Posts filed under ‘Summer Activities’

Happy 14th Birthday Geocaching!


geocaching with kidsRemember the year 2000? In the United States, a pound of bacon only cost $3 and a gallon of gas set people back $1.26. The iPhone was still 7 years away from being introduced. But on September 2, 2000, some hearty adventurers, tired of being tied to an office cubicle day after day, launched Geocaching.com. The adventure to inspire outdoor play through GPS technology began.

Just like any story-worthy journey, Geocaching.com’s beginning was filled with uncertainty. Before “geocache” joined the ranks of approved Scrabble words or a Geocaching game piece rocketed to the International Space Station, Geocaching.com launched with only 75 geocaches. Today the site lists the locations and descriptions of nearly 2.5 million geocaches. Adventure is truly waiting to be discovered all around you, as long as you’re in the 180+ countries where geocaches are hidden [hint: you are].

geocaching with kids

Here are some more little known facts about the game you love:

  • The activity of geocaching was originally known as the GPS Stash Hunt.
  • What we now know as the first geocache was hidden on May 3, 2000.
  • The cost of running Geocaching.com was originally funded by the sale of donated tshirts.
  • More than 9 million people have created Geocaching profiles.
  • The word ‘geocache’ means ‘hidden location on Earth’, as ‘geo’ means Earth, and ‘cache’ is French for a hidden location or place.
  • Hugh Jackman goes geocaching (and other celebrities like cyclist Jens Voigt).
  • Share your Geocaching birthday wishes and personal geocaching fun facts (like when you started geocaching) on the Geocaching Facebook page.

geocaching with kids

The mere mention of the word ‘treasure’ is guaranteed to light up kids’ eyes. So, why not take them on a real-life treasure hunt with geocaching? People use global positioning devices and the internet to seek out items hidden by others. “When my guys were 12 and 13 it was fun to do geocaching where you find people’s hidden items via internet clues and GPS. It’s done all over the world [and] it’s fun to hide items too,” says mom of two, Kerri Hopkins. Want to try it? Check out Geocaching.com for help and download their free app!

Let’s Go Chipper into the Great Outdoors and find some Geocaches! When, where or what was your last Geocache? Share your story in the comments below or on Facebook!

September 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Family Stargazing Tips + Recycle Craft


Take advantage of the clear Summer Skies! There are many opportunities to have fun this Summer, and one of them require only your backyard, some family and friends, and a clear night. The answer? Stargazing! It’s not only a fun, bonding experience but you and your little ones can learn something new!

Let's Go Chipper | Family Stargazing

Why stargaze?

Our galaxy is filled with planets, comets, asteroids, nebulas, black holes, and stars! Everyone should take advantage of the beautiful view available anywhere on a clear night. Not only is it fun and inspiring to look at the amazing night sky, there are also many chances to learning something new about our Universe. Here are some facts and information to answer any questions your little ones might have!

What are stars?

Remember the song “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?” It perfectly describes our fascination with those twinkly dots of light! They are bright, but some are brighter than others. They are also extremely distant from us. The closest stars to Earth after the Sun (yes, the Sun is a star!) are Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, which form a binary pair (two stars that orbit each other). The third star, which may or may not be part of our solar system, is Proxima Centauri and is about 4.22 light-years from Earth.

Stars are made out of very hot gases and produce their own energy. There are many types of stars and when a star gets old (think several billion years!), it starts to die and all of its gases are pushed into space. New stars are soon made out of those gases. Yes, even stars recycle! Some of the heavy metals found in human chemistry and other life on our planet were created from dying stars. You can scientifically say we all have a little star dust in us!

Let's Go Chipper | Family Stargazing

What about those shapes and patterns?

The patterns seen up in the sky are called constellations. They are patterns made out of stars, each different than the other, varying from animals to mythological creatures. But you can’t see all of the 88 modern constellations in one night. While some are visible right from your backyard, there are even more on the other side of the world.

