Dig Right In

First The Photo:  Can you name this type of flower? Scroll down through the post and see if you can name all of the different flowers.  Do you know what season each of the flowers bloom in?

Second The Question:  Do you like to dig in the dirt? When the weather warms up in the spring do you feel like it is time to plant something?  What do you like to grow best? Flowers, veggies, fruits or herbs?  Have you ever planted a garden?  Maybe it is a good time to start.  Even if you don’t have a yard of your own, you can still plant some pots for the balcony or front stoop.  Many things will grow in a medium sized pot.  You will even get a small harvest if you choose to plant a vegetable seed. Some easy things for kids to grow: sunflowers, green beans, potatoes in a bin, zinnias, or basil.

Third Next Steps: If you want a great gift for a little gardener.  Try making a year-round indoor garden for them to “dig, plant and harvest” from.  I made this indoor garden plot from some vinyl I wrapped around tubes of soft batting.  Then I found some simple patterns for felt fruits and vegetables.  The final step was finding or making a small “wood” box to serve as the raised be container for my garden plot.   This is a wonderful, no-dirt way to embrace a bit of indoor gardening no matter what the weather is like!

                               

 

Want to bring some more Explore Galore Fun Home with you?  Order one of great family reads today: Try Grow Your Garden.. follow this link..

Celebrating the Seasons of our Lives

First the Photo: Can you locate all of the areas on a globe that get snow?  How many of those areas are located north of the equator and how many are south?  Did it surprise you to learn the differences in the seasons for each hemisphere?

Second the Question:  Spend some time brainstorming all of the things that make you think of winter.  Make sure to include aspects from all of your senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and the way it makes you feel.  When you think of winter do you think of a time of harshness?  Do you tend to spend time inside or outside during this season?   What sorts of things do you do during the wintertime?

Third Next Steps:  What is your favorite season?  Ask the members of your family what their favorite season is.   Spend some time thinking about each season of the year.  Make lists of the things you associate with each season.  What activities do you do during each season of the year? If we think of spring as a season of new beginnings, summer as a season of growth, autumn as a season of gathering in and winter as a season of hardship. Do you see how this reflects the stages of your life?  Are there similar seasons throughout your life?  Does it make you feel better to see that our lives are ever-changing?  They flow through seasons as well.  Nothing will stay the same forever. A wonderful way to begin a conversation about the Seasons of Change is to share the sixth book in our Explore Galore Series as a family.  To order one of your own..follow this http://exploregalorekids.com/merchandise/explore-books/. Or visit the Make it Your Own section of our website.

Celebrate a Pillar of History

First The Photo: Do you know where this likeness stands?  Can you find that city on a map?  This monument stands as a tribute to the President who took the phrase.. “All men are created equal..” and gave it the value and purpose it deserved.

Second The Question: This Sunday we celebrate the birthday of our 16th President. Abraham Lincoln began his life with very humble beginnings and worked his way up to be ruler of the United States of America.  Then he used that power for a greater purpose.  He believed in the words of our Constitution and worked to ensure that it applied it to all Americans. He changed the face of America in amazing ways.    He was once quoted as saying: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”  Do you see ways that you can help obtain freedom for others?  Do you know of friends and neighbors who are not given the freedoms they deserve?  What can we do, today, to help advance freedom for all people?

Third Next Steps:  Look up the Constitution of the United States.  Read the Preamble as a family.  What things does it promise?  Talk about what those freedoms and responsibilities mean in today’s world.  How do we continue to promote the promises listed: Establish Justice, Insure domestic tranquility, provide for common defense, promote the general welfare, secure the blessings of  liberty to ourselves and to our posterity?  Abraham Lincoln’s determination to end slavery was finalized when the 13th Amendment was passed.  Read the words of the 13th Amendment..these represent the fulfillment of his life’s works.  Pretty powerful stuff.  If you were given the ability to change one thing here in America what would it be?  How do you think it would effect our citizens?  How do you think it would impact the larger world?

Before you set off changing the world, remember one more of Abraham Lincoln’s quotes: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Wise words to ponder.  Spend some time celebrating the amazing life and birthday of our 16th President this weekend.

Looking for more ways for your family to explore and grow together..try one of our books..

Explore Books

When you need courage..Think back

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First the Photo: Can you name this National Monument?  Can you find where it is located on a map of the US?

Second the Question:  Do you know it is referred to as the Gateway to the West?  There was once a time in American history when many families packed everything they owned in a covered wagon and headed out on a journey that would last months.  It would required them to walk miles each day, cross raging rivers, climb mountain passes and go for weeks without seeing another living soul.  Can you imagine leaving family and friends behind, knowing that you will never see them again and heading to a place you have never seen, even in pictures, to begin your life anew?  That is serious courage.  Many people would never survive the trip.  They went for one reason: the hope of a better life for themselves and their children.  Would you make such a journey?  If so, where would you go?

