Author Archives: Nabila Khashoggi

ANGRY WEATHER

Angry weather is also sometimes called severe weather. It happens in nature often. In fact, there are parts of the world where bad weather seasons happen every year. One place that happens is in the southern United States. States like Florida and Louisiana go through hurricane season each year. 

Tornadoes, dust storms, and blizzards are other types of angry weather. It is important to know about those types of storms. That way, you can stay safe when they happen. You can also read about angry weather events from years ago if you love history. It can teach you how bad weather changed people and places. Here are some angry weather events from history to get you started. 

A picture showing a orbital shot of a hurricane over the ocean.

The Galveston Hurricane

A hurricane is a big rainstorm that also comes with strong winds. The winds swirl around in a circle as the hurricane moves. Hurricanes start over water, but they can move onto land. Today, weather experts can track hurricanes. Then they can warn people to get to safe places early before the hurricanes hit. That was not always true, though. Sometimes our ancestors were surprised by hurricanes.

One of the most famous hurricanes struck Galveston, Texas. It happened on September 8, 1900. Before the hurricane, Galveston was one of the most popular Texas cities. After, most of the buildings were destroyed. People later rebuilt in Galveston, but Houston, Texas, became more popular in the meantime. Today, Houston is still one of the biggest Texas cities. 

The Dust Bowl

Another historic storm was the Dust Bowl. When there is no rain for a long time, everything gets very dry. That is called a drought. Then windy storms come through. They swirl a lot of sand and dirt into the air. Back in the 1930s, there were wide-open spaces in states like Kansas, Texas, and Colorado. They were part of the Dust Bowl. That was an area where those wind and sandstorms happened often. When those storms came through, they caused a lot of problems for farmers. Crops were destroyed, so some farmers lost a lot of money. Some even lost their farms. 

Today, dust storms still happen in some parts of the United States sometimes. They are just not as big. The states in the Dust Bowl have higher populations now. Construction has made the wide-open spaces smaller. That gives big dust storms less of a chance to form.

The Blizzard of ’78

The Blizzard of ’78 was a huge snowstorm that struck New England. It started on February 5, 1978, and ended on February 7. In Boston, Massachusetts, 27.1 inches of snow fell during the storm. 

A person walking on a snowy road during a blizzard.

The storm came as a surprise to many people. In fact, some people had to spend days in their cars trapped on roads. It stopped airplanes and all other forms of travel in most New England states for days. Many people were also trapped in the buildings where they worked or in their homes. Power outages and flooding along the coast also caused problems, but most people survived the storm. Today, people are more ready for blizzards because experts learned from the Blizzard of ’78.

The 1974 Tanner, Alabama Tornadoes

A tornado is a swirling air column connected to a thunderstorm. Sometimes, it creates a funnel-shaped cloud you can see. As it moves, it picks up items in its path, like trees and road signs. Strong tornadoes can even pick up cars or roofs of houses. Tornado strength is measured using a scale. An F1 is mild, and an F5 is very strong.

Some people travel to find excitement, but sometimes the excitement comes to them instead. That is what happened to the people who lived in Tanner, Alabama, in 1974. They got an exciting shock when two F5 tornadoes hit near their town 30 minutes apart. The tornadoes caused a lot of damage, and many people were killed. Some of those who survived resettled the area, but many moved away. Two tornadoes hitting in the same spot is an angry weather event that almost never happens. Both being F5 tornadoes created a weather event that put the town of Tanner permanently in the record books.

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THE WONDER OF WATERFALLS

There’s nothing more majestic than a mighty waterfall. Let’s discover, with the help of Spartan and the Green Egg, the cause and characteristics of these fantastic formations.

“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick.” –J.R.R. Tolkien

Basics: The Who, What, When and Where of Waterfalls 

Waterfalls are some of the most splendid sights in all of nature.  A waterfall is created when a river or other moving body of water flows over a rocky cliff into a pool below. Rushing water comes from rivers that flow over rocky ledges into what is known as a “plunge pool” beneath. This is usually caused by erosion—but not always—and more wearing away of the earth’s surface takes place as the force of water crashes, carrying pebbles, rocks, sediment, etc. 

 “A stream’s velocity increases as it nears a waterfall, increasing the amount of erosion taking place. The crashing flow of the water may also create powerful whirlpools that erode the rock of the plunge pool beneath them. The resulting erosion at the base of a waterfall can be very dramatic, and cause the waterfall to actually ‘recede.’” 

  • Volcanoes, glaciers, earthquakes, and landslides also create waterfalls. 
  • The tallest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls (over 3,200 feet high), located near the jungle in Venezuela. With a plunge of over 800 meters, these cascades are truly extraordinary. Where does the water come from? Mostly from the Atlantic Ocean. “Northeasterly trade winds” blow from the Sahara Desert, bringing along dry masses of air that “evaporate water from the ocean surface and carry it towards South America.” How incredible is that?!

Spartan and the Green Egg Sights/Explorer Pin Destinations

Join Spartan and the Green Egg and discover some of the most amazing waterfalls on the globe. With the help of SGE’s explorer pin collection, you can learn about geography and keep a bright and colorful souvenir depicting your favorite destination. 

“Water is the driver of nature.” –Leonardo Da Vinci

“The Paílón del Diablo is a large waterfall in Ecuador. The Spanish name translates to “Devil’s Cauldron.” To reach the trail to the waterfalls, one must cross a small, suspended bridge. When it is viewed from the bridge, the image of a devil’s face can be seen in the rock. The waterfall is about 100 feet down and maintains a temperature of about 73°F.” Who actually visits these destinations, you may ask. Explorers and adventurers! Daredevils seek out these fantastic—as well as dangerous—places.

  • “The Underwater Waterfalls can be found in the waters of Mauritius Island. Located in the Indian Ocean, there is an illusion of underwater waterfalls. The sediments of sand and silt in the waters have varying shades of greens, blues, and whites that create this optical illusion. The best way to view the illusion is through helicopter tours or from aerial photographs.”

“The Plitvice Lakes National Park is not only one of the largest parks in Croatia, but it is one of the oldest parks in all of southeastern Europe. There is a road that runs through the park, which connects the Croatian inland with the rest of the Adriatic coastal region. The waters throughout the park are different shades of blue, green, and gray. This leads to some very unique waterfalls and lakes throughout the Plitvice Lakes National Park.”

“The Iguazu Falls get their name from where they are located, the Iguazu River. The river is on the border of Argentina and Brazil. The falls split the river and divide the area into upper and lower Iguazu. A local legend states that the two waterfalls were formed when an ancient god split them in two.” Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Iguazu Falls are one of the world’s most impressive landscapes.

Victoria Falls is one of the largest and tallest waterfalls in the world. It is located in Livingstone, Africa. Victoria Falls is about twice as high as Niagara Falls, another one of the largest waterfalls in the world. The sheer amount of water that comes down is an incredible sight to see.” The Zambezi River is poured into an enormous gorge—over 100 meters deep!

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Murchison Falls in Uganda
  • NohKaLikai Falls in India 
  • Epupa Falls in Namibia
  • Yosemite Falls in the United States

To learn more about what Spartan and the Green Egg has to offer, visit the website and visit the links below:

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/underwater-waterfall/
https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/plitvice-lakes/
https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/iguazu-falls/
https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/victoria-falls/

Visit the World Waterfall Database for more information on waterfalls!

To learn more about the waterfalls mentioned in this blog, check out the links below:

https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/waterfall
https://geology.com/records/highest-waterfall.shtml#:~:text=Angel%20Falls%3A%20A%20view%20of,the%20base%20of%20the%20drop.
https://www.civitatis.com/blog/en/worlds-tallest-waterfalls/

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#explorerpins #waterfalls

HAUNTED HOUSES FOR HALLOWEEN

Halloween would not be complete without a frightening haunted house, mansion, estate, or castle! The ambiance is all that really matters: if it’s spooky enough to give you a chill and inspire scary ghost stories, it’s a success! Here are some of our favorite fictional haunted houses, what makes them great, and actual places you can visit year-round.

“Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?”

 –Shirley Jackson, “The Haunting of Hill House”

Some of our favorite haunted houses are merely fictitious and we can snuggle up and read about them under the covers. Other houses around the world are said to be haunted by ghosts and specters, and we love to read about those, too!

Crumbling old facades covered in ivy surrounded by moors, crooked trees, gargoyles on stone ledges, winds that sound like wolves howling in the distance, a dark forest nearby, and, of course, a full moon half covered by hazy clouds all set the scene for a spooky mansion filled with all sorts of haunts and scares.

What makes the perfect haunted house? Have you ever been to a Halloween party in a house that’s been made to look like a spooky old decaying mansion? What were your favorite details? What do you normally think of when telling a scary story? Eerie smoke, drafty rooms, darkness lit only by candlelight, cobwebs, bats, spiders, and even ghosts? There’s usually a graveyard with headstones emblazoned with clever epitaphs (like “Rest in Pieces”), a coffin somewhere (for vampires), a dank cellar, and, of course, a witch’s broom!

Classic Haunted Houses (in Fiction)

“I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely and build our castles in the air.” –Bram Stoker, “Dracula”

  • The House of Usher (Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” 1839) actually ends up cracking down the middle and disappearing into the earth at the end. It is indeed a supernatural house with creepy twins Roderick and Madeline Usher.
  • Hill House (as in “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson, 1959) is surrounded by hills and deals extensively with the paranormal. Whoever stays in the house experiences disturbances within their psyche.
  • Manderlay (from Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 “Rebecca”) is a gothic English country estate haunted by the aristocratic owner’s deceased wife. This fictional mansion has become so popular that even castles in real life (especially in the UK) have been dubbed “Manderlay.”
  • Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania (from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” 1897) is probably one of the most famous spooky settings in all of literature. Other than the count himself (who actually crawls along the façade in the novel), the castle is surrounded by high stone walls and heavy iron gates that clang shut, great arches, and is filled with the sounds of chains rattling, fabrics and furniture hundreds of years old, and a golden dining service that seems to appear out of nowhere. Of course, Count Dracula never drinks wine (he prefers blood!). 

Children’s Books

Sometimes haunted houses are a bit more fun and palatable when they appear in children’s stories. Some must-reads for this Halloween season include:

  • “Ghosts in the House” by Kazuno Kohara
  • “Inside a House that is Haunted” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (illustrated by Tedd Arnold)
  • “At the Old Haunted House” by Helen Ketteman
  • “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” by Justine Korman. Okay, it’s really about a pumpkin patch (and not a haunted house), but it’s a Halloween must!

Spooky Houses, Haunted Forts and Castles to Visit 

These places will really make the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

  • Winchester Mystery House: “Secret passageways, stairs that lead to nowhere, and miles of twisting corridors all delight thousands of visitors to the Winchester Mystery House. Built by Sarah Winchester around 1882, the house has 160 rooms and was built without a blueprint. Each evening Mrs. Winchester would have a séance, and each morning she would tell the builders what the spirits said needed to be built. As a result, Sarah believed she was building a place where she could never be haunted.” The Winchester Mystery House is one of Spartan and the Green Egg’s exciting destinations (and explorer pin). It is one of America’s most famous haunted destinations.
  • Edinburgh Castle in Scotland has been besieged so many times (23) over the years (since the 11th Century) that it’s said to inhabit quite a few ghosts. Complete with a network of tunnels (where people have vanished), it sits atop Castle Rock and is a completely imposing—and one of the most historic—sites in the UK. 
  • Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England, is a four-hundred-year-old country estate and was famously the home of the Townshend family. It is most well known for a photograph taken on one of the home’s several staircases, where the faint image of a spectral woman can be seen. It is believed to be an apparition depicting Dorothy Townshend.
  • Bhangarh Fort, from the 17th century, is considered the most haunted place in India. What was once a palace now stands in ruins and is thought to be cursed. With a background of mountains in the distance, it is definitely a sight to behold.

To learn more about fascinating sights around the world, visit SGE on the web and check out the link below:

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/winchester-mystery-house/

(John Coulthart illustrations from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” are included in this blog.)

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#hauntedhouses #halloween #thehauntingofhillhouse #thefallofthehouseofusher 

IN THE NEWS: AMAZING WONDERS

Otherworldly, Celestial Sights

Are you interested in outer space, other planets, and, possibly, extraterrestrial life? What about the stars, moon, and sun? There are lots of sights to behold this year, and new, exciting discoveries are arising every day! 

  • Ice volcanoes on Pluto; “Signs of cryovolcanic activity on the dwarf planet in the recent geological past must be driven by an underground body of water, a study suggests.” According to the New York Times and a NASA spacecraft that was sent to outer space, there are ice volcanoes on Pluto! Instead of molten lava, these mountains emit ice. Pluto may also be home to some sort of ocean; even though Pluto is basically a ball of ice, new evidence suggests that there may be wonders lurking beneath its surface that we’ve only begun to explore.
  • There are so many exciting celestial Wonders to see this year, so get your telescope and look to the sky for heavenly sights! Watch out for a total eclipse of the moon in mid-May, a possible meteor shower at the end of May (slow-moving so they’ll be quite visible to the naked eye), the alignment of five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) in June, an enormous full moon (the biggest of the year) in July, more meteor showers, a possible eclipse of the sun in October and a total lunar eclipse in November! 
  • “Otherworldly wreckage on Mars”: The “landing of the Perseverance rover on the surface of the red planet in February 2021” left a bit of a component behind, a wreckage that looked alien but is not. Don’t be disappointed, though, because, while this is not evidence of interplanetary life, it is a piece of impressive technology used to study rocks inside a crater. The rocks found are very different from each other in their composition, meaning that some are made from magma that probably came from a lava lake and the other rocks are comprised of something called basaltic lava flows. The Perseverance rover also captured images of a small moon on Mars called “Phobos.”

It’s Really, Really, Really Old!

Are you an aspiring paleontologist or simply into fossils and evolution? 

  • Flowers recently found petrified in amber are estimated to be 99 million years old! These ancient flowers were discovered in what is now Myanmar (formerly Burma). It is extremely rare for flowers to become fossilized and to remain virtually unchanged for such a vast period of time as they are so fragile. Most flowers wilt and die before they are preserved, so to find these plants intact is amazing.  The researchers studying the plants have called one of the persevered flowers “Eophylica priscatellata” and the other “Phylica piloburmensis,” the latter being a genus native to present-day South Africa. Finding these flowers is significant because it helps to “shed light on ancient mystery of evolution.”

Strange and Amazing Animals

Are you an animal lover?

  • A Wolverine was spotted at Yellow Stone National Park! “There are only seven documented wolverines in Yellowstone,” so actually spotting a wolverine is an extremely rare occurrence, and this was caught on camera! Such a sighting is beyond exciting as wolverines are an endangered species and are very rarely seen by humans. 
  • Sea anemones are incredible because, well, they’re absolutely beautiful and strange and, according to recent studies, share a genetic link with humans. “A gene linked to the development of hearing in humans has just been linked to sensory development in sea anemones, too.” The gene “pou-iv” “can be found in the tentacles of the starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis), where it plays a crucial role in the animal’s sense of touch.” So, sea anemones can feel thanks to the same gene that helps us humans hear. How wild is that?!

For more information on the topics mentioned in this blog, check out the links below: 

(And for more information on all sorts of exciting and stimulating educational materials, games, puzzles, and travel-related paraphernalia galore, check out Spartan and the Green Egg.) 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/29/science/pluto-ice-volcanoes.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/9-must-see-stargazing-events-to-watch-in-2022

https://greekreporter.com/2022/02/05/99-million-year-old-flowers-amber/

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/27/science/nasa-mars-wreckage-photo.html

https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/wolverine-spotted-at-yellowstone#:~:text=A%20wolverine%20was%20spotted%20inside,%2C%20he%20told%20Travel%20%2B%20Leisure.

https://www.sciencealert.com/a-gene-linked-to-hearing-in-humans-helps-anemones-feel-the-world-around-them

Photo credits: 

  • Image via NASA/ JHUAPL/ SwRI/ Isaac Herrera/ Kelsi Singer.
  • Ancient flowers preserved in amber were found in present-day Myanmar, photo credit: Shuo Wang
  • MacNeil Lyons/Yellowstone Insight

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

#pluto #seanemones #wolverine #celestialwonders #amazingwonders #fossils #exploretheworld

The Cliff-Top Meteora Monasteries

The Awe-Inspiring Monasteries of Meteora  

Meteora means “suspended in the air,” and the monasteries of Meteora seem to reach halfway to the sky. These buildings have perched on the top of steep, narrow sandstone cliffs in Thessaly in central Greece since the Middle Ages. With their red roofs and gray stone walls that match the cliffs, the monasteries are an awesome sight.

These magnificent monasteries are often the inspiration for many movies because they seem so otherworldly. 

The cliffs rise as high as 1,800 feet. The views from the monasteries are spectacular, with the Plain of Thessaly spread out far below as far as the eye can see.

Who Built the Monasteries of Meteora?

Throughout history, people believed the rock formations of Meteora were special. Long before the monks arrived in the early Middle Ages, Meteora attracted hermits and worshippers who were drawn to the site they believed was between heaven and earth.

In the 14th century, the monk Athanasios Koinovitis brought his followers to Meteora, seeking a secluded and quiet place for contemplation and worship. From 1356 to 1372, they built the first and largest of the Meteora monasteries, known as the Great Meteoron Monastery.

Monks continued to build monasteries on the cliffs through the 16th century. Eventually, there were 24 monasteries. Six of them remain today. The rest are mostly in ruins.

Challenges in Building the Meteora Monasteries

As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy to get building materials up the cliffs! The monks used a system of ladders, pulleys, nets, and baskets attached to ropes to haul themselves and the materials up the rock formations.

The difficulties in getting up the cliffs turned into a benefit when, in later years, monks needed to escape war and persecution. For hundreds of years, they found safety at Meteora. After they ascended to the monasteries, they would pull up the ladders, baskets, and ropes behind them. No one could follow them up the cliffs.

Do People Still Live in the Monasteries of Meteora?

A small number of monks and nuns still live and worship in the Meteora Monasteries. Most of the people there now are visitors. Thousands of tourists and pilgrims visit every year.

Tourism disrupts some of the peaceful isolation that the monasteries used to enjoy, but the monks and nuns need the money that tourists bring to keep the monasteries maintained. The monks and nuns protect their privacy. Visitors are not allowed to go into the living quarters or attend religious services.

How Do You Get to the Meteora Monasteries?

In the 1920s, stairs were cut into the rocks, and bridges were built. This made it much easier for the monks to get to the monasteries. They no longer had to climb ladders or get pulled up in buckets.

In the 1960s, paved roads were built, which made it easier for visitors to access the monasteries.

If you visit the monasteries, you can drive up to the monasteries, or you can hike up. The hike is beautiful, but steep, and includes stairs. To reach the Great Meteoron Monastery, you will need to climb more than 300 stairs. Several of the other monasteries have fewer stairs, averaging around 140 each.

Find Out About Water Supplies

How Do People Get Water?

In most well-developed countries, clean drinking water is all around. You might only have to walk into a kitchen or bathroom and turn on a faucet to get some. You may not have stopped to think about where your water comes from, but you should. Water is precious. People can only drink about one percent of Earth’s water. The rest is not fit to drink. Everyone needs water, but not everyone in the world can get it easily. Here is how your water gets to your faucet and how some other cultures around the world get their water.

How People Get Water in North America

In the United States and Canada, some people get their water from private wells on their properties. Others use public water supplies. Public water is gathered from different waterways, like reservoirs. It is usually held in water towers in each town until it is needed. Then it moves through pipes to get into homes and businesses where people need it.

How People Get Water in Africa

There is a lot of water in Africa, but not all of it is easy to get or safe to use. For example, in the African country of Ethiopia, most of it is used to grow crops. Drinking water is hard to find in Ethiopia. Some people must walk for hours to get some. Then they must bring it back to their houses. Usually, they use jugs or whatever other containers they have with them to do that. Since they can only carry a little water at a time, they are very careful about how they use it.

How People Get Water in South America

In some parts of South America, fresh water is nearly impossible to find. Mexico is one place where there is not enough water for everyone. In fact, about half the people in Mexico struggle to get enough water to drink, wash clothes, or take showers. During dry seasons, it is especially hard for Mexican people to find water in some areas. In Mexico City, Mexico City workers often deliver water rations in trucks. People have barrels at their homes that store those water rations.

In other parts of South America, freshwater lakes and rivers provide water supplies for residents. People living near the rainforest often have easy access to nearby water. They just must safely get that water to their homes. Often, that means watching out for snakes or crocodiles by the water’s edge. They sometimes use buckets attached to poles to carry the water back to their villages across their shoulders.

How People Get Water on Islands

You might think people can easily get water on islands. That is true on many large islands like Mindoro Island in the South China Sea. Larger islands often have their own freshwater lakes or streams. Residents can get their water from those water sources. 

People on other islands rely on the weather to give them fresh water. Many island residents do that by collecting rainfall. In Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, about two billion gallons of rain can fall in just one day. It refills the island’s aquifer system, which people use to get their bathing and drinking water. In many other parts of the world, rainwater is collected in big barrels.

Helping People Around the World Get Water

There are lots of charities around the world that deliver clean water to people or help them build their own clean water systems. You can help, too. The more water you save, the more there is for the rest of the world. Try some easy tricks to save water, like turning the faucet off while you brush your teeth. 

Learn All About Salt

The Interesting World of Salt

“Please, pass the salt.” You heard it a hundred times, but did you ever wonder what was really in the salt shaker? Do you know where we get salt or if we can ever run out of it?

Salt is necessary for our bodies. However, if we eat too much of it, it’s bad for our health. People need salt for more than just eating. In fact, it is so valuable that, a long time ago, people gave workers salt instead of money!

Read on to find out more interesting facts about salt.

What Is Salt?

Scientists have many different names for salt. They call the type of salt we eat sodium chloride or NaCl.

If you sprinkle a little salt on the table and look at it with a magnifying glass, you can see it looks like little grains of sand. That is because salt is a mineral.

The salt you put on your French fries is called table salt, and it is just one type of salt. There are many others.

Different Types of Salt

Did you know that not all salt is white? White salt is the most common color, but there are many more. You can find gray, black, pink, red, and even blue salt. The different colors of salt come from other minerals that are mixed in with the sodium chloride. 

Color is not the only difference. Salt comes in many sizes and shapes, too. Table salt is the smallest type of salt, and it looks like small cubes. Kosher salt is larger, and the grains have irregular shapes. Flake salt is bigger than Kosher salt, but the grains are flat like a plate. Rock salt is even larger and is often the size of pebbles!

You can’t eat all types of salt. The majority of the salt in the world is not safe to eat because it contains other bad minerals for your body. People use these salts for many things, including melting ice on the roads and making other chemicals that we need.

What salt looks like and how we can use it depends a lot on where we find it.

Where Does Salt Come From?

Have you ever gone into the ocean with a scrape or cut? It doesn’t feel good. That’s because the ocean has salt in it. But ocean water is not the only place where you can find salt. It is all over the planet and even under it.

Hundreds of millions of years ago, the oceans covered most of the Earth. When the water disappeared, it left behind salt. Today we get most of our salt from deep underground in salt mines. But in some places in the world, the salt is still on the surface. We call these places “salt flats.”

Salt flats formed millions of years ago when saltwater lakes dried out. Some of the largest salt flats in the world are in the United States. Two of the most famous salt flats are the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and the Badwater Basin salt flats in Death Valley National Park.

How Is Salt Produced?

We get our salt in a variety of ways.

Today, most of the salt we eat comes from dissolving rock salt in water and then evaporating the water using machines. Harvesting salt this way is clean and safe. But it wasn’t always so easy to produce salt.

Hundreds of years ago, most salt people ate came from salt mines or salt flats. Collecting salt from these places was a hard and dangerous job. That is one reason why salt was so valuable in ancient times.

Another process for gathering salt is by collecting ocean water and letting the sun evaporate the water. People have been using this method since ancient times, and they continue to do it today. Salt made from ocean water is called “sea salt” and is a popular choice of salt to use for food.

Can We Run Out of Salt?

One natural resource you should not worry about running out of is salt. Besides having millions of billions of tons of salt undiscovered, all of the salt we use returns to the Earth. That’s because after we eat salt, our bodies release it. While we may run out of some sources of salt, there will always be more.

The next time you sprinkle a little salt on your food, take the time to think about where the salt came from and all the people who worked hard to make it possible for you to do so.

Forge A friendship

Ideas for Making New Friends This Summer 

Summer can be wonderful, but it can also be lonely at times, so making new friends is your best bet at having a good time. It’s really not that difficult! Try these tips and see what happens.

Where: summer camps—including ones during the day as well as sleepaways—are fantastic places to make new friends. Ones that are hosted by churches and community organizations are always a good idea because, this way, kids can meet others who live nearby, and the friendship will have a better chance of lasting. If for some reason, you make a friend who lives far away, you can become pen pals. These camps (especially 4-H and anything sponsored by a church) are usually free or low-cost. Team sports are also popular for meeting new people who enjoy the same things and have a common goal. Summer school is, for some, a good way of making new friends too, so if you think that summer isn’t going to be fun because you’re stuck studying, use this as an opportunity to forge a bond with your classmate/s.

 

“Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…’” –C.S. Lewis

How: Bible schools and 4-H camps are centered around learning new skills and helping others. This usually involves volunteering and is a great way to participate in teamwork and a shared positive outcome. Engaging in summer camp activities like rowing, fishing, swimming, archery, etc., makes forming friendships easier because everyone ends up with shared experiences that are exciting and joyful. Playing games, such as Capture the Flag, also help to secure friendships. If you’re not into outdoorsy things, try arts and crafts.

Tips for Parents: Enroll your kids in a program/club/camp dedicated to things they enjoy. They’ll meet other likeminded children who enjoy the same activities and have similar sensibilities.  Shared hobbies and interests are ideal for forming lifelong friendships. Depending on their hobbies, they can join a club in their neighborhood/town/school that offers special events. For instance, if they enjoy reading you may want to consider enrolling them in a book club. Mingling isn’t so difficult. Summer camp is actually pretty effective for even the most introverted kids because there are counselors in charge of games and activities whose job is to make sure everyone gets along. This means that no one gets left out. Children are usually paired up or on teams for summer-related sports and fun, encouraging them to be social. If they attend summer camp, they’ll probably become friends with other kids in their cabin (especially their bunkmates). 

 

What does every summer camp have in common? On the first day, everyone sits in a circle and is encouraged to introduce him or herself. Make sure to add something to the conversation about what makes you interesting, special, and uniquely you!

Forge a Friendship

 

“Don’t walk in front of me…I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me…I may not lead. Walk beside me…just be my friend.” –Albert Camus

First of all, be kind to everyone. As you get older, you’ll realize how few and far between true friendships are and will value them more than ever. If you meet someone with shared interests who is kind and makes you feel good, cultivate that friendship! Avoid cliques and encourage everyone to join your group. If you’re at summer camp and see someone eating alone in the dining hall, invite them to sit with you. You’ll be surprised at just how far being amiable will take you in life.

