Get Outdoors and Explore! Our top 10 tools and toys for buggy backyard adventures

backyard-bugs-blog

It’s backyard bug week at EI – time to unplug, get outside, and check out the creepies crawling in your own backyard! Below are ten of our favorite outdoor tools and best backyard toys, perfect for investigating the wildlife in your yard, the local park, stream, or shoreline – and just in time for summer vacation!

Little ones love to explore! The bug finding tools below are designed specifically for little kids, making investigation and discovery even more amazing.

  1. GeoSafari® Jr. Kidnoculars, are a must-have for backyard exploration! Featuring extra-large, focus-free eyepieces and perfect-fit goggles with placement guide, even toddlers can get an up-close view of far-off nature like birds, nests, trees, and more.
  1. Turn an ordinary drive into an action-packed nature excursion with the two-in-one GeoSafari® Jr. Science Utility Vehicle! Simply press the handles to reveal the 3x magnifier and study the details of many types of terrain and creatures underneath.
  1. See what lurks beneath the surface with the GeoSafari® Jr. Underwater Explorer Boat! A clear plastic bottom with 3x magnifier provides a clear picture of life underwater.
  1. Capture and study tadpoles, frogs, fish, butterflies, and more with GeoSafari® Jr. Bugnoculars! Built-in magnifiers, snap-lock lid with airholes, and watertight bottom are great for on-the-go scientific studies.

We’ve also got a complete line of serious scientific tools for bigger backyard investigators!

  1. Explore on land or underwater with the GeoSafari® SeaScope! This 4x telescope can be used to scope-out specimens in the water, with a removable flashlight to illuminate dark underwater conditions, a built-in ruler for on-the-spot measurements, and a thermometer for tracking water temps.
  1. Three pocket-sized GeoSafari® Adventure Pens enable kids to collect and capture, examine and investigate, study and learn about anything and everything they find outdoors – on the spot!
  1. Kids can observe and learn with Nancy B’s Science Club™  Binoculars & Wildlife Activity Journal! From wildlife-watching to hands-on learning about the surrounding ecosystem to flora and fauna drawing exercises, the journal is packed with nature activities sure to get kids excited about the great outdoors!
  1. Scientists can get down-to-Earth with Nancy B’s Science Club™ Nature Keeper and Tree Diary! Budding botanists observe and detail seasonal changes in nature with activities like pressing leaves and petals.
  1. The outdoors changes when the sun goes down! Check out these fun finds for nighttime missions.
  1. Little ones can discover in the dark, just like an owl, with the GeoSafari® Jr. Bright Eyes Magnifier! This owl-shaped magnifier includes 2x and 8x magnifiers and red LED night vision lights for nighttime exploring and magnification.
  1. Older adventurers can investigate nighttime nature and discover nocturnal creatures in the dark with the GeoSafari® Night Explorer red-light flashlight, perfect for nighttime safaris, reading star maps, and more.
  1. Kids of all ages can check out the craters of the moon and more with the GeoSafari® Vega 360 Telescope! With 18x, 36x, 40x, and 80x magnifications, this is the perfect telescope for aspiring astronomers.

Great Gifts for Mom!

Mother's Day Gifts

There’s no one quite like Mom! She’s always there when you need her, with a kiss and a hug or a snack and a bedtime story. Help your little ones show their love and appreciation with one of our sweet Mother’s Day printables!

Choose one (or all!) of our downloadable coupons, featuring our very own Frida, Frankie, and Shelby:

Mothers Day Coupons
PLUS, add some color to your Mother’s Day celebration with our downloadable coloring sheet, featuring Mama Frida feeding healthy fruit snacks to her own little chickadees.

Mothers-Day-Coloring-Page

[Download Mother’s Day Coloring Page]

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Gifts from the Heart: Teacher Appreciation Week

A+ Teacher Gift Ideas

This week, we’ve invited a special guest, Marcia Gresko, our product development lead and a former teacher herself, to share some wonderful suggestions for how to tell your favorite teachers “Thank you!”  

Vases carefully constructed from #2 pencils. Baskets brimming with scented candles and lotions. Homemade gourmet goodies, from salted caramel sauce to buckets of pretzels hand-dipped to look like apples!

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, the time to thank the hard-working professionals who have such an influence on our children. The average elementary school student spends 943 hours a year in school. That’s a lot of time with teachers!

As a teacher for 15 years, I’m here to tell you that I marvel at your craftiness and appreciate the gift cards. What I am also here to tell you is NOT to worry if you’re not crafty or are on a budget. What I have framed, kept in albums, and treasured over the years are the heartfelt, hand-written notes from parents and students. My husband, a high school math teacher, has notes and drawings proudly taped to the windowsill above his computer. It truly is “the thought that counts.”

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Here are two ways to work with your child to create personal and memorable messages to teachers while also learning some simple poetry forms. Win-win!

Cinquain Poetry

Cinquains have five lines and a specific structure.

