Small Hands in the Big World

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Wisdom of Daddy: Creative Excursions

It’s amazing what happens when I’m out of the picture and my husband has the kids an entire day or over a weekend. Some of the activities he comes up with are downright brilliant.

Most recently, he took the kids to Oak Creek Wildlife Viewing Area in Naches, Washington. “Huh? Where is that?” You ask? My thoughts exactly…  but boy was I surprised when they returned with great pictures, interesting facts, and lively stories.

Rocky Mountain Elk are the main attraction at this Wildlife Area (though you can go to another part to see Bighorn Sheep as well) and all it takes is a Washington State Discover Pass and calling (509) 653-2390 in advance to make a reservation if you want to take a guided truck tour (these tours are also available on a first-come first-serve basis but it's worth it to make a reservation if you can). As long as you're willing to head to Eastern Washington (near Yakima) in January or February and don't mind waiting around in the cold a bit, you're almost guaranteed to see Elk... and I'm talking about a LOT of Elk, and many with enormous antlers.

These Elk roam in from the neighboring mountains in search of food and apparently there can be up to 1,200 of these massive mammals at the feeding station at a time. Almost 100 miles of 8-foot-high fence was built in the 1940s to keep the Elk from devouring the acres of orchards in this region and every Winter this feeding station supplements the Elks' diet.

Even with two tour jeeps carrying curious folks in to get a closer look, a decent effort is made to keep a respectful distance from these still very wild animals. However, some of the Elk are just as curious as the visitors so there is a chance of up-close viewing. The male bull Elk with their enormous antlers can actually be very territorial (meaning aggressive) so it is essential to follow the rules while visiting.
The free tour even came with a big button displaying an Elk (but please don't call it a button, my kids are quite certain it is a very special badge).
Pin It

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Signs of Spring

Bees were buzzing and birds were singing. A few days of sunshine was all it took to get our tulips and daffodils peeking out of the ground.
Naturally, it is blustery and cold now but those lovely days a couple weeks back were a welcome preview of Spring just around the corner.
We spent as much time outside as possible, soaking up all the Vitamin D our bodies could absorb. In honor of the seasonal burst of color we'll experience soon, I set up a rainbow variation of a classic baking soda and vinegar science experiment for the kids.
The kids helped set everything up, scooping four piles of baking soda onto their trays while I prepared the jars of vinegar and food coloring

I was pleasantly surprised to see them adding small amounts of liquid at a time and observing the reaction closely. William even commented that the bubbles left behind holes like craters

But after a while Sara decided that using one dropper at a time just wasn't enough...

Without any interference from me, this beautiful mess appeared on William's tray

Everything is more fun when you can do it outside
Unable to resist the urge for instant springtime, I bought a Costco-sized flat of primroses (notice their pretty little heads in the background of the last photo above).
I'm so glad I took a few pictures of their colorful heads because this is what they looked like the following morning.
I would have suspected our resident banana slugs (we grow 'em big out here) or the little cotton tailed bunny we've seen hopping into the salmon berry brambles recently but when I counted that 12 primroses been chomped to smithereens and a few had even been uprooted from their comfy holes, the evidence unmistakably led to deer. Note to self:  just because you don't see the deer around very often them doesn't mean they aren't visiting you and patiently waiting for your next pretty flower to bloom.

Pin It

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Adventures of Art Lady: Kindergartners and Sticks

No, this isn’t a story about sword fights (though I have to admit I was nervous about that happening), it’s a story about making Garden Art Sticks with a group of fifteen 5- and 6-year olds.
I found this idea on this wonderful blog and thought it would be a great project for our Kindergarten class to make for the school's bi-annual auction.
My dear adventurous Mother, affectionately known as Cuckoo Grandma by my children, gathered a bundle of shapely beach sticks already smooth from being tossed in the ocean and sand. Once they were completely dry (let them sit in the dry place a few weeks), I painted them with a couple coats of white acrylic primer. After that, they were ready to cart to the school Art Room and let the kids slather on bright acrylic paints however they desired.
Here is how they looked after the first step:

And here is how they turned out!

The kids did such a great job. They seemed to take extra care since this was something special to raise money for their school. It was a bit messy but everyone did their best and I love how their Art Sticks turned out. Here are a few shots from my lesson that day:

Yes, getting more and more messy but most kids wore aprons

...except for this one

I was concerned that parents would be upset if their kids came home with stained clothes (acrylic paint doesn't wash out). As I was looking through photos from the lesson, I realized it was only my dear boy freely wiping his painted fingers onto shirt and pants... oops

"Look Mom, I put on an apron," after he was done... The ladies still love my little guy--this particular friend likes him so much she painted a spot of his hair blue (and he liked it). Kindergarten rocks.

Pin It
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...