Your guide to parenting in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts

From the Kido archives...

We like to celebrate fall by making crafts that remind us of the season’s colors, shapes and textures or using natural materials found on our outdoor hikes. naturefaceMany of these projects are simple and need little advanced planning. Although I show samples of finished crafts, these activities are as much or more about the process, the outdoor adventure and collecting the materials. Plan a walk and bring a bag to hold natural items along the way. Making art with kids can lead to unexpected discoveries and detours. If you want perfection, craft your own piece alongside or after the kids are asleep.

Nature Faces (kidoinfo)
A creative way to explore nature. Grab a bag and head outside with your children. Collect natural materials from your yard, a local park or while hiking. Almost anything can be used to create faces - sticks, leaves, pine cones, rocks, acorns, seeds, flowers, etc. Kids can sort or count the items before they begin. Arrange your found objects into faces. Optional: Use chalk to outline the face first. Make your nature family then take a picture to document it.

I am inspired by other creative crafty folk. Here's a roundup of some of my favorite fall projects:

Hammered Flower and Leaf Prints
(build make craft bake)
Make botanical prints using the natural dyes in plants by gently hammering plants onto paper.
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leaf-mobileFall Leaf Mobile (Small Wonders)
Easy to assemble mobile from sticks, leaves and string.
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leaf-elephantFall Leaf Pictures (atelier pour enfants)
Arrange dry flat leaves into animal shapes. Mount on board or heavy art paper.
. . . . .

Autumn Maple Leaf Crowns (twig and toadstool)
Weave together leaves into a ring shape to make a crown or necklace.
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Leaf Candle Centerpiece (better homes and garden)
Decoupage leaves onto the side of pillar candles.
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twig_trivetTwig Trivet (TLC)
Cut collected sticks into a uniform size and mount on board.
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Gourd Birds (maya made)
Turn your gourds into 3-dimensional animal sculptures.
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Leaf Suncatchers (the muddy princess)
Press found leaves between two pieces of clear sticky back contact paper.
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pressed-leaves-Pressed Leaves (martha stewart)
Carry along your own leaf press on your walk made out cardboard and bungee cord.
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leaf-rubbingsLeaf Rubbings (simple as that)
After you flatten and dry your leaves, place leaf vein side up under a piece of paper. Place crayon it’s side and rub gently back of over the leaf and watch the leaf appear like magic!
. . . . .

Leaf Prints (skip to my lou)
Paint the back of leaves, then press (using a brayer) paint side down onto paper to create leave prints. Depending on the type of paint used, print on paper or fabric.
. . . . .



Here they come! Eagles, Owls, Hawks and Falcons are headed to Bristol, Rhode Island on September 10 and 11, 2016. These rulers of the avian world have razor-sharp talons, highly developed eyesight and hooked beaks that rip and tear. They are also strikingly beautiful.

These birds of prey will be descending on the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Environmental Education Center in Bristol, Rhode Island for Raptor Weekend 2016. Wildlife rehabilitators and experts from across the Northeast will bring a wide variety of these extraordinary birds to the largest raptor celebration in New England. Amazing and formidable birds of prey will be featured in live flight demonstrations, educational programs and activities for bird enthusiasts of all ages.

Audubon presents a unique opportunity for visitors to get up-close with many species and learn about amazing birds of prey in this fun, family-friendly weekend event.

European Eagle Owl Spreads its Wings by Hope Foley (Taken at Raptor Weekend 2015)

European Eagle Owl Spreads its Wings by Hope Foley (Taken at Raptor Weekend 2015)

Presenter Highlights

Eyes on the sky! Join master falconer and crowd favorite Lorrie Schumaker of Talons! A Bird of Prey Experience for breath-taking free flight demonstrations on September 10 & 11. Coming from Hamilton, New York, Ms. Schumaker highlights aerial agility in this popular program focusing on falconry, raptor biology and conservation. A European Eagle Owl, Saker Falcon and Harris’s Hawk are just a few of the raptors she may present.

Returning this year is Connecticut-based raptor rehabilitator Mary-Beth Kaeser of Horizon Wings. On Saturday, September 10 she will be presenting a Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Barn Owl, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon and more.

