June 2011 - momgineer

recyclable parking garage

F received a great parking garage for his 2nd birthday. However, it doesn't hold his (or H's) interest for very long. Before he got the multi-level parking garage complete with elevator we would make our own with boxes that were going to be recycled. As it turns out, both H&F still prefer the recycled box structures. They can be as simple or complex as you like, with tunnels, trapdoors, hidden places to park, etc.

What you need:
  • A box or two (or more if you'd like!)
  • Strong tape (duct or packing)
  • A pair of scissors that will cut through the cardboard (better if you do it unless you have an older child)
Here are some we made a couple of months ago:
This was one of the more elaborate ones we've made.
tunnels are fun

trap door
As you can see, dinosaurs also get involved, as do marbles, and anything else for this little "world."
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

spring birds

A pair of robins decided to build their nest underneath our deck this year and we were able to watch them hard at work building the nest for several weeks, and then watch the baby birds grow from featherless sleepy things into hopping and flying robins. What a fun thing to be able to watch with the kids.

Here is a baby robin as seen from above through the deck boards:

They were quite hungry a few days later and for about two weeks, we got to watch both the parents bringing the baby birds food.

Then they started vacating the nest one at a time. Here is a look when there were just two left.

One about to hop out of the nest:

It was so cute watching them hop around and learn how to fly. The first flight of this bird was up on top of our play house:

The kids really enjoyed checking in on them daily. We then got a chance to look at the nest after all of the birds left.
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

gardening time

We've been busy preparing garden beds, and harvesting our june strawberry crop!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!


We recently purchased Insect Lore's Butterfly Garden so that we could watch the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. What a fun and easy kit! The caterpillars ship with food so you basically just have to watch them for the first week or so. They grow visibly each day, so it is something easy to observe. When they change to chrysalides, you just have to pin them to the butterfly habitat and wait. The most exciting part is seeing them emerge as butterflies! Three of ours emerged on one day, and another the following day. The one chrysalis that didn't stay attached to the side tried to make its way out but didn't make it, so we talked about the life cycle length and how, even as butterflies, they will only live a few weeks.

A classic book to go along with this is The Caterpillar and the Polliwog. We also have this great life cycle puzzle, which continues to hold interest for H even though he generally prefers to do 200+ piece puzzles. The layering really adds an element of challenge. F loves it as well.

I would highly recommend this kit! It would be great for a birthday gift or as part of a homeschooling curriculum, or just to do for fun. 

painted lady butterfly
day 1: caterpillars arrive
day 3
day 5
day 9
day 12: before transferring

day 12: transferred
day 18: note two have emerged, two remain in this picture

 day 20: released next to our strawberry garden
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!