Tag: music

Valentine’s Day through Music

Valentine’s Day through Music

After a blog server upgrade and 8+inches of snow, we are still getting back to normal around here! Wanted to wish all of my readers valentines a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for stopping in to be a part of my life! This Valentine’s 

A Peek Inside Our Homeschool Classroom: Electives

A Peek Inside Our Homeschool Classroom: Electives

  While the most important subjects for young students are math and language arts, there are so many other wonderful things to learn about. As a homeschooler, the challenge is not to get too carried away studying everything! You can find curricula to study just 

Richmond Renaissance – Day Eight

Richmond Renaissance – Day Eight

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Stuck in the middle of a heat dome with temperatures around 100 degrees, we were keen to find indoor activities during our time in Richmond. What’s the best source for free, indoor entertainment? The library, of course! The Richmond Public Library had numerous summer activities, including a free music concert. We put it down on our schedule.

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When we arrived at the library we made our way downstairs to the basement auditorium. On the way, we encountered the sweetest little class of toddler-aged YMCA day care students making their way downstairs. The day care workers weren’t counting on there being so many stairs to navigate and they had quite a challenge getting these little ones down. One worker stood at the top of the stairs and the other at the bottom as they coached the kids to sit on their bottoms and scoot down the steps one stair at a time. It was fascinating to see the rapport between the teachers and students. The students knew they had to take on a maturity beyond their years to behave and help each other in order to get through the day. Likewise, the teachers seemed to be comfortable with pushing these kids a bit so that they could give them incredible experiences.

I had my own hands full getting my son down the stairs so I couldn’t be much help. I reached out to grab the hand of a tiny girl headed down the steps who was struggling but just as I did, a man walking by scooped her up and carried her downstairs. The teachers did ultimately get all those kids into the auditorium. I was impressed. The auditorium began to fill with YMCA campers of all ages along with a handful of individual parents and kids.

Digeridoo Down Under is a music program that introduces children to Australian music and culture. Musician Lindsey Dank is American but has an amazing musical talent for the didgeridoo—an aboriginal woodwind instrument. He gives a one hour presentation combining music with a lesson on Australian aboriginal culture and the value of diversity.

The musical performances were our favorites. The didgeridoo is capable of making all kinds of unique sounds. However, Mr. Dank does not limit himself to just the didgeridoo. While he is playing the didgeridoo, he also plays other instruments at the same time. He might be stomping his feet to ring bells on his ankles. He might pull out a pair of claves from his pockets and tap those or beat on a speaker-like drum. He calls it “Australian funk music” and it really does have a groove to it. You can hear a sample of it here.

Lindsey Dank, the one-man band.
Lindsey Dank, the one-man band.

The children loved his performance. There was one group of kindergarten-aged YMCA campers who were wired to enjoy music. No one had to tell them that they should clap along. As soon as that music started, their hands were going. When it was time for the dance portion, they were the first group to get up and every single child was dancing enthusiastically. When the dance portion was over, they had to keep telling the children not to get up and dance during the music. I hope that these children have the opportunity to hear lots of music in their lives.

Mr. Dank encouraged the children to make their own didgeridoos out of wrapping paper tubes or whirly tubes.  He made this didgeridoo out of jeans!
Mr. Dank encouraged the children to make their own didgeridoos out of wrapping paper tubes or whirly tubes. He made this didgeridoo out of jeans!

My son enjoyed the music but wasn’t so keen on dancing.

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After the performance, we picked up my daughter from camp and headed out to check out another kid-friendly recommendation from the Visitor’s Center: The Three Lakes Nature Center.

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Three Lakes Nature Center is a park in Henrico County, just outside of Richmond. There is a pond with geese, a small nature center, a playground and some picnic shelters. As we arrived, the picnic area and playgrounds were filled with YMCA campers. We ate our lunch in the shade under a tree.

We toured the nature center that has a fantastic collection of turtles!

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A spotted turtle.
A spotted turtle.
This is called a chicken turtle and has a really long neck.
This is called a chicken turtle and has a really long neck.
This turtle liked to bury itself in the sand and then dramatically emerge.
This turtle liked to bury itself in the sand and then dramatically emerge.
This is a Diamondback Terrapin, well-known to University of Maryland fans.
This is a Diamondback Terrapin, well-known to University of Maryland fans.
A "stinkpot" turtle.
A “stinkpot” turtle.
This huge turtle has a southern-sounding name: the red belly cooter.
This huge turtle has a southern-sounding name: the red belly cooter.

There were also snakes, fish, a butterfly collection, some Native American pottery and tools and a native plant exhibit. The entire exhibit is completely free of charge too.

My daughter surprised me when she told me that she knew the pitcher plant ate insects.
My daughter surprised me when she told me that she knew the pitcher plant ate insects.

Afterward, we had to explore the playground, of course. I was blown away by the playground design. Whoever was assigned to design it did an amazing job! While they could easily have just put in the standard set of swings and jungle gym, this playground designer went the extra mile. There was a spiderweb stretched between two climbing walls, a balance beam, unusual hanging and sliding toys, a turtle to climb on and so much more. There was even some thought to parents as all the swings were hung at exactly the right pushing height.

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Self-portrait with turtle.
Self-portrait with turtle.

After so many days of museums and educational and historical trails, this was a day for the kids and they loved it!

Herding the geese.
Herding the geese.
Richmond Renaissance – Day Seven

Richmond Renaissance – Day Seven

Day seven of our Richmond adventures was a bit of a bust. I had work to do to get ready for my son’s birthday party. So, we spent most of the day looking up the stores that we needed on my smart phone, driving to 

Ruly Mix: Andrew Huang

Ruly Mix: Andrew Huang

It’s the day after the most romantic day of the year and I thought we could all use a little reminder to cherish our loved ones every day of the year.  This month’s Ruly Mix artist, Andrew Huang, has provided a great song inspired by