Friday, April 30, 2010

Kicking it with the Council - An Interview

This Giveaway is now CLOSED.

Our first blog interview was with the lovely Karen Angelucci. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Karen, she is an author based out of Lexington, KY and she has written her first children’s book. The book is a great read on gardening for kids and the title of the book is Grimy, Grubby Gardening.

Child Care Council (CCC): What or who inspired you to start gardening?
Karen Angelucci (KA): I started gardening when I was five years old. I grew up in the country in Cynthiana, KY and my grandmother lived next door to us and she loved to garden. I have found that it is usually the grandparents that teach kids to garden, sometimes the parents are too busy so if you have a grandparent nearby that enjoys gardening lots of times the grandkids will enjoy it also.

CCC: What inspired you to write your first book, Secrets of a Kentucky Gardener?
KA: Well, I have a degree in X-ray and I was working when I got married and started having kids and decided to become a stay at home mom. Being a stay at home mom is challenging but I get bored easily and decided that since gardening is my passion, I would write a book about gardening. When I told my husband, he never dreamed I was serious. That book took ten years, lots of naps and Monday Night Football games were spent with me writing.

CCC: What was your next book?
KA: I got picked up by another publisher and then I wrote Secrets of a Tennessee Gardener. The books are very similar but the TN edition goes to zone 7 whereas KY is a zone 6.

CCC: How did you move from the Secrets books onto writing Grimy, Grubby Gardening for kids?
KA: It was natural for me to do a kid’s book. I have two children of my own and this seemed like the next progression. Gardening, like everything else starts with the kids. It is important for kids to get interested and find time outside and experience the natural world. Without these experiences, we will all be in trouble. I am all for the No Child Left Inside act. I am currently reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv and agree with his ideas.

CCC: Do you have any other books in the works right now?
KA: I am currently researching for a historical fiction book for adults but nothing is definite yet.

CCC: What are some of your favorite plants in the garden?
KA: Well, I am an Iris fanatic. I do not currently have a lot in my garden but I do love them. I grew up with lots of Iris growing in our garden. My first plant was an ugly yellow Iris and I still have a piece of that plant. I have moved it from house to house to house and plant it somewhere inconspicuous but it has great sentimental value to me. I really love the Japanese Iris. I am not 100% native but I am pro native. I have a mix of native and ornamental in my garden.

CCC: Do you enjoy growing plants from seed? And if so, what are some of your easiest ones?
KA: Larkspur, which is a cool weather annual and it self sows. You will have to pull lots of them out but it is worth it. Zinnias and sunflowers are easy to grow from seeds and those are actually what my kids and I grow together every year. I always buy my seeds locally because it is important to support local economies. It does not matter the store, many of the big box stores even use local growers and suppliers.

CCC: What are some of your favorite gardening projects with kids?
KA: I do school visits and presentations on writing and on gardening and my favorite thing is what I call my Nature Table. When I go to schools, they do not really have time to get dirty so my nature table fills the bill. The kids can see, smell, hear and feel everything on the table from seedpods to flowers and vegetables. That is always a lot of fun. Fortunately there are lots of school gardens popping up but unfortunately there is not always someone to take care of them. There is a big movement to plant more school gardens and I think that movement is going to make it. I am in the process of developing one at one of my daughter’s elementary schools right now. The biggest stumbling block to school gardens are getting adults that will take on the obligation of maintaining the gardens. The kids are easy, they love to get out there and get their hands in the soil, the adults are the ones you have to convince. The one I am working on now is being maintained by myself and the Early Start/Head Start teacher and class. We had to jump through some hoops to get this done since the playground is for the federally funded program but we persevered and the teacher and kids love the garden and are very dedicated to it. They sowed some seeds and planted perennials and a tree and later we will be putting in some vegetables. This teacher understands that the garden is a true outdoor classroom.

CCC: How do you find out if a new school you will be attending has a garden?
KA: There is a website where you can register any school gardens at the Kids Gardening Organization.

CCC: Is there assistance for people wanting to start a school garden?
KA: There are some grants you can get if you look hard enough for them but lots of it is just donations. You will also have to contact the school and get a list of approved plants and trees. You also can not spray any herbicides or pesticides that could endanger the children. You also have to plan it out well and be sure you have people to maintain it or if it get all overgrown the maintenance crew will have to mow it all down. It can be done, but it is no small task.

