Posted in DIY, Education, fun, Library, teaching, Uncategorized

A Polar Bear named Chuck

I haven’t done a lesson/educational post in a while but a week ago I had the privilege of teaching a small class of about twelve elementary aged students a STEM class. My daughter attends a co-op one day a week and the deal is parents have to chip in, which I think is fantastic.

However, STEM is not my strong suit. I’m a words person, not a numbers person so at first, I was a little panicked. Then I started to realize, why can’t I do both?

*This post contains affiliate links because I like to eat

So I started thinking of science-related issues that I cared about, since that would obviously be easier to write about and decided to do something on global warming. Thus, Chuck was born. Here is the lesson plan and what you need to recreate for a class or in your own home.

The story-

(We made the story into a game to keep the student’s interest. If you are doing this with just one child you may want to tweak that part. The game was that each group of students received a folder with a habitat picture inside. They had to give clues as to what their habitat was to the other students to guess. When the correct answer was guessed, the picture was taped to the front of the class.)

 

A Home for Chuck

One polar bear’s escape from the melting ice

Page one: Have picture up of Arctic landscape

(Does anyone know, or want to take a guess, about how many cubs a polar bear usually has? Answer: two)

When Chuck was a wee lad he lived on the ice of the Arctic with his mom and his sister Chucklette. He was born in a small den, in December and came out to see his Arctic home in March.

Everyone repeat after me- Polar bears live in the Arctic. Not the Antarctic. The Arctic.

Repeat- Penguins and Polar Bears do not live together!

Chuck was a little bit bigger than his sister but they would play and wrestle in the snow.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbILj_CYqno

****Change pictures- picture of Arctic melting

At the ripe age of 30 months old, or close to three years old, Chuck went out on his own to be a man. He would catch seals and fish. He did this by waiting near a melting ice patch in the land. This would be the best place to find seals because the freezing, then melting of the patch gave seals a place to pop up and breathe.

Chuck, like most polar bears, was a great swimmer. But because swimming takes up so much energy, he would need to get back to the ice to rest. So he would wander around on a large home of snow and ice.

Only, his home wasn’t so large anymore. Chuck started to notice that the older he got, the smaller his arctic home became. He liked the water for hunting but he couldn’t live on it. His home was getting thinner, smaller, and more wet.

“Well,” said Chuck one day, “I have had enough!

I’m a big ole Polar Bear, I need land, lots of land to roam. I think I should set out to find myself a new home.”

As luck would have it, there was an abandoned researcher’s site nearby and it had a tarp, some rope, and a large tub.

So Chuck fashioned himself a parachute and decided to see the world!

(Now, everyone is going to get a super secret folder that has a picture of a habitat inside, along with a number on the outside. You will work in pairs or threes, just for a minute. When I call your number you will look at your habitat, then you and partner will have to describe it to the rest of the class to see if we can guess which habitat it is. For example, if I opened my folder and it was a picture of a living room I would say something like: Well, Chuck couldn’t live here because he would bang his head on the ceiling. Notice I didn’t say anything about it being a room or a living room. So we will NOT say what our habitat is, we will give clues. Repeat after me “I will NOT say what my habitat is”. Can someone define habitat for us? Answer: Natural home or environment for animal, plants, or any organism. *Handout folders)

When habitat is guessed, student tape the picture to the board.

First Group: Parachutes to Mountains

After a long day of floating through the sky, Chuck sees something below him and starts his descent.

Group one, open your folder and tell the class why you think Chuck couldn’t live there, or just something about your habitat without saying what it is. *student tapes their habitat on the board.

*Class discussion *Clap- one two three

So Chuck saw the snow and thought, “hmm this might be a good place to land.” And land he did, with a thud. The mountain was quite uneven, as most mountains are. Whoa, whoa. But Chuck got steady.

