It was a day off from school but a fair amount of learning took place anyway at BASE Camp: Gadget Day! On the January 20 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, OPEF hosted 190 children (grades K-8) from Oak Park and surrounding communities for a fun day of gadgets, games and gizmos. With the collaboration of several District 97 teachers, Triton College’s Engineering Technology faculty and the staff at Working Bikes Coop in Chicago, kids were able to create, build and explore with things that roll, stack and spin.

Custom vehicles were made from take-out boxes, bottle caps and straws that were propelled by balloons. Chirping birds were made from circuit boards and feathers. Old bikes and their spare parts were repurposed for donation overseas and for creating bike art to take home. Along with the learning, there was much laughter and play.

We are grateful to District 97 and the wonderful building staff of Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School for supporting this one-day camp concept, as well as to all collaborators and Gadget Day families for their enthusiastic participation.

Make sure to check out this slideshow of photos from Gadget Day by Oak Park photographer David Kindler.