Visiting Chicago this winter, we took advantage of the cold snow to talk about Arctic Animals, and how they are protected from the cold weather. We decided to do the classic “blubber” experiment, using the scientific method (which they have been learning recently!). Continue reading
While searching on-line for resources for Tet, the Lunar New Year celebration in Vietnam, I found a wonderful poster a fellow adoptive mom made for her son’s class. I asked Priscilla Holberton to share her activity here. Priscilla tries to keep up with all things Asian and adoption in Washington, DC on her web site MyAsianKidDC.com and blog MyAsianKidDC.wordpress.com, where she recently wrote her own Kindergarten lesson plan using the toys that she has collected over the years. She is the adoptive mom of a five year old boy who was born in Vietnam.
Last year, when I decided I wanted to include information about the Chinese Zodiac in my presentation of Lunar New Year in my son’s pre-K, I searched on the Internet but never found a poster-size illustration. I have been looking again this year to no avail, so I decided to make my own. Continue reading
Do your kids love to learn about penguins as much as mine do!? There are 17 different kinds of penguins, and although they look different, there are some similarities. All live in the southern hemisphere, normally on the coasts of: Antarctica, South Africa, parts of South America, parts of Australia and New Zealand, and many different islands including the Galapagos (where I swam with some!)! All penguins have blackish backs and white bellies, and are flightless birds who are excellent swimmers. They feed underwater on krill and other creatures, and their predators are orcas, sharks, sea lions, and fur and leopard seals. Groups of penguins are called rookeries. Today penguins are threatened because of reduced food supply (due to over-fishing and global warming), pollution (such as oil spills), and reduced habitat (due to melting ice from global warming). Learn more about penguins with these phenomenal resources:
Penguin Resources: Web Sites
Download a free, high-quality poster of the Emperor Penguin’s life cycle from the US government’s Antarctic Program. Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Australia, Australia and Oceania, Games and Toys, Literature, New Zealand, Polar Regions
Tagged education, non-fiction children's books, on-line activities, penguins, science
Migration of Monarch Butterflies, image credit: Harald Süpfle, creative commons use
It’s the migration season for 100 million monarch butterflies, as they fly from Canada and the northern US, south to Mexico for the winter. In February, they’ll star their journey back up north. Kids: can you follow their migration path on a map? Why would butterflies (and some birds!) go south for the winter? In Texas this October, we’ve seen the travelers pass through our garden to sip on some of our butterfly weed and lantana. Here are some great resources for teachers and parents to use to teach their kids about the amazing monarch butterflies. Continue reading
I am pleased to introduce Maria L Hughes, a children’s book enthusiast and online publisher for Children’s Bookstore. She enjoys blogging about reading and children’s books. Today she’s sharing 4 simple books, teaching tolerance and compassion through endearing stories.
It’s never too early to begin instilling positive attitudes about acceptance and tolerance in your children. The important thing is to expose your child to those who might be different than him or her, and children will often sympathize with others that they’ve become familiar with. It’s also important, however, to simply encourage the idea that accepting differences is important and that hateful behavior is not beneficial for anyone. Here are some books that do both: exposing children to differences in others that they might not even know exist, and teaching tolerance while showing that kindness can benefit not only the one who needs it, but also the one who gives it. Continue reading
The Pushkar Camel Fair is a fascinating holiday in India that is comprised of 2 main events: tradesmen converging to trade some 50,000 camels and religious rituals related to the holy Kartik Purnima festival, which is held here on the full moon in the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. In 2012, the Pushkar Fair takes places November 20-28. In 2013, they will celebrate it November 9-17, and in 2014, October 30-November 6. The festival takes place in Pushkar, a small town located in Rajasthan state at the edge of the Thar Desert. Continue reading
My children really enjoy learning about animals. They like to catch and release critters, visit animals at the zoo, do animal science projects like dissecting owl pellets, watch movies like Whale Rider and The Story of the Weeiping Camel, do craft projects like this blue morpho butterfly craft, and read books like these about Australian animals. We are animal lovers! So on a recent visit to the zoo, we learned about ratites: large flightless birds. They share several characteristics, even though they are spread widely among different continents. Many scientists believe that their similarities and distance from each other suggest that the earth’s land masses were once much closer together than they are now. Scientists also believe that flightless birds on islands like Australia and New Zealand evolved because they had little reasons to escape flying because there were few predators. These birds developed short wings, great running or swimming skills, and special defenses like large toe claws. Let’s discover some special characteristics of these unique birds! Continue reading
It’s Monarch migration season- when 100 million monarch butterflies fly from Canada and the northern US south to Mexico for the winter. Learn more about monarch butterflies with these great resources. Kids: can you follow their migration path on a map? Why would butterflies (and some birds!) go south for the winter? When do you think they will migrate back north? In Texas this October, we’ve been seeing the voyagers pass through our garden to sip on some of our butterfly weed and lantana. Here is a cute and easy craft that even the little ones will enjoy as you learn about these fascinating creatures. Continue reading
Do your kids come to you, holding little surprises in their clenched fists? Or shriek that they caught something and want to show you? Though I am not too squeamish, I catch my breath for a second as they uncurl their muddy little fingers, in case their surprise decides to jump or fly away as I lean in. My kids really like to play outside, whether it be in our backyard, nearby parks, or visits to nature preserves. Inevitably, their play will somehow be interrupted by the discovery of “the coolest bug ever,” a frog, a gecko, a baby snake, ants eating a worm, or any other critter. We generally employ a “catch and release” policy, observing the creatures for a bit and then letting them go back into our garden (my daughter says “so they can lay more eggs and we can have even more!”). Here are 4 ways we encourage our budding naturalists to learn about the animals and insects in our environment.