Let's Go Chipper | Family StargazingSome cool constellations you must see:

  • Orion – Named after a hunter from Greek mythology, you can see it from all over the world! Just look for the distinctive 3 star belt.
  • Ursa Major & Ursa Minor a.k.a Big Dipper & Little Dipper – They can be found right near each other and look like large, square spoons.
  • Hercules – Dedicated to the strong and immortal son of Zeus, the king of the mythological Greek gods, it is the fifth largest of the modern constellations.
  • Draco – Latin for “Dragon” and shaped like the fantastical mythological creature, this constellation can be seen all year.

How to Stargaze:

Everyone will enjoy this wonderful night activity on a warm summer night or anytime of the year. Here are some directions to get started:

1. Check your local weather reports for the best clear night to stargaze. Here’s a great website to check besides your local weather report: http://www.noaa.gov 

Tip: The best night to stargaze is one before a rest day or the weekend as you will be pretty tired after a long night of stargazing!

2. Have supplies ready before the night of the event:

• Clothes and blankets, bundle up in layers, the temperature could suddenly drop at night even though it summer

• Pillows, rug, blanket or anything comfortable to lay down on and keep you dry and clean

• Snacks and drinks to nibble on while watching

• Binoculars and/or telescopes – if you don’t have any binoculars or telescopes available, try a FREE Stargazing Apps:

– NASA App

– Sky Map

– Star Chart

– Night Sky Light

3. Chose a location. It could vary from your backyard to your nearest park. Keep in mind to choose a location with the fewest lights to have a better view of the starlight!

4. Decide on when to go, gather all your supplies, and have fun!  Consider waiting for one of the several meteor showers throughout the year. Count how many shooting stars you see and don’t forget to make a wish! Here’s a list of meteor showers in 2014:

Name Date of Peak Moon
Quadrantids Night of January 2 Just past new
Lyrids Night of April 21 Rises around 3 a.m.
Eta Aquarids Night of May 5 Sets after midnight
Comet 209P/LINEAR Night of May 23 Early morning crescent
Perseids Night of August 12 In view most of the night
Orionids Night of October 21 Dawn crescent
Leonids Nights of November 16/17 Early morning crescent
Geminids Night of December 13 In view after midnigh

 

Obsessed with stargazing or don’t have the time to do it during the week?

Stargaze right from your home with this quick craft!

Let's Go Chipper | Family Stargazing

Materials:

  • An old jar with its lid
  • Blue or black construction paper or use markers/crayons/colored pencils to color recycled paper
  • A hole puncher
  • A glow stick

Directions: 

  1. Roll up the construction paper inside your jar and cut out any excess that overlaps so it fits exactly inside the jar.
  2. Hole punch “stars” anywhere on the construction. Tip: Want authentic star patterns? Use this Constellations guide to help you draw constellations.
  3. Roll the construction paper inside the jar and place 2-3 glowsticks or battery operated lights inside.
  4. Twist on lid to jar to close tightly.
  5. Turn off all the lights and enjoy your new stargazing jar!

Stargaze this weekend or even tonight to see the Perseids Meteor Shower! Share your star gazing tips with Chipper below.

August 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Tips: Family Nature Connections


Let’s Go Chipper! … Into the Great Outdoors

Today’s children are losing their connection with our natural world and spend over seven hours a day of “screen time.” The negative effects are lack of physical exercise and opportunities to explore creatively and exercise our critical thinking. That’s the research, but what if we just go on our gut instinct and reflect on how our days unfold?

Family Nature Connections

When we pause the “research and worry” button and consider our basic desire to connect with our children and just play, we should all feel confident in just saying “yes” to taking time to join our kids on the floor, grass, or on the swing set! Adventure into the park, take a walk around the block, or get the bikes out. Nature is waiting for us.

Children in touch with their natural environment are healthier, do better in school, have increased creativity and improved concentration. Realizing these benefits and sharing adventures and experiences help broaden a child’s perspective on life which leads to a stronger emotional spirit. Even more so leading children in guided experiences, engaging in hands on activities, and exciting conversation will inspire a contributive spirit so today’s child will become a more conscientious, involved student and member of the community.

