Summer 2011: Week 3 – Bees, Butterflies and Flowers, Oh My!

We had a special treat this week – a trip to Tsankawi in Bandelier National Monument. This place never ceases to amaze me or the kids with it’s deeply grooved paths, ladders, and endless caves to explore.  We spent time imagining what life was like living here so long ago without the luxuries we know today.

We learned about bees and the importance of pollination during the remainder of the week.  We had a visit from a real live beekeeper, which taught us a lot about bees and what a beekeeper does to harvest their delicious honey.

We continued to look for and identify wildflowers, and worked on a giant papier-mache sun for the Summer Solstice celebration at the Children’s Museum.

To view more photos from Week 3 visit the web gallery here.

Summer 2011: Week 2 – Water, Water Everywhere (or so it seemed!)

Week 2 took us to some incredible watery locations.  With fires burning and the effects of the drought very apparent, everyone was happy to be near water!  We had a wonderfully refreshing day at Nambe Falls to start the week off.  What a great place to explore, climb and find beautiful rocks.  On our drive there and back, everyone took to singing “Down by the Bay” and they all loved to make up their own silly verse.

The Rio en Medio was our destination for day two.  A group of Bobcats wanted to get to the waterfall, while the Otters were happy to hike a while, and then stop to paint, play and explore.  The refreshing (read: VERY cold!) and spectacular waterfall was a great reward for the Bobcats.

Day three took us to Las Golondrinas where we learned about frogs and all of the kids engaged in imaginative play together under the big tree.  This is always a special place for the kids where they turn into animals or other creatures as they engage in games of their own creation.

We finished the week at Base Camp with more team building games, water relays and book making.  We ended the week by creating a rainstorm with the hope that we could bring some our way!

To see all the photos from Week 2 go to the web gallery here.

Summer 2011: Week 1 – Terrific Trees and Fresh Mountain Air!

We started Mountain Kids Summer 2011 getting to know one another with a morning circle of games and fun at the Children’s Museum.  After snack we buckled into the Adventure Van for a day of exploring Little Tesuque Creek.  On the way there we all learned “There was a Tree”, a great sing-a-long song for the Adventure Van throughout the week. With such a dry winter, the creek was almost completely dry –  a little sad (for adults mostly), but the kids did not seem to mind! There was still plenty to explore and do.  Finding roly poly’s, building a fort, hiking, story telling, art making, and making a dirt slide, to name a few!

On our second day we talked about different types of trees and ventured to the “Big T” where the kids got to get up close and personal with a tree.  “Meet a Tree” is a favorite activity for Mountain Kids, and they often ask to repeat it on future days at camp.  During the activity, they work with a partner.  One is blindfolded (or with eyes closed), and their partner leads them to a tree to examine it, and get to know it –  smell, touch, hug, reach high, reach low and all around.  They are then led back to where they started, remove the blindfold, and try to find their tree!  A great way to really “see” a tree.

Day three took us even further up the mountain to the ski basin, where we all explored the creek before heading out on a hike.  We examined different types of wildflowers, and chose a special few for our flower press and paper making at base camp the following day.

Base camp was a great opportunity for group initiative games, forest games, tree climbing, paper making and personal challenge on the low ropes course.  I love to see the smiles of the little ones when they get all the way across for the first time!

A few photos from the week are below. For more images from Week 1, have a look here.

Mountain Kids Summer 2012

Mountain Kids Summer Camp, for ages 5-9, is back for its fourth nature, wonder, and fun filled summer!  This year we are offering an additional thematic layer to each week.  Have a look below at the opportunities to explore photography, plein air painting, or challenge your child to be a super hiker or wee wanderer!

We will travel via the Adventure Vehicles from the Children’s Museum to the beautiful Santa Fe National Forest and Bandelier National Monument, to Jemez Falls and the Rio en Medio to name a few of our destinations.  We are agile enough to adapt plans based on weather and the environment.  Base Camp days occur once or twice weekly, and are a great time for campers to play in a more intimate forest environment, to recharge, to create bigger art projects, to imagine, to make forts, play games, and sometimes have a visit from a special guest.

Two distinct age groupings will ensure each child is met at their own developmental stage.  We feel strongly that free play is essential for all of our children and provide time for campers to engage in free play during each day’s adventure in their own way.

Mountain Kids Activities include:

  • exploring nature’s playground
  • imaginative play
  • stories
  • songs
  • dramatic play
  • cooperative games
  • nature-based games
  • nature-based art projects (photography, ceramics, and painting during specific weeks)
  • personal challenge activities (low ropes, hiking, and just being outside all day!)
  • team building games
  • wilderness skills
  • an abundance of FUN and silliness!
  • getting dirty
  • cloud watching
  • water play
  • yoga!

Summer 2012 Plans Are Underway!

Camp will begin after Memorial Day, and run for weekly sessions, four days/week.  In the works are a Big Kids Challenge week for 7-9 year olds who want to challenge themselves on some big hikes, as well as a Plein Air Painting week for young artistes who want to combine hiking and nature exploration with landscape painting and art making. Of course, there will be immersion in nature for all ages, with lots of fun, exploration and adventure!  Stay tuned for more info and a new website coming soon.

Until then, here are a few images from last summer’s fun:

How many mountain kids does it take to hug one cottonwood tree?  (at the Leonora Curtin Preserve)

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Mainly muddy at Little Tesuque Creek…lots of messy fun to be had!

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Enjoying a shady cave on an amazing day trip to Tsankawi, part of Bandelier National Monument.

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Climbing down the big ladder at Tsankawi (notice the smoke in the Sangres from Pacheco Canyon) Pray for Snow!

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Findings… great still life material!

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Happy Camper!

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Owen and Zubin off to “Meet a Tree”, a great trust-building and getting “in touch” with nature activity.

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