Ever See a Crab in the Forest?

  NATURE MAKES US NICER.

A study done by the U. of Rochester, 370 people were shown either images of man-made or natural objects and worked in space with or without indoor plants. Images of nature and indoor plants made people feel more connected, more caring and charitable toward others. Man-made images made people place more value on wealth and fame. Other research tells us that exposure to nature reduces stress.
So, if you’re looking for a gift that keeps on giving, try plants and photos of natural settings to help you through the dreary days of winter. Visit parks and natural areas as often as you can.
To view beautiful photos of nature click on Travel + Nature at:   http://www.treehugger.com
Spring is just around the corner!

To get children interested in nature, take them            

Boston Arboretum

Boston Arboretum

outdoors. It doesn’t have to be a park or forest. A playground, back yard or grassy field will do nicely. Get down on your knees and look for things hiding in the grass and under leaves and rocks. Most children have a natural curiosity when it comes to bugs, birds, and wild creatures. If you’re a bit squeamish regarding members of the insect population, try not to project those feelings onto your child.  Most bugs and insects are harmless and fascinating to watch as they go about their business. A magnifying glass will add a level of “scientific authority” to the activity. It’s also fun to take along a camera or some paper and pencil to record what you discover. Have a contest for whoever can find the most different species.

Buds are springing up from the ground and on trees thanks to our mild winter.  How many can you and your child identify?  There are lots of field guides available to help you identify plants and insects.                             Triple oaks spiderWhat are some of your favorite natural spaces?

Remember: “Take only photos, leave only footprints

Celebrate Earth Day.

EARTH DAY is today.  And Arbor Day is next Friday, April 29.  You and your kids can show your appreciation for our beautiful planet in several ways.

  1. Join the movement to plant 7.8 BILLION trees by 2020 – one tree for every person on the planet.  Go to http://www.earthday.org   for complete details.

2. 50 MILLION trees have been planted by the Arbor Foundation in America’s 155 National Forests over the last 2 decades.  You can plant a tree of your own or give a seedling to someone else.  Or, donate $25.00 and Arbor Day Foundation will add 25 more trees to our landscape.  Visit  http://www.arborday.org

3.  You can check out some fun ideas for celebrating Arbor Day or Earth Day at:  http://tinyurl.com/j9fev58

4.  Go to a local park or playground and pick up litter and items that can be recycled.  Also, check out PREVIOUS POSTS on this blog for other earth-friendly ideas.    Be kind to trees.  They make life on planet Earth possible.

tree hug5.  Read some fun books about the Earth and nature.  One great title: MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS, by Kate Messner.  Also, these two classics, THE LORAX by Dr. Seuss; and THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein.

For more “Green Books” titles visit:

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/bookfinder/green-reads/

Origami Bunnies…1…2…3…Easy!

When I saw this beginner origami project online, I couldn’t resist posting it.  ORIGAMI is the Japanese art of paper folding.  If you haven’t already tried your hand at it because you thought it might be too difficult for young children to learn (or for some of us grown-ups…myself included), this project is a perfect place to begin.

All you need is some clean squares of paper.  The nifty video below will show you the steps to create these adorable BUNNIES.  2015-03-04 23.20.41

Just in time for spring!  They make great party favors, table decorations,  greeting cards.  HOPPY SPRING!

http://www.redtedart.com/2016/03/02/easy-origami-bunny/

Easy Mother’s Day Craft: Refrigerator Magnets

Here is a pretty and simple craft even the youngest child can make for MOM for her special day.  All you need to make some pretty Refrigerator Magnets are:     

– Ceramic tiles of various sizes.  The one in the photo is 1-1/2 inch square.

– rubber stamps and ink pads in assorted colors

– magnets

– tacky glue for attaching the magnets.

Choose a rubber stamp and ink color.     You can   leave the design as shown in the photo, or color in the flowers with Sharpie Markers.

Attach several magnets to the back with the glue and let dry overnight.  mothers day craft1

mothers day craft 2

Why not make several to give as gifts to all the women in your child’s life who do wonderful things.  Everyone can use an extra magnet to hold up those lovely works of art our kids proudly bring home from school.

For more craft ideas for kids visit:  http://thelongthread.com/?p=4054     and    http://www.spoonful.com/summer/summer-crafts

And  http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/mothersday.html

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Spring Crafts: Sites for Kids

Looking for some fun-filed crafts to keep kids of all ages busy throughout the spring?  Here are some great sites with a lot of kid-friendly crafts using items most of us have around the house.

