Diverse Outdoor Activities for Children

Engaging kids in outdoor activities has loads of benefits not only to the physical growth of children but it also reinforces cognition and learning, promotes social and emotional development. Children who are always around people and nature have a better sense of social interaction, empathy, and has a stronger concept of self identity and self-worth.

We have been trying our best to expose our children outdoor and encourage them to be active and interact with peers. The need to be active is especially important for our children as they are asthmatic; they say asthma is a modern-day disease.  Although modern medicine has provided us with effective asthma treatment, having a sound body and a healthy lifestyle would certainly make a load of difference.

Going out is something that my husband and I are not accustomed to doing as we are home-buddies and introverts. However, having children is a whole new story, especially that the kids have a rather outgoing personalities. The activities below are those that are available around our community. Some may not be possible with you however we hope that these could give you some ideas.

So here are some few of the things that we have been doing to get the children out of the house and catch some rays.

Kayaking. is another great family outdoor activity. It is something different from what children usually do, so they would find this exciting.  Although there are few risks to think about, but if the water is not too rough, it is pretty safe for kids.

kayaking @Satun Thailand

Bicycle around the house or neighborhood. Now that my son already knows to ride a bicycle,  he’s excited to go out of the house and go on an adventure as he would call it.

Walk along the beach and collect some shells. Our house is just a block away from Chalatat beach and Samila Beach.  So it’s so easy to stroll on the beach, collect some shells, and breathe in some fresh sea air after school.

Figurine painting with water color. Another favorite activity that my children love is painting at the beach.Plant some vegetables. I’m keen on growing our own produce and so I thought of a garden in the city.  Our place is tiny,  but we managed to turn a portion of the patio into a mini garden.  My kids caught up and planted their own vegetables. Now one of their favorite household chores is watering plants.

Go spelunking caves. Thailand is extremely abundant with natural resources like caves,  jungle,  and waterfalls.  These are great places to explore and experience the beauty of  nature with your family. In one of our trips in Satun Thailand, we visited Phu Pha Phet Cave or the Diamond Cave.  Unlike Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai, where a young soccer team was trapped for 18 days, this cave is big and super spacious inside, as well as dry and dusty.

Spelunking Phu Pha Phet

Enjoy a waterfall. As mentioned there is no shortage of waterfalls in Thailand.  One particular waterfall we like is the Wang Sai Thong in Satun Thailand, the entire waterfall basin and paths have high deposits of calcified limestone.  So the place is not slippery. Pretty safe for super active children.

Chill out at the beach. Whether the purpose is to swim or simply hang out there, a beach is an awesome place and children love it.  Aside from swimming, my kids love to feel the sand and build sand castles. A nice way to reconnect with earth, and boosts your child’s immunity by contact with microbes living in sand. They enjoy swimming greatly that a swimming pool is one of the things we look for when booking a hotel to stay for a short staycation or vacation.

Going to museums. A museum is a great place to explore and experience so many things about history, arts and crafts, sciences,  and many others.  What’s awesome with some of the museums here,  is that they are situated in pretty interesting sites like on top of a hill,  park,  and temples.

Explore and Experience

Family time at the park. For city dwellers city parks are the closest to nature one could get. And there are so much stuff kids could do, like play with their Frisbee, fly kites,  bike around,  explore the place and find different plants and insects,  or may be just run around while Mom and Dad are chilling out with their read.

Camping, may it be day camp or an overnight camping, is an exciting outdoor activity that would surely encouraged children and adults alike especially if they do this together with peers. This is a great venue for them to interact with others and exercise their learnt interpersonal and social values.

Songkhla Thailand
Day Camp @Samila Sheep Farm

Nature photography is another great outdoor activity families could engage to bond, learn, and have fun.  Our daughter is showing interests in photography and is following dad’s footsteps. Below are some of her photos during a day trip to the zoo.

Empowered Kids Corner: Following Dad’s Footsteps

Corner: Following Dad’s Footsteps[/caption]

Take self-defense lessons like Taekwondo. Apart from self-defense, children can also develop motor coordination and balance.

Play basketball, football, or any sports your kids are into.

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Play In Comfort

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Whether one is a professional musician or not having a folding music stand definitely brings great comfort.

My friends and I were once invited to serenade a couple on their 10th year wedding anniversary. During the practices I had my guitar chords book secured on the floor with a paper weight. So you can just imagine I had to stoop down to take a good look at the chords, and stoop even more when I had to flip the pages. What’s worst was when the pages got blown by the wind. Oh my, it was a total mess, uncomfortable, and it wreaked havoc with my concentration. Luckily though, we got hold of a couple of music stands during the performance. And I tell you, it was such a great relief. I had a comfortable sitting position; flipping through the pages was not a problem; and I had my full attention on my music.