Third Next Steps:  Spend some time as a family imagining life on the trail.  First what would you pack up and bring with you..a treasured piece of furniture?  A keepsake from a past relative?  Remember that your wagon could only hold the bare essentials..and needed to have space for all of you to sleep too.  Next using just recycled items build a diorama of a homestead you would live once you arrived.  This is a fun thing to do around Thanksgiving.  As you build your diorama remember that everything you include, someone would need to create…every sock you wear, someone needs to knit.  Every new piece of furniture you acquire, someone needs to cut and split the wood to build.  Every meal you eat, needs to be hunted, gathered or grown.  It boggles the mind the talents and courage that people needed just to survive. Would you move and be a farmer, a rancher, a store owner, a teacher or pastor?  What skill would your family offer to a new settlement of people?  Go to the library and check out some books about pioneering life.  It sure makes us thankful for the comforts we have today.  Whenever we feel stressed by our modern life..spend a few minutes remembering people of the past and let the gratitude of their sacrifices sink in.  How grateful we are for their courage and our comforts.

Seasons of Change

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First The Photo: Name each of the seasons you see in the picture.  Can you list the seasons you experience where you live?  What months do those seasons include?

Second The Questions: Which season is your favorite?  What do you enjoy about that season?  How does the outside world prepare for each season?  What do animals do?  What do trees and flowers do during each season?  What is the weather like in your area during each season?  For many people these seasonal changes outdoors affects how they interact with the world.  Do you have activities that you do only in a particular season?

Third Next Steps: What feelings, sights, sounds and smells do you associate with each season?  Write the words: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter across the top of a page.  Under each heading list all of the things you think of for each season. Draw a picture for each season.  Try to include a few of the items you listed and share those pictures with others.  See if they can guess what season you are trying to portray simply by your hints in the drawing.  Our daily lives revolve around subtle changes outside.  We sometimes don’t even notice the pull of the days but they shape our interaction with the world.  How we live, what we feel and what we do.  Think of it as a dance where the weather leads and we modify our steps to each of the tunes it sings to us.  Go outside today and listen to the seasons around you..Dance to the music of today.

Looking for more ways to embrace the Seasons of Change..Try our new book in the Explore Galore Kids Series:  seasons-of-change-cover  Click Here to order your copy today

Heroes Among Us

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First the Photo:  This fountain is in a large city on the east coast.. Do you know where it was taken?  Notice the water in the fountain is dyed pink.  Can you guess why?  For a hint look at the color of the trees in the background.  What month do you think we took this picture?  Does that help you know why it is pink?

 

Second the Question:  October is breast cancer awareness month.  All over America we celebrate the people who have battled this disease.  These people are heroes. Not because they got cancer, but because of the way they choice to fight it.  Do you know anyone in your life who has been touched by breast cancer?  Or any kind of cancer?  It is a life changing event to battle an illness of any kind.  Have you ever been to a hospital?  Had a surgery? How did you feel when you were sick? This is the time when you need courage and support.  Those two things are the most important medicine in the world. 

 

Third Next Steps:   How can we help share our support for people struggling with an illness?  There are simple ways to show people that we are thinking of them as they battle to overcome the challenges of a disease.  Stories of support are everywhere look for ideas on line or at the library.  You can do outdoor work for someone who is home bound with an illness, or help with indoor chores.  There are stories of groups who shave their heads to show their support of someone who is losing their hair to chemo.  Simple things like bringing a home cooked meal to someone or offering to help take their kids out for a day of fun.  Or even just listening to them talk about their battle.  Celebrate the strength that they have to deal with these trials.  Show them how much you honor their courage.  Heroes come in all ages, shapes and sizes.  Help someone walk their road and find the hero inside of you!

A-Maizing Corn

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First the Picture: Can you locate on a map where corn is grown in the United States?  Can you name all of the different types of corn that is grown? From feed corn, to sweet corn to a corn that you snack on in movies! Corn is the #1 crop grown in America.

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Second the Questions: Did you know that corn is called maize in many other countries and was called that by the culture native to the Americans. What is your favorite way to eat corn? Do you know who..or what eats the most corn here in America? (Hint it isn’t humans!) Did you know that an ear of corn is actually part of the flower of the plant and each kernel is a seed?  Can you guess how many average kernels there are on each ear? (800) Corn will always have an even number of kernels on each row. Corn is native to our country..do you know what that means?

