Leaf Rubbing Art & Science Activity

Leaf Rubbing Art & Science Activity

I have always loved making leaf rubbings

Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by this beautiful self-made art -- the instant 'picture' that was created just by covering a leaf with paper and running a crayon over the top.

As I grew to become a nature lover, I realized that making a leaf print is much more than just a pretty picture -- it's also a peek into the science of trees.

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8 Apple Activities for Kids

8 Apple Activities for Kids

Favorite apple activities for kids: apple picking, cider mills and fun STEM ideas!

Fall is apple season! 

Trees are blooming with ripe apples, ready for the picking.

There are a number of fun apple activities & outings that your kids will really enjoy during autumn.

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Fall Leaf Scavenger Hunt {with free printable worksheet!}

Fall Leaf Scavenger Hunt {with free printable worksheet!}

Free printable Leaf Scavenger Hunt Cards to inspire your kids to get outside, practice a little math and (most of all) enjoy the beauty of the season!

Leaf activities are second nature in Fall! 

Whether you're creating leaf rubbings, making leaf prints or just enjoying the color, there are so many ways to play, learn and craft with leaves.

And best of all, NO prep time!

You won't need any special supplies for many of your leaf projects -- just step outside and you're set to go :)

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Solar Eclipse Activities & Party Ideas for Kids

Solar Eclipse Activities & Party Ideas for Kids

Learn about activities to do during the Solar Eclipse including which glasses to wear, fun eclipse themed food, books to read, party ideas and more!

Where will you be on August 21, 2017?

Chances are -- somewhere "on the dark side of the moon" :)

If you're planning to celebrate the Solar Eclipse with your family or students in your classroom, we've got a few ideas for fun activities & tips on how to enjoy the eclipse together!

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24 Great Back-to-School Books for Preschool thru Middle School

24 Great Back-to-School Books for Preschool thru Middle School

Great back to school books for kids in preschool, elementary or middle school!

I know many kids have mixed feelings about starting a new school year and some are a little anxious about heading back to school and moving up a grade.

As a parent and educator, I can tell you that most kids don't just come out and tell you about their back to school fears and concerns. 

Kids tend to hold things in and then the first week of school you might notice them losing sleep, being more anxious or showing signs of nervouseness.

Try reading a few books (or having older kids read themselves) about the grade they are about to enter. 

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7 Things to do Before the First Day of School

7 Things to do Before the First Day of School

Tips to help you get you ready for the school year & first day of school ideas!

I'm sure you heard a few groans as you flipped the calendar to August.

School will be starting soon for so many of us and I'll be honest with you, I'm not that excited.

I love the unscheduled days of summer, letting the kids sleep in and not having to say "Do you have your homework? Did you grab your lunch?" every morning :)

But I know the kids are looking forward to seeing their friends again and finding out who their teachers will be this year.  And it's always good to get back into the school routine come Fall.

So here are a few tips on how to make the back to school transition a little easier (and fun) for everyone!

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The Secret to a More Relaxing Summer

I've got a secret to share with you today!

I'm not really that organized during the summer :)

Ok, that's not really it -- the secret is in how I APPEAR to be organized on those crazy summer days. 

If you've been following The $0 Summer: 105 Ways to Make Memories with the Kids series, you know our goal is to help you focus on more fun and less chaos.  (If you haven't been following along, we'd love for you to join us!)

We had one of THOSE summers a while back -- you know the ones -- every time we would head to the park or the pool or out to an event, something would get left behind.

Like the water bottles or the kids' socks (which you ALWAYS need at play places) or the towel so my kids wouldn't shiver when they got out of the pool. 

Or worse yet, I would forget the snacks!

Ugh!

So I got myself together and put a little system into place -- a very easy system that made my family very happy because we always had what we needed when we needed it (yea!)

Want to know my secret?  And bonus:  it comes with a FREE printable to make your summer less chaotic too :)

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10 Best Outdoor Science Tools for Kids

10 Best Outdoor Science Tools for Kids

We love outdoor science activities & experiments

Getting to know nature and being a backyard detective are activities my kids have enjoyed for years. 

And having great science tools takes outdoor exploration to a whole new level!

It's amazing to see the wonder and hear the questions when kids can get up close with bugs, plants, trees and even wildlife. 

So I love to have kid-sized science tools for them to use -- ones that are sturdy and don't need much supervision so kids can go off and explore on their own.

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20 Ways to Enjoy a Summer Night

20 Ways to Enjoy a Summer Night

One of our favorite parts of summertime is the not-so-strict-bedtime schedule so we love to find some fun things to do on a Summer night!

