Posts tagged ‘hiking 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!”
The Harvest Moon is coming this weekend! The moon has been waxing larger each night, and full moon is the night of September 29-30, 2012. In traditional skylore, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox came on September 22 (this past Saturday). That makes the September 29-30 full moon the Harvest Moon!
There’s also a name for the next full moon after the Harvest Moon. It’s called the Hunter’s Moon, and it’ll come this year on October 29.
Officially, the crest of the full Harvest Moon will happen on September 29, 2012 at 10:19 p.m. CDT (3:19 on September 30 UT). Depending upon your time zone, the full moon will be September 29 or 30. But the moon will appear round and full on all the nights around this full moon–the perfect time for a full moon hike! Have fun along the way by making shadow creatures and identifying sounds! Nature looks a lot different at night. See what senses are keenest at nigh! Exploring these differences with your little one’s can be an educational and playful experience.
Image Credit: Dan Bush of Missouri Skies
So don’t just look for the Harvest Moon on the night of September 29 or 30. Look for the moon to be bright and full-looking for several nights at the end of September, 2012. If you live far enough north – for example, in the northern states, Canada or Alaska – the Harvest Moon will continue to shine from dusk until dawn into early October! This procession of moonlit nights is what characterizes the Harvest Moon.
Take this weekend to teach your little ones more about the moon phases with this fun and tasty activity:
Why is the Harvest Moon special?
Factually, Harvest Moon is just a name for the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. But the Harvest Moon is much more. Nature is particularly cooperative around the time of the autumn equinox to make the full moon rises unique around this time. Not to mention spectacular!
On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day. But when a full moon happens close to the autumnal equinox, the moon (at mid-temperate latitudes) rises only about 30 minutes later daily for several days before and after the full Harvest moon. Why? The reason is that the ecliptic – or the moon’s orbital path – makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon around the time of the autumn equinox. The narrow angle of the ecliptic results in a shorter-than-usual rising time between successive moonrises around the full Harvest Moon.
These early evening moon rises are what make every Harvest Moon special. Every full moon rises around sunset. After the full Harvest Moon, you’ll see the moon ascending in the east relatively soon after sunset for several days in a row at northerly latitudes. The lag time between successive moon rises shrinks to a yearly minimum, as described in the paragraph above. Because of this, it seems as if there are several full moons – for several nights in a row – around the time of the Harvest Moon.
Want to know the time of moonrise in your location? Check out this Custom Sunrise Sunset Calendar tool! Once you get to that page, be sure to click the box for ‘moon phases’ and ‘moonrise and moonset times.’
Is the Harvest Moon bigger, or brighter or more colorful?
Not necessarily, but the actual size of the Harvest Moon depends on the year. The Harvest Moon has the reputation of being especially big and bright and orange. But it isn’t really the Harvest Moon’s size or brightness that distinguishes it from other full moons. In fact, the 2012 Harvest Moon is a touch smaller than an average-sized full moon.
Still, you might think otherwise. That’s because the Harvest Moon has such a powerful mystique. Many people look for it shortly after sunset around the time of full moon. After sunset around any full moon, the moon will always be near the horizon. It’ll just have risen. It’s the location of the moon near the horizon that causes the Harvest Moon – or any full moon – to look big and orange in color.
The orange color of a moon near the horizon is a true physical effect. It stems from the fact that – when you look toward the horizon – you are looking through a greater thickness of Earth’s atmosphere than when you gaze up and overhead. The atmosphere scatters blue light – that’s why the sky looks blue. The greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon scatters blue light most effectively, but it lets red light pass through to your eyes. So a moon near the horizon takes on a yellow or orange or reddish hue.
The bigger-than-usual size of a moon seen near the horizon is something else entirely. It’s a trick that your eyes are playing – an illusion – called the Moon Illusion. You can lengthy explanations of the Moon Illusion by googling those words yourself.
How the Harvest Moon got its name
So why is this moon – the moon closest to the autumnal equinox – called the Harvest Moon?
The shorter-than-usual time between moonrises around the full Harvest Moon means no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise for days in succession. In the days before tractor lights, the lamp of the Harvest Moon helped farmers to gather their crops, despite the diminishing daylight hours. As the sun’s light faded in the west, the moon would soon rise in the east to illuminate the fields throughout the night.
