The best craft store may be right outside your door. This summer, take time in the cool mornings to gather together pieces of nature to work into craft projects in the afternoons. That way you’ll have a remembrance of summer to keep all year long. Rocks can become patterned pictures. Leaves can make delicate prints. Everything in nature can inspire your arts and crafts.
Looking for something to do on a summer day? Grab a piece of chalk, some bottle caps, and maybe even a bag of marbles. Have friends over. Eat, laugh, play in the sun, drink something icy, and chalk out your own game board. It's summer, after all. As in sun. As in fun. When you're done chalking circles, squares and secret messages on the sidewalk, head over to a field or a playground and try your luck with Amoeba Tag or Ghost in the Graveyard. Outside. It's the place to play. After all, whoever tried the Water Balloon Toss in the den and lived to tell the tale?
You can find rules to great games both online and in the library.
The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and a certain Sunday is just ahead. So, what are you getting that amazing mom for Mother's Day? You don't have to spend a lot, but you do need to remember her in a special way. If you have brothers and sisters, or at least a very loud voice yourself, you can serenade your mom as you bring her breakfast in bed. Look here for songs for little ones. Older kids might want to check out Rise Up Singing, a group song book with the words to lots of old favorites.
Not a singer? Time to get crafty and make her something to treasure, or you can give her coupons for treats mothers love. Sometimes the best way to celebrate Mother's Day is to spend some time just with her, sharing a book that the two of you will enjoy.
Kids can help out their grown-ups in the kitchen, but they can also make wonderful dishes all by themselves—or with just a little help. Take Mollie Katzen's Number Salad from her kid-friendly cookbook, Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes. It's delicious, nutritious, and a fun way to practice numbers. Here's how to make it:
Put into a bowl:
1 handful of coconut
2 tablespoons of O.J. concentrate
3 pieces of orange
4 slices of apple
5 cubes of cheese
6 slices of banana
7 pieces of melon
...and stir 9 times.
This recipe, complete with friendly, hand-drawn pictures and useful hints, can be found online here. Children may also enjoy Mollie Katzen's Honest Pretzels and 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook and Salad People and More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up.
How can you help the Earth? There are lots of ways to get involved in conservation whether you're a kid, teen, or adult. Check out the local activities, Web sites and library materials listed below for some great ideas.
Wouldn't it be cool if even a few of the old stories were true? Legends say that giants walked the Earth; Atlantis vanished under the sea; and Greece and Troy fought a devastating war over a beautiful woman. Amazing, but true: all these stories are based on facts.
Archaeologists digging in China discovered the fossils of Gigantopithecus, a giant ape standing 9 or 10 feet tall. These huge but probably gentle apes died off 500,000 years ago. Traditionally, villagers collected their bones and made them into medicines. They called their finds dragon bones. Some have wondered whether pockets of the animals may have survived into later centuries, giving rise to the legend of Big Foot.
How much fun is it to make a building? Just a building, maybe not so much fun. But how about a superhero headquarters, a garage, a space station, a cottage, a stable, or a fashion doll house? By using recycled materials from around the house, and a few craft supplies, you can design your own toys exactly the way you want them.
Tart or sweet, cherries are a favorite flavor, and there's more to cherries than meets the eye. Cherries actually belong to the rose family. Cherry's rosy relatives include other stone fruits such as almonds, apricots, plums, peaches, and nectarines.
February is a terrific month to dig into cherries. For years, people have made cherry pies to celebrate George Washington's birthday on February 22. Why do we think of cherries when we think of our first president?
Have you ever been in a place where there were lots of buildings but no trees? New housing developments or parts of a city that have been neglected for a long time may not have the shady spots and fresh air that trees give. As trees breathe, they let out oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Their roots hold the ground together, making sure the soil doesn't blow away in the wind. When a tree dies naturally in the forest, its wood becomes a home for insects and a cafeteria for the hungry birds who eat those insects. Trees provide so many good things for the Earth.
An aquarium is a watery world in miniature. It can be as complicated as you want or just a simple and safe place to keep a beautiful and patient pet. If you're new to fish keeping, you should start with the basics, but even beginners can have a terrific aquarium. Both beta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish or bettas) and goldfish are good for first-timers. They're attractive and not so demanding of a special environment in order to thrive.