Monthly Archives: April 2014

Grow Your Own Garden

Children are natural gardeners. They’re curious, like to learn by doing and love to play in the dirt. Working in a garden a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand.

Gardening gives children a chance to learn an important life skill, one that is overlooked in standard school curriculums. Gardening is also a great way to teach environmental awareness by exploring the workings of nature.

 

 

If possible, let them have their own garden beds. Whether you use raised beds, containers or ground plots, be sure to give each child their own separate plot. Keep it small, very small for young kids. Put their plots right in the middle of the action, with the best soil and light and set them up for success.

Reuse the sandbox. If your children have grown past their sandbox years, consider converting the old sandbox to a garden bed. This gives them continued “ownership” of a familiar space and encourages a sense of responsibility to the gardening project.

Engage them through the entire process, from seed to table. Children learn better when they understand the context of their activity. They will learn that gardening  can be fun, but far more than idle play; they are contributing to the family well-being.

Start from seeds. While it’s a convenient shortcut to buy starters, children will learn more by seeing the growing process as it begins from seed. The care given to sprouting seeds and nurturing the young seedling are a valuable part of the gardening experience.

 

 

  • Plan what week you want to start and when you’ll end. Look to this great guide for the basics.
  • Make a list of the things you will need to keep your garden manageable.
  • Keep a garden journal to allow them to keep up with what’s happening in their garden.
  • Know that you can tell a seed very well by its package.
  • Know the tools of the trade – the tools you’ll need to garden.

Check out this website for a more detailed list of what to do and expect before starting your garden! For a guide to what types of vegetables or flowers to plant, check this link out – it gives a very helpful guide for 15 vegetables and 20 flowers down to history of the organism, to the best time of year to plant it, spacing and depth, special care and even harvesting!

 

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Today is Earth Day!

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Networkand celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

 

Earth Day is important. It educates us about what we have and what we are losing by acting in ways that aren’t environmentally friendly or energy efficient. Earth Day reminds us that we need to take action now to protect our environment before it’s too late.

Without it, some landmark accomplishments might never have happened, such as:

  • The establishment of Environmental Protection Agency in 1970
  • The Clean Air Act of 1970
  • The Clean Water Act of 1972
  • The Endangered Species Act of 1973
  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976
  • The Federal Occupational Health and Safety Act aimed at “in-plant pollution”

Thanks to succeeding Earth Days, people have become more aware of the role that the environment plays in helping sustain life in this fragile world of ours and that we need to take an active role in protecting it. For instance, since that very first Earth Day in 1970, we now:

  • Practice recycling, which was nearly non-existent 40 years ago
  • Have alternative, energy efficient forms of energy, such as different types of light bulbs
  • In 1975, catalytic convertors became mandatory for all cars in the US; and now we have hybrids and the first electric cars that don’t use gasoline
  • SO2 emissions have dropped by 40%; acid rain levels in the US have decreased by 65% since 1976
  • Depletion of the ozone layer has been controlled

Check out these awesome websites & blogs for Earth Day crafts that you can do at home!
–  Handprints Around the World
–  Watercolor Earth inspired by this pin from Pinterest
–  Over 25 ideas for Earth Day crafts

Earth Day Treats

Earth Day is approaching very quickly – Tuesday, April 22nd! To prepare for this special day, we have a few ideas for goodies that you could easily make at home together! Next week we’ll have more on why Earth Day is important and unique!

What You Will Need:
1 Package Jello Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 Cups Milk
1 Package Oreo’s
1 Small Tub of Cool Whip
Gummy Worms
Clear Cups (preferably)

Instructions:

1. Place 1/2 a package (or more if you wish) of Oreos in a large Ziploc bag and seal it. Begin crushing the Oreo’s using a rolling pin or with your hands. Crush just long enough to crumble the Oreo’s into chunks of cookie.

2. In a bowl, mix together the package of pudding, milk and 2/3 of the tub of Cool Whip. Allow it to set for about 2-3 minutes to thicken a bit. Stir again.

3. In the clear cups, layer the pudding then Oreo’s, pudding then Oreo’s one last time, creating 4 layers.

4. Place 2-3 gummy worms on top of the last layer of Oreo’s – sprinkle a few crumbs over some of the worms to make the worms appear from the “dirt!”
5. Chill the cups in the fridge until ready to serve.

 

What You Will Need:
White Cake Mix (+ ingredients needed for cake batter)
Blue & Green Food Coloring
Cupcake liners
Vanilla Icing

Instructions:
1. Prepare white cake mix following baking instructions on package.

2. Divide cake batter evenly into 2 bowls.

3. Dye 1 bowl of batter blue using blue food coloring and the other bowl green using green food coloring. Use enough food coloring that each bowl is a vibrant blue and green to get the best final result.

4. Line cupcake pan with cupcake baking liners.

 

5. Alternating colors, drop spoonfuls of each color into the cups.

6. Bake your cupcakes according to baking instructions from the package then let cool.

7. Top your cupcakes with white icing for clouds or leave them as they are and serve!

 

 

 

What You Will Need:

Package/box of vanilla or chocolate chip cookies
Blue Food Coloring
Green Food Coloring

 

 

Instructions:
1. Prepare the cookies following the baking instructions from the package or bake by scratch with your own recipe.

 

2. Separate the dough into 2 bowls – use blue and green food coloring to dye the dough to the vibrant color of your choosing.

