We see them covering the porches of our neighbors’ houses. They’re even in our backyards. Beautiful plants and flowers! The minute the weather turns nice, everyone wants to make the outside of their homes look like a marvelous greenhouse. But of course, it isn’t always that easy. I myself have faced the trials and tribulations of keeping a plant alive. Asking the age old questions:
Am I watering them too much?
Is the cool night time air killing them?
How do I bring them back to life if the leaves have already wilted?
At my wits end, I decided to do some research and seek out a place nearby where I could be transported into the gorgeous scenery I was yearning for (created by people that actually know how to keep a plant alive!) We know that theme parks often have gorgeous landscaping, but I was searching for a trip that’s a little more about mom and less about the kids this time.
Not knowing I lived near one of the most popular botanical gardens, I was astounded to just see how prevalent they were across the country. It really made me want to incorporate some of these gardens into the itineraries of our upcoming summer vacations. I began looking at all of the top gardens on the list, amazed at the bright colors and blossoms of each flower, and of course thinking of all of the family pictures that could be taken.
But until we venture out on vacation this summer, I will use the pictures I’ve seen online as motivation to give my porch plants a go. Who knows, maybe one day my house will look like a mini botanical garden!
April is Earth Month which gives us all the more reason to get outside and enjoy a little extra fresh air. Especially while the pandemic rages on, the great outdoors can be a game-changing, COVID-safe setting for a family adventure.
If you’re in need of a little inspiration of activities that will keep your kids occupied (and won’t totally break the bank), look no further. Here are our five favorite outdoor activities that are perfect for educating the whole family about the environment while taking in a little extra Vitamin D.
Go on a Nature Walk
Find the nearest trail or river (or even makeshift with a neighborhood sidewalk) and grab all the essentials: snacks, maps, backpacks, and water. Round up your squad and go on an exciting new adventure that you didn’t know you had in your own backyard! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any plants or pebbles that might be worth stopping for.
Start a Composting Garden
Not only does composting have several benefits for the environment, it also can be a fun boredom buster for all ages. You can buy everything you need at most major home or garden shops, or double down on the adventure by making your own garden from scratch. This one is a must, especially if you live in one of the best states for composting.
Explore Local Wildlife
Your local zoo might be closed during COVID, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spot some animals this Summer. While birds and insects may be a little less exciting than a tiger or lion, read up on local creatures native to your area and make a game out of spotting and identifying the species. This will have your little ones feeling like professional zoologists in no time!
Play an Old-School Classic Game
Tag and capture the flag are classics for a reason. While the games we grew up playing may have been replaced by Super Mario Bros and Animal Crossing in this decade, it’s always a good time for some healthy, old-fashioned competition. Bonus points if you end the afternoon with sharing your school-aged stories from when you played these games back in the day.
Set Up a Picnic
It’s an unstated rule that lunch and dinner time are significantly more fun when they’re outside. Grab a blanket, basket, and of course, some delicious goodies and change up your mealtime scenery. You can head to a local park or stay on your own property, whatever you do, don’t forget the SPF and bug spray!
We hope this list inspires you to get outside and enjoy nature with the family. Before you know it, you’ll be adding these small activities into your routine!
Summer looks a lot different this year due to the social distancing rules in effect across the country. Normally, our kids’ schedules would be jam-packed with fun activities, like day camps or sleepaway camps, scouting, sports, and more. But this year, as we’re all faced with lots more time at home, lots of moms are looking for creative, educational ways to fill the endless summer days!
Bentham Science Publishers, an international publishing company that publishes well-known scientific, technical, and medical journals, knows how important it is to develop an early love of science, technology, engineering, and math (or, STEM). Our kids are the doctors, researchers, engineers, and mathematicians of the future, and we should do our best as moms to foster and encourage their curious minds.
These fun science experiments use easy-to-find ingredients and will spark your little ones’ imaginations! Kids young and old will have fun exploring and playing, and you can feel good knowing that you’re supporting their learning and development. Make sure to supervise children as they do these experiments, since some of the ingredients can irritate skin and eyes.
