Adventures, History, Science

Museum Free Thursday

(I wrote this at 2 pm but failed to submit it.)

Hello! I am hiding under the blankets again. I got rid of the cat by pretending to sleep.

It’s rather late for our daily nap, but Mr.1 was playing so nicely with the magnet tiles and I didn’t want to tear him away. Honestly, if you are scratching your head about Christmas presents and you don’t already own a set of these, I think you should make the investment. They get used EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

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Except maybe yesterday, but it was a wonderful and strange day.

The first Thursday of every month is Museum Free Thursday in Seattle, where a number of museums let you in for free.

Yesterday we went to the Burke Museum of Natural History which is located on the UW campus. Parking was awful and expensive ($9 for 3 hours) but the Museum was awesome.

It’s a rather small museum; you could run a lap around the top floor in about 35 seconds. I know this because Mr. 1 was all about running away from me.

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Mr. 3 wanted to stay in their “class room” area and do floor puzzles.

The lower level is dedicated to cultural artifacts and the top level is dedicated to dinosaurs and also a volcano.

In fact, they were in the process of cleaning a T-Rex skull that was found recently. You could watch them do it! According to the museum there have only been about 15 complete skulls found for the popular Tyrannosaurus Rex. 

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We had so much fun that Mr. 1 fell asleep in the car and Mr. 3 fell asleep in his barn. (At that point he was Snowflake the horse.)

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The rest of the day seemed like it was spent playing “fire truck rescue” and “ambulance driver”.

The strange part was at dinner. Instead of eating, Mr. 3 insisted on taking a bubble bath. This was his first bath since that time I told you I got in the tub with them… a month ago?

Mr. 1 ate a little bit and then joined his brother. We had to drain the tub once due to the little one pooping in the tub. Yuck!

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Science

Introducing Science to Mr. 1 & 3

I hardly use facebook, except to ask questions of the homeschool group. I asked them the other day what they use to explore science with their little people. I received a lot of recommendations but I was specifically looking for books. These are my thoughts on the recommendations I received.

101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments by Miller, Homer, and Harrington

This book is tied for first place in my mind. It has everything I want! It has scientific explanations, exciting experiments, and beautiful pictures to guide the way.

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The Everything Kids EASY Science Experiments Book – by Mills

This was not actually recommended but I found it while I was looking for the others at the library. I am so glad I found it because I love the way it is organized to answer your little kids questions about the world and themselves. It is split into 5 sections: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Human Body, Planet Earth. It is also written like a workbook, that the children can make their notes in and also includes a few puzzles and games like an activity book.

It doesn’t have the colorful pictures of the first book, but it does have more detailed explanations.

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The Everything Kids Science Experiments Book – Robinson

This one had multiple endorsements from the mama’s in the group, but it feels more suited to slightly older children. It is split into the same 5 categories as the EASY book and written in the same workbook/activity book manner. Instead of lots of colorful pictures there are excellent scientific explanations. This looks like a great book and I will probably buy it as soon as we master the “EASY” experiments first.

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Curious Kids Science Book by Citra

This one has interesting experiments and seem to answer a lot of detailed questions: Do seeds grow best when its warm or cold, how deep do seeds need to be planted to grow best, how much water, how much light, can a plant go through a maze to reach the light, etc.

The book also has beautiful pictures of all of the experiments.

The biggest drawback for me is the lack of scientific explanations. I don’t trust myself to be able to explain these things to my kids, and I want a back up resource.

What do you use to expand your curious kids knowledge about science? 

 

 

Science

Pileated Woodpecker

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We saw this little guy climbing on the electric pole right in front of our house. We identified him as a woodpecker and confirmed he was a Pileated Woodpecker using our Animal Encyclopedia.

We learned that woodpeckers eat insects, fruit, and nuts. They even peck for insects in dead wood, as we got to witness first hand.

We watched the red head bounce up and down the pole. The kids seemed especially fascinated with how well he climbed.

