Posts tagged ‘connecting with kids’
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!
The Harvest Season is here and Halloween is right around the corner! Let’s Go Chipper and get outdoors to enjoy the cool weather with some of these fun activities!
Halloween is a time for tradition and connection–not just Christian connection of the All Saint’s Day tradition, or any older pagan or Celtic traditions that have blended into our present day vision of Halloween. But today’s traditional rituals of costumes and candy and our connections of community and family. Halloween’s grand tradition of Trick or Treating encourages people to knock on strangers’ doors. It connects us to the ritual of meeting our neighbors and knowing our community. Being outside is not only about communing with nature. It also is about having an appreciation for the place you live. For kids, Halloween is a fun-filled holiday of make believe and tasty treats, but it is also a time to walk around and get to know our neighborhood.
Have a wonderful Halloween and make sure you are safe and visible! Safety reflectors help you be seen and be safe in the dark so cars can see you. If your child uses a reflector you can reduce the risk for being hit by a car by 85%. Without a reflector the driver of a car may only see you when you are 25-30 meters away, but a reflector can be seen 140 meters or more in the headlights. This can give the driver 8 more seconds to see you and react!
Connect with Family, Friends and Nature this Halloween:
1. Go pumpkin picking to your local pumpkin patch!
Learn how they grow, get outside, have some fun! Pumpkin harvesting happens in late September and October so find a local pumpkin patch near you today! Here are some tips to choosing the perfect pumpkin:
- Look for a smooth, evenly colored pumpkin free of bruises and mold.
- Make sure it has a flat bottom.
- Don’t carry it by its stem.
- For children, try to select a lighter-colored, softer pumpkin. Although they don’t last as long, they’re easier to carve.
2. Carve a Jack-O-Lantern! After you have your pumpkin, break out your Exacto knife and a black sharpie and then get creative. There are so many types of styles and designs, the hard part will be choosing what to carve! If you have a younger child that can’t handle a knife, there are tons of kits full of stickers and decorations you can buy or just let them go crazy with some permanent markers!
Here are some tips for carving, lighting and preserving your Halloween Jack-O-Lantern:
- Draw a lid on top of the pumpkin.
- Draw a “tooth” at the back of the lid as a guide for replacing it. Cut along the lines and angle the blade toward the center of the pumpkin.
- Clean out seeds and strings.
- Scrape inner pulp away from the area you plan to carve until the pumpkin is about 1-inch thick.
- If using a pattern, trim it, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the design. Tape the pattern to the pumpkin. You can make your pattern fit any size pumpkin by reducing or enlarging it on a photocopier, or take it with you when you’re pumpkin shopping to get the right size/shape.
- Make your dots small and close together. For detailed designs, try using a corsage or push pin. If you’re having trouble seeing the pattern you’ve transferred, rub flour over the dots to make them more visible.
- When you’re ready to carve, hold the pumpkin in your lap. Hold the pumpkin saw like a pencil and saw steadily in an up-and-down motion. Saw at a 90-degree angle using gentle pressure.
- When using a candle, cut a hole on the upper, back part of the pumpkin. The hole will work like a chimney, allowing the candle’s heat to escape.
- If you want your opening on the bottom of the pumpkin, rather than the top, attach the light source to the bottom lid and place the pumpkin over it. Try drilling a hole to secure the candle. This provides more stability, helping with the flickering effect.
- For a multicolor display, use a battery-operated light with LED bulbs.
- A flashing light, like the Pumpkin Masters Ultimate Strobe Light, helps create a spooky look.
- Sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin spice on the bottom of the pumpkin lid for a seasonal scent.
- Pumpkins are 90 percent water. Depending on the weather, an untreated, carved pumpkin can last anywhere from a week to just a day.
- To make it last longer, coat cut edges with petroleum jelly, inside and outside.
- Spray the pumpkin with water, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator when it’s not on display.
- Soak or spray the pumpkin with water mixed with a little bleach to ward off mold and kill insects.
- To revive a shriveled pumpkin, soak it in water in a bucket or bathtub for one to 8 hours. The worse it looks, the longer it should soak. After removing it, let it drain for 30 minutes and then dry carefully with a towel.
3. Make a Pumpkin Scarecrow!
Fill an entire weekend based around building pumpkin scarecrows for the perfect combination of playing, house chores, family outing, harvesting and lots of arts and crafts!
