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Archive for March, 2012

Out Like a Lamb…

HOP RIGHT IN!  

A few short weeks ago I wrote a post entitled ‘In Like a Lion…’ because March certainly started off with a big ‘ol roar!  The weather has been glorious the past few days and we are now leaving sweet March like a lamb.  The azaleas are in bloom, lilies are showing their fresh emerald green leaves, and the mosquitos are in full force… welcome to SPRING!  Whether or not you have a green thumb or not, gardening is a wonderful activity to share with your children.  They learn so much about the cycle of life, responsibility, patience, and environmental awareness.  This week’s blog is all about getting outside and getting DIRTY!  Enjoy!

~Liz Comparetto

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

ISBN-10: 0152626107

This is a magnificent book for introducing gardening to your children in a fun and engaging way.  The story’s text is age appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers, but the informational labels are of great interest for children up through elementary school.  Ehlert introduces a huge amount of new gardening vocabulary in a child-friendly and relatable way that gets children interested in starting their own rainbow garden!

FAMILY FUN

I know a lot of parents are ‘anti-dirt.’  I am not one of them 🙂  Dirt is fabulous when the conditions are right.  Yeah, you’ll have to give them a bath afterwards, but I think all the learning and exploring that can be done in the dirt is worth a bath!

At my house, Vinnie and I always plant a special ‘Pizza Garden’ each spring.  We call it a ‘Pizza Garden’ because we can use all of the things we grow in it on our pizzas!  My husband and I built a raised bed with garden timbers and filled it with amended soil.  Each year we add compost and manure to the mix just to freshen it up.  Vinnie and I then go to our local nursery and pick out our plants: basil, oregano, cherry tomatoes, and a few varieties of peppers.  We plant them together and tend to them together.  When we have enough of a crop, we harvest them and bake some fabulous organic pizzas together.  Trust me… they taste a LOT better than the local pizza joint!! 🙂

I also pinned a ton of other fun gardening ideas for the family at: http://pinterest.com/savannahkidschs/the-great-outdoors/ 

While you’re at it, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS!

 Ask Liz

Dear Liz,

I really wanted to try gardening with our 6 year old daughter, but when I mentioned this to one of my friends she flipped out and told me that kids can get really sick from playing in garden soil.  Is this true?  I played in dirt all the time growing up and I turned out alright!  Should I be worried?

Samantha (Augusta, GA)

Hey, Samantha!

That’s a really good question and I’m glad you asked!  As a mom, I’m sure you are much more aware of the ingredients in food than you were before you had children, right?  The same thing goes for gardening.  There are things in foods that aren’t healthy, and there are things in the garden that aren’t healthy as well.  It’s not hard to make the right choices to keep your kids safe and healthy gardeners, though.

First thing you need to understand is the soil… natural is best.  The more fertilizers and chemicals in the soil, the less healthy it is for our bodies.  There are all types of fancy and expensive soils at your garden center that promise wonderful results, but they aren’t necessary for a children’s garden.  Natural fertilizers are fine, however.  Compost and (treated) manure such as Black Cow help to create an abundant garden, and they’re not harmful at all.  Second, make sure you can control who goes in your garden, meaning animals.  We have a neighborhood cat who loves to use garden beds as a litter box… not ok for children’s gardens!  Untreated animal feces can carry some nasty germs that can get anyone sick.  YUCK!  If you do find animal poo in your garden, simply get rid of it and a good section of soil surrounding it.  Also, if you have a dog who uses the potty in the backyard, don’t just scoop it into the garden.  It might, technically, be a fertilizer… but it’s not healthy at all! :-/

Anyways, the next thing you need to know about is the plants you choose.  Edibles are wonderful because you know they can be eaten without harm (unless there’s a food allergy involved.)  If you choose non-edibles, just check with your local nursery to make sure they aren’t poisonous.  There are some gorgeous plants I would love to have in my garden, but I can’t because I have a child and animals who might be hurt by ingesting them.  Other than that, just make sure you supervise your child when gardening and using garden tools.  Teach her how to use the tools properly and wisely.  Gardening with kids is an incredible learning experience and a great way to bond with your children.  Don’t let fear stand in your way!  Maybe you should plant a pizza garden and have your nervous friend over to have some pizza once your crop is in… that’ll show her how fantastic and SAFE gardening with kids can really be!!

