Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween is here!

We’re back with a small collection of Halloween themed children’s books that we think your kids will love! Each book has a great Halloween story and pictures to share with little readers. Check out some of our favorite books for kindergartners and school-age kids that we’ve listed below!

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Did You Know?

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There is so much rich history behind the holiday that we recognize as Halloween! Did you know that Halloween is also similar to a celebration known as Day of the Dead? Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures as well.

What is Day of the Dead?
The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have passed. They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.

Who celebrates Day of the Dead?
The holiday is celebrated throughout Mexico. Many other countries around the world celebrate similar versions of Day of the Dead as well, by having special days for honoring the dead. Day of the Dead has also taken hold in areas with a high Mexican immigrant population, particularly in California, Texas, Arizona and other parts of the United States.

When is Day of the Dead celebrated?
The Day of the Dead falls on November 1 and 2 of each year, coinciding with the Catholic holidays All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Although November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. Usually the preparations (and some festivities) start even earlier than that. So really, the “Day” of the Dead can also be called the “Days” of the Dead, because the holiday spans more than one day. Traditionally, November 1st is the day for honoring deceased children, and November 2nd is the day for honoring deceased adults.

Where is Day of the Dead celebrated?
The Day of the Dead is celebrated in both public and private spaces. It is most often celebrated in homes and graveyards.

In homes, people create altars to honor their deceased loved ones. In some places it is common to allow guests to enter the house to view the altar.

In graveyards, families clean the graves of their loved ones, which they then decorate with flowers, photos, candles, foods and drinks. People stay up all night in the graveyards, socializing and telling funny stories about their dead ancestors. Musicians are hired to stroll through the graveyard, playing the favorite songs of the dead.

In the public sphere, Day of the Dead celebrations can also take the form of street parties, parades, and festivals on university campuses.

How do people celebrate Day of the Dead?
The most common ways of celebrating Day of the Dead in Mexico include setting and decorating altars or graves, sharing stories with friends and family, Making or buying sugar skulls and other sweets to exchange, participating in parades and other festivities. Most parades and festivities involve getting dressed up in elaborate and colorful clothing and masks.

Want to make your own sugar skull mask to color and wear for the Day of the Dead celebration? Follow this link to multiple printable coloring pages>>>

Halloween Party Snacks

Halloween is just around the corner! Are you looking for cute Halloween treats to make for work or for your child’s Halloween party at school? Look no further! Check out these spooky snacks that are not only easy to make, but fun to eat as well! We’ve found 3 treats that are guaranteed to be a Halloween hit!

Witch Hat Cookies

Ingredients:
Fudge Stripe Cookies
Orange Icing, or Vanilla Icing and Orange Food Dye
Hershey’s Kisses

Instructions:
1. Take fudge stripe cookie and flip upside down, with chocolate coated bottom facing up
2. Outline the inside circle of the underside of cookie with orange frosting
3. Press Hershey’s kiss into the icing, covering the center hole
**Tip: To outline the cookie’s circle with icing easily, spoon icing into one corner of sandwich sized Ziploc bag, then make a small snip in the same corner – squeeze bag to eject icing.

 

Apple Marshmallow Vampire Teeth

Ingredients:
Red apples
Marshmallows
Peanut butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:
1. Slice apples thick enough to resemble lips
2. Spread a thin layer of peanut butter onto one side of each apple slice
3. Place 4-6 marshmallows in between 2 apple slices, using the peanut butter as ‘glue’ to hold them together.

