Via Parenting Healthy Babies: 10 Do’s and Don’t for Children Swimming

Swimming is a very good exercise for people no matter how old they maybe. It tones the body muscles just the way you would like to and you need not worry about sweating either! However, when it comes to taking your kids to the swimming pools, you should be more careful. Toddlers do not understand water safety and precautions like you do. You should know things that you should and should not do to ensure your kid has a gala time while learning swimming at the pools!

Below listed are the do’s for kids swimming that should be on your mind:

  • Check facts well– It is important that you start looking for a suitable swimming center for your toddlers. Check in the neighborhood and ask your friends who have already got their kid admitted in such centers. You may also search in the web for information on this regard. You need to dig to know more about the repute of the school and swim coach as well as other aspects like trainer student ratio.
  • Check the timing– It makes sense to get your kid admitted in a swimming coaching center that has flexible timings for classes. If the center has weekend classes or has evening classes that makes things easier for you to take kids after office hours rather than sending them with a friend or neighbor. This way you feel at ease knowing that you are there for your child, should he need you. Your child too will feel less jittery and more confident just knowing that you are around.
  • Keep your eyes on your kids– Even when your child is in the water with trainers around, keep your eyes on him. In the early classes, it is not abnormal for some kids to feel uneasy or swallow some amount of water while learning swimming.
  • Comfort level– Some kids just love water and take to swimming quickly. However, that may not be the case with all kids. For kids that are a little jitterier and feel fear of water, opt for centers where they get more attention of trainers and the crowd is less. Some, such centers use music and flotation devices to encourage kid learners.
  • Health– Before the kids get into water, ensure he or she is in good health. Swimming on an empty stomach should be avoided at any cost. Feed your child a light snack before you hit the pool. The snack should be at least half an hour before stepping into the water. If your child has any infection, exposure to pool water may not be good. Also check for temperature or a cold before taking the baby for a swim each time.

Below listed are the Don’ts for kids swimming that should be on your mind:

  • Choosing between chlorine and saltwater-Some people think that for kids, swimming in salt water pools is better. However, there is no credible evidence that chlorinated water based pools can ruin their skin either. In fact, drinking up or swallowing water of any pool can be bad for the kid.
  • Ignoring germs-The chlorine may be good for keeping water free of germs but it is not enough for the baby’s health. After swimming is done, clean the hands and legs with hand sanitizer sprays. The germs in pool water cannot be seen through the naked eye.
  • Bare swimming– However, young the toddler is, it is a bad idea to let him or her swim bareback in a pool. Ensure the kid has put on proper diapers or swimming attire. Nowadays, you can find specialized swimming outfits for kids of various ages. It should be made of skin friendly material.
  • Drinking pool water– This is what most parents worry about. Now, the truth is some amount of pool water can get inside the mouth, but ensuring the kid does not swallow it is not tedious either. It may lead to stomach problems.
  • Water temperature– Before the baby can learn swimming you should ensure the pool water has suitable temperature. Now, every baby cannot have same temperature sensitivity. However, you should not ignore reaction of the baby.

Summing it up

Do not hesitate to walk an extra mile to ensure the kid becomes comfortable with water before you can take him or her to the swimming pool. Letting the kid splash water freely and play with water in a large tub at bathroom can do the trick. This will also induce the fun factor in the baby’s mindset and he will not take swimming as a tedious battle!

Via Parenting: Activities for Kids on Sick Days

Entertain your sick kid with these fun and easy indoor and outdoor activities.

If your kid’s running a fever, vomited or had diarrhea in the past 24 hours, or seems lethargic and just not himself, plan to stay home and play nurse. Here’s how to also have some fun with your patient.

With younger kids: Break out the photo album. Tired of the same book? Your child will end up “reading” family pics to you—“Look, das Gwamma!” or “I met Santa!” Bonus: He may even be content to sit and peruse them on his own.

With older kids: Burn some memories. Whip out those photos you’ve been meaning to put in an album or on a CD and enlist his help. In the throes of hockey or basketball season? Take that video footage and start working on a team DVD together that he can give to teammates and coaches at the end of the season.

Play fair

Today’s not the day to challenge your child with a new Memory game, complicated puzzle, or Lego robot. Under-the-weather kids will get frustrated that much more easily. If he’s on the cranky side, stick to activities that are simple or that he’s done a million times and knows how to master.


