50 Outdoor Summer Activities For Kids

May 15th, 2014
I am seriously down to HOURS until my kids are done with school
and I am getting a little nervous . . .
the first few days are always fun, but then the “I’m Bored” whines and cries set in.
Ahhhh!
I rounded up some fun outdoor activities that would be perfect to chase the bored blues away and keep kids from turning into couch potatoes over the summer.
Most can be done for free or very inexpensively and you can help the kids get set-up with these activities and then let their imaginations run wild.
If you did one activity a day, it might get you through the middle of July.
After that, you are on your own! icon smile 50 Outdoor Summer Activities For Kids
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1. Using an old sheet, make art on the lawn.
3. Have a read-a-thon outside (maybe in the shade if it’s really hot!).
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5. Play a fun game of Drip Drip Splash! (Think Duck Duck Goose with water!)

 

San Francisco – A Memorable Two-Wheel Adventure, Biking The Golden Gate Bridge

May 3rd, 2014
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“Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge was a brilliant outdoor family adventure, the kind that cherished vacation memories are made of.”

Of all the urban outdoor family adventures I have had, biking across the Golden Gate Bridge might just rank as #1. The visit was a rockingly brilliant outdoor family adventure, the kind that cherished vacation memories are made of.

San Francisco is a magnificent family friendly city capable of pleasing travelers of all ages, but focus in this city is essential for vacation and budget optimization.  Filled with lovely parks, landmark sights, and plenty of outdoor activities, the hardest task in this city is choosing how to spend your time, which goes rather quickly. Since we had planned to organize our journey around forms of transportation (did I mention we were traveling with a 5 year old boy?), biking across the Golden Gate Bridge for our special activity was a natural selection. For this family, the choice proved to be an exciting and memorable way to see San Francisco attractions. Here’s how we rolled…

  1. Peddling, Puffing and Proud (biking across the Golden Gate Bridge)

We rented our bikes from Bike and Roll (http://www.bikeandroll.com/sanfrancisco/). How did we choose this company? Strategically of course… we stumbled upon them on Fisherman’s Wharf. They had everything we needed: helmets, locks, oh… and bikes. It was one stop shopping and we were on our way. We spent the morning by the water, went to Sausalito, peddled past Presidio Park, and biked over the Golden Gate Bridge.

As I huffed and puffed my way up a hill I began to wonder what the heck I had gotten myself into. Gratefully, I was able to get my tired car-poolin-ain’t –been-to-the-gym-in-a-decade-butt up the hill. The accomplishment – surprising. The activity – divine. The view – splendid.

We took some time sight seeing and eating lunch while waiting for the ferry home. My only regret after our biking excursion was not planning ahead to spend the whole day on this activity. Since after 4 hours you wind up paying for the entire day, it would have made more sense for us to keep the bikes out for 8 hours, but alas, we had a plane to catch. Hope someone learns from this article and goes for the whole day. I want to return and do it!

Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge was a highlight for this family’s outdoor time in San Francisco and top of our list to do again.  This traveling Mom gives it a “Most Memorable Rating of 10 out of 10.”

From my family to yours, Happy Travels…

Raise a Nature Lover via Parents.com

May 1st, 2014


l 102080311 Raise a Nature Lover via Parents.com

Skipping stones. Climbing trees. Lying in the grass and looking for patterns in the clouds. They’re among the most iconic images of growing up. Unfortunately, they no longer represent the way most children spend their weekends.

During the past several decades, childhood has largely moved indoors. Instead of building tree forts and chasing butterflies, kids today are far more likely to spend their downtime in front of a screen. According to the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, kids use electronics for nearly eight hours a day. Compare that figure with a University of Michigan study, which found that kids are engaged in unstructured outdoor play for less than 30 minutes per week.

That represents a genuine loss for our kids. Humans evolved in the outside world, and we have an inborn affinity for it. “Without fostering a deep connection to nature, we can’t truly flourish as individuals or as a species,” observes Peter Kahn, Jr., Ph.D., director of the Human Interaction With Nature and Technological Systems Lab at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

Being outdoors can help energize and inspire us. A University of Illinois study, for instance, showed that children with ADHD had noticeably… Continue Reading on Parents.com–>

BuzzFeed’s 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius

April 13th, 2014

 

Some of these ideas are so genius, we just had to share. Now get your family out of the house and have some fun!