Challenge your kids to find pumpkins that are the same size as their heads! Then you can make kid sized scarecrows together. Another component for scarecrow building is lots of leaves to stuff with. Raking leaves will suddenly become more important than just a cleaning exercise–it’s fun! Of course, spend some time playing in the leaves and invite the neighborhood friends to join the play!
To make your Scarecrow you’ll need:
- Leaves for stuffing
- Old clothes, pants and shirt or baby sleeper
- Wire, twine or nails
- Black marker
First, tie knots in the ends of the pants and stuff with leaves. Sew the shirt to waist of the pants. Make a whole in the crotch of the pants.
Second, make a cross out of sticks and shorten the length to match arms. Put the vertical stick through pants and stick in the soil. Put the horizontal stick through the shirt arms. Stuff it with leaves.
Third, measure pumpkin on the scarecrow. Make sure you do a cut where the head fit best on the scarecrow. Make a hole in the lower back part of the pumpkin so the stick can hold the head up.
Fourth, start carving and scooping out the seeds and pumpkin flesh. Use a marker to make a face on the pumpkin or carve it! Add decorations to make it scary or happy. Plan on carving out faces on Halloween day and putting lights in them to make them scary!
4. Make a Halloween Branch!
Go for a walk in your community, and look for fallen branches. When you are home, tie your branches together with fish line. Hang it up at your porch or by your door. Decorate with spiders and spider webs and get ready for your spooky visitors!
What you need:
- Good shoes and clothing for the weather
- Spider Web decorations
- Some home made or store bought spiders
- Fish line
5. Make a Chestnut Spider!
You will need:
- 1 chestnut
- 8 pieces (3 cm each) of pipe cleaners
- 1 Pair of scissors
- 1 string or steel wirer
- 7 toothpicks
First, use a pair of scissors to poke holes in the chestnut (paint the chestnut for a bit of added color).
Second, cut one end of each toothpick and push the sharp end of the toothpicks into your holes.
Third, put string or wire around the toothpicks, until it looks like a spider web.
Fourth, bend each pipe cleaner into the legs of your spider. Fold each pipe cleaner from the chestnut and wrap it around the spider web. When you have done all 8 of them you, have a spider in a web!
Let’s Go Chipper into the Great Outdoors this Halloween!!!
It’s just about time when the kids are going back to school at last! According to the National Association of School Psychologists, getting a new school year off to a good start can influence children’s attitude, confidence, and performance both socially and academically. The transition from August to September can be difficult for both children and parents after a long summer of broken routines and various trips. Even children who are eager to return to class must adjust to the greater levels of activity, structure, and, for some, pressures associated with school life.
The degree of adjustment depends on the child, but parents and family can help their children manage the increased pace of life by starting early, being realistic, and staying Chipper! Re-establish your regular bedtime and eating schedules early so it won’t be as hard to set once school actually starts. Have your children do some scholastic activities to prepare them mentally to start stuffing their little brains! Restart their memorization skills with Chipper’s fun Matching Game App.
Your child will benefit most from one or two activities that are fun, reinforce social development, and teach new skills! Chipper’s coloring pages App are easy, no-mess activities for your kids to play while on-the-go, shopping for back-to-school. For those of you with preschoolers, Chipper’s Pillow Backpack is the perfect item for your little one’s to hold a few necessities while having something to rest their little heads on during nap time! Sing-a-long songs with all of Chipper’s friends are a fun way for them to shape up their reading skills and dance moves. Check out Chipper’s brand new Amazon Webstore to see all our great school items, including reusable totes, fun backpacks with matching lunch bags, and much more! Get Chipper with your kids this school year!
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees.”
We are definitely Chipper for Parks! Parks are places for us to clear our minds and enjoy our surrounding. They are places for our kids to free their imaginations and explore nature! Stretching over 1,200 square miles (761,268 acres) of central California, Yosemite National Park is one the largest and oldest parks in America. With almost 4 million visitors each year, it is also one of the most frequented parks in the country. It’s no wonder why so many people travel from far and wide to visit if you have ever been lucky enough to visit before. The park’s forests of Redwoods and Sequoias and it’s huge valley’s filled with waterfalls and gigantic rock formations are awe-inspiring indeed.
When famous conservationist, John Muir, arrived to Yosemite in 1868 from his beautiful home land of Scotland, he was changed for life and inspired others to visit this magical place, leading the area’s way towards being a National Park. He also spurred scientific interest and was one of the first to theorize that the major landforms in Yosemite Valley were created by large alpine glaciers. After President Theodore Roosevelt visited Yosemite in 1903 to visit John Muir, he said, “”It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.”