Friendships don’t just happen; you have to nurture them. This means putting other people first, being a good listener, and, sometimes, making a braided friendship bracelet. There’s nothing better than someone who truly cares about you, is attentive, and fun to be around. 

Invasive Species Guide

How Invasive Species Hurt Natural Ecosystems  

An ecosystem is a fragile natural network of animals, plants, bacteria, and other organisms living in the same area. Over many years, the organisms in an ecosystem grow, hunt, reproduce and live with a natural balance. For example, animals at the top of the food chain need to eat some of the smaller animals in that food chain or things will get overpopulated. And, if those smaller food sources disappear, the native predators will die out or migrate due to starvation.

When something is destroyed or added to a balanced ecosystem, native species may struggle to survive. Removing a lot of trees (deforestation) can ruin an ecosystem by killing the animals who depend on those trees for survival. A less noticeable threat is when an invasive species is introduced to an ecosystem.

What is an Invasive Species?

When a species is brought into an area where it doesn’t belong, it can take over and hurt plants or animals that normally live in that space. Invasive species are also called alien species or exotic species.

Invasive species are any non-native species that disrupt an ecosystem.

There are some non-native species that are not invasive or destructive to the ecosystem. Some food plants, like wheat, rice, and tomatoes, are not native to the United States and do not threaten the local ecosystem.

Sometimes, people bring plants or animals into an area and end up causing a lot of damage. While the plant or animal might seem like a harmless part of nature, it doesn’t belong in that region and starts to take over part of the ecosystem.

Introducing an invasive species can happen on purpose or on accident. There are many reasons someone might bring a foreign species into a space. A few of the most common reasons for intrusive species include:

  • Pets that escape into the wild
  • Pretty plants or trees that are added to gardens
  • Animals brought in as a solution for pest control
  • Bait that escapes
  • Organisms that “hitch a ride” and are carried in by mistake

Examples of Invasive Species in the USA

There are more than 6,500 alien species in the US. Each of these species has caused untold havoc to the ecosystems they have found themselves in. Here are just a few examples:

Zebra Mussels were brought into the Great Lakes of North America by mistake in the 1980s. They stuck to the bottom of large ships and were brought in as the ships traveled between areas. There are now so many Zebra mussels in the Great Lakes that they clog water intakes, filter out important algae, and kill off native mussels. Plus, they really hurt if you ever step on one!

Burmese Pythons were brought to Florida as pets and released when their owners couldn’t properly care for them. They are now rapidly reproducing and invading the Everglades, eating the rabbits and songbirds who are native to the area. Nothing in the Everglades naturally eats the Burmese Pythons, so they are growing to an enormous size.

House Cats have made the list of the top 100 invasive species in the world and are the most invasive killer of species in the world. They have no native ecosystem because they are bred from wild cats and brought to America by European colonists. Cats eat birds and other small wild animals in the area when they are allowed to roam outside. Ironically, they were brought here to help with another highly invasive species from Europe—house mice.

Brazilian Pepper Trees were brought to Florida from Brazil in the mid-1800s. People liked using the bright red berries for holiday decorations. This invasive species is an aggressive and woody weed, producing a lot of seeds and creating shade that kills off native shrubbery.

Japanese Stilt Grass is one of the most damaging invasive plants, according to the US Department of Agriculture. This non-native plant isn’t eaten by deer or even goats (and they’ll eat almost anything!). Instead, it quickly replaces plants local wildlife typically eat.

What Can I Do to Help?

Once an invasive species is introduced to an area, it can be extremely hard to remove. If you want to support your local ecosystem, you need to support the native plants and wildlife. Some people aid in the efforts to remove the invasive species as often as possible. You will also make a big difference by researching any plants and animals you want to plant or release into the wild. 

Travel, Read, Repeat

Jules Verne: Explorer Writer Extraordinaire

(Voyages Extraordinaire is the ultimate collection of Jules Verne’s novels—fifty-four in total!)

“Ah! Young people, travel if you can, and if you cannot—travel all the same!” 

– Jules Verne (1828-1905)

Are you ready to go on a wild ride all around the world and even to the moon or beneath the sea? What about to the center of the earth? Explore the definitive science fiction novels of Jules Verne (1828-1905) to learn all about these incredible adventures!

  • Around the World in Eighty Days (1872) tells the story of two adventurers who, on a wager, attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Complete with traveling circuses, tramp steamers, attacks by American Sioux Indians in the United States, adventures in Hong Kong, Calcutta, Yokohama, Liverpool, and Paris and a dilapidated bridge, Verne’s protagonists complete their journey in the nick of time.

  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: Jules Verne is considered one of the most forward thinking authors of the 19th century and has predicted numerous things in his most famous book, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, which was published in 1870. Verne not only predicted electric submarines 90 years before they were invented, he also imagined them just as they turned out — long and cylindrical.” Verne’s story explored the deep sea in all its mystery, a submarine called the Nautilus, Captain Nemo, and a giant squid!

“We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read.”


  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) tells the fantasy story of a geology professor, his nephew, and their guide as they travel to the Icelandic volcano Snæfellsjökull. They summit Snaefell on the Isle of Man and tunnel to the center of the earth, where they discover a forest of enormous mushrooms, mastodon bones, extinct reptiles, and an enormous underground lake.

“The moon, by her comparative proximity, and the constantly varying appearances produced by her several phases, has always occupied a considerable share of the attention of the inhabitants of the earth.”

  • From the Earth to the Moon: A Direct Route in 97 Hours, 20 Minutes, 1865 is the quintessential space race novel. Hugely prophetic, this classic novel (filled with satire) explored the notion of astronauts and rockets to the moon!
  • The Mysterious Island, 1875, tells the story of a hot air balloon blown off course and its group of castaways who end up on an unknown island, complete with pirates. 

Think Adventure! Consider visiting the Jules Verne restaurant located on the second floor in the Eiffel Tower in Paris! Follow Spartan and the Green Egg on an adventure (by way of their fun, colorful and educational explorer pins). Learn more about the wonderful country of France and just a tad of what it has to offer.

  • Paris, France, often called the City of Light. Paris is the capital city of France and is home to many great cultural and historical achievements, including the Eiffel Tower. The river Seine winds through this beautiful city, and its city streets are lined with wonderful cafes and shops, and visitors come from all over the globe to see some of the world’s greatest art at a museum called The Louvre. Many great artists, writers, dancers, and musicians have called Paris home, and still do to this day.”

 

  • The Eden Théâtre in La Ciotat, France, was built in the 1880s. It was renamed Théâtre Lyrique in 1890 and Grand Théâtre in 1892. Many grand ballets were held in the colossal theater over the years. Closed twice for lack of funding, it was finally demolished in 1895. “The city of Ciotat acquired the building in 1992. In another life-saving advancement, the Eden-Théâtre was classified as a historical monument in 1996, causing it to benefit from the protection of French cultural heritage laws.”

(Le Voyage Dans La Lune, 1902: one of the earliest films ever made, based on Jules Verne’s book)

“In 2013, the cinema was renovated following 16 months of construction work (directed by Nicolas Masson and André Stern) completed on a budget of 7 million Euros. The projection booth was modernized, but the screening room retained its original 1889 looks.”

Maupassant and More 

Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893), Victor Hugo (1808-1885), and Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880): all masters of 19th century French literature.

  • Guy de Maupassant—arguably the greatest French short story writer—is today probably most remembered for his highly anthologized story, The Necklace.  
  • Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is a titan of French literature and will forever be remembered for his brilliant creation of Quasimodo, the bell ringer. 
  • Gustave Flaubert is most remembered for his masterworks Madame Bovary and Sentimental Education. To read more about Flaubert, check out Full Cycle Publications’ blog post on the author, his literary surroundings, and legendary writing. 

To learn more about Jules Verne and the sights mentioned in this blog, consult the links below and visit Spartan and the Green Egg at the website:

https://www.boxofficepro.com/the-eden-theatre-in-ciotat-france-celebrates-130-years/

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/predictive-text-frankenstein-1984-and-other-books-that-foretold-the-future/twenty-thousand-leagues-under-the-sea-by-jules-verne/slideshow/74452630.cms

https://www.britannica.com/topic/A-Journey-to-the-Centre-of-the-Earth

https://www.fullcyclepublications.com/discover-gustave-flaubert-and-his-inspirational-surroundings/

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/paris-france/

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/the-eden-theatre-la-ciotat/

Best Bugs To Catch

Bug Hunting: Where to Find the World’s Weirdest Insects  

Bugs are everywhere… literally! From Antarctica to the North Pole and everywhere in between, insects account for more than 80 percent of all animal life on Earth. 

In fact, there are so many bugs that scientists don’t even know for sure how many types of insects exist. Most estimate that there are over 10 million insect species. Some scientists think there are many more insect species that we haven’t even discovered yet.

Given how common creepy crawlies are, it’s easy to just walk on by without taking notice. But there are a few types of bugs that are so strange that you simply have to stop and stare.

Whether big, beautiful, or just plain weird, here’s where to find some of the world’s most unique bugs.

Royal Goliath Beetle

The royal Goliath beetle or Goliathus regius lives up to its name. This massive beetle is among the world’s biggest in weight, length, and mass. The largest specimens grow up to 5 inches long and weigh up to 100 grams, or about as much as a stick of butter.

They’re also one of the strongest beetles on the planet. Male royal Goliath beetles can lift up to 850 times their own weight!

You can find these massive beetles in the tropical regions of western Africa, including Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone.

Brazilian Treehopper

When you first catch a glimpse of a Brazilian treehopper, you may think it’s wearing some sort of elaborate hat, or that tiny planets are in orbit around its head. But the truth behind this South American insect’s headgear is just as strange.

Formally known as Bocydium globular, scientists are divided on the purpose behind the leaf-eating creature’s freaky helmet. Some think the outstanding orbs evolved to help the treehoppers better navigate their forest homes. But others think the balls mimic the effects of a parasitic fungus that causes odd-looking protrusions in host insects. Since predators avoid infected insects, the orbs may offer some protection to the treehoppers.

Antarctic Midge

Only three insects have been found living in the icy continent at the bottom of the Earth. Of these, only one is truly a native: the Antarctic midge or Belgica antarctica.

These insects may be tiny — about 2 to 6 mm long — but they’re tough. The midges have evolved to withstand Antarctica’s sub-zero temperatures. They spend about eight months of the year frozen.

Though they’re most closely related to flies, for most of their lives the midges take the form of grubs or larvae that live just under the soil. Then, for 14 glorious summer days, the midges emerge as wingless adults.

Picasso Moth

While the jewel-like tones of butterflies’ wings are often described as works of art, moths don’t often receive as many compliments. It’s understandable, as not many moth species have colorful wings. But there’s one outstanding exception: the Picasso moth or Baorisa hieroglyphica.

Named after the famous artist, this stunning white moth boasts colorful, geometric patterns on its front wings. To humans, the designs resemble abstract art. To the moth’s predators, the patterns make the moth look like a much larger insect. Picasso moths are found in northern India and parts of Southeast Asia, from Nepal to Borneo.

Giant Weta

Can an insect outweigh a mouse? Some giant wetas weigh as much as a gerbil! In their native New Zealand, these huge, cricket-like bugs are known by their Maori name, wetapunga, which means “god of ugly things.”

They’re believed to be one of the oldest insect species alive, and they’re certainly among the heaviest. Adult males can weigh up to 70 grams.

As scary as they look, Dimacid heteracantha are actually gentle and slow-moving. They can’t jump or fly but prefer to lumber around eating leaves and other vegetables. It’s reported that they have a sweet tooth for carrots! Sadly, these gentle giants are now an endangered species.

Gray’s Leaf Insect

Ever seen a walking leaf? In the tropical rainforests of Java, Bali, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and other parts of Southeast Asia, the Gray’s leaf insect resembles leaves come to life. These camouflaged creatures are part of a group of bugs known as “stick insects.”

The Gray’s leaf insect has evolved with a flattened, irregularly shaped body that cleverly fools predators. They sway from side to side when they walk, just like a leaf blowing in the breeze. Some even have “bite marks” and veins on their backs that precisely mimic leaves.

Known as Phylliium bioculatum, the males have small wings, but females don’t fly. Leaf insects love to munch on fruit, like guava, mangoes, and rambutan.

With millions of species to explore — and many left to discover — the world is full of unique and weird bugs. What’s your favorite?

Nostalgia For Play

“Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood.” –Pablo Neruda

There’s nothing that evokes immediate nostalgia like vintage children’s toys. The primary colors of Chinese Checkers, a game of Twister, and Monkeys in a Barrel. Metal Jacks with a ball, Dominoes to line up perfectly (and then be knocked down), army men scattered across the floor, a skipping rope, tiny toy cars, and colorful blocks: all these things conjure images of an idyllic childhood, before screens. Playing with dolls is wonderful for children to learn how to communicate and to imagine interactive scenarios, while puzzles and crossword games encourage literacy and promote intellectual curiosity. 

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” –Carl Jung

The Importance of Play

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

The importance of play cannot be overestimated. When a child plays pretend and make-believe, they are able to imagine anything, and the possibilities are limitless. This type of freedom for the childhood mind is so precious as children are not pressured by restrictions set by society yet. They can leap from stone to stone imagining the ground is covered in lava or blow bubbles into the air without a care in the world. As Fred Rogers said, “When children pretend, they’re using their imaginations to move beyond the bounds of reality. A stick can be a magic wand. A sock can be a puppet. A small child can be a superhero.”

Here are some of our favorite toys for children: 

  • A Slinky: this spring-like favorite will inch its way down the stairs and, as a child, is endlessly fascinating. 
  • Dolls/Barbies/Paper Dolls/GI Joes/Plush Toys are wonderful for children to play with while creating social scenarios. Most children have a favorite doll, stuffed animal, or even a treasured blanket.
  • Building Blocks are the foundations for making just about anything. Of course, these are some of the most rudimentary toys in any nursery and never go out of fashion. The same sentiment goes for a spinning top, a cup with a ball on the end of a string, skipping rope, a tea set, etc. 
  • Colorful chalk and finger paints are essential for children to create whatever picture they wish. The grass can be purple, and this sort of creativity should be encouraged, not dismissed as wrong. Chalk should always be used for creating a schoolyard game of hopscotch!
  • Baseball cards are always fun to collect and, today, may have great monetary value.
  • A Jack in the Box that one twists as “Pop Goes the Weasel” plays—before the toy pops up—is completely classic. 

Board Games/Word Games/Puzzles 

Board Games (especially ones such as Scrabble, Boggle, and Crossword puzzles) are absolutely essential for children to learn language skills. The following are some we highly recommend and that never go out of style:

  • Monopoly
  • Scrabble
  • Crossword Puzzles
  • Picture Puzzles
  • Tic Tac Toe

Games from SGE 

Think Adventure!

Spartan and the Green Egg offers an array of beautiful and educational toys and prizes, including 3D puzzles, matching games, and playing cards. For the little geography lovers in your life, try the spherical 240-piece puzzle, Our Planet. If you know little adventure-seekers, they’re bound to love Spartan and the Green Egg’s Explorer playing cards, binoculars, and World of Amazonia Tin! For more on a 3D Grow a Garden flowerpot puzzle, a 3D egg-shaped puzzle, countless stickers, patches, explorer pins, and medallions, check out the many exciting gifts that Spartan and the Green Egg has to offer at the website

America’s Greatest Idea: The National Parks System

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”― John Muir

The United States would be a lot less beautiful without the National Parks and all they have to offer. “On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” creating the National Park Service”; this meant that the inspirational beauty of Crater Lake’s deep blue waters, the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, and pillars of Bryce Canyon could not be destroyed. Giant sequoias—some of the oldest, most magnificent trees in the world—are protected because of the NPS. These unique, educational, and, frankly, breathtaking places have been preserved and are one of the greatest things about this country.

The National Parks Service (NPS) came about to preserve the untouched, natural beauty of this country. This means that these wonders cannot be built over and turned into infrastructure. Some things, such as nature, are sacred. The National Park Service is a government institution that ensures dams cannot be built, hundreds-year-old trees cannot be logged, and endangered species of animals cannot be hunted. 

The National Park idea came about when, in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became President and created the United States Forest Service. Did you know that Roosevelt protected “approximately 230 million acres of public land” while he served as President of the United States? It is because of this that he is known as the “conservationist president.”

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

― John Muir

  • John Muir was also a famous figure who played a key role in securing that certain areas of bucolic tranquility, intense wilderness, remote desert, immense beauty, and wonder were protected and not destroyed. Known as “Father of the National Parks,” John Muir (1838-1914) was a mountaineer who is known for his early advocacy for the conservation and preservation of the American wilderness. 
  • Stephen Mather (1867-1930) was another important person who helped to establish the National Parks Service. An American Industrialist who was drawn to the parks, he became the first director of the NPS.

“A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness…. He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks.” –Stephen Mather

Travel with Spartan and the Green Egg

  • Bryce Canyon National Park is a “Southern Utah Reserve hosting the largest collection of erosion-formed, odd-shaped pillars in the world. These giant pillars are known as ‘hoodoos’ and the Bryce Canyon hosts a series of crimson-colored hoodoos that are common spots for cross-country skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing. Bryce Amphitheater is a collection of giant hoodoos that provide ideal spots for sunrise and sunset viewing. Rims at Bryce are between 8000 feet (2400 m) and 9000 feet (2700 m) high.”
  • Crater Lake National Park: Located in Southern Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, “Crater Lake” was formed in a dormant volcano. It is the deepest lake in the United States (over 1,900 feet) and is known for its clear, sky-blue water. “The lake is fed entirely by rain and snow. Scientists consider Crater Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.” “Volcanic formations still stand around the lake, and the park is pampered with an additional small island, numerous trails, hills, and forests for visitors to explore.”
  • Acadia National Park is “a recreational area along the Atlantic coast located specifically at Mount Desert Island of Maine. It covers a vast area of 47,000 acres, and its landscape is characterized by rocky beaches, woodland, and granite peaks. The park is a host to wildlife, including seabirds, bears, moose, and whales (among others). It is also characterized by harbors, shops, and restaurants where each year nature lovers vacation.”
  • Zion National Park “is located within Springdale, Utah, in the southwestern part of America. Zion National Park is filled with many mountains and rivers, but the most well-known is Zion Canyon. The Zion National Park is also filled with many different species of plants and animals. It is very easy to identify the Zion National Park because of the tan and red colors in the sandstone.”
  • Grand Prismatic Hot Springs, Yellow Stone: “The Grand Prismatic Spring, found in Yellowstone National Park, is the largest hot spring in the U.S. and the third-largest on the planet. It is called ‘prismatic’ because the vivid colors surrounding the springs correlate with the rainbow dispersion of white light through an optical prism. The coloration comes from microbial mats located along the edge of the hot springs.”
  • The Great Smoky Mountains are “part of a national park that runs through different parts of Tennessee and North Carolina. The national park actually has parts that run through the Appalachian Mountains. Many hikers that are going through the Appalachian Trail end up visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. The highest part of the mountains is known as ‘Clingmans Dome.’ Many hikers like to explore in that area and reach the top, which is known as the ‘Chimney Top.’”

To learn more about Spartan and the Green Egg and the hundreds of explorer destinations detailed on the website, follow this link.

For more information on the specific sights/National Parks mentioned in this blog, check out the links below (and don’t forget to collect your explorer pins):

To discover more about the National Parks Service (NPS), how it came about, the important people involved, and how you, too, can visit, explore, and educate yourself on conservation, visit the links below (referenced in the blog):

5 Mythical Creatures That Young People Will Love To Explore

In Search of These 5 Mythical Creatures  

As a young explorer, you are eager to examine and understand everything under the sun. For many of you, this not only means learning about the natural world but the supernatural world as well.

 Although science has yet to confirm the existence of the five mythical creatures listed below, legends about them have been circulating for centuries. Maybe someday, you can try to find them in the wild! Until then, we can discover more about them as fantastic creations of folklore, fables, and fairy tales.

  1. Bigfoot – Thought to live deep in the forests of North America, Bigfoot (also known as “Sasquatch”) is a large, hair-covered, ape-like creature who stands and walks upright. By different accounts, this mythical beast may measure as much as 10 to 15 feet tall. Some people think that Bigfoot is a relative of the ancient ape Gigantopithecus, which was roughly three times bigger than a gorilla. Similar creatures, called Yeti, are said to live in the frigid mountains of Tibet.
  2. Werewolf – Although the werewolf myth can be traced back to Ancient Greece, the word “werewolf” dates to early Middle Ages. The Old English word for man is “were.” Although a person might be turned into werewolves through a magical curse or a bite from another werewolf, their human-to-wolf transformation always has the same source: a full moon. This creature has been a well-known monster around the world for quite some time. If a werewolf ever gives you trouble, remember that it doesn’t like sliver…and is particularly susceptible to silver bullets! 
  3. Chupacabra – A Spanish term that mixes “chupar” (“to suck”) and “cabra” (“goat”), the Chupacabra is literally a “goat-sucker.” Much like a vampire, it reportedly feeds on goats and other forms of livestock by attacking them and drinking their blood. Supposed eyewitnesses have given quite different physical descriptions of the Chupacabra, which range from a relatively small dog-like creature to a bear-sized creature with a row of spikes down its spine. The Chupacabra is native to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Southwestern United States.
  4. Fairy – A close cousin to the pixie, the small, winged fairy is a bit bigger and slightly more human-like in appearance. Both are common characters in European folklore. In early oral tales, fairies and pixies also behaved quite similarly. In other words, they caused trouble, made mischief, and even committed downright evil crimes such as stealing human babies. Over time, however, fairies have gotten an image makeover, appearing in literature and popular culture as kind, wise, and inherently good creatures.
  5. Loch Ness Monster – One of the deepest lakes in Scotland, Loch Ness is said to harbor a hidden resident. Primarily sticking to the dark bottom of the lake, this enormous dinosaur-like creature only occasionally ventures to the surface. Over the past 200 years, countless people have claimed to spot the Loch Ness Monster, and several have even snapped pictures. However, many of these photographs have been revealed as fakes and no one has provided scientific proof of the creature’s existence. 

These five mythical creatures barely scratch the surface when it comes to legendary beasts and magical beings of the world. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring! Who knows what you might find?

SOME OF THE SNOWIEST, COLDEST PLACES ON EARTH

It’s fun and interesting to think about extreme places, especially destinations around the world with extreme weather! This winter, let’s learn about some of the globe’s coldest, snowiest places as we keep warm indoors. Spartan and the Green Egg has exciting explorer pins devoted to some of the world’s most fascinating and remote places; let’s travel vicariously with SGE to some of these snowy spots. 

  • Bouvet Island: “A dependency of Norway, this uninhabitable sub-Antarctic island is in the South Atlantic Ocean around 1,100 miles north of Antarctica. The island is only 19 square miles and has an inactive volcano in the center. A glacier covers 93% of the land. While it has limited vegetation, the island is home to several species of breeding penguins and seals.” This is the most remote place on earth! Can you imagine such an empty, freezing-cold place?! 
  • The South Pole is “one of just two points on the Earth where the axis of rotation interacts with the surface of the planet. It is the southern-most point of the entire planet, and is directly opposite of the North Pole. The South Pole is located on a plateau of ice in Antarctica that is over nine thousand feet thick.” Located in Antarctica, the South Pole experiences “up to 24 hours of sunlight in the summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter.” No one lives here indefinitely—only about fifty people work at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station during the winter.
  • Antarctica’s Mt. Erebus “is located on Ross Island, which is a part of Antarctica. Mount Erebus has the honor of being the second highest volcano in Antarctica. The volcano has been active since 1972. It is home to many unique sites, such as a lake made out of lava. The volcano itself is very tall, standing over twelve thousand feet high.” Mount Erebus is thought to be the southernmost active volcano in the world and is constantly emitting gas and steam. 
  • The Southern Ocean goes by many names. It is more commonly called the Antarctic Ocean. Other names for it include the Austral Ocean and South Polar Ocean. It is home to the Emperor Penguin species, which is the largest species of penguin on Earth. The Southern Ocean also surrounds the continent of Antarctica, which contains 90 percent of the ice on the planet. At its deepest point, located in the South Sandwich Trench, the Southern Ocean reaches a depth of 23,737 feet.” Talk about an extreme place! The Southern Ocean is also known for its albatrosses, fur seals and blue whales.
  • “The North Pole earned its name by being the northernmost point on the planet where the axis meets the surface. Because of this, anyone at the North Pole will always face south in all directions. The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. However, the location is always moving because of the shifting ice in the water. The North Pole wasn’t discovered until 1945.” Did you know that, because the ice is always shifting and moving at the North Pole, there is no possible way for a community to be built.
  • Alert, Nunavut: “Alert is part of the region of Nanavut, which is located within the northern section of Canada. Because of close proximity to the North Pole, the weather is always very cold. The freezing temperatures actually make it so almost nobody can live in the area. Scientists and the military have been conducting research in the area since as far back as the 1800’s.” Some people do, however, work and live at the military base on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. 

To learn more about the destinations discussed in the blog (along with other exciting places for travel and exploration), check out the links below and visit the website. And don’t forget to collect your explorer pins! 

For more information on the sites mentioned in the blog, check out the links below:

All About Teddy Bears

There’s nothing more comforting or snuggly than a teddy bear. It is, by far, the most classic of all children’s toys and treasures. Whether it’s an old, tattered bear many years old (with stuffing falling out) or a brand new Build-a-Bear, teddy bears are beloved keepsakes that never go out of style. What makes them so loveable? It must have something to do with the fact that they were one of the first branded toys with a story attached. They’re wholesome and traditional; there’s really nothing to dislike about a soft teddy bear.

“Oh baby let me be, your lovin’ teddy bear. Put a chain around my neck, and lead me anywhere; Oh let me be (oh let him be) your teddy bear.” –Elvis Presley

The Origin of Teddy Bears

Long before Elvis sang of being someone’s teddy bear, the popular stuffed toy was invented and dubbed “Teddy” after Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States (serving from 1901-1909) and, of course, a member of one of the most fascinating American families of all time. The story goes that, on a hunting trip in 1902, Roosevelt was the only member of his party to not kill a bear. When a black bear was found and tied to a tree by another hunter, Roosevelt refused to shoot it. Well, this news soon became newspaper fodder, and the teddy bear was born. In homage to Roosevelt and saving the bear on a hunting trip in Mississippi, a stuffed bear with his nickname became all the rage. Known as a huntsman, naturalist, conservationist, and all-around wild man, Roosevelt helped to invent the National Parks system and was constantly hiking, hunting, fishing, and going on expeditions to explore the country’s wildlife and rough, untouched terrain.

Famous Teddy Bears 

To this day, the teddy bear is one of the most popular gifts for a child. Our favorite teddy bears usually come from stories, such as Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear. Paddington is the protagonist in a series of children’s books (first published in 1958 by Michael Bond with classic illustrations by Peggy Fortnum) about a stuffed bear with a blue raincoat, red hat, and bright yellow galoshes. And let us not forget the Care Bears and Corduroy Bear, too! Now children and parents can even customize their very own teddy bears at Build-a-Bear shops.