  • Line 1    1-word title (noun)
  • Line 2    2-word description of subject (adjectives)
  • Line 3    3-word words ending in –ing that describe actions (verbs)
  • Line 4    4-word phrase that expresses feelings or adds to description.
  • Line 5    1-word synonym for title (noun)

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[ Download Teacher Appreciation Cinquain Poetry Template ]

 

Acrostic Poetry

An acrostic poem uses the letters in the poem’s topic to begin each line. All the poem’s lines relate to or describe the topic.

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 [ Download Teacher Appreciation Acrostic Poetry Template]

When your child is done with his or her poem, have your child illustrate it.

And, if you’re really determined to craft something cute, you and your child can always create a custom frame for the poetry gift. Glue colorful magnetic letters, puzzle pieces, crayons, even buttons to an inexpensive frame, or create a simple frame from wooden rulers.

Check our Teacher Appreciation Week Pinterest board for more A+ teacher gift ideas.

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Finally, if any of this seems overwhelming, a simple, heartfelt note is lovely!

Change It Up! CaringBridge

Thao CaringBridgeEach month at EI, a different team member chooses a non-profit organization and uses our Change It Up to collect funds around the office. At the end of the month, EI matches whatever the team has donated and sends the contribution to the non-profit. We feel great about doing our part to help groups who are doing so much to help so many!

In April Thao Truong, EI’s eCommerce Manager chose to range funds for CaringBridge, a non-profit organization that offers free, personalized websites to people facing various medical conditions, hospitalization, medical treatment and/or are recovering from a significant accident, illness, injury or procedure.

Thao has a special connection with CaringBridge – she used to work there! Says Thao, “I had the pleasure of working at CaringBridge, a social network that helps you stay connected during a health journey. In my time there, I met families facing health challenges, like cancer, that were encouraged by being able to connect online with their network. Caretakers and patients created a blog-like site, which made their lives easier because the site kept family and friends updated and, inaddition, they got an outpouring of emotional support.”

CaringBridge launched in 1997, when founder and CEO SonaMehring had a premature baby. Concerned, her friends asked her to let them know what was happening. Instead of making dozens of emotional and time-consuming phone calls, she decided to create a website. The same night her baby Brighid was born, so was the idea that became CaringBridge.

CaringBridge functions thanks to the dedication of more than 2,500 volunteersandgenerous supporters who gave more than $8.19 million in time and resources in 2013. To contribute to CaringBridge or to learn more, please visit
http://www.caringbridge.org/about-us

7 Simple Steps for a Stellar Night of Stargazing

Celebrate Space Day

It’s Space Day – time to go galactic! Grab your telescope or binoculars and head outside tonight for some stellar springtime stargazing. Although any clear night is a good night for stargazing, the spring sky offers a great view of some very special constellations that are sure to dazzle your family. Follow the seven simple steps below for a stellar night of stargazing that your family won’t soon forget!

  1. Choose a clear night and a wide open space! It’s tough to see stars through clouds, haze, or fog but the night sky sparkles when it’s clear.
  2. Set up at dusk. Pull out your blankets, pillows, and sweatshirts, find your flashlight and check the batteries before it gets dark. If you’ve got binoculars and/or a telescope, this is the time to take them out and set them up. If you don’t have a telescope, we recommend purchasing a children’s telescope and/or binoculars, like the Nancy B’s Science Club™ Binoculars and Moonscope – both are easy to use and come with journals packed with activities perfect for getting kids involved in science.
  3. Don’t forget the snacks! Score a star-shaped cookie cutter and go wild! Press out star-shaped PB&Js, ham & cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches as a main course. Snack on five-pointed cheese and cucumber slices. And for dessert? Star-shaped brownies and Jello or Rice Crispy Treats pressed into stars and crescent moons.
  4. Start simple – with the moon! Although it’s easiest to see the stars and constellations on a moonless night, the moon is the largest and brightest object in the sky – a great starting place for kids. Next, search for a planet. How do you tell the difference between a planet and a star, you ask? Given their distance from the earth, stars appear to “twinkle” (small changes in the earth’s atmosphere create variances in the way we see the pinpoint of light given off by the star) but planets in our solar system, which are much closer to Earth, appear to give off steady light.
  5. Close your eyes. It’s easier to see stars and constellations when your eyes have adapted to the dark, so squeeze your peepers tight and count to 200. Then try to spot The Big Dipper and The Little Dipper (both visible year-round from the northern hemisphere). The Big Dipper is highest in the sky and the star at the top of non-handle side of its “bucket” leads the eye directly to Polaris, the star that starts The Little Dipper’s handle.
  6. Arc to Arcturus and Speed on to Spica! This simple rhyme will help you find two of the special springtime constellations. Starting at The Big Dipper, follow the handle to the first bright star, Arcturus, in the constellation Bootes. Continue the handle’s path to a second bright star, Spica, in the constellation Virgo. Arcturus – an orange giant – is the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere, and Spica – a blue giant – is the brightest star in Virgo.
  7. Flashlight fun! When you’re done gazing at the springtime sky, lie back and relax. Enjoy the evening outdoors with your family, and have some fun with your flashlight! From shadow puppets to spooky stories, everything’s more fun in the dark!