Play Right: Science Experiments for Kids

New JammiesFor New Jammies kids, Spring brings a sense of renewal to the world, with plants sprouting and flowers blooming. The rain and the sun team up to boost and nourish the new seasonal growth. Spring is a perfect time to teach the wonders of science to kids with fun and easy projects to create at home. Check out these ideas for hands-on learning and play in nature:


Bean Sprout Science Experiment

The website education.com offers a simple Bean Sprout Science Activity that teaches kids how flowers bloom. “When springtime arrives, your third grader might wonder why there are so many new flowers and plants. This awesome hands-on science activity addresses your young learner’s questions,” education.com says. “He’ll get to observe the life of a bean sprout seed and see what happens when it is properly fed and sheltered.”

What You Need:
• Water
• Paper and pencil
• Paper towels
• Baking sheet
• 3 types of bean seeds (mung, green, lima)

Bean sproutsWhat You Do:
1. Give one of each bean to your child to observe, explaining that each bean has a little opening for water to go inside.

2. Have your little scientist lay a few stacked damp paper towels onto the baking sheet, and put the beans on top. Put a few more stacked damp paper towels on top of the beans. Set the baking sheet aside in a sunny place. Make sure this spot isn’t too sunny, so the beans might get scorched.

3. Ask your child to write down some thoughts on a piece of paper. Have him predict the life cycle of a bean. How long will it take for it to fully sprout?

4. Each day, have your child re-wet the paper towels. Has anything changed in the beans?

5. At the end of a week, your scientist’s beans will have likely sprouted! Otherwise, wait and keep observing. When the beans have sprouted, ask your child about the little plants. Ask him what the purpose of a hard exterior is, what the seed needed to grow, and how plants outside grow.

6. You can take this fun project a little further and plant the seeds outside.

Click to download a printable version of this activity here.

See this activity in a set: Learn About the World Without Going Far


Homegrown Eggshell Geode Crystals

Geodes“Science Bob” Pflugfelder is a science teacher, author and presenter who is a regular guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Live With Kelly, The Dr. Oz Show, and Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn. He encourages parents and teachers to practice “Random Acts of Science” by providing instructions and videos for interactive science experiments on his website, sciencebob.com. This science project from the website, provided by mom blogger and photographer Melissa Howard, helps kids grow their own geodes, with a little help from Mom and Dad.

“This project nicely demonstrates how real-life geodes are formed in igneous and sedimentary rock. It also demonstrates super-saturated solutions and shows a nice variety of crystal shapes and formations,” says sciencebob.com.

What You Need:
• Clean eggshells
• Water
• A variety of soluble solids: table salt, rock salt, sugar, baking soda, Epsom salts, sea salt, borax, or cream of tartar
• Small heat proof containers (coffee cups work well)
• Spoons
• Food coloring
• Egg cartons and wax paper or mini-muffin tins

What You Do:
1. Crack the eggs for this project as close to the narrow end as possible. This preserves more egg to use as a container for the solution.

2. Clean the eggshells using hot water. The hot water cooks the lining and allows you to pull the skin (egg membrane) out of the inside of the egg using your fingers. Make sure to remove all the egg membrane, if any membrane stays inside the shell it is possible that your eggshell will grow mold and your crystals will turn black.

3. Use an egg carton lined with waxed paper or mini-muffin tins to hold the eggs upright.

4. Use a saucepan to heat the water to boiling. Pour half a cup to a cup of water into your heatproof container. If you poured half a cup of water into the container, add about a ¼ cup of solid to the water. Stir it until it dissolves. Likewise if you used a cup of water, add about ½ a cup of solid to the water. You wanted to add about half again the volume of the water as a solid to the mixture.

5. When the initial amount of solid is dissolved continue adding small amounts of the solid until the water is super-saturated. Super-saturated simply means the water has absorbed all it is able to absorb and any solid you add will not dissolve.

6. Add food coloring.

7. Carefully pour your solution into the eggshell, filling it as full as possible without over-flowing it or causing it to tip.

8. Find a safe place to put your shells while the water evaporates. Crystals will form inside the eggshells as the water evaporates.

How it Works
Dissolving the crystals in hot water created what is called a “super-saturated solution.” This basically means that the salts took advantage of the energy of the hot water to help them dissolve until there was no more space between molecules in the solution. As the solution cooled, the water lost its energy and the crystals are forced from the solution to become a solid again. Since this happens slowly along with the evaporation, the crystals have time to grow larger than they were when the experiment started. Natural geodes in rock are form in much the same way as mineralized water seeps into air pockets in rock. This is also how rock candy crystals are formed.


Build Your Own Terrarium

Terrarium
KidsGardening.org creates opportunities for kids to learn though gardening, engaging their natural curiosity and wonder by providing inspiration, community know-how and resources. For 35 years, KidsGardening has led the school gardening movement, and as a national nonprofit is dedicated to improving nutritional attitudes, educational outcomes, social and emotional learning and environmental stewardship in youth across the country through garden-based learning. Their website features garden activities and crafts, including this project on how to build a terrarium, a miniature garden grown inside a covered glass or plastic container.

“It is a low maintenance way to incorporate plants into your classroom or home and an excellent tool for teaching children about the water cycle as it demonstrates evaporation, condensation and precipitation. In the presence of light and heat, water evaporates from the plants through transpiration and from the soil,” says kidsgardening.org. “Since it is an enclosed environment, when the water vapor hits the side of the container, it condenses. Once enough water accumulates or the temperature decreases, the condensation will then precipitate down the sides of the container back into the soil.”

What You Need:
• An enclosed container
• Pea gravel or small rock
• Potting soil
• Small indoor or tropical plants
• Charcoal (optional)

What You Do:
1. Find an appropriate container. Glass jars, fish bowls and tanks, clear plastic bottles and food containers can all make fine terrariums. Just make sure there is enough room to reach your hand into your container for planting and maintenance.

