February: Plant the Seeds of Greatness

January always seem to be the month of new beginnings, making goals, and looking ahead to creating better and healthier habits.   The changes start internally, but hopefully have a lasting effect on our well beings and that of our family, friends, and world around us.   Not surprisingly, by February many of us have moved back into our normal routines and our goals have gone by the wayside.   Or perhaps we were so overwhelmed from the holidays, we never had a chance to focus on ourselves, but were simply in recovery mode.   So I was surprised to find that February is known as the “Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month” and I’m excited I am given another chance to look at the future and perhaps plant my seeds this month.

 

“Awake, arise, and assert yourself, you dreamers of the world. Your star is now in ascendancy.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

At New Jammies our motto is Eat Right, Play Right, Sleep Tight.   These are three areas of our lives that are essential to good health and overall well being.    I’d like to take a look at a few steps we could take to improve these areas and help plant your seeds of greatness.

Eat Right

  1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  Our basket should be filled with less packaged/processed goods and more whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, and fish.
  2. Add a new organic or local product to your list.   It can be hard to buy all organic and/or all local due to numerous factors including availability and budget.  Pick one of your regularly purchased items and commit to making sure it is organic, GMO free, or locally produced in a sustainable manner.
  3. Eat your veggies.   Try a new vegetarian or vegan recipe to add to your rotation of regular meals.  There are so many resources now for inspiring vegetarian meals, the world is your oyster. (mushroom, that is..)

Play Right

  1.  Keep it fresh. Get out and try a new activity you’ve never done before.   It seems like there are never ending new options for exercise these days.   Maybe if your a road runner, hit the trail.   You’re a downhill skier: skin uphill.   You’re a yogi, try pilates.    You’re a mountain biker: try road biking.   You love the gym: try a new class, an outdoor group sport (frisbee), golf, or a hike in the woods.   You’ll work your mind and your muscles in a different way and probably feel like a kid again.
  2.  Get outside.   The days are getting longer.   Take your routine outside, even if it means bundling up.
  3.  Just do it. Period!  As parents we often put our children, partners, work, and just sustaining our day to day life before taking time for ourselves.   Commit to one, two, or more days a week to just do an activity for yourselves.   This might mean getting up earlier or asking a spouse, friend, or relative for help, but a healthy body is a healthy mind for us to be the best we can be.

Sleep Tight

  1.  Value Sleep.   This is the time our body and mind needs to heal and be re-energized for a new day.  ” Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function.” (Healthline-17 Tips to Better Sleep)    Don’t take it for granted and set yourself up for the best sleep possible with a few tips highlighted here.

A. Reduce screen time before bed.

B. Don’t drink caffeine late in the day

C. Think before you drink that relaxing glass of vino or beer.

D. Don’t eat right before bedtime.

I’m sure a lot of these ideas are not completely new to you, but repetition creates good or bad habits.  Sometimes we need a reminder of the good to stay on the right track.    As a parent I constantly think, “Am I doing the right thing for my children” but sometimes we have to step back and do the right thing for ourselves.  If we plant the seeds of greatness for our future, I am certain our children, family, and community will feel the long term effects of our flourishing garden.

 

 

Camping To Bond

I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.    My family enjoyed a fun-filled camping trip in our home state of Colorado followed by a local celebratory parade.   We live in a place where we are lucky to be surrounded by wilderness, yet we still love to get out and camp.   One of the things I love the most about camping is that it allows us to leave our never ending TO-DO list at home and just focus on our family and enjoying time together outside.    We cook a little slower over the camp fire. We relax a bit more taking in the morning air or the evening sunset.   We wander a bit longer through the woods looking for bugs, plants, birds or rocks that catch our eye.    This month Jenny Jackson is sharing great ideas for family camping with us.  As the Fall leaves change, it’s a great time to get outside, explore, and enjoy the last days of warm weather.

Tips For A Fun Family Camping Getaway

Since 2014, an additional six million families are taking up camping per year. As a classic way to bond with the family, camping allows you and your family some time away from the real world and lets you focus on who matters most. When planning your next family camping trip, it is essential to bring the proper supplies, entertainment, and the right attitude to make your camping trip a success.

