Saturday, June 24, 2017


Educational publisher Scholastic has teamed up with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's Education and Research Foundation to create an online resource portal to help parents avoid their kids suffering from succumbing to the "summer slide" -- the phenomenon where students lose important skills they've learned over the last year during the break from school.  By visiting kids between the ages of 5 and 12 can participate in a variety of activities meant to encourage them to care for the environment and which demonstrate how science impacts the world around us.  Topics include how to take better care of green spaces, understanding how climate impacts ecosystems and the importance of living landscapes.

A band of cartoon superheroes, TurfMutt & the Outdoor Powers, demonstrate how to become a "backyard superhero" through lighthearted lessons that are meant to be both educational and entertaining.  These resources are all FREE for families to access online as well as to download and print out.  Activities include:

Digital Storybooks

Encourage summer reading by providing a child with TurfMutt's digital storybooks.  There are two to choose from.  The West Coast Mission and Saving the Planet, One Yard at a Time.  They can be read online or downloaded a a pdf file to read on a mobile device or as a print out.

Creative Writing

 After a child has read TurfMutt's digital storybooks encourage them to write their own story.  Utilize the learning portal's online story creator app to help.  Children simply add their name, select their age range, and off they go!  TurfMutt's story idea spinner suggests imaginative topics with a countless combination of options to encourage kids to get writing.  The app even includes a drawing screen so  illustrations can be added to their stories.

Outdoor-Themed Activity Sheets

Print out these activity sheets, turn off the computer and get outside to complete them.  These hands-on activities are based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) principles and encourage kids to learn about the green spaces around them.  The activity sheets are available in two categories --> for students in grades K - 2 and for those in grades 3 - 5.

Climate Quest Game

This video game challenges children to answer questions correctly to help TurfMutt and the Outdoor Powers move through various climate regions on an interactive map of the United States.

Educational Videos

This special section of the Scholastic website also offers several educational short movies for kids to view that cover topics about living landscapes.  They teach children how to help their families be good environmental stewards of the green spaces in their communities.

Additionally, the learning portal includes section with resources for parents and teachers to help them get kids engaged in learning STEM concepts relating to the environment.  Click here to check out the campaign partners, which include the EPA, the Center for Green Schools, and Outdoors Alliance for Kids, who want to encourage kids to be involved with the conservation and preservation of our planet's environment one yard at a time.

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