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RRISD Summer Programs Teach Kids Technology Skills (Claymation, Game Design) and More

This year we tried to really mix it up for our kids to keep it interesting. We started out with an overnight camp in Smithville, Wilderness Ridge (his second year) for my son, a day camp at Double Creek for my daughter (this was her second year), our annual family vacation with friends and their families at the beac in Port Aransas h and then a week (well, actually four days) at the Round Rock ISD's summer offerings. My daughter took the Claymation/Stop Aniimation class and my son tried his had at Game Design.

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I'll touch on some of the other activities in another blog or two. With this one, I just wanted to share our experience with the RRISD programs.

RRISD actually has tons of great offerings via its summer programs, including cooking, sports, art and lots more.

My 8-year-old daughter and I went through the options (you can find these online at RRISD's website) and ended up picking the claymation class/camp since it would allow her to dabble in art and technology -- two of her favoriate things.

From the first day, this educational experience had a big impact. When I picked her up at Spicewood Elementary, she had a colorful pond background that she had painted and a frog character that she had created as the star of her show. Yes, believe it or not, she proudly declared she had already made her first movie!

She spoke so excitedly of the entire day, all about how she made the background, the frog and also a clay kitty. She literally could not wait until she got back to class. I am serious. She was up early, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to tackle her second day.

The last days of the camp were spent gathering or creating props, coming up with a story line and then shooting the culmination of it all, the movie. My daughter was paired with a partner with whom she collaborated on the movie you see posted here. Let me just say, the pride in the final creation . .well, as they say on the Master Card ads -- priceless!

As for my son, can you say "Wii" "Nintendo DS" or Xbox?" This kid loves the challenge and strategy of a good video game. So, of course, what course inspired him but Game Design by Camp Wired via RRISD's summer programs.

What amazed me, was while my daughter was so inspried by what she learned, I didn't imagine in a million years that I would possibly hear the same tone of enthusiasm via my 11-year old soon. And yet, I did! I picked him up the first day -- his was at a different campus which meant Mom flew from Spicewood Elementary to Great Oaks Elementary as fast as legally possible (since both concluded at the same time of day) in hopes that he wouldn't be the last guy there (sadly, he was!). And, even with that in place, the same type of excitement came forth. He couldn't stop talking about all he learned and how he put special abilities into the characters of his game. I mean it when I say, on that first day I went home and told my husband, "I'm really glad I signed them both up for this!"

Each day, my sonwould talk about all the detail he added to his creation. The final day, they offered up a pizza party followed up by a chance for parents to come and check out all the final products. Since I couldn't be in two places at once, my husband happily showed up for this finale and couldn't have been more proud of his son's production. Like my daughter, he came home with a disc with the final game created. I'm working on getting some type of movie to share with you as well so that you can see what your child could demonstrate as well. That will be coming soon (I hope!)

All in all, from the two programs that we experienced, I highly recommend signing your kids up for at least one of the RRISD summer programs. The prices were very affordable and as you can see, the outcome was truly measurable. We and our children were very pleased. It was a true exercise in both technology, strategy and ultimately creativity!

For the record, you do not have to be a RRISD student to take advantage of their programs. In addition, they do also offer various programs throughout the year (Fall offering will be posted soon). Finally, at least some (if not all) of the educators that teach these programs are brought in from outside sources (names that I saw on various aprons included "Camp Wired" and "The Art School)), so if you were really interested you could probaby find them at other times of year/locations as well.

For more informaiton on other Austin area summer camp options, see our Campz4Summer page.

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