Who named the Harvest Moon? That name probably sprang to the lips of farmers throughout the Northern Hemisphere, on autumn evenings, as the Harvest Moon aided in bringing in the crops. The name was popularized in the early 20th century by the song below.
Shine On Harvest Moon
By Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth (1903)
Shine on, shine on harvest moon
Up in the sky,
I ain’t had no lovin’
Since January, February, June or July
Snow time ain’t no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon,
So shine on, shine on harvest moon,
For me and my gal.
Bottom line: The Harvest Moon will come in late September in 2012. The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, which in 2012 comes on September 22. So the full moon of September 29-30 is 2012′s Harvest Moon. October 1 will have a beautiful bright full-looking moon, too. The Harvest Moon is not really bigger, brighter or more pumpkin-colored than other full moons, but it’s special because, at this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, the time between successive moon rises is shorter than usual.
Enjoy your Moon gazing!
“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.
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?
Parks are great places for children to make important connections–with their parents, their peers, and the environment. They are also a great place to improve and maintain kid’s physical fitness with play based activities. Just by playing, they are moving and that’s good exercise! And playing outside, in the dirt and sun, has been shown by countless studies to improve and benefit every aspect of a child’s growth and development. Sadly, many parks around the country are closing down due to economic strain and lack of attendance. That’s why the folks here at Let’s Go Chipper are championing parks and open spaces all over the world to encourage visitation and inspire children everywhere to be the environmental stewards of the future! Here is a list of six reason’s why parks are so important for children’s well being!
• Parks are safe places for kids to go. Whether it is reality or just the perception of reality, many parents are fearful of letting their kids play unsupervised outdoors except in very controlled circumstances. Stranger-danger, fear of poisonous plants, fear of stinging and clinging insects—all of these are reasons why nature for some is a place to be feared not embraced. Parks are one of the few places that are generally very safe for kids to go. They are specially designated places for the public to enjoy nature, free from most hazards, and watched over by staff and the public. Park visitors promptly report unsafe conditions or hazards. Many eyes on the park make for a safer place for kids to play.
• Parks are one of the best places for discovery and play. Think back on your own childhood. The life of your imagination was a fertile place. Playing king-of-the-hill on a pile of dirt, building a fort or a clubhouse in the woods, flipping rocks over in a stream, exploring in uncharted territory—all were hugely enriching experiences. Natural parks are places for kids to discover the eggs of a frog in the water collected in a tire track and to see squirrels (Like Chipper!) running through the tops of trees, jumping from tree to tree. Kids will load up their pockets with objects collected on a hike to later marvel at how interesting the things found in nature really are. Parks are places for kids to discover nature and exercise their imagination!
• Parks are places for families to connect – Parks connect kids and adults with nature and to each other. Perhaps more than ever, families need places to connect with each other. Parks are all-purpose places for kids to connect with nature and with families to connect with peers. They are one of the few places that families can go where there are no barriers to communication—no amplified loudspeakers, no big screen TVs, nothing other than the sounds and sights of nature. Parks enable connections between families, between generations, and to nature!
• Parks are close-to-home nature places. As open space is rapidly disappearing from our communities, designated public open space and places for nature are becoming all the more important for all ages. The power of local parks, even small neighborhood spaces, to connect kids with nature is not to be underestimated. Joe Elton, Virginia state park director, recently reiterated a long-standing observation about parks: “You visit your local parks daily, your state parks a few times a year, and your national parks perhaps but once in a lifetime.” Kids can find nature in almost every park, and there are parks and public lands close to where almost everyone lives. If there are not, become an advocate for them. They should be everyone’s backyard!
• Parks provide a sense of adventure for kids. Parks have the unique ability to provide kids with a sense of adventure. Every hike in the woods brings new things to see, and around every turn there is something new to discover. Kids gain a sense of accomplishment from challenges met outdoors, which leads to greater self-confidence and self-worth. Parks are a great place for kids to take risks, within acceptable limits, and to discover that the fears they have about the unknown are conquerable. Every successful adventure in the park that kids have contributes to their maturity and to their developing a sense of stewardship for wildlife, natural resources, and open spaces.