Happy gardening, Samantha!

-Liz

Bubbling Bonuses

Make sure to head over to our Summer Camp post to find out more about all of the fun camps that CHS is offering this year!

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day!

Thank you! Until next week,

~Liz

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Summer Camps!

Savannah Summer Camps are back!

I cannot believe that it’s ‘that time of year’ again… 

Coastal Heritage Society is offering another fun-filled summer of camps!

In order to get all the information and registration details, simply click on each of the dates below.

Frequently asked questions are below as well.

‘Get on Board’ 

June 11-14

July 9-12

July 16-19

‘The Great Train Exploration’ 

June 18-22

‘Travel through Time in Savannah’

July 23-27

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How do I register my child?

A: We have set up an online registration for each week of camp.  Simply click on the dates above to get more information and to register.  If you are having difficulties or need assistance, please email us at childrensevents@chsgeorgia.org.

Q: Will you hold a spot for my child while I research other camps?

A: We are unable to hold spaces for children because sessions fill up so quickly.

Q: May I register my child(ren) for multiple weeks of camp?

A: Yes!  If you register more than one child or for multiple camps, there is a 10% discount!

Q: Must my child be fully potty trained to attend camp?

A: Yes.  Campers must be fully potty trained.

Q: I want to enroll my child in a particular week of camp, but they are older/younger than the ages listed.  Can I still register them?

A: Of course!  The ages listed are only general guidelines.  We do ask, however, that you not register your 1 or 2 year old for Get on Board camp because they will not be developmentally ready for the camp.  If you are still concerned or would like to talk to someone about this, email us at childrensevents@chsgeorgia.org.

Q: My child has food allergies.  Can they still attend camp?

A: Absolutely!  Snacks will be provided, but we ask parents to pack a brown bag lunch for their child each day because of possible allergies.  We also request that when you register your child, you let us know if there are any medical needs (including allergies) that we need to be aware of.

Q:  So, does that mean that lunch has to be provided by parents?

A: Yes.  In the past we have offered an option to eat food prepared by our site, but we are no longer offering this option due to the increasing number of children with food allergies and diet restrictions.

Q: Do I need to pay all at once?

A: Yes.  Your registration will not be complete until you have paid in full.


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Vinnie's drawing of a person at 4 years old.

I was drawing with my 4 year old son tonight and I thought to myself, ‘I need to blog about this!’  I’ve always been a pretty artistic person.  I’m not Picasso, but I love using art of all kinds as my creative outlet.  My son, on the other hand, is just starting to warm up to the idea.  He’s beginning to love coloring and drawing, and we’re having a lot of fun with it!  I’m going to share some creative resources and ideas with you this week, plus you get to enjoy a question from my own mother!  Enjoy!

If you want to check out a website outlining the milestones of drawing development, click here.

~Liz Comparetto 

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

The Dot

By: Peter H. Reynolds

ISBN-10: 0763619612

Not only do I own multiple copies of this book, but I have used it with every class I’ve  taught in my career.  THIS is a spectacular book with a fantastic message for those children (and adults) that are convinced that they can’t draw.  Honestly, the only difference between you and those ‘artsy folks’ is confidence.  Peter H. Reynolds tells the story of a little girl named Vashti who discovers the artist inside and explodes with creativity… all beginning with a single dot and a sprinkling of confidence.  Children younger than 4 or 5 probably won’t grasp the message, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy hearing such an inspiring story.  This is definitely a bookshelf ESSENTIAL!

