We participated in our first Homeschool Nature Pal Exchange this month.  I learned about the Nature Pal exchange through someone I was following on Instagram.  I can’t remember who it was now, or I would thank them.  They shared a beautiful picture of some of the things they had received in a nature pal exchange.  I was quick to investigate, as this sounded perfect for our family, or maybe mostly me.  When I brought it up to the kids, Libbie (18) was onboard immediately while the boys weren’t sure what to think.  The exchange typically has the participants send their pals bits of nature from their local environment.  The December exchange was to be different, making things out of nature as Christmas gifts to send your nature pals.

How the Nature Pal Exchange works:

When they open up a new exchange you can sign up to participate.  You pay a $5 fee to sign up and all the money goes to a charity.  For the exchange we participated in $1428 was raised for the Steffen family for a Christmas blessing as they fight a battle with colon cancer.  They set a limit on how many can sign up and when it is full they go through and find you a nature pal in a different region with children of similar age.  You receive an email with your nature pal’s name, kids names, address and instagram account so you can connect with each other.  We communicated with our pals in Mississippi, several times.  They set a deadline for you to mail your package.  I have been watching pictures of other nature pal gifts and they are amazing.  Follow naturepalexchange on instagram to see some inspiring pictures!

After signing up for our exchange we went straight to pinterest for ideas. nature pal exchange  We found many fun ideas plus came up with some of our own.  The boys were more than happy to saw down some branches for our projects. As we began we only wished we had more time because we kept coming up with more and more things we wanted to make.  The idea of the Nature Pal Exchange is to get you and your kids outside learning about nature.  We live in North Dakota and were thinking we didn’t have much to offer our pals in December, but were pleasantly surprised by what we found.  It has been a mild fall and winter so far, so we didn’t have any snow to deal with at all.  After getting outside and searching for treasures we are excited to get back out there and start collecting for future exchanges.   We have so many ideas and are looking forward to what we will find in different seasons of the year.  I was concerned that their wouldn’t be very many older kids participating in this event, but I was wrong, we were matched up with the perfect family.    We had so much fun with this and are excited to receive our package from Mississippi!  I encourage you to check out the Nature Pal exchange and get outside with your kids!   Following are some of the things we made for our pals:

Hands on for the Holidays

2015

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