Summer 2011: Week 5 – The Earth is our Playground!

We took this theme to heart by returning to Galisteo for more fun with clay and water.  We talked about myths involving people made of clay.

On day two we were fortunate to get to hike up the Santa Fe River to the wonderful playground and yard of two of our campers.  The kids were in heaven, playing in the tree house, jumping on the trampoline, and making kites!  We also visited the Fairy Tree there where the kids found wonderful treasures to take home.

The following day we ventured to another new location: the Leonora Curtin Preserve.  We enjoyed hiking there and learning about the birds that flock there because of the pond.  We found, perhaps, the biggest tree of the summer there, and found it took a lot of Mountain Kids to wrap our arms around it.   We made sun prints and did sound maps while we were there too.

On our last day of Camp, we enjoyed base camp one more time.   Drum making, fort building, plenty of games, and a closing drum circle were a great way to end a wonderful season of Mountain Kids camp for 2011!

For more images from Week 5 check out the web gallery here!

Summer 2011: Week 4 – Massive Mammals and Local Predators!

With the fires burning all over the southwest, we had to get more and more creative with our choice of locations.  The National Forest was closed and so we were forced to find some great new destinations!

We found a great place for exploration and a great source of clay in Galisteo.  There was water to cool off in and most kids spent time making a clay creature, bowl, or object with clay we found by the river.

Our plans to go to Bandelier were changed with the fire burning in in the Park, so we headed to Pecos for an amazing day at the National Monument there.  Everyone had a chance to climb down into a Kiva, and learn a little Civil War history during a short movie telling us the history of the place.

Everyone was happy to return to Las Golondrinas for more games, history, and nature study by the pond.

Thursday at Base camp we were fortunate to have a visit from New Mexico Game a Fish and their incredible collection of pelts and skulls.  What a great way to end our week of learning about our local mammals and predators!

For more images from Week 4 go to the web gallery here!

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.