Posts filed under ‘connecting kids with nature’
Spring is in full throttle and summer is right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to get outdoors and explore your gardens! Finding little creepy crawlies with your little ones is not only a fun exercise, it instill an inherent curiosity in your child. That curiosity will push them to explore and learn about not only the great outdoors, but all aspects of the world. Education should inspire them to find out more, not stifle their natural wonder.
Take your little one(s) on a nature walk, strolling slowly in your back yard or community garden. Take 5 minutes in each area, observing things carefully, to see what you can find! Keep a look out for lovely little ladybugs. Here are 10 fun facts about ladybugs to teach your kiddos:
- Ladybugs are also called Lady beetles or Ladybirds.
- The male ladybug is usually smaller than the female.
- A ladybug beats its wings 85 times a second when it flies.
- The spots on a ladybug fade, as the ladybug gets older.
- In many countries, ladybugs are considered to be good luck.
- Aphids are a ladybug’s favorite food, making them good for your garden.
- There are over 5000 different kinds of ladybugs worldwide.
- A female ladybug will lay more than 1000 eggs in her lifetime.
- Ladybugs chew from side to side and not up and down like people do.
- Ladybugs are all around us! Ladybugs can be found in trees, shrubs, fields, beaches, and even houses!
What you Need:
- Egg carton or round cardboard piece
- black and red markers, paint or crayons
- scissors or whole puncher
- Pipe cleaners
- Optional: googly eyes
- Separate one cup from an egg carton or use any round cardboard pieces you have on hand.
- Using markers or paint to color the egg carton cup red. Then, using black paint/markers, color in the head, and make spots on the body.
- Using the point of a scissors or a hole puncher, an adult should make 6 small holes (3 on each side) at the base of the cup (these will be for the legs. Make 2 small holes (for antennae) where the top of the head will be.
- Insert a black pipe cleaner into each a side hole and out the other side for the legs. Use half a pipe cleaner for the antennae.
- Glue on googly eyes or paint on white eyes.
- Take your ladybug into the garden and try to spot some real ones!
This Simple Recipe is Tasty and Cute!
1-small red apple
2tsp.- strawberry cream cheese (low-fat)
1/8 cup- raisins or dried cranberries
1 or 2-red or black seedless grapes
Optional: lettuce leaves for garnish if desired.
Alternatives: peanut or almond butter instead of cream cheese. Round cereal instead of raisins, a small pinch of cinnamon. Use your imagination and what you have on hand in the kitchen.
Wash the apples and lettuce. Arrange a few lettuce leaves on each plate. Cut apples in half from stem to bottom. Remove seeds. Lay each half of apple cut side down on
cutting board and cut in half from stem to bottom. With skin side up place both halves of apple on top of lettuce. Put a small amount of cream cheese in-between the apple
halves to adhere the apple back together (enough to have a small amount squish out the top). Stick raisins to cream cheese down the middle of apple, then use a small dab of cream cheese to adhere the raisins (see picture below) on each wing. Cut a grape in half and use cream cheese to stick it to one end of your ladybug apple for the head.
This is a perfect recipe for adults and kids to make together. It’s fun, easy, cute, and so tasty. And did Chipper mention it’s healthy too? “Healthy before sweet, can’t be beat!”
Looking for some fun family “workouts” that feel more like play? Check out these simple outdoor activities that will get everyone in your family off the couch and help you bond while burning some calories. Getting active outdoors isn’t only good for your body but also you and your child’s social and emotional wellness. As Chipper likes to say, “Healthy Habits Grow Happy Hearts!” Try a few with mom (or with your kids) to celebrate Mother’s Day this week and have some fun while keeping fit!
1. Hula Hooping
Hula hoops became a hot toy in the late 1950s and are still a lot of fun for families. Hula hooping can burn more than 500 calories an hour — not bad for a $10 piece of plastic! Hoops come in a variety of sizes for children and adults, and weighted hoops for more advanced “hoopers” will give you even more of a workout. Try a little more variation than just the normal standing hula hooping with these 3 Great Hula Hoop Exercises for Kids.
2. Jump Roping
Jumping rope burns an estimated 600 calories an hour. Jump ropes are also cheap, starting under $10. Also, because jump ropes are so portable, parents can pack one in their suitcase for workouts while they travel. Who knows — maybe Dad is a future double dutch champion!
3. Skating and Scooting
Have some old Rollerblades or Razor Scooters hanging out in the garage? You probably forgot how fun some quality time on wheels can be! Dust them off and cruise around the neighborhood or a nearby park with your kids. Kicking along on a scooter is sure to get your heart rate up. And in-line skating burns at least 300 calories an hour for adults. Consider doing a scavenger hunt to keep you moving.
