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13 Tips for Photographing Nature #NGKInsider

13 Tips for Photographing Nature #NGKInsider

My eldest has a growing interest in photography, especially nature photography. As a National Geographic Kids Insider, I had a chance to listen in on a chat with photographer Kelley Miller talk about how to photograph animals. We also found out how we can be part of setting a Guinness World Record! First, here are some tips for photographing nature from Ms. Miller, illustrated with her photographs and a few of mine: 1. Be patient. 2. Practice … Read entire article »

Filed under: Art, Featured, Science, Sight

5 Picture Books About Rainbows

5 Picture Books About Rainbows

Who doesn’t love a rainbow? They are colorful, magical, and full of hope! Rainbows are a bridge into other times and cultures, science, color theory, and so much more! Here are a few children’s picture books about rainbows to get you started on your journey! What Makes A Rainbow?, by Betty Ann Schwartz; illustrated by Dona Turner (ages 0-3): In this cute tale, a young bunny asks his colorful friends what makes a rainbow. With each turn … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, Logical-Mathematical, Science, Sight, Spring, Visual-Spacial, Weather

March: Yup, In Like a Lion!

March: Yup, In Like a Lion!

While we still haven’t seen the kids’ much-wished-for snow, March entered like a lion with a wet, cloudy, chilly day. As in past years, we will be reading In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb, by Marion Dane Bauer, and making some sort of craft, like our lion and lamb masks from last year. Last year we created a March weather bar graph of lions and lambs. This year, my daughter will also create a chart … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Logical-Mathematical, Mathematics, Science, Sight, Spring, Weather, Winter

Is It Okay to Use a Craft Kit?

Is It Okay to Use a Craft Kit?

One of the best gifts we can give our children is our time.  Quality time spent with our children, engaging in fun, interactive activities, boosts their self-esteem and encourages their creativity. I have had moms quietly whisper to me, “I used a craft kit…is that okay?” Well, that depends… is your goal to enjoy an activity with your child or is it to improve your own bargain shopping, cutting, and gluing skills? I kid. I think we all agree … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Art, Featured, Science, Sight

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt Hike in the Woods

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt Hike in the Woods

Can you find all the colors of the rainbow in the woods? We go on hikes and nature walks almost every weekend and love to find ways to keep things fresh for the kids. A themed scavenger hunt can turn your walk in the forest into a learning adventure. With younger kids, you can begin by looking for a rainbow. Red Trail Marker Red Fire Thorn Berries Orange Mushrooms Orange Lilies Yellow Black-Eyed Susans (plus Violet Cone Flowers) All the greenery that … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Ecology, Featured, Sight, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Cascading Leaf Spiral

Cascading Leaf Spiral

For those of you who live further north, your leaves have probably already fallen.  On Long Island, ours didn’t really hit their peak until the last week of October and the forests are still a riot of color here. One resourceful friend of mine in Texas has a friend in Vermont ship her a package of leaves so the children may experience the autumn hues.  Fall is one of my favorite parts of living in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Fall, Science, Sight, Visual-Spacial, Weather

Are Picture Books Out of the Picture?

Are Picture Books Out of the Picture?

With great sadness, I read The New York Times’ (hopefully premature) obituary for the picture book: The picture book, a mainstay of children’s literature with its lavish illustrations, cheerful colors and large print wrapped in a glossy jacket, has been fading. It is not going away — perennials like the Sendaks and Seusses still sell well — but publishers have scaled back the number of titles they have released in the last several years, and booksellers … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), Academic Achievement, Literacy, Sight

She’s Like a Rainbow

She’s Like a Rainbow

March is a great time for learning about the weather, including rainbows!  Kids love rainbows with their bright colors and mystery–and there is plenty of opportunity for scientific exploration! With our preschoolers, we made dyed pasta rainbows.  We also gave the toddlers in our group the option of making the craft with fruity cereal o’s on paper–but this generally resulted in them just eating the cereal! Materials: Rotelle (Wagon Wheel) Pasta Food Dye Wax Paper Cotton Balls Glue Thread (for hanging) Dye the … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Art, Science, Sight, Spring, Weather

National Bird Feeding Month

National Bird Feeding Month

As we reduce birds’ natural sources of food, they come to rely on our bird feeders, especially during the winter months. Like many children, my daughter is fascinated by birds–their spectrum of colors, array of tuneful songs, and familiar yet wild presence in our yard. We’ve read her books on birds, taken her to the bird rescue at the nature center, and fed our local feathered friends. In honor of National Bird Feeding Month, we went to a … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), All Ages, Ecology, Science, Sight, Sound, Winter

Jack-o-Lantern Candle Craft

Jack-o-Lantern Candle Craft

October is my favorite month and it is not just because it is my birthday. I love the apple-picking, the leaves turning colors, butternut squash, and of course, Halloween. And nothing says Halloween quite like a glowing Jack-o-Lantern. My daughter made hers with some left-over tissue paper and a glass baby-food jar. We love crafts, especially ones made from natural or recycled materials but I’ll admit…we take shortcuts sometimes. Especially when I’m hosting a … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Fall, Sight