Archive | activities for kids

Intertwangling Science into Your Next Backyard Adventure

Let’s Get Science-y!

Your backyard is a great place for your child to get outside in play. In addition to swimming and playing outdoor sports, your child can also use your backyard as a science experiment. If you are interested in helping them achieve this, you may want to familiarize yourself with some popular backyard activities, especially those that have a focus on nature and science.

Exploring your backyard is not only a fun activity, but it is also educational. There are a large number of living, breathing creatures that can be found outdoors. All children love exploring nature, but there are some who may enjoy this exploration more than others. Those children are likely to be toddlers or elementary school aged children. Since young children may need your assistance, you will want to pick backyard activities that you will also enjoy.

One of the many ways that you can incorporate science into your backyard is by studying the plants that can be found in your yard. While all backyards are likely to have a number of different plants or flowers, yours may have more. For the best type of environment, you are encouraged to explore areas of your yard that have yet to be mowed.

Your backyard is also likely full of a number of different insects. Like plants and flowers, your child may enjoy examining these bugs. It is not only fun to see what bugs live in your backyard, but it is also exciting to learn about how they survive. There is also a good chance that your children may leave your yard with a new pet. I remember my kids would spent hours catching bugs in their little insect catchers and staring at them with mini magnifying glasses before letting let go. Confession: I still have our toy insect carrier/catcher even though my kids are way too big for that (so they say). Too many fun memories to get rid of it yet 🙂

toy bug catcher

In addition to the living things that can be found in your backyard, you and your child may also want to examine the weather and the impact it has on the yard and everything inside of if. Backyard conditions change as the weather changes. By examining your backyard after a rainy day, your child may find that many of the plants, flowers, and bugs have either changed or retreated to safer grounds. Examining the effect the weather has on the things in your backyard is not only fun, but educational.

science weather kit for kids

To make the most out of your child’s next backyard adventure, you may want to consider purchasing them some science supplies. These supplies may include, but should not be limited to containers, butterfly catching nets, magnifying glasses, picture books, and resource guides. If your child is planning on capturing a few insects, a small cage or breathable container may be just what they need. These supplies, along with others, can be purchased from most retail stores. These stores may include department stores, home improvement stores, and toy stores.

To keep your exploration focused on education, science books and nature resource guides may be a nice addition to your child’s science collection. Many books and resource guide have a focus on insects, birds, plants, and flowers. Many of these resources will provide you with information and pictures. For a large selection of science and nature books, you are encouraged to shop online or visit your local book store.

When examining the plants, bugs, and flowers in your backyard, you and your child may want to document what you see. This can easily be done with a notebook or a camera. By taking pictures, your child will always be able to remember their exploration adventures. Those pictures could also be used for other crafts. Scrapbooks and collages are a great way to turn traditional photographs into something much more. Scavenger Hunts around this topic is always a hit with kids too.

Whether your child plans on exploring your backyard or they do so without intending to, it is likely that they will interested with what they see and learn. Incorporating science into your next backyard adventure is just one of the many things that you and your child can do outdoors; however, it may be the most beneficial.

ENJOY!

**We share books and products that we love (and that you may love too) on this site. If you happen to buy, we get a small cut, which is passed along to the admins who run our site 24/7.

25 Ways to Explore the #Brainerd Lakes Area this Summer (the 2017 verision)

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1kp54wfirnx4012/25%20Ways%20To%20Explore%20The%20Brainerd%20Lakes%20Area%20as%20a%20Family%20This%20Summer%20FINAL.pdf?dl=0

25 Ways To Explore The Brainerd Lakes Area as a Family This Summer Printable Checklist (2015)

Created by the Lake Area Mom Squad

Visit a Zoo! Our area has two wonderful zoos in a 30 mile radius. Check out the Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls and Safari North Park in Brainerd.

Get Your Art On: The Franklin Art Center and Crossing Arts Alliance has wonderful programs and events happening all summer. They also have great programs for kids including Art Camps.

Learn More About Trains: The Northern Trackers Club in Crosslake has depictions on display of historic and contemporary railroad heritage of the settlement and economic development of north central Minnesota from the early 1900’s to the present. Things to see at this museum includes a 1/2 scale replica of the William Crooks loco and cars, operating model railroad layouts, museum (artifacts, photography and interpretative displays and exhibits

Croft Mine: Mining is a huge part of our area’s history and the Croft Mine Historical Park is built on 17 acres of the original Craft Mine. This park includes an interactive underground mine tour and museum.

Go Down on The Farm: The Farm at St. Matthias offers wonderful events, growing and picking opportunities, and even the Celtic Festival.

