Friday, May 1, 2020

May Day!

Celebrate the 1st of May!

Listen to this news article from NPR to learn more about the celebratory history of May Day and it's connection to flowers and then take a look at this video that also talks about May Day's history as a labor holiday.

Enjoy a read-aloud of the story, The Boy Who Grew Flowers and then make some flower garlands of your own!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Rainy Day Break

Need to get some activity in on a rainy day? Grab a pair of dice and get ready to sweat!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Sensory Scavenger Hunt

Wow! Our Spring Walk Bingo post was so popular, I'd like to share with you another Spring activity to help you get out and about! 

This Spring Sensory Scavenger Hunt takes things a bit farther than Spring Bingo by bringing more senses into the experience... now, in stead of just looking around you'll also be using your ears, nose, and skin! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Doin' 360s

At The Manitou School, our students are familiar with a nature activity called "Doin' 360s." This activity doesn't involve wheels or motorcycles, but it does encourage children to slow down, tune into where they are, and notice what is all around them by turning slowly in a circle and looking above them, at eye level, and below them.

If you'd like to do your own 360s....

  • Choose a spot that you can return to often.
  • Stand in your spot, and look straight ahead at eye level. Turn slowly to your left or right and notice everything there is to see, smell, hear, and feel.
  • When you return to the place where you started, look up. Turn slowly in the same direction and notice again- what is there to see, smell, hear, and feel?
  • When you've come full circle, look down at the ground. Not directly at your feet, but a bit beyond them. Turn one more time, noticing what there is to see, hear, smell, and feel. Try not to go to fast or you will get dizzy!

If you plan to watch the season change in this spot, make sure to go back and try your 360 every few days! Start a nature journal and keep track of the date that you do 360s and the changes that you see. You'll be amazed at what you notice!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Spring Snow

Were you surprised to see some snow this morning?

Learn some more about snowflakes today!

Listen to a read-aloud of the book, "Snowflake Bentley"

Then, dig deep and learn some more about snowflakes!

Snow Crystals 
William Bentley's Photos From The Smithsonian
Bookmarks With Snowflake Quotes

You can even take a close up look at the snow falling from the sky for yourself!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Story time!

Looking to bring some more stories into your house? 

Local legend Jonathan Kruk is hosting an online story hour via Zoom on Sunday, March 22nd from 4-5 PM. He will be performing an adaptation of Jane Yolen's The Girl Who Cried Flowers and invites people of all ages to tune in. Just follow the link: To learn more abotu the award winning storyteller, visit his Patreon account!

While you're waiting, place a last minute order at Split Rocks Books in Cold Spring before the end of business on 3/22 and they will deliver your book to you, curb side! 

And if you're looking for an audiobook for the kids, has made a collections of hundreds of books FREE for children (and the young at heart). Books are available in multiple languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Japanese.  Take a look here

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Spring Walk Bingo

Spring sprang early this year! In fact, Spring of 2020 is the first time in 124 years that Spring has begun on March 19th. Can you figure out what year it was last time we saw such an early Spring? Scroll down to check your answer!

As promised, here is a link to the Spring Walk Bingo. Though, if you haven't had a chance try Winter Walk Bingo, our friends at HudsonValley Weather suggest that there may still a chance to find animal tracks in the snow this Monday...

So... what year did you come up with? Let's take a look at a few methods of figuring it out... 

What else was happening in 1896? 

  • Utah became the first state
  • The first Xray photograph was taken
  • The first game of Women's Basketball was played
  • The Summer Olympics were held in Greece
  • The United States Supreme Court upheld the case of Plessy vs Ferguson 
  • The shortest war in recorded history took place- it lasted 45 minutes
  • President McKinley was elected
  • The New York Aquarium opened

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

LEGO Shakespeare!

It's International Shakespeare Week and has some amazing activities up for kids.

My favorite, by FAR is the directions to build Shakespeare out of LEGOS!

Follow this link to see (it shows up great on tablets, phones and computers) or print step-by-step directions for using very common Lego pieces to build your own bard.

To learn more about Shakespeare, check out this Brainpop Video 

If you'd like to introduce your children to Shakespeare, The Tempest is a great beginner tale. Click on the title of the play for a short retelling that you can read aloud. Then you can download a template to create your own comic or graphic novel version! Keep exploring the site... there's a lot to see!

While you're at it, you can print out this template to turn an ordinary pencil into a quill pen; make a "Compliment or Insult' fortune teller; challenge yourself with this Shakespearean Word Search ; or get really crafty and build yourself a 3D model of the Globe Theatre 

Monday, March 16, 2020

National Panda Day!

Did you know that March 16th is National Panda Day?

Here are some great resources for learning about Pandas!

National Geographic Kids- Pandas!
Pandas At The San Diego Zoo 
BrainPop- Pandas 

Below is a non-fiction read aloud about Pandas that you can watch...

And, even though Lunar New Year has already passed, a fun fiction story featuring... Pandas! 

There is even archived footage from the LIVE! Panda Cam at the San Diego Zoo where you can see some Pandas going about their daily business. 

Looking for a Panda-Craft to do at home today? Check out these adorable Fork Print Pandas
No paint at home? No problem... you can make your own paint with some simple kitchen ingredients! Black paper for crafting can be made by coloring ears and a nose (and eyes and mouth) with Sharpie or other black markers. 

