Animal Interactions

Looking for something fun to do during spring break. I recommend the Outback Kangaroo Farm located in Arlington, Washington. They have tours at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm from Thursday to Sunday. Be sure to show up 20 minutes before the tour because you aren’t allowed to see the kangaroos otherwise. The tours always start on time in my experience.


Outback Kangaroo Farm


Beautiful peacocks welcomed us in the parking lot. I haven’t seen peacocks with such prefect tail feathers before.

The first half of the tour, we visited the different kangaroos on the property. It appeared to be 3-5 different types of kangaroos available to pet. The kangaroo are so soft.

There were an set of albino kangaroos. Mother Nature Network has an awesome article on 22 different albino animals. They are so rare. Check out the article here for the full list of animals.

The second half hour we visited and fed the other animals which included alpacas, donkeys, goats, emus and lemurs. I think my husband was about to adopt a lemur. They are so friendly and active.

Did you know? Lemurs are lead by an alpha female. Sorry King Julian.

My toddler laughed every time an animal ate out of her hand. She loved it and kept demanding more animal food. So sweet.

Their address is:

10030 State Route 530 NE

Arlington, WA 98223

United States

Putting Down The Golf Green

My daughters and my dad went to the mini putt putt golf course today. Beautiful outside and beautiful course at Snohomish Valley Golf Center. Win win. Here we are at hole 9 overlooking the pond.


Adding at Every Tee


This 18 hole mini golf course has a bridge, two ponds with a waterfall and vista of the Cascade Mountain Range. It is super busy on the weekend but they have extended hours with their new overhead lights. Also, there is a wonderful covered picnic area. Prefect for birthday parties or your next picnic outing.

Thanks to grandpa for helping the toddler with her form. She had a lot of fun. Whether she putted, threw or pushed the ball into the hole.

My favorite hole is number 5 where you can literally putt your ball into the pond if you aren’t careful since there isn’t a rail between the edge of the green and the pond. Luckily we didn’t take a swim today but very inventive for a mini golf course.

Both the kiddos helped move our balls into the holes. I think we all were under par on each hole but it doesn’t really matter since my oldest was in charge of the scorecard and beat us by at least 10 putts. I came in second so I can’t really complain. Lol.

This week I’ve been making a point to ask…

What their favorite moment of the day was? My daughters loved playing golf today.

Another good day! Happy Thursday!

Free Event at the Local Libray

Day 2 of spring break was full of fun. We started at the pool for preschool splash time. Then went across the street to the library to build blocks while we wait for the special event presented by Sno Isle Library.


Museum of Curious Things


The Museum of Curious Things was visiting the library. It is a travel museum in a cool Airstream travel trailer. With a quick look inside, I knew It wasn’t for my kiddos. There were animal skeletons inside. I’m sure it was educational but I’m not ready for my kids to grow up that quickly. I know I’m being selfish so I googled what is an appropriate age to discuss death with my kids? It sounds like talking about death is good for kids based on Psychology Today‘s research.

Also, Lesson Learnt Journal has a lesson plan to teach preschoolers about skeletons and their functions. Now, I kind of feel bad we didn’t check it out… Next time.

Inside the library’s conference room, there was a display of the different animals in resin. Each animal had a different fun fact.

Did you know? Starfish have no brain and no blood.

To end the day, my daughters picked two different bug embossed prints for their crayon rubbing. Crayon rubbings is a great gross motor exercise in holding the paper still so the crayon can reveal the bug below. I helped hold my toddler’s paper still so we could recognize the ant print. I didn’t do the best job. I need to work on my gross motor skills. Also, remind the kiddos to use the side of the crayon instead of the top otherwise the picture isn’t as clear.

What do you think? Do you think talking to preschooler and/or show them skeletons is too early? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Star Activities

Today, my family and I took down the remainder of the Christmas decorations at our house and it made me feel a little sad that the holiday season was over but I reminded myself of the fun we will get to explore this year with interesting kids activities and excursions.

