Tag Archives: Chehalis

Love is in the Air!

How to Explain Valentines Day to Your Little One

valentine_heartToday I had the awesome opportunity of volunteering at Preschool Playtime. When we arrived, their teacher informed me that it was time to craft. Today was the day that we were readying twelve little ones for Valentines Day.

We created Valentines boxes, which many of you probably had children either make them at home or bring them home from school after the big day. It’s fun to talk to kids about Valentines day and see their excitement about the up an coming event.

Explaining Valentines Day

One of the best parts about today was hearing the kids sing “You are Special.” It was wonderful hearing their teacher describe how giving Valentines and sharing their love does what? It makes a people smile!

valentine_heart 3How can we nurture and support the meaning of the holiday and keep that excitement going? Children love to hear big numbers, and Valentines Day came from a Roman festival that started thousands of years ago.

You can describe how the emperor of Rome tried to prevent his soldiers from marrying. During that time there was a priest named Valentine that helped the love struck couples marry. He would then cut out a heart shaped piece from parchment paper, and give it to the soldier so he would remember that they are loved. Hence why we create Valentines!

Now some may argue that you should share that you are loved every day, and express that daily. Which is true, but for explaining Valentines day to little ones, you can further explain that these soldiers were away from their loved ones for a long time. Those Valentines meant so much to those soldiers as they were miles away from home, for a length of time that they did not know.

valentine_heart 4What to Expect

The first year that children receive Valentines, it can be overwhelming and confusing for some. Which is why you’ll find that teachers talk, sing, and make crafts in the weeks leading to Valentines day. Teachers also do a great job encouraging all their students to bring in Valentines for everyone in his/her class, so all students receive one.

If your kiddo comes home from school and they seem disappointed, let your kids know that giving the valentine is the special part of celebrating the holiday, and that it’s also not about the number of cards or candy they receive.

valentine_heart 2Spread the Love

NOW… Let your kids get creative! After you supplied them with the history of Valentines day, plus all the things they are hearing from their teachers at school, they can now make their classmates Valentines. There are of course oodles of kits that you can get at the store, but don’t feel limited to that if you want to have some crafting fun. You can find all kinds of ideas on the internet, but all you need is what you have in your home.

Crayons, markers, stickers, paper, glue, glitter or any other little things you want to add, are all you need to get started. So Discover! Valentine makers… Get going! It’s happening soon! We hope that you have a happy Valentines day and while looking at all the Valentines you receive, know that we LOVE you too!

 

 

Give Thanks and Receive Thanks

thanksgivingIt’s our last week of November, and people are busily preparing to gather around the table. Many are fantasizing about their favorite side dish, and more than happy to let everyone know what that dish is! If you haven’t gotten your supplies… good luck to you, because the lines have already started to back up a few days ago.

Besides the food though, we must reflect on the actual thing being celebrated! Thanksgiving! Grace was given to those pilgrims all those years ago by tribes that saw the need to help. On a daily basis we give thanks to people that bestow on us small favors. Holding a door open, let a person get into traffic, stop for people walking across the street, saying good morning, or even offering a smile. These are all gifts, however minuscule they may be, they are all significant and help to make a person’s day better. You can’t help but pass those positive gifts forward onto another, and hopefully they will do the same.

I put “Give Thanks” first in the title above, because we so often don’t see or let it sink in, when we receive these small favors.  “I woke up, so did every member of my family. No one is coughing and we all feel good. Yay!” Thankful… YES! Employment, roofs over our heads, food in our refrigerator, clothes on our bodies, and a country with FREEDOM! Thankful… YES!

thankful 2The list of examples of things to be thankful for can go on and on. They will also vary for different people. What’s important is knowing that when life seems so down, there is always something to be thankful for, even if it’s for something simple as the air you breath.

If you are reading this, and subscribed to Discover! Children’s Museum, you are most likely around little ones or have great hope for our future generation. It’s important for us to teach children about being thankful. We have such a wonderful opportunity in our country to be able to teach our children about this wonderful tradition.  As they learn how to do so daily, they also become content, and are well likely to proceed to extend their hands out to share that contentment with others.

There are many simple ways of doing this, and not to mention oodles of articles on the subject.  So we’ll share a link about that too!

  • Be an example: If your child sees that you are thankful they will also mimic that same behavior.  Point out what there is to be thankful for. The air we breath, family, food, flowers, sun, etc. Say why you are thankful for them. “I’m so thankful for fresh air, it makes me feel so good, and thank goodness the trees make air for us to breath!”
  • Give Thanks and Receive Thanks: When you see them do something nice, thank them for it. Or just simply thank them for being themselves. They in turn will do the same to you as well to those around them.
  • Take in the life around you: When kids are taught to observe the joy and positive things around them. They will start to seek out those things where ever they go.
  • thankfulShare what you are thankful for daily: We often do this, it’s simple and yes we sometimes forget. I often ask the kids what was the best thing that happened in their day, and we’ll also asked what they didn’t like. This helps to keep me aware of what’s going on and expand on any positive or negative things. It also helps them too, to know that even if they had a very miserable day that something good was in it too.
  • Point out what’s good about the world around us: Now there may be some out there that say, “Well there is a lot of BAD out there too.” To which I say, there comes a time and a place as well as a different blog entry for that. So for now, talk about our freedom and the vast array of cultures/people/environments/celebrations.
  • Read books about gratitude: There are so many out there and if you don’t have the money. Well… fancy that! You can borrow them from the library! Yet another thing to be thankful for.  Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson is one of our family favorites!
  • Practice: Practice makes perfect, and we are teaching our kids to do so on a daily basis. We teach them to thank us after they have been passed the salt, handed a spoon, or given a treat. We also can teach them how to write a thank you note to someone that has given them a gift. Plus they get to see us in action when we have received something as well.
  • IMG_3880Craft Gratitude: We blogged a couple of weeks ago about making a Thankful Tree. There are oodles of other ways to use crafts to teach children about it, and most likely you have seen them come home with the results from school, church, or other clubs. Like adults, kids like to see things come together, and they also like feeling like they accomplished something when they’ve created their masterpieces. So praise them and add that you are so thankful that they are thoughtful and aware of the blessings they have had.

