The Teal Pumpkin Project

Have you heard of The Teal Pumpkin Project?

Food allergies can be life-threatening to children and, unfortunately, most Halloween candy is filled with these dangerous allergens (peanuts, milk, wheat, etc.). This fall, the Food Allergy Research & Education Organization is encouraging families participating in Trick-or-Treat to “go teal.”

The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to provide children with food allergies a fun and safe evening of Treat-or-Treating with their peers. Homes participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project offer non-edible treats (stickers, temporary tattoos, etc.) to children with food allergies as alternatives to traditional candy. To join in on the all inclusive fun, place a teal-painted pumpkin outside your front door during Trick-or-Treat. This signals to other families that your house is participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and will have alternative treats for their little ghouls and goblins.

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In addition to children with food allergies, families with children who are diabetic or are unable to eat by mouth are supportive of the project. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a wonderful opportunity to include children with special needs in your community’s Trick-or-Treat night by providing them with a safe and happy Halloween. Our family will have our teal pumpkin out for Trick-or-Treat 2015 (Ok, it looks more blue than teal, but you’d be surprised by the lack of teal spray paint at the hardware store). If your family chooses to make your own teal pumpkin, spread the word by using the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject

 

 

 

 

A Fall Day on US-68

Fall is the perfect season to build your little one’s language. There are so many fall-related activities in and around Columbus, it’s difficult to choose where to go and what to do before the season is over. One of our favorite fall day-trips out of Columbus is to Yellow Springs, Ohio. It is less than an hour’s drive from Columbus and is a beautiful, small town with many friendly people and unique stores and restaurants. This year, we spent quite a bit of time just outside the town and ended up having a full day of fall fun on US-68 (the highway that leads into Yellow Springs from I-70).

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Our first stop was to the Tecumseh Land Trust to see the sunflower field. You have to plan your visit at just the right time of the season in order to catch the flowers when they are in bloom. For the last few weeks, I’ve been obsessively checking their facebook page for updates as to when we could catch the sunflowers at their peak. Because of all the rain we had this summer, the sunflowers bloomed later than normal, so there is still plenty of time to visit the field during the next several weeks.

When in bloom, this field is a sight to be seen and wonderful adventure to build your child’s vocabulary. Here are some ideas for vocabulary building activities while you’re there.

  1. Find one of the makeshift paths that lead you deep into the middle of the sunflower field. While walking through the field, you can use descriptive words to describe what you see. Find the big/tall flowers and the little/short flowers. Discuss the color of the petals and contrast them with the color of the leaves/stem. Talk about how the flowers are the same but also how they are different.
  2. Talk about the parts of the flower. Point out the seeds, petals, leaves and stem. Talk about the roots growing underground.
  3. Be on the lookout for bugs! There are plenty of bees, flies, butterflies, and ladybugs flying around. Keep your eyes peeled and point them out as you go!

*Make sure you take plenty of pictures! Each year, the Tecumseh Land Trust has a “Sunflower Photo Contest.” This year, the deadline to enter is October 30, 2015. Head to their website for more information (a link is provided above).

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After you have spent time with the sunflowers head across US-68 to Peifer Orchards. Here you can stock up on all  your fall essentials and continue to build your child’s fall vocabulary!

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  1. Pumpkins galore in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Here is your chance to talk about the variations in the pumpkins.
  2. Gourds! There is a variety for you to choose from. Talk about the different shapes and colors. Then get down and feel the gourds — some are bumpy while some are smooth; some are dirty and some are clean.
  3. Head inside the store where there are a variety of apples to choose from. There are red and green apples in abundance. Buy a few different types and have a taste test to see which one you like the best. Model descriptive language for your child by talking about which apples taste sweet and which ones taste tart.

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Explore the market. The colors, textures, and tastes are plentiful here!

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Once you have collected all your goodies from Pfeifer’s, you can get back on US-68 and head to your last stop of the day,  Young’s Jersey Dairy.  You could easily spend an entire day at Young’s; there is that much to do there! While we were there for only a few hours, it was plenty of time to enjoy lunch at the restaurant, explore the dairy, and play with the farm animals.

  1. IMG_4408Start your time at Young’s with lunch at the restaurant. It is set up so you order your food at the front counter and then they page you to retrieve your food when it is ready. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff, make this an excellent opportunity for your child to order his or her own lunch…That is, if your little one is old enough to speak. 🙂
  2. After lunch head out to the barn to see the farm animals. There are cows, pigs, and goats roaming in and around the barn. Talk with your child about the animals inside and outside the barn. Identify what type of animal each one is and where they are located in proximity to the barn. You can also feed the goats, which is actually quite a bit of fun for the young and old (Don’t worry. There is a hand washing station when you are done!)
  3. Next, head to the corn maze, pumpkin patch, or tractor playground to have some fun!

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Or just wander the grounds to take in the sights.

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There is so much to see and do at Young’s Jersey Dairy. After you seen and done everything they have to offer, you can take our lead and end the day with a scoop of their delicious, homemade ice cream. There are so many flavors to choose from. Yum!

While I love exploring Columbus, it’s nice to get out into the Ohio countryside during a beautiful fall day. Have any of you been on US-68? What are some of your favorite things to do outside of Columbus?

Little Free Library

I first saw a Little Free Library a few years ago on a side street in Clintonville.  I had never seen one before and thought it was such a unique idea .

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Recently, a friend brought up the Little Free Library as a great topic for this blog, and I completely agreed. Now that these libraries are on my radar, I have been seeing them everywhere!

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Little Free Library began in 2009 by Todd Bol in Wisconsin. As a tribute to his mother, he built a little library and put it on a post in his front yard with a sign that read “Free Books.” His neighbors loved the idea so much that he began building more little libraries and giving them away for free. From there the idea took off!

The mission of the Little Free Library reads: “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.

The goal: “To build 2,510 Little Free Libraries – as many as Andrew Carnegie – and keep going.”

As of January 2015 there were approximately 25,000 Little Free Libraries registered online. I’d say they have well surpassed their goal!

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Have you seen any of these popping up in your neighborhood? If not, you can follow this link to find the closest Little Free Library in your part of the city. When you find a Little Free Library, feel to take home a book to read with your little one or drop off a book that your child has out grown. There are no set check out or deposit procedures to follow with the books. Simple kindness and respect for other readers have kept to project running and stocked with books for the last several years.

It looks like Clintonville has the most of these Little Free Libraries when compared to the rest of the neighborhoods in Columbus. I might need to buy one to continue adding to the number of libraries and promoting literacy in my neighborhood!

Happy Hunting!