Hide objects around your house in fairly obvious spots so the game isn’t too difficult, then send your kid on a scavenger hunt. Give him a bucket and send him looking. Younger kids will play this game over and over, so it eats up a nice chunk of time without much effort on your part—perfect!

Get some air

If the temperature is above freezing and it’s not too windy, bundle up and go for a short stroll. Breathing fresh, brisk air can do wonders for a croupy cough, and the change of scenery will do you both a world of good.

Gift him

Whip out a video game or craft kit from the holiday presents you put aside (smart!) and watch his symptoms disappear. Plus, it’ll entertain him longer than his same old stuff.

Tune in

Watching TV is what sick days are all about, right? Let your sickie lounge around in his pajamas, watch iCarly and Ben 10 on repeat, and boss you around from the couch (“I’m outta juice!”). When he falls asleep, switch to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and thank your lucky stars you’re not one of them.

Via Mapmyrun: 7 Tips for Teaching Your Child to Ride a Bicycle

Skinned knees — and mom and dad huffing and puffing behind you — were historically part of the equation, but there are simpler ways to teach your child to ride a bike. Give these seven tips a try to get your child cruising down the road solo in no time.

1. Remove the training wheels and lower the seat

Before your child learns to pedal a bike, they’ll need to perfect balancing. Dedicated balance bikes are a great idea for children starting out, but a regular bike works, too. Just remove the training wheels and lower the seat enough so your child can place his or her feet flat on the ground when needed. Lowering the seat also helps remove some of the fear your child may have of falling, since all they’ll need to do is place their feet on the ground when they start to wobble.

2. Find a grassy area

While most people opt for a neighborhood street or the sidewalk at a local park, finding a grassy area with a gentle downward slope is the way to go. The bike won’t roll as fast as it would on pavement, and if your child takes a spill, the impact won’t be as traumatizing. Ideally, the spot you pick will be about 20–30 meters long, with a gentle decline. This allows your child to ride down the slope without having to worry about pedaling.

To practice balancing, have your child scoot the bike down the slope with his or her feet. As your child picks up speed they can practice coasting by lifting their feet off the ground.

3. Don’t hold onto the bike

Holding on to the back of the bike seat while your child practices is standard practice. However, this can throw off your child’s balance. Let go of the back of the seat and walk behind them instead. Since the seat is lowered, your child can keep his or her feet close to the ground as they scoot down the grassy slope and correct themselves as needed.

4. Keep your child relaxed and having fun

At first, riding a bike can feel awkward and dangerous to some children. While your child practices balancing by coasting, make sure your child is relaxed and having fun. Try not to put any pressure on them to learn too fast. Provide encouragement and practice only as long your child wants to. If he or she becomes frustrated, you can always try again the following day.

5. Have your child look forward instead of down

Looking down at the road or your feet is common for learning to balance, but this actually makes it more difficult to stay upright. Instead, teach your child to look ahead at where they are going. This makes balancing less difficult and eases the transition to the road where they’ll need to keep their head up to look for obstacles.

6. After balance is achieved, practice pedaling

Once your child can safely balance down the grassy slope, you can begin to practice pedaling. Stay on the same grassy area you practiced balancing and encourage your child to begin placing his or her feet on the pedals once they roll for a few meters and gain speed. If your child used training wheels, the pedaling motion shouldn’t be too foreign. If they used a balance bike, you might need to teach them the basics of pushing down on the front pedal and beginning from the stopped position with one pedal in the 2 o’clock position and the other foot on the ground.

While most children pick this up fairly quickly, stay positive and encourage your child even if they’re having trouble at first. Practice as many days as it takes for your child to gain comfort.

7. Don’t forget steering and stopping

Once you get your child moving, you’re halfway there. After balancing and pedaling are out of the way, steering and stopping are two skills your child needs to master to ride safely on their own. To practice steering, set up a few cones in the same grassy area. Have your child practice turns and weaving in and out of figure eights. Staying on the grass protects your child in case of a fall.

For stopping, place the cones at the bottom of the hill and have them practice using the coaster or the hand brake to come to a complete stop at the designated spot. Once they’ve got the basics down, try making a game of it. Play red light, green light or another activity that’s fun and doesn’t focus on mistakes to help them practice safe braking. Before you know it, they’ll be ready to cruise the neighborhood.

Via Omaha: 5 ways to personalize your kids’ playhouse

Imaginations are like a garden. They require some seeds to come into bloom. Consider your child’s playhouse to be the garden — it’s up to you to supply the seeds.

