FREE Summer Reading & Activity Program ~ Bug Camp

As a parent of two school aged children, I confess I don't worry too much about "stopping the summer slide".  In Western Colorado, their summers off from school are precious and short.  They need a break. But I have already noticed the antsy boredom.  And the too-much-screen time.  So when I heard of Cricket Media's free summer reading and activity program, I immediately checked out the site.  They've got a great calendar set up, with something new to check each day.  So far I'm seeing downloadable activities that inspire reading and getting outside to explore with a nature bingo hunt.  Very cool! This *just* started, so now's a great time to get started and check it out! Free Summer Reading Program ~ Bug Camp 2017 Cricket Media invites families everywhere to discover a world of adventure and learning with BUG CAMP 2017!  This free summer reading program launches June 5th. Created with engaging content from Cricket Media's award-winning magazines for children and teens, … [Read more...]

PSA: That Time I Almost Hit a Middle-Schooler With My Car

Stunned.  That's how I still feel.  Last week when driving my middle school aged daughter to school... I almost hit one of her classmates who was crossing the street.  And  I've been stewing over the frightening "rule loophole" this fell into, ever since. Aside from almost hurting a child with my car, the other reason it was so scary was that neither of us technically did anything wrong. I was at the stoplight, needing to turn right.  She was waiting at the same stoplight, waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green so she could cross.  I'm typically a super cautious driver, but my daughter was almost late for school. The light was red.  I decide to go ahead and turn right.  A perfectly legal move, right? Half way through my turn, the light turns green. The pedestrian sign turns green. And that little girl... only a few feet away from my car, but completely fixated on that pedestrian signal... steps right off the curb into my pathway.  I *almost* hit her.  It was … [Read more...]

5 Perfect Spring Day Ideas to Get Kids Outside

The biting cold starts to leave the air, and the feeling of warm sun on your face almost leaves you giddy.  If you live anywhere with distinct seasons, the arrival of Spring weather is an exciting change.  My family and I always feel inspired to open those windows… and even better, get outside and play! Winter sports may be winding to a close, but there is so much fun to be had in Spring.  You don't need expensive or technical gear in order to do so.  If you need some motivation or inspiration, here are 5 free ideas to get kids outside this Spring.  Plus, some information on the upcoming fun and exciting Kids to Parks™ Day! #5 - Color Scavenger Hunt There are so many fabulous ideas on Pinterest for kids nature hunts!  Here are two of my absolute favorites. Color Scavenger Hunt – I really love this one for its beauty and simplicity.  No time for printables?  Grab a piece of paper and markers to make a quick chart for your kids.  Then send them out to look for what nature has … [Read more...]

Start Kids Early at Summer Adventure Camp

Living in Colorado brings with it the privilege of easy access to a gorgeous outdoor playground.  It’s a large part of why my family lives here, yet it still takes an ongoing effort to get out there and enjoy it.  Even though we love the outdoors, we get busy with everyday life. Then there’s those darn screens, always ready-at-the-helm to suck time.  So I’m constantly looking for opportunities to fit outdoor play into my kids schedule.  Avid4 Adventure summer camps is bringing in the reinforcements, and has got you and your kids covered this summer. "Sending our daughter to Avid4 Adventure camp was one of the single best decisions we’ve ever made as parents. We learned much about her as a person and she felt awesome about herself and her experiences."                                                                                       ~ Avid4 Adventure parent Avid4 Adventure Summer Adventure Camps I absolutely love the Avid4 Adventure’s concept of summer adventure camps. … [Read more...]

The Drop Dead Scariest Thing at the High Ropes Course

I've known this was coming for about two years now.  It's a rite of passage for all 5th graders at my daughter's elementary school.  At the end of the year, they take a field trip to a High Ropes Course.  One final boost to their self esteem and confidence before tossing them into the Lion's Den (a.k.a. Middle School). Although I typically try to attend all field trips, I had made the conscious choice to *not* witness this.  I trusted them to keep the kids safe.  I just didn't think I could watch it. I made it half way through my work morning, before I broke down and headed over to the high ropes course.  I'm so glad I did. The Right Stuff Who knew these kids had this in them?  I've been around the majority of them since kindergarten, and have a beat on most of their personalities.  But I did not see this coming. To be honest, when I pulled up it didn't look like much.  After parking and walking in for  closer view it hit me.  That high ropes course was incredibly scary. … [Read more...]