 

Skeleton Bones

Ingredients:
Pretzel sticks
Mini marshmallows
White chocolate/Almond bark

Instructions:
1. Push a marshmallow on each end of the pretzel stick, and set aside on a plate
2. Break the white chocolate/almond bark into pieces and fill a bowl with however much chocolate you want to have melted
3. Place the bowl into the microwave and follow heating directions as labeled on the back of the packaged almond bark
**Do not over-heat the bark; consistency should be very smooth
3. Once the chocolate is melted, one at a time, toss the pretzel bone into the bowl of melted almond bark
4. Use a fork to cover the bone fully, lift out of the bowl and slightly shake from side-to-side, to let the excess drip off
5. Grab a flat pan or plate and cover it with a piece of wax paper or tin foil
5. Place each bone on the covered pan/plate, to set
6. To harden quicker, place pan/plate into the fridge
**It shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes for the bones to set and harden

Healthy Halloween Treats

Looking for a creative way to make eating healthy, fun for your little ones? We’ve found a snack that we think is perfect for you and your picky eaters to make and eat for Halloween! The best part – there are only 4 ingredients!

“Boo”-nana ghosts

Ingredients:
Bananas
Chocolate Chips

Directions:
1. Peel and cut the bananas in half.
2. Add two small chocolate chips for the ghost’s eyes and one chocolate chip (point facing in) for the mouth.

Want to make the ghosts last even longer? Try dipping the banana halves into white chocolate, adding  chocolate chip eyes and mouth, then freezing the ghosts on popsicle sticks. For this recipe, follow this link!

 

 

Little pumpkins

Ingredients:
Clementines
Celery

Directions:
1. Peel the clementine and take out the middle but keep the fruit together.
2. Cut the celery into pieces to create the pumpkin’s stem and place it in the middle of the clementine.

 

You’re ready to serve!

We’d love to see what snacks you and your family are making to get in the Halloween spirit! Send us pictures of your family eating these delicious healthy treats and we’ll post them to our blog!

Field Trip Forecast, 10/14 – 10/25

Here’s our Field Trip Forecast for the next 2 weeks, starting October 14th! Use it as a guide to plan your  trip to CMAC with the schedule of our visiting field trips in mind.

Remember that the forecast is tentative and could alter as we are notified of other visiting field trips, but we will update the forecast as soon as we are aware!

Study: Students Really Do Learn Stuff on Field Trips

New research shows that class trips offer educational value–and that they are in danger of disappearing from American schools.

Field trips are becoming a less and less common part of the school year in the United States. A study from the University of Arkansas documents the decline the American field trip: A 30 percent decrease in student attendance at Cincinnati arts organizations between 2002 and 2007, a similar decline in the number of students visiting Chicago’s Field Museum, and an American Association of School Administrators survey showing more than half of American schools eliminated planned field trips in the 2010-2011 school year. Furthermore, the field trips that are happening are shifting away from “enrichment” trips, like visits to museums and historical sites, to “reward” trips, such as trips to movie theaters, sporting events, and amusement parks.

But the study also finds that cultural field trips offer students, and in particular, disadvantaged students, an important opportunity to add measurable depth to their education.

So what other benefits do educational field trips offer to students?

Hands on Learning
Students visiting different educational facilities learn in a more hands-on and interactive manner than they do in school. Science museums, for example, often have displays that children can touch to help them understand the material that is being covered. Zoos, nature centers and gardens show kids animal and plant life up close, and often have areas where kids can touch displays, such as petting zoos and interactive computer programs.

Variety
Field trips give children a break in routine. Kids can look forward to and prepare for the field trip for several days or weeks, spend the day in a different environment, then complete a lesson on the topic covered after the trip is over. Learning in different ways can appeal the varied ways a child learns.

Exposure to new things
Children learn about different professions, ideas and opportunities when they travel outside their own neighborhoods. A field trip can awaken the desire in a child to try new things and pursue previously unconsidered dreams. Field trips can introduce children to job opportunities and can spark new interests and passions.

Service to others
During service-oriented field trips, kids learn about helping others in the community. The community also benefits both from the work that the kids do as part of the trip, and from any further volunteering that the children do as a result of the trip.

Better grades and Understanding
Field trips can result in greater achievement in all subjects. By seeing real-life application of the lessons that they are learning in school, children might be more likely to understand and appreciate the importance and relevance of what they are learning.

Want to learn or read more on the benefits of field trips to children? Follow this great link!