Rosy Fruit Salad ~ Learning About The Rose Family

Rosy Fruit Salad ~ Learning About The Rose Family

Did you know that roses are edible?  And, did you know that roses are part of a large family of plants (called the Rosaceae family) comprised of some of our most beloved fruits?  Fruits like apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, peaches and even almonds are all part of this amazing and delicious plant family.  

Learn about the rose family while making a luscious Summertime fruit salad!

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♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Six Playing With Science ♥

♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Six Playing With Science ♥

Our sixth week of summer camp is all about being scientists while having lots of fun!  

Projects and Experiments

These projects and experiments are great ways to introduce kids to some basic scientific concepts while engaging the child in learning about the world around them.

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Playing With Lady Bugs

Playing With Lady Bugs

What kid doesn't love bugs?  Butterflies, caterpillars, rollie pollies and lady bugs are some of the most treasured critters in the garden.  I even know a child who has a deep love and respect for spiders.  Of course not every child loves bugs yet many do and lady bugs are among the most enchanting of bugs and are very approachable for most kids.

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Adventures With Earthworms

Adventures With Earthworms

Many happy days were spent stalking bugs when I was a little child.  I had an array of bug catchers and I knew where all the good places were to find a new pal.  My often caught favorites were roly polies.  I also sought after treasured lady bugs, butterflies and caterpillars which were hard to come by and when I would find one, I would be enchanted with my imagination completely sparked.  So, can you guess what one of my favorite things to do with kids?  Play with bugs of course!  Many, many summer days have found my girls and I "hunting bugs" and going on "roly poly" walks with bug catchers in hand.

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Inside a Flower

Flowers fascinate me, they always have.  I can remember spending many happy hours in my parent's garden fondly stroking tulips and talking with snap dragons, or rather making them talk to me.  The colors and scents, how can something so amazing grow right out of the ground?

Plant Life Cycles

We are studying life cycles at preschool as part of out Earth Day curriculum for the month of April.  We set up a  plant life cycle on our science table.  Into seed pots we planted marigold seeds and then set them up right next to a full-grown marigold plant, with the seeds next the plant.  The goal is to give the kids a visual experience of a life cycle while we wait for our baby plants to sprout.

As part of this we read the book: Seed to Plant by Melvin and Gilda Berger.  This is a great book with wonderful pictures seeds and plants at different phases of the life cycle.  It really helped the kids to understand the process.

Plant Life Cycle Game

We also played the life cycle game.  Each kid pretended to be a tiny seed planted in the ground (they get in a ball on the ground).  While I pretended to water them as the sun came out and the kids began to grow into a plant (they stretch up towards the sky on their feet), and next the kids  sprouted flowers (what color is your flower?) that made seeds.  The seeds blew away in the wind (we waved our arms) and landed back on the earth (the kids end up back in a ball on the ground).  They loved this game!  It was a great visceral way to experience a plant life cycle.

Flower Exploration

My love of flowers prompted me to bring in a bunch of flowers and talk about where the seeds are made in a flower. I brought in tulips for us to explore together.  After we reviewed our plant life cycle, I got ready to cut apart a tulip with the kids.  At first they were sad about hurting the tulip.  These are some sweet kids!  But as I started pulling the petals back they became totally engaged in what they were seeing.

"Whoa!  Ms. Angela, what is that?"  All heads were bent peering closely as were investigated our tulip.

I pointed out the anthers on the flower and we talked about pollination.  We felt the slightly gritty pollen dust on our fingers.  I was fortunate to have a lovely book, The Dandelion Seed,with me with an illustration of a bee covered in pollen which gave the kids a good visual for pollen transfer via insects.

The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Patrick Anthony is simply beautiful.  The story is profound and engaging while the illustrations are incredibly lovely.  In fact I cry just about every time I read it!

Then I showed them the pistil, the part when the pollen lands and fertilizes the flower to make seeds.  We cut into the pistil but weren't able to see much even with our magnifying glass.

I also brought in some lilies for the kids to explore.  Each child got a lily anda  coloring sheet showing the parts of a plant (click here for a link to this great coloring sheet).  The kids pulled apart their flowers and glued them to their coloring sheet.

We had a great time being scientists and learning about the mystery of plants and flowers!

Shared On:  It's Playtime!Eco-Kid's TuesdayKid's Get CraftyFriday's Nature Table and at one time The Kid's Co-Op

Planting Peas

This is really a story about the beauty of a child.  For children can't help but be beautiful when we slow down enough to let them share that beauty.

