April 29, 2015

Birding for the Family

I love spending time in the woods with the kids. In the past few years we have gotten more into birding as well. This is actually the second year I am coaching my daughter in Feathered Friends for the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad too. So why are birds so special? Because they offer the perfect opportunity to see things in nature, and to do so requires everyone to be quietly observant!

There are two great programs available through the Washtenaw County parks and Recreation program in May that I wanted to highlight. They are perfect opportunities for beginning birders and they are free events! Be sure to check them out.

On Saturday, May 2 at the Kosch Headwaters Preserve (Prospect and Ford Roads), walk through open fields, dry woods, wet woods and more to see the birds living there. The area is perfect for birding and should provide a nice variety of spring birds. Bring binoculars and field guide if you can. Beginning birders welcome! Faye Stoner leads this walk starting at 8:00 a.m.

Then on Saturday, May 9 at County Farm Park (Platt Road entrance), bring the kids to the free event called "Birdwatching For Kids." Celebrate backyard and urban birds on International Migratory Bird Day! The program will start with some basic bird identification tips and then head out into the gardens, fields and wooded areas of County Farm to see what birds we can find living in the park. The information collected that day will be sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to add to their data on birds that live in urban areas. Bring binoculars and field guide if you can, but some materials will be provided. Children ages 6 and older are welcome to participate. Faye Stoner leads this hike starting at 3:00 p.m.

April 28, 2015

Free Friday at Cranbrook

This Friday 5:00-10:00 p.m., families can get free admission to the Cranbrook Institute of Science during First Free Friday. The program, courtesy of the MASCO Corporation Foundation, will offer a free evening of science fun for everyone! See the many great exhibits. I took the kids this last fall and they really enjoyed it.

Extend your stay by grabbing a snack at The Café or stop into the Observatory too! Planetarium and bat shows are offered at an additional charge.

Mother's Day Kids Building Projects

The two local big box building stores have two fun (and free) kids building clinics coming up where kids can make a nice gift for Mom or grandma. My kids always loved participating in the building projects and I appreciate not needing to clean up their mess. Will your register your kids for these free activities?

On Saturday, May 2, at 9:00 a.m. your kids can make a cute photo frame at local Home Depot stores. The kids building clinics provide free kids aprons, an activity pin, the materials and event the paint for the project. You just supply the kids. To register for the Home Depot kids workshops visit their website.

The second kids building clinic is part of the Kids Build and Grow series. On Saturday, May 9 at 10:00 a.m. kids will build a cute planter specifically for Mother's Day. In my experience though, be sure to register early for these clinics as they tend to fill up quickly!

April 6, 2015

Ann Arbor Earth Day Celebrations, Activities & Events

Do you want to teach your children to appreciate their natural environment? Why of course you do, what parent wouldn't. The world we live in needs to be around for generations to come, and our kids need to understand what they can do to live in, and improve it. Since Earth Day arrives on Good Friday this year, many events are taking place around that day. Take a look, and find an event you can attend to show off mother Nature in all her glory!

The Annual Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival will be held on April 19, noon-4:00 p.m. at the Leslie Science and Nature Center (1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor). The free event features educational displays, music, hands-on activities, face painting, animals, clean energy expo, and family entertainment including storytelling and sing-alongs. The event always includes the All Species Parade too, with many participants in costumes representing plants and animals. For a full list of Earth Day activities at the LSNC be sure to refer to their website.

Another great way to encourage sustainability  a love for nature and taking responsibility is through allowing your children to participate in a Earth Day project, a spring clean-up event or other community conservation project.

April 4, 2015

Family Fun Night at UM Natural History Museum

This Friday Night spend a Night at the Museum specifically a Fun Friday Night The University of Michigan Natural History Museum (1109 Geddes Ave, Ann Arbor).  On Friday April 10, the museum will be open until 8:00 p.m. so the entire family can enjoy experiencing all the museum has to offer. This free event includes storytime, cow eyeball dissections, the Planetarium and fun activities. The entire event is free however donations are accepted. For planetarium shows at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., there is a $3 cost. Each show is 30 minutes long. Tickets can be purchased the night of the event at the Museum Gift Shop.

Be sure to arrive early as some activities have limited space. The Fun Friday Night includes:
  • Planetarium shows at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m
  • Storytime at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. (limited to 36 people)
  • Free demonstrations
  • Dinosaur tour at 7:00 p.m. (limited to 15 people)

April 3, 2015

Free Program: Birds, Music and Spanish! Ages 3-7

On April 10 at 11:0 a.m., your tot will surely enjoy participating in "Twitter, Tweek, De Aves" sponsored by Anchors Unlimited Science Fun, Inc. at the Ann Arbor District Library (downtown). Kids ages 3-7 will have the opportunity to listen and learn about birds while enjoying music and Spanish during this free program. The program incorporates hands-on learning stations too!

Space is limited for this event though, so be sure to register early. For questions, please feel free to email captain@anchorsciencefun.com.

April 1, 2015

Kids Learn About Michigan Frogs and Toads

Join the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation and Faye Stoner exploring Michigan's frogs and toads on Saturday, April 11, 7:00-8:30 p.m. The free program is perfect for all ages and takes place at the Beach Center at Independence Lake (3200 Jennings Rd, Whitmore Lake, MI 48189). A brief indoor presentation will be followed by hike to look and listen for frogs. A few live frogs will be on hand to see and touch.

New Exhibit at U-M Museum of Natural History

Starting April 4 and running through January 2016, families should consider visiting the new exhibit The Shape of the Universe.   The exhibit traces the history of our evolving understanding of the Universe, from Einstein's discovery of space-time, through the development of theories explaining the Big Bang and cosmic expansion, up to cutting-edge research on gravity waves being conducted by U-M mathematician Lydia Bieri. This exhibit will include interactives, video, beautiful NASA photographs, and artwork by local high school students.