Field Day Extravaganza, Our Campers Celebrate the Last Day of Summer Camp!

Our Final Moment

To celebrate an amazing, fun-packed summer, our campers and counselors went to Flood Park in Menlo Park for an exhilarating field day extravaganza! All of our LifeMoves summer campsites grouped up for a thrilling afternoon of playground games, volleyball, face painting, jump house, and a photo booth!

Camper Enjoying the Jump House
Camper Enjoys Water Ballon Games
All Star Dancers

On the dance floor, the campers and counselors began to dance to songs like the “YMCA” and “Cha Cha Slide.” Everyone was having a great time!

Puppet Show

For those of us involved with summer camp, the last day of summer camp is bittersweet. This is the last time our campers will see their counselors, who they met at the beginning of summer. “Summer Camp ending is the hardest part about being a counselor,” one of the Summer Camp interns said. Once our counselors and campers began to say their goodbyes, it was clear to see how much of an impact the ACES summer program had on everyone involved.

Trio of Best Friends
Siblings Photo

Thank you to the generous volunteers and donations that made our summer camp possible. Summer camp had such a positive impact on our families, who are working hard to achieve self-sufficiency while their children are able to enjoy fun-filled days. Summer Camp also influenced many of our interns, who now want to continue their work with nonprofit organizations once college is over. LifeMoves has provided such a beautiful place for children to learn, play, and grow during their time of transition. It has been a pleasure working alongside incredible people who want to see everyone grow and live happily.

Face Painting in Action
Art in Progress

We look forward to future adventures and many summers ahead that will help our campers learn and grow.

Camper Excited About Field Day
Camper with Pinata

All-Stars on Ice: LifeMoves Campers Go Ice Skating

Our Amazing Counselors

Campers and Counselors at LifeMoves wore their warm, winter gear on a Thursday morning and headed to the San Jose Sharks ice rink. Once the campers arrived at the ice rink, you could sense the excitement as the campers raised their hands and jumped up and down! The campers, thrilled to go onto the ice, quieted down as they looked around in awe at the enormity of the ice rink. Their eyes widened even further when the coordinators revealed that the San Jose Sharks team trained in the facility they were standing in! The campers boosted with energy were ready to get out on the ice to show their fantastic ice skating abilities!

Camper’s First Time on the Ice

Once the campers laced up their skates, they descended towards the edge of the ice rink. Some of our nervous, younger campers began grabbing onto their counselors’ hands. Simultaneously, some of our older campers steadily approached the buckets that were conveniently stacked to help skaters keep their balance on the ice.

Excited Camper Ready to Ice-skate

One by one each of the campers slowly grabbed a stack of buckets, encouraging one another that “they could do it!” At first, everyone had shaky legs coming onto the ice rink as they glided across. Many hesitantly skated near the safety of the rink walls to making gliding go a lot smoother, but as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. In no time, our campers were confidently outskating some of our counselors!

Counselors Teaching Campers

Throughout the field trip, the campers raced each other back and forth, across the rink. They giggled as they watched their warm breath in the cold chilly air, and overall everyone was proud that they learned how to skate. As the field trip came to an end, the campers were sad to leave the impressive rink. LifeMoves Campers had an enjoyable time ice skating, and they were able to escape the hot summer weather this Thursday.

Once everyone stepped outside the ice rink, they were greeted by the hot summer heat, which warmed us all up from our chilly field trip. We are all so thankful for the generous support and contributions from the community that gives our campers the opportunity to attend incredible field trips like this one. We are excited to continue to share more about our marvelous summer camp adventures with you!

Using one Hand to Stay Balanced

All Creatures Great and Small Visit LifeMoves | Villa

Welcome Wildmind Science Coordinators

Wildmind Science is a close-knit community of friends, volunteers, staff, and donors. This community works together to care for amazing, non-releasable wild animals at their sanctuary and provide nationally acclaimed wildlife educational programs. This summer, Wildmind Science visited LifeMoves | Villa to teach the campers about the extraordinary world of wildlife, with the help of friendly animals.

Our enthusiastic campers greeted the Wildmind Science coordinators, ready to hear more about the upcoming activity. The coordinators explained that they were very thrilled to teach the campers about the exciting life of animals in the wild but noted that these animals are not used to loud noises or meeting such a large group of people. The campers quieted down, waiting attentively for the animals to make an appearance.