On Sunday, September 11, ever-popular presenters Marcia and Mark Wilson of Eyes on Owls will introduce the audience to a variety of live owls found in New England as well as other parts of the world. The Wilsons will also explore the protection of owls and their habitats. Also speaking on Sunday will be well-known Maine wildlife rehabilitator Hope Douglas of Wind Over Wings.

Entertaining and educational games and activities for families will be featured both days. Admission also provides access to the award-winning Audubon Environmental Education Center and entrance to the Center’s 28-acre wildlife refuge, including the scenic boardwalk to Narragansett Bay. Food and refreshments will be available.

Harris’s Hawk in Flight Presentation by Hope Foley (Taken at Raptor Weekend 2015)

Harris’s Hawk in Flight Presentation by Hope Foley (Taken at Raptor Weekend 2015)

The Details:

June is Great Outdoors Month and the eighth annual Rhode Island Great Outdoors Pursuit is underway! All summer long, families are invited to camp, kayak, fish, hike, and shoot a bow and arrow at Rhode Island's state parks while winning great prizes!

kayak 2014slide02

Here's how it works: Participants register online (free!) and self-print a Pursuit Passport. At each free weekend event attended, "stamps" are earned for the Passport. Attend the finale on August 6 at Burlingame State Campground, and if you present stamps for at least 4 events, each stamp earns a raffle ticket to win prizes including bikes and camping equipment. Last year, more than 1,000 people joined the Pursuit.


The Great Outdoors Pursuit Kick-Off is Saturday, June 11 from 2:00 - 5:00 PM. Families may also choose to stay overnight for a special camping opportunity (pre-register here) with a campfire, s’mores, outdoor movie and stargazing.

Check out the Great Outdoors Pursuit website for more information and season schedule for the rest of the terrific events through the summer, and keep in the loop on Facebook!



Whether you are experienced hikers or totally new to the trails, The Rhode Island Family Hiking Guide and Journal has everything you need to help you prepare for and enjoy exploring the great outdoors with children of all ages and abilities.

The 42 family-friendly hikes include short, stroller-friendly walks as well as longer, more rugged excursions throughout Rhode Island. Each hike description includes essential and helpful information, a detailed map, and driving directions, as well as journal pages for your family to use to reflect upon and document your experiences.


Written by local Mom and founder of RI Families in Nature and Kidoinfo contributor, Jeanine Silversmith, this wonderful guide offers local hiking ideas and a nature journal which is sure to inspire young and old to head outdoors in our beautiful state. It's a great gift idea for the hard to buy for family member or teacher for the holidays!

Check out RI Families in Nature - there are details of upcoming hikes, places to explore and lots more.

Order a copy of The Rhode Island Family Hiking Guide and Journal here.

By Megan Fischer, Interim Executive Director, Providence Children’s Museum

Providence Children’s Museum and Providence Children’s Film Festival proudly partner to present the Providence premiere of “The Land” – a powerful 2015 documentary short film about the nature of play and risk – on Thursday, October 22 from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at Providence Children’s Museum (100 South Street in Providence).

The Land title

The film is set in The Land, a Welsh adventure playground where children climb trees, light fires and use hammers and nails. It’s a playspace rooted in the belief that kids are empowered and understand their own capabilities and limits when they learn to manage risks on their own. The film has attracted national attention after being featured in a number of recent articles including “The Overprotected Kid,” a provocative piece in The Atlantic by Hanna Rosin that provides a look at adventure playgrounds and how “a preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery – without making it safer.”


Following the screening, join a lively conversation about the film, adventure play and the benefits of risk to kids’ physical and emotional development. Discuss ways to foster healthy risk-taking in kids’ play, and how to provide kids with opportunities for adventure play with panelists Erin Davis, “The Land” filmmaker; Michele Meek, filmmaker and educator; and Janice O’Donnell, Providence PlayCorps director.

The Land flyerThe screening and conversation are part of Providence Children’s Museum’s commitment to advocate for and raise awareness about the critical importance of self-directed play for children’s healthy growth and development.

The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited – click here to RSVP.

Click here to learn more about the film.

