Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Clue Town Books - Educational Scavenger Hunts For Atlanta

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Clue Town Books were created by Jay Carlson a stay at home dad and creator of The Plug, a monthly web magazine that is part social experiment and part avant-garde life documentation. Clue Town scavenger hunt books are the first of their kind. They combine Jay's love of zines and games into an activity that anyone can enjoy.

A moms review: 
Have you ever wanted to find a way to make visits to Atlanta more fun and exciting for your family? Are you looking for a way to combine education, entertainment and exercise? Well look no further Clue Town Books totally fit the bill! There are 6 books including Piedmont Park, Oakland Cemetery, Downtown Decatur, Atlanta BelLine, Grant Park and Downtown Kirkwood, and hopefully more to come. They are perfect for date nights, birthday parties, team building events, sightseeing, homeschool groups, scouts and more. And they are suitable for adults and children (ages 12 and up can easily complete the hunt on their own but younger children may need assistance). Each full-length booklet includes a compass and pencil.  Full-length books take 60-90 minutes to complete and mini-hunts take 20-40 minutes to complete.

Our homeschool group visited Oakland Cemetery and did The Clue Town book as a group. Oakland Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Atlanta and was founded in 1850. The 48 acre site mixes Victorian and garden styles within its historic sections. Did you know almost 70,000 people are buried there? The Oakland Cemetery Clue Town booklet takes visitors down brick paths in a respectful scavenger hunt that delivers a beautiful and cultural experiences.

We had children ranging from about 6-12 completing the scavenger hunt and everyone had such a blast that they all agreed we definitely needed to do it again. To complete the hunt and earn the reward at the end of the booklet hunters use the cemetery landmarks to solve a variety of puzzles. Each solution to the puzzles reveal how to get to the next checkpoint. Some of the puzzle types in the Oakland Cemetery book include matching, mazes, rebuses and more. Each family used 1-2 booklets depending on how many children they had. To add to the fun each family that completed hunt had their names entered into a drawing to win Downtown Decatur Clue Town booklet.

Order a few and see for yourself how much fun the Clue Town Books are!

Links to follow:
-Clue Town Website
-Clue Town Facebook
-Clue Town Twitter

Where to buy:
Clue Town booklets can be purchased online or at various stores around Atlanta. Full-length books are $15 and mini-hunts are $7.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Raising Awareness For Endangered Animals All Year Long

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Did you know that World Lion Day was August 10th and that World Elephant Day was August 12th? Before becoming a National Geographic Kids Insider I didn't. I know these two days have passed and if you didn't know about them don't worry because you don't need to only raise awareness and celebrate these spectacular endangered animals on just these days, you can help them all year long and here are some things you can do!

Did you know that it's not just Lions that are at risk? Many big cats in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate. But there are things you and your family can do to help, so keep reading.

National Geographic is working hard to help raise awareness for Lions and other big cats by getting people to give high fives on social media. It is really easy, just follow the steps below.

  • Share the Facebook and Twitter posts found HERE. Or get creative and share your own photo or video using hashtag #5forBigCats on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.  Don't forget to tag your friends in the virtual high five.
  • Then head HERE to donate $5 (or more) to support National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative.
  • Sit back and watch the chain grow across social media!

Some other things you can do are:

  • Support the Big Cats Initiative. This initiative helps prevent livestock from being killed by building better corrals, tracking lions and warning farmers, educating farmers and locals on other methods besides lethal action.  Simply text LIONS to 50555 to donate $10.00 or shop Big Cats gear.
  • Educate your children about lions and other big cats. Teachers and parents can download this free kit to help educate kids on saving wildlife from National Geographic Kids. Learn more about lions here. Or purchase this awesome book Mission: Lion Rescue. This book is filled with amazing stories, facts and resources. Education is key to understanding and helping these magnificent creatures!
  • Host a "Lion" Aid Stand.

Another animal that is endangered is the Elephant, the biggest mammal to walk Earth. And National Geographic is working hard to make sure that these animals are around for future generations.