Yosemite is full of opportunities for fun activities in the great outdoors! Explore Yosemite by hiking or biking. Spend some time with a park ranger learning about Yosemite or get a broad overview by taking a bus tour. You can teach your children to give back to the planet and help Yosemite by volunteering for a few hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day).
Your kids will love becoming apart of the historical Junior Ranger or Little Cub! The Junior Rangers reach back to the Yosemite Junior Nature School, organized in June 1930 and lasting until 1954. In 2010, more than 24,000 children became Yosemite Junior Rangers (up from 6,000 in 2007). Learn more about Junior Rangers with these links. Consider visiting the Nature Center at Happy Isles (summer only) or the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center for interactive exhibits.
Don’t forget to earn your FREE Chipper for Parks Badge on your next park visit by posting a picture of you and your tot in nature on Chipper’s Facebook Page, or give back to a park of your choice– in your name– when you purchase a badge here!
The Yosemite Guide has information about all scheduled activities and hours of operation for services.
Visit here for more information on this national treasure.
Some parents and educators lament that technology is taking away from their kid’s natural and organic childhoods. Yes, hours upon hours of watching TV or playing video games is not a good thing for young, developing minds but various studies have shown that interactive games or apps and sing along DVDs and music are excellent educational tools. One study, organized by the Education Development Center, Center for Children and Technology in 2001 for the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee (United States Senate), found that using educational technology improved test scores and early literary skills.
Not only are apps a great way to excite kids to learn and immerse themselves in various subjects, apps can be specially designed to different kinds of children with different learning needs. Whether they are dyslexic, autistic, or need more help with their math, there are apps that were specifically innovated to benefits various individuals! More and more, educators and parents are turning to iPads and apps to help inform and prepare our future generations. What better way to prepare your kids or students for the newest technology in the workplace, than by giving it to them as a part of their education? Apps are inexpensive, easy to use, and your kids/students will love you!
Chipper’s iPhone app was created to excite kids of all ages and needs to get outdoors and teach them about our diverse environment. Help your child develop their analytical skills and have some fun on your next road trip or flight! Apps are great for on-the-go entertainment and are also a wonderful tool to avoid the summer learning slump. Check out this article about Chipper’s app to learn more and see a user review!
Please enter COUPON CODE “40ipads” and 50% of your purchase will go to purchasing iPads for Children with Special Needs through the non-profit Growing Up For Good, and in support of A4CWSN, Apps for Children with Special Needs. Shop now through August 15, 2012. Each purchase includes a special Chipper For Parks badge. Download Chipper’s iPhone app for on-the-go fun! Like Chipper’s Facebook Page for special deals and free downloads!Here is a list of other Apps designed for kids with special needs: http://www.mainecite.org/attachments/article/146/24470331-iPhone-iPad-and-iPod-touch-Apps-for-Special-Education.pdf Here is a list of sites devoted to giving teachers and educators the best ways to use the iPad and Apps in the classroom: http://www.techlearning.com/default.aspx?tabid=67&entryid=513
Are you Chipper For Parks? If so, join us in raising awareness and necessary funds to support programs – from local playgrounds
to our national park systems. Due to continued government cutbacks funds are being diverted and parks and playgrounds are being closed. Chipper and friends are on a mission to connect and celebrate with families and communities across the country.
Help kids earn their badge by stepping onto a new path! A path that connects and provides everyone with an opportunity to play, explore, and learn about our parks and environment.
By purchasing the Chipper For Parks badge you are helping raise funds which will directly support:
- Educational programs for schools and communities, underserved children and all families
- Conservation and revitalization programs – from clearing trails to planting flowers and trees, to the repair and maintenance
- Sustainability programs – keep the parks open!
Chipper For Parks Badge: $5
Includes Chipper Kit filled with play-based ideas to help educate and connect in your schools and communities.
Click Here to purchase one today and start supporting our parks!
The Chipper For Parks badge is a colorful, embroidered, iron on patch made in the USA. Wear your badge proudly and encourage other kids to join Chipper’s path to the great outdoors.
Proceeds will directly benefit educational and community programs, trail maintenance and keeping our parks open. You can leave a park name and we will contribute directly in your name. Up to $2.50 of each purchase will directly support programs.
Your Chipper For Parks badge also includes a kit of ideas and activities you can launch in your classroom or community. Come together to help our park systems.
Stay connected and learn how we are all making a difference through our daily updates and blogs. If you would like to become a true Chipper Ambassador, let us know at your time of purchase and we will get you ready to go into the great outdoors – leading a new generation of children and families onto a path to happiness and health.
