Blog

  • Home >
  • Blog >
  • Eco Summer Ideas With The Kids

Eco Summer Ideas With The Kids

We can feel the change all around us. The days are getting a bit longer and a bit warmer. We start reaching for shorts and tees and the sun feels glorious on our skin. Things like sunscreen and pool floaties are starting to catch our eyes in the stores. We begin to brood over crucial matters like backyard bbqs and possible weekend getaway destinations. And if there are kids about? Well, as the school year gasps its last few breaths you can tell just by looking at those happy faces—summer is almost here.

So…what are we going to do with our kiddos this summer? We don’t want them to grow permanent roots into the sofa whilst watching hour upon hour of television or playing the latest video game. Neither do we want to be pelted with an endless chorus of “Mo-OM I’m bored!” from now until the end of August. What to do? Get them outside and involved with the environment and the caretaking of their planet! And hey, you can create a little quality family time to boot. Here are a few fun eco activities to help fill the summer days with our kids.

Plant a garden. This is perhaps the most obvious way to help kids make a real and concrete connection to their environment and to the earth—since they’ll literally be up to their elbows in it! And it also an easy way to help them learn about organic gardening practices. Herbs in containers are incredibly easy to grow in even a small space and tomatoes and other veggies can be purchased from many retail outlets in starter pots and transferred to either the ground or a larger container. Even picky eaters are likely to at least try something that they’ve grown with their own hands. Try this fun idea! Buy a couple of basil plants in 6” or greater sized pots (many markets and even some drug stores have these out right now) and then transfer them to a larger container of your choosing. Be sure to use organic potting soil and talk about why we want to keep pesticides & chemicals out of our food and our bodies. Kiddos can then harvest the leaves and learn to make their own delicious pesto for pasta or to smear on their picnic sandwiches. Yum! Cherry tomatoes or teeny pear shaped varieties are naturally enticing to kids because of their delish looking colors and shapes. How satisfying to plant the little sprouts, nurturing & caring for them as the summer days go by, watching them grow and mature and then finally picking & eating them up.

Day Trip to a Working Farm. If the kids really get into the gardening, why not plan a day trip to a working farm? The fertile Bay Area offers us many nearby farms to visit and can help kids and adults learn the importance of buying locally grown produce and all within only an hour or so distance from our homes! At Smith Family Farm, just ten minutes out side Brentwood (http://www.smithfamilyfarm.com), you can pick your own fruits and veggies and take a hay ride. Another fun place is Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont (http://www.ebparks.org/parks/ardenwood). Ardenwood has animals to meet and weekly “historic days” where kids can learn about how different life was long ago. They also have wonderful special events throughout the year. Beautiful Slide Ranch in Marin (http://www.slideranch.org) is another terrific place to visit. This biodynamic farm has an organic garden, hiking trails, and lots of animals to interact with. Kids can gather eggs in the henhouse or milk one of the goats while they explore the ranch. Or you might try just striking up a conversation with some of the farmers at any of our local farmer’s markets. Visiting farms helps kids connect with the natural world while they learn about growing healthy food. And it is a super fun way to spend a day!

Arts & Crafts. Summertime offers us a wealth of art ideas that can involve recycled, reusable or found items. Planning a trip to the beach? Bring along a couple of lidded

containers and haul some sand back home with you. Collect some shells while you’re walking along the shore and even some seaweed. You and the kiddos can make a diorama or other fun art project with the items you bring home. Pinecones found in the park can be smeared with peanut butter and rolled in seeds to become birdfeeders and oddly shaped rocks lugged home from the beach can be painted and adorned with glitter or other neato glue-ables to become paperweights or doorstops. You can reclaim items from your recycling bin as well. An empty milk jug can be transformed into a bird feeder in about fifteen minutes. Kiddos will love watching the birds it draws to their yard!

Take a Hike—Literally! One of the great things about going on a hike with younger kids is that even a very short distance can yield amazing finds. A path in the woods quickly becomes a trail to a secret hideout up in the trees; a creek can be the place where the wood fairies come to wash their hair. A fun hike through Tilden or Joaquin Miller Park with the kids gets them—and us—outside into the warm sunshine and almost instantly lifts our spirits. Take along plenty of water and a picnic lunch and you’ve got the makings of a terrific summer afternoon. Bring along a bag to cart out your own trash and kindly pick up a few pieces if you should come across them in the park. A short car trek over to Muir Beach is fun too. There are dunes to hike in and you can make your way down to the tide pools where the kiddos can splash around while they examine the mussels, sea urchins, sea stars and crabs that make their homes there.

Here’s to a great summer, have fun!
Julie

Request an Estimate

Photos of Your Project (optional)

Why People Hire Us

Background-Checked, Dedicated Team Members

Clear Communication

Experienced Oversight of Every Job

Fully Licensed & Insured

Exceptional Service & Attention To Detail

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Best of Oakland 2018 BBB American Society of Interior Designers ASID Nolan Summit Services Inc Leadsafe Certified Firm EPA Community Associates Institute NARI Member

Customer Reviews

“In September, MBJessee finished painting two sides of our 3-story condominium building (six owners). We were impressed by the professionalism of the company and every one of its workers, Matt Jessee couldn't have been more helpful in planning the project. His painters were well-trained, easy to communicate with and eager to please. In addition to painting the stucco, they made extensive repairs on windows and frames, which will save us considerable money in the future. They finished earlier than anticipated, with as many as five men working on the job, and the scaffolding came down the next day. All of us were delighted with the results. Now my husband and I are looking forward to having MB Jessee paint our own apartment later this month. Matt and Gustavo (who will be our crew leader again) have explained how they will work to make the painting proceed smoothly while we're living here, and they have been endlessly patient with our protracted decision-making process. If you look at their website, you'll learn that MB Jessee is an exemplary company that takes good care of its workers as well as its customers, and contributes public service projects to the community. All in all, we can't recommend MB Jessee highly enough.”

— Jayne W.
San Francisco, CA

“Awesome work by highly experienced, professional painters. They were: Conscious about the amount of time it would take. Ours had a lot of pre-work and took 3 weeks. Accommodating when we added a few last-minute changes Understanding when a heatwave hit and we remove some of the plastic sheeting over windows, which they had to put back up the next day. Accessible, especially the on-site crew (Hi Jose & Victor!) -- always answering questions and checking in. The end result is a perfect paint job that makes our 94-year-old house look brand new. I would definitely hire MBJ again”

— Stacey R.
Oakland, CA

“Edy and crew are hard at work. They are doing a great job. Very professional outfit you have. Your crew is a delight. You may use me for a reference!”

— Heidi B
Walnut Creek

“Hello Matt,Just another notice of thanks to your wonderful crew, Rigoberto, Javier and John. They did fantastic work, with Rigo providing meticulous and conscientious attention to the details and excellent woodwork finishing, as evidenced by the beautiful fireplace. Javier did a fantastic job in the bathroom especially, it looks "brand new," and John always does quality work, both with the interior and exterior. I can tell they care about what they do. Rigo's "punch out" was very thorough, too. I will call again when I need some more work and will definitely recommend your company and fine crew. I also felt as a homeowner, I could leave my house in their good hands during the day and that took a lot of worry from me, they were honest, prompt and reliable. They were also very kind, respectful and clean in their work, very professional. Thank you.”

— Beth Marx & Melissa Kirsch
Oakland

“Matt, We are very happy with how all of the painting worked out. We were extremely impressed with the quality of the work in the bathroom. I liked working with Victor, he and Marvin were extremely conscientious about doing a great job, not just the minimum. I know the front door took a lot longer than you'd expected. But they did it PERFECTLY. We never thought it could turn out like that! Thanks again for the great work. We'll be calling you again in the future!”

— Craig
Alameda, CA

“M.B. Jessee painted the exterior of my Spanish house over 9 years ago, and they did such an incredible job that they are still getting referrals from me today. The paint is holding up perfectly -- there is absolutely no peeling chipping or any other deterioration. I still remember that my final walk-through list consisted of items written on one side of a 3x5 index card (and I'm REAL picky about my house!) However, when Matt and I did that walk-through over HALF the items were no longer an issue, as his team had noticed them first and they had already been resolved.”

— JoAnn Newcomb

“Many thanks to Rigoberto and Damon and the extraordinary team who transformed my castle in the skies.They are magicians. I appreciate their work very much.”

— Kathleen A
San Francisco

“My entire experience with MB Jesse was very professional. The crew were very friendly and super accommodating of my ridiculous schedule and geriatric pets in the house. The finished product, which was pretty much my entire house, far exceeds my expectations. Would definitely work with them again!”

— Heather Jordan

“Richard and crew have been great, for sure. As much as I look forward to having the job done and my house back in order, I really enjoyed having them around. You should feel really good about how they represent your company.”

— Jessica Dodson

“I can't say enough about how courteous and professional my foreman was. He was on time every morning and arrived cheerful and ready to go. He is highly organized and very thoughtful. He was extremely careful and respectful when moving my belongings - a mature professional.”

— Nora Robinson

“We just wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the work of MB Jessee Painting and your employees. Everything turned out beautiful. Our foreman was great! He was punctual, professional, neat and very accommodating ... and went the extra mile. We will definitely recommend you to our friends and family.”

— Michelle & Rivers Gee

“Charles finished yesterday and did a fantastic job. We really enjoyed meeting Charles and having him in our home. He is a great guy in addition to his attention to detail in his work, the protection of our floors, walls and furnishings, and his overall interaction with us both. I would be pleased to recommend him to any of my clients.”

— Ken Morrison
Oakland