When virtual school is over for the day, it is time to step away from the screen, and get your kids out to play in nature!
Mountain Kids! After School program is a place for children to engage in free-play, group games, exploration, hiking, wilderness skills, and arts & crafts during adventures on local trails and in parks.
Studies (and experience) show that being outside in nature is good for children’s social, emotional and spiritual health. Children develop greater confidence, team work skills and build up tolerance for adversity by spending time outside, and so much more! All of this while having fun, getting dirty, and best for parents; tired!
COVID-safe practices will be followed. Masks and hand-sanitizing are required by children and staff. Adult: Camper Ratio is 1:5.
Mountain Girls provides girls ages 10-15 with an opportunity to build confidence, positive relationships, health, leadership, and a love of nature through outdoor activities (hiking, mountain biking, wilderness skills, backpacking, games, art, and journalling).
Discussions and journaling will build self awareness, while challenging activities such as biking and hiking build confidence. Girls will be split into age-appropriate groups and will choose a group goal to work towards.
COVID-safe practices will be enforced. Masks and frequent hand-sanitizing required by all children and staff. Adult: Camper Ratio is 1:5
Enrollment available for one or more days per semester. $10% discount for multiple day enrollment
Wildschool is a nature immersion program for children ages 5-12. Days are filled with nature awareness games, primitive skills, tracking, crafting, natural movement, play and story. Phenology (the study of seasonal changes) will be incorporated in an age-appropriate way.
Listening to the wild within and all around, the children enliven their animal senses, tuning their creativity and awareness to outer rhythms and seasonal changes.
COVID-Safe practices will be enforced. Masks and frequent hand-sanitizing will be required by all children and staff. Staff:student ratio 1:5.
Winter & Spring Monthly Tuition: $340 + tax. $10% discount for multiple day enrollment. Monthly Payment Plans. Seasonal Enrollment.
What better way to start an adventure than by making a pouch to place all of your treasures in! On Monday we began our week by setting up a felting station in Hyde Park Campground, from where we played games, took a hike to a waterfall nearby and got wet and soapy. The smell of wet wool and lanolin was an interesting experience for the children. We learned that heat, water and friction together create an effective felting technique.
On Tuesday we had a go at needle felting a picture each. This is a fun art project to do – painting through color and form with felt onto a flat piece of felted fabric. These pictures were completed the following morning as we had a hike to make and some old-style camp shirts to turn into handy shopping/gear bags! We did this in the field down from Big Tesuque after lunch by cutting the sleeves and neck off the t-shirts, cutting one inch sections along the bottom part of the shirt and then knotting these together in pairs – Et Voila! A bag with a Mountain Kids Logo and design!
Games, of course, are a most important piece of our days together – tail Tag was voted as a number one experience this week, and Eagle Eye was also liberally enjoyed!
On Wednesday we went to Los Golondrinas for a day of learning about the times gone by and their life styles. The school room was tiny, our children looked well fed and way too big to stay seated and work at those desks! There was a little something interesting for each child there, but we sure were tired on our return!
Thursday saw the completion of the felted pouches at a second felting station by the river at the Ski Basin. We made a quick pot of Osage Orange bark to dye our cotton yarn for to make finger knit handles with, then left these to dry and settle while we took a hike down to the meadow below. Two female cows and their calves were in the middle of the trail at some point but we navigated the protective parents and this sweet scene with ease and frolicked in and over a river lined with wildflowers, clover and big mushrooms.
It sure was a busy and productive week with a lot fun to be had while crafting our way through!
It’s been another muddy good week with the Mountain Kids! It all began with an adventure to Deer Creek, where the Hummingbirds and the Eagles discovered several puddles of mud, camouflaged themselves from head to toe, and cooled down with an afternoon spent playing in the flowing water. While the Hummingbirds played in the stream much closer to the trailhead, the Eagles enjoyed a lengthier hike up to the ‘swimming pools’, where they practiced their [what felt to be] cold plunge and admired the beauty of the waterfall!
Tuesday, the two teams parted for different adventures. While the Eagles explored their way up the Santa Fe river, from Patrick Smith Park, the Hummingbirds took a sweet little adventure to Glorieta, where they gathered local clay, before heading back to the park due to incoming weather. While the adventures in Glorieta were short lived, the two teams enjoyed the opportunity to recombine at the park and spend an afternoon sculpting sweet pieces of art with our freshly harvested clay.
Wednesday morning started with a fun craft which showed the Mountain Kids how to create paintbrushes from yucca and painting pigments from different crushed up elements and stones. Before long, both teams were on their way to Abiquiu Lake, where the Mountain Kids found ample amounts of mud, dug through the dirt, sand, mud, and clay, and made a splash for several hours in the lake.
The Eagles and Hummingbirds headed up to the Big Tesuqe Trail for their Thursday adventures. While the two teams participated in separate hikes, both, the Eagles and Hummingbirds were able to practice their camouflage skills through games such as Eagle Eye” and “Pig”. Of course there was plenty of time, too, for the kids play in the water as they wished! Several of the Eagles competed in a dam building competition and used their wild imaginative creativity in order to build fairy houses along the river.
