Tag Archives: imagination

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

christmas gift

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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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.

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