The original Teddy Bear (made in 1902) was designed in Germany by toymaker Margarete Steiff. Toys of this sort, from this era, are highly sought after and collectible. If found in good condition, original bears are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Even though these heirloom gifts are expensive and rare, nothing quite beats nostalgia. 

Other Plush Favorites

The Velveteen Rabbit (from Margery Williams’ 1922 children’s book) is a favorite indeed! Anything velvety and soft is ideal for a child to cuddle, and stuffed rabbits are particularly popular as gifts for the Easter holiday. Other stuffed favorites inspired by literature include replicas of characters from the wild minds of Dr. Seuss (such as The Cat in the Hat) and Maurice Sendak (his “wild” things) and various Disney characters.

For more information about the origin of the Teddy Bear and Theodore Roosevelt, check out the links below: 

For further reading about one of our favorite stuffed bears, Winnie the Pooh, read this blog! For all your literary needs, visit Fullcyclepublications.com

Fun Facts About Christmas Trees

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
How lovely are thy branches!

The Most Impressive Christmas Trees

  • The tree in Rockefeller Center, NYC, is a sight to behold. It wouldn’t be Christmas without this festive tradition! Ice skaters in pairs making figure eights as the lights of the tree glint off the rink makes for a classic tableau unique to the city. The first annual tree lighting took place in 1933, two years after workers put up their own balsam fir and decorated it with handmade garlands. Today there are over 50,000 lights on the tree at Rockefeller Center, and it stands magnificently (this year) at nearly 80 feet tall!
  • The stunningly beautiful Christmas tree at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris, beneath a skylight dome, covered in Swarovski crystals, is quite the festive sight.
  • The tree at La lagune Rodrigo de Freitas in Rio de Janeiro actually floats in the lagoon! Covered with 900,000 light bulbs and at 230 feet tall, this festive tradition (complete with fireworks) is a sight to behold.

Origins of Christmas Trees

  • Christmas trees have been around since the 16th Century in Germany. It was actually believed to be bad luck to put up a tree before Christmas Eve! This was a Christian tradition, but lots of people, regardless of religion, have a Christmas tree in their homes.
  • Although Thomas Edison is accredited with this, “It was actually his colleague and friend, Edward Johnson, who first thought of putting electric lights on a Christmas tree instead of the traditional candles, according to the Library of Congress.” Before this, of course, people used real flames to illuminate their trees. Today, this is antiquated and also pretty dangerous! 
  • While the early Romans were the first to celebrate with fir trees, most people today decorate with evergreens. While most people today use artificial trees, there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh cedar, pine, and balsam fir.
  • Did you know that illustrations of Christmas trees featuring Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children helped to popularize this tradition? People saw these images in the 19th century (Prince Albert died in 1861) and immediately fell in love with the festive décor and practice.

What’s Your Favorite? 

“… There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well

The sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow.” 

–It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas 

What’s your favorite part of the Christmas tree? Is it the tradition of wrapping up in your warmest coat and scarf, going outside into the cold, and finding that perfect tree to chop down? Or is it placing it indoors afterward and decorating it? Maybe you love the tinsel, bright shiny baubles, and glass bulbs the best…or the angel on top! Stars, candy canes, and lights galore are a treat for everyone! Does your family put up a tree? Do you make your own ornaments, such as stringing cranberries or popcorn? Whatever your individual tradition, the most important thing during the holidays is being together and giving, rather than receiving. Love is the most important gift under the tree this Christmas. 

For more information on topics mentioned in this blog, check out the links below:

Global Warming Causes And Remedies

What Is Global Warming, and How Can You Stop It?  

Global warming is the general trend of the Earth’s surface temperature increases over time. It has many natural and manmade causes. Scientists are trying to develop ways of reducing global warming because they’re concerned that it could damage the environment in various ways. There are also many things you can do to help slow global warming.

Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect is a key part of global warming. It’s so named because of its similarity to the way a greenhouse stays warm inside. A greenhouse is a type of building made mostly of glass panes that allow sunlight in but prevent heat from escaping. Certain gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere without allowing heat to escape to outer space. The most common greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane.

Causes

Animals naturally produce greenhouse gases, mainly by exhaling. Plants use greenhouse gases during photosynthesis, which generally kept greenhouse gases at constant levels throughout most of Earth’s history. However, their levels started to rise during the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. This technological trend resulted in the burning of fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil. These fuels are needed for many industrial processes such as powering factories, running cars, and generating electricity. In addition, many forests have been cut down to make land usable for humans, thus reducing the number of plants available to absorb greenhouse gases.

Effects

The exact rate of global warming is difficult to predict, but most scientists guess that the temperature of the Earth’s surface will increase by between 3.2- and 7.2-degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. This increase may not sound like much, but it would cause a large portion of the polar ice caps to melt. Sea levels would rise as a result, endangering people, plants, and animals near the coast.

Stopping Global Warming

Scientists throughout the world are concerned about the effects of global warming. They’re currently looking for ways to reduce the production of greenhouse gases, generally by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that we burn. Kids can also help minimize global warming by conserving energy, convincing other people to do the same, and continuing to learn more about this subject.

Save Energy

The best ways for you to conserve energy include closing outside doors immediately so that warm or cool air doesn’t escape your house. You can also turn electrical appliances like computers and lights off when not in use. Additional energy-saving measures include walking or biking as much as possible instead of having your parents drive you somewhere.

Convince Others to Save Energy

You must be careful when convincing people to save energy because they don’t often like being told what to do. It’s much better to set examples and make suggestions than it is to give direct orders, even when you’re talking to your family and friends. Starting a conservation club at school is a great way to raise awareness of global warming.

You can help save energy at home by asking your parents to keep the heat off as much as possible, especially at night and when no one is at home. Replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent lighting also saves money and energy over time. Encouraging your parents to run appliances like dishwashers in energy saver mode and turning the car off while waiting to pick you up from school are other ways to save energy. Recycling more material is also an important way to save energy since any type of manufacturing uses a lot of energy.

Continued Education

Continuing your education is essential for finding new energy sources that don’t contribute to global warming. Solutions to this problem can come from many bodies of knowledge, including science, technology, economics, and politics. A good education can also help you make good decisions in your daily life.

The World’s Most Unusual Bridges

6 Most Unusual Bridges in the World  

For as long as humans have been around, we’ve been using creative ideas and innovative building techniques to explore our surroundings. Often, that means creating ways to get across rivers, valleys, and canyons.

Bridges come in all shapes and sizes. Some have stood for centuries, like Greece’s Arkadiko bridge, crafted from stone in 1300 B.C. and still used today. Some of today’s bridges use amazing engineering techniques, while others look like beautiful works of art.

Here are 6 of the world’s most unusual bridges.

1. Helix Bridge

Singapore’s Helix Bridge looks like a massive double helix rolling across the water’s surface. That’s because the bridge’s creators had the shape of human DNA in mind when they designed it.

With a span of 920 feet, this gorgeous bridge allows people to walk easily from one side of the river to the other. Viewing platforms are perfectly positioned along the walkway. It’s an ideal place to stop and take a few photos of the surrounding city.

At night, strips of LED lights turn the Helix Bridge into a giant, glittering jewel. The bridge is so beautiful that it’s become a popular destination for tourists and Singapore residents alike.

2. Royal Gorge Bridge

Would you be brave enough to walk across 1,260 feet of wooden planks hanging 950 feet above a river below? That’s exactly what visitors to the Royal Gorge Bridge ask themselves!

Built-in 1929, this suspension bridge is the highest in the Western hemisphere. The bridge has two steel towers, more than 2,100 strands of wire cables, and spans a deep canyon 956 feet below. It’s been standing since 1929.

The walkway itself is made of more than 1,250 wooden planks. Each year, 26 million people visit the Royal Gorge Bridge… but we’re not sure how many of them are brave enough to walk across it.

3. Millau Viaduct

Spanning 8,071 feet across France’s Tarn River valley, the Millau Viaduct is a marvel of modern engineering. It’s the highest cable-stayed road bridge (a bridge held up by cables that cars can drive across) on the planet.

Its towers soar more than 1,100 feet into the air, making this bridge taller than the Eiffel Tower and almost as high as the Empire State Building! The bridge is so tall that, on a foggy day, it’s impossible to see the valley below. Drivers on the bridge say it feels as though they’re cruising above the clouds.

It only took three years to build this incredible bridge. The designers of the Millau Viaduct had to come up with an entirely new technique to make it work. Unlike other cable-stay bridges, the towers were constructed first, before the roadway was laid in place.

4. Chenyang Wind and Rain Bridge

For centuries, the Dong people of China’s Guangxi Province have constructed strong, sturdy bridges… without using any nails! These gorgeous covered bridges are topped by towers, porches, kiosks, and pavilions that are meant to offer shelter from the weather. That’s why they’re known as “wind and rain” bridges.

Among the most famous is the Chenyang Wind and Rain Bridge. Just over 213 feet long, the bridge spans the Linxi River. It’s made completely from wood and stone, without any nails or rivets.

The soaring pavilions — up to four stories high — sit on sturdy stone towers in the river. The Dong craftsmen were so good at making the wooden pieces fit together perfectly, that the bridge has been standing for more than 100 years.

5. The Twist

Is it a bridge? A building? A sculpture? The Twist is all three and more. Spanning the Randselva River in Jevnaker, Norway, this unique bridge is truly a work of art; part of the Twist’s interior space even houses an art gallery. 

The bridge is located in the middle of a forest, and designers had to overcome several challenges, including different heights at each end of the bridge. Architects came up with a clever solution: Twist the entire bridge by 90 degrees.

That means when you walk through the bridge, the ceiling and floor switch places. At the twist, the ceiling flows down the wall to become the floor, while the floor stretches up the other wall to form the ceiling.

6. Golden Bridge

Just north of Da Nang, Vietnam lies one of the world’s most unique-looking bridges. The Golden Bridge stretches for 500 (golden) feet across a beautiful forest. But the most amazing part about this bridge is that it’s held up by two giant hands.

Walking across this shimmering bridge is like entering your favorite fantasy novel. Though it’s just a few years old, the hands are crafted to look like ancient stone, carefully holding up a glittering golden thread. Adding to the fun, visitors take a cable car ride to climb slowly up the mountain to reach this magical bridge.

What Are Canyons

Learn About Canyons

Canyons are steep, narrow valleys that may also be known as gorges. They’re formed over millions of years by river movements, erosion, and tectonic movements. River canyons are the best-known type of canyon, but they’re also found under the ocean.

River Movements
A fast-flowing river can cut into a riverbed by washing sediment downstream, creating a deeper channel. This type of river becomes known as an entrenched river because they don’t change course like a typical river with a wide, flat floodplain. The Yarlung Zango Canyon in Tibet is the deepest River Canyon in the world. It’s more than 17,500 feet in some places and is also one of the longest canyons in the world, at 310 miles.

Erosion
Erosion and weathering can also form canyons, usually in areas where water regularly freezes and thaws. This process begins when water seeps into cracks in rocks. The water freezes, causing it to expand and make the cracks bigger. The rock erodes and water fills the cracks again during heavy rains, causing more erosion. Over time, the canyon grows wider at the top than the bottom. This cycle repeats itself when the water freezes again.

Erosion like this forms slot canyons when it occurs in soft rock like sandstone. Slot canyons are unusually narrow and deep, sometimes less than three feet wide and 1000 feet deep. These types of canyons can be dangerous because the sides are often very smooth, making them difficult to climb. In some cases, canyons form in areas with soft rock lying on top of harder rock. When this happens, the canyons develop cliffs and ledges when the surface rock erodes, making the canyon walls look like giant steps.

Tectonic Activity
Tectonic plates are large pieces of the Earth’s crust and upper mantle. They shift and collide with each other over millions of years, causing changes to the Earth’s surface. Tectonic activity can sometimes cause land to rise above the surrounding area, which is known as a tectonic uplift. They can create mountains that glaciers and rivers cut through to create deep canyons.

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is the best-known canyon formed by tectonic activity. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide at its widest point. The deepest point in the Grand Canyon is 6,000 feet below the surrounding land. The Grand Canyon was formed by the Colorado River, which cuts through the Colorado Plateau. The age of the Grand Canyon is between 5 million and 70 million years, depending on which geologist you ask.


Submarine Canyons

Canyons on the ocean floor are known as submarine canyons, which are some of the deepest canyons on Earth. These canyons cut into the continental shelves and slopes, which are the edges of the continents that are underwater. Some submarine canyons were formed by rivers when that part of the ocean floor was above water.

The Hudson Canyon is one of the longest canyons of this type, at a length of 450 miles. It was formed by the Hudson River, which is located between the US states of New York and New Jersey. The Hudson Canyon was the riverbed of the Hudson River during the last ice age when sea levels were lower. Ocean currents that are strong enough can also form submarine canyons by sweeping away sediment.

Ocean currents that are strong enough can also form submarine canyons by sweeping away sediment. This process is similar to the way that rivers on land can erode riverbeds. Wittard Canyon, off the south coast of Ireland, is a well-known example of this type of canyon. Scientists believe this canyon was formed thousands of years ago when glacial water flowed into the Atlantic Ocean.

Tropical Birds Around The World

When we think of colorful, exotic birds a parrot (usually perched on a pirate’s shoulder) inevitably comes to mind. There are nearly 400 species of parrot. While they come in all sizes they usually have a long tail, are very intelligent, and some learn to speak (or at least mimic sounds they hear). Parrots are usually very loud, raucous creatures and make for good companions, although one should really not own a parrot as a pet. For one thing, they often outlive their owners! Parrots can live up to 80 years. 

“Tame birds sing of freedom. Wild birds fly.”

– John Lennon

Magnificent Macaws

  • Macaws are extraordinary and extreme in their amazing attributes. They can fly very fast (up to forty miles an hour) and have an impressive wingspan (more than four feet in width). They also have extraordinarily powerful curved beaks used for cracking hard nuts and seeds. 
  • There are the traditional macaws with mainly red plumage surrounding their head, neck, and back that flows into a rainbow of colors across their wings; these are known as the “Scarlet Macaws” while the “Red-front Macaw” is mostly green in color with a splash of red on its head. The “Hyacinth Macaw” is almost entirely blue and is longer than any other species of parrot. Then there’s the “Red and Gold Macaw,” which is extremely distinctive. Their unique shape—including long tail—is for flying quickly through the jungle. Of course, parrots are incredibly noisy birds; this is so they can screech and squaw throughout the tropics and other birds will hear their call.

Other Fine Feathered Friends

Some other popular exotic birds include cockatoos and toucans.

  • Cockatoos belong to the parrot species, Cacatuidae. These birds are distinctive due to the flamboyant plumage atop their heads (the most recognizable because of this attribute being the sulfur-crested cockatoo, with its black beak, entirely white body—except for cheeks that appear to be glamourized with yellow rouge—and bright matching crown of spiky plumes).
  • Toucans are tropical birds known for their impressively large rainbow bills and are a member of the Ramphastidae family. They can be found mostly in Central and South America.

Polly Wants a Cracker: Where to Find Tropical Birds

  • Amazon River Cruises: “What does 55 gallons of water per second look like? The Amazon River, that’s what! The Amazon is THE largest body of freshwater rivers in the world. The
    Amazon snakes through many countries, but the largest portion is in Peru, which is in South America. When exploring the Amazon River you’re likely to see brightly colored birds, such as parrots and macaws, as well as towering trees, exotic flowers, and some of the most unusual wildlife to be found on the planet.”
  • Lake Retba in Senegal: “is among the splendid lakes of the world that have water that is pink!” Located near the country’s capital, Dakar, the lake is known for its abundance of salt. With a gray head and yellow and green body, the Senegal parrot is known for being smaller than most, a little less vocal (although they can be taught to mimic) as well as incredibly affectionate and playful.
  • Scoresby Sound, Greenland, is the world’s largest fjord and is surrounded by incredible craggy cliffs. Some of the wildlife that can be found there includes the Atlantic Puffin. Although it looks similar to a penguin, they are completely different. Puffins are seabirds that can fly over 50 miles per hour and are characterized by their black and white bodies juxtaposed with a colorful beak. Because of this, they have been called “sea parrots.”

For more information on the exotic birds mentioned in this blog, check out the websites below:

For more information on the sites mentioned in the blog and to collect corresponding explorer pins, check out the following Spartan and the Green Egg links:

Our Favourite Fictitious Haunted Houses

What makes horror movies so scary? Tales of vampires, the creature from the black lagoon, ghosts, mad scientists, and wolfmen awaken something within our psyche that speaks to us on a deeper level, and the most frightening Halloween story trope is the haunted house. 

With supernatural happenings and shadows dancing on a wall in the flicker of candlelight, drafts of wind blowing down a corridor, unexplained voices, creaking old staircases, dark, damp cellars filled with lurking monsters and closets filled with skeletons (literally), haunted houses make for amazing (and incredibly frightening) storytelling. The idea that a home we live in, where we’re meant to feel secure, is haunted by something paranormal, is always terrifying. These tales of spooky old mansions sure make for a spine-tingling good time! 

Some of the most famous haunted houses in literature (and in films) that we love include (but are not limited to) Hill House (from The Haunting of Hill House, 1959 by Shirley Jackson), The Overlook Hotel (from Stephen King’s The Shining, 1977), The House of Usher from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher (1839), The Bly House from Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, and even Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter book series. 

  • Many of these places aren’t even houses, but they are rivetingly scary nonetheless. Poe’sHouse of Usher is a gothic mansion inhabited by twin siblings Roderick and Madeline. After Madeline’s death, her body is entombed in the house. Then a powerful storm comes, a glowing paranormal lake that surrounds the house is described, and Madeline (who was actually buried alive) arises from her entombment. In the end, the house crumbles and is split down the middle as it sinks into the lake. 
  • Hill House from Shirley Jackson’s novel was made unforgettable when the story was adapted into a classic black and white 1963 film (not to be confused with The House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price). 
  •  The House on Haunted Hill is unforgettable; with the castle’s eccentric owner and a slew of guests (who are all promised $10,000 if they can stay overnight), a vat of acid, ghosts of former residents who were killed, and a swinging noose to suggest suicide, this is a frightening and over-the-top ride. 

When it comes to real life, there are actual houses that are supposedly “haunted”—whatever that means—and they’re open to tourists! 

Spartan and the Green Egg have even traveled to at least one! 

  • The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California: Filled with “Secret passageways, stairs that lead to nowhere, miles of twisting corridors all delight thousands of visitors to the Winchester Mystery House. Built by Sarah Winchester around 1882, the house has 160 rooms and was built without a blueprint. Each evening Mrs. Winchester would have a séance, and each morning she would tell the builders what the spirits said needed to be built. As a result, Sarah believed she was building a place where she could never be haunted.”
  • So, if you’re a lover of the macabre and get a kick out of spooky sights, don’t forget to collect your Explorer Pin depicting this mysterious house! 

For more information on all sorts of fascinating places around the world, visit Spartan and the Green Egg at the website and read more on the blog.

Best Bugs To Catch

Bug Hunting: Where to Find the World’s Weirdest Insects  

Bugs are everywhere… literally! From Antarctica to the North Pole and everywhere in between, insects account for more than 80 percent of all animal life on Earth. 

In fact, there are so many bugs that scientists don’t even know for sure how many types of insects exist. Most estimate that there are over 10 million insect species. Some scientists think there are many more insect species that we haven’t even discovered yet.

Given how common creepy crawlies are, it’s easy to just walk on by without taking notice. But there are a few types of bugs that are so strange that you simply have to stop and stare.

Whether big, beautiful, or just plain weird, here’s where to find some of the world’s most unique bugs.

Royal Goliath Beetle

The royal Goliath beetle or Goliathus regius lives up to its name. This massive beetle is among the world’s biggest in weight, length, and mass. The largest specimens grow up to 5 inches long and weigh up to 100 grams, or about as much as a stick of butter.

They’re also one of the strongest beetles on the planet. Male royal Goliath beetles can lift up to 850 times their own weight!

You can find these massive beetles in the tropical regions of western Africa, including Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone.

Brazilian Treehopper

When you first catch a glimpse of a Brazilian treehopper, you may think it’s wearing some sort of elaborate hat, or those tiny planets are in orbit around its head. But the truth behind this South American insect’s headgear is just as strange.

Formally known as Bocydium globular, scientists are divided on the purpose behind the leaf-eating creature’s freaky helmet. Some think the outstanding orbs evolved to help the treehoppers better navigate their forest homes. But others think the balls mimic the effects of a parasitic fungus that causes odd-looking protrusions in host insects. Since predators avoid infected insects, the orbs may offer some protection to the treehoppers.

Antarctic Midge

Only three insects have been found living in the icy continent at the bottom of the Earth. Of these, only one is truly a native: the Antarctic midge or Belgica antarctica.

These insects may be tiny — about 2 to 6 mm long — but they’re tough. The midges have evolved to withstand Antarctica’s sub-zero temperatures. They spend about eight months of the year frozen.

Though they’re most closely related to flies, for most of their lives the midges take the form of grubs or larvae that live just under the soil. Then, for 14 glorious summer days, the midges emerge as wingless adults.

Picasso Moth

While the jewel-like tones of butterflies’ wings are often described as works of art, moths don’t often receive as many compliments. It’s understandable, as not many moth species have colorful wings. But there’s one outstanding exception: the Picasso moth or Baorisa hieroglyphica.

Named after the famous artist, this stunning white moth boasts colorful, geometric patterns on its front wings. To humans, the designs resemble abstract art. To the moth’s predators, the patterns make the moth look like a much larger insect. Picasso moths are found in northern India and parts of Southeast Asia, from Nepal to Borneo.

Giant Weta

Can an insect outweigh a mouse? Some giant wetas weigh as much as a gerbil! In their native New Zealand, these huge, cricket-like bugs are known by their Maori name, wetapunga, which means “god of ugly things.”

They’re believed to be one of the oldest insect species alive, and they’re certainly among the heaviest. Adult males can weigh up to 70 grams.

As scary as they look, Dimacid heteracantha are actually gentle and slow-moving. They can’t jump or fly but prefer to lumber around eating leaves and other vegetables. It’s reported that they have a sweet tooth for carrots! Sadly, these gentle giants are now an endangered species.

Gray’s Leaf Insect

Ever seen a walking leaf? In the tropical rainforests of Java, Bali, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and other parts of Southeast Asia, the Gray’s leaf insect resembles leaves come to life. These camouflaged creatures are part of a group of bugs known as “stick insects.”

The Gray’s leaf insect has evolved with a flattened, irregularly shaped body that cleverly fools predators. They sway from side to side when they walk, just like a leaf blowing in the breeze. Some even have “bite marks” and veins on their backs that precisely mimic leaves.

Known as Phylliium bioculatum, the males have small wings, but females don’t fly. Leaf insects love to munch on fruit, like guava, mangoes, and rambutan.

With millions of species to explore — and many left to discover — the world is full of unique and weird bugs. What’s your favorite?

Poetry To Instill A Love Of Nature

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, / And what I assume you shall assume, /For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. / I loafe and invite my soul, /I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.”

 –Walt Whitman, Song of Myself (1892)

(Illustration by Maurice Sendak, from “Open House for Butterflies” by Ruth Krauss)

  • Sometimes we all need to get quiet and centered. The great outdoors are perfect for just that, so go sit in a garden, park, or your very own backyard, grab a book of poetry and unwind. Sharing this with the children in your life is not only fun and educational but also incredibly beneficial. 

Learn about the Beauty of Nature

Learn from the best! Read the naturalist poets such as Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Frost, William Blake, and William Wordsworth. 

Reading poetry to your children and encouraging them to read on their own when they’re old enough is so important. It instills a love of and appreciation for nature. 

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson viewed nature as the “Universal Being.”
  • Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (first published in 1855) is a vast collection of poems that Whitman wrote and then rewrote over and over throughout his life:

“A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt, Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose? Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation.”

  • Robert Frost’s “Birches” (1915) is an incredibly well-known and beloved poem that is often recited by school kids: 

“I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree, /And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk/ Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, /But dipped its top and set me down again.”

  •  Of course, Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “Nothing Gold Can Stay” are just as popular, if not more so.
  • William Wordsworth was one of the English Romantic poets whose 1807 poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” has endured and become a favorite for the ages. His mediation on nature (specificaly daffodils) is lyrically beautiful and extremely well-known, as it is one of his most anthologized poems.
  • William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience is a collection of poems that were published together in 1794. They are known for their words but not entirely. Blake actually created impressive engravings that he painted by hand to correspond with each poem! “The Blossom” (from Songs of Innocence) is a joyful and light-hearted ode to nature. This is exactly the sort of poetry that children can enjoy.
  • William Butler Yeats—one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century—wrote of nature and its majesty, its simplicity, and beauty. His vision of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (written in 1888) makes us all want to retreat there with the honeybees: 

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, /And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; / Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, /And live alone in the bee-loud glade.”

For more information on what to read, great children’s literature, and other literary tips, visit Full Cycle Publications at the website.

Spooky Cemeteries

“I am a cemetery by the moon unblessed.” –Charles Baudelaire, Paris Spleen

Why do we visit cemeteries? Well, we visit the gravestones of the ones who have gone before us, the ones we miss and love. Cemeteries don’t have to be morbid or scary, they can be comforting, and the ones mentioned in this blog are incredible places to visit…they just happen to be graveyards! Did you know that people would actually have picnics in graveyards before public parks because it was the only place with a nice lawn where friends and family could gather?

(The entrance at the Catacombs of Paris)

  • The Catacombs, Paris: ‘Arrète!  C’est ici L’empire de la Mort’ is a phrase at the entrance of the Catacombs in Paris so, whenever one visits this incredible site, this is the first thing they see, but what does it mean?  “Stop! This is the empire of the dead.” “The Catacombs are a series of underground tunnels formerly part of a mining operation. In 1785, a portion of the labyrinth-like tunnel system was used to house human remains moved from the Saints-Innocents Cemetery. Remains from other cemeteries continued to be moved to the Catacombs throughout the 1800s. Today, the Catacombs of Paris have been turned into a tourist attraction and are affiliated with the Carnavalet Museum.” Can you imagine visiting a place (underground, no less) filled with skeletons? How cool is that? Victor Hugo wrote that “Paris has another Paris under herself” (in reference to 1300 miles of sewers, caverns, catacombs, alleys, and intersections beneath the city). Why were all these people buried deep underground in these old quarries in the first place? Well, the cemeteries of Paris were overflowing during the 18th century, interfering with the water system, and infecting people with plague, so they had to be moved. Figures of the French Revolution are buried in the catacombs, including Molière and Robespierre.  

