The Times West Virginian

Local News

July 18, 2014

Kids learn about art and science at camp: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — Children made the community a little more beautiful this week.

Learning Options Inc. offered its Tile Mosaics summer camp for the second year, at which kids ages 9-14 decorated lamp posts at the wave pool in East Marion Park with colorful mosaics.

“East Marion Park is letting us do tile mosaics on the base of the lamp posts, and there are some inside the pool from last year … This year, we’re doing the parking lot,” said Chris Nielsen, the volunteer representative for summer camps.

Campers made the designs, applied tiles, grouted tile and are finishing up with painting and cleaning the mosaics today.

“We’re making these mosaics to give back to the community because they’ve built pools. They’ve done a lot of stuff,” said Ella Lacombe, 9, a camper from Morgantown.

The program helps kids learn the importance of community outreach, said Nielsen. This particular project also leaves a lasting mark on the park, she said.

“It feels kind of good because you put beautiful things on and it expresses how you feel,” Lacombe said about the mosaics.  

She is most excited to see the finished product, she said.

Learning Options also offered a Fun with Food Science camp this week for children ages 5-9.

Campers made food throughout the week with the goal of connecting science to real life.

“We’re just trying to show them that there’s science in the real world, that they come into contact with on a daily basis,” said Beth Thompson, camp instructor and faculty member of the math and science department at Fairmont State University. “Even in their kitchen, there is a lot of science they can explore.”

The kids learned about proteins, fats, solubility, acids and bases, mixtures and solutions and crystal formation, among other topics. They made caramel popcorn, bread, ice cream and other foods to demonstrate each science topic in their lessons.

Learning Options Inc. is a nonprofit organization based at Songbird Learning Center in Fairmont. Its mission is to provide enrichment programming for children in public schools and who are homeschooled.

Upcoming summer camps include Get Loopy: Introduction to Digital Music Composition and Theory and Ocean Exploration, which run July 21-25, and Publish Me! and Eco-Cycle, July 28-Aug. 1.

The organization also offers learning programs year-round and on weekends.

“We’re trying to offer hands-on academics outside of whatever they already get education-wise … We try to do hands-on, fun activities and sneak some academics in there,” said Nielsen.

For more information, visit  

Email Chelsi Baker at or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.

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