Tag Archives: outdoors

Bubble Stuff

28 May

I love this idea for a bubble refill station. There are so many cute jugs and dispensers out there now. For the bubble recipe, click on the picture.

*Once recipe calls for glycerin and the other for corn syrup. Both are added to give the bubble a stronger outside so it will last longer. We recommend the glycerin recipe, however be prepared because a small bottle costs about $5. The corn syrup recipe works but leaves a sticky film on hands. It’s much cheaper though.

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Kid Friendly Gardening

3 May

This article has great information on how to start gardening with kids even some suggestions for quick-growing, kid-friendly plants. It’s a quick read, too!

Grow a Pizza Garden

2 May

 

This is a simple and fun activity for any size space, even a pot! It also makes a fun gift to give. Click on the image to get the directions.

You’re It!

8 Oct

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a real push to get kids up off the couch, away from video games and back outside to play. Oh, you’ve heard about this. So now what?

Well, today is your lucky day! It’s American Touch Tag Day and it’s time to get out and play tag with your kids, and the neighbor kids, and any other kids you can find. Ask the kids if they even know how to play tag. They may know the basic idea, but I bet they don’t know that there are lots of different ways to play tag. (By the way, if you need a refresher course on the different ways to play tag, click here.)

Tag has been played since ancient Egyptian times. Don’t let this energetic outdoor game disappear because your kids were too busy laying on the couch playing video games.

10 Ways to Have Frugal Fun With Your Kids

1 Oct

Today is Frugal Fun Day according to HolidayInsights.com’s “Bizarre and Unique Holiday List”.  Here are ten frugal ideas for family fun today.

  1. Ride a bike
  2. Invite friends over for dinner
  3. Play board games
  4. Fly a kite
  5. Go for a hike
  6. Get a book, music, or movie from the library
  7. Find a free event in your city
  8. Play ball
  9. Make s’mores
  10. Camp out in your backyard or living room
Remember…Your children need your presence more than your presents.  ~Jesse Jackson
Have a fun and free day!

Food Comes From the Grocery Store

18 May

I grew up the granddaughter of a farmer which meant my dad spent his childhood and teen years helping his father “work the land”. My father farmed in the 1920’s and 30’s, when a lot of farm work was done by hand or with primitive-like machinery. But even though the farm work was incredibly hard and seemed never-ending, my father always had a passion for farming.

When I was a child, we’d take driving trips through the beautiful farms of  Central California. My dad would always quiz us on the crops growing in each of the fields and talk to us about the machinery we’d see the farmers using in the fields. When we’d see migratory workers in the picking crops in the fields and he’d often tell us stories about his farm days. My favorite story was how he and 6 of his 12 siblings would bring their lunch wrapped in foil and stick it in the exhaust pipe of the tractor to warm it up so it was ready to eat when they stopped for lunch. At the time, though, the stories didn’t seem very important.

At my childhood home, we always had fruits and vegetables in the garden. Some years my parents would even get a plot at the community garden and grow more fruits and vegetables. Although these gardens were much smaller than a farm, my dad taught us to feel and smell the dirt, tend the plants and pick the fruits they bore. Through these experiences, he was teaching us where food came from and how vital a farmer was to my daily life.

When I was 10, my parents sent my brother and I the small farming town where my dad grew up; Andale, KS, population 200! We spent two weeks on our cousin’s wheat farm in the middle of Kansas summer, and it seemed like torture to two beach-city kids. It was hot, and I mean H-O-T, dusty and we were in the middle of nowhere! But, in those two weeks, I learned lessons of a farmer’s life which I still carry with me today.

Farmers work hard, every day, all day, all year, in any kind of weather. They prosper when the weather is good and loose their entire yearly income when their crops are wiped out. Farm women cook A LOT of food and work very hard to live within their means. Kids can drive farm trucks if their feet reach the pedals. Farmers are patient and persistent. One piece of farming equipment can cost over $350,000, and they need many pieces of equipment. Children are expected to help on the farm. Meal time is when farm families bond. Farm families have little to begin with  and do a lot with what they have. Sitting on a truckload of freshly harvested wheat is an awesome experience. Most of importantly, farmers provide us with the sustenance we need.

