June 22-26 Camera Obscura
a series of children's workshops

June 22-26, June 29-July 3, July 6-10, July 13-17, and July 20-24 at the Studio for Urban Projects:
3579 17th St., San Francisco (located between Dolores & Guerrero)

an image from

A Curious Summer is a series of one-of-a-kind workshops driven by the curiosity of your child. We aim to induce wonder and spark enthusiasm for the everyday world around us. We consider play, the mysterious work of the child, to be an advanced and sophisticated endeavor, profoundly central to a child’s individual development and theories about the world. A Curious Summer workshops encourage discovery through free play, tinkering, and imagination.

We will turn the Studio for Urban Projects storefront into a laboratory and point of departure for urban excursions. Each week we will undertake a unique project. At the end of the week kids will share their experience with family and friends in a reception at our storefront that showcases their discoveries.

Drop off between 8:30 - 9:00. pick up at 4:00.
Aftercare offered between 4 - 5:30 (at the Studio or in neighboring Dolores Park)
A reception that showcases your child’s work will be held each Friday evening.

Ages: Note that we are flexible on ages, particularly in the case of siblings. Write us if you have questions at info (at) studioforurbanprojects.org

A Curious Summer will be led by Studio for Urban Projects member Marina McDougall in collaboration with Bryan Welch and other special guests.

Bryan Welch is an educator who is deeply committed to creating learning environments that honor the creativity and independence of children. He holds an interdisciplinary BA in education and journalism from UC Berkeley, and has taught and developed curriculum for alternative educational programs in the US and Japan since 1997.

For more information about A Curious Summer contact the Studio for Urban Projects at: info (at) studioforurbanprojects.org.

A Curious Summer is working to offer need-based scholarships for our workshops. To sponsor the tuition of one or more children, please click below.

June 22-26 Camera Obscura

camera obscura

the project

Explore the properties of light and lenses. Speed up, slow down and reverse the flow of time. Keep a video blog that shows your experiments.


-Convert the Studio for Urban Projects into a giant camera obscura.
-Construct a high-speed photography lab, and freeze time by taking ultrafast pictures.
-Play with long exposures, multiple exposures, and time lapse photography.
-Watch intriguing films and animations on the subjects of light and time.

June 29-July 3 Magnetic Fields

solar flare

the project

Explore the wondrous invisible world of magnetic forces, and create an exhibit that helps people to understand magnetism. Keep a video blog that documents your exploration.


-Take a trip to Ocean Beach to collect marvelous magnetic black sand.
-Play with a strange concoction called ferrofluid (a magnetic liquid) and make it move, flow, and defy gravity.
-Build a theremin (a magnetic musical instrument) to hear what magnetism sounds like.
-Listen to the mysterious sounds of VLF radio, behold footage of solar flares, and watch Magnetic Movie - to contemplate the fascinating forces that magnetic fields exert all around us.

July 6-10 Curious Cafe


the project

Turn the Studio for Urban Projects into a Cafe that serves REALLY local food: grown within San Francisco city limits! Make a video blog that investigates urban farming and documents the opening of your Curious Cafe.


-Explore the hidden gardens, farms and wild foraging spots of San Francisco.
-Design and print our own menu of SF-grown dishes.
-Invent meals and desserts that use locally grown ingredients, then prepare and serve them to our family and friends.

July 13-18 Shelter

ohlone shelter

the project

Lean how to stay warm, dry, and cozy in the woods with no tent or sleeping bag! Build wilderness shelters out of natural materials. Explore the building techniques of different cultures around the world. Take photos and keep a video blog that displays your structures.


-Build forest structures and see what it’s like to live inside them
-Identify plants and wildlife, and discover what’s native and what’s not in San Francisco
-Spy on birds with binoculars and learn about bird language.
-Compare your structures with pictures of natural buildings from around the world.
-Learn how the native people of San Francisco, the Ohlone, built their homes.

June 22-26 Camera Obscura

picture of a pumpkin

the project

Build a miniature city entirely out of cardboard limited only by your imagination. Become a cardboard engineer and experiment with scale and architectural modeling. Keep a video blog about your creation.


-Convert the Studio for Urban Projects into a miniature cardboard landscape with cities, villages, farms, rivers and forests.
-Learn about the ingenuity and resourcefulness it takes to live in a world where everything you own was once thrown away by somebody else.
-Enjoy a guest appearance by artists from The Cardboard Institute of Technology, masters of all things cardboard!