Category Archives: For Teachers

Educational tips for teachers and classrooms from Spartan & The Green Egg

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

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

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.


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.


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 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.

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):


Save Water

Simple Ways to Save Water

Although much of the earth is covered by water, most of it isn’t water that we can use. A lot of it is saltwater in the oceans, and some of it is frozen water. We rely on freshwater supplies for drinking water and for water that we use around the home. Since there’s a limited supply of freshwater, it’s important to watch how much we use. There are plenty of things you can do to save water.

Use Bathroom Water Wisely

Between flushing toilets, taking showers and running faucets, a lot of water is wasted in bathrooms. You can help cut down on water use in this part of your home by doing the following:

  • Take showers instead of baths. Showers use less water. You can help even more by limiting your showers to five minutes or less.
  • Don’t let the water keep running while you’re brushing your teeth. Turn it on to wet your toothbrush, then shut it off. Turn it on again to rinse off your toothbrush when you’re done.
  • Shut faucets off all the way. When you’re done washing your hands or brushing your teeth, make sure the faucet is turned off all the way. Otherwise, it could leak and waste water.

Cut Down on Kitchen Water Use

The other main area of homes where water is usually wasted is in the kitchen. You use water to wash dishes and for drinking. How can you and your family lower the amount of water wasted in the kitchen? Try the following:

  • Use the same glass or cup throughout the day for drinking water. If everyone in your home does this, there won’t be as many glasses and cups to wash later on.
  • Don’t run water when you’re washing dishes in the sink. Fill one sink basin with water for washing, and fill up the other basin with water for rinsing.
  • If your family uses a dishwasher, don’t run it until it’s full. The less you run the dishwasher, the less water you use.

Other Ways to Help

Here are a few more ways that you can save water:

  • Be on the lookout for leaks. Tell your parents if you discover a leaky faucet in your home.
  • If you help out with laundry, only run the washing machine when it’s full. Wash dark clothes in cold water to cut down on both water and energy use.
  • If watering the lawn is one of your chores, do it early in the morning or in the evening. Watering it when it’s sunny and warmer out wastes more water.

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Road Trips With Kids


Getting to your destination safely and quickly means well-behaved passengers are a must, but young kids rarely travel according to plan. Even if you plan to take a leisurely, scenic route with plenty of stops along the way, backseat boredom is always looming. When your focus needs to be on the road, some pre-trip planning can help minimize distractions while making the drive a more positive experience for your youngest travelers.

If your child or children struggle to stay happy, comfortable, and quiet on the road, these five items will help you turn your road trip around: – proverbially, not literally.

  • Food and Drink

Some parents limit the food and drink their children have access to on the road, with the idea that this keeps the car interior cleaner and limits bathroom breaks. While both of those outcomes are true, they may just as easily lead to a hangry, dehydrated youngster as a dry, clean one. Embrace the occasional food-chaos and consciously pick up non-staining / no-dye-added juice boxes and unlikely-to-crumble treats like fruit leather or carrot sticks.

  • A Change of Clothes

Even if your children are well past the diaper stage, no parent has ever been sorry to have spare clothes on hand in case something happens. Motion sickness and car nausea do occur, and so do all the symptoms that accompany them- including the “reappearance” of the aforementioned snacks. If your child has a bout of nausea, you’ll be glad you had clean, dry clothes to change them into afterward. Additionally, if they become too hot or cold, having options to help with temperature control will help limit crankiness.

  • Plastic and Zip-Top Bags

Waterproof bags for trash are a must, particularly if an unexpected cleanup occurs. Zip-top bags can seal in potentially foul odors or sticky residue, helping to keep your car smelling, looking, and feeling fresh. These bags can also be used to isolate dirty laundry, wet socks from the lake or beach, or to keep valuables clean and isolated. Resealable bags can also be filled with ice and used as cold packs in a cooler or as compresses for bumps and bruises.

  • Back Up Batteries / Charge Cables

If your child is bringing along a gaming system, tablet, laptop, or smartphone, you can count on the batteries giving out on the longest, loneliest stretch of your journey. Rechargeable “power bank” style batteries will help stave off the dreaded low battery indicator, as will cigarette-lighter power cables with the appropriate adapter(s) attached. Even if you plan on limiting screen time while on the road, their devices can be charged while they nap or watch the scenery.

