10 Hearty Vegan Camping Recipes for Your Adventures in the Wild

by 07/22/14   filed under: food, recipes

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Forest Kindergartens: Where Mother Nature is the Teacher in an Outdoor Classroom

by 07/21/14   filed under: education, green kids

green academics, eco school, forest school, forest kindergarten, outdoor education, outdoor school, outdoor kindergarten, nature kindergarten, nature school, nature play, outdoor learning, free play, kids in nature, kids need play, kids outside, nature deficit

Wouldn’t it be amazing if your youngster could spend his formative years outside exploring and learning about nature vs. being stuck inside without fresh air, exercise or a working knowledge of the environment? Depending on where you live, a nature-based school program could actually be close at hand. Forest kindergartens, also known by a slew of other terms such as nature-school, outdoor school and so forth, are schools that aim to nurture children in a healthy, often mobile environment in which little ones can experience nature firsthand for most, if not all of the day. Forest schools teach through experience. Kids are encouraged to dig in the dirt, climb trees, run wild and learn to enjoy all that nature has to offer. This is a vital learning experience for children and one that many kids are sadly missing out on. Martin Clarke, a teacher at a German forest kindergarten tells The Telegraph that kids receive more than a simple understanding of nature from these programs, but better health and coordination as well, stating, “We get four year-olds who have barely been outside and when they arrive they can hardly walk across a field, because it’s not flat, or climb a tree.’ How depressing — but hopeful as well, because once kids are enrolled in an outdoor school program, they can develop these skills quickly.

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Is Lack of Recess Breaks Causing the Alarming Rise in ADHD Diagnoses Among Children?

by 07/21/14   filed under: education, green kids, health & body, parenting

recess, health & body, education, green kids

The stats are pretty staggering: as many as 11% of school-aged children in the country have been diagnosed with ADHD since 2011. 10,000 toddlers have also been diagnosed with and medicated for the same “disorder.” And while the situation is obviously complicated and multifactorial, is one big reason for this explosion of ADHD and other behavioral issues the fact that kids are simply expected to sit still for too long and not given enough opportunities to move? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, the kids themselves may not be the “problem:” their behavior is perhaps an indicator that the pendulum has swung way too far in our school systems and in our society towards sitting… and sitting … and sitting some more. In research gathered for a 2010 Robert Woods Johnson/Gallup poll on recess, they found that “up to 40 percent of U.S. school districts have reduced or eliminated recess in order to free up more time for core academics, and one in four elementary schools no longer provides recess to all grades.” With reduced recess or no recess, kids have little time to decompress, exercise their bodies in addition to their minds, and focus their energies on non-academic pursuits.

Adults in the workforce commonly find that getting up for a few minutes (such as for a water or tea break), taking a short walk to get some fresh air, or even chatting to a coworker can help them shake off fatigue or refocus on their work, yet young kids are routinely expected to sit up and listen up even as their little bodies beg for physical activity.

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16 Essential Vegan Foods to Stock Up on to Switch Your Family to a Plant-Based Diet

by 07/20/14   filed under: cooking, food, green family, health & body, how-to, parenting, snack, vegan cooking, vegetarian

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An Ozone Garden Tells You About the Air Quality Around Your Home

by 07/19/14   filed under: education, green education

ozone garden, coneflower, ozone levels, plants in ozone garden, ozone level garden, nasa, pollution garden, detect ozone levels

What if you could simply look at the leaves on the plants in your garden to find out about the air quality in your neighborhood? Theoretically you can, if you plant a National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) inspired ozone garden (pdf). NCAR recently planted a garden full of plants that react visibly when ozone levels are high. Such plants include green shoots of milkweed, snap bean, potato and cutleaf coneflowers. Like humans, plants can be sensitive to ozone issues. Some plants, when exposed to high levels of the gas for extended periods of time, develop tiny, colored, evenly spaced spots on their leaves or their leaves may turn black or yellow. NCAR isn’t the first to plant an ozone garden. NASA has one and the new NCAR garden is based on the St Louis ozone gardens (pdf) set up by AQAST member Jack Fishman. Other ozone sensitive plants include flowering dogwood, buttonbush, soy beans, and milkweed. Planting an ozone sensitive garden is a realistic project you can implement at your own home with your kids, allowing your little ones to not only learn how to garden but also about ozone monitoring and wildlife that thrives around these plants. For example, milkweed is the monarch butterfly caterpillar’s primary food source. If you’d like to plant your own ozone garden check out the guides below. No time to plant a garden? Check out your neighborhood ozone situation at OzoneAware.