FAMILY FUN

Do you ever look at a wall in your home and wish you could find a wonderful piece of art to fill the space without clashing with wall or furniture colors?  Yeah, me too!  First, large scale art is usually pretty darn expensive.  Second, it’s so difficult to find that piece that’s ‘just right’.  I have a fun, inexpensive, and creative way to get that perfect masterpiece you’ve been looking for!  As a warning, you have to know that this piece will be pretty abstract.  First, pick up a canvas.  Many craft stores sell large, blank, and primed canvases.  They come in all different sizes, so you really get to find the one that’s right for the space.  Next, pick your paint colors.  You can choose from either basic wall paint (they are available in small jars in every imaginable color at Lowe’s or Home Depot) or fancier artists paints.  The colors you choose are unlimited, so you can find the right ones for your place.  I typically try to stick with 2-3 main colors and 1 accent color.  Next, recruit your family (including children) to paint.  You can be as specific or non-specific as you like with this.  Let each person add their own touch to the piece so it becomes a truly special family art piece that no-one else will have hanging in their living room!

http://pinterest.com/savannahkidschs/creativity-and-art/

While you’re at it, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS!

 

Ask Liz

Dear Liz,

When you were a child, you went through this phase of only wanting to draw with black marker.  Flowers, houses, the sun, animals, hearts, trees, grass, people… they were all in black marker.  The family thought it was pretty strange, but we let you keep doing it until one day you just stopped.  Why did you do this?  And do other kids do that too?

Love, your Mom ❤

Ahhhh… good question, Mom!  This is actually a very typical phase for children to go through.  Black is very often used in art as an outline of a shape, and children pick this up very early.  The most common example is cartoons having black outlines.  Many children that do this are simply experimenting with the concept of outlining, nothing more.  From an art therapy perspective, the both image and color are of main focus.  I was a pretty stable and happy child, and that was shown through the images of flowers, houses, trees, the sun etc.  If you don’t know what your child has drawn, simply ask them to tell you a story about the picture.  You’ll get a lot of information from that question!  If you EVER have a gut feeling that something is ‘off’ with your child’s drawings, make an appointment to show them to their pediatrician.  A lot of emotions can be released in art and it’s always better to be aware of what your child is creating.

On another note, it’s great that you didn’t squelch my creativity by insisting that I use more colors.  It is a very natural part of development and by ‘correcting’ it, you could have made me self-conscious of my art and it could have impacted my creativity.  Thanks for letting me be!

Liz

Bubbling Bonuses

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day!

Thank you!

Until next week,

~Liz

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HOP RIGHT IN!  

Happy St. Patrick’s Week!  Even if you’re not Irish, and even if you don’t live in or around Savannah, St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big deal.  The Savannah Morning News actually published a story today that predicts that Savannah St. Patrick’s Day may actually be the largest in the WORLD this year!!  Crazy, right?  You can guess where I’ll be on Saturday 🙂

For this week’s blog, I’m focusing on all things St. Pat’s… enjoy!

Click to watch the 2012 Greening of Forsyth Fountain in Savannah, GA

~Liz O’Comparetto 

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day

By: Natasha Wing

ISBN-10: 0448448521

This is such a cute story with a very familiar rhyming pattern.  You might recognize the rhythm from the classic story by Clement Moore, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  In this story, two Irish siblings set traps to catch a Leprechaun on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.  Do you think they caught one?  And if so… can they get to his pot of gold?  You have to read it to find out!

FAMILY FUN

Why not leave a sweet treat for your child to find on St. Patrick’s Day morning?  I found this idea on Pinterest and I just had to pass it on!

Supplies: Cellophane pretzel bags (Michael’s carries them), rainbow Twizzlers, a few chocolate ‘gold coins’, and a printer with some paper.

All you need to do is put the gold coins in the bottom of the bag, line up 5 Twizzlers, and attach a cute printed card at the top.  This one says, ‘You’re my Pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow.’

Too cute, right?

While you’re at it, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS!

 

Ask Liz

I’m so excited to announce the next Family Event powered by Coastal Heritage Society!

EGGstravaganza

April 7th, 2012

10am-noon

Includes an egg hunt, activities, and a train ride!

Pre-registration is required.

$10 per person

Questions?  Email me at lcomparetto@chsgeorgia.org.

To register, please click HERE.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Bubbling Bonuses

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day!

Thank you!

Until next week,

~Liz

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In Like a Lion…

HOP RIGHT IN!  

In like a lion, out like a lamb… right?  March has certainly made itself known this year!  Tornados, storm outbreaks, wildly fluctuating temperatures, you name it… the first 7 days of March 2012 have certainly been ‘lion-esque.’  No matter where you are, the weather is impacting you!