Want to make a panda craft that's good enough to eat? Have an apple and some grapes on hand? You can give this simple, kid-friendly recipe a try! (It's vegan, dairy free, and gluten free!)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Start Your Novel!

There's no time like the present, right? That novel's not going to write itself!

Every November, people around the world participate in a program called NaNoWriMo that stands for National Novel Writing Month. Students at The Mantiou School have been participating in NaNoWriMo for the past four years!

Well, when April rolls around there is a special program called Camp NaNoWriMo which encourages writers (and everyone's a writer!) to choose and work on a creative writing project of their own design. Unlike NaNoWriMo, there is no program specific goal (In November, adults write 50,000 words in a month. Children set lower word count goals that are just as challenging.) It's the same Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants fun as NaNoWriMo without the deadlines.

There are LOTS of ways to participate and NaNoWriMo makes it easy to write on or off the screen! Let's check out some of your choices!


For complete and total off-screen participation... just start writing! Camp NaNoWriMo officially starts in April, but it's never too soon to start packing, right? Anything you write now you can just bring with you to camp. 

To write off screen but with some guidance, check out these planning workbooks for kids of all ages from the Young Writer's Program. If you have access to a printer, you can print one out and fill it in as you go. These workbooks are engaging and fun and lead you from no story idea at all to a fully outlined novel, one page at a time. Then, just grab a pen or pencil and some paper and get to work!

On Screen

If you'd like to use an online writing platform for this project, the Young Writer's Program has an incredible community-driven online page for young people. It is a bit like Google Classroom, if you've ever used that, and is moderated by a real live teacher (In this case, Ms. Christi from The Manitou School). Once you join camp online, you will have access to a writing space (similar to Google Docs) as well as a variety of tools for when you get stuck and need an idea. Kids participating in Camp NaNoWriMo can also leave messages for each other and share ideas on a moderated feed. You don't need to wait until April to start- the writing space is open and ready! 

Current 4th-8th graders who have done NaNoWriMo before at Manitou already have a log-in for this program. Just e-mail Ms. Christi if you can't remember how to get in. 

New students, younger students, and children form outside of Manitou are welcome to join in the online fun! Just sign-up and sign-in for your free account! Enter the code PQSXWFRH when you sign in to be directed to Manitou's Camp NaNoWriMo classroom. 

For the very youngest authors, consider letting them write or draw their story on paper and then tell you what to type!

For The Grown-ups

Why should the kids have all the fun, right? NaNoWriMo originally started to encourage adults to write that novel they've always dreamed up. Sign up at NaNoWriMo and get started on your own story! I'll be participating too... so maybe I'll see you there!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

International Space Station

Since there's no need to get up early for school next week, why not stay up late and see the International Space Station as it passes overheard?

Next week there will be near daily opportunities to see the International Space Station from Northern Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange counties. The best times are listed below, but you can find more information on NASA's Spot The Station page.

Tuesday, March 17th at 8:09 PM (visible for 2 minutes)
Wednesday, March 18th at 8:57 PM (visible for 2 minutes)
Thursday, March 19th at 8:09 PM (BEST BET! Visible for 5 minutes!)
Friday, March 20th at 9:00 PM (visible for 2 minutes)

Take some time to listen to this podcast from Brains ON about the station and then, while you're thinking about the International Space Station, why not listen to real astronauts read you books FROM SPACE?? Click on over to Storytime From Space to hear a book read to you from aboard the international space station. Who knows... maybe they'll be reading a new story as they orbit overhead!

Ghost Mud

Looking for something to do with all of that toilet paper and soap you now have in the house? Try making some ghost mud! I've made this recipe with kids all the way up through 6th grade and it's always a hit!

Ghost Mud... also sometimes called Clean Mud... is easy to make and has lots of opportunities for sensory fun and fine motor skill building!

For starters, give your child a roll of toilet paper and have them tear the entire thing off the roll. They can tear it in big pieces or small pieces... however they like! Maybe they want to run around outdoors with it as it unspools from the roll. The options are endless. Then collect the toilet paper and put it all in a big plastic basin. Or a stoppered sink. Or tub.

Next, you need soap. There are a lot of ways you can do this.

For the "Explode a Bar In The Microwave" method, you'll need a bar of Ivory soap and you can find directions here. Then take the exploded bar and crumble it on top of the toilet paper.

For the grated soap method, grate a bar of whatever sudsy soap you have handy and then sprinkle the it on top of the toilet paper.

For liquid dish soap, squeeze 1/4 of soap on top of the toilet paper

Now comes the mushing part! Slowly mix in 1 cup of very warm (but not hot) water, squishing and squeezing the mixture together with your hands (this is a great job to pass off to your child!) Adjust water as necessary to make it feel like mud (soaps and toilet paper brands differ).

And there you have it... clean mud! For more ideas on how to use it-- and for variations, check out these links below.

Ghost Mud
Frozen Clean Mud
Sparkly Fairy Mud

This mud won't stick around long... it will start to mildew in a closed container after a day or so... but creations made with it will dry nicely.

Oh... and don't flush it down the toilet. I learned that the hard way...

Spring Peepers

Did you hear that new sound last night? Spring Peepers are awake! Spring Peepers are very tiny frogs-- so small they can comfortably sit on a quarter! They are out and about all over the ponds of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange County.

Read about Spring Peepers

Listen to Spring Peepers

And  make your own Spring Peeper Puppet.

Then head out into the woods and see if you can spot one!