Young scientists make lava lamps, launch bottle rockets at YMCA camp

By Douglas McCulloch | Feb 22, 2018
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Timber Carpenter, 6, studies her homemade lava lamp.

Dartmouth YMCA campers spent their February vacation making lava lamps, playing laser tag, running for "Camp President," and more at the YMCA Vacation Camp.

Hosted over February vacation week, the YMCA’s day camp offered themed events and activities each day of the week. February 22 included “Wacky Science” themed events and activities.

Campers participated in several science experiments, organized by Vanessa Peterson as part of an overall educational curriculum. That included making water bottle lava lamps with baby oil, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer tabs - a project six-year-old Timber Carpenter couldn’t believe when her project was finished and she watched the trapped oil flow up and down.

“I made mine pink and added sprinkles,” Carpenter said. “It looked really cool.”

Chase Travers was also impressed with how his lava lamp came out.

“It looked cool when all the bubbles started sticking together,” Travers said.

The day’s events were not finished with that, however. Campers took their science experiment outside to launch small bottle rockets filled with water and Alka-Seltzer tablets.

“It was really fun - they actually worked,” noted ten-year-old Caleb Baker.

“I like that they really popped,” Carpenter added.

Activities throughout the week included a camp-wide election on President's Day to name the "Camp President," took field trips to Lazer Gate and Bounce, an indoor inflatable amusement park, and enjoyed plenty of time outdoors.

“They learn a lot even though they don’t know it,” said the YMCA’s Maddie Levesque. “They get to meet new people, learn to work together, and there’s no televisions or electronics here too.”

The YMCAs  Brianna Carvalho pours vegetable oil into nine-year-old Alliyah LeBlanc's lava lamp. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Chase Travers studies his lava lamp. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
(Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Brianna Carvalho helps set up ten-year-old Caleb Baker's rocket. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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