Posts Tagged 'heather doggett'



A Blue View: Talking to Kids about the Environment

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

November 15, 2013: Talking to Kids about the Environment

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Heather discuss
the importance of effectively communicating
environmental issues to kids. 

Kids are curious, and want to soak up all the knowledge they can about our natural world. (Did you know? More than one third of the average first words for babies are names of animals!)

Yet, the approach one needs to take in order to effectively communicate about the environment is very different depending on the age. To avoid an overwhelming fear of large ecological problems such as oil spills or rain forest destruction – also known as “ecophobia” – parents and educators should first teach kids all there is to love about the environment and its many animal inhabitants.

Click here to listen to Heather describe how establishing an early love of the natural world can make a lasting impact in YOUR kid’s life! 

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Come in First With These Last-Minute Halloween Tips!

national aquarium family expert update

It’s just days before one of my all-time favorite holidays, Halloween!

Still not sure what your costume is, how to decorate your place or how you’re going to drag home all that candy? Not to worry. Before you hit the big Halloween stores (and crowds), you may want to consider some of these less expensive, eco-friendly options:

  • Thrift Store Treasures - Avoid the plastics, vinyl (PVC) and even lead that can be found in store-bought Halloween costumes by searching the racks of your nearby thrift store or closet. When I asked my 4-year-old what he liked about making his own costume he replied, “Because if I had a store costume, it would be just regular. If I made my own, it would be crazy and silly!” Hard to argue with that!
  • Re-Use and Re-Imagine - Scouring through your recycling bin may lead to some truly creative costume ideas. Re-used cardboard boxes could become a fire truck or train (held up by suspenders),  a robot, popcorn box, or hot air balloon basket. Plastic milk jugs might be transformed into fairy wings, a princess tiara, turtle shell or even a Frankenstein forehead!

    DIY mantis shrimp costume

    For those of you who like a challenge, check out this peacock mantis shrimp costume one of our educators made from recycled & thrifty materials!

  • Ditch the Disposables - Hosting a spooktacular Halloween party? Deck out your house in these fun and easy DIY decorations! When it comes time for trick-or-treating, forgo purchasing those plastic pumpkins and carry your candy in a pillowcase/reusable grocery bag!
  • Don’t Fill the Landfill - When all the parties have passed and your belly is full of candy, hold on to that costume and don’t toss it out with the trash. Next year, you could be the hero of your neighborhood by hosting a “costume swap” where everyone brings their old costumes and trades for a new one.

Hope everyone has a safe, planet-friendly (and most importantly FUN!) Halloween! 

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

Ocean Literacy Day – Dive Into Reading!

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Today is Ocean Literacy Day! In celebration, I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite children’s books that feature oceans and aquatic life!

Reading is not only an integral key to your child’s future success in school, it also presents a great opportunity to bring you and your child closer to the treasures of the ocean, and to each other!

Swimmy by Leo Lionni 

Swimmy

What could be better than an adorable book about cooperation and courage? In this book for younger children (interest level=K-2, grade reading level 3.5). Swimmy teaches that being brave isn’t so tough when you have friends to back you up!

Dutch artist Leo Lionni brings his unique creative style to this Caldecott Honor Book.

A Home for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle

A House for Hermit Crab

Just like us, hermit crabs face a lot of change in their lives. This comforting book by the famed children’s book author Eric Carle teaches about the challenge hermit crabs face in looking for a new home  (interest level = K-2, grade reading level 3.5). This story is particularly touching when your child is growing out of their clothes, crib or even moving to a new home.

Although a little tentative about the new shell at first, this little crab gets help from his friends to decorate his shell and turn it into a wonderful new home!

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry

I'm The Biggest Thing in the Ocean

After taking inventory all of the other ocean animals, the giant squid is confident that it’s the biggest animal in the ocean. That is, until he meets the other smaller animals in the (ahem) stomach of a much larger whale. This friendly book (interest level = K-3, grade reading level 2) helps children understand “big and small” and the relationship between predators and prey.

