Encouraging Exploration in Kids + Kids to Parks Day 2018 + Giveaway

Encouraging kids to get outside as much as possible opens up a door for exploration that no other activity can.  Yes, you can do indoor scavenger hunts or relay races in a gym, but it just isn’t the same as the unexpected and pleasantly surprising discoveries nature provides.

Kids to Parks Day is coming up in just a couple weeks, on Saturday, May 19th. It’s the perfect opportunity for families to get out together and encourage that inquisitive spirit that kids just have.

Encouraging Exploration in Kids + Kids to Parks Day 2018

Tips to Aid Exploration:

  1. Start by making sure they are engaged and ready. For some kids this means planning it out, for some spontaneous adventure is the best!
  2. Ask your child questions as you go.  Think of the five senses as guidelines.  Do you hear that?  What do you think it is?  I smell something different – do you smell it?  What could it be? Etc.
  3. Let them pick up nature samples and examine them. This is a great time to let them take some photos. 
  4. Bring along a nature journal. Let them draw what they see and then write words/labels for them if needed.
  5. Explore without time constraints.
  6. Change environments as you go.  Start in the yard, venture down the street, visit a stream or river bank, walk through a forest, discover out in the open.
  7. When done, come back inside and read discuss what you found. This is a great time to look at some non-fiction nature/animal/bug books.

Tools for Exploration:

  1. Kid-sized backpack 
  2. Flashlight and/or headlamp
  3. Binoculars
  4. Camera
  5. Bug net
  6. Whistle (in case of separation)
  7. Magnifying glass
  8. Sun hat and sunglasses

A Few Recommended Books for Getting Kids to Think about Exploration:

    1. Looking for a Moose by Phyllis Root, Illustrated by Randy Cecil
    2. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
    3. Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson
    4. You can be a Nature Detective by Peggy Kochenoff
    5. My Wilderness An Alaskan Adventure by Claudia McGehee
    6. Usborne Outdoor Activity Book







Encouraging Exploration in Kids + Kids to Parks Day 2018

Kids to Parks Day:

Held every year on the third Saturday in May, there are events happening to celebrate our National Parks in all 50 states. Checking them out as a family and doing your own exploration is highly encouraged! Click here to find an event near you!

Encouraging Exploration in Kids + Kids to Parks Day 2018

Win a Buddy Bison!

This year we are going to send a Buddy Bison to one lucky reader. Check out the full Buddy Bison program here.

As usual, please use the widget below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help!  Sorry, this giveaway is open to the U.S. only.

Buddy Bison

© 2018, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

Littlest Sidekick Outfitters – Rent The Runway meets Geo-Caching FOR KIDS

A kids clothing company that allows you to return the clothing after your kid outgrows it for a larger size?!? Sign. me. up. Meet Littlest Sidekick Outfitters, now on Kickstarter, hoping to get kids in great gear, make it fun and save money AND our landfills. Founder Shannon Vistisen explains below. Please share your thoughts in the comments! Love it? Not sure it will work? “Sign me up”? 

Littlest Sidekick Outfitters - Rent The Runway meets Geo-Caching FOR KIDS

It all started with memories. I noticed that I have held onto certain pieces of clothing because of the memories that were made while wearing that garment. With this idea, I thought about a lot of the “first” memories my son will experience in his clothing. But yet, our kids clothing is so easily tossed aside with no real thought to it. Partly due to the fact that they grow out of them so quickly, parents don’t invest into their clothing like we do with our own. Me being one of them. So I decided to build a system that allows for us to invest in their clothing, keep their memories alive to share with others all while working with the speed at which kids grow out of their clothing, not against it.

From here, the ThreadTrail was born.

Through this system, I wanted to create an experience that shares our adventures, shows the journey on which their clothing has been on and provide quality made clothing that is made for protection and play.

Littlest Sidekick Outfitters - Rent The Runway meets Geo-Caching FOR KIDS

How it works is simple, you have the choice to “Start a ThreadTrail” or “Add to an existing ThreadTrail”. If you start one, you are the very first one to pioneer the journey of this garment! If you’re adding to an existing one, you’ll get to read all the past adventures that your new shirt has been on. Working with the way the speed at which kids grow, you can return your LSO apparel within 6 months of purchase and receive 30% off your next item in our shop – New or used. If you return it within a year of purchase, you receive 15% off!

Littlest Sidekick Outfitters - Rent The Runway meets Geo-Caching FOR KIDS

To locate the code on the your new shirt, you must search for Finley the Fox. Find her and you’ll find your code to unlock the garment’s ThreadTrail! Head over to our site, punch in the code and you’ll be able to see on a map where your LSO gear has been! On the same page, you can read all the past adventures and see photos of the little ones having fun in that exact same shirt! Now it’s your turn! Go out and explore! Go on an adventure! Play a new backyard game or head to your favorite camping spot. Before returning the LSO gear, add your story to it’s ThreadTrail, upload a photo and print our a free shipping label to send the clothing back. Grab your discount code and search out a new ThreadTrail to explore.

Littlest Sidekick Outfitters - Rent The Runway meets Geo-Caching FOR KIDS

That LSO gear is then sent to a company that we have chosen to professionally clean and mend the garments before its sent back to us to be put back up on the ThreadTrail! From the box the clothing comes in to the interactive platform we built, the kids are our priority! Head on over to our Kickstarter campaign to learn more about our packaging, our platform, the ThreadTrail and our gear!

