Tag Archives | kids projects

4 Fall Inspired Eco-Friendly Art Projects for Green Kids

I love fall – it is my favorite season. Have I mentioned that before? Ha! I love the colors, textures, and find myself crafting with Eben more during the autumn season. With that being said, the artwork really piles up around here. Many pieces get photographed and recycled, however there are pieces that we love so much we want to keep and display. Here are 4 fall inspired art projects that we have enjoyed over the year and thought they might inspire you this autumn:

1. Baker’s Twine Apple
Whenever I work with baker’s twine, it seems like I am left with a few scraps that I keep for craft projects. I recently came across an amazing baker’s twine apple project that would be perfect for those leftovers. I adore it!

+ Baker’s Twine Art
+ Domestically Speaking

2. Button Art
If you have a large button collection – this is the project for you! I love the different colors and sizes – I think it would be fun to do a set of four, one for each season, arranged on a wall together. This would be a perfect project for children of all ages too!

+ Button Art
+ Diane Payne

3. Leaf Prints
Eben loved this project because it incorporated a nature walk and pigment paints. This is a project that we tend to make over and over again each fall. It’s easy, a fun way to get our hands dirty and the perfect excuse for working together after school.

+ Leaf Prints

4. Alphabet Leaf Animals
Again, this is the perfect fall project for kids! It gets their creative juices flowing as they arrange the leaves into different animal shapes. I have to admit, Eben is much better at this than me – he is fantastic as seeing things that I never would. Are your kids like this?

+ Leaf Animal Prints

What fall inspired art project are you and your children working on?

7 Simple Eco-Friendly Fun Ways to Spend Fall with Your Family

7-simple-eco-friendly-fun-ways-to-spend-fall-with-your-family

I love fall – it is my favorite season and my favorite time of year! What’s not to love? This is the one time of year I wish I didn’t live in Florida! There is cooler weather, chai tea, cozy sweaters and pumpkin everything. But my favorite part is spending time with my family. Here are 7 simple, eco-friendly ways to inspire you!

1. Take a Listening Hike
One of my favorite fall activities is hiking! And one of my favorite ways to enjoy a hike is when we take what we like to call “a silent hike.” A silent hike is just that – we hike together as a family in complete silence. It’s amazing how the act of simply being quiet and listening can have a huge impact on your hiking experience. There have been many times that we come upon an animal grazing or fish swimming in a creek – it’s amazing. We also like to stop along the way to listen to the rustling of the trees, chirping of the birds or to watch leaves quietly wafting to the ground. It a great time to reflect within too, while still being with the ones you love.

2. Take It Outside
Fall is the perfect time to take whatever you are doing – outside! The mister and I start every morning by taking the dogs on a walk around the lake in our neighborhood. And Eben and I like to sneak away after dinner to take the dogs on another walk. It is my favorite way to start and end each day.

3. Slow It Down
Now that school is back in session, you have to admit that you are much busier than you were all summer. I know that if something isn’t on my schedule, it probably isn’t going to happen. Which is why during the fall months, we really take extra consideration to slow things down at our house. We like to schedule extra time in the morning and afternoon, just to be. We usually spend this time snuggled up chatting about our upcoming adventures.

4. Get Centered
Along with slowing down, fall is a great time to get centered. Spend time each day doing whatever it is that makes you feel connected and centered. For the mister, this means swimming – he will get up early everyday to swim his laps before heading to work. For Eben, this means a hot cup of cocoa and a really good book right after dinner. For me, I like to snuggle down with my iPad to pin my favorite eco-friendly things or end the day with a relaxing yoga session!

5. Plan Ahead
One thing that I have definitely learned along the way is that it is super important to enjoy the moment. To ensure that every moment of fall is enjoyable for my family, I like to plan ahead. I sit down with my journal and jot down things that I really want our family to do together during September, October and November. I include all of our traditional fall family activities, as well as new ideas that I can run by the boys. The idea is that if I plan these activities ahead of time, we spend the months doing fun things together without much thought – since I planned it well in advance.

6. Find an Adventure
One of my favorite parts of fall is the cooler weather – which always equals more time outside. We usually do the bulk of our camping and sailing trips during the fall months. We really enjoy the cooler days spent outside, followed by the crisp nights roasting marshmallows over the fire!

7. Get Cozy
Fall is a great time to reconnect with family and friends. We like to plan long dinner parties with friends, have family stay for extended weekends and plan unexpected get together with close friends. Last night, I kicked off my fall cravings by having a close friend over for a glass of wine at 8 pm. It was the perfect way to end a busy day, we were able to relax, sip wine and giggle about how hard it is to get into the back to school routine – it really made my week and will definitely become a tradition!

What ways do you plan to spend fall with your family?

Save the Planet, One Upcycle at a Time

upcycle

by Beth

I love recycling. It makes me feel like I’m doing my little part to help save the world. I also feel a little guilty whenever I drop my recycling off because I’m always thinking of ways to reuse things. A great spin on reusing your recycled and no longer needed goods is “upcycling” which you may have heard of before. Upcycling is upgrading something that would otherwise just be recycled. It’s so simple, saves money, and turns anyone into an artist!

