Whether it's a graphic video game or a robotic dinosaur, toys today tend to require less imagination and even less person-to-person interaction than they used to. It can be difficult to picture a child playing an old fashioned version of Scrabble or Hangman, especially when there's an app for that.
The Hobby Shop in Aberdeen is working against that trend one event at a time.
Most recently, they began a summer camp that runs twice a week for an hour and a half. Employees Cathy Zavoskas and Christina Schutzer are in charge of the program. Each week, one day is dedicated to an activity and the other is dedicated to a craft.
"I thought it would be a nice thing for the kids who aren't going away to camp," said Zavoskas
On activity days, children learn how to play board games and even make a small version of the game so they can bring it home and show their family what they learned. On craft days, there are two options offered to the children, who range in age from 5- to 9-years-old. Last week, the children had a choice between making "blinglets," which involved decorating rubber bracelets, or assembling a model car. This week, the children will have the opportunity to build small rockets.
"The kids are excited because they get to bring home everything they do," said Schutzer. "It's more or less to introduce them into something they have not seen before."
Aside from exposing the children to new activities, it also gives parents a short break to run errands or just relax. Zavoskas said that many of the parents take the opportunity to grocery shop without worrying about their child.
One mother sat back and read a book while her daughter made a bracelet.
"She loves to interact with other children, so anytime she can do that I will definitely get her involved in it," Paluaa Hale said about her daughter Hanna.
The camp runs for six weeks during the summer and cost 40 dollars for the entire session. The price covers the cost of supplies and t-shirts for the children. According to Zavoskas, the camp was so popular this year that they are considering adding a second session next summer.
The camp is not the only program that the Hobby Shop runs. They also sponsor a free family game night, where they set up tables in front of the store and allow families to play board games. Families are welcome to bring food from home or from a local business if they want to make a dinner night out of it as well.
"The Hobby Shop is like a destination, not just a place they come to buy things," Zavoskas said.
According to Zavoskas, The Hobby Shop is for everyone young at heart, regardless of their age.
"We've got the full spectrum. We have things for adults, children and those with special needs," Zavoskas said. "I always say that you'll find something in here that you'll like. You never grow out of a hobby."
A whole calendar of events for all ages and needs is available on the Hobby Shop's website.
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