Why School Children Need Recess

Why Kids Need Recess | Eco-Mothering.com

Since the implementation of the Common Core State Standards—and its precursor, the 2001 No Child Left Behind law—schools have focused on meeting rigid standards and preparing students for standardized tests. With school test scores being held up to scrutiny (and in some cases affecting teacher jobs or the threat of being put on the “watch list”), a lot of emphasis is put on preparing students for those tests. In many cases, this has resulted in schools eliminating recess in order to squeeze in more teaching time. When Atlanta elementary schools replaced recess with more instructional time, the superintendent was quoted as saying, “We are intent on improving academic performance. You don’t do that by having kids hanging from monkey bars.”  (source) Hanging from monkey bars is one of my daughter’s favorite parts of the school day. We hear detailed accounts at dinner of the games she and her friends play … Continue reading

Why Trees Are Awesome (and Why You Should Plant One)

Benefits of Trees | Eco-Mothering.com

Most everyone is familiar with Joyce Kilmer’s poetic line: “I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.” What makes trees so lovely? They tower over our landscape with their leafy, needled and willowy beauty; mark the cycle of the seasons from stark nakedness to riotous colors; and serve as symbols of strength and flexibility. We know trees are good for the earth, but do we really know why? Here are some reasons behind the awesomeness of trees. Let me know if this doesn’t make you want to hug one or plant one — which you can do at the end of this post! Trees Conserve Energy and Water. Placed strategically, trees provide shade to homes and office buildings, either reducing the need for air conditioners or cutting AC costs by 15-35%. Trees planted in cities help combat the “heat islands” of unending asphalt and concrete. … Continue reading

Unique, Wacky and Gently Green Holidays to Celebrate in SEPTEMBER

Unique and Gently Green Holidays in September | Eco-Mothering.com

Some people only think about an eco lifestyle on Earth Day, April 22. However, a little research showed me that every month has a few unique and earth-friendly holidays that can be cause for celebration. Pick whichever ones appeal to you, then get out there and celebrate! September is Baby Safety Month. While most people focus on external safety—sharp objects, chokeables, hazardous climbing structures—you might also consider your baby’s internal safety. That means the invisible chemicals and toxins that permeate many household and hygiene products. Start with these 5 toxins to avoid in baby products and see what your alternatives are. September is also Piano Month, Self Improvement Month, Chicken Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. September’s Celebrations by Date: September 4 – Lazy Moms Day Celebrated the first Friday in September, Lazy Moms Day is a holiday I can get behind. From savvy.com, here are 25 ways to be lazy today. … Continue reading

Unique, Wacky and Gently Green Holidays to Celebrate in MAY

Unique and Gently Green Holidays in May | Eco-Mothering.com

Some people only think about an eco lifestyle on Earth Day, April 22. However, a little research showed me that every month has a few unique and earth-friendly holidays that can be cause for celebration. Pick whichever ones appeal to you, then get out there and celebrate! May is National Bike Month. Since 1956 National Bike Month has given Americans the chance to celebrate this two-wheeled and eco-friendly mode of transportation. And from 2000 to 2013, bike commuters in the U.S. rose 62% – how awesome is that? Bike to Work Day is May 15 this year. May is also Barbecue Month, Get Caught Reading Month, National Photo Month and Date Your Mate Month. May’s Celebrations by Date: May 1 – May Day Whether it’s fertility dances, political protests or spring celebrations, May Day is honored around the world. One of the most common activities is maypole dancing, which really … Continue reading

Unique, Wacky and Gently Green Holidays to Celebrate in DECEMBER

Unique, Wacky and Gently Green December Holidays | Eco-Mothering.com

Some people only think about an eco lifestyle on Earth Day, April 22. However, a little research showed me that every month has a few unique and earth-friendly holidays that can be cause for celebration. Pick whichever ones appeal to you, then get out there and celebrate! December is Human Rights Month — Created by the United Nations in 1948 to promote awareness about human rights worldwide, Human Rights Day is observed on December 10. It commemorates the day the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Select a preferred human right or country and learn what you can do to help. December’s Celebrations by Week: Tuesday after Thanksgiving – Giving Tuesday In 2012, several organizations came together to promote the idea of giving, particularly after the consumerism of Black Friday. Donations that first year reached $10 million. Here are five ways your family can give on this day. … Continue reading

Top 6 Eco Alternatives to LEGOS

Eco-friendly LEGO alternatives | Eco-mothering.com

Everyone loves LEGO. Their popular brick system has been around since the 1950s, inspiring creativity in generations of children. Still, they’re made of plastic, which takes an environmental toll.    While the LEGO company does get kudos for making long-term sustainable plans — they aim to manufacture their products close to the point of sale to reduce transportation emissions and to operate energy-efficient factories, including renewable energy sources like a wind farm in the process of being built — their current partnership with the Arctic-drilling Shell oil company flies in the face of those values. Click here for an awesome and affecting LEGO MOVIE-inspired video from Greenpeace to spread awareness about drilling in the Arctic — then sign the petition.  We forget that LEGO is not the only constructive toy out there. Perhaps you want your kids to play with safer and greener toys. Maybe you’re tired of supporting a hugely … Continue reading

Top 5 Family Ideas for #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday | Eco-Mothering.com

We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but not everyone knows about #GivingTuesday, a campaign that kicked off in 2012 to promote a day of giving around the consumerism-focused holidays. That year, #Giving Tuesday (which is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) inspired $10 million in online donations. This year, the campaign has gone global. It’s about non-profits, businesses, families and students coming together in a united movement of philanthropy. Here are 5 ways you and your family can give on #GivingTuesday. Play a Game Did you know there are online games that combine fun, education and philanthropy? One called Free Rice tests your vocabulary in quizzes; for every five you get right, the organization donates 50 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.  My Green Games offers a selection of kids games (categories include animals, sports, TV shows) and plants a tree in Peru for every 1,000 … Continue reading

What We Learned from a Tour of Our Local Food Bank

Lately, Sofie’s been asking about the homeless guy she sees at a particular intersection we pass. She wants to give him food. This led to discussions about food pantries where people can go to get food. And then we asked our friend Erica, who works at our local food bank, to give us a tour. The RI Community Food Bank is a distribution warehouse that solicits, stores and provides surplus food to 178 member agencies at 238 sites across the state. (Find your nearest RI Food Bank agency here.) They have some pretty cool programs like Neighborhood Pantry Express, a mobile food pantry that provides fresh produce to low-income people, and Community Kitchen, a 14-week culinary job-training program for jobless adults that also provides healthy dinners to hungry kids. The warehouse alone occupies 35,000 square feet and can hold two million pounds of food at one time! Here’s a peek … Continue reading