4. Boogying Down
Your family loves singing along with the radio in the car. Why not dance along to the music when you’re at home? Having a family dance party lets parents and kids get silly while also getting some good cardio exercise. Hip hop dancing can burn about 400 calories an hour, so turn up the beats indoors or outside!
5. Playing Frisbee
Frisbee has a cult following, with hundreds of colleges now offering “ultimate Frisbee” (a Frisbee game similar to soccer) as a school sport. Your family could be full of Frisbee champs! With plastic discs starting at $5, it’s worth a try. Frisbee golf is another fun disc game.
6. Walking — or Hiking — with the Dog
What has fur, four legs, and is dying to be your exercise pal? That’s right: the family dog. Studies have shown that owning a dog can make you healthier, in part because you’re likely to take more walks. But if your daily walks have become more like a chore, infuse some fun as well as fitness. Go as a family, pick different routes each night, and throw in some jogging.
7. Playground Playtime
Just as kids love rec time during the school day, they’ll enjoy romping around the playground when school is out of session. When is the last time Dad tried his hand at crossing the monkey bars or doing some pull-ups? And when was Mom last on the swings, pumping her legs to get sky-high? Playgrounds offer fun physical activity for everyone — even if you’re just chasing the kids around.
8. Tag, You’re It, and Other Outdoor Games
Tag, kickball, wiffle ball, kickball… you name it! Neighborhood games may be waning in the digital age, but they’re as fun as ever and hopefully due for a comeback. Challenge your family members to some friendly competition, and enjoy the great outdoors like it’s the good ol’ days. Here are some great ideas from Chipper!
No! This is not a beach.
WHERE IS THE VOLCANO?
WE STAYED ON THE EDGE OF THE WATER.
THEN THIS WAS SPOTTED: ASH AND
And, while WE were watching,
a plume of black ash, a HUGE CLOUD.
COVERING EVERYTHING IN RED, EVEN THIS FAR AWAY.
THEN THE SKY TURNS BLACK WITH ASH
OUT OF THE OCEAN, MOUNTAIN PEAKS ARISE?
MORE ERUPTIONS; ASH AND CLOUDS.
THEN MOUNTAIN PEAKS RISE HIGHER
AND A BRAND-NEW ISLAND IS FORMED!
CREATION OF MOUNTAINS
CAN YOU IMAGINE THE THRILL OF BEING
Photos courtesy Jesse Allen NASA Earth Observatory
Happy Arbor Day! Arbor Day is a national holiday that encourages people to care for, appreciate, and plant trees. Each state tends to celebrate Arbor Day on its own day, the most common date for Arbor day is the last Friday of April. Proposed by a journalist by the name of J. Sterling Morton, the first Arbor day was celebrated in Nebraska, 1872. Other countries besides the United States celebrate environmentalism and tree-planting, too:
Japan – Greening Week
Isreal – The New Years Day of Trees
Korea – The Tree Loving Week
Yugoslavia – The Reforestation Week
Iceland – The Students’ Afforestation Day
India – The National Festival of Tree Planting
In celebration of Arbor Day, Chipper made a coffee sleeve tree recycle-craft this week! This craft is simple, eco-friendly, and even incorporates the theme of trees for Arbor Day!
Here’s what you need:
First, cut the coffee sleeves open and cut pieces to create a trunk. Cut the green coffee sleeves open and cut leaf shapes. If you don’t have green coffee sleeves, just use marker, paint, or crayon to color your coffee sleeves green!
Then, place glue (or tape!) down the center of your piece of construction paper like so:
Place the pieces down like so:
And there you have it–a fun and simple tree craft for Arbor Day! After creating this craft, spend some time with your little one discussing trees. Did you know that trees help keep our soil healthy by minimizing soil erosion? Or that there are over 23,000 kinds of trees on Earth? Click here to read and learn more about trees!
Let’s Go Chipper for Arbor Day!
(Chipper got the idea for this craft from this blog.)
With Earth Day inching closer, now’s a great time to start thinking about good ol’ Mother Earth. Held annually on April 22, Earth Day is a world-wide support day for environmental protection. Earth Day began in 1969 when John McConnell, a peace activist, proposed a day to celebrate the environment and Earth’s beauty. The reason why Earth Day is on April 22 is because of the abundant amount of youth activism in the 1960s: April 22 is a likely day for college students to be available because it falls between Spring Break and Final Exams. Interesting, right?