Warning: you are about to read (and see graphic pictures!) about a messy and possibly stomach-churning science project that is typical in our house:). If indigestible fur and bones in the form of owl pellets is too much for your morning coffee, stop reading now!
Nothing thrills a parent or teacher more, than hearing your kids get really excited about a project. We recently invited a bunch of friends over to learn about owls, and dissect owl pellets, which my kids said was both gross and cool at the same time. The buzz in the room, that grew exponentially louder the deeper we got, turned into shrieks of excitement as kids made more discoveries. Here’s how we had fun learning about owls. Continue reading
I am always on the look-out for films with positive messages, and especially when they give kids insights to another country or culture. The New Zealand film “Whale Rider” tells the story of 12-year old Pai, a Maori girl whose ancestor Paikea was the whale rider. While Pai lives in present day Whangara, New Zealand with her grandparents, Maori tradition maintains that the leadership should only be inherited by males. Koro, her grandfather, is the current chief and is adamant that she cannot lead her people because she is female. Continue reading
June 8th is World Oceans Day! We need healthy oceans: they give us food and medicine, oceans help to clean the water we drink, help regulate our climate— and who doesn’t enjoy a day at the beach?!
From underwater plants to marine wildlife, our oceans are threatened by over-fishing, contamination, and climate change. According to the Global Partnership for Oceans (see this video), 90% of big fish are gone and 50% of coral reefs are lost.
My daughter was born an animal-lover. She’s the kind of kid that saves tadpoles from drying up puddles (thousands right now in buckets in my backyard). The type that questions zookeepers why the social lemur was alone in a cage (he had gotten in a fight with his “wife” and had his tail bitten off). She was the one that protected a mother duck’s nest from kids at the park for hours while her friends played.
In a recent school project that involved reading nonfiction books, she requested books on animals or famous animal scientists. With Earth Day coming up, I immediately thought of Jane Goodall: a beautiful role model for animal lovers and kid who want to protect our Earth.
Photo credit: Jeekc, taken in Hong Kong on 24 October 2004. Creative Commons.
Because Australia and New Zealand are islands, far and isolated from other land masses, many of their animals aren’t found anywhere else on Earth. They have evolved and adapted well to the ecosystems found here: the large desert, forests, grasslands, and mountains. Here are some wonderful picture books and video clips that highlight the very unique animals of Australia and New Zealand. There are silly stories with animals as their main character, and others are based on true adventures had by animals in this part of the world. All are delightful and colorful, and will compliment and add a global dimension to lessons in science and social studies. The incredible clips offer a live view of animals in their natural habitat. Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Australia, Australia and Oceania, Literature, New Zealand
Tagged education, fiction children's books, kangaroos, koalas, non-fiction children's books, possums, wallabies, wombats
After reading so many books that featured Asian Elephants last week, we decided we needed to do an elephant art project. First I browsed on-line for elephant images, and found some beautiful hand-embroidered pillow shams and purses. A lot of times the elephants were silver thread or silver sequins, so we decided to use foil. I had seen a technique on pinterest that I wanted to adapt (see original post here), so we gathered our supplies: foil, glue, cardboard, paints. Here is our finished project. Didn’t my son do such a great job? Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Arts and Crafts, Asia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam
Tagged education, elephants, multicultural