San Francisco: The Exploratorium

“The Exploratorium is a twenty-first-century learning laboratory, an eye-opening, always-changing, playful place to explore and tinker. For more than forty years, we’ve built creative, thought-provoking exhibits, tools, programs, and experiences that ignite curiosity, encourage exploration, and lead to profound learning.” – From the Exploratorium website (www.exploratorium.edu) The Exploratorium is the ultimate playground for the mind, a must-visit for anyone who’s into building and creating with … Continue reading San Francisco: The Exploratorium

Silent Saturday: Nature Journaling

“The most important thing we can teach our children is to observe well.” -Ernst Mayer, Evolutionary Biologist Learning about animal tracks and signs, and journaling their observations. *** An awesome, free, naturalist-led class! Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley *** Interested in learning more about nature journaling?  I highly recommend the book, Keeping a Nature Journal:  Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You, … Continue reading Silent Saturday: Nature Journaling

Kid Science: Make a Seed Viewer

Seeds… how incredible that plants of all sizes can grow from such a tiny thing.  If you’ve gardened with a young child, you’ve witnessed their fascination and wonder at the mystery of plants.  To give your child the opportunity to actually witness the growth of a plant from the first roots shooting out of the seed to ultimately pushing through the surface of the dirt, … Continue reading Kid Science: Make a Seed Viewer

Great book! Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism

In preparation for Earth Day next month, I’m currently reading a wonderful book… Friends of the Earth:  A History of American Environmentalism by Pat McCarthy.   The book, written for children ages 9 and up,  introduces the efforts, struggles, and triumphs of men and women (scientists, artists, authors, naturalists) who dedicated their lives to protecting the United States’ natural heritage.  The author has also included twenty-one … Continue reading Great book! Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism

Sausalito: San Francisco Bay-Delta Model

Apparently, back in the 1950’s, engineers were considering building two dams in the San Francisco Bay to create fresh water reservoirs, right in the bay.  Luckily, the US Army Corps of Engineers decided it would be a good idea to study the potential impacts that such a huge undertaking might have, both environmentally and economically, on the surrounding communities.  So, in 1957, they built the … Continue reading Sausalito: San Francisco Bay-Delta Model

Paleontology Play: The Magic School Bus Fossil Science Kit

For those of you with kids in the 5-12 age-range, I highly recommend you check out The Magic School Bus Science Club, offered through The Young Scientist Club (www.theyoungscientistclub.com).   By joining the club, you’ll receive twelve Magic School Bus science kits, one mailed each month of the year.  The cost is about $240/year, but you might be able to find a 50% off membership … Continue reading Paleontology Play: The Magic School Bus Fossil Science Kit

More Fun with Animal Tracks

This past weekend, we attended a fun nature class at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  This free class for children aged 5+ and their family, called Family Nature Hour, is held on Saturday afternoons throughout the year.  Each week a different concept from the natural world is covered.  The one we attended on Saturday was about animal tracks. We were fortunate to have the … Continue reading More Fun with Animal Tracks

Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center, located in Santa Cruz on the bluffs above the Monterey Bay, is a true gem.  Don’t expect the grandeur of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but be prepared for a smaller, quieter, more intimate experience here.  The location is phenomenal.  On a clear day, the views can’t be beat. Inside the center, children will actually have time to experience the touch … Continue reading Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz

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

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!

Let’s Count Stars!

I’m always on the lookout for citizen science projects that would be fun to do with my son.  I believe it’s a great way to teach science and get kids involved in a real-life project.  Of course, this isn’t just for kids!  Participating in citizen science projects is a wonderful way for people of all ages to contribute to scientific research. For kids (or adults) … Continue reading Let’s Count Stars!

Won’t Back Down… Simple, Anti-Union Propaganda

Tuesday night, my husband and I did something we haven’t done in a long time…. went to a movie!  I was offered the opportunity to attend a movie preview, and I couldn’t refuse. Movie:  Won’t Back Down Starring:  Maggie Gyllenhaall and Viola Davis Opening:  September 28, 2012 The Story: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play two determined mothers, one a teacher, who will stop at … Continue reading Won’t Back Down… Simple, Anti-Union Propaganda

Amazing Animals Scavenger Hunt, Oakland Zoo

We’ve had a membership to the Oakland Zoo for over three years now.  We visit frequently, as it is a beautiful place to run around, with a great Children’s Zoo for the kids.  And what better way for a child to see, in relatively close and safe proximity, wild animals from around the world.  Usually when we visit the zoo, I ask my son what … Continue reading Amazing Animals Scavenger Hunt, Oakland Zoo

Wild Animals Up Close in the San Francisco East Bay

We all know that it’s not OK to approach a wild animal out in nature, so how can we provide opportunities to nurture our children’s curiosity about these animals and provide the hands-on learning our children love? We’re fortunate to have many programs in the San Francisco East Bay which allow our children to experience and touch wild creatures in a safe environment. Here I’ve … Continue reading Wild Animals Up Close in the San Francisco East Bay