Backpack Snacks: 5 Budget Friendly Foods that Will Survive a Backpack

It's that time of year again!  Having groceries on hand, and either packing snacks and lunches for your school aged kids, or them attempting to tackle it themselves becomes a daily challenge.  My 5th grader this year is getting better about packing her own food for the school day.  And I love that their teacher allows them to snack in the classroom throughout the day, as long as they aren't disruptive. But I'm frequently at a loss as to what to grab and purchase at the store for backpack snacks and lunches, so thought I'd share these helpful ideas from FoodInsight.  They serve as a nutrition and food safety resource for consumers, health professionals, journalists, educators, government officials, and students. Backpack Snacks 5 Budget friendly foods that will survive a backpack and provide on-the-go nutrition, ensuring kids get the fuel they need without the muss or fuss Trail Mix Trail mix is bite-sized and packed with protein & healthful fats Add a handful of … [Read more...]

Think Earth ~ Free Green Summer Activities for Kids

Looking for some free activity ideas for your kids on summer break, with a bonus of helping become more aware of their environment?  Think Earth is a non-profit organization committed to helping young people develop habits and behaviors to help improve their environment... that is, to THINK EARTH.   In support of that goal, they are offering free green summer activities for kids. Free Green Summer Activities for Kids Think Green offers an award winning kids curriculum for free, which includes engaging worksheets and videos on things like natural resources, pollution and sustainability. The complete Think Earth Curriculum—nine units from preschool to middle-school—has been used since the 1990s to teach students about the importance of a clean, healthy environment and about what they can do to: conserve natural resources reduce waste minimize pollution Units are now available online, where you can also find more details and register your child.  Here's an overview of … [Read more...]

Disney Cars Party Ideas ~ Free Printable #DisneySide

We recently had a chance to participate in the Disney at Home Celebration campaign, where Disney parks sent out a big box of party goodies to host our own #DisneySide party with family and friends.  My preschooler son is age 4, and a fan of all things Cars.  Here are the highlights of our recent party, plus some Disney Cars Party Ideas you can use to host your own party! Also, be sure to check out this great resource Disney has put together for anyone to use, full of Disney Side Celebrations themes, activities, and recipes inspiration.  I've got a free printable that I created for you to use at the end of this post, but they have many cool game and activity resources you can print for free from that website, too. Disney Cars Party Ideas ~ Food I liked the idea of theming the food with cute Cars logo names and labels.  We went with: Sally's Cozy Cones (Bugles) Luigi's Tower of Tires (mini chocolate donuts) Lightning McQueen's Stoplight Treats (brownies or rice krispie … [Read more...]

Kids Create a Backyard Game ~ Win a Bike & Trip to San Diego from CLIF!

Looking for outdoor play ideas, now that your kids will soon be out of school on summer break?  I've recently learned about the CLIF Kid Backyard Games Contest, and wanted to pass along these exciting details for your own child to participate.   There are great prizes, and a neat website full of inspiration on backyard games to play. Create!  Play!  Win!  Get outside and dream up a fun backyard game. CLIF Kid Backyard Games Contest This contest is for kids ages 6-12, and is a great way to encourage your kids to get outside.   Not only will your kids have fun participating by creating their own backyard game, but they can also get new ideas of other games to play by checking out entries from previous years. To enter, have your child dream up a fun backyard game for them and their friends to play.  No fancy equipment, just use basic things like balls and hula-hoops.  For inspiration, you can check out past winning game ideas, and even download instructions on how to play them. You … [Read more...]

Nature’s Legos ~ Play Time During Kid Hikes

As grown-ups, when we go for a hike we're typically all about following the trail.  When you take your little ones along, do you find yourself constantly saying, "Com'mon!  Let's go!  Gotta stay on that trail.  We need to keep going..." But if you stop and think about it - in the world of a small person, the hike isn't about reaching a destination, or getting some exercise. It's about being there.  There.  Right there, where they find themselves at any given Nature Moment.  With cool rocks to climb, pretty weeds to pick, and tiny [insert local, crawly habitants here... for us, it's very speedy lizards] critters to chase. Or Nature's Legos to stack!     So I'm trying to learn to relax in this regard a little.  I still like to keep some forward momentum along the trail, for part of the time.  I think that's a reasonable request, and it is good for them to get some exercise. But I also let them stop and play.  Because what a marvelous playground the … [Read more...]