Check out some Bike Trails: Our area has several paved bike trails including The Cuyuna Lakes Trail and the Paul Bunyan Trail. The Cuyuna Lakes Trail Association exists to promote, create, and maintain paved bicycling trails connecting various communities in and around the area known formerly as the Cuyuna Iron Range.

Crow Wing County Fair: The Fair is coming! The fair began as an agricultural event for the purpose of providing a place for county residents to exhibit their products. Youth projects such as 4-H and FFA were able to enter and compete for prizes. While many aspects of the fair have changed over the years, the main philosophy remains the same, to provide opportunity for our patronage to touch base with the agricultural heritage of Crow Wing County.

Attend a Music Event: There are many chances to hear live music outside this summer in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Check out events like Bands in the Park – Pequot Lakes Trailside Band Shelter, Crosslake Outdoor Music Series 2015 at Crosslake Town Square, Iconic Music Fest and Lakes Jam.

See An Outdoor Movie: The US Army Corps of Engineers – Crosslake Campground will be the site for outdoor movies in Crosslake this summer! Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy a different family friendly movie each month. Movies like The Lorax, Ice Age, A Christmas Story and The Great Outdoors are all on the schedule (subject to change).

Experience the Pine River Duck Races: Pine River Duck Races dates are July 10 (1:30pm – 2:30pm) and Fridays June 19 through August 14, 2015 Registration starts at 1:30pm with races at 2:00pm

Mini Golf and Go Carts: If you are in the mood for some mini golf and go cart racing, there are several option to choose from. Pirates Cove Golf and Billy Bones Raceway is right on highway 371 North. Close-by is another attraction; Northland Kart Kountry. Northland Kart Kountry also has water wares and climbing walls to keep everyone active and busy!

Go Camping: Pick a campground…any campground! This area is blessed with many quality camping area. Check the listings HERE.

Pig Races: The Leader Pig Races are back! Check out the full scoop on this incredibility fun and unique event HERE.

Explore our Many Area Parks: Check out the DNR’s Park Finder or check the websites of area parks like Crow Wing State Park, Mille Lacs Kathio, Father Hennepin State park and Charles Lindberg State Park.

Join a Summer Reading Program: The Brainerd Public Library has many fun things going on during the summer months and one is there Summer Reading Program. Round up your little bookworms and get the full scoop on the activities HERE.

Learn the History of our Area: Crow Wing County Historical Museum The Minnesota Military Museum at Fort Ripley and the Mille Lacs Indian Museum are both great ways to learn about culture and history as a family.

Attend an Art Fair: Fun events like Bean Hole Days, Arts in the Park and the Little Falls Craft Show are great places to see the work of local artisans.

Explore our area Lakes: There must be something in the water! Our area is blessed with many local lakes and public beaches. Check out this list of all of our area lakes and companies like Boats & Beyond Rentals, Lake Fun Rentals and Dave’s Sportland Bait, Fun Rentals & Storage help family make their lake time even more enjoyable.

Join The Northland Arboretum: “The Arb” always has wondering family-friendly events including the Country Sampler Pinic, Gardening 101 classes and Enviromental Summer Camps for kids.

Grab a Movie: Check out these places to grab a flick: Bear Pause Theater – Hackensack, Falls Cinema – Little Falls, Grand Makwa Cinema – Onamia,Lakes 12 – Baxter,Sunset Cinema – Pequot Lakes.

Go Thrifting: Sometimes, it’s the “thrill of the hunt!” can make for a fun day of adventure! Go snooping and shopping for treasures to be had at these local thrift and second-hand stores: Cast-offs (Pequot Lakes), Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Common Goods, Goodwill, The Salvation Army and Second Time Around are all great places to hunt for treasures.

Disk Golf: Combine the sport of Frisbee and golf and you have a day of super-fun action. There are two Disc Golf locations in the Brainerd Lakes area. Lum Park has a robust Disc Golf course and so does Central Lakes College or check out the DGCourseReview.com site for more places to enjoy this sport.

A Fun Day at The YMCA: Our local YMCA has tons of great programs and day camps just for area kids. Members can also participate in swim lessons and summer sport classes.

Go Fishing: Not only is this area abundant with lakes, the lakes are full of fish! Fishing is a great sport that any family can enjoy. If you need a little guidance, check into book a pro angler to guide you and your family on a day of fishing fun to remember!

Paddle Boarding: Paddle Boarding is a newer sport that is taking this are by storm. A fun experience for all ages, families can scor3e paddle boarding lessons, equipment and opportunities thanks to local companies like MnSurf.com, PowerPaddleMn.com and The Gull Lake Yacht Club.

