Thank you for visiting the home blog of Caliso Learning, a natural science-based business celebrating the beauty and ecology of our natural environments. Our goal is to connect you and your family with nature--actually, we want you to fall in LOVE with nature!

Here you will find nature-inspired articles and posts, family activities, personal stories, resources, and more--all with the goal to connect you with the benefits of nature for family fun and inspiration! Please enjoy and let us know what you like :) Follow us on Facebook for even more resources, more frequently!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Adventure & Bonding With Your Toddler!

Nature activities for you and your tiny explorer. Bring your family together, foster growth and curiosity in your child, and feel the benefits and peaceful pace of the natural world. Try some of the following activities we’ve compiled from our favorites! All can be done with ages 18 months and up. All you need is a little sense of pint-sized adventure :)

Bug Eyes: Get on your bellies and study the terrain from a bug’s eye view! Pick one small area of the yard to explore with a hand lens. Look for bugs under rocks and watch them with a hand lens.

Rocky Puppy: Rock collecting starts early with curious minds. Begin with just collecting in your yard. Move on to arranging rocks by size or color; stack them, make patterns, lines—or better yet, just let your little rock hound arrange those new finds as he pleases. Just remind him that rocks do not like to fly.

Story Time al Fresco: There’s nothing like a simple change of scenery to excite the senses. Try story time under the stars for a new twist on old favorites! You could even follow up with sleeping outdoors!
From T. Albrecht, SRSJMNM

“Pooh Sticks:” An old favorite, inspired of course by Winnie the Pooh. Gather sticks and drop them in a stream, watch them float away! Even better if you can do it from a small bridge, watching for them to emerge on the other side! My 3-year old son would do this for hours if we let him.

Species Safari: Create your own tiny explorer field guide (keep it simple!) or
use ours. Take your child on a walk around the neighborhood or a nearby nature area and mark off each critter she can find!

Teddy Bear Tracking: Draw or print out a set of 12 paw prints (~3”- 4”); cut out and hang at child level, around your yard or campsite for your toddler to “track” to a teddy bear you’ve place sitting in a low tree, sturdy bush or other semi-hidden spot for him to find. Delightful fun!

The Secret Garden: Choose a part of your yard, under a special bush, at the base of a favorite tree, even a large planter where your toddler can create their own unique garden to plant collected rocks, sticks, plastic dinosaurs…anything she wishes that makes it uniquely hers!

Nature Bracelet: Wrap a piece of masking tape to your child’s wrist, sticky side up. As you explore, help him attach colorful leaves, flowers, and other interesting discoveries to his bracelet. When done, use scissors to snip off the nature bracelet. Display on a bulletin board, shelf, or wall.
From fun.familyeducation.com

Follow the Leader: Start out as the leader and buzz a flower, hop around a tree, step over a rock, flap over to the hose, etc. Then switch to let your little one lead!

Backyard Harvest: If you have any trees with edible fruit, let your little one help you harvest your fresh crop, then share the organic snack! Create a bouquet of garden flowers with your toddler for tonight’s center piece (just make sure to watch for poisonous plants or defenses like thorns, spines or burrs).
From family.go.com

Moon Face: Take your child on a moonlight walk in your backyard during the full moon.

Treasure Bucket: Perfect for toddlers who like to collect things…and dump them out only to refill it again! Use a small toy bucket or container they can manage. Collect leaves, rocks, small trash flown in after a windy day, or specially hidden toys!

If collecting natural items from your yard, it’s a good opportunity to teach the non-removal of things from protected areas. Have them dump their bucket outside, leaving their natural items where “they live.” If picking up trash, have them wear gloves, make sure what they’re picking up is “safe” and have them empty their buckets in the trash can to teach good environmental habits.

Activities from Caliso Learning’s Yards of Fun compilation booklet.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moon Meditation: Living Your Life To Its Fullest

“Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.” ~the Buddha

Today is a full moon. The moon is a great mentor in living your life to its fullest. Find a comfortable spot in the moonlight tonight and try one of these moon meditations:

Live full. The full moon creates a lot of action; humans celebrate it, animals and oceans move by it. When the moon is full and bright, we can see things outside without the aid of artificial light. Live your life fully, illuminate your own path, celebrate your strengths.

Radiate light. Despite being the weakest reflector in our solar system, the moon shines brightly against the black backdrop of space. Reflect positive qualities in your interaction with others.

Infuse yourself with nature. The moon is intimately aligned with the natural world as we have witnessed through the pull of lunar tides and the variety of species that rely on its light for survival. Plant yourself in the cycles of nature to appreciate your vital role in the world we share, increase your personal awareness, and heighten your sensitivity to your attitudes and behavior as it compares to your core standards and beliefs. This type of connection may intuitively affect the conscientious mind and accountability that guide your decision making process.

Inspire others. Our silvery moon has long been the source of inspiration for artists, philosophers, and poets. Both science and art continue to seek ways to study and interpret its profound affect on our lives. Think about the people in your life, and how they inspire you; awaken those same inspiring qualities in your self. Find ways to express yourself as passionately as those who inspire you and others will not be able to resist supporting you in achieving your goals.

© 2009
www.karunacoaching.com Your Nature ezine 760.832.0105

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quesadillas and Moon Topography--Family Activity

Moon IS made of cheese—quesadillas and moon topography? Try this activity for the next full moon!

Flour tortillas provide a fun (and tasty!) way to identify and name the features of the moon’s surface. Use this printable moon map
http://www.space.com/spacewatch/moon_guide-1.html to try and identify famous moon surface features, or map out our historical lunar landing sites on your tortilla. Another option: use the map to inspire your own creative names for your tortilla moon topography :)

In our version, the moon really is made of cheese. Cook the tortilla, fold over with shredded cheese inside, and melt for the perfect post-snack lunar lesson!

The Nature Conservancy in California - Coachella Valley

Nice article about a local treasure, The Coachella Valley Preserve, found in this week’s California Great Places by The Nature Conservancy—covers the historical beginnings and unique partnerships for its successful management model, “The Coachella solution pioneered an approach that quickly became a hallmark of the Conservancy and now is in use throughout the country.”

The Nature Conservancy in California - Coachella Valley

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