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Third Next Steps: Corn makes a wonderful sensory experience for kids of all ages.  Find a place that sells dried cobs meant to put out for squirrels and deer to nibble on.  Then put a few in a large Tupperware tub.  You will be amazed by how relaxing it is to pick the kernels off of the cob.  It is fun to count the kernels and investigate the structure of the cob as you work.  Once your cobs are clean and your tub is full..add some funnels, scoops and small bins. Scooping, measuring and weighing the corn as you run it through your fingers. It is a fun sensory experience.  You can even try adding toy tractors into your bin and drive them through the mounds..pretending to harvest your crop!  Once you have spend days enjoying your sensory bin..bring your bin of corn to a nature area and spread out your kernels for your animals friends to enjoy!

Looking for more Explore Galore Kids fun..try one of our books: https://www.createspace.com/6092513

 

Friends of the Skies..

 

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First the Photo: New Type of Scavenger hunt: can you name these beautiful birds.  Find out if they live in your area.

Second The Questions: Do you know these feathered friends?  Do you recognize their colors?  Do you know their song? Birds make up the beauty of our homes and communities.  Do you know they were once hunted for their plumes, heads and wings to decorate women’s hats, shawls and dresses?  How very sad. They are such amazing creatures to watch as they float and flutter on the air, traveling from flower to flower.  People have been mesmerized by birds for hundreds of years and they began humans yearn for flight.  Can you imagine soaring through the air without the aid of a plane?

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Third Next Steps: What do you think makes things more likely to fly?  Weight? Surface area?  Think of the man made things that can fly.  What do they all have in common?  How many things can you name?  Gather up tape, string, used toilet paper rolls, boxes, old Tupperware containers and garbage of all sorts.  Now try to make something that will soar through the air.  After you are done bring out a fan or stand up high and release your creation.  Does it float and twist in the breeze?  If it doesn’t see if you can make modifications to make it fly longer and longer.

Looking for more Explore Galore Kids fun..try one of our books: https://www.createspace.com/6092513

Open Air Markets

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First The Picture:  Open Air Markets or Farmer’s Markets are all over America..this is one of the most famous.  Do you recognize it?  Can you find it on a map? 

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Second The Question:  Have you ever visited a Farmer’s Market and explored the treasures found in each booth?  Most markets feature fresh produce, flowers and plants, but some even feature locally caught fish or seafood.  What type of things are harvested in your area?  Can you name some of the local crops, plants and ag-based products?  Can you make a list, based upon the seasons of the year and the things that could be harvested in your area?  Try to be as creative as you can. Many markets even feature home-baked products, canned goods and organic products.

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Third Next Steps:  Take a field trip to a Farmer’s Market as a family.  Make a scavenger hunt game out of it.  Take the list you made of seasonal products and see who can find all products beginning with one letter, or made from one crop.  Explore the booths and come home with one idea that you would like to made or grow yourselves.  Bring home all of the ingredients for a salsa, pie or salad.  Spend the day enjoying your bounty.  It is fun to visit with the people running the booth and learning a bit about life on a farm.  Buying local is a wonderful way to celebrate the producers in your area.  Dig in!

Looking for more Explore Galore Fun try one of our books: http://exploregalorekids.com/merchandise/explore-books/

Water You Up To??

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First The Photo:   Instead of our usual scavenger hunt to find the place this photo was taken..Everyone: find the closest water source to your house.

Second The Question:    Is it a lake, river, or the ocean?  Is there a beach with sand or a dock to fish off of?  What is your favorite way to enjoy water on a warm summer day?  Do you run through the hose?  Play in a pool?  Fish for dinner or paddle a canoe?  There is nothing like cool refreshing water on a hot day.  Cools the body and relaxes the mind. Helps to wash away your troubles and infuses the day with a burst of refreshing energy that was sapped away by the sun.

Third Next Steps:  Here are some creative things to do with water:

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  • Fill some balloons with water, tie them to a string and play pinata!  Or have people try to hit them with a dart to pop them while someone else gets splashed!
  • Draw a large crayon bulls-eye on a driveway or parking lot and give everyone a different colored  sponge.  Dip the sponge in a bucket of water aim for the bulls-eye.  Everyone has to stand in a circle around the target so you get to feel the splash!
  • Put golf tees into styrofoam then place ping pong balls on top.  Have everyone stand in a circle around the block..the same distance away and see who can dislodge the balls just with their stream of water.
  • Go wading in a pond and observe the tadpoles and fish swimming past your footsies!

Make a Splash!!

Looking for more Explore Galore Kids fun, try one of our books: http://exploregalorekids.com/merchandise/explore-books/