I am an avid upcycler, and love to reuse anything I can get my hands on. A few years ago, I found an old, 70’s or 80’s style coffee table, and turned it into an ottoman with about $15 worth of supplies. It was super fun, and I got so many compliments! I also upcycle clothes, since I’m a huge thrift shopper. When I find something I can’t wear right off the rack due to size, I whip out my sewing machine, and get to work. All it takes is a few stitches to turn an old skirt into a dress, or make a quilt out of a bunch of T-shirts. Now, you don’t have to do anything complex to upcycle, all it requires is creativity and an ever-inspired mind.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to upcycle:
1. Turn old pallets into furniture, wall gardens, and more. I’ve even seen pallets turned into movie theater styled seating, how awesome!
2. Take an old rain barrel and turn into a composter for your biodegradable scraps and use the compost as fertilizer for your garden.
3. Wine glasses and glass bottles can be used for so many things. I used mine as wall decorations and a night light for my bathroom.
4. Turn bottle caps into tea lights with shoe lace and wax from used candles.
5. I’ve never done this one, but have always wanted to – turn an old TV into an aquarium!

I hope I got those creative juices flowing – it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be thinking about what you can do with all that stuff left on the curb on garbage day.
Have you upcycled before? If so, tell me your favorite or most memorable upcycling project in the comments section above!

4 Easy Ways to Help Kids Go Green by Teaching Community Awareness

Help Kids Go Green by Teaching Community AwarenessFor kids, who may not fully understand what a carbon footprint is or how their green choices today will improve everyone’s quality of life tomorrow, it’s helpful to begin teaching them to be environmentally-friendly by focusing on community awareness. Kids are naturally friendly, curious, social creatures who are constantly studying and interacting with their peers and adults around them. We routinely teach children how their emotions and words affect others, and by keeping the context on community we can easily show them how their environmental decisions affect others. Read on for 4 easy ways for kids to have fun while expanding their community awareness.

#1: Pen Pals
I remember my first pen pal. She was totally different than me! I lived in Colorado and she lived in Virginia, I lived in a suburban house and she lived in a mobile home on a few acres of beautiful, green land. She had siblings and I didn’t. While we could relate on some aspects of being a kid, my seven-year-old mind really hadn’t conceived of the idea that someone could really live in a different state with a different ecosystem and a different type of house and neighborhood than me. Pen pals, even if your child is simply writing to a cousin or grandmother, help kids build an awareness that there is a vast diversity among how people live and will show them we are all human and all connected at the same time. A feeling of ownership for one’s community is at the root of every good-hearted intention to live green.

#2: Clean Up a Park
Kids are usually too busy playing at the park to notice whether there’s litter or whether facilities are clean. By volunteering to clean up trash at a local park, baseball field, or neighborhood you can teach your kids to respect communal spaces and give them the opportunity to see what these spaces look like before and after they’ve been cared for.

#3:  Visit the Local Animal Sanctuary
Animal sanctuary’s often house an animal or two on the endangered species list. Visiting these animals gives parents the opportunity to explain why these animals are endangered and where they used to live. Visiting the animal sanctuary also connects kids with animals and widens their global view by teaching them about the ecosystems where animals once lived.

#4: Visit a National Park
National parks really are America’s treasure! There are so many beautiful national and state parks to visit, and taking a trip to one will allow your family to bond and remember why it’s important to protect natural spaces—especially when kids see how many other families flock to these natural havens to escape and enjoy the wild.

YOUR TURN: What is your favorite way to teach the kiddos about community awareness?

How to Make a Simple Recycled Bug Observation Jar

014Spring is definitely in full swing – and summer is right around the corner! If you haven’t noticed there is life blooming all around us, from new flowers, baby animals and bugs and insects galore. If you have a little one at home, chances are they have definitely noticed and will let you know at every turn and corner on your daily journey. A fun way to explore this new life that is emerging after a long, cold winter is by teaching your children how to carefully examine small animals and insects up close and personal. Here is a simple tutorial for making a recycled bug catcher, it can be customized to look like your child’s favorite bug and it makes a fun observation tool for inspecting ladybugs, pill pugs, ants, frogs and other small creatures.

What you will need:

  • An empty, clean food jar
  • Non-toxic paint

008Directions:
We used a non-toxic paint for the lid of our empty food jar which we covered in yellow. Then, once dry we added black stripes and a pair of fun eyeballs! We finished the jar off with a couple of antenna made from a leftover piece of a sticky note. You can use pipe cleaners, wire or any found item in place of the paper to make it more durable for outside play. Remember if you plan on keeping the critter in the jar for a longer period of time to punch holes in the top of the lid first, and don’t forget to keep in a cool place with a food and water supply.

My recycled bug observation jar was the kids project in the spring issue of Green Child Magazine – you can see it here! And if you have children, you should definitely grab your subscription – it is full of great ideas and articles!

Green DIY: Mini Succulent Wine Cork Planters

diy mini succulent wine cork planters

I wanted to celebrate Earth Day this year with a simple project (it’s a Tuesday, and school nights are super busy over here) that we could enjoy in our home year-round. Eben and I went to work transforming a handful of leftover wine corks into a trio of super sweet mini succulent planters. They are now hanging on our fridge and bring a little bit of the outdoors and happiness whenever we see them. Jump over to Target for the step-by-step tutorial, and get started – I guarantee you can finish this project up before dinnertime!

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