Jam and some friends took a closer look at their neighborhood. I asked them to write things they thought every neighborhood should have. We did this outside so I told them not to cheat by looking around. They came up with some general good stuff like trees, houses, and playgrounds. To encourage them to think harder I asked them questions to lead them to other items in our neighborhood. Our dialog went as follows: I asked, “If you changed Kal’s stinky diaper where would you put it?” They answered, “In the trash.” I asked, “Would you want that trash to stay inside and stink up the house?” They yelled “NO!” Then I said, “So what do you need?” Before I finished my question they yelled dumpster, and pointed to the dumpster by our cars. Then I asked, “So do you think that is important for a neighborhood to have? Why?” Some repeated back to me the same diaper scenario back to me and some gave me other reasons. We talked about street lights, fire hydrants, and electric boxes and poles. Once they made their list we searched the neighborhood for them.
The best find was when one of the kids pointed out the storm water inlet and manhole. He said it was important because the inlet kept the road from flooding. Such a smart answer moment hilariously transitioned into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sewer conversation. It’s funny how TMNT sneaks in every conversation.
The kids got side tracked checking the playground off their list because… well you can see why. Overall they had a blast running through the neighborhood, and asked me when they could do the next activity. So I guess Investigate With Jam has extended to With Jam and Friends.
Investigate your neighborhood.
Case study #11: Try to find the items on the list. Discuss why they are important to have in your neighborhood.
Visit a garden center. Look at the different sizes of plants and guess how long it took for it to grow.
Case study #10: Go on a scavenger hunt. Attached is 2 scavenger hunts. The first hunt is specifically for Behnke Nurseries. Use the second hunt for any other garden center if you are not in the Baltimore Washington area.
Winter Saturdays are the best days for a trip to the Smithsonian. Jam had his first investigation of the year at the National Air and Space Museum. It was fun to look at the full scale planes and see the equipment, uniforms, and even bombs.
However due to Star Wars the real excitement was found in the space exhibits (Thanks Disney). In one area the Museum team set up a story and craft time. We missed the book reading but still got a chance to draw. They gave scratch paper and sticks to draw the plants discussed in the story. Both of the guys enjoyed it. We made it to most of the exhibits but after 2 hours, lunch, and the crowd it was time to call it a day.
Visit the National Air and Space Museum – hey it’s free.
Case Study #9: Enjoy this out-of-this-world word search.
Back to the blog- So we talked about how murals are made. They typically start with a smaller sketch. Once the artist is finish with the design they create a grid over it to understand the proportion and scale in relation to the wall that it will go on. Lastly the sketch gets translated on to the wall. For this blog activity we took this concept and applied it to the sidewalk. This is what I call color by number at its simplest. You gotta love street art.
Search your city for street art. Keep an eye out for murals, sculptures, and fun pavement designs.
Case study #8: Create your own street art. Use sidewalk chalk to recreate the case study picture on the ground.
When we don't know how to get to where we want to go we use directions. Jam and I discussed what directions look like on the phone and printed. We discussed how directional words help us communicate our actions, and how to represent them graphically. We talked about the importance of our address and how it is connected to our streets system, and then we did the activity sheets for this blog.
Print out directions to your next destination and review them with your child. Ask them to help you find the streets and turns.
Case #7: Create an address and directions to your room from your parking lot. Give them to a friend or parent to see if they can find your room.
Investigate with Jam is an activity blog in the
Radicle Roots Series. Our mission is to get out and explore our environment.
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Courtney McQueen is a landscape designer and children's book author from Columbia, MD