Monday, August 27, 2007

Museum Mania in Brooklyn

On Sunday, we went to the Brooklyn Childrens Museum (which is closing for construction work on 9/3), had a picnic on a park bench, and then visited the NY Transit Museum (both the main branch in Brooklyn and the little satellite in GCT in Manhattan). Mikro had fun, especially in pretending to drive buses and trains.

BCM has a cool collection of live animals, a garden area, an area devoted to musical instruments (many of which the kids can handle and play), lots of stations for drawing, and much more. Instead of a stairway between floors, there is a wierd neon lit tin tunnel with a watercourse down the middle. It is supposed to be getting much bigger when they are done with construction. Definitely worth another visit, though perhaps not on a special event day, because it was an overcrowded zoo this weekend, as families all rushed to squeeze it in before the closure...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nature Study: Logs & Leaf Litter Hike

This morning, we ran to Mrs. Greens to get Mikro's allergy friendly food, and then raced like mad to make it home, stow the groceries, and run to a program at the Nature Center for all ages.

"Logs and Leaf Litter" was a hike through the park, investigating the critters that live in those environments. We were slightly late, but luckily we caught up with the group. It was us, another mom & 2 kids, an older lady and one of the park naturalists, Melissa, who brought magnifying bug jars for the kiddos to use. Lots of fun, and lots of exercise. Mikro had a blast. And we found a few bugs, some alive, some dead, for our growing collection.

We saw shells from the shell middens left by local native americans, pill bugs, cicada nymph casings, dead cicadas, spiders, monarch butterflies, yellow swallowtails, several varieties of mushroom, earthworms, millipedes, slugs, ants, water chestnuts, beach glass, poison ivy and a plant that looks like clover (aack-- name escapes me) which is a natural remedy for poison ivy. We found feathers from a woodpecker, a duck, seagulls, and canada geese.

After the hike, we visited the nature center and saw a paper wasp nest, a taxidermied fox, skulls of various local critters, and the contents of an owl pellet. I really liked Melissa, and am sure we will be going back for more programs at the Nature Center. (Today I got an email from our local homeschool coop listing classes starting mid-September at the center, which are especially for homeschoolers. I will definitely try to get Mikro into them, though he is a little younger than the suggested age (which is 6, but they require the parents to stay, so I think with a little mama help, Mikro will do fine), because he is totally into entomology and nature.)

After the hike, we found several more dead cicadas and a dead cicada killer wasp, and then got to watch a live cicada killer on the prowl. Kevin and Mikro examined a fox hole with a flashlight, and we caught a caterpillar, a small orange moth, and a ladybug to take home and study. Melissa got a kick out of the fact that we travel with empty bug jars. They sure proved useful!

Some critter photos from our hike: Slug, millipede, monarch butterfly, earthworm, bee...

Cicadas & Cicada Killers:

Cicada nymph molted casings, inside and out:

More fun in the park...

This is Mikro after we left the park to finish up our grocery shopping... Totally zonked.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Music and Moonlit Meandering

Took Mikro to a music program for kids at our local library. He got to hear a trio of oboe, flute and bassoon and learned a bit about musical notation, and terms like piano, forte, adagio and allegro. The kids sang the scales, drew pictures to match the music, and the braver kids got to handle a violin (Mikro didn't want to...)

On the way home, we listened to the extremely loud seranade of the bugs. Crickets, cicadas and katydids harmonizing loudly. Of course, this inspired a bug hunt...

We saw an earwig, several spiders, pill bugs, crickets, ants, some beautiful miniroses, and most amazingly, in the woods just across the street from the library, we saw a group of young fawns bedded down for the night. There were 4 or 5 of them. Too dark and too far away to get a decent photo, unfortunately.

And there was wierd found art -- the DPW seals cracks in the roads in a very artistic manner:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Field Trip-- American Museum of Natural History

We had a busy weekend. Sunday we went to the AMNH in NYC with Mikro's aunt and 2 of his cousins, and saw dinosaurs and live frogs. Mikro and his closest in age cousin T together are a whirlwind, but a joy to watch. His middle cousin is really blossoming. She's no longer shy, and has a great sense of humor. I loved seeing the kids together. I have a ton of photos to edit, and today I'm paying in pain for having dared to go do stuff like a normal person, but I'd say it was worth it. It was really nice to have fun and feel like part of a family. Kev, Mikro and I are way too isolated too much of the time...

I haven't been to the AMNH in years. Never knew there was a special Discovery Room for the kiddos, where they can get hands on with the exhibits. Mikro got to touch a dinosaur skeleton!

And then the bigger kid got to put together a model of a praying mantis.

There were lots of bugs to look at.

And puzzles and toys to play with.

And fossils to touch.

And cousins to hold hands with, and chase around.

Boy meets frogs...

But by day's end, the sensory boy was pretty overwhelmed. Here he's trying to shield himself from noise. Lucky for us, he just fell asleep during dinner at EJ's Diner, rather than throwing a meltdown...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Linky Love

The Dangerous and Daring Blog for Boys and Girls:

101 Things to Do This Summer:

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Summer of Bugs Continues-- Fly Away!

Crazy lady releasing the cicada...

Of course, I had to take photos first, and Kev caught me in the act.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Scenes From the Bug Jar

We are still heavy into the insect world over here. Mikro has a Bug Habitat (plastic cage with multiple hatches to drop the critters in) and a bunch of little bug collecting bottles. In the past ten days or so, we've caught several types of beetles, more crickets, a bumble bee, a huge red ant, lightning bugs, a pill bug (which is actually a crustacean, not an insect),and, most amazingly, a live cicada nymph, which molted and turned into an adult cicada while we had him. We released him yesterday, and he took off on strong sure wings. What a cool thing to get to see!

And today I bought a few more bug jars...