It Starts With Supplies

A good camping trip hinges on how well prepared the campers are. When collecting supplies, it’s best to start with the necessities. Tents, sleeping bags, and warm blankets protect you and your family from the elements and make your stay comfortable. Make sure to keep extra blankets especially for toddlers or young children. Flashlights, batteries, bug spray, and extra clothing are all crucial too, as they increase safety. Finally, the most important items to stock up on are food and utensils. While the amount of food you pack depends on the facilities available, a grill, pots and pans, cooking utensils, and dishwashing supplies are great to feed the whole family. Packing snacks and sweets such as s’mores will keep any child happy as well.

Entertainment and Activities

Children are often very active and curious, and it is imperative you keep them entertained and active during your camping trip. The last thing you want is to be constantly nagged by bored children and lose valuable serenity, so bringing along games and activities is a must. Activities such as nature scavenger hunts, flashlight tag, singing campfire songs, and making s’mores are all great ways to keep the family busy and bonding. For a more cerebral twist, reading and telling stories, nature walks to learn about the ecosystem, and animal spotting can all be fun educational ways to get closer during a family camping trip.

It’s All About Attitude

In today’s world, children are plugged into smartphones and computers while you are busy in your career. Camping is a way to unwind, but can also be a complete switch up from your normal routine. When making such a drastic change in scenery with your kids, it is important to have a good attitude and remain positive and engaging. It is also imperative you are organized and prepared for anything. Safety comes first and being ill-prepared is not a good situation to be in. Lastly, make sure your children are involved. By allowing them to memorize landmarks for directions, hold the compass, or carrying a whistle you are giving them responsibility and involvement in the decision making. This can make them more engaged and receptive.

Go Camping Soon

Camping as a family is both fun and healthy for the family relationship. In order to be prepared make sure you bring the proper supplies such as tents, sleeping bags, and plenty of food. Also, make sure you invest in activities or entertainment for the kids, anything from nature walks to skipping rocks can keep them attentive. And lastly, have a good positive attitude and be prepared. Your next family camping trip awaits.

~Jenny Jackson

Play Right: Understanding the Real World Through Play

Even in adulthood, New Jammies parents know that the reality of the world can be hard to understand.

As caring and responsible parents, it’s our job to help our kids navigate through 24-7 news reports, social media and word-of-mouth info sharing.

That’s where play comes into, well, play.

According to the Genius of Play, children as young as 3 learn to understand the real world through realistic pretend play. The Genius of Play is a national movement to raise awareness of play’s vital role in child development, spearheaded by The Toy Association.  The movement is rooted in research and facts, and serves as a leading resource on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of play that serve children throughout their lives. The group promotes play as a way to hone communication skills, important in coping with reality as teens and adults.

“Knowing what people mean isn’t always easy. Kids have to learn to decipher what people are saying — and not saying — by listening, observing, and sometimes picking up on very subtle clues,” says the group.

“By playing with others, children learn the art of communication. They come to recognize facial expressions and body language. They figure out how to strike up and carry on conversations, and how to express their thoughts and desires in a way that won’t cause problems and put a stop to the group game.”

Specifically, the Genius of Play says pretend play is especially important for children’s communication development and literacy.

“The idea that a letter represents a sound is based on symbolism — a concept kids come to understand when they pretend that a cardboard box is a castle, or that a shoe is a race car. Role-play also gives children a chance to use words they’ve heard adults and other kids use, and helps improve their vocabulary. As they grow older, word-based games help reinforce language and literacy skills.”

Genius of Play lists these games as great communication-building ideas for play:

Jumping Jack Syllables (ages 4 1/2 – 5)
Teach the child to do a simple jumping jack. In one smooth movement, jump and land with feet spread apart, raise hands over the head and clap. Share with them that a syllable is a separate count or beat in a word. Then by using the days of the week or months of the year, use jumping jacks to play out the number of syllables per word. For instance, using Saturday, the child will have three movements to the word, ending with his arms over his head.