CCC: Why do you feel it is so important for kids to garden?
KA: It is one of the most important things in life. It is crucial for kids to be connected to nature, it improves their self esteem, their health and it reduces the crime rate and graffiti, being outside makes a person more appreciative.

CCC: What is your website?
KA: and Karen Angelucci Booksis on Facebook.

I hope you enjoyed the interview and were inspired to get outside with your kids. Karen was kind enough to donate a copy of Grimy, Grubby Gardening as a giveaway. You can register up to 6 separate times following the rules below.

1. Leave a comment on this blog posting telling us your favorite outdoor activity with kids.
2. Become a follower of our blog.
3. Become a fan of KIDS MATTER on Facebook.
4. Become a fan of Child Care Council of Kentucky on Facebook.
5. Follow us on Twitter.
6. Blog about the interview on your blog, linking back to us.

Thanks and the registration for the giveaway will end on Wednesday May 5th, 2010.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Help there is a toddler in my house!

First and foremost, don’t panic! Toddlers can smell fear so don’t let them even get a whiff of your fear and you will be fine. :-) At times toddlers and preschoolers can try your patience. Some days it seems like the only thing they can so is NO! If that sounds like your day: Step back, take a deep breath and count to ten (or one hundred if you need to). At some point that toddler is going to change from a terror to the sweet loving child that you are currently reminiscing about.

As we all know, there is a fine line between keeping a toddler pleasantly occupied and over stimulated. Try not to jump from activity to activity without some down time in between. When the toddlers no longer want to play with the toy cars that are now spread all over your house, sing a cleaning up song with them to encourage their assistance prior to moving onto a new project. If they do not like your singing (which would be shocking of course), make it into a game. Who can pick up the most cars in 2 minutes? Who can pick up the red cars first? Children do not have to be entertained by an adult every minute of every day. Sometimes it is nice to let them create their own game/activity with you just checking on their safety when needed.

When you give a child a new toy, it is not necessary to show them the “proper” way to play with it. If you hand her a toy car and she plays with it constantly in reverse, this is okay. It is important to provide your children with open ended toys. This does not mean you have to have expensive silk scarves or any other toys advertised as open ended. It just means you need to let your kids figure out how they want to play with their toys. If a boy wants to play with a doll and cuddle the baby doll and feed the baby doll that is fine. If he wants to run over the baby doll with a monster truck that is still appropriate play. Don’t let the children know, but everything they do is a learning experience for them. Snuggling that baby doll is teaching him compassion and running the monster truck over the baby doll is teaching him about elevations. Washing toys and baby dolls teaches them what sinks and what floats. Driving their cars down ramps teaches about gravity. Even throwing a toy and breaking it teaches them about cause and effect.

Parents often feel like they need to schedule their children for something every minute of every day but sometimes kids just need to go to the bedroom and find something to play with or go outside and explore the back yard. I am not endorsing locking your kids in the backyard while you get some much needed ME time. I am just telling you that there is room for both in your life, toddler time and me time. Dance lessons, gymnastics, swim lessons, taekwondo and organized sports are fun for kids but it is not necessary to do everyone of these items. Give your child a chance to just be a child. As he gets older there will be time to get used to multi-tasking but there is no need for the under 5 set to learn about that yet.

What is one of your kids favorite “alone” activities? My son usually pulls out his books and pretends to read. Please tell us in comments what your child does.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Teachings - Botany Lessons

Today’s lesson plan will encourage the kids to experience the best parts of spring, the excitement of new growth. With this lesson we will encourage the skills for later science fairs.

Supplies Needed:
Clear plastic cups
Potting soil
Grass seeds

It is best to use the clear plastic cups in order to allow the children to not only see the growth above ground but the root growth also. First you will dampen your soil and fill your cups about ¾ the way with soil. Sprinkle the grass seed on top and then sprinkle it lightly with additional soil. Put your cup in a bright spot and check the moisture level each day. In about 5-7 days you should see good growth. As the plants grow take the time to point out not only the top growth but the roots that are growing below the ground. Remind your child that all plants have roots that grow underground and that is how the plants get nourishment and grow, much like the veggies and fruits your child eats.

This project will be an excellent opportunity to teach your child all the different parts of a plant. You can go to the University of Minnesota’s website and see illustrations of the different parts of a grass plant. You can draw or print this and label it with your child and as you work on Botany for a bit you could even attach your drawings to a magnetic sheet and cut it out to allow your child to match it up on the refrigerator or if you want to contain the pieces you could use a cookie sheet for them to put the magnets on.

