Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer Activity List: 40 ideas for fun....All from my daughter!

As summer has been approaching, I asked my daughter to start making a list of all the fun things she could think of that we can do this summer. I also asked her to skip some of the "obvious" options, that of course, living on Maui, we will do; Such as: Go to the beach, go to the pool, play at nearby parks etc. I asked her to think of things we could do around the house together. She came up with tons of ideas for me and wrote them out in a spiral notebook for us to have easy access to all summer long. Summer here in Hawaii has begun! My daughter's last day of school was yesterday, so now it is time to have fun!

Summer Activity List: By: Natalya!
Nature Treasures!
  1. Read Books! (She loves reading, so this was an easy first option for her)
  2. Puzzles 
  3. Board Games (At age 7, my daughter can play and enjoy a lot more board games now)
  4. Play Outside: Tag, hide n' seek, Tea Party, Barbies, Bubbles, Pool (we have a little "baby pool")
  5. Dress Up
  6. Paint or Color (I need to stock up on some more paints)
  7. Play "Library" (A favorite for pretend play with my kids)
  8. Take a Walk: We often just walk around our condo complex and gather things along the way: interesting sticks, flowers, rocks etc. and then find a way to play or create with them later!
  9. Build with Lego or Blocks: Another great and well used play item in our house: We create all kinds of things with simple manipulative's!
  10. Play: Magic Tree House: (my daughter's favorite book series right now, and a common "pretend play" activity for her)
  11. Ride ...Bikes, Scooters, Skateboards, Roller Skate!
  12. Play "Vet": (Pretend Play of: Veterinarian,with all the stuffed animals)
  13. Play Doh, Clay, Silly Putty
  14. Crafts and Posters (My daughter has lots of boxed craft sets and I have containers of craft items or recycled items that we use to create things. She also likes to make big posters around holiday times. July 4th will likely inspire another poster from her on our wall)
  15. Kam 3: This is how we refer to our nearby beach park: Kamaole 3, which has a great swing set and open fields to run and play, kick a ball, hula hoop, play tag etc. It also has a great beach and we can walk there easily!
  16. Practice Gymnastics: (My daughter recently started gymnastics classes so she loves to try out her moves!)
  17. Play Zhu Zhu Pets: (A small furry electronic rodent type creature toy, that you can dress up and let loose around your house)
  18. Computer Time/Movie Time: (30-45 minutes allowed a day)
  19. Get Caterpillars to raise into butterflies: (From our Milk Weed tree at our condo complex)
  20. Do Shows and Plays (A favorite activity with the dress up box and music)
  21. Sort Stuffed Animals (We did this once when my daughter was home from school sick. I guess she really enjoyed it: sorting all the stuffed animals by categories)
  22. Play with American Girl Doll
  23. Play with Sasha (Our cat)
  24. Hula Hoop and Jump Rope
  25. Get Summer Stuff at Wal Mart (I think this is from when I mentioned it would be good to get some extra bubbles, water guns, paint supplies and other summer fun stuff)
  26. Go to Banana Tree. (We can walk around our condo complex and pick bananas from trees, limes, papayas, avocados, pulmeria flowers, caterpillars...)
  27. Write on the white board. (We have a nice big dry erase board that we often use to play Tic Tac Toe, Hangman or write out lists etc.)
  28. Go to the Recycle Area to get boxes for making stuff. (We do this often: get boxes of all sizes to make all kinds of things)
  29. Look at Photo Albums (I still have some photo albums on my shelves that my kids enjoy browsing through: my childhood pictures or wedding pictures etc.)
  30. Tell Stories (My kids enjoy story telling and I try to do this a lot with them: great for their listening skills and fun to think of funny or interesting fiction or non-fiction stories to tell)
  31. Practice Tennis
  32. Go on a Scavenger Hunt, collecting things in Nature!
  33. Play in the "Princess" Tent
  34. Make "Tents" and "Houses" (in or outside with boxes or couch cushions)
  35. Duck Duck Goose
  36. Jump Rope
  37. Stamps 
  38. Make necklaces (She has lots of beads and string etc.)
  39. Paint Nails
  40. Play: "Guess the Animal" (This is a game of charades but my kids call it: Guess the Animal, but really it is acting out anything and having the others guess what it is)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Exploring Maui Saturday!

