I have been hearing a ton a great things about the website Mystery Science. So, while planning ahead for this weeks’ lessons, I decided that this would the week that we give it a try. Because we are learning about plants and animals right now, I chose a fun sounding lesson on how flowers are pollinated.
I found that Mystery Science is super easy to navigate and gives very detailed directions for each project. They have a list of supplies needed at the start of each lesson. This particular lesson used items that I already had in the house (paper, markers, glue sticks, fake pollen and some sticky lables or tape). I was able to gather all of my supplies and print my worksheets in just 5 minutes time. Not bad!
Getting To It
The lesson was easy to explain to the kids and they got right to work. They colored their flowers, cut them out and glued them into a cone shape. After that, they used pipe cleaners to make little ‘bees’. I put a little bit of seasoning in each flower to play the part of pollen (I used ground cloves, paprika and ground ginger). Next the kids used their ‘bees’ to go from flower to flower taking pollen with it.
This was the first project that I have had Baby J do along with the two big kids. He was SO excited to sit at the table and copy what they were doing! Huge win!!
After a long stretch of rain here in California, we were happy to head outdoors to continue our lesson. We grabbed our sketch books and pencils and drove to a nearby garden. The big kids found flowers that they liked and studied them as well as sketched pictures in their books.
They had so much fun with the sketching that they moved on to a cute nearby pond and drew pictures of the tadpoles and the tiny waterfall that fed into the pond.
Be Still My Heart
I was over the moon watching my curious kids explore the garden, taking their time to notice the small details. This slower pace is exactly what I have been looking for. Sometimes leaving the screens can be hard in this day and age, but man did it feel good. (I have got to do this more often!)
After today, I am a huge fan of Mystery Science! I have already printed off some more projects to do with the kids. I love how easy it is to navigate and also how engaging it is. My kids do not love seat work (who does, right?), so I will happily take hands on activities any day. My only regret is not utilizing this site sooner.
We have the first field trip of the year in the books! We headed to Blackhawk, California for the day for a fun outing with the kids. The area is absolutely beautiful and worth the visit. And there are plenty of things to do to keep you busy all day long.
Our first stop was the Blackhawk Museum. We were lucky enough to score free admission tickets through the local library’s Discover & Go program. (Check out my post on outings on a budget!) The current exhibit is titled Spirit of The Old West, and has an amazing display of what life was like for both Native Americans and American Settlers. There was a large collection of artifacts that included clothing, dishes, old guns and tomahawks. The display of taxidermy animals was very impressive. My kids loved seeing how large a moose is! My kids’ favorite part of the museum was the timeline display made up of thousands of miniatures, telling the story of the settlement of the Western Plains of the United States. All three of my kids were fascinated by the detail put into this display. Everything was clearly labeled with the year and details of the events being portrayed.
Downstairs is the Automotive Gallery, which is stunning to say the least. I have visited this gallery numerous times over the years and I still feel impressed every time I go. This is a large rotating collection of over 40 historically significant cars. (My favorite has always been the Tucker!) My kids all enjoyed this section of the museum, especially my car obsessed 2 year old. They also agreed that today’s cars are kind of ugly in comparison to the grand cars of the past. (Why can’t we all drive a classic Rolls Royce?)
Feeding the Ducks
Blackhawk Plaza has a beautiful water way that runs through the middle that is home to a ton of beautiful ducks (and a few pesky geese). So, after our visit at the museum, we walked over to Draeger’s Market to buy some duck food. Because we went during school hours, we were the only ones feeding ducks. We had such a large group of ducks following us around! My kids were ecstatic!! My daughter grinned ear to ear when a duck ate right out of her hand.
Sycamore Valley Park
Sycamore Valley Park is actually in Danville, but just a few miles down the road from Blackhawk Plaza. This is a super fun park with play structures for both the young group and the older kids. There is a huge grassy area to run on, and a beautiful pond to run around as well. There are also several bocce ball courts available too. There are plenty of picnic tables, so don’t forget to pack lunches! And if you go in the summer, there is a water spray area for the kids to play in as well.
After our full day out in Blackhawk, we packed up and headed home. The kids were wore out, and two out of three fell asleep on the way home. We were all pleased with our day out, and the extra education they received at the museum was a bonus.
Do you have a favorite Bay Area outing with kids? I would love to hear about it in the comments 🙂
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