The reason they can climb so well is their zygodactyl feet. With four toes, the first and fourth point backward and the second and third point forward. The grip is strong enough to allow them to vertically walk up tree trunks.

I didn’t learn until later that a woodchuck is actually a groundhog, but I went ahead and teased the boys with the following tongue twister. They thought it was funny, but didn’t attempt to say it.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck all the wood that a woodchuck could chuck if he could chuck wood. 

Now I want to go to the library and check out Peck, Peck, Peck which is an adorable and funny story about a baby woodpecker learning to peck.

Health, Parenting, play, Science

Hard Hat Harry

“Mommy, please, please, please, please, can I watch more Hard Hat Harry?” says my 3-year-old in a pleading whisper.

We have a new obsession in our house here, and it is known as Hard Hat Harry. I have been a little more lax with the television time while I am suffering from the First Trimester Troubles but I still had to tell him “no” as gently as I could. We discussed it back and forth and he finally acquiesced and laid down for a nap when I said “Studies have shown that children learn more from interactive play than they do from television.” I don’t know 100% if that’s the truth but I believed it when I said it.

Television shows like Hard Hat Harry make me question such a statement, because I feel like I learn something new every time I watch them. I don’t believe I learn something new every time I play with magnet tiles. Although, I imagine the standards of learning are slightly different for an adult and a 3-year-old child still exploring the world.

Some things I have learned from our new favorite show:

  1. Airplanes are SUCKED into the sky! The way the air flows over the wings creates a suction effect that lifts the airplanes into the sky.
  2. There is a kind of truck that carries its own bridge on its back. It lays out the bridge, drives over, and picks it up again!
  3. An Orange tree grows an average of 1,500 oranges in one growing season!
  4. Nuts are harvested by a machine called a Tree Shaker. It literally shakes the tree so all the ripe nuts fall off and then sucks them up like a vacuum.

Hard Hat Harry was filmed in the mid 90’s, so the picture quality might not be what you are used to, but he is a genie that takes a detailed look at many of the topics our kids are fascinated with.

Yesterday when Mr. 3 was asking to watch more Hard Hat Harry, I told him that our bodies needed to be engaged in order to stay strong and grow. Later he said, “I’ve been playing really hard! Can I watch Hard Hat Harry now?”

What are your favorite educational TV shows? How long do you let your kids watch? 

Science

Nature’s favorite building blocks are…

Quarks!

When I think of “Quark” I think of the creamy sauce my mother makes using (I only guess here) sour cream, dill, chives, garlic, and parsley. She used to serve it with boiled potatoes. I would consider doing the same myself, as I remember it being delicious, but my husband has put his foot down about serving potatoes too many times a week, and therefore I don’t have enough of an excuse to dress them up. He wouldn’t eat it anyways. *grumbles about picky eaters*

If you were thinking the answer to the question “What is nature’s basic building block?” was ATOMS, you, my friend, are sadly outdated. Apparently, nature now builds with Quarks which stick together to form Atoms. Actually, I think nature has always built with Quarks, but we just didn’t have the knowledge or a cute little name to call them. Now we know!

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This book, Baby Loves Quarks!, has explained the concept to me in a way I can understand. It has super cute and colorful pictures and simple sentences that even I can understand the concept. It also expands outward and explains protons, neutrons, atoms, and elements. I highly recommend this as a fun read for both parents and baby geniuses. (My normal children seemed to enjoy it too.)

My FAVORITE science joke EVER is:

Two atoms are sitting in a bar. The first turns to the second and says, “I think I lost an electron!”

The second atom asks, “are you sure?”

The first atom replies, “I’m positive!!”

Teeheheeehahahahaha. I love that.

I was trying to write my own joke for this post, but the best I could come up with is:

What are ducks made out of? Quarks! (….because it sounds like Quack. I’ll show myself out now.)

