Category Archives: Creativity

Snow Fun

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First The Picture:    Pull out a map, globe or atlas and find all of the areas that have snow during some time of the year.  Don’t forget the southern hemisphere, their snow may come in different months than ours, but they can still have snow sometimes.

Second The Question:  What is your winter weather like?  Do you have snow where you live?  Does it come often?  How long does it stay?  How do people deal with it; on streets, in their driveways and for school days?  How much do you need to get to call a snow day?  What do animals in your area do to prepare for the winter?  What do you enjoy doing out in the cold?

Third Next Step:  Spend some time outdoors this week.  Take a walk or try a fun winter specific activity like: skating, cross country skiing, sledding or build a snow fort.   One fun, easy thing to do in the snow is:  Paint snow!  You can: write a message, decorate a snow creation, build a huge shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day or create a colorful snowman or woman.  It is simple..fill a clean spray container with water and add a few drops of food coloring.  Make a variety of different colors.  Then spray the snow…You no longer need to beware of the YELLOW snow if you create it this way!  Have fun, be creative, Enjoy

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

Explore Cultures.. Travel via Your Taste Buds

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First The Photo:  Can you find the origins of each famous site?  Each one represents a unique culture in Western Europe.  Brainstorm all that you know about each country.

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Second The Question: What defines a culture?  History, society, location, government, climate,  experiences, neighboring cultures, and FOOD! Yes yummy, tasty food!  Many cultures have unique foods that they serve for holidays, celebrations, or different times of year.  Food helps to define the culture and the people who call it their own.  Do you know what your cultural heritage is?  Where are your ancestors from?  What do you know about the foods that they eat?  Does your family make any ethnic foods?  Maybe your family enjoys foods from many cultures.  As the world becomes smaller, through technology and communication we are able to experience foods from all over the world.

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Third Next Step: Start by listing any foods that your eat that come from a unique ethnic group.  Do you like: Egg Rolls, Burritos, Crepes, Lefse, Pasta, Reubens, or Scotch Eggs?  Can you guess where each of these foods come from?  Now pick your favorite food from your list.  Don’t have any ideas?  Use the web, search for ethnic foods.   Or pick your families country of origin and search for foods specifically from that country. An even better idea is to call a relative and ask for a family recipe.  Then ask about when it would be traditionally made?  Who do they remember making it?  What special memories do they have about this food or the person who made it?  Once you select your food of choice and have the recipe in hand, pick a cold winter’s day, with nothing to do..and CREATE!  What fun!  Let the taste testing begin!

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

How Mistakes Help Us Learn

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First The Picture: Does this look familiar to you?  Can you find this on a map?  What country is this from?  What city?  What makes this building memorable.  Do you know what it was originally built for?  It was a bell tower for a cathedral.

 

Second The Question:  What does this building teach us about the beauty of mistakes?  We can often learn more from what went wrong, then from what went right.  Have you ever made a mistake that ended up teaching you a valuable lesson? Try to list as many as you can remember. Think of the millions of buildings in the world, most are not as famous as this one, and I am sure the builders didn’t originally intend for it to lean.  It was a mistake that made it famous.  The next time something fails, can you try to it as a teaching moment?  There is a wonderful quote to remember: If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

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Third Next Steps: Using only recycled items, try to build a tower that leans, but doesn’t fall.  Not as easy as it seems, is it?  Try to measure the angle from the table of your tower.  Who can build a tower with the steepest lean, before it collapses.  Why do you think the Leaning Tower hasn’t fallen?  Look on line and see if you can discover the angle of the Tower.  Were you able to make a tower that had a steeper angle and still remained standing?  Try to list other famous “mistakes”.  Countless famous people failed many times in their lives before they finally reached success.  Celebrate your failures..It means you had the courage to try!

Looking for more Explore Galore Kids Fun, try one of our books:

A Journey of Wonder

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First the Photo:  The wonder of the Christmas season knows no specific place. Every town has its share of touching holiday displays. It is so amazing to drive through the neighborhoods in a hushed car and enjoy the holiday lights before coming home to hot cocoa and Christmas cookies.  However, this image is taken of a chapel that is a reproduction of one in Germany.  It is lite year round at the largest Christmas store in the Nation. (or so they advertise)  Can you guess the name of the town or the store?

