Category: Holidays-Seasons

Traditions Matter!

We all have traditions. Our family had many traditions. Some were built around holidays or special family days. Many were built around spiritual and religious beliefs.

I know that the traditions we had in our family were pivotal to keeping us all together when things got tough. It was our traditions which brought our children home when they were wandering in their own wildernesses. I know that it was our traditions which linked us to the past and have carried us into the future. It’s because of our traditions that we’re still connected and bonded in some very strong ways despite the differences in our individual lives.

Here are some important things to consider as you review your family traditions:

• Traditions are like glue in a family
• It’s wise to carefully think about traditions and then decide what you want to create as a family culture
• Choose traditions that will strengthen the family culture that you want
• Be truly consistent in your traditions
• Sometimes a tradition needs to be adjusted as children grow so that the tradition remains strong

May your children be blessed with a strong sense of family. May you carefully consider your traditions and then make adjustments so that when your children are grown, they will do the same for their families.

This last week was a special one for my family. It’s a time when we celebrate some significant religious traditions. They matter a great deal to me.

I have also spent this last week studying the traditions of a different religious group. I have enjoyed it immensely and have learned so much. I learned:

• Every religion has special music and events for their youth because passing traditions on matters
• We all value our traditions and feel more complete with them
• The traditions of a family or another group are worth our respect even if they are different from ours.
• Learning about other traditions can strengthen us in our own

May we value our own family traditions, and may we respect those of others. Have a wonderful coming week!

What Can You Do When You Have a Mess?

 

See those garbage bags-been there three days. They might get thrown outside today!

The last three weeks have been packed. I tried to get Christmas done and mailed before my trip to Seattle to help my daughter who is pregnant and very ill. But life is life and I live in a four-generation household and… well, I didn’t get it done.

Seattle was wonderful, busy, fun, and tiring all at the same time. I came home with croup. I know, only kids get croup but every few years I join them. I don’t feel ill, but I sound terrible and feel totally worn out, so Wed. and Thurs. I didn’t get much accomplished. But I couldn’t rest on Friday because there was so much to do.

 

Here’s what I was trying to accomplish on Friday 

  • Bake three apple pies
  • Make another tent kit
  • Go to the doctors
  • Get my mom to take a bath and trim her hair
  • Make 50 pancakes and a pot of green chili
  • Create and format a special document
  • Get all the rest of Christmas wrapped and shipped

I have a friend who had surgery the day before I flew home from Seattle. When I asked how I could help her she said that she was having tons of visits and treats but that her family could use some nurturing. Hence one apple pie.

My neighbor loves apple pie too and I have had her on my gift list for three weeks. I wanted to give her a pie and if you’re going to make one pie you might as well make two right! But if I bake and give away pies, I must make one for my own household or there would be a rebellion. So, three pies.

Saturday morning our church planned a Christmas breakfast. That’s right, breakfast. I would have opted to take a breakfast casserole, but my husband has a family tradition of Green Chili Pancakes and it’s so unique that he really wanted to share it. The problem is, he doesn’t know how to make it, I do. His grannie taught me. : ) So I needed to make 50 pancakes and then a huge pot of the green chili sauce.  It was too much to do Saturday morning, so it had to be done on Friday. This is very delicious by the way.  You can print the recipe HERE.

Now all of this wouldn’t have been too bad, but we had a double doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, we had to stop at two stores on the way home to get some items we needed to finish the above projects and that whole thing took three hours.

I was still trying to get my Christmas items packed and shipped but found that I needed one more tent kit. Long story. And I also realized that I needed a formatted document to include with a special framed family genealogy chart we are sending to our children. We are direct descendants of William Brewster of the Mayflower and I wanted to help each family understand who he was, what his family was like, and why they came to America.

I was able to create and format the document but never made a dent in the gift wrapping or the tent kit making. I did get mom bathed and her hair trimmed. Big woohoo!

It’s Saturday morning now. The church breakfast is done. The chili pancakes were a success. Everyone loved the pies which have been eaten and I am heading off to do the tent kit and get the rest of the stuff wrapped and shipped. My house is a disaster and the kitchen cabinets can’t even be seen. I haven’t vacuumed, dusted, or cleaned anything. Laundry is piling up but I did get one load in before the breakfast. Another big woohoo!

