5 Perfect Spring Day Ideas to Get Kids Outside [+ Giveaway]

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...]

Goodbye Camper… Sold to an Ex-Con

About three years ago, we bought our first camper.  A 1979 Winnebago bumper pull, the only year Winnebago made a trailer style camper.  Built extremely stout.  After a little cosmetic TLC inside, it was a delightful starter camper.  We’ve made some awesome memories with it. Overall, it was just exciting and fun to own a camper… and we were grateful to have found such a cheap one.  But alas, it suffered two critical problems. Waaaay too heavy to be pulled by our Tahoe. The sleeping arrangements left much to be desired. Every time we pulled that sucker up to our local Grand Mesa, with an elevation of 10,800 feet, my husband would look at me and just shake his head.  “We’ve GOT to stop pulling this heavy camper with the Tahoe.” And every time he’d wake up cranky the next morning after a restless night spent trying to fit his 6 foot frame on one of the two restrictive sleeping spots, “I’m NOT going to sleep another night in that camper.” Osh no!  But I love … [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...]

To Ski, Or Not to Ski… That is My Dilemma

I grew up in the relatively flat state of South Dakota.  Land of long winters and below-freezing wind chills which whipped across the prairie.  My parents were both raised on ranches.  In short, they were not skiers, nor was teaching kids to ski anywhere on their radar. South Dakota is not totally devoid of a ski area, though.  So it was at age 16 that I made my first pilgrimage with fellow teens, to go learn to ski at Terry Peak in the Black Hills.  What did I think of skiing? Skiing First Impressions Cold. Icy. Terrifying. Cute boys. Short runs. Long chairlift rides. That’s about it, in a nutshell.  I tolerated it for the social aspect. But it was nothing I had a burning desire to pursue. I’ve since had the chance to ski bigger mountains than South Dakota offers, and enjoyed some good times on the slopes.  There have admittedly been brief, optimal moments when I felt a rush of excitement and glee over a great run.  Overall, I have comfortably settled in at:  … [Read more...]

My First Kayak Adventure Ever… in Sagres Portugal!

Death by rollover.  Trapped upside down in my kayak, whoosing past head-smashing rocks, unable to release my lower body from its underwater tomb.  Yep, it’s one of my worst nightmares.  Can you blame me? Hence my hesitancy whenever I’ve had the opportunity to go kayaking. And I almost passed up the opportunity yet again, on a recent media trip to Portugal.  We had a local guide from the fishing village of Sagres Portugal who was planning on taking our small group of three out for a kayak adventure.  Realizing I was there to report in the capacity of “OUTDOORSY” TravelingMom… I figured I better suck it up, Buttercup! And join them. Lesson learned:  Never pass up a chance to kayak with a guide! My First Time Kayaking – Walk in the Park Turns out the only danger that day was if I had actually tipped over, my iPhone would have been trashed.  Other than that, it was so completely safe that they even take out children if the sea is calm. “The Sea.”  That’s what they … [Read more...]

Family Mountain Biking Adventure Puts Sharpie Extreme to Test

About a decade ago, my husband and I moved our young family to Colorado.  We both loved the outdoors, and wanted our kids to grow up with an enjoyment and appreciation of camping, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. At last we've arrived at the stage in our children's lives where we can all hit a mountain biking trail, each riding our own bike.  Having stuck primarily to hiking for these past few years... this is an exciting development!  It was a rocky start the first few times out, but I've picked up a few family mountain biking tips along the way. So we were excited when Sharpie Extreme approached us, offering to send us on a family outdoor adventure.  The Sharpie Extreme line of permanent markers is particularly well suited to marking your outdoor gear, so they wanted us to put them to the test while mountain biking. Mission accepted! Getting the Family Ready for Outdoor Adventure Getting your family outdoors for an adventure can feel extreme.  Depending on the … [Read more...]

Keeping Your Kids Fit and Safe This Summer with Fun Outdoor Activities

We all look forward to the summer, as this is the time where you and the kids can spend plenty of quality time together in the great outdoors. Not only is this an excellent way to bond as a family, but it is also perfect for trying out fun outdoor activities. Your kids are sure to love trying out new pursuits, plus it is also a fantastic way to keep them fit, healthy and happy. Activities to Try There are all kinds of terrific activities for your kids to try this summer out in the fresh air and surrounded by nature. Mountain biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, hiking and kayaking are just a few examples, but there are dozens more for you to consider. It can be wise to encourage your children to try new hobbies as this can develop different skills and boost their confidence; they may also find a new passion that they had not considered before.   Safety When it comes to outdoor activities, safety is paramount and this is something that all parents will be concerned … [Read more...]

9 Things You’ll Need for an Awesome Family Mountain Biking Adventure

It's that time of year again.  EXCELLENT family mountain biking weather!  As a family, our kids have reached an age (5 and 11) where we are ready to fully embrace this outdoor activity together. We've picked up a few family mountain biking tips along the way.  Here's my best advice on things you'll  need for an awesome adventure. 1. Find a Safe Space for Family Mountain Biking My family recently headed out for a weekend of camping and family mountain biking.  We chose a public lands area where the spaces are wide open, trails are plentiful, and the rules are fast and loose. The unexpected downside?  Motorized vehicles are also allowed on all trails, and the ATV action was in full swing during this busy holiday weekend. Bottom line, the trails weren’t really safe enough for a family with two young kids to ride their bicycles.  We improvised by sticking to our own loop we forged through the trees near our campsite.  Had we known in advance, we would have selected an area … [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...]

Celebrate the Centennial On These Free National Park Days

This year marks the 100th anniversary of our National Parks!  These unique, breathtaking nature areas have been set aside and preserved for us and our children to be able to experience their beauty.  To celebrate the Centennial, they are encouraging everyone to "Find Your Park", and get out there to enjoy the outdoors. #FindYourPark Website and Location Tool Did you know there are over 400 National Parks in the US?  Join the celebration to explore, learn, discover, be inspired, or simply have fun.  The Find Your Park site will help you browse for a perfect location to visit.  You can browse by state, or do a general search by name. I love all the ideas it offers on planning your visit, special Centennial events that are being held this year, and experiences for your family to try. And if there isn't a National Park close enough for your family to travel to, you can broaden the map search tool to display public lands. Free National Park Days But now for the best … [Read more...]