 

3. Place bowls side by side and prepare baking sheet.

 

 

 

4. Begin pulling small pieces of blue and green dough from the bowls and roll them together into a ball, but try not to mix them.

5. Once the dough is combined, place already rolled balls of dough onto your baking sheet and bake according to instructions from the package.

 

Titanic Remembrance Day

On this day in 1912, the Titanic sank in the icy waters of the north Atlantic ocean. Titanic Remembrance Day is dedicated to the memory of the Titanic, and over 1,500 who went down with the ship.

The Titanic was called “unsinkable” and the “safest ship afloat” by her builder and designer. However, on her maiden voyage from England to New York City, the cruise ship Titanic hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. This occurred on April 14, 1912 at 11:40 p.m.  Two hours later, with a gaping gash in her side, the ship quickly sank in icy waters. 1,522 passengers and crew died.

1.  In 1912, The RMS Titanic was the largest man-made moving object on Earth, measuring 882 feet in length. Right now, the largest passenger vessel is MS Allure of the Seas, at 1,187 feet. Check out the comparison from regular sized objects to the giant Titanic, below!

2. It is said that a massive team of 176 men used to shovel around 600 ton of coal a day for the ship to use as fuel. That’s 1.2 million pounds of coal a day!

3. The ship had its own board newspaper called the ‘Atlantic Daily Bulletin’ and seemed to have everything on board including facilities including gym, pool, Turkish bath, a kennel for first class dogs and also a squash court.

4. It is said that originally, a lifeboat drill was scheduled to take place on board on the day the ship hit the iceberg. However, for an unknown reason, Captain Smith reportedly canceled the drill. Many people believe that if the drill had taken place, many lives could have been saved.

   

5. Bizarrely enough, after lookouts sounded the alert, the officers on the ship had only 37 seconds to react before the Titanic hit the iceberg.6. Despite numerous other facilities that the ship had, there were not enough lifeboats to save everyone on board.

   

6. Despite numerous other facilities that the ship had, there were no enough lifeboats to save everyone on board.

7. While the ship was luxurious for First Class Passengers, the 3rd class had only 2 bathtubs to be used by more than 700 passengers.

8. When the Titanic began sending out distress signals, another boat called Californian was the closest ship, but did not respond until it was too late to help.

9. According to the rules, women and children were to be sent into lifeboats first. More importantly, there were not enough lifeboats for everyone on board the Titanic. Even then, it was surprising how 2 dogs made into the lifeboats and were saved out of 9 dogs.

10. The Titanic was also a Royal Mail Ship, responsible for delivering mail for British postal service. It is said that at that time, the ship had over 3,400 sacks of mail. That means, there were over 7 million individual pieces of letters or mail.

11. John Jacob Astor IV was the richest passenger on board, with a net worth of around $85m. One legend suggests that when the ship hit the iceberg, he joked with a waiter inside saying: “I asked for ice, but this is ridiculous”. He went down with the ship.

12. Another notable victim is said to be an American businessman Benjamin Guggenheim. It is said that when the ship hit the iceberg, he and his servant changed into their evening wear saying: “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.”

13. Numerous people turned out to be lucky for, they had tickets for the journey, but did not actually sail. Among them was Milton S. Hershey, founder of the chocolate firm, Guglielmo Marconi and Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, who died in RMS Lusitania only 3 years after Titanic sank.

 

14. The last surviving passenger of Titanic, Millvina Dean, died on May 31, 2009 at the age of 97, was only 2 months old when Titanic sank.

  

15. It is said that the iceberg which hit Titanic was around 100 feet tall and came from a glacier in Greenland. Only 1/10th of the actual iceberg could be physically seen, while about 900 feet of the iceberg was hidden underwater.

Tidbits & Tales!

Don’t miss out on a fun morning filled with farm themed songs, stories and activities including BINGO and painting a silly pig with mud! Come join us and learn about what grows on a farm! Bring your favorite pretend or stuffed animal farm friend to share too!

Mini breakfast provided by Biscuitville of Graham.

Registration required, CMAC members only.       Tuesday, April 15th – 9 am. Ages 2-5

Signs of Spring

Spring has officially sprung and it’s almost everywhere you look! What have you noticed? From the weather forecast to everyone that’s outside enjoying the beautiful day, there are many signs that Spring has finally arrived! Check out some of these signs and share with us how you know Spring is here!


 

 

 

 

As soon as you start to see daffodils and other flowers pushing up through the ground, it’s a sure sign that spring is on the way (even if there’s still frost on the ground). Those are just the flowers leading the pack, there are also tulips, daisies and cherry blossoms. The grass gets its green color back and trees start to bloom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spring Equinox (usually marked on calendars) is a pretty easy way to figure out when it’s spring too. Remember the old memory trick for time change, “Spring Forward, Fall Back”? Well the clocks go forward one hour as we go into Spring, adding an extra hour of daylight to this beautiful season, and naturally the temperature goes up as well! Read more about the The Spring Equinox, here.

 

 

 

Flowers aren’t the only ones that come out of hiding during spring. After the cold of winter you’ll notice more animals out enjoying the warmer weather and greener environment! Everything from small creatures like bugs, butterflies and birds to bigger animals like ducks, bunnies and deer start making their appearance.

 

After the long dark winter, the first thing you notice about spring is the sunshine, although it’s the rain that truly brings out the beauty in this season. The rain gives the plants the nourishments they need. The grass and flowers thrive from receiving both rain and sun!

Check out these great Spring print-outs that you can color and decorate with at home!

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Don’t forget…