Hands on as We Grow: http://handsonaswegrow.com/simple-spring-crafts-for-kids/

From Disney Family: http://family.disney.com/spring-crafts

First Palette: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/spring-crafts.html

Busy Bee: http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Spring-Crafts-For-Kids.html

Red Ted also has some short videos on how to make ORIGAMI BUTTERFLIES.  There’s a second one for a Pokemon Bunny as well.

 http://www.redtedart.com/2015/03/19/how-to-make-an-origami-butterfly-simple/

http://www.redtedart.com/2015/03/04/easy-pikachu-craft-for-pokemon-lovers/

Why not spruce up the house with some new spring crafts!  Happy crafting!

Go Green…er With These Tips and Ideas.

In honor of Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 24) I’ve brought together several great sites that help you and your child do something to help and honor our Mother Earth. There are numerous organizations and manufacturers who dedicate themselves to reducing waste, recycling, and leaving a smaller footprint.  Some cost a donation; other only require time. Here are a few of them:              monarch

1. GO WILD:  Protect the World’s Ocean’s through Oceana’s ADOPT AN ANIMAL Program.   If you spend $50.00 on a stuffed sea creature, the money will be used to protect endangered ocean creatures and the habitats they live in.  http://www.oceana.org.    The WORLD WILDLIFE FUND http://www.worldwildlife.org  offers species adoptions for $55.00, which entitles you to a phot, stuffed animal, adoption certificate and gift bag.

2. PLANT A TREE: The Nature Conservancy’s program of Plant a Billion Trees, aims to restore forests around the world from Brazil to China.  You can see a map of progress so far and how to donate.    http://www.plantabillion.org    You can also protect forests in the American West at  http://www.americanforests.org

3. RECYCLE FOR A CAUSE: Fight poverty by donating new and gently used shoes to:  http://www.soles4souls.org.    

Assist victims of domestic violence by passing on old cellphones: http://www.shelteralliance.net

At  http://www.greenergadgets.org  you can find out what to do with your old cell phones, and electronics so they don’t end up in a landfill.   The site also teaches you how to buy green, live green and recycle responsibly.

You can also spare the landfill by donating electronics to local charities at:  http://www.donationtown.org

Send used baby clothes to outfit needy infants at: http://www.newbornsinneed.org

4. RAISE A PUPPY: If your child is begging for a puppy but you’re not sure, you can get a feel for what is involved by volunteering to be a puppy raiser for the blind.  http://www.guidedogs.com

5. HELP ELEPHANTS: A gift of $30.00 provides the 150-200 pounds of food an elephant requires each day at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary, the largest natural habitat for old, sick or needy elephants in the US  http://www.elephants.com                  

6. At  http://www.eartheasy.com  your child will find dozens of eco-friendly websites with activities, ideas and information on how to help protect the earth, and how to live sustainably.

You can also do things in your own backyard and neighborhood.  Plant a tree, start an herb or vegetable garden, go organic when you can to reduce dependence on pesticides.  Use less water.  Have a day without electricity, where you play games and tell stories by candlelight.

Check out the other Earth Day posts on this blog for more ideas.

Be kinder and gentler to Mother Earth…she’s the only planet we’ve got!

Happy Earth Day – Part 2 With Butterflies

On Friday’s post I gave you some simple ways we can be kind and care for Mother Earth.  Here are a few more.

1. Shred non glossy paper and use it to mulch plants.

2. Make your own non-toxic cleaners.  There are great recipes at: http://www.eartheasy.com

3. Choose containers with 1 or 2  numbers since they are easiest to recycle.

4. Buy a water filter for the faucet or use a filtered pitcher.  Carry a stainless steel or glass bottle with you instead of those plastic bottles that not only cost so much to produce, but clog up landfills as well.   Visit http://www.newwaveenviro.com    or http://www.lifefactory.com

5.  Build a compost bin for you food scraps.  We incorporate the nutrient-rich scraps into the garden beds each spring and have little need to add fertilizer to produce great veggies.

6. Buy produce locally and in season.  Visit   http://www.localharvest.org   to find farmers’ markets and fresh produce in your town.

7. When you mow the lawn, skip bagging and leave clippings on the grass.  It nourishes the soil.

8. Hang clothes to air dry when possible.

Now, I promised you free seeds for attracting butterflies to the garden.  Go to:  http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm   Not only will you bring beauty to your own habitat, but you will be helping an endangered species: THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY, who lays its eggs on the milkweed plant.

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