Archives

Let’s Go Home, Little Bear

. Let's go home, Little Bear

Listen and watch the story book here.

Three cheers for this wonderful picture book from Martin Waddell. This book is also a warm tale of togetherness, and a powerful message of the grown up providing a protecting and caring environment. I remember times with my own children, when going out for walks in the woods. There are some strange sounds there and if you have no idea what made those sounds, it can be rather scary. In this book, I like how Big Bear told a story about those sounds at the end of the book.

About the Author: Martin Waddell His series on Little Bear and Farmer Duck are his most famous, but Mr. Waddell has written many, many other books as well (214+). Under his own name he publishes mysteries, ghost stories, light comedies, and picture books for children. As Catherine Sefton he has written more complex, emotionally charged books for young adults, several of which are ghost stories while others are political novels.
To see more of Martin Waddell’s books, visit his Amazon Author page.

About the Illustrator: Barbara Firth Her lifelike drawings has make these books a favorite of mine. They are some of the very few children’s books I have found to depict life like bears. These drawings are soft, soothing and winsome. Barbara Firth began drawing when she was three years old. Since then, she illustrated numerous award-winning picture books, including the Big Bear and Little Bear series, written by Martin Waddell. She lived in Middlesex, England.
To see more of Barbara Firth, visit her Goodreads page.

Enrichment Activities

Cause and Effect
The sun melted the ice – dripping sound
The sun softened the snow on the tree branches – plopping sound
Big Bear’s feet walking through the snow – plodding sound

Compare and Contrast  City and Forest Environments

Ayala_avenue_street_scene

City Environment photo credit: en.wikipedia.org

Forest

Forest Enviroment Photo credit: en.wikipedia.org

Talk About It
What made the plodding sound?
What made the dripping sound?
What made the plopping sound?
What made the woo woo woo sound?
What made the creak, creak, creak sound?

Develop Listening Skills Activities

boy listening

photo credit: quickbase.intuit.com

Help your child to develop their listening and identification skills. These skills are not learned automatically, but re so essential to becoming a good learner. Make learning this skill fun.

What made that sound?
Using Shakers
Use opaque containers and put different objects in them to shake. Some examples for fills could be sand, pebbles, marbles, coins, water, rice. Have your child shake the container to see if they can identify the contents. Somehow mark the bottom of the container so the child can identify if they are correct or not in their guess.
Using a Tape Recorder
Record a variety of sounds from around your house with which your child is familiar. Examples, water running, pouring milk, clock, timer, furnace, washing machine, etc. Have the child try to identify the sound or what made it.

Play Simon Says
This is a fun way to play listen and follow. Child only does an action if the instruction begins with “Simon says”. Take turns being the leader.

A Walk in the Outdoors
No matter if you live in the city or the country, you can take a walk outdoors to identify sounds.

19313825-cute-family-on-a-walk-together

A Walk in the Country Photo Credit: Image ID : 19313825 Copyright : Dave Broberg

Country: birds singing – traffic sounds – gravel under your feet – water in a stream – wind in the trees or grass – geese or ducks overhead

19531317-mother-and-daughters--on-city-street

A Walk in the City Photo Credit: Image ID : 19531317 Copyright : Cathy Yeulet

City: What do you hear? -Ambulance – Airplane – Helicopter – dog barking – birds singing – wind in the trees – horn honking – motorcycle – garbage truck – sirens –gravel under your feet – lawnmower – geese or ducks overhead

More Activities for Developing Listening Skills

Listening Activities For Young Children

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Crafts

Make some listening ears for those times when your child may need a reminder that they need to be using their listening skills!

elephant listening ears with eyes

A fun Elephant “Listening Ears” Photo/Craft Credit: Website: http://bit.ly/1IH4d0G

listening-ears

A fun headband of Just Ears Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1IH5fK5

Advertisements

Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon

stellaluna book cover

About this Book

This award winning picture book follows the adventures of a lost baby fruit bat.  It a story about individuality, foster parents/families and fitting in.  It is a very clever theme variation of the ugly duckling story.

As a helpless baby, Stellaluna is accidentally dropped by her mother when an owl attacks.  She falls into a birds nest where she tries her best to fit in.  Her bird foster family accepts her as long as she acts like a bird.  She does have the urge to sleep upside down and fly at night however she doesn’t understand why this is.

