Thursday, June 16, 2011

We're Moving!

Hello to our followers! Please follow us to We've decided to make the move over to WordPress and link up with our website. We'll still be bringing you great information on early childhood education and our related products, just at a new home. You'll be able to conveniently view all of our company's blogs and view our products at the same time. So please, make the move with us. It's going to be an adventure!

Thank you,
The Adventurous Child Staff

Monday, May 2, 2011

“… when the world is puddle-wonderful”

e.e. cummings referred to springtime as “when the world is puddle-wonderful.” What a marvelous expression! May is a lovely time of year for enjoying the outdoors with your children.

For example, why not create a scavenger hunt? Ensuring each group has at least one adult supervising, hand out lists with pictures of crocuses, daffodils, and violets along with other native flowers. You could also list ladybugs, butterflies, and ants. You might even list small frogs or toads if you’re near water. A scavenger hunt would be the perfect activity for your outdoor classroom or a nearby park.

While hiking with your children, engage them in discussions about this particular season. Are they wearing different clothes from the winter? Why? How have the trees changed? Does the air feel different?

Karen Miller, author of our favorite The Outside Play and Learning Book, suggests the following:

“Find a tree in the springtime that is just showing its first tiny leaves, just out of the bud. Pick a few of these leaves and encase them in clear contact paper to preserve them. Visit the same tree once a week for three or four weeks in a row, and each time pick some leaves and encase them in clear contact paper. The children will notice how each week the leaves get a little bigger.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Painting Fun

Q: Our preschool teachers would like to allow children to explore letter writing with various textures. The children commented that they like using shaving cream at home. We are not able to use this at our center. Do you have any ideas?

A: Here is a good alternative to shaving cream. You can keep the clear, uncolored thickener in the refrigerator for quite awhile. It also makes a good paint extender. I pulled the recipe from the following website: There were over 100 recipes on the site. Many did contain soap, but others were cooking ingredients. Some great textures were offered.

Cooked Home Made Finger Paint
· 4 cups cold water
· 6 teaspoons of cornstarch

Mix a small amount of cold water with cornstarch until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the water. Cook the mixture over low heat until it is clear and the consistency of pudding. Add tempera for color.

This would be a lot of fun to use on an outdoor art easel! In fact, I just may round up my TAC pals right now to make some paint and then make some art.

Monday, April 25, 2011

DIY Rain Barrel

April showers bring May flowers, it’s true, and those showers can be pretty fantastic – and not just for your tulips and daffodils! Why not create a rain barrel to store that water? There are a lot of great reasons to create a rain barrel, including water conservation and saving money.

Our friends at have a lot of ideas about this very topic! Here are some reasons to create a rain barrel:

· Water conservation
o When you conserve water, you are not just helping yourself, you are helping your community and the planet.
· Saving money
o The primary advantage to using rain water over municipal water is that you are saving water and money.
o You can use the water you collect to take care of your garden, lawn and outdoor cleaning tasks.
o This means that even when your community is on a water restriction you can still water plants and your lawn because you are not using public water

Including a rain barrel in your outdoor classroom is a wonderful lesson for your children. You will be setting the examples of conservation in more ways than one, and you can use the water you collect for the plants in your garden! What’s not to like about that?

Check out the following sites for tips and instructions for creating your own rain barrel:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Composting (Part 2 of 2)

On Monday we discussed the fantastic benefits of a compost pile in your outdoor classroom. Today, we’re doing to talk about how to create that compost pile!

These tips came from the BBC article “Make Your Own Compost.”

You will need:
· a compost bin with a lid
· old plant waste
· kitchen waste
· soil

1. Help your children to set up the compost bin or site, ensuring the bin is placed on earth and not concrete.

2. Fill the bin with dead leaves, green waste from the garden, old plants you've pulled out, fruit and vegetable peelings from the kitchen - even eggshells!

3. Next, sprinkle in some soil.

4. Cover the bin with an old piece of carpet or a doormat to keep the heat in and leave it alone until you have some more waste to put inside.

5. After three or four months remove the cover and help your child to dig the compost over. Leave it to rot down further.

6. When the bottom of the compost is brown and crumbly, it is ready. You and your children can dig it into the garden - your plants will be really pleased!

Tips and advice
· This is a joint project for adults and children together. You will need to provide the physical manpower for a lot of it, but the children will often provide the motivation to keep filling up the bin.

· When preparing a meal, why not ask your children to help you sort out which pieces they can put in their compost bin? Vegetable and fruit peelings are great. Don't put in cooked food or meat, as it may attract rodents.

Happy composting from The Adventurous Child!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Composting (Part 1 of 2)

This spring The Adventurous Child has been talking about seasonal activites to enjoy with your children. Some of our previous suggestions have included gardening and natural playscapes. Today we are going to talk about composting!
Okay maybe composting isn’t very glamorous – but it IS the foundation for a nutrient-rich garden, which makes it a big deal. Karen Miller, author of The Outside Play and Learning Book, explains: “For plants to grow well, the soil needs to be loose to a depth of at least twelve inches and rich in nutrients. It is probable that your playground soil will need enriching. There are many ways to do this. The children could be involved in breaking up the soil with a hoe or shovel, as well as mixing in compost…” (p. 238).
By creating a compost pile, you are teaching your children several great lessons. Blogger Kaitlyn Wessels explicates some of those lessons:
Money in the Bank: “From a financial perspective, it reduces the cost of purchasing topsoil and fertilizer for your plants. Why buy a big bag of dirt when you can make it yourself? Chances are, your composted material will be a lot richer and healthier than anything you buy in a store because you know exactly what's going into it.”
Green is Green: “From an environmental perspective, you will significantly reduce your household waste. Between our recycling bin and our composting container, [my husband] and I have put out only one bag of trash for the weekly collection, compared to two and even three bags a week.”

Healthy Living: “Your composting bin will even encourage you to eat healthier. I don't know what it is, but there is something very rewarding about filling up our compost bin every week. To do that, I have to buy (and consume) more fresh fruits and veggies, which is ultimately better for my health and well-being anyway!”
On Thursday, we’ll talk about how to start up your compost pile. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Natural Playscapes

Last month I talked about Nature Deficit Disorder and its potential harm toward children’s wellbeing. Awareness of this problem, thanks in part to Richard Louv, has led to the increased popularity of natural playscapes. A natural playscape incorporates nature into its outdoor learning environment.

Cheryl Charles, CEO and co-founder of the Children & Nature Network, commented: “These play areas are appealing to children and their families. Different kinds of flowers, bushes and plantings add a sense of beauty and place and are very stimulating for kids’ intellectual, emotional, social and physical development.” Moreover, “Academic achievement is enhanced when kids get nature-based settings and there’s an improvement in standardized test scores if outdoor learning is part of a school’s curriculum” (italics mine).

Kaija Clark (2010), author of “Is Nature the Next Wave in Playground Accessibility?” added to Charles’ beliefs, stating “In fact, time outside has been shown to help increase cognitive ability, something that might help multiplication-weary children. Brief stints to stretch their legs on a nature walk ease tension and enable kids to regain focus for more intensive learning when they return to the classroom” (italics mine).

Clearly natural playscapes are here to stay. If you’d like to learn more about designing one for your outdoor classroom, just click here.