Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter is here and so are the Snow-Ballers!!

It has been a much anticipated event.  We've already gotten oodles of orders for the Snow-Baller and Snow-Block, and so when the CanPar man knocked on our door at 7pm tonight, I yanked my daughter and we raced outside together to test these babies out.  This will explain why these photos are taking in the dark! :)

The Snow-Baller and Snow-Block do not disappoint!  It took a couple tries to get it, but mainly because the scoop needs to be cold so the snow doesn't stick to the hard plastic.  As soon as it got cold (after a couple snowball making attempts) the balls eased out like nothin'!

We were mainly enraptured with making as many snowballs as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time (the company claims 60 per minute, and it's no exaggeration), but tomorrow we'll test out the snow-block further as well.

Come and get 'em while they last folks!  No joke, these are already flying out the door, and people haven't even seen our testimonials yet!  Oh Happy Snow!  We shall be pelting friends and family with soft, perfectly formed poof-balls of powder!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Capitol Theatre and Bumblebee Toys Entertain the Kids of the Kootenays

Yo Ho Ho, it's off to the Capitol Kids Series we go!

Nelson BC – The Capitol Theatre joins with BumblebeeToys.com to offer a fun giveaway for young theatre goers attending shows for the Capitol Kids Series.  Bumblebee Toys is generously donating two large wooden Venture Pirate Ships valued at $200 each to be given away live during the Capitol Kids Series this 2010/11 season.

Every year The Capitol Theatre brings in talented diverse groups that inspire the imagination of the Kids of the Kootenays.  The Theatre has been bringing generations of families spirited live entertainment that have inspired and help culture our community.  This year The Kids Series is hosting a buffet of fun and excitement for everyone.  The adventure starts with The Story of Esther by Major Conrad Flapps, then to the International Magic of ¿Qué Bolá? from Cuba, Flyn’ Bob swings in with his One Man Three Ring Circus and the series ends with a wonderful interpretation of The Velveteen Rabbit by Kathryn Popham.  This year the series has something of inspiration for everyone.

To add more excitement for the Kids Series, BumblebeeToys.com has donated two wooden interactive Venture Ships to be awarded live throughout the series to a lucky theatre goer.  Bumblebeetoys.com has a mission to inspire the imagination and nourish the senses.  That is why they teamed up with the Capitol Theatre and their quest to enrich the imagination and minds of children through live entertainment.

“We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful cultural opportunity with the diverse events featured at the Capitol Theatre Kids Series,” Quotes Neil Harrower Executive Director. “It takes a village to raise a child and we are excited to do our part by providing live entertainment opportunities to youth and young families.”

To find out more about The Capitol Kids Series and get tickets go online at www.CapitolTheatre.bc.ca or call 250.352.6363 and when you go to the show keep a look out for your chance to win one of two Venture Ships from BumblebeeToys.com.  See you at the Theatre!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Roald Dahl and his very strong feelings

I'm reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my 7 year old daughter again for the 4th time, and I'm always amazed and in admiration of the sociatal commentary that Roald Dahl subtly (and not so subtly) interjects.

My child is in Waldorf school, where media isn't much supported (for her age group particularly).  I know most students there watch some TV or shows, but many parents, like me, cut way back during the school year.  At our house, she's only allowed to watch shows on the weekend.  And she doesn't watch television, we don't even have reception.  So it's always funny to me (who was RAISED on TV) that she doesn't know what a commercial is.
Nonetheless, in the summer time it can get a little out of control, and like candy, once it's given to her, she starts craving shows.  The more she watches, the more she wants to watch.
During the school year, she almost forgets that she's allowed to watch something on the weekends.

Like right now.  It's Friday, she's home from school, and she wants to go rake the leaves up in the yard, after just finishing playing with her dolls.

Which for me is refreshing.

So last night as we were reading, I got to the chapter about Mike Teavee.  Poor poor Mike Teavee.  He's  an extreme character in the book (as are all the children really).  I don't know anyone that lets their child watch as much as Mike does.  Although I'm sure they exist out there.

So, with a very respectful nod to the brilliant Roald Dahl, I give to you the Oompa Loompa song just for Mike, when he miniaturizes himself in the Wonkavision Testing Room:


"The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set–
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotized by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all the shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink–
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY...USED...TO...READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic takes
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy–Winkle and–
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How The Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole–
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks–
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start–oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hears. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.
P.S. Regarding Mike Teavee,
We very much regret that we
Shall simply have to wait and see
If we can get him back his height.
But if we can't–it serves him right."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And we have a winner!

Congratulations to Miriam Bixby!!!
The day of the Grand Opening was a fun-filled and festive day! With beautiful weather, the Frog Peak Café was the perfect venue.
It featured a big grassy yard with wonderful little shady patches underneath scattered trees, and plenty of room for all the fun.

Jilly bo Billy Boutique’s booth showcased a sampling of the cutest clothes around. From local designer, Punkin, to American brand, Misha Lulu, all the way to the Netherlands with Room Seven. Jilly bo Billy carries designer baby and kid clothes, discounted.

Bumblebee Toys displayed their wide array of natural, educational, and fun toys for all ages.  Hand-carved castles made of Walnut, beading kits, and beautiful Play Silks. Hard to find, quality toys now available in Canada!

The day started out with the much awaited Jilly bo Billy Fashion Show. 11 kids, 21 outfits (and a few adult helpers) later we had the diva, the sprinter, and the hider come down the runway.
Lynn Dragone was next with her lovely interactive theatre performance. Kids sang, danced, and played to her storyline. 

Balloons, face painting, colouring, tattoos, and the fun kept coming.

The phenomenal Safire Jones was there in her whimsical costuming, entertaining adults and children alike with her Cirque de Soleil style workshops.  All the kids geared up for balance beam, hoola hoop, poi, and diablo stick fun. We had a great show watching the kids (and some adults) perfect their moves.

Many door prizes were given away; Gift certificates galore, a wonderful 3-hour parent support package from local Nelson business Nest Parent Support, a fantastic spa package from Shalimar Health Spa, a yummy gift basket from Pixie Candy, a generous bag of home baked goodies from Vanilla Bean Bakery, 4 tickets to the Capitol Theatre Kids Series generously donated by Neil Harrower, and lastly, and what the kids were all most excited for was a beautiful, huge wooden pirate ship valued at $200 donated by Bumblebee Toys!

And a Grand Opening Contest isn’t complete without a ‘guess how many jelly-beans are in the jar’ contest also!  Children were found oogling and drooling over the stuffed jelly bean jar.

The door prize winners were announced throughout the party:  Jeff Bruin, Isabelle Houde, Tobias Nadeau, Jen Bruin, Addis Atkinson, Anna Bundschuh, Tyler Toews, Hannah Malenfant, Semegn Atkinson, Larson Proctor, Melissa Owen, Megan Little and Nina Garcia!  Congratulations everyone!

Now what we’ve all been waiting for. Who’s going to win the Grand Prize Package of over $350 in gift certificates and tons more prizes? We took two entries per mode of entry to be semi-finalists in the live draw. Out of close to 1000 entries, the lucky winner is…Miriam Bixby!!!!!   Yeah!

Congratulations, Miriam and THANK YOU to everyone who came out and made it a fantastic family event, and to all our online contestants as well!  People are already asking when the next one will be!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Grand Opening Contest!!


Bumblebee Toys is excited to announce that we're inches away from a freshly redesigned website, and to celebrate we're having a FABULOUS Grand Opening Contest!

We're joining forces with the wonderful online kids clothing boutique, Jilly bo Billy, to bring you a slew of prizes (totaling over $700 and growing!) including:

$100 Gift Certificate from Bumblebee Toys
$200 Gift Certificate from Jilly bo Billy

Great prizes also from:

Rocky Mountain Kid
Decaf Plush
Nomads Hemp Wear
Name Your Tune
Sarah's Silks
Crayon Rocks
Lavish Lamb
Little Ruler
Bead Kits
Capitol Theatre (local door prize only)
Vanilla Bean Bakery (local door prize only)

There are 5 ways to enter. Increase your chances by doing all 5 (or 6 if you're local!)
Note: in order for us to track your entries, you must leave a comment HERE in this blog post (or in our Guestbook on Bumblebee Toys website) stating each way you entered.
Also note, if you are already following/subscribing etc, just leave a comment saying so, ie "i am already facebook fan" and it still counts as an entry!

First entry:

1. Go to our website, have a look around, and tell us what item(s) you love mostest by commenting here.

Additional Entries:

2. Join our Facebook fan page
3. Sign up for our newsletter
4. Follow us on Twitter
5. Follow our Blog
6. (If you are local) Attend Our giant Grand Opening Party on August 14th!

You can also go to the Jilly bo Billy website and there are 4 more ways to get contest entries!

Contest closes on August 14th. Winner will be contacted via email.
You must be 18 to enter


Saturday, July 3, 2010

What colour is the tooth fairy?

My daughter Aloka just lost another tooth, one of her top front ones. We decided to try something new, and I wanted to share this with other parents. It was so much fun!

Instead of putting her tooth under her pillow in a pouch or purse, we decided to put it into a glass of plain water and place that by her bedside.

The theory was that when the tooth fairy came, she'd have to fish the tooth out of the water (or dive in herself), and her magic would sprinkle off into the water. The water would of course then reveal the colour of the tooth fairy in the morning!

That night, as Aloka placed her glass next to the bedside, she was FAR more excited to see what colour the tooth fairy was than what she'd bring, which was really great in my opinion! The magic took the forefront, over the traditional monetary gift the fairy typically brings.

Aloka sprang up in the morning to check the water, and sure enough, the tooth was gone and the tooth fairy had left her colour behind, which was a pale yellowish spring green!
Almost as an after-thought she checked under her pillow, and to her delight, found a toonie.

Then something even stranger happened. A few hours later, the water turned even greener. My daughter was totally flabbergast. If you asked her if she believes in the tooth fairy, she would proudly say YES!

Here's what happened.

I used some high-quality food colouring to colour the water the night before. It's a gel, and you only need to dip a toothpick just barely into the gel, and then swirl it in the water to colour it. I dipped a little yellow, then thought it looked too much like pee. Not very magical, fairy pee.
So, I decided to add a little blue to turn it green. It turned it a very pale springy green, but I did see a few blobs of gel (grain of sand sized) fall off the toothpick into the water.
(we did joke later that maybe the fairy was actually blue, but she peed in the water, turning it green!)

So the next morning, when my daughter picked it up and swirled it around, I think it swished more of the blue blobs around and it slowly released more colour into the water. Hence, turning it greener.
Total magic!

Aloka, in her silk "under the sea" canopy

We didn't know what to do with the water at first. I mean, you can't just dump magic tooth fairy water down the drain, right?
I suggested she pour it over a special plant outside in her garden, to see if it helps the plant grow. Her dad suggesting sticking a white carnation in it, to watch it magically turn the same colour as the water.

In the end, she ended up drinking it! She thought what better place for tooth fairy magic, than in her body! I love the child's mind, just love it!
Next time, I think I'll try pink!

In case you still just like to stick with the traditional 'tooth in pillow' thing, we do have beautiful tooth fairy purses and pouches!

But, give this a whirl, and your child will love it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Healthy eating with our children...

Or, this could also be titled "dealing with the picky eater" as is exactly whats happening in my house.
I can't even believe it, but I have one of those kids. My almost 7-year-old daughter lives on carbs. She hates almost everything I cook (and I think I'm a pretty good cook, thank you very much!). If it's a vegetable she picks it out. She won't even eat kid staples like spaghetti, grilled cheese (she peels off the cheese), or peanut butter and jelly. She does like crust however, but doesn't like eggs, quiche, most soup, pizza, and of course, anything ANYTHING touching.

My new strategy? Make it fun!
- Growing our own food
If she picks it, she often eats it. Ok, eat might be a strong word. Let's try 'taste', 'sample', or 'nibble'.
- Make it look silly!
I've found if I make quesadilla for lunch she won't touch it. But if I make it star shaped, she eats the whole thing! A friend of mine has figured out that if she kebabs it, her child will eat just about anything on the kebab. She's tried all fruit kebabs, and all veggies. Add a little dip to the meal for extra fun. Definitely on my 'must try' list.

I've been lately contemplating the terms I use when talking about food with my child. Healthy, good for you, it will make you grow strong. I cringe when I hear myself, yet, I feel it must be said.
But I've been reading lately, a lot. And I'm seeing new terms like "grow" foods, which got me interested. Here is a quote from an article I read from Dr. Sears, about what he tells his children:
“Grow foods are filled with protein, which is like the steel, bricks, and concrete, that construction workers use to build a strong building. Grow foods have good carbs, or good sugars, that provide energy for you to run, think, and learn. These foods have smart fats that make your brain smart and your skin smooth. And grow foods are filled with fiber, which cleans out your body and makes your poop softer. Grow foods are packed with tiny foods called vitamins and minerals that act like energy batteries to help all the rest of the nutrients work better and help you grow. And, they taste good!”

I like it. Gonna try it.

And here's an excellent quote from a mom, definitely like this!

"I explained to my kids that once the junk food was gone I was no longer going to buy it. I explained that mommy was learning about how 'grow' food, like fruits and vegetables, makes us strong and healthy, and how sugary foods have been making us sick. Just like we wouldn’t allow bad people into our homes to hurt us, we were no longer going to allow bad food into our home and bodies to hurt us.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Throwing a party for your child?

It doesn't have to be expensive to be fun and creative!