One day, Stellaluna becomes separated from her bird family.  She goes to sleep the way they taught her with her head up.  Another bat finds her and is very surprised by her unusual bat sleeping position.  He calls the other bats to come see this strange behavior, and as a result, Stellaluna is reunited with her mother.

Stellaluna’s bat and bird families become friends and marvel at how they are both alike and different.

audio-video of book Stellaluna

An Audio/Video Reading

Janell Cannon photo

About the Author

Janell Cannon was born in 1957 and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, but now lives in southern California. Her picture books have won many awards.  She both writes and, as a self-taught artist, illustrates her own books.  Before becoming a writer, she designed and produced summer reading programs at her local public library.  She loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen as well as learning to become a drummer.

Ms. Cannon’s books carry a theme of unappreciated and fascinating creatures.  She roots for the underdog so writes about creatures that are misunderstood and unpopular with humans.  Stellaluna the bat (1993), Crickwing the cockroach (2005), Verdi the python (1997), Pinduli the hyena (2004) are books with this theme and they will pull at your heartstrings!

Enrichment Activities

Lets learn some facts about real bats.

• Bats are flying mammals.
• While others can glide, bats are the only mammals capable of continued flight.
• There are over 1000 different bat species.
• Bats are nocturnal (active at night).
• Bats ‘see’ in the dark using a special skill called echolocation. Bats make noises and wait for the sound waves to bounce back off objects (an echo), if it doesn’t bounce back then they can safely fly forward. They can tell the distance of various objects by how quickly the sound waves bounce back to them.
• Most bats feed on insects, while others eat fruit and fish
• Some bats live by themselves while others live in caves with thousands of other bats.
• Bats can live for over 20 years.
• Pteropus bats (also known as flying foxes or fruit bats) are the largest in the world.
• Fruit bats hang in trees not caves.
• Fruit bats also slurp a sweet liquid called nectar from fruit blossoms. What happens next makes them very important for healthy forests—and for fruit-loving humans. When fruit bats stop to eat, sticky yellow grains of pollen get caught on their fur. Some of the pollen rubs off onto other flowers that the bats visit. That’s how bats pollinate flowers, which allows the trees to develop fruits and seeds. Those fruits and seeds feed animals from insects to birds to monkeys. And some of them even feed people!

Fruit-bat

a fruit bat

Fruit bats live in the tropical areas of the world, such as the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Africa. They prefer locations with warm climates because they do not hibernate in cold weather. They wrap their wings around themselves to keep warm even in the warm climate.

Some Crafts to make

clothes pin bat

What you’ll need to make your hanging house bats: instructions here

  • Coffee filters (1 filter per bat)
  • Purple and black water colors
  • Black acrylic paint
  • 2 googley eyes
  • Silver or gold glitter (optional)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • String

Make a bat flyer

bat flyers

bat-flyers printable page

egg carton bat

or an Egg Carton bat found here

Acknowledgements (my favorite hangman word!) information on the author came from:  http://www.harcourtbooks.com/authorinterviews/bookinterview_cannon.asp and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janell_Cannon

Photo of bat courtesy of scienceinclusive.com

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? March 17 is coming!

Shamrock 1

Sean: “Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya, Liam”

Liam: “And the rest ‘o the day to you!”

Celtic Shamrock It would seem that the origins of the shamrock are lost in antiquity, legends suggest that St. Patrick plucked a shamrock from Irish soil to demonstrate the meaning of the Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The plant was reputed to have mystic powers in that its petals will stand upright to warn of a approaching storm. The shamrock is also commonly associated with the symbol of luck. In studying Celtic history, scholars have discovered that the shamrock was a charm to ward away evil. The shamrock remains Ireland’s most famous symbol.From: Symbolism.co

Real Shamrocks

real shamrockReal_Shamrock_By_Lothar_by_Siobhan68

four-leaf-clovershamrock-785030

Books

I selected 4  picture books celebrating the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day.

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day

by Natasha Wing: http://amzn.to/1BeMFaE

Natasha Wing puts an Irish twist on a Christmas classic. It’s the night before St. Patrick’s Day, and Tim and Maureen are wide awake setting traps to catch a leprechaun! When they wake the next morning to the sound of their dad playing the bagpipes and the smell of their mom cooking green eggs, they’re shocked to find that they’ve actually caught a leprechaun. But will they be able to find his pot of gold?

bagpipes_blogscottish bagpipes player

Pipes: www.rohanrawat.wordpress.com                                 Player: www.wiki.answers.com

The Leprechaun's Gold

by Pamela Duncan Edwards http://amzn.to/1Fs1rKB

In this classic Irish legend, two harpists — merry-hearted Old Pat and ill-spirited Young Tom — set off for a contest to name the finest harpist in all of Ireland. When Young Tom realizes that Old Pat is truly the better musician, he schemes to be the winner — but he doesn′t reckon with the clever trickery of a mischievous little leprechaun.

