Beginners

When parents consider how a child learns to appreciate and understand the natural world, they often focus on time spent outdoors. But there can be a connection to time spent indoors: kids poring over descriptions and explanations, photographs and illustrations, as if learning in the laps of naturalists who came before. I recently talked with…

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If you’ve got kids who ski, or your children are ready to start, one of the big decisions is how to equip them. Buy, Lease, or Swap? If you are going to go skiing or snowboarding more than a few times a season, it probably makes sense to buy or lease the necessary equipment. This…

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As winter approaches, a terrarium, generally defined as a glass or plastic container used for growing plants indoors, is a wonderful way to keep a little green in your life as well as a creative way to keep kids engaged with nature. I asked two avid terrarium builders for advice in getting started. Faith Salter,…

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As the days shorten and Halloween approaches, you might think the dark hour after a family dinner is best for staying inside, or for going out only on one special night full of costumes and candy with lots of neighbors and friends in the street. But recently our family has been enjoying an experiment with…

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From art projects to scavenger hunts, these fun foliage activities will help kids enjoy the outdoors and learn a bit about the changing seasons. 1. Make Leaf Rubbings. It’s a classic activity that kids love. With your children, go out and collect fallen leaves. Back at your project area, have the kids place the leaves vein side…

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Annette LeBlanc Cate is not an “expert” birdwatcher. As she says in her new book for kids, titled Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard, “not a single pair of my binoculars even work properly! I just really love birds.” It’s that amateur’s fascination with birds that makes this new book so fun—and inviting. Cate,…

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Whether on a neighborhood walk or a mountain hike, children often notice and enjoy the local plants. You can expand their horizons—and your own—beyond the usual pine cones and birch bark by learning about these fascinating flora of the Northeast: From exploding puffballs and Velcro-like burdock to carnivorous sundews and pitcher plants, they’re sure to…

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I recently returned from a much-needed vacation on a beautiful island with sandy beaches, extensive bike trails, and the world’s best milkshakes. But what was I focused on? The bathrooms. The stalls at the campground where we stayed were way too small for a parent and child to squeeze into, so I had to squat…

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Parents have many options for bringing young children along on bike rides, even before the kids can pedal far—or pedal at all—by themselves. Here are a few ways to start biking with young children. Trailers Kids may ride in bike trailers as soon as they can hold their heads up independently. Trailers are low to…

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Just scoop some water from a pond, and you’ve got the start of some fun summer science projects. The classic activity of closely examining pond water to see what’s living there, sometimes called “ponding,” combines two kid favorites: getting wet and playing detective. It’s also an easy, hands-on way for kids to start understanding the importance…

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