Searching for "outdoors"
There is no doubt about it; our kids are spending too much time indoors. They either watch television or play video games for hours on end. Yes, it is easy to cure that problem; unplug the television and throw the games console away. But as the children say; what else is there for them to do? We are an overprotective nation, and we don’t let our little ones out to play anymore. The dangers are no greater now than they ever were, we just hear about them more thanks to the internet. Our children are suffering because of our anxieties, and it is wrong. If something isn’t done about it soon, those who never get to go out unsupervised with their friends will be at a significant disadvantage in life.
I will write more about allowing your children to play away from home without supervision in my next article. It is all about managing the risk. For today, I wish to suggest ways you can encourage them to use your garden more than they do now. It isn’t hard, but you must make an effort to turn the garden into an appealing place for them. Here are a few top tips to help you achieve your goal.
Buy a swimming pool. It is likely to be a massive investment, but it is worth every penny, in my opinion. You can now find fibreglass pool liners online that cut the installation costs and time by half. The filtration equipment and heater comes in kit form too, so they are a DIY job at last.
Alternatively, you could buy a freestanding unit. It will probably not be as big as a sunken pool and will cost about the same. The pool is good for their physical health and gives you a fantastic reason to spend more time together.
Your little ones will know the program listings very well, and they will try to go back indoors when a show starts. Why not take the TV outdoors so they can enjoy the fresh it while they watch it. The guys at http://www.thetvshield.com/enclosures say that the products are safe to use and weatherproof. Garden television is the future as far as I am concerned.
Modern gazebos are more like detached conservatories these days. You kids will want to spend time out there because it is such an appealing space. Maybe they could use it as a place to do their homework, or to sit with friends who come round to visit. They will ask you if they can take the video games console out there; the decision is yours.
Swings and slides are as popular today as ever. The best structures also feature a climbing frame and are made from timber that will last for many years. Your kids will have many adventures out there and will come to no harm as long as you have the foresight to put a soft base down in case they fall. I suggest you use a product made from recycled tyres. They are bouncy and durable.
It is much better to tempt kids outside rather than force them. When you install the best features, they will be powerless to resist. Good luck with your mission; perseverance will pay off.
One of the best ways to spend quality time with your family is to plan outdoor activities that will be healthy and fun for everyone. Leave the TV behind and go outside in nature, on the beach or forest to feel the real benefits of fresh air and open space. Also, these activities will keep you all motivated to change your lifestyle habits and adopt a healthier one.
There are so many activities to choose from and so we made you a list to make it easier for you to decide.
Go swimming together
If you live near sea, river or lake, use that advantage to go for a swim with your family. This will also be a perfect opportunity to see how your kids swim and teach them some new techniques. Bring an inflatable swimming mattress with you and while at that, choose the ones with interesting shapes like dolphin or pineapple.
Also, take snorkeling equipment with you, especially if you go to the beach since the sea is great for this activity. Go on the seashell collecting mission with your kids and help them build sand castles when you’re resting from all the activity. Additionally, if you have small children, fly a kite or play volleyball in the water since that is a fun activity for all.
Hiking in national parks
Choose a different national park every other weekend and go for a hike with your family. National parks are great locations to enjoy wild nature and animal life, as well as to breathe some unpolluted air. Choose a path near waterfalls and take a dip if the weather is right, or go on a tour to see caves and animal reserves.
If you believe your kid will be bored, it’s always best to choose the most interesting hiking tracks that can show them amazing landscapes. This is also a great way to teach your kids more about the environment and how to preserve it.
Plant a garden
Gardening is fun for everyone and the best thing about it is that will show lasting results. Kids like to dig the dirt and play with plants, so you will giving them a perfect activity. However, instead of planting flowers, plant vegetables since that way you will teach them more about food and its importance.
Moreover, buy a tree seedling and plant it together in your yard so it would become a symbol of your gardening endeavor. Opt for some fruit-bearing tree if possible, like cherry, walnut or apple so that you can make jams and pies from it.
Go on a camping trip
Pack your sleeping bags and go away from chaotic city life to nature and spend a couple of days relaxing away from the buzzing of technology. Rent a camping trailer or simply decide to sleep in tents and get ready to spend time barbequing under the clear sky. Teach your kids a few tricks like how to start a fire or purify water, as well as how to truly enjoy the wonders of being away from the urban life.
