Father and his astronaut son boldly explore life’s daily adventures in Small Steps are Giant Leaps | Inhabitots

One joy of having kids in your life – whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, or a friend – is that you get to see the world through their new experiences, you get to see things for the first time again. The world is a brand new laboratory of discovery.

With this spirit of exploration and adventure in mind, I love this photo series trying to capture what it feels like to be doing things for the first time. For a kid it must feel like being an astronaut landing on the moon. As grown-ups we must not lose that love of adventure and re-discovery.

It may be cliché to say that one of the greatest joys of becoming a parent is getting to watch your child experience the world for the first time. But it’s absolutely true. That first step, the first taste of ice cream, the first trip to the ocean — it’s unbelievable to see how kids test out new experiences and react to them in this chaotic and exciting world. Photographer Aaron Sheldon takes this time of exploration personally with a photo series featuring his four year-old son, entitled Small Steps Are Giant Leaps. The photos, which show the little astronaut in a variety of different scenarios, remind all of us of how, in the words of Sheldon, kids are “exploring new frontiers. Our job as parents is to act as their mission control and co-pilot to make sure they can explore as much of their new world as possible.”

Read more about Aaron Sheldon’s adventures at: Father and his astronaut son boldly explore life’s daily adventures in Small Steps are Giant Leaps | Inhabitots

Recycled Art Sculpture | Mystery Box Challenge – TinkerLab

This is a great idea to see this kind of project given to adults to let them explore ideas and design.

I recently led a fun maker station for the California Museum Association’s (CAM) annual conference that we called the Mystery Box Challenge. While we often share child-led projects here on TinkerLab, the participants in this challenge were all all museum professionals. To see how my children interpreted the same prompt, click here. This project was inspired by the Art Studio at the Boston Children’s Museum.

For the Mystery Box Challenge, I prepared a bunch of boxes by filling them with all sorts of interesting found objects and trinkets: pieces of wood, surplus plastic, cupcake holders, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, etc. Each participant received their own box with a prompt to make a critter from any or all of the supplies in the box.I found the boxes at the craft store, some of the supplies came from RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching, a non-profit that sells low cost surplus materials for education), and others were found at the craft store and a local party store. We were also lucky to receive a generous donation of low heat glue guns and glue sticks from Blick Art Materials.

More at: Recycled Art Sculpture | Mystery Box Challenge – TinkerLab

Margie Ruddick Is Wild by Design

Great profile on making urban parks “wild” and enriching for city dwellers.

The Dirt

Wild by Design / Island Press Wild by Design / Island Press

“Combining ecological function and design is now mainstream,” said landscape architect Margie Ruddick, ASLA, in a talk at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. “It’s no longer fringe. The culture has caught up.” And it’s caught up to where Ruddick, the winner of the 2013 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, has been for a while. A leading advocate of the “wild” landscape movement, Ruddick explained how she carefully balances ecological conservation and restoration with a strong sense of design.

In 2011, a New York Times article about Ruddick and how she was fined for growing “weeds” in her front yard in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia went “viral” among landscape architects and designers. She ultimately got out of the $75 fine by explaining to the judge the value of the wild plants she let live in her yard. “I told the judge: ‘This is actually…

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Sir Ken Robinson speaks on outdoor play

Interview with a well-known play and education advocate on his views on outdoor play.

Rethinking Childhood

Screengrab of Sir Ken RobinsonEducationalist Sir Ken Robinson, known to millions for his work on creativity in schools, yesterday shared his thoughts on outdoor play.

The 20-minute talk, in a video recorded as part of the Dirt is Good campaign sponsored by Persil (in the UK) and Omo (in many other countries), gives some powerful messages to parents about why play matters for children’s development and learning. This post shares some edited highlights from the talk.

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Adelaide Aims to Plant 100,000 Square Meters of Greenery by 2020

These kinds of “greening” projects almost always have to come from city or county level ordinances to get the funding and city-wide support they need to survive. Well done Adelaide.

