Tide Pools of Cannon Beach

August 27th, 2014

tide-pools-of-cannon-beachThe tide pools of Cannon Beach were beautiful. Here are some pictures we took on our recent vacation to Cannon Beach. You have to look up the tides of Cannon Beach in order to find out when the low tides are, so that you can find the tide pools. There are no tide pools at high tide because the ocean is covering the area. It’s only when the tides retreat and leave behind pockets of water that you will find beautiful creatures residing in their midst.

tide-pools-of-cannon-beach-4If you go to Haystack Rock (the triangular rock jutting out of the water), you will find the best tide pools there. We went at three different times of the day, and there is a big difference in what you see. When we went in the afternoon, there were lots of people, and it was hard to find even one sea star. We finally found one, and after half an hour at the tide pools, we had located about five sea stars in total. There were lots of anemones and hermit crabs.

tide-pools-of-cannon-beach-2The second time we went was in the early morning around 6am, which is a much better time to go. Not very many people were there. We saw a large crab and many other creatures we hadn’t seen the previous afternoon. Best of all, we saw maybe 50 different sea stars, all hugging each other and overlapping sometimes. It was beautiful. Up on the rock you could see puffins nesting, if you looked closely with binoculars. I’ve always loved puffins, so this was a nice surprise.

barnacles-at-cannon-beachThe sides of the rocks were covered with barnacles and other shellfish. The rocks were alive, as you could hear them clicking shut. My son saw a couple of mussels opened, and he touched them before they retreated into their shell and snapped shut like a Vanus Flytrap!

tide-pools-of-cannon-beach-3Here is my daughter picking up a hermit crab. She liked the hermit crab to walk along her hand. After playing with it for a while, she placed it back into the water.

hermit-crab-cannon-beachKelp covered a lot of the rocks as well. In the early morning, you could pull back the kelp like a curtain to find crabs, fish, and other sea creatures that were hiding from the light.

kelp-of-cannon-beachMy husband went to the tide pools at 3am one night when he couldn’t sleep, and he said the tide pools were spectacular! He saw enormous sea stars that were two feet across. He saw crabs that scurried away when he shone his flashlight on them. The colors were beautiful as he shone his flashlight on the sea creatures in the tide pools in the middle of the night. Unfortunately my husband didn’t take a camera with him, and the tide pools themselves were an unexpected surprise.

starfish-at-cannon-beach

As we sat around the campfire one night, my son Stephen wanted to hear more about the tide pools in the middle of the night. My husband’s description seemed incredible, and we wished we had another night in which to grab flashlights and explore the tide pools when they were thriving with so much life!

sea-stars-of-cannon-beach

#4 Mixtures and Compounds

August 25th, 2014

mixtures-and-compounds

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today we will be identifying mixtures and compounds by looking at different substances and trying to figure out if the ingredients are chemically bonded together or not. My younger two children are using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry by Bright Ideas Press, and this is one of the fun experiments in the book.

You will want to take out 6 bowls and make 6 labels. 3 by 5 cards folded length-wise are perfect for the labels. You can write with a black marker the following mixtures and compounds:

  • mustard mixture
  • sand/salt mixture
  • sugar compound
  • salt compound
  • water compound
  • water/oil mixture

elementary-level-chemistryGo ahead and examine each of the mixtures and compounds to figure out why they are mixtures and compounds. The hardest one for my kids was the mustard. They thought it was a compound because it looked like one substance, but mustard is made up of different powdered ingredients (solids) and water. There is no chemical bond between the ingredients, which is why it is a mixture.

Sand and salt don’t chemically bond together when placed in a bowl, so that one was obviously a mixture. The sugar, salt, and water were obviously compounds because the elements combined chemically to produce a new substance.

oli-water-mixtureLast but not least was the water/oil mixture. We poured water and oil into a bowl, and they definitely didn’t combine into a new substance. In fact, they remained as separate as ever! We tinted the water blue to show how the water (blue) and the oil (light yellow) are not even wanting to mingle together. You can see in the video that something unexpected happened with this last mixture, which resembled fireworks!

 

A Time for Everything

August 22nd, 2014

time-for-everything“There is a time for everything under the sun,” says King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Late in his life he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, which describes how meaningless life is without God.

Solomon looked at the cycles of nature, including the seasons and the water cycle, and he says that there is nothing new under the sun. Every event has its place: there is a time to be born and a time to die. There is an appropriate time for every activity under the sun.

My children chose a verse from chapter 3 and illustrated it. First we divided the paper into four parts. The first two opposites went in the top boxes, and the second two opposites went in the bottom boxes. In the illustration at the top of this page, my son showed that there was a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. When someone passes away, it is appropriate to grieve. And yet if your business is finally blessed by God and prospers, it’s time to rejoice and praise the Lord. Dancing around or laughing is appropriate when God blesses us.

ecclesiastes-drawingAnother one of my sons drew pictures to represent a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones. Maybe you are skipping stones on a lake, or gathering stones to build a well.

There is also a time to be silent and a time to speak. Many of us need to keep in mind that sometimes it is best to remain quiet rather than always voice our opinion.

ecclesiastes-drawing-2My daughter illustrated a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what was planted. Sometimes a plant will take over the whole yard, and it needs to be uprooted to contain it. You can see the effort the man is exerting in the picture.

A Time for Everything

All these drawings remind me of the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, which is a perfect conclusion for this topic:

How to Build a Sand Castle

August 20th, 2014

how-to-build-a-sand-castle

We saw sand castles on Cannon Beach as we were walking to the tide pools, so we snapped pictures of some of them. I have always loved sand castles! The best ones have a specific method for why they hold together so well. Here are some tips to building a sand castle, followed by a fun video showing each of these steps.