Camping with kids is also fun if you spend time around the fire making S’mores or picking mushrooms and turning them into a tasty stew. For an added experience, bring a telescope so you can observe stars in the night or binoculars to watch birds.
Form a family cycling team
Cycling doesn’t have to cost much, just look for the BMX bikes for sale and you’re good to go. There are many bicycle tracks available in the cities which are perfect for the shorter rides. However, for the complete experience, go to a national park and start pedaling together.
Make frequent breaks so your kids can rest and be patient with them if they have trouble getting the hang of things in the beginning. Choose a cycling track with the best view and you can tell your kids something about the places you pass on your way. If you plan to cycle in nature, bring some food with you and make a picnic break after a while.
Visit local farms
Children today don’t have many opportunities to see how the farms work, so use that as a perfect way to spend time with your family. Local farms are often open for visitors and you can buy organic produce and teach your kids a thing or two about farming as well. Ask farmers to tell them more about livestock breeding, dairy products, and vegetable farming.
Additionally, some farmers allow visitors to ride horses, so make sure you introduce your kids to this activity as well. Farms are perfect to see a different way of life and find out more about the world around us. It will be a great family experience to try some of the activities there together, like digging out potatoes or feeding the animals.
Every family needs time for themselves away from the modern technology and everyday life. Outdoor activities are one of the ways to keep family healthy and have fun at the same time. Nature is often the best choice to relax, experience some physical activity and get to know your kids better.
Therefore, add to the zoo and restaurant another activity which will keep the whole family involved and occupied. Not only will you start a healthy lifestyle, but also be able to teach your kids about the environment and benefits of nature.
About the Author
Jessie is a passionate blogger and home designer. She loves writing about tips and tricks that make every home a better place, inside and outside. Besides this, she loves sports, martial arts, outdoor activities and spending time with her close ones.
Your home is most likely the most valuable asset you have, and the most expensive purchase you will ever make. It’s also a working environment, where you spend a major proportion of your life – both you and your family – and as such, you want it to be a pleasant and practical place to live.
You also want to make sure that it retains much of the intrinsic value that lies in the building itself; the fixtures and fittings on the exterior, for example, need to be kept in top condition, and that means replacing parts that are damaged and worn by the elements on a regular basis. Then there’s the interior, where you might want to upgrade your kitchen once in a while, or to change the bathroom.
Or, you might want to remodel the house, or to add space to your existing building. There are many ways you can do this, and gain not only additional space but also add value to the house, and there are experts in Lansing home additions that you can talk to for the very best in advice and help on improving your home.
Ideas for Additions
The scope for additions to your home is potentially never-ending, and that’s why it always pays to get the experts in to give you the best advice. Have a look at the rooms you have, and think how great it would be if you could have even more space. Now, consider those areas of your home that are not being used to their full potential.
Let’s start with the garage; many homes have large garage areas, and we’re not exaggerating in saying that many of these are simply used to house junk that doesn’t really need to be there! Garages are a cost-effective and superbly impressive way of adding extra space; get an expertly-done conversion, and you have a new sitting room, bedroom, or even a playroom for the kids. The space is there, the basic structure is present, so the cost is kept down when you convert a garage for living use.
What about those little-used outdoor areas? Your local home additions and remodelling expert can give you ideas as to how best to utilise space by building out from, say, your existing dining room. Perhaps add a deck and extend the room by a few yards, with a lovely wide glass frontage that opens onto the deck, and you transform the whole room in one go – and at surprisingly little cost.
Whether you want to extend or add, to convert or remodel, the choice is yours, but rest assured this is one of the most affordable and effective methods of adding real value to your home, without the need for considerable expense. Even a new, fresh and modern kitchen will make you feel like you are living in a new home, so get in touch with the experts now, and see just how easy it is to remodel your home to your advantage.
Now that you and the kids are ready to add a four-legged creature to your family, it’s time to think about breeds. Between chihuahuas, hounds, and poodles, there are a lot of options, but no breed matches the Labrador Retriever. As the most popular dog in the US, they’re a common addition to homes all over the country. This kind, smart, and lovable breed hits all the buttons when it comes to your fur baby. Here are just five reasons why your family should adopt a Lab.