  • Something New

While it’s a great idea to bring along favorite toys, books, and games from home, there’s a good chance they’ll lose interest or become bored after playing with said item on a long road trip. A new book, game, or toy will hold their interest longer, and start the trip off on a great note. Savvy parents may even want to promise the new item at a milestone – say, the midpoint of the trip – to give their child something to look forward to, other than the end of the trip.

Explore your world and the universe though the Spartan and the Green Egg Series. Join the Explorer’s Club, enjoy interactive games, collect travel pins and more! Learn about the world and the SGE Explorers Today!

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Extreme Camping And Travel Destinations

Ready, Set, Adventure! Africa: Mountains, Hills, Lakes and Waterfalls

“No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”
-Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1936

Don’t forget to collect your Spartan and the Green Egg Explorer Stickers to inform and entertain as you imagine your next journey!

Mount Kilimanjaro: Located in Tanzania, East Africa, this 19,000-foot tall wonder has three distinct peaks and is of great interest to scientists because of the effects of climate change, including melting icecaps and shrinking glaciers. Ernest Hemingway—famous not only for his brilliant writing but life as an avid explorer and hunter—wrote of the magnificent mountain peaks and dormant volcano in his short story, The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to climb a mountain or even a dormant volcano?! Mount Kilimanjaro is technically a “stratovolcano.” As it is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth, climbing Kilimanjaro is a popular feat for climbers but is not to be taken lightly as, without the proper training and equipment, it can be extremely dangerous. ClimbingKilimanjaro offers services for explorers who wish to successfully climb the mountain and has a 96% success rate (you must be at least 10 years old to climb Kilimanjaro.) Experienced guides have helped over 15,000 adventurers to safely reach the summit, Uhuru Peak—the highest in all of Africa! Also, on the way up the stratovolcano, there are campsites where climbers can pitch a tent and rest. Imagine camping at high altitudes on your way to Africa’s greatest peak.

Lake Nakuru: Located in Kenya, this small alkaline lake provides a home for hundreds of species of birds. As many as two million flamingos have been seen all gathered together on the lake, feeding on algae in the warm waters. Imagine this magnificent scene in nature filled with pink flamingos!

Great Wildebeest Migration: Every year, nearly two million wildebeest travel across the plains in the Serengeti to find new grazing land in Masai Mara. This amazing migration is considered one of the seven wonders of the world.

Green Hills of Africa (1935) is a non-fiction work by Ernest Hemingway about his two-month safari in East Africa. If one is interested in African safaris, wildlife, and breathtaking adventure, The Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda will bring Hemingway’s accounts to life. Complete with the magnificent waterfall, Murchison Falls (also known as “Kabalega Falls”), the River Nile, sandbanks where crocodiles and hippopotamuses sunbathe and the Budongo Forest, this National Park is truly one of the most amazing places to visit and explore. One can also gaze upon giraffes, cape buffalo, chimpanzees, elephants, warthogs, and hundreds of bird species in their native habitat.

• “The Rwenzori Mountains are part of East Africa, found along the border between Uganda and the Congo. The Rwenzori Mountains are very important to both regions because they support glaciers that feed water into the river Nile. The highest peaks of the mountains are over sixteen thousand feet high and are constantly covered in snow. Historians believe the mountains were formed over three million years ago. Locals often refer to them as the Mountains of the Moon.”

Sand and Sea

“But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

– Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, 1952

• “Cuba is most well known for having gorgeous sandy beaches and producing high-quality adult products, such as fine rum and cigars. The Caribbean island has a very rich culture, and is filled with many great clubs and cabarets. Due to political reasons, Cuba has mostly been cut off from travelers and tourists in the past, giving the island a mysterious allure.”

Hemingway also wrote of Cuba in one of his most well-known books, The Old Man and the Sea. The short novel details the story of an old fisherman who struggles to catch a giant marlin in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream off the Cuban coast.

