Blog

Activities

Reinvent Your Rainy Days With These Kid-Friendly Activities

Author: Jenny Wise

Rain, rain go away … or help us make this a fun day! When your kids are stuck inside, it can be hard to keep them entertained. Wouldn’t it be great if you could help them build their minds and bodies? You’re in luck! Here are a few ways you can entertain your kids when they’re spending rainy hours indoors:

Draw Something Fun

 Do you have some paper and pencils around your house? Then you have all you need to create some fun drawings. Drawing is a very relaxing way to pass the time and gives kids a chance to express their creativity. You can check online for steps to draw other kid favorites such as animals, dinosaurs, and cartoon characters. Or just use your imagination and come up with something unique! Kid art is always so free and expressive, and you may just be impressed at what they come up with all on their own.

Want to take your family’s artistic abilities a step further? Rather than simply drawing, use those cardboard boxes that have been piling up, and use a printable template to help your kids create a bulldozer, grocery store, or even a pirate ship! (Just be sure you’re in charge of the cardboard-cutting duties.) They’ll not only have fun creating them today, but their crafts will provide hours of fun the next time the clouds roll in.

 Pick Up or Create an Instrument

 When you’ve had enough of quiet time, let music brighten up your day. Break out the banjo, beat some drums, or play that recorder you have stuffed in the back of the closet. Kids will love learning how to play their favorite songs or being able to pick up new tunes. But what if you don’t have an instrument? You can still create musical joy by using household objects to make your own. Let your kids figure out how to play drinking glasses or build a tissue box guitar. Either way, you’ll enjoy making music as a family.

 Weave Some Stories

 Nothing sets the scene for a good story like a little bit of rain. Take advantage of the atmosphere with a little family storytime. Gather everyone around the living room or a fireplace, and let each person take turns making up their own story. You can make up funny or spooky tales, depending on your mood. You can even make storytime into a game where you build a story together. Have one person start, and then each person can add a sentence or two. You’re bound to be entertained by the wild tales you spin.

 Stretch Those Muscles

 When the kids can’t get outside to play, that energy can cause you stress. Luckily, there are quite a few workouts online that are geared toward little ones. One of the best ways to get their bodies moving and help them relax is a little bit of yoga. Pull up some simple practices online and have them stretch out to their favorite music. Got kids with a lot of energy to burn? Try out a few acroyoga poses or some safe tumbling around the house. You can even get in on the fun and burn some calories yourself. Studies show that kids who exercise regularly are less prone to health problems like obesity, so get moving indoors when it rains outside.

 Have Tasty Fun in the Kitchen

Rainy days are bound to lead to some movie-time fun. Make sure your family is prepared with some healthy and tasty homemade snacks. You can roll out some whole wheat pizza dough and have everyone go through the steps to make their own individual pizza. Want something a little sweeter? Look for healthy baking recipes online that feature fresh fruit, crunchy granola, and even some hidden veggies. Choose recipes that allow them to be creative, and always stress the importance of kitchen and food safety.

Create Your Own Weather Inside

 When the skies are gray outside, try putting together some exciting, educational weather and science experiments inside. Grab a few items, including some dish soap and glitter, to create your own elephant’s toothpaste, or make some colorful rain clouds inside a mason jar. Aside from giving your children a better understanding of the world around them, you are also helping to create essential scientific curiosity.

Don’t let rainy days get you down! Grab your kids and your laptop to find some educational, fun tutorials you can complete inside. When bedtime rolls around, you’ll be thankful that you did!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Activities

Helping Preschoolers Develop Hobbies

Author: Maria Cannon

Preschool is an exciting time. For the first time, your baby is out having his or her first experiences of independence. Your child is developing their own interests and experimenting with those interests. It is the perfect opportunity to start introducing new hobbies to encourage learning and help them build self-confidence as they explore and accomplish.