  • Education is key remember! Purchase this awesome book Mission: Elephant Rescue. Just like Misson: Lion Rescue this book is loaded with amazing stories, beautiful photography, hands on activities and more. I am super excited to use this book in a few weeks with my homeschool zoo club. We will be learning about Elephants and I am planning to do one of the many fabulous rescue activities in the book. I found these great little National Geographic books on Elephant Migration at Dollar Tree and will be giving one out to each family attending the zoo club meeting.
  • Head over to the National Geographic website and watch the Elephant Mission: Animal Rescue video.
  • Download this Mission Animal Rescue Fundraising Kit.
  • Print out some Mission Animal Rescue Posters.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cagles Family Farm - Ag-Venture Tour Review

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Cagles Family Farm is a family operated farm located in Canton, GA. Since 1936 this farm has been in operation and was a working dairy farm up until 1995. Though it is no longer a dairy farm, it still maintains a herd of dairy cows and a variety of farm animals. Present day Cagles is now used primarily as an agri-tourism venue for family fun and education. Their motto is "Every urban child should learn that their food, including milk, is produced on a farm and not just a product of the local grocery store." 

A moms review:
Escape the city hustle and bustle for some good ole' country fun. Cagles offers many great activities for families and groups. At Cagles you can get lost in the huge corn maze, visit a pumpkin patch, take a hayride, watch the herding dogs work, take a walk through a scary haunted barn and see where milk really comes from. There is so much to do down on the Cagles Family Farm.

The kids and I took an Ag-Venture tour at Cagles Family Farm. We met our tour guides Cathy and Oak (a border collie) outside of the red brick ranch house, which is where you also pay. While we waited the kids had fun playing on a very large antique scale located outside of the house. They also got to pet a few of the other border collies that were out and about. From there our guide led  us through the "Cow Subway". The kids found the large steal tunnel going under the road fascinating. And of course they couldn't resist yelling to hear their echos. We moseyed our way into the museum barn where our guide told us about the Cagles Family Farm history and their transition from a Dairy Farm to an Agricultural Farm. There are lots of cool things to see in the museum like old tractors, tools, milk jugs, antique typewriter and more. 

Next came the highlight of our day. Our guide led us to an open barn where there was several animals including the two cutest baby cows. She explained to us that they were Holstein Cows and that they supply the majority of our milk. She then bottle fed one of the cows which got lots of awww's from the kids and adults. She briefly explained some of the other animals that were in the barn and gave each of the kids some special leaves to feed the animals. In addition to the cows there was also a pig, turkeys, white ducks and a few chickens. My daughter was fascinated by the cows who loved to lick your hand when you rub their noses. And my son was fond of the pig who loves to be scratched and will even roll over on his side just like a dog when you do. I had to practically drag my kids away from the animals when it was time to move on. I really liked that above each animal they had a sign with some great educational facts which I could read to the kids. On our way to the next area the kids got to see and pet some of the BIG cows. The guide provided each child and adult with some hand sanitizer as well before moving on.

Next we visited Miss. Rosie's Parlor for a milking demonstration. But where was Rosie? The guide opened the barn door and had us yell, "come on out Rosie." We had to do it a couple of times and then she came running out and right into the milking stall. The guide explained to us that Rosie was a Jersey cow and that she was a little different than Holstein cows. The kids noticed that she was solid brown and didn't have spots. The guide joked with the kids and said her brown color didn't mean that she produced chocolate milk...but that she did give richer, creamier milk that is used in ice cream, cheeses, etc. I think YUMMY was the response from all the kids. The guide also explained how they milked cows in the olden days and how cows are milked today. Then she hooked Rosie up to the milking machine and we got to watch the milk shoot through the tubes. The kids even got to put their hands on the milker tubes to feel how the suction feels to a cow. My kids said it felt just like a vacuum cleaner. Guess what else? Rosie is expecting a baby!

