Posts tagged ‘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!”
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
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!
Jellyfishes are one of Chipper’s favorite animals because they are just so fascinating: they lack heads, hearts, and brains, they existed before dinosaurs, and they never stop growing! These amazing animals are 95% water and can even sting when they’re dead! There are around 1000 to 1500 different types of jellyfish worldwide, including one of the top 10 deadliest animals on earth, the Australian Box Jellyfish. Learn more about these awesome sea creatures!
Try making this easy and fun jellyfish craft with your kids this weekend. It can be made from materials you have lying around at home– all you need is a plastic bag, some safety scissors, string, and an empty see-through bottle. It is also a fun way to remind your little one that the environment needs to be kept clean to sustain these amazing little creatures! Plastic bags are a dangerous pollutant to our oceans and teaching our younger generations to utilize reusable bags more often is an invaluable lesson. Learn more about how plastic bags harm our environment and how to avoid using them here.
First, take a plastic bag and cut out a small square. Chipper’s was the size of a CD case. Any color plastic bag will do!
Secondly, pinch the middle of the plastic bag square so that it forms a head. Use string to tie off the bag to secure the head.
Using scissors, carefully cut the bottom of the bag into thin strips–these are the jellyfish’s tentacles!
Fill a empty bottle with water (Chipper used an empty milk jug). Stuff your jellyfish into the bottle, cap the bottle, and shake to watch your jellyfish in action!
Along with this craft, a fun and active activity to engage your little one would be to act like jellyfish around the house. “Sting” each other and play a game of tag!
Let’s Go Chipper for Jelly Fish this weekend with a wiggle and a giggle!
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!!!
This past weekend, I (Laila–A Chipper Ambassador!) went camping at Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake entirely in California. Located in Lake Port, it’s not the most isolated camping area, but there’s lots of fun things to do on the lake: swimming, boating, water skiing, or just floating around! Luckily, some of the people I went with owned a boat and we had a blast just riding around this HUGE lake and checking out surrounding sites and all the water birds.
Never having been there before, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what to bring with me. When in doubt, bring lots of layers! Or whatever you can fit in the car. No matter the conditions (which ended up being perfect!), I was to be in charge of bringing the all-important S’more supplies: Skewers, Chocolate, Marshmallows, and Graham Crackers. You can just find a stick around your camp site instead of skewers but some areas don’t have prime twigs for roasting: long, thin and sturdy! Bringing a few skewers or chop sticks is a good idea just in case so you don’t get stuck with all your ingredients and no way to cook your marshmallows!
One of the campers was a Welsh man, age 63, who had never even heard of S’mores! I had just completed showing him how to make the perfect S’more when I thought–I should document this and share for all of you out there that don’t know much about S’more making! Of course, my second attempt to make a deliciously perfect “Shmo” (as I like to call them–from Toy Story ) and document it was a total disaster. It might have been something to do with holding my camera and taking photos with one hand while doing everything else with the other hand. In the end, my photos are more in line with what NOT to do when making a S’more so I just went with it:
1) Make sure you have all your ingredients BEFORE leaving home or the grocery store:
2) Build a nice big fire and make sure you have plenty of wood to keep it going!
4) Now it’s time to roast: the trickiest part depending on how you like your mellow! I like mine nice a gooey but not burnt so I usually slowly rotate my marshmallow a good distance from the fire. In this picture, I got too close and it caught fire!
6) You want to break your cracker in half BEFORE putting on the chocolate! I did this backwards and my S’more sandwich halves were pretty uneven. Not to mention, the chocolate got completely melted. Make sure to keep your Hershey’s in the cooler!
9) And ENJOY!!! Yummmmmmmm!!!!
Not perfect but it still tasted good! Of course, there is more than one way to skin a cat, as they say, and people have different preferences of how they like their marshmallows cooked–squishy, gooey, or crisp! How do YOU make your perfect S’more?
We love getting Chipper in nature and we would love to see you and your little one’s getting Chipper in nature too! Photography is a wonderfully fun way to get you and your kids excited about the great outdoors. It’s also a great creative outlet that will make you see the world in a whole new light! Please share your best picture of you and/or the family getting Chipper in Nature on our Facebook Photo Contest Tab.
One photo entry per person please and captions are encouraged. Let’s Go Chipper’s Facebook fans will be the judges, so leaving a title or caption with your photo will definitely better your chances of winning. Once you upload your photo, don’t forget to vote for the best looking picture (even if it’s your own!) The picture with the most votes next week will win Chipper’s Ultimate Day trip Backpack, filled with tons of fun Chipper gear, like a water proof picnic blanket, an active water canteen, and a Chipper travel pillow!
Start getting Chipper in Nature today and click away!
“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?