Category Archives: Imagination

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

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/

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/

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/

If you could be an animal for a day

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First:  This picture could be taken in many places..a zoo, a marine park, or a nature habitat.  There are many opportunities to see dolphins up close.  Look on a map and find the places that house dolphins for observation.

Second: If you could be an animal for a single day, which animal would you be?  What qualities attracted you to the species you chose? Do you want to swim, run, walk, fly, or crawl?  Did you consider what the animals ate or where they lived?

Third: Take Next Step: This is the subject of my first Explore Galore Kids Book, available here on this blog under the “Make it Your Own” link.  You can also find it on Amazon. It is an adventure book, where you provide the adventure from your own imagination. Thinking through the choices as you consider which animal you would be.

Want to add to the imaginative fun? Go on a nature hike at a local park, or nature center.  Look for animal tracks.  Spy potential animal homes.  Think about the different species around you, from bugs and spiders to reptile and mammals.  Talk about the different classifications of animals.  What make s spider a spider?  What makes a mammal different from reptiles?  Don’t know?  That is ok..Take the next step and look it up.  Do you know what animals are native to your climate?  What does it mean to be native?

Name another type of climate..Can you guess what type of animals would live there?  Why?

Explore More: Finally a fun Next Step is bringing along your camera or phone and trying to take pictures of animals in the wild.  The trick is:  hold your camera very still because animals often are camera shy and try to run away.

Enjoy your adventure!

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

Summer time is family time

 

 

Remember the steps of the post..

  • First The Photo:  Where do you think this was taken?  Can you find it on a map?  If you think you know the answer share it back..This one should be pretty easy if you look for landmarks
  • Second The Questions:  Start the discussion:
    • What is your favorite landscape?
      • Do you like rolling hills?
      • The flat Midwestern farm land?
      • Jagged peaks?
      • Or seaside?
    • Start a mini vacation in your mind by imagining your most relaxing landscape..
  • Third Next Steps:
    • Easy one: Go out for a walk together and point out the things that you like in your favorite landscape.  Use the word and help your kids to understand what a landscape is.  Point out favorite vistas!
    • Fun at Home:  Head home after your walk and pull out the dough..make your own and use pre-purchased.  Challenge each other to make your favorite thing in a landscape and see if you can guess what the other person made.  Is it a tree, a lake, a hill, a cliff.. This is a fun way to add in some basic fine motor skills, with a purpose.  Plus this is something kids of almost any age or ability can do.

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

Hello world!

Jump On Board

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Explore        Engage       Imagine       Share

Hello! Welcome! The purpose of this blog is for parents, families, caregivers, teachers and anyone in a relationship with a child to: Share it, use it, and expand from it…

After years of lecturing general medicine, being a student of brain development in children & facilitating parent education I have learned that there is one KEY part of healthy child development and that is: a rich open & engaging relationship with a loving adult. Technology often serves as a barrier to parent-child interaction and I am hoping this blog will offer an option to share technology with your child. My goal for the blog is for you to use it as a tool for you to BUILD on. Blog time, should be parent-child interaction time.

 

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FIRST the photo: the photos serve as a visual jolt for the senses that takes you on a virtual scavenger hunt to find its source. Where was it taken? Pull out a map? Look up other people’s guesses? These are all photos I have taken on trips with my own family.

SECOND the question: Then use the questions to jumpstart conversations, memory sharing and relationship building. Bring in friends and family members. Share fun responses on the blog for others to engage in.

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THIRD the ideas: take these as a road map for wonder! Continue the fun and learning far beyond your living room.    So sit down with the children in your life..pull up the blog and get ready to share. Let them type..Pull out a map, an atlas and your imagination. Ask the questions and then LISTEN(there is a wonderful old proverb that says..We all have 2 ears and just 1 mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk) and when it comes to building a relationship with kids that is vital! And remember..there is NO wrong answers here.

The blog can be used by anyone looking to build their relationship and learn about: themselves, a loved one, the world! So jump on board and travel through the world of your imagination with your most important team of navigators.: your kids!

Creator: DM Devine

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