Lessons learned at the park

A formal educational setting is not needed to provide lessons to you children. Teachable moments can arise in an instant. As a perfect example of this: the other day, we were at the park and I was stressing to my daughter that she did not need to push back and forth while on the spinning apparatus thing (for lack of better word) because it works by centrifugal force.

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I turn around for a second and it happens; a yell, a cry and her lip is bleeding. So needless to say our time at the park was cut short. Although she got hurt,  it was a lesson none the less.

There is a lot to learned at the park, here are a few:

Literacy: A simple literacy activity that you can do with your child while visiting the park is to simply read the signs. Read the directions and information that you will find around the playground. When you get home have your child write about their experiences at the park that day. If they are still little have them draw it, you can ask them to describe the picture to you and you can write it on the drawing afterwards.

Physical educational: Let them run, climb, jump and slide. Not only will they burn of some steam but they actually be exercising. Most playgrounds have different play areas with designated age levels so they can exert their own physical skills. Take a ball with you to the park and practice kicking an throwing the ball while you are there.

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Science and nature: My daughters favorite thing. Go on a nature walk, discuss the nature surrounding them. The trees, flowers, water features, grass and bugs. How do the plants grow, why does mold grow on this side of the tree, what type of flower/tree is this, what type of insects live here and what do they eat and what are the different parts of plants? Collect some leaves and do leaf rubbings when you get home.

Social/Etiquette skills: Lets face it some people just don’t pick up after themselves. You can teach them pick up at least five pieces of trash. (serve your community)  If everyone did that, our parks would sparkle. Parks are also very sociable places. It is an ideal opportunity for your child  (and yourself) to socialize with other children (moms) and learn a variety of social skills such as talking, listening and sharing.

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History: Many parks have some great history behind them. Find information on plaques/memorial statues.

Art: A brilliant way for children to express themselves is through art. Have them draw their experiences. Make a collage out of the leaves they have collected. One of our favorite activities is to gather and collect “nature” then they make create nature creatures. Use grass as rope to tie twigs together.

A simply trip to the park can provide so many lessons.

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Whole Kids Cooking Club at Whole Foods

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We attended the Whole Foods, Whole Kids Cooking club on Friday, “Cooking a Rainbow” was the theme. The goal of the cooking class was to support healthy eating habits by eating from a rainbow. This class was a hands healthy eating course for kids.

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The host had an array of beautiful juliette sliced veggies such as sweet potato, squash, zucchini, finely chopped rainbow broccoli, edamame and a black bean pasta. The younger kids, 3-4, had a great time piling veggies on their plate and the 6+ age group arranged their veggies into beautiful rainbows. All of them were so proud of their creation. They topped their colorful plates with a warm marinara sauce.

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For dessert they were given slices of bananas, they scooped out the middle of the banana filled it with peanut butter and dipped the bottom in chocolate. Both of my girls loved it.

Since the all the kids made such a big plate of veggies, my girls couldn’t even finish even a quarter of what was on the their plate. My husband and I were able to fest on the leftovers later on. Overall, this was a refining moment for all of us, the girls loved the veggies and I found a Black Bean pasta that I can’t wait to incorporate into a dish.

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Our local Whole Foods has kids cooking classes twice a month for the cost of $5.00. They provided an abundance of ingredients (all of which were organic), my girls were able to try (and liked) the black bean pasta and my girls understood the concept of eating from a rainbow. Since the discussion was ripe for the taking, we walked around Whole Foods afterwards and discussed the importance healthy eating habits. I look forward to the next class.

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Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

This is a free global reading program that encourages kids to read all summer long. This addition to my Summer Educational Series, keeps kids reading books and logging their reading minutes (online and on smartphones). They can enter sweepstakes to win prizes and earn digital rewards when they complete weekly reading challenges. This year’s theme is “Reading Under the Stars!” Kids will unlock constellations and learn fun facts about space as they reach reading milestones every week.

Kids 4-14 are the core ages, but if you read to your younger children, you can log reading minutes on their behalf.

