“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo.” – Paul Simon
Ah, the family trip to the zoo. Mom would throw together bologna sandwiches, pick up some store-brand soda and chips, toss them all into the cooler and load up the station wagon for the two-hour drive to the zoo. “I get the front!” “I get the back!” “I get the way-back!” I always got the ‘way-back’ and didn’t really have to call for it – no one else wanted to squeeze in between the cooler and the stroller back where you couldn’t roll down a window, but I knew that was the best place to be seen by the truck drivers and to get them to blast their horns by pumping my fist. “Honk! Honk!”
For us, “the Zoo” meant The St. Louis Zoo. We’d find a parking spot along a street in Forest Park and hike our way to the entrance. As soon as we walked past the vertical ZOO sign, we would get a balloon. I always thought it was extravagant to pay for a big balloon, especially when we scrimped on our lunch and such. I eventually learned the reasoning; the balloon was like a homing beacon that allowed the adults to spot us if we ventured too far away from the group. Brilliant!
The Zoo had a train…a bright red train. While seeing the animals was free, riding the train was not. We always begged and wheedled to get to ride the train. My savvy mother would hold her cards pretty close to her chest, saying, “Maybe if you’re good.” Years later I learned that she always planned on walking to the back of the Zoo and catching the train back to the entrance. “I didn’t want to walk all that way!” Tricky, tricky survival-mode mama. (The Zooline Railroad celebrates it’s 50th anniversary this year!)
We’re fortunate here in Columbia, having two zoos close enough for a day trip; The St. Louis Zoo, a leader in animal conservation and education, and the ever evolving Kansas City Zoo. Check out their websites, consider joining their Friends groups and get your plan on! Meanwhile, check out these zoo reads at DBRL: Continue reading
I love to sing. Not everyone loves it when I sing, but that’s okay. My son likes it when I perform the tune “Going on a Picnic” by Lynn Freeman Olson, which is known as a zipper song. What is a zipper song? I am glad you asked! A zipper song is any tune where you take out one word and “zip” another one in. This word-swapping is entertaining, the possibilities are endless and the fun can go on FOREVER. Give it a whirl:
Going on a picnic,
leaving right away.
If it doesn’t rain,
we’ll stay all day.
Did you bring the (sandwiches)?
Yes I brought the (sandwiches).
Ready for a picnic, here we go!
When singing this song, my family likes to keep listing all of the words we’ve added in the previous verses, trying to remember the order, going from the newest item to the oldest. What a workout for your brain! If you are not sure of the melody, stop by the library, and I will sing my off-key version. Or you can just check out Raffi’s performance of this song on “The Corner Grocery Store” CD.
Turn an egg carton into a dump truck, add some traffic signs and get trucking! We’ve tested the following activities on the bookmobile and received enthusiastic thumbs up.
To make the trucks:
We used DLTK’s pattern for the dump truck. We suggest you skip the paint and use markers instead. Markers allow your kiddos to custom detail their trucks. You can geek out adding specialty headlights and chrome wheels, but honestly, we got excited about drawing passengers and drivers. (One’s a hedgehog.) If you aren’t ready to hand your child markers, try stickers.
We also attached the truck bed with masking tape so that it can be raised and lowered. We think you will be impressed with this upgrade. Continue reading
Mark your calendars, bookmobile fans; one of our favorite community events is coming up! Columbia Parks and Recreation is putting on their annual Tons of Trucks event on April 3. Trucks and other vehicles of all shapes and sizes will be on display for you to admire, wander around, climb on and sit in. We hope to see you aboard Bookmobile, Jr.
Free event, rain or shine!
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Cosmo Park, Columbia
Access the Rainbow Softball Center parking lot through main entrance of park.
In my household, my husband does all of the cooking, which is awesome. Even better is the fact that he includes my son in the meal-making to teach him the art of cooking. Aware of the kiddo’s budding culinary talents, my in-laws let me know about a simple app called Toca Kitchen (available in the Apple App Store for $1.99). This easy-to-learn game lets you cook things using a variety of techniques, and then try to feed that food to a person or an animal of your choosing. Like a good mom, I read the reviews. While some users wish you could cook more than one ingredient at a time, kids seem to like the simplicity and enjoy learning about chopping, boiling and sautéing, as well as how the different eaters react to different foods. (The eater might gobble up the fish you just microwaved or stick out his tongue in disgust.) Toca Kitchen is a fun way for kids to explore cooking, and it’s a big hit at my house.
If you want some low-tech tools for kids in the kitchen, the library has some great cookbooks available. Try “Mom and Me Cookbook” (or, as it should be called in my house, “Dad and Me Cookbook”) by Annabel Karmel. You’ll find recipes that are fun, simple and unlikely to be rejected by picky eaters. Happy cooking!