Tag Archives: early childhood

O’ Tannenbaum

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?

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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!

Snow Cool!

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.

Dig Right In

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!

                               

 

Want to bring some more Explore Galore Fun Home with you?  Order one of great family reads today: Try Grow Your Garden.. follow this link..

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? North America> United States> Washington> Seattle

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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/

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/

One of a Kind: Snowflakes and You

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First the Picture:  Pull out a map and draw a line with your finger around all of the areas in the United States that get snow in the winter.  What do these areas have in common?  Now look at a world map and do the same.  What do these areas have in common?  These areas are no longer just at the top of the map..Why do you think snow comes to only those areas?  Why do the other areas on the map seldom get snow?  Are there frosts and snowfalls by where you live? Find where you live on a map, is it within the boundaries of your snow region?

Second the Question:  Snow is made up of millions of tiny snowflakes. Have you ever seen a snowflake up close?  Have you seen how beautiful the snowflake design is?  Did you know that every snowflake is unique?    If you live in an area with snow, wait until the next flurry and go outside with a piece of black material.  Hold the material flat and allow the snowflakes to gently land on it.  Then take a moment and observe the snow up close.  Do it quickly, before it melts.  Note the shapes and patterns that make each flake.  Every snowflake has its very own one-of-a-kind shape just like your finger print.  No other person has a finger print just like yours.  Why do you think each snowflake is different?  Why do you think people are unique?

Next Steps:  Make a finger print of everyone in your family.  If you don’t have an ink pad, you can color each person’s finger with a washable marker and then press it onto a sheet of paper.  Look closely at each print.  If you have a magnifying glass, even better!  What do you see?  Who has the largest swirl in the center of their finger print?  Do any two fingerprints look similar?  Are your fingerprints as beautiful and different as the snowflakes you found?  Stack three finger prints on top of each other and doodle on it too look like a snowman.  There are lots of ways to doodle on fingerprints to make different shapes and animals.  Enjoy creating fun images using your entire families’ finger prints!

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/

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/