Our Days Are Just Filled

For this web page, whose motto is "adventures in raising kids outside", I post as "Monkey's Uncle".  It's an alias tradition that was established when they began the website.  Here are the links to the work I've done for OurDaysAreJustFilled.com.



What Can A Kid Do?
A review of the book Up by Patricia Ellis Herr that gets into questions of parenting.

At The Edge Of The Continent
A quick primer on how to identify (and when to lie about) common seashore animals.  So your kids think you know stuff.

Beating A Rainbow To Death
A review of the book Life Of Pi and its amazing dual aims of loving nature and meeting god in some form.

No Bikes In Narnia
A book review of Colin Meloy's kidlit book Wildwood, comparing it to the Chronicles of Narnia.  Meloy is of course the lead singer/songwriter of the Decemberists.

Car Music As Outdoor Training
Another of my articles about how to "be" outside when you have to be indoors.  Kind of an experiment.

Butterfly In The Kitchen
The story of how my family and I took a caterpillar into our kitchen and let loose a Monarch butterfly.

A Greener Giving Tree
Having re-read kids' lit classic  The Giving Tree multiple times for one of my students in the past months, I offer some suggestions about slightly more loving ways the boy could've dealt with that apple tree.

Living In The Trees
I'm fascinated with the idea of treehouses, but don't own property yet- so I thought I'd encourage everyone else to build one!  With resource links.

On The Hook With A Book Named Kook
A sort of navel-gazing book review of Peter Heller's surfing book Kook

"Beavers!"
No tricks, just a column about beavers, written after I spent awhile after a bike ride watching a beaver lodge, hoping to see one swim out.

"Rainy Day Swimmin' Whether 12 or 35"
Forgive the Dylan reference.  This column is about the things you can do inside on rainy days to make you more ready to get back outside when the rain stops!

"Five Reasons For Hope In 2012"
For my pre-New Year's Day post, I tried to look for reasons this year would be better than last year.  I think I came up with 5 pretty good ones.  What do you think?

"Our Holiday Shopping Guide To Great Books"
For this one I was happy to team up with my good friend and writing mentor Matt Forster.  I wrote the reviews for the Denmeade Mad Scientist book and Louv's Nature Principle.

"Stocking Stuffing"
Just what it sounds like:  A pre-Christmas post about outdoorsy stocking-stuffer type small gifts.  Really a companion to "Christmas Gifts for the Little Explorer".

"Taking A Trip With Your Bike As A Ship"
Just the bare-bones outline of what it means to go camping with just your bike.  By request.

"Christmas Gifts For The Little Explorer"
In this first of my Xmas '11 posts, I tackle full size gifts that will encourage kids to get outdoors- even if they're indoors when they do it!

"Mountain Biking Grows Up"
Finally, riding a bike in the woods has moved beyond the 'dude!' years.  At least a little.  This piece examines the forces that are turning cycling into more than pretending you are racing.

"The Beetle And The Damage Done"
This short article concerns the question of whether 'tis better to let kids manipulate- but therefore change- nature, or to teach them of its sacredness,  and how it is not to be tampered with.  Both are good points, but which side do I choose?  Read and see!

"Don't Axe Me!"
People seem to respond well to lists.  In that spirit, and with winter coming on, I thought I'd combine my own experience with a little research and give readers a list of how to look like a honch while chopping wood.

"Fun With Bug Secretions"
What if there was a way to use a natural product to make something that looks like leather and works like electrical tape?  And as a bonus, costs under ten dollars to experiment with almost endlessly?

"The Illegal Outdoors"
I've been reading Louv's Last Child In The Woods, and it's much more engaging than I expected.  One of the ideas that has touched a nerve is covered in this short piece.

"Corn Maze and Common Sense"
Reflecting on the recent news story about a family getting lost in a Danvers, MA corn maze- 25 ft. from the entrance.

"The Things We Carry"
A response to another author on the site, and his list of outdoor necessities. So these are my thoughts on things you absolutely need to enjoy being outside with your kids (minus the obvious like bug spray or sun block).

"Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye:  7 Ways To Stay Outside"
How do you try to preserve that summer feeling of spending your life outdoors?  This column offered seven things you can do to stay out.

"I'm Gonna Sit Right Here Until I Dye*:  Top 5 End-of-Summer Craft Ideas"
Five craft projects to help your child remember the summer as the days get shorter.

"The Practice of What You Preach"
Kids will do what they see you do.  If you really want them to enjoy the outdoors, you have to model it first.

"Getting Comfortable With Being... Uncomfortable"
The outdoors can sometimes be a rather abstract endeavor- suffering cold or wet now so that you can have memories later, etc.  How does this effect how we interact with children and being outdoors with them?

"Swimming Lessons:  Why Bathe with the Fish and Frogs?"
From the depths of summer comes these thoughts on the question of whether you should take your kids to the sanitized local swimming pool where everyone else goes, or to the ol' swimmin' hole.  It offers reason to choose the hole.

"Taking Babies Outdoors:  2 Options"
Sometimes new parents feel like they have to give up what they consider "their lives" when children come around.  I find it's the opposite, and offer this general summation of two forms of taking your kids into nature with you.

"Creek And Orchard"
The story, as I see it, of the roots of my love of the outdoors.

"Teaching Your Kid To Ride A Bike"
Just what it sounds like.  This article offers what, to the non-enthusiast, are new ideas about teaching kids to ride bikes.

"Teaching Kids To Give A Hoot"
How do you teach your kids about litter?  This offers a few thoughts about the ways kids learn to value the outdoors.

"Mother Nature's Baby"

Thoughts on what it has meant for our daughter, to spend time outdoors.  This was my first column for Our Days Are Just Filled.