Noted picture book creators Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole have imagined a joyful and fanciful tale with a priceless lesson.

Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk

by Gerald McDermott http://amzn.to/180u86j

When the evil McGoons trick Tim O’Toole out of his fortune, he teams up with his benefactors, the Little People, to regain his treasure. McDermott’s illustrated books (including Caldecott winner Arrow to the Sun) and animated films have earned him international recognition. Full-color illustrations throughout.

Lucky Tucker

by Leslie McGuirk http://amzn.to/1aTKOhN

When Tucker the terrier wakes up on Saint Patrick’s Day, he gets off on the wrong paw. Nothing is going his way until he rolls in a bed of clover —- a bed of four-leaf clovers, that is, which just happens to belong to a leprechaun! Lucky Tucker! From snatching a falling scoop of ice cream to wrestling with his best friends to getting a whole box of new toys, Tucker is now the luckiest dog around!

An Irish Blessing

Irish Blessing

Child Fun Friendly Crafts

Paper Plate Hat

Shamrock Paper Plate hat

Cute as Ever Paper Plate Shamrock Hat

from BuzzFeed.com

All you need to make this fun craft are paper plates, scissors, and pens

Instructions found here

Paper Plate Leprechaun

paper plate leprechaun

from sassydeals.com

What you need:

  • Green and White construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or Tape
  • Marker
Handprint Leprechaun
Handprint Leprechaun
from sassydeals.com
I think you got this one (on your own)
How about this cute idea?
Lepra-cutie
from happyhomefairy.com

This craft couldn’t be more easy.  It’s just a painted paper plate and some construction paper.

    Add a band to go around the back of the head (soft material) to tie it on.

 Irish Symbols and Meanings

Triquetratriquetra 2

1st from www.symbolism.co   2nd from nightowl-crafts.weebly.com Link not working, may be a closed site.

The Triquetra Knot

This symbol is also known as the trinity knot.  The word triquetra originally meant “triangle” and was to describe triangle-shaped objects. The triquetra is most known for it’s meaning as the trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). This meaning was used by the Celtic Christian Church.  The triquetra is a very old symbol and many say it predates Christianity, the symbol represented the Goddess in Celtic lore. The Trinity Knot holds major significance in neopaganism in that it is believed to represent the three stages of the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother, and Crone). The triquetra design on the cover of a replica of the Book of Shadows central to the television series Charmed.Modern Pagans use the triquetra to symbolize a variety of concepts and mythological figures. Germanic Neopagan groups who use the triquetra to symbolize their faith generally believe it is originally of Norse and Germanic origins.  This information is from http://www.symbolism.co/celtic_symbols.html

Triskelion

The Triskelion Knot

This symbol represented progress and completion, and was very prominent in Celtic culture.  Looking like a wheel with four spokes sticking out, the triskelion is supposed to represent actions, cycles, and revolutions or competition. Image and text from http://www.the-symbols.net/celtic/

Triskele, triple spiral

Triskele

The Celtic triple spiral is still found at several Megalithic and Neolithic sites.  The symbol is thought to be so old that it may predate the Celts entirely.  Whatever its origins, many people around the world consider it a symbol of great beauty and mystery.  Image and text from http://www.the-symbols.net/celtic/

Celtic Dancing Video

Awesome Redhead Celtic Dancers

Awesome Redhead Celtic Dancers

Another Blessing

May your heart be warm and happy,
With the lilt of Irish laughter,
Every day in every way
And forever and ever after.

Aknowledgements: Real Shamrock photos, #1 irelands-hidden-gems.com  #2 siobhan68.deviantart.com  #3 formyeyesonly2012.blogspot.com  #4  galleryhip.com  Blessings from http://www.brownielocks.com/irishblessings.html

 

Star Gazing and Legends

Have you ever looked up at the stars and sometimes wonder what their names may be? The nightime sky can be a wondrous, fascinating and mysterious world.   One cool way to identify, to children, which star or constellation you’re referring to, is to use a flashlight.  The beam will reflect through the atmosphere and act as a pointer stick!  A pair of binoculars are also a handy tool.  This activity can be used for both Girl Guides/Scouts and Boy Scouts for their Astronomy badge.