Make outside play enticing to your little ones this fall by filling an empty playhouse with fun. When you stock them up with a few essentials, your kids will be set for adventure after adventure.

1. Start with seating.

From playing house to coloring pictures, seats are a must. The addition of a child-size table and chairs will be the start of fun. Lightweight ones are great because they let your child rearrange and take them in and out of the playhouse as their imagination demands.

2. Foster reading.

A reading nook in a playhouse is just the spot to have some quiet time and go on trips to other lands. Start with an indoor/outdoor rug that can take a beating from foot traffic and soil. It will provide cushion for lying down and reading. Add a couple of old blankets or beach towels for snuggling. Older kids might like a bean bag chair or two instead of a toddler’s table and chair. Tip: Tie library visits this fall into your playhouse adventures. Pick up a book on the Old West and the playhouse becomes a fort, or read about pirate ships for a sailing adventure.

3. Organize storage with kits.

Some small plastic tubs, the size your child can handle, are perfect for creating fun “kits” for use in the playhouse. Fill one with toy dishes, plastic food and a few aprons for a pretend kitchen. Another can house art supplies or modeling clay. Use another filled with dress-up clothes. Creating a stack of these kits lets your child pick their adventure for the day. Tip: Dole out the kits like it is your own library. Kids can check out one and can’t get another one until they bring back the first one. This keeps the playhouse from getting too full and cluttered.

4. Get artsy.

An outdoor playhouse is the perfect spot to get creative — without making a mess inside your real house. There are a number of ways to create an art wall. Chalkboard paint on a wall makes a big canvas to fill over and over. Magnetic paint allows for all kinds of art to be displayed with magnets or fun to be had with magnetic letters. A tub with markers, crayons and paper can be fun outside as you show your kids how to rub leaves or trace flowers.

5. Personalize the space.

Have some fun with your child’s playhouse. Adding window boxes are great in two ways. You can enjoy planting and watering flowers with your little one, or fill them with artificial flowers they can enjoy taking them out and rearranging. Add a mailbox to your playhouse and give them envelopes to color while playing post office. A battery-powered doorbell or a knocker is a ton of fun for imaginary scenarios. If you want to play house, you need a few housekeeping things. Toy brooms and garden tools allow them to imitate real life. The inside walls are an opportunity for your children to decorate. Let them hang up artwork or posters. Try using painters’ tape on yours, as it is easily removed from most surfaces.

Keep in mind it doesn’t take much more than a suggestion to start outdoor fun. From packing lunch for a picnic in the playhouse to dressing up as a princess for an afternoon in the “castle,” it’s easy to fill a playhouse with fun.

Via Fatherly | 3 Simple Ways To Exercise With Your Kids

Often one of the first sacrifices new parents make is their bodies. Before the baby, trips to the gym were easy, eating healthy was simple, and pounding the pavement for a quick run required minimal planning. After the baby, just finding a few minutes to relax can seem impossible. But becoming a dad is no reason to let the pounds pile on. Plus, staying active sets a good example for your child.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, one of the best ways to help your kid avoid childhood obesity is to encourage them to be active for at least 60 minutes per day. By creating a daily workout that involves your little ones, you can teach them that staying active is important while also helping you shed that extra weight since your bundle of joy came along.

“There are tons of ways to exercise with your kids at home or outside the home. The most important thing is to spend that time bonding with your child and having fun.” says Anna Kaufman, herself a parent, and owner of The Little Gym in Westminster, Colorado. “By keeping it fun for both of you, it will help keep your child engaged in the activities.”

Here are a few tips to help you create a workout that both of you can enjoy.

Make It A Game

If there is one thing kids love most, it’s playing with their parents. It promotes bonding, gets them excited and, most importantly, can lead to a workout that both burns a few calories and creates infectious giggles. To exercise with your kids at home, get two stuffed animals and set them a few feet apart. Then jump between the two, over them, around them, mixing in lunges and squats as you go. Or do sets of pushups while your child rides on your back. “If you are having fun, a workout seems much easier,” says Kaufman. The key is to look around the house for ways to make every activity exciting.