2. Clear plastic soda bottles are commonly used in school settings because they are readily available and inexpensive. To create, cut off the top of a large, clear plastic soda bottle, leaving a container that is approximately 8 inches tall. After planting in the soda bottle, you can either tape the top back onto the soda bottle or just cover it tightly with plastic. Clean the container using soapy water and rinse well. Dry completely.

3. Cover the bottom of the container with ½ inch (for small containers) to 1-1/2 inch (for large containers) of pea gravel for drainage. This mimics the bedrock found under our soils and allows access water to drain from the soil. You can also add a few granules of filtering charcoal (not the type used for barbecuing) to the top of the gravel to help remove odors. The charcoal is optional and is not needed if your terrarium maintains proper moisture levels.

4. Next fill the container to approximately one-third to one-half full with moist potting mix. The amount of soil you put in will depend on the size of the container (you need to have enough room for plant roots). Use a sterilized potting soil mix to avoid problems with molds and fungi (small bags of potting soil are available at most garden centers).

5. The moisture level of the soil when you put it into your terrarium is very important. Pour the soil into a bowl or tub and mix with water until the soil is moist enough to cling together in a ball when pressed into the hand. If water drips from the soil when pressed into a ball, then it is too wet and you should add more dry potting soil to your mixture. Once you find the perfect balance, place the soil in your container. Try to avoid getting soil particles stuck on the sides of the container above the soil level.

6. Many potting mixes contain slow release fertilizers. If the soil you purchased does not contain any fertilizer you may want to add a small number of slow release fertilizer pellets or some organic fertilizer like worm castings to your mix before planting. You want your plants to stay small and grow slowly, so you do not need much.

7. Next add your plants. Look for plants that are small, slow-growing, and perform well in humid environments. How you arrange the plants will depend on the size and location of the terrarium. If you will be viewing the terrarium from one side, then place the tallest plants in the back and shortest plants in the front. If your terrarium will be viewed from all sides or you plan to rotate it, plant the tallest plants in the middle and the shorter plants along the outside.

8. There is a wide range of plants to choose from. Most garden centers have an area reserved for indoor plants and you can usually find a variety of plants in 2 to 4 inch pots. Some recommended plants to use include: African violet, artillery fern, false aralia, jade plant, miniature peperomia, nerve plant, oxalis, pink polka dot plant, prayer plant, small, ferns, small peace lilies, small philodendrons, spider plant, strawberry begonia, and Swedish ivy. These are just a few suggestions. Experiment with different plants. If they appear to grow too vigorously or respond poorly to the humidity, remove them and try something new. You can also try growing plants from seeds and cuttings.

9. In addition to plant material, you can also be creative and add other objects to create mini-landscape scenes. For instance you may want to add decorative rocks, small animal figurines, small bridges or mirrors to look like mini ponds.

10. After planting, attach the container lid or cover with plastic. Place the terrarium in a windowsill with indirect lighting or under grow lights. Do not place it in strong direct sunlight or water will evaporate too quickly and plants may scorch.

11. Observe your terrarium closely for the first few days to make sure you have the proper moisture level. You’ll know that the terrarium contains the right amount of water if the sides and top get misty with water droplets when in bright light. If there is no moisture along the sides, then you need to add some more water. If the sides are always very wet and it is hard to see the plants, then there’s too much water and you should remove the top for a few hours and allow some of the excess water to evaporate. Once you achieve the perfect balance, it will not need frequent attention.

12. Check on your terrarium periodically. Prune or remove plants with excessive growth. You want to avoid plant leaves touching the sides of the container as much as possible to prevent constant water sitting on the foliage. Also check on the moisture levels as some water may be lost over time.

Click to download a printable PDF of this garden activity.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: A Natural Approach to Kid’s Sleepwear

New JammiesNew Jammies is always researching the latest trends in kid’s clothing and pajamas. And we’re happy to report that parents are taking time to ensure their children are dressed in the safest, most comfortable and fashionable materials available.

“With regards to fabrics of kids wear … They must be only from natural materials,” says dress-trends.com, in its children’s clothing forecast. “Prints in kids clothes 2017 are also very popular.”

New Jammies utilizes 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free fabrics in creating fun and functional pajamas for boys and girls. The expectantmothersguide.com online resource describes the benefits of using such organic products in babies’ clothing, noting organic cotton cuts down on exposure to toxins.

“Organic clothing uses cotton that is not farmed in the conventional ways. Pesticides are not used; rather, other safer methods are used to produce the crops, such as crop rotation, physical removal of weeds instead of use of herbicides, hand hoeing, using beneficial insects to counteract the bad and many more,” says the resource. “Workers have better working conditions, water quality is not compromised by run-off, and strong healthy soil is built. The end product is a cotton fabric that is toxin-free.”

The website organicfacts.net, a strong proponent of organic food and living, reports the benefits to the consumer in choosing organic cotton clothing for children.

“Parents are increasingly purchasing organic cotton baby clothes, diapers, and baby blankets. Organic cotton is excellent for the tender, developing skin of a baby. It is believed that organic cotton clothing is softer than conventional cotton clothing,” the site says. “Furthermore, since the production of organic cotton does not involve the use of chemicals, it causes fewer allergies.”

New JammiesThe concept of New Jammies maintaining environmental responsibility was the idea of founder Nicole Ludlow 10 years ago. She wanted to help kids sensitive to fabrics in clothing by using 100% organic cotton in her pajama designs. She also wanted to help build a better world where everyone reaches higher.