So what can we do?Family Nature Connections

  • Let’s get physical – Be active, play outside, and just excite a sense of freedom to explore
  • Connect with the outdoors – Provide access to safe, green spaces
  • Discover the five senses – Provide activities which will engage seeing things in nature, listening to nature, touching, smelling … even tasting
  • Participate – Provide opportunities for your kids to engage in the process and therefore be interested in taking care of the animals they find in nature

Most importantly for parents – don’t fear getting dirty. We say, “It’s not a good day unless you do a load of laundry.” So next time you have the urge to check your phone or text a friend when your child is close by, put it back in the bag … maybe play a little “tag” and see how letting go can make you feel connected to your child and remind you of how easy it is to build your own care free spirit.

How do you get outdoors with the kids? Share with Chipper!

May 15, 2014 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Activity + Craft: Nature Walk and Craft Project


Explore the outdoors with your little one(s) and collect nature materials to make cute critters! Not only will you a foster a connection with nature, your kids can also exercise their imaginations and creativity. There is so much you can find outside: nuts, rocks, sticks, leaves, petals, and more. 

Nature Animals | Let's Go Chipper

Picture from naturallymom

Chipper Playfully Teaches: Earth and Space Science, Creative Arts and Fine Motor Skills.

Adventure into the great outdoors with young children and use the natural materials as craft supplies for creating creatures from the children’s imagination or animals identified on the walks.

Collect with a Partner | Let's Go Chipper

Collect with a Partner

Timing: One Hour
Explore and collect: 15 minutes
Craft Time: 30 minutes
Extra 15 minutes:
 Travel time and padding because projects with young children will always take longer than you plan!

What you need:

  • Reusable tote to carry found treasures
  • Cardboard bases from recycled boxes and scrap paper and materials for accessorizing crafts
  • Glue and string
  • A partner or chaperone
  • Imagination
Create a crocodile | Let's Go Chipper

Create a crocodile!

Chippers Tips:

  • Explain the rules of staying together “You can play, but don’t stray!” and the project
  • Check off that everyone has their tote for collecting items. While exploring, be it in the backyard of a school facility, house, childcare center, or beyond the yard, keep children on track by talking about what they might find; the colors, shapes, texture and more.
  • Assist young children with glue or glue gun and string assembly.
  • Welcome conversation while exploring. What do you see, hear, smell and feel?
Get bit by nature...creatively! | Let's Go Chipper

Get bit by nature…creatively!

Upon returning, sit down and talk about the items in the bag and what can be made; a butterfly from leaves, a nature cake, a boat from sticks, a car from rocks and bark. Welcome the conversation and encourage the creativity!

Chipper Activity + Craft: Nature Walk and Craft Project

Image from WildlifeFun4Kids

May 9, 2014 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Recycle Craft + Activity: Nature Journal


Chipper playfully teaches Earth and Space Science, Creative Arts and Fine Motor Skills.Create your own special nature journal with recycled materials that can both help save the environment and embrace the beauty of nature!

Let's Go Chipper | nature Journal

Collect Your Materials

Explore and Collect materials like:

  • Recycled paper (Paper bags, used computer paper, light colored newspaper, light colored magazine pages, etc.)
  • Cereal Box or any recycled cardboard box
  • Hole puncher
  • String and yarn
  • Paint, markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Leaves, petals, seeds, and sticks

Chippers Tips:

  • During your outdoor adventures, help your child engage their five senses to evaluate what they see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. When they find something that peaks their curiosity, ask questions and peak their interest in drawing or writing it in their journal.
  • Ideas to inspire creativity – cloud chasing or finding characters in clouds, bird watching, evaluating insects, making silly faces with friends, eating a piece of fruit and finding various types of leaves!
  • Tell your child to, “Play but don’t stray!” when they are exploring and to “Keep your tail on the trail!”
Let's Go Chipper | Nature Journal

Make your journal.

