• Midnight Forests
  • Thanksgiving in the White House
  • A Christmas Tree in the White House
  • Flying Firefighters
  • The Day of the High Climber
  • A Ride in the Crummy 

    If you think of some other things to do besides what I've suggested, send me an e-mail and tell me what you've done. 

    Midnight Forests

    Gifford Pinchot and Theodore Roosevelt loved the outdoors. There's no better playground. Or laboratory. Go outside and see what you can find.

    When Gifford Pinchot was a boy, he had a neat bug collection, part of which still survives to this day. He also had an interest in astronomy and made his own star finder, complete with a turning paper wheel. That, too, still survives. Pinchot's love for the woods led to his interest in forestry. You can find out all about forestry and conservation at your local library.

    Growing up, Theodore Roosevelt loved stories of high adventure. Anything to do with birds and animals, with nature in general, brought him great joy. He kept pet mice in a bureau drawer and founded his own "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History" on the fourth floor of his parents' home, complete with several hundred specimens. So, what are you waiting for? Well, maybe you should check with your parents first.

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     Thanksgiving in the White House

    Tad Lincoln got into lots of trouble. So, it's probably not a good idea to shoot toy cannons at doors or run goats through your parents' house like he did.

    But you could go to the library and read President Lincoln's entire Proclomation of Thanksgiving. You can read more about the Lincoln family there, too, as well as information on the Civil War.

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      •  A Christmas Tree in the White House
          If you have a Christmas tree, try making some ornaments out of paper and other things you can find, just like Theodore Roosevelt's children did.

          The conservation movement at the turn of the century was important to the  natural resources we enjoy today.  Names like John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Sargeant, Bernard Fernow and many others played significant roles.  Numerous books have been written about conservation and lots of not always reliable information can be found on the Internet. 

          Visit your library and find out about some of these people.  Did they all agree on how natural resources should or should not be used?  If not, how did their views differ?  Which person do you agree with and why? 

          Trees give off lots of oxygen, especially when young and growing.  We need oxygen to breathe.  People also use wood and other things that come from trees.  Can you name some things we use that come from trees?

          Do you think it's good or bad to cut down trees?  Why?

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        Flying Firefighters
          Have you ever seen a helicopter?  If so, write down what it was like.  Think about the noise it made.  Did it make wind?

          See if you can make a helicopter out of scraps of wood, or cardboard, or paper, or plastic bricks, or whatever fun things you can find.

          Fires can cause lots of damage.  Even so, is fire always a bad thing?  Why or why not?

          Think about what makes a fire burn.  What are some ways firefighters stop fires?

          Ask you local fire department or forest ranger if they have tours to show you their firefighting equipment.

          What are some things you can do to make sure a fire doesn't start in your home or when you're camping out in the woods?

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        The Day of the High Climber
          The boys in the story lived in a time when their family didn't have much money, even though their parents worked hard.  So, the boys made their own toys.  See if you can make a steam donkey or a train or a crane out of spools of thread, sticks, some string, and maybe even a tin can, just like they did.  Those boys really used their imaginations.  Can you use yours? 

          Have you ever been walking in the woods and come across an old logging camp or an old house where no one lives anymore?  If so, tell someone what it was like.  Try writing a story about it.  You can even make it scary if you want.

          The boys' mother was a quilter.  Can you find the picture in the story where she's making one?  Have you ever tried to make a quilt?.  If not, see if you can find someone to show you how.  Boys and girls both enjoy quilting today.

          Some people in the story had fun names like Puss Tompkins and Scrap Iron Jack, and some of the jobs did too, like Donkey Jammer and Whistle Punk.  Can you name people you know who have names you like to say?

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        A Ride in the Crummy
          Have you ever ridden in a train?  What was it like?  How about an old steam train?  Write down some of the things you saw on your train ride. 

          The train goes across a high trestle in the story.  Try making a trestle using toothpicks and glue.  Be sure to spread out some paper to catch spilled drops.

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