“Our company goal is to make a difference in the lives we touch. That is why New Jammies supports philanthropic organizations whose goals are to improve our communities and the lives of our children,” Kudlow says. “When you make a New Jammies purchase, you receive not only the highest quality, environmentally friendly product, but you become part of our team, helping to improve the quality of all our lives. We support various nonprofit organizations through donations of pajamas for children as well as charitable events.

At this year’s MAGIC children’s clothing industry tradeshow, where New Jammies launched its distinctive products a decade ago, spring and summer trends were highlighted. Nature, imagination, storytelling and recess-based activities were some of the main themes. All themes New Jammies loves.

“While one of the main sources of inspiration for kids suggests unplugging from the tech world and exploring nature through the study of Entomology (the scientific study of insects), other trends envision a transformation of reality, enchanted narrative of fantasy and storytelling,” the MAGIC trend report read.

The trend of taking a natural approach to how kids learn, play, eat, sleep and dress fits with New Jammies organic mission.

“As we march along the path of life, we must open our eyes and spirits to the bigger picture,” Ludlow says. “It is through our choices and actions that we can change the way our children view the world and secure their future in a better and healthier world.”


New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Sweet, Healthy Desserts Families Will Love

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” At New Jammies, we love dessert, especially cake, as much as the next sweet tooth. Since February is American Heart Month, and the perfect time for spreading the love, we decided to seek out tasty and healthy dessert recipes — including one for chocolate lovers — to keep hearts happy, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Spiced PearsHoney and Spice Pears
Courtesy American Heart Association
Makes 4 Servings

Enjoy a delicate, heart-healthy dessert by cooking seasonal pears in a light homemade syrup. For info on women and heart disease, visit Go Red for Women.

Ingredients
1 cup light cranberry juice cocktail
1/2-3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground allspice
4 small firm pears (about 6 ounces each), peeled, halved, and cored
2 Tbsp. sweetened, dried cherries or cranberries
1 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. honey (divided use)

Tip: Serving size 2 pear halves and 1 heaping tablespoon sauce.

Directions
1. In a large nonstick skillet, stir together the cranberry juice, cinnamon, and allspice. Add the pears and cherries. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes, or until the pears are just tender-crisp.

2. Transfer pears with the cut side down to a serving plate, leaving liquid in the skillet.

3. Cook the liquid, still on medium high, for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until reduced to a scant 1/4 cup, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in honey. Spoon over pears.

4. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes. Turn the pears several times to coat with the sauce or transfer them to plates and spoon the sauce on top.

img_2304Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops
Courtesy American Diabetes Association
Makes 4 Servings

You can make this recipe with any fruit and flavor of yogurt. Try mango chunks with pineapple yogurt, or kiwi halves with strawberry yogurt. You could also try other toppings like coconut or sprinkles instead of pecans.

Ingredients
Wax paper
12 strawberries, hulled
12 cake pop sticks
½ cup nonfat blueberry Greek yogurt
¼ cup chopped pecans

Directions
1. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Set aside.

2. Insert the cake pop sticks into the top part of the strawberry. Do not pierce through the end of the strawberry.

3. Dip each strawberry in the yogurt, shaking so that each strawberry is thinly coated. Use a spoon to help coat the strawberries if needed.

4. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of pecans (or coconut, sprinkles, etc) over each coated strawberry.

5. Place the strawberry pops on the baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours or until the yogurt is frozen. Once pops are frozen, remove from wax paper and serve or put in a freezer zip-top bag.

img_2306Cranfully Good Chocolate Bites
Courtesy US Cranberries
Makes 8 “Bites”

Rich dark chocolate topped with your favorites: cranberries, nuts, and dried fruits.

Ingredients
3 T 70-80% cocoa premium dark chocolate chips
1/8 cups mix of walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios
1/8 cups mix of dried cranberries, raisins, gooseberries (optional), pumpkin seeds

Directions
1. Mix the nuts and dried fruits together.

2. Melt chocolate in microwave-safe container on low power setting. Rule of thumb: 1 min. for 1 oz.; 3 min. for 8 oz.; 3.5 min. for 1 lb.; 4 min. for 2.lb. Run microwave in 30 sec.-1 min. increments.

3. When most of the chocolate is melted, stir mixture continuously until smooth, shiny, and completely melted.

4. Spoon chocolate onto wax paper in even circles. Top with nuts and fruits. Let harden and then refrigerate 10 minutes.

Pineapple cream cheese pie with berriesimg_2305
Courtesy Mayo Clinic Staff
Makes 8 Servings

Dietitian’s tip: This dessert is more similar to a tart than a traditional cream pie. You can use any fresh, unsweetened berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries.

Ingredients
8 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 prepared graham cracker crust, about 9 inches in diameter
1 can (16 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1 pint berries, rinsed and drained (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, or a combination)

Directions
1. In a small bowl, mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar. Gently spread over the graham cracker crust.

2. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

3. Just before serving, spread the crushed pineapple over the cream cheese. Add the berries.

4. Cut the pie into 8 wedges and serve immediately.

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Moms & Kids Get Moving in the New Year

StripesNew Jammies knows that motherhood brings us all the feels. With a range of emotions from joy and happiness to fatigue and sadness, our hormones play a big role in how body and mind adjusts to postpartum life. There’s also the weight gain and feelings of being overwhelmed that are hard to battle.

That’s where exercise can come into play — and involve mom and babies and kids at the same time.

There are many Mommy and Me-type fitness classes available online and in-person that incorporate cardio and strength training into an exercise routine for two. Positive Health Wellness (positivehealthwellness.com), a site for those seeking information to help live a more positive, healthier and happier life, offers helpful tips to build kids into an exercise routine.

