How to Have a Lumberjack Competition With Your Kids

Have your kids ever heard stories of lumberjacks like Paul Bunyan?

Want to create some unique backyard fun for your family?

Create a family lumberjack competition.

It’s simple to set up and gets everyone outside for some friendly competition. Not only are the activities fun, but you’ll also learn about a fascinating industry with deep historical roots.

In this article I’ll explain how to put together kid-friendly versions of real competitive events from actual lumberjack competitions.

Looking for some lumberjack style historical fun? Create kid friendly versions of professional logging games in your own family lumberjack competition. Timber!

Why a Lumberjack Competition?

A lumberjack competition is a great opportunity to combine the cerebral with the physical! You’ll get your kids outdoors for an adventure that’s part obstacle course, part relay race, part target practice and all fun! Plus, you’ll be able to sneak in a fascinating history and social sciences lesson about this tradition.

Lumberjacks and lumberjills, or loggers as they’re referred to today, are people who cut down trees to harvest lumber. Your family won’t be cutting down any trees. Instead, you’ll participate in fun games that simulate some of the skills used in logging.

It’s easy to create your own competition, using materials found at home or any big-box store.

1 comment

 
 

How to Make Strawberry Jam: Canning With Your Kids

Do your kids love to eat jam?

Want to show them how their yummy toast topping arrives at the table, step by step?

Discover the traditional process of canning strawberry jam with your kids! It’s easy, fun and very rewarding.

In this article I’ll show you how to make strawberry jam from fresh fruit and then preserve it by canning.

It’s a feel-good, do-it-yourself project that you can do with your whole family, in your own kitchen and enjoy the fruits of your labor for the rest of the year.

Ever wonder how to make strawberry jam? Discover the traditional process of canning with your kids. This strawberry jam recipe is easy, fun and very rewarding.

Why Preserve Jam?

If you think of canning as an old-fashioned pursuit best enjoyed by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, think again. Canning and preserving fruits and vegetables is no longer considered old-fashioned. Walk into any bookstore or library these days, and you’re sure to find several modern cookbooks on the practice of preserving.

Like many homesteading activities that went out of style for a generation or two, canning is back in full force. It’s a traditional pursuit that is fun for the whole family. Plus, it’s a great lesson for your kids.

When a family cooks together, you form a special kind of bond. And it’s really fun to prepare and preserve something that you would normally buy in the grocery store. Your kids will learn how jam is made. They’ll gain pride and confidence, and you’ll all have yummy jam you can eat year-round!

2 comments

 
 

How to Make Toffee With Maple Syrup, Snow and Your Kids

Ever wonder how that maple syrup got to your breakfast table?

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!

Discover how to harvest maple syrup, make maple taffy in your own kitchen and experience Quebec's sugaring off season from wherever you live.

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.

A party to celebrate and enjoy sugar? How cool is that?

7 comments

 
 

How to Turn Old Mittens Into Dolls Your Kids Will Love

Do your kids always seem to lose one mitten–just one?

Do you have a few old pairs that won’t see another cold season?

Are you ready to just throw them all out?

Wait! The trash bin doesn’t have to be the final destination of errant mittens.

In this article I’ll show you how to turn those orphaned mittens into mitten dolls–an easy craft project that’s also a subtle lesson in recycling, math and geography (but we don’t need to mention that to the kids!).

How to turn a stray mitten into an adorable doll. Fun activities to create mitten dolls and teach your kids recycling, math, geography and writing.

Why Reuse Stray Mittens?

Left at school or a friend’s house, dropped in the snow, left in the car or on a park bench—such is the fate of many a mitten. I don’t know about you, but our family ends up with more than a few single mittens every year.

When you clean out the front closet or mudroom and get ready to shift mittens out and raincoats in, you may be tempted to just throw all those orphaned mittens in the trash.

But what if they could provide hours of fun for your kids (and a fun way to practice some important skills, too)?

10 comments

 
 

How to Create Arctic Adventure Tubs With Your Kids

Do your kids like playing in the winter snow and ice?

Do they like polar bears and other cold-weather critters?

Ever wonder what it’s like way up north in the Arctic?

Take them on an arctic adventure that’s as close as your own kitchen!

In this article I’ll show you how to make your own simulated arctic environment from stuff you already have at home.

Discover how to make your own simulated arctic adventure tub from stuff you already have at home.

Why an Arctic Landscape?

If you’re looking for an activity that costs nothing, requires less than five minutes of hands-on prep time and makes use of all reusable materials, then you’ll love to make an arctic landscape with your kids.

It’s easy to create an open-ended scene that inspires creative sensory play. In the spirit of the cardboard box, this activity is super-simple and guaranteed to be a hit.

The Arctic is cool—downright cold, actually! It’s the great unknown, a mysterious faraway place. It’s a vast expanse of wind-swept ice and frigid water, just waiting for adventure. It’s a blank slate demanding your child delve deep into his or her imagination.

27 comments

 
 
Check out the Parenting Adventures podcast with Michael Stelzner
How to Have an Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt With Your Kids
How to Create Glow-In-The-Dark Bowling In Your Home
How to Create a Backyard Treasure Hunt, Minecraft Style
How to Make Slime: 5 Easy Recipes
How to Entertain Your Kids for Hours With Adventure Tubs