As a way to symbolize looking to the future, my daughter and I took a look at one of her Christmas gifts. Scientific Explorer’s My First Science and Space Kit available on Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

My daughter was so excited to build her own constellation and have the starry night glowing in her room. This kits includes:

  • 2 constellations discs
  • 2 sticker sheets
  • solar system poster
  • star film set
  • solar system film set
  • space projector
  • Plus 9-page activity guide to follow

During the summer, my friends and family get together to participate in some fun crafts and activities with the kids. Lately, I’ve been thinking one week we should study space and dedicate one day to each of the following topics; sun, moon, star constellations and solar system. Based on my research for fun crafts and activities, I came across an article with these type of activities: 50+ Awesome Space Activities for Kids by Gift of Curiosity. The article break the activities down into different parts of space which is exactly what I was looking for. Yeah!

Some solar systems activities include:

Puffy paint solar system that you can stick onto your windows from School Time Snippets

Some moon activities include:


Some sun activities include:

Some constellation activities include:

Hope you found a fun space activity for your kiddos. This summer I’ll show you the activities we decided to explore. Happy January!

Build a campfire

Review

During a family reunion this summer, we had a wonderful teacher (my cousin, Hunter) show my family how to build two different types of camp fires, which is today’s 4h challenge. I’m kicking myself right now because I do not have a picture of either of them. But I didn’t know I would be writing about campfires today.

For those of you who have just joined me, today is Day 26 of the 30 day challenge 4H is doing to “inspire kids to do.” There is a $10,000 grand prize of a scholarship for the kid who is inspired to do. Check out the whole challenge at 4H.org.

The Activity

Well, another time of year we always build a campfire is the 4th of July. Below is a picture of daddy and grandpa building a fire.

Most of our fires gather friends and family to cook marshmallows aka s’mores. My daughters style of s’more is chocolate marshmallow chocolate. No graham cracker for my daughter.

To build a good fire, you need three kinds of wood.

Tinder are small twigs, dry leaves, needles or forest duff to start the fire.

Kindling are small sticks to get the fire going.

Firewood is the larger pieces of wood you put on top to keep the fire going.

Option 1: teepee campfire

WikiHow has a great step by step instructions to build a teepee style campfire.

Option 2: pyramid campfire

Pyramid campfire is built like a jenga game. WildernessArena has a great step by step instructions. Check it out here.

Forest Ranger – Nature Club

Review

Day 5 of the 4H challenge is create a nature club and explore your neighborhood and backyards. Check out the full list of activities in my earlier post as well as go to 4H.org for more information about the opportunity to win a scholarship of $10,000. Check it out here.

The Activity

We explored our local neighborhood park in Snohomish County of Washington State for wild life, like rabbits. During our weekly trip to play on the playground this summer, we frequently saw rabbits roaming the yards.

On our walk, we saw a rabbit in our neighborhoods yard. Let’s play ‘where’s the rabbit’ (instead of Waldo). Can you see him in the shade of that tree? Well if we were a little quieter; we may have a better picture but sorry I have two loud daughters that scared the rabbit away.

My oldest tried to follow it down the trail but no luck.

Did you know? Rabbits can run as fast as 45 mph. Bye-bye bunny.

A baby rabbit visited our backyard to eat strawberries. My daughter quickly named it Strawberry. I believe Strawberry is a snowshoe hare. I have to apologize for the picture quality but fun to see the rabbit in my yard when sitting inside your home. If anyone has a better idea of this rabbit specie, please let me know.

Did you know? There are over 87 species of rabbits worldwide and 30% of them are endangered. Check out more fun facts about rabbits at paws.org.

So what did today’s activity inspire? Well my daughter definitely wants to care for a rabbit now. She can ‘care’ for Strawberry or other wildlife in our neighborhood. Ways to care for wildlife:

  • Drive carefully
  • Plant brush and trees that are edible.

What do you think?