Also check out these recent articles about adventure play and the importance of risk to children's development:

Step off the 21st-century treadmill and celebrate the simple life at Coggeshall Farm Museum's 42nd Annual Harvest Fair on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20 from 9 am to 4 pm. The festival takes place on the 48-acre living history farm located at 1 Colt Drive in Bristol.

Sack Race 400 x 300

Harvest Fair engages visitors of all ages in friendly competitions, games, lively music and dance, hay rides, pony rides and much more against the backdrop of a working 18th-century living history farm.

This year's event features performances by some of the region's most beloved performers for children and families, including two-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Bill Harley on Sept. 19 and nationally renowned multicultural storyteller Norah Dooley on Sept. 20. Contra dancing lessons with live music and a professional caller will be held on Sept. 19, and visitors will see authentic Morris dancing by the Ladies of the Rolling Pin on Sept. 20.


The daily program also includes an apple pie contest, watermelon seed-spitting contest, and "A Gentleman's Disagreement," performed by two of Coggeshall's historic interpreters.

Tickets can be purchased online at or directly from Coggeshall Farm Museum. One-day tickets are $7 for children (under 12), seniors (62-plus) and active-duty military; adults are $10. Children 3 and under are free. Two-day tickets are $12 for children, seniors and military, and $15 for adults. For information on discounted tickets for Coggeshall members, email or call 401-253-9062.

You can try your hand at more than a dozen 18th-century games, like Jacob's Ladder, graces or hoop-and-stick. Discover one-of-a-kind handcrafted items from local toymakers and artisans, visit heirloom sheep and cattle on a hayride through the pasture, and put your own artistic skills to work at the craft tables. Family-friendly food will be provided by a variety of local food vendors, along with jonnycakes on the grill.

Harvest Fair will feature the first-ever Arts on the Farm Exhibit, displaying works of art that were inspired by or created at Coggeshall. You can also find bargains and heirloom-quality surprises at Coggeshall's Trash and Treasures Sale.

All proceeds benefit Coggeshall Farm Museum, a nonprofit living history museum founded in 1973 to preserve the 1790s salt marsh farm and serve as an educational resource to the community and beyond.

A full schedule can be viewed here.

Audubon Raptor Weekend photo credit Heidi Piccerelli

Check out the wonderful September programs and events for children and families at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.

Audubon Environmental Education Center Bristol, RI

Audubon Raptor Weekend
September 12th & 13th
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Bring the brood and get up-close with owls, hawks and falcons at Raptor Weekend! There are flight presentations, raptor programs, games, and activities for kids of all ages. Eagles, owls, hawks and falcons – the hunters of the avian world – will be featured in live flight presentations, educational programs, and activities for the whole family. Join raptor experts from across the Northeast for the largest celebration of raptors in New England!

Animal Tales
September 3rd &4th
Schedule available Animal Tales.

Enjoy a nature story with your preschooler each month. Programs include a story with a nature lesson followed by a craft. Often a live animal comes to visit!

Citizens Bank Free Family Fun Day
September 5th
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Families can explore environmental exhibits representing Rhode Island’s diverse habitats, from upland meadow and cornfields to wetlands, salt marshes and the Narragansett Bay shoreline. Situated on the beautiful 28-acre McIntosh Wildlife Refuge, visitors can enjoy nature trails.

Franklin’s Hatch Day Party!
Franklin is the resident eastern box turtle at the Audubon Environmental Education Center and we are celebrating his birthday—the day he hatched! Come learn all about this awesome species of turtle – and have fun celebrating his birthday!

9:00 am-5:00 pm: Spot the Box Turtle.
10:00 am -2:00 pm: Turtle Party Hat Craft Table
10:00 am and 2:30 pm: Turtle Tale Nature Story
11:00 am and 2:00 pm: Meet Franklin- Animal Interview
1:00 pm: Turtle Party Games

Labor Day Nature Activities
September 7th
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
End the summer with Audubon! Come to the Environmental Education Center and enjoy crafts, a nature hike, games, and more.  No registration is required.