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Second The Question: Christmas is a time of journeys..Some begun by a message sent from an angel urging Mary on a path that would change the world forever.  Or others that started with the Wise Men, venturing off into the blackness searching for an elusive star that they hoped would guide them to a ruler of men.  We are all on a journey every day. Sometimes our journey is from dark to light.  Sometimes we start new friendships. Sometimes we embark on learning new skills or sometimes we grow our family.  Many times we are pulled along our path, not wanting to follow a road of challenge or strife. Do you remember the last journey you embarked upon?  Can you imagine wondering through the dessert in search of a promised child, led by a message you received in a dream?  What would be your response if you were 9 months pregnant and you were told to pack up, perch yourself on a donkey and travel to a bustling city, with no money, away from your family and friends, to register for taxes?  Would you go?  What feelings would you have?  Can you imagine a time when you are stripped bare of every luxury that provides you comfort?  You don’t have warmth, a bed, food, medical care, or security?  Can you think of a time when you were journeying and you were lost or your plans fell through?  Sometimes when all of the expect things are far from reach you open yourself up to wonder.  Imagine Mary getting ready for the birth of her baby, when nothing is certain, sometimes EVERYTHNG becomes possible.  We open ourselves to the wonder of things falling into place, or of strangers offering comfort.  We then glory in amazement of the simple things: health, kindness, safety and being together.

Third Next Steps:  Become intentional about sharing this holiday season.  Gather many slips of paper and write on them messages like:  Share your favorite holiday tradition, Share a memory from seasons past, Describe the holiday keepsake that has the most meaning to you, What is your favorite food of Christmas, Where would you be on Christmas morning if you could choose, Who would you bring back to sit around the table with us one more time this year, Which was your favorite Holiday Season, How old were you when you received a gift you still remember, What has been your favorite holiday play or concert you have seen, What do you dream about on Christmas Eve night, What is your favorite weather for the Holidays, What is your favorite holiday movie, What is your favorite Christmas Carol?  Add more questions and spend some time gathered around the tree picking slips from the jar and sharing of yourselves this holiday season.  Keep replacing the slips back into the jar so that everyone from, youngest to oldest, gets a chance to share their special memories of the Christmas Season.

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

Gifts from the Heart

 

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First The Photo:  During this festive season, we diverge from our typical format where each photo is a mini scavenger hunt, instead these photos are designed to engaged your senses and ignite your creativity.  This particular photo shows our annual Holiday Gift Crafting Day, with supplies and creative gift wrapping (the stockings) close at hand, we crank up the Christmas songs, and get to work. Here are some simple ideas for your family to join in on the memory making.

Second The Question:  Begin your gift giving project by making a list of all the people who touch your lives with kindness or fill your days with joy.  Be sure to include everyone who shares their gifts and talents with you throughout the year.  Your kids play a big part in this brainstorming exercise as an important element in the wonder of gift giving is taking time to reflect on your daily life and recognize the people who make the moments of your lives special.  Family members are always essential, but you may also want to include: teachers, bus drivers, close family friends, religious Ed teachers, a coach or music teacher.  We always give something small to our son’s PT, OT and Speech teachers.  Don’t worry too much about the number at first, there will be time to limit the gift list as you move forward.

Third Next Steps:  Here is the most important part: Finding the perfect, handcrafted, memorable gift for everyone on your list.  Some years we aren’t lucky enough to come up with a single gift item for everyone, but we try hard to narrow it down to 1 or 2.  This helps us to streamline the crafty process and narrow down the supply list.  We always try to make the gift as unique as possible, and it is always something that my kids create themselves.

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Gift ideas from past years:

  • Clear glass ornaments filled with hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows and crushed candy canes with a note saying: Friends are the marshmallow in the cocoa of life.
  • A kitchen towel with their hand prints in the shape of a tree. Make sure to use acrylic paint so they don’t wash off in the laundry. After they did their hand prints we used puffy paint to add decorations and a star to the tree.
  • Bulb gardens. This was a BIG hit one year.  I went and bought terra cotta pot bases at a home improvement store (not the pot itself, but the saucer that goes underneath it. They are under a dollar a piece.)  I also bought Paper White Narcissi bulbs, (available at most garden shops this time of year) and then a large bag of potting soil.  My kids then sponge painted the terra cotta pot saucers with gold & green acrylic paint.  Then we put the soil into zip lock bags and placed 4-6 bulbs in a brown paper lunch bag.  Make sure to include planting instructions. “Place about an inch deep of soil into the saucer, then arrange the bulbs with the pointed side up in the dirt.  Sprinkle the rest of the dirt around the bulbs until they are about half covered.  Water after planting and then weekly after that. The bulbs will grow and bloom in about 4-6 weeks. Enjoy a bit of spring during this winter season” It is great fun for people to have flowers in the middle of winter.  You can also include a card that says: You make our lives Bloom!
  • Salt dough ornaments cut out with cookie cutters and hand painted by your kids. Make sure to use a straw to put a hole in the top of the ornament before baking so you have a way to attach a hook for hanging on the tree.
  • Customized Initial Ornaments. We purchased unfinished wood letters at crafts stores for around 50 cents.  Decoupage a piece of scrapbook paper onto it and then attached stickers, words, and 3-D items to it depicting things that the person enjoys. We also printed off photos in miniature and attached them to a piece of cardstock before affixing them to the ornament. It was fun to reflect on our loved ones’ hobbies and interests, plus it was a well-loved gift.  Make sure to attach some ribbon to the back for hanging.

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

A Season of Creativity

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First The Photo:  What is being created? Can you name each of the items used in the building?

Second The Questions:  Do you have something you like to create?  Do you have a special talent you like to share in your gift giving?  Do you like to create on your own or do you enjoy working on team projects?  Do you have special people in your life that you make cherished items for?

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Third Next Steps: Memories are one of the best side benefits of creative gift giving.  Does your family take time to create together?  This can simply mean sitting down as a group and creating your holiday greeting that you send to family and friends.  Even the youngest hands can help affix a stamp, or add on a return address label.  How memorable a card would be if the envelop was addressed in elementary school printing. Do you set aside time during this busy season to create with your children?  Baking is another perfect family project. Parenting tip: try to have the kitchen ready with supplies close at hand before you call the kids in.   Then: All Hands on Deck..spend a weekend baking up the magic of the season.  Fill your home with the smells of wonder.  Then deliver a plate of your homemade goodies to a neighborhood shut in, or an elderly couple who are alone.  Offer the joy of giving to your children and let them experience the magic of creativity!

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

Fall Scavenger Hunt

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First The Photo: Find where fall shows her colors. Lay out a map of the world and point to the places on the map where fall shows her colors the most. Once you find those regions, figure out what those places have in common. Are all of those places close to the equator or far from it? Are they next to the oceans or more inland? What type of climate do those areas share? What is autumn getting ready for? Many animals and plants have developed their own ways to get ready for what is next. Can you name a few?

 

Second The Question: What is your favorite sign of fall? Can you name each of the signs I included in the photo collage? I have one insect, one animal, two trees and one plant..but there are many other things that change during the fall season. Why do these changes happen? Does our family have special traditions they do to celebrate the months of autumn? How does your family celebrate the harvest? How do you prepare to tuck yourself in for a long winter?

 

Third Next Steps: Last week we talked about Look and Finds, this week we are going to take those to the next level: Scavenger Hunts! Fall is a wonderful time to get outdoors and go on a scavenger hunt. It can be as simple as going for a stroll and calling out all of the sites of fall that you see. Or if you are looking for a really fun afternoon, invite over your friends and go to the Next Steps link at Explore Galore Kids to print off our Fun Fall Scavenger Hunt sheets. Then; Let The Games Begin! It is great fun to see which group can bring back the most signs of fall in 20 minutes. All abilities and all age groups can join the fun. Then have some warm apple cider and caramel apples waiting when the groups come back. Fall is also a great time to sit around a bonfire and enjoy some s’mores!

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

Capturing History

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First The Photo:  Where can you have the opportunity to sit right next to Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Can you guess where this picture was taken? If you know the city, can you google a map of the city and find the specific monument? It is a wonderful way to teach the difference between country, state, and city, with their various scopes and scales.