For more helpful articles & craft idea, check out our Be Thankful Board!

So with all these tidbits of advice. We at Discover! Children’s Museum wish you a very VERY happy Thanksgiving. We are very thankful for your support and will be even more happy to give thanks to all the little faces when we return. For now be safe and happy Discover! Friends!

 

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves… Compost!

The past two weekends have been beautiful! We even have a couple more days that are supposed to be wonderful.  People are out and shaping their beds up, or perhaps more like “turning the sheets down” so their gardens may go to sleep.

This is the first year that I have had to get rid of HUGE quantities of leaves.  I really am not over exaggerating! I mean BIG! So big I used the largest kiddie pool you can get… You know the one with the steps and hand rail. I filled that thing up eight times, and that was only the back yard.

DSC_5308So what are some of the fun things that you can do with leaves and kids? There is the obvious, like running, jumping, and scrunching them.  Which was exactly what we did, but what about a science project!

What Leaves Can Do

Leaves are a wonderful source for gardeners, and as long as you have leaf bearing trees that are in the ground and producing leaves each year, consider them a part of your team! Leaves are an organic resource, and make a wonderful mulch for your garden.  Each year they are pulling up minerals from your soil, which in turn, when you use them in your garden they feed earthworms and little microbes in the dirt.  Leaves help to break up heavy soils, and retain moisture in sandy soil.  They also helps to balance nitrogen in your compost pile. They also are handy for the plants you have in your garden whose roots may need a little protection from the cold winter.

compost_in_binsMany gardener’s or Green Thumbs love this time of year to get a jump start for their gardens next year.  They usually have a pile or bin that they have grass clippings, leaves, dirt, coffee grinds, as well as fruit and veggie scraps that they’ve been setting aside during the year.  They will spend the winter going out and turning it over from time to time, to help the contents break up more easily. When spring rolls around they will have a pile of incredible compost to use for their garden.

So how can kids do this? Simple, it’s like cutting a recipe down for two instead of a big family.  Check out our fun project below!

DSC_5302What you’ll need!

  • 16 oz cups with holes in the bottom
  • 1 large bowl
  • Compost items: Leaves, grass clipping, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grinds, etc.
  • 1/4 cup soil or dirt
  • 1-2 teaspoons of water
  • plastic wrap
  • rubber band
  • large spoon
Pillbugs
Pill bugs help to eat decomposing plant materials and turn it into compost.

So go ahead and go outside and have some fun with your kids.  Find all your outdoor materials and add them to the bowl.  While doing so you might come in contact with some of natures helpers. You can also add some pieces of paper if you want.

Compost_CupWhen you have stirred all your ingredients, you can divide the contents of your bowl in the different cups. (Make sure your holes are already punched through.  Then add your saran wrap on top and then you can place your rubber band around the brim of the cub and saran, so it’s sealed.

Now find a place to put it.  Also make sure you put something underneath, since there are holes.  It will need a spot where it gets sun and shade.  Add 1 teaspoon of water periodically, and after doing so, give it a little bit of a shake.  Both the water and movement will help the materials inside it break down and turn into compost!

What does the sun and shade do?

Bacteria and fungi love the heat, and they are also what helps to break down all the materials you threw in the cup.  Whereas the shade will help to cool down the compost so the moisture won’t all escape.

Now that your compost cups are all ready, it’s time to keep and eye on them and watch what happens.

wormsWhat do worms do?

Worms are actually called an organism, and they eat the leaves, grass, and any other decomposing material. When they do so, they actually are producing compost too. Now for this project, you won’t need to add them, but in big compost bins, these little critters are a huge tool in breaking down the leaves, grass, or whatever else is in the compost bin. Worms are not the only all stars in the dirt however, pill bugs or what I like to call “rolly polly’s” also help.  Along with many other bugs!

What do you do with the compost?

After the ingredients you have made have turned into compost (which may take several weeks), it should look dark, crumble easily, and look like soil. You can now add it to your garden.

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Making a large compost bin.

For more articles on composting as well as how to make a large compost bin, visit our Pinterest Board Fun in The Garden.

Happy composting Discover! Friends!

 

Pillbugs

Craft Time: The Thankful Tree

IMG_3361November! Leaves have changed into their brilliant colors and then made magnificent blankets underneath each naked tree. Temperatures are dropping, and many are donning their scarves, boots, or dare I say favorite spots teams colors. Fire places have began to crackle and ovens have started emitting the delightful fragrances of baked meals and desserts. Mugs are being held with both hands, and noses are breathing in steam.  Oh the loving traditions fall brings!

One tradition that seems to start in late October is hearing or seeing people talk or write about what they are thankful for. Now we all know that we should not just spout out our thanksgivings during one month a year and appreciate them through out instead, but lets face it… It’s hard! Especially when we get into the routine of waking, rushing kids out the door, do our duties throughout the day, come home, help with home work, make a meal, put a number of little ones to sleep, and then either crash on the couch or crawl into bed. While doing all these daily tasks it can be very difficult to shout out… “Thank you for the Sun! Thank you for the neighbor who picked up our trash can that fell over! Thank you that my child is learning in school! Thank you for freedom in this country! Thank you for health, love, hugs, music, rain, food, comfort, teachers, and so on.”

