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Winter Craft & Science: Nature Art with Ice

Winter Craft & Science: Nature Art with Ice

Enjoy this easy Winter craft that combines science, nature & art -- perfect for kids of all ages!

I'll be the first to admit that once Winter sets in, looking for ways to incorpation nature into our day becomes more of a challenge. 

There's always that excitement for the first snow fall when we can head out and explore for animal tracks or make a snowman but everything is so bare and mostly colorless at this time of the year.

That is, unless you take nature into your own hands, add in a little science and create a colorful craft for your window (which is exactly what we did when the temperature dipped last week)!

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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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Tree Activities for Kids: Animal Habitats, Tree Types & Nature Facts

Tree Activities for Kids: Animal Habitats, Tree Types & Nature Facts

I know that Fall inspires some popular tree activities for kids -- creating leaf rubbings, watching the leaves change color and heading out on a leaf hunt.

But if we look a little deeper, we'll also find that trees play a crucial role to many of our neighborhood animal friends.  So today, let's head outside and be nature detectives as we look at the lives of trees!

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Featured
Kids Books about Life in the Forest

Kids Books about Life in the Forest

Fall is the perfect time to read these books about life in the forest & get out to explore! 

You don't need a large area at all -- even a small wooded area will do -- in order to experience a whole new world hidden among the trees.  I especially love to introduce kids to the forest in the Fall because of the changing leaf colors and animal activity.  So many of our woodland friends are preparing for winter at this time of the year.

So grab a few of these gorgeous books & let's go for a walk in the woods!

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Enjoy an Outdoor Family Adventure {with free printable}

Enjoy an Outdoor Family Adventure {with free printable}

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gulf County Florida. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

We love to go on outdoor adventures as a family!

Sometimes it's as easy as a creek walk at a local park and other times it's trying something totally new (like snorkeling) when we vacation.

No matter where we go, we always find some amazing experiences to share with our kids -- new places to hike, geological wonders -- and most important, those times that 'aren't planned but will be talked about for years' moments when we are in awe of nature.

So when the folks in Gulf County, Florida reached out and asked us if we wanted to help inspire other families to have some adventures this year, we jumped at the chance to get involved!  And also created a free printable "Get out & have an Adventure" activity for your family too!

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36 Summer Sensory Experiences

36 Summer Sensory Experiences

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Wet OnesĀ® Hand Wipes. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

My kids are "touchers" -- as in, they always put their hands on things. 

When they were young, I can't tell you how many times I said "Don't touch that one!" -- barbed wire, live animals, dog poop!

Yes, dog poop -- who knew it was such a kid magnet?!

But I did know that letting them touch as many things as they safely could would allow for wonderful learning opportunities!  They've always learned best when they can have a hands-on experience which is a very familiar thing for so many kids.

So when we plan out our summer activities, I love being able to give them lots of sensory experiences!  It's the perfect time to get wet, sticky and try new things -- to paint, walk barefoot and explore the night. 

It's the time of year when I initiate some of our creative family projects and plan some out-of-the-ordinary day trips.

So come explore with us as we share 36 Summer Sensory Experiences: fun ways to inspire kids, tweens & teens to touch, taste, smell, feel and hear the beauty of summertime!

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20 Printable Scavenger Hunt, Car Games & Life Skills Activities for Kids

20 Printable Scavenger Hunt, Car Games & Life Skills Activities for Kids

Today we are introducing our first Printable Activity Pack with TONS of fun summer activities for your kids & I am SO excited about this!

Since we're all about helping to make family life easier while your raise curious kids, we've combined those two goals to create a Summer Printable Activity Pack with activities the kids will LOVE along with time-saving printables for parents!

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Olympic Nature Art for Kids

Olympic Nature Art for Kids

This week's theme in our month-long Olympic Activities for Kids series is STEAM activities.

Now I know you're familiar with many of our STEM ideas for kids (science, technology, engineering & math) -- but we don't do a ton of 'A' = Art so I thought we would branch out a little this week.

If we can tie art to science or nature, we love that! 

Like the Sunprint T-shirt we made last summer or zentangle rock craft that's perfect for kids of any age.

Today's Nature Art activity is one that you can do almost anywhere -- building the Olympic Rings using items from nature!

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20 Outdoor Activities & Games to Play at the Park

20 Outdoor Activities & Games to Play at the Park

It's May again and that means we're celebrating Kids to Parks Day with a whole slew of AWESOME ideas for games to play & fun activities to do at the parks!

