Posts filed under ‘Nature-inspired play-based learning’

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

Contain Yourself: Flower Power


During summer and spring we all see our gardens and surroundings fill with gorgeous flowers that we want to bring inside to liven the house! Let your kids feel as though they are a helpful part of decorating the house with these fun vases made out of recycled cans. Not only are crafts fun, they help improve emotional, physical and mental development! Read more about the benefits of crafting.

Encourage spending quality family time together with this project and get out of the house and into nature to explore allowing your children to develop a connection. It’s very beneficial and important to take a break from your busy week and enjoy the outdoors with your loved ones! Read about the importance of spending time in nature.

Chipper Recycle Craft: Can Flower Vase

What you need:

  • Metal Can (soup or food can; or go big with a coffee can or oatmeal container)
  • Glue or Tape
  • Construction Paper or Recycles Paper
  • Scissors
  • Extras: Paper, Cotton Balls, Ribbons, Buttons, Pipe Cleaners, or anything fun you want to stick on your can
  • Optional: Flower Seeds and Soil

IMG_0151

Instructions:

Sit down as a family and let your minds go wild! Make a can that encompasses your personality that you would be proud to have around the house. Clean out the cans and make sure all materials are laid out before you begin the project.

  1. To make a woven paper decoration for your can as seen above, just cut 1 inch thick strips of paper from two different colors of construction paper (or try using folded strips of Newspaper from the Funnies section!)
  2. Lay two strips of your paper in the shape of a plus sign and tape them together. Weave another strip through and tape the ends of horizontal strips to one of the vertical strips, alternating top and bottom attachments.
  3. Weave the remaining vertical strips, securing their ends to the top and bottom horizontal strips. Trim off any extra paper and use tape or glue to attach to your can!
  4. Once your cans are done, take a family hike to pick up flowers to put in the cans. Or add dirt and some seeds to grow your own plants in the can.
  5. Place somewhere fun in the house and enjoy! Make sure to read directions on your seed packet and put it in the sun if you decide to grow your own flowers.

What other uses can you find for your decorated can? Share with Chipper in the comments below!

 

July 26, 2014 at 2:00 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

10 Chipper Tips for Gardening with Kids


A veggie garden is a great place to teach your youngsters valuable lessons while spending satisfying time together. Gardening is more entertaining than any video game; I have yet to meet a child who didn’t get a kick out of playing in the dirt, planting seeds and watching them grow. And finally, there’s no better way to get kids to eat veggies than to grow their own.

Gardening

Jasper the Jack Rabbit and Chipper help out in the garden!

So where do you start? These 10 ideas just might inspire your gardener-in-training:

  1. Take a field trip. Visit a farmers market or produce aisle and talk about what you see. Explain the life cycle of a veggie, from seed to fruit to dinner table. Have kids taste-test a few varieties, then help them plant the ones they like.
  2. Let them choose. While at a nursery or garden center, ask your kids to pick out a few seeds or plants they want to grow. Also let them select any extras, like trellises or containers. If they’re involved at the very beginning, they’re more likely to remain interested throughout the growing season.
  3. Give ’em some space. Pint-size gardeners love to have their own little section of a garden. They’ll treat this space with extra-special care. Let them make the decisions, from what gets planted to keeping the occasional “pet” weed.Let's Go Chipper Gardener Set
  4. Tools of the trade. On birthdays or other occasions, give your children a colorful garden tool, apron or hat. Make it a game to get dressed up as a gardener when it’s time to play outside.
  5. Family history lesson. Use your time outside as an opportunity to tell kids about your family. Was Great-Grandpa a gardener? Did Aunt Nora grow heirloom tomatoes? It’s a great way to get them interested in relatives and radishes at the same time.
  6. Theme gardens. Try an alphabet garden, where your kids choose everything from asparagus to zucchini. Or create a garden of miniatures with cherry tomatoes or mini-pumpkins.
  7. Be realistic. You can’t expect a 6-year-old to spend an afternoon weeding, so you’ll have to perform some of the mundane tasks yourself. When kids do tackle these chores, don’t expect perfection—a few jagged rows or a weed here and there won’t matter. Remember that kids have short attention spans, so make your garden a fun place where they can see real results.
  8. Let’s go crazy. Kids love unusual varieties, so don’t be a conformist. Instead, walk on the wild side with yellow tomatoes, white eggplants, purple carrots, brightly colored chard and giant pumpkins.
  9. Teachable moments. Explain how natural vegetable gardening promotes healthy living by providing safe, nutritious, low-cost food for the family. Also point out that growing your own veggies means more exercise, no pesticides and less pollution from delivery trucks.
  10. Continue in the kitchen. Invite your children to help you make dinner by adding cut-up garden produce to a salad or soup, and let them snack on a few as you cook. Don’t be surprised if they learn to love veggies.

