Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hiking with Kids Workshop at REI

REI is hosting a free seminar by Joan Burton, author of Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington. It at the flagship store in Seattle on 6/23/2009 at 7:00 PM. I think it’s a bring the kids event too! Love that.

I’ve got the book and although I haven’t yet done any of the hikes yet I’m really looking forward to tackling some soon.

Hiking with Kids Workshop at REI

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rainy day camping activities

Well it’s been typically spring in the northwest today– rain, sun, drizzle, rain. While I usually don’t mind the rain (especially spring rain, spring rain is warmish and smells nice) a camping trip could well be ruined if you don’t plan ahead. First when planning your trip scope out the local museum offerings in case you really need to escape the confines of the campsite/tent but don’t want to completely throw in the towel. Second put together a special rainy day kit, store it in a big ziploc and stash it with your camping gear – don’t let the kids see it so it will be a surprise for your ‘special’ rain day

Rainy day kit: sidewalk chalk; playing cards; special markers (glitter, glow in the dark); new activity books; camping coloring pages, balloons

Here are some other ideas I've collected:

Outside activities (make sure you have a way to dry off and get warm after!)

  • River / dam building
  • Measure rainfall with buckets, cups
  • Float flowers in the puddles.
  • Dig for worms in the mud at night using a flashlight.
  • Draw with sidewalk chalk on damp paved surfaces to create very bright chalk drawings.
  • water balloons

Inside activities

  • card games: War and Go fish are the current favorites of my 4 year old, Snap
  • read books – i.e. Curious George Goes Camping
  • Print out some camping related coloring pages
  • Shadow play with flashlights
  • I spy

Read more: "Rainy Day Camping Activities: Crafts and Games to Keep Preschoolers Busy When it Rains"

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sweet Survival

I have to admit I have been accused of being a bit compulsive about planning the menu for our camping trips. I tend to get ‘gourmet’ with ingredients like pesto, prosciutto, brie. Still I never realised that the key ingredient, the one thing that I now cannot imagine a camping trip without…chocolate. Not just any chocolate but Green and Black’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds. I was introduced to it on a camping trip with my friend P. I’ve had to force myself to allow it only on camping trips (don’t ask me how that is going).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gearing up at REI’s tent sale

Well it’s REI’s big sale time (May 1- 10). We bought the REI Base Camp 6 last year. This tent just happens to be currently on sale for much less than we paid for it :( We have used it once and were pretty impressed.

Rather heavy, when I bought it the woman in the service area felt she needed to point out that “this is a 20 pound tent!”, but what we needed was lots of room for the four of us and that’s what we got – and with our iron horse of a volvo doing all the packing, weight isn’t an issue. 3mandays I’m afraid I can’t remember if it was easy to set up or not – likely because I let the boys get to it by themselves – but if a dad and two preschoolers can do it you probably can too. What i love about this tent is that you can stand in it, it has pouches and tabs on the walls and ceiling so you can keep important stuff handy and hang a flashlight like an overhead light. The vestibules on both sides also give lots of room for discrete changing, keeping shoes out of the rain and keeping marauders from noticing the beer cooler while we explore the beach.

Some friends that we went to Birch Bay State Park with last year had the REI Hobitat and that is a pretty cool tent too. Tall enough to stand in and it’s got two great big doors on either side. They let the kids play in the empty tent in the afternoon (which was a HUGE hit) and then just picked up the whole structure and just shook it out before setting up the bedding. After seeing how much fun the kids had just playing in an empty tent I'm considering buying a cheapo ‘kids’ tent for them the play in….hmmm….maybe i can get a second hand one somewhere…

Tip: Get at least one (we went 2) ‘man’ bigger than your family size. A four man tent sleeps four and you are going to want some space to move around without distributing the inevitable sand/dirt throughout your sleeping area.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

No closures for washington state parks

summer08 055Phew! Can you imagine booking your camping trip, possibly in part because you are economizing yourself, and then hearing that the park you had booked was closed due to budget cuts? It almost happened. I actually had discounted a couple of parks out of our summer plans because they were slated to be among the closures. Thanks in no small part to the Washington Trails Association (WTA) all of the parks will remain open. Yeah!

I’ve only recently discovered the WTA. I’m really liking their website. It’s full of gear lists, safety tips and has a section just for families and kids. Hmmm….Maybe i should be spending less time inside on the computer?