Be sure to visit last year's idea list of 30 Fun Games to Play at the Park for more ways to explore this summer.

And this year is extra special since it's also the 100th Anniversary of the National Park system. 

 

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The Best Books to Read with a Magnifying Glass

The Best Books to Read with a Magnifying Glass

Sometimes sitting down with "just a book" can be a little overwhelming for kids.  All those words and pages -- especially if they're just starting to read or not overly crazy about reading.

And then there's the whole sitting part of reading -- not something our kids EVER really did; they would constantly move and always enjoyed having something to do during reading time.

So over the next four weeks, we're going to feature a series of fun books for kids can read with their favorite STEM items!

Today's list includes favorite stories to read with a magnifying glass (think mysteries, nature detectives and hidden pictures!)  -- because who can resist reading a book when you have a cool science tool in your hand, right?!

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20 Inspiring Nature Activities for Kids

When I was young, I can remember spending hours outdoors -- hiking to the woods behind our house, looking in the creek for crayfish and tadpoles, scouting out which animals were running around the yard. 

And I can clearly remember the smell of the lilac trees when they started to bloom!  I would ask my mother if I could keep my window open just so I could fall asleep to that wonderful scent :)

There always seems to be so many new things to experience in nature with the seasons constantly changing around us.  And as you know, we are big fans of nature activities for kids both at home and on the blog!

So I was very inspired this month to join the 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge and share how kids can be 'Nice to Nature' with these hands-on activities and a free printable to share with you too!

 

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How to Start & Organize a Nature Collection

If you've been around these parts, you'll know that we have a fondness for nature activities ;) 

Most rooms in our house host some type of nature collection -- shells, rocks, tree seeds, leaves in the Fall, etc.

And many of these were started on the fly -- a trip to the beach, a vacation in the mountains -- kids are just drawn to natural items.

Collecting is such a great STEM activity & teaches kids so much about categorizing, sorting and observing -- I try to allow as much of it as possible.  But as the items accumulate, sooner or later you have to give it a little 'structure'.

Since "small is the new black" for kids, it's always fun to find a creative way for them to carry around their collection (they love to show it to friends and family ;) 

So today's activity is a frugal upcycle that will help to organize that nature collection!

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Christmas Play Ideas using Items from Nature

Christmas is a wonderful time to invite nature into the house!

We love creating & crafting with natural items during the holidays -- they're not only free but plentiful.  Not to mention, some of them have such a wonderful scent!

And then there's the research that shows having a connection to nature helps to reduce stress during the holidays :) 

Oh yea, we all need that!

So enjoy these great play activities, books and crafts from nature that are perfect for the holiday season!

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5 Awesome Activites at Your Local Nature Center

When I first started to stay home with the kids full-time, I knew that we HAD to get out of the house each week.

While I'll be the first to admit that there are so many fun ways to learn at home, kids quickly expand their understanding of the world if they have opportunities to visit new places.

That was always an easy task during the nice weather, but once lat Fall hit, it was more of a challenge to find fun places we could visit & explore (especially those that were in our budget and didn't involve a fast food location ;)

Then I came across a GEM!  We took a trip to our local nature center -- and we spent 3 hours there!  I know, we only expected it to be a short visit but there was just so much to do that I couldn't get the kids to agree they were done until they explored the whole darn place. 

And then we were hooked -- we found 3 more nature centers to visit that winter.  Since many centers have both indoor and outdoor spaces, they are a wonderful resource for the colder months.

 

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50 FREE Forest Animal Crafts & Activities

When I was a child, I can remember spending HOURS exploring the woods behind our house.

My brother, sister and I (along with our neighborhood friends) would hike back to this forested area and walk through the creek, play games and hope to encounter all types of woodland animals.

During the summer, we would head out after breakfast and come back tired & hungry for a late lunch.  The woods were a special place -- so colorful in the Fall, mysteriously quiet in the winter, full of life during Spring and a cool respite during those hot Summer days.

We thought we were explorers!

And as a parent, I was reminded this summer that these moments of childhood are experienced by each generation.  During our marathon summer road trip, we spent a few days at Gran & Pop's house which is located on 4.5 acres of wooded property.

Each morning, the kids would say "We're going back to the creek" or "We're taking the path through the woods to explore" -- words that reminded me how every child is drawn to the forest.

So today we're going to kick-off a short series focused on Forest Adventures! 

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