Courtesy BestBeginningsAlaska.org

Balloon Ball (for ages 4+)

INGREDIENTS:

• An air-filled balloon or beach ball
• A broomstick or row of pillows
PREP TIME:
5 minutes

Lay a broomstick or row of pillows on the floor to act as the ‘net.’ Have your child hit the balloon over the ‘net,’ then run to the other side to hit it back before it touches the ground. Score 1 each time your child hits the ball without it hitting the floor. If two children, have them hit the ball over the ‘net.’ The game ends when the ball hits the floor. The child who hit that ball wins.

Kick the Can (ages 5+)

INGREDIENTS:
A large, empty can or bucket to be kicked
PREP TIME:
2 minutes

Choose one person to be “IT” and a “home base” for the children to gather (when playing outside, a fire hydrant or familiar tree are great spots). Place the can in a safe, open space. To start, have IT count to 50 with his/her eyes closed while the other players hide. Upon opening their eyes, IT should start searching for the hiders. When IT finds a hider, he/she calls out the player’s name and that player goes to jail (home base). Another player can risk capture to save jailbirds by kicking over the can and calling out “Home Free” without getting tagged by IT, after which the jailbirds are free to run and hide from IT again. The game continues until everyone has been captured. If jailbreaks keep the game going too long, the first person caught 3 times becomes IT and a new game begins.

Crafts Cards (ages 3+, requites adult help)

INGREDIENTS:
• Multiple sheets of construction paper for each child
• Old magazines
• Glue
• Safety scissors
• Magic markers and crayons
• Extras: stencils, stickers, feathers, glitter

PREP TIME:
10 minutes

Nothing says “you’re special” like a homemade card. Give each child some paper folded in half, magazine pages, markers and crayons. You can leave additional magazines, the stencils, stickers, feathers, and glitter where each child can reach them to use. Allow their imaginations run wild as the kids use the supplies to make cards for their friends, their families, even their favorite pet!

Parentingscience.com agrees that playful experiences are learning experiences. An evolutionary anthropologist created the online parenting resource for critical thinkers who want to understand child development from the perspectives of psychology, anthropology, evolution, and cognitive neuroscience.

“Most play involves exploration, and exploration is, by definition, an act of investigation. It’s easy to see how this applies to a budding scientist who is playing with magnets, but it also applies to far less intellectual pursuits, like the rough-and-tumble play in puppies,” says parentingscience.com. “The animals are testing social bonds and learning how to control their impulses, so that friendly wrestling doesn’t turn into anti-social aggression. Play is learning.”

Parentingscience.com reminds us that play is self-motivated and fun, as well as important for understanding the real world.

“These arguments aside, there is also empirical evidence that kids treat play as a tutorial for coping with real life challenges,” says the site. “All around the world, children engage in pretend play that simulates the sorts of activities they will need to master as adults, suggesting such play is a form of practice.”

Parentingscience.com adds that when kids are fed information during pretend play — from more knowledgeable peers or adults — they take it in.

“Experiments on American preschoolers suggest that children as young as 3 understand make distinctions between realistic and fanciful pretending, and use information learned from realistic pretend scenarios to understand the real world.”

Find more information on why play is essential to learning and development at Mom Loves Best

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: Back-to-School Games for the Active

New Jammies kids are making a fresh start going back to school, and there are some fun play-time routines, games and puzzles that can refresh their memories and spark creativity.

For younger, preschool-aged children, play itself becomes more physical at that age. So “why just walk when you can hop, jump, or skip?” says the kidshealth.org website.

KidsHealth says smart toys for preschoolers include arts and crafts, and anything that help kids sharpen fine motor skills that are constantly improving.

“Activities like holding a crayon, drawing pictures of family members, and using a pair of safety scissors to cut and paste strengthen coordination, encourage creativity, and foster self-esteem,” kidshealth.org says.

The site’s childhood development experts suggest that blocks and construction sets, including building towers (and figuring out how to stop them from toppling over) encourage problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.

“Preschoolers will use their imaginations to create buildings, vehicles, animals, and more from simple construction sets,” KidsHealth says.

Jigsaw puzzles, to help with coordination and dexterity that teach about spatial relationships and logical thinking, and pretend play are also key for preschoolers to practice as they embrace school.

Big Knob First Puzzle Set

Wooden puzzles for kids from Lakeshore, a California-based company that applies real-world classroom experience to every product it develops, inspire little learners by using the power of play to make learning fun. We love the Big Knob First Puzzle Set for infants to pre-k toddlers.