Next it was time to board the hayride. Our driver had some trouble starting the tractor but after we all yelled Yee-Haw it surprisingly started right up. We took a tour of the farm grounds and stopped in a large field by a lake to view a sheep herding demonstration. Oak our border collie guide did the demonstration. Oak is currently being trained and had to be on a long rope lead but he did a great job of following his commands and getting the sheep back to their pen. 

We ended our tour which took about a little over an hour by visiting the goats. Another favorite part for my kids. Each child and adult received a handful of feed. There were goats of all colors shapes and sizes. My kids could have stayed there all day petting and feeding the adorable goats. 

But wait.....on our way back to the car we stopped for a little fun on the Jumpee Pillow. WHEEE! 

My daughter (age 6) whose dreams of owning a farm when she is a grown up said she "had the best day ever." And after her first visit to a real working farm she is even more determined to be a farmer. But she is still very adamant that her husband will have to clean up the poop.

Extra details:
  • Wear proper footwear like sneakers or boots. This is a working farm.
  • During the summer months the concession stands are not open so make sure you pack a lunch, snacks and beverages.
  • If your susceptible to headaches from certain smells I suggest sitting at the middle or back of the hayride so you don't get a headache from the tractor fumes. 
  • Pavilions and nice shade trees are available to eat under.
  • Ag-Venture tours are only offered on the 2nd and 4th Saturday at 10 am during the Summer months. However if you have a group trip you would like to plan they offer those by request during the week.
  • Outdoor Bathrooms and hand washing facilities are available. They are very clean and not porta potties.
  • The walking part of the tour is handicap and stroller accessible.
  • There is a dirt parking lot with ample parking.
  • They accept credit cards and cash.
  • Sign up for the email list to get valuable coupons. Also check out websites like Groupon which offer special offers from time to time.

Cagle's Family Farm
355 Stringer Rd.
Canton, GA 30115

Links to follow:
-Cagle's Family Farm Website
-Cagle's Family Farm Facebook

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Discover The DaVinci In You At The Discover DaVinci and Michelangelo: Side by Side Exhibition (Limited Time)

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

SPECIAL OFFER August 1st and 2nd only. Show the ticket desk this blog post to receive $10.00 admission. 

The Discover DaVinci and Michelangelo: Side by Side Exhibition is a very special traveling exhibit from Florence Italy which has currently taken up temporary residence in Atlanta. The Exhibition will be on display through October (possibly longer).  The DaVinci  and Michelangelo exhibition takes visitors back in time to learn about the remarkable genius of two of the greatest Renaissance masterminds that ever lived. The exhibit has been on display at various locations across North American for the past 4 1/2 years and is made possible by Genius Productions a nonprofit company based in St. Louis.

“Not everybody realizes DaVinci and Michelangelo were alive during the same time but were also bitter rivals,” explained Rodgers, “When discussing the Italian Renaissance you can’t talk about one without the other.”

A moms review:
After you check out at the front desk (and hopefully meet curator Mark Rodgers) I recommend taking advantage of the fun Mona Lisa photo op. After you are done striking your best Mona Lisa pose get your FREE audio tour ready for a total immersion experience or sign up for a docent tour which is offered once a day Monday through Thursday and twice a day on Friday through Sunday. Hopefully you are lucky enough to get a tour from Mark Rodgers the curator. He is amazing and full of energy and knowledge. He is so knowledgeable one would think that he somehow traveled back in time to the Renaissance to interview these two amazing men.

The exhibition is broken into themed areas, 5 themes for each genius. These include Michelangelo's life story, sculptures, paintings, architecture, artists bottega. And DaVinci's military machines, flying machines, nautical & hydraulic machines, mechanics and masterpieces. The exhibition compares and contrasts DaVinci and Michelangelo’s masterpieces that defined their individual talents and beliefs.

