Tag Archives: educational

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!

                               

 

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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/

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/

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/

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/

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/