Category Archives: Educational

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/

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/

Sibling: Growing Together

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First The Photo: What kind of animals are these?  List all of the things you know about them: what noises do they make, what do they like to eat, where do they live, what do they have in common with you, what things are different?

Second The Question: Did you know that goats are typically born in sets of 2?  An instant sibling, two peas in a pod.  Who are your siblings?  How old are they?  What do you have in common?  How do you differ from one another?  What things do you like to do together?  What is good about having a sibling?  What would be good things about being an only child?  What would be different if your sibling was a different gender?  Or a different age? What do you like about your birth order?  What do you wish was different?

Third Next Step:  Siblings have a profound impact on the person we become.  As a child we often forget about how our parent’s sibling relationships effected the person that they grew to become.  Did they have the same fights that we have with our siblings? Talk with your parents and your grandparents about their sibling experiences.  Start by drawing a family tree.  Include your parent’s siblings(your aunts and uncles) and your grandparent’s siblings( your great aunts and uncles) add in their spouses and their children.  Can you also add in birthdates, marriage dates and dates of any deaths.  Now you are building your family genealogy. Where do each of your parents and grandparents fit in the birth order of their siblings?  How did their upbringing differ if they were the first born, the middle child or the youngest child?  Compare your experiences with anyone who shares your same birth order.  Do you have some similar personality traits?  Do you think it has anything to do with the order of your birth?  Ask each person about the memories they have with their siblings. Do they have one sibling that they were closest to?  Was that sibling close in age?  Where they the same gender?  Learn about how their relationships grew and changed as they became adults.  How do they view their siblings now?  What evolved in their relationships as they grew and started families of their own?  This is a fun conversation to video tape.  It can be fun to hear family memories and save them on tape to enjoy again later.  Your history makes you who you are.  Storing those memories creates a treasure trove of family folklore.

Looking for more ways to share family history?  Purchase our newest Explore Galore Kids Book:  Family Love.  This book is designed so that even the youngest family member can share and explore.  To order your copy: Click Here

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 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/

Scavenger Hunt Photos

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First The Photo: In this post, the picture IS the scavenger hunt, no need to look further. This was a fun project my kids and I did by just collecting items and taking pictures. I then laminated them into a book to take on car rides. After you laminate the photos you can use crayons to circle found items and then the crayon wipes right off so the next person can start fresh.

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Second The Questions: Are you 20 Question fans? We love playing 20 Questions on long car rides and these photos add to the fun. Especially if you are driving in the dark and don’t have the outside world to ask questions about. Can you find: a 2 butterflies, a bumble bee, a carrot and 3 “B”s? Can you think of other games that make long car rides go faster? What is your favorite thing to do to pass the time?

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Third Next Steps: Think of your own things that you could use to create customize look and find photos. Walk around your room, home and yard to see what you could use for look and find pictures. Pull together toys, craft supplies, tools, or food items to make your own scavenger hunt photos. Noticed I even included some pictures of the kids in the photos to add to the fun! Once you print off the photos, laminate some and clip them together for a fun party favor or gift. Enjoy creating your own adventure!

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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/