19 August 2011

S'mores: a simple unplugged memory in the making

One of the greatest things to do with kids over the summer is to go camping (or RVing, which is fun too!).  As part of a little RV trip recently to Vermont, we made it a point to build a fire (which, if you asked our boys, was arguably as much fun as the s'more eating!!); and got out our telescoping marshmallow roasting sticks (although it's fun to 'cut' some from the woods, please take stuff that has already fallen from a tree!).  You can check out the 'roasters' we use (also good for hot dogs) HERE.

This is something our boys always LOVE to do: the wood arrangement/gathering, the fire building, the attempts to master the art of 'browning' and NOT burning the marshmallows. And, equally importantly, the proper assembly of the S'more itself.  Total cost (less the roasting sticks) about $10 for a big supply of chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers.

Not traveling?  Find an old wheel rim, clear the foliage around the rim, dig a little hole in the center, and you have your self-made, backyard fire pit!  No backyard??  Well, skip the roasting and jump ahead to just the assembly - cracker, chocolate squares, marshmallow (2 actually), cracker, and then warm in a microwave or toaster oven until the marshmallow just starts to heat (otherwise, it may get too hot for the youngest of consumers!).  Yum, yum, and don't forget to have the kids make one for you!!

S'mores: a simple unplugged memory in the makingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

11 August 2011

Montshire Museum of Science

We recently got back from a trip to Quechee, Vermont, where we were pleasantly surprised at ALL of the really great things to do there with kids.  First of all, we stayed at the Quechee Pine Valley KOA Kampground (yes, they spell anything they can with a 'K' instead of a 'C'), and were very happy with the place.  We had a nice site, right next to the playgound (site 20 on Map), pool, and the fenced in area where our dog could run 'leashless' - how sweet is that??

We also have dear friends in the area, who we met up with 4 days while we were staying there.  Ticket to a smooth, kid meltdown-minimized time?  Gear the activities around them.  Thus, "the Montshire", where our friends have an annual pass and where my older son claims that "if we lived there, we'd HAVE to have a pass too".
Here's my husband and youngest son playing in one of the many bubble making tubs.  What we (as adults) loved about this place is that everything is interactive (and, despite some NOT-so gentle use by some kids there - EVERYTHING works and is well kept), and even though some of the things might not totally be understood by our kids, someday, they will reflect on how 'the bubbles'(for example) happen (because of surface tension)?!  Many of the displays illustrate complicated concepts in simple forms, helping to prove the importance of experiential, hands-on, away-from-the-books learning.
The other beauty of visiting Montshire during the summer, is the extensive outdoor 'water and how it moves' activity area - a perfect way to take the kids energy (and 'heat') outdoors for play and experimentation.  Here my boys attach various pipes together to channel water in different directions, or make it sprinkle, or spin and more.  A great way to stay cool and learn.  We were here for hours and could easily go back several days without seeing and interacting with everything.  AND, there displays change occasionally keeping frequent visits interesting.

If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend this Museum, or search your travel destination for Children's Museums - the perfect way to keep kids traveling happy!
Montshire Museum of ScienceSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend