Tag Archives: Outdoor Activity

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.

cs-boy-helping-make-bin-480
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

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!

Come and Visit Us This Summer!

Well we just can’t get enough of our fans!  So we decided to make sure that we are out and about this summer to see you again, again, and AGAIN!  Check out what event’s we’ll be at!

DSC_0251July 19th: Napavine Fun Festival

August 2nd: Mossyrock Blueberry Festival

 

August 12th – 17th:  South West Washington Fair

garlic festAugust 23rd – 24th:  Garlic Festival

September 20th:  Wellness Roundup in Centralia

October 4th: Onalaska Apple Harvest

Onalaska apple harvest

We hope you are having a blast this summer so far, and keep an eye out for us!

Bees Buzzing in the Breeze

DSC_3393Honey Bees, the awesome little critters that keep many plants on this earth growing.  What would we do without these little wonders…  It is certainly not something we want to ever happen, therefore there are thousands of people that have become assistants to these incredible creatures.  We had the opportunity to meet one such family, that we are sure many of our Discover! friends may know… The Boyd Family! DSC_3349During our visit the Boyds had eighteen hives started.  The number can fluctuate depending on the queen and the strength of the hive.  By fall, many hives are combined in order to increase their chances of surviving throughout the winter.  After suiting up, we visited a large hive first.  After using the smoker to take a peak inside, Brandon’s first tid bit of information became very apparent!  “Honey bees are called social animals because they live in colonies and rely on each other.” Within the hive, there is a division of labor among the various kinds of bees in the colony.  A colony can include a queen, drones, and worker bees.

Brandon placed a little yellow mark on the back of this queen so she could be more easily spotted.
Brandon placed a little yellow mark on the back of this queen so she could be more easily spotted.

The Queen

The Queen is the only bee in the hive that is sexually developed.  She is the largest, and can be recognized by here elongated abdomen. She lives longer than all the bees in the hive.  Some say she can live years and years, but she is most productive the first two years of her life.

On the far right, you can see the undeveloped heads of two drones.  There cells stick our further than the rest of the larvae cells.
On the far right, you can see the undeveloped heads of two drones. There cells stick out further than the rest of the larvae cells.

 

 

The Drones

The Drones are the male bees in the hive.  Their job is leave the hive and to mate with a queen from another hive.  They do not collect food or pollen, nor do they tend the babies.  Sadly, in the winter time they are often kicked out of the hive because resources are scarce.

DSC_3392
Here you can see the girls busy at work. See all that honey!

The  Busy Workers

Workers are all girls!  In a colony there could be as many as 50,000 to 60,000 bees! Worker bees pretty much work themselves to death.  In the beginning of their lives they are nurse bees, then they graduate to field and scout bees.  They also protect the hive and make comb.  They are very busy, and live only about a month or less.  In the winter, they can live longer. 

Bee Facts

The worker bees keep the hive at a steady temperature all year round with their wing flaps.  They would like it to be 92-93 degrees.

Here is a worker bee arriving back to the hive with her legs covered in pollen
Here is a worker bee arriving back to the hive with her legs covered in pollen

Honey bees fly in a radius of about 3-5 miles from their homes to forage for flowers and food. Bees gather both nectar and pollen from flowers and trees. They bring the nectar back to the hive and regurgitate the nectar into a honey cell.  Then through flapping their wings, the bees evaporate some of the liquid in the nectar until it is honey. Then they cap it with a thin wax cover and store it for later use.

Bees use pollen, which is really sticky, and combine it with nectar to make bee bread.  They feed this bread to the baby bees.

Baby bees are called a brood.

Bees preform an essential act by moving pollen and nectar from one flower to another.  They pollinate the flowers and trees which allows fruits and vegetables to be created and to grow.  A hive can make 50-200 pounds of honey a year, and it takes over 150 trips to a flower or tree to make just one teaspoon of honey.

Hope you enjoyed our first blog post about bees.  We are hoping there will be many more.  Thank you Boyd family, we will check in with you again soon!  Happy honey making Discover! friends!

Kids Helping at Garage Sales

Last week, we talked about helping children to let go of unused or outgrown belongings.  If you were successful, you may have found that you created quite a pile of belongings for them to either donate or put out for a garage sell.  This up and coming weekend has many in our communities starting to pull out tables and stickers to price.  So we thought why not include your kids in the process!

