Over “Time Travelers” week, SPREE summer campers at HQ had a blast discovering many different phases of Colorado’s history. On Monday, we were back in “deep time” learning about this area’s geologic history. We analyzed rocks, mapped out dinosaur fossil finds in Colorado, drew a mural of what a river would have looked like millions of years ago, and even made fossils of our own!
Tuesday’s focus was on slighlty more recent history- but still all the way back to early tribes and megafauna! We learned about some giant animals that used to roam the forests and plains, made plaster “cave art,” and even made a model of an ancient Pueblo building. We also learned about some history of the Pueblo people and reenacted some of their daily lives by making traditional crafts such as clay pinch pots and beaded art.
Wednesday had us move to a little more recent time, around the 1700s, where we learned about Native American tribes that lived in our area then, and still today! Campers had a fantastic time practicing “hunting” skills through making animal disguises and playing games- such as practicing aim through a hoop and dart game that kids of these tribes used to play. Another way we learned about Arapahoe and Cheyenne traditions was through art. We made some of our own sand art inspired by sand paintings that were designed to help heal sick tribespeople. We also got to hear traditional fables, and write and, act out some of our own stories!
On Thursday campers were introduced to the Europeans that started coming West to explore and start fur trading. We acted out some aspects of the daily lives that these “mountain men” (and women!) would have faced. We made our own version of a journal. These journals were imperative for explorers and trappers who needed to make important notes that helped them survive, and, help with their business records. These journals are one of the ways that we know so much about some of the people that came out West to explore. For more fun, we did a scavenger hunt through the park to find some traditional items that could have been seen here a few hundred years ago! We wrapped up our day with some “fishing” by the river- as many people have done for hundreds (and thousands!) of years.
Friday’s focus was on pioneers and prospectors of the 1800s. Campers had a blast playing pioneer games like a 3-legged racing, potato sack races, and kick the can! We also made some pioneer-inspired art by making aluminum-punch pictures. Our whirlwind travels through time wrapped up with gold panning in the river- where many campers found magnatite, garnet, quartz, and even a few flakes of gold. After a great week, we also had a graduation ceremorny for our new Colorado history experts!