Hello New School Year!

It’s back to homeschool around here, and we couldn’t be more excited to begin a brand new season filled with brand new goals. Our goals may seem small, but we found that they make such a huge difference in our homeschool days! Here are three of our daily “musts” for this school semester…

 

  1. Getting up an hour (okay, 20 minutes) before the littles.

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Having an hour to drink some coffee (while it’s still hot), get some laundry done, and breakfast prepped, is so important for us. It sets the tone for the rest of the day, and we don’t feel rushed and behind when the kids wake up.

 

2. Get outdoors more!

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Even if we just go to the backyard for 10 minutes with a magnifying glass, it makes such a huge difference in our day. The fresh air, sunshine, and quietness are so good for our souls! Shop our favorite nature journals here!

“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”

 

3. Free time play!

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Giving our littles time to think and explore on their own is when real growth, discovery, and learning takes place!

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” -Joseph Chilton Pearce

 

Do you have any “musts” for your school days? 🙂

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Enjoying an Indiana Summer!

Summer is officially here, and it has been nothing less than amazing thus far! It’s about creek stomping, firefly catching, and seemingly endless daylight. It’s about creating a whole new batch of memories and remembering those of days past. It’s slowing down. It’s cherishing the moment. Because this season too will pass.

Here in central Indiana, we have a lot of parks. We have over 12 within 20 minutes of our house! Needless to say, there is always plenty to choose from when choosing a day outing. Here are a few local events we’re looking forward to attending this summer!

#1. Bamboo Wind Chimes

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Create your own natural wind chime while learning about wind and what causes the wind to blow! What will your whimsical wind chime look like?
Recommended for ages 6 through adult.
$3/project (up to 2 people per project).

 

#2. Lil’ Explorers 

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Get to know the various kinds of animals that visit or live at McCloud Nature Park, visit the Bee House, and build a simple bird feeder to take home. For youngsters (age 2-5) with adult. $12 fee covers both child and adult. Maximum enrollment is 12 children. We prefer a 1:1 adult-to-child ratio, with the exception of siblings (in that case, one adult for two siblings is fine).

 

#3. Young Adventurers Camp

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Look for animals, build a shelter, and go on an adventure! Become an expert of all kinds of McCloud animals.
For kids ages 6-12.

 

#4. Creek Critters and Bugs

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Step into the natural habitat of our local aquatic creatures! Together we will capture water insects to see how healthy Big Walnut Creek’s ecosystem is. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes in the creek to protect your feet. A towel and extra shoes and socks are also recommended, and don’t forget your water bottle!
(If the creek or weather conditions are unsafe, there will be alternative activities.)
This program is FREE to attend, appropriate for all ages, and no advance registration is required.

 

#5. Nature’s Floral Fireworks

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Nature is bursting with color in the summer and putting on a vibrant display just in time for the 4th of July! Learn to identify some of our native wildflowers and discover which ones will complement your landscaping!
Hiking terrain info: easy to moderate difficulty, natural and gravel surfaces, up to 2 miles.

 

#6. Firefly Night Hike

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Learn why fireflies flash (and why they never have to pay an electric bill!), and catch and release these bioluminescent insects! Registered participants will receive glow sticks and insect jars. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle.
Recommended for ages 6 through adult.
$5/person.

 

#7. Fly Fishing for Beginners

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Have you ever wanted to try fly fishing? Learn the basics of fly fishing during this hands-on program. We will go over some of the local fish that you can catch, as well as assemble fly fishing rods and practice casting on land. No fishing license is needed, as this is on land only. Dress for the weather and bring a water bottle.
Recommended for ages 13+.

 

#8. Bald Eagles

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These majestic birds have recovered from their endangered status, and it is much more common to spot bald eagles now. With any luck, we’ll see our national bird flying along Big Walnut Creek! Be sure to bring your camera and a water bottle, and wear comfortable hiking shoes as we learn all about these regal creatures who double as our national symbol. 
Hiking terrain info: easy to moderate difficulty, grass and gravel surfaces, up to 2 miles.
This program is FREE to attend, appropriate for all ages, and no advance registration is required.

 

#9. Mud Soup!

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Get messy! Help make mud soup and mud pies, paint with natural materials, create natural crafts, and play outdoor games.
For youngsters (age 2-5) with adult. $12 fee covers both child and adult. Maximum enrollment is 12 children. We prefer a 1:1 adult-to-child ratio, with the exception of siblings (in that case, one adult for two siblings is fine).