In celebration of the upcoming Earth Day, Chipper made an Earth Day craft this week! Not only is this craft simple, it will teach your little one about the importance of loving our planet.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Firstly, draw a circle on blue construction paper and cut it out. This will be the water of planet Earth.
Secondly, cut out arbitrary land-like shapes out of green construction paper and glue (or tape) them onto the blue circle. Your planet Earth is starting to take shape!
Then, place your hands into a heart like shape like so. Trace your hands and cut them out.
It will end up looking like this:
Using glue or tape, adhere your hands onto your already-made Earth. Voila! This craft symbolizes the importance of using your hands in activity to love on the environment around us.
Optional: Using red marker, draw a heart in the middle like so. This could further solidify the link between using hands to actively take care of Mother Earth.
Let’s Go Chipper for Earth Day!
To all of Chipper’s animal friends: BAMBI & THUMPER REALLY DO EXIST!
May you always have
Love to Share,
Health to Spare,
And Friends that Care!
Here are the REAL life animal friends that remind Chipper of the Disney Classic, Bambi. In the beginning of this heart-felt film, Thumper and Bambi become quick friends and help each other grow and build confidence.
Pictures taken by Tanja Askani. What an amazing photographer to have caught these shots!
Friends are there to support us during hard times and laugh with us during the easy ones. For example, when Bambi’s mother gets killed by a hunter or when Thumper meets a young female rabbit (ironically called a doe), the two unlikely friends stick together and help each other through it all. No matter where you come from, how you grow up, or what you look like, friendships can be made in the most unlikely places and can last a lifetime.
Although from two completely different species, Rabbits and Deer have more in common than most of us realize! Both are mammals and are indigenous or over time have been introduced to most regions of the world.
Both animals are great jumpers and can easily out run most predators unless taken unaware.
Both rabbits and deers are herbivores and they are also a huge source of meat for humans and animal carnivores alike.
Similarly to deer, male rabbits are called bucks and females are called does. Baby rabbits are called kittens though (who knew?) while baby deer are usually called fawns.
Rabbits and Deer both live in groups (called a ‘herd’ when a group of deer) and when they are eating one stands guard (usually the buck for deer); if danger is sensed the guard signal to the others to run away. To spot deer or rabbits, they are usually out and about to feed at dusk and dawn.
Various cultures view each of these adorable creature differently. China raises more rabbits for food than any other country where as the United States primarily raises rabbits for pets and medical research. Deer are hunted all over the world and commonly seen as a nuisance to gardens and crops (same as Rabbits) but deer have also been a sacred and holy symbol in a number of cultures and religions. Learn more about deer in mythology.
DID YOU KNOW that Deer are the only animals that have antlers? They are the fastest growing living tissue on earth! Antlers are usually only found on males, but in some species, like caribou, you will also find them on females too. Moose have the largest antlers. Antlers grow from spring until fall. While growing, antlers are covered with a soft tissue known as velvet. This tissue contains a network of nerves and blood vessels and is very sensitive. In the fall, the velvet is shed and the antlers harden. In the winter, the antlers are shed. Antlers should not be confused with horns. Horns are never shed and continue to grow throughout the animal’s life. If they are broken, they won’t grow back!
Meet Chipper’s Rabbit and Deer friends! Daffodil is a white-tailed doe, , the smallest members of the North American deer family, and Jasper is a Jack Rabbit, who is actually a hare, not a rabbit. Hares are larger than rabbits, and they typically have taller hind legs and longer ears. These two friends both are from North America and like to stay with the warm weather.
When was the last time YOU saw a deer or a rabbit? What time was it? Where were you? Share with Chipper!
Easter is right around the corner—Happy Early Easter! For many of us, Easter is the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. For others, this time of Spring celebrates the Jewish holiday of Passover. However, for those who aren’t religious, Easter is followed with the tradition of coloring hard-boiled eggs and giving baskets of candy. This tradition of bunnies, eggs and candy go back to the holiday’s root purpose: procreation! Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility. Her symbols (like the egg and the bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols. After Roman Emperor Constantine decided to Christianize the Empire, Easter was changed to represent the rebirth Jesus as well as the spring season of birth and growth. Who knew!
This week, Chipper tried his paws at Easter egg dyeing. Here’s how he did it!
What you need:
Before starting the dyeing process, be sure to cover your surface with a sheet of newspaper or paper towel.
First, hard-boil some eggs. If you don’t how to hard-boil eggs, here’s how.