I know it can be a daunting task. With my daughters 7-yr birthday approaching this summer, I'm here again, trying to figure out what to do for her.
It will be hard to "out-do" last years Pirate Party (see below), and in fact, I don't think I want to get into the habit of always "out-doing" the last party. So my brain has been mulling.

We went to a birthday party last weekend. It was splendid and simple. It was a bunch of children (maybe 15? 20?) and their parents. It was at the birthday boy's house which also happens to be on a beach. There was no agenda. No planned games, party decorations, not even much food. Just a bunch of kids, a beach, a lovely grassy yard, some watermelon, a hose, and a beautiful sunny day. The parent's all stayed and it was a lovely gathering for all.
When we got home, my daughter said it was the best party she had ever been to.
Holy cow!

This got me thinking.

Her Pirate birthday, was, in contrast, incredibly detailed. It was also a great party and lots of kids said it was the best ever, but in hindsight it was a lot of work, and definitely has got me thinking. Is it really all about the themes, the goody bags, the games? Yes and no. Children don't have the expectations that we as adults have. They are so easy to please at this young sweet age. All they need is friends, a little water to play in, and a beach apparently.

If you're leaning towards something a little more exciting and 'planned' there are a wealth of ideas to save money.

Our Pirate Party was a huge success. We planned it at a park with a beach. Here are some of the details that were involved, all on a budget!

Scavenger Hunt with Buried Treasure:
To do this, we took an old trunk we had lying around and filled it with our 'loot' bags, and buried it on the beach. We marked the spot with a big X made out of sticks.

The children digging up the buried treasure chest

Everyone carrying the treasure chest back to base camp

Scavenger Hunt Clues:
This was so fun. I wrote out each clue in a rhyming, piratical lingo, then typed it in the font called Cezanne (very Piratey, but you can use anything). Then, I tore it around the clue (no straight edges). Then the clue got soaked it in coffee. After it dried, I brushed lemon juice onto the paper, and using a craft heat gun, dried the lemon juice to give it an antique look. Incredible transformation!



The other clues

The first clue was a letter that Captain GoldenEye had left for the kids, stuck on a tree at 'base camp'

And here I am reading the letter from Captain GoldenEye. The children were mesmerized! Is it real??

They found the last clue in a bottle washed up ashore, and the bottle had an 'old' treasure map in it showing where the treasure was buried.

Holding up the treasure map!

Loot Bags:
To do this, I went to a local coffee roaster and got several free burlap bags that the beans come in. I cut the burlap, filled it with the loot and tied with hemp twine.
We filled the loot bags with GOLD. This consisted of rocks we collected from the beach and river, and spray painted. The kids *loved* the gold!

Painting gold nuggets

There is all but one burlap loot bag left in the chest (there were 15 total). You can also see a smattering of gold still left in the chest. The kids thought it was real gold!

Pirate Sword Craft:
We cut swords out of cardboard, and wrapped the handle in black electrical tape. The children wrapped their own swords in tinfoil, then decorated them with glitter and 'jewels'.

Pirate Josh manning the pirate sword craft table

The swords

Pirate Cake:
This was easy and fun. I made two simple round cakes, and put them on a big piece of blue poster board. I iced them white, and sprinkled crushed graham crackers all around for the 'sand'. Then I simply used my daughters collection of Pirate Playmobil toys to decorate.

We bought a bouquet of Red, Black, White, and Gold balloons to make the party spot.

We called it a potluck, parent's brought the food, and voila! Pirate Party!

We had all the party guests come wearing white shirts. We dressed them with a red sash (just red scrappy fabric we got for very cheap) torn into long swatches. Then we wrapped more black scrappy fabric for the bandana. I had also scored a big pack of eye patches off eBay for $5. Arrrrrr!

And here are some of our party guests. We had about 15 kids plus parents, and my sister did a little face-painting for them, hence the little skulls on some of their cheeks!

So, while it was very affordable, it was a huge amount of work to put together, although worth every minute! This year, I want to take a different approach. Especially after the incredible beach party we just went to last weekend.
Stay tuned!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day...the heavier and lighter side

Mother's Day is just around the corner.

Right now, my almost-7 year old is busily crafting away, while my 1 1/2 year old is taking a much needed nap. We had a typical 'rough' night last night, nursing all night long and hardly sleeping. My toddler is getting all 4 of her canine teeth at once, and it makes for very long and exhausting nights.

Mothering is such a amazing mix of the best and the worst of things. The immense vulnerability we have with the birth of our first child is of epic proportions. We love our children so much that it hurts. Does it hurt because life is so impermanent? Thoughts of my own mortality run though my mind when this little innocent and fragile being is so dependent on me. This is love.

