15 Summer Activities to Help your Kids Appreciate Nature

What are your kids doing this Summer? For many of us Summer time with the kids is a time to enjoy the outdoors, the sunshine and if you’re lucky the ocean.

As much as kids love Summer holidays, keeping them busy can be a real chore! If you’ve not got the luxury of a Summer camp then it’s up to you as parent to find things for the youngsters to keep busy with.

Failing that, your kids might spend all their time in front of a computer, tablet, phone or other screen and research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of children.

Studies have shown that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental ill-health and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a daily walk in nature has showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.

One in four people are estimated to experience bouts of mental ill health and it’s on the rise. Prescription medication of antidepressants are also at a record high level and the demand for more invasive treatments are also on the rise. Health and social care commissioners are examining and commissioning different options for cost effective services for mental health and one of these options is a daily walk of 90 minutes or more. We need to learn from the past when kids got excited to spend their time climbing trees and building dens rather than spending hours inside.

Joe at Nature Rated understands this all too well and has put together an infographic on 15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature.

This is what it looks like:

15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature

From baking a blackberry pie to constructing a pond or insect hotel, there’s plenty for the youngsters to get up to. Head on over to his site for step by step instructions to get your kids out and about enjoying nature.

Hope that works!

Bio:

An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to get. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure.
Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera spending time recharging his batteries.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – M. Gandhi

Tanaka Farms – Strawberry Tours

Strawberry_3

Ready for picking!

This morning Baby Baby and I ventured over to Tanaka Farms during their Open House to do some strawberry picking. It was a gorgeous day and they had some perks if you went during their Open House; fresh veggies, tastings, wagon rides. Tanaka Farms has been around for decades and at their current location in the heart of Irvine since 1998, over the past few years they’ve become known for their “Pumpkin Patch.” Which is great during the Fall however they’re open all year long. With a variety of fruits and veggies the farm offers, I was excited for strawberry season. Growing up in Irvine… you kind of have to be. As a kid we had strawberry fields that lined, “Jeffrey Rd” just past the 5 to Irvine Blvd and spread out as wide as to the El Toro Air Base (Sand Canyon.) Amongst orange trees and windbreaking eucalyptus trees this was Irvine. One of the first things I did when I got my license was drive along a side road known as “Trabuco Rd” with my windows down to smell all the fresh strawberries. Those fields don’t exist any longer, a Great Park replaced the air base and homes now are where those rows of strawberries once laid. Today’s adventure to Tanaka Farms smelled like being a kid in a once very green green city!

Fresh Veggies =)

Fresh veggies =)

Once we arrived we entered through the market stand and was given a bag which was soon filled with fresh veggies. Baby Baby ran in as he remembered the farm from October…straight for a haystack and tractor he went. The strawberry tour was $10 and children 2 & under were free, the $10 included a carton to put your strawberries in while you pick them, you’re allowed to keep the strawberries you pick as long as the lid closes when you leave! While waiting for the strawberry tour wagon we sampled some juices and veggies. The wagon ride was great. We ventured through the farm and our guide shared with us the different veggies and fruits planted around us. It wasn’t long before you could smell the strawberries and soon see them…rows and rows of them =). The best! We were given about 20 minutes to go and pick our strawberries. The best part, you can eat strawberries while you’re picking strawberries. Baby Baby took full advantage of this! I loved it.

Strawberry picker or taste tester??

Strawberry picker or taste tester??

When we were given our 5 minute warning to head back to the wagon, I took advantage of some photo ops. How could I not??!! The fields were beautiful and Baby Baby was having the time of his life. A wagon ride back to the market area and the tour was complete. We still stuck around for a little bit and enjoyed the gorgeous morning out in the sun. A few more wild boy jumps off of the haystacks and a water break then we called it a day at the farm. A nap was definitely in the works ;p All and all, the strawberry tour was a fun adventure I got to share with Baby Baby. I’m looking forward to him growing up with the Spring smell of strawberries.

The juicy strawberries we picked! yum!

The juicy strawberries we picked! yum!

Christmas 2015

We were all on the Nice List!

We were all on the Nice List!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Our Christmas started out bright and early Friday morning. Mav made reservations early November for Christmas Breakfast at the Plaza Inn inside Disneyland. I was a little nervous to be heading to the Parks on Christmas but, having reservations worked out in our favor. If you make reservations inside either Park around the time they open you are able to enter through a “special line” on the side. This saved us time by skipping the main lines and also let us run around a non crowded Main Street USA on Christmas Morning!!! How cool is that?? We’re such disnerds it’s not even funny ;p

Christmas Morning at the Parks!

Christmas Morning at the Parks!

Plaza Inn is another buffet style resturant at the Parks that feature dinning with Disney characters. As you eat, different characters come up and say, “hi.” It’s fun and adds to the experience. After breakfast, we decided to jump on a few rides before we headed out (and it got busy.) We made it on Dumbo and King Arthur’s Carrousel!

 

Such a happy boy!!

Such a happy boy!!

We arrived home around 10:30 AM and was wondering if Baby Baby was going to nap or not….nope, no nap! So, as I made sure the video was rolling. Mav took Baby Baby in our room until I gave him the “okay.” Baby Baby ran out and around the corner; his face was priceless when he saw the presents! All our handwork had paid off =)

I really was so nervous to get Baby Baby more toys, especially with a late November Birthday. There’s a few after Baby Baby opened them I set aside. Is it bad that I want to ration them out over the next few weeks? lol. I guess it keeps for busy Mommy <3

Just a few of my favorite things....Santa and Mav did well ;p

Just a few of my favorite things….Santa and Mav did well ;p

I on the other hand is all about less is more. A few years ago when I refocused my life, I started wanting more adventures versus things. As somethings are important; a safe car, a roof over your head, etc. If someone asks me what I want as a gift; I want to explore, trips, a nice lunch…. memories I can keep forever. So with that said….Mav was spot on with his “main” gift choice for me this Christmas and that is he paid my entry fee for The Tinkerbell Half-Marathon! I can’t wait to experience the run! I was so happy I cried yeah, total nerd moment! I guess my Valentine’s gift to the boys will be a section in the chEAR Squad ;p hahaha.

Mav’s and Baby Baby’s First California Christmas was amazing! The day started out great, a perfect late morning playtime, and in the evening we grilled some steaks! I love my little family =) 2015 has been such a fun year…I can’t wait for us to take on 2016!

Run for a Claus 

Another successful run =)

Another successful run =)

This past Saturday, Baby Baby and Mommy ran another 5k. It was a challenging course around the UCI campus, hills for days…..lol. Nonetheless, the run was super fun and had a lot of great aspects.

The race was hosted by OC Marathon. I’m noticing this organization hosts a lot of the races we run. I love the charities they work with as well as the way they organize their races. From the pre-run to post-run there’s always so much going on, it’s the best! What a great group of sponsors and familiar faces.

Even though I checked out the course online, I didn’t really set myself up for how many hills I would encounter. Don’t get me wrong, I love hills (mostly up ;p) however, they’re intense with a jogger. By now most the races I run is with Baby Baby but, you always forget about the extra weight until you are challenged. I went into the race expecting to average 8 min/mi. However, I fell short by 2 mins. We ended up finishing the race at 31:07 at a pace of 10 min/mi. Not too shabby, I was a little bummed though. After all, it is a fun run but you can only want to challenge yourself and improve each race. On the bright side, we were the second stroller/jogger to come across the finish line and first if you count sex ;p hahaha

My Rankings

My Rankings

The races we ran this year were all very different from each other.  I feel like we had a variety from the scenery to the surfaces we ran on. It made each one special and fun.  I wrote in my last race post, I’d like to put a hold on 2016 registrations. A lot was due to my knee issues, which with physical therapy has helped relieve some of the pain. We’ll just have to see. One race at a time, right?! lol