Littlest Sidekick Outfitters - Rent The Runway meets Geo-Caching FOR KIDSShannon, founder of LSO, resides in beautiful Michigan where she spends her time with her husband, boating, running, and rescuing yet another worm with her heart-of-gold, son.

© 2018, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women

I just came home from first weekend of sun this spring. Warmer weather comes slowly here in the Tetons, but once it does, the sun is intense and the temperatures vary quickly and often throughout the day.

It’s literally just above freezing in the morning, hot in the direct sunlight in the afternoon and storms roll in in the afternoon. I quickly learned last spring that the tourists flee to town somewhere between 2:00 and 3:00 pm when the storms roll into the mountains (so avoid the mayhem at all costs!).

This is the gear I have ready and works most days for me. I value function over fashion, and am willing to pay a bit more for clothing that will last years, not just one season.

Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women

Someone asked me after my last gear guide how I possibly afford this stuff. Let me be straight that I am not suggesting you go out and buy it all at once. You get pieces that work for YOU, your family and your budget. And I share when I find them on sale or a better deal!

I always welcome your own suggestions – what great gear have you found this season?

**Note: Some of these links are affiliates. We love it when you click through to purchase – it doesn’t cost you a dime and helps us out just a tiny bit!**

Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women

Tops

  • Kuhl Sona Short Sleeve: This one is slightly see-through so I wear it with a tank, but it holds up super well in washes and even the light colors was clean after a weekend in the dirt. I love the flattering V-neck.
  • Terramar Sports Reflex Knockout V-Neck: Super soft, a great layering piece, and just thick enough for comfort and modesty when worn by itself.
  • Orvis OutSmart Biscayne Quarter-Zip: This is hands-down my favorite long sleeve tee I’ve ever owned. It is comfortable, fits and moves well, is a great layering piece AND keeps the bugs away. Also available at Amazon.com.
  • Kuhl ParaJax: The perfect spring/summer/fall jacket. It provides just enough warmth as it blocks the wind and has built-in UPF 50 protection from the sun. I love the hood, being able to adjust the fit and that it folds up so small.
  • Royal Robbins Expedition Chill Print Shirt: This is the cutest sun shirt I have worn simply because it has a pattern. Snap closure (I always size up with these kind of shirts) and perfect for hiking, adventuring or around the campfire. Also available at Amazon.com.

Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women

For Your Feet

Sun Hats

  • Kuhl Sun Dagger hat: This hat is more stiff than others I have worn, but it really does a great job keeping the sun off and breathing. UPF 50.
  • Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat: Sunday Afternoons continues to make top of the line sun hats for the whole family. This one has excellent neck protection and is great when you’re wearing a backpack because the back brim won’t get in the way.
  • Totanka Hat by Art for All: You have to check out all the Art for All hats over at Garage Grown Gear. I love this one, but there are so many beauties!

Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women

Skirts/Dresses

  • Earth Nuu-Muu: The dress for all seasons, but it excels in the summer months. I wear mine more as a tunic than a dress and find it’s perfect for biking, hiking, and just looks cute anytime. If you’re nursing, go with the Scoop style!
  • Purple Rain Adventure Skirt: I own four of these skirts now and wear them nearly every day. They have the best pockets (both with a flap for valuables and without for a quick treasure-tuck-in), are super comfortable and do excellent for travel and in abrasive brush/weeds/woods. Available at Garage Grown Gear.
  • JuJu Gear Recycled Skirt: I have NEVER owned anything that I get as many compliments on as I do on this skirt. Based out of Bozeman and made using recycled clothing, these skirts are just fun and celebrate an outdoor, eco-conscious world. Lorri also makes little girl skirts (see photo below – they’re adorable!)

Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women

Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women

Pants/Shorts/Tights

  • Orvis Florence Pants: Truth? This baby-mama hates pants right now. I’m self-conscious in them as I work to get my body back in shape. That said, I LOVE these. They are lightweight, a bit stretchy, have zippered pockets and are quick-drying. Plus they have a cinch for adjusting the length. A great comfy summer pant. Also available at Amazon.com
  • Craghoppers Luna Tight: Tights + skirts = my jam. Tights that keep the bugs away = even better. These stay up, are comfortable on, breathe well and apparently work to minimize bug bites. To be honest, we haven’t had THAT many bugs here yet, but I’ll update this post as I learn more!
  • Stonewear Liberty Tight Capri: These have been my favorites for going on 7 years now. They are so great for tucking in that post-baby tummy, flattering and slimming and giving great support.
  • Royal Robbins Discovery III Pant: THESE COME IN LENGTHS! Hallelujah! They’re also super comfortable with a bit of stretch and durable enough to handle playing hard. I love the zippered pocket and the fact that they can translate from trail to town. Available in a capri too.

Spring Outdoor Gear Guide for Women

The Extras:

  • Deuter Hip Belt: Don’t you worry, this isn’t a “fanny pack”, but even cooler. Tons of pockets, simple and functional. Perfect for keeping those snacks handy for you (or the dog/kids).
  • Helinox Chair 2 Rocker: Who says camp can’t be comfortable? This is super packable and comfortable chair with the option to rock…or not. I love it for nursing and hanging out around the fire after the kids are in bed too.
  • Tarma Mountains for Me Pendant: My jewelry is simple because I usually don’t take it off and want it to be able to handle my outdoor/busy life. This one celebrates the mountains, of course!



 

© 2018, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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