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Lead image © Danica Lombardozzi National Center for Atmospheric Research

 

The ARC Flatpack Dollhouse is Designed in Mid-Century Modern Style

by 07/19/14   filed under: eco play, green kids, green toys

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14 Delightful Hobbit Hole Homes That Will Become Your Child's Favorite Tiny Hideout

by 07/18/14   filed under: architecture

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Study Finds Babies Born to Healthy Mothers are Extremely Similar in Size Worldwide

by 07/18/14   filed under: health & body, prenatal

baby weight, healthy moms, best place to be a mom, child health,child mortality, maternity care, healthy baby, baby race, baby size

In the past, researchers have suggested that ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ are the two factors most largely responsible for the vast differences in the size of babies born in different populations and countries around the world. Now, a new study shows that the health of the mother may play a much more vital role than race and ethnicity. The landmark international study, was led by Oxford University researchers and involved almost 60,000 pregnancies in eight urban areas in Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, the UK and USA — and amazingly shows that while there are hugely wide disparities in the average size of babies at birth worldwide, it doesn’t have to be this way. Results of the new study found that mothers who are healthy, educated and receive proper nutrition all have babies that are strikingly similar in size at birth, thus revealing how important and vital the prenatal care of mothers should be worldwide.

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13 Amazing Sand Sculptures That Will Inspire Kids to Get Building at the Beach

13 Amazing Sand Sculptures That Will Inspire Kids to Get Building at the Beach

TweetEmail 1. The Classic Castle This image, from the 2011 National Sand Sculpture Festival at Revere Beach, Massachusetts, is straight out of a fairy tale. Crisp, white sand…

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7 Green Crafts that are Perfect for Playdates

7 Green Crafts that are Perfect for Playdates

TweetEmail #1: Recycled Milk Jug Catch If your family is like mine, you have some type of milk or juice jug in your recycling bin right now. While there are tons of great milk…

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Babywearing Ballet Class Lets Moms Dance Their Way to Fitness with Baby on Board

Babywearing Ballet Class Lets Moms Dance Their Way to Fitness with Baby on Board

Ready to relax, spend time out of the house, and maybe even lose some baby weight? Yes? Well, if you live in Tustin, California, then Babywearing Ballet might be just what you need.…

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8 Ways for Toddlers to Venture Outdoors, Even on Warm Summer Days

8 Ways for Toddlers to Venture Outdoors, Even on Warm Summer Days

TweetEmailphoto by William Prost 1. Find a splash pad. I don’t know if this is an Atlanta thing or an everywhere thing, but there are splash pads popping up all over…

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Green Mom Launches ECOlunchbox & Debuts Ocean-Friendly, Plastic-Free Bento Collection

Green Mom Launches ECOlunchbox & Debuts Ocean-Friendly, Plastic-Free Bento Collection

As awareness of the perils of plastics grows, an eco mom business is responding with the release of a new plastic-free and ocean-friendly lunchware collection designed to help families…

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Graco My Size 65 Convertible Car Seat Contains a Flame Retardant That Has Been Subject to a Global Ban by the UN

Graco My Size 65 Convertible Car Seat Contains a Flame Retardant That Has Been Subject to a Global Ban by the UN

As part of the HealthyStuff.org #ToxicFreeCarSeats campaign, HealthyStuff ran some early testing on the Graco My Size 65 Convertible Car Seat and found that it contains several…

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EPA Proposes Ban of HFCs in Cars & Grocery Stores to Help Halt Global Warming

EPA Proposes Ban of HFCs in Cars & Grocery Stores to Help Halt Global Warming

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just announced a proposal that would ban the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) where climate-friendly alternatives are available…

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14 Dreamy Kids' Rooms That Have Us Yearning for Childhood

14 Dreamy Kids' Rooms That Have Us Yearning for Childhood

TweetEmail 1. Enchanted Forest Nursery From the tiny lights that twinkle like fireflies to curtains that swing from real tree limbs and a lily pad bed, everything about this…

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Research Links Popular Pesticides to Declining Bird Population

Research Links Popular Pesticides to Declining Bird Population

TweetEmailNew research that some are dubbing a second “Silent Spring” shows that neonicotinoid insecticides have an adverse effect on non-target invertebrate…

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New Bill Proposes Ban on Using Known Toxin BPA in Food Packaging

New Bill Proposes Ban on Using Known Toxin BPA in Food Packaging

TweetEmailDemocrats in both chambers of Congress have introduced a bill that would ban Bisephenol-A, (BPA) from all food packaging. Reps. Lois Capps (Calif.) and Grace Meng…

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