Even on Maui, it is easy to get in a cycle of doing the same things all the time. Our weekdays are often predictable with school, work, homework, after school activities etc. On the weekends, if we don't have a kids' birthday party to attend or other event/get together, I try to plan something fun to do. Last Saturday, we had nothing on the calendar: Woo-Hoo! A completely free day for us to explore Maui. I gave out options of a beach or pool day or a hike. My kids liked the idea of a hike. We talked about some of their favorite hiking areas but then settled on some place new. I love exploring new or different places around the island that we can enjoy together.

Exploring the beach!

Sea Cucumbers, crabs and lots of driftwood!
We settled on: Waihe'e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands refuge. We had never explored the area before, and although there is a more rigorous hike up Waihe'e Ridge, we opted for exploring the low ground, near the ocean. (We will do the ridge hike another Saturday). The coastal wetlands, dunes and marine shoreline is a 277 acre site. Restoration programs have enhanced native wildlife habitat and preserved the area’s rich archaeological and cultural resources. The area had once been populated with two thriving ancient Hawaiian villages, an extensive inland fishpond and several heiau. Waihee Refuge is among the most significant cultural sites in the state.

In testament to the returning health of the ecosystem, eight different endangered species have taken up residence at the Refuge in recent years. With the wetlands primarily cleared and habitat-appropriate plants now thriving, the area is host to many native Hawaiian bird species, including ae‘o (stilt), alae ke‘oke‘o (coot), koloa (duck), and even nene (goose).
Quiet and pristine, the Waihe‘e shoreline is a favorite retreat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals and nesting green sea turtles. Off the coast, the extensive reef is one of the longest and widest on Maui. It’s believed that this reef system provided excellent fishing in ancient times and it is, in fact, still a favorite among local fishermen today.
The public is invited to visit the Refuge on free, guided explorations offered throughout the year, or for a self-guided walk along the two-mile coastal trail.
Loved all the driftwood!
The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust ensures that this rich cultural site, once slated for development as a destination golf resort, will be forever protected.

I am so glad I was able to take my kids to this beautiful place! They loved exploring the area so much!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day is every day on Maui!

Living on Maui, has made me more aware of nature and helping our planet. Every day, we practice recycling, reusing items and reducing our footprint.  We enjoy the outdoors here so much and want to always have it around. We try to live simply day to day and consume less. I don't immediately buy stuff when I want it or feel I need it. If I determine that we really do need something specific, I tend to first look at garage sales or ask friends if they happen to have the item (possibly sitting around being unused), that they would like to pass on or sell to me. We also have had only 1 car for four years now. We usually look for fun family activities to do together on the weekends that don't require spending much money or buying stuff: Watching the sunset, hiking, swimming, beach fun, exploring different areas of the island are favorites.  For us, Earth day is every day here on Maui. We live on a beautiful piece of this Earth!

Recycled material to make "Smurf Houses"
Loving Maui Nature!

Maui Beauty!

More recycled items for playing with...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Remember Mom: I am only 4!

It was not my best parenting moment. It had been a good morning with my son out and about, but by the time we got home, I was trying to clean up the house a bit, which had been left a mess from the hectic morning routine of getting out the door and off to school and such. I turned around and found mess after mess in corners of the house. It was hard to figure out which place to start cleaning first. And then I spotted my son dumping out drawers of other junk. I got frustrated and lost my patience. I blurted out a less than sensitive spiel about how I am always cleaning up messes around the house and he needed to start doing more helping in that area. I wasn't really yelling but when I got done with my rant, I looked at my son and saw his face was ever so serious. He is my most sensitive child by far, and his emotions are so close to the surface.

He loves to help me in the kitchen!

Within 5 minutes, I saw him up on a chair trying to balance and put away all the containers he had pulled out of the closet. He said to me, although he didn't look at me: "I am going to put things away." Then he looked at the pile of DVDs that he had arranged all over the floor and said: "I will clean those up too." I began to feel that lump of regret in my chest. He went over to the bookshelf and climbed upon all the books that were neatly stacked beside the shelf (we have too many books for our shelves) in order to put the DVDs away. In  doing so, the pile of books spilled out everywhere. Apart of me began to get frustrated again at the bigger mess he was making, in trying to clean up the first mess.

Then I realized that he was doing the best he could. He was trying so hard. He is only 4 and he was showing me exactly how a 4 year old would tackle the mess. My heart melted. I thanked him for trying so hard. Of course, later I felt badly that I had raised my voice at him. I hate when I do that. It was only for a brief moment, but I wish I could have remembered in that moment that he is learning...he is just 4 and he is learning so much. As his Mom, I am learning so much too!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Haleakala National Park: A whole different world to discover!