Other activities you can use to teach botany:
A nature walk to collect specimens
Growing flowers and learning the parts of flowers
Creating a collage with collected specimens
Color and label the parts of plants or animals

Quick to grow plants:

All of these plants will grow easily from seeds so you do not have to wait long to see something happen. When sowing directly in the spot the plants will grow at, scatter the seeds and keep the soil moist so they germinate.

Love-in-a-mist: Full sun, germinates in 2-3 weeks and is 12 inches tall.
Pot Marigold: Full sun, germinates in 1-2 weeks and is 5 inches tall.
Candy tuft: Full sun, germinates in 3 weeks and is 10 inches tall.
Cornflower: Full sun, germinates in 2 weeks and is 12-18 inches tall.
Nasturtium: Full sun, germinates in 2-3 weeks and height varies by species.
Shirley Poppy: Full sun, germinates in 1-2 weeks and is 24 inches tall.
Annual Mallow: Full sun, germinates in 2-3 weeks and is 20 inches tall.
Cosmos: Full sun, germinates in 2 weeks and is about 16-20 inches tall.
Sunflowers: Full sun, germinates in 1-2 weeks and height varies by species.
Zinnias: Full sun, germinates in 2-3 weeks and height varies by species.

Plants to grow from the grocery store:

Avocado: Remove the pit carefully from the Avocado. Push three toothpicks evenly spaced around the middle of the pit. With the pointed end of the pit facing upward, place the pit over a glass of water resting the toothpicks on the edge of the glass. The bottom of the pit should be submerged in the water. This should germinate in about 6 weeks and once it gets some growth it can be moved to a pot of soil.

Pineapple: Slice the leafy top off of a fresh pineapple, carefully remove all the fruit without damaging the core and strip away a few leaves at the bottom and allow to dry. Plant the bottom of the "plant" in a pot of soil and keep moist. Within 6 weeks the top will start to root but it will be a year or two before you get any fruits.

Carrot: Carrot tops will sprout and grow into bushy plants, but will not grow another carrot. Cut off the top about 2 inches from the crown. If there is any green on your carrot, cut it off. To sprout your carrot fill a shallow bowl with small pebbles or marbles. Push the carrot tops into the pebbles or marbles and fill the bowl with lukewarm water. Place the bowl near a sunny window and in a few days you will see the pretty fern-like sprouts of the carrot. Your carrot plant will last until it out grows it's container. It also makes a fun table decoration.

Garlic: You can plant garlic cloves, pointy side up directly in a pot of soil. Place your garlic plant on a sunny window sill and keep watered. Within a week you should have little green shoots emerging from the soil. You can actually use these shoots in your cooking as a garnish on soups or baked potatoes, or to give a garlicky taste to cooking.

Green Onions: Use green onions with healthy, white roots attached to the bulb. Snip off green tops for cooking with a scissors. Leave a little green top on the onion bulb. Plant the entire onion while leaving the short top above ground in a small pot filled with a loamy, organic potting soil. Make sure your container has drainage holes. Put in a sunny windowsill and water once a week or when soil feels dry to the touch. Harvest new green shoots with scissors to use for cooking or as a tasty garnish. Continue to leave the onion in the soil. With each new growth the onion will taste more potent. After each harvest of onion tops, dress the topsoil with organic compost.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Going Green

Everyone needs to do their part to conserve energy and natural resources. There are large and small things that we can do everyday and there is no better time to teach our kids this than during the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.

I am sure this post will not be ground breaking for most people, as on the whole we all do things to save resources.

Reduce - I have been a huge fan of the 100 calorie packs of snacks you can buy. It lets me know immediately how many pieces I can have and just use 100 calories. The problem is that all of those little packages are packed inside of another bigger package and that is generating unnecessary waste and wasting fuel and energy to produce. I try to be conscious of the packaging of an item prior to purchase and have not purchased things due to the excessive packaging. Toys are some of the worst for unnecessary packaging.

Re-use - There are tons of thrift stores all over the world now. Why not check one out? You never know what you may find. I have walked into them before and found brand new stock with the tags still attached from department stores. I have also found lots of useful items to occupy my son like books, puzzles, toys and trays. We got some cheap old dishes and pans for him to use when he plays with his toy food. I will also often go and pick up clothes that I may not wear but will make good material to re-purpose into other things like quilts and doll clothes.