Let’s Go Chipper!
“Giving is the secret of abundance.” — Sivananda
All of us want our children to grow up to be responsible and generous. Giving them the opportunities to help out around the house with chores or simple tasks, such as cooking dinner or folding laundry, plants these seeds of independence and reliability. Making opportunities for your kids to play and interact with their peers and siblings help them learn to communicate and hone their interpersonal skills for years to come, important skills for whatever they do in life.
Let’s Go Chipper is an Eco-educational series of apps, books, and community programs that encourage your little one’s to get outside and play, learning about the environment and growing in nature! Our newest book, “Helping Hands,” is a great way to inspire your little one’s to help out their family, friends, and community! A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book support programs that benefit the positive physical and emotional well being of underserved children. To learn more, please visit www.letsgochipper.com. Bellow are 5 ways to encourage habits of kindness and service in your children on a daily basis.
1. Make service to others a family affair
You hear it time and again: Parents are the most influential role models and the best teachers for children. Children watch what adults do. Preaching to them to volunteer/feed others/help out at the local food pantry will likely fall on deaf ears if they don’t see the moms and dads doing it, too. Get involved in a local community service project at your local park! There are tons of opportunities and if you share your park service story with us on our Facebook page here, we will send you a FREE Chipper for Parks badge! Or purchase your own badge here and we will donate a portion of the proceeds in YOUR name to a park of YOUR choice!
2. Talk about it
Emphasize that not everyone has hot meals to eat and lots of clothes to wear. Children don’t typically recognize this, and it’s up to parents to teach them. Let them know about the project, and how they can offer a helping hand to those in need. Have them go through their clothes that no longer fit them and take a little trip together to drop off old clothes and toys at your nearest Good Will.
3. Involve children in a regular or semi-regular basis
When participating in community volunteer work, find something that can be done at least a few times each year. This doesn’t mean you have to fill backpacks with school supplies at the local community center or serve meals at the local food pantry every week. A consistent volunteer activity will stick in a child’s mind if they participate once a month, or even once every few months.
“It’s important to consider the basic logistics of any volunteer opportunity. If the opportunity is close by, a commitment to help out on a weekly basis may be fine. If it’s farther away, you may need to commit to helping on a monthly basis instead.”
4. Make sure your child can be actively involved in the service or project
Don’t expect to take children — especially young ones — to an activity where they have to sit and watch. They won’t want to keep going, and it entirely misses the point of including them in the first place. Compassionate Kids also advises parents to consider both their abilities and their children’s abilities when deciding on the kinds of community projects to participate in. Don’t overwhelm you or your kids–helping out should be a fun learning experience.
5. Use everyday opportunities to teach kindness
Teach children that some of the best ways to volunteer and help others is to simply do it as opportunities are available. In other words, kindness to others doesn’t have to be a structured event or community-planned charity work. The whole family can get involved in:
- Giving water to and offering help to a family whose car is broken-down on the road.
- Donating money, clothing, or toys to a family in need of assistance.
- Preparing and taking meals to those who have recently lost loved ones, had babies, or have family members in the hospital.
If showing kindness to others is a part of their upbringing, it’s easier for children to make it a consistent habit in adulthood. Make it the norm, not the exception, for you and your family. Get Chipper and get helping today!
Here are more community service ideas for children and resources for parents:
- Raising Children Who Care: Volunteering Ideas for Kids by Silvana Clark
- Community Service: A Family’s Guide to Getting Involved by KidsHealth.org
There’s nothing like spending time with the family around the camp fire under the open sky. Camping gives us all a retreat from the crazy, busy pace of our daily lives and gives us time to reflect and connect with your children. A little fresh air does wonders to a depressed teenager or a grumpy 4 year old. Take a nature walk and collect some rocks and leaves or just laze by a stream and watch the butterflies flutter by. There is no limit to the fun you can find when exploring our parks open spaces.
Join Chipper in supporting our Park Systems this summer by visiting and camping at our State and National Parks. Get out there and have your own adventure at one of our 279 State Parks. Click HERE to find parks with available sites and reserve your spot to start enjoying the great outdoors! Our noble Park Ranger’s can use all the support they can get with budget cuts and closures happening left and right. Donate in your name to any park of your choice when your purchase our Chipper for Parks Badge. Nothing inspires and benefits you and your children quite like nature and parks are the safest, easiest place to reconnect with our beautiful planet. Where will you go for your next camping adventure?