They’re great with kids and other dogs
With small children in the house, you can’t afford to take in a volatile breed. A Lab is known for being patient, gentle, and kind, making it perfect for those families with children or other pets in the home. They’re a fun-loving breed that clearly sees family members as part of their pack, and they’ll do whatever it takes to protect those they consider theirs. They also know how to shake loose, often turning a little silly when they’re having fun. They’re a great addition to playtime, often matching your kids’ enthusiasm.
They’re easily groomed
Your kids are focused on how the dog will join them on adventures. Your priorities lie elsewhere: namely how much mess they’ll add to the household. Few breeds can claim they don’t shed, so don’t let anyone dupe you by claiming Labs won’t leave behind some fur. They will. Luckily, they only tend to lose a lot of their short double coat during the summer months — hopefully, a time they spend outdoors with your kids. Since they have short hair, they don’t require a lot of grooming like other breeds. A simple bath when they’re feeling grimy is as complicated as it gets. Regular brushing will also limit the mess.
They’re easily trained
Though not as clever as a herding breed, Labs aren’t dumb by any means. The Labrador is one of the most popular breeds acting as service dogs, amounting to roughly 70 percent of all dog guides in America. They can be quite clever when given the time and attention they need to learn. You can enroll them in training camps by checking out your local pet store. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, you can check out online guides or head to your local library for dog training books.
With so many reasons why you should add a Lab to your growing family, it’s easy to jump right in and adopt your very first pet. But before you surprise everyone with a furry family member, you need to think about the practical side of having a pet.
Make a budget
After paying for Fido’s adoption fees, all the other pet accoutrements don’t seem too expensive. But don’t underestimate how quickly food, toys, and grooming products add up. Before you know it, your newest member of the family can be the costliest one. Making a budget is a great way to realize how much you can afford to spoiling your furry friend. Sit down with a pen and paper to tally your income and compare it to your expenses. This exercise lets you know how much leftover cash you have to spend.
Start an emergency fund
Though Labs are considered a healthy breed with few medical concerns, they will have to go to the vet every once in awhile. Knowing this, you should put away a small amount of cash each week into a dedicated emergency fund for your dog. Something as small as $10 each week is a great way to start this fund. It will take a while to grow, but even the most modest contributions will eventually mature into something that can help pay for a round of antibiotics or a necessary blood panel. If Fido ends up needing care early on in his time with your family, you can use loans to your benefit and supplement your emergency fund that way. When you look for these cash loans online, you can get the cash you need in as little as one business day, making it an ideal form of assistance when your vet bill needs immediate payment.
Take a moment to consider what you need to do to provide the best care for your pet. When your family can meet all your dog’s needs, Fido can start meeting yours. Add a happy Labrador Retriever to the home and welcome a loyal, fun-loving four-legged friend to the family. They’re the perfect breed for young families.
Just because you’ve become parents, doesn’t mean your adventurous streak has diminished — do you find yourself reading your child a bedtime story about far-flung lands and the great outdoors, only to wish you could pack up your bags and leave as a family tomorrow?
A lot of parents would say that while your child is still toddling, that’s the best time to take them on the road; once they’re of the age to go to school, you’re limited to official vacation times, which can make traveling as a family more expensive. As such, you may be thinking about taking your toddler on a family adventure soon.
Why you should travel with your toddler
Little people benefit from travel in all the same ways that adults do; it’s great for their development to explore new places and take in new experiences, especially if you can expose them to cultures and languages they don’t encounter at home. Of course, it’s also advised to try and maintain some of their daily routine, especially if you’re trying to potty train or encourage a new behavior. Attempt to wake them at the same time every day, regardless of where you are on the road, and get them settled in bed at a reasonable time too.
What you’ll need to pack
You may be aghast to discover how much more luggage you’ll need when you’re packing for a toddler too — from toys to bath products and spare clothes, you’ll soon fill up the bags! If your little one is yet to be potty trained, make sure you’ve packed some swim diapers if you’re going anywhere with water. If you’re in the process of potty training, you’ll be relieved to learn there are lots of travel size models available, including fold-up and disposable potties. Check out a parent guide to see which one is best for you and your toddler.