I had been to Haleakala National Park before I had kids. I had gone there to see the sunrise and to hike around in the crater, but it always seemed like too big of a trek to bring my young kids up there. After almost 4 years of living here on Maui, I decided we need to go for a visit. We went with a group of other families (Maui Homeschool Friends) and participated in a tour called: Citizen Scientist Program. It was a great interactive tour throughout the park, which required the kids and parents to visit 5 stations of information about Haleakala. The kids learned about: Endangered bird species, Climate Change, Volcano Ecosystem, Polynesian Navigation, Hawaiian Culture, Weather patterns, Geology. After going to each station and learning information, the kids got a stamp on their "Field Journal" and then at the end received a Citizen Scientist park badge. My kids loved this: Stamps and badges are cool stuff to them! 

46 degrees on the top: A little chilly!
My kids also loved going to the summit and seeing the crater. It is so different from their Kihei day to day world. They knew that it does snow on occasion up there, but now they have a much better idea of what it looks like. They had really wanted to catch a glimpse of the nene bird, but were happy to learn about it as well as other birds and plants etc. My daughter wrote in her field journal: "These volcanoes erupted a long time ago...It is so cold and beautiful up here. I like it!" It was a very fun family outing and I am hoping that next time we go, we can hike around a bit more. Another great option for kids to enjoy their day at Haleakala is to check out the "Backpack Haleakala" from the Makawao library. It is filled with all kinds of fun items to help the kids enjoy and learn a lot about Maui's amazing National Park!


Hosmer Grove

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Break on Maui: Making lots of family memories!

Our Spring break has come to an end. I am sad, that my daughter will be heading back to school tomorrow. It was a fun filled time with my kids and husband and friends. We didn't do everything on our list but we did a lot of fun things. We spent a lot of time together and made some good memories! My daughter was in her swimsuit almost every day of Spring Break. She swam in public pools, friends' home pools, hotel pools, the ocean and streams. By the end of Spring Break, she commented on how she was tired of swimming and wanted to do something else for awhile. Some of the fun activities we did over the school break were: lots of pool time, beach days, outdoor play, time with friends, reading, watching movies together, playing board games, card games, arts and crafts, hiking, baking, cooking together, talking, putting on shows, dress up, hide and seek, walks together, sunsets...
Beach time at dusk.

Hiking and exploring new areas of Maui.

Inventing games with recycled materials, and marbles.

Made a "store" to "sell" marbles, toys, duct tape.

The Beach meets Star Wars!

A visit to Maui's one bookstore: Always a treat!

Explored Maui hotels and finding flamingos.

Hotel pool fun with friends.

Took cardboard boxes to make things: ball toss game and a mode of transportation.

Hiking and Swimming!

Roller Skating!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why I won't shame or humiliate my child to punish them!

Recently I have seen on the web, stories and photos of parents "punishing" their kids by making them wear a sign or T-shirt that says their "crime." The object is too make the child feel so bad (and learn a lesson), that they will never try to do whatever bad deed it was again. Some of their bad choices were lying or stealing and it seems like most of the offending kids were teens. Since I am so opposed to shaming or deliberately humiliating my kids as a parenting strategy to improve behavior, I winced when I read the stories and quickly tried to forget the image of the kid being put in such a bad place.

Then I read about an 8 year old girl being made to wear a T-shirt that stated her crime: stealing. My heart sank even further because she was so young. My own daughter is 7 and I can't even imagine thinking up this type of punishment. When my daughter got home from school today, I asked about her day and chatted with her for awhile about our plans for the upcoming spring break. I then told her I wanted to do something. I wanted to promise her that no matter what problem we may face as parent and child, that we would handle it respectfully. I told her that her Dad and I loved her so much and no matter what she does in life, we would love her unconditionally. I wrote this sign and we talked about what it meant. I told her I was trying to make a point (obviously), but also that as a parent, I went her to hold me accountable. She is an amazing gift from God and I am honored to be her Mother. I look at her big brown eyes and her sweet, innocent smile and I see so much joy and love and awesomeness! What could you as a parent put on a sign for your kids to display? What could encourage them and make them feel immensely valued and adored?
Every child should know that they are wholly loved and respected by their caregivers: Every Child is a Gift! 


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