“Involving your baby into exercise has become a popular way for moms to get fit,” says Positive Health Wellness blogger Karen Reed in “A New Mom’s Guide on Post Natal Fitness and Nutrition. “There is certainly nothing wrong with doing it yourself, once your doctor has cleared you for exercise.”

Reed says one of the most common exercises to add into your plan is buggy running, or walking to start, and it is just as it sounds: you run with the buggy.

“There are even running groups around the country offering moms to get together and run with their little ones, and then there will be socializing afterwards or during different days,” she says. “Make sure you have a buggy that is suitable for buggy running. There are now specific runner buggies designed, usually with three wheels to make it easier to turn corners and remain stable at faster paces. The last thing you want is to find you have to come to a halt just to get your buggy around a corner or risk affecting your child’s health.”

Reed also suggests playing a game of peek-a-boo while exercising.

“Put your child where he/she can see you as you do a sit up. Say peek-a-book and then lay back down. As your child gets older, they’ll join in with the game much more,” Reed says.

Yoga is also a fun way to strengthen and tone muscles and help moms mentally adjust with meditation and relaxing breathing techniques. Many local yoga studios, community centers and churches host in-person mom-and-baby yoga classes, and you can also find exercises online.

The What to Expect website includes Mommy-and-Me Yoga 101 information, featuring tips and a list of benefits for both baby and mom. There’s also a quick video of a playful baby yoga move, Butterfly Pose with Baby (Baddha Konasana), to try at home. What to Expect says to keep in mind that it’s best to do mommy-and-me yoga in a class with an experienced yoga teacher who can help ensure you’re doing the poses correctly and safely.

Good Night YogaOne way to introduce yoga to little ones is through colorfully illustrated books. Author and innovative educator Mariam Gates’ “Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story” is a beautiful tool for parents and caregivers to teach kids about yoga, and is a fun and effective new routine for bedtime.

The full-color book, illustrated by graphic artist Sarah Jane Hinder, tells the story of the natural world as it closes down for the night, while teaching children a simple flow of yoga postures inspired by their favorite characters from nature.

Good Morning YogaThe book’s follow-up, “Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake Up Story” invites young readers to practice a morning yoga routine to jumpstart the day and shows them how to focus, relax, self-monitor, and self-soothe.

Gates holds a master’s in education from Harvard University and has more than 20 years’ experience working with children. Her renowned Kid Power Yoga™ program combines her love of yoga with teaching to help children access their inner gifts. Learn more at kidpoweryoga.com/pages/home.html.

Yoga for FamiliesThe entire family can join in the fun of yoga with the “Yoga For Families: Connect With Your Kids” DVD, available on Amazon.

Yoga instructors to the stars Ingrid Von Burg and Tom Morley lead the workout, for ages 4 and older, that encourages time to jump, breathe, laugh, dance, sing and relax.

“Yoga provides us with clarity of thought, and allows us to communicate easier,” says the product description. “When we do that with our family, it gives us confidence.”

Special Features include a choice of music for the dynamic sections: Relaxing/Meditative or High Energy/Silly.

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: New Children’s Books Perfect for Bedtime

New Jammies Feathers

New Jammies Feathers

New Jammies loves those sweet bedtime moments with the kids, reading them to sleep after a relaxing bath and cozy pair of footies. Books are key in developing vocabulary, learning words, and forming bonds.

In welcoming 2017, we’ve found a host of cute books to help kids wind down after a fun day of play and learning. Check out these new titles that will be favorites when it comes to making memories during the nightly bedtime routine.

I'll Hug You More1. I’ll Hug You More
In her latest addition to her “I Love You More” books, New York Times bestselling author Laura Duksta wants kids to know hugs can say a lot, including “hello,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” “But underneath it all, every hug says ‘I love you,'” she says. Duksta learned valuable lessons about love, compassion, and understanding for humanity, as well as for herself, when she lost all her hair at age 11 to Alopecia Areata. In its review of Jan. 1 release, Publishers Weekly described “I’ll Hug You More” as, “Cheery, multi-textured illustrations highlight the sheer versatility of hugs one can give a small hippo offers a one-handed, behind-the-back number as it eats cereal at the breakfast table, a ladybug uses all six limbs to cling to its parent, and two snakes entwine in a cozy, circular embrace … [Duksta’s] reassuring message comes through loud and clear.”

Super Happy Party Bears2. Super Happy Party Bears (Volume 2)
Arriving Jan. 17, this second book in Marcie Colleen’s witty chapter book series is described as, “filled with full color illustrations and adorable animals.” The author is a former classroom teacher and current educational consultant for the Picture Book Month initiative. She also creates teacher’s guides for picture books and middle grade novels and is a advocate for using children’s fictional literature in the classroom. Illustrator Steve James has 10 years experience in the art industry (animation, greeting cards and video game artwork). Super Happy Party Bears is his first children’s book. The book’s description, from publisher Macmillan, says it all: “The Grumpy Woods dislike Wallace Woodpecker only slightly less than the Super Happy Party Bears. They find his pecking preposterously loud, but the bears think Wallace is beating a nice rhythm — it’s great for early-morning dancercise. The bears convince Wallace he has great skills to offer the woods, and they give him ideas for unsolicited handy work. Instead of endearing him to the neighbors, it annoys them even more. Can the bears really help this noisy neighbor?”

Pete the Cat3. Pete the Cat: Five Little Ducks
Written and illustrated by #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book author James Dean, “Pete the Cat: Five Little Ducks is a cool adaptation of the classic children’s song “Five Little Ducks.” “Fans of Pete the Cat will love rocking out to this classic tune with a groovy twist,” says publisher HarperCollins, regarding the newest book in the Pete the Cat series, which comes out Jan. 24. James Dean’s art has sold in more than 90 galleries and shops across the U.S., and he has devoted his paintings to Pete the Cat for 15 years, turning his natural love for cats into his life’s work. He has also published “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” and “Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes.” Visit him online at www.petethecat.com.

