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, November 22, 2010

5 Family Activities To Try This Holiday Season

As the holidays near, we are blessed with a little extra time for family…at least that’s the idea! One way to take advantage of these extra days is to include the whole family as you gear up for the holidays with special, nature-inspired table settings, foods, and decorating. Celebrate family togetherness by encouraging older children to guide the younger ones through easy and fun creations, either in the kitchen or the craft table, or outdoors.

No need to think extravagantly or big, it’s the simplest activities that work best, requiring the least guidance for maximum creativity. Here are 5 ideas to try:

Feather treasures. Plant colorful turkey/goose feathers (found at just about any craft store) throughout your yard for a fun treasure hunt for the little ones. Extra points if they find REAL bird feathers…those are magical :) Have them lay them around the center of the table, or in a vase for a whimsical addition to your table that they’ll be so proud to have contributed to.

Garden varieties. What better way to encourage your children and other family members to make those holiday get togethers extra special than by harvesting and sharing delicious edibles and flowers straight from their own gardens? Start new traditions, who will have the tastiest or most creative garden contribution?

Garlands, garlands, garlands! I don’t know about you, but we have a steadily growing pile of activity papers, duplicate worksheets and piles of drawing paper from our four year old. He also loves using scissors and ends up cutting up many of his creations (unless I’m able to rescue my favorites first!). So I’ve seriously considered creating a festive chain garland from these treasures.

Keep the papers and drawings you want, but if you can (I know it’s hard to choose!), turn the other paper piles from your child’s school into fun decoration. Assuming he/she will be okay with the two of you cutting them up! My little one also loves collecting leaves, incorporating them into this activity would be a great Thanksgiving accent. Paper chains are easy and you can create long ones in a very short time, your little one will love seeing these hang throughout your home! Start with their room :)

Mark this one. We’ve found that when kids get the green light to draw or write on any surface other than paper, they go crazy for it! We’ve invited kids (and adults) to decorate and write messages on a variety of natural items like river rocks, tree cookies, smooth sticks, and large leaves. Washable markers ensure an easy soap and water clean-up from colorful fingers, faces and arms, and clothes just in case ;)

Nesting instincts. It’s tough work building a nest, especially without hands. Challenge family members of all ages (they can work in teams if they want) to create a nest that would hold a little bird family--yes, use your hands. Take a walk or search your yard for ideal nesting materials: leaves, twigs, moss, lichen, stringy natural finds. You can offer some man-made materials—after all birds utilize these too—like string, cotton, strips of material, pet fur. Who created the prettiest nest? The sturdiest? The softest?