Depending on your child’s temperament, you may decide that taking a road trip is preferential to flying with the family, as such you should look for an adventure that’s closer to your doorstep. If you do opt for a flight, check with your air carrier to see what their policy is on traveling with strollers. Either way, make sure you’ve packed a lot of patience — as well as toys and games to keep the little one entertained!
Do your research, and see what child-friendly activities will be available on your destination. Remember that toddlers will want to move around and be stimulated constantly, so if your ideal vacation involves a lot of relaxation you may need to make some sacrifices! If you’re seeking some peace and tranquility, manage your expectations and make sure you place your child’s favorite toy at the top of the ‘must pack’ list!
There’s no time like the present…
While your child is still too young for formal schooling, you’ve got the freedom to take longer trips, at a time in the year that works for you. So, as long as you plan ahead and pack your bags properly, there should be nothing stopping you traveling with your toddler.
Adopting is not only a great way to give a pet in need a second chance, it’s also the only way many families can get a new pet when they can’t afford to buy a pedigree puppy. While adopting a pet can be a great thing, it’s also a big commitment. You also have to understand that adopting a dog is not exactly like buying a dog and raising it and you’ll have to make some adjustments. Here are some of the things you’ll have to take into consideration before you adopt a pet.
If you’re going to adopt a pup, you have to know how big it’ll be once it grows to adulthood. Big dogs need more space, and this could be a recipe for disaster if you live in a small apartment or you don’t have sufficient yard space. If you have limited space, go for a smaller dog breed that does well in secluded areas, like a Basenji or a Bichon Frise.
Be Prepared to Commit
You also have to be prepared to make a commitment to this dog who, in many cases, may have been neglected in the past. They might be difficult at first, but you have to take the time to let them adapt to their new environment. This could be a great time to retrain them if they haven’t been trained properly or at all. Sites like ourpetspot.com can teach you several training techniques you can use on adopted dogs that will work fast on any type of dog.
Check if Your Neighborhood is Dog-Friendly
Not only does your house have to be dog-friendly, but your neighborhood as well. If you don’t live in a neighborhood with plenty of green space for your dog to exercise, you might end up with a very sad puppy on your hands. Make sure you also understand the laws in your area; certain breeds might not be allowed or there might be some important municipal laws that you should be aware of.
You should also check which types of dogs are in the neighborhood; you don’t want to have to go to war every time you go to the dog park. You should also make sure that you’re close to a vet clinic in case of emergency.
Make Sure You Pick a Dog that Fits Your Lifestyle
You should never pick a dog that can’t keep up with you or you can’t up with. If you have a low energy lifestyle, then you might have issues with your dog. He might grow restless, destructive or develop behavioral issues.
You might also get disappointed if the dog you pick doesn’t enjoy the great outdoors as much as you do if you were looking for a partner for your morning jogs. Make sure that you do your research and ask about the dog’s temperament before you pick one.
Adopting a dog is one of the best gifts you can make to a pet in need. But it’s also a huge responsibility, so make sure that you know exactly what you’re signing up for before you make a decision.
After being cooped up inside all winter, with Spring on the way and lighter nights meaning more time to play out, it’s essential to encourage your kids to get out and about this Spring. We’re so used to children now spending their evenings sat inside playing on their x-box or watching TV that it’s really important to push your children to play outside for their health and fitness. Here’s some top tips to get them back out enjoying the great outdoors:
Get them a new toy
Whether it’s a bike, pair of roller blades or a pro scooter, kids love having something to play outside on and there’s nothing more exciting than showing off your new toy to all of the other kids on the street. Scooters tend to be the most on trend with children of all ages been seen scooting around. Once your kids have their own new transport mode this also opens lots of doors for family bike rides and trips to the park plus it means they’ll be keeping fit and getting in lots of healthy exercise.
Arrange family days out
Going for a walk around a reservoir or heading out for a long walk in the countryside is a great way to be active as a family and the mild spring weather provides the perfect climate. If you’re heading out for the day, why not make up a picnic to enjoy somewhere in the sun for a rest and remember to pack a raincoat in your bag just in case you get caught out by a surprise April shower.
One of the best ways to encourage kids to get outside is to invest in a flying toy. Although some can be dangerous if left unsupervised, traditional toys like Frisbees and kites still provide a lot of fun. If your child is after something more technologically advanced, an electric toy helicopter or plane will perhaps be more impressive but arguably much more expensive.