Projects, Science

Fruit Fly Trap

I love these Take and Toss cups. They are so versatile and despite the fact that they are cheap ($3 for 4 cups!) they hold up really well. I use mine for both my 1-year-old and 3-year-old. They are great for smoothies because they have wonderfully thick straws, but we also use them for water and chocolate milk. I even saw a mom use them as snack cups once, and I can see myself doing that too.

My latest use for them has been to make a fruit fly trap.

Do you have fruit flies? They lay eggs on your fruit and then buzz around obnoxiously getting on everything, and it’s really hard to get rid of them.

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Basically, you fill the cup 1/3 or half way with left over fruit. If you have a young child, I am sure you have plenty of left over food or banana that has “fallen” to the floor. (My 1-year-old lately just chews on apple and spits it out. I cannot figure out why he won’t swallow it. Even if I cut off the skin he does the same thing. But he always REALLY wants apples…)

Put the lid on the cup, then place a piece of tape over the straw hole. Use a knife to cut a small slit in the tape. (These Washi tapes are too cute! They can be used for innumerable art projects and gift wrapping, too.)

The hole should be big enough for them to crawl in but not big enough for them to easily find their way out. According to WikiHow, who first taught me about making fruit fly traps with old bottles and a paper funnel, the fruit flies are too dumb to find their way back out when the opening is small.

After a few days pour warm soapy water into the cup until all the flies have drowned. Then rinse and repeat.

This has really cut down on the number of fruit flies in our kitchen. They even choose the cup over hovering around the normal fruit bowl.

Continue reading “Fruit Fly Trap”

Adventures, History, Science

Cancelled Plans – It’s Okay

Well, we were GOING to go to Tug Boat Story Time aboard the historic Arthur Foss, but apparently the 200 year old tug boat needed repairs. Still, we have visited the story time a few times in the past and it has most often been very engaging and lots of fun. If you have littles in the Seattle area, I would encourage you to check it out.

Well we had already parked the car before we found out about the cancellation, but we didn’t cry and pout. We walked around and looked at the other boats at the Museum for Wooden Boats. We discovered that the whole South Lake Union park was a large construction site, and the monkeys just ran around and climbed on things.

Honestly, sometimes I forget how little these kids need in order to be entertained. The world is a beautiful playground!

Did You Know that we didn’t make paper from wood fibre until 1885? And the first Western Mill to do so was in Washington on the North Bank of the Columbia River, mashing the wood to pulp with big stone wheels like the one pictured above.

This stone was in front of the Museum of History and Innovation. In case you were wondering what paper mills had to do with boats, its really just that these museums are right next to each other.

Well, we had a good time, and after some coaxing and cajoling, I finally got the 3 year old to take a nap. The one year old was asleep before we even made it back onto the highway.


This morning, Mr. 3 asked me where glass comes from. I found an interesting and short video on YouTube that explained the process of turning Sand into glass using heat. They use Soda Ash and Limestone to lower the temperature at which the sand melts, but it still takes a hot hot hot 3090 degrees Fahrenheit. They pour the molten glass over melted tin to get it to cool flat into giant panes of glass that are later cut down to size. The glass and tin have a water and oil relationship and the glass hardens much sooner than tin because tin has a much lower melting point.

Really fascinating.

Mr. 3 also asked me if horses have boogers, but I have not researched that. My guess is that, yes, they do have boogers.

What have your kids asked you lately that’s made you think?

Projects, Science

Clown Fish

Has it been 2 months since I let my children watch their first movie? We watched Finding Nemo over a period of two days, and he now has a few moments of obsession.

He named his dump truck “Nemo” and the front loader is “Nemo’s Dad”.

Today he took it a step further because he saw that the picture on our Big Ocean book is a Clown Fish. He asked me to read him the section on clownfish a few times, and we also looked in our Animal Encyclopedia for additional information.

For a child that is hard to understand, he is REALLY good at pronouncing Anemone.

