Okay, so now we know two REALLY scary things about Halloween, right? Ready to make them a little less scary, more fun, and healthy? Let's start with idea number one; make a scarecrow as a Halloween decoration rather than store bought plastic decorations.
Kids LOVE to make scarecrows! It is pretty easy to do, gets them outside and keeps them entertained for quite a while. Gather some old clothing-theirs, yours, other family members. Do you have some old hats or caps you could use? A pillowcase or swath of cloth, like burlap to make a head? Maybe you would rather use a pumpkin or gourd for a head? if you have access to straw, great, if not newspaper or anything else you can come up with for stuffing will work. You can be as creative as your mind and resources allow. The best part about scarecrows is that they not only make great Halloween decorations, they also serve as harvest accents right through Thanksgiving.
Looking for more inspiration or more detailed instructions? Google “How To Make A Scarecrow”, there are plenty of great examples.
What ideas do you have to unplastic this Halloween? Have you decorated without plastic? We would love to see what you come up with!
Boo! The season of Halloween is upon us and there are scarier things than witches, goblins and black cats that we may want to beware of. These things are not only scary; they are tricky. So tricky, in fact, we may have been inviting them in to our homes for years. What are they?
The first thing haunts your body in ways we are only beginning to better understand; sugar. Yes, the very thing we love to gather on Halloween night. Recent revelations show that we have been manipulated into thinking fat is the contributor to many diseases when in fact it is sugar.
Sugar is today’s tobacco. It is addictive, found everywhere, and has no health benefit. The World Health Organization recently upgraded their sugar recommendation to less than 5% of our daily consumption or 25 grams. 25 grams, do you know how much that is? Take a look at this table to see how your favorite candy rates in terms of grams of sugar. Be sure to note, they are talking about the ‘fun size’. I don’t know about you, but enjoying just one ‘fun size’ is tough. To learn more about sugar and its health effects, you may want to check out Authority Nutrition. They are a great resource for evidenced-based information about nutrition. I have to thank, Kati Kleber, aka ‘Nurse Eye Roll’ for recommending me to this great site.
Scared yet? No, okay, maybe a little? I hate to be the scrooge of Halloween, but I believe awareness is power. When we are aware of problems we can be proactive in avoiding them rather than get bonked on the head and forced to react to them. So let’s move on to the second really scary thing about Halloween these days; plastic.
If you follow me on social media or have read my second novel, By The Sound Of The Crow, you know about the hazards of plastic. Ridding our oceans of plastic is something that I am very passionate about as I have seen the fatal results of it as whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life ingest it, as they mistake it for food. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, not even “biodegradable plastic”. Experts predict that if we do not stop the flow of plastic into our oceans, over 80% of which comes from land, we will have more plastic in the ocean by 2050 than fish.
All we have to do is go into one of our local retail stores and chances are these two scary things, sugar and plastic, will be haunting and taunting us. If you find that scary too, let’s join together to share ideas how we can enjoy this Halloween season without these two ghosts.
If sugar and plastic scare you too, lets join together and create change. Do you have ideas on how we can reduce sugar and plastic this Halloween? Feel free to share them below. Let’s connect on social media and spread our ideas and increase awareness of these two issues that affect our health and the health of our planet.
I invite you to sign up for my blog as I present some ideas that I have collected. Together we can make Halloween fun and less scary.
What if I told you that there is a simple way to improve your health, that doesn’t cost a penny? Would you take advantage of it? Here is the tip; get outside.
Last week I discussed some of the barriers that are preventing us from getting outdoors and reaping the enormous health benefits of doing so. This week, I will be discussing some ways that may help us overcome these challenges. Here we go:
-Have play clothes available. Schools collect outdoor wear; maybe make a ‘mudroom’.
-Campaign to teachers, kids, parents, churches, public policy makers, and government on the health benefits of outdoor activities.
-Community and school gardens-require a dedicated team. To learn more about these types of gardens, check out Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh or The Grow Zone Willow Springs Elementary Garden. Looking for more kids gardening resources?
-Vacation at National Parks
-Check out your local Parks and Recreation Department for outdoor programs.
-Develop transportation to local parks, organized hikes with groups of kids. Urban, poor kids are particularly at risk.
-Garden Centers can hold more planting events, giveaway seeds and tree seedlings on Earth Day to kids, post the health benefits of gardening in retail stores.
-Richard Louv, the author of best-selling book, Last Child In The Woods, has a new book coming out called Vitamin N. It is due to be released April 12, 2016 and provides an extensive list of ideas to promote engagement in Nature. If you would like to listen to a preview of what the book is about, check out the interview with Richard Louv and others on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR.
It is an exciting time to recapture what many of us took for granted in our youth. The ease of getting outside to play, the thrill of exploring, the uncalculated calories burned off just by playing in nature. Sometimes it is the simple things that bring the greatest benefits.
Please feel free to join the conversation and comment below with your thoughts, questions, ideas.
#Nature #NatureHeals #Health #Wellness #VitaminN
When you look at this photo above, do you think, "fun!" or "ew, messy"? The answer to this question may be one of the reasons why so many children are not reaping the health benefits of nature. (1, 2, 3, 4)
I recently attended a conference exploring urban agriculture, community gardens and edible gardens in school and child care settings, and family garden fun, called Dig In. During the lunch hour, each table was asked to discuss a specific topic. My table’s topic was ‘Encouraging Outdoor Activities’ hosted by a landscape designer who served as moderator.
Our table was diverse group-urban pre-school teachers, suburban grade school teachers, a mother, landscape designers and myself. When asked to suggest ideas for our topic, our table went silent. It was a bit awkward, I must admit. I chose that table because I thought they would be bustling with ideas that I could use. What we talked about was exactly the opposite.
“Well, I will tell you why the kids don’t want to go outside,” one of the teachers started. The door was open and quickly our table became engaged in a lively discussion of the barriers to getting kids outside. Here are some of the items on that list:
It is essential that today’s youth connect with nature. No only is it good for their physical and mental health, but this younger generation will need to be aware of the changing outdoor environment. If predictions are to be believed, today’s youth will have to be creative to combat a warming climate and all the environmental and health implications that will bring. (1, 2 ,3, 4)
Are you surprised by this list? Do you have any other barriers to add?
Coming Soon: Ideas and Suggestions To Get Kids Outside. Be sure to sign up for my blog so you don't miss it!