Whether its games, family walks or something new, hopefully your children won’t need too much encouragement to get out this Spring, but if they have become a little too comfortable with staying indoors these tips and tricks should help you to prise them outdoors to benefit from the fresh air.
Miami is a mecca of many things and it’s enough to make any first time visitor’s head spin. The first step is to relax and realize you won’t be able to do everything—however, you can still have the trip of a lifetime when visiting Miami, Florida. There’s something for everyone in this iconic city, whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the beach, dance the night away, or get lost in a dizzying amount of arts and culture. Here’s where to get started when you’re looking to conquer Miami for the first time.
What comes to mind when you think of Miami? It could be the shopping, the beach, or any number of popular Miami destinations.
Beaches and the Outdoors
No one should go to Miami without spending some of their time at the beach itself. You don’t have to limit yourself to just Miami Beach, since there are plenty of other beaches with its own unique setting. Head out to South Beach for celebrity spotting or relax on the sands of Sunny Isles Beach. Whatever the type of beach you’re looking for you’re sure to find white shores and turquoise waters that will satisfy you to your heart’s desire in Miami.
This place is also home to the only underwater national park in the country, so if you have time, head out to Biscayne National Park to get an entirely unique experience. It’s a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and enter an underwater wonderland. Tropical scenery awaits in the luscious Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and you can spot over 2,000 animals at the Miami Zoo.
Arts and Culture
As much as Miami is associated with raucous nightlife and glorious sunny beaches, the city is also known for its art, museums, and culture. Checking out the art deco scene is a must for any first time visitor. Make your way to Miami’s Art Deco Historic District where you can wander around solo or opt to take a guided tour. After you’ve had your fill of deco architecture, check out the art galleries in the Design District. It’s a great opportunity to see the many different styles of art the city offers. Though much of the Miami art is kitsch, there is also something for fine art lovers at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens where European masterpieces are displayed.
A visit to Miami is also the perfect time to immerse yourself in its Latin influences. The best place to start is Little Havana, where Cuban music fills the streets, with eateries offering authentic foods and some of the country’s finest coffees. Walk along Calle Ocho for the best of the best when it comes to Little Havana.
Nightlife and Events
If you can, try to book your trip to align with one of the many festivals in Miami. Big music festivals often pass through the city, but there’s also Miami Fashion Week, Carnaval, and Art Basel. Ask any Miami local, and they’ll tell you that the festivals and parties are make the city come to life.
Miami is definitely on the list of cities that knows what they’re doing when it comes to throwing parties. While there are many run-of-the-mill nightclubs, you’ll also find a selection of the finest ones on the planet. Celebrities are known to frequent the hottest dance halls here, and anyone who wants to dance the night away is in luck. You’ll find plenty of lasers and mega clubs and intimate lounges wherever you go.
These days it’s all too easy to keep your kids occupied with a game on a tablet or smartphone — they’re mesmerized by the bright colors and noises, you have more free time to yourself. But there’s a simple, irreplaceable joy in teaching children more old-fashioned, hands-on activities like marbles, card games, and hide-and-seek. After all, these are the games we grew up with. Think of the joy we had in looking at the swirl of colors in a glass marble, or in finding a friend hidden behind a curtain. Don’t you want your kids to experience that same joy, interacting with the world around them, instead of staring at a screen?
If you can’t remember how to play marbles (or if you never played them yourself), there are loads of great guides online — and many include suggestions for lots of other, hands-on games, too.
Here are four great reasons to get your kids away from computer screens and involved in these kinds of activities:
- Your kids will develop better social skills — Too often, playing computer games is a solitary activity. But with marbles, sports, and other games, your kids will learn how to interact with their peers, whether it’s trying to flick each other’s marbles out of the ring or playing in a team in a relay.
- It’s great physical exercise — Games like marbles are a fun way for your kid to develop hand-eye coordination, and more physical activities like tag or climbing trees are good exercise for their muscles and cardiovascular systems. It’s certainly much healthier than swiping away at a touch-screen!