You can sign up online at www.scholastic.com/summer .  Although kids can log minutes through any desktop browser,  mobile device (tablets or phones) browser, or through the free Scholastic Reading Timer mobile app on iOS and Android devices, you must register or authenticate via a desktop browser first. The website is completely kid safe as there are COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) laws that Scholastic adheres to. 

Scholastic also offers a lot great ideas through their Scholastic Parents Facebook page. Parents be sure to visit  the content calendar, it provides free daily expert tips and articles, activities, discounts on books, and special Friday giveaways.

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Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

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Google launches “Made with Code” website to get girls coding

If you are the parent of a girl – pay attention to this – Google is spending $50 million dollars to get girls to code. This is a huge statement!

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From googleblog.blogspot.com:

Today, we’re attempting to solve this issue on a much larger scale. Along with Chelsea Clinton, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab, National Center for Women & Information Technology, SevenTeen, TechCrunch and more, Google is launching Made with Code, an initiative to inspire girls to code. The program includes:

  • Cool introductory Blockly-based coding projects, like designing a bracelet 3D-printed by Shapeways, learning to create animated GIFs and building beats for a music track.
  • Collaborations with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls, Inc. to introduce Made with Code to girls in their networks, encouraging them to complete their first coding experience.
  • A commitment of $50 million to support programs that can help get more females into computer science, like rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy.

We’ve also posted videos about women who are using code in their dream jobs, like Miral, Danielle, Erica and other inspirational girl coders — like Brittany Wenger, who is using code to fight cancer. And, we’ve developed a few steps parents can take at home to get their daughters excited about computer science. Read more about the initiative here.

Nowadays, coding isn’t just a skill useful for working at a tech company; engineering isn’t just for engineers. Interior design. Medicine. Architecture. Music. No matter what a girl dreams of doing, learning how to code will help her get there. Their future — our future — is made with code. Let’s do what we can to make sure that future is as bright as possible.

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National Summer Learning Day – June 20th

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Yesterday marked the beginning of summer for us. It was My 7 year old daughter’s last day of school and she is not happy about it. She asked me “Why can’t the teachers just take the weekend off and start the next school year on Monday?”

I have a huge responsibility here, I need to keep her learning and engaged during the summer. I have listed a few things in my  Summer Educational Series  that she will be taking part in. Celebrating National Summer Learning Day on June 20th that goes right in line with my mission.

Summer Learning Day  is a day to spread awareness about the importance of combating summer learning loss and the need to offer learning opportunities for all students to keep brains engaged in the summer months. Summer learning is for all children, not just those who need to catch up in school. It helps to encourage children to be:

    • Creative and innovative.
    • A chance to use the great outdoors as a classroom.
    • A way to make sure your child is eating healthy and staying active during the summer.
    • A way for older youth to discover a career through job experiences.
    • A step up to the next grade or school level.
    • A tool for helping children and schools perform at their highest level.

This year, hundreds of events, big and small, are slated to celebrate summer learning across the nation. Find Summer Learning Day events close to you, Summer Learning is about bringing together fun activities and learning to provide a safe space for the children of working families.

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As a parent, you can help by turning everyday errands and outings into a learning experience. Download and print out some of the resources below to learn how.

  • Summer Learning Tips for Parents
  • This sheet offers some overall tips on finding a summer program for your child and other low-cost activities that you can do with your child during the summer months.
  • Ideas for Activities at Home
  • This sheet offers fun and easy-to-use ideas on how to turn everyday errands and local outings into learning for your child.
  • Ideas for Older Youth
  • Getting your tween or teen to learn during the summer can be a challenge. This sheet gives you ideas on how you can make it so fun and interactive they won’t even realize they are learning!
  • Ideas for an Active and Healthy Summer
  • This sheet gives ideas on how to keep your child physically active and fit, while eating healthy during the summer months.
  • Getting Teens College and Career Ready During the Summer
  • This sheet offers ideas families can use to work with teens during the summer to give them a start on what comes after high school and beyond.
  • Summer Reading
  • This resource will give you tips on how to keep your child reading all summer long.