As elementary school-aged kids are accomplished in ways they never were before, KidsHeath suggests activities that cultivate new talents and interests beginning to take hold.

“They’ve grasped an understanding of the world around them and are now moving toward mastering skills that once challenged them, like catching a football or braiding a friend’s hair,” says kidshealth.org. “A 4-year-old who enjoyed story time may grow to love reading; a 5-year-old who listened to music might want to play piano.”

With the refinement of physical abilities, including large and fine motor skills, elementary school is the time when kids learn to ride two-wheel bicycles and glide on skateboards, says KidsHealth. An appreciation of arts and the humanities also sparks.

“Arts and crafts become more intricate, and a child might spend hours weaving friendship bracelets or drawing comic strips, says the children’s-focused resource.”

KidsHealth suggests these smart toys and activities for big kids going back to school:

• Jump rope. By skipping rope with friends, kids learn to take turns and get along with peers. All that jumping, and the coordination it requires, encourages large motor development and problem-solving skills.

• Card and board games. Card games like “war” or “crazy eights” and board games like checkers or chess teach about strategy, turn-taking, negotiating rules, and fair play. Encourage cooperation and help your child learn to manage the emotions that come with winning as well as losing.

New Jammies Whales

• Musical instruments. Learning to play the piano, violin, guitar, or another instrument encourages listening and fine motor skills and helps build attention skills.
Science toys. Chemistry sets, binoculars, telescopes, or other toys that promote discovery and problem-solving help improve math and science skills, and help develop imagination.

KidsHealth also reminds parents and caregivers that students of all ages can learn from scavenger hunts, outdoors or indoors when it’s raining or the weather turns cold, to encourage problem-solving and teamwork. Just gather easily recognizable objects and hide them around the yard or house. Give each child a list of items to look for and clues to help them find the objects. Adults can pair kids up or assign teams to play.

“This game also works well outdoors provided you set some boundaries (the edges of the yard, certain spots in the park) for the kids to work inside,” kidshealth.org says.

 

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: “Up & Active” Toy Trends Perfect for Summer

New Jammies Trains Collection

Early this year, the Toy Industry Association announced its top trends at the New York Toy Fair, and New Jammies was happy to see popularity of the “Up & Active” theme.

“With more room for innovation and a greater willingness to take risks, toymakers are pulling out all the stops to create highly ground-breaking products, reinvent play patterns, and refresh classic brands with cutting-edge technologies and exciting new licenses,” says Adrienne Appell, a trend expert at TIA. “Best of all, these toys build children’s developmental skills through collaborative, hands-on, and imaginative play.”

Collectible toys were also among the hot forecasted trends, which help children develop lifelong skills, including social skills (when negotiating and trading with friends), organization skills (as they maintain their collections), and perseverance (not giving up on the “hunt”), according to the Toy Industry Association.

The “Up & Active” category features toys to encourage kids to get up and move – both indoors and outdoors.

“The latest active toys not only motivate kids to burn off excess energy, they are also engaging for the whole family and are more seamlessly integrated into other types of play,” says the Toy Industry Association. “This trend includes tech toys that weave in active components, classic outdoor ride-ons, traditional games that incorporate physical activity, and digital toys that foster face-to-face play.”

The Toy Industry Association notes that toys which encourage kids to move are a part of a larger health-and-wellness trend that spans multiple industries.

“We see consumers making healthy lifestyle choices, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, athleisure, wearable devices, and natural-looking beauty options, so I believe the outdoor and sports toys trend will continue into the near future as well,” says Juli Lennett, NPD’s senior vice president and U.S. toys industry analyst.

Toy companies are launching toys and games designed to motivate kids to move – both indoors and outdoors – particularly as they respond to the demands of millennial parents seeking more engaging toys for their kids, such as offering educational or more active play, says the Association.

“Toys that encourage kids to get up and move are on both kids’ and parents’ wish lists,” says Adrienne Appell, TIA trend expert. “It’s not just classic outdoor toys that are popular; we are seeing toy companies innovate with tech toys that weave in active components, educational toys that incorporate physical activity, new exciting ride-ons, and traditional games that require kids to move around in order to play.”