Let’s cover some of the major constellations in the Northern Hemisphere which are easiest to locate. They are: Orion, the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, the Milky Way and Pleiades.  I will also show how to locate the North Star in the Little Dipper.

How the Stars Came to Be

An Inuit Legend: 

The Inuit believed that the stars were living things who must wander through the heavens for an eternity, never straying from their path.  One story is about Pleiades (pronounced play-deez), in the constellation Taurus the Bull.

Pleiades locatepleiades-taken-from-las-brisas-observatory

Nanuk, (pronounced nan-ook) the bear, was out on the ice wandering and looking for food, when he came too close to a pack of hunting dogs.  He knew the dogs were a danger to him, so he tried to give them the slip, however, the hunting dogs gave chase.  Nanuk ran as fast as he could over the ice, but the dogs stayed close on his heels..  The chase went on and on with neither Nanuk nor the dogs noticing that they were at the edge of the world.  They all slid off and into the night sky and turned into stars.

Pleiades, is one of the brightest and closest star clusters to earth.  It contains nearly a thousand stars.  On a clear night, you may be able to identify 14 stars with the naked eye. The Seven Sisters are most prominent between October and April. In early November, the cluster rises in the east after sunset. In February it lies overhead in the evening. In May, it sets at sunset, before Orion.

Greek mythology

Pleiades is also known as the Seven Sisters in Greek mythology.  With them is their mother, the nymph Pleione. Their father is not with them as he is the Titan, Atlas.  Atlas has been doomed by Zeus to hold up the sky from the Earth forever.  By chance, Orion caught sight of these sisters and their mother.  He rather liked them, and started to chase them all over the face of the Earth.  Zeus felt sorry for the sisters and their mother, so he changed them into a flock of doves, which he set in the sky.  Zeus, was an Olympian God and Atlas was from an older set of gods, called the Titans.  The Olympians were at war with the Titans, so Zeus didn’t like Atlas much.   Atlas’ punishment was to hold up the sky from the Earth for eternity and Zeus thought that by putting Atlas’ wife and family in the sky, it would be a further punishment for Atlas.  The Pleiades are found not far from Orion, so he is eternally chasing them across the sky!

Only six stars are distinctly visible to the naked eye. The ancient Greeks have several stories about the disappearance of the seventh star.  One such story is about, Electra, an ancestress of the royal house of Troy.  After the destruction of Troy, the grief stricken Electra abandoned her sisters and was transformed into a comet.

In Chinese mythology, Pleiades is the mane of the White Tiger of the West. For me, I didn’t know that a tiger had a mane!

Orion

090116-orion-image-02orion852

A Closer View of right image

Orion is a prominent constellation and one of the most recognizable in the night sky.  It’s most prominent and brightest stars are Betelgeuse (pronounced beetle juice), a red super-giant and Rigel, a blue-white star.  Side note:  If you follow off the star, Selph, bottom left side,at a downward angle, you will arrive at the star, Sirius, the brightest star seen from Earth.

Sirius

A couple of Legends:

Greek: Orion is named after Orion, the hunter, from Greek mythology .  He was a hero who hunted with Athena, also a hunter, goddess of the Hunt and of the Moon. She was also known to hang out with heroes and is the creator of the olive tree. Athena was also credited with killing Orion.  Other legends say it was a scorpion (Scorpio) who killed him.  Zeus placed him in the night sky, after all, he was a hero!

NavajoThis tribe used Orion as a kind of calendar.  in May, when Orion sets (below the horizon) and was not seen again, the Navajo knew it was time to plant their crops.

The Milky Way

skymap Milky way080603-milky-way_big

For a close-up view of the image on right

The Milky Way is the name we give our Galaxy.  It was once thought that it was a barred spiral with  four star-forming arms, named  Norma, Scutum-Centaurus, Sagittarius and Perseus. In June of 2008, images from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope revealed that the Milky Way is a barred spiral with only two major arms, thereby demoting the Sagittarius and Norma arms to minor arms. Our Sun lies in a minor arm, named the Orion Arm, or Orion Spur, sandwiched between the Sagittarius minor arm and Perseus arm. Check the larger image and you can see the location of our Sun.

