As Earth Day approaches, our attention is focused on tangible ways to help protect our environment. One easy and virtually free way for kids to go green is to start a backyard compost bin. Composting is a natural way for organic (previously living) materials to break down, into a nutrient-rich soil that we can use in our garden. Did you know that in the US we make about 4.43 pounds of waste per person each day? (see epa.gov) That is 250 million TONS of trash per day! We make too much garbage and 13.4% of the waste produced in the US in 2010 was yard trimmings, 13.9% was food scraps. We could be composting this waste, recycling it, and returning it to the ground!
Here are reasons why it’s important to compost, instructions on how to do so with kitchen scraps, and resources (books, clips, and games!) to learn about composting at home. 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
I was browsing different geography sites (it is no secret that I love maps!!) and I found this nice widget. The very addictive game is simple to play- yet gets more challenging as you move up!
Use your mouse to click on the capitals and famous cities as fast as you can. You will be scored by how closely you mark the correct location. I made it to level 11, but couldn’t pass it to level 12! Share your score in the comments! I need to brush up on my “islands”- some of these I have never heard of and need to learn!:)
How well do you know your world??? Which regions stumped you? Can your kids make it past level 1? What about your spouse or partner:)? I see some healthy competitions brewing….
The first Olympics were first held thousands of years ago in Olympia, Greece during a festival to honor Zeus and the other gods. Every four years, athletes from around Greece competed in physical competitions. The first time the world officially revived the Olympic Games into the current international sport competition was in 1896. Olympics are a celebration of global friendship, unity, and peace- because of this, I believe the Games offer numerous lessons to our kids. Learn (with your children!) about the Olympics and international goodwill with the following links. Continue reading
Google Earth is an astounding, eye-opening, free geographic resource that allows you and your children to fly anywhere on the planet and zoom in to see cities, buildings, landmarks, ancient ruins, terrain: anything on Earth. If you have never witnessed its wonders, check out this features tour, and then read more of the endless possibilities of how using Google Earth can enhance your lessons. Continue reading
The Bogolan cloth from Mali used to be looked down upon, associated with rural, non-Islamic peasants. It has now been transformed into a symbol of national identity in Mali, even reaching mainstream fashion after influencing Parisian designers. Learn about the process, and then paint with real mud on a recycled, old t-shirt to recreate this traditional mud-dyed cloth from Mali. I also included an on-line, virtual mud cloth activity for the mud-averse.
A trip to the Rio Napo, Ecuador in 1996.
Last year, my kids and I studied a different biome each month. When looking at biomes, the world is generally divided into 5 major types: aquatic, deserts, forests, grasslands, and tundra. The plants and animals in each biome have adapted to their environment with special features that help them survive. Under the forests category, it is sub-divided into different types of forests, such as tropical rainforests, temperate forests, and boreal forests. Because I have visited parts of the Amazon as well as Costa Rica, I was excited to share what I had learned and they were really excited to take a closer look. We took a month to read books, watch films, and do some art projects related to tropical rain forests. Here are the resources we used. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Animals, Around the World, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Games and Toys, Geography, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Panama, The Americas
Tagged biomes, education, educational technology, on-line activities, rainforest, science
How well do you know world geography? Can you locate countries and capitals on a blank world map? How about your kids? Who would win a challenge in parents/teachers vs kids? Try these popular on-line quizzes to test your geography knowledge.
Although the origin of this game is uncertain, many people say this simple game probably came from a game in China called Jian Shi Zi, or “picking stones.” Historians have found similar games in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, as far back as the 15th Century and all with slightly varying rules. One unproven, but palpable theory is that the game might have spread via the Silk Road in China. Whatever the case may be, your children will learn the rules of this strategic game quickly and be able to play anywhere, any time, with only 16 small objects.