- Your kids will start to appreciate the world around them — Computer games create an artificial world that mesmerizes your kid’s attention, but we live in a real, physical world that your child shouldn’t be afraid to explore. If they’re outdoors breathing fresh air, laughing with friends, or admiring the visual beauty of a marble, they’re learning to savor all the wonderful things the world has to offer outside a computer screen.
- You can play with your kids, and create invaluable family time — There’s only so much parental bonding that can happen through a computer screen. But real-world activities, where you teach your kids how to flick a marble or shuffle a deck of cards, also make family memories that will last a lifetime.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional game on a tablet to keep the kids busy in a waiting room. But knowing how fun and simple it is to learn how to play marbles, there’s no excuse not to engage your children in the kinds of old-fashioned activities that are healthy for both their minds and bodies. The Internet is full of useful parenting tips — don’t hesitate to make the most of these resources, but once you’ve found what you’re looking for, get off the computer and start involving your kids in good old-fashioned fun!
Image by: Sara Shuman
Like all other mums, we wanted to have keepsakes of special events like birthday parties, get-togethers and other family occasions. And, photos would surely serve as the best keepsake. But, if you’re too busy making things go smoothly, the best option might be to hire someone to do the job for you – like a photo booth.
If you’re thinking of using a photo booth at a special family event, and why wouldn’t you? They’re perfect for all sorts of functions and it’s safe to say most people like them. Before you go on and hire one though, take a moment to plan for it. There are a few things about your event which you should consider before renting a photo booth, to make the whole thing work out properly.
In general, everything is in the very capable hands of whoever you hire the booth from, but helping them prepare adequately for the event will make everything work out perfectly. Here are five things to consider when hiring a photo booth.
- Think about the guests.
An event that is only catering for about ten people might have no need for a photo booth. Even if it is affordable, the difference between the photo booth being a memory maker and it being an elephant in the room, is definitely made up by the number of people who are available to use it. Sure, it will be fun for about ten minutes, but if that’s all the use you’re going to get out of it then what is the point, really? With photo booths, the old saying of ‘the more the merrier’ stands true. It’s a hit at parties, not gatherings. Also, if your guests are expected to get unruly and smash the thing, have it packed away at a certain point in the evening, the equipment within them is very expensive.
- How much space do you have?
Since the booths are not camera men with legs, they’re not overly portable. But then they are booths so they’re not supposed to be. You could check every shop for photo booth hire in Sydney and not find a very portable one, there just aren’t any; but that would be missing the point, they’re booths. If it can’t fit inside, can it go outside? If you weren’t otherwise planning on using the outside, there’s always a chance the photo booth will just get left alone outdoors like the only smoker at the party.
There are open planned booths available as well, they’re slightly more portable, take up a little less space and are great for outdoor events. Consider how many photo booths you’ll be using. If it’s a corporate event, you could end up needing a few. If this is the case, make certain your venue can accommodate them, they are quite big.
- What type of venue is your event at?
Are you having it indoors or during night time? It doesn’t matter. Most photo booths come with high tech flashes and other gadgetry to sort all of that out for you. Is it outside, however, consider the weather, is it near water? I think what I’m saying here is that, like a gremlin, it shouldn’t get wet. Also what about power points, where can you plug the booth in where it will still be visible and accessible to your guests. If you’re linking the photo booth up to the internet for social networking reasons (yes they can do that) you’ll want to make sure there is a reliable internet connection at the venue.
- The duration of your event.
Photo booths are stalwart and don’t bore easily, because they’re not people. It doesn’t matter how long your event is taking, hours or days, the booth will tire slower than the camera guy, and your guests will tire of the photo booth slower than they do the camera guy too. They’re great for weddings which generally take the whole day and go long into the evening. You can get Nan’s polite wishes for the future at 12pm and then her less edited opinion of marriage later at 12am. They will happily stay and snap your event all day long if they have to.
- The theme of the event.
This particularly refers to events like your kid’s birthday party. By default, photo booths usually come with the rental company’s’ branding on them and are a standard, boxy design. But there’s no need to accept that if you don’t want to. You can get a fully customised booth based on the theme of your party. You could kit it out in white and doves for a wedding, or make it glittery for a get-together. You can even use the photo booths to make theme appropriate souvenirs and memorabilia.
Photo booths are wonderfully customisable and great for giving any event a personal touch, so if you can use this to your advantage, you definitely should.