Some of the highlights and comparisons in the exhibition include:
The Mona Lisa – The Pieta
The Vitruvian Man – The Statue of David
DaVinci’s Ideal City – Vatican City & St. Peter’s Dome
Last Supper – Sistine Chapel
Battle of Anghiari – Battle of Cascina

The first section of the exhibit showcases DaVinci's and Michelangelo's life and several of their most famous paintings, including the "Mona Lisa," "Last Supper" and a picture depicting Michelangelo's life with Lorenzo de' Medici. Next you will explore my favorite part of the exhibition which are the original cast sculptures of Michelangelo's most famous pieces. These cast sculptures were created directly from the Master's works by the National Academy of Cast Making in Florence. Since they are original cast sculptures they are actual size and include all the fine details like the chisel marks. I may never get to Italy to see the original David or Pieta so seeing an exact cast of these two amazing works of art was truly an amazing, once in a life time experience. Did you know that the The Gonfaloniere Soderini of Florence wanted Michelangelo to change the nose on David because it was too big? Well you can find out what he did during a visit to the exhibition. And did you know that the Pieta was the only piece that Michelangelo signed? Visit the exhibition to see his signature.

There are several more DaVinci and Michelangelo paintings throughout this section as well. Do you know what a fresco painting is? Well if you don't you can learn all about them in this section of the exhibit as you get an up close look at details of the "Battle of Anghiari" and famed Sistine Chapel frescos including the famous "The Creation of Adam".

Next you will hit the front corner of the exhibition where visitors get to immerse themselves into Michelangelo's Bottega. Learn about Michelangelo's art studio, his tools of the trade and some of the old secrets and deceptive techniques. Also in this section are several of DaVinci's inventions including the life preserver, scuba diver, glider and portable bridge. And your children won't want to miss the fantastic hands on area where they can build a bridge, color their own Mona Lisa masterpiece, make a paper helicopter and see what these masters saw when they looked through perspective frame.

As you proceed to the next section you will see many more of DaVinci's Masterpieces on display. Each one is a spectacular high quality licensed reproduction with the sort of detail known only to professional restorers. They are even framed to the exact size of the original artwork. Before you make your way into the hands on invention section be prepared to be amazed as you stand in front of DaVinci's water pipe organ.

Finally you will make your way to the DaVinci invention exhibition which contains over 60 hand-crafted inventions that were built from Leonardo's 500 year old designs as no originals exist today. These displays are the life work of three generations of Florentine artisans, who have meticulously brought to life the creations by the brilliant scientist, inventor and artist Leonardo DaVinci. This exhibition is grouped into the following themes: military machines, flying machines, nautical & hydraulic machines, and mechanics. Some of the inventions you will learn about include the "bicycle," "spring powered car," "hang glider," "robotic lion,"  and the "air screw."  Each display has a 3D model of DaVinci's invention along with explanatory notes and illustrative panels with DaVinci's drawings.

I can think of no better way to learn about this Renaissance master than through a hands on interactive exhibit. Yes children (and adults) can touch and try out many of the 60 machines on display. Give the first ball bearings a spin, try out a lever, find out how gears work and slam down a CAM hammer. And if you have any car enthusiasts this is an excellent way for them to learn how the cars we drive today were inspired by DaVinci's invention sketches. This interactive feature definitely makes this exhibit a very educational and memorable one.

After you work your way through the inventions, which might take awhile if you have children, you will learn about DaVinci's and Michelangelo's impact on architecture. Yes these masters were more than inventors and artists they were also architects. 

Throughout the exhibition there are several videos for visitors to enjoy including a video by Mark Rodgers. 

I really hope you can make it out to this exhibit before it leaves Atlanta. It is definitely a can't miss event!

Extra details:
-Teachers and homeschool educators can download a fantastic free teacher guide to expand on the exhibition.
-The exhibition will offer docent and self-guided tours.  Docent guided tours are pre-scheduled and visitors can check the website or call for daily times. Self-guided tours require a smart device with Internet capabilities.  Visitors who self guide should bring their own smart device and headphones. Docent and self-guided tours are included in the price of admission.
-Photography is allowed.
-No food or drink is allowed. 
-Pay close attention to the little red and green signs which alert you as to what you may and may not touch.
-Exhibit is stroller and wheelchair accessible.
-Be sure to check out the really awesome gift shop.