How to Start

Gather the Items

If you haven’t already done so, go through each room and create a pile that is garbage, one that could be donated, and then a pile of items to sell.   Don’t forget a room!  Closets, attics, basement, pump houses, and garages can be full of items.  Don’t think that people won’t buy your belongings.  You would be amazed what people might want, and if they don’t then you can haul it off after the sell is over.

This is a great opportunity to talk to your children about making money from selling belongings as well as  encouraging them to give to others.

garage salePrepping for Sale

Advertising

After you’ve chosen your date, you can start to spread the word.  You can place an add in the paper or online.  It’s amazing how many group pages you can find on facebook, created specifically for your community.  We found Lewis County Baby and Kids Site, Lewis County Furniture and Home Decor for Sale/Wanted, and Lewis County Area: Free, Wanted, For Sale as well.  There are so many, for examples: sports equipment, farm equipment/supplies/livestock, antiques, and more.   Craig’s List is also a great way to post about your garage sale too.   Make sure that you list the date of your sale, as well as location, and time.

“I saw ALL of your signs!”

IMG_5713[1]This is one of the most important things.  A small little paper, being batted around by the wind and possible rain, may do you little good.  We found that having a large sign, and a lot of them, makes a huge difference.  We used boards cut to  2′ x 3′ and some 12″ x 24,” and painted them white.  We simply placed the word “SALE” with an arrow on them.  Then put them at the head of each road to guide people there.  The days of the sale, they were set up in the mornings and taken down each evening.  We heard more people say “The saw the signs,” over reading about it in the paper or online!  The nice thing about these signs too, is you can use them for years to come.  These particular signs are twenty years old and are pulled out for any garage sell we hosted or for friends that needed them too!

Have the kids help paint the boards and the arrows.  They can even come along with a parent to set them up!

Garage Sale Essentials

IMG_5686[1]Stickers for Pricing

This particular task is great to include the kiddos.  Especially when it is for their own items.  They can decide how to price things, with guidance of course as well as putting each sticker on their own belongings.

Bins and Boxes

These can be very handy when you have a lot of things that are the same price.  Put a sign on the bin or write on the box the price you would want per item ($.10, $.50, $1).  Have your kids help sort the toys according to what each bin is marked at.  These worked great for all those toys that manage to make it home from McDonalds, the fair, school, as well as old stocking stuffers, cars, stuffed animals, barbies, and more.

Tables and Placement

Having table space makes it easy for browsers to look around.  You can use your own, borrow some, or make them.  One way to create more table space is by setting two tables three to four feet apart, lengthwise, then bridge the gap in between with a board that is about the same width of both tables.  You can also use sawhorses with a board on top to make a large table.  Table clothes can help to make the display look a little more put together, as well as conceal any items not included in the garage sale below.

IMG_5688[1]Now that you have your tables set up, call the kids back out.  This is another task where they can help! Have them pick a spot to put all the toys that are for sale.  Some kids may love setting them up to be displayed.  We found that they even gave pointers as to what level they should be placed… So kids coming in could see them.  Their sales skills are already blooming!  

Don’t Forget the Change

Find a money box or deposit bag to use.  Make sure to have fives, ones, quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies.  Chances are you will get a lot of people that will bring large bills.  Periodically take out the larger bills or when you start collecting a large amount, and set it aside in a safe place.

If you feel your child is ready, have them help to collect the money and count change back.

Ask for Help

It doesn’t hurt to have more than one adult present to help out with the garage sale.  It’s nice to have an extra hand to look out for sale itself and your kiddos if they are outside with you.  That’s why having a couple families doing a sale together can help make it be a lot less stressful for both families.

Time to Conduct Business

When the big day comes, prepare to have a smile ready,  hear some low ball offers, see many things go, and even…. talk your kids through saying goodbye to some of their well loved belongings.  Yes, they still might want to hang on, and you may need to pull out some tips from last weeks blog post.  ( http://discovermuseum.org/blog/2014/05/teaching-the-little-ones-to-let-go/ )

If they are still resistant, this could be a moment when you offer to match your child’s funds, or offer a reward with the earnings.  You may find that with a little bit of encouragement your kiddo may become a great salesman.  It’s also a great opportunity for them to count change, and add up how much they’ve made.

The most rewarding part is being able to free your house of clutter, and who wouldn’t want to cut some chaos out of their lives?  So if you are planning on having a garage sale, good luck to you Discover! friend!

