Thursday, March 10, 2022

7 Nature Activities to Keep Kids Calm During Spring Break Travel

Spring break is upon us! For me, it can't come soon enough, With all the terrible gun violence and anti-gay bills moving through state legislatures, war in Ukraine, and COVID-19 funding negotiations, advocacy life is frenetic. I always say that advocacy can be a form of self-care, but even I have my limits! It's time for some nature self care. I'm taking my family to the beach. 

But before I do, I'll leave you with a blog about my friend and fellow debut author Sandi Schwartz She literally wrote the book on finding happiness with your family in nature. Keep reading for tips on how you can find some peace during Spring Break 2022...

7 Nature Activities to Keep Kids Calm During Spring Break Travel

Family travel gives both parents and children the opportunity to see new places and enjoy their surroundings. “Giving our children the chance to soak in nature’s beauty during a family vacation is especially important these days as children spend more time inside on screens and less time outside in the fresh air. Unfortunately, children spending less time outdoors has been linked to decreased appreciation of our environment, health problems like childhood obesity, diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of emotional illnesses like anxiety and depression,” explains Sandi Schwartz, author of Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer (Quill Driver Book/Linden Publishing).

On the other hand, a growing number of scientific studies from around the world show that spending time in nature can have a profound impact on children’s emotional well-being, helping to reduce stress and anxiety and increase attention, creativity, and their ability to connect with others. Experts have found that individuals can reap the benefits of nature even by observing natural scenes from a window. This idea can be translated to when families are on the road traveling to their Spring Break destination.


Schwartz’s book offers numerous ways for families to connect to nature to feel happier and calmer. She recommends the following tips for families to enhance their Spring Break travel:


  • Take the Scenic Route: Instead of traveling on monotonous highways the entire trip, search for nature-filled drives to take during day trips, weekend getaways, or cross-country adventures. Identify local spots to drive to or plan vacations around areas you would like to explore. Some ideas include farms, drive-through zoos or safaris, tree-lined paths, and coastal roads. This country is packed with so many gorgeous places to explore from the road.


  • Play the Cloud Imagination Game: Staring at fluffy white clouds and observing the amazing images that appear in the sky is intriguing to children. Ask your kids what they see in the clouds, such as animals, shapes, people, or other objects. Take it one step further and challenge them to create a story about the cloud images.


  • Watch for Wildlife: Have your children keep an eye out for wildlife. If you are traveling in a rural area, you can spot cows, horses, and sheep. If you are in a coastal area, look for birds like seagulls. In wooded areas you can find squirrels, deer, skunks, and raccoons. Keep track of all  your special sightings on your trip.

  • Find Flowers and Trees: Ask your children to keep a look out for different kinds of flowers and trees that they see during the drive. Colorful gardens can be a real source of peace and can be found in all types of communities. You can make a game out of searching for flowers and trees by asking questions like: Who can find the tallest tree? Who sees the most colorful garden? Can you name that flower or tree? Feel free to bring a nature guidebook on the drive to look up what they discover.


  • Soak in a Sunset: Time your drive when the sun is setting and point it out to your children. Have your children describe the colors and how the sky is changing as the day slowly ends. Add excitement with a countdown or contest to see who can guess how long it will take for the sun to disappear. Capture the moment by taking a photograph and then see if your children can recreate the sunset by drawing or painting it.
  • Gaze at the Evening Sky: Children are often awestruck as they look up at the moon and stars in the sky. The night sky provides them with a sense of wonder and curiosity. See if your children can spot any planets or name the constellations. A really simple game is to have your children count the stars and see who can find the most.


  • Play Car Nature Bingo: Create your own nature bingo cards to take along for the ride, which include pictures of animals and scenery that you are likely to see out the car window. The game will encourage your children to be observant of nature during the car drive as they keep an eye out for butterflies, trees, dogs, flowers, ponds, and parks.


“By engaging your kids with these fun nature activities, you will keep them happy, calm, and from asking you ‘are we there yet?’ a million times during your Spring Break travel,” adds Schwartz.

Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer is available from,,, and wherever books are sold. For more information, please visit or contact Sandi Schwartz at

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Speaking out on #InternationalWomensDay2022

For me, International Women’s Day is always about women supporting each other. That’s especially true now in 2022 as mothers have experienced pandemic stress we previously couldn’t have imagined for the last two years. Moms, as always, shared the heavier parenting burden when COVID-19. Now, we’re watching women in Ukraine taking up arms to protect their country. These are just a few difficult examples of women withstanding hardships all around the world. We witness and feel in our bones how local and national policies affect the security of women and families.

One can easily become overwhelmed when we go down the rabbit hole of thinking about ways women need help. That can lead to a kind of emotional paralysis or numbness that causes us to do nothing at all. I urge you not to let that happen to you. Just pick ONE thing you can do in a moment. Phone a member of Congress. Write a letter to Congress. Write a letter to the editor. Sign an online petition. Make a donation. Join an organization. (Clicking on those links will bring you to talking points and instructions for issues that will aid women in a variety of issues.)

Image: Book cover of "From Changing 
Diapers to Changing the World"

For my part, I’ve chosen International Women’s Day 2022 as the launch date for my book, From Changing Diapers to Changing the World: Why Moms Make Great Advocates and How to Get Started. If you would like to take first steps or next steps in advocating to make the world a better place, this book is for you. You’ll find inspiring stories of mothers finding their own power as they speak out on a variety of issues like poverty, gun violence, and climate change. 

Check out my live International Women’s Day interview on YouTube on Tuesday, March 8 at 12PM and purchase my book for yourself and others who desire to speak out.

It is vitally important that those of us who have capacity and freedom to speak out need to do so for ourselves and our sisters around the world. Come and join the movement of women changing the world!

Image: Cynthia holding a copy of a her book wearing a T-shirt saying
"Mothering is an Act of Revolutionary LOVE"