10 Books to Read to Your Kids About Climate Change, by Crystal Ponti

The Earth’s global climate is changing. Although this has been a naturally occurring process for millions of years, only recently has the change accelerated to the point where significant impacts are felt the world over. People are causing these bulk of these changes, which are bigger and happening faster than any climate changes that modern society has ever seen before. From increasing temperatures and rising sea levels to intensifying natural disasters and loss of entire species, climate change is an issue we’re all confronted with now and one our children will face for years to come.

Below are ten books about climate change to educate and empower our future generations:

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The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk

by Jan Thornhill

Great Auks were flightless birds that resembled penguins. They were prolific in the icy waters of the northern Atlantic until human hunters, egg collectors, and climate change led to their extinction. Unfortunately, many other bird species are on a similar path. “The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk” is a beautifully designed picture book that reminds us how precious life is – all life. Booklist says, “This vivid, fascinating story emphasizes not only the importance of conservation but also how deeply intertwined the human and animal worlds can be. Eye-opening and tragic, to be sure, but surprisingly hopeful all the same.”

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Giddy Godspeed and the Felicity Flower

by Maria-Pilar Landver

This fun and creative story is about a little girl named Giddy, who wakes to find a wilting flower in distress. It’s much too hot, even at night, and all the flower’s delicate petals are drying out. In the garden the next day, Giddy discovers all is not right in the world and embarks on an imaginative tale to help the flowers survive. Although climate change is not mentioned directly in the book, the message is multi-faceted with a deep connection to helping the earth. The story is accompanied by a wonderful collection of abstract illustrations that will captivate young audiences.

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The Problem of the Hot World

by Pam Bonsper

The trees have stopped growing. The grass is all gone. The world is too hot, and there’s no more water to drink. When the forest world is turned upside down, how will the animals survive? Five friends – a fox, a bear, an owl, a mole, and a deer – set out on a journey to find where the water has gone. Can they bring it back? “The book has a lovely forest setting with recognizable animals, very interesting and charming illustrations (in perfect synergy with the story), and tells the story of environmental changes in a very simple, friendly, serene way,” says one Amazon reviewer.

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The Lorax

by Dr. Seuss

Well before climate change was a household term, Dr. Seuss shed light on the harms of hurting the environment in his classic book “The Lorax.” The rhyming tale is a timely warning of the dangers of clear-cutting, polluting, and disrespecting the earth. Told from the perspective of Once-ler, readers learn how the narrator once discovered the Truffula Trees and Brown Bar-ba-loots and harvested the trees until nothing was left but a single seed – which ends up in the hands of a caring child. “The Lorax” is a wonderful reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting Mother Earth.

(To read more of this post, please follow the link below…)

http://www.parent.co/10-childrens-books-climate-change

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Let the Children Play… OUTSIDE! By “greenlife matters”, the Nursery and Garden Industry, New Zealand

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NATURE Deficit Disorder (NDD) is affecting our children. Although this phenomenon is not an actual medical diagnosis, research shows that a lack of playing outside in parks and green spaces is contributing to various physical and mental health issues. Richard Louv explains that NDD is when children are too removed from nature, which leads to a number of behavioural issues, including diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illness.

Children growing up nowadays are surrounded by many technological distractions that prevent them from spending time outdoors. Televisions, computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles lure children to the screen to watch television shows, movies and video clips or play games. Regrettably some parents and caregivers use these devices as pseudo child-minders.

The temptation here is to bombard people with research facts and figures about inactive lifestyles, unacceptably high obesity rates, mental health issues and behavioural problems. But rather than dwell on the problems, let’s look at some research that shows how regular interaction with plants and green space can help.

Playing outdoors in parks and green spaces has been proven to reduce Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children. The outdoor environment, trees and plants provide welcome distractions, with the brain focussing on the colours, light, scents and textures, helping repress ADHD symptoms.

Similarly, in relation to curbing childhood obesity, children and youth living in greener neighbourhoods reported lower body mass index (BMI) scores, presumably due to increased physical activity or time spent outdoors.

Furthermore, children encouraged to spend more time engaging with nature and given opportunities to learn in an outdoor setting (green education) are more likely to continue enjoying the outdoors as teenagers and adults, positively influencing their health and wellbeing. It is pleasing to note that when primary school children are given a choice about where to play, more and more are choosing natural areas. Thus the green areas in school grounds stand to make an important contribution in providing equitable, inclusive, healthy and inviting play opportunities for children.

Green space clearly provides children with opportunities to lead happier and healthier lives; however, enticing children outdoors to receive a daily dose of green can often be the hurdle. Participating in outdoor sport or recreation activities, building a vegetable garden or simply visiting parks and gardens are simple ways to achieve this.