IMG_5714[1]Discover! Crew Observations

  • Kids were somewhat resistant until they saw that they had money to spend.
  • Kids had fun when other children visited and played with them.  “The Perk” was that it relieved parents and grandparents a bit while they looked around.
  • Kids started demonstrating what the toys did while visiting children watched, which at times convinced parents to buy them.
  • Kids even went back into the house to grab more items to sell.  BONUS!!!!
  • Kids can help put things in the free box, as well as set up a lemonade stand.  If you have the time you can even make some cookies to sell!

Activities for Grandparents!

One of many things we loved to see happen at Discover! was watching grandparents bring in their grand kids.  Some would comment that it was a fun place to award them with during their stay, others said that they didn’t have near the amount of toys to entertain them with at home, and it was also mentioned how busy their little one’s were and they needed some extra fun!  We were happy to provide so many grandparents and their grandchildren with a fun place to play together, and we honestly feel a little guilty that we’re not open right now.  Therefore, we thought we would make up for it by doing a post about some great ways to entertain the grand kids when you have them over!

blog 1Have a Tea Party: Invite the kids to bring their best friends (stuffed animals) and dress up in their finest clothes.  Set up your china and tea cups and serve kid friendly drinks and snacks.  Some great Tea Time snack suggestions are PBJ sandwiches, veggies and dip, decorated cookies, and fruit.  The more involved they are in preparing the tea party the better.  You can have them help you prepare the table and snacks, as well as create a center piece!

119Go on a Treasure Hunt: This activity allows you to include the little ones too.  First make your treasure chest.  The sky is the limit in the materials that you use.  Look for buttons, bows, tape, paint, glitter, and wrapping paper to create a lovely masterpiece.  The kids will have a ball and remember the time they made an awesome treasure chest with Grandpa/Grandma.  Then comes the fun part, figuring out where to hide everything, and writing the clues to find each item.  After all of the treasures are collected, have the kids draw each item on an index card, then you can play a memory game with them.  They can also write down a story about each one, so the memories can be written down forever!

Get your Hands Dirty:  This was one of my favorite memories with my Grandmother.  Plant seed in pots and let them grow, when they are ready to transplant, let the kids help you pick a spot to plant them.  This will become a repetitious activity to do, each time they come over.   Little by little they’ll see what the plants are doing, and you can give each kiddo a journal to write down their observations.  The journal entries can be about how tall the plant is, what bugs they found, if it was hot or cold outside, was there any flowers, and whether or not the fruit/vegetable were ready to harvest.   If they do plant a vegetable, they can take the bounty home to mom and dad to share.  They’ll be a green thumb in no time!

Make a Jigsaw Puzzle:  Have them help you pick an image to print off, then glue it to a piece of cardboard.  You can use cardboard from a cereal box.  On the cardboard, trace out or draw puzzle piece shapes, then take an X-Acto knife and cut out each shape.  Now the kids can put it back together.

blog 2Have a FUNdue party:  Kids love this!  Melt chocolate chips and gather a bunch of yummy morsels: strawberries, bananas, pretzels, marshmallows, and whatever else would strike your fancy.   Dip in and have Fun!

 Fruit Smoothies:  The kids love these, and it taste just as good as ice cream.  All you need is to add your fruit, frozen yogurt (your choice of yogurt), and orange juice to a blender.  You can go online and see hundreds of kid friendly recipes.

Sing Like a Rock Star:  Make your own instruments and become a band.  The internet is full of ideas for making some home made instruments.  Here is a link for five simple instruments: www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Simple-Musical-Instrument

blog 3Take a Trip to the Library:  Some children aren’t exposed to this until they are in school. So take the opportunity to show them what fun it is.  Many libraries have a children’s program once a week that you can attend.  Each time a story is read and followed with a craft.   For local story time in Centralia, Chehalis, Mountain View, Packwood, Salkum, Winlock, and Morton go to this link: www.trl.org/Locations/Pages/LibraryInformation.aspx?lib=ch

During your visit, you can pick up books that you placed holds on in advance, or let the kids pick some out.  Then take the time to sit and read to them. You can read at the library or outside, either way your grand children will start to be able to have some fond memories of reading with you!

carnival-109Bubbles:  This is by far one of the funnest activities that seems to make time pass by.  You can purchase large bottles of bubble liquid at local stores, which typically come with a bubble blowing wand.  Or make your own! However, you can use different types of things to blow bubbles with.  Straws make lots of little bubbles when you blow quickly through them.  You can also use your hands by putting the soap on them, then make a circle with your thumb and pointer finger.  When a film is over the circle you just made, blow and make giant bubbles.  You can also use tennis rackets, hangers, and more too!