• Parks are a place to remember. Some of our earliest and most special memories were formed in parks—lifetime experiences that we remember the rest of our lives with great satisfaction. Parks were special places where we forged friendships, had adventures, and learned new things about life and ourselves. Parks still provide these kinds of experiences to kids, and they produce powerful positive memories, affecting kids in ways we cannot always easily perceive. These park experiences influence kids’ ethics, their career choices, and even how they will be as parents.
Parks connect kids to nature in all the right ways. Discover where your close-to-home local parks are and get to know the park personnel who supervise them. Enable your kids to play there—they will be grateful to you for the rest of their lives. One simple way to support a parks is to purchase your very own Chipper for Parks Badge. We will donate a portion of the cost to any park of your choice, in your name. Support your local parks and noble Park Rangers–Get Chipper and Get Outdoors!!!
This Saturday, June 2nd, join Chipper and friends for the 20th anniversary of America’s largest trail celebration! Save the date and find an event near you at this link: http://www.americanhiking.org/NTD.aspx. There are so many trails to explore at our State and National Parks!
Take a local hike or take the dogs out for a nice walk in the summer sun. There are also bike events, horseback rides, and paddle trips if you really want to get active. Gather the family and go on a photo safari or bird watching expedition. Your kids will love the outdoor experiences and learn so much, especially with extremely educational geocaching activities taking place at a number of parks.
Take advantage of this special day to volunteer and give back to the community. There are a number of projects where you can lend a hand: trail maintenance and clean up, health fairs, and more! Talk to the Park Rangers at a park near you to learn more and Get Chipper on the trails this weekend!
For those of you living in the Bay Area, here’s a link to all the local activities and volunteering opportunities to celebrate our trails this weekend: http://www.parksconservancy.org/events/volunteer-events/special-events/national-trails-day.html
Here at Let’s Go Chipper, nature is our inspiration. Getting outside, even for a minute to feel the suns warmth on your skin, can lighten you day and clear your mind. There’s no better way to really appreciate nature and all its benefits than to enjoy a camping trip. It brings family together, encourages exercise and play, and is just plain fun for everyone, especially your pets!
It’s not always easy to remember everything to bring when your head to your local park or to a faraway wilderness. Like the scouts teach us, it’s very important to BE PREPARED! You never know what situation you’ll face and you can never be too careful.
Here’s a simple list of your basic camping necessities to help you plan your next camping adventure! Our original story and activity book, “Let’s Go Chipper: Into the Great Outdoors,” is a marvelous resource for your young adventurers to be apart of getting ready and learning some basic guidelines of exploring nature while staying safe. Click the link above to check it out!
- WALKS WITH NO ROCKS! Good, comfortable shoes and warm, absorbent socks are a must for any trip, especially for you avid hikers! Bring a pair of slippers is a good idea as well for making those late night bathroom trips.
- LEAVE NO TRACE! Be sure to bring some sort of trash and recycle bags! Keeping our campsites clean and picking up the messes we make help keep our environment healthy and clean for the next campers and future generations!
- LAYER CLOTHES! Make sure to bring some long pants for hiking through non-trail areas where you could get poison oak (or poison ivy). No body likes to get itchy scratches or bites while enjoying the beauties of nature. A First Aid kit with anti-itch cream is a MUST!
- SNACK ATTACK! Having healthy snacks, like trail mix or fruit, is key for any trip. Without some good nutrition, the kids (and you!) will start getting cranky and dampen the fun. Always have water near by as well and don’t forget to hydrate!
- PLAY BUT DON’T STRAY! When your kids are old enough to explore a bit on their own, make sure they ALWAYS hike with a partner and have a whistle, compass (that they can use!) or a piece of mirror with them in case they get lost. For the little ones, a good rule is, “Keep you Tail on the Trail!”
- FROM YOUR HEAD TO YOUR TOES, AND DON’T FORGET YOUR NOSE! Having adequate sun protection is even more necessary now that the sun is in its most active stage (the sun shifts its intensity level every 11 years)! Bring your hats and your visors when having fun in the sun. Make sure the sunscreen you choose is from 30 to 50 SPF and Paraben-free (Parabens are harmful preservatives in many skin and beauty products). Here is a great resource of what to avoid while making the important purchase of your next sunscreen: http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/ Your next camping trip shouldn’t stress you out. Nature is a de-stressor! Just be prepared and GET CHIPPER!!!
