Posts tagged ‘connecting kids with nature’

A Memorial Day to Remember – 5 Fun Family Activities

A Memorial Day to Remember – 5 Fun Family Activities to celebrate our service members!

Continue Reading May 21, 2015 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Read with Your Children

The morning hustle: head down getting everyone up and out the door with little time to wrap my head around what is really important to me on this day. Dashing out the door with totes, lunches, and kids in tow we zip to the highway for the first drop-off on the last week of summer camps. Music on, conversations fragmented and a red light finally offers me the first brief moment I get to pause. On this particular day, the pause at what my daughters call “the longest light” is suddenly so worth it.

“Mom, what book do you think that mom is reading to her daughter?” I look over and marvel that through the oncoming traffic and nestled into a bus shelter surrounded by the hedge greening the road my daughter notices a mother and daughter quietly reading; so focused they don’t hear or realize life whizzing by them. What a way to start the day. I am reminded that it only takes a few moments to make a meaningful connection with your child. Sitting closely, turning the pages, and discussing the story, I thought to myself “what an opportunity to connect.”

The green light sets us back on our way but I stayed in the right hand lane with the slower traffic so I could spend a little more time with my kids today. We talked about the summer library program and how we needed to catch up since we didn’t read as much while on vacation. My eldest daughter reminded her sister of the book she’s suggested, and for once my youngest agrees it might be time to try a “bigger” book. She asked if I would sit with her to read it in the beginning in case she had trouble with some of the words or understanding the story. I agreed.

For the next ten or so minutes we named all the books we could remember reading. We shared our favorite books we had read together as kids, and I shared the book my mom gave me years ago repeating what she wrote on the inside cover. I still cherish the message today.

Snuggle up and read with your kids.

Snuggle up and read with your kids.

Reading is essential to the positive upbringing of a child. The benefits are never ending but a few important ones come to mind:

  1. The opportunity to snuggle up and physically connect – using your voice to put life into the story, hands to depict characters and scenes all add to the magic of the moment.
  2. Left to right – run your finger along the page as you read and you help your child understand that’s the way to read a book. Read then discuss the illustrations to teach visual storytelling. Sometimes words and pictures are different but it’s interesting how they can tell the same story.
  3. Engaging your child’s imagination excites verbal skills – repeating words, and asking questions will spark conversation and help your child form complete sentences as well as learn new words daily.
  4. Academic excellence – it’s probably the number one goal most parents have when they think of their child’s future. Research shows early reading moments will help students perform better in school.
  5. Interpersonal relationships – all stories are based on relationships and the opportunity to learn through imaginative stories will help young children build basic skills for positive interpersonal relationships.

There are more reasons to read together and LeVar Burton is probably the biggest champion of reading to children. Research continues to validate the benefits at every age and stage of a child’s early brain development.

I could spend hours reading through this research but inspired by the mother and daughter sitting at the bus stop I’d rather turn the page with my own children and create a story or two of our own. What is your favorite childhood book – share with us on Facebook or start reading today with your children.

August 4, 2014 at 8:29 am Leave a comment

Celebrating Families and Independence

This Thursday, families and friends across the country will celebrate our nation’s independence –flaunting red, white, and blue on the Fourth of July. It was in 1776 – 234 years ago ­–  that our fore father’s signed the Declaration of Independence. Written by Thomas Jefferson, it is the day America declared itself independent of the British Empire.

Lets Go Chipper FB Cover Photo_4th of July

Get your own Chipper Plushy at our store!

So as parades go by and communities celebrate, Chipper’s Tips assure everyone will be in full cheer:

1. Stay Together! Large crowds often form on Fourth of July fireworks displays, parades, and other such outside events, so please stay close together to ensure everyone’s safety. Pick an easy and familiar spot to meet at in case someone gets lost. Remember Chipper’s tip: “You can play, but don’t stray.”

2. Be safe! Fireworks are dangerous when not handled properly, so keep children at a safe distance and under constant parent supervision.

