Spring is a beautiful time of the year that’s all about celebrating new beginnings. Feeling warm sunshine for the first time in months or splashing through shower puddles are moments that parents and kids look forward to as winter passes. Now that spring is starting to awaken, it’s a great time for curious young minds to be outside and explore Nature’s gifts.
Enjoy teaching your children about the wonders of springtime with these low-cost and creative nature activities for kids:
Start an outdoor or indoor garden
Most kids like playing in the dirt. They’re also enchanted by unusual things. Creating an outdoor garden can be a fun way to enjoy both while teaching them about plants. At your local nursery or home and garden center, look for seeds or starter plants with interesting names such as Moonflower or Snapdragon. Add varieties that can be fun to touch, such as Bunny Tails – an ornamental grass whose blooms resemble powder puffs. Your little ones may also enjoy “Tickle Me” plants, which curl up when touched, or scented herbs such as mint that smell and taste like peppermint, chocolate, orange and other flavors.
Spring is a time for warmer weather, outdoor family fun and fl…fl…fl…[ah-CHOO!] flowers to bloom. It’s also a time to nip pesky allergies in the bud.
Getting your family through allergy season requires a watchful eye and staying in control. Here are some tips for how to stop allergy symptoms in your home:
Turn your home into an allergy-free castle – Curtains, carpets, upholstery, bedspreads, pillows, mattresses and soft toys are magnets for allergy-triggering dust mites. Frequent vacuuming and regular washing can help reduce dust. So can covering mattresses and pillows with zippered allergy covers. Keep an eye on local weather reports, too. When pollen or mold counts are high, keep windows and doors shut. Mold can hide on houseplants and show up on shower curtains, so check the plants and wash the curtains often. A dehumidifier can help lower moisture levels in your home and control mold, but remember to change the filters often.
To save money in the household budget, it seems that our grandparents were right in many ways when they said, “Open the windows, turn on a fan, wear a light jacket if you’re chilly, and let your clothes air dry.” Their advice was good for the planet and their wallets, and it is practical advice for families today for the same reasons.
Here are a few energy saving tips to help keep more hard-earned money in your wallet this spring instead of having it go out the window:
A qualified education savings account usually offers federal tax advantages to participants. The key factors are “how much” and “how they work” for investors. While you can use any savings or investment account to plan for college, qualified college investment funds offer tax advantages that standard accounts do not.
For example, a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) offers tax-free earnings increases, if the parent qualifies. If the parent (or child) has “modified adjusted gross income” less than $110,000 (or $220,000 for joint tax returns), and your child is under 18, you qualify for these college savings accounts. If you only withdraw funds for your child’s education expenses each year, these withdrawals are also tax-free.
We live in a day and age where alternative energy solutions seem to be cropping up all the time. If this isn’t encouraging enough, it gets even better. Many of the alternative energy solutions we’re hearing about aren’t just vague notions being cooked up in some science lab by great minds, not to be seen or implemented for decades – they’re actually available to us here and now, and are capable not only of saving energy but also of benefiting our bank accounts in a big way.
One meaningful change that you can make in your home today is installing a solar water heater. But before you go throwing your arms up in the air declaring that you “don’t have that kind of money,” let’s take a closer look at what it’ll actually cost to get you set up with this environmentally beneficial home appliance, as well as the energy savings you’ll see.