Our high-speed 21st century lives are all about convenience and getting things or going somewhere fast. By rushing through the day though, many important moments are missed and our brains and bodies are left drained and exhausted. Recent studies also suggest that our increasingly fast-paced world may contribute to an increase in childhood anxiety disorders, attachments disorders, behavior difficulties, and even attention problems.
Taking a few moments to literally smell those flowers outside the office building or by stopping with the kids to take a walk in the park greatly improves our physical and mental well-being. Humans cannot stay healthy while burning the candle from both ends, as they say. We need rest, relaxation, and recreation and there’s no better place to find these necessities than in nature. Spending time with your child to think about think about things, to clear the mind, to have fun is far more important than we realize.
Looking at the leaves or rocks and finding little critters like Chipper the Squirrel are priceless connections with your children that they will remember forever. You will appreciate each other and your time together more. Slowing down our conversations and interactions with our children heals and builds on relationships and allows them to learn and grow at their own pace. It’s not always easy to slow down when everything around us pushes us towards speed. Here’s an app about Bruce the Banana slug to learn about his slow but important adventures: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bruce-the-slug/id417401777?mt=8.
Slowing down gradually is the best strategy for you hard-core rush–aholics. Prioritizing “play time” or scheduling in breaks is another way for those of us love structure. Calling is “exercise time” may help with people who feel guilty about what most of think as “wasting time.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Teaching yourself and your kids to take some time out in order to eat a meal together or just stare at the clouds will lower the family stress, bring you all closer together, and enrich life overall. Need more strategies to slow down? Check out this great article How to Slow Down & Simply Enjoy Your Children: www.iecounseling.com/uploads/Tools_of_Trade_W05.pdf. Also, check out our fun Nature Walk activity and craft to try out on your next outdoor break: http://www.letsgochipper.com/nature_walk.php
Nature re-excites kid’s imaginations and ignites their appreciation for all the amazing aspects of our planet. By creating a simple scavenger hunt for certain rocks, plants, or animals, our children learn about the environment and all the important flora and fauna apart of it. The great outdoors engage all the senses: looking at the clouds, smelling the flowers, making daisy chains! The activities are endless. For ideas, check out Chipper’s Nature Activities page here: http://letsgochipper.com/natural_crafts.php. Many of the important lessons kids learn in nature directly connect with lessons for social life. For example, hunting for our quick little lizard friends requires patience, thoughtfulness, and respect. One must slowly, quietly search for their hiding spots and then gently capture them in our hands, holding them carefully. You can talk about all the insects this lizard may eat: grasshoppers, ants, or beetles. Have your child name the colors of the lizard and notice their shinny, colorful stomachs. Laugh at their funny bobbing mating dance and take note of other quirky lizard behavior, such as how lizard’s tails fall off but then grow back! The great outdoors, whether in a park or the back yard, is the perfect place to excite all of their senses, spark their creativity and playfulness, while also learning so much! What other critters do you and your kids have fun looking for???
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!
This Saturday, May 5 (a.k.a Cinco de Mayo!) not only is there an annual meteor shower epic proportions, created by the leftovers from Halley’s comet, but the biggest moon of the year will be lighting up the night! It will be a wonderful opportunity to talk a night-hike with the family to watch the mammoth rock rise around 11:30pm EST after a long night of eating delicious Mexican food. At the same time, the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be hitting its peak, NASA scientists say. A super-moon, swinging in 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) from our planet, occurs when the moon hits its full phase at the same time it makes closest approach to Earth for the month, a lunar milestone known as perigee. Scientists also refer to the event as a “perigee moon,” according to a NASA video on the 2012 supermoon.
Full-moon-walks are a wonderful way to see nature in a new light and check out all the nocturnal flora and fauna! They are also a great opportunity to spend time with the family and connect in a meaningful way with each other, by holding hands, counting shooting stars and sharing hopes and dreams. Seeing the stars and the moon in the night sky make us remember how insignificant and small we are in comparison to the universe, especially on a night with the super-moon shining. This feeling of just being a part of a huge whole was what John Muir wrote about feeling when he first saw the huge stretch of wild forrest ahead of him amidst snow-capped mountains and ocean-like lakes:
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
-John Muir, 1915