Do your kids love sweet treats?
Does your family like music, dancing, good food and great company?
Wherever you live, you can have a sugar shack adventure and bring the traditions of the sugaring off season to your table.
Sugaring off, which usually happens in March, is the time of year when sugar maple trees are tapped for their slightly sweet sap. This sap is then boiled down and transformed into maple syrup. This is the good stuff—none of that corn syrup and water!
And in maple country, it’s much more than that. In this article I’ll show you how to bring to life the best of the sugaring off season, whether you live in Quebec (where 75% of the world’s maple syrup is produced) or amid palm trees in southern California or anywhere in between!
Why Have a Sugar Shack Adventure?
A sugar shack adventure, commonly known as sugaring off, is a wonderful way to say goodbye to the last days of winter and watch as the world starts gearing up for spring. Sugaring off season is the perfect time to take a walk with your family through the forest and discover various natural processes in the world around us.
It’s also a great time to discuss the seasons with your kids and share with them all of the gifts that nature has to offer. Maple syrup is one of those gifts—a natural, pure and unprocessed substitute for sugar.
In sugar maple country, this is also a time to get together with friends and family to celebrate.
Looking for a way to share some of that fun with your own children?
Birdwatching is a great way to get the family out of the house and into nature.
In this article, I’ll show you how to have a birdwatching adventure with your kids from your own backyard and I’ll share a few projects and activities to make the experience last long after the birds have flown away.
Why Go Birdwatching?
Birdwatching will open up worlds to your kids that they never knew existed.
Exploring the great outdoors through birdwatching—even if it’s as close as your own backyard—gives you an opportunity to talk to your kids about how they see the world around them and what it means to them.
It gives your child a chance to discover and connect with the natural world.
Plus, it’s a fun way for your family to spend some time together outside.
Are you wondering how to get them outside to experience the wonders of nature?
If so, you’re not alone.
Children (and the rest of us) are enamored with our electronic gadgets. We have been sold a bill of goods about the value of having a digital life.
In this article I’ll reveal a dozen ideas I gleaned from Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, which champions a better way for kids to live—with nature.
In a 2010 study, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average young American (ages 8-18) spends practically every waking minute—except for time in school—using a smartphone, computer, television or other electronic device.
Sadly, the quality of life isn’t measured by how many Facebook friends we have, or how well our kids play Wii games or how many songs they have on their iPod. One way to measure is by what we have lost or traded.
Want to create an outdoor adventure that other families can enjoy too?
Take your fun to the next level and hide a geocache with your kids.
With nothing more than a smartphone and a few items from around the house, you and your kids can hide a geocache for other families to enjoy.
In this article I’ll show you how easy it is to hide a geocache and share the adventure for months to come.
Why Hide a Geocache?
Have you introduced your family to the adventure of geocaching?
Geocaching is a hunt for hidden treasure using a GPS (or GPS-enabled phone). There are over 2.2 million geocaches hidden all over the world, ready for you to find. You simply log onto Geocaching.com to find the coordinates of a cache in your area, head outside and follow your phone to find the hidden treasure. Once found, you sign the logbook, trade one of the treasures found inside with something you brought to share and hide the cache container back in its place for the next treasure hunter.
It’s a lot of fun to find a geocache, but it can be even more fun to hide one.
Hiding a cache is a way to share your outdoor adventures with other families. And a cache hidden by kids for kids is extra-special—it creates more fun and adventures for everyone.
Looking for a fun outdoor activity that’s perfect for a cool, crisp autumn day?
Here’s something new to do with a favorite fall novelty: Take your family on a leaf-hunting expedition and get an up-close look at some of nature’s wonders.
In this article, I’ll show you how to create a fall foliage scavenger hunt that will keep your kids engaged and entertained as they explore the world around them.
Why Go on a Leaf-Hunting Expedition?
Fall leaves are pretty cool. They crunch underfoot and amaze us with their transforming colors.
They’re gorgeous. They’re interesting. They smell good. They’re only around for a short while.
They’re one of nature’s many wonders and there’s so much more to them than jumping into a pile! As satisfying as that big, explosive “crunch” can be, it’s also great fun to help your kids slow down once in a while and notice how special autumn leaves are by going on a leaf scavenger hunt.
Do you have a future scientist in your household?
Help your kids discover the science behind nature’s beauty with this fun family experiment.
In this article I’ll show you how to unlock all of the hidden secrets in a leaf through chromatography.
Don’t let the name scare you off, it’s a super-simple science experiment done with items you probably already have around the house.
And it’s a great way to help your kids learn more about the world around us.
It starts out as a nature walk where the kids have a mission—finding different kinds of leaves—so parents can relax and enjoy the lovely fall colors.
Then there’s pounding and noise and actually trying to stain things green. How often are kids allowed, much less encouraged, to do that?
Finally, there’s a science experiment involving chemicals and mysterious migrating colors that appear from nowhere. You’ll see a scientific phenomenon occur right before your eyes!
And it’s all to answer an age-old question that your kids have undoubtedly asked: How do the leaves change color?
Wow! Where do I sign up?
Do they stump you with questions like “How many stars are in the sky?” or “Why does the moon change?”
There are lots of fun ways your family can learn more about the night sky together, right from your own backyard or kitchen table.
In this article I’ll show you six easy ways to introduce your kids to astronomy and feed their fascination with space—no telescope required.
Why Explore the Night Sky?
Take a few minutes after dark tonight to step outside with your kids and look up.
Now, ask your children what they see.
Looking for a new way to enjoy the great outdoors?
Experience the excitement of searching for nature’s treasures with a family photo adventure.
In this article, I’ll show you how to plan and organize an outdoor photo scavenger hunt and I’ll give you some hints to help you take great pictures.
Why a Photo Scavenger Hunt?
An outdoor photo scavenger hunt brings the expression, “Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.” to life. Searching for a list of clues will cause children to look at nature a little more closely and discover things they may have never noticed before.
Interested in learning about your furry and feathered neighbors while creating unique keepsakes?
Making animal footprint casts allows you and your kids to get creative, crafty and scientific.
I find that kids will voluntarily turn off the TV, head outside with their friends and even practice their math skills without knowing it.
In this article I’ll show you how to locate animal tracks, create casts and start a collection of animal footprints.
Why Collect Casts of Animal Footprints?
Casting footprints is like going on a scavenger hunt; however, instead of you leaving the clues, they’re left by the animals in your neighborhood.
Looking for something new to do next time you go to the shore?
With nothing more than a shovel, a ball and a bucket of water, your kids will have a blast at the beach all day long.
In this article, I’ll show you how to make three sand structures you may not have seen before; three projects that go far beyond the standard sand-pail castle.
Why Make Sand Structures?
A trip to the beach is the one time that parents actually encourage their kids to jump in the puddles and play in the dirt (otherwise known as sand). And kids LOVE it—digging, building, experimenting with all of the things that sand plus water can do.