By the Light of the Moon4. By the Light of the Moon
Published in the fall of 2016, By the Light of the Moon by Tom Percival is a gently emotional story to reassure fears about moving, with stunning artwork and a wonderful magical element. In the book, main character Ivan’s old house had always been so warm and friendly, but he finds out his new one is not. In the book, publisher Bloomsbury says, “Ivan finds his new house strange and can’t sleep. He lies awake and then sees a shimmering light come down. The light turns into a creature called a Moji, and it takes him on a magical nighttime adventure, up high into space, bounding through magical forests and down deep into the oceans. Ivan has never had so much fun! And the magical Moji shows him that soon the new house will feel like home.”

Be Who You Are5. Be Who You Are!
The end of 2016 also saw a new children’s book by New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr, “Be Who You Are!” the follow-up to his beloved classic, “It’s Okay to Be Different.” With nods to everything from race to gender expression to economic background, he encourages kids to be proud of who they are inside. “Be old. Be young. Speak your language. Be Who You AreBe proud of where you’re from. Just be who you are!” “Todd’s collection of work occupies a unique space in the children’s book market, addressing topics in a way that feels wholly necessary, inclusive, and appropriate with a sensibility that’s wacky, kid-friendly, and fun. The time is right for a book about acceptance in all forms, and we have no doubt this will resonate with many fans new and old,” says the publisher, Hachette Book Group, for its youth division, Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Warm Drinks to Cozy Up to This Winter

On a cold winter’s New Jammies night, there’s nothing that warms the soul better than a warm mug of creamy homemade cocoa for the kids. Mom and Dad can relax with a soothing cup of herbal tea paired with a hearty scone on the side. These ideas for warm drinks, and more, will help the whole family heat up and eat (or drink) right this winter.

Warm milky drinkWarm Milky Drink

This recipe for a cozy milk concoction from Everyday Roots is described as a “tasty combination of warm milk, honey, and a sprinkling of nutmeg that’s your ticket into Snoozefest.”

The Everyday Roots website‘s goal is to spread knowledge about natural and home remedies to the general public. “A natural remedy could be defined as simply exercising daily, or eating healthier. After all, it’s the little everyday decisions that will help you live not just a longer and healthier life, but a happier one as well,” says the online resource.

According to Everyday Roots:

“Why warm milk: The idea that warm milk helps you fall asleep didn’t come out of nowhere. People over the centuries could tell you it really does work, but not for the modern-day reason that states it makes you sleepy because of tryptophan. Conclusive studies have been done that show milk does not raise tryptophan levels, but can raise internal body temperature when it’s heated, which will relax you and make you sleepy and calm. Add to this the most powerful effect of all, the placebo effect. Warm milk seems to do something psychologically that makes us calm and drowsy. Perhaps it makes us harken back to our days of infancy, and therefore makes the drinker ‘sleep like a baby.’ Either way you look at it, there’s something about it that makes falling asleep a breeze.

Why honey: L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid vital to our rest. It is the precursor to serotonin, which can be converted into melatonin, and melatonin is what regulates our sleep-wake cycles. Honey creates a spike in insulin, which drives tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier. It is then converted into serotonin, which in darkness is converted in to melatonin in the pineal gland in our brain. The result is that as nighttime approaches, you have more melatonin to tell your body ‘ok, it’s time to sleep now.’

Why nutmeg: Nutmeg is a pretty powerful spice, so much so it’s very possible to “overdose” and end up getting looped out, feeling incredibly ill, hallucinating, and experiencing a myriad of other unpleasant side effects. Ingested safely though, it is a pretty darn good natural sleep-aid, thanks to numerous chemical components that act similar to tranquilizers — just stick to a quarter teaspoon or less.”

Ingredients
1 glass of milk
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of honey
1/8 teaspoon to a 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Directions
1. Warm up about 8 ounces of milk in your favorite mug.
2. Heat it until it’s a little hotter than you would comfortably drink, and stir in 1 tablespoon of honey (or as little as 2 teaspoons if you prefer.)
3. Sprinkle with a ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg at the most, and let it cool to a temperature that is still nice and toasty warm but drinkable.
4. Make this about 30 minutes before bed when you start winding down, sip slowly, and enjoy.

Hot cocoa is a winter staple that makes us think of snuggling up by the fire with a fuzzy blanket and a nice book. This healthy version from at WellnessMama.com, a mom blog and resource that offers real food recipes, natural living and cleaning tutorials, beauty recipes and health tips with natural ingredients and remedies, is all-natural and dairy-free with no refined sugar.

Real Food Hot ChocolateReal Food Hot Chocolate
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients
8 ounces of hot (not boiling) water or coconut milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon gelatin powder
1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey (optional)
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend to combine.
2. Serve warm and enjoy.

Notes
• Recipe can be doubled or multiplied as needed.
• Adding more butter or coconut oil will make a thicker hot chocolate.
• This must be done in a blender, since with the added coconut oil or butter, just stirring will not make a smooth mixture.
• More sweetener can be added for a sweeter hot chocolate if desired.

Green tea has many health advantages, and has been called the healthiest beverage on the planet. From brain-boosting nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants, green tea packs a healthy punch as a beverage served hot or cold. Wintertime is a great season to keep warm green tea on hand in a slow cooker in the kitchen or in a Dutch oven on a wood-burning stove. This recipe from Better Homes and Gardens is perfect for the cold weather and fighting off the effects of winter colds.