3. Careful cooking! When barbecuing, prevent injuries or burns by making sure all children stay away from the cooking area and keep all fires under control with water nearby at campsites in case of an emergency. Don’t forget to leave no trace and clean up afterwards, making sure all flames are put out.

4. Think of your Pets! Pets often become frightened with loud noises such as those made by fireworks, so be prepared to either leave them at home, bring something to shelter them with, or bring something that might help comfort them in such a distressful time. Most importantly, prevent possible injuries by restraining them in some way and ensuring that they, too, keep their distance from all fireworks as well.

5. Sun Protection! Remember to re-apply sunscreen every two hours or so to prevent any possible sun damage. Chipper’s tip: “From your head to your toes, and don’t forget your nose.”

Have a Chipper 4th of July!

July 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Tip: Teach Your Kids to Garden

Gardening with Kids | Let's Go ChipperWith new technologies constantly emerging, children are increasingly looking to screens to entertain themselves. However, according to Stephen Kellert, Tweedy/Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and Senior Research Scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, “there’s increasing evidence that suggests that even in the modern world, whether it’s attentional capacity or stress relief or critical thinking or problem solving or physical fitness, …the experience of nature helps facilitate these adaptations.”

The truth of the matter is that children need engagement with nature—nature provides a tangible look at the world around us that technology simply cannot offer. For example, a child may learn about the difference between a seagull and a robin in a textbook, or even an online article or software. However, being able to physically go to a zoo, and interact with and see both the seagull and robin can arguably teach that child more than just learning about said animals in a textual manner.

Kellert asserts that there is enormous complexity in nature. He states, “when you think about the variety and complexity of the everyday understanding, you realize how much adaptation and coping and classification and naming that goes on in response to this extraordinarily complex, complicated, diverse world that is beyond our self. You begin to realize how much opportunity there is for children to… name, to classify, to problem solve, to create, to think about how to…critically think and adaptive response to different elements of this dynamic, ambient, changing uncertain, surprising world that is the world of beyond just ourselves as a single species.” Clearly, there is mass importance in involving your child in nature. A very simple way is to teach your kids how to garden in the bounds of your own backyard!

Here are some simple steps to teaching your kids how to garden, courtesy of WikiHow:

  1. Focus on making it fun and interesting. If your kids actually are interested in the fascinating process of plant growth, animal interaction, etc., they’ll be more inclined to participate.
  2. Make sure you have the right tools. Having the right tools and equipment is not only essential but makes the gardening process more fun!
  3. Because your kids are beginning gardeners, choose plants that are easy to grow. Suggested plants include: Sunflowers, Radishes, Squash, Tomatoes (from seedlings), Lettuces, Peas and beans, Sweet peaspoppies,alyssum, marigoldspansies or nasturtiums.
  4. Show you children the basics of planting seed! Beforehand, till and add nutrients to the soil—they can learn about this process afterwards. For now, focus on just helping your children plant seeds!
  5. Along with teaching them how to garden, introduce the various types of wildlife that are involved with garden life. This will add an extra dimension to your children’s nature education.

Clearly, there are many benefits to exposing your child to nature; additionally, it’s super easy to introduce nature into their education! Let’s Go Chipper for nature and education!


July 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Recycle Craft + Snack: Garden Lady Bug

Spring is in full throttle and summer is right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to get outdoors and explore your gardens! Finding little creepy crawlies with your little ones is not only a fun exercise, it instill an inherent curiosity in your child. That curiosity will push them to explore and learn about not only the great outdoors, but all aspects of the world. Education should inspire them to find out more, not stifle their natural wonder.

