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A Natural Nester :: At Home Summer Nature Camp

At Home Nature Summer Camp

I am delighted to introduce you to my friend, Liz at A Natural Nester. Liz has created a great resource for parents called the At-Home Summer Nature Camp curriculum which fits in perfectly with everything we do here at Skill It.

Liz and I got together for an interview to talk more about having fun this summer, slowing down with kids to notice the small things, and meeting nature with joy and gratitude…

Skill It ~ At A Natural Nester, you talk about living a mindful, simple, and natural lifestyle. Can you share a little about how that inspired you to create your At-Home Summer Nature Camp?     

Farmers Market BoothsLiz ~ Yes, a big part of our family mission statement is to live simply, mindfully, and naturally. The At-Home Summer Nature Camp evolved out of my own efforts to create a simple summer rhythm for my family, in which my two girls could play in, learn about, and connect to the natural world around them. Over the past several years,  “camp mom” has become a tradition with my family, and I realized others with similar values could benefit from the rhythm I’d created.

So I elaborated on it a bit, and called in some highly-creative bloggers to contribute their creative ideas as well. I’m so pleased to share the end product with people from all over the word, hopefully inspiring them to spend a simple and mindful summer with their families, celebrating the natural wonders of their own backyards!

Skill It ~ What is your own earliest memory of exploring in nature? Have you re-created that experience with your own family?

Liz ~ As a young girl, I fondly remember playing “house” in my backyard, as well as in friends’ yards , where we’d build entire worlds from found natural objects & materials. We’d bake mud pies in the sun, and do the wash in a creek or in collected rain water. My girls now love to play the same way! We created a very simple outdoor play space to encourage this experience (right in our suburban backyard), and leave the rest up to their imaginations.

Outside of backyard play, when I was a little older, my nature-loving parents took me and my sister camping all over my native state of Florida. We’d sleep in tents on the beach, collect shells, snorkel, canoe, night fish, build campfires, walk nature trails… you name it. My girls are just now getting to be the right ages for embarking on these types of family adventures, so we’re looking forward to sharing similar experiences with them more regularly over the coming years.

Skill It ~ For families with plans for travel this summer, how could they incorporate the Summer Nature Camp ideas and activities when they’re on the go?

Nature Inspiration for the SummerLiz ~ The camp eCurriculum is broken down into simple activities that can be done almost anywhere with access to the outdoors! It offers a lot of flexibility for families’ unique schedules, because there’s no “right way” to implement it. There are 8 weekly themes – each containing 4 activities/projects, a field trip, and book/media suggestions. These can be done in any order or manner you like. So if you’re traveling, you could pick different activities from different weeks to enhance your trip, and maybe discover some things you might not have otherwise.

For example, explore the local & seasonal offerings of an out-of-town farmer’s market, with the “Farmer’s Market Photo Scavenger Hunt.” Or, seek out and “Take a Dip in a Swimming Hole” during your travels. Make “Family Beach Mandalas” and “Dig Your Own Sea Turtle Nests” while visiting the beach. Find a local park or forest and “Pack a Picnic” or try your hand at some “Simple Tent Making.” And just about anywhere in the summertime, you can “Go on a Wildflower Hunt” and discover new-to-you flowers that don’t grow where you live. Really, the camp eGuide can help you be creative in getting to know your vacation spot in a new, or different, way!

Skill It ~ So much about becoming more mindful happens in small baby steps. Do you have ideas to share here about the top 3 or so things we can do to notice all the small things in our lives?

Yellow Beach BlossomsLiz ~ Baby steps indeed! Cultivating mindfulness is a constant work in progress and I’m far from an expert… I try to focus on slowing down & being present, releasing what doesn’t serve me, and practicing gratitude. There is such a culture today of more, faster, better and it draws a lot of attention away from the joys and benefits of living simply and mindfully. I find I have to make a conscious effort to say no to things, to set boundaries, to lower unrealistic standards and expectations, to release the need for perfection, to count my blessings, and to become comfortable with accepting what is right here and right now.

For me, a great way to begin or enhance a journey into mindfulness, is to simply spend time in nature! I find when I’m outdoors, whether it’s gardening, beach-combing, or even just walking with my kids, I become mindful with very little effort. I engage in the present moment fully, experiencing its sights, sounds and smells. The mental chatter quiets, time slows down, and I’m filled with gratitude for the beauty around me. Try it! And if you can, start a nature journal too to record and reflect on your observations.