One toy that help kids enjoy the Great Outdoors is the Regatta Swing. The nautical -themed swing is developed exclusively for Magic Cabin, which specializes in open-ended, nature-inspired toys and crafts to nurture children’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity. The swing, for ages 3–6 and older, holds up to 200 pounds and features an innovative design to sits two sailors on two heavy-duty mesh seats. The mesh bottom means water won’t get trapped inside while not in use. The simple concept of the bowline knot creates a secure hanging apparatus of adjustable height that’s easy to use.

New Jammies’ Pirates collection of PJs, which can double as comfy play wear to stay cool in the summer, would be a fun addition to this imagination-building play. Sailboat n’Waves would also be cute to rock in the Regatta Swing.

Antsy Pants’ line of Build and Play kits are designed to let kids’ imaginations run wild and get kids and families creating, imagining and building together. With each product purchased, sold exclusively at Target, Antsy Pants helps support KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all kids get a childhood filled with the balanced and active play they need to thrive.

“Antsy Pants will make a donation to KaBOOM! for each product purchased, and is projected to give more than $150,000 in the first year to build playgrounds for kids across America,” says the product’s website.

The Antsy Pants Build and Play Obstacle Course  gets the whole family moving with toss rings, jump hurdles and a race to the finish for fun-and-friendly competition. The easy-to-build Obstacle Course Kit comes with an agility ring course, start and finish flags, adjustable height hurdles, and weave pole course. No tools necessary!

New Jammies’ Star Spangled collection would be a patriotic, America-themed way to celebrate the Fourth of July while running through the Obstacle Course this summer.

USA! USA! USA!

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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: From Daytime Jams to Sleep Jammies

One of the most versatile ways for kids to wear New Jammies in the warmer months is to don them during the day in the park, poolside or at neighborhood BBQs. Then mix and match at nighttime for a cool, comfortable sleep.

“New Jammies’ signature 100% organic cotton fabric is breathable and keeps kids cool in the summer heat and warm at night,” says New Jammies CEO and founder Nicole Ludlow.

“The fun part is to mix and match the short sets, pants and long-sleeved shirts for several different color and print combinations on vacation or out and about having a good time, day into night.”

A cute look for girls in the summer is to add brightly colored tutus and comfy sandals to our Lobsters collection. Or incorporate pastel tutus into an outfit with our pretty Ballerina Slippers or Mermaid Bubbles prints.

The Lobsters and Whales collections come with 100% organic cotton summer roll hats, too. The fun summertime New Jammies headwear designs provide a coordinated look at the beach or in town, especially with our Classic Stripes and nautical-themed collections, to help protect babies’ sensitive skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Boys are typically fairly easy to dress, especially in the summer, so our shorts sets with bold stripes and colorful prints really come in handy when packing for the day, weekend, or a week of well-derserved vacation.

“So many of our collections offer options for mixing and matching, and for going from day to night, if the boys manage to stay clear of mud!” says Nicole, who has two young boys of her own.

The organic Classic Stripe in blue and white is a great option for bold and colorful day-to-night wear for boys or girls, and the Pirate Skull Stripes and Sailboats n’Waves pajamas and short sets are perfect to switch up from afternoon into evening. Especially for hanging around the water at the lake or ocean, and for summer vacations involving pirate ships, sunset cruises or floating on the river.

In celebration of summer, New Jammies has a few of these versatile outdoor and sleep time looks in our sale section of our online store.

Enjoy great sale prices on our Sharks PJ Shorts Set and Ottoman Flowers PJ Shorts Set, as well as the Pirate Skull Stripes and Sly Fox PJ Shorts Set, for a wonderful summer playing in the sun and sleeping under the stars.

Here’s to a summer to remember!

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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

Football New Jammies

Football New Jammies

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.

Play Right: Celebrate National Wilderness Month Outdoors

ColoradoBoyAs New Jammies welcomes the change of seasons, National Wilderness Month is the perfect time for families to get outside and explore.

The Federal Facilities of Environmental Stewardship suggests celebrating America’s wilderness in September, and throughout Autumn, by visiting the nation’s wilderness areas and learning about the issues facing these pristine environments. In his Presidential Proclamation of National Wilderness Month in September, President Barack Obama, agreed.

