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Family Trip to Samui

by Lisa Niver Rajna
Lisa Niver RajnaAfter a second sabbatical year traveling all over Asia, my personal favorite place to stay is Thailand. George and I have spent the last two months in Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand. We have enjoyed the restaurants, the beach and George plays in the band twice a week at Rock Island House.

I interviewed eight year-old Esteban from France and six year-old Angie from Thailand to find out the best things to do in Koh Samui from a kid’s perspective! A clear favorite was Coco Splash Waterpark, followed by sailing with Siam Pirates and visiting the waterfalls. Esteban’s dad, Florian, also said one of the best things about Lamai is just swimming in the water! (more…)

Summer Family Escapes

By Josh Kafka
It’s hot. School’s out. The timeless questions every parent asks: Where in the world should I take my kids? And how much will it cost me? Physically, emotionally and of course financially?

Well happily, not much. There are several reasonable local options that make for a wonderful, easeful family escape—without too much cost. All of the resorts below come with free bonus perks (if booked with Blisscape) that make staying there much more affordable.

Nature:

Ojai Valley Resort and Spa (OVS). With beautiful gardens, orchards, fields to play in and a wonderful kids swimming pool, OVS is a perfect family resort. This is the place to go when parents want to slow down and relax while still offering the kids a wonderful time. We love the spa, the many bunnies running around the property, and the location—just an hour from the city. Blisscape bonus amenities: free upgrade to Fireplace Shangri-La room, full breakfasts for two, and free entrance to the spa. (more…)

Enjoying Spring with your Child

By Lisa Niver Rajna
Lisa Niver RajnaParents love to play with their children but often ask me how to bring more science into everyday fun activities. Most adults think of science as an experiment or equation that has nothing to do with everyday life. But science is the process for figuring out how things work. When you think of it that way, even a construction site can turn into a physics lesson. Take a walk with your child and ask your child to put on his imaginary detective hat and tell you everything he sees to improve powers of observation. You can work in a lesson about photosynthesis when you and your child have a conversation about leaves: Why are they green in the spring, and why do they change color in the fall and drop off the trees? See how many different insects you see or different bird songs you hear. City kids can also soak up a little physics by noticing the timing of the traffic lights—do they depend on the flow of traffic to change or are they pre-set? These are all methods to sneak more science into your day! Your phone is always with you, so turn its camera into a teaching tool and your child can pick up some very cool scientific principles of light. (more…)

Creating Wonder-Inspired by Nature

Teaching your kids to love nature.

By Lisa Niver Rajna
lisa

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep
and suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and
not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

Not all of us can make a commitment to nature like Henry David Thoreau to go live on Walden Pond, but we do not have to go to such lengths to inspire our children to love nature. By creating wonder and a connection to the environment we can all protect our planet.

We can even share seeds and caterpillars with our children without even going very far outside! As Janine M. Benyus states in Biomimicry:

Bringing children back into nature and nature back into childhood is a job for teachers and parents and friends willing to take a child outside for a lark. There need not be an ‘official’ park involved; finding a place where green things grow, even if it’s a crack in the sidewalk, is enough.

(more…)

Summer Science Fun for the Human Body

Nutrition and Cooking with your child

By Lisa Niver Rajna
Lisa Niver RajnaStudents love to learn about themselves and their bodies Inside your Outside, from the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library by Trish Rabe, is a story that has an Inside-Your-Outside machine. At the end of the story after learning all about our bodies the reader discovers:

As you grow, you will know, that your bones will get longer,
Your lungs will get bigger, your muscles grow stronger.
Your brain and your heart will guide all you do.
Someone special is inside your outside—it’s YOU!

(more…)

Connecting to Earth Day through Family Activities

By Lisa Niver Rajna
Lisa NiverApril 22 is Earth Day. What will you do to celebrate our planet? With so many options out there, what will you choose? I’d like to share a few of my favorites that teach our children and show that we can make a difference. With snowfall last month in the San Fernando Valley for the first time in nearly fifty years, major earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, Santiago, Chile and Haiti in the last year, and other environmental issues like the enormous volcanic eruption of Iceland, science is everywhere and a part of everything; it just depends what lens you use to look through. (more…)

Physical Science and your Child

May the Force be with You: Physical Science and your Child

By Lisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Ed.
Lisa NiverThe California Department of Education states “We are all born with natural curiosity about our world. Science is an extension of this curiosity. When we read about a new discovery, watch a bird fly, or think about how something works, we are doing science. When we pursue knowledge we are doing science.” Unfortunately many adults have at least one bad memory from Science Class. Others tell me, “I cannot volunteer in Science class, I am not good at science.” (more…)