Music Lessons

Music has so many helpful benefits. In fact, some studies suggest that music can even relieve pain. As far as your preschooler is concerned, listening to music and learning to play an instrument is great for brain development. Music teaches children how to be creative while also refining their math skills, so both side A and side B of the brain benefit.

To get your child interested in music lessons, look for a local school that specializes in teaching children. These institutes often offer introductory classes for preschool-age children where they can touch and experience different instruments and determine which ones they would like to learn. Start with a smaller, entry-level version of their chosen instrument and work toward investing in a better model as your child becomes more serious about this hobby.

Backyard Astronomy

If your family lives in an area unaffected by light pollution, take advantage of your unique position and introduce your child to the exciting world of backyard astrology. Learning about the stars at a young age helps your child grasp the infinite nature of the universe and all its possibilities. Exploring the constellations and other astronomical elements develops a sense of direction and enables complex problem-solving.

To gauge your child’s interest in astronomy, plan a trip to your local planetarium or introduce them to Neil deGrasse Tyson. A telescope isn’t necessary, but it can be helpful and motivating. Before you invest in an expensive piece of equipment, get an accurate read on your child’s interest with these hands-on astronomy activities.

Rock Collecting and Geocaching

Rocks get a bad rap. Sure, on the scale from animal to vegetable to mineral, rocks are the only one that you can’t really eat… but that doesn’t make them boring. Children, in particular, are good when it comes to appreciating our earth’s minerals and what makes them beautiful and unique.

Two great ways to tap into your child’s inner geologist:

Art Classes

If your child comes home from preschool with doodles all over their work, help them channel their creativity with art lessons that give them the skills they need to create the way they’ve always dreamed. Art lessons for kids vary from simple drawing introductory courses to more advanced painting classes. Try signing your child up for a variety of lessons so they can experiment with different mediums while learning how to express themselves.

Science Experiments

Is your child an intellectual explorer? Encourage their interest in STEM subjects by orchestrating various science experiments you can do in the comfort of your own home. There are a plethora of kids’ science experiment ideas online — just look at this Rainbow Magic Milk Experiment. Using whole milk, dish soap and food coloring, your child can learn about chemical reactions while also playing with pretty colors.

***

As your child enters preschool, their newfound independence encourages them to develop new interests. Help encourage this process by introducing fun and educational hobbies. Music lessons encourage brain development while stimulating both their creative and practical sides. Backyard astronomy helps little kids discover just how big the universe actually is. Rock collecting and geocaching is a hobby for children whose feet are firmly planted on the ground. Art classes help creative children learn to channel their energy and talent. Finally, a fun science experiment is always a good idea for preschool-age children.

Produce

Turnips

 When to plant…

Turnips grow best in a temperate climate but can endure light frost. Fall crops are usually sweeter and more tender than spring crops—and pests are less of a problem.

  • Select a site that gets full Sun.
  • Soil should be well-draining and loosened to a depth of 12 to 15 inches.
  • Mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Till soil well.
  • Start sowing as soon as the ground is workable.
  • Scatter turnip seed. Do not cover the seeds with more than ½ an inch of soil.
  • Once seedlings are 4 inches high, thin “early” types 2 to 4 inches apart and maincrop types to 6 inches apart. Do not thin if growing for greens only.

Length to Mature… 2 months

When to harvest…

  • Harvest some turnips very early as turnip greens.
  • Harvest early types after about 5 weeks; maincrop types after 6 to 10 weeks.
  • Harvest turnips at any size you wish. The small, young turnips are nice and tender.
  • Pull mature turnips before they become woody and before the first frost.

How to select and store…

In the markets look for fresh roots that are small to medium in size (around 2″ diameter), firm, round and impart delicate sweet flavor. Avoid larger as well as overmatured roots as they are woody in texture due to excess fiber content and, therefore, unappetizing.