Coatimundi Related to the Raccoon

Simultaneously, another coordinator was getting the coati out of their cage. The campers watched with amazement, oohing and aahing in perfect harmony as the adorable coatimundi hugged one of the coordinators! The coordinator began to explain that the coatimundi came from South America. The campers started observing the coatimundi, surprised to see an animal like this here in California. “The coatimundi resembles a raccoon,” one of the campers said. The coordinator agreed, “Yes, you’re exactly right!” to which the camper cheered.

Waving Goodbye

Once the coatimundi left, all the campers turned their heads to say goodbye. The coordinator thanked the campers for being a terrific audience. Then, the campers turned their heads again to face a giant bird, known as a turkey vulture. The campers were captivated by the turkey vulture as it began flapping its wings, causing a small whirlwind of fresh, cool air!

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture Flapping its Wings

Another flying animal that visited camp was a spectacle owl, which had the most beautiful feathers. The owl would turn its head every time the coordinator would move in one direction, and even began to hoot for the campers. The coordinator explained that the owl’s hooting was an indication of the owl trying to communicate with her, which made all the campers giggle!

Famous Spectacle Owl

Wildmind Science provided an exceptional demonstration, with so many unique animals, at LifeMoves | Villa! The campers loved the animals, and it was fun to discover the connections people and animals have in common.

Thank you, Wildmind Science, for bringing in these beautiful animals to teach the children about the incredible world of the Wild Americas! All the campers were jumping with delight after seeing these majestic creatures.

Our Reptilian Friends Visit LifeMoves | Villa

Group of Friends with White Tree Frog

Lick Your Eyeballs is a live animal program that introduces children to a lizard without legs, geckos that lick their eyeballs, a tree frog from Australia and many more fun creatures! This program focuses on reptiles and amphibians of the world.

The trained Lick Your Eyeballs educator entered LifeMoves | Villa with two crates. The campers sat around her as she explained that the reptiles they will encounter would feel more comfortable when it is quiet. The campers jumped up with excitement, while trying to remain as calm and quiet as possible.

Camper with our Sticky Gecko Friend

The educator first introduced the gecko to the campers, explaining how geckos have sticky feet that allow them to climb up trees and various objects. Geckos also do not have eyelids, so they lick their eyeballs clean. Each camper had an opportunity to pet the gecko; the campers would put their hands out to indicate that they wanted to carry it. The campers attentively watched their peers as the gecko climbed their arm, and many were so surprised about the gecko’s sticky feet!

Excited to hold a Ball Python
Camper with Ball Python
Camper 2 with Ball Python

One of the campers raised his hand to inquire, “Will we see a snake?” The educator responded cheerfully that the next friendly reptile visiting camp would be a ball python snake. A ball python snake is unique because they have their own distinctive, beautiful and unique pattern. The campers, thrilled to see a ball python, asked the educator if they could take pictures with the snake. The campers had a smile across their face as they picked up the snake, and many of them were so amazed by the slithering, friendly reptilian.

A Legless Lizard (WOW)

The next reptilian friend, a legless lizard, was a surprise to all the campers. One camper curiously asked whether the snake and lizard were friends because of the resemblance between the two. The fascinating lizard resembles a snake because it adapted to live in a burrow, which is why they lack limbs. An intriguing fact that left everyone, including the counselors, impressed is that the legless lizard can reject its tail in the case of danger against predators.

Delighted Camper with White Tree Frog
Thrilled Camper with White Tree Frog

The next amphibian and reptile introduced were very captivating due to their size. The first was a white tree frog that was the size of a small toy. Everyone wanted to take a picture with the white tree frog because of its adorable size. A remarkable fact about white tree frogs is that they can produce mucus. This mucus has properties that get rid of bacteria, viruses, and other things that may try to live on the frog’s damp skin. The frog has a very soft and squishy exterior that many of the campers enjoyed touching. The other creature was a white throat monitor lizard named Darwin, and he is a five year-old, four-foot lizard. The campers were mesmerized by the lizard’s size, but they were very interested in Darwin’s calm and relaxed attitude.

Enthusiasm Expressed

Lick Your Eyeballs, thank you for visiting LifeMoves | Villa!

CuriOdyssey Becomes a Zoo and Museum for Campers

Group Picture

CuriOdyssey is a science museum and zoo where families can observe wild animals up-close. There is also a kid-friendly science exhibit that teaches children about science experiments involving sound, motion, and vision. The first stop on our summer camp adventure was the zoo exhibit where campers observed animals like the rattlesnake, bobcat, raccoon, and more!

Excited Camper

Once we entered the zoo side of the field trip, we came across a rattlesnake. One of the campers began swiftly looking for the rattlesnake to be the first among her peers to find it. An interesting fact the campers discovered about rattlesnakes is that they leave their mother at just a few weeks old.

Camper Watches Bobcat Napping

The campers also came across some exciting invertebrates, which are animals that do not have bones, such as insects, spiders, and other arthropods like slugs and snails. The campers were so happy to see a banana slug that they jumped with excitement. There were also two tarantulas and a Madagascar hissing cockroach which the campers gathered around to examine.

Enjoying Nature

Everyone walked outside to come across a vast array of birds above them. The garden was beautiful, and the birds added to the environmental aesthetics in the area. The campers took some pictures in the gardens because they were intrigued by the lavish growing plants around them. Eventually, we all moved into the mammal exhibit where for the first time, many counselors and campers came to see a Northern American river otter. The otter trainer began feeding the otter to which the campers with amazement in their eyes watched and all the campers in perfect harmony, said “aww!”

As our zoo trip was ending, we came across some cute raccoons who were scavenging for food among their toys. One of the campers said “the raccoon’s hands are so small,” and then they looked at their hands to compare which only made them giggle in delight.

Curving Creeks Exhibit
Moire Experiments Exhibit

To everyone’s surprise, the campers were captivated by the curving creeks exhibit where they began to play with the sand mixed with water. Some campers began to build heart shapes or stars underwater, while other campers formed different shapes or tried making patterns. Water experiments were the most appealing to the campers as they began to get close to the moire wheel, which allows someone to create a moire pattern. The moire patterns occur when two surfaces with similar patterns overlap as a result of visual interference.

Torrent Exhibit
Soundwave Dancer Exhibit

Everyone had a great time visiting CuriOdyssey because there were a variety of things to do. The science museum side of the field trip displayed a lot of ways for the campers to explore their creativity side from the sound, motion, vision exhibits to the water exhibits. It was an exciting trip that allowed all the campers to gain insight on their creative side.

Friendship at Camp

LifeMoves Campers Explore the Exploratorium

Friendship Goals

As soon as LifeMoves Summer Adventure camp arrived at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the campers’ eyes widen by the mesmerizing bright colors. They were mesmerized by the Human Phenomena area, which focuses on experiments with thoughts, feelings, and social behavior. The campers walked quickly to the first experiment, which spun the campers in a circle to make them feel dizzy when they stood up. All the campers wanted to go first in anticipation, so they quickly formed a line waiting for their turn.

Admiring Talent

The Exploratorium offers a variety of exhibits that are close together, which gave the counselors and campers flexibility to explore a variety of other exhibits. One camper who was fascinated by the bright colors came to the elastotron exhibit; it translates brightness into images that look dimensional, so the more light reflected into the camera, the brighter the image will become and pop out more. Simultaneously, another camper was trying to sketch her own symmetrical masterpiece!

Excitement Expressed
Testing out Experiment

Going further into the Exploratorium, the campers came across the seeing and listening area, which experiments with light, vision, sound, and hearing. The wonders of science enchanted the campers because everything in this area had a cause and effect. One camper looked in awe at the gas model exhibit. The exhibit is a model of a molecular process, in which balls represent molecules found in gases. In this scenario, the camper was turning up the vibration, which is like turning up the heat under the gas. Through this activity, the camper explored how heating up an object transfers energy to the system and then leads to increasing the motion of molecules, which is why the balls were bouncing so fast. Some of our other campers in the area were working together to make a giant bubble at the soap film painting exhibit; the science behind this is that white light shines off the soap painting, creating an interface of colors.

