July 21 was Flight Day at the Highland Road Observatory’s day camp.
About 20 students ranging from 5 to 7 years old spent most of the day learning about and creating flying objects, summer camp director John LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc said that as he got the class lined up and ready to fly the kites they’d made earlier in the day, some of the children asked how they were supposed to fly kites with no wind.
“Good question,” LeBlanc said. “Let’s think of a way we can create our own wind. How can we do that?”
Jacob Calliouet, 6, figured it out pretty quickly and took off running as fast as he could across the flat expanse of lawn, occasionally looking back to see how well his kite was faring.
“Look! Look!” he said. “It’s in the air.”
The students continued creating their own lift for a few minutes, barely registering the heat of the day, and soon, LeBlanc called them all in to check their shadow outlines.
Earlier that morning, he said, the students outlined their shadows in chalk on the sidewalk and wrote their names inside. They came back out to see how their shadow had changed in the afternoon.
Vivian Driscoll Martin, 5, stood in the same spot where she stood that morning and wondered where her shadow went. That morning, it had been long and in front of her.
In the afternoon, however, she had to look behind her to see a significantly shorter shadow following, rather than preceding, her.
“Technically, the shadow wasn’t supposed to be a part of Flight Day,” LeBlanc said. However, it rained on the day they were supposed to do the shadow exercise.
Running a camp with this many children, he said, requires flexibility.
“The weather doesn’t always cooperate, and it’s summer, so we have to take plenty of breaks, especially when we are outside,” he said.
In addition to the kites, campers also made their own paper helicopters and breath-propelled paper rockets with straw launchers.