What are your kids doing this Summer? For many of us Summer time with the kids is a time to enjoy the outdoors, the sunshine and if you're lucky the ocean.
As much as kids love Summer holidays, keeping them busy can be a challenging! If you've not got the luxury of a Summer camp then it's up to you as parent to find things to keep them busy.
Failing that, your kids might spend all their time in front of a computer, tablet, phone or other screen and research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of children.
Studies have shown that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering with mental health problems and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a daily walk in nature has shown decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.
One in four people are estimated to experience bouts of mental health problems and it's on the rise. Prescription medications of antidepressants are also at a record high level and the demand for more invasive treatments are also on the rise. Health officials are examining different options for cost effective services for mental health sufferers and one of these options is a daily walk of 90 minutes or more. Let's go back to a time when children got excited to spend their time climbing trees and building forts rather than spending hours in front of the tv.
Joe at Nature Rated understands this all too well and has put together an infographic of 15 Summer activities to get your kids outside enjoying nature.
This is what it looks like:
From baking a blackberry pie to constructing a pond or insect hotel, there's plenty for the youngsters to do. Head on over to his site for step by step instructions to get your kids outside and into nature.
Thank you Joe for guest posting.
An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to buy. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure. Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera spending time recharging his batteries.
We are trying to raise our boys to explore, create, and use their imaginations so their screen time is very limited. I love these ideas to get kids outside. We also want our kids to have a good work ethic and a great way to instill this is to let them help with outside chores and projects.
The boys helped clean the overgrown mint out the flower beds to make room for perennials. They have also been working hard in the community garden this summer.
Watch this cute video of the boys showing off their catch, which we did cook for dinner.
The boys love to go fishing and have already been twice this summer. Luckily we live close to the lakes and their Dad likes taking them. Fishing is fun, but just being outside at the lake is fun too. They could spend hours looking at rocks, shells, and exploring trails.
What are your favorite ways to get your kids outside?
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We have been waiting all summer for our green tomatoes to ripen and they finally did. I think it was around the middle to end of August when the first ripe tomatoes started trickling in. We are savoring these little beauties. The boys love the yellow pear tomatoes. They pick them right off the plant and eat them while they are playing outside. We planted two yellow pear and they are producing really well. We also planted Early Girl and Rutgers and we have cherry tomatoes in a hanging planter.
A friend of mine whose parents have a beautiful orchard and garden on their place invited us over to pick peaches, apples, and tomatoes the other day. We (along with several other friends) enjoyed the afternoon picking fresh homegrown produce and brought home a bountiful harvest.
When we were driving away, I realized that I had a teachable moment to talk about being thankful with the boys so we said a quick prayer of thankfulness.
As the peaches have been ripening, there has been an invasion by a small army of fruit flies so I made another homemade fruit fly trap tonight which should do the trick.
This recipe is condensed from a Ball Blue Book that my mother-in-law bought me. The Ball Blue book is really helpful because it is for food preserving beginners like me and is easy to follow. I used the sugar pack method for freezing peaches which is super easy.
First, you wash and drain ripe fruit. Next, peel, pit, and slice the fruit.
Then mix together 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tsp. Fruit-Fresh. Sprinkle 1 quart sliced peaches with the sugar mixture. Toss gently to coat.
Allow this to sit until sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes.
Ladle fruit and syrup into freezer containers or freezer bags leaving some space for expansion. Recommendation is 1/2 inch for freezer containers. Label containers with date and contents then freeze.
Did you plant a garden this year? I am excited to share that we planted a lovely vegetable garden and a second small garden with pumpkins and watermelons. It has been a fun project and the boys have loved watching the plants sprout and observing their growth. We are all looking forward to harvesting later in the summer and enjoying the fruits of our labor.
We started our garden early in the Spring by planting our seeds in empty 1 gallon milk jugs. We cut the top off the milk jugs, planted the seeds inside, watered them and then taped the top back on the milk jugs.
We made at least a dozen of these milk jug greenhouses each with different types of seeds in them. We set them outside in a sunny location and waited for the seeds to sprout and grow. I wrote the date and plant name on each milk jug.
In a couple of months, we had plants ready to go into the garden. We had 8 successful milk jug greenhouses. These plants were beautiful and it was rewarding to plant large plants instead of just seeds in the garden. We were excited knowing that our harvest would come a little earlier than if we had just planted seeds in the garden. Our most successful plants in the milk jug greenhouses were cabbage, cucumbers, and summer squash. We had some nice tomatoes too, but should start the tomatoes in the winter next year to get a more desirable size by summer.
We tilled our garden space and prepared the soil. My husband added peat and sand to the soil then we started planting. We spaced our seeds and plants properly to ensure the best growth. We labeled our plants, watered, and fed them with Miracle-Gro.
If you haven't started a garden yet, it's not too late. Check out The Gro Project for some really cool ideas like a toyarium or a ukulele garden. There is even a Gro Project Video.
You can "follow" the Miracle-Gro Pinterest page to see many fun garden projects.
I love simple, pretty things like these pop bottle vases with fresh cut flowers. We gave a pop bottle vase with fresh flowers to each of my older sons' preschool teachers this Spring. Frugal and Repurposed gifts from the home are the best and you can never go wrong with fresh flowers.
Pretty enough for a wedding too. My parents 1974 wedding featured daisies in coke bottles.
My husband's grandmother planted these bulbs years ago and they still come up year after year. I wish they lasted longer. They are always so beautiful.
My little helper was so cute watering plants yesterday with his cowboy hat on, so I slipped inside and grabbed the camera.
Big brother wanted his picture taken too.
A few weeks ago the boys harvested the potatoes they had planted in the Spring. The boys loved helping and I love that they know from where their food comes. I heard this on the radio one night, children in our local school district kindergarten classes were surveyed and asked from where they thought their food came. You're not going to believe this. The #1 answer was the gas station. We asked our 5 year old who was 4 at the time and I thought he might say the grocery store. I was really glad when he said our food comes from the farm.
I love this picture of our two year old planting with Daddy last April.
Tonight I boiled the rest of the potatoes, added some peas, butter, and salt and we had a delicious dinner.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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