Nature_Collage_3Liz’s At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum is packed with ideas and inspiration to keep your kids engaged and happy all summer long. The 8-Week curriculum was designed with kids of ages 5-11 in mind, but you can certainly adapt it for kids of all ages.

The beautiful, colorful pages come in a PDF file you can read on a computer screen or tablet or print out to keep in a lovely binder. The curriculum has kid-friendly lessons, outdoor activities, indoor projects, arts & crafts, recipes, field trip ideas, and book & media suggestions.

I want to let you know that as a proud contributor, I’m also an affiliate for the At-Home Nature Camp Curriculum! If you’d like to get your copy, just click on the button below to learn more and place your order….and get ready to add even more fun to your summer!

A Natural Nester At Home Summer Nature Camp


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Cooking Up Fun with Our Friends

What a beautiful week! It officially feels like Fall here at Skill It, a season that calls for lots of cooking!

At our Farmer’s Market there is still an abundance of green things like bok choy, kale, lettuce, broccoli, and now Brussels sprouts. It seems that the stove and oven are going non-stop every evening with roasted vegetables, simmering soups, and hearty pasta dishes. It is a glorious time to play in your kitchen while chopping, peeling, talking, and eating.

Celebrating the flavors of Fall is what we’ll be doing in Season’s Eatings, starting on November 5th!

Here at Skill It we are happy to have so many friends with like-minded businesses, blogs, and outlooks on food and family.  Like any good neighbor, we’ve been sharing our recipes with them.

So today, I am inviting you to read a little bit more about Skill It and Season’s Eatings over at their houses!

The beautiful photographs and rich information that FIMBY (Fun In My Back Yard) shares is always inspiring.  From homeschooling to soap-making, there is something for everyone to learn from this wonderful blog. We wrote a guest post about what food & family dinner can look and feel like. And we shared a recipe for our delicious, and bright pink, borscht.

There is limitless creative inspiration at the Crafty Crow and we love gazing at their photos and tutorials. We created a printable PDF recipe for a heart & house warming Fall Harvest Vegetable Soup just for them. Be sure to download & print it out for yourself and share a copy with your friends, too.

Are you thinking of registering for Season’s Eatings?  Kara Fleck at Rockin’ Granola is hosting a giveaway for several spots in the class!  Be sure to head over to her blog before Wednesday, Oct. 24 before midnight, so you can enter to win {if you are already registered, you can still enter the contest and gift your spot to a friend!}

Thank you for pulling up a chair and saying hello, I am delighted that you are here!

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Why Skill It?

Skill It is based on the belief that cooking a meal, sewing a hem, tending a garden, and fixing a leak are the kinds of skills that all children should and can learn.

We believe that working with your hands nourishes your spirit and connects you to your family, your past, and your community.

When something is handmade or homemade, we taste, feel, smell, and sense the difference.  Food connects us and meals cement our memories and traditions.

I have a grandmother who grew up in Russia and makes amazing soups, sour cream mashed potatoes and butter-soaked green beans. She talked me through her borscht recipe over the phone when I was in college and eager to carry on the tradition of cooking these comforting foods.

My other grandmother passed away when I was very young. She was a scientist and an artist and ate sushi in the 70’s.

I am lucky that my mother kept her alive for me with stories.

Passing on knowledge from generation to generation gives us roots. Making time to teach and learn the traditional talents of our family and culture helps us find our place in the world.

At this time last summer I visited my mother in Hawaii. I spent the day in a children’s summer camp that taught cooking, gardening, and crafts of the traditional Hawaiian culture. They planted taro root, the staple food of the Hawaiian people, and talked story about its importance in their daily life.

Working in the garden, the children connected with their history through their hands.

And they had fun! They got to to what kids do best – being outside, moving freely, and taking on their assigned task with focus and determination.

Season’s Eatings, our cooking class for families, is a workbook for learning together.

It will teach you more than delicious recipes, it will create a conversation in your kitchen.

Class starts this Friday, August 3rd, so you can join us today.

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Season’s Eatings!

Hello Kidoinfo fans and readers!  Thank you so much for visiting our site to find out more about what we’re cooking up here at Skill It.  We’re spending our summer eating fresh foods and taking our kids cooking classes on the road to fun and exciting locales.

We are most excited about the chance to deliver the fun & healthy Skill It recipes right to your own kitchen!  That’s what we’ll be doing in our upcoming class, Season’s Eatings.  Just click right here and learn all about what you’ll get if you join us for this fantastic class {and don’t forget to enter your discount code when you check out!}

photos: Wishing Stone Farm & Fall Harvest Classes at Hope Artiste Village