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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30 Things to do Outside + Easy Craft for Kids

30 Things to do Outside + Easy Craft for Kids

This rock painting idea + fun things to do outside will inspire more creative play for your kids without having to hear "there's nothing to do" this summer!

I'm a toss-the-kids-out-the-door kind of parent. 

Children (along with teens and adults for that matter) just don't get enough time outside. I can recall enjoying some wonderfully long days climbing trees, skating, creating, digging & exploring as a child.

But I grew up with siblings and neighbors that were all close in age so there was always someone who wanted to "go out & play". 

My daughter doesn't have the luxury of playmates knocking at her door so lately I've been looking for ways to entice her to spend more time outside. 

Since she really enjoys crafts and also likes to be surprised, we decided to create an Outdoor Activity Jar together to inspire more exploration & outdoor play this year.

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Nature Scavenger Hunt {free printable list!}

Nature Scavenger Hunt {free printable list!}

Get out to explore with this FREE printable Nature Scavenger Hunt list!

We love to get out and explore new places as a family -- whether it's hiking a new trail, going on a scavenger or finding a new playground!

So this year we are once again partnering with The National Park Trust to celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 20th.

Print off your free scavenger hunt, learn about some awesome park activities near you & enter the giveaway too!

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How to Get Organized & Enjoy More Time with Your Family

How to Get Organized & Enjoy More Time with Your Family

A few months ago, I shared my secret to the Best Place to Begin Organizing Your Entire Home.

I wrote the post because I wanted to inspire other busy moms like me to find their starting point when it comes to putting some organzational systems in place.

Amazingly, it's been one of our most read posts this year!

Obviously it's not just me who is working toward a more organized home ;)

So with Mother's Day coming, I thought I would share another post that's "just for Mom" -- even though we all know that anything that's done for Mom actually benefits the whole family ;)

Today, we'll look at some AMAZING books that can help us to get control of clutter, make meal planning simplier, inspire us to take time for ourselves and give us more time with our families!

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Teaching Kids about Water Conservation & the Water Cycle

Teaching Kids about Water Conservation & the Water Cycle

Activiites & books about that teach our children about water conservation and the water cycle!

March 22nd is World Water Day.

It's a day for all of us to remember that water is an important resource in our life and clean water is a limited resource for many around the world. 

Everyone can make a difference in preserving this natural resource, even the youngest among us! 

In fact, our kids might even teach us adults a thing or two.

Join us as we explore some great books, learn about the water cycle and share tips for easy ways to conserve water.

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20 Fairy Play & Mini Garden Ideas

20 Fairy Play & Mini Garden Ideas

These mini garden ideas and fairy play activities are sure to inspire kids of all ages to dig, plant, grow and engage in imaginative play!

Fairy gardens are the perfect way to connect your child with so many learning & sensory concepts and they are easy to create in your backyard, kitchen or classroom! 

We have ours in our outdoor flower garden but today's set of activities include ideas for both indoor and outdoor fairy set-ups! 

I hope you find inspiration and enjoy planning your own mini garden play area!

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100 Fun Things to Do in Spring!

100 Fun Things to Do in Spring!

A HUGE list of fun things to do in Spring -- great ideas for Spring Break and ways to make memories with your kids!

After this wild & wacky winter, we should all pat ourselves on the back :)

Now it's time to enjoy all those things we LOVE about Spring --

Birds chirping, warmer temps, the fact that it's usually still light out after dinner and being able to wear flip-flops without freezing your toes off!

Plus the kids now hear a "yes" when they ask if they can wear shorts to school :)

Spring is also the time to make a few memories together.

So to inspire you to push aside that spring cleaning and enjoy some time with your kids, we've got a list -- one hell of a list -- of fun ways to celebrate the season!

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12 Inspiring Outdoor Activities: The Lorax & Ecology for Kids

12 Inspiring Outdoor Activities: The Lorax & Ecology for Kids

Use The Lorax and these fun outdoor activities to teach ecology and inspire your kids to change the world!

