Be a Junior Ranger at a National Park

The U.S. National Park Service offers a self-directed educational program for children visiting the parks.   Children ages 3-13 are invited by the park service to observe the park’s natural environment, learn ways to preserve it, and pass this knowledge to others.   Junior Ranger requirements are that children attend a guided park program (or…

Habitat Boxes: Beach

  Habitat Boxes allow us to categorize collections, have a mini-nature experience at home, and share our experiences with others. We have boxes to collect natural material from beach, desert, forest, & river environments. We love these hands-on experiences because they require children to use many senses. They feel, smell, and see natural objects. This…

Pop-Up Education Update + Naturally Colored Playdough

Pop-Up Education Update Pop-Up Education is, mostly, a curriculum writing venture for Holly and me, Ashley. We each have extensive teaching experience; Holly as a science teacher, and I, as an environmental educator. Our goal is to document lessons and enhance what we know, write it down, and organize it to share. Because teaching comes…

Simple Machines Class

We have successfully wrapped up our curriculum-rich five week Simple Machines class for elementary students.  Children and their parents met us once a week for an hour after school in an outdoor space at the Museum of Ventura County in downtown Ventura. Each class included an introduction to specific simple machines and multiple hands-on activities…

Dreamcatchers

Overview When hung above the bed, dreamcatchers are said to catch the bad dreams and allow the good dreams to come through.   Read the Legend of the Dream Catcher. Materials Paper plates scissors single hole puncher ribbon, twine, tool, or pipe cleaners feathers, rocks, shells, sticks, leaves, acorns or other natural items hot glue…

Phase 2 of the Rube Goldberg Event: Planning & Organization

Does the planning process seem too daunting? While the idea of planning for a Rube Goldberg Engineering Event might seem daunting, I hope this post will encourage you to take on this challenge. Additionally, in this post, I will break down the planning process and outline some manageable phases so that you will feel comfortable…

Personal Shield ~ A Journal Entry

Overview The Personal Shield is an illustrative symbol that helps participants recognize components of their inner selves.  Creating a personal shield can be theraputic, a concious way to organize feelings and experiences. As the Thomas fires continue to burn around us here in Ventura, this kind of activity may be helpful as we process the…

Cultivating Imagination ~ Fantasy Flutes

Overview Sometimes, activities are spontaneously created by children themselves. Ventura’s New Parent Resource Center tells new mothers that children need nothing more than a piece of string to stimulate their imaginations and entertain themselves for hours. Travelling families, who live for months in foreign countries, often bring a soccer ball with them so their children…

Gordian Knot

Overview The Gordian Knot is a group challenge requiring participants to work together to solve a puzzle and to be physically close.  Both demands of this exercise are tricky for any group.  A group leader will naturally emerge, and participants will learn that, for the group to be successful, they will need to be patient,…

Packing List for Car Camping with a Child

Packing List for Car Camping with a Child Are you a last minute packer, or a pack-ahead kind of camper?  I like to pack ahead, generally over-pack, then spend days trying to take things out of the pile so I will travel lighter.  Regardless, using a packing list is helpful for guidance.  I have been…