Saturday, January 22, 2011

Traveling With Friends and Other Critters

Traveling with children can be so much fun! You get to see new places and learn new things through their eyes! Traveling with a friend is even more fun! My favorite traveling friend is Little Red Hen. (She’s a stuffed toy but she doesn’t know it.) We go to lots of interesting places and take loads of pictures. Then we put those pictures into scrapbooks.

Studies show that people who travel are happier. I read about a study that compared the emotional well-being of people who shop and acquire things versus people who go on vacations. People who shop are happy for a very short time. People who go on vacation are happier for longer periods of time and continue to be happier when they relive their experiences. Scrapbooks are an excellent way to help you relive those experiences.

Here’s some tips for taking interesting vacation pictures.
Take pictures of:
• The before and after activities such as packing and unpacking
• Traveling to the destination—we photograph the train or plane ride to the cruise ship
• Signs that tell you where you are and what you’re looking at—that helps you remember when you go to make your scrapbook
• Funny things—anything that you find interesting and/or weird
• The people you’re with and meet along the way— sometimes you need to ask permission if you’re photographing someone you don’t know
• Food you eat
• Things you do—take pictures of everything!

Other tips:
• You need at least 200 pictures to make a 20 page scrapbook. You won’t use them all but it’s important to have a good selection.
• Take the pictures in both landscape and portrait format. That gives you more options when it comes time to putting your pictures into your scrapbook.
• You can use a traditional scrapbook method where you print the pictures and manually glue them into a scrapbook.
• You can digitally scrapbook on line through various websites like Shutterfly and Kodak.
• If you don’t want to make a scrapbook you can also make posters, calendars, and more at those websites.

It’s even more fun to travel with a friend like my Little Red Hen. Next time you travel, bring one of your child’s small stuffed animals and take pictures of their adventures! It’s fun! It’s also a great way to get a young child to hold still for a picture. Happy traveling!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Feeding Geese

Feeding wild waterfowl can be a fun and inexpensive winter family outing. You only need to travel as far as your nearby park, as long as there’s a pond or other body of water. There are several things to keep in mind when you’re feeding wild birds. The first thing to do is to check and make sure it’s legal. Not every municipality wants people feeding the birds. If feeding the birds is okay, it’s time to get ready to go! Make sure your family is dressed appropriately for the weather and you have a good supply of birdfeed on hand. If you want to record the memories, bring a camera to capture the moment!

The worst thing to feed the wild birds is moldy bread. It could make them sick! The best thing to do is to get cracked corn, hen scratch (cracked corn, wheat, barley, and oats), and duck pellets from the feed store.

When you get to the park, encourage your family to be quiet and move slowly. You don’t want to scare the birds. Watch where you walk because there’s probably poop on the ground. Not only is it smelly, it’s also slippery! Bring a beach chair and sit, watching the birds. After observing them for a few moments, ask your child: What do you notice? This is a great opportunity to help your child use her observational skills. Encourage her to describe what she hears, smells, and feels as well as what she sees. Enjoy a nice conversation about what the birds are doing and why. If your child asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, be honest and let her know that she can help you look it up when you get home.

Once the birds are used to their human visitors, it’s time to try and feed them. It’s not good to sprinkle the feed in the water. Sprinkle the feed on the ground near the edge of the pond. You can even sprinkle it in a “path” that leads closer to your child’s chair. Have her sit down, wait patiently, and chances are a brave bird will start nibbling her way. (info, coloring pages, a maze, etc.) (info)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Getting Back Into the School Routine

Now that winter break is almost over, it’s time to help your child get ready to return to his regular daily school schedule. With New Year’s landing on Friday night, chances are the family is staying up late and sleeping in on Saturday.

Here are some strategies to try:

On Saturday and Sunday, have your child
1. Eat healthy meals/snacks similar to his school day schedule.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Get out and play in the afternoon.
4. Check if his homework is done.
5. Have him pack everything he needs for Monday morning (library books, sneakers, homework, etc.).
6. Have him get to bed at his regular school night bedtime both Saturday and Sunday.
7. Have him get up on Sunday as close to his school wakeup time as possible.

Do you have any tips on how you help your child get back into the school routine after a vacation? I’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.