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As a musician moving from one place to another is quite a hassle especially when you move faraway from your trusty music shop.  Instrument selection may sound easy but in reality it takes a long term relationship and a ton of trial and error before you can find a place that you can truly trust. Stores that sell all the things that you need or want and most especially stores that sell them at the right price are pretty difficult to find. But not in my case, instrument selection has become as easy as 1-2-3 for they have everything every musician could ever need. From electric guitars to classical guitars or bass guitars name it they have it. As a musician who just moved to a new place this is a huge help for me. Now I have a place where I can buy all my musical necessities.

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What musical instrument do you have?

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Bond In The Beach

There is nothing like family time on the beach.

The beach is one of the all-time favorites for family bonding.  It is a place where kids can be free. They can build their sand castles, run, scream their lungs out without the fear of disturbing others.  It is a place where Moms and Dads unwind and momentarily forget all about work-related stress. It is an inexpensive, heaven-sent place for the family.

But whatever beach activities the family has delineated, there are important essentials that should not be forgotten. First is wearing comfortable beach attire, swimming trunks and bathing suits, or plus size bathing suits for big mommas. Second is protection from the harmful effects of the sun, bring sunglasses and sunblock lotion. Finally, beach shovels and toys for the kids. Protection and comfort are just as important as having fun during family time.

 

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Go out and have fun in the sun.

 

 

 

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Our Family’s Precious Weekend 

Loom Band Craze

Lately, loom band making has been keeping me busy among other things.  The set was bought for my daughter. It was not long, though, before she got bored with it.  The steps are too intricate for a 5 year old. So I took over, and found it interesting and addicting.  Here are my loom bands..tada!

loom

As I was doing the different designs, Summer, got interested and eventually managed to make a fishtail loom band.

What loom band design do you like best?

 

 

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Fun Weekend Trips for Couples

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Everyone needs to get-away now and again. Sure, it’s great spending days at home with the kids…but there are times when you simply need a break, to relax and devote uninterrupted moments to your partner. The following are five ideas for romantic, fun, and inexpensive weekend trips for couples.

Take a Road-trip:

Time spent on the road is the perfect way to reconnect and return to simpler days. Set aside your cell phones and computers and experience the beauty of nature together. Choose a weekend retreat within a few hours of your home, play some tunes, sing, and talk about the things that matter most. Plan a mule ride along a canyon trail, or hike to a campground where you can cuddle up in your tent at night. If your trip is limited to a single day, stop at a winery, pack a picnic, or take a day hike. The possibilities are limitless, and the goal is to enjoy!

Weekend Getaways

Casino Weekend:

Head out to the closest casino. With bright gambling lights surrounding the globe, most couples can head out to a resort without having to travel far. The games and accommodations will differ, depending on the location, but the objective is all about pleasure… and possibly striking it rich!  Find some slots and roulette games to play, dress up for a night on the town, enjoy a couple’s message, or recline in your luxurious hotel suite.

Take a Weekend Cruise:

Another great way to enjoy gambling, as well as fine dining, dancing, and the spa life, is to set out on a weekend cruise. Cruising is an awesome way to relax, enjoy great entertainment, shop, swim, and spend valuable hours together. You may find that you love cruising so much that you’ll decide to take the kids along the next time… there are few family adventures as incredible as a Disney Cruise!

Rent a Cabin or a House:

Renting a cabin, apartment, or house for the weekend is a great way to take off and experience the creature comforts of home. Look for a house rental in a great location… a wilderness area, or close to the seashore. Enjoy the morning preparing your own breakfast, curl up by the fireplace at night, watch some DVDs without interruptions, and simply hang out together. You could even find a rental with a Jacuzzi, barbeque pit, and/or a boathouse with a kayak!

House Rentals

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town:

If all this sounds like a little more than you had in mind, why not become a tourist in your own town. Most cities have amazing boutique hotels as well as quant bed-and-breakfasts. In a very short time, you’ll be packed up and checked in. Explore the shops and galleries where you’ve always wanted to linger. Order room service, lounge poolside, and sip cocktails in the lounge. There’s so little stress, and local specials are available.  Drink hot cappuccinos at a sidewalk café, browse the bookstores, and enjoy romance away from, yet close to, home.

With so many awesome weekend trips for couples, it’s simply a matter of choosing the get-away that’s right for both you and your sweetheart!

 

 

 

 

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Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

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Exercise is very important.  It is a must for everyone.  It improves ones physical shape, body’s immune system, and ones over-all mood. But some people find exercise boring, and that there is no time to fit it in their schedule.  Outdoor gyms, which are innovative, ingenious and revolutionary, brought exercising to a whole new level.  An outdoor environment has an innate natural healing power, which is attained if one is in contact with it. It is a refreshing change from the claustrophobic, cramped up ambiance of an indoor gym.

 

Here are four reasons why exercising outdoors is a better idea.

