First the Photo: Where did the tradition of decorating a fresh cut tree come from? To find on a map: Europe>Germany
Second the Question: Spend some time this year as a family talking about each of your ornaments, where did they come from? What life event do they symbolize? Do you have any family traditions surrounding how or when you decorate your tree? What do you place at the top of your tree?
holiday scavenger hunt
Third the Next Steps: A fun way to celebrate your beautiful tree this year is to move the chairs back and break the family into teams..Set a timer and then hand out this Holiday Scavenger Hunt.. Ready! Set! Go! See which team can find all of the things on the list first. Feel free to customize the list to suit your ornament selection. Do you have one special ornament that folks can find as extra credit? Maybe a pickle per chance?? This is a wonderful game that spans the ages and gets folks into the holiday spirit!
Merry Christmas and all of the joys of the season to you and yours!
First The Photo: Giant snowman steals the show! To find him on a map travel to: North America>United States> Michigan> Frankenmuth
Second The Question: What is your favorite thing to build in the snow? Have you ever tried adding color to your creations with a bit of food color and lots of water in a spray bottle? What is the best type of snow to build with?
Third Next Steps: If you don’t have snow close to you or if the snow you have isn’t cooperating with your time to play..Make your own easy indoor snow fun..without the cold or mess. Just fill a gallon sized ziplock bag with shaving cream and a few drips of food coloring. Slide the seal to hold it tight and let the fun begin! Squeeze, mold and roll your way to excitement. See how the colors create art as they mix with the wonderful white backdrop. Enjoy!
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.
First The Photo: Throughout history Autumn has always been a time for organizing and preparing for the winter months ahead. A century ago, facing a winter unprepared could mean devastation for the entire family. Name the time-period when you believe this farm was in use as a bustling home.
Second The Question: Can you identify each structure in this photo and what it was used for? In the dark of night how would you find your way around this farm? What would happen in a blizzard when you couldn’t see structures even a few feet ahead of you? Can you plan-out some of the things that families needed to do to prepare for the harsh months ahead? Are you glad that you no longer live in that era or would you enjoy these challenges?
Third Next Step: Autumn, with all its hustle and bustle of back to school activities, continues to make it a wonderful time for families to prepare a routine of organization for the busy months ahead. Even simple things like: a weekly family meeting to go over the upcoming events, will help everyone in the family to feel less stressed and more prepared. Put together a chalkboard or dry erase board and set aside a few moments each Sunday evening to sit together as a family and list out daily and weekly activities. Discuss any stresses that any family members face in the upcoming week. This is a great time to organize rides, plan the menu, set goals, discuss chores and provide encouragement. A few minutes of family organization can ensure a smooth-running week for the whole gang.
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!
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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.
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. To find on a map: North America> United States> Washington D.C. The Mall
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.
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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? To find on a map: North America> United States>Missouri> St. Louis
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.
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.
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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? To find on a map> North America> United States> Pennsylvania> Pittsburgh
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!
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.
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?
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!
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