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Free LEGO’s for our Future Builder’s

I absolutely loved LEGO’s as a child, as an adult I love to see my children playing with LEGO’s. I know that LEGO’s provide a child with complete freedom that allow their imaginations to soar. They encourage children to give their ideas and predictions a try and their mistakes become masterpieces with endless possibilities.

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As a parent, I love that as the child grows, their building possibilities grow from the same set of LEGO’s. They could potentially use the same blocks for years. Although, I am sure that they will add on to their existing set with some of the new themed sets. One set that I am very pleased to see coming out in August is a limited-edition box set called “Research Institute”, featuring three female scientists.

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LEGO stores hold FREE Monthly Mini Builds

Your local LEGO Store has FREE monthly Mini Model Builds on the first Tuesday of every month.  Your child can learn how to build a mini model and take it home for FREE (I think I already said that but I love FREE). These events are for kids ages 6 to 14.  The next upcoming Mini Model Build is: LEGO Beach Van: Tuesday, July 1 and begins at 5:00 pm until supplies last. 

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June 2014  Mini Build

Lego’s are an important part of your child’s development. Here are some the many benefits of Lego’s from ehow.com

Math and Science Skills

  • Building with Lego bricks fosters spatial reasoning and awareness of proportions and patterns. As a child builds, his or her mind is reasoning about what pieces will work best, how they should be arranged and how big or small the creation should be. The basic Lego bricks also teach fractions and division. From whole to half to quarter, children are learning fractions without even realizing it. Physics and engineering skills are also stealthily being developed. As a child builds a tall building or bridge, he or she is learning to think in three dimensions, balance weight and use supports for these structures.

Child Development

  • The most obvious physical benefit of building with Legos is the development of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are those that require small muscle movements. As a child manipulates the Lego bricks, he is developing the coordination of the small muscles in his fingers and hands. The ability to follow directions is also a benefit of Lego building. Many Lego kits come with step-by-step instructions that a child must follow in order to complete the task.

Thinking Skills

  • As a child builds with Legos, she is using problem solving skills. She has to figure out which blocks work in her building, sometimes using the trial and error method. Planning and organizing are other benefits. Lego building requires the child to have a plan before she builds, even if it is only a basic one. She also must organize his thoughts as well as the Lego pieces in order to bring her idea to life.

Creativity

  • Creativity is, perhaps, the most obvious of the benefits of learning with Legos. Building with blocks fosters a child’s creativity. Children can toss aside the instructional kits and use only the Lego bricks to create anything their minds can imagine. Free, open-ended play encourages children to think outside the box and dream up endless possibilities.

 

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The Benefits of Vacation Bible School

We are less then a week away from Vacation Bible School. We attend and volunteer at the VBS through Calvary Chruch located in Santa Ana.

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Calvary Chruch’s VBS is not affiliated with the church that I attend but I love several things about this VBS:

  • It’s FREE 
  • They never turn a child away
  • They help local children without transportation get to and from VBS
  • They are very organized and loving with the children
  • They teach children about giving back

Our VBS starts the day by meeting in the main church, they sing and pray together then head of to their classes where they have a bible based curriculum and then circulate in the campus and do crafts, play games, have a snack and than meet back up in the main church and end their day by singing to the lord and praying together.

They encourage children to give back by contributing through the “Penny Project”.  The kids bring in their “pennies” to fund a project to benefit the work of a missionary family. The kids will learn all about this family and what their pennies will help build or provide. This year they are helping a missionary family that is in the process of opening a new Transition Home in Balti, Moldova for 10 boys. The home will be provide a safe, loving home for boys who are too old for an orphanage but still need protection, school, and job training. The money our children raise through the “penny Project” will help buy comfortable furniture for the home, so it won’t be just a house, but a home. Now, I don’t know about you but I think it’s very impressive that my little girl come’s home understanding what missionary work is and is searching for pennies to help people she’s never meet .

