Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
The Children & Nature Network (C&NN) was created to encourage and support the people and organizations working worldwide to reconnect children with nature. C&NN provides access to the latest news and research in the field and a peer-to-peer network of researchers and individuals, educators and organizations dedicated to children's health and well-being.http://www.childrenandnature.org/
Friday, July 24, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I started make-believe cooking when I was a toddler, using invisible ingredients, plus grass, flowers, and mud. I started cooking with real food when I was about 8 or 9. My mother and grandmother let me follow them around the kitchen, and I was entranced. I tested and wrote my first recipe when I was 9. It was for a chocolate dessert that leaked out of the oven door and across the floor. My wonderful, patient mother, instead of yelling at me, said, "Well this is certainly original. Let's give it a name." We called it "Creeping Australian BooBoo." Lacking the good sense to be deterred, I went on to write many more recipes over the next 35+ years. Somewhere along the way, I figured out how to have things stay in the oven.--Mollie Katzen
For children, she said, food is all about taste, and fresh and local food tastes better.
“A real delicious heirloom tomato is one of the sweetest things that you’ll ever eat,” she said. “And my children know the difference, and that’s how I’ve been able to get them to try different things.
“I wanted to be able to bring what I learned to a broader base of people. And what better way to do it than to plant a vegetable garden in the South Lawn of the White House?”
For urban dwellers who have no backyards, the country’s one million community gardens can also play an important role, Mrs. Obama said.
But the first lady emphasized that she did not want people to feel guilty if they did not have the time for a garden: there are still many changes they can make.
“You can begin in your own cupboard,” she said, “by eliminating processed food, trying to cook a meal a little more often, trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/dining/20garden.html
Why do you think involving children in growing food and preparing it can make such a big difference for kids? My solution is not to try to feed children in the same way that fast food nation does — which is to figure out a gimmick to get them to eat something. It’s to bring them into a whole relationship with food that’s connected to nature and our culture.
No other country thinks about food as just fueling up. It’s always connected to the seasons, to nature, to what’s growing, to celebrations with family and friends. It’s a kind of moment in the day when you collect your thoughts and stop to sit down and to eat. Food is considered precious and vital, and farmers are treasured. We’ve allowed ourselves to be completely indoctrinated into another way of thinking about food in this country.http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/26/alice-waters-takes-kids-beyond-chicken-nuggets/?apage=3
It literally changes the quality of your life to be able to eat good food. It improves the nutrition of a child, and therefore it improves his or her health. But I think it’s also a self-esteem issue. I think we should get our kids into the kitchen not only for their health, but because being able to provide good food for yourself is very empowering. Being able to cook a simple meal and feed your family at the end of the day really feeds your soul.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
"I just played."
Translation: "I followed a croaking sound to the edge of the marsh until I found a bullfrog, I watched a cloud turn into a big fluffy bunny,I figured out that you have to go to the end of the line each time after you are up in kickball."
You can ask any expert about the importance of unlimited time outdoors for a child. They will tell you about the need for a connection to nature, the necessity for developing imagination without electronic stimulation, the socio-emotional building blocks going missing every second the child stays indoors.
Better, I think, to ask the child.
"What can you do outside tomorrow?"
"Play some more."
Focus, listen, share your own experiences.
"I used to go down to the marsh, too..."
Don't just follow the frog on the screen, go on out and find the real thing.