by Heather
(Washington, PA)

Being a stay at home, home-schooling mother of five, from ages 3-12 years, there are many tips I have over the years. Yes, we have our own garden and all the kids help from start to finish. We have fruit trees, bushes and flowers as well. So there is always something to do outside. But for those cold or rainy times, you have to find things too. We have contest to see who can do the most push ups, jumping jacks, stretch the farthest, sit ups or anything we can think of. Plus, snack time has to be creative. The rule is, using the rainbow of foods,(fruit or veggie), make something you would like to serve the others. Each day is someone's turn for the group. Even the little ones, they catch on quick! They make the snack for the group and everyday is something new. And a way to challenge them to be creative. Every morning I hear someone say, "Mommy, I got and idea and need your help with it...... what do you think?" So that helps on so many levels on giving them confidence, creativity, time management and pre-thought process. So they learn how to do this year round, not just when the farmer markets are in or just in the summer or nice months. This is year round activities. It is our job as parent to lead by example, the more they see you doing this, the better it sticks in with them for life. Make it fun and be creative, family walks tie in with science and nature, point out different plants, and projects you can do with them. Learn what can be eaten in nature, and use it in recipes. Decorating ideas for holidays and everything is creative ideas. Do you know that fruits and veggies are great paper decorations for just about any holiday approaching? Mom, Dad, get on your thinking caps and be the challenge......

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