Agriculture – At Bailey’s Farm

Day 3 is the 4H challenge is visiting a farm to harvest vegetables or see the animals.

Review

For those of you just joining us. 4H has a 30 day challenge to ‘inspire kids to do’ for the month of September. Those who participate and share their experience with 4H.org have the opportunity to win a scholarship of $10,000. Check it out here.

You may be thinking her daughter is only 5 years old. Yeah I agree but it is never too early to try. Plus I love these type of challenges. Feeling the nudge to do some educational activities with my kiddos. It motivates me to be a better mom. That is a win in my book. Hopefully my kid’s too.

The Activity

Near our home is the Snohomish Valley with lots of farmland. We visit many u-pick farms during the summer from strawberries to blueberries to vegetables, like corn and potatoes. It is great experience because going to the farm can potential cost you nothing. However, we never walk away without no bucket of veggies or berries.

Bailey’s Farm is my go to u-pick this summer. It is located in Snohomish and offers lots of vegetables and fruit options. Strawberries in June, raspberries in July, vegetables in August and corn in September. Oh and of course pumpkins in October.

Here we are harvesting potatoes from the ground. Fun activity to get your hands dirty.

Did you know? Potatoes are part of the nightshade family which people did not eat before the 1800s. People thought they were toxic. Now, millions of people eat potatoes everyday at McDonalds. Funny how things change due to what you know.

Everyone has their buckets ready to get the potatoes. There are red and white varieties to choose from.

The u-pick is open from 8am-6pm daily. Check out their website to see what is available for harvest now. baileyveg.com

Once you dig up the potato plant, you just pick the potatoes from the root. Bailey’s had a washing station. I recommend washing everything and removing unwanted leaving because you pay pre pound. They are a better price than the store but not by much due to grocery stores’ sales. I will say though picking the food fresh makes to last much longer than going to the store. I’ve been storing them in a dark cool place for a couple weeks and still good.

We noticed that the white potatoes had white flowers and red potatoes had red-purplish flowers. Interesting.

Mathematics- Puzzle and Pegs

We are a member of Amazon STEM club.

PlayMonster Lauri Number Puzzle Boards & Pegs

We are members of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) club at Amazon. I recommend to all my friends looking for a monthly subscription to a educational stem program to join this one. They do a great job of sending an assortment of subjects and wonderfully priced.

For our June project, we received a mathematics toy, PlayMonster Lauri Number Puzzle Boards & Pegs. My 1 almost 2 year old loved assembling the puzzles and staking he pegs. She would play with it for hours.

However, my oldest (5 year old) assembled it quickly (maybe 20 minutes) then move on. You can’t see her in the photos below but she is the reason the pegs are matching on each tile and a rainbow pattern.

Butterfly Excursion

Our local zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, just opened a Butterfly garden for the summer. It is beautiful to see all the different types of butterflies. Their colors are so vibrant.

The butterflies are at all levels. Beware where you walk cause we will find some of them on the ground which is just the right height of a toddler.

The zoo offers a butterfly guide that my 5 year old daughter loved to match the card to the butterfly.

Did you know?

  • • Butterflies are insects.
  • • A butterfly’s lifecycle is made up of four parts, egg, larva (caterpillars), pupa (chrysalis) and adult.
  • We just observed the last stage of the butterfly’s life cycle, adult, at the zoo but check out when we raised caterpillars at home. Click here.

    For more info, check out the zoo website.

    Geologists- Kinetic Sand

    We love kinetic sand because it is a great indoor activity on a rainy day or the weather is too hot to go outside. PLUS when your kids are tired of play doh; it is a great alternative.

    It does get ground into the carpet like play doh does.

    I tried the sandbox this summer thinking it would be a good activity but the sand gets in the house, toes or fingernails. Kinetic sand is so much easier to clean up.

    The kit comes with molds but we added some small gems to the activity that my kids loves to hide in the sand or use to decorate their sand castles. We make handprints. It is fun for all ages (but the sand is recommended for 3 yrs old plus).