1. Use foam floor tiles for a softer, more comfortable tent floor.

foam BuzzFeeds 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius

2. Point a head lamp into a jug of water for an instant lantern.

lamp BuzzFeeds 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius

3. Also: Mountain Dew + baking soda + peroxide = lantern.

lantern BuzzFeeds 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius

 

4. Make tin-can sandwich bread as a portable food option.

bread BuzzFeeds 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius

Get the recipe here.

5. Familiarize yourself with what the poisonous plants look like.

poison BuzzFeeds 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius

For the full list of 41 genius camping hacks, click here! 

 

LAS VEGAS

October 24th, 2013
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“It’s possible for a family to win big in Vegas ”You don’t normally hear the words ‘outdoor family travel’ and ‘Las Vegas’ in the same sentence but here’s a surprise, the two can work together. As a short vacation destination, there’s so much more to do than walk the famous Strip, you just have to think outside the box.The trick is to plan your trip in advance, find the best deals and make sure you book into a hotel that isn’t bursting at the seams with scantily-clad showgirls, cigar-chomping high-rollers and raucous frat boys.

We spent three nights at The Orleans Hotel & Casino because it offered incredible value and was super family friendly. They have a professional baby-sitting service – and not just a girl in clear high heels called Candy – plus a bowling alley, cinema and all the usual casino attractions. It rained during our visit but we didn’t let it put us off enjoying the trip, and the hotel’s indoor play center proved to be a happy distraction for our five-year-old when going outside was impossible.

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden

Jett loved Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage Hotel. It’s an enchanting hidden playground, and home to majestic white lions, white tigers, panthers, leopards, and a family of bottlenose dolphins, who were more than happy to try to communicate with us humans. Our son really connected with these gentle creatures, and loved getting so close to them. The hotel also features a magnificent indoor coral reef and 20,000-gallon saltwater tank that sits behind the front desk. It’s filled with around 450 fish including angelfish, puffer fish, tangs and other exotic sea creatures. All very bewitching for a five-year-old.

Helicopter Ride Grand Canyon

We decided to splurge on a helicopter trip to the magnificent west rim of the Grand Canyon.We booked with Papillon Airways, and while their website is confusing (review what you are purchasing and double-check your departure times), it was a family highlight. Our four-hour trip consisted of two 35-minute helicopter rides to the Grand Canyon and back. It goes without saying that you get to see one of our most incredible natural landmarks from the most amazing vantage point. As well of the buses we also flew over the volcanic Black Mountains, Grapevine Mesa and the Grand Wash Cliffs. The scale of the canyon is breath-taking but Jett was most impressed with his headset; he loved hearing the captain talk and fly the copter. Once we landed in the canyon, we had a hurried box lunch but the trip was sensational and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Ferrari & Porsche Racing

To make sure boys both big and small were entertained, we decided to book a day at Exotics Racing, which was only a short 20-minutes drive from our hotel. This was boy’s heaven all wrapped up in the shape of red Ferrari. More than six to be exact. First the whole family did two laps in a Porsche Cayenne, and I felt like a super sexy soccer mom. My husband drove two race car laps in a brand new Porsche 991, and wished he had booked more laps. He felt like he’d just got the hang of the car and the track, and then it was time to go. I did two drifting ride-along laps in a Corvette with a trained driver and was truly terrified within 15 seconds. But hey, now I can cross Monaco Grand Prix racer off my bucket list.

We also enjoyed all the outdoor water features along The Strip, as well as a trip on the Monorail. And while you might want to protect your off-spring from the more colorful sights, the reality is that you will see boobs on flyers, as well as showgirls, drag queens and performers in sequins and feather boas walking around. My son certainly noticed all the ‘tushies’ but if you can handle the sights, this is an exciting and affordable vacation. You can book cheap family rooms, food is good value, and if you clip your coupons and search online for the best deals, you can win big – and let’s face it, not everyone who visits Vegas can say that!

http://www.orleanscasino.com/

http://www.mirage.com/attractions/secret-garden.aspx

www.exoticsracing.com

http://www.papillon.com/