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How To Create A Garden That Your Family Will Enjoy

When was the last time that you spent some quality time outdoors with your children? According to research, only 51% of children go outside to walk or play once a day with either parent. Moreover, the study showed that boys were more likely to be taken outside than girls. As too much time spent indoors can be bad for children’s health, the American Heart Association recommends that kids aged 2 and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities—such as a friendly game of soccer or gardening—every day. To encourage your family to spend more time outdoors, consider creating a garden that your loved ones will enjoy. Not only do you get to benefit from the fresh air, but you also get to spend a lot of quality, gadget-free time with your little ones. Here are several ways to create a family-friendly garden that everyone will love.

family garden

Work out what you want in a garden

The first thing that you need to do when planning a garden is to work out what you want in it. Sit down with your family and talk about what activities you want to do in the space. Do you plan to grow flowers or vegetables? Do you want an area for active play? How about a sitting area? Once you’ve decided on what things you want to include in your garden, break up your space into different zones and go from there.

Create a sitting area

A sitting area gives your family a place where you can have meaningful conversations or spend time together doing crafts or playing board games. There are so many options for your garden sitting area—you can have wicker furniture with cushions for added comfort in your patio, or wooden benches under a big tree. You can also create hidden sitting areas throughout your garden for some quiet reading time or a moment of reflection.

Add water elements

Adding water elements gives life and freshness to any garden. You can have a koi pond, a swimming pool, a reflection pool, or an outdoor water fountain in your garden. Whatever you choose to have, make sure not to leave very young children unsupervised when in the garden, and clean your pond, pool, or fountain regularly to avoid algae build up. If you don’t have much room for a water feature, try including a tabletop water fountain in your patio.

Group play equipment in one zone

It’s a good idea to have all your child’s play equipment in one zone in the garden for a more cohesive look. As for the type of play equipment that you can have in the garden, you can have a playhouse, a sand pit, a plastic swing or a tire swing, an in-ground trampoline, slides, and a see-saw.

Spending some time outdoors is beneficial for your family’s health. Try these tips to create a family-friendly garden that you and your loved ones will enjoy for a long time.

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Getting your Family Ready for Those Winter Days Out

As a family, we like nothing better than day outs. They give us a chance to catch up and have some fun.

So, even in the winter, we still make the effort to get out and about. At this time of the year, most venues are far less crowded and sometimes they reduce their entrance fees during the winter months.

However, you do need to prepare properly for winter days out. If you do not you run the risk of having to cope with cold and miserable kids.

Getting your family out on a winter day

The right coat for everyone

At the very top of the list of what you need, has to be a good winter coat for Mum, Dad and each of the kids. Without one it is practically impossible to stay sufficiently warm and dry.

The ideal coat will be versatile, robust and practical. It is no good choosing one that looks fantastic, but lets the wind whistle up under it, leaving you shivering. This year there are quite a few nice 3-in-1 coats available. These are a particularly practical option because they can be worn in different configurations. You can wear the entire coat in the morning when it is cold and potentially shed the outer shell later in the day when, hopefully, it warms up a bit.

Layers of clothing

Try to get everyone to dress in layers. That way each person can change what they are wearing to fit in with the temperature and conditions at that moment.

A big enough bag

Be sure to get everyone to carry a bigger than usual bag. In all likelihood, you will need the extra space to stow items of clothing when they are not in use.

Hats gloves and scarves

Everyone needs to have a pair of gloves, a hat and a scarf. That way if you have to queue for a ride you can stay warm.

The right footwear

Speaking of queuing, the right footwear is essential in this situation. It is not enough to simply buy something that is waterproof and comfortable. A good pair of winter shoes or boots needs to have relatively thick soles. This will ensure your feet stay warmer if you have to stand still on a cold surface for any period of time.

Snacks and a warm drink

It is a good idea to take a few snacks and a small flask of something warm with you. That way if you arrive at the cafe and discover that they actually close in the winter you will all have something warming to tide you over until you find somewhere to eat.

Prepare the car for inclement weather

Naturally, if the forecast is for snow, strong winds or heavy rain you will stay at home and plan your trip for another day. However, even if you are careful to look at the forecast before going out it is all too easy to get caught out. Therefore, it is always wise to prepare your car for inclement weather. I know that this sounds like a lot of hassle, but it really does not take long to put together a ´go kit´ that you can just grab and put in the boot.