Recycle - Everyone knows that we must recycle all items that our community allows. This includes cans, bottles, paper, newspapers, plastics, magazines and the list goes on. Do not just think of the recycling container though when you are done with than item. Magazines can be donated to hospitals or doctors offices or even schools to use for collage items. Many items can be re-used for craft projects, try and be creative.

In addition to the three R's, I try to limit the chemicals that I bring into my house. We are not perfect but baby steps can get a long way. I make our cleansers now using regular household items including; water, vinegar and rubbing alcohol. See a sampling of cleaner recipes below:

General cleaning:
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

Mix in a spray bottle and use for counters, tubs, sinks, outside of toilets and etc.

Glass Cleaner
1 cup rubbing alcohol
1 cup water
1 tbsp white vinegar

Mix in a spray bottle and use for windows and mirrors.

I am not going to list more cleaning solutions as there are millions all over the Internet but you get the idea. I mix these up and then on the outside of the spray bottle I write the ingredients so I know what I need to refill the bottles.

I am no expert on Going Green, but I do what I can and I try to teach my child the same values. Children will pick up from their families and friends about what the important things are in life and this should be an important thing for all of us. What are you doing to go green?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Teachings - Word Family Eggs

Found this great project on line at Living and Learning Now

And I just wanted to expand on it some for our Teaching today.

Well Easter has come and gone and about right now you are wondering what are you going to with all of those plastic Easter eggs that are all over your house?

The eggs are perfect utensils to help your children recognize word families. Word families are groups of words that have a common feature or pattern - they have some of the same combinations of letters in them and a similar sound. For example, at, cat, hat, and fat are a family of words with the "at" sound and letter combination in common. The 37 most common word families in English are: ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash, at, ate, aw ay, eat, ell, est, ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck ,ug, ump, unk.

On the small side of the egg you can place stickers that have a letter per sticker. For Example, if you are making a word family egg for the family of _at, you could put a sticker with:


On the small side of your egg and then a sticker with at on the large side of the egg. The child can then twist the egg to make each individual letter match to the word family. This encourages word recognition along with letter recognition.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Meanderings - Eco Crafts

As I was online over the week-end I found several great crafts to do with the kids that use recycled items in honor of Earth Day on April 22nd. There is no better time to learn about saving the planet and recycling then when you are young. Please check out these crafts and have some fun with your kids.

Itty Bitty Cork Stamps at Lil Blue Boo

This is a great project to try with the kids. As for getting the corks, I know that if you go to some of the wine stores in my town that offer wine tastings, they will be happy to give you the corks from bottles for free. You can carve the ends of the corks or you can try gluing on the foam shapes you can buy at craft stores.

Reusing an old broken whisk at Glittering Shards

This is a great way to use a broken or thrifted whisk. It is big, bold and beautiful.

Super Foam –erater from Betz White

This is a project that I found some time ago and bookmarked to do with my son when he learns how to blow effectively. It looks like so much fun I might just make one for myself!

Plastic Dragonflies from Nini Makes

These are so cute and perfect for a bit of the younger crowd. I do not know about your area but around here the strawberries in the grocery store are on sale so I am already buying lots of them I might as well recycle that container.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Coming Soon!

Coming in two weeks we will begin an interview on Fridays. We will focus on interviewing non-profits that focus on children and families or we will focus on busninesses that specialize children's products and education.

We are hoping to do this each Friday and even have occasional give aways to offer our loyal readers. Have a great week-end.

Kids Matter - Invest Early, Invest Often

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Has anyone been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? I have watched each episode and am mesmerized to see the outcome of it. Just like Jamie, I am saddened by the use of “convenience” foods/processed foods in lieu of real food that is being served to our kids and adults. Too many of us have become too far removed from the days of raising our own foods and being more natural. We are working to get back there in some aspects but we are hesitant to give up our “convenient” items. The “Green Revolution” has taken hold and we are recycling more than ever and making conscious decisions to do things that are good for the Earth but we are not always doing things that are good for our bodies. It is time that we take a stand for our kids! Jamie is doing some great work here but I also find it sad that he had to come all the way from England to start a Food Revolution for us. It is time for America to stand up and do what is right for our kids. We need to not only make a good dinner for our families but we need to be sure we are spending meal times with our families and using that time to bond and get familiar with one another’s lives.