**Did I miss any? Email if you can think of something to add to the list! (rebeccaflansburg@gmail.com)

**Lakes Area Mom Squad was not compensated for this post in any way.

Summer is here and our kids are doing the happy dance at the thought of summer vacation, no school and freedom.
I predict that will last roughly two weeks, then the whining, boredom and bickering will set in. 🙁
BUT, as always, the Flansburg Crew will be engaging in our annual No Bummer Summer Quest. This quest involves finding new adventures, crafts and activities (preferably ones that involve the out-of-doors) to help temper the long days of summer.
This summer, we are trying something new. We are trying a creative, affordable alternative to pricey summer camp, this 8-week eCurriculum called At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum.

At Home Summer Nature Camp

This eCurriculum is packed with ideas and inspiration to keep your kids engaged and happ.y all summer long. In one easy-to-follow PDF, parents will receive eight kid-approved themes, each including ideas and tutorials for: outdoor activities, indoor projects, arts & crafts, recipes, field trips, books & media, and more. Every weekly theme is packed with summer nature fun our family can have right in our own backyard! Learn more, or plan your summer fun here: At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum.

18 Awesome Summer Activities for Brainerd Lakes Area Moms and Kids!

Welcome to Summer! Fun, frolic, quality family time, chances for adventure, the official start to several months of MOM being head of the Entertainment Committee.

This will be the Flansburg’s 5th year of creating what we call The No Bummer Summer.

 

It’s our chance as a family to try new things and keep the kiddies busy without the assistance of daycare or baby sitters. It’s also a way to embrace this Season of Parenthood and try to create as many memories and learning experiences as possible.  Here’s some of the ideas and “adventures of interest” I have come across and hope to try this summer:

Backyard Bowling: I love the simplicity of this idea! It’s basically just as it sounds. Fill some water bottles with water and food coloring, arm the kids with a ball and enjoy a couple round of bowling!

DIY Backyard Bowling – Easy to make with kids and a great way to recycle the 2-liter bottles leftover after a summer BBQ. Repin and start saving those soda bottles.:

Rock Picking: As a family, we love rocks and love to go rock picking. It’s entertaining, educational, and a great way to get outside and explore.

Rocking picking for summer fun

I was pretty stoked when I found 30 Playful Ways to Teach Young Kids About Rocks:

Leader Pig Races: We’ve done this before and it is a HOOT. Hosted by The Bear’s Den in Leader Minnesota and every Friday and Saturday evening at 7 p.m. are the pig races. This event is geared towards kids without no only the famous “LA Racing Piggies” but plenty of other fun activities like hula hoop contests, jump rope, bouncy balls races and more.

LA Pig Races

 

Colorful fabric collars are around the piggie’s necks and a corresponding wooden pig is randomly handed out to kids in the audience. The child who holds the same color of pig as the one that crosses the finish line first wins a little bag of goodies. Totally fun and I highly recommend it. Check out The Bear’s Den Facebook Page HERE.

Geocaching: I don’t know much about this, but it sounds like something fun to try.

Parks: Playgrounds and parks! We are blessed with many good ones in the Brainerd Lakes Area and it’s a great way to get out and hang with other families as well. Some of our personal favorites include Whipple Beach, Loren Thompson Park, and Berrywood. There’s also two play groups for those of you with little tots. Fresh Air Fridays and Nisswa Time to Play can both be found on Facebook.

Game Day! Declare Game Day and play as many board games as you have time for!  Some good ones are:  Candyland, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Sorry Revenge, Farkle, Chutes and Ladders, Don’t Break The Ice, Clue, Monopoly Kids , Monopoly Frozen Edition and Operation.

Nature Walk: Go for a stroll in the woods and just appreciate that you are able to do so. Challenge your kids to a Nature Scavenger Hunt and there are awesome Nature Scavenger Hunt printables  here and here.

Great places for a nature hike is Northland Arboretum , Crow Wing State Forest, and Pillsbury State Forest.

Go Garage Saling: One of our favorite ways to find the best goodies for not a lot of money. Check your local paper or visit a Facebook Garage Sale Group like this one or this one.

If you plan to HAVE a garage sale, check out this handy (and free) how-to guide and checklist

 

Have a ½ Birthday Party: Our kids are both “winter babies” so they miss out on the element of summer fun when it comes to having their birthday parties. So I thought, why not have a “1/2 Birthday Party?” A 1/2 Birthday would be the halfway mark from their last birthday and the upcoming birthday. To “fun it up” you could have the party on the half hour mark (12:30 or 5:30), cut a cake in half (this way each kids will get a 1/2 of a cake for their Half Birthday) and float balloons that would the number half of the age they are turning (if they will be turning 10, float 5 balloons in the party area). If I do this, I think I will skip the presents and focus more on fun like renting a Bounce House from Party World for a “half day.”

Rollin in The Dough: Make homemade edible play-doh. Here are 10 recipes to try out (and you can decide which one tastes the best!).

Make a Pizza (Party): Everyone loves pizza (well, almost everyone. Our 7 year-old still claims she hates pizza. Really?) but for the most part having a mini DIY Pizza Party is always a crowd-pleaser. We like the Betty Crocker brand of dry pizza crust mix  and the Contadina brand of sauce. Choose 4-5 different toppings, shape out several mini pizzas with the dough, and encourage everyone to tap into their inner Pizza Chef 🙂 Here’s some fun ideas from the Baker Mama.

 

DIY Pizza Night

**for a Virtual Pizza Making Party check out this Pizza Making app for iPads from iGame Mom

Create a Dirt City: I remember doing this for HOURS as a child (yes I was a tomboy). It works best if you are blessed with a sandy area in your yard, but worse case scenario is have some sand brought in. Hook your kids up with shovels, toy dump trucks, cars, animals, containers, and even dinosaurs. Then it’s time to build mountains, rivers, streets, moats, or castles and then use the toys to play, dig, and create for hours.

Hop on Your Bikes or Strap on Your Blades: We are blessed with miles of safe and wonderfully paved bike and walkways on the Paul Bunyan Trail.

After- Dark Play: See what bugs come out at night, play shadow games, or flashlight tag.  Grab some glow sticks, light up gloves, or a child’s headlamp and light up the night! Don’t forget bug spray.

Care.com has some great after-dark game ideas for kids as well.

after dark games for kids

 

Color With Nature: I absolutely ADORE this Color With Nature activity from Wildlife Fun 4 Kids. I cant wait to do this one!

 

What have I missed? What summer activity is your family looking forward to? What Brainerd Lakes Area attraction did I leave out? Please be sure and share in the comments below, or on our Facebook Page HERE.

Happy Summer!

**some of these links are affiliate links. Lakes Area Mom Squad was not compensated in any way for mention of the above businesses.

Nature’s Classroom: 5 Great Outdoors Activities for Kids

Nature’s Classroom: 5 Great Outdoors Activities for Kids

The summer season is upon us and this fleeting time of year is destined to be filled with adventures and sunny fun. The following is a list of creative ideas that showcase the beauty and innovation of using nature’s classroom to continue learning even after school it out.

There’s Something in the Water: There is something mesmerizing about water, especially with kids. We all know summer fun would not be complete without lots and lots of WATER. Aside from swimming, water can act as a tool of fun, a chance for play and even an opportunity to learn about science. Here are some “out-of-the-lake” ideas for implementing water in your summer camp fun (all need adult supervision):

  • Fun games like a Bucket Relay Game or Water Balloon Target Practice.
  • Moving Water Boat Races (use tools like garden hoses, meat basters and scoops to motivate the boats to move).
  • Creative Boat Building Using Materials from Nature: What’s a boat race without a fun boat, right?
  • Homemade Aquarium(use smaller containers of water, natural aquatic plants and toy water creatures).
  • Absorption Experiments: Use different materials like sponges, paper, cloth and wood to create some sensory fun for your campers.
  • Water Nature Hunt: Tap into the wonder that lies at the water’s edge of lakes, ponds or streams with a good ‘ol fashioned scavenger hunt.

Go on a Bug Hunt: Did you know that some of the most interesting creepy crawlies come out at night? Arm your campers with some bug spray and a flashlight and go on an after-dark bug hunt. Sides of building and leaves are great places to find unique, multi-legged nightlife.

Explore Language and Culture: Did you know that the Ojibwe word for thank you is Migwetch? Some of the most rich and meaningful culture comes from those who inhabited the earth before us. Encourage your kids to use their summer months or summer camp experiences to learn about new languages, cultures and traditions such as foods and dance. To learn more Objibwe words go here and to learn more about Native American history go here.

Rocking Hunting: Rocks are everywhere and yet another piece of nature we take for granted. But have you ever noticed that some rocks increase in beauty once water is applied? Many stones like quartz and agates drastically change in appearance once they was washed allowing mom and dad to create a fun gem hunting adventure. Simply arm your young explorer with a squirt bottle and a bucket and send them out a rocking gathering expedition.

Make A Den: Many wildlife animals prepare a home for themselves, also called “den.” Dens can be in the ground, in a tree, in a cave or in a pile of fallen branches. Have your nature savvy campers research different types of animal dens, like a bear’s den for example, and create their own backyard version using nature’s own material like branches, leaves and plant life.

One final touch to your DIY camp adventure would be to create an indoor summer camp experience by making mock tents out of blankets, serving camp friendly foods like hotdogs, fruit and cold sandwiches and building a mock campfire from cardboard paper towel tubes and orange and red tissue paper. Top off this activity by reading stories around your mock fire or simply recapping the fun of the day.

What memories will you create this summer?

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

UA-21877160-1