Suprised by Colors

The one exhibit that was very surprising for everyone was the Benham’s disk, which consists of only black and white patterns on a disk! However, once it is spun, the band of colors on the disk change, which is an illusion called subjective colors – they only exist inside your head! The campers were surprised to hear that researchers do not know exactly why the black and white patterns cause the color-sensitive cells in your eyes to respond as if you’re looking at objects with color.

Our campers gained hands-on experience about science of sound, motion, vision, and hearing. Our Campers had an incredible time, and this will be an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives! Thank you, Exploratorium

Group Picture
Make the Rainbow
Can you hear me?

Campers Create Personalized Foldscopes at LifeMoves | Villa

Making Foldscopes

Adarsh is a high school student who introduces science projects to children throughout the San Jose area. Adarsh brought a world of science to LifeMoves | Villa in San Jose to teach the campers about the magical wonders of the foldscope. When the campers heard they were going to have the chance to build a foldscope, they bounced up and down, unable to contain their excitement.

Adarsh began by explaining the basics of what a microscope consists of and how to use one. The campers were puzzled at first because everything felt so new to them while some of the other campers understood the terminology because of past school assignments.

Counselor Working With Camper

Adarsh then passed out the materials for the project, including-: lens stages, sample stages, panning guides, focus ramps, standard slides, microwell slides, couplers, lens, ID stickers, ring stickers, and cover slip stickers. The campers’ eyes widened after they received their materials; they knew this was going to be a challenging science project. They grabbed their materials and began assembling their foldscope. The counselors started making their way around the tables to assist the campers on their way to building their first foldscope.

Foldscope in Process

As you can imagine, creating a foldscope is a complicated process! Campers were told to start by inserting a coupler into the lens stage on the front side and another coupler into the lens stage on the backside, which will allow the campers to fold and lock down the bottom flap to secure the lens. Campers then inserted the lens into the lens stage with a q-tip carefully. The next step involved folding the focus ramp and then inserting it through the lens stage to keep them together. Campers were then given instructions to fold the edges to be able to insert the flaps into the slots to hide the yellow regions.

Siblings Working Together

After these steps, campers were instructed to flip the sample stage and panning guide to be able to weave the sample stage through the panning guide. The final step was to fold the bottom of the lens stage, creating a fully functional foldscope. One camper screamed, “I did it!” with so much enthusiasm.

Older siblings who were attending the camp began helping their younger siblings whenever they needed help. The middle school campers began helping the younger campers as well, showing them a walk-through of every step. Building a foldscope was a learning experience for everyone and a life lesson about helping those around you whenever they need it.

Teamwork Group Picture

Overall, building a foldscope was a challenging task that our campers resiliently finished. In the end, our campers were proud of their foldscope, and we are proud of them. The campers were the real architects here, and they demonstrated that through their teamwork and motivation.

Summer Camp Became Science Camp at California Academy of Science for LifeMoves | Haven Family House

Group Picture
Drawing Made by Camper

As soon as the campers from LifeMoves | Haven Family House arrived at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco; they were introduced to a T-Rex Skeleton towering over them! Their excitement filled the room with so much energy, and the counselors knew it was going to be a great day for the campers.

Rainforest Visit

During the thrilling field trip, the campers explored a lavish rainforest, wandering four stories up to a humid habitat. Campers gathered around the counselors and interns, showing their passion for the butterflies fluttering around them. The campers with eagerness to reach the top floor to see the most butterflies, came to a halt when a butterfly sat on a person’s hat. One camper was carefully observing the butterflies in the hope a butterfly would land on him too!

Petting a Starfish

Once at the top of the exhibit, we all descended into a dark aquarium, where the only thing separating us from the hundreds of colorful sea creatures were sturdy glass walls. There were so many sea creatures; the campers were jumping with excitement ready. The campers were thrilled to pet a starfish in the tide pool, with one camper giggling to the counselor that the starfish felt so “squishy!”

The silent bus ride home was an indication that the children had a joyous day. The campers were so exhausted; many of them nodded off to sleep as soon as they got to their seats. With so many fascinating exhibits, their adventure at the California Academy of Science was a day to remember. With so many fascinating exhibits throughout the museum! Again, this field trip was made possible by the generous donations from our community, and we are grateful for the supporters who provide these meaningful experiences to our campers during the summer!