Cuba—which is now open to travelers—is a beautiful destination known for warm, crystal clear waters and beaches, such as Varadero (one of the most popular in the Caribbean) and caves (Cueva de Ambrosio and Cueva de Musulmanes). Cuba is also known for its underwater park, Cayo Piedra, which is ideal for exploration. Snorkelers can discover underwater worlds filled with shipwrecks and all sorts of colorful fish!
There’s also deep-sea fishing and even skydiving!

“Water, water, water…There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”

– Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, 1968

Death Valley is a land of extremes. It is the hottest, driest, and lowest national park. According to the National Park Service, “this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes.” There is, surprisingly, a certain balance as “each extreme has a striking contrast.” There are actually occasional rainstorms, and, from these, wildflowers bloom. There are also frosty mountain peaks covered with snow, and wildlife can sustain on fish found in lush oases.

Sailing Stones at Racetrack Playa: The Sailing Stones are found in Death Valley, California and are sometimes referred to as the moving or sliding stones. The stones earn their name because they move completely on their own. The sliding stones always leave a noticeable trail of sand where they have traveled. Most of the rocks slide to a dry lake bed called the Racetrack Playa. These stones and the marks they leave in the sand are a sight to behold for any traveler.

For more information on what Spartan and the Green Egg has to offer (including Explorer Stickers) along with more helpful insights on the extraordinary destinations mentioned in this blog, consult the websites listed below.

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Explore Scotland: Lighthouses, Castles, Fortresses And Ancient Villages!

My Heart is in the Highlands!

Scotland is known for its rolling green hills and mountain ranges, highlands, lowlands, castles, ancient ruins, fortresses, lochs (lakes) such as its most famous Loch Ness, and glens (or valleys). When one thinks of castles, we think of fairytales with kings and queens, princes and princesses. We think of medieval times, ancient history, and maybe even an underwater monster!


Edinburgh Castle (

  • Edinburgh Castle sits on top of Castle Rock (which is actually the remains of an erupted volcano) and is truly a sight to behold. It has been occupied by royalty since the 11th century and is known for its majesty and grandeur. It was attacked until the 19th century and was known as one of the world’s “most besieged” places in Great Britain. Today, it is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions.

Inverness Castle (

  • Inverness Castle is a structure built in the neo-Norman style and has been since the 1800s. An original structure was built as long ago as the eleventh century AD and was then rebuilt in the 18th century.

Dunnottar Castle (

  • Dunnottar Castle is a fortress now in ruins as it sits atop a cliff on the North Sea. Its walls were once impenetrable.

Balmoral Castle (

Kenmure Castle (

  • Kenmure Castle is located near New Galloway in southwest Scotland. The oldest part of the castle—its tower—was built in the 16th The castle ruins have witnessed many fires and stands upon rock and marshy ground.

Other Sights to Behold: Collect your Corresponding Spartan and the Green Egg Explorer Stickers Today!

  • The Antonine Wall is a structure made of stone that was built by the Romans around 140 AD. The ancient ruins remain standing and, in some places, are as high as ten feet.

  • Fingal’s Cave is a sea-cave rising 72 feet tall and 270 feet deep. Its interior walls are made of hexagonal columns of basalt which are shaped as six-sided pillars. The cave is known for its colorful interior as well as the wonder it provided the ancient Irish and Scottish Celtic people while the island of Staffa is known for the puffins that nest there.

  • The Bell Rock Lighthouse is located off the coast of Angus, Scotland, and was built between 1807 and 1810. It is the oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse in the world. During the first and second World Wars, the lighthouse exhibited a light when ships were expected to pass the Inchcape reef.

  • Loch Ness is famously known for the myth that an enormous underwater monster lives within its deep waters. Existence of the Loch Ness Monster has never been proven. The first sighting was in 1933, and since then it has become a tourist attraction. The actual lake is known for the immense depth of the water.  Located in the Scottish Highlands, the freshwater lake is nearly 800 feet deep.

Shakespeare’s Scotland

“Yet do I fear thy nature;

It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.”

– William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.5

(“Lady Macbeth” by James Parker, 1800)

  • Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth (1606-07) is about a young general who is told (by three witches no less) that he will, one day, be king of Scotland. Shakespeare’s play is a masterwork of drama as it explores the effects of political power and just how far one will go to get it.