Today we're combining a few of our favorite things -- books & nature -- to kick off some early Spring exploring.  

In honor of Read Across America Day (celebrated on Dr. Seuss' birthday), let's take a look at how books and outdoor activities can teach our kids more about the environment.

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Tree Rings and Dendrochronology: Science Project for Kids

Tree Rings and Dendrochronology: Science Project for Kids

This easy science project shows kids how dendrochronology & tree rings give us a look into the past!

We like to do a lot of tree activities for a few reasons -- trees are easy to find ;), the activiites you can do are super easy & inexpensive and trees can teach us so much about science topics, the environment and even history.

Today's project is going to allow your child to be a nature detective -- and all you need is an old stump for this one!

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10 Math Books & Tools: Learning Measurement

10 Math Books & Tools: Learning Measurement

Explore measurement with these fun math books & tools for kids!

One of the most popular book requests I receive comes in the form of "Do you know of any good books that can help my child enjoy math?"

This request is not at all foreign to me as I've shared before that my child-who-can't-read-books-fast-enough is also the same kid that does not gravitate toward math.

However, put a math concept in the pages of a great book and presto!

So let's just say that my newest 'talent' is finding wonderfully engaging books that also highlight math concepts :)

And the second trick I've learned when it comes to math -- "It's all about the gear!" 

Kids LOVE using math tools and are more likely to ask questions and want to explore various concepts if they can do something other than just pencil & paper math.

Today's book list will focus specifically on stories & fun math manipulatives (tools) that explore different types of measurement plus some great hands-on activities and challenges your kids can try too!

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Tornado in a Bottle Science Experiment

Tornado in a Bottle Science Experiment

Upcycle items from around the house for this easy tornado in a bottle science experiment!

Sometimes an activity can introduce us to something that we aren't able to experience in real life and today's science project does just that!

Spring brings all kinds of weather across the country and one of the worst types of storms are tornadoes.

Living in Kansas, we've had to duck-and-cover quite a few times, huddled in the basement until the storm sirens sound the all clear but thankfully, we have never been caught in a tornado!

But kids will be kids and ask all those great questions -- 'how do tornadoes start?' and 'what makes them so dangerous?' so we thought we'd take a closer look at these storms by creating our own tornado in a bottle!

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15 Outdoor Activities: Backyard Birds for Kids

15 Outdoor Activities: Backyard Birds for Kids

Enjoy exploring birds all year round with these fun outdoor activities & crafts!

We have always loved outdoor activities as a family and wintertime is no exception.

Birds enjoyable for the whole family and unlike so many other animals, they can easily be found thoughout the world -- whether you live in a city, out in the country or in the suburbs.

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15 Play & Learning Ideas: Science Exploration Activities

15 Play & Learning Ideas: Science Exploration Activities

Inspire your kids to explore science with these play & learning ideas and activities!

If you've ever watch children play, you can see how much fun they have pretending. 

Sometimes they are building social skills or practicing their communication and launguage skills. And other times, they are exploring new areas of the world such as science.

Quite a few pretend play activities also lead to science exploration and discovery.  You'll notice kids asking questions such as "why?" and "how?" as they engage in various activities. 

Many times, children don't realize that they are learning about chemistry and physics while they have fun.  And play like this will continue to enhance a child's curiosity as they explore new things.

And don't think pretend play is JUST for preschool kids -- children ages 2 - 12 LOVE to engage in various play activities like these!

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Free Days at National Parks in 2017

Free Days at National Parks in 2017

Woohoo!  The U.S. National Park Service has announced their FREE entrance days for all National Parks in 2017!

One of the big family travel trends for this coming year is nature-focused vacations -- unplug, recharge and enjoy being together.  We are HUGE fans of the National Park system and try to visit at least one park or historic site every year (most years, we hit 2 or 3 of them).

They are amazing places, perfect for weekend outings or family vacations and a great way for families unplug get re-connected with nature.

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