Let's go Chipper | Lady Bug Snack and Recipe for kids

Take your little one(s) on a nature walk, strolling slowly in your back yard or community garden. Take 5 minutes in each area, observing things carefully, to see what you can find!  Keep a look out for lovely little ladybugs. Here are 10 fun facts about ladybugs to teach your kiddos:

Let's go Chipper | Lady Bug Snack and Recipe for kids

  1. Ladybugs are also called Lady beetles or Ladybirds.
  2. The male ladybug is usually smaller than the female.
  3. A ladybug beats its wings 85 times a second when it flies.
  4. The spots on a ladybug fade, as the ladybug gets older.
  5. In many countries, ladybugs are considered to be good luck.
  6. Aphids are a ladybug’s favorite food, making them good for your garden.
  7. There are over 5000 different kinds of ladybugs worldwide.
  8. A female ladybug will lay more than 1000 eggs in her lifetime.
  9.  Ladybugs chew from side to side and not up and down like people do.
  10. Ladybugs are all around us! Ladybugs can be found in trees, shrubs, fields, beaches, and even houses!


What you Need:Let's go Chipper | Lady Bug Snack and Recipe for kids

  • Egg carton or round cardboard piece
  • black and red markers, paint or crayons
  • scissors or whole puncher
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Optional: googly eyes


  • Separate one cup from an egg carton or use any round cardboard pieces you have on hand.
  • Using markers or  paint to color the egg carton cup red. Then, using black paint/markers, color in the head, and make spots on the body.
  • Using the point of a scissors or a hole puncher, an adult should make 6 small holes (3 on each side) at the base of the cup (these will be for the legs. Make 2 small holes (for antennae) where the top of the head will be.
  • Insert a black pipe cleaner into each a side hole and out the other side for the legs. Use half a pipe cleaner for the antennae.
  • Glue on googly eyes or paint on white eyes.
  • Take your ladybug into the garden and try to spot some real ones!

Let's go Chipper | Lady Bug Snack and Recipe for kids


This Simple Recipe is Tasty and Cute!

Let's go Chipper | Lady Bug Snack and Recipe for kids

1-small red apple
2tsp.- strawberry cream cheese (low-fat)
1/8 cup- raisins or dried cranberries
1 or 2-red or black seedless grapes

Optional: lettuce leaves for garnish if desired.

Alternatives: peanut or almond butter instead of cream cheese. Round cereal instead of raisins, a small pinch of cinnamon. Use your imagination and what you have on hand in the kitchen.

Wash the apples and lettuce. Arrange a few lettuce leaves on each plate. Cut apples in half from stem to bottom. Remove seeds. Lay each half of apple cut side down on
cutting board and cut in half from stem to bottom. With skin side up place both halves of apple on top of lettuce. Put a small amount of cream cheese in-between the apple
halves to adhere the apple back together (enough to have a small amount squish out the top). Stick raisins to cream cheese down the middle of apple, then use a small dab of cream cheese to adhere the raisins (see picture below) on each wing. Cut a grape in half and use cream cheese to stick it to one end of your ladybug apple for the head.

This is a perfect recipe for adults and kids to make together. It’s fun, easy, cute, and so tasty. And did Chipper mention it’s healthy too? “Healthy before sweet, can’t be beat!”

May 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm 3 comments

Chipper Exercise: 8 Fun (FREE!) Family Fitness Activities

Looking for some fun family “workouts” that feel more like play? Check out these simple outdoor activities that will get everyone in your family off the couch and help you bond while burning some calories. Getting active outdoors isn’t only good for your body but also you and your child’s social and emotional wellness. As Chipper likes to say, “Healthy Habits Grow Happy Hearts!” Try a few with mom (or with your kids) to celebrate Mother’s Day this week and have some fun while keeping fit!

1. Hula HoopingLet's Go Chipper Exercise

Hula hoops became a hot toy in the late 1950s and are still a lot of fun for families. Hula hooping can burn more than 500 calories an hour — not bad for a $10 piece of plastic! Hoops come in a variety of sizes for children and adults, and weighted hoops for more advanced “hoopers” will give you even more of a workout. Try a little more variation than just the normal standing hula hooping with these 3 Great Hula Hoop Exercises for Kids.