Just like many of you, I am a working mother and when I get home, the last thing I want to do is slave in the kitchen for an hour trying to come up with a nutritious dinner for the family. Popping a frozen pizza in the oven and going outside in the sunshine with my son sounds like way more fun. I am not going to lie and tell you that I cook all homemade, all the time. There are nights that we are rushing around and I do have the frozen pizzas but I am trying to limit those nights. It is important to me that my son be able to identify healthy foods in their natural states. It is easy for us to point our fingers at day care centers, schools and everyone else but healthy has to start at home. Many people say that their kids are picky eaters but are they really picky eaters? If a child is only given Chicken Nuggets and French Fries then you try to give them green beans, carrots and beets they are usually going to balk at that. Moving our children from processed foods to healthy foods is an act that will take time. No child is going to choose vegetables over French Fries if they are used to always getting fries.

Due to the struggle to change if you have been using processed foods for too long, you will need to keep your patience and a sense of humor about you during the change period. Tell your child that you do expect them to try everything being served but do not force them to eat everything on their plate. It takes many tries to accept something as palatable but it is worth the struggle to raise a healthy child. Everyone wants their kid to have a better life than we had but that will not be possible if they do not learn how to be healthy.

I am including some easy recipes that you can throw together after a day at work and serve dinner within half an hour by just adding some vegetables and/or fruits.

Chicken Planks

Chicken Breasts, sliced into 2 inch planks
Panko bread crumbs
Chopped fresh herbs of choice (we love basil and parsley)

Beat the eggs in a bowl big enough to dip the chicken in. Mix in a little water to thin the eggs.

Mix the Panko and herbs in another dish. Dip the chicken in the eggs and then into the Panko. Saute in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat until browned and cooked through.

I like to use the panko as it is a different texture than regular breadcrumbs and makes a great crust.

Fish Fingers

1 lemon
6-8 slices whole wheat bread
4 tsps mixed herbs of choice (we like lemon pepper)
7 tbsp all purpose flour
2 eggs
Olive oil
1 lb skinned cod fillets

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Finely zest the lemon rind. Process the bread into bread crumbs with your blender or food processor. Stir in the lemon zest and herbs. Pour into a dish for dipping the fish. Put the flour onto another dish and season to taste with pepper. Wisk eggs in another bowl. Wipe paper towel coated with oil onto your baking sheet. Cut the cod into fingers.

Dip the fish into the flour, egg and breadcrumbs and put the fish fingers on the baking sheet not touching. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove the tray and flip the fish. Bake for 5 more minutes until crisp and golden.

If you would like more information on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution please visit his site. Remember, your kids are worth the extra effort because Kids Matter! Won’t you join the revolution with us?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Take time to enjoy the kites!

During National Kite Month - take a few minutes to point out some kites to your child!

Tuesday Teachings - Butterfly Body Parts

Here is a lesson plan that you can do with your kids to give them some understanding of the parts of a butterfly. I have attached a form that can be filled in by the child as you go over each part of the butterfly's body.

Butterfly Anatomy Picture

Butterfly Bodies

The three body parts of a butterfly are the Head, Thorax & Abdomen.

1)Forewings: Forewings are the two upper wings of the butterfly that are attached to the thorax.
2)Hindwings: Hindwings are the two lower wings of the butterfly that are attached to the thorax.

Both sets of wings have veins running through them for support and nourishment. Somewhat like a fish, a butterfly’s wings are made up of thousands of tiny scales. When a butterfly hatches from the chrysalis, it’s wings are wet and crumpled, they will move into a warm sunny spot and the blood pumping through the veins will help to dry the wings and prepare them for flight.

3)Abdomen: The abdomen is the tail end of the butterfly’s body
4)Thorax: The thorax is the chest of the butterfly’s body and is between the head and the abdomen with the wings attached to it.
5)Legs: Butterflies, like all insects have six legs. Their feet is how they taste their foods. Some butterflies keep their front legs tucked up under their body and are therefore hard to see.

6)Tongue/Proboscis: The proboscis is coiled tube like straw just below the head of the butterfly and is used to drink nectar from plants or to eat rotting fruits.
7)Eyes: Adult butterflies have two compound eyes. Compound eyes give butterflies excellent perception of color and motion in a wide range; butterflies can see up, down, forward, backward, and to the sides at the same time. On the other hand, they are not very good at judging distance or perceiving patterns, and the images are not united into one continuous picture. Butterflies apparently see the world as a series of still photos rather than a movie.
8)Antennae: The head of a butterfly has two antennae which are long and skinny with small knobs on the ends. The antennas are used to sense smells and to help the butterfly maintain their balance.