“Wow, it’s hard to walk on these rocky mountains.” Chuck weighed as much as 10 men, and trying to climb any higher on the mountain was a very hard and scary task. “Maybe I should just climb down instead.” Slowly he made his way to the bottom of the mountain. Once he was on safe flat land he realized how hungry he was. He looked around and didn’t see any animals he could eat. Just some scattered green things. He looked back up and saw some birds flying overhead. “Well, how am I supposed to catch those for dinner?”

“I don’t think the mountains are for me.” Chuck got in the tub and threw up his parachute to catch the wind. He drifted and sailed through the sky until he saw another place to land.

Group Two: Parachute to the Ocean

 

Down he went. Group two, open your folder and tell the class why you think Chuck couldn’t live there, or just something about your habitat without saying what it is.

Now polar bears, are actually the only bear that is considered a marine mammal. Polar bears can swim for hours and hours to get from one piece of ice to the other. But this water wasn’t as cold as he was used to. It was warm and salty. Saltier then he had back in the Arctic.

“Well at least there’s some fish,” Chuck thought. He dove down and got a fish to eat. Then looked around. He was getting tired. But there was nowhere to get out of the water!

“I can’t live in the ocean ALL the time,” Chuck said. “This place can’t be my new home. He swam back to where his tub and parachute were floating and waited for a strong wind to blow. “Let’s try again,” he said and off he floated into the sky.

 

Group Three: The desert

Group three, open your folder and tell the class why you think Chuck couldn’t live there, or just something about your habitat without saying what it is.

Now Chuck was used to not doing much when it was hot outside. During summer in the Arctic, polar bears have “walking hibernation” where they do less activity. But this heat was TOO much. Chuck’s thick fur and skin made him so hot.

“There’s got to water around here somewhere.” He thought. He walked and walked. He passed a strange looking animal that had two humps on his back. (What animal is that?)

“Excuse me,” Chuck asked the camel. “Is there any water around here? Or a place to cool down?”

“Cool down?” the camel laughed. “Certainly not. There is some water about two days walk that way.” He nodded behind him.

“Two days!” said Chuck. He couldn’t walk for two days without water. “How are you able to go so long without water?”

“Oh I have these humps and I’ve lived in the desert all my life. I’ve adapted.”

Chuck shook his head. He couldn’t adapt to all this heat and the dryness. He went back to his parachute and waited for the wind to blow.


Group Four: The Rainforest

Group four, open your folder and tell the class why you think Chuck couldn’t live there, or just something about your habitat without saying what it is.

When Chuck landed this time he was surrounded by green! He had never seen so much green in his life.

“Well, it’s still really hot here. But at least it seems like there may be water around.”

He was getting tired from all this traveling and decided to take a nap.  As he laid his head down he heard sounds of all kinds: birds chirping, monkeys howling, bugs and frogs clicking.

“This is much louder than the Arctic,” Chuck said. (Why do you think it’s louder in the rainforest than in the Arctic?) He thought maybe he should try to hunt for another snack before deciding if he could live here.

He sat and waited. There were so many animals nearby that he could hear but nothing was coming near him. At home, in the Arctic, Chuck could just sit still and blend in with the snow so his prey didn’t see him, but now! (Why would that not work now?)

“I can’t live here,” Chuck said sadly. He went to his parachute to try again.

 

Group Five: The Northern Forests or Woodlands

Group five, open your folder and tell the class why you think Chuck couldn’t live there, or just something about your habitat without saying what it is.

As he looked around at first he thought he was in the same place as he just left but the air was much cooler and the trees were all different.

“At least it’s getting colder,” Chuck said. He was finally able to take a short nap before deciding to try again for a snack.

“It sounds like everything is up in the trees, maybe I have to climb up to get some food.”

So Chuck went to the nearest tree and put his paws on the trunk. HEAVE, he tried to lift himself but could barely get his bottom off the ground. HEAVE he tried again. 

By and by he saw another animal walking towards him. Not as big as he was, but was still pretty big and furry. (What do you think he saw?)