(Photo courtesy of Paris Tourist Office)

  • Père Lachaise Cemetery, also located in Paris, is one of the most famous burial places in the world.  The largest cemetery in Paris, it is the final resting place of icons such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Edith Piaf. Still unknown for certain, there could be as many as 1 million people buried in Père Lachaise! Built-in 1804 and named for Père François de la Chaise (a French Jesuit priest who was also the confessor of Louis XIV), the cemetery is an extremely popular tourist attraction and doubles as a beautiful park. 

  • Beethoven’s Grave in Vienna, Austria. “The famous composer Ludwig Van Beethoven passed away in 1827. He was buried in a cemetery called Währinger Ortsfriedhof at first, but his body was later moved to his current resting place in Vienna, Austria, at the Zentralfriedhof cemetery. Visitors can find his grave together with the graves of Schubert and some other famous composers.” It has been said that Beethoven’s last words were “Pity, pity—too late!” (as he had just been told of a present of twelve bottles of wine from his publisher). 

For more information on the sites mentioned in this blog (along with Spartan and the Green Egg’s explorer pins), consult the links below:

All Cool For School

“Fall is here, hear the yell/ Back to school, ring the bell/ Brand new shoes, walking blues/ Climb the fence, books and pens/ I can tell that we are gonna be friends.” –Jack White

 

Back to School Fun

There’s nothing more exciting than the promise of knowledge and new adventures. A whole new world opens up for children in the fall. Crisp red apples, sharpened pencils, reams of parchment paper, and blackboards with fresh chalk all make for a lovely, quaint schoolhouse tableau. Even in times of uncertainty, it’s ideal to make the best of any situation, and a safe, joyous learning environment is truly magical. Making new friends, discovering new interests, and reading lots of cool books are all stepping-stones for children; these are the things that make school years (especially grade school) enjoyable and eye-opening. A new pair of shoes and a colorful knapsack makes school in the fall all the more fun.

Express Yourself  

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” –Lily Tomlin

There’s nothing more fun than laying out clothes and effects the night before school! Explorer pins, stickers, embroidered patches, lanyards, and medallions are all wonderful accessories for school children to embellish their belongings. Whether it’s a backpack, lunch pail, thermos, three-ring binder, or even a mandated mask, all children enjoy decorating their personal effects. This way, you can go learn in style! Spartan and the Green Egg offers all sorts of original educational embellishments that fit the bill. 

  • Outer Space Patches: “Blast off with Spartan and the gang as they, and Egg, escape Earth’s gravity to explore the Solar System. Learn about the solar system and Earth’s place in it as you reach for the stars! The Explorer Outer Space Patch Collection is the perfect addition to the full line of Spartan and the Green Egg Explorer Collection pins and patches.  This collection includes fourteen patches: International Space Station, Rings of Saturn, Asteroid Belt, Mars, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, Venus, Mercury, Earth, Sun, Pluto, Solar System, and the Moon.”
  • Oceans Pin Collection: “Dive right into Earth’s greatest oceans with this exclusive Ocean Pin Collection. Each collectible pin is epoxy coated and polished to be shiny and soft to the touch. Explore the oceans of the world today!”
  • SGE Explorer Stickers Set #1: “Plan future adventures all around the globe with the Explorer Stickers Starter Kit. These 120 vibrant world stickers are nestled in a colorful explorer tin. They are fun and educational. Perfect for all young explorers. Collect the Explorer Stickers starter Kit to see how many destinations you have yet to discover!”
  • SGE Explorer Lanyards:Proudly collect and display all of the Spartan and the Green Egg Explorer pins on this lanyard that is available in several different colors.”
  • SGE Medallions: Deck out yourself and your personal effects with a flying carpet, rocket ship, submarine, and butterfly medallion! 

 

 

For more information on all the educational gifts that Spartan and the Green Egg has to offer, visit the website (along with the links below):

  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/spartan-and-the-green-egg-explorer-embroidered-outer-space-patches-collection-set-of-14-patches-sew-on-or-iron-on/
  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/oceans-pin-collection/
  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/sge-explorer-stickers-set-1/
  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/sge-explorer-lanyards/
  • https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product-category/sge-medallions/

Places And Cathedrals Of Russia

 

 


Russia is known for its vast size, extreme cold, great novelists, and amazing architecture that will truly knock your socks off. 

  • The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel (a core fortified area of a city) of St. Petersburg. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, it is known for its unique design by Swiss architect Domenico Trezzini in the Petrine Baroque style. It is also known as the birthplace of St. Petersburg and shares a picturesque view of the Neva River. Once used as a prison, it is now part of the St. Petersburg Museum of History, where visitors can enjoy festivals and concerts. 

“At the center of all that is Russia – of its culture, its psychology, and, perhaps, its destiny – stands the Kremlin, a walled fortress a thousand years old and four hundred miles from the sea. Physically speaking, its walls are no longer high enough to fend off attack, and yet, they still cast a shadow across the entire country.”

― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

 

  • The Moscow Kremlin is a fortified complex and the heart of Moscow. Built between the 14th and 17th centuries, it is one of the most impressive examples of architecture anywhere in the whole world. Complete with twenty towers (nineteen of which have spires). It is a symbol of Russian power and pride. The word “Kremlin” (meaning “fortress inside a city”) is forever linked to the most pivotal political moments in Russia since the 13th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

 

  • St. Basil’s Cathedral “is officially called Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. It is located in Moscow’s famous Red Square. The cathedral has a unique shape, almost like a bonfire rising into the sky. That makes it one of Russia’s most unique buildings. Part of the building is now a museum, but special services are still held there occasionally.”

 

(Russiau.com)

  • St. Isaac’s Cathedral, built in honor of Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, is located in St. Petersburg and is known for filling the skyline with its magnificent golden dome. The cathedral is so vast that it can accommodate up to 14,000 people! Although it is now only rarely used as a place of worship, it is mainly a museum and boasts a fantastic monument to Nicholas I.

 

For more information on the sites discussed in this blog, visit the links below. To collect your explorer pins, and to read about adventure and exploration, visit Spartan and the Green Egg at the website.

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog #littleexplorers #travel #adventure #russia #kremlin #stpetersburg #moscow #explorerpins

Learn About Astronauts

Interesting Facts About Astronauts

For about sixty years there have been astronauts. They have traveled in ships, stayed on space stations, and even walked on the moon. When you think about them, you might think of their special spacesuits or picture them floating around in their spaceships, but that is not all there is to it. There is a lot more to being an astronaut than just putting on a suit and flying in space.

The truth is astronauts go through a lot of tests and training. They also have to deal with unusual things happening all the time. Whether you want to be an astronaut one day or are just curious about space, there are a lot of fun things about astronauts and astronaut training to explore. Here are some interesting and educational facts you may not have heard before about specific astronauts and astronauts in general.

What is an Astronaut Really?

An astronaut is sometimes thought of as anyone in a space program. However, in some countries, to really be an astronaut a person has to actually fly in space. In fact, the rule in the United States is a person has to go at least 50 miles up from sea level to be an astronaut. Even though that is the official rule, people training to fly in space are also usually called astronauts.

Astronauts Versus Cosmonauts

If you have ever heard of a cosmonaut, you might wonder what the difference is between cosmonauts and astronauts. It might surprise you to find out there really isn’t much of a difference at all except for where they train. The word “cosmonaut” is just what an astronaut in the Russian space program is called. Here are some famous cosmonaut facts:

  • Yuri Gagarin was the first person on Earth to launch into space when he took off in 1961.
  • The first woman anywhere in the world to go into space was cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1962.
  • The first untrained guest space traveler in the world was Vladimir Remek, who went to space as part of the Russian cosmonaut program in 1978.

Famous Female Astronauts

It might surprise you to know there have been a lot of famous female astronauts besides Valentina Tereshkova. Although, she famously went into space long before any other female. Here are some other famous females who took flight since:

  • Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman in space in 1983, 20 years after Valentina.
  • Christa McAuliffe is a now-famous civilian teacher who got the opportunity to go into space in 1986, but she died during the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
  • Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman in space in 1992.
  • Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman in space in 1993.

Astronauts of All Ages (Almost)

There is no age rule for being an astronaut in the United States. However, some programs do have age limits. An astronaut in the European Space Agency’s program has to be 50 or younger. Even though there is no age limit in the United States, astronauts still have to pass a lot of tests to make sure they are healthy enough to fly. So far, the ages of accepted astronauts in the United States have ranged from 25 to 77.

Keep Finding Fun Astronaut Facts

There is a never-ending list of fun facts about astronauts. Some are so weird it is hard to believe them, but they are true. Most of those facts are about how astronauts survive in space and the habits they have. For instance, there are no showers or bathtubs on spaceships. Astronauts use shampoo they leave in their hair and pouches or squirt guns with water to clean up. Other facts have to do with how space changes their bodies, like the fact that astronauts get a couple of inches taller in space. If you love astronauts, you can never run out of things to learn about them, so keep studying.

Explore Space Science

 

 

Amazing Outer Space Science Experiments

People have always loved space, but it is full of mysteries. That is why places like The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are so busy. Since it was founded in 1958, many space experiments have been performed by NASA. One of the most famous things NASA astronauts did was land on the moon in 1969. But the experiments performed in space do not just happen on the moon.

Space is a very big place. Astronauts and scientists perform experiments all the time on space stations and in spaceships to learn about outer space. Some of those science experiments have to do with how space works. Others are about what happens to people and animals when they go into space. Here are some of the best outer space experiments done so far.

The International Space Station (ISS) Itself

The International Space Station is like one giant space experiment. There are things happening there all the time. It has been home to astronauts from different countries since November 2, 2000. In that time, around 3,000 science experiments have been done there. Many of those had to do with how our bodies change in microgravity. Microgravity makes people, animals, and objects float in space or spaceships because Earth’s gravity is not the same in space. Scientists care about microgravity because someday people might want to go live on other planets. We need to know how our bodies, pets, and belongings might react to that. So far, microgravity experiments on the ISS have shown a lot of changes, like:

  • Muscles and bones do not have to work as hard in space, but that means they can get weak.
  • Plants grow differently without Earth’s gravity.
  • Fire has a different shape when it burns in space.

The Space Rose Experiment

You might not think of flowers and space going together, but for one fun experiment, they did. In the 1990s, a company called International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) wanted to know if a flower smelled different in space than on Earth. They sent a rose up on the space shuttle Discovery to find out. The answer was yes. The company made a new perfume from the oils gathered from the space rose.

The Space Sloshing Experiment

Have you ever sloshed your drink against the sides of your cup? Imagine getting paid to do that in space. Some scientists do. In fact, scientists from two colleges and NASA came together once to test how liquids move in space. They used robots to study liquids in space for a very important reason. Liquids do not move the same way in space as on Earth. They wanted to learn as much as they could about how to make it safer for astronauts flying in ships with liquid fuel.

The Hammer and the Feather

If you have heard the phrase “light as a feather” before, you might like this experiment. In 1971, an astronaut on the moon dropped a hammer and a feather at the same time. They both hit the surface of the moon at once. That proved the pull of gravity had nothing to do with the weight of an object.

The Blob

One of the most fun experiments that took place in outer space in the last 10 years was the green blob made by astronaut Scott Kelly in 2015. He put food coloring in water. Then he added a fizzy tablet to it. In the microgravity of space, the water floated in a perfect ball shape. The tablet started releasing gas bubbles into the water, and a video camera recorded the results. On top of being fun to watch, it also taught the astronauts a lot about how water interacts with other materials in space.

The Experiments Continue

Some outer space experiments last for minutes. Others last for hours or days. There are even many that started years ago and are still happening today. In fact, some of the most important take years because they show how a long time spent in space can change people, animals, plants, and even bacteria. So, the next time you look up in the sky, think about the experiments that might be going on somewhere up there.

Beneath The Sea: Ancient Ruins

 

 

When we think of underwater worlds, we think of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, sunken ships filled with pirate booty, lost civilizations (maybe even Atlantis), of awesome sea creatures that have never before been discovered, treasure chests overflowing with gold coins and Poseidon (the Greek god of the sea) with his trident.

(UNESCO: Underwater Cultural Heritage)

UNESCO’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention began 20 years ago, and its aim was (and is) to protect ancient historical sites that are submerged beneath the oceans. One of the main goals of this mission is to keep these amazing locations safe, to protect them from “treasure-hunting and pillaging.” Without the preservation of certain underwater monuments, we wouldn’t know about wars that have been fought, civilizations that have been conquered and lost, and important architecture that’s been washed away beneath the waves.

Spartan and the Green Egg’s Underwater Sites

Discover some of the world’s most fascinating underwater (and underground) places with Spartan and the Green Egg! Learn more about the world around you, get inspired to travel, and collect your explorer pins to prepare for adventure!

  • Underwater Museum in Cancun, Mexico: “The Underwater Museum is devoted to showing the importance of conservation. Tourists have to visit numerous diving points in order to see all the sculptures that have been placed under water. The museum was made to help control where visitors go diving. This is very important because the natural reefs in the area were getting damaged by a surge of tourists and explorers.”

  • Dragon’s Triangle: “The Dragon’s Triangle has many nicknames, including the Devil’s Sea as well as the Pacific Bermuda Triangle. It is located in a part of the Pacific Ocean, right near the Miyake Island in Tokyo. Dragon’s Triangle has very mysterious origins. There have been many instances of ships going missing. Between 1952 and 1954, Japan lost five different military vessels and over seven hundred crewmen. In response, they sent a research vessel to find out what happened, but that too went missing.”

  • Skocjan Caves: “The Škocjan Caves are a network of underground caves and canyons that can be found in Slovenia. The Reka River runs through many of the underground caves, creating the largest underground wetlands in all of Europe. What makes the Škocjan Caves so impressive is that it was naturally created. Many in Europe consider it to be the European equivalent of the Grand Canyon in America.”

  • Jacob’s Well, West Bank: “Jacob’s Well, also called Jacob’s Fountain and the Well of Sychar, has been associated with religious practices for around two millennia. Hewn from stone, the well is 135 feet deep and located in the city of Nablus in Israel. To access it, one must descend the stairs under the church at the Bir Ya’qub Monastery. Presently under Israeli occupation, the site is a source of contention between Jews and Christians.”

  • Klein, Curacao: “Klein (or Little) Curacao is home to Curacao’s longest beach, which is popular for its beautiful white sand and clear water. It is also a diving hot spot famous for its underwater caves and coral reef systems. The island itself is uninhabited but does have a few structures, including an old lighthouse.” Located in the Dutch Caribbean, this beautiful (and untouched) island is also home to several wrecked ships, including the rusted remains of an old oil tanker. Little Curacao is also known as a breeding ground for green sea turtles that come back every year and lay their eggs.

  • Deep-Sea Vents, Atlantic Ocean: “The Deep-Sea Vents are often referred to as hydrothermal vents. They are giant underwater structures shaped like chimneys. The vents release clouds of scalding water, which turn a black color because of all the minerals mixed in with it. The water can reach temperatures of 700 degrees. Despite the hot temperatures, there are still many underwater species that make their homes around the vents.”

To learn more about what UNESCO is doing to preserve our underwater cultural heritage, visit the link below for more information:

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/underwater-cultural-heritage/protection/unescos-work/

To learn more about the sites mentioned in this blog, visit Spartan and the Green Egg’s website along with the links below:

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/skocjan-caves-slovenia/

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/dragons-triangle/

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/underwater-museum/

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/jacobs-well-west-bank/

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/klein-curacao/

https://www.spartanandthegreenegg.com/product/deep-sea-vents/

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Learn About Submarines

 

Mysterious and odd-shaped, submarines give workers ways to explore the deep sea. Submarines don’t just allow others to see the hidden parts of the world’s oceans though. They are also used to do many things in workplaces around the world.

At first glance, submarines look pretty special. The vessel can travel deep distances underwater. Inside the submarine are special tanks known as ballasts that hold large amounts of water. Submarines also have a power source. A power source is what helps power the vessel when it operates. A submarine may have different power sources: batteries, engines, or nuclear power. Some submarines use more than one of those power sources.

A submarine uses sonar to navigate through the darkest depths of the oceans in the world. Sonar puts out sound waves that bounce off objects around the submarine as it travels. When the sonar wave bounces off the objects, it sends back a signal to the vessel. A submarine usually has other equipment stored inside for crew

members. Inside, clean water, air, and various supplies are kept for the crew on board.

History of The Submarine

Submarines have a pretty cool history. Did you know the first submarine was not actually a submarine? The very first working submarine was a rowboat covered in leather!

Cornelis Drebbel, an inventor, made this early submarine in 1620. The vessel traveled depths as deep as 4.5 meters (15 feet).  In 1776, a US inventor named David Bushnell also made an early submarine. The submarine was later used in the American Revolution. A few years later, Robert Fulton built a small submarine named the Nautilus. The Nautilus helped attach small explosives to ships.

During the 1900s, inventors and engineers continued to make submarines that ran on newer power sources. By then, a submarine could run on an electric motor powered by a battery if the vessel was travelling underwater. Submarines could also run on diesel engines for traveling on water surfaces.

Both types of submarines were used in World War I and World War II.

The US Navy’s vessel, the USS Nautilus, was first deployed in 1954 and ran on nuclear power.

Submarines Today

Military around the world use submarines. Submarines protect the ships used in the Navy and also do other tasks. Scientists and researchers famously use submarines to conduct deep-sea research. A lot of the information about deep-sea creatures would not be available without submarines! Submarines are also used by salvagers to recover lost ship parts. Some places even allow tourists to ride in a submarine to see the deep sea first hand!

How Submarines Stay Underwater

Ever wonder how a submarine stays underwater? The ballasts inside a submarine help keep the vessel underwater. When the vessel wants to sink, the ballasts fill up with water.

Water is very heavy. When it fills a submarine ballast, it helps the vessel become much heavier. When it’s time for the submarine to rise, the water in the ballasts is emptied. When the water leaves the ballasts, it makes the vessel lighter, so it can rise out of the deeper parts of water. To move around, a submarine usually has a propeller on its back end.

Sources:

http://www.scienceforkidsclub.com/submarines.html

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Submarine

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Learning a Foreign Language

(photo courtesy of schooladvisor.my)

·      Why Learning a Foreign Language is Rewarding:

Learning a foreign language may be one of the most challenging yet rewarding things a person can do. It comes naturally to some and is more difficult for others but one thing is certain: it’s easier when you’re young. It’s also a lot easier to learn a foreign language if one is immersed in the sounds and is among native speakers. It is incredibly rewarding to learn another’s native tongue as it helps us to understand the nature of language and what it truly means to communicate with each other. It is also rewarding to try and expand one’s mind as much as possible and to have learning challenges: always learning is like setting out on a constant adventure where your mind is the mode of travel.

There are many benefits to learning a new language and the Eton Institute (one of the most well-known and respected language schools in the world) has a whole list that may be of interest and encouragement for one embarking on this journey.  It has been proven that studying language keeps one sharp and helps to improve memory while even helping with the ability to multitask. Those are just a couple of amazing rewards one will reap when seeking out this particular kind of knowledge.

·      What To Do When Studying In a Classroom Is Not An Option:

Of course, taking classes or having a personal tutor is always an optimal way of learning but is not available for everyone. If one cannot learn in a classroom there are audiotapes and films available where one can listen and study. Of course, there are also books and the Rosetta Stone (an educational software company that helps to develop language and literacy). The Rosetta Stone has proven to be incredibly effective and is very popular among those studying foreign languages.

·      Fun and Inventive Ways to Actually Remember What You Learn:

If one cannot physically be in the country in which the language they’re learning is spoken then watching films is always a wonderful and artistic way to grasp the culture, landscape and, of course, the language. Another way, as aforementioned, to help enhance the learning process and to spark the imagination is to watch educational films and to sing songs. FluentU (Foreign Language Immersion Online) offers tips on how to learn a foreign language while watching movies regardless of skill level. Simple songs and nursery rhymes such as Frère Jacques are also helpful when learning a new language. Of course, materials such as flash cards are ideal for studying and it’s always more fun to work with a partner.

(photo courtesy of smartlanguagelearner.com)

·      Finally, Why One Should Want to Study a Foreign Language:

There are many reasons to learn a foreign language and they’re all pretty exciting because they all include discovering new and wonderful things about the world. Imagine being able to communicate with all sorts of different people while learning about exotic cultures and traditions across the globe. What an amazing opportunity! It’s incredibly important to know about the world around us and the people in it: learning a foreign language helps us to understand different ways of living and, in turn, we understand more about ourselves and where we come from. It’s also the perfect excuse to travel. To explore all kinds of world destinations, visit Nabila K’s Spartan and the Green Egg website for travel stickers and videos that include colorful images and information galore. Global Graduates is a wonderful website that focuses on studying world languages and studying abroad; it also offers helpful advice for encouraging children to learn a foreign language. For more information, look no further: https://globalgraduates.com/articles/motivate-your-child-to-learn-a-foreign-language

For further reading and to visit the sites mentioned in this blog, follow these links:  https://www.fluentu.com/blog/learning-language-through-movies/

https://etoninstitute.com/blog/top-10-benefits-of-learning-a-foreign-language

https://www.rosettastone.com

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Learn About Horseback Riding

Horses are wonderful creatures! You may have seen horses featured in a variety of different books, television shows, and films. Did you know that long before cars, trains, and busses people used horses as a common way to travel? People often rode on horseback or as passengers in a horse-pulled carriage.

History of Horseback Riding

People have tamed and trained horses for many purposes. Throughout the history of the world, people have trained horses to use them as a way to take people from one place to another.

As early as 4,000 years ago, people who lived in central Asia began seeing the benefits of using horses to travel everywhere. However, something was different about their horses. The horses they raised were more pony than a horse and not well suited to carry people because of their small size.

By 2500 B.C., people began breeding horses to grow larger and stronger in size. Larger and stronger horses let people use them for different kinds of early travel. People in Western parts of Asia were said to have connected horses to wagons. Horses soon came to Greece and later came to Troy, where they fast became a part of their culture and daily life.

The Egyptians also used horses with chariots to invade the Amorite territory. Hundreds of years later, horse travel became better when riders came up with the bit, a part that goes into a horse’s mouth. The bit makes controlling a horse much easier.

As society around the world grew, horseback travel became a common way to go places. In cities, horses were used to pull stagecoaches for wealthy passengers. By the 1800s, horseback travel began to overlap with the use of early motor vehicles. As the price of motor vehicles began to decline, horses soon became less popular in the early 1900s and after the World Wars in the early 20th century.

Horseback Riding Today

Although horseback riding isn’t as popular these days, it’s still useful in many places around the world. Horses are still used to help people travel and move cargo from place to place for many reasons.

Police forces in large cities sometimes use trained horses for travel in special situations. You may see police riding a horse for special events or situations where they need to control a growing crowd. Some police use horses in search and rescue missions. Although not usually travel, horseback riders often race their horses in many contests. You may see horses complete in regular racing competitions, barrel racing, and roping events.

Horses are commonly used on farms and ranches for labor. It’s not uncommon to see a farmer or ranch worker using a horse to move heavy cargo across a large area.  Some places rent horses to people who want to learn to ride a horse. There are even dude ranches that let people pay to become a cowboy for a day!

Sources:

http://www.scienceforkidsclub.com/horse-and-pony.html

https://www.britannica.com/topic/horsemanship

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Learning About Other Cultures

Learning About Other Cultures While Traveling

Do you have a trip or family vacation coming up? If you’ll be traveling to another country, you’ll have the perfect chance to learn all about the local culture. While it might be easy to find fast food places or other familiar restaurants in other countries, eating at these places won’t really teach you anything about the people who live in that area. Besides, you already know what to expect from these restaurants. Take the opportunity to try something new, and enjoy restaurants that serve local foods instead.

 

Check Out New Foods

One of the best things about eating at local restaurants in other countries is you get to try foods you’ve never had before. You might even see foods you’ve never heard of. This gives you a chance to explore different kinds of foods, ranging from vegetables to spices, and experience new flavors while you’re at it. You might also get to eat more familiar foods that are prepared in ways that are much different from what you’re used to. Eating local dishes also means you might get a chance to check out food combinations you would never have thought of, like pairing certain vegetables with noodles or sauce.

 

Enjoy Local Traditions

Dining in local restaurants when you’re traveling is about more than just sitting and eating. You also get to experience local customs and traditions that revolve around food. When you’re at one of these restaurants, look around at how the place is decorated and set up. Do people eat in smaller groups at different tables, or is everyone seated around one larger table? Does everyone have their own meal, or do they share one big dish?

The restaurant’s menu can also tell you a lot about the local culture. Before ordering your food, look through all of the menu options to get a better idea of the types of foods people in the area eats. How are these foods prepared? What kinds of foods are usually served together? What do people usually drink with their meal? Keep in mind that you can always ask your server or the restaurant owner more about local foods and customs.

As you travel, keep a notebook or journal handy, so you can keep track of the foods you’ve tried and the customs you’ve experienced in each area. When you get home, you can look up recipes for these foods and make them at home.

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Keep Our Oceans Clean

Over the years, human beings have polluted the world’s oceans and beaches quite a bit. We have also caused changes to the ocean food chains by fishing some species to extinction or endangerment. But we need our oceans, and it’s important that we work hard to keep them clean and make them healthy again. Here are some things you can do to help protect the ocean.

 

Remember Where the Water Goes

One of the biggest things you can do to keep the ocean clean is remember where the water goes, especially if your house is connected to a sewer system or near an ocean. Any water that runs down your drains can make its way to the ocean or to rivers that flow into the ocean, like the Mississippi River. That’s why you should never pour anything down your drains that is bad for the ocean, like cat litter or chemicals.

Conserve Water When You Can

Another way you can do your part to keep our oceans clean and protect the world’s watersupply is to conserve water. That means only use the water that you need. Try keeping your showers under a certain amount of time, brush your teeth without running the water the entire time, and tell your parents to get leaky pipes fixed fast. You can even get your whole family to start collecting rainwater to use for things like watering your garden.

 

Don’t Use Chemicals

Chemicals like the ones farmers use to fertilize their crops or the ones found in cleaning supplies you use around the house can easily get into the water runoff that eventually goes to the oceans. Any pollutants that get into the air can also be moved on the wind or with the rain until they get to oceans and beaches. So, talk to your family about natural ways to grow your gardens or clean your house. Try to get them to use fewer chemicals that can hurt the oceans.

Be Careful When You Visit the Ocean or Beach

You can also help to keep our oceans clean by being careful whenever you visit them. If you go outon boats always keep your trash on board. Throw it out only when you get back to land and find a trash bin. Also, try to remember that the wind can be strong out on the water. Keep hats, plastic bags, and other light things in places where the wind can’t blow them into the water.

 

If you are just spending time on the beach you can also help to keep the ocean clean by keeping the beach clean. Remember, any trash on the beach can be blown into the water by the wind or sucked into the water by the tide. Trash in or around the water can also be eaten by the animals or hurt them, which isn’t good for the ocean either.

 

If you are just visiting a beach then make sure that anything you bring there goes home with you or goes into trash bins. But if you live near the beach then you could help to keep the beach and ocean even cleaner by getting your friends and family together for a beach cleaning day. Together you can all clean up the trash and keep it from getting into the ocean. If everyone who lived near the beach did that then all of the world’s beaches and the oceans would be cleaner.

