Monthly Archives: March 2016

Color in the Cold

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First the Photo:   Do you know what kind of flower this is? Can you find on a map where they typically grow.  I will give you a hint they need an area with 4 seasons and a long cold spell to get them ready to come up and bloom in the spring.

 

Second the Question:  This flower is a type of bulb.  Have you ever seen them growing?  Do you have bulbs that grow in your area?  Have you ever smelled one of these beautiful flowers? Do you live in a place that has a distinct spring? Isn’t it wonderful to see colors appear in the landscape after a long cold winter? How would you like to enjoy some springtime a little bit earlier this year?

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Third Next Steps:  Would you like to bring a bit of color into the cold days of winter?  Bulbs are very easy to grow indoors..it is called “forcing bulbs”.  It is fairly simple to do and fun to watch the bulb grow and bloom in your own little corner of the world.  Florists sell them already planted, or even some grocery stores with floral areas will often sell them from Feb. through April.  However, if you like to get a bit dirty and would enjoy planting them yourself it is easy to do, so dig in and enjoy! First go to a florist, hardware store, or large chain store and buy the bulb.  The easiest bulbs to force are called: paperwhite narcissi, but you can also force hyacinths(the ones in the picture) or amaryllis or some varieties of tulips.  All you need is a medium sized bowl or pot, potting soil, gravel, a shovel and a watering container.  Add some gravel to the bottom of the bowl to help with drainage, then add soil, if you would like..some of the bulbs can be placed right in the gravel.  Place the bulb on the gravel and keep adding soil or gravel under the bulb is 3/4 covered.  Press firmly so the bulb is set in securely in the planting medium.  Then water the bulb.  If you are growing Paperwhites you can just keep it out and continue to water, keeping it moist but not wet and then shoots will come within 2-3 weeks.  They will flower within 6 weeks.  If you are forcing any of the other bulbs you need to give them a mock winter.  So after you water them once, tuck them into the fridge for 3-4 weeks then bring them out and begin to water them keeping them moist but not wet and you will have yourself a flower about 6 weeks after taking them out of the fridge!  Forcing bulbs are a fun way to help sped up spring’s arrival!

 

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

Tweet Friends

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First The Picture:  What do you know about birds?  Do you know what type of bird this is? Can you tell if it is a boy or a girl? What things help us to know the gender of a bird?  What types of things do birds eat?  Do you put out food for the birds?

Second The Question:   Some birds stay throughout the year and some birds migrate in and out of areas seasonally.  As the winter months change to spring your bird population will change. This is a wonderful time to pay attention to birds outside and begin to notice your unique local bird population.   Can you list the different types of birds that are in your area? Try to find images of the birds, both male and female on the computer or at the library.   What is different between boy and girl birds?  Why do you think they look so different?

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Third Next Steps:  Birds are amazing colorful, sweet sounding creatures.  They add so much beauty to our world.  Spend some time walking outside or watching out a window and see how many different types of birds you can find.  Go for a hike in a park or at a nature center, bring along a pair of binoculars and spot as many different birds as you can. Spend some time sitting quietly and listen to the different calls that birds make.  Visit you-tube and pull up videos of different birds.  Another fun thing on-line is: the National Eagle Center has a webcam on their eagle’s nest where you can tune in and watch as they build their nest, lay their eggs and hatch out some eaglets. Click Here  One of the most amazing things to do in the spring is to attend a bird banding.  Look for nature centers, or regional parks in your area.  Go to their website and look at their educational programming options.  Many have bird banding sessions in the spring and they love to have help.  It is usually free for you to attend.  The experience is unforgettable.  They actually gently catch birds in nets and then have volunteers hold the birds and place a band on their leg. Children can help with the guidance of an adult.  It is awe inspiring for little ones to see a songbird up close and get a chance to feel their soft feathers.  A truly memorable way to interact with our amazing bird population and a great way to kick off the spring!

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