Part of why we have this month is to rejoice in our blessings. To share that we are thankful, and that luckily as humans we can have that in our nature. Children learn from those around them, and that is why teaching this particular trait is crucial. Pointing out the positive things on a daily basis helps children to learn to be optimistic and more positive.  When they say “I hate the rain!” A positive come back is, “But what does the rain help out with… Our planet, the plants, our food, and more!” Taking it further to point out a break in the rain. “Look at that, that cloud is letting us stay dry while we walk into school… Yay!”

Looking for the silver lining of any cloud is hard, but teaching our little ones will help them in the future with their feelings. It can help them get through tough situations and also help if they are experiencing depression.

So perhaps having a month to point out what good things are happening in your day can be a great way to start teaching your little one the lesson of being grateful.

IMG_3868There are many ways that people have done this.  We wanted to bring up just one this year and we’ll do more in the future to come! The Thankful Tree! This is a simple craft that requires some craft paper, scissors, and tape.

 

Gather your things:

  • This image above required the background to have (6) pieces of blue construction paper and (3) pieces of green.
  • The tree can be made up of one or two pieces of brown construction paper that were cut and taped together.
  • The leaves and sun were also made of construction paper, cut from a variety of colors.
  • You can also see that there are foam leaves on the example above. You can get them from a craft section this time of year, but make sure you get the kind you can write on, and it is also helpful if they have the sticky back.
  • You will also need tape and glue.
Tape the nine pieces of construction paper together three across and three down.  (6) blue and (3) green
Tape the nine pieces of construction paper together three across and three down. (6) blue and (3) green

Now get creative!

Let your kiddos help you to tape the background pieces together.  There will be three pieces taped together across and down, running lengthwise.  You will end up having a nine piece panel background that looks like a vertical rectangle.

DSC_5265Then start to make your tree.  I cut (1) piece of brown construction paper in half vertically.  then I placed the two short ends together and drew a tree trunk on it.  Afterwards, I let the kids cut out the trunk.  With the left over scraps, the girls cut thin strips for the branches.

DSC_5271Now you and the kids can glue down your tree trunk onto the background.  Remember to give some spacing between the branches for your leaves.

They can also cut out pieces to make a sun, clouds, flowers, grass at the bottom of the tree, or anything else their minds can come up with!

I cut out the leaves by layering four pieces of paper together, and then proceeded to make a simple leaf pattern.  I store them in a large ziplock bag, along with a pen and glue stick to we can add our leaves each day.  Sometimes there are days where we add a lot of leaves.

Now find a spot to hang up your tree and get ready to start posting your leaves each day!

Grateful Leaves

DSC_5279This part is where you start to see the craft come together, and many times you will be surprised what your kids might say.  Sometimes you may not like what they are, or wish that it was something bigger, but please don’t say anything discouraging.  You want them to willingly participate, and enjoy the process.  Also, it’s alright to be thankful for things you might not think are a big deal.  In his or her mind, small things can be BIG!  

You can leave up this tree until the end of the month or the end of the year. We left our tree up last year till the end of the year, and it was incredible how full it got, and really helped to make the holidays even more special.  IMG_3880

We hope that this craft is one that you will enjoy doing with your kids. We wish you the very happiest of November blessings Discover! Friends! Happy crafting!

For more Thankful Tree examples check out Discover! Children’s Museum Pinterest Thankful Tree board.

Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Safety Tips

trickortreat“The time has come,” the walrus said. Or in my case… Snow white. I have pulled out the costumes, pressed my own, gathered the bags, and purchased the glow in the dark necklaces, as well as contained my own excitement until this very moment.  It’s Halloween Eve! It’s almost here I can almost taste the incredible amount of excitement, and smell the distant sugar crash from a mile away!

All of the parents out there have probably been thinking where they are going to be taking their little ones, some may have already had their first Halloween festivity at a harvest party. Which I must admit I’m heading out in a couple hours for.  So I’m going to make this quick! Safety Tips!!!

Eat a meal or a snack! To avoid your kiddos from eating too much candy and getting sick, it may help to fill their tummies first.

pile-of-glow-in-the-dark-bracelets-e1411147762467Light them up! It is handy to be able to see kiddos, since many of them will be trick-or-treating in the dark.  Flash lights, shoes that light up, reflective tape, glow in the dark necklaces or bracelets.  Or if you are incredibly talented check out this adorable tot costume.

Where are you going to go? You will save a whole lot of time and have less whining if you know where you are going to go trick-or-treating and which route you’ll take in doing so.  Of course your location may change based off of how old your child is, but try to think of places in advance.  Also check out to see if there will be any events, stores, communities that have several spots for trick-or-treaters to go.

Shoes, shoes, shoes! No one likes sore feet.  No matter how much a certain pair of shoes compliments a costume, people need to remember that they have to walk… A LOT! So try to wear something comfortable.

Trick-or-TreatLit porches are a go! Usually the rule of thumb is that lit porches are a spot where kiddos can trick-or-treat.

Costumes Do’s and Don’ts

Do

  • Make sure your little one will be comfortable and warm
  • Put name and phone number on the inside, encase your child gets away from you
  • Make sure props are short and flexible so they don’t poke other kiddos
  • Make sure costume are flame retardant
  • Be aware of whether or not your kiddos costume is bathroom friendly.

Don’t

  • Check that makeup on your child’s arm, to make sure that it doesn’t cause rash before applying to their face
  • Be careful that masks don’t block airway
  • If your child is wearing a mask, see how well they can see in it.  Sometimes their vision is limited.  If so make sure that you are by them when crossing roads, and explain to them that they need to be extra careful.
  • Try to avoid really dark colors, especially if your child is old enough to go out on their own.  They may not be seen very easily, so take precautions so that they will be.

