Cemetery Fun!

The other day, while playing at Dublin’s Heritage Park, my son suggested we head to the attached cemetery (Dublin Pioneer Cemetery) to look for monsters. Why not? We spent the next hour searching for, running away from, and battling monsters. Here’s a post I wrote last spring about letterboxing (treasure hunting) at this cemetery…  Letterboxing:  The Search for the Gingerbread Man.  Who knew cemeteries could … Continue reading Cemetery Fun!

Werewolves and Vampires?

While attending Boo at the Zoo over the weekend, we looked for “spooky” animals.  Werewolves?  Vampires?  Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything truly frightening at the Oakland Zoo, but did see this gorgeous hyena (I bet he’d get pretty scary if anyone tried to take that bone away from him!!) and a bunch of cute bats… Perhaps the scariest thing of all was this giant ant … Continue reading Werewolves and Vampires?

Boo at the Zoo, 2012

Yesterday we attended the annual Boo at the Zoo event at the Oakland Zoo.  Kids wear their Halloween costumes and participate in a bunch of fun activities.   It was a hot day today (back into the 80’s), so I talked my son out of wearing his thick, black ninja costume. The highlight for my 5-year-old was the Spooky Scavenger Hunt.  The children are given … Continue reading Boo at the Zoo, 2012

Rockin’ Experiment 3: Make Metamorphic Cookies

The final project in our three-part geology series, tailored for early elementary aged kids, is about metamorphic rocks.  The focus of this experiment is to show “rocks” can change through heat, compression, and time.  The “rocks” in this project are actually cookies.  We made cookies, making some observations about the “minerals” (ingredients) we put into them. *** Here’s what you’ll need:  A cookie recipe (with … Continue reading Rockin’ Experiment 3: Make Metamorphic Cookies

Silent Saturday: Trail Through Time, Rock City, Mount Diablo

Photos from a hike in Mount Diablo State Park earlier this week with my Nature Time playgroup. We hiked a section of the Trail Through Time, from the Rock City parking lot to (and up) Sentinel Rock, allowing the kids to climb and play on and in the limestone rock structures and caves as much as they wanted.  Kid-heaven!! For more information about Mount Diablo … Continue reading Silent Saturday: Trail Through Time, Rock City, Mount Diablo

Rockin’ Experiment 2: Make a Sedimentary Sandwich

This the second in our three-part exploration of rocks.  I’m teaching my 5-year-old about the three kinds of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic), what they are made of, and how they are created.  All three science experiments are being conducted in the kitchen.  Today, we’re learning about sedimentary rocks. *** First, discuss with your child what sedimentary rock is made out of… mud, sand, and … Continue reading Rockin’ Experiment 2: Make a Sedimentary Sandwich

Rockin’ Experiment 1: A Lava-licious Igneous Meltdown

I found each of the experiments in this three-part geology series for young kids in the book, Kindergarten Success,  by Jill Frankel Hauser. The first, from the book, is “Igneous Meltdown”, an exploration in how magma (rock melted deep in the earth from heat and pressure) flows out of the earth as lava, which, as it cools and hardens, becomes igneous rock. Note… this experiment … Continue reading Rockin’ Experiment 1: A Lava-licious Igneous Meltdown

It’s Earth Science Week!

Earth Science Week is going on right now, this week, October 14th-20th.  This international “event” is put on by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) “to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth.”  Sounds like a great time to teach our kids a bit about the earth! Not sure where to start?  We’re … Continue reading It’s Earth Science Week!

Devils Postpile National Monument

If you’re ever in the Eastern Sierras near Mammoth Lakes, you’ve gotta check out Devils Postpile.  This place is incredible, and unlike anywhere else I’ve visited in California.  The only other place I can personally compare it to is the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.  Both places have these fascinating basalt hexagonal columns.  You have to see them to truly appreciate them. What’s so special … Continue reading Devils Postpile National Monument

This Weekend! Harvest Festival, Ardenwood Historic Farm

Another of our favorite festivals is coming up this weekend… the Harvest Festival at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont. This is such a fun festival for kids! The highlight of this event for us is the corn picking.  How often do kids get to head into the fields and hand-pick corn??  My son (then four) ran into the corn fields over and over again last … Continue reading This Weekend! Harvest Festival, Ardenwood Historic Farm

South Tufa Trail, Mono Lake

On Friday, during our trip to the Eastern Sierras, we enjoyed a hike on the South Tufa Trail at Mono Lake, California.  This is a short, flat 1-2 mile trail, perfect for kids, with a lot to see…. fun limestone rock formations, a salt-water lake, views of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west, ancient volcanoes on the north and east, and sagebrush everywhere.  Gorgeous… … Continue reading South Tufa Trail, Mono Lake

Butterfly, The Fen, Yosemite Valley

Quite a few of these beautiful butterflies were fluttering around “The Fen” in Yosemite Valley on Saturday morning. Haven’t heard of “The Fen”?  It’s one of my favorite little spots in Yosemite Valley.  It’s a short boardwalk trail through a marsh.  If you follow the trail from the Happy Isles shuttle stop to the Nature Center (open May through September), you’ll find the trail off … Continue reading Butterfly, The Fen, Yosemite Valley

Nature Treasure Hunt: Autumn

I ready about going on a winter treasure hunt in Clare Walker Leslie’s book, The Nature Connection, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do during the fall, too, with some slight modifications. Here’s how you do it… On a sheet of paper (one for each child if desired or one paper for the group), create four sections, with each section labeled … Continue reading Nature Treasure Hunt: Autumn

Fall Foliage, Rock Creek, California

Each year, for our anniversary, my husband and I celebrate with a little trip to Yosemite and/or the Eastern Sierras.  One of the things we hope to see each year is the fall foliage.  Sometimes we’re lucky, sometimes we’re not.  This year, the display was stunning!  Late last week, the colors were amazing up and down US Route 395 in Mono County. Photos were taken … Continue reading Fall Foliage, Rock Creek, California