Games gone green

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 11, 2016

 Rebekah Hubinsky, a 6-year-old in first grade, paints the bottom of the lilypad game, where players will drop a marble and try to get it into a tube to win.

Rebekah Hubinsky, a 6-year-old in first grade, paints the bottom of the lilypad game, where players will drop a marble and try to get it into a tube to win.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Bean bag toss. Basketball shoot. Skee ball. 

It might be the makings of a great time at Chuck E. Cheese or Dave & Buster’s. Or it might be the beginnings of a cardboard arcade being designed by a group of ecologically minded students at Avalon Elementary School within South Lake Schools.

The Green Team, otherwise known as the Ecology Club, at Avalon Elementary has been busy creating a plethora of games for their fellow students to try out at the school’s May 20 Bingo Night. 

The Ecology Club works toward achieving the school’s Green School status by doing fun projects throughout the year, like the cardboard arcade. This is the fifth year the school has achieved Green School status and its second year at Evergreen status, the highest level a school can achieve. In its first three years in the program, Avalon Elementary was at the second level, Emerald. Macomb County awards the Green School status.

This year, first-grade teacher Heidi Ross — who leads the group — said she heard about a cardboard arcade at a science meeting for teachers and brought the idea to her group of students, who were excited.

“We’re going to open them up to people to play. We’re going to be having prizes that are reused toys,” Ross said. “Kind of showing the kids that they don’t throw their toys away — they can repurpose them.”

Nine-year-old third-grader Laila Wright originally joined the Ecology Club because her sister was joining, but now she’s glad she did.

“I like working on my game and painting,” she said. She created a basketball shooting game, and at a recent meeting of the club, she was helping another student paint her skee ball game. “I was like, ‘This is going to be a lot of work,’ and I was also excited about it.”

Ross said parents have been of great help to the club. A father, she said, used a treadmill box to help his daughter create the skee ball game, and at the April 28 meeting, several parents were on hand helping to supervise the painting of the games.

“I think it’s great,” said Cory Hubinsky, the mother of 6-year-old Rebekah, a first-grader. “The younger you start learning about how you impact the environment, the better to grow up and ... recycle and pick up the trash.”

Her daughter was working on a lilypad game where toilet paper tubes were attached to the inside of a box, and the player would stand up and try to drop a marble into the tubes. 

“I like painting and I like taping everything down,” Rebekah Hubinsky said. “I think they’re going to be amazed. We have a lot of different games.”

Six-year-old Abby Miles, the first-grader who was working on the skee ball game, said that she first had to put nails on both sides of the box. She said she’s having a good time in the club.

“We get to make things and paint them,” she said. 

Ross said the students have been very creative. 

“Another little girl made a box with three tubes. Whatever tube a ball chooses to fall down, that’s how many tickets they get,” Ross said. “People will be playing for tickets,  and that will determine what prize they win.”

The Ecology Club meets once a month after school. Students have been working on the games all year, and after the Bingo Night, they’re also going to be working to plant a garden outside the school with support from Gilbert’s Hardware, which donated soil to the project.

“They have the creative mind to reuse things and think before we throw things out — ‘What can I use this for?’” Ross said.