Archive for the ‘Seasonal Activities’ Category

Camping: Great for Family Bonding

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

camping-great-for-family-bonding

If I had known how wonderful camping would be for family bonding, I would have gone camping with my family a lot sooner. Yes, I find it nearly impossible to sleep outdoors because of all the noises and light, a feeling of not being protected, and the constriction of a sleeping bag which is way too hot and tight for comfortable sleeping. During the day in the summer months, the outdoor temperature induces sweating and wilting, not the ideal conditions for a pleasant experience.

inside-the-tent

Notwithstanding the aforementioned drawbacks of camping, I still have to say that the beauty of nature, the delicious food cooked over a campfire, and the deep conversations without any electrical devices can be refreshing and invigorating. And it helps if there is a lake or river nearby to dip your feet into to cool off.

marshy-area-camping

Years ago we were given a family tent that was big enough to sleep our whole family, back when our kids were young. We used this family tent for church camps because we couldn’t afford a cabin. During those church camps when my children were toddlers and preschoolers, the sheer amount of work to take care of the children was enough to bring me to the brink of tears out of sheer exhaustion.

braid

Now that the kids are older and starting college, we took a weekend to re-connect as a family. I found a new 2-person tent at a yard sale for $5, so we even had separate quarters for us, the parents. My sons immediately started whittling sticks with their pocket knives. It had been years since they had learned to use their pocket knives at Cub Scouts, which my husband and I used to lead.

whittling-while-camping

We set up the tents and threw our backpacks into the tents and settled into our canvas chairs around a campfire. We had brought food to cook over a campfire for each meal, and of course, we brought S’mores. As we sat around the campfire in the evenings, we would talk and talk. It was wonderful! My kids are interesting and their thoughts run deep. They have opinions about everything, and they are hilarious. We laughed a lot while sitting and telling stories the second night around the campfire. My kids all have active imaginations, and their conversations reminded me of when I was young and all of life stretched out before me.

roasting-marshmallows-campfire

During the day we went exploring the area, finding beautiful other-worldly places. The marshy ground revealed long-necked birds and more exotic insects than are found in the city. A small lake reflected the blue sky and was surrounded by low mountains. It was a beautiful sunny day, both days that we were camping.

hiking-while-camping

It was nice to smell bacon and eggs in the morning, especially when cooked by someone other than me. My son Stephen made pancakes the second morning, and we were always ravenously hungry. Maybe the fact that we were outdoors caused us to expend more energy through exercise, causing us to need more food. And the food always tasted wonderful.

breakfast-at-camp

The conversations we had as a family enabled us to bond in a beautiful way before we sent two kids off to college. One of our sons left to Oregon for Bible college, while our second son is commuting from home, but both have definitely matured into godly men. Sitting and sharing our hearts over a campfire is definitely an experience I would not have traded for the world!

Unique Box of Holiday Treats

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

box-of-holiday-treats

My daughter sent a unique box of holiday treats to her aunt last Christmas because she wanted her aunt to feel special. We bought an inexpensive box that looked like a book, and we painted it. (It looks brown like a cardboard box before it is painted.) You can get a box like this at any craft supply store.

You can use tempera paint or acrylic paint, whatever you have on hand. First my daughter drew the design with pencil on the box. Then she painted it. She had to paint the back of the box on a different day so that the paint on the front would be dry.

Since it was Christmastime, she decided to draw a cute snowman standing in the snow. She used white for the snow and light blue for the sky, highlighting the words and accessories with red paint.

box-treat-craft

After the box was finished, we made some marble fudge (with white and dark chocolate swirled together) and decorated a gingerbread man. Lastly, we added a bag of candy, including chocolate gold coins, Hershey kisses, and mini chocolate bars.

Christmas-treats

When the package arrived at her aunt’s house, she was pleasantly surprised, and she most definitely felt loved!

Autumn Scavenger Hunt (Printable)

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

autumn-scavenger-hunt

With the crisp air of the fall, why not take your kids out for a fun autumn scavenger hunt? Don’t you just love the beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges of nature at this time of year? From hayrides to apple picking to jumping into piles of leaves, there are so many ways to get outside and enjoy the season. Grab your camera and try to find each of the following autumn objects:

1. pine cone
2. squirrel
3. 3 colorful leaves
4. tree with no leaves left
5. pumpkin
6. seeds
7. thorns
8. dead grass
9. birds flying south
10. black-eyed Susans
11. dark clouds
12. spider
13. mushroom
14. moss on a twig
15. duck
16. berries on a bush
17. a moth
18. a stick
19. pine needles
20. dried weeds

Print out this fun scavenger hunt, and see how many items you can find:

Capture Your Autumn Scavenger Hunt on Film

If you want to capture autumn on video instead of with photographs, your kids can have a ball! Watch the following video to observe my family as we run through spectacular autumn scenery and throw leaves at each other. It’s a great bonding activity for any family!

Make Your Own Nest

Monday, March 21st, 2016

make-your-own-nest

When you are learning about birds in the spring, a fun activity you can do with your kids is to make your own nest. Your kids can “fly” around the yard as if they were birds, searching for materials from which to build their nest.

You want to start with a base, or a place to build your nest. You can grab one of those pottery dishes that go under a large potted plant. Or grab a tray from your kitchen. Or you can just build your nest on the ground or in a tree.

nest

Materials you can gather to make your own nest:

  • twigs and sticks
  • dead leaves
  • moss and lichen
  • wheat stalks
  • dead grass
  • bark from trees
  • dead weeds
  • fluff from flowers
  • wet mud

How to put together your nest:

You will want to mix some dirt and water to create your glue. Birds sometimes use spider webs or other sticky plants to keep their nest together instead of mud, but many birds use mud.

Start arranging your dry grass, leaves, pine needles, twigs and other debris into a nest shape. Use the mud to glue it all together. Make it nice and soft by adding moss and fluff to line the inside of the nest.

Now you can place some oval-shaped rocks into the nest to make it look like a bird laid eggs there.

More bird activities for a bird unit study:

I hope you enjoyed putting together your own nest. For more hands-on learning ideas, join the Unit Study Treasure Vault.

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