A lot of these experiments are best done outside, since they can make a mess. Embrace that mess! Once you’re done with your afternoon of science fun, clean off with the hose or sprinkler. It’s lots of fun, and very effective at cleaning up after small scientists!
Without further ado, here are our best summer science experiments!
Clear glass cups or jars
Take your clear cups or jars and add a few tablespoons of baking soda to each one. Add a few drops of food coloring to each jar as well. You can experiment with color theory and combine colors to create new ones!
Pour the white vinegar into each cup or jar slowly, and watch as the colorful foam erupts!
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup shaving cream
Food Coloring (optional)
Pour the cornstarch into a large bowl. Add the shaving cream and stir to mix. If using food coloring, add that in now too.
When the mixture comes together in pieces (similar to shredded cheese), use your hands to squish the mixture and combine. It should quickly come together into balls, with a texture similar to dough.
If your mixture is too wet and sticky, add more cornstarch. If it won’t come together, add a bit more shaving cream.
Use the summer snow to make snowmen, igloos, snow forts, and more!
Clean 16oz plastic bottle
20 Volume Hydrogen Peroxide (This is a 6% solution which can be found at beauty supply stores. If you can’t find this, you can use the standard 3% solution available at most pharmacies, but the reaction will be smaller. Caution: Handle with care as Hydrogen Peroxide is corrosive in nature.)
1 packet of dry yeast
Liquid dish soap
3 tbsp warm water
Food coloring (optional)
Using the funnel, carefully pour half a cup of the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle, and then add about 10 drops of your preferred food coloring.
Add about 1 tbsp of liquid soap and swish it gently around in the bottle.
In the separate cup, combine the warm water and yeast. Let sit for about 30 seconds–it should look like the consistency of melted ice cream. You can add more water if needed.
Using the funnel, pour the yeast-water mixture into the bottle and stand back! This foam eruption will be epic!
Liquid dish soap
Food Coloring (optional)
Add 2 tbsp of cornstarch to the bowl followed by 1 and a half tbsp of liquid dish soap. Add the food coloring now too if you’re using it!
Mix and squish together in the bowl until it forms a putty consistency. If it is too dry, add a little more dish soap. If it is too wet, add a little more cornstarch.
This putty should last a few hours, and it is way cleaner and less sticky than the common glue-based slime recipes online!
Homemade Lava Lamp
Wide-mouth glass container (like a vase, pitcher, or tall drinking glass)
Fill the container about three-quarters full with the oil, and then fill the rest of the way with water, making sure to leave a couple inches at the top of the container.
Watch as the water and oil separate and the oil falls to the bottom–so cool!
Once settled, add about ten drops of food coloring to color your lava lamp. Wait and watch as each drop sinks through the oil and settles in the water.
Finally, drop in the Alka-Seltzer tablet and watch as the carbon dioxide gas bubbles push the colored water up into the oil like a lava lamp!
While all these experiments can be enjoyed by people of any age, many are aimed at younger children. Bentham Science does offer resources for older children and young adults looking to dive deeper into science and technology, including free, open-access textbooks and informative webinars.
Who knows, moms – maybe you’ll learn too! Learning is a lifelong process, and it’s never too late to teach yourself something new! For more from Bentham Science, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The letter “Y” is close to the end of the alphabet, which means we’ve worked together to teach almost 26 letters. Great job, parents! We are nearing the end of the alphabet, and also nearing the end of our shelter-in-place orders. It will be fun to take your kindergartener or preschooler out into the world with their new ability to identify and write all these letters.
To learn many of the letters of the alphabet, crafts are a fun and creative way to teach your child. We’ve made all kinds of fun projects over the last few weeks, like a rainstick for the letter “R”, and Tic-Tac-Taco for the letter “T”. But today, we’ll be doing something a little bit different than the other crafts and activities.
