Roller SkatingIn January 1863, the first 4-wheel roller skates were patented. Is there an indoor roller rink nearby? Skating would be a great way to exercise on a cold or rainy day.
In 1896 Wilhelm Roentgen of Austria discovered the type of radiation that became known as X-rays. For more about the history of X-rays and for pictures of X-rays of animals, plants and interesting objects, visit
United NationsThe UN officially opened in 1951. It is made up of 191 countries from around the world. It was created after the Second World War as a way of bringing people together and to avoid war. The United Nations logo shows the world held in the "olive branches of peace."
Have a Tea PartyMix up some warm cocoa and invite the dolls or stuffed animals for a tea party.
Martin Luther King Day
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, and was an important leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.
Ben Franklin's Birthday
Born in Boston in 1706, Ben Franklin was an inventor, a statesman, a musician and a scientist who lived much of his life in Philadelphia.
Learn more about Ben Franklin and his activities.
Younger children might enjoy the book "Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin as told by his Good Mouse Amos." Look for it in the library.
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh DayRent a Winnie the Pooh movie or read one of the many books about Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore.
On this day in 1848, a nugget of gold was found at Sutter's Mill in California. News spread over the next few months, and 100,000 people went to California to make their fortune. This "rush" was very important to the growth of California.
Click here to learn about this part of American history.
Australia DayPeople across New South Wales join together in celebration of what it means to be Australian. Australia is unique because it is an island country that is also a continent.
Mozart's music can be calming and delightful at nap time, mealtime or to inspire drawing on paper with crayons or markers.
National Puzzle DayDo a puzzle or make one of your own. Find a fun picture in a magazine and glue it to lightweight cardboard. Cut into shapes. If your children are small, make it just a few easy shapes.
Backward DayBackward Day is a day to do everything backwards. Try walking backwards, talking backwards, and doing everything the wrong way round just for fun.
Jacob Grimm's Birthday
Jacob Grimm was one of the Grimm brothers who collected and wrote fairy tales in Germany in the 1800s. These stories include Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Rapunzel and many others. His stories have been translated into 160 languages and can be frightening to very young children - they are not always very happy tales! View some of their stories here.
JRR Tolkien's Birthday
JRR Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings was born on this day in 1892. In honor of his birthday older school age children may enjoy reading (or being read) The Hobbit or perhaps they could watch one of the Lord of the Rings movies.The Cirth alphabet used in the book was invented by J.R.R. Tolkien and can be seen here. Children might enjoy making up their own messages using this alphabet.
National Soup Month
Split Pea Soup
2 cups green split peas
7 cups water
3 cups beef broth (canned or add bouillon cubes to water)
1 stalk of celery
1 medium onion
Rinse the split peas under cold water. Place the drained peas, water and broth in a saucepan. Break the celery into 3 or 4 large pieces and add to the pot. Peel and trim the onion and then place the whole onion into the pot. Heat the soup to a boil on medium heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. When the soup is done, remove the celery and onion and throw them away.
Pineapple Upside down Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 can pineapple rings (20 ounces)
10 maraschino cherries
1 package white cake mix (18.25 oz)
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in the iron skillet. Remove from heat and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly to cover the butter. Next, arrange pineapple rings around the bottom of the pan, one layer deep. Place a maraschino cherry into the center of each pineapple ring. Prepare the cake mix as directed, substitute some of the pineapple juice for some of the liquid in the directions. Pour the batter over the pineapple layer. Bake as directed by the cake mix directions. Cool for 10 minutes, and then carefully turn out onto a plate. Do not let the cake cool too much or it will be stuck to the pan.
Makes 1 10-inch round cake. Serve with sweetened whipped topping.
Albert Schweitzer Quotes
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. ”
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
Martin Luther King Day
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 he was an important leader of the civil rights movement here in the United States during the 1950s and 60s. The holiday was created as a day to remember his fight for the freedom, equality and dignity of all races and peoples and as a time to remember the message of change through nonviolence. Click here for more information about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Fun with Hibernation!
Animals handle cold winter weather in different ways. Some migrate to warmer climates. Some grow thicker fur coats so they can stay warm during the winter. However many animals hibernate during the coldest weather - they spend the warmer months of the year eating and storing as much body fat as they can and then live off this extra weight as they sleep in the winter. Bats, some mice, frogs and many squirrels sleep all winter. Others, including chipmunks and raccoons wake up once in a while to eat and then they go back to sleep. Have fun learning about the art of hibernation with your children during this cold time of the year.
The Story of Jumping Mouse: A Native American Legend by John Steptoe
Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
When Will It Be Spring? By Catherine Walters
The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting
Bearymore by Don Freeman
Bernard Bear’s Amazing Adventure by Hans de Beer
Wake Me in Spring by James Preller
Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky
Chipmunk Song by Joanne Ryder
Naptime game: Play “hibernation” - pretend to be one of the animals you have researched. Curl up and “sleep” and then wake up HUNGRY for snack time!
National Pie Day
Pies are popular on holidays or any day and are easy to make if you buy a prepared crust in the freezer or dairy section of the grocery store. Try these favorite recipes with the children:
1 can pumpkin (or 2 cups mashed cooked fresh pumpkin)
1 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons molasses
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
Mix together first 6 ingredients. Then add eggs and milk and mix thoroughly. Batter is very thin. Pour into pie shell. Bake 450 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Apple Pie with Crumb Topping
Peel, core and slice 6 apples into thin pieces. Toss sliced apples gently with:
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pile apples into pie shell. Blend 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup flour with 1/3 cup butter until crumbly. Spread over apples. Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes
Backward Day is a day to do everything backwards. Use your imagination, and Backward Day can be lots of fun. It's especially popular with school aged kids.
Try writing backwards or reading backwards. Wear your shirt with the back in the front. Eat your meal, starting with dessert. Now that's what I call fun! Walk backwards, or talk backwards. Play a board game backwards, from the finish line to the start. Are you starting to get the picture!?
Read more about Backward Day.
Click on a day to learn more!
I really feel like I have a family in America after being an
au pair. My host family is going to visit me and my family in
Sweden this winter and I cannot wait to see them!