Kids love rainy weather… or hate it.  There’s rarely a middle ground.  Some children love the sound of thunder, while others have meltdowns.  Some insist on dancing in the rain, and some curl up under the covers until it’s over.  This week, I’m going to introduce you to a few resources about the FUN side of weather!

~Liz Comparetto

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

Sector Seven by David Wiesner

ISBN 10: 0395746566

I will never grow tired of David Wiesner’s books! I recommended another of his books, Tuesday, my first week doing this blog.   This is another of his wordless picture books which make it appropriate for all  ages/skill levels of readers.  The story follows a little boy on a trip to a cloud factory, named Sector 7, where all the clouds of New York City are designed, created, and sent on their way.  The little boy inserts his creativity and imagination into the cloud blueprints and some amazing things happen!  You have to check it out for yourself!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

ISBN-10: 0689306474

Who wouldn’t love a chance to dance in an ice cream thunderstorm, or fill your plate with steaks from the sky?  This is a modern classic children’s book that you just have to have in your collection!  Reading it straight through is probably best for children in second grade or older, but talking about the pictures and giggling at the thought of a spaghetti tornado is something that even the youngest child can enjoy.  It can take some of the innate fear of weather that some children have, and introduce a more relaxed and entertaining look.  Next time your child crawls into your arms when a storm rolls in, ask them how great it would be to have a candy corn storm!  It’s bound to get at least a little smile out of them. 🙂

FAMILY FUN

I love shaving cream.  Yep.  I’ll be honest!  There are a lot of fun things you can do at home with a can of shaving cream.  The first rule you MUST know is do NOT use shaving gel… it’s oil-based and makes a huge mess that’s hard to clean up.  Cheap shaving cream, like Barbasol, is the best route for these activities.

To make a 3D cloud painting, simply mix together shaving cream and white school glue in a 1-1 ratio.  You can do this in a bowl, and simply stir with a spoon.  The shaving cream takes away the stickiness of the glue, don’t worry.  Next, all you need to do is dollop the mixture onto a piece of construction paper.  Spread it around to make any cloud-like shape you desire, and let dry.  You’ll notice that it stays ‘fluffy’ even when dry!  This is really fun activity to do when the real clouds start moving in and you’re stuck inside for the afternoon.  You can click on the pictures to take you to our pins 🙂

While you’re at it, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS!

 Ask Liz

“Dear Liz,

My 6 year old daughter is terrified of thunderstorms.  She cries, hides, and is in a panic until it’s over.  She wasn’t always like this.  It started about 2 months ago.  Any recommendations?”

-Sue, Sylvania GA

Hi, Sue!  I can almost bet that about 2 months ago she heard or saw something that scared her about thunderstorms.  A friend might have said something, she might have heard a weather alert, or she might have been learning about weather in school.  I remember when I was her age, I was learning about fire safety.  Every night for about 3 months, I would take all of my ‘valuables’, pack them in a bag, and put them outside in the bushes.  I was terrified that if there were a fire, I’d lose everything important to me.  I’ll be honest… this isn’t easy, but it’s completely natural.  She’s coming to terms with something that she can’t control.  My advice is to accept the fear, but don’t nurture it by changing your plans or allowing her to simply disconnect from the family when there is a storm.  While she may want to cling to you and sob, don’t allow it for more than 3-5 minutes because this will only reinforce her fear.  Distract her from it and ask her to help with something around the house.  It may help to keep more lights on in the house or play music during a thunderstorm in order to distract her from the thunder and lightning outside.  I, personally, love the sound of a storm.  I play a white noise thunderstorm every night when I go to sleep.  This might be something to incorporate into the ‘background’ noise of your house for a little while.  She’ll become more accustomed to them and they’ll start to be associated with a soothing experience rather than a terrifying one.

Above all, don’t let her see YOU or your adult family members scared of storms… remain calm and collected.  She’ll feed off of that vibe.  Thanks, Sue!

Bubbling Bonuses

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day!

Thank you! Until next week,

~Liz

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