 

#10. Creek Stomp Hike #2

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Cool off and enjoy a splashing good time in Big Walnut Creek! Stomp in the water with Naturalists to learn about the health of the creek and to discover some great places to explore! Wear closed-toe water shoes or old sneakers, bring towels, and don’t forget your water bottle!
(If the creek or weather conditions are unsafe, there will be alternative activities.)
Recommended for ages 6+.

 

 

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Kids

Free play is beneficial to all kids, but nature-based play is even better because it allows children to develop a range of science, math, and engineering skills.

As we move into spring and the days become warmer and longer, it’s only natural to want to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. What better time to take the kids and head to a local park as spring unfolds around us? Children are spending half the amount of time outdoors as children did in the ’70s and ’80s. Their free time has declined dramatically over the last 20 years and the amount of unstructured activity has decreased by 50 percent.

Continue Reading

 

A Nature Inspired Valentine’s Day

There are so many adorable nature-themed Valentines Day crafts for kids! Take some time this weekend to create some of these adorable keepsakes!

#1. Nature Valentine’s Card

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#2. You Rock Valentines

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#3.  Valentine’s Bird Feeders

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#4. Love Bug Valentine

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#5. Toad-ally Awesome Valentine’s!

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#6.  Valentine’s Tree

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#7. Plantable Valentine’s Heart

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#8. Heart Stick Mobile

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#9. Valentine’s Tree

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#10. Birch-bark Heart

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Full Moon Schedule for 2018!

January makes getting outdoors even harder, which also means cabin fever is starting to set in. This is why we love this full moon schedule! It gives us a fun January activity!

Gear up with some blankets and a thermos full of hot coffee and enjoy some night sky gazing! alex-6726

  • January 31- Wolf Moon

  • March 1st- Worm Moon

  • March 31st- Blue Moon

  • April 29th- Pink Moon

  • May 29th- Corn Planting Moon

  • June 28th- Strawberry Moon

  • July 27th- Thunder Moon

  • August 26th- Green Corn Moon

  • September 24th- Harvest Moon

  • October 24th- Hunter’s Moon

  • November 23rd- Frost Moon

  • December 22nd- Long Night Moon

 

Nature Sensory Activities

Being outdoors has incredible benefits, and with spring being just a few months away, we’re compiling some of our favorite sensory activities for littles!

#1. Mud Pie Kitchen

 

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Some of our favorite memories were those of making mud “food”. We would mold the mud into whatever our imaginations created and then would paint the creations once they dried. 

 

 

#2. Creek Wading

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#3. Pine Cone Sorting

 

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Our little guy loves to gather all the different pinecones and sort them according to size. 

 

 

#4. Leaf Threading

 

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A thin stick will work just as well for threading leaves together. This is another one of our favorites!

 

 

#5. Stone Sorting

 

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Grab a little bucket, and let them start a collection!

 

 

#6. Lots of Grass

 

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Playing in the grass is one of the best sensory things to do with littles!

 

 

#7.  Tree Bark Rubbing/Art

 

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Take a large piece of paper and hold it (or tape it) on the tree. Then take some chalk and gently rub the paper over the bark! The results are beautiful! 

 

 

#8. Barefoot Sensory Walk

 

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You can walk on grass, small pebbles, sand, mud, and so much more!

 

 

#9. Water Play

 

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Playing with water can inspire so much imagination! 

 

 

#10. Chalk

 

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If you have a smooth surface and some chalk, the possibilities are endless! 

 

 

Achievable Goals for 2018

These are some of our goals for 2018!

 

#1. Get Outdoors!

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It’s easy to get caught up in the daily little tasks. This year, we’re making time to simply be. 

 

#2. Plan Ahead

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 Taking time to prepare on the weekends, make such a huge difference in how our week goes! We prep meals, plan our lessons, and take time to rest.

 

#3. Declutter

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Clean room, clean mind!

 

#4. Read More

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There are so many wonderful books on our reading list this year!

 

#5. Try New Food

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We don’t branch out from what we know too often, so we’re looking forward to trying new things this year!

 

#6. Make Time For What Truly Matters

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Stop, unplug, and savor. 

 

#7. Travel

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Even though we travel a lot for work, we’re looking forward to planning some extra trips to explore new areas!

 

#8. Camping

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We can’t wait for some October camping this fall!

 

#9. Nature Journaling

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Take time to be observant of nature!

 

#10. Perfect Something New

 

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Attempting to write an original is on this bucket list!

 

 

 

Have any more ideas!? We would LOVE to hear!