Go Outside

In our increasingly digital world, one of the main casualties is outside playtime.“We don’t see nature time as critical, so it gets bumped from our kids’ increasingly packed schedules,” says Scott Sampson author of How To Raise a Wild Child. “Thus they are taught to shun the outdoors and get in front of a screen of some kind from an early age.” The easiest way to exercise with your kids outside is to go to your local playground. While pushing your kid on the swing, mix in burpees between every other push (just make sure you do them off to the side so you don’t get clocked in the face). Use an empty swing to do a hanging plank. Play pirate ship on the play sets and alternate who chases whom. Once junior can ride a bike, have him try to beat you when you go jogging. While you’re sweating it out, your child is learning that outdoor activities can be fun.

Join a Class

Most gyms now have programs that help you exercise with your kids — all moderated by professionals, so that you can focus on having fun. “Helping your child build balance coordination and basic motor skills while you both stay in shape can be one of the most rewarding activities for parents,” says Kaufman. “We find once parents come to our gym they are motivated to keep coming back, making a commitment seems to provide motivation to keep committed to working out.”

If you don’t want to go to a gym, there are plenty of sports teams that you can join or help coach. Teaching a pack of three-year-olds how to kick a soccer ball will wear anyone out.

The key is making healthy choices that keep your family active. Once you start, it will be tough to stop. You will feel better and, most important, your child will associate working out with playtime.

How to Exercise with Your Kids: A Cheat Sheet

  • Make exercising a game — a little roughhousing and play with push-ups.
  • Take advantage of the playground. It’s your kids’ favorite place to exercise, and a great spot for parents to join in.
  • Find a class that focuses on exercises for kids and parents.

Notes from MOMmy:

I am a believer that kids need to learn to do chores. I believe this is the best way to teach them to be self-sufficient. My kids have a list of chores to do at home.

Via Sunshine & Hurricanes: The Importance of Chores for Children (Printable Chore Chart)

Why are Chores for Children important?

We’ve all read the stories about today’s twenty-somethings.

The boomerang generation. The go-nowhere generation. Generation “y” bother.

These are just a few of the labels that follow them around. There are any number of theories and about a million articles that attempt to explain the challenges faced by these young adults.

There are probably elements of truth in all of them and yet at the same time not everything is likely deserved. Overall though, many people will agree that the phenomena of helicopter parenting definitely contributed. In an attempt to be both their best friends and their most ardent protectors, parents often shielded them from many of the realities and reasonable responsibilities that help a child mature into a productive and self reliant adult.

Image Source: flickr/ oldenoughforchores

Chores for Children And the Decline of Parental Expectations

One of the significant ways in which the household dynamic changed in recent decades was a steep decline in the expectation that children would contribute to the household in age appropriate ways. Some parents felt that the time spent on such menial tasks was not as worthwhile as working on homework. In other situations, children were so over-scheduled with activities crammed into every waking moment that there just wasn’t room for chores.

What these parents often overlooked unfortunately was that chores can be just as important to the future success of any child. Chores can be “easy wins” for kids, they usually don’t take much time, but they can steadily build a strong work ethic, confidence and even a sense of pride for being able to give back to their family. They are also essential to developing the basic life skills that will be needed to survive outside mom and dad’s house.

Chores for Children – What Are Your Kid Capable of?

Below you will find a printable chore chart you can hang on your fridge or even each child’s door that lists the types of chores for children that are appropriate at different ages. I realize for some people, the suggestions may be shocking.

That is part of the problem. By forgoing chores, we’ve arrived at a point where we often underestimate what our children are capable of and when. They are not helpless, they are helpers. Take advantage of this untapped support staff in your own home and free up some much deserved time for yourself!

We would love to know, what chores did you have to do as a child?
What chores for children do you think are important?

Via Huffpost: What Every Parent Needs To Know About Dry And Secondary Drowning

n a harrowing 2014 blog post, writer Lindsay Kujawa described her family’s brush with secondary drowning after her son, Ronin, slipped into the water for maybe 20 seconds at a pool party. At first he seemed fine, if a bit shaken. But hours later, Ronin was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance while his mother helplessly watched his oxygen levels fall. Though he recovered, Kujawa wrote that she was “forever changed since this happened.”

“Before [that day] I had never heard of secondary drowning,” she continued. “If I had heard of it before, I would have done things differently.” With that in mind, and with summer swim season upon us, here are five basics about dry and secondary drowning all parents should know:

1. They occur out of the water.

Both dry and secondary drowning are considered atypical types of drowning in that they occur after a child has been pulled out of the water. In dry drowning, water is swallowed, but doesn’t enter the lungs. It does, however, enter the airway, causing it to spasm, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even suffocation, explained Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, a pediatric emergency physician with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Secondary drowning, on the other hand, takes place when water actually enters the lungs, he said. It too can lead to potentially life-threatening breathing issues.