The letter “Y” is for YOU and this activity is all about YOU! There are no printouts needed here. Just the items listed below and YOUrself:
A plain piece of paper
Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
A photograph or a mirror
To learn the letter “Y” and discover the beauty of their individuality, have your children draw themselves! It might be helpful to offer them a mirror or a photograph of themselves to use as reference.
Once your self portraits are complete, share the finished product with us in the comments below! It will be so fun to see all of the diversity in how we see ourselves!
You can use the included printable to play two simple games that focus on that tricky letter V sound. Download and print the sheet, then carefully cut apart the vegetable cards. Be sure to keep them in a resealable plastic bag in between play sessions so they won’t get lost.
Game #1: Matching
Separate the vegetable cards into two equal sets – one for you, one for your preschooler.
Lay your preschooler’s vegetables in a row on the table or floor in front of them.
One by one, show a card to your preschooler and ask, “Where is this vegetable?”
If they can point to the match, you declare “Victory! V is for Vegetable!”
Game #2: Making Soup
Get a small cooking pot and wooden spoon from the kitchen.
Explain that you are going to make Letter V soup together. Only things that start with v can be added to the soup!
Move through the room together, proposing different items for your soup. First, ask your preschooler about some items that definitely don’t qualify. For example, “Pepper! I like pepper. Does pepper start with v?” (Little people love to call out silly grownups when they get something wrong, so expect some very energetic no’s!)
Every few letters, circle back to your pile of vegetable cards. “How about vegetable? Does vegetable start with V?” Add one or two of your cards to the pot.
Once you’ve gone through a few rounds of this, stir up your soup and take some pretend bites together.
If you have other V-items around, turn them into soup too! A small bottle of vanilla, a toy van, paper valentines, and wild-growing violets from the yard are all great choices.
After playing hard, you may both need a snack. You can learn the shape of letter V by shaping it out of real vegetables. Carrot sticks, celery, and strips of cucumber are all nice, straight shapes that are suitable for making V’s.
Don’t be vexed – verily, a valiant effort will vanquish your troubles with vicious, villainous Letter V!
With the kids home from school and daycare, many parents are struggling to find a balance between work-life, mom-life, and self-care. Staying on your health and fitness grind during quarantine is hard and there’s no beating around that bush – but there are ways for it to be a little easier.
Let’s face it. Kids need our undivided attention right now. If they’re old enough, they are most like confused about what is going on.
“Why is mommy home so much?”
“Why is mommy ignoring me while she’s on her laptop every day?”
These are valid questions that shouldn’t go unanswered. It’s important to explain to our children that while things might look a little different right now, schedules and guidelines within the home need to be followed. Whether it’s quiet time during meetings or TV time with dad during a quick jog, things that are of higher priority to you shouldn’t fall by the wayside.
Working out is so essential to our health, especially during a pandemic, because it boosts our immune systems to keep us healthy. And if you’re like thousands of mom’s out there wondering how to keep up with your workouts during a time like this, you aren’t alone. Here are some of the best workouts you can do at home that allows the kids to get involved while still getting your sweat in.
If your family owns bikes, this is a fantastic (and fun) way to get active outside. With car traffic down 75% right now, there really is no better time to get outside and start riding. Kids typically don’t view bike riding as exercise, so this is a sly way to get in your exercise without any objections from the little ones. If you don’t own a bike yourself, let the kids ride while you jog beside them.
Kids have an affinity for stretching, bending over, doing flips, and contorting their body in multiple different ways – because well, they can. You can find thousands of free yoga videos on the internet, like YouTube, some of which are kid-oriented. Lay down a blanket or yoga mats if you have them in the living room and start practicing. The kids will find this exercise challenging but fun at the same time as it requires concentration and coordination.
You might be wondering, what is HIIT? HIIT is high-intensity interval training and one of the top exercises in the United States right now. It’s a cardio exercise that involves short bursts of intense exercise, like jumping backs, high-knees, and burpees. HIIT is amazing to do with kids because there are no props or weights required. Kids also have terrific stamina and will surely challenge themselves and you to keep at it. This workout is especially is fun for mom because this will surely tire your kids out for the rest of the day.
