In one of our earlier posts I shared that last year my family has started a forest school in our area. It’s been a lot of fun and of course a lot of hard work. But we all have been really enjoying having a community of outdoor loving kids exploring together on a regular basis each week. And having my kids spend 4 to 8 hours 3 days each week year around in nature with their friends has been incredible!
Here in this post I wanted to share the outdoor gear and accessories they have been using and enjoying during their forest school time. In the past I have shared our favorite winter gear, as well as our favorites for the wet and muddy season. For summers they simply wear white shirts made from organic muslin fabric and shorts, all sewn by my mom for them. Summer hiking shoes is the only area where our search for the best gear still continues, as we are yet to find something I could recommend.
And in this post I wanted to share some of the accessories we’ve been using on our hikes. As always, the products are sustainable and ethically made and their mention here is not sponsored.
As always, this is not a sponsored post. The reason for the post is to merely share with other mamas brands that are sustainable and make great things for our little wildlings to help them be comfortable, healthy and spend as much time outdoors as possible.
Here in Colorado’s front range the Spring has arrived early this year. At least it seems so to me 🙂 It is still middle of March, but the snow is melting away in most places, our daffodils and tulips started caming out and I see first cautious signs of Spring on our walks in the forest as well.
As it’s been wet and muddy I put away our winter shoes and snow suits, and switched to wool-lined rubber boots and mud pants which I don’t know how we would do without. Especially with Eleon who loves mud with passion! 🙂 The moment we dig a whole in a garden he climbs right into it and just lounges there watching us work or pondering about life.
Over the years I found few great brands that make high quality, beautiful, toxin-free and sustainable outdoor gear for the children. So I wanted to make a post featuring all our favorites for this time of year when some days are still cold and some already warm, but you can always count on it being wet and muddy.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s being that long since my last blog post — almost 6 months! A lot has happened since then. We had our first vacation in many years and spent some time to Puerto Rico, which was so amazing! Visiting the Caribbean was a dream of mine for years. The boys still talk about wanting to go back there almost daily. And today as I’m writing this post we are sitting out in self-isolation as COVID-19 continues to spread through Colorado and the world in general.
Otherwise our lives have been going the usual ways — we still have been trying to reduce the use of plastic anywhere we can, buy things consciously, tend to our garden, and find other ways to leave lesser foot print on the planet. I’ve discovered some new wonderful plastic-free and non-toxic products that I’ve been wanting to post about. I also have been wanting to share some really incredible books I read. But I just haven’t had time. The thing is, over a year ago my husband and I have decided to open our own forest school. It has fully consumed most of my time. But it has been a really wonderful and rewarding experience, and I am happy to finally having a moment to share a little bit about it with you.
If you are looking for some fun educational books for your little willings these series are really wonderful. They are among the favorite for both of our boys since their youngest age. What makes these books so great in my option, is that they are reach in content, yet the content is presented in simple ways and easy to grasp portions. And the illustrations are fairly realistic. Each page in one of these books shows an eco-system, such as forest, garden, vegetable patch, ocean, sea shore, desert, etc. And on each page there is a list of creatures that are to be spotted on the page and a number showing how many of them there are.
It aligns with my belief of learning through play is the best way. And here they learn both about natural world and numbers in a playful way.
Hello, I wanted to share with you a few things we’ve been enjoying and learning about penguins from. It is nothing major, but it is fun, beautiful and educational and is a good introduction into the subject of Antarctica and the fascinating creatures living there.
Our boys’ love for penguins started with a beautiful Russian/Japanese animated film called “Lolo the Penguin”. To parallel their love for Lolo I found them a wonderful little book about penguins that they have been going over and over on their own or with us reading it to them. I also found some good brief videos about penguins on youtube. And lastly we have large Maps book with very beautiful map of Antartica that we reference as well to see where the penguins live and who else live there.
Welcome to my next post in the series on beautiful books about fall for children. This post features books by Gerda Muller. If you look through all my post on children’s books you’ll see that I frequently write about her books for children. They are truly are absolutely wonderful.
What we love about them
Incredibly beautiful, realistic and detailed illustrations giving children wealth of information about world around them
The stories are always about children’s interaction with nature — walking and playing in the forest, gardening and so on
Her numerous books on seasons beautifully present to children the seasonal changes that take place around them, what to look for and fun activities each season has to offer
Books also teach children about friendship and family
Both of my sons were extremely interested in these books from about 5 months old onward. Eleon, who is a bit more independent, could be frequently found going through one of Gerda Muller books for the last many months. And with Ale those were our bed time stories for many months straight!