2. Jump RopingLet's Go Chipper Exercise

Jumping rope burns an estimated 600 calories an hour. Jump ropes are also cheap, starting under $10. Also, because jump ropes are so portable, parents can pack one in their suitcase for workouts while they travel. Who knows — maybe Dad is a future double dutch champion!

3. Skating and ScootingLet's Go Chipper Exercise

Have some old Rollerblades or Razor Scooters hanging out in the garage? You probably forgot how fun some quality time on wheels can be! Dust them off and cruise around the neighborhood or a nearby park with your kids. Kicking along on a scooter is sure to get your heart rate up. And in-line skating burns at least 300 calories an hour for adults. Consider doing a scavenger hunt to keep you moving.

4. Boogying DownLet's Go Chipper Exercise

Your family loves singing along with the radio in the car. Why not dance along to the music when you’re at home? Having a family dance party lets parents and kids get silly while also getting some good cardio exercise. Hip hop dancing can burn about 400 calories an hour, so turn up the beats indoors or outside!

5. Playing FrisbeeLet's Go Chipper Exercise

Frisbee has a cult following, with hundreds of colleges now offering “ultimate Frisbee” (a Frisbee game similar to soccer) as a school sport. Your family could be full of Frisbee champs! With plastic discs starting at $5, it’s worth a try. Frisbee golf is another fun disc game.

6. Walking — or Hiking — with the DogLet's Go Chipper Exercise

What has fur, four legs, and is dying to be your exercise pal? That’s right: the family dog. Studies have shown that owning a dog can make you healthier, in part because you’re likely to take more walks. But if your daily walks have become more like a chore, infuse some fun as well as fitness. Go as a family, pick different routes each night, and throw in some jogging.

7. Playground PlaytimeLet's Go Chipper Exercise

Just as kids love rec time during the school day, they’ll enjoy romping around the playground when school is out of session. When is the last time Dad tried his hand at crossing the monkey bars or doing some pull-ups? And when was Mom last on the swings, pumping her legs to get sky-high? Playgrounds offer fun physical activity for everyone — even if you’re just chasing the kids around.

8. Tag, You’re It, and Other Outdoor GamesLet's Go Chipper Exercise

Tag, kickball, wiffle ball, kickball… you name it! Neighborhood games may be waning in the digital age, but they’re as fun as ever and hopefully due for a comeback. Challenge your family members to some friendly competition, and enjoy the great outdoors like it’s the good ol’ days. Here are some great ideas from Chipper!

May 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm 2 comments

Chipper Craft: Celebrate Earth Day

With Earth Day inching closer, now’s a great time to start thinking about good ol’ Mother Earth. Held annually on April 22, Earth Day is a world-wide support day for environmental protection. Earth Day began in 1969 when John McConnell, a peace activist, proposed a day to celebrate the environment and Earth’s beauty. The reason why Earth Day is on April 22 is because of the abundant amount of youth activism in the 1960s: April 22 is a likely day for college students to be available because it falls between Spring Break and Final Exams. Interesting, right?

In celebration of the upcoming Earth Day, Chipper made an Earth Day craft this week! Not only is this craft simple, it will teach your little one about the importance of loving our planet.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 11.41.03 AM

Firstly, draw a circle on blue construction paper and cut it out. This will be the water of planet Earth.


Secondly, cut out arbitrary land-like shapes out of green construction paper and glue (or tape) them onto the blue circle. Your planet Earth is starting to take shape!


Then, place your hands into a heart like shape like so. Trace your hands and cut them out.


It will end up looking like this:


Using glue or tape, adhere your hands onto your already-made Earth. Voila! This craft symbolizes the importance of using your hands in activity to love on the environment around us.

photo_1 (1)

Optional: Using red marker, draw a heart in the middle like so. This could further solidify the link between using hands to actively take care of Mother Earth.


Let’s Go Chipper for Earth Day!

April 14, 2013 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

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