“I invite all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, to learn about their vast history, and to aid in the protection of our precious national treasures,” he proclaimed.

The country’s vast wilderness areas provide acres-upon-acres of natural playground for kids and parents to hike, fish, camp, boat, birdwatch, sightsee, and numerous other ways to enjoy the Great Outdoors. The country’s preserved spaces were protected 52 years ago when the Wilderness Act was passed, marking the beginning of an era when Americans were empowered by Congress to propose protection of special wild places, watersheds, wildlife habitat and outstanding recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, camping and hiking.

“The law immediately set aside approximately nine million acres of U.S. national forests as wilderness, defining the highest level of protection, uses and enjoyment of these federal lands,” said the Wilderness Society, founded in 1935 to advocate for protection of America’s roadless wild places.

“Today the National Wilderness Preservation System encompasses nearly 110 million acres of wild country in 44 states and includes lands in national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management areas.”

In 2014, when the Wilderness Act celebrated 50 years, Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams expressed the importance of protection of our wilderness areas.

“Today we need wilderness more than ever,” Williams said. “In an urban nation, we need a place to get away, to enjoy and restore ourselves. The people who wrote the Wilderness Act called it an essential human need, and that’s why they wrote the Wilderness Act – to protect wild places for all of us, and for our quality of life. There’s one constant since the Wilderness Act was passed – people want to protect more of our wild places, which define us as a nation. They are our American legacy, something we can leave to future generations.”

New JammiesOutdoor gear company REI offers its tips on camping in the wilderness with the younger set, providing the opportunity for priceless family memories for New Jammies kids. To start, REI says to prepare for outdoor overnight trips by practicing camping at home.

“If your kids are outdoor newbies, pitch a tent in the backyard or even inside your home. Let them hang out in it and sleep in it so they become comfortable with a new sleeping environment,” said the company, which donates percentages of its sales to conservation efforts.

“Take a trial run: Before your overnighter, try a family day outing at a close-to-home park. Spend a half-day or so at a lakeshore or park and see how your kids react to the experience. Take notes: Write down reminders for future trips: ‘Pack more sunscreen.’ ‘Bring long pants.’ ‘Leave bongos home.'”

REI also suggests these fun items to bring along on camping trips with kids:

• Paddleball set
• Marshmallow launcher
• Animal-shaped flashlights
• Kits, discs and flying toys — REI’s faves include glowing, multicolor LED flying discs and Djubi balls
• Low-tech fun with a boot-around plastic ball that doubles as an ice cream maker
• Water toys to cool off
• Foot bags
• Educational games, including “Pass the Pigs” and “Why Knot?”

Most of all, New Jammies hopes kids get outside and have fun in the beauty and wonderment of the nation’s beloved wilderness areas as the leaves change.

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. New Jammies are WRAP certified for socially responsible manufacturing practices, created in GOTS certified knit, print, and dye facilities, and made of OE100 100% certified organic cotton. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Make Summer Fun with Backyard Camping

CampingIn his treasured book “Our National Parks,” naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir wrote, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” As nature lovers ourselves, we at New Jammies can relate.

There’s something magical about sleeping under the stars that provides a sense of peace, and brings us closer to nature. One way for kids to learn first-hand about the Great Outdoors is to plan a fun overnight or weekend camping excursion in the convenience of your own backyard. Because of the easy access to the amenities of home, backyard camping is ideal for all ages, from babies to grandparents — and even great-grandparents.

The National Park Service (NPS) provides information on backyard camping to introduce children to Mother Nature and teach them to appreciate all she has to offer. Or even to test a new sleeping bag, tent or other camping gear.

“Consider camping in your backyard,” says the NPS. “You don’t have to be in a ‘real’ campground to learn the art of camping and to make memories.”

Celebrating 100 years on Aug. 25, the National Park Service lists these benefits of backyard camping:

1. The house is right there. The familiar setting and security of the backdoor lit at night is the perfect testing ground to introduce sleeping under the stars, especially to kids. If the weather is bad outside, the kids are too afraid of the dark, or you need to dash to the bathroom, your house is right there.

