Tag Archives: seasonal

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..

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.

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!

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/

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/

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/

Snow Fun

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First The Picture:    Pull out a map, globe or atlas and find all of the areas that have snow during some time of the year.  Don’t forget the southern hemisphere, their snow may come in different months than ours, but they can still have snow sometimes.

Second The Question:  What is your winter weather like?  Do you have snow where you live?  Does it come often?  How long does it stay?  How do people deal with it; on streets, in their driveways and for school days?  How much do you need to get to call a snow day?  What do animals in your area do to prepare for the winter?  What do you enjoy doing out in the cold?

Third Next Step:  Spend some time outdoors this week.  Take a walk or try a fun winter specific activity like: skating, cross country skiing, sledding or build a snow fort.   One fun, easy thing to do in the snow is:  Paint snow!  You can: write a message, decorate a snow creation, build a huge shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day or create a colorful snowman or woman.  It is simple..fill a clean spray container with water and add a few drops of food coloring.  Make a variety of different colors.  Then spray the snow…You no longer need to beware of the YELLOW snow if you create it this way!  Have fun, be creative, Enjoy

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/

A Journey of Wonder

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First the Photo:  The wonder of the Christmas season knows no specific place. Every town has its share of touching holiday displays. It is so amazing to drive through the neighborhoods in a hushed car and enjoy the holiday lights before coming home to hot cocoa and Christmas cookies.  However, this image is taken of a chapel that is a reproduction of one in Germany.  It is lite year round at the largest Christmas store in the Nation. (or so they advertise)  Can you guess the name of the town or the store?

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Second The Question: Christmas is a time of journeys..Some begun by a message sent from an angel urging Mary on a path that would change the world forever.  Or others that started with the Wise Men, venturing off into the blackness searching for an elusive star that they hoped would guide them to a ruler of men.  We are all on a journey every day. Sometimes our journey is from dark to light.  Sometimes we start new friendships. Sometimes we embark on learning new skills or sometimes we grow our family.  Many times we are pulled along our path, not wanting to follow a road of challenge or strife. Do you remember the last journey you embarked upon?  Can you imagine wondering through the dessert in search of a promised child, led by a message you received in a dream?  What would be your response if you were 9 months pregnant and you were told to pack up, perch yourself on a donkey and travel to a bustling city, with no money, away from your family and friends, to register for taxes?  Would you go?  What feelings would you have?  Can you imagine a time when you are stripped bare of every luxury that provides you comfort?  You don’t have warmth, a bed, food, medical care, or security?  Can you think of a time when you were journeying and you were lost or your plans fell through?  Sometimes when all of the expect things are far from reach you open yourself up to wonder.  Imagine Mary getting ready for the birth of her baby, when nothing is certain, sometimes EVERYTHNG becomes possible.  We open ourselves to the wonder of things falling into place, or of strangers offering comfort.  We then glory in amazement of the simple things: health, kindness, safety and being together.

Third Next Steps:  Become intentional about sharing this holiday season.  Gather many slips of paper and write on them messages like:  Share your favorite holiday tradition, Share a memory from seasons past, Describe the holiday keepsake that has the most meaning to you, What is your favorite food of Christmas, Where would you be on Christmas morning if you could choose, Who would you bring back to sit around the table with us one more time this year, Which was your favorite Holiday Season, How old were you when you received a gift you still remember, What has been your favorite holiday play or concert you have seen, What do you dream about on Christmas Eve night, What is your favorite weather for the Holidays, What is your favorite holiday movie, What is your favorite Christmas Carol?  Add more questions and spend some time gathered around the tree picking slips from the jar and sharing of yourselves this holiday season.  Keep replacing the slips back into the jar so that everyone from, youngest to oldest, gets a chance to share their special memories of the Christmas Season.

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