Slow Cooker Green TeaSlow Cooker Spiced Green Tea
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
6 inches stick cinnamon, broken*
1 tablespoon snipped crystallized ginger
4 cups brewed green tea
4 cups orange-peach-mango juice or orange juice
1 cup dried fruit, such as peaches, apricots, and/or pears
Orange slices
Sugar (optional)
Cheesecloth

Directions
1. For a spice bag, place cinnamon and crystallized ginger in the center of a double-thick, 6- to 8-inch square of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Bring up corners; tie closed with clean cotton string.
2. In a 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-quart slow cooker combine tea and juice. Add spice bag and dried fruit.
3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 3 hours. Remove and discard spice bag and dried fruit.
3. Ladle tea into cups. Float an orange slice in each cup. If desired, sweeten to taste with sugar.

*TIP: To break cinnamon sticks, place in a heavy plastic bag and gently pound sticks with a meat mallet.


New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Family Game Night Fun

Personalized New JammiesNew Jammies knows the benefits of kids and their loved ones gathering around a board game on Family Game Night to encourage good sportsmanship, creativity, and problem solving. Parents can bond with their kids over games they used to play in their youth, and children can introduce new games that can challenge the mind and promote team spirit.

ParentingScience.com, a website that provides evidence-based information about parenting and child development, says games may encourage kids to consider the concept of rules, practice following rules, and reason about moral problems. Citing a 2004 study by researchers Gobet and Retschitzki, titled, “Moves in mind: The psychology of board games,” published in Psychology Press, evidence has shown that when kids play with older role models, they can learn something else, too.

“How to win — and lose — with grace and good manners,” the reports stated.
Also, there are the possible intellectual benefits. “Many board games, including the classics like chess and Mancala, encourage players to detect patterns, says ParentingScience.com.

Personalized PJsThe Child Development Institute suggests board games teach planning, taking turns, handling winning and losing, problem solving, and other spatial skills.

“When played as a family, board games facilitate bonding and improve communication,” says Dr. Bob Myers, a licensed child and adolescent psychologist, in his article, “Toys That Help Develop Spatial Skills, Creativity, and Social Skills.” “Parents can use board games as an opportunity to teach social skills and frustration tolerance.”

Dr. Meyers says parents should select toys that are appropriate for your child, and look for ones with a fairly wide age-range so that your child will be able to enjoy them for a long period of time.

“Spend time building things and solving puzzles together with your child as well as encourage them to create on their own,” he suggests.

Jenga, Connect 4, Scrabble, and Clue are all classic games that can help with problem solving and helps kids use their analytical skills. For parents seeking options to make Family Game Night fun and educational, there’s a website at familygamenightsideas.com. The online community site is a resource to help parents and kids create successful Family Game Nights.

Ticket to RideA few board game ideas as holiday gifts include the popular Ticket to Ride. Players draw cards that offer perspective routes to complete on the map in order to score points at the end of the game. “Then you draw and play cards throughout the game to place your trains on the map in order to achieve your route goals,” says familygamenightsideas.com. “This can be very challenging especially when other players are competing for similar routes to you. You can also draw for new routes throughout the game, but beware that uncompleted routes will cost you points so plan carefully!”

Beat the ParentsThe game Beat The Parents is fun for kids ages 6 and older, and entails each team starting on one side and racing past the other to victory.

“This game is kids versus parents in a mad dash of trivia. It is designed for the parents to answer questions about kid’s stuff, while the kids have to answer things the parents should know. All the while you are trying to be the first to move your pieces across the board to win,” says the game’s review.

“One value that this game can really help with is teamwork. It was quite fun to watch the kids discuss what they thought was the right answer and why the team should take one over the other.”

HedbanzAnother favorite for kids and parents is the game Hedbanz, which gets both the parents and the kids laughing for hours. Amazon describes the award-winning game as a “goofy guessing ‘What am I? game. In the game, kids use their heads in more ways than one while asking yes or no questions to figure out if the cartoon on their head. The first player to guess what you are wins. Fun for all ages.


New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes

Holiday New JammiesAt New Jammies, we love the holidays and all that make them special. Kids make the memories especially sweet as they handcraft cute holiday ornaments for the tree and help in the kitchen to bake and decorate cookies.

We like to eat healthy during the holidays when we can, so these cookie recipes are cute, fun, festive and nutritious.

Happy holidays!

Boot TracksBoot Tracks cookies, courtesy of Eating Well Magazine, are perfect to leave out for Santa the night before Christmas, or to package in holiday tins for homemade gift-giving. The recipe is from Eating Well reader Patti Anderson, a professional quilter, who had never entered a cooking contest before she won with this quick, no-fuss, chewy chocolate cookie made using a waffle iron. Best of all, Eating Well says kids love them.

Ingredients
1/2 cup salted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions
1. Preheat a nonstick (not Belgian) waffle iron.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, oil and espresso powder (if using). Beat until thoroughly combined.
3. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto the preheated ungreased waffle iron. (To avoid burnt fingers, use two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape dough onto the waffle iron.) Close and cook until the cookies are puffed and cooked through, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Waffle irons vary, so watch closely and don’t let the cookies get too dark. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until just warm. Dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while still slightly warm (see Variations).

Variations: Instead of confectioners’ sugar, drizzle cooled cookies with melted bittersweet and/or white chocolate. Or make a peppermint drizzle: Mix 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 4 teaspoons water and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract; add natural green food coloring, if desired.

Make-ahead tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Dust with additional confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Decorate on parchment: When adding finishing touches to your cookies or cakes, place them on a large sheet of parchment paper before you decorate. The paper catches the excess, making cleanup a breeze.

 

img_2099These Oatmeal Jam Bars from Better Homes and Gardens feature fiber-rich oats to add nutritional value. A sweet raspberry filling is sandwiched between two layers of warm, crumbly cream cheese crust. For heart-healthy options, use low-sugar or sugar-free jam and low-fat cream cheese.