Making your Nature Journal: 

  1. For cover: Decide on the size of your journal and trace and cut out from your cereal box or every day box. You can use either side of the box to face out.
  2. Decorate the cover using collected and coloring materials.
  3. Journal pages: cut the paper bags or found papers to just within the size of the cover.
  4. With adult help use a hole puncher to make 3-5 holes lined up on the front and back cover. Do the same with the inside journal pages.
  5. Weave the yarn/string to connect the journal and tie a bow at the top or bottom to secure the bindry.
  6. Time for creating! Encourage story telling through pictures and images, words, and found materials all celebrating nature or daily experiences. Make it a weekly activity to explore the outdoors and then add to your nature journal!

    Let's Go Chipper | Nature Journal

    Explore and record!

Let’s Go Chipper into the Great Outdoors!

May 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm 2 comments

Chipper for Music: Effects of Music on Children + Creative Ideas to Explore Music as a Family


Chipper for Music

Children have a natural love for music. They love a good tune with an energetic beat. It’s amazing what music can do for a kid. As a powerful stimulant, music can alter your child’s mood instantly and create new bonds and memories. We all have our personal stories of using music to calm a colicky baby or playing a favorite lullaby to put our little one(s) to sleep. Music can also make time fly away on a long car ride. And, let’s not forget the role that music plays in learning!

Chipper for Music

Music is an inherent part of our nature and who we are in so many ways. Our experiences with music start in early childhood and unquestionably last a lifetime. Extensive research has shown lately that exposing children to music stimulates their overall intelligence and emotional development. Having children listen to different types of music also nurtures their self-esteem while encouraging creativity, self-confidence and curiosity.

Chipper for Music

What the Research SaysThe International Foundation of Music Research, based at the University of Texas at San Antonio, has produced many publications on the benefits of music on early brain development. There is substantial evidence indicating that babies are aware of and respond to music and different sounds inside their mother’s womb. Hundreds of thousands of nerve cells are sprouting miraculously in an unborn baby’s brain. At birth, a baby’s brain development still remains incomplete. Moments after birth, a baby may turn in the direction of a voice or sound, searching for the source. Newborns quickly learn to recognize their mother’s voice from others and they are able to respond to changes in a person’s voice or pitch before they reach their first birthday — often by moving their arms and legs or babbling and cooing. A child’s brain develops its full potential when exposed to enriching experiences in early childhood. Stimuli received in early childhood are crucial to brain growth and the development of important connections made in nerve cell networks.

Music and Intelligence. Can listening to music actually make smarter adults of the future? Recent data from the University of Texas indicated that those students who received an arts education that included music received higher SAT scores. Many studies have shown that music can benefit cognitive abilities, particularly spatial abilities, higher reasoning and motor skills, and higher achievements in language and math. And, there’s been a lot of media coverage in recent years about the Mozart Effect: the effect that passive listening to the music of certain classical composers has on a child’s intelligence.

There are certainly other measures of smartness in addition to a person’s brain intelligence. For example, music has also shown to increase overall intelligence by shaping the types of attitudes, interests and discipline within children. Many types of music can be inspiring and incredibly motivational, thereby helping children focus and improve their listening skills. Music can give children the self-confidence and self-esteem they need to succeed in many academic areas or in defining personality traits as they grow older.

Many researchers believe that the earlier a child is exposed to music, the more the brain responds to different music tones. We know that children are easily able to imitate musical phrases and songs. As toddlers, they love to bang on pots and pans, searching for that certain beat that they play over and over again – it’s their way of expressing their feelings and emotions. As they get older, they sing, improvise, move and dance and are often introduced to instruments and formal music instruction.

Is All the Scientific Research Overrated? In general terms, it basically confirms what we already know – that as human beings, music is an inherent part of who we really are, and its exposure during a child’s early years can have significant effects on their overall well-being that last well into adulthood. If anything, the research has made us more aware of the value of introducing our children to music while they are very young. What’s most important is that we provide our children with a rich and varied environment that promotes their overall growth and development. Music can definitely play a key role in creating an enriching and stimulating environment for your child.

