Week 3. Day 2. World's Largest Swim Lesson! Tsankawi!

Tuesday, June 18th

We started the day by offering kids an opportunity to participate in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson. We had twelve kids participate: both BIGS and LITTLES.  It was chilly but a great opportunity to practice a really important survival skill!  Mountain Kids joined swimmers around the world to make it the largest simultaneous swim lesson ever. We hope. 🙂

Afterward, we headed out to hike and marvel at Tsankawi, a part of Bandelier National Monument. It was a beautiful and perfectly cloudy day for such an adventure (for the morning anyway)!

The paths there are grooved three feet deep in places (!) and there are many, many caves from the “masters of survival skills”  – the Ancestral Pueblo people. It was a big hike for the LITTLES but we took plenty of breaks along to way to drink water, and to look for pottery shards, apache tears, petroglyphs, and hollow rocks!  We all climbed several ladders and got to enter several big and small “cavates.”  We learned that Cavates are caves that were dug out by the Ancestral Pueblo people. They were not naturally formed.

The BIGS did the same loop and stopped to eat and listen to a story told by Ashley in one of the caves.  They had fun exploring and imagining what is was like to live here.  In the van everyone enjoyed listening to My Side of the Mountain, a great tale of survival to complement our day!

Week 3. Day 1. Super Hikers and Wee Wanderers Among the Aspens!

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Monday at the Norski Trail!*

*Apologies to the LITTLES of whom there are very few photos from this day… we are working on resolving some technical difficulties! Stay tuned for lots of LITTLES at Tsankawi!

After a morning of meeting, playing, and making our group contract at the Children’s Museum, we snacked, filled water bottles and used the potty before we loaded into the Adventure Vans.  We were heading to the cool, moist Aspens for the day!

On our way we sang and listened to stories, which gave way to hiking and listening to birds.   Blue sky and fluffy white clouds behind towering white giants, green leaves whispering and giggling.  We felt happy and alive!

LITTLES!  We did listening activities with our buddies and talked about how important listening is for storytellers and hikers. We talked about and came up with definitions of fairy tales, folk tales, and fables (and read examples of each). We hiked to a spot to build shelters and review the cardinal directions. We did the book binding for our picture books. Boy were we busy!

We LITTLE campers also incorporated lots of team building and ice-breakers into our day.  We played head-to-head, toe-to-toe, name games, and learned fun facts about each other.

We also chose our group animal for the week from three choices.  We chose chipmunks because they are SO cute, just like us!  🙂  We looked at pictures of chipmunks of the southwest and chose the “Least Chipmunk”  for our identity because they were the cutest.  We made our group call,  “Squeak!”

The BIGS hiked through the Aspens and found a perfect spot to stop for lunch.  We then split off and make shelters in small groups.  There were lean-tos, summer shelters and winter shelters.  We did a group Shelter Tour and talked about what each shelter would be good for: summer, winter or play.  Then we hiked on to a beautiful spot where we found oodles of CATARPILLARS!  We collected them (whether we tried or not!) on our arms, sticks, shirts and hats…

We also played Human Camera with buddies.  We found something beautiful for our buddy to “take a picture” of with their mind’s eye, then drew a picture of it for them.  It was nice to stop and look closely at the beauty all around us.

We did an activity to show how Aspens are all connected before hiking back to the Adventure vans for a relaxing ride home.

We chose our group animal for the week – the Black Bears. Rooaaarrrr!