Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hawaiian Volcano Teaches Kids

Earthquakes Reveal Earth's Crust's Insides 
  Mt. Kilauea in Hawaii last erupted to this magnitude in 1982.  It is erupting now with a vengeance. Although the overflow of the ten calderas is devastating to some land and people of Hawaii’s Big Island, the cracks and flows help children peek inside the Earth’s crust, search for igneous black volcanic rock at home, and inspire science demonstrations.
 Family may have visited Mt. Kilauea. Have they seen the lava move and smelled the sulphur dioxide gas? You Tube has videos. Search engines like Google or Kiddle, and libraries have information. This kind of science is very exciting and dramatic.
  Unlike the picture perfect cone volcanoes with a peak and one bowl shaped caldera, Kilauea is very low with more than ten calderas along its East Rift Zone. The Earth is cracking apart and the magma, melting rock below ground, surfaces and becomes lava.
  A number of chemicals are inside the Earth 
Chemicals Inside Cause Lava, Rumblings
causing huge rumbling explosions, fiery spitting lava, refrigerator size flying rocks, volcanic ash, glass shards and vog, a kind of deadly volcanic smog.  The lava is a melted sticky rock syrup, denser than cement and acting like bull dozers. 
  Some large volcanoes have even cooled the Earth for several years.  It depends on how much sulfur dioxide gas spews into the atmosphere combining with water vapor to make tiny droplets that reflect some sunlight way from the Earth.
 The 2,140 degree Kilauea lava is meeting the Pacific Ocean, the site of the Pacific Ring of Fire. When hot lava meets the cool ocean water, hydrochloric acid steam called laze is formed with tiny glass particles.
   Hawaiians believe Pele, goddess of fire, “She who shapes the  sacred land” is perturbed and shooting lava 330 feet into the air, higher than the tip of the Statue of Liberty. Some earthquakes are reaching 6.9 out of 10 on the Richter seismograph scale.
Make Mt. Kilauea
  You can create your own family safe volcano, earthquake shake and rumble, and explosive noise because you have kids to provide the drama and sound effects.
  Cut out ten 12 x 12 inch pieces of tin foil.  Fold them into 6 inch by 6 inch squares to make them strong. 
Mix Up a Safe Volcano at Home
Shape into 10 deformed cones and place in a cake pan with Lego villages.
  Place about 4 Tablespoons vinegar into the bottom of each and a few drops of dish detergent, orange food coloring, pinch of salt, and mix.   Stir about 2 teaspoons baking soda into the vinegar watch the chemical reaction. Make the exploding sounds and shake the pan. An acid (vinegar) and a base (soda) when mixed will fizz when there is a chemical reaction producing harmless carbon dioxide. Clean up easily with water. Can you stop the flow and save the villages?
For more see and Through the Seasons.
Photos: Fran Darling, darling fotos

Friday, May 18, 2018

Marshmallows More Than S’mores

Marshmallows Are Great for Art!
Marshmallows have four grams of sugar each which is about one teaspoon of sugar. Four grams may be OK if you only eat just one. However, who eats just one or counts the calories around the campfire? Marshmallows can also be used for art projects and artsy recipes this time of the year when families have fresh marshmallows for campfires and s’mores.
  Marshmallows make a beautiful edible paint. All you’ll need are marshmallows, water, light corn syrup and food coloring to make this fun sweet paint.  It can be used to decorate cookies, fingers, bread, English muffins, paper, and more. Use clean water color brushes for painting.
Easy to Make
   You will need 1 cup packed marshmallows, ¼ cup water; 2-3 tablespoons light corn syrup, basic food coloring to make many colors, and little dishes. You will also need something to paint. Marshmallows on a sucker stick, toothpick, or popsicle stick work well. You can also use plain cookies like animal crackers, vanilla cookies, or lady fingers. 
Working With Marshmallows Is Fun
Bread or anything with that kind of a rather firm top will do. If you think the kids have had enough sugar, the marshmallow paint is similar to a puffy paint look on paper.
  Place the marshmallows in a microwave –safe bowl and heat on medium for 30 seconds.  They will puff up a bit.  Stir in the water and continue to microwave for an additional 30 seconds.  Stir well to let the heat melt the marshmallows fully. Stir until smooth.  Stir in light corn syrup to desired consistency.
  Divide the marshmallows into little containers and stir in a few drops of food coloring. Experiment with secondary colors like blue (cyan) and red (magenta).  You can make some secondary colors. Yellow and red make orange, blue (cyan) and yellow make green., red and blue make purple. Add plain white to lighten them up. Allow the mixtures to cool enough for children to handle.
Very Creative
  To paint use popsicle sticks. The marshmallow paint may be store in sealed containers several days at room 
Be Creative
temperature. The paint dries well enough to handle but will remain sticky.  Cookies will not be stackable.
  Children also enjoy making bouquets of the decorated marshmallow on a stick and placing them on a vase as flowers for a table decoration or a center of a cake.
  The icing can also be use on graham crackers for beautiful tile like cookies. It can be used to make decorations on graham cracker v- shaped triangle tents and rainbows on small graham cracker ginger bread houses.  Decorated cake doughnuts are also a hit. Older children can use finer brushes for detailed decorations with this sweet edible paint that has many possibilities for creativity on iced cakes and brownies. For more see, Through the Seasons, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Helping Children Welcome Spring

