Ben had asked that one of our days’ themes be Greek Mythology.
I had begun my experience with Greek Myths three years ago with the epic retelling of the Odd a’ Sea (a sea-going tale loosely based on Homer’s epic adventure), so felt I had the street cred to pull this off.
But, how in the world would we be able to fit this in to our already crowded golf/swim/baseball schedule?
Fortunately, Greek Mythology is everywhere. Really. Everywhere.
On our way to Robot World, we passed sites from Greek Mythology.
Conveniently located in Kid Vegas (I’m quite sure you have an area like this near you. Wonder Spot, House of Foam, Ripleys, and loads of mythic hotels), we saw Mt. Olympus, traveled past the Trojan Horse and waved at Zeus as we passed his village of RVs, tents and tree houses (what?).
Ionic, Doric and Corinthian columns were featured on Architect Day (meaning I said, “Hey, look, there is an ionic column on that building”) and are also part of the Greek culture.
See? Doric columns on Mt. Olympus.
But that wasn’t all.
As we looked up into the stars in the planetarium, we saw evidence of many of the myths featured in Greek lore.
Have you heard the one about Cygnus? His reckless friend, Phaeton, was driving the chariot of the sun (and texting at the same time). Because he wasn’t paying attention, he kept bouncing off the earth and creating all sorts of havoc. Zeus was very, very unhappy and struck him with a bolt of lightening (Olympus was a concealed carry state). Phaeton fell into the river and was about to drown. Cygnus (being a very good friend) begged Zeus to let him rescue Phaeton, so Zeus changed Cygnus into a swan so he could dive deeply and save his friend. To honor Cygnus for his sacrifice, Zeus placed his swan-like in the sky as a constellation of stars. While it may seem like Zeus might have come up with a better way to honor Cygnus (like, maybe, turn him back into a man), we still see Cygnus in the sky to this day.
Close by Cygnus, you will see a small cluster of stars that form the constellation of Lyra. This represents the Lyre and was an invention of a little mischief maker named Hermes. Hermes was like a lot of little boys we know and got into trouble quite often (although he was cute as a button). He was able to get out of trouble by playing his lyre. His mother and father just couldn’t stay angry at him. They just shook their heads and smiled. When he got bigger, he sat on Mt. Olympus with the rest of the Gods and was made the herald of the Gods. He must have been very busy these last few years, as he was known to be able to help fast-talking politicians. I think I’d rather hear the lyre…..
Zeus didn’t have a dog. In fact, he didn’t even have a cat. What Zeus did have was an extra-ordinary Eagle, named Aquila. Since Zeus liked to throw his thunderbolts around, willy-nilly, he was always running out of thunderbolts. He knew he needed to find a way to get some of them back and Aquila was just the eagle to do it. So that Zeus would always have a thunderbolt handy (you never know when you might need a thunderbolt or two) Aquila would carry them in his beak. After Zeus would throw a thunderbolt, Aquila would go fetch it and bring it back to his master.
Oh, and let’s not forget the breakfast of the Gods.
Even though we were surrounded by Greek Mythology, there was still more….
We played Top Trumps – Greek Mythology every chance we could get (a really fun card game with about a bazzilion different themes – Ponies, NBA, Presidents, you name it….and you know how I love themes….)
Possibly my favorite part of our integration of Greek Mythology into Camp occurred on our last night.
Luci and Cooper had joined Camp as R.J. had to leave to go to Hockey Camp. They asked if we could read about Greek Mythology and I happily agreed.
I read about the Tritons and Olympians, Zeus and his family and several of the minor Gods. I read for almost two hours and every single child was riveted. I read a third of a very large (and very wonderful) book. I read to them until each and every one of the campers went to sleep.
Grampy and I gave each of the kids their own book (by the way, the best book of Greek Myths you will ever find) and I understand they have continued to learn about Greek Mythology and are still interested and engaged.
Now, that’s a good theme…