    Other great additions to the kinetic sand is:

    • Small dump trucks
    • Small seashells
    • Little people or animals

    Kinetic Sand The One Only Sandcastle Set 1lb Sand, Molds Tools (Colors Vary)

    Invertebrates: Caterpillar and Ladybug Egg Carton Craft Activity

    Day Invertebrates: Invertebrates is a class in the Animal Kingdom. It is defined as animals with an exoskeleton to say it simply. Invertebrates are broken into 3 groups: crabs (crustaceans), spiders (arachnids) and insects.

    Today we will be focusing on the insect part of this group. We are making ladybugs and caterpillars. This is a easy activity for all ages.

    First use a black sharpie to color in the bugs face then paint the bug whatever color the kids what. Easy way to make to personal for each kid.

    Did you know? Ladybugs are actually a beetle and they come in a rainbow of colors. The insect is know as a ladybug in North America and ladybird in England and other English speaking countries.

    Then add the gems for the dots and paint or googly eyes for the eyes and mouth. We had some extra flowers for the bugs to sit on that we added at the end.

    Did you know? Some ladybugs have no spots and others can have up to 20.

    So let them add as many or few gems (spots) that the kids want.

    Supplylist

    • Egg cartons
    • Acrylic or washable paint (your choice)
    • Black sharpies
    • Rhinestone stickers
    • Googly eyes

    Craft inspired and Image by: Frugal Fun for boys and girls

    Bird Excursion- Turkey Vulture

    This weekend we went camping at Manchester State Park on the Washington State Pennsylvania.

    Each Saturday the park has a program available to the campers and day use visitors. Last weekend we had the opportunity to meet Princess a Turkey Vulture that was saved by a hunter in the Shelton area and given to the West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island. Kylee and Bart, representatives from the shelter and animal caregivers, were very knowledgeable and you can tell they truly care about the animals.

    Kylee explained that Princess is a permanent resident at the shelter because her left wing is broken. The shelter received Princess when she was about 1 year old because her head was still a shade of blue like most baby vultures.

    Kylee asked the audience, “what do you think Princess weighs?” There were lots of guesses in the 20-50 pounds ranges but…

    Did you know? Bird have hollow bones.

    Thus Princess only weighs 7 pounds.

    Other fun facts:

    • Most birds don’t have a sense of smell except vultures.
    • When a group of vultures fly in a circle, it is called a kettle.
    • Vultures are flat foots because they spend a lot of time on the ground.
    • As a self defense, vultures throw up on their attackers.
    • Vultures stomach acid is as toxic as battery acid thus killing most bacteria and germs they eat.

    Map:

    Chemistry- Blueberry Plum Jam

    So a few days ago we went to the blueberry patch, check out our adventure here, and today we are processing our blueberries. We washed all the blueberries and laid them onto cookie sheets covered with paper towels to dry. Half of the blueberries we froze and the other half will be divided to make jam, muffins and just to eat (in my belly).

    Making jam is a great experience for kids to see how solid can turn into liquid then back into solid just by changing the temperature. I remember making strawberry jam with my mom as a kid and would love for my kids to have the same fond memory.

    Fun Facts:

    Did you know? The boiling point of sugar is 320 degree Fahrenheit and water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Since this is only the second time I’ve made jam without my mother, I needed to follow a recipe. I don’t store pectin at my house so I found a recipe for plum and blueberries because plums and apple jams don’t require pectin. To learn more about pectin and where it came from, check out this website. It has an article about Science and Magic of Jam Making.

    I loosely followed a recipe by TallCloverFarm. Check out her recipe here. I say loosely because she recommends using 2 limes and I only had lemons. Plus I didn’t follow her instructions.