2. It’s important to be watchful for hours.

Dry drowning usually happens within minutes after a child has struggled in the water, but when secondary drowning occurs, a child may not show signs of distress for hours, or — in rare instances — even up to a day. “It might not cause any effects immediately, but [secondary drowning] can cause edema or swelling of the lungs in a delayed fashion,” Zonfrillo said. And because the precipitating event may not necessarily look especially dramatic — say, a toddler slips under water for a few seconds — it’s especially critical that parents pay attention to how their child responds after.

3. Look for coughing and fatigue.

“The biggest things to look at are the level of activity, trouble breathing and coughing,” explained Dr. Vincenzo Maniaci, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida.

“If your child is suddenly sleepy and that seems unusual for the level of activity they had, that’s a sign to seek medical attention,” Zonfrillo echoed. Time is important when it comes to treating dry and secondary drowning, he emphasized, and doctors will want to check and continuously monitor vital signs, get a chest X-ray and possibly provide acute interventions, like administering oxygen.

4. Thankfully, both types of drowning are relatively uncommon.

“These types of drowning only compose about 1 to 2 percent of all drowning incidents,” Zonfrillo said. “They’re equally scary, but extremely rare.” While it’s important that parents know what to look out for, he said he hopes news coverage (like this story) will not cause an undue sense of hysteria or worry.

5. There’s actually a lot parents can do.

Parents can play a huge role in preventing all types of drowning — typical, as well as secondary and dry — Zonfrillo said. Provide constant and targeted supervision when children are near open water, he recommended. “Know exactly who is watching [him or her],” Zonfrillo said. “Make sure you understand the child’s swimming skills, and keep in mind that drowning happens very quickly and not how it’s usually portrayed in the media — there’s not a lot of splashing, it happens very silently.”

Safety measures like pool gates and door alarms are important, echoed Maniaci, as is early enrollment in swim lessons. He said children under the age of 5 can be particularly vulnerable, because even if they know how to swim, they can become easily panicked if they swallow water. (Drowning is responsible for more deaths in kids age 4 and younger than any other cause except congenital anomalies, the CDC reports.)

“If I had a take-home point it would be that every child should have one adult responsible for what they’re doing,” Maniaci urged.

Via Lora Green: Could Children’s Yoga Classes Help Your Kids Education?

Education comes in all guises. We naturally assume the true experience of education is through schooling with the books and endless tests that are thrust upon our children. Some children rise to this sort of challenge and thrive while others get left behind, sink and struggle with this kind of one-size fits all system and this can knock their confidence for a lifetime. Could Children’s Yoga Classes support your child’s education?
We are seeing a huge rise in the popularity of kids yoga classes as a means of supporting our children’s development and informal education. Yoga helps children to explore and learn life skills in a non-competitive way as one of the true wonders of yoga is that it really does suit all. Southampton based Kids Yoga Teacher, Sally Webber, explains exactly how one of our Children’s Yoga Classes in Southampton could support your kid’s education.

How Yoga Helps Your Kids Education?

1) Children’s Yoga Classes provide a platform that nourish and educate both the mind and body together. Formal education tends to disconnect these two with a curriculum for physical education and a separate curriculum for academic studies and so the path is set for an ongoing divide of the two. A good mind body connection is essential for mental health; problems such as insomnia, anxiety and eating disorders stem from a mind body disconnect.

2) Yoga for Kids helps in the development of emotional intelligence as through a yoga practise children are encouraged to explore a wide spectrum of thoughts and feelings as they relate to themselves and others. Even more so children learn how to control emotions such as anger, frustration and nervousness through yoga breathing techniques.

3) Yoga develops creative intelligence as children’s imagination is enhanced by exploring creativity through movement – a physical theatre for children to learn in a fun and inspiring way during a Kids Yoga Class in Southampton.

4) We all have an understanding of how to exercise the body, but yoga exercises and strengthens the mind as well. Through willpower alone children (and adults) can’t sustain focus, our ability to focus and concentrate is like a brain muscle that can be trained. With the meditation techniques and yoga breathing exercises that are taught in our Children’s Yoga Classes in Southampton you’ll see how it improves overall concentration and calmness.