Nature Craft Table: 10:00 am-2:00 pm
Nature Story: 10:00 am
Nature Hike: 11:00 am and 2:30 pm
Animal Interview: 1:00 pm
Habitats Bingo: 1:30 pm

Junior Naturalists for Home-schooled Families
September 17, 18, 2015:  Exploring Vertebrates
Thursday classes are held from 2:00-3:00 pm; Friday Classes are held from 1:00 – 2:00 pm.

Join other home-schooled kids to learn about nature and science! This hour-long program will introduce participants to a different topic each class, with hands-on experiments and nature-based activities that are sure to foster a love of the natural world.  Classes are limited to 15 children, so please register early. Adult must attend with child.

Eco-stories and Art
September 23rd

Bring a snack and relax while an Audubon naturalist reads a nature story. Then create a unique work of art from different recyclable materials and found objects. Will it be a bouquet of flowers made from plastic bottles? A bird’s nest made from scrap paper and yarn? Join us and find out! No registration required.

Preschool Adventures
Sept 24th, Oct 1,8,15

Nature will come alive for children ages 3-5. Children will participate in games, hikes, crafts, songs, hands-on activities and more as they are introduced to the wonders of nature.  Space is limited to 12 children so please register early.  Adults must accompany children and there are no refunds for missed classes. Younger siblings are not permitted to attend.

Audubon Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI

Animal Tales
September 9th
Schedule available here.

Enjoy a nature story with your preschooler each month. Programs include a story with a nature lesson followed by a craft. Often a live animal comes to visit!

Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Prudence Island, RI

Celebrate National Estuaries Day!
September 26th
9:45 am – 4:45 pm

Learn why estuaries are such important habitats and meet some of the critters that call the Bay home. We'll try our hand at seine netting, search for invasive crabs, and look for migratory birds in the salt marsh. The day will also include a tour of Prudence with stops at some historical and natural features. This is a great program for both kids and adults! Registration is required.

Geocaching on Prudence Island
September 30th
9:45 am – 3:00 pm

Come test your technology and homing skills while you treasure hunt on Prudence Island! Learn what geocaching is about and how to use your smart phone in new ways. We will also discuss how animals can use similar techniques to find food and/or mates, migrate, and echolocate. Bring your smart phone or GPS, if you have one and your sense of adventure!

Talons Hawk with row of kids by Hope Foley


Summer is the perfect time to enjoy all that the Ocean State has to offer. We love the Rhody Ramble, which features a year-round calendar, connecting families with authentic local places. Now in its fourth year, the program features a calendar filled with events, tours and programs designed for children and their families at 29 historic places. The participating sites are all members of the Historic Sites Coalition of Rhode Island, led by statewide advocate Preserve Rhode Island.

Led by cartoon mascot Rhody the Rooster, the Rhody Ramble helps families connect with historic Rhode Island places – from oceanfront mansions to historic farms – and enjoy fun, low cost events in their community. Events include outdoor festivals, music concerts, hands-on activities, story times, walking tours, and museum scavenger hunts. A complete calendar of events is at

Families can sign up to receive monthly emails with upcoming events at This also automatically enters them into drawings for tickets and other prizes. Printed brochures featuring a map of all the participating places are available at member sites, as well as at visitors centers throughout the state. The Rhody Ramble is on Facebook and on Twitter @RhodyRamble.

In 2015, four new sites joined the Rhody Ramble. Beavertail Lighthouse (Jamestown), Coggeshall Farm Museum (Bristol), Hearthside House (Lincoln), and Touro Synagogue (Newport) expand the varied offerings of the program which provides families a chance to engage in hands-on experiences together.


Tours and events are offered at these participating Rhody Ramble sites:


The Rhody Ramble is generously supported by the Rhode Island Foundation and members of the Historic Sites Coalition of Rhode Island. Membership in the coalition is available to all historic properties in Rhode Island that are open to the public. For more information on the coalition, contact Morgan Devlin at 401-272-5101 or at

About Preserve Rhode Island
Preserve Rhode Island is the statewide advocate for historic places. It works to protect the historic places across Rhode Island through policy and programs. Preserve Rhode Island owns several historic properties, including the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum.

PlayCorpsSummer PlayCorps Oppurtinities

PlayCorpsThe Partnership for Providence Parks is teaming up with the City of Providence’s Department of Parks + Recreation and Healthy Communities Office and Providence Children’s Museum for a second exciting summer of play in Providence parks. The Partnership is seeking energetic summer PlayCorps Leaders and Interns to facilitate and support creative and rewarding play experiences for Providence youth at parks across the city.