My children have caused me more stress, exhaustion, grief, sadness, heartache, worry, pain, struggle, and frustration than I could ever believe imaginable. When it feels like all is falling apart, all we can do is keep on truckin'. There are no breaks, no time-outs for moms, no 'pause' button (oh, wouldn't a 'pause' button be so nice??).

And yet, my children also give me more unconditional love, beauty, excitement, rejoicing, celebrating, learning, growth, power, creativity, independence, and strength than I could have ever imagined.

Trying to describe this to someone who has never had children is like trying to describe an orgasm to someone who's never had one. It's just impossible, and you just can't know until you do it.

So, here's to all you amazing mothers out there, who will just keep on truckin' no matter what, keep on feeding those mouths, wiping those bums and laughing and weeping all through the preciously short childhoods.
Soon, they will be grown and out of the house, and suddenly we won't have never-ending piles of laundry to fold, messes to clean up that we just cleaned up two minutes ago, endless meals and snacks to prepare.
Our homes will feel empty, and we'll miss it.

And so, on that note...here's something a little on the lighter side.
Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful women out there!

MOTHER - Job Description

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma


Long term, team players needed, for challenging,
permanent work in an often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication
and organizational skills and be willing to work
variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends
and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
Some overnight travel required, including trips to
primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.


The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily,
until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule
and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat
in case, this time, the screams from
the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges,
such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets
and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and
coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings
for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute,
an embarrassment the next.
Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a
half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for
the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and
janitorial work throughout the facility.


Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills,
so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because
of the assumption that college will help them
become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that
you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


While no health or dental insurance, no pension,
no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and
no stock options are offered;
this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love,
and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Our garden and scavenger hunts!

I live in the beautiful community of Nelson, BC. Since March, most of my friends have begun their spring gardening, and even at my 6 yr old's Waldorf school, they are embracing spring with their lovely songs and planting projects.
WELL, where my family lives, it's a bit of a different story. While we're only 15 minutes out of town, we're also those short 15 minutes towards the famous Whitewater Ski Hill.
What this means, is that we are in a serious snow belt. Our snow isn't completely melted yet. My garden is only just now starting to show it's little crocus colours. And out of impulse, mixed with a bit of jealously of my neighbours in town, I went to the local nursery here and spent way too much on wistful purchases.

One such purchase occurred last week, when I made a trek out to Georama (the nursery) innocently to buy some beautiful Crocosmia that i had special ordered. I meandered through the enticing outdoor displays, when i found myself in the fruit tree section. Danger, danger Will.

Ok, so I left there about $150 broker, but two beautiful apple trees richer!!
Apple trees.... mmmm, crispy crunchy sweet. These are early ripeners for our harsh, cold climate (15 minutes to the tropics, bah), and they will have fruit within 2-3 years, just in time for my almost two year old to climb with her then to be 10 year old sister. Perfect.

And while I'm on the topic of trees and planting out in nature, I wanted to mention our lovely new little product, just in time for spring, the Nature Bag!

A little bag, chock full of outdoor projects and ideas for children, it's an award winning green eco-toy, made by a lovely company based in Vancouver.

My daughter loves 'scavenger hunts' and they always seem to be an exciting theme to her birthday parties, and playdates. Kids never tire of scavenger hunts.
So, I am leaving you with a wonderful way to make being out in nature ever so much fun for you and your children!

Scavenger Hunts

When you are in the outdoors, one idea to help make a nature walk or hike more appealing to children is to offer them the challenge of a scavenger or treasure hunt. Just remember to leave nature undisturbed and respect the natural surroundings.

We have collected together some ideas to encourage children to think creatively and use their observational skills.

Alphabet Nature Hunt

Spot items that begin with the different letters of the alphabet eg acorn, beetle/berries, catkin, dead tree etc

Miniature Scavenger Hunt

Provide a small container such as an empty matchbox and ask the children them to fit as many different natural things inside as possible. Search for a seed, a blade of grass, a pine needle, a tiny stone, a small leaf etc. After about 20 minutes all come together and carefully tip out the contents from each container, counting how many tiny objects you each found.

Texture Scavenger Hunt

Take a nature walk. How many of these textures can you touch? Can you find any different textures not mentioned below?

furry moss
prickly pine needles
smooth flower buds
waxy evergreen leaves
rough tree roots
silky flower petals
soggy decomposing leaves
brittle twigs
flexible grasses
sticky tree sap
lacy skeleton leaves

Treasures from your Imagination

How about using ideas from a storybook or film and try to find a fairy’s cloak, a dragon’s scale, a hobbit’s hole or a goblin’s den. Such imaginings could lead to the discovery of all sorts of wonderful treasures.


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