2. Memories in the making. Some of the very first memories of camping as a child begin with pitching a tent a few yards from the house. Make it a fun family event. Invite relatives or friends to share in the experience.

3. The testing ground. Do you need to master the art of making the perfect s’more, or learn how to prepare meals outdoors? Use your backyard to get a feel for what it’s like to sleep on the ground, to prepare a meal outdoors, or to test your gear.

StripesParenting Magazine suggests planning ahead with fun games, easy snacks, and at-home activities for a chill staycation with the kids.

“Enter the backyard campout: low on stress, high on thrills, chock-full of the fun stuff that camping’s all about (including plenty of dirt), all within shouting distance of clean bathrooms and a stocked fridge,” says parenting.com, in its “14 Ideas for Camping Out In Your Backyard.”

In the article, parenting.com puts a fun spin on a beloved campfire treat with these easy S’mores on a Stick:

“Warm up your favorite chocolate sauce and pour into a shallow bowl or plate; put crushed graham crackers on another plate. Roast marshmallows, dip in the chocolate and then the crackers.”

For old-fashioned, after-dark backyard camping games, play Ghost in the Graveyard, which Parenting mag describes as “tag with a spooky twist.” Here are the simple rules:

1. Designate one ghost to hide in the backyard while everyone else waits on base (like the back porch) and counts: “One o’clock, two o’clock …”

2. When you get to 12 o’clock, shout “Midnight! I hope I don’t see a ghost tonight!”

3. Then go hunting in the backyard for the ghost. Whoever spots the ghost first cries “Ghost in the graveyard!”

4. Everyone then scrambles back to base while the ghost tags runners. If you get tagged, you, too, join the ‘ghost’ gang and the game begins again.

5. Keep playing until everyone’s been caught by the ghosts and the graveyard is full.


Gear Up with New Jammies for Backyard Camping Fun

If your kids are up for an overnight outdoor adventure in the backyard — or even taking it to the next level in a park that permits camping — New Jammies has some colorful, 100% organic cotton pajamas perfect for summer nights sleeping in nature. Check out these popular outdoorsy collections:

• Our Star Spangled PJs are a fun way to celebrate America in patriotic red, white and blue, all summer long. Choose from our stars and flags prints and striped patterns for a colorful shout out to the good ol’ U.S.A.

Gone Fishin' New Jammies• Featuring a whimsical angler theme, Gone Fishin’ New Jammies will have kids dreaming of sun-filled days by the lake catching fish to cook over the campfire.

Bug's Life New Jammies• Cute and cozy Bug’s Life footies, short sets, and PJs showcase insects that flit and flutter while lighting up the night, perfect for camping under the stars.

Play Right: Springtime Activities for the Kids

Bug's Life PJ Short Set

New Jammies Bug’s Life PJ Short Set

To spring means to move or jump suddenly or rapidly upward and forward, so it’s only appropriate for New Jammies kids to get out and get some exercise this month. Enter Spring, and Earth Day on April 22, and the chance to establish an active lifestyle while celebrating Mother Earth.

“Regular exercise in nature is proven to improve children’s physical and mental health. Outdoor activity helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boosts their immunity and bone health, and lowers stress,” says letsmove.gov, a government initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids.

“Kids need at least 60 minutes of active and vigorous play each day to stay healthy, and one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to meet this goal is by playing outside. By linking parents to nearby parks, trails and waters – and providing tips and ideas – Let’s Move! Outside can help families develop a more active lifestyle.”

Let’s Move! Outside was created to get kids and families to take advantage of America’s great outdoors. Earth Day and Spring are the perfect moments to try some new games and activities outside with the kids, including biking.

“Biking is a fun, family-friendly activity that can help improve endurance and balance,” says letsmove.org. “Use your bike as a means of ‘active transport’ to get places faster while also getting healthier. Explore your community by bike with your family and get everyone active.”

Walking and hiking around, exploring the outdoors, and collecting found items while learning about science can also be great springtime activities for the kids.

“Traveling by foot is a fun, easy and affordable way to get moving and get outside. From a walk around the block to a mountain hike — there are a lot of new places to explore,” says letsmove.org. “Activities like hiking and walking have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and build stronger bones. Stay healthy by making physical activity a part of your family’s routine.”

New Jammies StripesOn PBS.org, PBS Kids encourages children to turn off electronics and play, offering a variety of games to play outdoors. One includes Clothespin Tag, a game submitted by Craig of Moultonborough, New Hampshire. Here are the fun and easy rules:

• Keep your clothespin to win.
• This game is for 5 or more players and should be played outside or in an open area.
• To play, you need one clothespin for each player.
• Clip a clothespin to the back of your shirt. On the word “Go!,” try to steal the other players’ clothespins without letting anyone get your clothespin.
• When your clothespin is taken or falls off, you’re out.
• The last player with a clothespin wins.

Another creative game to encourage imagination outdoors is Snake in the Grass, sent in by Alexis of Texas:

A slithery game of tag, this game is for 4 or more players and should be played in an open area.

• To play, mark off an area to be your playing field.
• One player is the snake. That person has to crawl around and move like a snake.
• The snake tries to tag the other players, who run around trying to stay away from the snake.
• If the snake tags you, then you become a snake, too. (That means you have to move like a snake and try to tag the other players!)
• Snakes and runners are not allowed to go outside the playing area.
• The last runner left is the winner.

This game challenges the mind and stimulates imagination as well, and can be played indoors if the spring weather turns to rain or cold:

Casting Call, sent in by Lyndsay of Blythe, California
If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. To play, you’ll need at least 3 people.

• Pick one person to be the director.
• The game is played like Simon Says. The director tells the other players what to do.
• Instead of saying, “Simon Says,” the director will say, “Action!”
• The other players will only stop when the director says, “Cut!”
• If the director says, “Act like a chicken, NOW!” and a player acts like a chicken, he’s out because the director didn’t say, “Action!”
• The last person left in the game gets to be the director in the next round.

Lastly, from allfreekidscrafts.com, these activities are perfect for Earth Day, Earth Month and all year long:

Mason JarsMini Mason Jar Grass Heads
By Jennifer Martin from Mom vs the Boys

Your kids can learn how to grow grass in a jar with this craft idea for kids. A great spring craft idea for all ages, you and your little ones can use these Mini Mason Jar Grass Heads to celebrate the coming of spring or to celebrate Earth Day. This easy kids’ craft also doubles as a cool science project idea. This recycled craft is budget-friendly because it gives you the chance to reuse empty baby food jars, and it does not require too many crafting supplies. Your kids can use whatever materials they wish to create their funky and fun jar faces. Each jar turns out with its own, unique personality!

Materials: Nature Crafts, Recycled Crafts, Mixed Media/Miscellaneous
Age Group: Preschool & Kindergarten, Elementary School

Read more at http://www.allfreekidscrafts.com/Kids-Outdoor-Crafts-and-Activities/Mini-Mason-Jar-Grass-Heads#9MfL4twrs5RRh6RB.99

Homemade Chalk PaintHomemade Chalk Paint Adventure Trail
By Craftingconnections.net

“Sidewalk chalk paint is a great way to enjoy these cooler summer days (when you dont melt every time you step outside) and is a fun twist on your typical outdoor chalk. Take it a step farther by letting your little one take you on an Adventure Trail that they create. By letting your toddler or preschooler lead the way, you both are sure to go on a grand adventure. And when you are ready to head back? Just follow your trail home!”

What you’ll need:

• 1/4 cup of corn starch
• 1/4 cup of water
• Fold coloring
• Container with a tight-fitting lid
• Paintbrush
• (Optional) Bucket

Age Group: Toddlers, Preschool & Kindergarten

• Pour the 1/3-1/2 cup of water into a container.

• Add 1/4 cup of corn starch to the water.

• Add a few drops of food coloring, making it as light or dark as you would like.

(Psst – we tried this with washable tempera paint too, but found that the tempera-colored sidewalk paint didn’t wash away easily, so we suggest that you stick with food coloring. If you are concerned about staining, use just a little bit of food coloring – your paint will be more pastel, but will easily wash away.)

• Shake it up and paint!

Read more at http://www.allfreekidscrafts.com/Kids-Outdoor-Crafts-and-Activities/Chalk-Paint-Adventure-Trail#fQVjc0TDdjp0C9hz.99 and craftingconnections.net