– Clown Fish live in anemones. They secret an oil that protects them from the anemone stings. They lure food into the anemone and the anemone protects them from larger predators… like that nasty shark in the movie. This is called a symbiotic relationship.

– Clown Fish can lay 400 to 1,500 eggs at one time.

Mr. 3 asked if we could get a fish tank and fill it with clown fish. We talked about how much work and responsibility would be required with that. However, I was inspired by my child’s interest to make our own clown fish!


You will need pipe cleaners, construction paper, scissors, pencil. The glue and stick are optional, depending on how your child wants to play with the fish.

1. Draw and cut out your fish. Glue to a stick if you want to.

2. Fold a bunch of pipe cleaners in half  and loop one of them around the bunch to hold it together. Bend and spread the pipe cleaners as desired.

3. Have a heart attack when your 3-year-old insists on using the kitchen shears to practice cutting.

 

Math, Projects, Science

Cooking with Kids – Pizza

I believe I mentioned before that letting your children help out in the kitchen, while hard on your counters and floors, is beneficial for them in multiple ways.

Pizza is a great way to let them help out. They can do it all (make the dough, roll it out, put on toppings) or just help with the toppings.

I use the American Test Kitchen pizza dough recipe, it makes a small pizza so I normally double it. I let my 3-year-old help dump the measuring spoons, help me count scoops, and press the buttons on the processor.

Combine 1 cup BREAD flour, 2/3 tsp instant yeast, a little salt. Add 1 tbsp oil and then slowly add up to 7 or 8 tbsp of water until it forms a ball and is no longer sticking to processor. (By slowly, I meant you should run the processor every few scoops to see how it’s mixing.) Take it out and knead it a bit and form a ball. Let it rise in a covered bowl for an hour and then roll out and add toppings. I bake mine at 375(F) for 10 minutes, or until all the cheese is nice and gooey and the crust is starting to turn golden. You may need to change the cooking time and temperature based on your toppings.

It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it is fun! Let your kids in on the joy of cooking. They may even want to help wipe down the counter when they are done. (Mine did not, they wanted to eat the rest of the shredded cheese, resulting in my having to vacuum when the 1-year-old started dropping cheese everywhere.)

Adventures, Math, Science

Garbage Trucks and Sensory Bin Experience

If you’ve been following my instagram, you may have noticed that my kids love garbage trucks. If they hear one coming, they drop everything and run to the window.

Today, we finally did what I have been meaning to do, I took them to the dump! (According to all the signs, it is called a Transfer Station.)

I told Mr. 3 we were going to go and he put on his big  Blippi persona and was so excited that he even went potty without resistance. 

We arrived at the North Transfer Station at about 10:45 and went straight to the special public viewing area. We were there for nearly 2 hours, with only a quick potty break.

Mr.1 ran back and forth from window to window to watch the trucks dump and then be weighed and leave. Mr. 3 nearly drooled on the window when they brought out the monster front loader.

I promised them that we could come back because we didn’t even make it to the playground. I want to find out if they have a recycling sorting facility, because Mr. 3 loves the part in the Blippi show where they sort the recycling. 

They fell asleep in the car ride home; Mr. 1 right away and Mr. 3 shortly after getting a super cool side view of the I-5 bridge. I took this opportunity to calm my hungry stomach with some Starbucks and get the kiddos an easy lunch. For 5.45 you can get 1/2 pbj sandwich, cucumbers, carrots, cheese stick, apple slices, and chocolate covered raisins. Yum. I don’t buy them lunch often, but this one makes me feel good.  

After lunch, Mr. 1 dragged the big plastic box inside. I decided this meant he wanted to play with water. He loves bubbles so I added some dish detergent, and put the box on the patio. This kept the boys busy for nearly another hour. 

I definitely recommend checking to see if you have a local Transfer Station because it was a lot of fun!

By the way, did you know that the large garbage trucks weigh 64,000 pounds WITHOUT garbage? The more common medium size ones we saw today were about 34,000 pounds.