9 Things Learned by Climbing Trees

My 6-year-old, high in a Ponderosa Pine.
My 6-year-old climbing high in a tree.

I know that tree climbing can be a controversial practice. I know this mostly because of the dirty looks I receive when I’m sitting at the park and I allow my boys to climb the trees (well, my 6-year-old actually climbs high into trees; the 2-year-old generally hugs the trunk from the ground and yells, “Climb tree!… Continue reading

Teaching Kids about Animal Predators

Teaching Kids about Animal Predators
This isn’t a picture of one of the bears in my yard (I was too busy watching them from the safety of our deck to think about snapping a picture), but this is what they looked like. (Image source: FreeImages.com/Massicotte)

A few days ago, my friend and her two boys were over visiting. All four boys started out playing in my boys’ room (an amazing chance for us mamas to catch up!), and then decided to head outside to play.… Continue reading

10 Fun Ways to Spend Time Outside

As summer comes to an end and we move into fall, blistering hot afternoons are being replaced by cooler weather. This makes it the perfect time of year to spend afternoons outdoors (especially if you live in a place that gets really cold during the winter!).


Here are some of the things we do to get my boys and I enjoy playing outside:


Chalk Mandalas

Drawing Chalk Mandalas


Get Moving, Play outside in the Water

Playing Outside with Water (We’ve still got a little bit of time before it gets too cold to do this.)


Get Moving, Go to the Park

Go to the Park


Get Moving, Go Fly a Kite

Go Fly a Kite


Working in the Garden, Planting Irises

Working in the Garden


Get Moving, play in the rain

Play in the Rain



Blow Bubbles (Bubble recipe included)


Get Moving: Play Hopscotch

Play Hopscotch



Have a Picnic



Take a WalkContinue reading

Chalk Mandalas

Though summer is starting to fade, we still spend a lot of time outdoors every day. Now that the heat is no longer blistering in the afternoon, it’s a wonderful time to work on outdoor art projects.


Chalk Mandalas


One of our favorite outdoor art activities is covering our patio with chalk drawings.


Chalk drawing in this setting allows for big pictures or small pictures.… Continue reading

Get Moving: Play with Water Outside

Get Moving: Play outside in the Water
My 6-year-old starting the fountain design process with a hose, two watering cans, and buckets.

We’ve definitely had hot summertime weather for the last few weeks. We don’t have an air conditioner in our house, so in the afternoons things can get pretty warm. When the temperature creeps up, we frequently head outside for some water play.


Sometimes my boys pull out the hose and it hook up to a sprinkler.… Continue reading

Citizen Science: Keeping a Bee Box

Citizen Science: Keeping a Bee BoxFor the second year in a row, we’ve decided to participate in a local Citizen Science project. Scientists at our local university are running a project called The Bees Needs. In this study, they’re examining the native bees and wasps in the greater Boulder, Colorado area.

Participating has been a fun way for us to learn more our local pollinators, as well as to teach my boys some of the basic principles of conducting a scientific experiment.… Continue reading

Get Moving: Go to the Park

Get Moving: Go to the ParkAfter a couple of days of rain, my boys and I were ready to get outside and get our bodies moving. When I asked them what they wanted to do, they both exclaimed that they wanted to go to the park. So we grabbed our water bottles and some snacks, and we headed off to their favorite park.

We met up with some friends while we were there, and all of the kids had fun running around and playing together.… Continue reading

Homemade All-Natural Insect Deterrent

Homemade All-Natural Insect DeterrentIn Northern Michigan, where we’re headed soon on a road trip, there are lots and lots of little biting bugs. And when evening comes, these little biting bugs all seem to all love to feast on me.

I won’t put DEET on myself or on my family, so I’ve tried a number of natural insect repellants over the years. I found one that worked decently that utilizes various essential oils, which we’ve bought and used for the last few years.… Continue reading