“Oh Mr. Bear.”

“Ahem, I am lady Mr. White Bear. What are you?” she answered.

“Oh sorry, I’m a polar bear.”

“A polar bear? What are you doing here? You can’t live here.”

“Well, why not if you do? You’re a bear too.”

“Yes but I can climb quickly and hide. You can’t sir.”

No he couldn’t. He couldn’t hide here just as he couldn’t hide in the rainforest.

“I guess you’re right,” he told the lady bear.

So Chuck got his parachute and decided to go home…

 

Group Six: Antarctic

Group six, open your folder and tell the class why you think Chuck couldn’t live there, or just something about your habitat without saying what it is.

So, this is a hard one, the hardest one. Why couldn’t Polar Bears live in the Antarctic? It’s cold, it’s ice, it looks so much like the Arctic!

But it’s not.

Chuck walked around, seemingly confused. “It looks kind of like home but not completely.” He shivered, it actually felt colder here than back in the Arctic.

For miles and miles, all Chuck could see was more snow and ice. The ground was so hard and frozen solid, Chuck didn’t think he’d be able to build a den here. He also didn’t see any other polar bears or any animal for that matter.

Up ahead he saw water and started to get excited. Maybe there’s some seals nearby, although he couldn’t smell any even with his great sense of smell. But he smelled something else. Was that chicken? Definitely a bird. (What bird lives in the Antarctic?)

They were so funny looking like they were wearing suits. Chuck didn’t think he would like penguins very much and not having anyone else to talk to he decided to really go home this time. It was too cold, maybe even for him.

Chuck went back to the Arctic and decided to make do with his shrinking home.

“I hope everyone tries to help us save our Arctic home,” he thought to himself. As he looked around he saw another bear’s den and felt happy to be back.

 

Now, Chuck’s home is shrinking. Do we all know what that is?

Map of global warming.

*From here we talked about ways to stop global warming, lower pollution, and recycle. Then we made DIY parachutes out of used plastic grocery bags, twine, tape, and small polar bears I ordered off of Oriental Trading.


Lastly, I had built a wind tunnel that we used to launch our Chucks across the room. This was obviously the most fun part of the lesson but if building a wind tunnel isn’t possible for you the parachutes work just from being thrown as well.

Image may contain: drink and indoor

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in DIY, Family, Opinion, parenting, Uncategorized

The Closet- Minimized

closet

This smattering of clothes and piles of random items was my closet. It’s embarrassing how bad it got but I have to show the disarray in order to show the difference that downsizing can make. In this picture, our master bedroom, we had two dressers (one for each- mine is on the other side of the room), a closet (not walk in but not too small), and a mess of shoes, hats, and misc home stuff on the ground. We don’t even have doors on the closet so I have to look at this every morning. Not a great way to start the day.

This post contains affiliated links that help me survive, apparently I’m supposed to say that now.

  1. The dresser

Why do I need a dresser? Do I need somewhere fancy to store t-shirts and underwear? Do socks need a whole drawer to spread out in? Not really.

I went through my dresser first and did it in steps. First, I made all my foldable clothes fit into one drawer as opposed to three. I had an affinity for funny shirts and graphic tees in high school and college and wore them much longer than I rightly should have (let’s be real I still do at home).



After sorting through those and saving some for a future quilt (yeah I know), I was able to get everything into two drawers, then one. This took a few times of sorting. I really felt like I needed a pair of sweat pants for every day of the week. But I wear the same three over and over again. Once the dresser was out of my room and gone and I saw the open floor I was addicted.

2. The Closet Planning: Capsules

Then came the more fun part: capsule planning. Now for some people that probably sounds “so bored” as my daughter says, but this was my favorite part. I got to go on Pinterest and plan my wardrobe. There are sites that you can pay and they will help you but I wanted to do it myself. Also, I am using “capsule” very loosely. For many people who have a real capsule wardrobe of 30 pieces I still look like a lush. I still want to downsize some more but right now I’m at a good point (I have about 55), and I’m not buying anything else to add so there’s a win.