The bottom line? Kids imitate what they see. If you love to grow things, chances are they’ll be enthusiastic, too. And remember that one of the most important things you’ll ever grow is a gardener.Let's Go Chipper | Making Change for the Better | Build Communty Gardens

Plan a community garden for your school or neighborhood! Collect spare change to fund the project and teach your kids how they can help make change for the better!

10 Best Veggies For Kids To Grow

  1. Sugar snap peas. Kids love to eat them fresh off the vine and they are packed with Vitamin C!
  2. Lettuce. Easy to grow and lots of cool color varieties, plus it contains a considerable amount of iron.
  3. Pumpkins. Plant a smaller variety, like Jack Be Little, for your smaller helpers. Don’t forget to eat the seeds which help keep heart heathy!
  4. Radishes. Within a month, these fast growers are ready to pick AND they help keep away allergy sniffles.. Just for giggles, try red, white and purple varieties.
  5. Carrots. Quick-growing carrots are perfect for short attention spans. In addition, they are filled with powerful vitamins that support your eye sight.
  6. Potatoes. Kids really dig potatoes, which are as much fun to harvest as to eat. These nutrient-dense veggies can be cooked dozens of ways!
  7. Green beans. The big seeds are fun and easy to plant. Plus they are packed with Vitamin B!
  8. Cherry tomatoes. Little hands love to pick these tiny fruits. They are sweet and nutritious, filled with fiber, protein and Vitamin C.
  9. Sunflowers. These beauties take off without much work, and come in tall or small varieties. Plus, it’s fun to harvest the seeds, or leave out the seed heads to attract birds.
  10. Broccoli. Like many veggies, garden-fresh broccoli tastes sweeter than store-bought. Broccoli is also a powerful antioxidant and great for bone health.

What other veggies do you kids love to grow? Share with Chipper in the comments!

May 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm 3 comments

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 Tips: Teaching Beyond Acceptance


“Different Not Less”

Making Change for the Better | let's go chipper | Teaching Autism Awareness to KidsCan you believe we have a generation growing up realizing that we are all different and that we should celebrate not criticize, shame, nor ignore individuals needing our kindness and support. We live during a time when parents have enough information teach their children acceptance and even more so to acknowledge that we all have a right to reach our potential? We share knowledge through so many channels and, collectively, we can make change for the better.

One of the best ways to teach your children acceptance is through education. Give age-appropriate information and then look for influential and inspiring individuals either aligned with the cause or someone faced with the challenges. Share your own experiences as a child and how you overcame indifferences through education.

When you educate you empower empathy and the interest to help. Collaborate within your community and come up with ideas to support causes or share Chipper’s Making Change for the Better initiative where every person can help reduce waste while increasing financial support for others in need.

April marks Autism Awareness and Acceptance month and Earth Day – so we have reasons to celebrate when noting causes which support people and nature … a very Chipper cause!

We are moved and inspired by the work of Dr. Temple Grandin, animal science doctor, professor, best selling author, autism activist and probably most noted in the livestock industry as an exceptional animal behaviorist for her teaching the industry more humane livestock handling processes. In 2004, Grandin received the “Proggy” award in the “Visionary” category, from PETA. It should be noted that Dr. Temple Grandin was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two but she regularly speaks and shares of her success stemming from early support and a supportive foundation built by family and educators. Read her most recent book.

During the month of April we will support A4CWSN giving away books and Chipper plush and sharing stories. Join us raising awareness and acceptance and learn more at Autism Speaks.

Autism Awareness: Make Change for the Better!

Making Change for the Better | let's go chipper | Teaching Autism Awareness to Kids

Educate and Inspire Action

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex set of neurological disorders and developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. ASD is generally diagnosed before three years of age. There is no known cause of autism, but early intervention plays a huge role in treatment and can greatly improve a child’s development.

Autism is a spectrum condition; this means that although some people with autism may share certain difficulties; their conditions may affect them in different ways. Many individuals with autism can live independent lives but others may need a lifetime of special support. In March 2012, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report revealed that 1 in every 88 births in the United States is shown to have a form of autism. The report also shows on average 1 in 54 boys were diagnosed with autism, and 1 in 252 girls. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

The Facts

  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism
  • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
  • The annual cost of autism is $60 billion
  • The annual cost of autism per person over a lifespan is 3.2 million
  • The annual cost of autism is $60 billion
  • 60% of costs are in adult services

The Hope

When we all work together we can help fund more research into the causes of autism, provide families with financial support, and increase awareness and acceptance of autism spectrum disorders.

Did you know? One 14.5 ounce can (standard soup can) filled with mixed coins can average anywhere from $12 – $45+. Imagine if you find a few dollar bills laying around as well – put them in the can and let’s help contribute.Your spare change makes a difference!

Making Change for the Better | let's go chipper | Teaching Autism Awareness to Kids

Download Chipper’s Making Change for the Better label and wrap a can or container. Collect your spare change and donate to an organization or a local support chapter.

Join Chipper in making change for the better!!!

April 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm 2 comments

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