 

Learn and Teach About the Ocean

The very best way to keep our oceans clean for a long time is for you to learn all you can about the ocean and teach your friends and family members about how important clean oceans are. You don’t have to be a teacher, or even an adult, to help people learn how to protect the water. The more you learn about all of the important things the oceans do for the world, the easier it will be to find ways to protect them.

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Learn MORE About the Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar has been an important piece of land for centuries. It’s first claim to fame was that it was where two huge, skyscraper-sized rocks stood, almost like giant pillars. These were called by the ancient people, the Pillars of Hercules. One of the pillars has long since washed away, but the other remained. It is after this pillar and the body of water around it (called Gibraltar) that the area is named. This area has been held by many different countries including, Arabia, Spain, France, and England.

Fun Facts about the Rock of Gibraltar

If you are lost and wandering in the Mediterranean Sea, you can see the Rock of Gibraltar even if you are several miles away from it. Why? It is because the Rock of Gibraltar is as high as 426 meters. It protrudes out of the Mediterranean Sea the way candles stand upon a birthday cake. The Rock of Gibraltar is made of limestone which is the material that companies use to make cement, so it is very strong.

The Rock of Gibraltar Preserves Past History

Bones and the remains of animals that lived more than 100 million years ago have been found preserved right there on the Rock of Gibraltar. Even though fossils were preserved in the Rock of Gibraltar, they are not in good shape because they have decayed so much that only scientists can study them and know what they really were millions of years ago. Also found in the area are some of the oldest manmade artwork the world has ever known. They are still discovering new artifacts each year.

 

The Caves of Gibraltar

Did you know that there are more than 100 caves that can be found under the Gibraltar rock alone? There is also a network of tunnels and underground passages that were dug by warlords during times of war in Gibraltar. These passages are known as galleries and are currently being used as archives for tourists who visit the rock. In fact, if you are in these passages or halls you might see the Spanish coast which is not too far off in the distance. It is in some of these caves where some of the most ancient discoveries have been made. Artwork, pottery, even bones have been found, which are very old and tell scientists what life was like for the people who used to live there.

Monkeys and the Rock of Gibraltar

There are many ideas as to how the monkeys first found their way to Gibraltar, but the most widely accepted idea is that the monkeys used one of the tunnels under the rock that leads 15 miles to Africa. Regardless of how the monkeys first arrived there, it is said that as long as the monkeys live on the Rock, it will always be under British rule. The monkeys have no tails and are a type of Barbary Ape. The park maintains their populations and makes sure that they are given their immunizations and are kept healthy.

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Learn MORE About the Roman Coliseum

The Coliseum was what ancient Romans called a skyscraper because there was no other structure as big as a coliseum back then. That does not mean there were no other amphitheaters in ancient Rome. In fact, there were more than 250 amphitheatres but none was as big as the Colosseum. It is located in Piazza del Colosseo on the eastside of the Roman Forum. While it is a beautiful place to visit, this beauty came at a price, and there is much tragedy that surrounds this structure.

Fun Facts about the Roman Colosseum
The Emperor Vespasian started construction on the Roman Coliseum after a victory in battle. The money to build the Colosseum came from selling the treasure that the soldiers had taken from the defeated foes in Jerusalem. Vesparian came up with the idea and started to build in AD 72. To be more specific, the construction began more than 1900 years ago. However, Vespasian did not complete the construction and his son, named Titus, took over the building project and completed it in AD 80. After the completion of the amphitheater, it was 188 meters long and 156 meters wide, which is as high as a 12 -story building. That means that it so large that it could hold more than 50,000 visitors. It was so huge that it was held upright by 240 masts.

Gladiators, Swords, and Lions, Oh My!

When Vespasian constructed the Coliseum, he had in mind that he wanted to stage dangerous sports which would entertain the people in the city. So he made the Coliseum a ground for gladiators to fight and kill each other using weapons such as swords and daggers. Sometimes, the fight was between humans and dangerous animals like lions. If the ground became too stained, crews would simply pour more sand over the soiled areas and the fighting would continue.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Entertainment at the Colosseum was free for spectators and those who were invited. This is because all of the free food and drinks were paid for by the wealthy politicians in the city in order to remain popular with those who had voted for them. Sometimes the games would run for 100 days straight, with different people coming each day. That means that the city of Rome was very large with a lot of people. Though the ruins of the Colosseum are beautiful if you visit you should also not forget that many lives were lost within its walls.

Secret Passages and Special Effects

The Colosseum was cleverly constructed with secret passageways underneath the main staging area. This was where the gladiators waited for their time to go into the ring, and it was also where the animals were kept. In later years there were 36 trap doors added, and a water pump so that the fighting area could be flooded with water to make a water fight for the people to watch. Today, there are no shows going on, but tourists in the thousands flock to see this historic area in Rome, Italy. The Colosseum is considered one of the new 7 Wonders of the World.

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Protecting the Planet Through Composting

Think about how much food you and your family throw out every day. It might not seem like a big amount, but it adds up over time. All those food scraps you throw out end up in landfills, where they pollute the environment.

If you want to cut down on this waste and do a bit of natural recycling, consider composting. When you set up a compost pile, you add food scraps and other materials to it that will break down over time. These materials then become nutrients that keep soil healthy. Composting also keeps these materials out of landfills, which helps protect the environment.

So, how do you get started? Here’s some helpful information on setting up a compost pile in your own yard. Keep in mind that you can also compost indoors in a special bin if you don’t have space outside.

Choose Your Spot

Choose an area in your yard that’s shady, dry and close to a hose or other water source.

Make a Container

Ask your parents to help you set up a compost container with bricks, chicken wire or another material. Make a square-shaped container that’s around four feet high and four feet wide.

Gather Your Compost Materials

Compost materials come in two groups: brown and green. Brown items include branches, pine needles, twigs, and leaves, while green items include leftover fruits and vegetables, grass clippings and coffee grounds. It’s also ok to compost some other materials, like eggshells, paper, cotton rags and even hair.

What shouldn’t you include? Don’t add anything that makes your yard smell bad, which could attract rodents, flies and other pests. This includes dairy products, meat, fish, grease, and fats. You also shouldn’t add pet waste, since it can have parasites or harmful germs. Keep diseased plants out of your compost, too, since they can infect healthy plants.

Begin Building Your Compost

Start with a layer of brown materials, then add a layer of green materials. Add a little bit of soil, then keep putting in layers of brown and green until you run out of materials. Water each of the layers after putting them in, and mix them around a bit.

Stir Your Compost

Stirring your compost pile every other day and giving it some water to keep it damp will help it break down faster. It should take about six weeks for the bottom layers to become dark, which means it’s done.

When your compost is ready, you and your family can use it in your garden to keep the soil in good shape and prevent weeds from growing.

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What is Valentine’s Day Anyway???

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day is a day in February when people give each other nice gifts to show their love for someone. This can be a mom or a dad, a brother or sister, or for grown-ups, it can be a gift that they give to their partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, wife or husband. Did you know that over one billion Valentine’s Day cards are given and received each year? But how did it start and where did this flower, card and candy-crazy holiday come from? The answer might surprise you.

The holiday is named after a holy man, named Saint Valentine, who lived in England many centuries ago when the Romans ruled the land. The Emperor decided that he needed more soldiers and that single men made better fighters. He outlawed marriage for men under a certain age. St. Valentine did not listen to this order and secretly married young couples. The Emperor found out and St. Valentine was sentenced to death. It was reported that he sent a letter to someone from his jail cell before his death. He signed it, “From your Valentine.” To this day the notion of honoring someone you care about by giving them a Valentine card comes from this first action.

Today, Valentine’s Day is officially celebrated in Canada, England, the U.S., Mexico, Australia, and France. In America, a woman named Esther Howland was the first to make Valentine’s Day cards to sell and she is considered the mother of the Valentine’s Day card. Her cards were all handmade with lace and knitted decorations. Making a Valentine’s Day card for someone is a great way to let them know that you care!

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Learn About Airplanes

 

 

 

 

 

Ever wanted to fly? Boarding an airplane is an easy way to fly today. It wasn’t an easy journey to get there. For years, flying seemed too hard. That didn’t stop people from trying out many ways to fly. After going through trial and error, humans finally flew the early airplanes. Today, we still enjoy many ways to fly high in the sky, going to many amazing places on airplanes with our families.

How Airplanes Came to Be

The history of airplanes started earlier than you think!

In 400 A.D., the Chinese first experimented with flight by inventing the kite. The invention of the kite made many Chinese scientists look into how kites and wind currents worked together. By 1485, Leonardo Da Vinci, the artist, famously drew many pictures of flying machines. Although people began experimenting with building an airplane that worked, the first successful motor-powered aircraft flew in 1903. The Wright brothers famously invented the first aircraft that ran on motor power.

Orville Wright rode in the first aircraft after it came to life. He flew as far as 120 feet (36 meters) in about 12 seconds. The Wright brothers’ achievement showed that true flight in an aircraft was now possible in the western world.

How Airplanes Work

An airplane can defy gravity!

Gravity is an invisible force that holds down everything on Earth. Gravity also affects everything on and around the planet. Getting an airplane into the air involves defying this very strong force. The length and shape of airplane wings make this happen.

Airplane wings help make the device lift in the air. The airplane body is thin and long, which helps the airplane defy gravity. The engine helps give the airplane enough power to thrust forward and travel through the air. When each part of the airplane works together, the entire airplane can move past the drag caused by air currents and the heavy pull of gravity to fly freely.

Types of Airplanes

From gliders to fighter jets, airplanes come in many different forms. It’s because the design of airplanes changed over time!

The glider used to be motorless. It worked by being pushed forward by a sharp gust of air when a rider jumped off a high place. Gliders today have a small motor engine that helps them stay off the ground and boost their flying time.

Passenger airplanes are what people first think about when they imagine airplanes. These large aircraft hold dozens of people at a time. They travel all over the world during every hour of the day.

Helicopters are also common types of planes. They are known for their large propeller blades that sit on top of the body. The blades create motion and help lift the aircraft when they work. A helicopter is usually built to carry a few people at a time.

Like helicopters, fighter jets and planes are also designed for a few passengers. They are used in special industries like the military. They are known for their incredible speeds. Many jets can reach speeds as fast as 2,574 kilometers (1,600 miles per hour)!

Sources:

http://www.scienceforkidsclub.com/airplanes.html

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Airplane

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How the Ocean Connects Us All

How the Ocean Connects Us All

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t live near an ocean then you may not know how connected to oceans you really are. But we are all connected to oceans in many different ways. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep our oceans healthy. If our oceans are not healthy then we won’t be healthy either. In fact, many of the plants and animals on Earth might die. Here are just a few of the many ways the world’s oceans connect us all.

Oceans Are Our Main Sources of Water and Air

Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the surface of the Earth, and many parts of the world’s oceans are very deep. That’s a lot of water, which we all need in order to stay alive. That goes for both human beings and animals.

Oceans are also the biggest sources of air. The world’s oceans produce so much oxygen that more than half of the air we breathe wouldn’t exist without them. They keep us alive just by existing. They also help us to keep a balance with nature. When we breathe out we make carbon dioxide, which plants need in order to live. So, oceans really help all plants, animals, and humans on the planet to stay alive.

Oceans Are Huge Filters and Environment Regulators

Oceans naturally absorb heat from the sun and hold onto it. Then the natural water currents in the oceans circulate all of the world’s water and regulate the water and air temperatures around the world. If there were no oceans then the sun’s natural heat would escape back into the atmosphere, and many creatures on Earth would die.

Oceans Give Us a Lot of Our Food

No matter where you live in the world, you have probably eaten something that comes from the sea. Fish, crabs, lobsters, and many other creatures people eat as food live in the ocean’s waters. When the ocean is unhealthy in a certain area, the seafood becomes contaminated or the numbers of fish and sea creatures available drop. That leads to seafood shortages or people being too scared of getting sick to eat certain types of seafood. That’s one of many reasons why we have to keep our oceans cleaner.

Oceans Provide Opportunities for Work and Trade

In the days before airplanes, boat travel across the oceans was the only way for countries to explore or sell and trade goods with other countries. Even though planes allow fast transport of some materials today, the boating industry is still essential for transporting a lot of cargo from one country to another. Oceans also provide many opportunities for fishing and boat-related work that help to support local economies in countries around the world.

Oceans Provide Opportunities for Travel and Play

It’s not just goods that are transported across the oceans. People also use the oceans for travel and play. Imagine what the world would be like if nobody could swim, surf, or scuba dive because the oceans were too polluted. What if some of the ocean dried up and there weren’t fast sea travel routes between some ports anymore? Those are real problems that could happen if we don’t care for our oceans.

How to Use Your Ocean Connection

Now that you know some of the way the oceans connect us all, you can use your ocean connection to help protect the world’s oceans. Tell your friends and family to be more careful and not pollute the air or the water, even if you aren’t close to the ocean. Anything you can do to keep your part of the world healthier will help the ocean because everything is connected.

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Caring About Climate Change

Caring About Climate Change

 

 

 

 

If the weather in your area seems unusual or extreme at times, you can blame it on climate change. While our planet’s climate goes through natural changes over long periods of time, people are making things worse by burning fossil fuels. These changes are making the Earth warmer overall, which is causing quite a few problems. Climate change is an issue that affects everyone on the planet, so doing your part to help stop it is important.

How Are People Causing Climate Change?

People burn oil, gas and other fossil fuels for many reasons, such as producing electricity, driving cars around and heating homes. When we do this, the fossil fuels we use give off gases that trap heat in our atmosphere. This makes Earth’s temperatures warmer, which leads to climate change.

What Kinds of Changes Happen?

Higher temperatures overall doesn’t mean that every place on the planet becomes hotter. Instead, we experience a wide range of changes, including:

  • Colder winters in some areas
  • More droughts
  • More tornadoes
  • Stronger hurricanes and other storms

The rising temperatures are also causing glaciers to melt and sea ice to shrink, making it hard for animals who live in the Arctic region to find food and shelter. The oceans’ temperatures are becoming warmer, too, which affects many marine creatures. Sea levels are rising as well, leading to higher risks of flooding in areas that are close to shorelines.

How Can We Stop Climate Change?

There are many steps you can take to help stop climate change, including:

  • Using less energy: Shut lights off, replace regular lights with CFL bulbs and turn electronics off when they’re not in use.
  • Using less water: Keep your showers short, and don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth or do the dishes.
  • Recycling: Recycle as much as possible to reduce the amount of waste that ends up going to landfills.
  • Planting trees: Trees are our environmental allies. They absorb carbon dioxide, one of the gases given off by fossil fuels, which helps slow climate change.
  • Eating locally grown food: Food that’s grown in or near your area doesn’t have to go far to get to your home, which lowers a number of gases given off by the trucks that transport it.

While these steps might seem small or easy, they add up to big changes when more and more people start doing them. Talk to your family and friends about how they can join you in stopping climate change and making the planet healthier for all of us.

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Keeping Our Oceans Safe

Saving Our Oceans

 

 

 

 

 

You might have heard that a large amount of our planet is covered in water. In fact, 71 percent of it is! Most of that water is found in the earth’s oceans. The bad news is that our oceans are in trouble for a few reasons. The good news is that you can do something about it.

What’s Hurting Our Oceans?

Litter from land sometimes ends up in the water, and some people toss garbage right into the water. Litter can hurt the animals that live in the ocean. Some animals eat these items and become sick, while others become trapped in rope or rings from plastic bottles.

Coral reefs are also in danger. These colorful reefs play an important role in the ocean’s environment. When they become damaged, many other marine creatures are affected as well. The main threats to coral reefs come from harmful substances that are washed into the ocean, such as pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals and sewage pollution.

Some areas of our oceans have very little oxygen or none at all. These are called dead zones, and no marine plants or animals can live in them. These areas are growing larger, which means that more and more marine creatures are being forced to find other places to live. Dead zones develop when fertilizer applied to crops makes its way into rivers, then oceans.

What Can We Do to Help?

There are several ways that you can help protect our oceans and all of the wonderful creatures that live in them. These include:

  • Eating seafood that is sustainably caught. That means eating fish that comes from areas where there are plenty of them around and where safe fishing methods that don’t hurt other marine animals are used.
  • Choose paper instead of plastic. By using less plastic, you’ll be helping to reduce the amount of litter that ends up in the ocean. If you do use plastic, recycle it.
  • Buy organic foods. Farmers don’t use harmful chemicals or fertilizers on organic foods, so you’ll be doing your part to protect coral reefs and stop dead zones from spreading.
  • Switch to organic sunscreen. Chemicals from regular sunscreen products wash into the water and hurt coral reefs.
  • Support marine sanctuaries and protected areas. These provide safe places for marine animals and plants to live. Learn more about these areas, and look for ways that you can help support them.

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Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Grand Bazaar- Istanbul, Turkey

How old is your local mall? Chances are it can’t come close to the age of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Bazaar is a word that means ‘market’, and the Grand Bazaar earns its name. This market is over 550 years old! It is so big that it has five mosques (a Muslim place of worship), a school, seven fountains, and forty hotels. Get your shoes on, because you will do some walking at this Istanbul landmark.
Fun Facts About the Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar, also called the Kapali Cars, has almost 60 streets running through it. The combined area covered by all of the different retail stores in the Grand Bazaar is about 31,000 square meters. How many stores? Try 4000! That’s a lot of shopping!! More than 300,000 people visit this area of Istanbul each day. This miniature city within a city has also had a mysterious function, acting as a rendezvous point for spies from all sorts of countries who could meet at the Bazaar, and if necessary, could get away by using the maze-like streets to make their escape.
Exactly How Old is the Grand Bazaar?
The Bazaar was specifically opened in 1461and has never stopped selling its wares since then. However, the Bazaar did have its fair share of tragedies. In 1894, an earthquake occurred in Turkey and destroyed a good part of the market structures. There have also been fires that have ravaged buildings in 1515 and 1548. Finally, the city officials passed a rule banning fires in the marketplaces, and this stopped the widespread devastation caused by fires getting out of control each year. The good news is that the destroyed parts have been restored over the years and currently the market is in better shape than ever.
It’s A-Maze-ing!
If you go to the Grand Bazaar you’d better enjoy mazes. There are so many streets which look the same that you may take hours to find your way out if you are lost. This happens mostly to first-time visitors. Most don’t mind being lost, though, because there is just so much to see along the way. But, if you should ever visit, just remember that the streets are named according to the items sold there and there are two main streets as well as four entry gates to the Bazaar. This was originally done so that shoppers could find what they were looking for all in one section. Early visitors to the Bazaar were amazed that there were no advertisements or signs up over the shops to say what was inside.
Get a Good Deal at the Grand Bazaar
While walking through the Bazaar, it is common to hear people bargaining to get better prices. Should you visit the market, take time and bargain your way through anything. There is nothing to be embarrassed about bargaining because the seller wants you to do it anyway. Your little money goes a long way at the end of the day. What can you buy at the Bazaar? You can get anything from clothes, school bags, or belly-dancing costumes!

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Learn About Big Ben In England

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Ask anyone who has walked the streets of London and most likely they heard the “ding-dong” chimes of the Great Bell nicked named Big Ben. That is if they happened to have crossed anywhere in the area of Westminster, London. Big Ben lives on the 320-foot (97.53M) Clock Tower, renamed recently as The Elizabeth Tower and is more than 150 years old. If you thought Big Ben was a person you thought wrong. It is a four-faced chiming clock and a bell placed at Westminster Palace and has been recognized as a beloved landmark in England for years. He’s been around for so long, it makes you wonder what he would say if he could talk!


Fun Facts about Big Ben

Big Ben was created at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry on the 10th April 1858 and took two weeks to cool down once it was poured into the mold. It was transported to Westminster on a horse drawn carriage and a mammoth crowd lined the streets to cheer as Big Ben passed by. Ben’s bell weighs a massive 13.8 tons, as heavy as two large elephants. The Bell is 2.2 meters (7 feet 2 inches) high and also has a diameter of 2.7 meters (8 feet 10 inches). The Big Ben clock is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. 31st May 1859 was when Big Ben started ticking and its four faces stand 55 meters above the ground. Each face of the clock is 7 meters (23 feet), the hour hand 2.7 meters (9 feet), and the minute hand 4.3 meters (14 feet) long.

The Immortal Big Ben

Yes, Big Ben seems to be immortal (living forever). He has had a couple of injuries, though. Just after his birth, Big Ben cracked during testing and had to be made all over again. The Bell has lived over 150 years and is still chiming in the streets of Westminster. Big Ben has three birthdays; that’s on 10th April 1858, 31st May 1859, and finally 11th July 1859 when it first chimed. None of the wars which have raged in Europe have ever destroyed him.

Musically Speaking, Ben is a Genius

The Big Ben Bell chimes the musical note of A, and the quarter bells at the tower chime G sharp, F sharp, B, and E. The sequence of pitches produced by Big Ben when chiming is named the Cambridge Chimes. The chimes are also programmed to sound like they are actual words from Psalm 37. Anyone who stands in the belfry as Big Ben chimes will experience musical vibrations running from their head, through their bodies, into their toes.

Big Ben is Celebrated all over the World

Big Ben is the pride of Londoners and has been honored for hundreds of years. Did you know that New Year’s celebrations in the United Kingdom are conducted at Big Ben’s he Elizabeth Tower? TV and Radio stations in London tune to the chimes of Big Ben during the New Year and audiences far into the country listen to the Musical Ben. England voted Big Ben the number one British landmark during a 2008 survey. Is there anyone who wants to try something magical? Well, stand with a portable radio at the bottom of Big Ben’s tower and try to hear the chimes from either the radio or the tower. The chimes will be heard on the radio first even before the ones from the tower are heard! Big Ben’s sound is as fast as light!

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Learn About the Great Wall of China

Want to see the longest wall ever made in the world? Well, the Great Wall of China is the longest structure that ever existed. The wall was built more than 2300 years ago and leaders from around the world all agree that it should be considered a world treasure. It was built over the course of hundreds of years by the rulers of China. Can you guess why this monstrous wall was built across China? TheGreat Wall of China was built toprotect the Chinese Empire from invasion by its enemies in the North.Read to find out what really makes the Great Wall of China an amazing accomplishment.

Fun Facts about the Great Wall of China

The idea of building a wall was thought up in the 3rd Century BC by an Emperor called Qin Shi Huang. He did not start the building, but he did link walls of the states he conquered and afterwards the idea to grow the wall was born. After the first part of the wall was built, the wall grew longer and longer as several different rulers in the Chinese Empire put effort into increasing its length. Here’s the most shocking piece of information about the wall: It has a combined length of 21, 196.18 kilometers (13, 170.1 miles)! The wall is not a continuous stretch but is made of sections next to one another.The longest branch of the wall runs 6300 kilometers (3915 miles) long.

Walls Made from Rice Flour (Say What??)

Construction was done using local resources and the help ofprisoners, soldiers and forced labor from the local people. Materials used to construct the wall were mainly bricks, stones, wood and compacted earth. Most interestingly, rice flour was used to hold the bricks of the wall together. This rice flour has never had to be replaced over thousands of years. That’s SOME rice.

A Long Dragon that Runs Across the Land

The Great Wall of China stretches from east to west in China, covering several provinces, municipalities, rugged mountains, stunning beaches, and a desert corridor. When you look at it from the air, the wall mimics a gigantic dragon that unwinds across the mountains, grasslands, deserts and plateaus of China.The Great Wall is not among the Seven Wonders of the World, but it is among the seven wonders of the Medieval World that tourists of China came to see. Want to hear something scary about the Great Wall? There is a tale about MengJiangnv whose husband died during the construction of the wall. Deaths were common in the construction period because the rulers forced the villagers to help. Meng wept the death of her husband so bitterly that a section of the wall collapsed and exposed the bones of her husband. She then took them home and gave her husband a proper burial.

A Feat that Can be Seen from the Moon

This is among the few mentionable monuments constructed by human hands that can be seen from the moon!The Wall still represents the hard work of the Chinese people, and their dedication to protecting their people. Today, millions of tourists come to walk along its sections, and to be amazed by its massive size and length.




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Learn about the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an ancient monument that standsdiagonallyin Pisa, Italy. Construction for the tower started way back in 1173 and took 199 years to complete! That means only sons of grandsons of the architects and engineers who started the construction got to see the completed tower. Construction was interrupted by wars, debts, and also by the engineers who tried to stop the structure from leaning. Later on, engineers had to be grateful for these interruptions even from their graves. Had there been no interruptions, the whole tower would have toppled overand all efforts would have gone to waste. The interruptions provided enough time for the soil to become compact and support the heavy structure. But it still leans.

Fun Facts About Leaning Tower of Pisa

Originally, the tower was built to be a church’s bell tower. The most obvious question that anyone may ask is “Why does the tower tilt on one side like it’s falling?” It is because the tower was built on loosely packed subsoil that cannot support a lot of weight. It started leaning as soon as construction reached the 3rd story. The tower has ever since been falling (slowly) at a yearly rate of one to two millimeters.Due to themassive weight of 14,500 tons and vertical height of 180.45 feet (55 meters), the rate of fall is likely to increase as the years go by. Eventually, the Leaning Tower of Pisa will be the Fallen Tower of Pisa. So far, it has been slowly falling for hundreds of years.

Experiencing Two Sides of the Coin

Very often, good things come in pairs. The Leaning Tower of Pisa has two sides to it that visitors should take time and explore. The lower side of the tower has a height of 55.86 meters(183.27 feet) and the higher side is 56.67 meters (185.93 feet). In order to access the tower, visitors can use the 294 steps on the north side or the 296 steps of the south side. There is a difference in height for the two sides because architects wanted to compensatefor the lean. Architectsmade thestories slightly taller on the shorter side and as a result thedifferences in length happened. Anyone who climbs to the 8th story of the Leaning Tower will be literally fighting gravity.

The Tower of Pisa and its Charming Beauty

During World War II, Germans used the Leaning Tower of Pisa as a fortress. Enemies of the Germans knew this was their hideout but they avoided bombing it. By the end of the war, Leaning Tower still stood erect and untouched. Besides this aspect of beauty, the Leaning Tower is also furnished with a number of bells. At the bell chamber on top of the tower, there are seven bells and each bell represents a note on the musical scale. In 1987, UNESCO also recognized the beauty of the entire Cathedral Square, hosting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and named it a World Heritage site. That means that people from all over the world agree that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a one-of-a-kind world treasure and should always be taken care of.

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Learn about the Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Standing on a very high outcrop in the city of Athens, Greece, is the Acropolis of Athens. An acropolis is a “high city on the edge”. The Acropolis is a city so high that visitors always feel as if they are living with the stars. What makes the Acropolis of Athens even more breath-taking are the sequence of temples and monumental buildings constructed by a statesman of the 5th Century called Pericles. So what really makes the Acropolis of Athens worth exploring? Let’s find out!