Some things I learned from capsule planning are:

Pin outfits you really like. Don’t worry about if they would actually look good on you at this point just find stuff you like. Look for patterns. If you see a lot of tanks with maxi skirts than there’s a good bet you should have that in your closet. If you don’t see a lot of flowy tops but you have four of them hanging up, maybe time to get rid of them. I even printed out my top favorites and made a visual list of items that I should have to create the outfits I like. I have never been the most fashionable person in the world so this step was kind of new to me.

Selecting a few colors really does help. I had a lot of pretty bo-ho tops that I never wore because the colors made me look ill. I had a lot of colors that just plain didn’t match as well. I narrowed mine down to neutrals (white, black, gray, and navy) and accents (blush, yellow, teal, and olive). Anything not primarily in those colors I took out of my closet and boxed them up. I didn’t throw them away right away I just removed them to see how I would feel.

Duplicates need to go. I always though I needed like ten black shirts. They all fit different, I argued. I now have two, one loose and one tight, and that’s all I need.

3. More perks of less clothes

I have gotten a lot of compliments in the past few months about my style change and I think creating this “capsule” really made that happen. It takes half the time to get ready in the morning and I’m not saying I feel great every day I walk out the door but what I’m going to wear doesn’t consume as much time as it did.

I still have a ways to go but I managed to get rid of enough clothes that my husband was able to build a book case in the closet. That was a HUGE motivator for me. I have more books than anything else probably and wanted storage for them, even though I am still minimizing and getting rid of some. It’s a long process.

20171117_091747.jpg

Last thing I would like to point out is when you are minimizing your closet/wardrobe make sure you gather ALL your clothes. From the laundry, from the car, from your work, everywhere. Don’t just do the clothes in your room.

Hope this helps some of you out there! I had a few emails about the bedroom so please send me your thoughts I love hearing them.

Posted in DIY, Family, health, Mental Health, Opinion, parenting, teen, toddlers, Uncategorized

Safety zone: Child’s bedroom

There’s a lot out there on moms and dads having “me time”. It’s super important, I’m not denying that. I am however advocating the kids need “me time” too. Time to reconnect, time to calm, time to be bored. The best place for that is outside, and if you’re lucky enough to have a space outside for your kid to play alone than use it! However, second best is their bedroom.

Their bedroom should be their safe zone. They should want to be in there. Don’t force your decorating aesthetic on them. I want my whole house in Harry Potter decor but it’s just not going to happen because my kids haven’t even seen a whole movie yet (I know, it’s on my list).

My daughter decided she wanted a flamingo bedroom when I told her she couldn’t share a room with her brother anymore. It was kind of a sad day but after she started picking out some things for us to use she pepped up pretty fast.

Perks:

  1. More likely to stay in there during the night and during bedtime: if you have had issues with this you know how big of a deal that is.
  2. Has a place to go when needs to cool off: again if you have had issues with this you know how important this is too. We have a small house so it’s crucial my kids feel comfortable in their bedrooms to diffuse.
  3. Gives them a place to play quietly when quiet time is needed: if you have more than one child, or one but you do work from home or something else that requires quiet, having a safe zone room is crucial. Before we made over my daughter’s room getting her brother to nap was super hard. She would want to be out in the living room with us or playing in his room. Now, she has a craft/reading area in her bedroom that she will play with until he’s asleep and we can play together.
  4. Gives them a safe place: kind of goes with the cool off one, but also for other intense feelings. Sometimes kids just need to cry or scream or vent. Sometimes they need to do that alone before you try to intervene and make them talk through it.

But how?