VBS not only helps our children discover and grow closer to Christ, they also make friends and have memories and values to last a lifetime.

As for me, I love that volunteering at VBS works on my heart to witness the body of Christ at work. I volunteer in the craft room, which is non-stop from the moment you walk in. VBS needs a lot of volunteers to make it possible for kids to attend. Everything from donating snacks to helping with parking, helping with sign in’s each day, leading or assisting in a class room, helping in crafts room, kitchen area or music. There are tons of jobs that aren’t even addressed here. Every job is important and helps change the life of a child.

I know, yet another volunteer job and no money. But these volunteer positions that I take on give me more then money ever could. They give me the opportunity to give back to my community, to help someone, to make a difference and to refine my purpose by serving. I hope that my children see that volunteering within your community is needed and how important it is to give back. Volunteering doesn’t take money just your time and effort. Kids need to be taught how to volunteer. You have to be the example.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15

 

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pictures from last years VBS from OC Register.com

 

 

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Crystal Cove Tide Pools

Every time we come here, I fall more in love with this beautiful spot. Crystal Cove State Park is designated as an Underwater Park and definitely goes under my Summer Educational Series. This place makes it easy to add a learning experience to a family fun day at the beach.
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Nothing is better then nature’s classroom. Stop by art museum, located across from the one restaurant on the beach, and pick up a Sea Life pamphlet (made especially for kids but I love it) It describes how to explore the tidepools and the sea life you find at different tide levels.  All the kids love seeing sea anemones and get so excited by the Shore crabs. You can also read through the Crystal Cove State Park pamphlet with your to give them a some of the history of Crystal Cove.

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I am simply amazed by God’s beautiful creations when I’m here. The pristine beach is surrounded by 80 foot coastal bluffs. It has 3.2 miles of beach and seven separate coves to explore. There’s plenty of room on the beach for sunbathing and picnicking.
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There are volunteer led tidepool walks and every Wednesday throughout the summer, the Education Commons has classes on sea glass jewelry making, historic radio shows, historical games and more. These classes are from 9am-4pm and best of all it’s FREE.
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A great way to teach your kids about serving your community and preserving our beaches is to join in a beach clean-up effort check out Save Our Beach.

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How to Find the Park

The park is located off Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, California with easy access from I-5, 405 and 73. Crystal Cove State Park is located just north of Laguna Beach, California and just south of Corona Del Mar, California. Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1, passes directly by the Park. There is parking both on the ocean side of PCH at Reef Point and Pelican Point as well as inland parking at El Moro Day Use Parking Area by the Ranger Station which can be reached by going inland at School/State Park traffic signal, located next to El Morro School.. A few miles north from Reef Point is the Los Trancos parking area with trolley access to the Historic District.

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Caramelized Banana Pecan Paleo Ice Cream

Here’s a great recipe for you! It’s a Paleo ICE CREAM recipe that has only 4 ingredients. I found this recipe on www.mynaturalfamily.com (a great source for healthy recipes).

We make Banana ice cream a lot in our home. First, it’s natural, no artificial anything. Secondly, we save money but not buying store bought ice cream. Third, we get to use up banana’s and fruit that is getting a little old.

We usually just use bananas and whatever berries we have on hand. This recipe puts a twist on the traditional banana ice cream recipes and is sure to bring out all of the natural sweetness of the fruit.  

The 4 ingredients for this fabulous recipe are:

  •  4 Bananas 

  • 3 T. Grass-fed Butter(salted)

  • ½ C. Coconut Milk(canned), chilled

  • ½ C. Pecans, chopped and toasted

That’s it!!! That’s all that’s need to make healthy, delicious ice cream for your family.  

Some important notes from the blogger are: “the more ripe your bananas are, the sweeter the ice cream will end up being. Also it is important to note that you should be using canned coconut milk and not the coconut milk that is found in the refrigerated cartons. It will affect the creaminess and overall texture of the ice cream”.

For complete recipe & instructions visit www.mynaturalfamily.com. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

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