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15 summer activities in nature

15 Summer Activities in Nature

FAM, kids By July 17, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Summer is a perfect time to facilitate learning through entertainment.  Remember being a kid and looking in the encyclopedia when you found a mushroom or learned a bit about physics when your fishing rod broke? Let’s get outside this summer and see what nature will teach us!

15 Summer Activities in Nature

1. Go for a hike! It’s a great way to get some exercise and discover new species at the same time.

2. Build forts made of driftwood on the beach. The kids can learn about structures while having fun scouring the beach for the much needed piece of wood for the roof.

3. Go camping! Whether it be at a site or just the backyard, camping is a great way to get outside and learn about your surroundings.

4. Do some gardening! Get the kids involved and give them a small patch in the backyard to create their own mini garden. They can learn what different species need to survive and have fun choosing the plants for their garden at the same time.

5. Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt! Make a list of things to find, whether it be a pinecone, something yellow, or a leaf the size of your hand and get scavenging!

6. Go geocaching! Teach the kids some navigation skills as they hunt for treasure. You never know, there may be treasure waiting for you right around the corner!

7. Go for a family bike ride. On a trail or through the neighbourhood, biking is a great way to be active in nature.

8. Go berry picking! Everyone can do it and afterwards the family can learn how to make a delicious treat incorporating the berries.

9. Fly a kite! You can get crafty and make your own or you can by one at the store. Either way, kite flying is a great family activity.

10. Have a neighbourhood game of soccer! Get the whole neighbourhood involved and play this simple yet fun game in your front yard or the park. You will be teaching the kids about teamwork in a way that just seems like fun and games.

11. Decorate the sidewalk with chalk! The kids can unleash their creativity while enjoying the great outdoors.

12. Take out your camera and go outside for some outdoor photography. Get some shots of your favorite plants and animals to use in a scrapbook!

13. Scavenge the beach for shells and sea glass to use in an art project of the kid’s choosing. Their creativity will not be lost over the summer with projects like these.

14. Go kayaking or stand up paddle boarding! Get outside and breath in the ocean air! Perseverance is taught (especially if it’s your first time) and  the health benefits are endless!

15. Set up the sprinkler on those particularly hot summer day’s and watch the endless hours of enjoyment begin.

 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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The All-Star Sports Birthday Party

EAT, entertain, FAM, kids By June 13, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

All-Star Birthday PartyAsked by Walmart to create a birthday party for six children with under $100, UrbanMommies hit the aisles and embarked on the Walmart Frugal Heroes Challenge.  Scouring the store and channeling our creativity, we decided upon the All-Star Sports Birthday Party.  I was shocked when we got to the cash with an entire basket-full of goods.  I will admit (sheepishly) that the total came to $101.50, but we’re still proud.

Items:

1.  Skipping Rope
2.  6 Red soccer jerseys
3.  1 set of 2 lb weights
4.  1 set of 5 lb weights
All Star Birthday Ideas5. 4 orange pylons
6. 1 soccer ball
7.  1 basket ball
8.  Box of microwave popcorn
9.  8 frozen tenderloin beef skewers for the BBQ
10.  2 boxes brownie mix
11.  1 tin chocolate icing
12.  dotted cocktail napkins
13.  striped luncheon napkins
14.  red paper plates
15.  Blue plastic tablecloth
16.  1 Case of Blue Kool-Aid Jammers

Total: $101.50

All-Star BirthdaySurely we can create a party with this!  With stations for the leaders to guide the 6 kids in sporty challenges, we jumped rope, did bicep curls, kicked the ball around pylons, did a pushup race and shot hoops.  The kids gorged on popcorn and ‘Brownie Cake’ for dessert and beef kebabs and salad (from my garden and not included in prices).  The ‘goody bag’ was the red jersey that each child got to take home (and could easily be personalized with masking tape).

Therefore, UrbanMommies, the least ‘frugal’ magazine ever, was able to create a memorable and fun party with minimal cost – oh, and it covers the one-hour of activity quotient that so few of our children are getting.

Must go.  We’ve got some drills to recreate!

Disclosure: UrbanMommies was given a $100 gift card for Walmart for the purposes of creating a birthday party.  We were not compensated for this article and all ideas and opinion are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Liberia – The Trip of a Lifetime

charity, FAM By December 18, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments

Right To Play ParentAnd then there was the week that I didn’t really sleep.  Olympian Kaylyn Kyle and I were behind in votes.  I called in a ton of favours and spread the message in creative (and largely annoying) ways.  Friends knew how important Liberia was to me and would ask daily about vote count.  As I had an emotional drop-off of one of my kids at school, a mom embraced me and encouraged me to share about my children and my life.  During our conversation I shared about “Level The Field” and her eyes lit up.  She had worked for the Swedish Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and is very familiar with the organization and the benefit of sports for kids.  Rocking her newborn in the stroller, she mentioned that she had a few friends in the sports field (that was a pun..) and would reach out to them to help our cause for Health in Liberia.

Fast forward.  Several days after the contest closed I was practicing square breathing and coaxing myself to carry on with life.  My friends and colleagues didn’t want to ask too much.  I was clearly distracted.  I got the email indicating I would go to Liberia while headed to the gym and became one of those people on her phone during an hour of cardio I hadn’t really noticed.  (I joked with Kaylyn that if we were to travel together she’d put my abs to shame).  Could it be true?  Could Liberia have won – when George Weah, one of Liberia’s most famous humanitarian athletes was a footballer as well?  Liberia needs so much support after recent years of civil war.  200,000 people have died and it ranks amongst the poorest nations on the planet.  Inequality.  Sexual crimes.  Disease.  The women, children and the handicapped youth need the teachings of inclusiveness that Right To Play can offer.

A few days later I was on a press trip to Ottawa and was about to tour the Canadian Parliament Buildings when I got another email announcing the voter who had won the chance to accompany the group on our expedition.  Her name is Lori Harasem and she lives in Alberta.  With three kids she finds time to work as the Recreation and Culture Development Manager for the City of Lethbridge and volunteers too.

Apparently Lori and I had a mutual friend.  Could it be?  I sent a covert text to my friend from my sons’ school to see if she knew Lori.  Apparently they were childhood friends and Lori was described as an extremely special, caring and loyal woman with a true believe and love of sport and play.  I tingled head to toe.  And then I toured the crucible of Canadian law and government feeling the importance of community, integrity and outreach.  The stately building made me realize even further that our position as Canadians allows us to help other nations – other children.  I am so honoured to be an ambassador for Right To Play.  To represent my country and to help children smile.  Somehow my kids’ Christmas lists don’t seem very pressing.

As I expressed to the other parent ambassadors when we were simultaneously told the news, I have been humbled just to be chosen to participate in the Level The Field program.  The prestigious group of parents who participated did a stellar job, and I still marvel at the work put in and the exposure that was given to the organization.  The true winners are the kids that we will be able to support through awareness and future donations.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all 6 West African nations could have oodles of funds flowing in?  I know that Right To Play is dear to all of our hearts now and hopefully in time we will all be able to help all of the 6 countries.  in the Level The Field program and the 20 countries Right To Play works in across the world.  If you would like to receive the Right To Play newsletter, you can subscribe on their website.

I told my schoolyard mom friend the news and the next day she cornered me as we waited for the bell.  Her son wants to start raising money to send soccer balls with me to Liberia.  He has a plan.  He’s 7.  And clearly very special.

Let the journey begin!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Level The Field with Right To Play

charity, FAM By October 30, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Liberia Health SoccerIt’s been a rough week.  My son is having a hard time with self-esteem and handling stress.  He is lashing out and struggling and as his mother, I feel my heart breaking piece by piece.

But today is soccer day.  He was up, dressed and ready to get inspired by his coach and teammates.  He runs.  He plays.  He tells the kid who missed the pass that it’s ok.  Living in such a privileged community does not fix the growing pains that kids go through, but having abundant resources to help makes everything easier.  I have seen first-hand how sport and guidance help children thrive.

Liberia HealthI am honoured to be part of a new program with Right To Play called Level The Field.  The organization operates to create a healthier and safer world through the power of sport and play to help create a level field and equal opportunities for children everywhere.  Teamwork, cooperation and respect are explored in fun ways and community leaders act as coaches to change behaviours.  Right To Play’s innovative methodology is grounded in a deep understanding of social learning theory and child development needs.  Through sport and activities adapted from local traditional games, mental, physical and psycho-social well-being of the children improve.  (And I have a hunch that the parents feel pretty good as they watch their children play and laugh.)

Typically my writing is laced with wit and fluff.  But as I write today, tears are close.  I read about the children in Liberia and I think about my son’s behavior.  What do mothers feel when their children get sick because they haven’t learned that washing hands can prevent disease?  If my heart is breaking from watching my son suffer, what would it be like for parents living in disadvantaged areas of the world?  We all grow up with our own context and it is difficult to compare hardships, but I can’t help wanting to do everything in my power to help those moms smile as they watch their children thrive and grow.
Right To Play has given me the gift and opportunity to be able to help them raise awareness about the work they do every day, all over the world..  I have been partnered with Kaylyn Kyle, Vancouver Whitecaps soccer goddess and Olympic medalist.  Together, we promote how we can help level the field for children through play with a focus on how play can positively impact the health of those in Liberia.

Liberia Children Right To PlayLiberia is one of the poorest countries in the world with one of the highest incidences of malnutrition, infectious disease and other global health concerns. 85% of people live below the world poverty line*.   A massive civil war between 1989-2003 not only modeled violent combat for the children, but it created a lack of trust in people from other communities.  After Right To Play started working with local communities in Liberia in 2008, there are more organized sports and activities and people from various communities play together.  Children are less likely to reach for weapons and fists to settle conflicts.  And 183 local leaders and supervisors have been trained as positive role models.  People with disabilities are now included in play, and girls and boys are now playing together more often, in a country with a high incidence of sexual violence and a history of gender inequality.

Level The Field video

I’m embarrassed.  Not only did I not know about the work done by Right To Play, but I didn’t have a handle on how bad things are in disadvantaged countries around the world. Did you know that 26,000 children under the age of 5 die every day?  Infectious diseases such as HIV, measles and diarrheal disease are largely preventable.  I can’t stop shaking at the thought of the mothers watching their toddlers die.  We need to help.  Please encourage Right To Play’s activities and help us promote children’s health in Liberia by visiting the Level The Field page on Facebook. By voting for our program, or the program you feel most passionately about on Facebook, you can help us raise awareness about Right To Play’s work and also enter for a chance to accompany the team with the most votes on a visit to see a Right To Play program in-action.  We need to lessen the number of broken hearts in this world.

Level The Field with Right To Play*Source: Charitywater.org

 

 

 

 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Backyard Popsicle Soccer Party

FAM, kids By September 3, 2010 Tags: , , , No Comments

Needing birthday party inspiration?  Summer is the perfect time to come up with unique party ideas, and this one is a keeper.  The Backyard Popsicle Soccer PartyPopsicle sent us a rockin’ duffle bag filled with pylons, soccer ball, gloves for the keeper (goalie) and water bottles.  Oh… and gift certificates for popsicles.  And it gave us an excellent reason to make the husband cut the grass.  Devious. We invited kids with their parents and a couple of cute British soccer coaches doing Challenger Sports Camps in our area.  (Just for the story – really). Voila… we had a party.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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