Well for one, ask them what they want. There’s almost no theme or idea that you can’t tweak to make you both happy. Unless, of course, it’s Dora (again yes). Also, we did not have a “moving to a new bedroom and need decor” budget in our savings. So, we took things we already had and made it work for the room. I think total I spent about $45 bucks on paint, new sheets, and one stuffed flamingo (optional).

We painted the hutch that a friend was getting rid of, the mirror from Walmart, and the green shelves that were currently in her brother’s room but had nothing on them. I put the dresser in her brother’s room that now had more space with her bed gone and moved the bookcase into her room since she is the one who is using the books more.

The princess netting was over her bed in her brother’s room but we decided to use it over her reading area to give it more of a separation. Additions have been a lava lamp for calming down at night and an oil diffuser.

 

Posted in DIY, Family, Holidays

Teen Costumes= Scary

I get it, it’s Halloween (which I love dearly), you’re supposed to dress up and get crazy and be someone other than yourself for at least a day. Understandable. It’s been a magical day since it’s inception as Samhain. However! I just took my 2 year old to look at costumes and I saw…a sexy cop outfit for about a five year old? What five year old wants to be that (if yours does I apologize and I hope you talk them out of it)? As an adult yeah sure, everything for Halloween can be slutty- slutty cat, slutty teacher, slutty cheeseburger:

Why?…cheeseburger does not equal sexy. EVEN SLUTTY CAREBEARS! The humanity of it all!

But hey you’re an adult…dress like you want. For teens however, their choices of costumes can be quite slim if they don’t want to be overly sexy (well lets face it for adults too).

Some of the best selling teen costumes are the sexified versions of the Disney princesses, anything Alice in Wonderland related sexified, and what I think is the worst idea ever, the sexy ninja turtle:

@Kat Hamblin  This should be us next year. Should do the whole crew. Love it! Tmt  girl style:

This is a ninja turtle:

Just sayin…

So here some still awesome ideas for costumes even if you want actual clothes on for Halloween.

Adventure Time!

Wayne and Garth…still a classic costume for a duo:

No I’m the only who parties!

Rock, Paper, Scissors. Clever.

Rock Paper Scissors Group Halloween Costume at Abbiegoguen

Probably one of my favorites:

Shark Week Group Halloween Costume at Coolest Homemade Costumes

Posted in DIY, Education, Family, Gardening, health

How to Start a Family Garden

First and foremost do not make this a chore! If you already an avid gardener and you know which plants you like, where you like them, how to perfectly make them grow, you need to kick some of that out the window. Kids are messy and will make a lot of mistakes. They will plant somethings too deep and somethings not deep enough. But let them mess up. Don’t go behind them and fix every single they do. Let them see the outcome; these grew to blossom because you did this…and these didn’t because you did this…Explaining their mistakes is a much better way to improve their gardening and growing skills.

Listen to your children as well. You may be all about some pink and white flowers but your kids want to try and grow vegetables that they can eat. If you can do both great, if not let’s try their idea. Some kids will just never like gardening. There are plenty of children who do not like dirt, the idea of sitting in the mud or grass is not appealing, and there is no way to force them to like it. That’s fine too. They can still participate with things like garden planning, creating labels for the plants, decorating flower pots, and making little animal or fairy houses to put in the garden (talk about more in activities).

You must be realistic when starting this project. Don’t tackle a huge garden filled with apple trees over there, and potatoes over here, and some lilacs over there. Gardening and growing food is a skill that takes time. Good gardeners really don’t get enough credit. Work with the space you have and maybe start with 3-5 plants. Once they are good and growing add another if you can. If working with a small space here are some ideas:

Herb gardens do not need a lot of space and are nice for kids because they get a reward out of it. They get to see their plants grow and then they get to taste new delicious foods! Mint, lavender (which I personally hate to be honest), oregano, and basil are all easy to find recipes for. Chives is also a good one because it repels mosquito (more natural bug repellents here.)

free-standing-vertical-pallet-herb-garden

If you have some more room here are some great resources on garden mapping:

 Kitchen Garden Planner– This site is mostly to sway sales; however, they do have pre-planned maps and interactive maps to help you plan your garden.