"Where are you Vi?" "I am in here on the potty.  Will you read my bug book to me?"  Vi implores. I start to panic, it is 7am and I have my full morning of timely responsibilities pressing on me.  I know if I stop to read to Vi, everything will run late. Sadly I tell her "maybe later" feeling like I say that way to often.

Happily later that very afternoon I remember the bug book.  We snuggle up for a good read of this brightly illustrated lift-the-flap book about all kinds of bugs.  Vi is so snuggly and enjoying the book so much it is pure delight to be with her.  I suggest that we go bug hunting after reading our book.  Bug hunting will get us outside to plant the pea seeds we had planned to put in the ground that afternoon.

With the book finished we head out to the garden for good old fashion bug hunting.  At first we don't see any bugs despite Vi calling "B-U-G-S" in a sing-song voice.  I ask Vi where the bugs in the book were and she remembers that bugs like to hide.

"There's a rock Mommy!"  Vi points. We lift up the rock and are rewarded with a wriggly earthworm. "There's another!"  Vi exclaims.

On it goes until we exhaust our supply of rocks.  Now that we are outside I suggest that it is time to plant pea seeds we had planned to put in the ground that afternoon.

"That sounds great mommy!"

While I go to get the compost for amending the soil, Vi waits for me bouncing on the trampoline.  We, are as usual, are a few weeks late in our pea planting.  Sometimes it takes a while to get around to these kind of things.  And, I am feeling anxious to get the soil prepared and the seeds in the ground so we can enjoy the best harvest from our garden. Also, in that moment, I feel the lateness of the day and dinner is starting to loom as well as other things that need my attention.  I pull myself back to the moment and the task at hand.

After a bit of struggle I make it to our garden with a big bag of compost.  Vi and I start to shovel the compost into the garden.  As I had anticipated, Vi loves this.  She has a blast with each shovel full talking constantly about the dirt and how to grow plants.  After a bit she remembers two little pots which have been the focus of her attention over the past few weeks.  Into these little pots she had carefully placed soil, dug from the garden beds; planted little seeds from around the yard and two pea seeds given to her by me upon request.  She insists that these pots need compost of their own and I agree.  I get the rest of the compost into the garden while she works on her pots.  Still talking, she tells me long stories about seeds and how to keep them healthy.

After a bit I get her attention to plant the seeds.  At first it goes well.  We decide that I will poke the holes and she will drop in the seeds.  We hum along for a bit and she is pretty well focused.  But then we hit a snag and start to have an argument over how she is holding the seeds in her hand and how I am poking the holes.  Deep breath for me and I realize that I am getting grouchy and am pretty much the cause of our distress.  I look at her sweet brown eyes so earnest and loving and at her little pudgy dirt covered hands and I let go.  There is nothing here to be concerned about.  Just the beauty of a darling little girl and her desire to help, her desire to experience.  I realize that it doesn't have to be perfect and that I can't make it perfect because it already is.  We finish planting our peas and set up the sprinkler to water our new "babies."  I breathe again, a breath of gratefulness for the chance at motherhood.  With our garden started and a mommy lesson learned, I know this year the peas harvest will be the best ever.

I wrote this late last spring,  Have been waiting and waiting to share it!  Now we are close again to pea planting time and I thought the time was right at last to share this story.  In anticipation of earlier pea planting this time around, Vi and I are attempting to sprout our peas in the window before we plant them in the ground.  We took some peas left over from last year, put them in plastic bags with wet cotton balls.  First we soaked them overnight in water and then used that water to wet our cotton balls.

Then we sealed them and now they are in the window.  We will watch and wait to see how it goes.

I am hoping for little roots and leaves to show themselves soon.

When the peas are ready we can transplant to the yard.  The pea seed package I have says not to pre-sprout indoors, but I figure it is an experiment and like anything in life, you just gotta try to see what happens...

Shared On:  Sunday Parenting Party, Eco-Kids TuesdayKid's Get CraftyHome Link Up

Crystal Snow Flakes at Preschool ~ Snow and Ice Part 1

Crystal Snow Flakes at Preschool ~ Snow and Ice Part 1

 This is a fun way to incorporate a bit of science into the day, fun because it is like magic!  Here are complete instructions for a lesson plan at school or some scientific magic at home!

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