Tag Archives: education

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.

Celebrate a Pillar of History

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.

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.

Looking for more ways for your family to explore and grow together..try one of our books..

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When you need courage..Think back

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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?

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.

Seasons of Change

seasons

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.

Looking for more ways to embrace the Seasons of Change..Try our new book in the Explore Galore Kids Series:  seasons-of-change-cover  Click Here to order your copy today

Heroes Among Us

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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?

 

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!

What would you do, if you made all the rules?

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First the Picture(s):    Can you locate the place where each of these pictures was taken and can you name the type of civilization each of these communities once represented?

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Second The Question:  There are as many different ways to rule a group of people as there are civilizations to rule.  You could be President of a Democracy or King/Queen of a monarchy.  You could be a Pirate ruling the seas or a Dictator commanding an Empire.  If you were in charge..what rules would you make?  What things would you forbid?  What would you make mandatory?  Would you allow others to give input or would you demand that everyone do as you say?

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Third Next Steps:   After you dream of all the crazy rules you would make..try to think of the problems that come with being in charge?  Can you see any down sides to ruling a group of people?  What happens if the people you govern don’t like your ideas?  What steps would you put in place if someone disagrees?  What are things that rulers provide for the people they govern?  Safety, structure, input, education, food, jobs?  What would you provide?

Think of small communities and the people who rule them..Like a Family.  Try letting each person be in charge for a day. Write down the rules you would set and then try to list the consequences of that rule.  If you let everyone sleep as long as they want..what would happen? Or if each person ate whatever they wanted at every meal.  Who would pay for all of that food?  It is challenging to maintain balance within a small group of people imagine how hard it would be to run a country.  You can see that it helps if the people that live in a country have the ability to give feedback and input to the rulers in charge?

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

dolphin

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/