Second The Question: Do you think that FDR or Anne Frank or Abraham Lincoln knew that they were capturing history by keeping a personal journal? Most people don’t think about the fact that each time in history is unique and right now we are all living history. Last week we talked about our favorite time in history, this week talk about the person from history you would be most interested in meeting. Would you like to hear a firsthand account of the New Deal from FDR himself? Or would you rather talk to Julia Caesar and learn about what Rome was like back in the days when the Colosseum was used for more than just tourist visits? Would you like to hear about Lewis and Clarks adventures as they explored the unsettled West? Or would you enjoy hearing the gruesome tales of battles fought and won from Joan of Arc? Without personal accounts, journals or biographers we would not have the ability to share the rich history that we now cherish.

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Third Next Steps: You could be part of that process. Begin capturing your own history. There are several simple ways to start. For really young children have them draw a picture each day of their favorite memory from the day’s events. This can be a nice part of the bedtime routine. A way to calm down and sum up the day’s experiences. It can also be a fun way for you to find out what they remember the most. For older children the easiest way to begin journaling is to get a calendar with fairly large squares for each day. Then at the end of the day have your child simply fill the day’s square with notes about what happened during their day, or how they felt about what happened. It can be a great way for them to practice their descriptive writing and an easy way to begin feeling sharing from the day. As children get older buying them a nice covered journal at the beginning of each New Year can be a great tradition. It will be an amazing keepsake for them, later in life, to see first-hand their own memories in their own words.

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

Welcome Autumn!

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First The Photo:  The location of this photo could be almost anywhere that has 4 seasons to enjoy.  So instead of locating it on a map, can you determine what type of tree this leaf came from?

Second The Questions:  Autumn is a time for changes: changing leaves, changing temperatures, changing coats on animals (and people too)  and changing amounts of  light each day.  Many people enjoy the changes and embrace the beauty of fall.  As you contemplate the changes outside, think of yourself, if you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?  Would you change your eye color, your shoe size, where you live or the length of your hair? Would you live somewhere without seasons or do you like the changing world around you?

Third Next Steps: Go for a scavenger hunt outside and try to find as many different shapes of leaves as possible.  Collect on of each leaf and bring them home to make texture rubbings.  To do this all you needs is: paper, chalk or crayons(these work best if you take the paper label off them so you can lay them horizontally while you rub them, and finally you need leaves.  Lay the leaf on the table first, try to make it lay flat.  Place the paper loosely over the top and then using the chalk or color crayon begin to gently color over the leaf.  Soon you will begin to see the shape of the leaf and then you will notice the texture of the leaf as well.  Texture rubbings are fun to do and can be done with all sorts of items from the natural world like shells, evergreen needles, flower pedals etc. Explore the many textures of fall!

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

Where would you call home?

First the Question: Do you recognize this famous home? It was designed by the renowned architect; Frank Lloyd Wright. Can you find where it is located? What large city is it near?

Second The Question:  When you look at the picture what is unique about the house? Would you like to have a river running through your house? Would you live in a house on a cliff?  Where would you build your perfect home? High up in a tree? In a crater on the moon? In a ship sailing on the high seas? Would you live in a tent or a library or a mall?? What things are necessary to make your house a home? What things would you make sure to include? Would you build it in a particular place? What things do you love about your current home? How would you incorporate those pieces?

Third Next Steps: Do you have some old magazines or catalogues around the house? Pull some out and have some fun cutting out your favorite room designs. Create some interior and exterior looks for your house by cutting images from the magazine.  Next try to creating a floor plan.   Try searching for home plans on-line.  First look at the outside structure of the house then look at corresponding  floor plan.  Are you able to see where doors and windows are located from looking at the plans?  Find some graph paper and create a floor plan for your own home. What rooms would you include? Where would you put windows?  Why not ad in some fun items..a pool, a stables, a library!  What would you include?

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Finally did you enjoy doing the interior design or the floor plan better?  Do you like the art piece or the scale drawing better?  Do you see yourself designing with colors or planning to build better?  These are all great things to think about as you grow and begin to imagine your career path.

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