Posts tagged: NWF

Raising Environmentally Aware Children (Blog Action Day)

By , October 15, 2007 12:01 am

I truly believe that the way to raise environmentally aware children is to instill a love and appreciation of nature at an early age.

Here are some ideas and resources to help parents encourage a love of nature in their children. Just one of these ideas alone may not make much of a difference, but a combination of several should begin to have an impact on the way children perceive the world we live in. I hope so anyhow! Please give some of these a try:

1) Get your kids outside! Go for a hike, or even a walk around the neighborhood. The National Wildlife Federation has a website for parents and kids called The Green Hour which is filled with ideas for what to do outside. Also check out Backyard Nature with Jim Conrad for 101 nature-oriented activities that change seasonally.

2) Have your kids plant a small garden. If you live in the city, have them plant a pot or two on the deck or even in a sunny window. Here are some of my tips for gardening with children: The Children’s Garden.

3) Subscribe to nature magazines for children such as Zoobooks (ages 4-12), Zootles (ages 2-5), National Geographic Kids (6-14), National Geographic Little Kids (ages 3-6), Ranger Rick (ages 7 and up), Your Big Backyard (ages 3-7) or for really little ones (ages 1-4) – try the National Wildlife Federation’s Wild Animal Baby. Not only do these magazines teach kids about nature, but they encourage reading too!

Note: Ranger Rick must have been around for eons, because even I remember getting it, and loving it, as a child.

4) Subscribe to a nature club such as the Arbor Day Foundation’s Nature Explore Club.

5) Put out a bird feeder, or better yet, a variety of bird feeders (hummingbird, thistle seed, suet feeders, platform feeders, peanuts in shells, as well as the traditional sunflower and millet varieties). Even in the city it should usually be possible to hang a small feeder outside a window. If you can put out a bird bath, especially a heated one for climates with cold winters, you will notice an even greater number of bird visitors.

6) Get a kit for raising butterflies, frogs, ladybugs, or hermit crabs for example.

Or how about an ant farm?

Or my personal favorite…sea monkeys!

7) Set an example. Whether we like it or not, kids model parents’ behaviors. Show your own interest in nature, and point out interesting animals, insects, plants etc. on a daily basis. To inspire yourself, I suggest reading Rachel Carson’s book The Sense of Wonder. Read my review of it here. Also, you can check out the adult resources here, at the Hooked on Nature website.

8) Come up with some nature-themed art projects for your children, or recycled art. Good resources for ideas are: Nature’s Art Box, Recycled Crafts Box, and Earthways: Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children

If you are interested, I reviewed Earthways here.

9) Involve children in your recycling. Let them help sort. Take them with you when you drop it off. Older children might benefit from a book like Down-to-Earth Guide To Global Warming. Read my review here for more information.

10) Read nature-themed stories to your children. Here are some suggested reading lists by age from the Hooked on Nature website:

Ages 3-8
Ages 6-14

11) Set up a seasonal nature table in your home where children can display their outdoor finds. A fall table for example might have fall leaves, acorns, and pine cones, whereas a spring table might have spring flowers, feathers and grasses. Change the table seasonally and see what wonders your children come home with.

12) Start solstice celebrations in your home. Explain about the movement of the Earth, what causes the seasons, and what the solstice means. Last year we had our first annual solstice celebration on the winter solstice. We lit candles and had a special meal. The children gathered whatever they could find outside to create the centerpiece (pine branches, pine cones, rocks, and twigs). They still talk about that evening more than any other holiday celebration that we have had! I believe that being more aware of the natural rhythms of life, helps build an awareness of the importance of nature and the planet.


I really wish I had begun this post three weeks ago instead of last night, because I know that there are many more great ideas for getting kids excited about nature and the environment. This will definitely have to be an ongoing project for me.

I hope you have enjoyed my ideas, and will find them useful. The main point is that children are the future of out planet. Get them outdoors and teach them just how wonderful our planet is…PLEASE!!!!

Help Support Wildlife – Certify Your Yard!

By , September 21, 2007 6:46 pm



I have written several posts about how to certify your yard as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF):

Project: Make Your Yard a Certified Wildlife Habitat (July 5, 2007)

Backyard Wildlife Habitat: Great Nature Slideshow (July 14, 2007)

Another Backyard Wildlife Slideshow (July 20, 2007)

The other day I just got an NWF email saying that they have almost reached their goal of certifying 100,000 habitats. The NWF needs to certify only 5,000 more yards to get there!

If you have been thinking about doing it (or even if the whole concept is new to you), now is the time. You don’t have to have a grand estate. All you need are the four basic habitat elements: food, water, cover, and places to raise young.

Once you go through the easy online process to certify, you will be eligible to buy the cool sign like ours in the photo. That way, neighbors and passers-by will know that you care enough about wildlife to provide a sustainable habitat in your own yard. You’ll also help spread the word to others about the existence of this great program.

Having your kids help you certify your yard is a wonderful way to teach them about the needs of wildlife. Two Unplug Your Kids readers even created online nature slideshows of their habitats. You can view them by clicking these links: Meeyauw’s slide show and Tiffany’s slide show (Nature Mom). If you feel like making your own slideshow, please let me know and I would love to link to it.