Here’s my point – life can be overwhelming even when we don’t plan for it to be. Sometimes we get stretched out, tasks bunch together and it feels heavy. In those moments, in my past and younger life, I would go to bed feeling like a failure. I would wonder why I couldn’t get more done. Why wasn’t I like so and so who not only gets more done but looks great too and on and on!

Here’s what I don’t do anymore:

  • I don’t compare myself to anyone! Really everyone has their hidden disasters!
  • I don’t beat myself up because I’m not perfect, slow, behind, didn’t plan better, start sooner, stay well, look put together, etc.
  • If I find myself having a hard time managing my thoughts about myself I pray. Find something that works for you!
  • I work diligently to refrain from blaming anyone, or anything for my slowness, tiredness, lateness, etc. I don’t blame! Sometimes it is what it is.

Here’s what I do to manage those times when life is just too much:

  • I practice remaining calm and if I need to I go to the bathroom and read a few paragraphs and breathe
  • I do what I can and I let it be enough
  • I remember to do the few things that make me feel cared for (my nightly shower and reading in the bathroom)
  • I make an effort to get enough sleep even if it means not getting as much done in a day
  • I take time to remain Present – at least once a day. Being Present happens in 5-minute chunks. This takes practice, even for me
  • I pray a lot! and I force myself to smile : )

I hope that this holiday season you’ll work on being your own best friend. Say no a bit more. Compare less. Talk nicely to yourself. Remember small moments of self-care. Smile even when you don’t feel like it. Be Present at least once a day with someone you care about. It can take 5 minutes or less!

Your shares are the best compliment! : ) 

Sixty-Eight Thanksgivings and Counting!

In two months I will be sixty-nine years old and my husband will be seventy. I contemplate that and I am amazed and astonished. It makes me smile with pure joy. Can you even imagine such a thing; to live this long! What an amazing thing to accomplish!

Next week is Thanksgiving. My sweet husband will be hovering around me like a moth, giving me little kisses, hugs, and small touches as I make the pies. That is a tradition

SWEET SWEET PIES

Back when we had just ourselves and our seven children we had at least 2 pumpkin, 1 cherry, 1 apple, and a lemon meringue but as we added spouses it grew to include 3 pumpkin, 2 cherry, 2 apple, the lemon meringue, a pecan, and a chocolate cream.

This year as I bake I will be thinking about past Thanksgiving days while we were raising seven children. I realize that this year is decidedly different. Past days were about family being together, having enough food, laughing and feeding pie to the neighbor kids and those brought home from college.

This year there is a new feeling. Don and I are both feeling the magnitude of what we have created in our almost seventy years.

When we married we were 21 and 22 years old; fresh, innocent, foolish, full of wonder at each other and the possibilities of life. At just shy of seventy we are no longer fresh, innocent and hopefully not as foolish, but I think we are still full of wonder at each other and the possibilities of our life together.

Can you imagine how it feels for us when we are with our family? As we look over our seven children and see wonderful, well adjusted, kind, loyal and intelligent adults it is remarkable. And now we have a bevy of spouses.

Added to our children and their spouses are thirteen grandchildren. They are all still fresh, innocent and full of the wonder at the possibilities of their lives. They are young, only three have passed eighteen.

When Don and I are in our mid-seventies, just a mere six years from now some great-grandchildren will most assuredly have been added. Can you imagine how that will feel? We are filling the world with beauty, loyalty, and kindness, it is our greatest achievement. This year we see it clearly, through older eyes and we can barely contain the joy of it all.

Family, it is the height of what we create in this world, the only truly enduring thing, that which should consume our most treasured hours. Parenting is a big job. It can feel overwhelming and can often feel as if we are failing. But there are some simple adjustments in our thinking which can help us use the time we do have with our children to better advantage so that our relationships are stronger and sweeter.

 

All We Have Are The Relationships

We Have Forged

As I eat Thanksgiving pie this year they will be sweeter than ever before. Despite the difficulties of raising a family, learning to parent, learning to be a good spouse, making a living and all the rest I am content and I thank Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ that I have been so richly blessed.

At the end of the day, all we have are the relationships that we have forged –healthy or unhealthy, strong or weak, good or bad. This is especially important to remember when building our family relationships. Simple things, done consistently over time, lead to amazing success in the home.

Here’s wishing you a very wonderful holiday season. And I hope you will take a bit of time to learn how to strengthen your family relationships without breaking your time bank. Get your free chapter HERE.

Your shares are the greatest compliment. : )

A Stroll Down Memory Lane for Halloween

My granddaughter’s, Aubrey and Lizzy, in their Halloween finery

Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. I was young enough to celebrate it in the 1950’s and very early 60’s. It was a far different holiday than today; no big box stores, just the five and dime and Woolworth’s. Very few kids had ever seen a store bought costume let alone owned one.

The big scares for the night were pushing over someone’s outhouse, stealing a melon or two and running through the neighborhood in large packs of very mixed age groups. We would go with our friends but we would all be towing a younger sibling or two. Pillowcases were the treat bag of choice and parents never went with us. No one drove to another neighborhood.

Halloween Pumpkins

Decorations were carved pumpkins and sheets hanging from trees. There were no moving monsters and skeletons which screeched when you walked by. There was just the occasional dad or teen hiding in the bushes to jump out and scare the daylights out of you.

Treats consisted of apples, homemade popcorn balls, wrapped

Candy apples, a Halloween staple in my day!

homemade cookies and cupcakes, taffy bites, tootsie rolls, lots of suckers and an occasional, much sought after, candy bar. We were often invited into a home for hot apple cider and cookies so we could warm up.

Our costumes would be admired. For the most part, we were ghosts, witches, gypsies, brides, princesses, scarecrows, superheroes and an occasional Dracula or mummy in a bed sheet. Trust me, our costumes were pretty simple compared to even today’s homemade costumes.

Please notice the very scary face and the very scary claws on his feet!

After I turned 9 or ten I don’t remember my mom making a costume for me. My friends and I just figured stuff out. When my grandson was three (he is now ten) he figured out some stuff too. He came to his mom with a costume that he had put together all on his own. Sometimes it’s good to get out of our children’s way and just let them create instead of being so interested in the end result or what other people might think.

A Halloween Trick!

As an adult, I LOVED Halloween because I had such fond memories from my childhood. One of my favorite things was to dress up as a witch. I had a laugh to envy.

One year, just before Halloween, my children watched a movie about witches. It was deliciously scary. They learned that witches have itchy heads and that they can smell mice.

That Halloween after I played my part as a green-faced, long-nosed witch with a fabulously authentic laugh, my five-year-old began asking me if I was a witch. I would give him an eerie smile, open my eyes really wide and say, “Why no, Barry”, while I scratched my head. He asked me multiple times.

One day, as I was cleaning under the sink, I discovered that we had a mouse. I hollered to my husband, “We have a mouse under the sink.” Barry, who had been standing at my side ran away and thumped up the stairs, all the while yelling at the top of his lungs, “She is a witch, she is a witch.”

What Makes Halloween Special?

As funny as that story is, and we still laugh about it, I realized that as much as my children liked the trick or treating they were scared by all the posters, window clings, and more and more gruesome costumes. Times had changed from when I was a girl. So I made a change in the way we celebrated Halloween.

I asked myself what it was about the holiday that I loved so much. It was the night, the freedom, the

Food, friends and fun. That’s what really makes the Halloween season.

friends and the treats. So we began having parties with other families and made sure there were lots of games, friend’s, food and treats. My children never stopped going trick or treating but they would bring their friend’s home for games and treats.

Don and I like being home on Halloween. We like talking with the children and their parents who visit our home, asking them about their costumes and such. We have pumpkins and gourds, bales of hay and corn stalks, maybe a scarecrow or two. We keep it simple, not too scary and loads of fun.

How do you and yours celebrate Halloween?

 

Your shares are the best compliment!

A Home Management Tip for Autumn

Stuff! Stuff! Stuff!

I lived in Montana in the same house for over twenty-one years with a husband and seven children. I bet you can imagine the amount of stuff we accumulated!

We frequently had to reorganize the garage. One whole end of the garage was a special room dedicated to storing stuff. In the house hours of time went into cleaning out closets, drawers, and toy boxes. I can recall the time required to sort, launder, store, and fold all of the clothes and bedding we managed to accumulate.

Eventually, we decided to move to Utah. I was ready! I began cleaning out the house. I held numerous garage sales. I wanted to let it all go. My husband felt stressed when he left for work because he wasn’t there to monitor what was being sold. He was worried about what we were going to have to replace.

Here’s what happened. After over thirty years of living together and raising seven children, we pared it all down to one small U-haul and a van. Would you be surprised to know that in all the years since we haven’t replaced a single item?

More Stuff!

“ …We invest a great deal in the acquisition of stuff. Companies bombard us with slick, relentless propaganda as to why we must have their stuff, and we judge an individual’s success by their stuff’s sheer quantity and supposed quality… Stuff beyond our basic needs does not liberate. Consider the overall investment of your time. You have to shop for stuff. You have to clean, maintain, and organize stuff. You lose stuff. You look for stuff. You polish stuff, secure it against theft, trip over it, recharge it, upgrade it, accessorize it, pack it, move it, unpack it, insure it, fix it, and eventually sell, trash, or bequeath it. Stuff has no use beyond this life, and it takes a lot from us.” -Shawn Miller

If you’re having a hard time keeping your home clean you probably have too much stuff. If your dishes are always piled up you probably have too many dishes. If your kid’s rooms are a disaster they probably have too many toys, too many gadgets, and too many clothes.

Stuff is Energy Draining!

Each item we own requires some of our energy. The more belongings we have, the more emotional energy, as well as physical energy, is needed to maintain it. I want you to visualize something.

Close your eyes and imagine you have threads of energy attached to your shoulders and these threads connect to every item you have in your possession. Every item—each dish, cup, and pan; pictures in the photo album, CDs, and hammer; each nail, sock, book, pile of papers, sweater, car, guitar pick, and even your computer files. It’s one energy thread per item.

Now envision wherever you go you energetically drag all your possessions with you. You drag them via the connecting threads of emotional energy. How much are you dragging?

What if you eliminated a quarter of your belongings? How much lighter would you feel? Would you even miss any of the things you discarded or gave away? Through my experience, the answer is surprising: not really.

I have a very wealthy friend; she could buy just about anything. Her home is lovely, not cluttered or crowded. There isn’t a plethora of stuff. She gave me a perfectly beautiful blouse one day and I asked her why she was giving it away. She replied, “I have a rule. If I buy something new I have to give something away.” Wow, really wise woman!

In last weeks article, I talked about a principle which allows us a great deal of freedom – keep things simple. Getting rid of stuff is a way to simplify your life, to free yourself and Autumn is a perfect time.

Precious Autumn-Graceful Change

Fall is in the air- I love it! Although it still seems a bit like summer here in the west where I live, I know fall is just around the corner. There’s a slight chill to the air and the suns rays seem a bit thinner. The flowers are brilliant and blooming like mad in the final days of warm weather.

Why do I love autumn so much? Well, things begin to gear down. It feels somehow, restful. It feels peaceful. I have a desire to sit on the porch and soak up the sun. I want to bake bread! These autumn days make me feel cozy. I have a desire to be home puttering and preparing for winter.

Mostly, I love this season because the falling leaves remind me that to everything there is a season. There is a time for gathering and a time for letting go. This is a time when I feel the need to simplify, to let go.

Just as the leaves of fall must let go so the tree can rest we too need to occasionally take stock of what we have and ask ourselves, “Is this serving a purpose or is it just clutter?” Are there commitments or obligations that I have taken on that are not serving my family or me? Is my calendar cluttered? Is there too much ‘stuff’ in my home? Are the cupboards of my mind too full? What about my emotions? Are there any old wounds and hurts that I need to release to the wind?” Fall is a time for taking stock and cleaning house.

When we think of this type of cleaning many of us think of spring. But for me, fall is the time. I don’t want to be closed up for winter with too many obligations, too much stuff, too few hours for home and family or feelings that burden my days and nights. Winter is for rest and I want to be free to rest.

This is a principle which allows us to have a great deal of freedom: Keep it simple. When you put something in, take something out. This principle, when observed, can help us have more time for family, relationships, and learning.

As my darling daughter, Jenny, so elegantly said, “Precious Autumn demonstrated graceful change to me today, to change and release with grace.”

What is Labor Day: Teach Your Children

When I was a girl I lived in a series of small towns. Just before the start of the new school year, there was a holiday called Labor Day. I had no idea what it was about but I knew it meant school was starting.

In the small towns that I lived in, there was always a big celebration with a parade down Main Street, a BBQ in the park and boring speeches by important people. Over the years, whenever Labor Day rolls around someone in my family would ask, “What is the Labor day holiday for?” and someone else would reply “I think it must have something to do with working or working people”. If a child asked an adult “Why do we celebrate labor day?” they might hear “It’s a day to celebrate how much work it was to bring you into the world and then take care of you”.

I thought it might be interesting to fill you in on what Labor Day is really all about so that when your child asks you, you can give them a real answer and not be a wiseacre! How about an activity or two that you can do as a family to learn about and celebrate the day.

In fact, why not celebrate Labor Day for the whole week with interesting conversation and family activities.

History of Labor Day

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September. It’s a day dedicated to the everyday worker. This holiday gives tribute to the working class and their contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Labor Day became an official national holiday in 1894. This holiday is usually celebrated with summer activities – swimming, camping, picnics, etc. Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer in the Northern part of the U.S. Many schools start sometime just before or just after Labor Day.

Labor Day Activities and Ideas

•This labor day why not have a family program in your living room and show your children what labor you perform in your community. Maybe you are a doctor, a teacher, salesman or nurse. If the timing is right, go on a field trip and show them where you work. You might round out the program by having each person in your family share what it is they think would be the most fun work to do when they grow up. Don’t forget the treats.
•Take some time, at dinner for example, and talk about all the contributions children can and do make. Here are some ideas – Babysit, deliver newspapers, magazines or flyers, walk dogs/care for pets, do yard work, grass cutting, helping a neighbor with chores, do chores in their own home, be a tutor, help out at kids clubs, teach computer skills, volunteer. All of these things are important because they contribute to society – kids do make a difference.
•Make a collage by cutting pictures out of magazines of people doing different kinds of work.

Teaching Children the Importance of Work

Discuss why it’s important to work and what we can learn when we are working:
•Money Management -You quickly learn the value of money when you earn it yourself.
•Time management – You will learn how to manage your time, be organized, and set schedules so you can get your work done and still have time for school and play.
•Responsibility – When you make a commitment to take on work or chores or do volunteer work you have to follow through because people are counting on you.
•Setting Goals – You want that bike? Set the goal and go for it. Work teaches you how to do this.

Labor Day Games and Puzzles

•Make the game Tools of the Trade and then have a family game night and play it. Serve popcorn. Here’s how:
Make cards showing a tool from many different occupations. Use blank index cards) Make two cards for each tool. (hammer, dentist drill, garden rake, semi-truck, a judges hammer, stethoscope, shopping cart, computer, pen, etc. ) Then play the game just as you would Memory. Take turns turning over two cards until a match is found. The person with the most matches is the winner. Part of the fun is in choosing the occupations and then deciding on a tool for each. Kids love making the cards!
PRINT OFF some super Labor Day Word Search puzzles.

Short Stories for Labor Day

PRINT OFF some short stories to share each day of the week before Labor Day or the week of Labor Day. Here is just a small sample of what you will find:
The Smithy by P. V. Ramaswami Raju, Indian Fables; Hofus the Stone Cutter, A Japanese Legend from The Riverside Third Reader; Arachine by Josephine Preston Peabody, Old Greek Folk Stories; and The Champion Stone Cutter by Hugh Miller

Labor Day Books to Read to Children

Choose a book about working people and their jobs to read in your family reading time. You can get a description of each book HERE.
A Job for Wittilda by Caralyn Buehner
Bruno the Tailor by Caralyn Buehner
I Want to be a Police Officer by Daniel Liebman
Jobs People Do by Christopher Maynard
Community Helpers from A to Z by Bobbie Kalman
Fireman Small by Wong Herbert Yee
I Want to Be a Teacher by Daniel Liebman
Library Lil by Suzanne Williams
My Daddy is a Soldier by Kirk Hilbrecht
Officer Buckle & Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Sam Who Never Forgets by Eve Rice
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
Tortoise Brings the Mail by Dee Lillegard
Walter the Baker by Eric Carle
What Do Authors Do by Eileen Christelow
What Do Illustrators Do? by Eileen Christelow
What is a Community from A to Z? (AlphaBasiCs) by Bobbie Kalman

Holidays are great times to spend time with your children, engage in some interesting conversations, read and establish some family traditions. Labor Day is no exception!

Your ‘shares’ and ‘comments’ are the best compliments. Thank you!

Touchpoints For Summer PRESENCE

Maggie doing her chores.

As much as we love summer and our kids both can challenge our patience and our energy. My new book – Becoming a Present Parent: Connecting with your children in five minutes or less teaches you how to use touchpoints to connect with your kids. What is a touchpoint – the point at which one person feels seen and heard by another person; when they know they matter. Most touchpoints, there are eight of them,  happen daily and many require five minutes or less. Let me share one touchpoint that will really sweeten the summer pie!

TOUCHPOINT 4 – Chores and Family Work

Thinking about the word WORK can make a parent groan inside because work is often a point of contention in a family. But work can be a place where we create a touchpoint rather than a point of contention if building relationships are our ultimate goal.

CHORES

Often we get so involved in the management portion of family life that it’s difficult to address the relationship portion. But when we’re Present things work out better.

Everyone wants support when facing a tough job. No one wants to be isolated in a mess. We sometimes forget our kids feel the same way we do.

Moms have had the experience of walking into a disaster of a kitchen after a long day. Your family’s watching TV, and here you are, in this messy kitchen. Where do you start?
How does it feel when your husband abandons his show, comes in and begins helping you pick up? And how does it feel when he also asks you how your day went? It’s amazing!

This happens to dads in garages and backyards. How does it feel when your seventeen-year-old volunteers to help get the backyard in order? How about when your thirteen-year-old offers to spend time helping you organize the garage? It feels better, doesn’t it?

When a child is faced with what seems like a daunting task, check on them. Put your hand on their back or rub a shoulder and say, “Let me give you a hand.” Help them for 2-3 minutes while having a mini-conversation. Then head off to the next child or to your own work. It makes all the difference in how chores feel and in how well they get done. It solidifies relationships. It allows you to be Present with your child for a few minutes.

Chores can be a touchpoint!

You can get more details on how to make chores a touchpoint rather than a point of contention in your home in Chapter four of the book and you can read it for FREE.

FAMILY WORK

Family work is another time when you can create a touchpoint rather than a point of contention. When working as a family we need to keep in mind the objective isn’t just to get another item off the to-do list – we’re creating relationships and bonding our family.
I love gardening alone. I love the quiet and feeling the dirt in my fingers. But I understand it’s an opportunity for me to teach and connect with my grandchildren. Gardening can be transformed into an enduring memory for us all when I remember the garden isn’t what’s important, the relationship is.

Add fun to any work you do as a family – sing, dance as you clean, play great music, tell jokes, laugh, have mini-conversations and lots of random touches.

Things aren’t going to work out all of the time. You’ll have family work that turns into chaos or contention. We’re all imperfect, we get tired, and we have grouchy moments. It’s inevitable. But what if you could make family work more pleasant even one-quarter of the time?

If you can be Present as you work together even one-quarter of the time, your family members will feel supported and relationships will be built. You’ll experience GREAT results in the happiness level of your family.

Learn about the other seven family touchpoints. Read chapter four, Touchpoints, FREE

Happy Summer,
Mary Ann

Teddy Bear Picnic Day – July 10th

Teddy Bears Picnic Day – July 10

During the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt was in office as President of the United States. While hunting in Mississippi in 1902, he refused to shoot a small bear. The Washington Post picked up on this story and made a cartoon of the event. Toy store owners, Morris and Rose Michtom, wrote to President Roosevelt for permission to call their stuffed animals “Teddy Bears”. Teddy bears became wildly popular. “The original teddy bear, from 1903, was given to the Smithsonian by Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson, Kermit. Today that bear is in the collections of our National Museum of American History.”

Clifford Berryman: April 2, 1869 — December 11, 1949 Cartoonist for the Washington Post

A song about a Teddy Bears Picnic reached peak popularity in 1988 when collectibles dealer Royal Selangor launched Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day. Many people bought the collectibles and starting giving them as birthday gifts. Soon, children’s birthday parties started to have “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” themes. Eventually, this particular theme became so popular among parents, preschools and kindergarten classes, that parents and institutions rallied to have the event named a holiday.

July 10 was officially named National Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day in 1988. Why not celebrate July 10th with your family and have a beary good time! You will find some teddy bear picnic ideas in this article to get you started.

Have a Teddy Bear Picnic

Take your teddy bear (or teddy bears) out for a day in the sun. It’s time for a Teddy Bear Picnic! Make a few PB& J sandwiches, some cookies, and a jug of Kool-Aid. Take a blanket out under a shade tree, and enjoy lunch with your Teddy.

If you have construction paper handy, you and your children can create teddy bear ear headbands to wear while having your picnic

Sing the Song

Before going on your picnic listen to the song “The Teddy Bears Picnic” and then sing it.

Lyrics of Teddy Bear Picnic:

If you go down in the woods today,
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down in the woods today,
You’d better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.
Every Teddy Bear who’s been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.
Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
‘Cause that’s the way the Teddy Bears have their picnic.
If you go down in the woods today,
You’d better not go alone.
It’s lovely down in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.
Picnic time for Teddy Bears…
The little Teddy Bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.
See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout.
They never have any care.
At six o’clock their Mummies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.

In 1907, John Walter Bratton wrote the song “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic,” the only purely instrumental song in his repertoire. With its bouncy march music, the song became Bratton’s only hit. In 1932, songwriter James Kennedy wrote the memorable lyrics to the song, making it an instant children’s classic. Many singers—Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Jerry Garcia and Anne Murray—have recorded the song, making it a hit that has outlasted many decades.

Teddy Bear Picnic Activities and Games:

• Hold a competition for the best-dressed bear.
• Hold a competition for the smallest and tallest bears.
• Hold a competition for best-named bear.
• Play hide and seek with the bears. The rules are up to you!
• Have the kids play act being a bear.
Play look out for the bear – Choose one player to be the “bear”. This player hides in some part of the room or garden, while the rest, with their backs turned, are standing at their goal.

Count and seek. As soon as the players have counted 50 or 100, they all scatter and hunt for the “bear.” The player who finds him first calls out, “Look out for the bear,” and all the players run to their goal.
If the bear catches any players while running for the goal, they become “bears.” These “bears” hide together and the game continues until all the players are “bears.”

Act Out the Poem

You can play act this teddy bear poem.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, reach up high
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, wink one eye,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, slap your knees,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, sit down please.

Make a Teddy Bear Snack

Teddy Bear Snack for your picnic: Teddy Bear Snack Mix 

2 cups ramen noodles, crushed
5 cups Golden Grahams cereal
3 cups bear shaped graham crackers
1 cup peanuts or 1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon orange juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Discard seasoning package from ramen noodles.
In a large bowl, mix together noodles, cereal, teddy bear cookies, nuts and raisins.
In a 4 cup glass measure, combine cinnamon, honey, butter and orange juice.
Heat in microwave until melted and well mixed.
Pour this mixture over the cereal mixture.
Toss to coat well.
Spread into a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring once.
Remove from oven and cool.
Package in individual baggies, about 1/2 cup per baggie and then place in a larger freezer bag and freeze.

Teddy Bear Books to read:

The Legend of the Teddy Bear by Frank Murphy
Teddy Bears’ Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy
The Teddy Bear’s Picnic by Michael Hague
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Hot Foot Teddy: The True Story of Smokey Bear by Sue Houser

Family Fun with Summer Science

When I was a girl in the 50’s and 60’s we were expected to do a few things. Grow up, be respectful, get married and have children. Being the fairly obedient person I am that is exactly what I did.

If I was a girl growing up now I would be expected to find out what I love and go do that. If I was a girl now that would include getting married and having children and becoming an entomologist! Yes, I realize that I have a passion for bugs. They are hanging in frames all over my home.

Here is something else I realize, I am intrigued by science. I didn’t fare well in science when I was in school, not even when I was in college. I think I believed that science was beyond me but I have come to understand that science is about every day, it’s about living. Why not have some science moments with your family this summer. It will be fun.

In the following article, by Jamie Strand, an unashamed science nerd, you will discover four ordinary summer events that can help you enjoy a bit of science with your children.