We head out after dinner for a walk to the park or spend a night doing something special. 

With the longer days and cooler evenings, summer is the perfect time to find some family events or activities that you can enjoy together after dark.

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20 Books about Cultures & Countries Around the World

20 Books about Cultures & Countries Around the World

Inspire your kids to learn about geography & cultures from around the world with these awesome books and mapping activities they'll love!

I so enjoy teaching my kids about places around the world -- the people, landmarks and traditions.  It's important that they increase their global awareness and become 'world-literate' as they grow.

One of our most read book lists is 30 Pictures Books about Countries Around the World (honestly, it was one of the ones we loved putting together too ;) and I received a number of requests for chapter books that focus on maps and world cultures so we went on the hunt for some AMAZING book series that are perfect to use as read alouds or for older kids & teens to read on their own!

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How to Create Memories with Your Kids

How to Create Memories with Your Kids

Ideas for how to create memories with your kids this summer!

Many of us are now ‘officially’ on summer break.

For kids, it’s a time for popsicles, pool visits and unscheduled adventures!

For parents, it’s a time to reconnect with our kids who have been trapped in a school building for the better part of the year.  

It’s also a time to think about what we might do together this summer.

Now I’ll bet you’re thinking this is going to be one of those ‘list’ posts – as in, make a summer bucket list or a what we’ll do this summer list.

But it’s not.

Even though that’s a great thing to do – it’s not the ONE thing I want you to do –

Scratch that

It’s the one thing YOUR kids really need you to do this summer.

 

The item I’m talking about only requires a pen, a sticky note and 3 minutes of uninterrupted time ….

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Road Trip Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Your Next Car Trip

Road Trip Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Your Next Car Trip

Get the car & family ready with this free printable road trip checklist and tips for how to prep for a long car trip! 

This week's one of those quiet times -- not too much on the calendar.

But I know it won't last long --

We're waiting to hear about college acceptances, looking into a few new attractions and counting the days until Spring Break (less than a month away for us!)

And I can smell an AWESOME family road trip somewhere in the near future.

Ahh ... I love the thought of exploring someplace new with our kids!

When it comes to taking a car trip,  I'm one of those "need to plan ahead" type of people.  I don't like to get on the road and worry about whether we might have any car problems or worse, run out of snacks before we reach our destination (heavens no!! the kids might not last until the next stop ;)

So today I'm sharing the checklist we use before heading out on our trips -- whether it's a day trip or cross-country vacation -- PLUS affiliate links to some of our favorite items & a FREE printable road trip planner to help you prepare for your next family car trip!

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Free Kids Summer Programs & Workshops

Free Kids Summer Programs & Workshops

Check out these FREE kids' programs, workshops & clinics this summer where your kids can explore hands-on activities, master a skill or create something beautiful!

Summer is coming and kids are looking for fun things to do -- and us parents are hoping that it's not all tech time ;)

There are a number of free programs & workshops your kids can try this summer -- my favorite part about these are that they are only a few hours and give kids a way to try something new without investing a ton of time (or money).

Summer is the perfect time to try out something new -- you never know what your kids will gravitate to unless you introduce them to new things!

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Summer Water Safety: A Must Read for all Parents!

Summer Water Safety: A Must Read for all Parents!

May is Water Safety Month and the perfect time to talk to your kids before gearing up to visit the pool or beach this summer!

My husband & I disagree about a lot of things -- like who's the best canoe paddler (it's me ;) and whether pasta or burgers are a better summer dinner.

But the one thing you'll find us both in agreement on -- teaching kids to swim and understanding safety near the water.

Be sure to take some time this summer to talk to your kids about the ABCD's of water safety with these easy tips!

 
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17 Summer Reading Logs & Rewards {with free printables}

17 Summer Reading Logs & Rewards {with free printables}

Inspiration for Summer reading with fun reading logs & rewards for kids!

As parents, we know that connecting the kids with books throughout the summer months is SUCH a good thing. 

Summer reading helps them to keep their vocab and comprehension skills strong so those first weeks back to school are much easier!

But honestly, keeping them reading can be a challenge with all the other fun activities they have going on -- like the pool and friends and s'mores by the fire ... not to mention the availability of technology and the desire to get sticky, dirty and wet any chance they get ;)

Which is why this first post in our 105 Days of Free Summer Fun includes awesome ideas & freebies that will not only inspire your kids to read but also allow us to retain our 'cool Mom/Dad' status without constantly bugging them to pick up a book!

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