In order to protect a butterfly, their skeleton is on the outside of their body. A butterfly from egg to adult will increase in size by approximately 27,000 times.

Butterfly Life Cycle

Egg: The females of different species of butterflies will lay tiny eggs on the plant their hatched caterpillars will eat. They are selective in their plants as the caterpillars do not move far from where they are born and the mother wants to be sure her babies are well nourished.

Larva: This is the caterpillar stage. The tiny caterpillars hatch from the eggs and proceed to eat the egg casings and the plant they were laid on by the mother butterfly. Due to the tiny size of the caterpillars at birth they can only munch on little bits of leaves. Even though they can only eat tiny little pieces of leaves, they eat all day long for weeks and weeks and grow bigger and bigger. As the caterpillar grows, his skin gets tighter and tighter until it becomes too tight and splits open.

Pupa: This is the chrysalis stage. Once the caterpillar reaches its full size, it prepares to turn into a chrysalis. It will attach itself to a leave or twig and the final shedding of the skin will surround it creating a hard shell called the chrysalis. This stage can last from a few days to a few months. Some butterflies overwinter in the chrysalis. The outer stays hard and inactive but on the inside, there are big changes going on. The larva is changing its body shape from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Adult: The chrysalis finally splits open and the adult butterfly crawls out into the world. Their body, legs and wings spread out, dry and harden up and they are ready to find food and a mate and begin the process over with their own eggs.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Meanderings - Butterfly Project

As I was online over the weekend I stumbled across an amazing project that the Holocaust Museum Houston is putting on. They are asking for handcrafted butterflies to be submitted to them for a special exhibit that they are having in 2013. The reason that they have started this so early is that they want to collect 1.5 million butterflies to commemorate the 1,500,000 innocent Jewish children that were murdered during the Holocaust by the Nazis.

The butterfly was chosen to commemorate the children based on a poem titled The Butterfly that was written by Pavel Friedmann on June 4, 1942. Pavel Friedmann was born on January 7,1921 in Prague and was deported to Terezin on April 26, 1942. He died in Auschwitz on September 29, 1944. I have included the poem below.

The Butterfly
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone….

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
In the ghetto.

This will be a great project to do with your kids. You could also even turn it into a lesson on the Holocaust, if you feel your children are at an appropriate age to hear of this. Since my son is only three and a bit young to understand the Holocaust, as a continuation of the lesson, my son and I will be planting a butterfly garden in our yard.

To have an effective butterfly garden you will need to plant “Host Plants” and allow the caterpillars to snack on these. We will be planting:

Fennel (perennial)
Dill (short lived perennial)
Parsley (biennial)
Snapdragons (annuals)
Hollyhocks (bienneials)
Sunflowers (from seeds)

Once the caterpillars have grown into butterflies they will need nectar plants to feed on. For this we will be planting:

Coneflowers (perennials)
Butterfly Bush
Four o’clocks (from seeds)
Marigolds (annuals)
Zinnias (from seeds)
Cosmos (from seeds)
Sunflowers (from seeds)
Lantana (annuals)
Salvia (annuals)
Sage (annuals)
Lavender (perennial)

We will also be making butterfly snacks with this project.

Our chosen snacks will include a butterfly sandwich and apple butterflies.
Cut a slice of bread diagonally. Place a baby carrot in the center of a plate and put the bread on the plate so that the points touch the middle of the carrots. Spread the bread with a colored cream cheese (like strawberry) and then use a variety of snacks to decorate the bread. We will be using Fruit Loops, sliced bananas and carrot coins. For the antennas we will be using pull apart licorices.
For the apple butterflies, core an apple and slice into wedges. Take a slice of celery and spread it with cream cheese and put raisins on the cream cheese. Put the celery, raisin side up in the middle of the plate, put an apple wedge on each side as the wings and then use pretzel sticks as the antennas.
I will also be using butterfly cookie cutters to cut out cheese slices and including some of the fruits from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

I hope you will take time out to participate in the Butterfly Project for the Holocaust Museum Houston. All of the registration information can be obtained from their website. Once you make your crafts, please send us photos to include on our blog. We would also love to hear about any extensions you do on this lesson.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Plannings

As you are getting ready to begin April anew we would like to offer some ideas of things to do with your kids. Hope the weather is getting pretty where ever you may be.

Please click on the link below to be re-directed to our April calendar page.

April Calendar