    Before you get started, I recommend bringing out another activity that the kids can do while they wait for the jam to solidify. It takes almost a hour of stirring constantly so be prepared to hang in the kitchen a while.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 pounds of plum (about 4 cups)
    • 2 pounds of blueberries (about 6 cups)
    • 3 cups of sugar
    • 1 large lemon
  • I asked Alexa how many cups were in a pound.
  • Alexa responded that she is unable to help me because pounds is measured in mass and cups in measured in volume.

  • Then I thought what a great example for the kids. We have a small scale that allowed the kids see the weight of plums is different than the weight of blueberries. Then we tried sugar and lemons too. Fun little side experiment.
  • Start by combining plums, sugar and blueberries in a large pot on low heat. I crush the plums with my spoon as I stir it around. Once it is combined, I squeeze a lemon into my mixture.

    You will notice the berries starting to disappear into the liquid.

    Once all the blueberries have dissolved into the jam you are ready to remove it from the heat and let it cool. After about 30 minutes, we made peanut butter and jam sandwiches with our new plum-blueberry jam and everyone enjoyed them.

    Tall Clover Farm had a picture of jam scrambled into the shape of a heart. I thought I’d try and pay tribute to her.

    Harvest – Mountainview Blueberry Picking

    Today we went to Mountainview Blueberry Farm. A wonderful farm with lots of berries. We collected almost 10 lbs of berries in an hour.

    They have 2 different types of blueberries available right now to be picked. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. They informed us about the different types but if you forget like I do something Mountainview Blueberry website is very informative. Click here to check it out.

    Mountainview Blueberry Farm has many different sizes of buckets for you to choose from.

    As you walk to the field, the farmer included trivia about blueberries on the fence.

    Did you know? Blueberries are full of antioxidants.

    Not sure if kids care about antioxidants but…

    Did you know? Blueberries freeze in 4 minutes.

    Ok maybe only moms are excited by that information. Kids fun facts…

    Did you know? Early colonists made gray paint out of blueberries by boiling them in milk.

    I wondering how much of that paint actually made it onto the wall. 😁

    These are blueberries from the concord bush. The bush is taller thus easy for adult to pick from. Though still accessible to the 1 year old.

    The Mountainview Blueberry Farmer was very smart. They alternated row from short bushes to tall bushes so everyone of every height can reach those big plump blueberries.

    Lesson Ideas

    Farms offer lots of different lesson options. Here are just a couple ideas:

    • Blueberry bush through the seasons
    • Paint made from berries by HollyMann
    • Why are blueberries healthy
    • Bloom to berry

    Let me know if you have any other ideas.

    Mountainview Blueberry Farm
    7617 E Lowell Larimer, Snohomish, WA 98296

    Cougar Mtn Zoo Update

    The Cougar Mtn Zoo Trip was amazing. The zoo is smaller so you can see all the animals in about 2 hours. Not a bad thing if you want to get home before your kid’s afternoon nap. The lectures are very laid back and resembles more one on one discussion than lecture. We went to the crane and lemur lectures. My 5 year old daughter was able to ask the zoologist anything about the animals and the staff was so knowledgeable and kind.

    Did you know? There are about 100 species of lemurs and they all live on the island of Madagascar.

    We had the pleasure of meeting some friends at the zoo and all the kids became quick friends with a macaw named Max. Max said “hi” and whistled at the kids. It was pretty cool.

    The zoo has macaws in ever color of the rainbow. Each of them so beautiful and unique. The rainbow macaws were one of my kids favorite (besides Max of course).

    My daughter, who is usually afraid of feeding animals, stepped right up and feed the llamas, mule deers, emus and reindeers with ease. The zoo sells cut up apples for $4 a cup at the entrance or there are coin grain pellet food dispenser by the animals. Recommend just picking up 1 cup per kid because you will walk by the entrance a couple times and it is easy to buy more.

    They have every reindeer from Santa’s sleigh at the zoo. My kids were pretty excited to see the whole herd but the question that continued to come up was…

    Where is Rudolph? -Daughter

    Response: Rudolph is in the stables. – Staff

    Instead of doing a scavenger hunt with the bronze sculptures, as I mentioned in one of my other posts. The zoo as a great discovery area that would be a wonderful place for some crayon rubbings. Check out the activities here.