To spot an arm of our galaxy, look up into the sky, find the trail across the sky.  It contains a lot of stars so appears milky.  You can find the constellations, Cassiopeia,  Cygnus the Swan, and the upper arm of Orion in this band of light. The star Sirius is close by.

How the Milky Way came to Be

A Cherokee Legend from http://www.firstpeople.us

Long, long ago, when the world was young, there were only a few stars in the sky.  During this time there lived an old man and his wife.  To make a living they ground corn into cornmeal.  They stored it in large baskets.  During the winter, the people of their village would trade other things for the cornmeal.  From the cornmeal they would make bread, bannok, and mush.

One morning, the old man discovered that the cornmeal baskets had been gotten into.  He and his wife were very upset.  They knew that the Cherokee people did not steal from each other, so who could it be?  Then, they noticed cornmeal scattered on the ground with giant dog paw prints there as well.  They told the people of their village and it was decided it had to be a spirit dog.  They needed to scare it away or it would eat all their food.  That night, all the people took their drums and shell rattles and hid in the bushes.  Late in the night, they heard a whirring sound.  They looked up and saw the giant dog swooping down from the sky.  They waited until the dog started eating the cornmeal, then jumped up and banged their drums and shook their rattles.  The sound was so loud, it sounded like thunder.  The giant spirit dog was so scared, he ran to the top of a hill and jumped back into the sky. The cornmeal he still had in his mouth, started spilling out the sides as he ran.  Each grain of spilled cornmeal became a star.

The Cherokee people call this pattern across the night sky “gi li’ut sun stan un’yi” It is  pronounced, gil-lee-oot-soon stan-unh-yee.  It means “the place where the dog runs.”

A Vietnamese Legend  from http://www.vietnam-culture.com

There lived a very beautiful and charming princess, named Chuc-Nu. She was one of the many daughters of the King of Heaven.

Chuc-Nu was very hard-working and was often seen sitting on the shore of the Silver River to sewing clothes for her younger sisters.

One day a young man herded his buffaloes to the river. His name was Nguu-Lang. He was very handsome. He fell in love with the princess at first sight, and she loved him, too. The King of Heaven, fully aware of their love, consented for his daughter to marry Nguu-Lang. But the couple had to promise to continue their work after their marriage.

They enjoyed being married so much they forgot their promise. The King became furious and ordered them to separate. Each of them would live on one side of the river and could only look at each other from across the river. The King allowed them to meet once a year in the seventh month of the lunar year. This month is called “The Month of Sudden and Short Showers”. When they meet each other, they usually cry for joy. They cry even more bitterly when it is time for separation.

That is why there are torrential rains at the beginning of the seventh lunar month in Vietnam. If you happen to be in the countryside during this month, do not expect to find any ravens. They are believed to have flown to the sky to help carry the bridge across the river for the reunion of Chuc-Nu and Nguu-Lang and if you look at the sky on clear nights, you may see the Silver River which looks like a long milky white strip. Therefore, it is called “Ngan ha” (The Milky Way)

Cassiopeia

CassiopeiaCCCasseopeiacassiopeia_constellation with overlay

For a Close-up view of star names

In Greek legend

Queen Cassiopeia (Cass-ee-o-pea-ah) was married to King Cepheus, and they ruled Ethiopia. She often bragged that she and her daughter, Andromeda, were the most beautiful women in the land, even more beautiful than the sea-nymphs, the Nereids.  The Nereids were upset by this and complained to the sea god, Poseidon.  Poseidon threatened to send a sea monster and a flood to destroy the land of Cassiopeia and Cepheus.  Cepheus and Cassiopeia discovered that the only way to save their land was to sacrifice their daughter, Andromeda, to the sea monster.  They tied her to a cliff by the sea.  Before the monster could eat her, along came Perseus, and saved her.   He slew the sea monster, and then married Andromeda.  It is said, that Poseidon chained Cassiopeia to her throne to punish her for being so boastful.  To remind others to not be so boastful, she hangs upside down for part of the year.

