little bug

The Sun Mother

June 15, 2016
Written by Johanna

As we continue to learn about the sun and its many properties, this week I decided, instead of continuing on a scientific course with the kids, to head down a mythical path instead…

This had us exploring an Australian Aboriginal creation story, re-told in the Barefoot Book of Earth Tales, entitled “The Sun Mother”.

Long before the earth as we know it came into existence, the earth was cold, dark and all the creatures lay sleeping. It wasn’t until the sun mother walked on the earth, that things began to come to life. The sun mother came down to the earth, and first coaxed the plants and trees awake with her warm embrace. These were the first living things to make their presence known on the earth. 

Next the sun mother stepped into the cave where all the insects and animals, flying ones, swimming ones, and walking ones, lay resting. These too she warmed with her rays and brought to life. Now the earth was really buzzing with life! Here the children got to pretend to be any animal they wanted, and soon we were all howling, hopping, growling, and running.

It didn’t take long, however, until some animals came to be dissatisfied with their forms. They saw animals that could fly or swim when they could not, and they wanted these things too! The sun mother, being very generous, offered the animals to change their form one time. They could ask for wings to fly, or fins to swim, or legs to walk. And some of the animals did. This is how we get such unusual animals like the platypus.

Lastly, the sun mother made the moon and the morning star, so that the animals could have light at nighttime too. The moon and the morning star came down to earth and were the first humans. The humans were given a very important role—to care for the creation.

As humans, we talked about what this might mean, and the kids came up with: taking care of the water, taking care of the animals, and taking care of the cities.

To bring the story to life, we made unusual creatures. Creatures that could have wings, legs, as many eyes as the kids wanted, fur, feathers, and all sorts of unusual things.


Check out some of their creations! And join us on June 27th for our field trip to Jonathan Rogers park, as we explore some of the sun’s creations at the community garden there!

Starlight, Star bright…

May 10, 2016
Written by Johanna

Starlight, star bright, first star I see…today??

While we can’t see most stars during the daytime, Grandpa Sun has been teaching us all about the sun, and it turns out the sun is actually a star too! Just like the nighttime stars, it is made of gas and emits enormous amounts of energy! Our own sun is not the biggest star out there, it just looks so big because it’s the closest star to earth. Well, it’s still pretty big, because more than one million earths could fit inside the sun. WOW!!!

With the help of Grandpa Sun, our own artistic creations, and a trip to UBC’s Pacific Museum of the Earth, we’ve been learning a lot of cool (or should I say hot..) things about the sun.

After the kids told me what they already know about the sun, and what they are curious to learn, we began watching videos about the sun, reading about the sun, asking Grandpa Sun questions, and also making our own paper mache suns. Check out our sun solar system on display at Buddings!

The suns have different colours, lighter and darker, because some parts of the sun are hotter and some are cooler. The sun has large sun spots, which look darker and are significantly cooler than other parts of the sun. The sun also emits solar flares, little firework-like explosions, which we represented with tissue paper and pipe cleaners.

After learning a bit about what the sun, I thought it was time to expand our perspective.

So off we went to the Pacific Museum of the Earth at UBC to check out the OMNIGLOBE.

While we couldn’t get the omniglobe to work initially, we found some help and pretty soon we were amazed by the enormous globe that could be transformed from the earth, to Jupiter, to Mars, to the sun!

When we transformed the omniglobe into the sun, we got to see its sun spots and solar flares in action. It was glowing and bursting and exploding in front of our eyes! With all that constant energy coming to the earth from the sun, we sure are lucky that we’re positioned right where we are. Any closer and things on the planet would be too hot! Any further away and we’d be shivering in our boots.

Now that we’ve been on a bit of a space odyssey, we’re going to bring things a little closer to home. The next few weeks we’ll be looking at the sun’s affect on the earth–how it sustains all living things! Next week the grow light is coming out and we are going to get dirty planting seeds. We’ll get to see firsthand how solar energy is transformed into living organisms.

Stay tuned as our sunny adventures take root!

The Sun is Shining!

April 13, 2016
Written by Johanna

Monday’s Big Kids Club started off with a bang…literally.

While we began our discussion with the sun, it quickly evolved into other things that live in space, like comets and asteroids…EXPLODING comets and asteroids of course.

This season, Monday’s BKC class is going to be all about the energy and magic of our planet’s very own star, and Grandpa Sun showed up to start the conversation!

I wanted to begin by finding out from the kids what they already know, as well as what they are curious to find out. 

What we discovered is that the sun creates solar power (thank you Maksim), it is hot, it lives in space with comets (that are often exploding), it makes us feel happy, it helps trees and plants to grow, and it goes away at night so that the moon can come out.

It turns out we know a lot! But we are still wondering: does the sun disappear when there are clouds in the sky? what happens to the sun at night? why does the sun stay in the sky all day? what is the sun made of? how does the sun create energy?

Phew! These are some big questions to tackle. I am hopeful, however, that through music and movement, art, science experiments and some beyond-Buddings adventures, that we’ll uncover the answers to some of them. Or perhaps we’ll end up with new questions!

Whether we end up finding answers or just more questions, my ultimate goal through this season’s exploration is to fuel the light of curiosity and wonder, and to instil a sense of appreciation for the magic of our world. No doubt there’ll be more talk of exploding comets which, after all, are pretty magical too!

Stay tuned to find out where our questions lead us, as they light the way on our path of discovery!

When the sun shines

April 4, 2016
Written by Talia

The last time we saw the lovely Miss Johanna Peters, it was to head up our Big Kids Abroad program last summer. Since then, she’s been teaching art classes at 4Cats, practicing yoga, and making beautiful music with her ukelele band.

The fall and winter seasons were cold ones, without her shining face around the centre, but she’s back with us for the Spring, and her Monday afternoon Big Kids Club class is all about the warmth that comes – When the Sun Shines.

Johanna has a story-teller’s talent for tying things together, and the amazing connections she creates for kids and the world are two of the reasons we are so excited to have her leading our weekly adventures.

She’s back at Buddings on Mondays, from 1 – 4pm, from April – June.

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