I originally intended to post all of our insect books (see the Learning About Ants post) throughout the summer. But keeping things according to a plan while being a parent to two little toddlers has not been my strength 🙂 . Fortunately for me, September is a great month for the butterfly study and thus this post, as Monarch butterfly migration happens around mid-September, at least here in Colorado. So instead of completely missing the right time to post this, I happened to accidentally wrap it up at a perfect time to discuss these fascinating natural aviators!
Interesting butterfly facts:
If a human baby grew as fast as a caterpillar, it would weigh about 8 tons when it was only two weeks old.
Their eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light.
Many adult butterflies never excrete waste — they use up all they eat for energy.
Butterfly wings move in a figure “8” motion.
Monarch butterflies journey from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 2,000 miles, and return to the north again in the spring.
You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name
– Colors of the Wind song
Recently I saw a post on the NextDoor about a coyote sighting in the area. Some people were scared for their pets, others argued whether or not hunting and trapping was legal within city limit. It is always very sad to see these discussions. Surely we can do better than that. Especially considering that it is us who came to their turf and destroyed their habitat, in which they’ve lived for thousands of years, to build our homes.
Most of us living in urban areas are rather detached from wildlife, knowing very little about it. And to make things worse the news channels only love airing things that are shocking and terrifying (ideally both) while Hollywood specilizes in creating ridiculous and most unscientific concoctions about wildlife such as ‘The Grey’. In all of these the wildlife is always presented as a canning beasts always searching for its next victim and eating anything that moves or breathes, humans included. [Big sigh…]
As a result of these misconception peddled from the TV screens people are scared and seek the ‘removal’ of the wildlife to safeguard their beloved pets. Co-existence doesn’t seem an option. And at the end of the day the coyote, one of the most native animals of America, is killed in astronomical numbers. It is estimated that about 500,000 of these animals are killed annually. A half a million of beautiful native sentient creatures who lived here and served this land well long before us.
With so much time spent outside during our most beloved summer months you can’t help but to observe all the different little creatures living alongside with us. In any case, I try to encourage boys to observe and teach them what I know. In general we try to never give boys a negative opinion about a living thing. I tell them that everything has a role to play to keep all that surrounds us healthy and thriving. Even flies, whom I personally really dislike… 🙂 Although to be perfectly honest there are few bugs that boys don’t view so positively (mostly those destroying plants in then garden) and that’s of course due to our own attitudes to them.
Recently we’ve discovered a new serious of beautiful children’s books about insects. Each book has great little bits of information about the respected creature and the illustrations are just most beautiful and realistic. And so I was going to do a post about this series. But it turned out that on some of the insects we’ve already accumulated a little bit of a collection of other good books and even little plastic insect models. So, to give them proper spotlight, I’m doing a post on some of these books separately and then will share all of the other books together.
FUN ANT FACTS:
• Ants have specifics jobs they perform
• The ants we see out and about are all females
• Some ants live as long as 30 years!
So here is our little ants collection. Each of these little books is quite different from the other ones and together they give great overview about these industrious little creatures.
As the spring season is just around the corner I wanted to share this wonderful children’s book. This book was our favorite for many months when Ale was about 1 year old. We love gardening and so it was very relatable to him. And in its turn the book would make gardening activities and garden creatures even more interesting for him and offer him new knowledge about the garden’s goings.
As all Gerda Muller books it is exceptionally beautiful with very charming, realistic and detailed illustrations. And like all her books it is very informative for the little readers. One thing I especially love about Gerda Muller’s books is that due to the wealth of detail and information we can go back to them later again and again, each time discovering something new or re-discovering already known facts in deeper detail.
It seems like Ale’s world is so much about tracks these days — our kitchen is plastered with track stickers, floors are strewn with legos, we watch garbage track every Monday and go to bed with a tractor. So having this beautiful book as one of his favorite bedtime stories makes me particularly happy! He calls it the book about eagles — his favorite animal.
We don’t actually read the book. Instead my little eagle joins Mr. Bear as he digs for mussels under the rocks on the shore and then follows him into the woods to eat together some huckleberries (because that’s what the eagles do, right? ☺️) We ‘fly’ over the ancient forest and listen to the wolves as they howl to each other down below. We watch orcas play in the ocean and we share fish with mama whale. We listen to the rain and watch cougar emerge from the woods at sunset. And as the sun sets over the ocean and sky becomes studded with stars my little eagle lays down in his nest, I cover him with a blanket and we listen to some wolf howls and eagle calls on my iPhone as he is falling asleep. 💕💕💕 (scroll to the bottom to listen to the wolves howl!)