5) Yoga is about connection and unity. It teaches that everyone is the same whilst also being totally unique. In a Kids Yoga Class, children get to explore and develop their true personality, free of peer pressure and social media – they get to celebrate who they are!

Notes from MAma:

Very useful tips! I’m just going to add one more tip – Don’t forget your water bottles and stay hydrated!

Via The Wilderness Society: Take your kids hiking: 10 tips to make the adventure fun for the whole family

Hiking with kids is a great way to get them connected to the outdoors at a young age, but it can also be intimidating for the parent planner.

We challenge you to get the kids in your life out on the trail this summer, because part of preserving wilderness for future generations is teaching youth to appreciate and enjoy nature. Here are ten tips to help:

Keep it easy & feature-friendly.

For at least the first few times, select a hike that isn’t too long or too strenuous – remember that for kids, the hike is about the experience. Picking a trail that has some features – be it a lake, stream, waterfall or something else will keep kids occupied and give them a goal to reach. And remember, it’s about the journey not the destination. If your child is more interested in getting down on his or her hands and knees to explore the undergrowth, then that is the experience for the day – there will always be a next time.

Time is your friend – so plan for lots of it.

Kids are natural explorers and want to pick up and touch everything. This is one of the greatest things about hiking – there’s so much of the natural world for kids to discover and examine – make sure they have time to get their wilderness fill.

Prepare for anything.

This pretty much goes for any hike, regardless of whether or not a child is involved. Always make sure to pack the 10 Essentials. Additional kid-friendly supplies are: wet wipes or tissues; lip balm; binoculars; magnifying glass; field guides (to point things out to kids); camera; and safety whistles for each child (and teach them what they are for and when to use them).

Dress for success.

Layers, layers, layers. Make sure that you take ample amounts of clothing in case your child gets chilled while out on the trail. Always bring rain clothes – aside from the wet weather, they can also be great windbreaking clothing. Don’t forget hats and gloves for everyone – even in the summer, mornings can be chilly. Make sure your kids have adequate hiking shoes, depending on terrain, this could range from sandals to tot-sized hiking boots. Finally, always pack a change of clothes for each child and leave them in the car for your return from the trail – chances are your children will be wet or muddy!

Plan frequent energy stops.

Hiking requires a lot of energy. Energy-sapped kids often equate to cranky kids. Keep your child happy and motivated by taking numerous small breaks for fluid and food. You can also use energy breaks as a way to keep your child moving by saying, “at that footbridge, we’ll take a break and have a snack.” Chances are, by the time they have had that snack, they will be eager to continue. Also take a medley of snacks in case your child becomes a picky eater out on the trail.

Pick a leader and make sure to rotate.

Kids love feeling like they are in charge. Having the children take turns leading the hiking group can help the kids feel empowered – just make sure that the leadership rotates or this could lead to arguments further down the trail. By allowing the kids to lead, you can also make sure that the pace is slow enough so they can keep up.

Make it fun!

The key to hike success is to keep the kids motivated and having fun – so why not combine the two? Create games that you and your children can play out on the trail. Have them look for signs of wildlife (scat, bird holes in trees, fur) or count wildflower species. Organize a scavenger hunt and have them find things are bumpy, smelly, small, big, living, wet…the list goes on!

Believe in the power of positive reinforcement.

This is something parents excel at and it shouldn’t be left at the trailhead. When hiking, go overboard in telling your child how well they are hiking, how strong they look and how fast they are – even if they aren’t. Kids need to hear that they are doing an awesome job, especially if it’s their first time out on the trail (I’d say adults need this just as much, really!).

Leave no trace.

Kids are future stewards of our public lands, so we might as well begin teaching them how to take care of those spectacular wild places at a young age. When out on a hike, make sure that all of your trash is collected – taking a gallon size zip-top plastic bag always works well for this – the “pack it in, pack it out” concept is fully embraced on our trails. To further reinforce this idea, you could also take a small garbage bag and have the kids pick up any litter they see on the way back to the car. While taking a break, make sure to examine the area and see that everything is in its place. If your child dug a hole with a stick, cover it up again before you leave. For more information on Leave No Trace, visit

Hike often!

Start a family tradition of going hiking one or more times a month. Kids love the sense of adventure and doing something new. There’s a wide range of trails, terrain and sights for children to behold. With kids spending a good chunk of their time indoors during the week, hiking on the weekend is a perfect way to get them outside – be it an urban park or wilderness area trail.