A Celtic legend

In the ancient Celtic world Anu was the mother goddess and considered to be the mother of all the gods; the Tuatha de Danann.  Some say that she is the mother earth goddess or the Goddess of fertility. On the Cork Kerry border are two mountains called the Paps of Anu (pap is another word for breast.) On the top of each mountain are stone structures or cairns that when viewed from a distance make the two mountains look like a pair of breasts. Anu was known, in the Celtic World, by several similar names: Danu or Don being the most popular.  She was a Mother-Goddess, the wife of the Sun God, Belenos, and considered to be the ancestor of all the Gods, the Tuatha dé Danann, who found themselves obliged to reside in the Otherworld when Miled brought the Celts to the British Isles. She still looks down on us from the night’s sky where she appears as Llys Don, better known as the constellation of Casseopeia.

The Big Dipper

BigDipperUrsa Major

Ursa-major with overlay

The Big Dipper is only a part of a larger constellation called Ursa Major, the Big Bear.  It can be difficult to distinguish the other parts of the bear especially if the seeing (upper atmosphere) is cloudy.  However, most of the stars in the Big Dipper portion are often clear and easy to identify.

This constellation pattern of 7 (8) stars is the oldest recognized pattern in the night sky.  Its legends may go back as far as the Ice Age.  It has been many different objects in many cultures.  A plow, a wagon (German), coffin (Arabic), chariot (Irish), skunk, shark, grain measure (Chinese peasants). canoe, hog’s jaw and many others.  Several cultures see it as a bear, and many mythologies show a kinship between bears and humans, perhaps because the bear can stand on two feet.  As Ursa Major travels through the sky, sometimes the bear is quadrupedal and sometimes bipedal.  Stories in some cultures have people taking the form of bears and in some, bears are gods.

A Cool Army Story  Long ago, when warriors fought with clubs, swords and bows, the army captain needed to know whom of his bowmen had the best eyesight.   How he determined this was to have his bowmen look up at the handle of the Big dipper.  He asked them to look and tell him how many stars made up the handle of the dipper. They were not to include the star where the handle joined the pot.  Those who said there were only 3 stars did not have good eyesight, but those who said 4 stars did.  The bowmen with good eyesight were further back in the formation, while those with poor eyesight were in the front row.  Better to be in the back rows I say!  So…where is that 4th star?  Look where the highest point is on the handle curve (the second last star).  There is really two stars there!  There names are Alcor and Mizar.  Mizar is the brighter of the two. They are binary stars, which means they are caught in each others gravitational pull and revolve around each other.

LEO_1.TIF

For a closer look

A Micmac and Iroquois Legend (First Nations tribes in Canada)

In this story, the four stars that form the quadrangle of the dipper, represent the bear.  This bear is being chased by 7 hunters.  The 3 closest hunters are the handle of the dipper.  As fall approaches, the 4 furthest hunters (stars) dip below the horizon and it is said that these hunters have given up the chase.  The 3 closest hunters are named after birds.  The closest is Robin, followed by Chickadee and then Moose Bird.  Chickadee is carrying the pot to cook the bear in.  Remember the double stars of Alcor and Mizar?  Alcor is the pot! In the fall, the bear looks to be standing on two feet, so has stopped running.  Robin shoots and wounds the bear with an arrow.  The wounded bear sprays blood onto Robin who then shakes it off.  As the blood falls to earth, it covers the trees, turning the leaves to red.  Some  of the blood stays on Robin and he is then called Robin Redbreast.  The bear dies and the hunters then eat the bear.  The bears skeleton travels across the winter sky on his back.  In spring, a new bear leaves the den and the chase begins again!

An Arab Myth

This star formation to the Arabs is a funeral.  the 4 stars of the quadrangle is the coffin and the stars in the handle are the mourners following the coffin.  The two stars (Mizar and Alcor) are the son and daughter of the man in the coffin.  His name is al-Naash.  al-Naash was murdered by al-Jadi (the north star).

A Greek Legend

The god Zeus hid the nymph Callisto from his wife Hera by changing her into a bear. Her son, Actas, did not know she was now a bear and while hunting one day came across Callisto. To keep Actas from accidentally killing his mother, Zeus placed them together into the sky as the Big and Little Bear (we know them better by the names Big and Little Dipper).

Using the “pointer” stars in the Big Dipper to locate the North Star (Polaris) and other major stars in other constellations.

 bigdipperdirections and pointer stars

For a larger view of this map

I do hope you enjoy star gazing!  Next week I will cover a few more constellations and a few planets that are visible this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere!

Sun, Moon and Stars

This post is geared toward 1-3 year olds.