1155 Mount Vernon Hwy – Suite 150
Atlanta, GA. 30338

Phone: 470-395-4888

When to visit:
Monday-Friday 10am to 5pm
Saturday 10am to 9pm
Sunday 12 noon to 5pm

-Adults are $18.95
-Seniors (65+) and teachers (with school ID) are $16.95
-Children 4-12 years old are $14.95
-Children three and under are free with a paying adult

Parking is accessible at the public parking lot available at Perimeter Pointe. There is no charge for parking.

Links to follow:

*Prices indicated in post are subject to change.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Brundibar Story and Opera - Overcoming Adversity

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

We had tons of fun with the Poppins Book Nook blog series last year and we will be continuing that fun all throughout 2015. This month's theme was, "Composers" Keep reading to learn more about the books we read, craft we made and grab your FREE journal page. There is also a giveaway at the end of the post! To check out all of our past Poppins Book Nook posts click here.

This month we read Brundibar by Maurice Sendak. This book is based on the Czech opera of the same name (which is slang for Bumblebee), with libretto  by Adolf Hoffmeister, set to music by Hans Krasa. The opera was completed in 1938, and performed 55 times by the children of Terezin, a Nazi concentration camp. Krasa who was Jewish, was also imprisoned in Terezin. He died in Auschwitz in 1944.

Brundibar is a great story and a good way to introduce children to the holocaust since the composer was a Jew who lived and died in a concentration camp. The story however is not about the holocaust and teaches important lessons on bullying, friendship, self esteem, overcoming evil and more.

The story itself is a simple one. It is a story of two children who must find help for their sick mother in impossible circumstances. The town bully, Brundibar, prevents them from reaching their goal until a bird, a cat, and a dog advise them to join with their friends and work together to defeat the bully. The children join together, and good wins the day. This is not high drama.

We also utilized our Usborne Geography Encyclopedia to learn more about Germany and the Czech Republic.

Other book recommendations:

-Second World War Cards
-Second World War Sticker Book
-Story of the Second World War
-The World Wars

FREE Resources:
Here are some further resources for learning about this book as well as the holocaust.

-Brundibar lesson plan
-PBS - Brundibar and holocaust lessons
-WWII films for children
-Brundibár - The Children Opera - Holocaust Survivors back on stage!!!
-Original footage -Hans Krása: Brundibár - children's opera and Brundibar Clip   
-Brundibar: A Children's Opera

For our craft we made friendship necklaces since friendship and sticking together is one of the important lessons learned from the book.

  • Yarn
  • Connecting puzzle pieces (we used what we had on hand...I would recommend getting blank ones like these)
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  1. Decorate the puzzle pieces and write "best friends," "friends forever," etc on the pieces.
  2. Punch a hole at the top of the pieces.
  3. String a piece of yarn through the hole.
  4. Give one piece to a friend. 

Free Journal Pages:
Here is a biography journal page and music journal page which both complement this book nicely. Download your copy by clicking on the the pictures below.

Here is a list of the wonderful bloggers participating in the Poppins Book Nook be sure to visit them for more fun ideas:

Note the Score with your Favorite Composer Giveaway!
Composers are important to music because they write the music the musician play in their orchestras, bands, and groups. This month the Poppins Book Nook is bringing Composer themed storybooks to life with fun activities and more! Every month this group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win the Note the Score with your Favorite Composer Giveaway. The winner will receive one copy of The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine. So let’s all get our instruments ready and bring composer themed storybooks to life in this month with the Poppins Book Nook!

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the PromoSimple terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here

Just enter the PromoSimple below to win:

Image attribute: Melonheadzdoodles CollectiveCreation

Designed By: Wacky Jacqui's Designs