Hot Air Balloon Festival Camp: France

Kids making dough for French beignets at Hot Air Balloon Camp

I am not sure where to begin with our last camp this summer. The week was focused on introducing children to a small piece of culture in five different countries (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the US). Each day was focused on a different region and held new recipes, projects, and activities in store related to that area.

Rather than overload any readers with one blog entry on our whole week together I have decided to break it down a bit and try to take you on the journey we took our campers on….


There are numerous Hot Air Balloon Festivals over the summer months all over the world. We used this fun and beautiful event as a launching point for campers to explore a variety of regions. While we spent time each day exploring a different region and doing a project related to that area we also spent time each day working on a week-long project; a hot air balloon mobile complete with “night glow” capabilities.

Our first stop was in Chambley, France. The balloon festival here is held every other year and has around 1000 hot air balloons present. This festival is one of the most populated balloon festivals in Europe.

While exploring France we could not pass up the opportunity to introduce our campers to the Impressionist movement that started in France. Not only did our campers get to hear about how the movement started and what was characteristic of this movement but they were able to create their own impressionist piece as well.



After a quick exercise on color theory we had our own rendition of paint night and brought kids through a step by step process of creating their own Monet. Monet’s Haystack (Sunset) was our inspiration for these pieces and the end product from these 6-8 year old children was amazing!

Also amazing were our French Beignet’s. During our Festival camps we have campers break into smaller groups and each spend time creating the same recipe. Aside from it being a favorite to eat, I think it was also a favorite to prepare, as you can see.M,L,Abeign

Both our small groups got their hands dirty!


What is most exciting to me, as the program director and instructor, is the amazement on their faces when it comes time to seeing or tasting the end product. They were focused and hard workers each day, but they were often ignorant of the end product. When they caught site of their hot air balloon after all the paper machè had dried and the balloon inside was popped they were in awe! When they saw and smelled their recipe in its eatable form, they could not believe they actually made that happen. We heard several, “did we do that?” or “is that what we made?”.

How could you not respond that way to something that looks like this…



Although I could not find anything wrong with these sweet, warm, airy, dough balls, the campers did have time to critique all the food they made each day, and after trying our beignets there seemed to be a unanimous decision; the only thing that could make them better was even more sugar!