Taiwan Summer Camp

I can’t lie, I wasn’t looking forward to summer camp. It’s written into our contracts that we have to provide our school with either a summer or winter camp and my school and I together decided a summer camp was best for everyone, but that didn’t mean I was looking forward to it! I had 8 days to relax before I left Taiwan after school was over and camp was taking 3 days of that…and I just wasn’t the happiest of campers. But, as time got closer I quickly began to realize that I had as much freedom over camp as I wanted and my directors only request was that we “have fun time”…fun? I can do that!

They were hoping to have 25-30 kids sign up for camp from 8am-12 for 3 days right after school was out. I’d be the main teacher but would also have a co-teacher each day along with Clement our English military guy to help out…easy peasy….until it wasn’t. They blamed it on the fact that my name was on the signup sheet and I was [I quote] “popular with the kids”, but the next thing I knew, we had 68 kids signed up and only a small classroom to hold us all in…oh buddy, things are going to get interesting!

After a little revamping my original camp curriculum we came up with a plan that would work with more than double the original amount of kids and still hopefully be a blast for the kiddos. Next began Clement and I's mad dash around Hsinchu to locate some of the odd ball materials I was hoping to find {{can anyone say piñata hunting in Asia?!}} I'm still not exactly sure how we did it, but we found everything we needed (or suitable substitutes lol), got all the kids situated in a single room, and had a blast doing it!

Here's a quick rundown of our week:

Monday - What do you look like?

On Monday we kicked camp off with learning how to describe a person, their figure, and hair types. The only obvious way to follow up this lesson was to play the largest version of Guess Who that I have ever witnessed! After a couple practice rounds against yours-truly I supplied small groups with mini, printed versions of the game and let them have at it. They had never seen the game before and had a blast! I was asked to play one movie during summer camp and it fit perfectly into Monday's schedule, so while the students were watching "How to Train Your Dragon" {hey might as well pick something I'll like as well!} I set up my popcorn maker for a little American style popcorn...holy moly, the kids went nuts CRAZY! They had never seen a popcorn maker before! They plowed through 2 pounds of kernels before the movie was half over and left not a single crumb behind! Needless to say...day one was a hit!

Tuesday - Kickball fun!

In Taiwan children LOVE to play baseball and badminton. During any given break throughout of the school day you can ALWAYS find children playing both games around the playground. Unlike many of the students in the US though, none of them knew how to play kickball! I thought summer camp would be the perfect time to introduce them as well as working in a little baseball vocabulary into the mix for them as well. We went over the rules and logistics of kickball {pretty quick and easy after playing baseball everyday!} and then practiced some terms and phrases that we could yell {{kindly!}} while playing. Then we let loose. 6 teams were created allowing us to have 3 games going at once [remember...68 kids!] so one game inside the air-conditioned-ish gym and the other 2 outside...it was a ripe 92 degrees and 80% humidity...needless to say we didn't last long before we moved inside too! We created a last minute tournament of sorts and allowed the teams to compete inside. The last 45 minutes of camp we offered a teacher vs. student game and the kids went wild (in Taiwan I rarely saw teachers or parents interacting with the kids at their level...as kids). We happened to have 6 adults handy and about 40 of the kids wanted to play...I'm still not sure how the team of 6 managed to win, but the kids had an absolute blast! Day 2 of camp...complete!

Wednesday - Let's go to Mexico!

Holy moly was Wednesday a blast! I had been looking forward to this day and I am happy to say that fun was had by ALL! We started our day off by learning a little about the country of Mexico, where it was, what we eat, and what some places in the country might look like. The kids also tried their hand at counting to 5 and saying hi & bye in Spanish {they decided this was much more difficult than English!} Afterwards we learned a simple Mexican partner dance {I may have never laughed so hard as I did watching the kids trying this dance!} and then broke open the "Mexican food" [first I have to give my disclosure here...Mexican food doesn't exist in Taiwan...anywhere! I had my mom sending my hot sauce because I couldn't find ANYTHING! So, we went with the twisted Taiwanese forms of Mexican food!] First up the kids tried a popular Mexican candy called Pulparindo, some like it while others ran for the trash! Next up was cucumber pieces dipped in Tajin (a powdered lime & chili seasoning) and most of the kids came back for more! Lastly was our Dorito party {I warned you of a twisted form of Mexican food!} Clement had bought 12 bags of Doritos and the kids devoured them! We had mild and medium salsas along with Valentina sauce from Mexico. Though the kids were reluctant to try to spicy we began with a few brave ones and pretty soon they were all trying and mixing all the sauces...they were hooked!

To end our fun filled we headed to the gym armed with 2 piñatas, waayy too much candy, a baseball bat, and 68 over-the-top excited kids....it was piñata time! ;)

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