A secret club has just finished its June run of children's workshops at Skolemarken legeplads in Aarhus, Denmark.
Every Saturday in June, we set up our clubhouse in a little blue wooden cabin at this magnificent kids' playground and hosted a different event each week.
The 4th June had a mountaineering theme and because the playground is located in a neighbourhood called Frederiksbjerg, which means Frederik's mountain, children could climb and conquer that imaginary mountain (there are no mountains in Denmark!) and plant their flag at the top. Children followed a story trail and drew their own flags, made explorer beard masks and rare alpine flowers from paper to plant into flower pots. Along the way some also spotted a yeti or two and in order to warn other mountaineers of those rather intimidating beings, pictures of these sightings were painted and displayed at the cabin. The mountain folk (Kenn and I) were ready to help any stray explorer back on track.
The 11th June was all about making things move! We had set up two zoetropes, made from a discarded old pram, and participating children had a go at drawing their own short animations. It was amazing to see how lively their drawings became - flowers were nodding their heads, cyclists speeded up and down a hilly landscape and colourful balls bounced up and down. Each premiere drew a little crowd. We also made thaumatropes and flickbooks that day. Thanks to Jane Kloster for being an amazing helper on the day!
On 18th June we set up a camera obscura inside the secret clubhouse to introduce kids to the magic of seeing the world from a different perspective. Although the weather let us down a bit, we had some keen visitors who wanted to play. Once inside the cabin, one had to close the door and first get his/her eyes used to the surrounding darkness. After a few minutes one could see what was going on outside in front of the secret clubhouse projected on a screen, which was one or two dancing scientists in white lab coats dancing in the rain on their heads!
But unfortunately by 2pm the weather had turned from very grey to very wet and it was chucking down rain in buckets. So this workshop finished slightly earlier.
On the last Saturday, June 25th, a secret clubhouse became the centre of the world's smallest festival. I had made us special totem hats to wear, which you can see below. There was even a small one for baby Mio!
Fellow artist Ida Elke and her partner Mikael joined us with their extraordinary tombola and wish machine, that could send out your secret wish to the appropriate powers beyond. My friend Corinna also helped creating masks with some of the smaller children. Stories and fortunes were told and participating children made two rather impressive totem poles using cardboard that was cut to shape, painted and fixed together. On the day, kids could also play their animations from the 2nd Saturday in June again to each other.
We had a lot of fun and one of our regular guests didn't want to miss these Saturday activities for the world and came 2 hours late to a family party because of it. I think that is the best compliment - thanks, Tobias, also for the chocolate!
Also many thanks to the Børnekulturpuljen, who kindly supported these workshops!