Now that we’ve shared some of our trail tips with you, we’d love to hear from you! Tell us your tip to taking kids hiking!

Via The Telegraph: Outdoor kids: creative ways to enjoy your autumn garden and get your children off the sofa

Autumn is a magical time of year, with its glorious golden hues, the inevitable glut of apples, blackberries and pumpkins, and the promise of Bonfire Night looming large in the diary.

But as children get stuck into their schoolwork and we return to our routines after the heady days of summer, it’s all too easy to forget the joys of spending time outdoors. However, the benefits of playing outside are well-documented (and that goes for adults, too).

A National Trust report recently stated that the UK as a whole is suffering from a “Nature Deficit Disorder”. Meanwhile, according to Forest School Training, children and young people are stimulated by the outdoors with overwhelmingly positive effects. So, here’s how to make the most of the garden at home during the autumn:

1. Build a hedgehog house

Hedgehogs are struggling to survive, and their numbers have fallen below one million in the UK – down by 30 per cent in just over ten years. But according to the Devon Wildlife Trust, we can easily make a crucial difference in our own gardens.

Make a start by downloading the Trust’s hedgehog home-making guide and take a look at their advice on nesting sites and making water safe, and even learn how to create a ‘hedgehog highway.’ It’s a wonderful way to learn about natural habitats.

2. Sign up to Earthworm Watch

Earthworm Watch is a free UK-based citizen science project which helps families to exchange screen time for time digging into the wonderful world of earthworm science. It’s a collaboration between the Earthwatch Institute (Europe) and the Natural History Museum in London. The data collected in spring and autumn, when earthworms are most active, contributes to scientific research.

3. Get crafty

It may seem a rather simple suggestion, but the opportunities to get creative with leaves and even sticks are boundless. According to Ordnance Survey, who recently launched their popular #GetOutside initiative, finding golden, amber and scarlet leaves should be a part of every childhood.

After identifying the leaves and trees you come across with the help of Forestry Commission England’s tree name trail, try making a leaf crown, leaf rubbings, or even incorporating them into sewing back at home. Back in July, the creative crafting area at family-friendly festival Latitude even had a stick art zone, where baskets full of lovely fabric, ribbons, wool and even flowers were provided to weave and wind around fallen branches and twigs – elevating the humble stick to a piece of art.

You could also practise making Christmas wreaths (the Royal Horticultural Society have a brilliant how-to guide) – although there’s nothing to stop you making an autumn wreath instead.

4. Wood carving

Whittling and carving is, of course, an age-old pursuit. It’s also hands-on and extremely therapeutic. Carving for Kids: An Introduction to Woodcarving by Robin Edward is a good place to start to get the hang of the basics.

Both Muddy Faces and the Forest School Shop have kits suitable for younger children (a great gift idea, perhaps, for any child who is looking to get into bush craft or enjoys outdoor activities – if you’re organised enough to be thinking about Christmas already).

The Forest School set comes with a range of animal-shaped stencils to use as a guide and for practice, and everything you need to start whittling straight away is included. They also have a range of other tools included axes, bill hooks, bowsaws and wood saws – so you could even take it a step further and have a go at chopping firewood.

5. Make a mud kitchen

Muddy Faces provides Forest Schools and outdoorsy families resources for play and learning. These include an intriguing ‘A – Z of mud play’ and ‘creepy crawlie recipe sheets’, as well as extracts from their book ‘Making a Mud Kitchen.’

“There is little more important in our physical world than earth and water and they are truly intriguing things, especially when they interact,” the book explains. “Mixing soil, water and a range of other natural materials has a foundational role in early childhood which has deep importance and endless possibilities for well-being, development and learning.”

6. Head in the clouds

Do you know your cirrus from your stratus? If not, it might be worth checking out the Field Studies Council’s Guide to Clouds, which can help you and your family to identify them quickly with the help of colourful illustrations.


The Field Studies Council is a registered charity committed to helping people of all ages to understand the environment, and to be inspired by the natural world. Their Garden Safari wildlife pack is another great resource for identifying wildlife and engaging with the natural world you can access in your very own back garden.

7. And beyond…

If you’re still hankering for adventure elsewhere, here are some of the best playgrounds to combine with a visit to a historic garden – perfect for making the most of a precious autumn weekend.