Once at home, separate the top greens from the root as the greens rob nutrients off the roots. The roots can be stored for a few weeks at low temperatures (32°-35° F) and high relative humidity (95 percent or above). Or you can store for up to 3 or 4 months in a cool outdoor place covered with straw. Use top greens as early as possible since they lose nutrients rather quickly.

How to preserve it…

Freezing Turnips can be sealed and stored for 9-14 months depending on the freezer.

Fun Tip…

Turnips are very low-calorie root vegetables; carry just 28 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless, they are an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.

Recommended Recipes…

Resources:

Produce, Uncategorized

Radishes

We planted radishes right in the ground inside our greenhouse this winter so they are already ready to harvest early spring! This year we planted Pearl Radishes which are white in color and have a more mild flavor. I admit I think the greenhouse got too hot right at the last minute which could have caused the woodiness to some of the larger roots.

When to plant…

Radishes are a cool weather crop and best to grow in the Spring or Fall. Plant radishes about 2-3″ apart to avoid crowding. Radishes are not a big fan of fertilizer as it makes the tops grow larger instead of focusing on the root. They also need nice moist soil. If the radishes take too long to grow due to hot weather or dry soil, they can get hard and woody.

Length to Mature… 3-4 weeks

When to harvest…

You will want to harvest them before they get too big and turn bitter as they tend to get spongy. Normally, before they are 1″ in diameter. When you pull them out of the ground, be careful not to disturb the small ones around them as you thin the crop down, that way you can continue to enjoy the radishes throughout the season as they grow.

How to select and store…

Radishes can come in a variety of colors: pink, red, purple, violet, green, black and white. Radish tops should be bright green and not at all wilted. The roots should be brightly colored and free from cracks. Squeeze them to make sure they are not hollow or soft in the center.

Radishes can last in your fridge for 1-2 weeks and are best if you cut the tops off of them before storing. The tops should be used within 2-3 days.

How to preserve it…

Radish Relish can be sealed and stored for up to 1 year.

Fun Tip…

Don’t throw the tops out! The radish leaves are delicious and nutritious.

 

 

Recommended Recipes…

Resources:

Produce

Asparagus

When to plant…

Asparagus can take years to establish, but when it does you will produce an abundant crop of spears spring after spring for the next 20-30 years. There are female and male asparagus plants and to keep your garden under control you only want to keep the male spears as baby asparagus plants compete for space and nutrients if the females come to seed.

In early spring, dig a trench about 12” deep and a foot wide. Plant asparagus crowns at 18” intervals in the bed with compost and fertilizer. Shape the compost and fertilizer in 6” mounds and set the asparagus crown on top and drape the roots down around the sides. The top of the mound should be 6” below the soil surface. Cover the roots with garden soil right up to the crown and water well. As shoots begin to appear, add more soil until the trench has been filled back up.

No weeds, no interplanting with other vegetables, and keep it well mulched and consistent soil moisture.

When to harvest…

You will want to harvest your spears when they are 5” – 7” tall before they begin to loosen, which is usually in April. Do not pull them out of the ground, but cut them or snap them just above the soil. The first year after plantings, harvest only a few spears from each plant for 2 weeks and then stop. You can then harvest 3 weeks the next year and 4-6 weeks the year after that. Pick too much, and your plants will not be able to develop the strong root system and energy reserves needed for the future.

Once the bed yields only skinny spears let them grow to their full potential to establish healthier fronds for next year’s harvest.

How to select and store…

Asparagus can be green, white or purple. Stalks should be rounded and firm, with thin stems and closed tips. The tips should be deeply colored and ends that are still moist. Store in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel or upright in a shallow bowl with an inch of water. Use within a day or two after purchasing.

How to preserve it…

Blanch and Freeze for up to 6 months or pickle them with mustard seed and seal for up to 1 year!

img13l
William Sonoma

 

Fun tip!

Gently bend the stalk from both ends and it will naturally break where the tough meets terrific.

Recommended Recipes…

Resources: