For many families, Halloween is a favorite time of year. But there’s one member of your family who may not have the same affinity for the holiday – your pet! TurfMutt has these tips to keep you four-legged family members safe this Halloween.
1. Be careful with candy. Trick-or-treat candies are not safe for pets. In fact, all forms of chocolate can be dangerous – even lethal – for dogs and cats.
2. Be considerate with costumes. Many pets don’t like to wear costumes, so be considerate of your furry friend’s feelings. If you do dress up your pet make sure they can easily see and hear and that the outfit doesn’t constrict their breathing or movement in any way. Make sure your pet’s ID tags are part of any costume you choose – just in case they get loose.
3. No trick-or-treating for Trixy. It might be tempting, but don’t take your dog along for trick-or-treating. Even the best-trained pet can become spooked or aggressive in the noise and confusion of Halloween!
4. Safely place pumpkins. Put your pumpkins – especially jack-o-lanterns with candles inside – out of reach of pets so they don’t knock them over.
5. Party poopers allowed. Sometimes, the safest place for your pet is in a quiet room or kennel away from the festivities.
Have you noticed that TurfMutt.com has a new look? It’s part of TurfMutt’s just-announced partnership with Scholastic Education. Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in education technology and children’s media.
With Scholastic’s help we’re going to grow TurfMutt to reach even more students, teachers and families. The new TurfMutt program with Scholastic features a full lineup of illustrated environmental superhero characters, such as The Oxygenator, Water Warrior, Professor Botony and Green Ranger.
This team of superheroes, called the Outdoor Powers, and TurfMutt are on a mission to “Save the Planet One Yard at a Time” by showing families that green spaces should be appreciated, understood and cared for in a sustainable way.
The TurfMutt.com website offers videos, resources and activities to teach kids (grades K-5) and families backyard science, including how to take better care of the green spaces around them.
Autumn and pumpkins go hand-in-hand. But did you know there are some creative uses for these giant gourds that can help your kids engage with the outdoors? Here are three interesting things to do with pumpkins this fall.
Learn creative ways to use pumpkins to get kids outdoors (photo credit wikipedia.org)
- Make a bird feeder. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and flesh, and then fill it with bird feed. You can drill holes into the side to attach rope, or you can simply cradle the pumpkin inside rope to hang it from a tree. You can even enlist the kids to help decorate the feeder with natural elements like sticks and pine cones.
- Play pumpkin bowling. Find a space in your backyard to serve as the “alley.” Stack your pumpkins (smaller ones work best for this) and then take turns using a medium-sized ball to knock over the pumpkins.
- Have a pumpkin hunt. This is like an egg hunt, but with baby pumpkins! Hide them around your yard, give each kid a bag and send them off. The one to collect the most pumpkins the fastest wins.
Fall’s mild temperatures offer a fantastic backdrop for outdoor activities that can lure your family away from the TV, computer and video games and tune them in to the great outdoors. Here are a few ideas.
Photo courtesy of Granby Ranch.
- Go on a photo scavenger hunt. Mother Nature (and your neighbors!) put on a colorful show in fall. Make a list of things you’re scouting for before you leave the house, then grab your camera/mobile phones and head out the door to capture images of the goodies you’re hunting. Some ideas include: leaves (red, yellow, green), an acorn, a stick, a pumpkin, a mum, a feather and a scarecrow. See which member of your family can photograph everything on the list first!
- Sketch the scene. Set up a table in your backyard and stock it with paper, crayons and markers. Have your kids select their favorite fall scene or object and ask them recreate it on paper. You can turn their artwork into a card to a grandparent, aunt/uncle or friend. Big pictures can even be used as one-of-a-kind wrapping paper for a fall birthday gift.
- Take a hike. Grab Fido and the kids and head outside on the power of your own two feet! Walk through your neighborhood or pick some trails in a nearby park to explore. Be sure to take in all the fall sights and sounds along the way.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy fall with your family? Share your ideas on TurfMutt’s Facebook page.
Fall leaf clean-up may seem like a hassle, but it’s actually an opportunity to deliver free organic matter to your lawn and garden.
Simply make a few passes with your lawnmower to reduce a big volume of leaves into a manageable mound of organic matter. Leaf mulch is high in nutrients and can give your lawn, as well as flower or vegetable beds, a boost before winter hits. Spread the leaf mulch into your beds and rake it until it’s even.
Leaf mulching has many benefits.
Shredded wood mulch is the perfect carbon counterpart to the nitrogen-rich leaf mulch. It also retrains moisture, promoting composting and insulating the ground to reduce freezing. So cover the leaves with shredded wood mulch, then let nature take its course!
Best of all? By following this leaf/wood mulch procedure this fall your spring gardens will get a nice dose of nutrients!
To learn more read this article on leaf mulching.
It’s the first week of autumn, and that means it’s time to show your lawn some fall love. Here are some lawn care tips to keep in mind as the seasons shift.
- Adjust the height of your mower. You probably raised the mower height in the summer to protect the grass from sun/heat damage. Now it’s time to lower the mower deck back to its normal height (about two inches).
- Continue watering, as needed. If your area is still dry or in drought, water your lawn once or twice a week to soak the soil several inches deep.
- Take care of weeds. Fall is the best time to tackle weeds – your spring yard will thank you!
- Deal with dead spots. Consider overseeding the entire lawn to make it lush next spring – or just spot seed particularly bare areas.
- Stay on top of leaf removal. As the leaves drop from your trees you’ll want to remove them regularly so the lawn doesn’t suffocate. You can mow the debris to mulch it or rake and bag it.
Parents naturally want their children to be good at setting and attaining their goals. According to a new study, conducted by University of Colorado researchers, less-structured activities – such as playing outdoors – can help your kids be better at this than structured activities, like piano lessons.
Unstructured activities like playing outdoors can help your children be better at setting and achieving goals.
The study specifically examined the “executive functioning” of 6-7 year-old kids. Executive functioning connects past experience with present action (e.g. putting on a coat before going outside if it’s cold, without having to be told to do so). Ultimately, executive functioning enables people to better plan, organize and manage their time. Childhood executive functioning can be an indicator of health, wealth and can even whether a person will be incarcerated during his or her lifetime.
During the study period parents reported information about their children’s schedules and categorized their activities as “structured” or “less-structured.” The children’s executive functioning was assessed using, according to the study summary, “a well-established verbal fluency task, in which children generate members of a category and can decide on their own when to switch from one subcategory to another.”
The researchers discovered that the more time children spent in less-structured activities, the better their self-directed executive functioning. Structured activities, on the other hand, had the opposite effect.
According to a recent study, girls with monthly exposure to the outdoors are better environmental stewards, better problem-solvers and seek out more challenges than their counterparts. The Girl Scout Research Institute conducted the study.
Photo courtesy of Home Science Tools.
TurfMutt thinks getting outdoors is good for all kids, and the great news is it doesn’t have to cost a thing or take a lot of planning to get create quality outdoor time. Simply take a walk around your neighborhood. Plant some flowers with your family. Make yard work a family affair. Or, go on an outdoor scavenger hunt to find unique leaves, animal tracks and other goodies from Mother Nature.
What are your favorite ways to get outdoors with your kids? Post comments below, or on TurfMutt’s Facebook page.
September 4th is National Wildlife Day, which serves to bring awareness to endangered animals across the globe. Did you know that no matter the size of your property you can create a space that attracts, feeds and shelters the local wildlife in your own backyard? Not only is this good for the animals and insects, but it’s also fun for your family to watch and enjoy. It might even help lure your kids away from their screens and into the great outdoors!
Creating a wildlife habitat is a great way to encourage your kids to spend time outside
Here are three tips for creating a wildlife sanctuary in your yard.
1. Provide food. You should select native plants from your local home improvement store or nursery in order to offer local wildlife the best food source in the form of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries and nectar.
2. Offer water. Water sources are not only good for the animals and insects that will visit, but they are also aesthetically pleasing. Examples include a birdbath, pond, water garden or stream.
3. Think about cover. Local wildlife will need a place to nest down for the night, raise their young and to shelter themselves from inclement weather. Help them out with a brush pile, roosting box, dense shrubs or even a nesting box.
To learn more about creating a wildlife habitat, and even qualifying to become an official Certified Wildlife Habitat(R), visit www.nwf.org.
August 26th is National Dog Day, and TurfMutt wants to wish all of his four-legged friends out there a very happy day! One of TurfMutt’s favorite things to do is to get outdoors with his humans. Here are three tips for honoring your dog on National Dog Day by getting the whole family outside.
Happy National Dog Day from TurfMutt
- Take a walk. You can walk through your neighborhood or go to a local park to take a stroll. Let your kids help pick the route, and then pack up the whole family to frolic outdoors.
- Play a game. Tossing a ball, throwing a Frisbee or playing chase are all good ways to get the your family – including your fur-kids – outdoors and moving!
- Plan a picnic. You can do a picnic in your own backyard or at a local park to get a nice dose of “Vitamin N.” Pack a treat for your dog, as well as for the rest of the crew.
How are you spending National Dog Day with your best friend? Share your comments below or on TurfMutt’s Facebook Page.
On National Dog Day TurfMutt – a rescue dog himself – also wants to remind everyone to adopt rather than shop. Watch TurfMutt’s adoption message for more.