Next week will feature stargazing books, legends,  and activities for 4-9 year olds. (ageless really)

The Tale Of The Sun And The Moon

Music by: Erik Herman Music

Words by: Kenn Nesbitt

Illustrations by: Lauren Wilson

This book is in song.  It is beautiful both in story and illustrations. This book gives a child level tale on why the sun and moon are out at different times.  Your youngster will enjoy it and will likely ask for it again…and again.

Watch it here. Tale of the Sun and Moon.

The_Tale_of_the_Sun_and_the_Moon

photo courtesy of ssheltonimages.com

____________

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

by Super Simple Songs

Just enjoy teaching your child the lyrics or enjoying the rhythm of this classic song for children:

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle Star

photo courtesy of Super Simple Learning

__________

Mr Sun

from the GiggleBerries

A classic children’s song and fun as well! This version has a few added lyrics you may not have heard before.  Watch the video for this great song here: Mr Sun

_Mr_Sun_Sun_Mister_Golden_Sun_with_The_GiggleBellies_Music_Video_Preview

photo courtesy of blondesearch.ru

Winter Cold or Winter Warm Activities

Some Indoor Winter Activities

Brrrr!! It is some cold outside!  The Children have Cabin Fever!!  Help Blog Lady, I need HELPPpppp!!!

BUILD A FORT out of blankets around, a table, or chairs, or the couch.  Cardboard boxes can also make cool walls for a fort.  Perhaps you want to paint it up beforehand.  Pile up all the pillows, they make cool forts. I love Pinterest!  So many awesome ideas there. Here is a link to some great blanket fort fun!    (Hint, don’t show the children these!)

Blanket Fort Ideas on Pinterest from Life as Mama

HAVE A SNOWBALL FIGHT.  Now that you have built that fort…get out socks and tuck them together to make several balls.  Use them as snowballs to throw at each other and nobody gets hurt, nobody loses an eye!

MAKE FOOD FOR THE BIRDS.  Make suet cakes to put out for the birds to eat.

Bird at FeederPhoto courtesy of Tara deLancey

Female Downy Woodpecker in Prince Edward Island (Canada)

When the weather gets very cold out, the birds need the extra protein to keep their bodies warm. It usually takes birds a couple of days to discover a new food source, so just be patient, they will come to the feeder. Here is a wonderful recipe for Peanut Butter Suet

making suet

This is Larry Jordan from thebirdersreport.com

GET COOKING.  Do some baking together.  How about Hot Chocolate, or Snow Cookies or Baked Alaska?

PAINT or DRAW SOME SNOWY DAY PICTURES  Still have that roll of brown or white paper I recommended you purchase?  Tape it to the drawing easel or to the wall and draw/paint away!

GO CAMPING You heard me right!  Get out the tents, clear the living room or den and set those tents up!  Make a pretend fire pit, read with flashlights, tell fun or scary tales, Have your supper or dinner at the tent!  Your kids will love it!

Indoor tenting

image found on huffingpost.com

A FREEBIE  Download this from TeachersPayTeachers called The Birth of a Snowflake

ENJOY your children and they will enjoy you!      [ I know it says mama…but add papa as well.]

Quote

I’ve been MIA!

I have been off the grid for far too long!  I had stated that this next post would feature enrichment activities to do with my book, Kieran the Pirate.  However, I am a bit technologically challenged with doing a video to feature with the article.  I am seeking help with this.  So until I can pull that off, I will need to put this off.  My apologies dear follower!

I want to share a couple of picture books with you, and my thoughts/plugs on them!

My Little Sister Ate One Hare, by Bill Grossman, Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

age: 4 – 7

My Little Sister

It is a bit gross, so if your squeamish, don’t read this book!  However, children love it!  It is a rhyming, sequencing story,  that also involves counting, both forward and backward.  I love Bill Grossman’s sense of humor!  I read this story, several times, with students I worked with in school.  I can report that they loved it a lot!  I have to admit, I loved it too!

Listen to the story here:  My Little Sister Ate One Hare … and enjoy!

Want to buy the book? It is available on Amazon.

 

Flashlight, by Lisa Boyd Author/Illustrator

Age: 0 – 7

Flashlight

This is only a trailer for the book on You Tube:  Flashlight

You may be surprised that this picture book contains no words.  However the images are delightful.  As you follow the boy and see what things he discovers, it may make you wish it was nighttime. You may find yourself inspired to go exploring with a flashlight. Perhaps, it is an activity you and the children would enjoy while camping.

Want to buy the book?  It is available on Amazon.