Let us know in the comments if you tried any of these exercises with the kids!
The letter “U” is one of the most unique letters in the alphabet. While not many words start with the letter “U” in the English language as others do, there are tons of fun words that begin with this letter – from umbrella to unicorn to ukulele.
Perhaps one of the most exciting words that start with the letter “U” is (u)nderwater. From oceans to lakes to pools, being underwater is such a fun activity, especially when it’s hot and sunny out. Not only is being underwater a nice and refreshing place to be to escape from the heat, but swimming fantastic physical activity to keep you healthy and strong.
Underwater Coloring Page
While you might not live close to an ocean or pool or not know how to swim yet, this underwater activity is something you can do in your own home. Not to mention, you can stay dry while doing so!
This coloring book page features the beautiful underwater scenery of the ocean. Many of the things illustrated on this page you might have never seen before! For instance, coral reefs, octopus, jellyfish, and starfish are hard to see underwater unless you dive really deep. This coloring book page gives you an awesome window into a whole other world in the deep blue sea.
Here is what you’ll need for this activity:
Crayons, Colored Pencils, or Markers
Check it out below!
Once you’re done with your coloring page, hang it up on a window and see how the sunlight reflects through the ocean water, just like how it does with real ocean water. If you have any sea creature stickers at home, add them to the page for a unique touch!
Do you have a favorite sea creature? A fish? Or maybe a shark? Let us know in the comments below and snap a picture of how your underwater coloring book page turned out!
Terrific, tremendous, and tasty are all words that start with the letter “T”, and they also describe today’s special “T”-themed activity: Tic-Tac-Taco!
This fun and re-usable activity includes a printable game board and pieces that kids can color however they want before cutting them out to use as moveable game pieces. All you need to get started is a printer and some crayons, markers, or colored pencils.
The first step to this activity is to print out the following game board:
While the board comes pre-colored, you can always choose to print it in black and white to let your kids have complete control over how it looks after they have decorated it.
Once you have the game board ready, it’s time to print out your tic-tac-taco pieces. What sets this game apart from regular tic-tac-toe is that instead of playing with Xs and Os, this version of the game uses two different foods that start with the letter T: tacos and tortilla chips. Even better, these game pieces can be cleared off the board and re-used time and again so you aren’t using an entirely new sheet of paper every time you play!
To get your game pieces, print out the following sheet and have your kids color in the tacos and tortilla chips however they want. Once they have been brought to vibrant life, it’s time to play!
The letter “P” starts plenty of words that provide perfect activities for your preschool child! Especially these days, when children are home from school, parents are looking for low maintenance, easy to set up activities. This one is great for staying inside on a rainy day, keeping your kids entertained for a bit, and enjoying a fun final product that they can keep!
Today we will be learning how to make your own puzzle!
All you need for this project is to download and print the picture below! You’ll need a pair of scissors, some markers, crayons, or colored pencils, and one imaginative child.
Start by having them color a picture on the puzzle image below, anything that they like! Once they’ve completed their masterpiece, either you or your child can carefully cut out the puzzle pieces, mix them up, and try to put the picture together again like a puzzle.
If you have two kids, all the better! Have each of them make a puzzle, cut it out, and then swap them so the activity lasts even longer. To make it a little bit harder (or buy yourself a few extra minutes of quiet, entertained kids) you could even mix the multiple puzzles together and have your kids try to put their puzzles back together from the one pile.
Some puzzle ideas:
Draw your favorite animal.
Draw your favorite food.
Draw your family.
Draw your house.
Draw their favorite movie character.
Draw their favorite thing to do.
Parents are always looking for new activities for their kids to do, especially when they’re stuck inside! These projects give you double the value since the activity is to create an activity! Your preschooler will be able to create their own puzzle and then put it together, again and again, giving them further entertainment while you take care of whatever you need to do.