about Blackbeard's life and adventures. But the silly professor makes a lot of mistakes and some of them are easy to catch and others - not so much.

Next both boys had a lesson in the proper terminology for the many parts of tall ships. We had a couple of 3-mast models with sufficient details. So each boy had a model ship and as the captain gave orders, they were to show which part of the ship they had to climb on, which sail to take in, and such.

Then it was time time for sword-fighting, of course! Even though we reminded them the safety rules, we had to stop this part after about 10 minutes as it was getting way out of hand. Instead, I suggested to turn it into a game M loves to play at his fencing practice. It's basically the good old "red light - green light" game, but with a twist. Here's how it's played:

Kids line up at the start line. An adult is at the finish line facing the kids. Kids can move using proper fencing moves. Kids can move only when the adult is not looking at them. As soon as the adult looks their way they have to freeze. If the adult notices a kid moving, the kid is sent back to the start line. Everyone took turns being "the adult" in this game. It was way fun except we were all getting hungry.

So we hurried back into the house for some lunch at a seaside tavern. A simple fair of bacon and eggs with some crusty bread and a mug full of grog (orange juice with water) all tasted delicious. Now it was time to search for treasure on a LEGO island. First, we replayed the last battle with the two model ships we used earlier and with some LEGO mini-figs. We did change the gruesome end a bit though. According to our story, Robert Maynard found Blackbeard's treasure chest, but there, instead of treasure was a note with some coordinates. Using these coordinates, kids had to find the island on the map, sail to it in their ships, walk through a labyrinth solving a few puzzles along the way and find the treasure.

This was going to be the final activity, but they didn't look ready to wrap things up. So I suggested they would make their own treasure maps of their own treasure islands. We cut up a brown grocery bag and the kids set to work drawing and labeling. Among the notable place names were "Davy Jones's Tooth", "Skeleton Cave", "Bloody Lake", "Tall Grass Flats" and a few others. This was exciting and it got even better once they started working on aging their maps - crumbling, stomping on them, burning the edges, burning holes through the middle with the magnifying glass, pouring candle wax and rubbing raspberries (blood) on them. Pretty soon the maps looked very old and just about impossible to read. Happiness galore!

Next trip, it was decided, was going to be to Apollo 11's historic Moon landing.

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