Ingredients
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup seedless blackberry or red or black raspberry jam
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in oats, brown sugar, and lemon peel. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until mixture is crumbly. Remove 1 cup of the crumb mixture for topping; set aside.
3. Press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the jam and lemon juice. Carefully spread jam mixture over hot crust. Sprinkle with the reserved 1 cup crumb mixture. Bake about 15 minutes more or until top is golden. Cool bars in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Place bars in box; close box.

Make-ahead tip: Layer bars between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

 

Cranberry CookiesCranberry cooperative Ocean Spray has declared the beloved red berry as the “official unofficial fruit of the holidays,” and we can’t think of a better way to eat it than in cookie form. The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association (see more healthy recipes at cranberries.org) offers this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies using dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and old-fashioned oats.

Ingredients
⅔ cup butter or margarine, softened
⅔ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 bag of sweetened dried cranberries (6 oz.)
⅔ cup chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Using an electric mixer beat butter or margarine and brown sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.
3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition.
4. Stir in sweetened dried cranberries, chocolate chips and walnuts.
5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until gold brown.

Blueberry White Chocolate Ginger CookieBlueberries, ginger, white chocolate, oh my! These three ingredients combine to make a magical Blueberry White Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookie that Eating Well Recipe Contributor Anna Ginsberg says are “a real snap to make — just stir and bake.” Package in a pretty blue holiday tin, and these cookies will be a big gift hit, thanks to this Eating Well recipe.

Ingredients
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup oats, quick-cooking or old-fashioned (not instant)
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup dried blueberries, (see Tip)
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped (see Tip)

Directions
1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 375°F.
2. Whisk flour, wheat germ, baking soda, salt and ground ginger in a small bowl.
3. Whisk egg, brown sugar, oil and vanilla in a large bowl.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; stir to combine. Add oats, chocolate, blueberries and crystallized ginger; stir just to combine.
5. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto 2 ungreased baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until puffed and barely golden around the edges, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Cool on the pans for 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make-ahead tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Tip: Dried cranberries or cherries will also work in place of blueberries; all can be found, along with crystallized ginger, in the baking, dried fruit or produce sections of many supermarkets and natural-foods stores.

Storage smarts: To extend the life of your baked goods, store them in an airtight container in a single layer or between layers of parchment paper to prevent sticking.

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Personalized New JammiesPersonalized PJs for December!

New Jammies is now offering Personalized PJs. Embroider your child’s name on our soft organic cotton New Jammies for the perfect holiday gift!

www.newjammies.com/Personalized-Kids-Organic-Cotton-Pajamas


New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Tips for Turning Off Technology Before Bedtime

Kids and TechnologyIn today’s tech-savvy society, it’s hard to remember life before smartphones, tablets and social media. The Pew Research Center estimates that 68% of Americans have smartphones and 45% own tablets. With electronics all around us, it’s no surprise our kids are affected.

The National Sleep Foundation says when it comes to children, electronics and sleep, there’s an increasing prevalence of electronics in kid’s bedrooms. New Jammies agrees this can present some challenges.

“That creates a culture of evening engagement and light exposure that negatively impacts sleep time, sleep quality and daytime alertness,” says the NSF. “Many children are not fulfilling basic sleep requirements and adequate sleep is essential for growth, learning, mood, creativity and weight control. Understanding the influence of light and evening engagement on sleep is the first step in helping parents address the dilemma of electronics in the bedroom.”

There are several results of mixing electrics and bedtime for kids of all ages. The Foundation says children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax at night have been shown to have later weekday bedtimes. They also experience fewer hours of sleep per week and report more daytime sleepiness.

“Adolescents with a bedroom television have later bedtimes, more difficulty initiating sleep and shorter total sleep times,” says the NSF. “Texting and emailing after lights outs, even once per week, dramatically increases self-reported daytime sleepiness among teens.”

Increased academic demands, busy social and extracurricular schedules, and the lure of entertainment keep our children electronically engaged at night, according to the Foundation.

“Not all electronic usage is recreational as the burden of homework is great for many of our children and their work is often completed on the computer, a significant light source late in the evening,” the NSF says.
Liraz Margalit, Ph.D., who analyzes online consumer behavior, recently penned an article for “Psychology Today” discussing kid’s exposure to electronic media. She suggested to tread carefully on the topic because technology isn’t always a bad thing.

“Educational apps and TV shows are great ways for children to sharpen their developing brains and hone their communication skills — not to mention the break these gadgets provide harried parents,” she says. “But tread carefully: A number of troubling studies connect delayed cognitive development in kids with extended exposure to electronic media.”

Dr. Margalit says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates American children spend a whopping seven hours a day in front of electronic media.
“Other statistics reveal that kids as young as two regularly play iPad games and have playroom toys that involve touch screens,” the article says.

The key is to wait and introduce kids to electronics until at least the age of two. And to power off regularly to establish clear boundaries between the virtual world and the real one.

“Despite the danger that overexposure to smartphones can pose for young brains, there are a lot of benefits to letting little ones use technology. Once a child is over the age of two, feel free to allow limited screen time — think an hour, max, of playing with tablets and iPhones each day— to help develop coordination, hone quick reactions, and even sharpen language skills,” Dr. Margalit says. “As with all the other toys and tools available to your developing child, smartphone use should stay in moderation, and never stand in for human interaction or real-world face time.”

The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe) is an international alliance of more than 100 policy leaders, educators, law enforcement members, technology experts, public health experts and advocates established in 2005. The nonprofit says for both kids and adults, the time for a technology curfew is always right, and are essential for a healthy life and family. Establishing a nightly digital wind-down ritual, benefit us in many ways, says iKeepSafe, and these tips can help you and your family:

• “Unplug” two hours before bed. This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.

