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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23 Family Traditions to Start When You Travel

23 Family Traditions to Start When You Travel

 

Tips on How to Start Family Traditions when you travel & take vacations -- with a free printable list for you!

Growing up, our family road trips where one of the highlights of my summers.

Every year, we would head off to see far-away family members or set out to explore a new destination together.

This was back before seat belt laws and car seats -- when flying a family of 5 was ‘way out of the budget’.

My Dad would pack three pajama-clad kids along with all their pillows & blankets into the back of a station wagon and hit the road by 4 am.

“When you wake up, we’ll stop for breakfast” he’d tell us the night before.

Yes, there were squabbles, along with the frequent “are we there yet” comments every few hours but isn’t that what a road trip is really all about?

When we’d reach our destination, we would all pile out of the car, put our arms over our head and do one of those big s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s that only come after being cooped up in a vehicle for hours.

Family would come out to greet us with smiles & hugs “You made it!

“How was your trip?”

Even now, when we take our kids on road trips, there’s always someone that utters that question – how was your trip?

My husband will look at his watch to let you know if ‘we made good time’ or not.

Sometimes one of the kids will say ‘it was long!’ or ‘so much fun! We stopped and saw (insert crazy road side trip Mom made us go on here)’

For me, there’s really only one word that comes to mind when I hear that question – how was your trip?

It was memorable.

Always memorable.

 

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40+ Fun Places to Take Kids Near Me

Get out & explore these 40 fun places to take kids near me this weekend, over summer or on your next day trip!

If you have kids, you know it can be crazy to go anywhere! 

Every trip – to the grocery store, the park or the beach – always seems to require huge amounts of stuff.

But summertime means day trips & family road trips – a chance to go explore some new places and let your kids see another part of the world or have a new experience.

So today, we're going to get your family ready for adventure by sharing a FREE printable list of 40+ fun places to go with kids and some great travel tips to get you out the door quickly!

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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 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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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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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 {with free printable!}

Nature Scavenger Hunt {with free printable!}

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

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 this outdoor scavenger hunt and learn about some awesome park activities near you 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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50+ ABC Games & Number Activities for Curious Kids

Fun ABC games and number activities for preschool & kindergarten learners!

When my kids were younger, I worried about them learning their alphabet and numbers.  So naturally, I asked their preschool teachers what we could do at home.

The response?

Don't go overboard!

Don't have them write letters or numbers over and over or push learning.

And don't worry if they confuse 'b' & 'd' or write their 's' backwards when printing their last name :)

What did they recommend doing instead?

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24 Printable Easter Coupons for Kids & Teens

24 Printable Easter Coupons for Kids & Teens

This colorful set of Easter Coupons for kids & teens are perfect as egg fillers or Easter basket stuffers!

In our house, everyone gets an Easter basket no matter how old you may be!

I guess the Bunny doesn't keep track of age where we live ;)

It was the same in our house growing up -- baskets & egg hunts were the norm well into our teen years -- and I love carrying on that family tradition.

I'm definately more of a 'include something other than candy' type of parent -- there are so many other AWESOME items you can tuck into an Easter Basket or use as fillers for those egg hunts.

And one of the BEST things (I'm told by my munchkins) are Easter Coupons!

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12 Awesome Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

12 Awesome Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

These Easter Egg Hunt ideas are sure to please kids of all ages and include ideas for both indoor & outdoor hunts!

I grew up in Central New York which means that snow & cold on Easter was a fairly common thing.

My Mom always let us choose secial Easter outfits or wear our Spring clothes for the holiday.  But a pretty yellow dress paired with ugly black snowboots and a big, puffy coat never said “spring” to me.

Even during a year with a late Easter, there was always the possibility of freezing temps on Easter morning so our egg hunts were held inside.  I had seen outdoor Easter egg hunts on television but it was never something that happened in our neck of the woods.

When I got married and moved to a climate with a lot less snow, I quickly learned that having an outdoor Egg Hunt was a definite possibility.

So when my son was 5 years old, during a year with a ‘later’ Easter, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do our own outdoor Egg Hunt!

My husband was not as exuberant as I was about the idea.

Jacq, he said, it’s going to be cold in the morning

Cool, I said, not cold.  And we can put on jackets before going outside.

He was still a little doubtful so I compromised – I would hide 6 eggs inside and 6 eggs outside before we went to bed.

Hon, I said, it’s only 6 eggs.  We’ll probably be out there for all of 5 minutes to find them.  And I’ll put them in plain sight – really, it’s going to be fine.

Famous. Last. Words.

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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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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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