How to Build a Sand Castle

Step 1: Carve a circle, build a trench, and dump the sand in the middle of the circle.

Carve a circle with a shovel in the sand, the area where you want to build your sand castle. (You could make a square or rectangle instead if you want, like the picture above.) Then start digging a trench at the circle line, piling the sand in the middle of the circle in a big heap.

how-to-build-a-sand-castle

Step 2: Get buckets of water, and dump them into the middle of the sand pile.

You need lots and lots of water, so go back and forth from the water to the sand circle, dumping the water in the middle.

sand-castles-2

Step 3: Build the castle mountain, from which you will carve the castle.

The woman in the video used a large bottomless bucket to build the main part of her castle, but most of us don’t have that. Instead, you can just build up a mountain of wet sand, packing it down tight as you go, because you will want to carve it next.

Step 4: Carve the castle.

Carve the shape of the castle little by little, starting at the top and moving down. You can add stairs, windows, castle turrets, and other details. Use a simple table knife if you don’t have sand sculpting supplies. You can also use buckets filled with wet sand, turned upside-down.

simple-sand-castle

Step 5: Add the final details.

Add bridges and carve the shape of bricks into the walls of the castle. You can get as elaborate as you want. Then stand back and admire your work.

sand-castle-bridgeHere is a fantastic video I found on how to build a sand castle, using each of these steps:

We saw a Lord of the Rings sand castle as we were walking along. My husband and sons thought the Mountains of Mordor were super cool!

lord-of-the-rings-sand-castleHere is a closer picture from above the Lord of the Rings sand castle, showing more of the terrain:

lord-of-the-rings-sandcastle-2We thoroughly enjoyed these sand castles! Every June there is a sand castle contest where even more spectacular sand castles are built!

Related product: The Wonderful World of Sand and Dirt

#3 Make Your Own Element Cards

August 18th, 2014

make-your-own-element-cardsThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today I will show you how to make your own element cards for the Periodic Table of Elements. We are using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry by Bright Ideas Press to study elementary-level chemistry, and one of the activities throughout the book is to make element cards. You do not have to make element cards for every single element on the periodic table, but if you do, you can make this giant Periodic Table Puzzle!

You will need some blank 3 by 5 cards. We decided to write the chemical symbols with bubble letters that we color-coded according to whether the elements were metals or non-metals. You can further classify the metals if you want.

These are the pieces of information we wrote on each card:

  • chemical symbol
  • name of the element
  • atomic number
  • atomic weight

On the back of each card you can write any interesting information about each element. You can find this information in books or on the internet.

periodic-table-cardsTo facilitate putting together the Periodic Table Puzzle, you will want to look at the atomic numbers. The periodic table is set up in order according to the atomic numbers. Watch the video at the bottom of this blog post to see how the periodic table is arranged.

You can use these cards in many ways:

  • Make a Periodic Table Puzzle
  • Use the cards to quiz each other on elements and their symbols
  • Based on the color, learn which elements are non-metals.
  • Use it as an encyclopedia of each element on the back of the cards.
  • Learn the atomic numbers of common elements.

Take a look at how we arranged these element cards:

Solomon Unit Study

August 15th, 2014

solomon-unit-study

This fun Solomon Unit Study includes dramatizations, drawings, and hands-on ideas for learning about the wisest man who ever lived.

We filmed our dramatizations for our Solomon Unit Study inside our ever-growing Bible section of the Unit Study Treasure Vault. These pictures were taken years ago when we first dramatized the life of Solomon. We crowned one of my sons King of Israel and grabbed a kingly costume that I had bought at a yard sale. We placed him up on a coffee table, with two stone lions beside him. Since we didn’t have lions, we used a bear toy and a dragon puppet. A servant fanned him off continuously, and he ruled with great power and wisdom.

solomon-unit-study-3

In fact, Solomon is known for his great wisdom. God appeared to Solomon in a vision and said He would grant him any request. So Solomon asked for wisdom. This was such a great answer that God decided to give him riches and honor as well.

If you want to study the wisdom of Solomon, you can start with the story of two women. One baby was dead and the other was alive, and each woman claimed the living baby was hers. “Chop the baby in half and give each woman half the baby!” stated Solomon, and the rightful mother screamed to stop and give the living baby to the other woman, but to please let the baby live. The other woman said to kill the baby; if she couldn’t have the baby, neither should the other woman. Obviously Solomon knew who the right mother was!

solomon-drawing-2

You can draw a picture of this story, illustrating the two women, the baby, the servant, and King Solomon on his throne.

solomon-picture

You can study the wisdom literature that Solomon wrote, especially the book of Proverbs. Here are two hands-on learning activities for studying the book of Proverbs:

solomon-unit-study-2

The Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon and brought him spices. We put some spice bottles on a tray and handed them to the king. But a lot more treasure was given Solomon besides the spices. You can illustrate how rich Solomon was by drawing a pile of riches on top of King Solomon.

solomon-drawing

Solomon built the Temple for the Lord and dedicated the Temple with a beautiful prayer. His father David had made preparations for the Temple before his death. You could make a model of the Temple with Legos or with a shoe box similar to how we made the Tabernacle Model. You would need to add rooms on the sides and paint everything gold, but the set-up of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies is the same.

Sadly, at the end of Solomon’s life, he turned away from God to idols because of his many wives. And thus ends the life of King Solomon.

To study the Word of God deeply with your kids, grab Using Simple Costumes and Props to Teach the Bible. You get this workshop free when you join the Unit Study Treasure Vault.

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