How to have a Family Draw

Written by contributor Stacy Karen of A Delightful Home.

Are you looking for some fun ideas to add to your family night agenda? Ones that don’t involve a lot of fuss, preparation, or expense?

Well, today I’ve got something to share that is easy to implement and doesn’t require much forethought (except having some pencils and paper handy).

Introducing: The Family Draw.

I first came across the concept of the family draw while browsing Amanda Blake Soul’s book, The Creative Family. In it she describes how to share a night of fun with your children by drawing together.

This struck me as a delightful idea.

Many kids enjoy drawing or painting, but what about adults? When was the last time you picked up a pencil and drew a picture, just for the fun of it?

I’m probably asking he wrong crowd. I mean, this is Simple Homemade after all. Perhaps you scratched out some doodles this morning! (If you did, be sure to tell us in the comments.)

The point is, it’s fun to draw and most of us don’t do it enough. Plus, it’s good for your brain. Not to mention the bonds made when you sit down and draw alongside your child.

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Ten backyard campout activities

My oldest starts kindergarten in the fall and I want to make this summer memorable as my full days with her end, come September.  My summer bucket list, appropriately titled ‘Summer Memories’, lists 15 activities that I thought would stand out amongst our regular summer days of riding bikes, picnics and swimming. 

One of the activities I look forward to most is our backyard campout. For our first campout on June 29, we’ll be joining families around the U.S. for the Great American Backyard Campout, supporting National Wildlife Federation programs to make outdoor time a priority for the health of children.

We regularly camp in the great big outdoors but a backyard campout allows us so much more flexibility: less stuff, less time and can be planned on very short notice. 

Here are ten ways to make the most of a backyard camping adventure.

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Engage Your Children in Shopping for Vegetables (Farmer’s Market Bingo Printable)

Written by contributor Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship.

As a former teacher and current mom, I’ve read all the great advice about keeping children engaged in shopping trips and the myriad ways one can make a simple grocery store excursion into a learning experience.

Most of the time, I’m just too tired or harried or hurried to do anything formal beyond some conversation about food and allowing the kids to help fill produce bags and “beep” our purchases at the self-checkout.

This summer, I’m determined to give my 7-year-old son practice with mental math and making change at the Farmer’s Market, and his almost-4-year-old sister is the perfect age to work on her letters and sounds, as well as vegetable identification.

Luckily I have an amazing friend, my son’s godmother, who created this Farmer’s Market Bingo sheet when he and I visited her a few summers ago. I’ll make another one with letters for my daughter, and as long as I, you know, remember to actually bring them and have a few brain cells to rub together to keep the kids on track, each Farmer’s Market trip can be a total learning experience.

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Is it “green” to turn off the TV?

Written by contributor Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship.

As the progeny of a counter-cultural mama who always hated pink as a child, my daughter Leah is remarkably similar to the average 3-year-old girl in our culture: she owns and loves about a zillion Disney princess items (courtesy of doting grandparents), from her comforter to T-shirts to the cup in the bathroom.

The major difference? She”s never seen their movies.

The closest she”s come to princesses outside a storybook is Disney on Ice, and even her 200-page princess stories book is sitting on our master closet shelf after one too many tales that were not age appropriate and just doggone uncomfortable to read to a 3-year-old who doesn”t understand what”s going on anyway.

Grandma got her some new princess gear for Easter and asked, “What”s this princess”s name?”

Leah answered honestly and casually, “I don”t know…I only know Cindah-wewa.” (We”re still working on “L” and “R” sounds.)

Do I care that she can”t peg Aurora, the name of Disney”s Sleeping Beauty?

Do you care that I had to Google that to figure it out?

I actually take great pride that she doesn”t. Besides the fact that none of these movies are made for a 3-year-old mentality and she”d barely know what was going on, there are so many things I”d rather my daughter fill her expanding mind with: from how to identify beginning sounds to using “please” consistently, from drawing squares with actual corners to saying her “R” sound correctly. If she can remember the names of all her friends in real life and how to play fair with them, Sleeping Beauty can never wake up for all I care.

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Natural Hair Detanglers

Written by contributor Tiffany Larson.

Lucky or not, my daughter inherited her curly hair from both her father and I. On bad days, we both grumble about her mass of knotted curls but on the good days, I gush over how her curls match her fun and charming personality. If you have a curly headed child, you can probably empathize with me.

If you’ve followed my green goals for 2012, you know that I’ve planned to make more personal care products at home this year.  So I started with natural hair detangler because I use it every day.

In the past, I’ve used some great natural hair detanglers purchased from the store. If you aren’t the DIY type, you might like one of these. Kiss My Face Kid’s Detangler Creme loosens the knots in my daughter’s hair however it leaves  it fairly greasy if we don’t wash it every day.  I’ve also talked to moms that love Nature’s Baby Organics Detangler.

My favorite natural hair detangler from the store is Tru Kid Dancing Hair Detangler. Not only does it detangle but it adds just enough hold to my daughter’s curls to last the day without any greasy left over.

For those of us on a mission to do it ourselves, I tested out three different homemade detanglers to see if any were successful.

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