Category Archives: Early childhood

Fall Preparations

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.

 

Books Open Your Imagination


First the Photo:  Where do you enjoy reading?  Have you ever read a book outside?
Second the Question: What are your favorite books?  Do you chose a book by its pictures or by its story?  Do you enjoy silly books or books with words that paint a story for your imagination?
Third Next Steps: How often do you visit your local library?  Does your library offer unique ways to visit?  Like a book mobile or a bike mobile? Or smaller satellite libraries?  A Library is like a pirate ship..climb abroad and let the adventures begin..You can travel anywhere..pick a book about time travel, the oceans, animals or one full of cake recipes.  One fun way to spend a rainy afternoon in the library is to put together a library scavenger hunt for the whole family.  Compile a list of books, DVD’s, travel videos, Cookbooks, craft books, nonfiction, artwork and see who can find the entire list first.  It is a wonderful way to re-introduce everyone to the wonder of Libraries.

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.

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/

Perpetual Springtime

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First The Photo:    What is a Conservatory?  Do you know what city houses this particular conservatory?  Do you have a conservatory close to your home? If not can you find a greenhouse or a floral market close to home?  All of these house flowers to smell and growing plants that help us to jump start springtime.

 

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Second the Question: Do you miss green plants and blooming flowers?  Are you getting tired of the long winter?  There are places that have flowers year round. Places that helpus to create the hope of spring in the midst of a snow covered or muddy late winter.  Would you like to fast forward to springtime?  Or do you just want a brief change of pace? Conservatories are a feast for the senses with warm humid air, heavy with a multitude of different scents.  Beautiful flowers to see and unique, often exotic plants to enjoy.

Third Next Steps:  Take an afternoon out of your week and hunt down some blooming flowers.  Whether you find them at a local conservatory or you just take a field trip to a flower market.  Spend some time learning the different plants and smelling the various flowers.  Bring a camera and capture some close up photos of the blooms.  Plants can make great subjects for young photographers, as they tend to sit still and look great in most snapshots.  The key is; to get close and personal.  Try to take some pictures of single blooms.  Capture the center structure of a flower.  Many flowers are beautiful, but a single blooms can often be truly breathtaking.

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

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/

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/