Related Links:

http://nginz.co.nz/

What does “Vestibular” mean? By Claire Heffron

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The vestibular sense has to do with balance and movement and is centered in the inner ear.  Each of us has vestibular organs located deep inside our ears. When we move our heads, the fluid in these organs moves and shifts, constantly providing us with information about the position of our heads and bodies in space (spatial awareness). This sense allows us to maintain our balance and to experience gravitational security: confidence that we can maintain a position without falling.  The vestibular system allows us to move smoothly and efficiently. It also works right alongside all of our other sensory systems, helping us use our eyes effectively and process sounds in our environment. Overall, vestibular processing helps us feel confident moving and interacting with our surroundings.

A HEALTHY VESTIBULAR SYSTEM
When our vestibular sense is fully functioning, we are secure and organized enough in our bodies to be able to attend and respond to all of the other senses we encounter daily.  A child with a well-developed vestibular sense feels confident and safe during movement activities, even if his feet are off the ground.  He is able to start and stop movement activities calmly and with control.  He is comfortable with climbing, swinging, somersaulting, and jumping – knowing that his body will adapt and that he will be able to maintain his balance and keep himself from falling or getting hurt.

PROBLEMS WITH VESTIBULAR PROCESSING
A healthy vestibular system is central to the integration of the other sensory systems.  When a child’s vestibular system is not functioning correctly, he may be under responsive or overly sensitive to movement. He may either need to move constantly to feel satisfied or he may be fearful of movement, because it makes him feel insecure and unbalanced. He may move in an uncoordinated, clumsy manner, bumping into things, falling, and never fully walking or sitting in an upright manner. This is the child that slouches at his desk or is constantly being directed to “stand up straight” or “quit leaning on the wall!”  He may appear weak or “floppy.” As a result, he might have difficulty coordinating and planning motor tasks such as jumping jacks, skipping, catching a ball with two hands, or reaching across the center of his body (crossing midline), or even coordinating movements of the mouth, resulting in difficulty with speech production.  Vision is closely related to the vestibular system. When we feel balanced and centered, our eyes can move smoothly and steadily and are able to focus, track, and discriminate between objects in our environment. Difficulty with tasks that require the eyes to move left to right (e.g. reading) or up and down repeatedly (e.g. copying information from the board) may be signs of a disrupted vestibular system.

 

Read more at:

http://theinspiredtreehouse.com/vestibular/   (Continues this article on a great blog, The Inspired Tree House).

http://lemonlimeadventures.com/vestibular-input-sensory-processing/    (An article by Dayna, a preschool educator and mother whose son has SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder, on her wonderful blog, Lemon Lime Adventures).

10 Things Every Child Needs in the Backyard, by Nicolette from Michigan, USA

 

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Even though it was -18 today in Michigan, I’m already planning things to add to my daughter’s outdoor play area. Don’t get me wrong, we’re loving our time outside this winter, but I can’t help but dream of the muddy days to come.

Designing a children’s outdoor play space doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I’m trying to make a real effort on the blog to include easier, natural activities.

Also, if you live in an urban environment with no backyard, a lot of these can be found/done at your local park or community garden! Here are ten things that can make a child’s outdoor play space all that more special:

1. A Secret Place

Kids need somewhere they can breath, be alone and feel free. What makes a place secret? Make it their size, construct “walls” and have it in a slightly obscured location. Whether it’s a clubhouse or just a sheet draped over some some tree limbs, the main idea is to prompt them to create a world of their own.

Kids outside secret fort made out of sticks

More Great Ideas:

2. A Water Feature

Where there is water, there is fun. Enough said.

Homemade water wall outdoor kids play area

More Great Ideas:….

 

(Follow the link below to read more on Nicolette’s blog, Wilderchild).

http://wilderchild.com/10-things-every-childs-backyard/

10 Trail Tips For Hiking With Kids…And Enjoying It, by Julie Holly

A really useful, inspiring article about being aware of kids’ limits when tramping/ hiking and making it fun for everyone. Great advice for parents and carers– love the summary of 10 important tips!

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10 Ways to (1)When the pregnancy test was positive, my husband got a cold sweat and jitters. We had just decided to begin a family and BAM it was happening! The first six months were surreal. Aside from being exhausted, I barely had a baby bump and we were still our active selves to the point of summiting a couple of Colorado’s fourteeners. As the reality of becoming parents closed in, we kept reminding each other, as if simply repeating words would manifest our reality, “This baby is joining our life. We will continue to do the things we love.” Six years into the journey this is all a bit laughable, but we’ve managed to pull it off and so can you.

Here are ten tangible ways to help your family get out and actually enjoy!

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