So, click here to get started today!

Some Fun Websites for Kids’ Activity Ideas

By , September 18, 2007 11:28 am

My oldest daughter gave me a present: the first cold of the school year. How sweet! The past few days I have been too busy blowing my nose to write an inspired post.

Today I feel like writing a post entitled: “How to Nap Peacefully in Your Bed All Day While Caring For a One Year-Old” If I find any information on how to do that, I will be sure to pass it on.

So, all I have for you today is a plan to draw your attention to some links in my left sidebar. Andamom published some interesting web links on and I thought this was a good idea. Since I have already found the links I am going to introduce, not much thought is required on my part. Perfect for today.

I don’t think many people have noticed the sites I have listed under “Wonderful Websites.” It is a bit swallowed up by “Blogs I Like” above, and “Unplug TV Resources” below.

1. Backyard Nature with Jim Conrad: This is a site packed with nature facts and information. Kids (and adults) can read about plants, animals, fungi, geology, ecology, gardening, names & classification, and “tools for the backyard naturalist.” One of my favorite parts of the site is “101 Nature-Oriented Things to do this Summer.” If the kids say they’re bored, then send them outside to find a lichen or some insect eggs (#10 and #43). How about participating in Operation Rubythroat (a humming bird observation project, #84)? Summer is almost over, for those of us residing in the Northern part of the globe anyhow, but many of these ideas would be doable in winter too.

2. National Wildlife Federation “Green Hour”:
The goal is to get kids outdoors for at least one hour per day, the “Green Hour,” for “unstructured play and interaction with the natural world.” The site has a page called Discovery Journals and Activities where different outdoor activities are suggested and readers can search past activities by season or topic. How about an Alphabet Hike or a Worm Safari? Green Hour publishes a blog too.

3. Arbor Day Foundation “Nature Explore”: Tons of ideas to help connect kids with nature. Be sure to check out their Sourcebook page. There is also a Nature Explore Club to join (we have not done so yet) where, for $20, the Arbor Day Foundation will send your child a package ten times a year with the following:

“1 : 10 engaging, colorful stories—to take imagination to new heights
2: 10 outdoor activities—that children and adults have fun doing together
3: 10 different “Explorer’s Tools” like a tape measure, leaf shapes, and a viewfinder to make discovering nature even more fun
-Plus more!”

And finally, for a change from outdoor nature activities, or on a rainy day, be sure to visit :

4. The Toymaker
: Artist Marilyn Scott-Waters has here remarkable creations for parents and children to print out and make for free! Here is Marilyn’s introduction:

Welcome to my odd, little world of paper toys, holiday cards, valentines, sun boxes,

baskets and bags, origami and ephemera… all for you to make.

My goal is to help grownups and kids spend time together making things.

It is my wish to amuse and delight.



All her creations are positively gorgeous, plus they are easy and fun to make. You can look up ideas by Holiday, or simply browse all the fun Paper Toys. Don’t miss the Otter Paper Dolls and clothes too! Everything is completely free to make for fun or as presents, all Marilyn asks is that you not sell her creations. Marilyn has an interesting blog too. Thank you for giving us all the lovely gift of your site Marilyn!


Thanks to photographer mantasmagorical and for this photo.

Another Backyard Wildlife Slideshow

By , July 20, 2007 12:33 pm


I just discovered another Backyard Wildlife Habitat slideshow made by Tiffany and her family over at Nature Mom’s Blog!

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post describing how to certify your yard as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. This can be a fun family project that can teach kids a lot about nature and make them look at their own backyard in a whole new way.

One of my readers, meeyauw made a slideshow of her property showing the different habitat elements. Meeyauw’s slideshow inspired Tiffany to create one of her yard too.

This slideshow idea seems like a lot of fun! Go visit meeyauw’s and Tiffany’s slideshows and then make one of your own. Be sure to tell me about it and I will link to it here.

Thank you both for taking this idea one very creative step farther!

Backyard Wildlife Habitat: Great Nature Slideshow

By , July 14, 2007 4:05 pm


One of my readers, Meeyauw, apparently enjoyed my post on creating a National Wildlife Federation backyard wildlife habitat enough to actually do this project with her grandson, Wingnut. (Wow, somebody was really interested in what I had to say! What a nice feeling!).

She and Wingnut created a totally wonderful slideshow (complete with great music that makes me want to dance) of their nature hike around Meeyauw’s property with cat Buddy. They photographed various habitat elements that they came across, and also took many photos of Buddy enjoying himself tremendously.

Meeyauw’s gorgeous Barton, Vermont property appears to need no adjustments for certification, and that cool sign should be on her barn in no time. Caves, natural springs, glacial boulders, trees, ferns…suffice it to say that when I die I want to be reincarnated as any form of “wildlife” whatsoever and live happily ever after on her property!

Thank you to Meeyauw and Wingnut for your great slideshow. I hope that anyone reading this will stop by Meeyauw’s blog and watch the slideshow. Maybe you’ll be inspired to try this yourself! If you do, please let me know.

By the way, check out the National Wildlife Federation’s site called Green Hour for some information and ideas for getting kids outside and into nature.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy