Sun, air and earth for our kids

Can you picture that feeling when you’ve been out for a picnic, seen a bit of sun, experienced some fresh air and had your bare feet on the ground?

There is a reason it is so rejuvenating.  I’ve recently learnt about your body’s real need for vitamin D from the sun (& how the second most common cause of skin cancer is sunscreen, the chemicals we slop on our kids every day); fresh, re-electrified air (not stagnant) and the benefits of receiving ‘grounding’ from the earth, by going barefoot. Simple things but there are scientific reasons for them!  And we also feel good after it too.  Don’t you?

The trouble is, on some days it can be hard to achieve all of these.  Especially when you are at work or too tired to get out of the house with a newborn.  Give it a go when you can and take mental note of how much better you feel after a good dose of nature.

And what about promoting these benefits for your children?  Do you encourage opening their windows?  Do you promote fans over air conditioning?  Do you let them go bare foot here and there?  Do you let them have a small amount of sun exposure each day, without the need for sunscreen?  Do they spend more time indoors than outdoors?

Ps the way we avoid the sunscreen issue is by using a natural one. UV Natural from health food stores.

Our creation table

Cool parents = relaxed kids when it comes to art, craft & all the ‘messy’ play.  So I commissioned my husband into making our own outdoors creation table.  Free to be loved and used JUST for creating, having fun, sensory exploration and learning!
We take it to all corners of our yard for different inspiration from a different setting.  We don’t clean it so we don’t worry about mess.  And we chose to use blackboard paint so we can love our table with chalk too..
But yes I’ve still had some crazy sessions with little painted hands making it to the house.  I guess that’s what you get for painting with a 1 & 3yo.  More on that later!
For now, let me know if you have a wonderful creation table!  OR if your husband has the skills to whip up a basic table…  Weekend project??

You can find language in your backyard!

Are you children interested in nature? Could they do with less screen time? Does your child love ‘treasure hunts’ or drawing? Do you need an activity that you can direct from the kitchen?

This activity promotes language-learning, getting outdoors, drawing skills and if need be, an opportunity for you to get the kids out from under your feet!  Of course you might find yourself out in the garden with your kids which is even better, providing you with fresh air and an opportunity to get to know your backyard better too!

Bring in the Backyard Treasure list! This is how we play:

1. Present your child with a special ‘notebook and artist pen’ and tell them they are going to find some treasures in the backyard.  They will need to listen up closely!

2. Challenge your child to find an example of each treasure description you provide (see list below for each treasure description).  Note, each description includes a word that the child must understand to find the correct item, great for language development.  You may need to discuss what the descriptive words mean before they go hunting.

Just a sample of ideas!

Just a sample of ideas!

3. The child must go and draw what they find, not touch.  This is to avoid little hands dealing with spiders and other not-so-safe delights in the garden.  Older kids might be fine to decide what they pick/bring back, but the main aim is for the child to then draw the treasure.  This is great practice for drawing what they see with the motivation of having a collection of drawings of their findings.

4. The child brings their notepad back to show you the drawing and to check if it fits the treasure description.  This is a great time to further promote your child’s language skills by discussing if the item fits the description and how they decided they would pick that particular item.  If it does not fit the description, you may need to provide some examples of the descriptive word, for example ‘wet means there might be water on it, it’s not dry‘).

5. Give the next treasure description.

For older kids, you could provide the written list, as above and let them go out and take on the task themselves.

This activity can then be repeated again and again, encouraging your child to find different items to match the descriptions.  Or think up a list of new descriptions!

Here is the list we have used so far:

  • brown leaf
  • a ‘forked’ stick (one with a ‘V’ in it)
  • a spider
  • something NOT green or brown
  • something moving (don’t touch)
  • something living
  • something when you look up
  • something you can eat
  • something wet
  • something man made
  • something that feels rough
  • something with a nice smell
  • something old
  • something new
  • a green leaf

Don’t forget even words like ‘NOT’ are descriptive words and are important for a child to understand.  A child may not understand the concept of ‘something new’  in the garden, so you may have to explain how ‘new’ relates to the garden.  If your child is not old enough for understanding words such as ‘man made’, think about some other descriptions you could add.  Here are just a few ideas to get you started – more descriptors of how items feel, look, colours, NOT….., quantity.  Remember the more you play with the same descriptions, the more your child has to think outside the box to find something different.

a few 'picked' items

a few ‘picked’ items

And if your child really does like to bring back a collection for you, why not save these in a basket and leave out for later imaginative play!

Let me know how your children get on with this fun yet educational activity!

I Raise My Kids is also at Facebook and Google+!

Leaves give great adjectives!

[Using leaves for learning]
Today, we tried to identify what was unique about each leaf and use a word to DESCRIBE this. I modelled most for Master nearly 2. We came up with: stripey, thin, twisted, frilly, crumpled, holey, matching… plus many colours. Not only was this a language exercise but also a sensory task sitting on grass and feeling each leaf. We were also nourishing our spiritual body by sitting out in nature and appreciating what was happening around us. All you have to do is go and sit on some grass (where there are leaves!)….and enjoy!

frilly, crumpled, holey.. Master 22mths took one as I took the photo!

frilly, crumpled, holey.. Master 22mths took one as I took the photo!

🙂 I Raise My Kids is also over at Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/iraisemykids 🙂

Taking the time to be myself…and a parent

Is there anything you would change about the way you parent? Is there something you wish to do for yourself that would make you an even better parent? It’s not too late to make changes!
In the name of inspiring others to LIVE LIFE in order to help your kids LIVE LIFE, I’m putting myself out there & sharing the piece of paper I went to town on with (hopefully) all of the things that matter to me PLUS 2014 ‘goals’ & ‘aspirations’ (I feel these terms mean business more than ‘new year’s resolutions’).
this is me on paper! what will the kids think?

this is me on paper! what will the kids think?

I’ve never done this before & have been surprised with the clarity it’s given me of what I aim to be, grow towards and model for my kids. It’s also helped to talk about this TOGETHER with my husband to increase unity, motivation and direction.
And of course, in good time, I’ll slowly be working away at defining each of the words in age-appropriate language to the kids & reminding them of how I am achieving these goals.

Will you take a piece of paper and an hour out of your schedule to write down what will matter to you in 2014? 🙂 Heidi