Excitement Expressed

The Campers Become the Scientists of Tomorrow at LifeMoves | Haven Family House

Campers Playing with Bristlebot

GoogleServe volunteers came to LifeMoves | Haven Family House in Menlo Park to teach the campers about activities revolving around working together and problem-solving. GoogleServe consists of Google employees volunteering on projects throughout the Bay Area, and this summer, they are sharing the importance of S.T.E.A.M. activities at our summer camp! The group generously offers a variety of activities that are both science and art related to ensure that each student participates enthusiastically!

Bristlebot Boxes

On Wednesday, GoogleServe arrived with a huge box containing even smaller boxes with a colorful design to capture the camper’s attention. The GoogleServe coordinator announced that they would play a game known as blog tag. The objective of this game is to tag people so they could link up with the person initially it until everyone is holding hands together. Our energetic campers were thrilled to be playing a running game.

Bristlebot Building
Bristlebot Building

Once the game ended, the GoogleServe volunteers began to pass out a small box containing two bristle brushes, a tiny battery that had both a blue and black wire, another larger battery that had red wires, googly eyes and instructions. The coordinator announced that the GoogleServe volunteers would be working alongside the campers to guide them throughout their engineering assignment. Once the campers had finished their bristlebot masterpiece, they began playing with their bristlebot with the other campers.

Balloon Rocket in Progress

The materials used in the following activity were a balloon, string, one plastic straw, and tape. The activity was called Balloon Rocket, and the balloon acts as a rocket going from point A to point B. The campers began working in teams sharing out their ideas with the GoogleServe volunteers. As soon as the first two campers finished building their balloon rocket together, everyone had gathered around them in anticipation and amazement of what is to come. “As the air rushes out of the balloon, it creates a forward motion called a thrust which is pushing force created by energy. In this experiment, the thrust came from the energy of the balloon forcing the air out,” said one of the GoogleServe coordinators. Every camper yelled out in enthusiasm, “awesome.”

Paper Plate Challenge

The last task involved a paper plate with safety scissors. The campers began thinking out loud coming up with ideas on how to make the longest line out of paper. Some campers cut across the paper plate while others cut sideways of the plate. The main idea in this situation is to cut thin lines around the paper until you reach the center of the plate, giving you a longer line of paper. That was one of the strategies the campers eventually came up with working together.

Overall though even though some lines were longer than others, the campers had a fantastic time working together and making sure to put their heads together because two heads are better than one.

Everyone’s line made out of Paper
First Camper to Finish

Our Future Picassos and Monets: Rainbow Art Studio Visits LifeMoves | Villa

Creation in Progress

This past week, Rainbow Art Studio volunteered at LifeMoves | Villa in San Jose. Rainbow Art Studio hosts hands-on art classes for students throughout the Bay Area, and this summer, they are sharing their expertise at our summer camp!  The group generously customizes their programs to fulfill the needs and goals of each student. Our first activity started with a clay project, but Rainbow Art Studios offered a variety of projects to ensure that every camper participated enthusiastically.

Getting Started with Clay

On Tuesday, Rainbow Art Studios arrived with boxes full of clay and cups. The camp counselors announced that they would be using clay today! The Rainbow Art Studios volunteers began to pass out clay to each camper, while another volunteer filled up cups with water. The instructor explained that the campers could make anything they want with clay and water. The children were inspired to come up with unique pieces of pottery. The volunteers shared out some creative suggestions, which guided each camper in an individual direction to make what they wanted from clay. One camper said they were going to make a flower pot to plant their favorite flower. Many campers really wanted to make a teacup to use later. Other campers began to think a little outside of the box; these campers created a bar soap dish, which they use every day, and a seal, her favorite animal.

Eventually, each camper finished their piece of art pottery to present to the other campers. Overall, each camper was delighted with their magnificent piece of pottery, and by the end of the day, every child learned an essential lesson. These lessons ranged from refining certain skills to positively participating in an art and crafts activity that changed their attitude about art. We are so thankful for the wonderful art education that Rainbow Art Studios cultivates, and we are incredibly eager to see the fantastic artwork projects the campers will create throughout this summer!