The Dirt

Adelaide Design Manual Adelaide Design Manual

Only a few years ago, if you mentioned the words sustainability, green, or global warming you were probably met with an eye roll and maybe some sort of off-handed remark about being a hippy. Now, the opposite has happened: it’s totally uncool to be disinterested in the environment, as celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio bring climate change to the foreground for the public.

Locally, the Adelaide City Council is leading by example. Our new Adelaide Design Manual provides strategic and technical guidance for designing streets, squares, parks, with a strong focus on greening and water-sensitive urban design. The design manual will help the city achieve ambitious goals identified in the 2016-2020 draft strategic plan: to become one of the world’s first carbon-neutral cities; plant an extra 100,000 square meters of greenery by 2020; and provide a path to a real reduction in city temperatures by 2040.


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The Mary Poppins playground kit

Great example of activism to encourage play in a neighborhood, or what psychologist Peter Gray calls “Playborhoods”.:)

Rethinking Childhood

This post shares an idea from a parent who was frustrated that her kids were finding it hard to have much fun in their local playgrounds. I’ve called it the Mary Poppins playground kit, for reasons that should become obvious.

2 bags of play items

At the end of this post, I will say more about why I like the Mary Poppins playground kit so much. First, the idea itself, in the words of the parent herself (whose chosen name is Djindjer):

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Why we should all embrace fika, the Swedish coffee break : TreeHugger

I truly appreciate the important social and emotional value of stopping to think and talk with people, especially over food. The habit/ritual of fika I think is an important one of mindful breaks and letting your brain unwind, something both introverts and extroverts can appreciate.

It’s so much more than an opportunity to consume caffeine. It’s a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life. As explained in “Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break,” written by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall: “Functioning as both a verb and a noun, the concept of fika is simple. It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it. You can do it alone, you can do it with friends. You can do it at home, in a park or at work. But the essential thing is that you do it, that you make time to take a break: that’s what fika is all about.”

more at: Why we should all embrace fika, the Swedish coffee break : TreeHugger

The Likeways App Encourages Users to Walk Around and Discover Their City

More excellent conversation about how we as citizens of a place can change how we view a place, via how we map it and travel through it.

By the most brutal logic, maps exist to get you from point A to point B. Navigation tools like Google Maps prioritize efficiency, generating routes that cater to a presumed preference for speed.In a sense, they’re not wrong; time is a diminishing commodity. But by sticking only to the fastest paths through a city, you miss the very things about it that might incite you to slow down and notice what’s around you.Which is exactly what the Likeways app, launched last month, wants users to do. Developed by Martin Traunmueller, a PhD candidate at University College London’s Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities, Likeways reclaims urban walking from the realm of necessary drudgery and frames it as an enjoyable activity in and of itself. Traunmueller’s work has taken him from his home in Austria to all over the world; whenever he arrives in a new place, he explores. His aimless wandering through London led him to what his now his favorite coffee shop; in much the same way, he discovered a secret garden in the backyard of an old factory building in London’s tech hub of Shoreditch.

Read the full article: The Likeways App Encourages Users to Walk Around and Discover Their City – CityLab

Walk [Your City] started as guerilla public art statement, now a small business.

I think it is a great activist approach to promoting healthy behaviors in a playful way. I’m also thrilled to see that there is a huge demand for this playful kind of sign creation and development, and Tomasulo has been able to turn it into a business.

The signs, the brainchild of then-graduate student Matt Tomasulo, were meant to help people think differently about distances in the city, and to encourage them to get out of their cars and explore the place under their own power.When it debuted in 2012, the project drew international notice and received lots of favorable press coverage, including here on CityLab. It also got the attention of Raleigh’s city government, which eventually took the signs down for violating local ordinances. But the city’s planning director was a fan of the concept behind Tomasulo’s action, and soon they reached a compromise. The signs went back up, with the blessing of the city, as a pilot education project.

More at the source: The Knight Foundation Is Funding a Large-Scale Expansion of Raleigh’s ‘Guerrilla’ Wayfinding Signs – CityLab

I think this kind of placemaking and wayfinding is great, as it promotes the landmarks in a city and promotes walking. I think it would be a great opportunity for actual cities to order these, even for temporary things like festivals or during a longer tourist season.