Posts Tagged ‘one-minute activities’

Water Play

Friday, September 18th, 2009

On a hot Summer day, sometimes its hard to keep up with new ways of staying cool.  One may not have access to a pool, beach, or local swimming hole.  Popsicles and trips down the slip ‘n slide seem to help.  Luckily, Mother Nature can help too.

Rain showers have a way of passing through in the Summer and give hope of temperatures dropping a degree or two on the hottest days.  The wind picks up and feels great.  If there is no thunder and lightening, the rain may give way to a whole host of activities: race sticks in a stream, use the slip ‘n slide without hooking up the hose, and of course, splash in puddles.

One recent evening after a rain shower, my two sons found the tiniest of puddles and got to work.  They hopped on their bikes and started a circuit through the puddle.  Then, they discovered that with my younger son’s training wheels on either side of the puddle, they could still spin the back wheel.  There was much delight at this discovery, and they proceeded to splash all of the muddy water to the backs of their shirts and shorts.

With it approaching bath time any way, I led them on an adventure to find more puddles.  It was a full tactile experience, jumping in the muddy water and even dancing.  We found frogs, noticed bugs, and the boys even tip toed quietly through tall grass to see what else they could find.

As long as you keep some towels by the door and in the car, you are ready for a wet or muddy outdoor adventure.  If you’re lucky, you may even get stuck in passing shower and have no choice but to have a ton of fun.  And as I discovered, a hair dryer works pretty well to dry the inside soles of any sneakers that aren’t quite dry before you need to head out the door the next morning.

Rebecca P. Cohen is Founder and President of Rebecca Plants LLC, a gardening and outdoor lifestyle company that inspires families to be outside and improve their well being.  For her free list of 50 Outdoor Activities for Busy Families as well as Rebecca Plants’ Curiosity Cards, a set of 50 portable and no-cost activity cards for families, visit

First Fishing Trip

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Forcing fun isn’t really possible, but when my kids are having trouble peeling themselves away from video games, I have been known to put my foot down and take them outside.  After just a few minutes, they forget that I forced them to do it.

A friend of a fellow garden designer and writer, Starla J. King, coined the term “forced family fun,” and with that concept in my head this past weekend, I looked forward to putting it into practice when the time was right.  

Sure enough, late Sunday morning, my two boys, 5 and 7, were clinging to their cartoons.  In conspiracy with my husband, we created a ballot of two choices for family time outside:  fishing or renting a small boat, both of which were new to us.  Each of the four of us submitted our anonymous ballot.  Upon reading the small pieces of paper, we discovered that my husband and I picked something different.  But, the boys each changed their ballots to choose both fishing and renting a boat.

We didn’t need to pack much for our spontaneous adventure:  life jackets for the kids, a small backpack with retractable kids’ fishing rods that I bought from a big box retailer last summer, and a picnic lunch.  And we didn’t have to go far.  We found a public fishing lake just 10 minutes away through NWF’s Nature Find, where you just enter your zip code to find nearby parks.

Our lunchtime fishing trip turned into wonderful family time that lasted five hours.  The excursion was such a hit, seeing dragonflies, fish, geese, and even a heron, that we all decided we would go fishing once a week from now on.  Try your hand at forced family fun, and see just how fun it can be.

Rebecca P. Cohen is Founder and President of Rebecca Plants LLC, a gardening and outdoor lifestyle company that inspires families to be outside and improve their well being.  For her free list of 50 Outdoor Activities for Busy Families, visit

One Savory Summer Minute

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Only 6 — yes, SIX — more weeks til school starts???  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! 

I don’t even have kids and that timeline is freaking me out!  I’ve barely dipped into my Summer To Do list!  I haven’t even gotten around to getting my pool passes for the year!  I need to get school supplies! New clothes for the kids!  WAIT, I still don’t have kids!  I need to get kids!

Ok… deep breath… let’s calm down a bit, shall we?  Perspective, put it all into perspective. 

6 weeks = 42 days = 1008 hours = 60,480 minutes.  SIXTY THOUSAND minutes!  (yes, I used a calculator. Math is hard).

Think of how many one-minute cool things you can do! 

- Eat a couple spoonfuls of ice-cream. For breakfast. Outside.
- Play a super-short game of tag (kids are great, but not required.  Chase an adult…it’s good for you!). Outside.
- Laugh.  Outside.
- Touch a flower and feel the velvety-soft texture or the pricklies on it. Outside.
- Pick the spent blooms off a Daylily. Outside.
- Add Have Fun Outside to your To Do list.  5 times… to make sure you really do it. Outside.

You have 1,440 minutes today.  Savour* them.  And tell us what your favourite* recent minutes have been!


(* “ou” spellings used to honour our Canadian and European readers! :) )
Seneca Lake vineyard, New York, USA

Seneca Lake vineyard, New York, USA

(post — including photos — by guest blogger Starla J. King)