Earth Day Links and Loves

Happy Earth Day! In celebration, here are some of our favorite links on celebrating with your family. Also don’t forget that the best way to celebrate Mother Earth is to go outside and enjoy her beauty!

  • The boys and I made these this weekend. Fun, easy, and really cute.

  • This list has some really great simple ways to go out and enjoy Mama Earth with your little ones.

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a great activity book that could be used for older kids. Lots of things to explore about climate science.

  • This is a great article about how too much technology is killing children’s relationship with nature.

  • Finally, how about gardening on this Earth Day? No space? No worries, grow some seed in egg cartons!

Also, depending on where you live, there are Meteor showers expected tonight. If the weather cooperates where you are, take a blanket outside and look up at Mother Nature’s fireworks display.

There are lots of other great ideas, books, crafts, and such out there celebrating Earth Day, but really the best way to teach your children how to care for and love our planet is by example. Go out, enjoy her beauty, tread lightly, care for her, and your children will do the same.

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Monday links and loves

It’s Monday, so time to link up our favorites of the past week and what we have been reading and discovering.

  • We love this simple list of Spring activities to do with your kids.

  • Speaking of activities, this post gives lots of simple, fun things to celebrate Earth Day with your little ones.

  • We are loving this etsy shop. I think she could furnish the whole of Mariposa Forest!!

  • Heather over at Beauty that Moves, is sharing a grown up colouring page this weekend. It is one of her beautiful drawings and she is allowing you to fill in the rainbow of colours that suites you best. Who said colouring is just for kids?

  • One last one here, just in case you can’t make it out into the forest today.

Happy Monday everyone!

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Link ups and loves

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Happy Monday! Hope the weekend was warm and Spring like where you are, because it certainly was not here in the Forest. Oh well, it has to arrive sometime right?

Here are a few of our favorite things right now to start the week off right.

  • The Children and Nature Network launched their month long campaign, Let’s G.O. (Get Outside). Visit their website to read more about it and to find activities happening where you live.
  • We love this article on finding a playground in the natural setting. Playgrounds and structures are fun, but Mother Nature has quite a lot to offer as well.
  • This clock is fantastic!! Every home should have one.
  • Earth day is fast approaching. I think this week we are going to try and make up some seed bombs and go color Mother Earth to celebrate! You can find out how to make them here or a little different method here.
  • It is fairy garden time! Will you join in this year?
  • With all of the talk of unplugging going around, we found a wonderful little post here about how one Mom took back her children from the media zone.

What links are you loving this week?

Splish Splash…

Hands down my favorite thing about spring. Puddle jumping. It was my favorite thing as a kid too. A close second was ‘getting the bikes out of the garage day’. Or new rubber boots day might win. For the puddles. And this year, armed with new rubber boots of my own, I’m splashing lots.

What’s your favorite spring thing to do?

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We’ve been sharing articles and such on this week our Fabebook page — are you following us? have a look — you can even see the Easter eggs the kids and I dyed this week-end using red cabbage & turmeric for fun! Please stop in here or on our facebook page and say Hello!

Oh — and please stay tuned for lovely fan mail we’ve received in the last few days — we’ll be sharing in the next few days! So nice to get feedback, especially when it comes from the kids themselves! (though to the grownups: yours is incredibly valued as well!)

Plink, plink, plink

Here in the Forest, the snow is finally beginning to melt. Mind you we still have snow drifts 6 feet high, but that is an improvement from the 8 foot ones last week! As the snow melts and the sun grows stronger, there is another bit of magic that happens here. One that is hidden within the mighty giants that surround our house. A few weeks ago we felt the warmer temperatures during the day and noted the colder temperatures at night. We dug out the buckets and hats, the taps and the pots. We ventured through the thigh deep snow with drill in hand, selected a south facing spot low enough for the little ones to reach and drilled a hole in our mighty Maple. My oldest son hammered in the tap, my youngest hung the bucket. Sugaring season had officially begun.

Maple sugaring season happens only a few weeks of the year in Early Spring. We are lucky enough to live in a place that provides majority of the maple syrup produced in the world. We are also lucky enough to have a few Maple trees to tap on our property. Sugaring is a commitment though. The sap collected has to be kept cold and out of the sun until it can be boiled, and it has to be boiled within 5 days of collecting. The average boil takes anywhere from 6-12 hours and has to be done either in a sugar house that is well ventilated or outdoors. We are small scale so we do ours on a small cinder block stove that we built outside. The result of all of these hours of collecting wood, tending the fire, skimming the sap, and monitoring its progress is delicious maple syrup. It takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!

So while the adults are working, what are the little ones doing? Lots. They collect the sap, collect the wood for the fire, they are always there to help you taste it, and they are outside all day. The thing is, what they are learning is huge. This year, my oldest who is 6, recognized that the sun was stronger and the days were growing longer about 2 weeks before we tapped. He felt the season beginning to change, not by reading it on a calendar, but by feeling it with his senses. He understands the reason that the sap is rising, he understands it means the trees are starting wake up, how they use the sugars in the sap to make food to grow the leaves. He knows that this means Spring is close, that the Earth will soon be dressed in green again, and that the birds and animals will be returning from their Winter’s retreat any day. All of this just from hammering a simple tap into a tree. Nature is amazing that way. She has the ability to teach us so much if only we stop and listen.

Not everyone has this opportunity, but there is something, no matter where you live, that signals the change of seasons. By connecting our children to nature, they can read these signs, they feel their place in this great big world, and they learn how to quiet down and listen to what Mother Nature has to teach them. Our reward for stopping to listen? Jars of sweet liquid gold, yum!