Look out for the little ones around you. This one is not one that everyone may think about right off the bat.  However, it is just as important as the other tips! A harvest party we attended last night, there was one little four year old who ran out the door and about fifty feet from the door and three feet from the road as we and another party got him to stop.  Thank goodness he listened. If you are in a busy area, it can be real easy for a little one to run through a crowded sidewalk, but not so easy for his or her parent. It can also mean that a child can separate from their parent or chaperon and get lost and afraid.  So if you see a child unattended and looking for help, do what you would hope someone would do for your child.

candy checkCandy inspection… Parents favorite part! Yes we tend to like this part, the kids might not, but it is important.  There have always been tales of tainted candy and in most cases most parents have not found any funny business in the Halloween bags.  However, just make sure that the candy looks like it hasn’t been tampered with (discoloration, pinholes, or tears), and that the wrapping appears to be made commercially. Candy that is intended for very small children should have gum, peanuts, hard candy, and small toys removed.

We hoped these tips helped, and that you all have lots of fun!  Happy Halloween Discover! Friends!

It’s Pumpkin Time

Have you been to the pumpkin patch yet this year!  Some may be saying yes, or you may have had some keepers in your very own garden, or perhaps you were given some from somebody.  All of which leads to one very fun event!  Pumpkin carving!  We thought we would create a fun board on Pinterest that is full of pumpkin fun!

Come check them out by clicking on the green link below!

Halloween Pumpkin Fun

Here are some pumpkin patches too, in case you are still looking for a place to pick that BIG pumpkin!

DSC_4860
The BIG one at WillyTees Pumpkin Patch

WillyTee’s Pumkin Patch ~ 3415 Jackson Hwy. Chehalis, Washington 98532. Open from 10 am-6:30 pm Monday through Sunday.  (360)880-5411

 

WillyTees
Get a free Caricature to remember your visit

At WillyTee’s the kids will have fun going through the fields to find the perfect pumpkin.  They will be able to explore a fun farm where they have face cuts out and even several spots set up for you to take some fun fall photos.  Plus Moms… there is a wonderful area that is full of holiday decor that you can’t help but want.  You also get to leave with a special souvenir to remember your visit with, a custom caricture made just for you… for FREE! The staff is awesome and the prices are family friendly.

 

IMG_6817[1]
These adorable minions welcome you on arrival
The Pumpkin Patch~ 518 Goodric Centralia, Washington 98531. Open from 10 am-6:30 pm Monday through Sunday. (360)736-8603 or (360)269-1783

At the Pumpkin Patch, your kiddo will find a pumkin and also be able to explore the grounds.  There are many fun face cutouts, huge hay bale art, corn maze, straw pit, and a few animals that they can check out.  A hay ride is available, which gives you a tour of the fields.  At the front of the farm, you will find an area set up where you can purchase gourds, squash, and cranberries.  They also have some beautiful potted arrangements, that include sunflowers and winter cabbage, to spiff up  and brighten your fall arrangements on your porch.

DSC_0077506Parkerosa Farms Pumkin Patch ~ 292 Chilvers Rd. Chehalis, Washington 98532. Open from 2 pm-6:30 pm Monday through Thursday and 9am-6pm Friday through Sunday. (360)269-2861

DSC_0082511
One of the little critters from a few years back

Parkerosa offers a field of a variety of different pumpkins.  There is a petting zoo, corn trails, and refreshments available.  There is also a wagon ride that give you a tour of the Parkerosa farms, where you will see some themed buildings to spark the imaginations of your little ones.  There is also some holiday and rustic themed decor available in their gift store too!

 

Flannery Publications
Area pumpkin patch open and ready for the Halloween season ~ Flannery Publications

Story Book Farms Pumpkin Patch5050 Jackson Hwy, Toledo, WA 98951. Open Monday through Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm.  (360)864-4388.  

Rows upon rows of pumpkins are available for you to choose. Story Book also offers a hay ride, bounce house, and games.

Please feel free to suggest more local pumpkin patches as well as pictures.  Also we’d love to see your carved pumpkins.  Send us some pictures!

We hope you have a fun time celebrating this spooky time as well as fall harvest with your kiddos!  Happy carving time Discover! Families!

 

 

The Dark Cloud of Childhood… Bully

Big blue eyes stare at me with huge tears falling down his cheeks. It surprised me and then made my heart sad. What started off as watching a new movie for the family, turned into a sad little boy telling me about something that had happened last school year, and now worries him for the future. So I asked what had happened. He called him his arch enemy, the biggest bully he’d ever seen. He would follow him and push him down time and time again.  When he finally told the duty, the bully said that he was lying, and guess what… She believed him. He then said he spent the rest of the year trying to avoid him, and when things did happen the duty would still not believe him.

Is this hard to hear? Yes! Is it something that I wish he had told me before? You bet!

My son has a big heart. He is the kid that will watch the movie and hope for the bad guy to turn good. Hence his love for Darth Vader and the celebration that he turns back to the light. He prayed for the Denver Broncos to make one touchdown (even though he’s a total Hawks fan), because Peyton Manning looked sad.  When they did, he stood up and hollered and said “Yes, I prayed for that!”  Even though his father and I looked at him in shock, we were proud that he was looking out for the other team.

He’s one of the youngest in his class and gets easily excited, over energized, easily distracted, loves to hug, and forgets his size is intimidating, and he wants to be everyone’s friend. He can be easily razzed which I know is not a good trait to have around other kids.  Which is why I have always feared for him having this problem, and bummed when I find out that he has.  However, as his ever adoring parents our biggest fear is him feeling that he is alone in all this and not letting us know.