Friday found both teams exploring the Santa Fe River with an adventure up to the nearby tire swing. During our hike up the River, the Mountain Kids found several different berries and plants which we broke down into vibrant body paints. The afternoon was filled with much fun, playing at the Cerro Gordo Park, in the river, and on the tire swing! Our day was finished with a sweet little treat and a lovely lesson on bee keeping. One of our Hummingbird campers is a local bee keeper and brought a jar of his recently harvested honey to share with us, in addition to showing us his gear and talking us through the process of beekeeping. It wasn’t long after our lesson on bees that each Mountain Kid began running around and involving themselves in a massive water fight to end an exciting week!
It was a bugging good week for the Mountain Kids! Monday’s adventure on the Aspen Vista trail, accompanied by the Hummingbird’s hand-crafted bug catchers, provided a lovely introduction to a variety of our local bugs and birds. Tent Caterpillars painted the dirt paths and climbed up the aspen trees which allowed for fun and easy hands-on access to the little critters! After spending the morning reviewing some of the characteristics of different birds and bugs common in our area, the Hummingbirds practiced their creativity in a few rounds of bug and bird charades!
Wade, our wonderful bug friend in town, met with the team on Tuesday and guided us on a hike to several different bugs. The Mountain Kids learned about local spiders, beetles, ants, grasshoppers, water insects, and many more during their time at the Beaver Ponds.
With lots of new information concerning different bugs, the Hummingbirds were ‘antsy’ for their visit to the Bug Museum on Wednesday. The team met with Wade, again, at the Harrell House Bug Museum, where they held different bugs, watched the spiders and tarantulas get fed, and explored several different caged critters.
On Thursday, the Hummingbirds buzzed on over to the Santa Fe Raptor Center where they met with a variety of different owls and falcons and learned about their characteristics, diets, and different habitats. Each child was able to spritz one of the falcons with water to help him cool off in the heat. Boy – it sure was a hot one! The Hummingbirds also had their chance to cool off by splashing around in the river in El Rito.
We finished our day with watermelon and ‘appreciations’. It was sweet to hear the kids appreciating new friends they had made, the birds they saw, bugs they met and the counselors who lead them throughout the week.
Friday was a sweet end to the week spent playing in the mud and water at Nambe Falls!
The Hummingbirds (Mountain Kids’ younger group) started their week exploring the trails and waterways of the Beaver Ponds, while learning what to do should we encounter a bear and mountain lion.
The fun continued with an introduction to building survival shelters and a lesson on their importance. As the week continued, the Hummingbirds discussed the essential 6W’s (who, what, when, where, why, & weather) and why they’re important even before entering the wilderness. The children also learned seven new hand gestures in order to help them better understand the seven Leave-No-Trace Principles (ways in which we can respect and take care of our wild lands and parks with low impact practices). We also explored ways of staying S.A.F.E.R. (a mnemonic for how to stay safe while spending time in the outdoors), with one of the key elements being to STOP AND STAY PUT if you get lost.
During our week of acquiring new wilderness skills, the Mountain Kids roamed through areas such as the Rio en Medio, Aspen Vista, and the Ski Basin, all of which are beautifully wooded locations and provided us with a wonderful setting for each camper to use their imagination while becoming animals such as deer, mountain lions, bats, and moths.
Our week ended with the Eagles (older campers) and Hummingbirds gathering together for a day filled with fun and games at the meadow of the lower Big Tesuque trail. What a fun and adventure-filled week!
What a week for our Mountain Kids! We had two groups exploring last week our 5 to 8 year-olds and our 9 to 12 year-olds. See what they got up to last week!
Mountain Kids! are celebrating cooler weather at every opportunity with the glorious monsoon season now upon us. The (almost) every afternoon thunder and rainstorm this past week kept us cool and energized for all the “Let’s Grow” activities in store!
We began our week with the initial, seemingly far-off concept of having a Mountain Kids! feast on Thursday with wild fruits we harvested, yogurt we processed into cheese, and even homemade sourdough bread! By the end of the week, our campers couldn’t believe how much tasty food we were all able to eat with the same plants and natural, earthly elements we worked so hard to gather.
What a success! It’s still a mystery how our Mountain Kids! had time to gather and create such homemade delicacies amongst so many games, hikes, and swimming. Park Ranger, a camp-favorite game, was requested and played every single day this week! When we weren’t playing, we were found climbing trees at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, swinging over streams on tire swings, and swimming at Santa Cruz Lake.
Thursday’s plentiful feast we shared consisted of cow milk yogurt processed into cheese, goat milk cheese with fresh herbs, an apricot jam made from freshly picked apricots, sourdough bread risen with natural yeast we collected from aspen tree bark, and wild berries for a sweet dessert. So good! Great job this week Mountain Kids! – it was quite a treat to have you!
Bikes, Hikes, and Boats!
This was a seriously full week for our Mountain Kids! in the Bikes, Hikes, and Boats group! After enjoying the newly reopened forest on Monday, our week got more dramatically awesome mountain biking, visiting waterfalls, and lake kayaking. Our kids made some of the best dams we’ve ever seen, rocked out on the bike trails, kayaked across Santa Cruz lake at incredible speed, and had one of the most extreme water fights ever. It was satisfyingly exhilarating and exhausting! As well as the pure fun, we were very impressed with the kindness of this group: everyone was very supportive of each other’s differences and needs. Fantastic week!