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10 Everyday Rituals that Mean a Lot to Kids

 

As most of us are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with everyday obligations, working long hours and devoting enough time to our families, kids are, unfortunately, those who often suffer the most. Sometimes we simply forget that they grow up quickly and that we’ll never have a second chance to be the best parents we possibly can or we simply don’ have the time and energy to invest in creating stronger relationships with our kids.

Still, even if that’s the case with you, you shouldn’t despair or consider yourself a bad parent. Instead, you can focus on introducing some changes to your behaviour and create some rituals that would mean a lot to your kids and that would make you feel so much better. So, let’s take a look at some activities which are not very time-consuming, but which can have great benefits to both you and your kids.

Evening walks

Try to introduce a routine of having a short walk with your kids after dinner. If you have more than one kid, you could organise individual walks around the neighbourhood. Every Monday, my five-year-old girl and I walk to a nearby park and spend some time sitting on a bench, looking at the ducks swimming in the lake. She tells me about what’s happening at her school and I tell her about my day.

Bike rides

Another thing we like to do as a family is go for a bike ride. The time we spend together is equally important as the health benefits of riding a bike. I really feel satisfied and fulfilled when I look at my kids on their bikes, wearing their helmets and other safety accessories. We rarely go on long rides, because the younger one is still not strong enough, but no matter how long the ride is, we all feel great afterwards.

Helping around the kitchen

kids in the kitchen

Cooking is a regular activity for most of us with children and I often ask my kids to help me with it. Not that I wouldn’t be able to do it without them, but since I have to spend some time in the kitchen, I like to use the opportunity to involve them as well. Though tiring, cooking is a creative activity and most kids react positively to a chance to be creative. Sometimes I ask them to stir or pour something, or simply help by bringing and taking away the ingredients. When we’re done, we enjoy the fruits of a joint effort and they really appreciate it. Also, they tend to be less picky when it comes to eating the food they’ve prepared.

Taking dogs for a walk

Another regular activity that could be done with kids is taking your dog for a walk. Not only do we spend more time together, but they also feel very proud and “grown-up” when I let them hold the leash for a minute or two. They also learn to look after someone, which is an excellent preparation for their future lives.

Tea rituals

I love a good cup of black tea with a few drops of milk every afternoon. Some time ago I started preparing some fruit tea infusions for my kids and invited them to join me if they feel like it. Much more often than not, they are happy to sit with me outside our home and sip their tea and talk about whatever they want. We usually make some plans for future activities and by the time we’re finished with our drinks, we’re ready to resume with our daily routine.

Card and board games

Like most kids, mine enjoy playing card and board games. I asked them to teach me their favourite ones and they were only too happy to oblige. Every Friday afternoon we sit at our dinner table and play a game or two and have some great time, usually while the dinner is being cooked in the kitchen. It’s all about time management, after all.

Reading

importance of reading to kids

The advantages of reading to kids are well-known, but I can confirm that it’ great for adults, too. It’s really comforting and soothing and a great way to unwind after a busy day. Naturally, it’s hard to find a book that is equally interesting for all of us, but we usually manage to reach a compromise, although I feel that I’ve learned some stories by heart already. Still, it feels good and I recommend it.

Letting kids stay up late sometimes

This is something that I started practicing with my daughter a few years ago. I let her stay up past her usual bedtime and do whatever she felt like doing. Sometimes she would play alone, but very often she would join me in watching TV or we would simply have a chat. She really appreciated it which is why I’ve just started the same routine with my son. The trick with two kids is not to let them stay up late on the same day in order to make them feel special.

Creating a shopping list and shopping

Some chores are more fun when done together. As soon as my kids learned to write, I started dictating them our shopping list. It would take them some time to complete the task, but they felt involved and important. We would then go to a local supermarket and they would be in charge of checking if we’ve got everything we needed. This is also a great activity you can do as a family, plus your kids practice reading and writing.

Gardening

No matter how small garden your garden is, you can always do with a little help from your kids. Filling the buckets, watering the plants or simply holding the hose are all activities that most kids like and make them feel like they’re contributing.

Conclusion

As you can see, most of these routines are not so time-consuming, but they all mean the world to your kids. The secret is to allocate that time and involve your kids in whatever they want to be part of. The result will be rewarding both for them and yourself.

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10 Healthy Cookie Recipes Your Kids Will Love

 

My daughter loves to eat cookies. Well, to be honest, her mother loves them too. We didn’t have a tradition to bake them ourselves, but I decided to change that. That is why I collected the list of awesome healthy cookie recipes your kids will love.
We are going to bake them all! Yum!