After he told me the whole story, I assured him the best that I could. I talked to him about the things I encountered as a kid, and then said how many people also have experienced being bullied. I also talked to him about things that we saw in this particular movie was a made up story, and the chances of the exact thing happening to him wasn’t likely. I can’t promise him though the particular experience wouldn’t happen again, so it made me think what I need to do to help him through the years. Be there, listen, support, give advice, and step in when needed.

This particular topic is probably fresh in many parents minds this month, and being that Discover! wants to help relay information that can help, here we find ourselves. October is an official month to become aware of bullying, therefore we plan on doing a mini series on it.  So let’s get started!

What is Bullying?

Most people know the answer to this question.  Everyone has been teased by a family member or friend in their life.  This teasing is usually not harmful because it’s meant to be playful or funny and both or all parties are enjoying it.  However when the teasing is done to hurt a person, or becomes constant, and needs to stop… then it is bullying.bullyingBullying is when a person targets another by either physically, verbally, or psychologically attacking them.  Pushing, name calling, forcing a person to hand over money or other items, threatening, ganging up on, and spreading rumors are all ways that we have witnessed this nasty process taking place. Now children don’t even need to be around each other.  The internet has broadened the playground in a virtual way, causing the same emotional damage, allowing bullies to pick on people they may know through school or perhaps perfect strangers.  However, there are no duties or fences to limit their reach, and unfortunately the boundaries are endless and supervision is almost nil.

Don’t Brush it Off

Bullying is to be taken seriously though. Many parents look at it as something that kids just go through. In many ways that is true, however children today deal with it and are exposed to it far differently than we ever were.

When we were young we were around our bullies at school every day. We got breaks from them though! We didn’t see them at the end of the day after school or sports, nor did we see them on the weekend or when we were out for school breaks. Now there are kids on social networks, they have cell phones, and they are able to talk or communicate with their friends all year long.

Those that may not be on social networks are not any less likely to be exposed to it. They may be in a neighborhood, daycare, live with, or be involved in another group setting where they find themselves in the proximity of a bully all the time as well. No matter the method, we have seen tragic things come about in some incidents, where children have taken their own life or lives of others in a desperate attempt to escape it.

What are the Signs

If your child doesn’t let you know, then here are some things to keep an eye out for.

  • Your child may start acting differently. They may have a loss of appetite, become anxious, lose sleep, and stop enjoying the hobbies or activities that they usually enjoy.
  • Their attitude may have changed. They may seem more easily agitated or depressed, and start to avoid situations like saying they are sick and can’t go to school, or not want to ride the bus, or want to quit a sport or club.
  • You may notice it yourself when you see them interacting. A bully may try hiding often from your child. They may purposely break, hide, or take your child’s toys. You may notice your child asking them to stop and the other won’t listen. Your child may start to stop play and seek you out, either for help or act as if they don’t want to play with them any further. You may also notice that when in a group setting that your child’s typical best friend starts to exclude them while playing.

Why do Kids Bully?

It can be very hard to understand why kids do this to each other.  Child development researchers have said this. Some children look for other kids that are weaker or different so then they can feel important, cool, or more powerful. In some cases, they also may be bullying because they are mimicking how they have been treated themselves. They may live in an environment where it is common to argue or call each other names. It’s also common to see bullies on television. They can see how people are treated or talked about, which in-turn promotes them to do the same.

Why Kids Bully

Why Do Kids Not Tell Us?

  • Children often feel guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed. They may worry that you will be upset or disappointed in them.
  • Sometimes kids think that it is there fault. They may feel that if they started acting differently the bully would stop.
  • They may be afraid to talk, because if the bully gets confronted or in trouble, they think the bullying towards them will get worse.
  • It’s also possible that they may think that you won’t believe them or you won’t do anything about it.
  • They may also be afraid that you would urge them to fight back when they are too scared to do so.

depressed child 4What do I do?

  • Tell your child that is is okay to let someone know what it happening. That they can tell you or another adult they trust.  Like a teacher or counselor, family member, or a family friend.
  • When they are telling you what has happened, listen calmly and comfort them.  They may fear that you have a bad reaction, and even if you react angry with the bully, they may think you are angry with them.  So be calm.
  • Let him/her know that you are so grateful that they shared what happened with you.
  • Tell them that they aren’t the only ones going through this and that everyone goes through something similar at some point.
  • Make sure to point out that what the Bully is doing is very bad behavior and that it’s not your child’s fault.
  • Assure them you are there for support, and that you will help them in any way to figure out how to get through the situation.
  • Contact the school, daycare, or club about the situation. Depending on the age of the child, and the extent of the bullying, your actions may be different.  Working out a solution with someone, such as a principle, counselor, or teacher is advisable.
  • Some parents may want to speak to the bully’s parents, as tempting as that may be, it’s better to have the school officials do so or have them present if you decide to contact them.

What Kids Should Do

It’s tempting to tell kids to defend themselves.  However this can lead to more trouble for both your kiddo and possibly yourself.  So what should you tell them to do? I know I’ve told my son to avoid them, and to make friends with other kids that are nice and hang around them all the time, you know the term “you are more safe in numbers.” I know I have also told him to let someone know.

So here is what you can tell your little ones.