• Create a schedule and stick to it. Confusion and arguments will be kept to a minimum once your kids understand that the technology curfew is a nightly event that’s here to stay.

• Make family fun time a part of the nightly ritual. Idea: Assign a night to each family member and make him or her in charge of choosing the activity.

• Don’t forget to add some invaluable me-time to the mix. This could include, reading, writing, pampering or meditating.

• Store all digital devices (e.g., smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) in an area of the house other than the bedrooms.

• Use an alarm clock rather than your smartphone or tablet as a wakeup device.

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Personalized PJsSleep tight this holiday with Personalized PJs!

New Jammies is now offering Personalized PJs. Embroider your child’s name on our soft organic cotton New Jammies for the perfect holiday gift!

www.newjammies.com/Personalized-Kids-Organic-Cotton-Pajamas

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Fall Games Using Found Objects

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Autumn is a perfect season to get outside, and New Jammies can’t think of a better time to explore and find the fun than fall. Hiking, camping, fishing and leaf peeping are just a few fun family-friendly activities to enjoy in the crisp air surrounded by nature. Even when wearing  your organic cotton New Jammies pajamas!

Playing outside can also motivate kids to invent new games and expand their imaginations with found items. From pumpkins grown in the family garden to pine cones found on a day hike, nature’s bounty can make playing games fun and creative this fall.

Check out these cute ideas for an Autumn to remember:

Pine Cone Toss

The toddlerapproved.com website, a resource for parents and teachers of young children that helps foster a love of learning at an early age, has many craft and activities ideas for kids. Their Pine Cone Toss game helps parents work with their kids on hand-eye coordination and counting. Here are the easy steps for fun play using pine cones form the woods or backyard.

Materials needed:
1. Six pine cones in a variety of sizes
2. Three varying sized bowls
3. One die
4. Tape to mark off the playing area

Pine Cone TossHow to play:
1. Put bowls out in order from big to small (small is harder and further away) and designate each bowl to have a certain number of points. We kept it simple and had the big bowl be worth 1 point, next bowl worth 2 points, and third (harder) bowl worth 3 points.

2. Roll the die and count the number shown on the die. (ex. 3)

3. Toss that number of pine cones into the bowls to try and earn the most points (ex. toss 3 pinecones into the bowls). Over time your child will learn that throwing three into the furthest small bowl will earn more points than throwing all three into the first big bowl.

4. Count up your points (and write them down to keep track).

5. Take the pine cones out of the bowls and pass the pine cones and die to the next person.

6. Take turns until everyone has had a turn. Play again and again until you are bored. Decide to play until the first person gets to 10 or 20 points if you want to have a designated ending point.

Pumpkin Ring Toss

The Pumpkin Ring Toss game can be played by trying to throw rings over the stems, or the pumpkins themselves.

Materials needed:
1. A grouping of 3 or more pumpkins with long stems — the straighter the better
2. Large metal mason jar bands (without lids), rope rings or other pliable, smaller rings to toss
3. Something to mark lines to stand behind

How to play:
1. Players are given 3 rings to try and ring as many pumpkin stems as possible.

2. We recommend parents and kids try it out for difficulty before playing. If the game is too easy, move your lines farther back, if the game is too hard, move lines closer.

3. Take turns throwing one or two times per player.

4. The player with the most rings around the pumpkins wins.

Autumn Leaf ObstacleAutumn Obstacle Course

The National Wildlife Federation is known for being a voice for wildlife, dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitat and inspiring the future generation of conservationists. So the nonprofit knows first-hand how to teach kids to also have fun while learning when they’re out there in the wild, wonderful outdoors. On its website nsf.org, the nonprofit hosts a section for Family Fun, with nature-friendly activities and games for kids and parents to do together. This Autumn Obstacle Course is perfect for utilizing the leaves raked in the yard for teachable moments:

Materials needed:
1. Paper grocery bags
2. 3 bean bags (optional)
3. A yard full of leaves
4. Rakes

How to play:
1. Design a course by deciding where to build a course, what shape it will take, and obstacles, including: Pile of leaves to crawl through. Bags of eaves to leap over. Paper grocery bags that must be filled with leaves before continuing on. Stations where your child must find three bean bags (or other objects) buried in a leaf pile. And a huge pile of leaves to dive into as the grand finale.

2. Rake leaves to make an obstacle course (you’ll need leaves, lots of them). Give your child a small rake so he or she can help collect the leaves you’ll need. Then arrange the leaves into the obstacle course you designed earlier. (For two kids who want to race, make two identical courses.)

3. Race through the course. Ready, set, go! Now it’s time to have fun. Race with your child or referee two kids racing. Or time your child as he or she runs the course. Change the obstacles to keep the fun going.

4. Talk about autumn and leaves. Fall into the season. Tell your child autumn has another name — fall. Ask if he or she can guess where the name came from. Explain it refers to the time of year when the leaves on some trees turn color and “fall” off. Why do leaves change color? Explain that leaves are green because they contain chlorophyll, a substance that helps plants make food. In fall, leaves stop making chlorophyll, and their green color fades. That’s when other colors underneath — the beautiful yellows, reds and oranges of fall — can show through. Ask your child to guess the most common leaf color (Answer: yellow.)

5. Fall recycling. Help your child discover ways that nature reuses old leaves. Overturn a bunch of leaves that have been on the ground for a while. You’re likely to find insects and other creatures. That’s because leaves provide these animals with food and shelter. Look for leaves from last year, and show your child how the old leaves have begun to decay. Explain that these old, rotten leaves enrich the soil, supplying food so other plants can grow.

Happy Autumn, and give thanks this November!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.