Fun Facts about the Acropolis of Athens Greece

The hill of the Acropolis is 490 ft (150m) above the sea basin and covers a surface area of 7.4 acres. It is so rare to find someone who climbs to the top of the Acropolis without stopping to catch a breath. This “city on the edge” harbors a number of ancient monumental buildings constructed around 5 BC. The buildings on the Acropolis are the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the temple of Athena Nike. It is amazing how the buildings have survived that long and still stand strong. Another name for Acropolis is Cecropia. Cecrops was the first Athenian King mythically believed to be part serpent and part man.

All Were Welcome

Buildings at the Acropolis were used for spiritual roles by more than one religion. The Parthenon was constructed to honor the goddess known as Athena, whom the city was also named after. It is believed that the site where the Parthenon was constructed had been a temple before it was brought down to pave the way for the Parthenon. The Acropolis has been attacked several times and served as sacred grounds for religions. For example, in 1456 it served as a mosque for the Ottomans.

A Perfect Location to Hunt for Treasure

Persians destroyed the Parthenon in 480 BCE and buried a big chunk of the monuments under the rubble. During special ceremonies, precious items were buried under the surrounding caves to complete certain rituals. Sacred objects lie beneath the mound ready to be discovered, although archeologists have done a good job of uncovering the treasures and sending many of them to museums for display. One thing that stands out about the Acropolis is that all of the treasures at the site were carried out by the best artisans, sculptors, and architects of the ancient times.

A Safe Zone: Acropolis

Originally, the acropolis acted as a fortress to protect Athens from invasion by its enemies. Defending territories from higher ground was a strategy used by various governments including the Greeks and Romans. Ancient people of Athens saw the monumental beauty of the Acropolis and decided to use it as a beautiful symbol of Athens instead of its intended purpose. Millions of tourists still come to the site today. Standing at the Acropolis is a magnificent sight to behold because it provides a beautiful view of the city of Athens, and the sea far away.

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What You Didn’t Know About The Eiffel Tower

Located in the heart of Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous monuments in history. But why was it built? Do you know how high it is? What does it weigh? Learn the answers to these questions, and more below. Begin your adventure with the Eiffel Tower NOW!

Fun Facts About the Eiffel Tower

Did you know that almost 7 million people visit the Eiffel Tower each year? That’s a lot of people. So, what makes the Eiffel Tower such an amazing place to visit? The tower was first built because there was a World’s Fair that was coming to Paris. It took more than two years to build. At first, most people who saw it didn’t like it because it was so different from all other buildings in the country. In fact, after the fair they almost tore it down! Today, people think differently and it is one of the world’s most amazing structures ever to be built. It takes over 500 people to keep it working and running properly.

The Eiffel Tower is 324 meters tall (that’s 1063 feet), and it weighs 10 tons. That’s as much as 5 cars stacked up, or two elephants. There are elevators in the tower to take you to the top for an amazing view of the city of Paris, but if you are adventurous, you can climb the 1,665 steps to the top. You WILL be out of breath.

The Amazing Shrinking Eiffel Tower

Did you know that the Eiffel Tower doesn’t stay the same size the year ‘round? When the weather gets cold in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower, made of nearly 7000 tons of iron, can shrink almost six inches! The tower is a beautiful sight to see in the daytime, but at night nearly 20,000 light bulbs make the structure light up the night sky so much that it can be seen from space.

Painting the Eiffel Tower

With so much surface, guess how much paint is needed to paint the Eiffel Tower every seven years. 60 tons of paint are needed to keep the structure from rusting. That’s enough paint to fill almost two swimming pools that are four feet deep. Most don’t know this, but the Eiffel Tower is actually painted in three different shades of paint. The paint is lighter at the top, medium color in the middle, and the darkest at its base. This is to make it easier to see against the sky in Paris.

The Eiffel Tower Talks

If the Eiffel Tower could talk, the ‘Iron Lady’ would tell you about all of the history that she’s seen. It wasn’t all fun and games, either. In World War I she operated as a radiograph tower overhearing enemy radio messages. After serving an important role in many wars, the Eiffel Tower had a hand in the discovery of cosmic rays as scientist, Theodor Wulf experimented from the top of the tower. Later, the Eiffel Tower became a movie star when she was featured in the film, Slumbering Paris in 1923. Today, the Eiffel Tower has been featured in millions of movies, television shows, paintings, photographs, and sketches. Last, but not least, thousands have proposed marriage to someone at the top of this famous landmark in the city of lights.

Learn more about the Eiffel Tower and other important monuments around the world with the Spartan And The Green Egg Explorer Sticker Starter Kit!

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Learn MORE about the Statue of Liberty

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Located on Liberty Island in New York, this American Statue has stood for liberty and freedom for the United States for many years. Millions of tourists come to visit the statue and to go to the top to view New York City. For many people who first come to the United States to live the Statue of Liberty stands as a symbol of welcome. But there’s much more to know about this lady made of steel.

Fun Facts About the Statue of Liberty

Did you know that the Statue of Liberty (called Lady Liberty) has an actual birthday? She does! October 28, 1886 was when she was built. She weighs 450,000 pounds (204, 100kg) and has 354 stairs which people can climb in order to have a bird’s eye view of New York Harbor, or New York City in the distance. Your parents can take the elevator to the top, too. If you climb to the top, you will be 151 feet (46m) up in the air. Once you are up there, you’ll have 25 windows to look out of.

Lady Liberty Has Big Feet!

The Statue of Liberty has big feet! She wears a size 879 sandal, and each foot is about 25 feet long. Most people think that this Lady standing on an island in the water is painted green, but she isn’t painted at all. Lady Liberty is made out of copper, a type of metal that turns green over time.

What’s With Lady Liberty’s Clothes?

The Statue of Liberty was created by an artist by the name of Auguste Bartholdi, who was from France. The statue was a gift to the United States from France in honor of the Declaration of Independence. Auguste created Lady Liberty from a picture he saw of a Roman goddess of liberty called, Libertas. Her crown has seven spikes on it to represent all of the continents of the world. She holds a torch over her head and a tablet in her other arm. The torch stands for being the light unto the world, and offering freedom and safety to everyone who decides to live in America. Last, but not least, there is a broken chain under her foot, which reminds people that they are to live freely.

Lady Liberty Was NOT Easy to Build

Auguste had many men who worked with him to build the Statue of Liberty. They worked seven days a week, for more than ten hours a day, for almost nine years in order to complete the work. Then, Lady Liberty was so big that they realized they couldn’t ship her unless they took her apart again. She was fit into dozens of crates and then put back together again when she came to the United States. If you want to go and see her, you have to take a ferry, a type of boat, to get to the island.

Learn more about important and FUN monuments and landmarks around the world with the Spartan And The Green Egg Explorer Sticker Set! Very special offer available, so CLICK HERE to see this incredible sticker kit!

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What In The World Is The Taj Mahal?

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Ever wonder what the Taj Mahal is, or why it’s so important to India? Well, there’s a deeper, more powerful story behind it than you may realize, especially if you’re around Spartan’s age! So let’s look at how we can travel there together through this amazing story of love…

So let’s look at how we can travel there together through this amazing story of love…

The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, in India, and is considered worldwide to be one of the seven wonders of the world. Made of white marble, this large castle-like structure on the Yamuna river. For all its beauty, however, it was built out of sorrow and grief by the Shaah Jahan after the death of his wife. Find out why this grand building is called the ‘crown of palaces’.

Fun Facts about the Taj Mahal
The all white structure took more than 20 years to finish and is said to change colors throughout the day, depending on how the light strikes it. More than 20,000 people helped to build it in 1632 and included over 1,000 elephants. The center dome is very high, nearly 240 feet (73 m), and has four smaller domes that surround it. The building is called a mausoleum, which is a building that is dedicated to the dead and often houses the remains of those who have died.

Walls Worth A Million
So beloved was the Shah’s wife that he took precious gemstones and had them built into the walls around the building. The builders of the Taj Mahal thought about the future of the structure and built the smaller domes that surround the larger one so that in the event of an earthquake that they would fall away from the main dome, thus protecting it from damage.

The Taj Mahal’s Reflecting Pool and Secret Garden
The Taj Mahal is more than just a building. There are vast acres of gardens and pools surrounding it. One of these pools is called the reflecting pool, which is very shallow and reflects the image of the Taj Mahal. The Shah’s wife, Mumtaz Maha, is not actually buried in the structure at all, but was buried in the lush gardens, which he was sure she would have loved. This building was built so that all of those who would visit over the centuries would be reminded of his love for his wife.

The Building that Love Built
Shah Jahan first met Mumtaz when they were only 14 and 15 years old. Because they were so young they were made to wait five years before they were allowed to be married. Once they were married they had many children. Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to their 14th child and Shah Jahan was so sad that he ordered his court to be sad with him for two more years. Twelve years after the building was completed, Shah Jahan died, too. He was buried next to his wife. Now, everyone who visits can see the beauty of the buildings, walk through the lovely gardens and see the building that was built with love.

Want to learn more about other places in the world with powerful stories? Check out the Spartan And The Gren Egg Explorer Pin Set to find more places you can travel to!

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Caring About Climate Change

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If the weather in your area seems unusual or extreme at times, you can blame it on climate change. While our planet’s climate goes through natural changes over long periods of time, people are making things worse by burning fossil fuels. These changes are making the Earth warmer overall, which is causing quite a few problems. Climate change is an issue that affects everyone on the planet, so doing your part to help stop it is important.
How Are People Causing Climate Change?

People burn oil, gas and other fossil fuels for many reasons, such as producing electricity, driving cars around and heating homes. When we do this, the fossil fuels we use to give off gases that trap heat in our atmosphere. This makes Earth’s temperatures warmer, which leads to climate change.
What Kinds of Changes Happen?

The higher temperatures overall don’t mean that every place on the planet becomes hotter. Instead, we experience a wide range of changes, including:
• Colder winters in some areas
• More droughts
• More tornadoes
• Stronger hurricanes and other storms

The rising temperatures are also causing glaciers to melt and sea ice to shrink, making it hard for animals who live in the Arctic region to find food and shelter. The oceans’ temperatures are becoming warmer, too, which affects many marine creatures. Sea levels are rising as well, leading to higher risks of flooding in areas that are close to shorelines.

How Can We Stop Climate Change?

There are many steps you can take to help stop climate change, including:
• Using less energy: Shut lights off, replace regular lights with CFL bulbs and turn electronics off when they’re not in use.
• Using less water: Keep your showers short, and don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth or do the dishes.
• Recycling: Recycle as much as possible to reduce the amount of waste that ends up going to landfills.
• Planting trees: Trees are our environmental allies. They absorb carbon dioxide, one of the gases given off by fossil fuels, which helps slow climate change.
• Eating locally grown food: Food that’s grown in or near your area doesn’t have to go far to get to your home, which lowers a number of gases given off by the trucks that transport it.

While these steps might seem small or perhaps too easy, they add up to big changes when more and more people start doing them. Talk to your family and friends about how they can join you in stopping climate change and making the planet healthier for all of us.

Want to learn more about how to contribute now? Visit our gift page and see how you can invest in educational gifts about the environment while giving back!

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SGE At Hudson Valley Comic Con, May 7th and 8th!

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JOIN US THIS WEEKEND, Sat and Sun, May 7th and 8th, 2016, for the Hudson Valley Comic Con! We will be there, with the whole series (and the characters) and we can’t wait to meet you in person!

We are having a special t-shirt giveaway, as well as many other special gifts and prizes for those who visit us at booth 125!!!

Purchase your tickets and learn more about the event HERE!

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Easy receipe your children can get

Mother and child in summer cafe

While making sure your children are getting a great education as they grow up is crucial, learning the basics of math, reading, and science- it is also important to make sure your children are also getting a chance to use their imagination! As a child gets a chance to be creative and use their imagination, they are growing their brain in powerful ways that will help them in all aspects of their life. Here are 3 at home projects that will get your child in touch with their imagination.
The first project involves getting in touch with nature- and who doesn’t love that? Each season during the year presents nature in a very different way. At some point during each season, take your children outside and let them pick out things that they think represent the season the best (for example, a wildflower for summer, or a pinecone for fall). Let them pick what they want and have them explain to you why they chose it. Take all the items home and have your kids display them somehow. They may choose to press any flowers they pick, or make a display of pinecones they found. This gets your kids outside, in touch with nature, and having something to look forward to all year long!
This next project is great for a rainy or cold day when you are stuck inside- making homemade snowflakes! This is a great at home project that you probably did growing up, but is one that never gets old! What is so great about this project is that it allows your child to use their imagination to create any snowflake they want. After creating as many as you like, use any other craft supplies (like crayons, markers, or glitter) to decorate the snowflakes. Display them around your house afterwards and you have great holiday decorations for years to come! Click here for a great tutorial on how to make paper snowflakes in case you have forgotten.
This final project involves every child’s favorite thing- playdough! Take this favorite play item to the next level by using it in a learning environment. For this, ask your child what their favorite subject is in school. From there, have them select one or two of their favorite concepts, and then bring them to life! Using the playdough, have your children try to create representations of their selected items (for example, if they love outer space, have them create their own playdough solar system!) This activity will allow your kids to get creative with an art project, while also incorporating elements of knowledge they have learned in school.
If you are looking for a great at home activity that is pre-made, try out the Spartan and the Green Egg Egg Puzzle!

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5 Ways to Help Animals

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A big part of protecting our planet is making sure that it’s a good home for the animals we share it with. Animals both near and far need your help with this. From endangered species around the world to local wildlife in your neighborhood, there’s a lot you can do to help protect them.

Walk on the Wild Side

Wildlife refuges and reserves give animals a safe and protected place to live. They also give you the chance to see and appreciate these animals. Ask your parents to take you to a wildlife refuge or reserve that’s near you. You might even be able to go on a guided tour to learn more about the species that live there. National and local parks are another great place to see wildlife.

Be a Recycling Superstar

Make sure you and your family recycle paper products instead of throwing them in the garbage. When you recycle paper, it means that fewer trees need to be cut down to make more paper products. That means you’re protecting the homes of birds, squirrels and other animals that live in trees.

Zip Over to the Zoo

Many zoos are working on protecting endangered species from all different parts of the world. They do this by taking steps to stop these species from going extinct. They also help people become more aware of which species are endangered and why they’re endangered. When you visit a zoo near you, read the information about the animals posted near each exhibit. You can also ask a zookeeper about how the zoo is helping endangered species. You can then help raise awareness of these species by telling your friends, relatives and teachers about what you’ve learned.

Put It in Writing

Do you have a favorite animal species that is endangered? If you’re interested in helping them out, learn all you can about them by reading books and finding information online. Once you know what threats they’re facing, you can write to lawmakers about your concerns. Ask your parents to help you find out which senators or representatives to send your letter to. These lawmakers can help create laws that protect endangered species and the habitats they live in.

Get Involved by Volunteering

If you want to do even more to help local wildlife or endangered species, look for ways to volunteer. Some national parks and refuges have programs that let kids help keep these areas clean and safe for the animals that live there. Many zoos and wildlife organizations that work on helping endangered species have different ways for kids to help out.

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5 Ways to Fight Air Pollution

Air Pollution
The air around you probably isn’t something you think about a lot, but it can affect your health and the health of our environment. When people burn gas and other fossil fuels to heat their homes, drive their cars or use electricity, the air becomes polluted with harmful gases and particles. Air pollution is an ongoing problem that is damaging our environment. It can also make people cough, have watery eyes or develop other health issues. Thankfully, you can help fight air pollution in several ways.

Walk or Ride a Bike

Instead of having your parents drive you places, walk or ride a bike if possible. This cuts down on the amount of carbon dioxide your parents’ car gives off, which helps reduce air pollution. Encourage your family members to walk or ride bikes instead of driving cars whenever possible. Taking public transportation is another option.

Plant Trees

Trees play a big role in fighting air pollution. Their leaves and bark absorb pollutants, which helps clean the air. Talk to your parents about planting a few trees on your property to cut down on air pollution in your area. Your parents can suggest which trees to plant and where they should go. Having trees around can also help lower your family’s energy use. Trees help prevent the sun’s rays from making your home hotter in summer. In winter, trees can help your home stay warmer by blocking cold winds.

Lower Your Energy Use

Your local electric company burns fossil fuels in order to produce electricity, which results in more air pollution. You can lower the amount of energy needed in your home by reducing how much you use. Don’t leave lights on when you leave a room, and turn off electronics when you’re done with them. Talk to your parents about changing to CFL bulbs, which use less energy than other bulbs.

Recycle

When you recycle plastic, paper and other materials, they’re used to make other items. This process requires less energy than the amount needed to make brand new items, which leads to less air pollution. Another way to help is by purchasing goods made from recycled materials rather than new materials.

Share What You’ve Learned

Talk to your friends and family members about the dangers of air pollution, and let them know how they can help fight this problem. You can also share what you’ve learned with your teacher and fellow students, so they can do something about air pollution, too.

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Easy Recipes Your Children Can Get Involved With

Mother and child in summer cafe

As your children are growing up, one of the best things you can do to help increase their abilities is to get them involved in various activities that promote learning new skills. One such skill that will be necessary for them all their life is cooking! While at a young age your child won’t be on their own in the kitchen preparing a 5 star meal, they can start to help you with basic meals that will help teach them basic cooking skills. Next time you’re in the kitchen, try one of these simple recipes and ask for your child to help out!

First off, a simple breakfast dish you can enlist your child’s help with is one everyone will love- pancakes! While you will want to be in charge of handling the cooking process of the pancakes, a great job for your child to take over is the mixing of the ingredients. Pick your favorite pancake recipe and have them help with gathering the ingredients and measuring what you need of each. This will help introduce them to not only cooking, but also figuring out measurements!

For a fun lunch or dinner idea- try making hamburger sliders! With these, kids can help again with measuring out ingredients for the hamburgers, but they can also help form the hamburgers into the right shapes- something your kids will definitely love! For a healthy version of this dish, try this recipe for mini turkey burgers.

Finally, for the sweet tooth in all of us, try making homemade pudding with your children! The majority of the process involves mixing ingredients together, which again is something simple that your kids can help you with. Here’s a great easy recipe for chocolate pudding that is guaranteed to be a hit in any household.

As always- don’t forget to also increase your child’s reading abilities- introduce them to the Spartan and the Green Egg series today! Click here to view available books in the series.

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4 Easy Ways to Start Saving Energy

Saving Energy

4 Easy Ways to Start Saving Energy

Your home uses a lot of electrical energy throughout the day. In addition to powering up lights, electronic items and appliances, your home also needs electricity for hot water. Your home’s furnace and air conditioner use electrical energy to make sure you and your family stay warm in winter and cool in summer, too.

All of this energy use comes at a price, though. The more energy people use, the more damage is done to the environment. While you can’t avoid using electricity, you and your family can do things that will lower the amount you use.

Turn the Heat Down

Ask your parents to lower the thermostat, so your furnace won’t have to work as much to keep your home warm. Don’t worry about being too cold. Even just turning the thermostat down by a few degrees will lower the amount of energy your home uses and save your family money on heating bills. Do the opposite in summer if you have central air conditioning. Turning the thermostat up a few degrees means the air conditioner won’t run as much, which helps save energy.

Don’t Leave Lights and Electronics On

Get into the habit of shutting lights off when you leave a room. The same goes for turning off TVs, computers and other electronic devices when you’re done using them. Remind your family members to turn off lights and electronics when they don’t need them. This simple step can end up saving a lot of electricity in the long run.

Watch Your Water Use

Using less water, especially hot water, helps save energy. Your town or city needs electricity to supply homes with clean water. The less water you and your family use, the less electricity the water company ends up needing. You can use less water by taking short showers and not leaving the water running when you brush your teeth. Also, let your parents know if any faucets in your home are dripping. Leaky faucets can waste a lot of water.

Use Better Bulbs

If your family isn’t doing so already, switch from using regular old light bulbs to energy-saving ones called Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs.) These are the bulbs with the swirly design that you might have seen in stores or in other people’s houses. They use much less energy than regular bulbs and last a lot longer, too. The next time a bulb stops working in your home, ask your parents to replace it with a CFL.

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Read Up on Recycling!

Read Up on Recycling!

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When you open a new toy or finish off some cereal, what do you do with the box it came in? Hopefully, you’ve been recycling these cardboard containers. If not, it’s never too late to start. Recycling cardboard and other items, like cans and plastic bottles, means they’ll be used again. Here’s some more info on why recycling is so important and what items can be recycled.

Why Not Just Toss It?

Items that you throw in the regular trash get carried away by sanitation workers on garbage day and end up being dumped into a landfill. Once they’re in the landfill, they sit there taking up space and, in some cases, they also pollute air, soil or water. Over time, this is bad for the environment, and landfills only have so much space available.

What Happens When You Recycle?

When you put items in a recycling container, they’re taken to a recycling center that breaks them down and turns them into other items. This keeps the recyclable items from ending up in landfills. It also means that companies don’t have to keep cutting down more trees to make paper products or keep making new plastic bottles and containers in factories, which can pollute the environment. The items that recyclable materials are turned into can be a lot different from what they were originally. Plastic bottles, for example, can be used to make carpets and even clothing.

What Items Can Be Recycled?

That depends on the laws in your city or state. Your local recycling office can give you a list of items that you and your family can recycle. Paper and plastic are two of the most commonly recycled materials, since they can easily be used to make a wide range of new items. Other types of materials or items that you might be able to recycle include:

  • Metal
  • Grass clippings, dead leaves and other yard waste
  • Glass containers
  • Phones, computers and other electronics
  • Aluminum cans

What Else Can You Do to Help?

In addition to making sure you and your family recycle as much as possible, you can also buy items that are made from recycled materials. Check the labels on store items before purchasing them to find out what they’re made from. If they were made with recyclable materials, the label should say that. By purchasing these items instead of ones made from all new materials, you’re doing your part in protecting the environment.

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5 FUN Ways To Teach Your Children About The Environment

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It’s never too early to be imparting on our children how to take care of the environment. Baby steps are the best way to begin. Here are five simple, FUN lessons you can teach your children on how to help Mother Nature, starting right now:

1. Learn to conserve water

Water is one of the most valuable natural resources that we can all benefit from building a greater consciousness around. Simple steps such as turning off the faucet when brushing teeth can go a big way in creating awareness and curiosity in our children. Whenever they see a dripping faucet, make sure they turn it off completely. And whenever they see a leak in any of the faucets, make sure to report it to someone immediately. Teach them the value of water and that every drop counts.

2. Save electricity

Electricity is also another resource that needs to be saved, as it is one of the utilities being paid monthly. To do this, one can start with switching off the lights when not in use. Remember to turn off the switch when one leaves the room. At the same time, encourage your children to use natural sunlight as much as possible. In terms of air conditioning, have them make sure all doors are closed at all times so that the cold air cannot escape, and warm air will not go in.

3. Learn to reuse and recycle

It’s good to have kids start early on segregating trash. Usually those reusable and recyclable items should be kept in a separate container, and kids must be taught about the concept of recycling. Explaining to them the reason why we should avoid using plastic bags, and using recyclable containers instead, especially for their lunch boxes in school, can build their knowledge quickly and effectively.

4. Walk or Bike

In order to cut on air pollution, instead of using the car, why not teach them how to walk or bike in going  short distances. This is a great way to exercise and bond with loved ones and friends as well.

5. Let your kids experience nature

Instead of giving expensive toys for gifts, try giving them “experience gifts” – take them out for a hike or a mountain picnic, or to the beach, or to a zoo. Let the kids feel, see, hear, and smell nature for themselves, not just through books or the TV or the internet. They will learn to care more for the environment the more they have great first-hand experience with it.

Have your children go on a reading adventure as well with the Spartan And The Green Egg series. Click here to get your holiday hardback copies now!

http://spartanandthegreenegg.com/product-category/books/

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

3 Ways Stickers Can Be Rewarding And Educational For Your Child

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Some people have been questioning if stickers are good for children, if using them as a way for positive reinforcement and motivation is the correct way. From how I see it, here are three good reasons why stickers may actually be helpful to parents.

First, in terms of reward system, stickers are very much convenient and affordable. They are also the least questionable, as stickers are much more harmless compared to little toys, candies, or trinkets. Parents and teachers can easily buy them in bulk, too.

Secondly, stickers give kids something to exciting look forward to. At an early age, young children may still not fully grasp the concept of achievement, and rewarding stickers may be a good start in terms of training them for this. At the same time, it makes them feel good about themselves, knowing they have achieved something and received a reward for it.

Third, stickers are educational because they often come in a wide array of colors, shapes, sizes, and styles. At the same time, they interest and excite children. And in choosing stickers for your little ones, why not go for the ones that are not just colorful and creative, but also informative and functional, such as the SGE Explorer Stickers. With 120 colorful world stickers in each starter kit tin, your kids will get to join Spartan and his friends in exploring and getting to know different amazing wonders of the world. Fun, rewarding, and educational all at the same time.

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Raising World Citizens: In Conversation With A World-Traveling Mom

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Aimee Thompson is a mom, blogger, freelance writer, communications consultant and world traveler who we were honored to have a chance talk with. She truly sets the bar for those moms who want to travel more with their children, and shares some of her secrets for making travel one of the best experiences to have with your children. We are thrilled to share her delightful and insightful conversation…

Your blog is so well written, and full of such valuable tips on how to create an adventurous life with your children. Can you talk a little about what prompted you to start writing your blog, “Raising World Citizens” via ChicagoNow?

My sons were born outside of Chicago. We moved back to the city when they were three and one years old. After having been away from Chicago for several years, I had a new appreciation for the city and all of the people, places and cultures who live and thrive here together.

Being back in Chicago energized me in new and unexpected ways. I wanted to be an urban explorer and use our regular explorations as a way to open my sons’ eyes, hearts and minds to the diversity that exists throughout the world – without even leaving the city limits. As a writer, it seemed only natural to want to share our experiences with other parents raising “world citizens” here in Chicago and around the world, too. And, I knew a blog would be an easy way to connect with others.

Now, after having shared our stories via “Raising World Citizens” for just over two years, I am thrilled to say that we’ve only scratched the surface. There is so much more to explore here in our hometown of Chicago – and in the rest of the world.

I feel fortunate to be able to chronicle our adventures and experiences, and to use them to connect with other families across the globe. And, I can’t wait to see what discoveries and opportunities lie ahead for us.

Spartan and The Green Egg aims to encourage children to find and embrace adventure in every moment of their lives, wherever they may be. It seems you do the same through your writing. Can you talk about the message behind your title, “Raising World Citizens?”

My family was at an important crossroads when I first thought of starting “Raising World Citizens.” My sons were going to start at a new, French international school in the fall. We were taking our first family trip abroad to France in the summer. My sons just picked up their German passports. And, we were set to put new roots in the ground here in Chicago. After taking a step back, my husband and I saw that we were heading down a path towards raising two boys who were going to be poised to grow and thrive in the global world.

