Freewriting Fun: Take it Outside

Walking and writing… this is our writing focus this week.  We’ve been experiencing beautiful, warm fall weather, an ideal time to head outdoors for some writing. The assignment?  The daily focus may vary, but every day, my son is to take a walk and then complete a 10-20 minute freewrite about the experience. What is freewriting? From Julie Bogart’s The Writer’s Jungle: “Freewriting is the … Continue reading Freewriting Fun: Take it Outside

Treasures: A Nature Basket

My son collects soooo many sticks, rocks, feathers, nuts, and other cool stuff during our outings that his “treasures” have become a bit overwhelming.  In order to provide a space for his favorite discoveries, I gave him a basket.  We call it his “nature basket”, and it’s where the best finds are kept. *** WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:  Treasure Continue reading Treasures: A Nature Basket

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Want to be Happier? Take a Walk in Nature

Within moments of beginning my walk around the grounds of the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley this morning, I began to experience that wonderful feeling of peace and calmness that washes over me me when I’m out in nature.  Whenever I begin to feel stressed, overwhelmed, quick to anger, or anxious, I’ve learned the best thing for me to do is head outside.  It doesn’t … Continue reading Want to be Happier? Take a Walk in Nature

The Importance of Outdoor Time: Why I Blog

As I enter 2014, I feel the need to answer the question, “Why do I blog?”  When I created “A Nature Mom”, my vision was clear.  My goal was to inspire other families to get outside and play.  I already had created a real-life social Meetup group, Nature Time!  The Bay Area Outdoor Playgroup, a parenting club I envisioned would bring families together, playing outside … Continue reading The Importance of Outdoor Time: Why I Blog

Silent Saturday: Nature Journaling

“The most important thing we can teach our children is to observe well.” -Ernst Mayer, Evolutionary Biologist Learning about animal tracks and signs, and journaling their observations. *** An awesome, free, naturalist-led class! Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley *** Interested in learning more about nature journaling?  I highly recommend the book, Keeping a Nature Journal:  Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You, … Continue reading Silent Saturday: Nature Journaling

Greenopedia: A Source for Practical Ideas, Tips and Advice for Sustainable Living

As someone who’s concerned about the environment and the future health of our world, I try to live in a way that limits my impact on our Earth.  As a mom, this way of living extends to my family and how I run our household.  Plus, as a parent, I want to ensure I’m providing my child with the healthiest environment possible.  Questions new parents … Continue reading Greenopedia: A Source for Practical Ideas, Tips and Advice for Sustainable Living

Our Favorite Camping Treat: Nutella S’mores!

It’s always frustrated me a bit that when making s’mores while out camping, the chocolate just doesn’t melt.  I know how to roast a perfect marshmallow, melted completely in the middle, wonderfully gooey and creamy, with a nice, light brown shell.  But the chocolate has always been an issue.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Chocolate in any form is delicious.  I’m not real picky about … Continue reading Our Favorite Camping Treat: Nutella S’mores!

Connecting Kids With Nature: How Grandparents Can Help

Are you a grandparent who would like to help connect your grandchild(ren) with the natural world?  Check out these great tips from Richard Louv…  Grand Ideas!  21 Great Ways Grandparents and Grandfriends Can Connect Kids to Nature.  What wonderful ways to bond! My dad and my son, then three, gardening together (Tip #9:  Create a Grand Garden)… Continue reading Connecting Kids With Nature: How Grandparents Can Help

Three Classic Backyard Games: Fun For Kids and Adults

It can be tough to find outdoor games that are truly fun for both children and adults.  Here are three of our family favorites….  Croquet, Bocce, and Cornhole.  My brother and his wife always have these games set up when they have parties at their home.  So fun! Croquet I grew up playing Croquet in the backyard of the home I grew up in.  It … Continue reading Three Classic Backyard Games: Fun For Kids and Adults

Great book! Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism

In preparation for Earth Day next month, I’m currently reading a wonderful book… Friends of the Earth:  A History of American Environmentalism by Pat McCarthy.   The book, written for children ages 9 and up,  introduces the efforts, struggles, and triumphs of men and women (scientists, artists, authors, naturalists) who dedicated their lives to protecting the United States’ natural heritage.  The author has also included twenty-one … Continue reading Great book! Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism

Photography for Kids: Fun with an iPhone

I enjoyed a fun walk around our neighborhood on Monday with my son, looking for signs of spring.  My son loves to take photos, but he’s become frustrated with the quality of the images he takes on the kid camera we gave him for his birthday last year.  He wants to be able to take photos close-up, and his camera simply doesn’t zoom in well.  … Continue reading Photography for Kids: Fun with an iPhone

The Calming Effect of Nature on Children

One of the great things about playing in nature is that bouts of exertion and excitement are often interspersed with quiet, contemplative time.  I don’t have to recommend these quiet moments… my five-year-old sits down and calms himself entirely on his own whenever he’s inspired by the beauty around him. I often wonder what he’s thinking, but I wouldn’t dare interrupt the magic of the … Continue reading The Calming Effect of Nature on Children

Top 5 Nature Activity Books for Families

Looking for a book filled with activities and advice to help you get into nature with your kids?  I’ve listed five of my favorites here.  I refer to these often in my daily outdoor activities with my now 5-year-old, and have been using a couple of these books since he was two or three.  While it’s important to provide children with lots of free playtime … Continue reading Top 5 Nature Activity Books for Families

Article: 6 Tips for Outdoor Adventures with Kids

My article about getting outside for a hiking adventure with the kids has been featured on The Roundup at Circle of Moms! To read the article and pick up some tips about how to have a fun family hike, click on over to Circle of Moms here… 6 Tips for Outdoor Adventures with Kids. Happy hiking! Continue reading Article: 6 Tips for Outdoor Adventures with Kids

Want to be more social? How to find your tribe!