For more information on Spartan and the Green Egg Explorer Stickers and how to collect them, visit the websites below:

For more information on Scotland, its castles, other amazing attractions and ancient ruins, consult the websites mentioned in this blog post:

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Let’s Explore the Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, and it is still growing and always changing. It is home to many different species of fish, animals, and plants, as well as strange underwater structures like coral reefs and entire underwater mountains. Let’s explore the Atlantic Ocean and all of the things that make it special.

The Size and Temperature of the Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is made up of about 41,100,000 square miles of salt water. It is so big that it is often split into two categories, which are the North Atlantic and the South Atlantic. The South Atlantic is the warmer part of the Atlantic Ocean, and the North Atlantic is the colder part. The water in the South Atlantic near the Equator can reach temperatures of 82 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which is great for swimming. But you wouldn’t want to swim in the North Atlantic unless you were a penguin or a polar bear. The water up there can drop to below freezing temperatures, which is far too cold for people to swim in.

Countries and Cities of the Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean flows past the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Iceland, France, and Cuba also border the Atlantic Ocean, along with more than a dozen other countries. In fact, many countries have been trading goods for centuries using the Atlantic Ocean for boat travel. Christopher Columbus first discovered what is now North America by traveling across the Atlantic Ocean.

Some of the world’s most well-known cities are also located right on the Atlantic Ocean. Havana, Cuba, Seville, Spain, and New York City in the United States are a few of them. Without the Atlantic Ocean for boat travel, many of those cities might never have been founded.

Landmarks of the Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is made up of two basins, which you can think of as two giant pools. The two pools are split by an underwater mountain range called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. But water and sea life can still pass between the two basins through gaps in the mountains. Another landmark which can be found in the Atlantic Ocean is the Bermuda Triangle, which is a famous area where many ships and planes have mysteriously vanished. The Atlantic Ocean is also home to the second largest coral reef in the world, which is located off the coast of Cancun, Mexico.

Creatures of the Atlantic Ocean
The manatee is one of the most unique creatures living in the Atlantic Ocean. Manatees are also sometimes called “sea cows.” They are often seen in the warm waters of the Atlantic, especially off the coast of Florida. Other Atlantic Ocean creatures that prefer the warmer southern part of the Atlantic include tropical fish, seahorses, anemones, and many types of dolphins.

The colder parts of the Atlantic Ocean are home to many species of seals and sea lions. The North Atlantic right whale, which is an endangered species, also makes its home in the North Atlantic. Lots of fish live in the colder Atlantic waters too, along with lobsters, crabs, and other creatures, many of which humans eat.

We need to be careful because fishing for too many of those creatures can cause them to become harder and harder to find. Some species have already become extinct or close to it because of overfishing. The Atlantic Ocean will only stay healthy if we find ways to protect it and its creatures.

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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.


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Discovering Venice

Venice is a city filled with adventure and endless possibility for lovers of beauty. One can take a calm ride through the city’s canals in a gondola while listening to the music of the lapping water and if you’re lucky, a singing gondolier. Canals filled with turquoise water instead of streets bustling with cars and bicycles come to mind when one thinks of the sinking city. The poet Joseph Brodsky only visited Venice in December for he longed to celebrate the beginning of a new year with “a wave hitting the shore at midnight.” He explained, “that, to me, is time coming out of water.” Brodsky also described the city as being “part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers” and he described the canal-side structures as “upright lace.”

Venice is also home to the Piazza San Marco which was, according to Napoleon, one of the most beautiful squares in all of Europe and remains, to this day, one of the most visited sites in the city. Saint Mark’s Basilica lies within the square and is one of the most gorgeous examples of glorious Italo-Byzantine architecture; it is even embellished with three majestic bronze horses that were once stolen by Napoleon and taken to Paris (they were brought back to Venice many years ago). Saint Mark’s Square is also home to the Palazzo Ducale (or Doge’s Palace) with its Bridge of Sighs and a nearby campanile (or bell tower) where one can climb to the peak and look out over the canals, palazzos, bridges, and rooftops. Because Venice is literally sinking into the sea due to rising tides or “acqua alta” it is important to visit the city and all the beautiful museums and treasured sites it has to offer.

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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.


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


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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