They are still hiring for summer 2015. They are looking for creative, playful, energetic kid-people for play leader and intern (paid!) positions. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

More information here:

Janice O'Donnell, former Executive Director of Providence Children's Museum
is directing the PlayCorps program. They are training and deploying teams of play facilitators in low-income neighborhood parks throughout the city to activate the parks with free play and creative exploration. They piloted this program last summer and it was an amazing success.  Janice says. "Wonderful to see the kids - who might otherwise have been stuck inside and in front of screens - creating and playing with cardboard box "forts", tire swings, super hero costumes and much much more."

The wonderful RI Wool and Fiber Festival takes place on May 16th from 9am to 4pm. Combining animals, history, delicious food in an idyllic setting and good old fashioned crafts and games, this is one of our own family's favorite annual events.

Three Sheep 400 x 266

Against a backdrop of a working 18th century farm, artisans, vendors and producers of wool and natural fibers from across the Northeast will come together for a day of public celebration and exhibition. The event also features the first-ever Coggeshall Cook-Off, where chefs of all ages are invited to make their best early American dessert.

Compete in the Coggeshall Cook-Off
Do you make the best Syllabub in town? Is your apple brown betty legendary? Are you an aspiring chef eager to show your talent?

All ages are invited to participate in the Coggeshall Cook-Off by preparing your best early American dessert. Contestants must purchase tickets to the festival and arrive with their dessert and recipe card by 10 am on Saturday, May 16.

Prizes will be offered prizes in four categories: Ages 12 and Under, Ages 13 to 17, Ages 18 and up, and Professionals. Judging will be performed by a panel of local chefs, Coggeshall Farm staff and David Dadekian, founder of Eat Drink RI. Winners will be announced at 12:30 on Saturday, May 16. For a complete list of rules, email


Demonstrators, Vendors and Guilds
Artisans and vendors from across the Northeast are participating in the festival, including:

• Dancing Threads RI
• Deb & Jean’s Mittens
• Dirty Water Dye Works
• Evergreen Farm (angora rabbits, fibers, handspun yarns and wearables)
• Foxfire Farm (felted bags, blankets and other items)
• Gigi Bonin Hand-Dyed Yarns
• Havana Banana (vintage buttons, ribbons, laces and trim)
• Joyette Studio (hand-sewn bonnets, bibs, pouches headbands)
• Katrinkles Knitting Jewelry
• Kevin Ford, Sheep Shearer
• Loop by Loop Studio
• Maybe Tomorrow Farm
• Ocean State Knitting & Crochet Guild
• Play at Life Fiber Arts
• Quare Fibre
• Rising Sun Earthworks
• Sit & Knit Tent
• Spiral Bracelets by Michelle
• Supermarno Studio (knitted and crocheted bracelets)
• Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe
• The Rocking “O” Alpaca Farm
• Third Floor Studio
• Thistle Hill Farm
• Wendy’s Wonders (handspun yarns)
• Yarncrafters (hand-dyed mohair, hand-spun yarn, scarves and blankets)

Food, Music and Dancing
Talented food entrepreneurs from Hope & Main, a food business incubator in Warren, will be sampling and selling their gourmet goodies. You can also get a healthy, delicious meal from the gourmet food trucks, Plouf Plouf, Championship Melt and Like No Udder.

Polish up your singing voices and get ready to sing along with the sea shanty band, "Sharks Come Cruising." Dancing encouraged!


Family Fun and Kids Activities
Make your own flower headband, learn to swing a beetle mallet, play a game of Graces, help us wash and card freshly sheared wool or have your face painted. The historic farmhouse will be open for tours during the festival, with interpreters dressed in 18th century clothing. We encourage you to wear your own historic outfit!

The children will be invited to participate in a celebratory Maypole dance at approximately 1 pm, at the conclusion of judging for the Coggeshall Cook Off.

Ticket sales and event information can be found at Coggeshall Farm. Tickets are $10 adults, $7 children and seniors and children under 3 years are free.

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