Monday, January 25, 2010

New England Winter Road Trips

Ready to get out of your yard? Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, sledding, maple sugaring, skating and winter walks are just more of the great family time activities to be done locally. Weston has a ski trail with rentals available at and Blue Hills in Milton offers night skiing at an affordable rate. Ask neighbors and friends for recommendations for local sledding sites – some golf courses are very open to winter sledding guests. There are many local sites to visit maple sugar houses – we love pure maple syrup and found the process really neat to see up close as we traipsed through the mud and snow and finally arrived at the sugar house.

There are area skating rinks both indoors and out and area ponds, lakes, reservoirs and cranberry bogs well sited for skating – call ahead if you need to rent skates to see if they are available. If you have favorite summer walks – try one in the winter. Borderland Park here in Easton has wonderful trails to meander through. DCR has a web site that lists many winter events. We have also enjoyed winter walks on our favorite beaches and ponds.

Whatever you choose – get out in the snow and have some fun! And as my daughter would say when I finally force her inside… “and now can we have some hot chocolate?”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Exploring Music Helps Kids Learn

There is no greater joy for me as a music educator than to see one of my students really "click" with an activity. Whether it be singing, playing with rhythm sticks, "acting out" music, or any of our other creative musical games, what I see in the eyes of my students in those moments is hopefully the beginning of a lifelong love of music. And we know from studies and field research that the enjoyment of music is only the beginning of the benefits!

Children who are exposed early to music will gain in reasoning, math, and literacy. Through music from other cultures, they will gain more understanding of the world in which they live. They'll gain confidence and an ability to express themselves, in addition to learning to work within a group. Put simply, music opens doors and creates limitless opportunities.

Plus, it's fun and a great way to spend quality time with your kids. It's a privilege for me to participate in that process in the lives of young people, and an additional privilege for me to be a part of the great mission of the Children's Museum in Easton. "helping children
and families become lifelong learners". I hope to meet many of you in the weeks to come.

~Museum Educator, Kerry Campbell

Become a fan of Kerry's "Exploring Music" Facebook Fan Page.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Backyard Winter fun!

“Did it snow?” The first words out of my daughter’s mouth in the morning when she’d heard there was a chance of snow the night before.

“When can I go play in the snow?” Ever hear those words at your house? There is so much fun to be had outside in the winter.

After you’ve built the snowmen, scourer the yard for natural add-ins – my kids raid the gardens and break off seed pods and stalks to make hair and faces for their snow friends. We have made snow forts, snow cars, snow chairs, snow dogs and one March we even made a four foot snow bunny! Start saving those plastic containers – they are great for scooping snow to make snow forts and chairs.

Snow painting is another easy, fun thing to do – save up squeeze-style bottles (like shampoo, ketchup or syrup) and fill them up with colored water (try food coloring or very watered down tempera paint) and let the kids paint away on the snow.

Find a place to sit and watch for birds – string cereal or popcorn and hang it in the yard – make observations daily until it is gone. We go for walks in our yard – tracking the animals who have been frolicking through…deer, dogs, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, birds and voles leave tracks in the yard. If you don’t have a bird book - check one out from the library to help you identify a few local birds you will see.

Don’t forget to have a snow shovel for each member of the family - kids often love helping out shoveling the driveway, walkways and decks and what neighbor wouldn’t love to have your family help out shoveling next storm or come home after a day’s work to find their driveway shoveled out.