 

1.  ACCESSIBILITY.  Since outdoor gyms are installed in schools, special needs playgrounds, urban regeneration, parish green spaces, trim trails, pensioner’s playground, schools and recreation, and even prison yard, ACCESSIBILITY is easy.  In terms of time, on a nice day, one can exercise at his most convenient time alone or with friends.  Tight work schedules are no longer an excuse to miss an exercise since outdoor gyms are open 24/7.  In terms of finances, most outdoor gyms are free.  Others may charge a small fee for maintenance.  Exercise is a necessity for a healthy mind and body.  It should not be expensive.

 

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2.  FRESH AIR and NATURE.  Some indoor gyms decorations try to emulate nature by putting ornamental plants, playing ocean sound, or showing forest in a big screen. But of course, nothing beats natural fresh air and real nature around.  It is refreshing to exercise in an open space breathing fresh air from the trees and grasses.  It wipes out the boredom that easily creeps in you while exercising indoor.

 

 

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3.  BEING WITH A COMMUNITY.  As the saying goes, the more the merrier.  Exercise should be fun.  Something that one enjoy doing and not forced into doing.  If one exercises together with a community of fellow enthusiasts, then who needs a walk-man/cd players/i-pods  to accompany you through your routine.

 

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4.  ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY.  Outdoor gyms are low in maintenance.  So on a larger scope, exercising outdoor means less energy consumption and less to zero pollution.  Thus, energy-conserving and eco-friendly.

 

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Souvenirs for Memory Lane’s Sake

 

Sentimental people like me love to look back down memory lane with souvenirs kept from way back when.  My aunt used to throw birthday parties for me when I was a kid and I have so many things to remember them by.

I received so many birthday cards.  It feels good reading those birthday greetings and wishes from people dear to you.  They bring you back in time, and make you feel the emotions of those moments.  It is much like smelling a particular scent, which brings back memories and emotions as if they happened just yesterday. I also received typical gifts like hair clip sets, dolls, cute pink dresses in boxes wrapped beautifully.  It felt so good looking at those colorful boxes.  Thinking back though, those beautiful birthday gifts would have looked more personalized with cool name labels for kids.   Up until now, I still have some of those gifts I received as a  little girl like my dolls and hair clips.  I want to organized them and put them in boxes with cool name labels.  I will use these to teach my kids how to take care and value their things.

Relationships and communication are becoming impersonal, superficial, and virtual nowadays.  It is important to bring back a sense of personal touch and a bit of emotional connection in the things we do.

Make your little ones birthday extra special.  Think not just of what will happen during that day, but also think of the impact of that celebration on your dear child in the future.  Would it be something that happened in the past and remains in the past?  Would it be a celebration your kid is going to remember for a lifetime.  Make sure  to have souvenirs for them to keep.   Be sure to have these unique and memorable birthday gifts and memorabilia stacked in a box with cool name labels.

 

 

Kids in general love birthday parties and gifts, make this occasion memorable even to the tiniest detail.

 

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Do you have a lot of pictures but were never in any of them? (Is carrying a tripod worth the hassle)

 

The hassle of lugging around a heavy tripod during photography is no longer new to any photographer. Others, would even choose the heaviest and the most stable tripod especially if they will be shooting on water(ie. beach, lakes) or on windy locations.

But for a non-professional photographer who just likes to shoot some scenery with the family, is it worth the hassle of carrying a tripod?

For me… it is a big YES!!! Whether your cam is a DSLR or a point and shoot camera it is always convenient to have a tripod.

1. First reason… the photographer can join the picture taking.

Have you ever gone on a trip or celebrate an occasion where some one is always missing in the photos? and then everybody just says… “oh he was the one behind the camera” LOL!

2. It won’t be such a bother asking someone you don’t know to take the photo.

A tripod won’t be complaining if you ask it to hold and shoot the camera again.

3. A tripod has got very steady hands! ^_^ LOL!

4. You would be able to pose with out holding back or feel shy knowing that the tripod won’t really mind at all.

These are some of our family shots taken using a Benro tripod.

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Kaoseng’s Famous Sunrise

Kaoseng’s famous sunrise, well at least to Filipino photographers in Hatyai Songkla, that is.

Kaoseng is a place in Songkla, which is a hill by the beach and where the sunrise is magnificent.  A lot of Filipino photographer’s would wake up very early in the morning, and take the 45-minute drive to Kaoseng to witness and capture the sunrise.  Their pictures have won various awards in pixoto.com  Pixoto is a worldwide online photography community and competition. It is a melting pot of people who are into photography both professionals and novices,  and people who just love to look at good pictures.  It is also the site to look to if one is planning to purchase pictures for personal or business purposes.

Here are 4 samples of my husband’s photos of Kaoseng Sunrise.

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Photo 1

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Photo 3
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You can also visit:  http://www.pixoto.com/ryandominguezphotos

 

Are you the type of person who likes to take pictures? or Are you the type who likes to be pictured?

 

Leave a comment below with your e-mail ad to get a FREE PRINTABLE SIZE copy of any of these photos!

 

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_MG_2847-1-2  Songkla Zoo Photo Contest Honorary Winner