SHARJAH: Sharjah’s museums were the scene of dramatic science experiments, thrilling treasure hunts, traditional Emirati cooking and much more this summer as hundreds of children took part in a series of interactive workshops that wrapped up yesterday.
Split into daily workshops targeting different age groups, the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) annual summer camps, Happy Holiday Camp, kept children entertained over the school holidays with a wide selection of learning activities in a fun-filled environment.
The camps were part of SMD’s objective of extending the content of its exhibits and galleries beyond museums into the community. Subjects ranged from discovering the mysteries of Mars and building microscopes at Sharjah Discovery Centre to engraving old coins at Sharjah Archaeology Museum and painting on water at Sharjah Calligraphy Museum.
Manal Ataya, Director General of SMD, said: “Summer is always one of the busiest times of the year at Sharjah Museums when we open our doors to hundreds of children all eager to learn. Our summer camps aim to expand children’s knowledge and skills, but above all we want everyone who takes part to have fun, to make friends, and to go back to school with lots of great memories of what they did over the summer.”
The workshops at Sharjah Discovery Centre began with children learning magic tricks based on scientific experiments. They then delved into the secrets of the human body, before focusing on the features of the Red Planet. Children visited Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences to understand the mysteries of outer space. They also made their own microscopes and even got to grips with the techniques of origami.
At Sharjah Science Museum, the activities kicked off with children building wooden boats and rockets and learning how to power them using natural elements. The focus turned to the importance of nature reserves in preserving the world’s ecological balance. Children tended their own gardens and went on a trip to Wasit Wetland Centre. The outdoor theme continued with a visit to the Butterfly House at Al Noor Island where they learned about the lifecycle of butterflies. Other activities included measuring each other’s blood pressure, building a working robot, and using fragrances to make candles.
Meanwhile, at Sharjah Art Museum, children were given a presentation on the works of famous Emirati painter Abdul Qader Al Rais, before learning how to paint with water colours. The workshops also covered portrait and abstract art, as well as how to create beautiful landscapes, all using the museum’s collections as inspiration. The second week of the programme covered the art of free drawing.
At Sharjah Archaeology Museum, children were introduced to Sharjah’s history and its archaeological discoveries. They learned about Sharjah’s old currencies and their engravings before trying their hands at engraving old coins. One of the highlights of the camp was a trip to Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club to learn more about horses and their importance in UAE history.
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization taught children about Islamic patterns and the collections displayed in the museum’s “Ka’bah Kiswa”. Children then created their own handicrafts inspired by the Ka’bah Kiswa. Kids got to grips with the knitting loom to create pieces inspired by Ottoman and Islamic textile collections. They also learned how colours are used in textiles before designing a Quran cover and prayer mat. The workshops also delved into the world of mosaics, ornaments, and traditional Islamic and Emirati costumes.
At Sharjah Maritime Museum, children explored different maritime artefacts and types of traditional sea craft, before making their own models. They also learned about palm trees, and how to make batheetha, an Emirati dish containing dates. By the end of the camp, children had been on visits to Al Fahidi Fort in Dubai, where they made bracelets and accessories, Ajman Museum to learn about the maritime environment in the past, and explored the Sharjah coast on a sailing tour.
Sharjah Calligraphy Museum’s summer camp saw children practice a wide variety of techniques linked to Arabic calligraphy. They learned the art of gilding, as well as the ‘Ebru’ technique of drawing on water. Other workshops covered burnishing paper using items including tea and egg whites, and drawing letters using shells, stones and mosaic.
This year’s summer camp embraced 232 participants. Out of the 232 children, 22 children were awarded for their most distinguished work within the different workshops with certificates and educational prizes.
Ms Ataya said: “Each year, our summer camps become more and more diverse in terms of the range of learning activities on offer, and this summer was no different. Everyone who took part had a huge amount of fun and we’re looking forward to seeing many of the same faces again next summer.
“At SMD, we consider it part of our social responsibility to help young generations become knowledgeable citizens who have appreciation of the arts and the world around them, as well as the history and cultural identity of the UAE. The summer camps are an ideal way of fulfilling this objective.”