2017 Outdoor Gift Guide for Families


Ta-Daaaa! Here it is! Our outdoor gift guide! Whew. This was a TON of work and I am so glad to finally get it to you. Humor me by reading it, ok? 🙂

We hope this takes the load off of you as you do some holiday shopping. You can rest assured that every single thing we have included has been used and tested by us and comes with our highest recommendation.

Also, thanks for clicking around – many of the links are affiliates and help us just a tiny bit (and don’t cost you a dime!)

You can maximize the guide below for easier viewing! Feel free to share with your friends!

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***The best news? This is a bit of a preview for our huge annual 12 Days of Gear Giveaways starting November 27th! Don’t miss them!**

Check out these other Holiday Gift Guides and Giveaways from our Friends!

We’ll Eat You Up We Love You SoOutdoor Gifts for the Little and Big Kids in Your Life!

© 2017, 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.

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play

It’s true that there is no substitute for actual time spent outside, but realistically it’s not possible to be out constantly. And truly I don’t think that is healthy either. There’s always a balance and it’s a fine art to find that.

But, I want an outdoor life that is normalized for our family. It’s just what we do and how we live. So I am constantly searching for indoor toys that promote an outdoor life and encourage pretend play.

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play

This fall we had the opportunity to check out the Canadian company, Maplelea, and their dolls. I *may* have been just as excited for this as my kids were.

Maplelea makes dolls celebrating a Canadian heritage, and therefore a very outdoor focus (which I love!) While we are not Canadian, they have offered up a perfect opportunity to get to know our neighbors to the north through stories and play.

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play

The Maplelea girls are seven dolls with distinct personalities who live around Canada. They come with a 64-page journal that can be added to and enough accessories to keep girls entertained and delighted.

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play

Are they JUST for girls? I don’t think so. My boys were just as excited as the girls and were asking if they had any boy dolls (hint, hint, Maplelea!) While they don’t have any currently, they do have some accessories that fit other 18″ boy dolls that are pretty great. In the meantime, the boys just help add some “excitement” (note the bear at Taryn’s campsite below….)

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play

Taryn:

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through PlayReady for hiking and from Banff, Taryn caught my eye right away. She loves the great outdoors, has an awesome tent and backpacking pack and animal friends too. Plus she wears a hiking skirt. My kind of gal!

 

Charlsea:

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through PlayCharlsea comes from Canada’s west coast and loves gardening, the ocean and kayaking. She also loves to visit Whistler (though we wish she had skis!) and also loves the outdoors! Her kayak is pretty incredible and gets tons of use in our home, but the kids noticed right away that she wasn’t wearing a life jacket (sold separately!)

 

While I am totally the person that would keep each accessory only with the assigned doll, my kids love mixing and matching (which is SO much better).

I also love that Maplelea encourages writing and story telling through the prompts and blank pages in the journal.

Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play 

Where to buy them:

As Americans, we have two choices on where to purchase with pros and cons for both!

  1. From the Maplelea Site. They have the full line of products and we pay about 20% less than all the prices listed on the site because of the exchange rate. The bummer? Shipping is expensive.
  2. From Amazon. They have less products and slightly higher prices (not taking the exchange rate into consideration) but free or much cheaper shipping.

Just a few of our favorite products available on Amazon:


Watch for Maplelea as part of our Annual 12 Days of Gear Giveaways starting November 27th! Be sure to sign up for our email list so you don’t miss a thing!

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Encouraging an Outdoor Life Through Play

Maplelea generously provided us these dolls in order to facilitate this review.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. A few of these  links are affiliates.  Thank you so much for clicking through them to make your purchases – it helps offset the cost of this blog in a (VERY VERY) small way!

© 2017, 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.

I’m Not the Parent I Thought I Would be

I am not the parent I ever thought I would be.

Maybe because I wasn’t one of those gals that had my whole life planned out from a young age.  Maybe because I am ever-slowly learning and forming my own opinions and working together with my husband to make the best life for our kids.  Maybe because life happens – really before you know it. Maybe because I’m human and we all make mistakes.

I thought I was so patient. I thought I would never yell. I thought I would spend hours playing with my kids (and the household chores would be done too, of course).

The truth?

Some days I can hardly wait until bedtime. Life with little ones is simply controlled chaos. We joke life with 5 kids now is like managing a mass causality incident and implementing the triage system.

It’s exhausting.

I raise my voice more often than even I care to admit.

I don’t really LIKE playing – it’s more time for them to learn and explore and me to have a break.

I'm Not the Parent I Thought I Would be

Am I a bad mom? Nope, I don’t think so. Just different than I envisioned.

I may lose my temper at times, but I know how to ask for forgiveness.

I sometimes raise my voice, but most moms will agree it comes with the territory of keeping order and just real life.

But, more importantly – I know what I need and what my kids need (and I do my very best to provide that).

I'm Not the Parent I Thought I Would be

I love hiking behind my kids and watching them discover the awe that is simply nature. I love seeing them become aware of what their little bodies are capable of as they check off miles on the trail.

While they relish in the fact that they can be as loud as possible outside, I find myself hushed by the majesty around me and rarely tempted to lose my temper.

I love watching my kids learn to ride a bike with pedals or ski independently for the first time (while we cringe behind them waiting for a fall and trying to not rescue).

I always laugh when our toddlers insist on climbing in the hiking pack or throw a fit when they miss out on an adventure.

And I feel like a job well done when we bond as a family over a simple camping trip or epic adventure.

 

I never realized the outdoors would encompass who we are as a family so completely. It’s not just something my husband and I like that we drag the kids out on. Soon enough I am certain they will be the ones leading.

 

And so while I am constantly working on myself to be the best I can be (because I owe myself, my husband AND my kids that), I find comfort in the fact that even on the worst of days, I know the outdoors feeds my soul AND my family (sometimes quite literally!)

 

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I'm Not the Parent I Thought I Would be

 

© 2017, 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.

3 Tips for Enjoying the Outdoors in Any Weather

3 Tips for Enjoying the Outdoors in Any Weather

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Another Way to Bike with Kids

Another Way to Bike with Kids

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Welcoming a Little More Adventure

Welcoming a Little More Adventure

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