Science Mill: Hands-on Science Fun in the Texas Hill Country

If you’re looking for a fun, educational way to spend an afternoon in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, then look no further than the Science Mill. Located in Johnson City, the Science Mill is just a short drive from both Austin and San Antonio making it the perfect spot for Central Texas families to enjoy an afternoon of interactive science fun.

Housed in a refurbished, historic mill, the Science Mill is a STEM-focused museum filled with hands-on exhibits that include art, technology, computer programming, and more. With a wide variety of things to see and do, the entire family will find themselves having a blast at this hill country educational gem.

The Science Mill in Johnson City, Texas just outside of Austin Continue reading

Celebrate Pride Month: 12 Awesome LGBTQ+ Books for Kids

June is LGBT Pride Month! In order to celebrate, we’ve put together a list of some our favorite kids’ books that are by, for, or about LGBTQ+ families. Pick a few new favorites from the list and read along with us this month as we celebrate love, diversity, and equal rights. Happy Pride 2017!

We’ve linked to each of the book titles on Amazon, but make sure to check your local library for a copy first – if they don’t carry one, then ask a librarian to order a copy for your library!

Austin, Texas families: as of the time of this post, Austin Public Library had at least one copy of each of these books.

Our Favorite LGBTQ+ Books for Kids

A is for Activist 1.  A Is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara – An unapologetic ABC book for progressive families that discusses activism, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, environmental justice, and more.

 

 

The Boy and the Bindi2. The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya – A young boy becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi and wants to wear one of his own.

 

Families, Families, Families!3. Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang – A celebration of families of every kind.

 

 

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Do Cashews Have Shells?

Did you know that you can’t buy cashews in the shell? They are always sold pre-shelled and for a good reason! Read on to find out why cashews are different from other culinary nuts and why it’s best not to handle them in their shells.

Why Are Cashews Sold Without the Shell?

Cashews as we know them are not actually nuts at all, they’re the seeds of a drupe. What’s a drupe? It’s a type of fruit, but we’ll talk more about that in a minute.

The cashew tree is in the same family as poison ivy and produces a similar oil. The reason cashews are sold pre-shelled is that unlike true nuts, such as hazelnuts that form a hard wall directly around the seed, cashew shells have a lining that is filled with fluid. This fluid is caustic and can cause burns or rashes to your skin. The part that we consider a “nut” is held between two layers of hard shell containing cardol and anacardic acid – neither of which you want to touch!

So, if cashews are embedded in a potentially painful and poisonous plant, how do they end up at the grocery store? Let’s take a look at how a cashew grows and the amount of work it takes to get a single culinary nut.

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Let’s Make Rainbow Striped Cookies!

Baking cookies is fun, but did you know that it also uses math? The mathematics involved in baking often goes unnoticed, but it’s a great way to practice basic skills like ratios, fractions, measuring, and more! Our favorite rainbow striped cookies also give you a chance to use color mixing and art in your culinary creations. Use your math and art skills to make beautiful and delicious cookies! 🌈

Supplies

  • Ingredients for cookies (see recipe below)
  • A large cookie cutter
  • Gel food coloring
  • Parchment paper
  • Ruler

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Explore the National Parks for Free!

Are you looking for a fun family trip this summer? With the Every Kid in a Park Program, all 4th graders and their families get free entrance to national parks for a year! Enjoy a full year of visiting some of the most beautiful parks, lands, and waters in the United States.

How to Get a Free National Parks Pass

Simply visit https://www.everykidinapark.gov, click “Get a Pass” and complete the online registration. You will be able to print your pass immediately. The pass is available for all 4th grade (or homeschool equivalent) students.

For parks that charge an entrance fee, the Every Kid in a Park pass allows free entry for the student and all children under 16, and up to 3 adults.

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Do Chickens Eat Rocks?

Did you know that chickens eat rocks? They do! Read on to find out how eating small rocks is good for chickens and why grit is an important part of their diet.

Why Do Chickens Eat Rocks?

A chicken’s regular diet consists of grains, seeds, insects, and grasses, all things that need to be chewed to be properly digested. There’s just one small problem – chickens don’t have teeth. So, how do they chew their food? Backwards, of course!

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Let’s Write an Ekphrastic Poem!

Learn about ekphrastic poetry and use our free printable worksheet to write an ekphrastic poem of your own!

What is an Ekphrastic Poem?

An ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by a work of art. Ekphrastic poems help give words to the feelings inspired by works of art and can amplify the meaning of the artwork. The poem can tell the story of the scene in a painting, express the feelings of the poet as he or she looks at a piece of art, or evencontain an imagined dialogue between subjects in the artwork or between the artist and his or her creation. Continue reading