Chipper for Music

Bring the Joy of Music to Your Child’s Life: Creative Ideas to Explore as a Family

Remember way back in the ‘50s and ‘60s when families used to gather around the piano in the evenings and sing songs together? Over the years, we seem to have lost this family past time, but there are still things that families can do to pass the joy of music on to future generations. There are many fun and inexpensive ways for parents to explore music with their children. Here are some interesting ideas you may want to try with your child:

  • Sing With Your Child – You may not be the next American Idol, but chances are your child will think of you as their idol even if you can’t carry a tune – young children won’t notice and you’ll probably have a lot of fun together.
  • Make Music with Things Around the House –Get creative and look for every day things that you can transform into a musical instrument. How about making maracas out of plastic bottles: simply fill them with some dry beans and seal for a couple of instant shakers.
  • Introduce Your Child to Different Types of Music – Add variety to your child’s life by playing a different type of music each day, whether it’s classical, country, rock, rap, big band, jazz, hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, camp songs, or simply good old-fashioned children’s music.
  • Buy a Harmonica, Recorder or Kazoo – A cheap way to introduce your child to an instrument and have them experiment with creating different sounds and tunes.
  • Let Your Child See You Play the Piano – If you play the piano or any other instrument, involve your child: have her sit on your lap while you play a few notes and talk about the parts of the instrument, or explore the keyboard together.
  • Try a Music Class – There are so many classes available and some of them are surprisingly affordable. Pick one that offers a good variety of activities such as music making with different instruments, music play and movement, and music listening. Also try to select a class that’s age-appropriate. 
  • Music is a Performance – Kids love to perform. Just put on a favorite CD or tape and encourage your children to dance, sing, and enjoy themselves. Check out Chipper’s CD of fun, eco-educational songs!
  • Try Personalized Music – People are discovering personalized music in a big way. Personalized music is really about children’s songs that have been customized to play your child’s name. They can bring hours of fun and enjoyment to your family – just imagine the look of surprise and wonder when your kids hear their name being sung in their favorite songs. Personalized CDs can spark creativity and boost self-confidence in your child, making her feel very special when she hears her name being sung many times in her favorite song.

By taking the time to explore the benefits that music can offer your family, you’ll be uncovering something priceless: your child’s imagination and inner sense of creativity and self-expression. Who knows — they may become very passionate about a certain type of music, or want to play an instrument, become a Broadway performer, or simply just want to sing because it makes them feel good. Moreover, you’ll be creating great family memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s Go Chipper for Music!

August 14, 2013 at 11:04 am 2 comments

Chipper Recycle Craft and Snack: Fourth of July Edition


Happy Almost Independence Day! Also known as July Fourth, this holiday celebrates the thirteen colonies’ legal separation from Great Britain  in 1776. The story is that on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the Lee Resolution, a resolution to be independent from Great Britain. After Congress finished voting for independence, they turned their attention to the famous Declaration for Independence, which was essentially a document that explained why the Thirteen Colonies were separating from Great Britain. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration fror Independence was approved by Congress.

In the spirit of Independence Day, here’s a fun and simple craft to make with your little one! You only need a couple of things:

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 11.58.20 AM

First, cut a rectangle out of construction paper that will fit the exterior of the toilet paper roll.

IMG_1555

Using crayon, marker, or paint, decorate the rectangle with Fourth of July themed symbols, colors, and words!

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Then, using tape or glue (Chipper used double-sided tape), cover the toilet paper with construction paper.

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Next, cut a circle out of construction paper and make a slit like so. Form the circle into a cone and tape or glue shut.

IMG_1561

Fit on top of paper towel roll and glue or tape in place.

IMG_1562

And there you go–cute Fourth of July firecrackers to put on display in your child’s room or around the house.

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For a fun and healthy Fourth of July themed snack, here are some fruit skewers that form the American flag:

http-__static.ow.ly_photos_normal_2rZEo copy

Make these blueberry, strawberry and banana skewers for Fourth of July and they’ll sure be a hit! Let’s Go Chipper for Fourth of July!

July 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

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