10 Healthy Cookie Recipes Your Kids Will Love

Healthy Cookie Recipes

1. Paleo Strawberry Jam Cookies
healthy cookie recipes

The jam is made from fresh strawberries and Kelly got a little creative with the cookie recipe. She combined cashews with coconut flour, and it gives them a buttery flavor (without using any dairy).

2. Chocolate Dipped Cookie-Dough Cookies
healthy cookie recipes
Stacey made this cookie dough from white beans. White beans are good at boosting energy and calming the mind. They can help improve your memory and can lower your cholesterol. They are also a great source of protein.

3. Healthy Cookies with Chikpeas, oatmeal and Chocolate Chips
healthy cookie recipes

Would you ever think of putting chickpeas in cookies? Nope, neither would Vicki until she started investigating healthy cookies and how to make them so they are still delicious cookies. And she made it!

4. Perfectly Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

healthy cookie recipes

These cookies are an excellent balance of salty and sweet, soft and chewy. They are hard to stop eating, so be careful!

5. Dark Chocolate Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies
healthy cookie recipes

One of the most versatile cookies around, chocolate chips can easily be changed up depending on what you have on hand. The key is to start with a good base recipe and to use quality ingredients.

6. Orange Oatmeal Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies
healthy cookie recipes

Plan to make this dough at least a day ahead. It needs to chill to firm up, to allow the butter and cream cheese to enrobe the flour, and to give yourself a break from kitchen marathons.

7. PISTACHIO COOKIES
healthy cookie recipes

Krista says that this is the BEST pistachio cookie recipe EVER. We will trust her and bake these asap!

8. Soft Spiced Cocoa Pumpkin Cookies
healthy cookie recipes

They are totally vegan, gluten-free, and allergy-friendly of course and full of clean real ingredients: quinoa flakes, pumpkin, unsweetened cocoa powder, and of course cinnamon.

9. Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookie Recipe

healthy cookie recipes

Baking helps Vinma to relax and lift up her spirits like no other. Well, when she offers us such a great healthy cookie recipe, we wish that she relaxes all the time!

10. 3 Ingredient Cookies
healthy cookie recipes

These cookies are quick and easy, plus they’re pretty healthy, especially if you leave out or substitute the chocolate chips.

*And just for full disclosure, there are affiliate links in this post about healthy cookie recipes. That means that I’m sharing something that I think is helpful, and if you make a purchase through the link, I earn a little bit back. No extra cost to you, and just a little help for me to pay for the blog expenses.

Ideas

Why You Should Teach Your Kids Foreign Languages

 

How many foreign languages does your kid speak? None? Why is that?
My daughter is still learning to speak her native language, but I plan to teach all my kids foreign languages as soon as possible. And here is why.

Kids Foreign Languages

Three simple reasons everyone should teach their kids foreign languages.

1. It is easier to learn languages when you are young.

A very important thing to remember here is that languages are much easier to learn when you are younger. Linguists agree that it’s a period before turning 12, and some say that children can start learning foreign languages as early as age 5. After this period of childhood, learning a second language can be a real struggle.

2. The more languages you know, the easier is for you to learn more languages.

That might sound weird, but that is, in fact, a general rule. Teaching your child any second language will make it easier for them to learn a third (and fourth and fifth) down the line.

3. Your kid will be grateful for this later in life.

No matter which second language you choose, your child will without any doubt be very grateful for this. A second language will give them a leg up in life, that’s for sure.

This is why I will teach my kids foreign languages.
That decision was easy to make. But how to choose the right language to teach your kids?

You have to consider what particular goal you have in mind for this second language.

Some parents teach kids foreign languages for cultural reasons because they want to pass on their native language while others do so because it is common in the area they live. These languages are the easiest for a child to learn because they are surrounded by them.

If you pick a language that is supported by the surrounding culture, it will be easier for your kid to learn that foreign language. If there’s a language that you are a native speaker of or one that is spoken in your area, I would highly recommend teaching that language to your child. It will be easy to learn and at the same time useful to them.

But don’t get so frustrated trying to choose the “perfect” language – you really cannot make a wrong decision.

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20 Best Simple Toys for Kids

 

After some experience with one goofy toddler who chooses to play with wooden spoons instead of dolls EVERY TIME, I can say that I truly believe that sometimes, and maybe even often, less is more.

