Thrifting for the Garden

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Is it warm in your part of the world? Are your kids spending lots of time outdoors? Summer is here and our garden is getting so much attention. My kids are happy when they're outside, so I've been thinking up ways to turn our outdoor spaces into play pockets and learning laboratories. In addition to our water wall, fairy garden, and outdoor drawing studio, my children … [Read more...]

Creative Adventures: Tidepooling

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 Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. - Edward de Bono, psychologist and writer This post is something new for me. I usually write about our hands-on projects, but I thought it would be fun to take our creative thinking out into the great wide world. In reference to the quote above, not only am I breaking out … [Read more...]

How Climbing Trees Builds Creative Thinking

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Have you ever climbed a tree? Do your kids like climbing trees? This has never been high on my list, even back in the nursery school days, but my 3 year old N has climbing in her soul and will climb just about anything: rock climbing walls, trees, jungle gyms, furniture, fences, etc. She seems to gravitate especially to trees that offer a challenging climb, and I like it … [Read more...]

DIY Water Wall

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Does it feel like summer in your part of the world? It's heating up here, and my kids have been enjoying this easy and inexpensive new backyard water feature. All you need is a nearby water source and a wall to attach it to. I've been inspired by Let the Children Play once again! Last summer Jenny gave us the idea for our mud pie kitchen (and here's her mud kitchen), and … [Read more...]

New Outdoor Art Studio

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Did I ever tell you that our backyard used to be a dirt patch? It would have been perfectly lovely for a team of dogs, but it's driven me nuts since we first moved in.  I've tried all sorts of hacks to make it more appealing. I'm a DIY-hacky kind of girl, after all!. First, we made a cute brick path and filled the entire yard in with wood chips. Ugh. It was pretty, but not … [Read more...]

Rainbow Photo Scavenger Hunt

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We've had a lot of fun playing this game that's all about learning and searching for the colors of the rainbow. We started playing this game when my daughter wanted to learn the order of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. All you need is a camera and some time. We like to play this on our way to the park, and it makes the meandering a lot more meaningful. My … [Read more...]

Water Scooping for Babies

Sensory Play: Water Scooping for Babies

While my older daughter tore up the grass with the Slip 'n Slide, I set my 10 month old up with a bucket of water and some measuring cups. And she got right to work, filling and emptying the cups. It was interesting to watch her attempt to fill the cups when they were upside down, and then exciting when she figured the "problem" out and corrected for it. And then, … [Read more...]

Art in the Park

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Can you imagine my excitement when the folks at Elmer's Glue asked if I'd like to participate as a blogger in their summer Kid's Craft Camp promotion? Of course I was thrilled that they offered me a humongous crate of wonderful art supplies (featured in this post), but mostly I was thinking about how on earth I could pull off setting up an art "camp" with my three year old AND … [Read more...]

Driftwood Sculptures and See-Saws

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We went to a San Gregorio State Beach, a beach absolutely littered with driftwood and some of the most wonderful soft sand. My 10-month old was in sand heaven! Driftwood sculptures (like the one at the top) spotted the sand for as far as the eye could see. (which wasn't too far, truthfully, given all that chilly fog at 4 pm!). We were captivated by these and wondered about how … [Read more...]

Photo Documentary with Kids

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Taking time to look closely at the details of life is a skill that comes naturally to many of us, and worth fostering in children who can run like the wind. When we pay attention to details, we develop a healthy curiosity of the world that surrounds us, make comparisons, and notice nuance. And all of these good things contribute to creative and critical thinking. If you'd like … [Read more...]