Take it away Jamie –

As the temperature increases, so too do the opportunities for learning science outdoors. When kids explore their environment and connect classroom concepts to their own worlds, they develop not only a deeper understanding but also a more engaged approach to learning science. If you’re looking for ways to teach science to your kids outside as the weather warms, you’ll be inspired by these four outdoor science lessons for warmer weather.

1. Cannonball Splash Physics

Swimming is such an important life skill, and including swimming and water-related activities in science lessons is a perfect way to keep kids interested in what they are learning while teaching them water safety. That’s why one of my favorite outdoor science lessons for warmer weather is Cannonball Splash Physics.

Confident, competent swimmers love to do cannonballs, and using the popular swimming pool jump is a great way to teach kids the science behind winning the splash game. Learning about fluid dynamics helps jumpers understand how to make the biggest splash, so it’s a good idea to let kids experiment with dropping spheres into water first. Water displacement and fluid dynamics will make more sense to kids when they can see what happens on a smaller scale than when they watch people cannonball into a swimming pool.

Kids can experiment with their cannonball technique after learning about fluid dynamics and water displacement to see if they can make a larger splash using their new science knowledge. Try recording kids in slow motion on a smartphone or tablet so they can watch the science behind their cannonballs in action. This outdoor science lesson for warmer weather is sure to make a splash with your kids!

2. Water Balloon Drop

Allowing kids to experiment with water balloons helps them to cool off when the weather gets warm. It also gives them hands-on experience with learning the scientific method, as they form hypotheses about the experiment results in Water Balloon Drop. Kids may like to experiment to find the fastest way to pop a water balloon, which shapes of water balloons are easier to pop, the height of drop required to pop the balloon, and more.

Another option for Water Balloon Drop is to observe the splatter patterns that occur when dropping the balloons from various heights. This outdoor science lesson for warmer weather will help kids to determine whether a water balloon dropped from a greater height falls with more speed and has a larger spatter pattern than a water balloon of the same size dropped from a lower height. Consider adding paint to the balloons to help kids see the splatters more clearly.

3. Chalk Rockets

Most kids love to use chalk outside when the weather warms up, and this spring and summer you can use it to teach science through fun chemical reactions. Chalk Rockets require cornstarch, water, food coloring, film canisters, and Alka-Seltzer tablets. Kids can practice measuring by making liquid sidewalk chalk with the cornstarch, water, and food coloring.

Ask kids to make a hypothesis about what will happen when they add pieces of the Alka-Seltzer tablets to the canisters and put on the lids. Then, break the tablets into three or four pieces and drop them into one canister at a time, before quickly putting on the canister lid and flipping over the canister. Stand back and watch the rocket fly and then observe the chalk art it leaves behind. Students should observe each canister and record height and distance traveled. They may want to experiment by adding more tablet pieces to a canister or changing liquid amounts in each canister.

4. Rainbow Bubble Snakes

Nicer weather means bubbles, and Rainbow Bubble Snakes is an outdoor science lesson for warmer weather that kids will love. This science lesson involves elasticity, surface tension, and chemistry. To allow kids to explore these concepts, help them to create Rainbow Bubble Snakes with an empty water bottle, duct tape, a sock, water, dish soap, and food coloring.

Cut off the bottom of the water bottle and slide the sock over the open bottom. Secure the sock with duct tape. Kids should dip the sock-covered bubble blower into the dish soap/water/food coloring solution and then blow through the neck of the bottle. Once kids see how the Rainbow Bubble Snakes form, they should experiment by blowing with more or less force, adding more dish soap to the solution, and measuring the length of their snakes.

Getting outside as the weather improves can be an educational experience for the whole family. Outdoor science lessons for warmer weather give kids the opportunity to experiment in a hands-on way while asking questions and gaining a better understanding of the scientific method and science concepts.

If you enjoyed this article by Jamie Strand and the resources it provides then you will also enjoy Five Ways to Help Your Child Think Like a Scientist.

Jamie Strand is an unashamed nerd. He teaches community college and loves spending time with his two daughters. He wants to share his love of science and math with kids today and that’s why he and friend got together to create SciCamps.org. Jamie enjoys hiking, camping, and doing science experiments with his daughters. This article originally appeared on home-school-coach.com on April 7, 2016