Some More Fun Activities!

Make: sock puppets, kites, cookies, scrapbook, works of art, or crafts.

Go out and about: picnics, visit a pet store, local parks, trails, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.  Go a little further to the ocean, the zoo, or aquarium.

I see a bear!
I see a bear!

No matter what you decide to do, the most important part is spending time with your grandchildren.  The time that you spend makes an incredible difference in your grandchild’s life.  From you they learn to enjoy different things, they observe how you interact with them and others, and ultimately make numbers of memories to last their life time.

We hope this is helpful while we are shut down temporarily, and we are excited to see you again when we open our new museum!  Happy memory making Discover! Grandparents!

 

 

 

Kids and Kites

Windy Weather Family Activity!

Spring and wind supply an opportunity for fun with your family!  Let's Go Fly a Kite!
Spring and wind supply an opportunity for fun with your family! Let’s Go Fly a Kite!

Kids and kites go together like peanut butter and jelly!  They’re a perfect match!  Since spring has officially arrived and wind is a sure thing this time of year, we think flying kites make for a perfectly fun family activity!  While you can purchase a kite (which can be a little or  a lot), it is still satisfying to make your own.  There are many kite making directions available, some that are easier than others.  We have included directions to get you started!

Gather your materials
Gather your materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’ll need:  You will need one piece of paper, crayons and/or markers, a ruler, a pencil,  some yarn or string, a stapler, and a hole punch.

 

Use any colors you want, and make your creation a true piece of art!
Use any colors you want, and make your creation a true piece of art!

Color to your hearts desire!  One side or both, the side that will fold in on it’s self will be the top of the wings.

Tip: You know all those coloring sheets your kids love to color on.  This project is one way you can take those coloring sheets to a whole new level!

Kite 2
measuring points A and B on the folded edge

 

 

 

 

 

Fold the paper in half.  Using a ruler, place it along the folded side of your paper, measure and mark off at 2 1/2″ (point A) and at 3 1/2″ (Point B)

Get a small piece of tape to place over the fold at point B.  Then punch a hole through the tape.  (The tape helps to reinforce the hole where you will tie your string)

Roll the corners of paper to the
Roll the corners of paper to point A. Make sure not to bend your rolled paper.

Roll the top corners together to meet at point A.  Being careful to not crease the rolled edges, staple the top corner’s to point A.  These rolled wings help to catch the air, which then helps to lift your kite up into the air.

 

 

 

Here you can see where we stapled our corners, as well as where we added a ribbon!
Here you can see where we stapled our corners, as well as where we added a ribbon!

Tie string or your through the hole at point B.

Option:  You can add a tail to your kite by taping ribbon to the bottom center edge.

You may look at it and wonder if it will really fly, but rest assured… They really do fly, even in light wind or when you run!   Happy flying Discover! Friends!

Things to talk about when doing this

Wind!  What causes it?  Why it’s all about the sun – which warms the air.  And when cool air (which is heavy) meets warm air (which is lighter)  the result is wind!  The greater the temperature difference – the greater the speed of the wind.  From a gentle afternoon breeze, to a devastating tornado – it all depends on air temperature  – which goes back to the sun.  This is why wind  is often a sign that the weather is in the process of changing.

We can have lots of fun with wind.  Our breath is the wind that blows  dandelion seeds.  Wind blows leaves off of trees in the fall, creates sand dunes, and makes tumble weeds tumble!  What other examples of wind causing things to happen can you think of?  Of course, one of the most fun things is flying kites!!

Being Careful!  Make sure you watch where you are going while running with your kite, and make sure where you are playing with your kite isn’t near any power lines.

kite 8

Did you know that each August our state hosts the Washington State International Kite Festival?  Truly, this is a treat for your eyes. Kite professionals from around the world display their passion in the air for all to see.  Take a trip to Long Beach anytime during the 3rd week of August, and you will be amazed by unimaginable color and beauty. You can even wander through the kite museum.  Check out this website and make plans to attend:

 http://kitefestival.com/