  • Use the buddy system: If your child finds that it’s common for the bully to always approach them in a certain place try to find ways to avoid those situations, or have a friend that can come with you.  Also tell them to do the same for their friend.
  • Don’t give a rise: It’s natural to get worked up when something is happening that you don’t like, but chances are that is exactly what the bully wants to see.  Seeing your child upset makes them feel like they are more powerful or cooler then they are. Help your child to not react by crying or looking upset. Suggest that they walk away, breath, count, or find a calm quite place to sit and write down how they are feeling.  These are all ways to help not show the bully that their feelings are hurt.  This may be a time that you also teach them about the “poker face,” where they just walk away with a face that looks like nothing happened until they have been able to get away from the bully.
  • Ignore and walk away: Let your kiddo know that it’s okay and that they are allowed to firmly tell the bully to “Stop!” and then walk away. However, if that method does not work they can pretend that they didn’t hear or are uninterested in what they said. When they ignore the bully, they are basically conveying that they don’t care what the bully does or thinks. Eventually the bully will get tired of being ignored and hopefully become uninterested.
  • Tell someone: In order for something to be done, they need to know that it’s okay to tell someone.  Teachers, principles, counselors, parents, and many other staff workers can all help stop bullying.
  • Let’s talk: It’s okay to talk about it to an adult you trust, sibling, or other family member. They can help you with advice and help you feel better.

Make them Feel Strong Again

As mentioned before, the emotional damage that happens from bullying can be deep and hard to recover from. You can help them by letting them know that true friends are ones that are kind to them and make good choices. Also encourage them to take part in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, church groups, or other activities they may enjoy.

Most importantly listen! Find out what happened in their day, both good and bad. Discuss ways that they can tell you something is going on without explaining, like a code word. When I was growing up my mom always told me that I could say that I wasn’t feeling well when something was wrong and she’d come and get me. Believe me I used this when I felt out of place on a few occasions, and I was grateful for knowing that I had my mom to bring me home. This will help them to learn that you’ve got their back, and knowing that they have a strong relationship with you, helps make a strong foundation for their well being.

Here’s our first article on bullying.  We know that it’s a lot of info to process and we hope that it has helped.  Hug your kiddos tight Discover! parents!

 

Rescources National Association for Child Development, Helpguide.org, and Kidhealth.org, and PBS Kids

 

 

School’s Back in Session!

What’s on Your Table?

The house is oddly quite, and even though there are a thousand things that I could be doing, I find myself thinking of a multitude of the things involving my kids! How about you?

Starting school conjures up so many different feelings in different people. I’m excited for my kids, a little sad for me, a little anxious about what the new schedule will be, and then looking forward to all the things that fall brings.

IMG_0300So what does fall bring? School of course, change in weather, many fun holidays, clubs, groups start up their meetings, and last but not least there are sports. So it becomes very apparent that schedules start to become a little bit more hectic.

That is where we are at… Busy! Every fall I find myself figuring out how to fit things in and at the same time make room for the things that are important. Family time is by far what I try to make sure is the priority. That time for us starts at the table. With all that is going on it is hard to make sure that we sit down together and have a meal together. However I still make it happen with the help of the handy dandy internet! Internet! Yup, that’s right!  Most people will think that the kitchen would be the place to start, and while yes that’s true… Sometimes we all need a little inspiration!

IMG_1177I of course have my tried and true recipes that have helped me throughout the years, but it’s nice to change them up and find some new ones that we can try out. So in this particular blog post we wanted to get the conversation rolling. That’s right we want to hear from you, so we can keep building ideas of time saving recipes and snacks. Please write to us at marketing@discovermuseum.org , and let us know what works best for you! What are some tips!

Make Meals Ahead

Some things are easy to make ahead and use. Many moms put together freezer meals that they can pop right in the oven and or use while they are putting together more meals. Then there is always the crockpot, where you put it together in the morning and it’s ready for the whole family when you get home that evening. We also can forget the meals that come together with no cooking at all. Below we created a list that we’ve tried, if you search for them online you can probably find all kinds of variations.

freezer mealFreezer Meals

So if you plan on making freezer meals, there are a lot of resources out there for prepping for making lots of freezer meals in one day, as well as things that freeze well, and tips on what tips work best when making all your future din-din’s.  I’ve done this a lot during baseball season.  I typically found a weekend, and my mom and I would get together and make over twenty dinners in one day for each of us.  It was amazing, and made life very easy on practice and game nights.  It saved our family a pretty penny, since we were able to avoid take out, and then gave us all a chance to unwind with each other when we got back home! So here are some things I made, and know this, these are just suggestions to search on the internet.  Once you start your search, chances are you will find some recipes that are more fitting to your family!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Lasagna, Soups, Meatballs, Broccoli Chicken Alfredo, No Boil Manicotti, Stews, Hamburger Patties, Pulled Pork meat for sandwiches, Chimichangas, toquitos, and many MANY MORE.

crock potSlow Cooker Meals

I think almost everyone has a crock pot somewhere in there home, and if you don’t you may think in investing in one of the best cooking tools for busy parents! This handy kitchen item has helped me on many occasions in delivering a wholesome meal on a day that there would have been no time to make a decent meal. Here are a few kinds of meals that you can make inside a slow cooker.

BBQ Spareribs, Black Bean Taco Soup, Chicken Brocoli Alfredo, Chicken Cacciatore, Stew, Chili, Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken, Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans, Pork Tenderloin, Roast, and again search for many more that may be more fitting for you and your family.

no cook mealNon Cooking Meals

These meals may sound like a fantasy, but they do exist! They take little prep and perhaps the use of microwave.  Check out some of the following!

Crunchy Quesadilla Stack, Poor Mans Tacos, Taco Pizza, Dinner wraps, Sandwiches, Salad or tacos with precooked chicken or roast beef, and also many more!

Finding Inspiration

If you have a smart phone there are oodles of apps where you can create recipe boxes. I’ve had luck with Allrecipes and BigOven.  However, if you go into one of your app stores you will see that there are more than a dozen to choose from. I also love Pinterest! It is a very inspirational place to get ideas for dinners! We decided to create a board of Time Saving Dinners. Come check out our board!

http://www.pinterest.com/discovercm/time-saving-dinners/ 

On the Go Snacks

Snacks can easily be purchased, but what if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on all the individually packed to go snacks? What are your options?

Fruit, Nuts, Cheese, Carrot Sticks, Celery. (Fill in the blank ___________)

Please share what some of your recipes are. Plus don’t forget to share about snacks too. Also, if you have other time saving techniques, please let us know them!  Looking forward to hearing from you Discover! Friends!

Imagination Yoga for Kids!

Untitled-1
Kids doing their best impersonation of a fierce T-Rex

Thanks to Melissa Fox, Discover! Children’s Museum has been offered a fun opportunity!  Imagination Yoga!  You might be asking yourself what is Imagination Yoga, or you may be thinking that you will go right past this blog post.  I must say that if you choose the latter you will be missing out on a very fun adventure!

Imagination Yoga is for kids! So you may ask what is the difference between regular yoga and kids yoga? Imagination Yoga creatively integrates yoga poses by using your imaginations.  Each class is based on a themed adventure, where the instructor slowly describes where they are going.  The adventures could take kids through space or on exhibitions to see the largest dinosaurs via time machines.  Whatever the adventure, you can bet that even the youngest minds remain attentive and willing to participate in the fun!

DSC_4387 copyWhat are the Benefits

  • Along with building muscles, Imagination Yoga improves body awareness,  increases flexibility, develops correct posture, encourages good circulation, and cardiovascular health.
  • Imagination Yoga is a social outlet for kids: Yoga helps both socially and emotionally by increasing self esteem.
  • These classes will also help teach children about drawing their attention towards something and remaining focused on that item.  During which they learn what it feels like in their body and mind to be calm and focused.
  • Imagination Yoga is also a playful place where kids can relax in this increasingly stress-filled world.
  • Children will learn how to express themselves through imagination as well as improve language development through kinesthetic learning. (Kinesthetic learning is where a student learns by carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to someone or watching a demonstration)   We at Discover! love this aspect of Imagination Yoga! Learn through play!

DSC_4375What to Expect

The class begins with Melissa giving an easy lesson on breathing.  Teaching kids to be aware of their breathing can help them to learn to relax, which in turn reduces the effects of stress.  Then she has them focus on an item, she does this by placing it in the center of the circle and calling the kids attention to it.  The purpose of this particular exercise is to teach kids to concentrate with their eyes.  Then the next step is the adventure, but you’ll have to bring your kiddos to class to hear about that part!

melissaMeet Melissa!

Hello Discover! Adventurer’s, my name is Melissa Fox. I am a happily married wife of twenty-three years, and mother to three amazing children ages 19, 16 and 9. I was a stay at home Mom for 15 years, and I also volunteered at school and community events during that time.

In 2009 I became a certified yoga instructor through YogaFit. I have been teaching for 5 years with over 1200 classes taught. I also became a Certified Personal Trainer in 2009 through NASM, National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Imagination Yoga is a magical yoga program I just had to become involved in. So when the opportunity presented itself this summer, I jumped at the opportunity to become certified in it.

Prior to all of my training I have been active throughout my life.  At fourteen I started weightlifting and felt that it was in my blood.  Remaining active seemed like a natural process for me. So I decided that if I needed to work, I wanted to love my work. Have you heard the motto, “Do what you love, Love what you do.” So that is what I did!

That’s when Yoga found me and I haven’t looked back. Always progressing, sometimes stuck, but always finding a way home to my mat. It has been an unexpected journey for me, but one of love and passion. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this wonderful practice, to bring awareness to one’s self, and I hope to inspire people everyday through practicing Yoga.

Imagination YogaLet the Classes Begin!

Classes Start September 22, 2014 at Thorbecks in Chehalis (91 Chehalis Ave. SW. Chehalis WA 98532.  If you have any questions, feel free to call (360) 748-3744

These classes are free, however donations made will go to Discover! Children’s Museum new permanent museum!

Monday and Wednesday * Ages 3-11 are welcome either time

10:30 ~ Ages 3-6 Years Old

4:15 ~ Ages 4-11 Years Old

Have fun Discover! Explorers

When Sad Doesn’t Become Temporary

There is a lot going on in the world today.  Even though America is fast paced, when you compare it to what the rest of the world is going through, we seem to have a calmer more sheltered lifestyle.

War in Ukraine, Israel, and Iraq.  Ebola in Africa as well as our very own health crisis on the south boarder.  All of which are huge and terrifying.  More news this week that has spread like wild fire , and yet was not as huge as the circumstances listed above but still a big loss to many.  The loss was a man that both young and old have either seen or heard at least once in their lifetime.  This person who at dark and dreary times, like the world is experiencing today, could still in the mist of things make people laugh and feel at ease. Many of you probably know who I’m talking about.  AladinRobin Williams, who was either the voice or actor of dozens and dozens of movies, and kept us just as easily entertained on tv shows, stand up, and his many interviews.  Even though many of us never met the man, we felt we knew the man, and even then we didn’t really know what he was experiencing.

‘Researchers from Oxford University and Bershire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust say that manic thinking helps join together ridiculous ideas that spark humor.”  With their findings, they took a look back into time by comparing historical figures that displayed the characteristics of a person suffering from manic depression (bipolar condition).  Painters and play writers were some of those that during their time were considered mad.  Comparing to present day, a person that can exude a manic personality, also has the ability to be incredibly creative, and create original humor.

rwSo a person is funny and you think, “Wow I really like that guy/gal, we should always have them over!”  Then you move on with your life not knowing that that trait, the humor, completely deflected you from truly getting to know the real person.   I’m sure you are reading this and wondering how it relates at all to our kids.  Please be patient, because I will explain.

Eight percent of children will experience depression, 3.4% of this eight percent are in primary school.   Studies have also indicated that 70% of children experiencing it will experience it again within five years.  One in Eight teenagers will experience a low.  Adults diagnosed also appear to have a  similar percentage.  The National Institute of Mental Health showed that  in 2012 6.9% of adults experienced depression.  You may think well that is not a lot, however that represented 16 million adults!  That is an incredible amount of families who have been effected by this disease.

upset boy leaning against a wallWhat can we do?  First we must understand it.  Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.  It affects how you feel, think, behave, and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.  Persons who suffer from depression may have trouble doing normal day to day activities, and even feel that life is not worth living.

Depression is NOT a weakness, it is also NOT an attitude you can just snap out of.  It is NOT a disease that goes away.  It is also a disease that should NOT be taken lightly.

Children can suffer from depression and be even more confused than adult as to why they are feeling so sad.  Rather than just summing up a child’s personality to grumpy or melancholy, perhaps we should start to teach them how to cope with the feelings that they are experiencing.  So their future dealing with it will be brighter.

It is normal for children, especially teens to experience mood swings.  However when the depressive state lasts weeks or longer, and then effects the way they function, it is likely that they are experiencing depression.

depressed child 2Symptoms (According to American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry):

  • Frequent sadness, tearfulness, and/or crying
  • Hopelessness
  • Decreased interest in activities or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities.
  • Persistent boredom; low energy. The child seems to have an inability to have joy.
  • Social isolation, poor communication. Example: A child is given the opportunity to play with friends, and seems to prefer to be alone.
  • Low self-esteem and guilt. The child feels they’re not good or not worth very much.  When the child is asked, ‘Are you important to somebody?’ Depressed kids often say no.
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches and stomachaches.
  • Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school.
  • Poor concentration
  • A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns
  • Talk of or efforts to run away from home
  • Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior

child psychologistHow to Help

As a parent, you can recognize when something is bothering your little one, and they aren’t quite able to shake the feeling off.  If you suspect that your child is suffering from depression and your efforts haven’t changed their behavior, your next step is to call in some help.  Rather than being quick to medicate, you must first know what the kind of depression is that they are suffering from.  Yes there are different kinds!  To find out the diagnosis,  you must visit your pediatrician who will either refer you to or you may choose to immediately visit a psychiatrist or psychologist.

What NOT to do

  • Don’t just think that it is a phase they will grow out of.
  • Don’t tell them to depressed child 3‘grow up’, ‘man up’, or ‘stop being a baby.’
  • Don’t call them names or try to make them feel bad or guilty for what they are feeling.
  • Don’t compare them to others or point out their faults.
  • Beware of extreme parenting  advice, that would compare them to bad kids, and sum up their actions to being lazy, disobedient, or losers.
  • Also be aware that there are those that think depression is a made up clinical definition of a person that is trying to defy all the happy people in the world.  Unfortunately, I came across this while researching the topic.

What to do (provided by healthy children.org)

  • Start a conversation. “You’re feeling sad, you’re feeling depressed, what can we do about the problem? What would you find helpful?”  This helps you to start the conversation and lets your child know that you are there to listen.
  • Seek supportive counseling:  Treatment takes time and the patient is often the last person to see that it’s working.
  • Reduce stress:  Look at what all your child is involved in.  Is there something that can be taken out of their day or that they really want to not be involved in anymore.  It could be that those activities are adding to the problem.  Example: Extra curricular activities, or social media.
  • Educate your family about what depression is.
  • Using positive metaphors “Little steps uphill, big steps down hill.” “Long journeys start with a single step,” or “The glass is half full, not half empty,” “Take it one step at a time.”
  • Help them relax.  This can be relaxation techniques or visualization.  Where the child practices breathing and imagining that they are in a calm pleasant place.   You may already know what your child finds relaxing.  It may be exercise or a sport that they love that helps them unwind, or a hobby like writing, reading, or crafting.
  • Develop problem solving skills: Help them identify small steps that can be made to overcome a situation.
  • Suggest that your child write down down a list of difficulties and prioritize them, and concentrate on the small ones first.depressed child 4
  • Rehearse behavior and social skills:  If they are experience a low mood triggered from a certain situation or person.  Discuss, develop, and practice the ways he/she can avoid or react to the situation or person.
  • Encourage your child to practice doing things and thinking in a way that improves their mood.
  • Emergency list: Create a list of telephone numbers that he/she can call upon when hitting a low or having a moment where they are in distress.
  • Remove weapons and potentially lethal products from your home.
  • Watch for risk factors for suicide, such as increased agitation, stressors, loss of rational thinking, and an expressed wished to die.
  • Locate numbers for suicide or depression hotlines, on-call telephone numbers for your physician, or contact information for the area mental health crisis response team.

Chehalis

Crisis Line Human Response Network: 360-748-6601 or 1-800-244-7414

Lewis County Crisis Line, Cascade Mental Health Care 360-748-6696

rw 2
Koko the gorilla hugging Robin Williams, after spending the day with him. Another example of this man’s ability to cross boundaries into someone’s heart. http://www.koko.org/koko-tribute-robin-williams

As you can see there is a lot that you can do.  It looks like a lot more work than what NOT to do.  However that is what parenting is all about… A LOT of work!  Please be mindful of this disease, listen and help when you see the need.  Even if it isn’t your own child.  Lets help to avoid the loss of any of our future greats!  With heavy heart hug your little ones and be patient. We give our deepest condolences to all that have lost loved ones to this terrible disease.

Resources: Healthychildren.org, Kidshealth.org, University of Oxford, and National Institute of Mental Health.