Nick O'Neal said his family recently found a baby rattlesnake inside his Evans home.
"That's the only thing that would really bug me, except my brother," Nick said. "I don't like snakes in my house or in my backyard."
So the 7-year-old spent part of his week at Camp Invention creating a device to deter snakes from entering his home.
He fastened drink lids, screws and springs to a paper strip to be attached under the door to scare away any snakes.
The camp was held this past week at Martinez Elementary School.
Paul McKnight, school counselor and camp director, said the week-long summer camp is put on by a subsidiary of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation and is for kindergartners through sixth graders.
The camp encourages children to use creative problem-solving, McKnight said.
"Creativity is taught, I truly believe that," he said. "Once you start thinking outside of the box, you can't stop."
The campers are asked to bring at least one broken appliance to take apart for parts for their fantasy inventions.
Sam Tudor, 6, got creative when it came to his project. The irst-grader from Augusta lugged a heavy crock pot with a makeshift face and arms into the room.
"It's a robot. You want to see his brains?" Sam said, excitedly pulling off the miter saw base skull, revealing a mesh of circuit boards inside the robot's crock pot head.
Sam used other parts of the now-destroyed miter saw for the robot's body.
"It can do anything you tell it to do. It can do 2,800 things at the same time," Sam said.
He put the robot together in only four hours from spare parts, but said it would take him at least a month to create a real robot.
McKnight said campers began the week by taking apart the appliances they brought, learning to safely use hand tools and discover the working parts of machines.
"We have a disclaimer that you cannot do that at home," McKnight said. "Parents have to identify what (their children) can take apart and what they can't."
Campers also worked on building land sleds that could withstand an obstacle course. They earned points to "purchase" items for their sleds during daily H2O Throws, where the object was to keep your team dry using shields and strategy while wetting the other teams.
Campers learned about Vikings by building floating ships and about hunting for treasure by following clues.
They explored superheroes by investigating their superhuman powers and creating their own comic books.
Older children built their own Rube Goldberg-type machines that would help solve a problem. The groups spent hours using spare parts to create a machine that would crack an egg in a pan without any human intervention.
The camp, McKnight said, is perfect for creative and intelligent children, who often get bored over the summer without stimulation. For other children, she said, the camp is an eye-opener.
"Being a guidance counselor here, I see kids who are very intelligent but they get into trouble a lot in class because they learn better with hands-on things," McKnight said. "They really love it."
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