    My last recommendation is go visit the tigers and wolves. The tigers have a great assortment of colors. Golden, white and black and orange bengal tigers.

    Fish Activity 2 – Foam Clay

    Day Fish; today we explore what makes a fish unique and similar to the other animals in the Animal Kingdom.

    Fish are classified as gill-bearing aquatic creatures that lack limbs and digits. They include but not limited sharks, lionfish, tuna and stingrays.

    We explore the different types of fins and tentacles animals in the fish classes have through the foam clay craft.

    During the school year, my daughter brought home her scholastic catalog for the book fair to help support the teachers getting new books in their classrooms. So I was happy to help. I stumbled upon this fun and easy foam clay kit. My Clay Critters. I was pleasantly surprised. The step by step instruction are easy for a kid under the age of 5 to follow and understand. (Beware of the googlie eyes. They are prefect swallowing size for a 1 year old.)

    It is reasonably priced and makes 10 different little sea creatures.

    After the critter is done, set it out to dry and in 24 hours it is hard and fun new toy to play with.

    Animal Kingdom Excursion

    Photo courtesy of Cougar Mountain Zoo

    This week we will be learning about the Animal Kingdom. Each day we will be learning about a different classification (Mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians and invertebrates aka bugs). There are a couple activities for everyday of the week with an adventure/excursion day mixed in.

    This topic can go over two weeks if you want with two different adventure days. We are going to the zoo, the Cougar Mtn Zoo in Issaquah, WA.

    They have the largest bronze animal sculpture collections. Take a look at the scavenger hunt checklist page I made.

    To emphasize the sculptures at the zoo, we did a foam sculpture of a sea creatures as one of our craft activities. Check it out.

    The zoo includes great lectures about their animals about every half hour. Here is a link to their daily activity schedule.

    I plan on checking out their macaw lecture. After seeing the movie Rio 2, my kids love birds especially macaw.

    Did you know? Blue and gold macaws are the most intelligent of all the macaw species. Check out more fun facts about macaws on Cougar Mtn website.

    Photo courtesy of Cougar Mountain Zoo

    Please check back next week with an update/review on our adventure.

    Other options for animal adventures:

    • Forest park petting zoo – Mukilteo, WA
    • Flower World – Snohomish, WA
    • Kelsey Creek Farm – Bellevue, WA
    • Reptile Zoo – Monroe, WA
    • Kangaroo Zoo – Arlington, WA
    • Woodland Park Zoo – Seattle, WA
    • Point Defiance Zoo – Tacoma, WA
    • Northwest Trek – Eatonville, WA
    • Seattle Aquarium
  • Free options include:
    • Checking out your local parks or beaches. In the Pacific Northwest, most of the parks have guided tours. In Everett Washington, check out the hiking portion of the summer catalog. Andy Boos gives guided hikes on many of our wonderful trails. (Most hikes are recommended for 8+ years old.)

    The Journey Begins…

    Thanks for joining me! I do agree with Izaak Walton’s quote and I love the company and enjoyment my kids add to my journey.

    Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

    I’m a planner and researcher at heart so when I was pregnant with my first daughter I researched “what does a day look like with a newborn.” Come to find out the attention span of a child under the age of 5 years old is only 20 minutes. I had a slight panic attack.

    What do you do with young kids all day? -me

    I have almost 12 hours in the day to find engaging activities for my kids to do.

    To help me coop, I broke my new job as mother into a physical therapist, librarian, zoologist, forest ranger, doctor, artist basically an educator of all things in life. We began this journey filled with many activities so neither of us would get bored.

    This made motherhood enjoyable for me and I hope my kids benefited from my over planning. As I gained mom friends, I have included them in my activities. They seem to enjoy doing them with their kids (they keep coming back) thus I want to share them with you too.

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