It felt good. It felt right. And, it felt like we were on to something important. That was when it really hit us. We, as parents, felt the urge to raise two world citizens. And, that was when the name of my blog was born.

But, before I officially christened my blog as “Raising World Citizens,” my husband gave me one important piece of advice. He told me that it would be important to define “world citizen.” To this day, I have a page on my blog solely dedicated to share my personal definition of “world citizen.”  It says that “… a world citizen is someone who has a firm grasp of the breadth, depth and true diversity of the world around them and strives to seize any and all available opportunities to make a true impact on the global community.”

I went on to say that “as parents, we can serve as our children’s tour guides and give them amazing, diverse experiences that will help them grow and thrive – no matter how the world evolves. Whether your travels take you to far and distant lands or you never leave the Midwest, there are vast opportunities to expose your children to the world – its cultures, people and communities. It’s all about finding them, embracing them, learning from them – and taking a global view that will help you cultivate your unique viewpoint of world and your place within it.”

Now, two years into “Raising World Citizens,” I am glad to continue to be on the path towards opening my sons’ hearts, eyes and minds to the world.

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What do you love the most about raising two boys to become World Citizens?

By exposing our sons to the world through our travels in Chicago and abroad, they’ve come to realize that the world is so much bigger than them. They’re open to trying new ethnic foods. They’ve set their sights on studying aboard. They appreciate the cultural traditions, dress and customs of others. They want to “master” French and also learn other languages. They love learning about and playing international sports like bocce, petanque and gaga. And, they’re friends with children from many different backgrounds.

Just as important, my sons appreciate people for their differences, but know that we’re really all the same – no matter if we live in the US or India. For me, I believe that helping my sons head down the path towards being a “world citizen” has encouraged them to embrace their own culture and their own differences, too. I’d also like to think that it will enable them to grow into more confident and compassionate young boys and have them feel good about and at home in the world for the rest of their lives.

Can you share a bit about your background and how you came to write and blog for other mothers?

I am a communications professional, having worked in public relations at an agency or on my own as a consultant for my entire career. It was always the ideal profession for me since it allows me to combine my love of writing with helping brands, companies and individuals share their stories with their employees, customers and consumers via the media, articles, their websites, and other channels.

For many years, I’ve tried to let my own writing run wild outside of my professional life, and blogging has proved to be an ideal medium to do so. At the same time, I became a new mom to two young, impressionable boys, and I experienced firsthand the trials, tribulations and joys of parenting. As a new mom learning the ropes, I knew that blogging and social media was a powerful way to show parents that there are others out there just like us, and to enable us to learn from, and connect with, each other.

It has been one of my greatest joys to meet other parents who are also seeking to raise “world citizens,” and I treasure each comment or post I receive from them. I’ve always known the power of words to connect with, or illicit emotions in, others. Blogging for other parents via “Raising World Citizens” has shown me the impact it can have on all of us, and that is just priceless.

What is the best experience you’ve had so far as a mother with your sons?

Hands down, I can easily say my best experience as a mother has been traveling with my sons. It is amazing to see their reactions to new people, new languages, new foods, new TV shows, new parks and everything else that appeals to young children. It helps to give me a new appreciation for the city we’re all standing in together – and the larger world that surrounds us.

Plus, it’s given us so many memories that are so precious to all of us. No matter if it’s riding the Staten Island ferry in New York City, making our own CUP NOODLE soup outside of Tokyo, playing petanque along the Seine in Paris, seeing how the Harry Potter movies are made in London, or attending a neighborhood festival in Chicago’s Greektown, each moment was special and something that I hope will influence my sons for the rest of their lives.

Recently, my older son wrote in a letter to a pen pal that he loves to travel the world. He put that up there with watching the Avengers movie and reading the Percy Jackson books. And, that made me immensely happy and proud.

Bio:
Aimee Thompson is a Chicago mom raising two world citizens. She is a blogger, freelance writer and communications consultant.

Through her blog, Raising World Citizens, she chronicles her efforts to open her sons’ eyes, hearts and minds to the people, places and cultures of the world. She also provides local insight on multicultural family-friendly events to enjoy in Chicago and offers helpful travel tips for other cities she’s been fortunate to visit with her family.

You also can follow Aimee and her family’s multicultural adventures via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

5 Ways Puzzles Improve Childhood Development

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Puzzles are not just colorful toys, they are actually great tools for your kids’ development. Here are some great advantages of puzzles and how they are one of your child’s greatest learning tools.

1. Eye-Hand Coordination.

In solving puzzles, a child gets to enhance his ability to coordinate what he sees with what his mind wants him to do, and what his hands should accomplish. Puzzles are a great way to train and exercise this skill, and at the same time, learning to do things on his own.

2. Fine Motor Ability

Puzzles are also a great fun way in enhancing your kids’ motor ability. In moving around and putting together the puzzle pieces, they grasp and hold onto them, enhancing their fingers’ muscle strength. Later on, it will be easier for them to hold pencils, or crayons or pens.

3. The Value Of Persistence

Puzzles are not easy to complete and finish, and through this, kids are able to learn the value of persistence and hard work. Once a child successfully completes a puzzle, he builds his self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment comes in.

4. Abstract Thinking

When a child is putting the puzzle pieces together, he tries different ways of doing so and by doing this, develops his deductive reasoning skills. In seeing the blank spaces and figuring out which piece fits in, he enhances his abstract thinking skills.

5. Imagination
Puzzles are also a great way to spur kids’ creativity and imagination. The various designs, colors, shapes, and sizes he is exposed to stimulate his brain cells and keeps him engaged in the puzzle solving activity.

Puzzles improve childhood development and are definitely a great educational toy and tool in enhancing your child’s various skills and abilities. Do check out Spartan’s 3D 40-piece egg puzzle and power up your child’s imagination!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Book 2 Has Arrived: The Reefs Of Mindoro Island (and a special offer for you!)

Extra! Extra! It has arrived, and the gang is going on a new adventure that will really knock your socks off!

Spartan And The Green Egg: The Reefs Of Mindoro Island is here, taking Spartan and his friends on an entirely new adventure of education, discovery and a world deep below the sea.

Share with us your desire to read the book and why in our comment section below. The first 10 people to share with us will receive a free book!

Just in time for Easter, this book is sure to keep your kids reading and in deep discovery through another great adventure to a far-off place in the world.

Again, leave a comment with why you want to read the book and receive one as a gift from us, now!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

How Child Wall Climbing Develops Better Writers

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Does it sound such a far fetched idea? How can climbing walls make your child better at writing?

Dear moms, you have to remember that the muscles a writer needs to develop apart from his or her “brain muscles” are those of the hands. In order to write anything (on paper, sans electronic items!), you have to be able to learn how to grab and hold pens properly and confidently. Developing our children’s psychomotor skills in writing does not have to be limited to holding pens and crayons and asking them to draw or copy letters on sheets of paper.

Take your children to a leisure park where they have walls or crates, which they can climb. While our kids try to go up the wall or up one crate to the next, their psychomotor skills are gradually strengthened. As they get a tighter grip on things, so to speak, their hands are able to appreciate the task of manual writing.

Because of climbing, our children will have more improved psychomotor skills, which will then make them more confident in writing letters and words on a sheet of paper; all because they are able to hold pens properly.

And, who knows, the next Shakespeare or Austen might just be your own child!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Tracking Your Child’s Exercise Routine Builds Self-Esteem, and Math Skills Too!

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Spartan and his friends take an amazing trip to the Rainforest with their friend Egg, the friendly alien who guides them on their second adventure in Book 2 of the series. This time around, the group is more practiced, less frightened and more open to the adventure that awaits them in this far area of the world.

They say practice makes perfect. But, the truth is, practice makes permanent. This holds really true most especially in the character, attitude, and aptitude that we will develop in our kids while they are at that age when they are impressionable. A good execution of this practice-makes-permanent mantra is exercise. To complement this mantra, it’s a great idea to keep track of our kids’ progress in the exercises and challenges we will give them. At first, as moms we will be the ones to set the target or goal. Then, little by little we can pass on to them the task to challenge themselves to accomplish more than what they have achieved in the previous days.

We definitely still have to be there to show them support not to back down from the challenge and run fewer miles today, bike shorter distances, swim fewer laps, or do fewer summersaults. In the end, this makes our children more confident and builds their self-esteem. While all this emotional and psychological progress is happening, we are also teaching them basic skills in math.

By continuously challenging our kids to do better every day, we are making them realize that each day is a chance for them to be a faster runner, a more dedicated swimmer, or a more capable gymnast. They learn to value their abilities and build a healthier sense of self.

Was this article helpful for you and your child? Let us know by telling us what you see in the comments section below this post!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

3 Adventurous Exercises For Children That Challenge While Nurturing

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In this age when our children are intensely devoted to checking their Facebook page or tweeting just about anything that happens in every minute of their lives, exercise comes in drizzles. As moms, it is important that we make them realize that it is not only their thumbs and other fingers that should get exercise. We also have to show our kids that the world outside is so much better than what they see in their smart devices.

What better way to accomplish these two than to give them challenges that will get them exploring the natural environment and at the same time feed their sense of adventure? Use weekends, if not after school time, to go to the park or to your community clubhouse and create a scavenger hunt-type of activity for your kids. Let them look for a treasure by running, swimming, or hopping from one spot to another. Not only will you let them get those muscles developed, you will also be able to tickle that inner adventurer and explorer in your kids.

You can also give them a pretty vague task or goal to accomplish. In this way, you will be stimulating your kid’s creativity and innovativeness. You might be surprised what they can do.

The possibilities of adventures are limitless. These little adventures we will give our kids will test not only their physical strength but they can also build a positive character and attitude towards life.

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Special Guest: Mom Blogger Mary Anne of Mamasmiles.com

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We are honored and thrilled to have the chance to interview Mary Anne, creator of Mama Smiles Blog, a blog that celebrates everyday parenting through creativity, learning and play! Mary Anne is pediatric cancer survivor who used her Masters in education and PhD in medicine to look at how music programs could help rebuild post-war communities. She is now raising her four children and sharing her day to day knowledge and wisdom on her blog, as well as running her own charity, World Culture For Kids. Here is more about Mary Anne’s journey to an adventurous motherhood:

1. What motivated you to start your blog, Mama Smiles?

I was home all day with two small children, and wanted a way to connect with the outside world. Blogging was a way to keep my mind busy, while also sharing my reasons for choosing to stay home with my children, as well as activities that our family enjoys.

2. Can you share a bit about your own experience with pediatric cancer and how it has influenced your approach to motherhood?

I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 21 months old. I was enrolled in a clinical trial that proved highly successful – a similar treatment is used to treat this same cancer today. I was very fortunate, but sometimes felt sad about losing much of my early childhood to this illness. Having children of my own felt miraculous, since it was unknown at the time whether or not the drugs I had been given would cause a loss of fertility, and it has also given me a chance to experience the joy of the childhood that I lost. Watching my life hang in balance at an early age taught me to never take life for granted. It always amazes me, also, that I can be a cancer survivor yet have perfectly healthy children.

3. Tell us a bit about what you learned from your work helping to rebuild communities in post-war regions and how it enhances the ways you teach your own children about life.

I remember visiting someone in an apartment building and walking up to the sixth floor – and seeing bullet holes in the walls on the sixth floor. This was a building where families lived, and it breaks my heart that someone would run up six flights of stairs to terrorize innocent civilians. I met local and international artists and musicians who were using creativity to bring together groups of people who had been pulled apart, and was able to see some success in getting the different ethnic groups to interact. War creates tremendous trauma, and trauma takes time to heal. I saw a lot of resilience, and hope against tremendous odds. I learned that creativity can be a tremendous aid in fighting fear by providing a healing voice, that change takes time, and that the best things in life require hope and a lot of hard work. With my children, I like to focus on kindness, empathy, and the importance of listening. We also spend a lot of time on creative activities, which I believe helps develop introspection and self-expression.

4. Tell us about Small Hands Creating Hope and how we can help!

I created the Small Hands Creating Hope project as a way of celebrating 30 years of cancer survivorship! My cancer story ends happily, but I have lost friends and family members to this disease, and there is still a lot of work to be done. Several blog friends and I joined together to create an ebook of simple, hope-inspiring projects that can be created by adults or children. We send this ebook to anyone who donates at least $15 through this link.

5. What do you think is the single most important action a mother of adventurous children can take each day to take care of herself in order to be at her best for her kids?

Find something that you enjoy, and make time for that – even five minutes will make a huge difference! Also find activities that you can do with your children that you enjoy. It may be reading books, crafting, science experiments, cooking… what the activity is doesn’t really matter – it’s spending the time together! I also highly recommend getting out in nature with kids as frequently as possible. Being outdoors has a calming effect on everyone, and is a wonderful way to build family connections and make time for talking.

Find more about Mary Anne and mamasmiles.com.

Was this post helpful for you and your adventurous child?  Let us know by leaving a comment below!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: The Perfect Easter Egg (For Your Adventurous Child!)

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MOMS: Order now, for a year-round Easter egg, with benefits! Our unique Egg Puzzle from the Spartan And The Green Egg book series offers your child a unique perspective on the world while giving them a chance to exercise their minds and imaginations.  Let them have candy in their baskets, and keep their Spartan And The Green Egg Puzzle for their own fun!

Easter egg usb flash drive

 

And while you’re ordering for your child, you can gift yourself with our unique Egg USB Flash Drive with Book 1 on the series on it.  Perfect for when you’re on the go and you need an educational and entertaining outlet for your child to indulge in.  Carry it in your purse, and use on any computer.

What are your thoughts on puzzles for your adventurous child?  Let us know in the comments section below!

 

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Book 2 Has Arrived: The Reefs Of Mindoro Island (and a special offer for you!)

Extra! Extra! It has arrived, and the gang is going on a new adventure that will really knock your socks off!

Spartan And The Green Egg: The Reefs Of Mindoro Island is here, taking Spartan and his friends on an entirely new adventure of education, discovery and a world deep below the sea.

Share with us your desire to read the book and why in our comment section below. The first 10 people to share with us will receive a special offer of a free book!

Just in time for Easter, this book is sure to keep your kids reading and in deep discovery through another great adventure to a far-off place in the world.

Again, leave a comment with why you want to read the book and receive one as a gift from us, now!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: A New Way Of Embracing The Moment (And One Essential Action You Will Love To Hear!)

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Moms, now that  you have been practicing the art of breathing, meditation, and taking loving action without disrupting your daily routine, it’s now time for the final step in your new approach to your life and your child’s: Embracing The Moment.

As you move forward into the rest of the year, you have the chance to continue this practice in all you do. But when you get caught up in life’s unexpected challenges or feel you haven’t been able to practice enough, this week’s lesson will help nip those negative feelings in the bud. It goes like this:

The moment you begin to feel like you may not make it past this moment, stop right there, and embrace the moment with all you have.  The idea that there is something outside of this moment, right now, is an illusion, and one that tends to overcome us when we are rushed into having the handle too many things at one time. Stop in this moment, do exactly what you need to do, and then take your first deep breath and carry on again with your practice.

Your child will respond to this as well, and we think you will be surprised at how many loving hands step in to help you that you could have never imagined.

Wondering if it’s true?  Let us know by practicing for this week and telling us what you see in the comments section below this post!

 

 

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: Finding Time For A Break (And How This Will Help Your Child Respect You More!)

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In Week 6 of our 7-Week New Year’s Challenge, we are looking at ways in which you can take all the work you have done to stop, pause, breathe, listen and take loving action to let it manifest in your daily routines until it becomes a habit.  The best way to do this is to now find time within your day to take a deliberate break from everything, and make absolutely no apologies for doing so.

When you take action in ways that is truly good for you and serves your highest self, regardless of what that may be, everyone around you will be unable to do anything else than respect you for it, even and most especially your children.  Children sense power, regardless of where it is coming from.  When they see that power coming from a place of strength and authenticity within you, they will grow in respect and honor for you and your decisions.

When Spartan makes the choice to go with Egg to a far away land he has never visited before, he makes his decision based on his instincts, and his friends choose to follow because they know he is making a choice based on genuine faith and trust.  His story offers such an important lesson for children to model, and when they are able to see that kind of choice coming from you as well they will automatically gain a deeper self-trust for listening to their instincts.

So for this week, we ask  you to practice the following:

Choose a time in your day when you know you will most likely want and need a break, but don’t normally take one.  Figure out a way to take one, pencil that time slot into your calendar along with what exactly you will do during that time (sit quietly, visit your favorite store, buy yourself a wonderful drink from your favorite coffee shop).  When the time arises, let your child know that you are now taking a break, and if they are with you that you’d like them to help you honor that time by practicing this time out with you.  Perhaps give them a Spartan book and let them take their time reading through the story once again.

Watch what happens, and let us know in the comments section below! We are confident you will find great insights, great release and a renewed sense of self!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: How To Persuade Your Child To Love Taking Action

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We know that you are really in a flow now if you have been following the first 4 weeks of our 7 week New Year challenge.  But in case you are just joining us now, and for those who are already on board, here is a brief refresher of what we’ve covered these last 4 weeks:

Week 1: Breathing (the simple, rewarding way)

Week 2: Meditation (the seriously enjoyable way!)

Week 3: Listening (while conserving energy!)

Week 4: Contemplating (let your child show you how!)

And now in week 5 we have the climactic step of the program that will not only help you feel at ease with yourself and your power as a parent, but will put your child at ease as well.  How, you ask?  One simple, yet incredibly powerful way: leading by example.

There is no doubt that when you are breathing, calm, in the flow of your own life and the world around you and, most of all, present in the moment, that your child has started to model this behavior, even if on a very subtle level.  If you don’t believe this to be true, because perhaps you haven’t actually seen evidence of this yet, now is the time to test the waters by putting them to the test and watching what happens.

Egg has an excellent way of putting the kids at ease in the Spartan series by showing them that he is calm because he is confident he knows what he is doing in a foreign land, with foreign situations.  The same is true for you, moms, with your child, whether you realize it or not. Your child is subconsciously relying on you every step of the way to guide him or her through new situations on a daily basis.  When resistance comes up it is because they are challenging something small to you that feels way outside of the norm for them. Now is your time to understand that on a deeper level and use it to your, and their, advantage.

Try this and let us know what happens:

The next time you want your child to do something you think they may have a resistance to, such as cleaning up their toys, try this:

1. Take three deep breaths

2. Put yourself in the meditative state you have been practicing daily (described in this post)

3. Switch your energy entirely onto your child, so you are in deep listening mode

4. Begin a conversation with him or her from your state of complete contemplation, genuinely curious about what they have to say

5. Tell them in the midst of that conversation that you would like them to continue telling you more about their feelings about this topic, but that you will be better able to listen once they clean up their toys (or whatever activity you want them to do)

6. Lead them to the activity and while they do it, stay with them consciously, even if you are in the other room

7. When they are done, thank them from the bottom of your heart, making sure they know how much this means to you, and ask them if you can continue your conversation, still actively listening from before.

Does this approach make a difference for you?  Please tell us your story. Let us know by leaving a comment below this post!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: A New Action Step For You To Chew On (And Let Your Child Teach You How!)

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So now that you have your daily meditations down and have been practicing them within your daily routines, along with taking those deep breaths and letting yourself listen to the pauses when your child talks, we want to give you one more incredible tool that will give your mind a new way to chew on all that information it is taking in and wanting to process.

We know you don’t ever want to go back to the old way of feeling like you’re in a state of overwhelm, so we want you to take this next step as seriously as the others.  This will likely come as a welcome surprise so we are excited to share it with you:

We want you to practice contemplating your thoughts (and let your child teach you how!!).

Have you ever watched your child stop to contemplate something?  They are learning at such a rapid speed on a daily basis and sometimes they have to stop for a moment and go into deep thought to take in and process something.  This may be something they’ve just realized from a moment ago or two weeks ago that they are just now understanding.

Our very own Max has this practice down better than any of the others, and if your child can relate to him then you have the perfect teacher to observe and learn from.

The beauty of contemplation is that it is a tool for how we all learn, we just tend to forget that as adults and expect way too much of ourselves without giving ourselves a chance to process new information.  But once we start to practice that kind of interruption within our daily routines, we can break that pattern in a heartbeat, just like your child does.

So for the next week, we want you to listen to your instincts and each time you get the urge to chew on something you hear that is new, take a moment to contemplate that to yourself, regardless of where you are or who you’re around.  Take this private moment seriously, and if you’re with your child you can let them know that you need a moment to take in what they’ve just said to you.  We promise this kind of mental time-out will not only give you moment to rejuvenate your mind but will allow your nervous system to relax and energize you to carry on with whatever activity you’re in the middle of.

Wondering if it’s true?  Let us know by practicing for this week and telling us what you see in the comments section below this post!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: A New Way To Communicate With Your Active Child (And Make Them Take A Pause!)

Communicate With Your Active Child

Moms, we know that you have been practicing your daily meditations, working on how to slow down a bit and take a moment or two for yourself during the day.  But what about your beloved child, who is action-oriented and ready for adventure at every moment of the day?  We have the PERFECT recipe to communicate with your active child in a new way that will have them feeling loved, empowered, and make them take that pause you have been hoping they would take!

Your child has something to do, say and show every moment of the day because he or she is active, smart and learning at the speed of light.  Now is the perfect opportunity to take the mediation skills you’ve been practicing daily with your own activities and put them to use with your child.

Here is what we want  you to do: take the same meditation practice you’re using when washing the dishes or driving in your car and apply them to your child in the form of listening.  Try to NOT respond when your child is talking and practice listening only to the spaces between each word he or she is saying.  Focus on this, and watch what happens.  We guarantee you will hear every word they say while remaining in a much more calm and meditative state, and that your child will notice you tuning in to him or her in a completely new way. He or she will feel heard, loved and even take a pause in response to your holding such a sacred space for him or her to express his or her thoughts.

Wondering if it’s true?  Let us know by practicing for this week and telling us what you see in the comments section below this post!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: A New Way To Communicate With Your Active Child (And Make Them Take A Pause!)

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Moms, we know that you have been practicing your daily meditations, working on how to slow down a bit and take a moment or two for yourself during the day.  But what about your beloved child, who is action-oriented and ready for adventure at every moment of the day?  We have the PERFECT recipe for communicating with your child in a new way that will have them feeling loved, empowered, and make them take that pause you have been hoping they would take!

Your child has something to do, say and show every moment of the day because he or she is active, smart and learning at the speed of light.  Now is the perfect opportunity to take the mediation skills you’ve been practicing daily with your own activities and put them to use with your child.

Here is what we want  you to do: take the same meditation practice you’re using when washing the dishes or driving in your car and apply them to your child in the form of listening.  Try to NOT respond when your child is talking and practice listening only to the spaces between each word he or she is saying.  Focus on this, and watch what happens.  We guarantee you will hear every word they say while remaining in a much more calm and meditative state, and that your child will notice you tuning in to him or her in a completely new way. He or she will feel heard, loved and even take a pause in response to your holding such a sacred space for him or her to express his or her thoughts.

Wondering if it’s true?  Let us know by practicing for this week and telling us what you see in the comments section below this post!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: The Perfect Valentine’s Day Present For Your Adventurous Child! (And A FREE Gift To Go Along With It)

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Moms, we know that Valentine’s Day at school can be exciting and filled with love notes, chocolate and those special Valentine’s Day boxes your child spends time crafting to reflect his or her unique and special personality.  We also know that as a day that symbolizes love, there is no better way to express your love through the act of gifting, especially when that gift shows you put extra thought into it for your child’s one-of-a-kind persona.

So to help you with that, we have our VERY SPECIAL Spartan And The Green Egg egg-shaped puzzle with beautiful and fun illustrations from the series.  We know this is the kind of token your adventurous child will take to heart, and be able to share with you for years to come. That’s why we have it on sale for you to order now, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

For the first 14 people who order before February 14 we will include our E-book Collector’s Egg USB Flash Drive free of charge, so you and your child can enjoy the first book of the series wherever you go!

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So order now, so your shipment will arrive right on time to surprise your child with a gift straight from the heart of the Spartan Explorer Series!

When your gift arrives, let us know how your child likes it by leaving a comment and/or a picture in the comments section below!

 

 

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

MOMS: A Secret Recipe For Meditation (And The Trick To Fitting It Into Your Daily Routine!)

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We know as a parent your days are adventures in and of themselves!  There are days when you wonder how you will ever find the time to breathe, let alone take time out to meditate or allow yourself the space you need to come back to a state of balance.

For this week, we are taking a moment to look at the simplest and most powerful tool of meditation that will not only let you breathe but empower you right back into a place of blissful control.

When you implement this simple tool into your daily routine, you will most likely be blown away at how expert you already are at it.  In fact, the secret is that we meditate all the time naturally throughout our days. The trick is to learn how to bring your self into those moments fully to experience the incredible benefits waiting to appear.

We get a great taste of this when Spartan and his friends go with Egg on their first journey.  The level of trust they give over includes the secret tool for which you can change your life for the better.  Katie in particular demonstrates her ability to come back to the present moment, which is part of this uncanny action step that many people don’t realize they are already doing.

Meditation Recipe For Busy Moms:

Did you know that taking action around something we are familiar with puts us into an automatic state of meditation?  Many people don’t realize this. Whenever you are in the middle of a routine task in your day- ironing, washing dishes, driving your car, picking up your child from school, shopping- you are meditating.  The only difference is that you are not aware of it so you find yourself zoning out.  This actually creates extra space for your brain to go into overdrive, and takes away your precious energy.  The trick is to simple bring yourself to the moment and allow your thoughts to pass in and out, hence become fully present in your meditation.

The next time you find yourself in this kind of routine, say these two words to yourself:

“I’m back!”

And see what happens.  We predict unexpected bursts of energy, joyful self-discoveries and deeper self-awareness will begin to surface into your conscious life.  But you will have to let us know for yourself!  Try this for the next day and let us know what you discover in the comments section below!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Moms: How To Avoid Overwhelm In The New Year With One Essential Secret Recipe

 

1GB USB flash drive with book 1 (epub & mobi) preloaded.

1GB USB flash drive with book 1 (epub & mobi) preloaded.

For all the moms out there who are settling down from the holidays and feeling a sense of overwhelm when it comes to gathering up the remnants of a busy holiday, the year ahead can seem completely daunting and overwhelming for what you want to accomplish for your children, your family and yourself.  Well, take a deep breath and say “Thank you world!” because we have the one essential secret recipe that will alleviate your sense of overwhelm right in the moment.

The secret ingredient is one you know, deep down, to be the answer, but our minds tend to block it out with the everyday stresses of life.  That ingredient is this simple truth: you are enough.  Sound too simple?  Think about this: there is essentially nothing outside of this very moment we are in right now.  The skill the most successful people in the world know and use on a daily basis is they know how to plan something, then trust the plan and move through it, moment to moment.  If something goes awry along the way they move through it as best and as quickly as they can and reflect later upon how they can plan differently next time.  This is ironically the exact lesson The Egg teaches the kids in the Spartan And The Green Egg series, and one your kids can practice along with you through each book.