First, combine a teaspoon of vinegar with one cup of hot water (Chipper stuck his cup of water in the microwave) and 20 drops of your food coloring of choice. OR, go al natural by using food scraps and berries to make some natural dyes: http://ow.ly/joSNv & http://ow.ly/joSKZ
Here are a few book resources to check out if you and your little one’s decide to try natural dyeing and want to learn more about what plants make which colors:
- Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes ► http://amzn.to/100e5fa
- Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes ►http://amzn.to/X6gMPC
- More Easter fun for the kids – find a local farm tour in your area ►http://www.farmerspal.com/organic-lifestyle/events/tours/page/1/
Using tongs or a spoon, immerse your hard-boiled egg into the vinegar/water/dye mixture for around five minutes. Keep in longer for a darker hue. Carefully remove egg and set it aside to dry. Chipper put his in a cup to dry!
If you and your little one want to get creative, here are some ideas: try using electrical tape and creating a design (Chipper made a heart!), use crayon to draw a design on the egg before submerging it into the dye, or even submerging your egg into several different dyes to create a fun new color!
Let’s Go Chipper for Easter eggs!!!
Spring is here at last! What better way to celebrate than by spending some time with your little one’s making a craft? Crafts are not only great fun, they make pretty, sentimental decorations for around the house or classroom and they help develop your little one’s mobile skills, creativity, and coordination. Try making some Spring Blooms using recycled toilet paper rolls this season. This craft will teach your kids how easy (and pretty!) reusing trash can be.
Learn more about Spring with your little one’s as you make the craft and talk about the importance of recycling. Make your own garden this season! Planting the seed, watching them grow, and seeing them bloom is a valuable experience for children of any age. It’s also another great way for you to connect and spend time with each other. Children are natural gardeners: They’re curious, like to learn by doing, and love to play in the dirt. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. Gardening gives children a chance to learn an important life skill, one that is overlooked in standard school curriculums. Gardening is also a great way to teach environmental awareness by exploring the workings of nature.
What You’ll Need:
- Empty toilet-paper rolls
- Kid-friendly scissors
- Bamboo skewers or stick with a pointy end for stem (pencils work great!)
- Paint or Markers
- Paintbrush if using paint
- Tissue paper or recycled paper colored and crumpled
- Green cardstock or construction paper (Alternatively, you can use recycled cardboard or paper and color it with markers or paint)
- Draw a ring 2 inches from edge of tube. Repeat on other end. Then, from each 2-inch ring, draw cut lines every 1/2 inch. Snip along each line to make petals.
- Fold petals back to create flower. Paint flower and bamboo skewers; let dry. Cut out green leaves and glue to skewers.
- Push the skewer through one end of the flower’s center until it just touches the other end. Crumple an 8-inch square of tissue paper and place in the center.
Let’s Go Chipper this Spring!
Chipper playfully teaches children good character and academically relevant material through multi-sensory experiences. We often encourage reading a story then engaging in another activity which will reinforce the message. Crafts, physical movement, and music come together to provide a more resonating experience. Each song serves a purpose; music is inherently playful and the creativity that is required both on a professional and amateur level has implications far beyond the instrument in hand.
Nina Kraus, from Northwestern University (Illinois, USA), reports that musicians trained to hear sounds embedded in a rich network of melodies and harmonies exhibit both enhanced cognitive and sensory abilities that give them a distinct advantage for processing speech in challenging listening environments compared with non-musicians and leads to changes throughout the auditory system applicable to situations outside the musical realm. She writes, “This effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness.”
Further, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain. The study provides strong evidence that the years between ages six and eight are a “sensitive period” when musical training interacts with normal brain development to produce long-lasting changes in motor abilities and brain structure.
So what does that mean for us as parents?
- Advocate for music in the schools and support the efforts to help fund them. Every child, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have the opportunity to experience music and musical instruments as part of their regular curriculum.
- Introduce instruments at a young age. This may take multiple iterations until the perfect match is found.
- Broaden their musical landscape (and your own). Take them to an opera, a symphony, or ballet. Trust that their young minds are capable of comprehending and enjoying the complexity of sounds.
- Keep practicing. Remember that no one ever says they wish they hadn’t had lessons as a child, just that they wish they had “stuck with it.”
- Search locally. When looking for a teacher, consider your local community college and inquire about lessons from music students there. Often, they are much less expensive and perfect for beginning students.
Maybe, mom and dad did know best when they encouraged us to practice. And maybe, just maybe, we need to heed that advice with our own children. Let’s Go Chipper for Music this March!