Five years ago, about six months after my son was born, I became desperate to find people to hang out with during the day. Being at home all day with a baby and having little other social contact was beginning to wear me down. My solution was to do what I normally do… search the internet for help. I quickly found and joined a local … Continue reading Want to be more social? How to find your tribe!

Connect with Nature: Find Your Sit Spot

I’m currently reading the book, What the Robin Knows:  How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World, by Jon Young, which is about awakening our awareness of the behavior of birds in order to deepen our connection with all the wildlife surrounding us.  Ultimately, the author is helping us to reconnect with our own animal senses, teaching us to be one with wildlife instead … Continue reading Connect with Nature: Find Your Sit Spot

10 Things To Do In Yosemite Valley With Little Kids

I’ve been visiting Yosemite National Park my entire life.  My adventures there began at a young age, with my first backpacking trip at three, followed by many more family camping, hiking, and backpacking trips throughout my childhood.  As an adult, I’ve regularly visited the park three-four times per year.  Before having a child, Yosemite, to me, was all about hiking and getting as far away … Continue reading 10 Things To Do In Yosemite Valley With Little Kids

Kids ‘n Cameras: Five Tips for Introducing Children to Photography

Just in the past few months, my son has become interested in cameras and photography.  Both my husband and I are into photography, so he sees us using our cameras a lot.  He loves to sit on my lap and watch me while I’m reviewing photos on our computer.  He adores the images of the animals, flowers, family, and friends, I capture with my camera.  … Continue reading Kids ‘n Cameras: Five Tips for Introducing Children to Photography

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First Time Camping with Kids? 5 Tips!

It’s that time of year when parents with young children are beginning to plan that very first camp trip with their young child.  Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve read a ton of articles about camping with kids.  What can possible be added to the discussion?  I have a few extra tips for that very first overnight camp trip specific to camping with … Continue reading First Time Camping with Kids? 5 Tips!

Attract Wildlife to Your Home – Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat

After struggling with what to do with our little backyard for the last several years, I think I’ve finally found a solution. The main constraint for us is an oak tree that covers our entire yard with shade, making vegetable gardening difficult. The only plant thriving in our yard is rosemary. Kale does pretty well, but that’s about it. Lately, I’ve been considering creating a … Continue reading Attract Wildlife to Your Home – Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Book Recommendation: Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area (or plan to visit) and you have kids and enjoy hiking, you should have Laure Latham‘s (aka Frog Mom) book, Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area, in your personal library.  When this book first came out last year, I checked it out from the library.  After only a few days, I realized I had … Continue reading Book Recommendation: Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area

Letterboxing: Getting Ready for the Hunt

Letterboxing has been around forever (well, at least, a few hundred years), but I just learned about it within the past year.  Though I’ve been interested in trying it out with my son, it somehow seemed a bit overwhelming just to get started.  But now I’m ready to begin.  If you’re new to letterboxing, like I am, I’m going to provide you with the basic … Continue reading Letterboxing: Getting Ready for the Hunt

Stop, Look, Listen, Observe

This afternoon we attended a family nature walk, a free naturalist-led event held in the Tilden Nature Area in the Berkeley hills. I couldn’t resist the event description… “Natural beauty, strange creatures and curious plants reveal themselves to those who seek such wonders.” We walked for two hours, slowly ambling along, observing the little things along the way. Here’s a small list of what we … Continue reading Stop, Look, Listen, Observe

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Five Tips for Joyful Hiking with Little Kids

As someone who leads a lot of hiking outings with little kids, today I’m going to address a question I’m frequently asked by parents…. “How do I get my child to enjoy hiking?” Listed here are what I believe to be the five most important tips: Keep it short: The first thing you must do is give up the idea that you’ll be able to … Continue reading Five Tips for Joyful Hiking with Little Kids

Exploring Nature with Your Baby: 6 Tips

  The sight of leaves blowing in the wind, the scent of flowers, the feel of grass, the sound of bird song…   these are just a few of the wonderful  outdoor sensory experiences available for any baby to enjoy.    Getting outside is good for both baby and parent… the more often, the better.  When my son was a baby, he had colic, and it … Continue reading Exploring Nature with Your Baby: 6 Tips

Outside Play, Every Day

Getting outside every day is a necessity for me, both for my physical and emotional health.  I begin to feel a  little, well, off when I’ve been inside too long, and I’ve noticed my son is the same way.  I can get sucked into staying in the house as easily as the next mom, letting my son play with his building toys for hours and … Continue reading Outside Play, Every Day