Best Simple Toys for Kids

Here is the list of best simple toys for kids that my daughter can play with for hours. If you have something cool to add, please leave the comment. I would love to hear your ideas.

Best Simple Toys for Kids

1. Balloons
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Even without helium, an ordinary balloon can keep a child busy for quite a while. It moves slower than a ball, so it’s easier to catch and to bounce. Perfect simple toy for kids!

 

2. Blocks
wood blocks
Big wooden ones are the best, but if you don’t have blocks, you (by “you” I mean your kids 🙂 ) can play with shoe boxes, plastic cups, etc.

 

 

3. Cardboard Box
Simple toys for kidsOh yes, the simple cardboard box is the toy number one when it comes to simple toys for kids.

The best thing about it is that empty boxes feed their imagination. It can be a hiding place, it can be a bed for dolls or a garage for their cars. It can even be a chair.
Our cat likes it too.

4. Old gadgets.
It’s good to have things for kids to take apart. This will help give them an innate sense of how things work. Give them things like old clock or some other stuff with lots of gears and connected parts.

5. Bubble Wrap
Free and fun! It’s the best to step on it in your bare feet and make it pop!

6. Water.
Splashing in it. Blowing into it. Pouring it from container to container. “Painting” with it. You can do anything with water and it’s completely free.

7. Play Doh
You can spend hours making different animals, tools, people…

8. Uno
This is our favorite family card game. We can play it for hours and it never gets boring.

9. Stuffed animals
Simple toys for kidsThey can keep them for years and even save them for their kids! Isn’t that cool?
The stuffed toys often become a medium to interactive play, a real friend. Playing with stuffed animals helps them to learn and master social skills, and so much more.
My daughter has her little bear and she is not going anywhere without him. She sleeps with him, plays with him, talks with him…
Simple and fun!

10. LEGOs
Legos are just the best simple toys for kids and I don’t think there is a kid that doesn’t like playing with them. Even my husband plays all the time. You will never get bored of it.

11. Balance Bike
A Balance bike is the most practical way to teach your child to ride a bicycle. Traditional bicycles with training wheels teach your child very little about the balance that it will require to ride a “big kid bike” later. These balance bikes are the very best way to give your child practice stabilizing their own weight. I love them!

12. Wooden toys
Wooden toys are our favorite type of toys. Wooden houses, trains, animals.. Sometimes the old fashion toys are the best simple toys for kids.

13. Puppets
Sock puppets are so simple and can inspire the imagination of every child. The best thing is that you can make them yourselves so you can have double fun!

14. Puzzles
What kind of puzzles will you choose depends on the age of your kid, but those are the best simple toys for kids.

15. Connect 4
simple toys for kidsThis is the classic game I remember from my childhood. I played it all the time with my brothers and sister and we all loved it. It’s really a simple toy – when you get four discs in a row you win.

I still love to play it today, but this time with with my daughter. She doesn’t get it yet, but soon she will beat me and her dad every time. One of those simple toys for kids that can make you smarter, I guess.

16. Rubik’s Cube
This is at the same time an intriguing, educational, and frustrating toy! It’s a perfect simple toy for kids that will make their brain cells work hard.

17. Jenga
Another classic! You don’t know how to play it? Pull out a bock without crashing the stack to win at Jenga. Good luck and have fun!

18. Sand
Playing in sand is extremely entertaining for children and we should let them to that. Children have the opportunity to expand their creativity and imaginations through the designs of a variety of buildings and castles.

19. Blowing bubbles
Babies often love to watch their parents blow bubbles and think they are so interesting, and toddlers and bigger kids love to play with them. Blowing bubbles can’t be any simpler and it’s definitely one of the best simple toys for kids. They just love it, no matter how old they are.

20. Rocks
Best simple toys for kids
My daughter just loves to play with rocks. Yes, I said rocks! Don’t underestimate a rock, like I did before.
You can do so much with them: arrange them in piles, move them around, collect different shapes, paint on them.
Just let your kid go crazy! I guarantee you they will have so much fun with rocks! You will be surprirsed!

Let’s try putting down our tablets and smartphones and let’s be creative with the fun and simple toys for kids! There are endless possibilities of simple toys for kids (and you) to enjoy! Just put on your thinking hats and let your imagination out!

*And just for full disclosure, there are affiliate links in this posts. This means that I’m sharing something that I think is helpful, and if you make a purchase through the link, I earn a little bit back. No extra cost to you, and just a little help for me to pay for the blog expenses.