It seems that Spring has sprung, and just in time for Earth Month! The houseful of littles and I are partnering with PBS Kids to share how we have started embracing the beautiful weather here in Chicago, and continuing our mission to encourage everyone we know to:
If you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ll have noticed that we have been working on starting a community garden these last two weeks. Two confessions. It’s hard work, and it’s SO much easier when you have help. The littles helped me on Friday clean the entire lot, and then Mr. Houseful mowed the two plots of land – only to come back to a field full of dandelions. The kids were amazed by it, and we tried not to inwardly groan at the fact that we might have to get rid of the plants in another manner. Their favorite part was having the freedom to run all over the place while also exploring outdoors and all of the great things that don’t happen in their own backyard.
Anyway, we worked hard, and discovered a BUNCH of new animal friends, which is one of their new pastimes thanks to shows like Wild Kratts, Nature Cat and Ready, Jet, Go! We discovered that we had some sort of beetle grub, and we figured out that we had to identify it by it’s raster (or butt) and our handy, dandy magnifying glass helped in that.
We received a butterfly habitat in a kit as a PBS VIP, but I wasn’t too partial to a beetle grub coming inside the house, so we just watched it burrow back into the soil. We also got some great activities to focus on things like recycling with the help of Curious George. We also will create a Wildlife Journal thanks to the Wild Kratts, and jot down some notes on what type of animals we see in our neighborhood and in the community garden. Digging in the dirt offers a TON of different animals as you’ll see below.
We found that HUGE grub underneath a rock that we lifted up, and observed it for several minutes. The girls were more enamored than Sir Twizzler, but he stayed still long enough to give a hypothesis on what was going to happen to the beetle grub. It included getting smashed, or eaten by a bird. Here’s a closer look at it.
We also got four raised beds, and some running done as well. Sir Twizzler wasn’t as invested in filling raised beds, or picking up debris, or staying still in general. By the way, he’s already told me that he wants to be a Kratt’s brother for Halloween.
Speaking of the Kratt’s they are coming up on celebrating their 100th episode next week, and it’s aligning perfectly with the celebration of Earth Day! Not only that, but all new episodes of Ready, Jet, Go! and Nature Cat will be airing during the week of the 25th as well! Here’s a rundown of what’s coming:
READY JET GO
New Episodes Air April 11-14
“A Visit from Uncle Zucchini/Mindy’s Weather Report” – The first new episode teaches about Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and the place where Celery’s brother and his pet actually land after getting lost while on their way to visit the Propulsions on Earth. Then, after mistakenly assuming that a huge storm system on Saturn is somewhere local, mayhem ensues as the misinformation spreads and everyone rushes to prepare for the storm.
“Solar System Bake-off/Kid-Kart Derby” – The entire gang takes a trip out to Saturn to find out if the planet has a cold or hot core so Mindy and Carrot can finish making their replica Solar System desserts in time for the cooking competition. Next, when Jet builds an electric engine from scratch for the annual soapbox derby competition, Mitchell becomes suspicious if he is using some alien technology.
“Asteroids, Meteors, and Meteorites/Mindy’s Meteorite Stand” – Sean flies to space to learn the differences between an asteroid, a meteor, and a meteorite so he can beat his mystery competitor at a video game of “Astro-Tracker.” Later, the kids conduct a series of tests to find out if the unique rock Mindy discovered is a meteorite. After “Meteorite fever” grips the neighborhood, a DSA scientist confirms that Mindy’s rock actually is not a meteor, but a different one she is sitting on might be.
“Mindy Pet-sits Sunspot/Treehouse ISS” – As the group heads out to view the Northern Lights, Mindy, who cannot go, gets the chance to make her own amazing backyard “Northern Lights” display with Sunspot. Then, when the kids realize that they all want to use the treehouse at the same time for different activities, they decide to create a schedule so they can use it alone. In the end, the kids realize they need each other’s company and ideas in order to be successful in their own projects. In resolving their problem, the kids learn to think like the scientists on the International Space Station, who have to find a solution to the problem of getting along while doing different projects in a small space.
New Episodes Air April 25-29
“Box Turtled In!” – When the Wild Kratts’ Tortuga is accidentally miniaturized and carried off by a coyote, the mothership’s shell defense is finally put to the test. The gang embarks on a box turtle-style mission to get back to the Miniaturizer and restore the Tortuga back to normal size.
“The Other Martens” – It’s a relaxing day at Tortuga HQ when Chris comes in complaining about Martin. Confused, the gang soon discovers that Chris means a bird called the Purple martin and not his brother! Chris is not happy about something else named Martin and when a second creature called Martin comes along – he realizes it’s not his day. But soon, comes to understand what awesome creatures these “Other Martins” really are.
“Sea Otter Swim” – Martin is hanging out with his pet Fruit fly Juice, when Juice suddenly dies. Even though Juice was young, he was pretty old for a Fruit fly. Jimmy wants to know if any animals can live to be over 100 years old. Soon the Wild Kratts are on a mission to discover the oldest creatures on earth!
“Animals Who Live to Be 100 Years Old” – In the series 100th episode, the Wild Kratts head out looking for Black bears, but Aviva keeps seeing a fleeting glimpse of what she thinks is a ghostly white bear. The gang soon realizes that they have stumbled across the rare Spirit Bear of the Northern Pacific. But celebration turns to dismay when they encounter new villain, Ms. Paisley Paver, CEO of Pave Nature Incorporated, and discover her plans to turn the island into a Mega Storage facility.
New Episodes Air April 25-28; encore presentation of Earth Day episode on April 29
“Earth Day Today/Earth Day Every Day” – After going on a nature hike over to Butterfly Hills, the gang notices plastic bags from the local supermarket blowing in the wind. Nature Cat calls for a change in Earth Day plans, and alerts the supermarket of their problem. With an earth-friendly alternative in place for the supermarket plastic bag problem, Nature Cat and his pals are once again sidetracked by a plastic bottle floating in a stream, leading them to discover that recycling can be an action-packed journey and that Earth Day is every day. The encore presentation premieres on April 29.
“Kingdom of Rotting Log/Can You Dig It?” – Nature Cat and his pals learn about the life cycle of trees in the forest and discover how important rotting logs are after one gets in the way of building their royal castle in the woods. Later, Nature Cat looks to answer a question on his curiosity list: if they keep digging a hole deeper and deeper, where will they end up? With the help of Daisy’s homemade Earthbreaker One machine and their imaginations, the gang goes onward and downward, through the earth, and winds up somewhere very surprising.
“Mud Love/Call It a Night” – To bring Hal’s dream of Mud Appreciation Day to fruition, all of his pals lend a muddy hand, collecting different kinds of mud for the super fun and super messy celebration – expect Nature Cat who later learns to not just get messy with mud, but to observe what it is like, be creative and make something. Then, after losing his beloved hat while playing flashlight tag at night, Nature Cat and his pals act like other nighttime animals and use some of their other senses to find it.
“Woodpecker Picks a Place/Here Comes the Sun” – The gang investigates a loud knocking on Hal’s doghouse only to discover it is a woodpecker. In trying to stop it, they find out more about woodpeckers and exactly what this one is looking for. While on an amazing adventure to see the Golden Sunstone, Nature Cat breaks the compass, but with the help of his friends learns that you can use the position of the sun in the sky to figure out which way is east, west, north and south.