When you sit down at the dinner table tonight, ask your children where their food came from. Do they think vegetables come in a can or from the ground? Visit a farm and see what it really takes to put food on your table. Grow a vegetable of your own and teach your child the virtues of patience and persistence. Learn about pride when you serve your delicious, homegrown food to your family. Finally, thank a farmer. Whether in person, prayer or just in thought, food wouldn’t come from the grocery store if it weren’t for the farmer.

Football, Baseball, and Soccer, Oh My!

4 May

Spring is finally here in my part of the country! How do I know? The soccer and baseball fields are inundated with kids of every age, from sunrise to sunset, every day of the week!

Sixteen years ago, when we were having our first child, my husband and I marveled at the way families lived in our new hometown. Parents worked during the week, Saturdays were spent working around the house and Sundays were for church and family. Kids participated in activities but it seemed liked kids were also playing outside more often.

Fast forward four years and we entered the world of organized sports. We enrolled our daughter in her first soccer experience, often called herd ball. This term refers to the way the kids move in a herd towards the ball and somehow the ball is moved by the kids’ trampling feet. Needless to say, our princess of a daughter, who had not fully developed her coordination, was not at all interested and just walked around the field following the other kids. We continued to cheer, encourage and even bribe her during the season to take part in the game. She wouldn’t bite. So we thought, soccer wasn’t her thing, and moved on to a different sport.

On and on this continued with her, and then, her brother tuned four. It was time for him to start organized sports, just like all of the other kids. Now we were shuttling two kids to practices during the week and our weekends were taken up by games. The older they got the more practices and more games. It was a vicious cycle and was not conducive to a relaxed family-oriented weekend.

Now I have the luxury of looking back on these experiences and realize how ridiculous all of it was. If I could do it all over again, it would be so much different. First of all, I wouldn’t put my kids in organized sports just because everyone else it doing it and four, five and six is really too young anyway. You will never get those years back and who wants to spend it standing on the sidelines listening to parents screaming at their little ones who don’t even know what they are really doing.

It is commonly thought that if your child doesn’t start sports early, they will be far behind their peers. This is so, so, so far from the truth. We observed many children on the fields who were big for their age at six and seven and were considered the “superstars” of the team. When they had a growth spurt at 10 or 11, they were gangly and didn’t know how to use their body and were devastated because they were no longer the pride and joy of the team, or their parents. The kids who were smaller, and may not have been as dominant initially, continued to improve their skills over time and became the backbone of the team. Team sports doesn’t always build self-esteem, many times it can break a child’s confidence to the core.

Research has also shown that children who play the same sports year-round, year after year, working the same muscles are more prone to injure those muscles. General outdoor play is better for children because they work so many different muscles and develop balance, dexterity and coordination that are beneficial to team sports. My favorite example of this is from Richard Louv’s book, The Last Child In the Woods. A professional baseball player said that he learned how to hit a ball by tossing a rock in the air and hitting it with a stick and he learned to be an amazing pitcher by throwing a rock and trying to hit a tree trunk. Can your kid do that?

Finally, the thing that most disturbs me about organized sports at an early age is the parents; screaming at their kids, disrespecting the officials, coaches and other teams and the list goes on. But, the biggest issue I have with parents is that many of them think that if their child doesn’t start sports early, they won’t get the almighty scholarship to college. THEY’RE FOUR YEARS OLD!

So what would I do differently if I could do it all over again? I’d go outside and just play with my kids. I would be the one teaching them how to bounce, kick, throw, climb, crawl and run just for fun and just because they’re my kids. I missed those teachable moments that create memories that last a lifetime. What will you do?

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