In working with that sense of deep self-confidence and self-trust, successful people know in each moment that what they are doing for the time being is enough.  This is the same for every single mom who is committed to making her family life the best it can possibly be.  So take the below recipe with you and let us know what happens when you implement it into your life daily:

How To Avoid Overwhelm:

1. Three Deep Breaths

2. One minute of eyes closed, letting your mind pause

3. Repeat these words to yourself 10 times in a row: I Am Enough.

Studies show it takes seven weeks to form a new habit.  We challenge you to make this a habit for the next seven weeks, and let us know what happens as a result.  We have a feeling you will feel more in control, more at ease and begin making fantastic choices as a result.  But let’s see if we’re right by leaving your results in the comment section below!

Sign up for free giveaways and get info about the SGE Explorer’s Club here!

 

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Imaginative, Kid-Friendly Holiday DIY Projects

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Spartan and his friends are great at using their imagination in different ways. Katie is especially good at art. She is able to use her imagination to create the images that she thinks of. We see this when she draws the rocket for the team to envision in order to contact Egg. Arts and crafts projects are great ways to allow your kids to use their imagination in creative and productive ways. The holiday season seems to lend itself to fun and creative projects that you and your children can do together. With the New Year on its way in, here are some fun, simple ways to spend quality and engaging time with your children.

Holiday Cards:

Holiday cards are always fun for children to make. Whether you celebrate a specific holiday or celebrate the season as a whole, greeting cards a great way to get your kids to use their imagination and be creative. All you need are a few pieces of construction paper (pick up a full pad of colored construction paper and let you child select their favorite colors to use), and crayons/markers/colored pencils/water colors etc. If you want you can add to the creative process by supplying your child with other elements like stencils, stickers, glitter, and glue. Let them decorate the card however they like and encourage them to put a seasonal greeting on the inside. You can choose to send this out to select relatives or friends or use the cards as decorations around your home.

Sugar Cookies:

No matter what holiday you celebrate, sugar cookies are a great treat that you can make with your children. You can always go with the prepackaged mix, which will save time, or use this simple recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup golden brown sugar (packed)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Next, sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; blend well. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead gently for about one minute. Shape the dough into a ½ inch thick rectangle. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least three hours. When you take the dough out, allow it to soften before rolling it out. Next, with the rack positioned in the center of your oven, preheat it at 350 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet by buttering it lightly. Next, roll out each piece of dough individually until they are about 1/8 inch thick. Next, take your favorite holiday cookie cutters and begin cutting out shapes and trimming the dough around the cutter. Your child will have fun doing this. Tip: lightly flour the cutters so the dough doesn’t stick to them. Remember to reroll the dough scraps to make more cookies. Transfer the cookies onto your baking sheet and bake them for about 11 minutes (until golden brown). Let them cool for five minutes. At this point you can choose to leave them as they are or frost them.

By choosing to frost them, you can allow your children to design them anyway they want. This can be made less messy and easier by using pastry bags or store bought tubes of frosting. Let their imagination guide them as they help you create these yummy holiday treats.

These are just a couple of ideas to both get your child involved in this festive season and use their imagination in creative ways. No matter what you choose to do, the most important thing is to have fun with your child as they explore the capabilities of their mind.

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Imaginative, Kid-Friendly Holiday DIY Projects

 banner (1)

Spartan and his friends are great at using their imagination in different ways. Katie is especially good at art. She is able to use her imagination to create the images that she thinks of. We see this when she draws the rocket for the team to envision in order to contact Egg. Arts and crafts projects are great ways to allow your kids to use their imagination in creative and productive ways. The holiday season seems to lend itself to fun and creative projects that you and your children can do together. With the New Year on its way in, here are some fun, simple ways to spend quality and engaging time with your children.

Holiday Cards:

Holiday cards are always fun for children to make. Whether you celebrate a specific holiday or celebrate the season as a whole, greeting cards a great way to get your kids to use their imagination and be creative. All you need are a few pieces of construction paper (pick up a full pad of colored construction paper and let you child select their favorite colors to use), and crayons/markers/colored pencils/water colors etc. If you want you can add to the creative process by supplying your child with other elements like stencils, stickers, glitter, and glue. Let them decorate the card however they like and encourage them to put a seasonal greeting on the inside. You can choose to send this out to select relatives or friends or use the cards as decorations around your home.

Sugar Cookies:

No matter what holiday you celebrate, sugar cookies are a great treat that you can make with your children. You can always go with the prepackaged mix, which will save time, or use this simple recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup golden brown sugar (packed)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Next, sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; blend well. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead gently for about one minute. Shape the dough into a ½ inch thick rectangle. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least three hours. When you take the dough out, allow it to soften before rolling it out. Next, with the rack positioned in the center of your oven, preheat it at 350 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet by buttering it lightly. Next, roll out each piece of dough individually until they are about 1/8 inch thick. Next, take your favorite holiday cookie cutters and begin cutting out shapes and trimming the dough around the cutter. Your child will have fun doing this. Tip: lightly flour the cutters so the dough doesn’t stick to them. Remember to reroll the dough scraps to make more cookies. Transfer the cookies onto your baking sheet and bake them for about 11 minutes (until golden brown). Let them cool for five minutes. At this point you can choose to leave them as they are or frost them.

By choosing to frost them, you can allow your children to design them anyway they want. This can be made less messy and easier by using pastry bags or store bought tubes of frosting. Let their imagination guide them as they help you create these yummy holiday treats.

These are just a couple of ideas to both get your child involved in this festive season and use their imagination in creative ways. No matter what you choose to do, the most important thing is to have fun with your child as they explore the capabilities of their mind.

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Imaginative, Kid-Friendly Holiday DIY Projects

 banner (1)

Spartan and his friends are great at using their imagination in different ways. Katie is especially good at art. She is able to use her imagination to create the images that she thinks of. We see this when she draws the rocket for the team to envision in order to contact Egg. Arts and crafts projects are great ways to allow your kids to use their imagination in creative and productive ways. The holiday season seems to lend itself to fun and creative projects that you and your children can do together. With the New Year on its way in, here are some fun, simple ways to spend quality and engaging time with your children.

Holiday Cards:

Holiday cards are always fun for children to make. Whether you celebrate a specific holiday or celebrate the season as a whole, greeting cards a great way to get your kids to use their imagination and be creative. All you need are a few pieces of construction paper (pick up a full pad of colored construction paper and let you child select their favorite colors to use), and crayons/markers/colored pencils/water colors etc. If you want you can add to the creative process by supplying your child with other elements like stencils, stickers, glitter, and glue. Let them decorate the card however they like and encourage them to put a seasonal greeting on the inside. You can choose to send this out to select relatives or friends or use the cards as decorations around your home.

Sugar Cookies:

No matter what holiday you celebrate, sugar cookies are a great treat that you can make with your children. You can always go with the prepackaged mix, which will save time, or use this simple recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup golden brown sugar (packed)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Next, sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; blend well. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead gently for about one minute. Shape the dough into a ½ inch thick rectangle. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least three hours. When you take the dough out, allow it to soften before rolling it out. Next, with the rack positioned in the center of your oven, preheat it at 350 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet by buttering it lightly. Next, roll out each piece of dough individually until they are about 1/8 inch thick. Next, take your favorite holiday cookie cutters and begin cutting out shapes and trimming the dough around the cutter. Your child will have fun doing this. Tip: lightly flour the cutters so the dough doesn’t stick to them. Remember to reroll the dough scraps to make more cookies. Transfer the cookies onto your baking sheet and bake them for about 11 minutes (until golden brown). Let them cool for five minutes. At this point you can choose to leave them as they are or frost them.

By choosing to frost them, you can allow your children to design them anyway they want. This can be made less messy and easier by using pastry bags or store bought tubes of frosting. Let their imagination guide them as they help you create these yummy holiday treats.

These are just a couple of ideas to both get your child involved in this festive season and use their imagination in creative ways. No matter what you choose to do, the most important thing is to have fun with your child as they explore the capabilities of their mind.

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Are You Raising Spartan, Katie, Tor, or Max? 5 Essential Keys to Cultivate Your Child’s Unique Imagination

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You’re already aware that children are born with unique personalities that develop very early on, but you may not know exactly how to support them since they are often completely the opposite of our own. In the Spartan And The Green Egg series, each character has a different personality that almost every child can identify with. Your child may be adventurous by nature, like Spartan, or they may be artistic and curious like Katie. Maybe your child is intellectual like Max or mechanically inclined like Tor. Or, they could be wildly imaginative enough to identify with Egg.

No matter what type of personality your child has, finding a way to anchor them in their own inclinations can help them build confidence in their own unique strengths. Here are five ways to do just that.

ADVENTURER: THE SPARTAN TYPE

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Spartan is a leader on a constant quest for knowledge. If your child is similar you may want to engage them in activities that will satisfy that quest while allowing them to use their imagination. Pretend play is a great way to do this. Let your child share something new with you that they may be learning in school, like what an archeologist does. Let them read Spartan’s adventures and have them create their own adventure fantasy that corresponds to what they are currently being taught in school. Have them join a virtual world with like-minded children, like the Explorer’s Club, where they can share their creation with other like-minded adventurous children. You will be satisfying your child’s thirst for knowledge while helping them expand their imagination.

CREATIVE: THE KATIE TYPE

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Katie loves a challenge. Her strong sense of imagination coupled with her artistic ability allows her to physically create what her mind thinks up. If this sounds like your child, try letting their artistic talents drive their imagination. You can help by taking your child to art museums where they can see the imaginations of other artists come to life through the framed canvases. Let them read the Spartan series and learn how Katie uses her creativity to solve unforeseen problems. If your child sees what others have done they may be more willing to do the same. When they join the Explorer’s Club they will be able to share their creative ideas with other children doing the same. By doing this, you will not only help your child use their imagination, you will help support their artistic talents, too.

MECHANICAL: THE TOR TYPE

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Tor is lazy and messy but also loveable and good with machinery. If your child is constantly taking his or her toys apart just to put (or attempt to put) them back together you may be raising your own Tor. Blocks are a great way to help your child use their imagination along with their love of engineering. If your child is older try more technical sets like K’Nex sets. These allow your child to create what they want using more technical elements like brackets and metal beams. By introducing your child to these toys you’ll allow their mechanical abilities to shine as you encourage them to create what is in their mind. If you don’t want your entire house to become a grounds for re-building, have them join the Explorer’s Club where they can rebuild and talk shop with kids all over the world in a virtual setting.

INTELLECTUAL: THE MAX TYPE

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Intellectual and analytical, Max uses his natural intelligence to research and analyze different facts as he and his friends explore the world. If you believe that your child is analytical and enjoys more intellectual endeavors, like computer games, you may want to use more intellectual methods to cultivate their imagination. Reading is obviously a great place to start. Your child can pick out a book to read and imagine that they are the main character in the story. Maybe they will pretend that they are the detective in a mystery book that follows clues to solve a crime. By encouraging this behavior, your child can use their intelligence and their imagination at the same time.

IMAGINATIVE: THE EGG TYPE

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If your child’s imagination is in constant motion, coming up with ideas you never thought possible as his or her age, you may find it a challenge to put them in touch with an equal counterpart to ground their thoughts. Finding Egg in the Spartan And The Green Egg series is the best catalyst for all the characters, and can be an excellent grounding source for your child as well. Egg takes the children on adventures they never knew possible while providing them with love and guidance to carry them safely forward. Joining the Explorer’s Club and befriending Egg is a great challenge for your child to focus their imagination in ways that gives them a sense of community, strength and confidence.

No matter what type of personality your child has, there are ways to utilize their natural instincts and abilities to enhance their imagination and sense of exploration. Try one of these methods or let us know what other ideas have worked for you!

Was this post helpful? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think!

#traveltheworld #kids #seethesights #teachyourkids #fullcyclepublications #spartanandthegreenegg  #books #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog

Help Your Children Respect the Environment And Your Home! Three Simple, Yet Crucial Habit-Forming Steps To Take!

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Let’s face it: teaching your kids to go green is great, but getting them to clean up after themselves and not to forget their underwear before walking out the door may come first on your secret priority list.  Yet there is a huge opportunity to teach our children how to become more conscious of the environment in the everyday actions they take by developing habits that will stay with them for a lifetime. Here are three dynamic yet simple action steps that will have them respecting their own home and personal development while forming lasting habits toward a safer environment!

1. Leave Something, Plant Something

If your child forgets to make her bed or pick up his toys that you’ve tripped over one too many times, your list of subtle, yet effective ways to drive that habit home once and for all may have become quite long by now.  However, there is one habit that when done together can work to heal both the environment and a forgetful mind.  Have your child plant a seed each time he or she forgets a crucial household chore.  Planting a seed in your own yard teaches them to hone the skill of patience, understanding and consciousness.  Watching that seed grow is a healing act that they will forever associate with being more mindful of the world, and home they live in. 

Take Them Out in Nature

When Spartan and his friends arrive in the rainforest they see many different animals that live there. These animals depend on the plants and trees around them for survival. This may be a difficult notion for children to grasp. By taking them out to local parks or forests you can help them get a firsthand look at these animals in their natural habitats. Admiring these animals in their natural habitats can show your child how careful they are with how they treat their surroundings.  Watching a bird carefully construct and then live in its own nest can be a powerful analogy to how your child treats his or her own room at home.

Teach Them That Everyday Items Come from Nature

Not into picking up after themselves? Spartan and his friends learn that the trees that are being cut down may be used for things like making paper. If you teach your child that paper comes from trees or that cotton clothes come from cotton plants you can help them realize that nature is their biggest resource. If they see the environment as a necessity instead of as an arbitrary setting, they will treat it better to ensure that it remains useful, while thinking twice about how they treat the possessions they already have.

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Is Your Adventurous Child More Than A Handful? Three Essential Steps Every Mom Can Take To Hone Their Passion!

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Every child has a natural sense of adventure. As soon as your child learns how to walk they begin to explore the world around them in many ways, using all of their senses and depths of imagination.  Yet there are some children whose natural sense of adventure supersedes even your wildest imagination, creating games, imaginary friends and foreign lands within the terrain of their 100 square foot bedroom!  This special and active yearning for adventure may have you wondering how in the world you will be able to keep up with their adventurous needs!

Fear not: there are three specific actions you can take right now in order to feed your child’s incredibly strong imagination while making life at home the serene haven you intend it to be!

1. Encourage Your Child To Focus Their Imagination On A Specific Project

Allowing your child to use their own mind to create exciting adventures for a specific purpose can allow them to go wild without needing to pull attention away from anyone else. This can be done while you are both out and about or in your own home.  In Spartan & The Green Egg, Spartan and his friends use the power of their minds to meet The Egg and go on an adventure to the Amazon. Using this story as the focal point let your child imagine that they are an explorer looking for specific items wherever you go (the ones on your grocery list, for example!). If you’re stuck in the house on a rainy day make a blanket fort with your child and let their imagination come up with their own adventure. The overall idea of showing your child the power of imagination is what matters most.

2. Anchor Your Child With New Information

As Spartan and his friends go on their adventures Max brings up important educational facts, like the tidbit about plants being used to make medicine. If you help your child gain knowledge during every day activities you can make every adventure a learning experience. For instance, while out at the park or beach have your child look for different kinds of leaves or shells. Once you collect a few different ones you can help your child learn why they are different and what purpose they serve. You can also do this by examining different bugs or flowers in a garden. Doing this acts as an anchor so they can channel their energy into focused topics that make them excited about new facts rather than searching for something to clear their impending boredom.

3. Help Your Child Keep an Open Mind

Even though Spartan and his friends go on a fun adventure to the Amazon, Tor remains skeptical about the whole process. He questions the general existence of aliens based on the sole fact that he’s never seen one. He only agrees to try out Spartan’s experiment when he is convinced by Katie and Spartan to stay open to the idea of aliens’ existence. Tor questioning information isn’t the issue here; it is the fact that he initially dismisses the notion of aliens’ existence altogether before listening to any information. As moms, you can teach your children to stay open to new ideas. This will help their sense of adventure by showing them that there are ideas other than the ones in their own mind. This is also essential when your child is playing with other children as they will all have different thoughts on their shared adventure.

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How To Stretch Your Child’s Imagination With Egg!

Egg from Spartan & The Green Egg

Egg, a friendly alien with a keen sense of a child’s need for learning and adventure, is one of the main characters in the Spartan And The Green Egg book series and the catalyst for taking the kids on the adventure of a lifetime.

The beauty of Egg for the children reading the books is his intention: to excite and motivate the children to look outside their current state of knowledge and dare to consider a world outside their perception. In short, to stretch their imaginations in ways that allows them to dream about what the world can hold for them, and then show them how possible it really is.

On their first adventure together, Egg takes Spartan and his group of friends on a trip to the Rainforest be transporting them through space and time. When they arrive, Egg guides the children to through their adventure in getting to know the people of the Rainforest and learning of the challenges they face for their environment. With Egg’s guidance, they learn how to trust themselves, and their positive instincts to do good in the world.

When your child gets to know Egg, they can go on the same adventure of stretching their imagination and giving them reason to think outside the box to build lifelong confidence and self-assurance.

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Getting Your Child Excited About Charity: Children For Peace

Children for Peace logo

In the spirit of Spartan And The Green Egg, The Children For Peace is a non-governmental organization that helps young people living in challenging circumstances obtain essential needs such as food, medical help and educational opportunities.

Their projects are 100% donation-based, and can be tracked by members of the Spartan And The Green Egg Community here. The Children For Peace provides an excellent opportunity for children to learn more about impoverished areas of the world and play an active role in watching groups make steady improvements, while supporting their causes virtually.

All donations they receive go directly to the projects they help fund. The Children For Peace pays no salaries and no overhead except for annual fee paid to their accounting firm that files all documents required for the government in Italy.

 

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Who Is Spartan? Three Reasons Your Child Needs To Become His Friend!

Photo of Spartan

Spartan, the main character in the Spartan And The Green Egg book series, has some skills that your child who loves adventure can benefit from. His uncanny ability to lead his group of friends in a generous, loving way makes him the perfect example for your child to hone their own leadership skills after.

Here are Spartan’s three main leadership attributes your child can hook onto and establish for life within the books and by joining the Explorer’s Club:

1. Conservatively Curious

Spartan has a love for adventure, and dreams about creating new places to explore with his friends. But when an alien appears on his kitchen table in the form of an egg, he doesn’t let his excitement override his sense of curiosity. He pauses long enough to ask a series of questions about Egg’s intentions, and lets his curiosity fuel his caution. When he is finally satisfied the Egg will lead them in a safe way, he agrees to go on the journey.

2. Quietly Observant

Spartan, although fully immersed in his adventure with Egg and his friends, remains quietly observant, always sizing up the situation to make sure he feels good about their choices in a foreign land. This attribute is one that teaches children to learn to listen to and trust their instincts, a practice that can serve them as positive and effective leaders for the rest of their lives.

3. Decisively Emotional

Spartan never strays from his sense of responsibility to himself and his friends while on their journey with Egg, but he also allows himself to stay in touch with what he is feeling, which allows him to make decisions based on his own internal compass rather than what is going on around him. This skill exemplifies to children that their feelings are their greatest guide, and when combined with a sharp sense of leadership skills, they can begin a most effective practice of becoming compassionate leaders.

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Increase Your Child’s Sense Of Community Through Books: Three Action Steps To Take Now!

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If your child has a natural passion for adventure and community, there are several ways to hone that spark to fuel their sense of community and leadership through the books they read. Exposing them to stories that both ignite their imaginations and teach them about practical world issues around them are incredible ways to instill a new found confidence and creative energy that can stay with them for a lifetime.

In order to further their experience and give them the space to explore the ideas and skills they learn from the books they’re reading, there are three helpful tips to help extend their learning into experiential habits.

1. Engage With The Characters Online

There are many children’s books that have websites that allow your kids to learn more about the characters in the book and interact with them in different ways. When they are able to identify with a particular character, and then engage with that character outside of the book they can continue to learn more about the educational message and stay connected through a healthy connection and fun activities.

Spartan And The Green Egg allows children to meet each of the characters and learn more about what areas of the world those characters are interested in. They are able to write in to each character to ask questions and form a relationship with them, giving them more information about how to help areas of the world that are most in need.

2. Engage With Other Children Around The World

Some children’s books offer online communities that are completely safe for your child to become a part of and engage with other children who love to book as much as they do. This kind of interaction, when supported with a site that helps foster healthy conversations and interactions, gives your child the space to explore the information they love from the book in real-time, in a healthy environment.

Spartan And The Green Egg has an Explorer’s Club that will soon allow children from all over the world to interact with each other and have healthy discussions about the books.

3. Talk With Your Kids

When your child has finished a book they love, the best way you can help to keep their imaginations going and build their confidence in the new information they just absorbed is to let them tell you what they loved about it, and listen to what they have to say. Let them ask you questions and guide them to the answers they are seeking. Remember to let your intuition be your guide, and let them know you support their minds and hearts 100%.

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Three Ways To Ignite Your Child’s Sense Of Adventure Without Leaving Your Home

Hard Case Cover Flat HZ

If your children have a natural sense of adventure that you want to nurture, but you can’t find enough time in the day to satisfy their need to travel the neighborhood in pursuit of long-lost treasures those pirates left thousands of years ago, we have just the remedy to keep their minds moving in the right direction.

Here are three simple steps for satisfying their urges without having to leave your home, the Spartan way!

1. Give them the challenge of learning what it takes to visit an area of the world they have never heard of

The Spartan And The Green Egg series was developed as a way for children to understand more than just where places exist geographically. Each Spartan story hones in specifically on issues surrounding these areas and the challenges visitors may face when they arrive. Your child is invited through the stories to take actionable steps with the explorers to overcome their challenges while helping to preserve the land and its inhabitants. Taking your child on such a trip gives them a chance to fully engage their mind while helping the explorers find their destination.

2. Join the actual explorers through the Spartan And The Green Egg Website

When your child becomes a member of the Spartan And The Green Egg website he or she has a chance to meet the explorers personally and see other areas of the world they each want to visit. Once they choose the explorer they can most jive with, they have the chance to look deeper into places of exploration that encourage them to come up with potential adventures of their own into these new and exciting places.

3. Join the SGE Explorer’s Club

We have found that children who like adventure like to take their reading to the next level of challenging interactions. That is why we created the SGE Explorer’s Club, which gives your children the chance to interact with the Spartan characters they love and learn from them about various areas of the world that appeal to them most in the books. When they become more fluent in the areas they love, the can then share their newfound information with other explorers from around the world, creating new virtual adventures together. This level of engagement gives them a chance to take control of their own journey while learning how collaborate as a leader on their chosen paths.

Can you think of other ways your child can benefit from joining the Explorer Team? If so, leave your comments below!

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Three Ways To Ignite Your Child’s Sense Of Adventure Without Leaving Your Home

Hard Case Cover Flat HZ

If your children have a natural sense of adventure that you want to nurture, but you can’t find enough time in the day to satisfy their need to travel the neighborhood in pursuit of long-lost treasures those pirates left thousands of years ago, we have just the remedy to keep their minds moving in the right direction.

Here are three simple steps for satisfying their urges without having to leave your home, the Spartan way!

1. Give them the challenge of learning what it takes to visit an area of the world they have never heard of

The Spartan And The Green Egg series was developed as a way for children to understand more than just where places exist geographically. Each Spartan story hones in specifically on issues surrounding these areas and the challenges visitors may face when they arrive. Your child is invited through the stories to take actionable steps with the explorers to overcome their challenges while helping to preserve the land and its inhabitants. Taking your child on such a trip gives them a chance to fully engage their mind while helping the explorers find their destination.

2. Join the actual explorers through the Spartan And The Green Egg Website

When your child becomes a member of the Spartan And The Green Egg website he or she has a chance to meet the explorers personally and see other areas of the world they each want to visit. Once they choose the explorer they can most jive with, they have the chance to look deeper into places of exploration that encourage them to come up with potential adventures of their own into these new and exciting places.

3. Join the SGE Explorer’s Club

We have found that children who like adventure like to take their reading to the next level of challenging interactions. That is why we created the SGE Explorer’s Club, which gives your children the chance to interact with the Spartan characters they love and learn from them about various areas of the world that appeal to them most in the books. When they become more fluent in the areas they love, the can then share their newfound information with other explorers from around the world, creating new virtual adventures together. This level of engagement gives them a chance to take control of their own journey while learning how collaborate as a leader on their chosen paths.

Can you think of other ways your child can benefit from joining the Explorer Team? If so, leave your comments below!

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Imaginative, Kid-Friendly Holiday DIY Projects

 Spartan & The Green Egg logo

Spartan and his friends are great at using their imagination in different ways. Katie is especially good at art. She is able to use her imagination to create the images that she thinks of. We see this when she draws the rocket for the team to envision in order to contact Egg. Arts and crafts projects are great ways to allow your kids to use their imagination in creative and productive ways. The holiday season seems to lend itself to fun and creative projects that you and your children can do together. With the New Year on its way in, here are some fun, simple ways to spend quality and engaging time with your children.

Holiday Cards:

Holiday cards are always fun for children to make. Whether you celebrate a specific holiday or celebrate the season as a whole, greeting cards a great way to get your kids to use their imagination and be creative. All you need are a few pieces of construction paper (pick up a full pad of colored construction paper and let you child select their favorite colors to use), and crayons/markers/colored pencils/water colors etc. If you want you can add to the creative process by supplying your child with other elements like stencils, stickers, glitter, and glue. Let them decorate the card however they like and encourage them to put a seasonal greeting on the inside. You can choose to send this out to select relatives or friends or use the cards as decorations around your home.

Sugar Cookies:

No matter what holiday you celebrate, sugar cookies are a great treat that you can make with your children. You can always go with the prepackaged mix, which will save time, or use this simple recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup golden brown sugar (packed)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Next, sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; blend well. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead gently for about one minute. Shape the dough into a ½ inch thick rectangle. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least three hours. When you take the dough out, allow it to soften before rolling it out. Next, with the rack positioned in the center of your oven, preheat it at 350 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet by buttering it lightly. Next, roll out each piece of dough individually until they are about 1/8 inch thick. Next, take your favorite holiday cookie cutters and begin cutting out shapes and trimming the dough around the cutter. Your child will have fun doing this. Tip: lightly flour the cutters so the dough doesn’t stick to them. Remember to reroll the dough scraps to make more cookies. Transfer the cookies onto your baking sheet and bake them for about 11 minutes (until golden brown). Let them cool for five minutes. At this point you can choose to leave them as they are or frost them.

By choosing to frost them, you can allow your children to design them anyway they want. This can be made less messy and easier by using pastry bags or store bought tubes of frosting. Let their imagination guide them as they help you create these yummy holiday treats.

These are just a couple of ideas to both get your child involved in this festive season and use their imagination in creative ways. No matter what you choose to do, the most important thing is to have fun with your child as they explore the capabilities of their mind.

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