Better Homes and Garden- Good article on how to map out your garden.

If you have the space, consider having seating within your garden. You and your child should be able to come outside after a long day and admire your hard work. A table and chairs amidst your plants is a great place for kids to relax or play. If you are starting a porch garden or indoor garden this applies to you too. Make sure you have a seating area near your plants. This will also make it easier to show off your child’s hard work. Some ideas for seating:

Hammock Nook11c769e28ffc5e341783eceef2d97ed9cute little bench...  Budget Backyard: 10 Ways to Use Cheap Concrete Cinder Blocks Outdoors

Dishfunctional Designs has some great ideas too!

Some things to consider:

Always keep your garden a safe area. Have a set place, preferably a locked place, to keep all sharp garden tools.

Use little (or preferably no) fertilizers or insecticides because they are toxic to people. Kids eating dirt isn’t really a big deal, kids eating chemicals can be.

I just want to add that I do not make any money per clicks or via referring companies so any pictures or links that I post are because I found them doing research and thought they would be beneficial to you 🙂

Posted in Christmas, DIY, parenting

Make Believe Toys

I had a play kitchen growing up. It wasn’t much of a kitchen but it had an oven, a microwave, some stickers that represented burners and knobs and gadgets. I also had a Sesame Street table right next to it. Whenever family or friends came over I would make them a nice meal, sometimes play dough spaghetti to help the effect, sometimes an empty plate.

What got me thinking about it is the fact that Christmas is coming (yeah I know I JUST did a fall post but I’m one of those people…) and I want to get/make something for Riley to enhance her imagination at play time. Her father and I decided due to money (and to the fact we think it would be cool for her have something we made) we are going to create a cafe/tea table.

It made me think to do a post because it is a challenge finding DIY Make Believe toys other than a kitchen for girls or a workbench for boys! But there’s so much out there that could be turned into some sort of stand up toy for your child to really get into their playing. Here is a list of ideas we had before settling on the cafe which I hope will turn out like this (Scroll down to the cafe).

 

 

Is is similar to a kitchen? Yeah kind of but at least it’s a little bit different. I understand that toddlers like to do things that they see their parents doing (ie the kitchens, play vacuums, play cars, ect) but there are other examples of this other than cooking. I only cook three hours a week tops so if Riley is trying to imitate me a kitchen is not where she should be!

Some ideas:

 

Vanity: there are a lot of cheap vanities at WalMart and on Amazon but a homemade one would be great for a little girl. I like the idea of having a vanity/dress up closet combo. These people did a great job and it’s a very simple design.

(If this is yours please let me know I will link your page)

Garden: I was torn between the cafe and a play garden to be honest. The play garden has so many learning possibilities to go with it! A Beautiful Mess has a tutorial on making a felt garden like pictured. But you can definitely add to make the garden a play area. We were going to make a play potting station with an area to hang her tools, different flower and plant toys, a little window box to “plant” flowers, and the list goes on rDIY Felt Garden Boxeally. diy little girls room | DIY Indoor Window Boxes for little girl's room | Oh BABY!

Campground: I’m pretty sure everyone has seen the play canvas tents all over etsy and Pinterest. Well why not create a little play campground. You could have an area for the fire, have play logs to collect, a blanket on the ground next to it for a picnic, and have a great place to read and tell stories.

Play store: one of the coolest I saw by far was this play farmer’s market stand.

Home made kids store.  My kids would love this & not hard to make, but great for the imagination!

It was really tempting to try this but I just don’t think we are talented enough to pull this off correctly.

There are also tons of cool ideas for play kitchens to build/make if you go through Google or Pinterest so if you want your kid cooking then let them cook! I will say, some of the outside mud kitchens that I saw were amazing. Might have to wait until spring for that now.