Perfect for preschoolers, this bold and delightful collage art shows that although the big blue squid finds itself swimming inside the whale, he maintains a very positive outlook.

If you have a favorite ocean-related children’s book that you’d like to share, please add it to our list in the comments section below. Happy reading!

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

Experience the Aquarium Through the Eyes of a Child!

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Have you noticed that your child’s curiosity and unique way of asking questions can really keep you on your toes? Fortunately, when my four-year-old son visits during the week, we have all the time in the world to explore the Aquarium, and since nature itself is the best teacher, each visit is unique!

As we stroll around the Aquarium, we are helping our children create deep emotional ties to the marine animals that share our planet. The added long-term benefit is that the more our children are familiar with and connected to nature, the more likely they are to help preserve and care for wildlife later on.

So how do you encourage that connection? Fun games can actually help sharpen your child’s ability to calmly focus their attention so they become more aware of what they’re seeing, hearing, smelling and touching! Give these simple activities a try:

Guessing Games
Play an A-Z game of “I spy.” “I spy something that begins with the letter S.” Think: shark, skink, sea turtle, snake, etc.

Colors of the Rainbow
Recognize and name colors. What colors do you see in the flowers and the trees of Upland Tropical Rain Forest?

Musically Inclined
Adapt a favorite song to include the Aquarium’s animals. “The frogs at the Aquarium go hop, hop, hop” (to the tune The Wheels on the Bus).

Spatial Vocabulary
Point out concepts such as: in, out, under, over, off, on, etc. The alligator is under the water, the tortoise is inside his shell, the sharks are in the Blacktip Reef exhibit.

Big, Small, Tiny, Tall
Talk about the idea of big, small, biggest, smallest, tall, short, etc. Point out the biggest dolphin. Ask, “Is that dolphin bigger or smaller than that one?”

Parents Ask the Darndest Questions
Ask questions that lead to more questions like, “Why do think that scarlet ibis is red?” “Why does the adult zebra shark have spots instead of stripes?”

At Their Eye Level
Notice the small details and critters at knee-height. Stopping to watch the blue-crowned motmot busily flit among the branches from the upper level of Upland Tropical Rain Forest creates a special memory that you two can share!

Experts tell us that young children who have positive experiences in nature with an encouraging adult forge lasting memories and relationships with nature. With these activities and our insider guide to having the best Aquarium experience in your pocket, the next family trip to the Aquarium will be a perfect example of just that!

Is there a fun game you and your kids like to play at the Aquarium or other museums? Tell me about it in the comments section! 

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

An Ocean-Inspired DIY Project to Celebrate Artscape!

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America’s largest free arts festival, Artscape, is happening this weekend in Baltimore! From fine arts and sculpture to music and fashion design, this festival is a true celebration of all forms of artistic expression.

If you’re attending Artscape, be sure to visit the Aquarium’s outreach staff in the Kidscape tent and make your very own turtle magnet out of recycled bottle caps!

If you can’t make it down to the festival this weekend, you can still celebrate the arts at home with this ocean-inspired art project:

Materials 

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors/exacto knife
  • Glue stick or clear tape
  • An old magazine

Instructions

  1. Draw the outline for your sea creature. It works best if you make your aquatic friend big enough so that it can be cut out easily.
  2. Cut out the outline of your animal and decorate it!
  3. Cut out colorful strips of paper from your old magazine.
  4. Cut 4-5 horizontal slits along the animal’s body.
  5. Thread the magazine strips through the slits in the animal’s body (over-under for the first strip, under-over for the one next to it, and so on, or however you’d like). It helps keep the magazine paper in place if you glue or tape the end down before you start to weave.
  6. Weave as many strips of magazine paper as you’d like, and enjoy your new piece of ocean art!

Have a favorite recycled/ocean-inspired art project? Share it with me in the comments section! 

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett


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