Discover Changes in Nature - Get Ready!
 Adults can help their children discover the changing seasons by sharing the excitement of watching for signs of spring. You will need vases, water, sprigs of bushes and trees, books about spring and seasons.
   Read some books together about spring.  Talk about the seasons. Then on a nice day take a walk in your yard or neighborhood.  Look for signs of spring. On rainy days notice how water runs down hill, forms puddles of water when it is backed up by sticks, or soaks into sand.  Push away mulch in the flower garden and look for any bulbs sending up shoots.  Are there any very early flowers blooming?  Can you find any green grass?  Are farmers or gardeners preparing to plant?
  Cut some branches off a few bushes like willows or dogwood and bring them inside where it is warmer. If you cut some forsythia branches, they should produce yellow 
Children Learn By Observing Nature
flowers. Put the branches in a vase of water.  Notice how the branches have little closed buds. If you have time, take a photo or draw and color a picture that shows the branches on the first day.  Over the next week or two, watch what is happening to the branches and keep the vase filled with fresh water. Where is the water going? Talk about the buds getting bigger and becoming leaves. You could take another photo or draw a final picture to show what has happened.  Later, on a warm day, check around the yard to see if the buds are growing on the trees or if any new leaves are appearing.  Check around the garden to see if spring flowers are blooming. Take along a magnifying glass for a closer look.
Flower Beds
What's Happening in the Flower Beds??
Check what is happening in the flower beds.  Are the bulbs growing?  Are there some flower buds beginning to show?  Watch for birds building nests or finding worms for their new babies.  Can you find any bugs flying or crawling around? What is the weather like in spring? What happened to the snow? When can you plant vegetables or flowers in the garden?
   Provide children with a small rake to help carefully remove old leaves.  They can pick up sticks in the lawn and count them during spring clean up. Winter leaves paper and other garbage behind. Spring is a good time to fill a bag with litter during neighborhood walks. Write down the different kinds of garbage you find. Can some of it be recycled?
How Will This Help My Child?
Children will be learning to observe nature.  They will be developing new vocabulary words about seasons and parts of a plant, as well as first-hand knowledge about the changing seasons. For more see; Through the Season; Facebook, and Pinterest.
photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Stop Bullying in Ten Seconds

Witnessing Bullying Can Be Damaging to Other Children
  While talking with young children about bullying they often share how upset and helpless they feel that no one comes forward to help. Adults are disappointed and hurt about this, too. They know witnessing bullying can be just as, if not more, damaging to the other children as the victims. Caregivers face a dilemma when children witness bullying – keeping the witnesses safe but wanting children to help stop the bullying. Experts have research results and advice to help.
Start Conversations
  A good time to talk with children about how to stop bullying is when they witness the act.  Bystanders have the most power to put an end to bullying! Three out of ten children are either a bully or a victim, which means seven out of ten children are witnesses. Caregivers of young children can empower those seven children to help stop bullying.
Talking To Children Helps: Bystanders
  When peers step in, bullying stops within ten seconds 57% of the time according to a study by Hawkins, Pepler and Craig. It makes sense to teach young children to be defenders.
   Talk openly about how to handle the situation to give children positive ways to deal with it. Children can understand what an important role they play as a bystander. Role play a situation where they have a chance to be the bystander and help them imagine how they would feel if they were being bullied. Ask what they would expect from others if they were the victim. Talk about how much it can hurt and why it is important to stop bullying. Encourage children to be kind to the victims and perhaps spend time with them.
Words and Actions
  Talk about how bullies love an audience. Help children find ways to take the audience away. They can encourage everyone to do a different activity or quietly walk away to find an adult.  Explain that they should never put themselves in the position to be bullied or not feel safe, however. Assure them it is “ok” to tell an adult, and it is the right thing to do.   Explain the difference between tattling (reporting unimportant things to get someone in trouble) and telling (reporting important events to keep someone safe).
Training Calms Children's Fears
 Without training young children are afraid to tell because they fear becoming the victim or that bullying may get worse.  Help children be assertive and confident. Practice saying loudly and forcefully, “No, we don’t like that!” or “Stop! What you are doing is bullying, and it isn’t right!”   Be sure your children understand to only speak up if they feel comfortable and safe to do that. Otherwise, get help. These skills help foster adults who will be involved, responsible, and caring members of society.
For more since 2009 (archived) see, Learning Through the Seasons, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos