Kidventurous http://kidventurous.com Making Family Travel an Adventure Mon, 30 May 2016 17:34:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.3 #FunSummer100: 100 Fun Things to Do this Summer http://kidventurous.com/funsummer100/ http://kidventurous.com/funsummer100/#respond Fri, 27 May 2016 16:46:52 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9648 Well, I tried to do this four years ago, and kind of failed, so I’m going to try again this summer. I put together my own personal list of things I’d like to do, mostly with the kids, between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. Some of the things on my list are based on my location (e.g., go […]

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FunSummer100Well, I tried to do this four years ago, and kind of failed, so I’m going to try again this summer. I put together my own personal list of things I’d like to do, mostly with the kids, between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.

Some of the things on my list are based on my location (e.g., go to the top of the Washington Monument), while others correlate with places we plan to visit this summer (e.g., taste maple syrup in Vermont). All are things I think would be fun to do with the kids or on my own, like run a half marathon.

I’ll track progress here and on Instagram with hashtag #FunSummer100. With every item we complete I’ll link to the photo here. If you’re planning your own summer fun challenge, let me know. I’d love to hear about what you have planned! :)

1. Go to a minor league baseball game.
2. Go to the top of the Washington Monument.
3. See fireworks.
4. Go fruit picking.
5. Go to a neighborhood carnival or festival.
6. Go camping in a tent.
7. Hike in a state park.
8. Add a new stamp to our national parks passport.
9. Get a new Junior Ranger badge.
10. Go tubing.
11. Complete the library summer reading program.
12. Go to an outdoor waterpark.
13. Eat dinner from a food truck.
14. Splash in a waterfall.
15. Make s’mores.
16. Attend an outdoor concert.
17. Take an ice cream factory tour.
18. Get milkshakes at a diner counter.
19. Go to a science center.
20. Take a family road trip.
21. See public art sculptures.
22. Go whitewater rafting.
23. Go to a botanical garden.
24. See the giant pandas at the National Zoo.
25. Go bowling.
26. Go to a state or county fair.
27. Watch a parade.
28. Go to a drive-in movie.
29. Visit neighborhood yard sales.
30. See a $1 movie.
31. Go stand-up paddleboarding.
32. Play mini golf.
33. Go to an aquarium.
34. Ride a carousel.
35. Ride a ferris wheel.
36. Make tie-dye t-shirts.
37. Build a sand castle.
38. Set up a backyard slip ‘n slide.
39. Create art with sidewalk chalk.
40. Take pictures in a photo booth.
41. Play Frisbee golf.
42. Go to a farmers market.
43. Try new donuts at a donut shop.
44. Go kayaking.
45. Try new cupcakes at a cupcake shop.
46. Go to Chuck E. Cheese’s.
47. Go to a new playground.
48. Go to a trampoline park.
49. Go indoor rock climbing.
50. Attend a children’s play.
51. Go on a train ride.
52. Go tidepooling.
53. Watch the planes take off at Gravelly Point.
54. Go to an aerial treetop adventure course.
55. Bake three new kinds of cookies.
56. Go to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence.
57. Go to the Postal Museum to see the new national parks exhibit.
58. Go to the White House Visitors Center.
59. Eat breakfast for dinner.
60. Have a picnic.
61. Go to a make-and-take workshop at Home Depot.
62. Make sand art.
63. Get frozen yogurt.
64. Try indoor skydiving.
65. Run a half marathon (well, this one is just for me)
66. Taste maple syrup in Vermont.
67. Take a staycation.
68. Get colorful pedicures.
69. Eat sno-cones.
70. Blow huge bubbles.
71. Take a painting class at Painting with a Twist.
72. Order a banana split.
73. Go out for Slurpees.
74. Wash the car as a family.
75. Go out for McFlurries.
76. Eat lobster in Maine.
77. Go swimming at the pool.
78. Go to the beach.
79. Collect seashells.
80. Go on a zipline.
81. Try Indian food.
82. Play a game of laser tag.
83. Eat Chinese food in Chinatown.
84. Try Ethiopian food.
85. Try Moroccan food.
86. Try German food.
87. Go to a petting farm.
88. Send a package to soldiers overseas.
89. Feed the ducks.
90. Play backyard badminton.
91. Make ice cream cone cupcakes.
92. Play Bingo.
93. Ride bikes.
94. Go to a Japanese steakhouse.
95. Visit a presidential site.
96. Grow and release butterflies.
97. Make our own popsicles.
98. Write a message in the sand.
99. Roll down a big hill.
100. Make root beer floats.

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Best Travel Gear for Family Road Trips http://kidventurous.com/best-travel-gear-for-family-road-trips/ http://kidventurous.com/best-travel-gear-for-family-road-trips/#respond Thu, 26 May 2016 20:02:16 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9465 If you’re a fan of the 1980s classic, National Lampoon’s Vacation, you know that when it comes to road trips, being prepared can make or break your road trip. To help you plan your road trip, we’ve come up with some tips to keep you rolling on down the road with as few hiccups as possible. Best Travel Gear for Family Road […]

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Best Travel Gear for Family Road TripsIf you’re a fan of the 1980s classic, National Lampoon’s Vacation, you know that when it comes to road trips, being prepared can make or break your road trip. To help you plan your road trip, we’ve come up with some tips to keep you rolling on down the road with as few hiccups as possible.

Best Travel Gear for Family Road Trips

Let’s assume here that you’re a family of four or five individuals, some young, maybe a tween or teen, and adult parents. This means your needs are all different and your expectations are even more diverse. But, space is also limited. Here are the must-have gear items for traveling with family on the road.

Personal entertainment devices. While phones are one thing, they are also needed for navigation. Opt for something that has a long battery life and plenty of entertainment that doesn’t require an internet connection.

Headphones. Yes! You need headphones for entertainment, but they can also stifle the noise made from other individuals while trying to get some shut-eye (just not for the driver of course).

Books. Yep, they are also personal entertainment, but they don’t require batteries, they make no noise and they’re reusable. Plus, if you need to lighten the load due to an increase in luggage (souvenir purchases) you can always leave them at the resort or hotel and the next traveler will enjoy the book. A Kindle is also a great option.

Baby Wipes. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, these are great for cleaning up just about any mess that comes along the way. They can also be handy when not everyone gets time in the shower. Just use them to do a quick wash up and go.

Energy Bars. These are an important item to have on stash because at any time someone could become hangry when it is an inconvenient time or place. There’s nothing worse than dealing with moody kids or adults while on the interstate in the middle of nowhere.

GPS Apps. Don’t rely on the in-built navigation to get you through traffic during rush hour in a new city. Look for apps which are user-sourced and are live updated with traffic, like Waze. You’ll need to know shortcuts when there’s an accident or bad traffic. By having a backup GPS already on your phone, you’ll save time and data when you need that alternate route that your default app is not finding.

Stain Stick. This is a lot more important that you’d think, and you only realize it after someone spills food on the “one nice outfit needed for the entire trip” By treating the stain right away you’re a step ahead of the game, and hopefully, a quick rinse back at the hotel of the stain-stick treated clothing will make the outfit ready for when it is needed.

Cash. I know this isn’t a device, but more than once I’ve run into a situation where, in small towns, the store we stopped at did not accept credit cards for small purchases. So to ensure you’re not in that situation when you just need to make a small purchase when using the restroom, keep cash on hand.

Mix Tape! Okay, not an actual mix tape, but a good playlist is a must. You may end up driving through an area of the country where the music options just aren’t your cup of tea (or coffee) and you’ll need to have something pre-set that most everyone agrees to listen to. So, keep a list of everyone’s favorite songs and mix them up.

Emergency Kit. You can buy a pre-packed roadside emergency kit online, it is a good idea to have that just in case. It’ll help you get back on the road quick, or at least keep you safe until help arrives.

First Aid Kit. On the same token, you need to remember the ol’ scout saying “always be prepared” and have those bandages and antiseptic wipes ready for an emergency.

Plastic Bags for Trash. Yes, your car is bound to become full of litter unless you make it a habit to empty the trash at each gas fill up or pit stop. Banana peels, wrappers and other debris is bound to pile up unless you have one set spot for trash in the vehicle.

When it comes to traveling, remember that the journey is part of the adventure. Don’t lose out on making memories just because you’re stuck in the car. Be prepared to have fun, sing songs, play roadside bingo and more. Be prepared with the right gear and also a positive attitude. Be sure to also check out this list of the Best Family Road Trip Games.

What do you feel is the best travel gear for family road trips?

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Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Missouri http://kidventurous.com/top-10-kids-missouri/ http://kidventurous.com/top-10-kids-missouri/#respond Thu, 19 May 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9471 Missouri may be known for the Gateway Arch, but the fact is, at 284 miles across and 308 miles north to south, Missouri has plenty to offer to those who live there and those just passing through. Here are 10 Things to Do with Kids in Missouri Let’s start with the things that are most iconic and also give you […]

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Things to Do With Kids in MissouriMissouri may be known for the Gateway Arch, but the fact is, at 284 miles across and 308 miles north to south, Missouri has plenty to offer to those who live there and those just passing through.

Here are 10 Things to Do with Kids in Missouri

Let’s start with the things that are most iconic and also give you some ideas of things to do that are a bit off the beaten path to make your time in Missouri fun with kids.

1. Of course, we need to start with the Gateway Arch. At 630 feet high, this symbol to westward mobility will definitely catch your eye when you realize just how tall and wide the arch actually is. Choose a journey to the top or just walk the area and be stunned by the arching stunning curves designed by architect Eero Saarinen.

2. Visit Silver Dollar City, near Branson. This is a fun theme park in the theme of the Old West and more. With 40+ rides, plenty of attractions and a variety of festivals, you’re bound to have fun there.

3. The Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis are some of the best. Whether you decide on a one-time visit to see what they offer or want to participate in one of their educational programs you’ll learn a lot, and will also get in touch with nature.

4. Named for Ulysses S. Grant, Grant’s Farm, located near St. Louis is a fun, active “farm” that’s a zoo full of fun. With over 1,000 species of animals you’ll see something new and some of your stand-by favorites as well. Be sure to ride the tram that winds around the former Busch Family estate.

5. Make a day out of a visit to central Missouri and the Lake of the Ozarks. The Lake of the Ozarks is a large reservoir created by enclosing of the Osage River in the northern part of the Ozarks in central Missouri. From above this “lake” looks like a serpent or maybe a dragon and is known as “The Magic Dragon.” Spend time fishing, hiking, trekking or just having fun as a family. There are plenty of parks within the area, as well as a dam that will catch a budding engineer’s eye for sure.

6. The Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal, Missouri is a great place for a family outing. No matter what the outdoor temperature is, the cave is always a stable 52 degrees. The cave is a great place to explore for all ages since there are no steps and there are smooth even walkways throughout the tour. There are several different lengths of tours available and there are fun activities for your kids to do such as panning for precious gemstones.

7. Have some little ones that love the zoo? The Kansas City Zoo offers all of the wonderful things that a zoo has to offer plus day camps and special programs that will keep your children entertained. Catch one of the special animal shows such as the Sea Lion Splash or take the Zebra Tram to make your visit even more magical.

8. Did you know you can actually visit the home of infamous villain Jesse James? Yes! Located in St. Joseph, MO, The Patee House, also known as Patee House Museum, was completed in 1858 as a 140-room luxury hotel and now serves as a museum full of 1800s and “wild west” artifacts. While visiting the museum, be sure to see the house where outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed by fellow gang member Bob Ford on April 3, 1882. Exhibits include artifacts from Jesse’s grave, which is on site of the Patee Museum grounds.

9. Kansas City, Missouri is home to the National World War I museum called the Liberty Memorial. The Liberty Memorial Museum is home to the largest collection of World War I artifacts in the United States. The inscription on the museum says, “In Honor of Those Who Served in the World War in Defense of Liberty and our Country.” Since this was actually made BEFORE the Second World War, it really shows you how times have changed  and how war has altered the world.

10. While in or near St. Louis, visit the Saint Louis Science Center. From Dinosaurs and a Planetarium to Environment and Hamster Wheels, the science is hands-on fun. The Ecology and Environment Gallery is located on the lower level, while the first floor contains the Life Science Lab, a gift shop and a food court. Don’t miss the Energizer human hamster wheel that powers the Energizer Ball Machine (that is three stories high!). There is a bridge-tunnel that connects the main building to the Planetarium, where there is also Flight Gallery to keep you entertained along the way.

What are your favorite things to do with kids in Missouri?

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6 Ways to Stay Fit as a Family While on Vacation http://kidventurous.com/6-ways-stay-fit-family-vacation/ http://kidventurous.com/6-ways-stay-fit-family-vacation/#respond Fri, 13 May 2016 12:00:00 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9467 Let’s be honest: It can be difficult to keep a workout schedule when traveling. And, it is even more difficult to meal plan while on vacation. So, let’s explore some ways to stay fit as a family while on vacation. When on vacation, it is important to recognize that you’re visiting someplace new, you’re not on vacation from the facts […]

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Stay Fit As a Family On VacationLet’s be honest: It can be difficult to keep a workout schedule when traveling. And, it is even more difficult to meal plan while on vacation. So, let’s explore some ways to stay fit as a family while on vacation.

When on vacation, it is important to recognize that you’re visiting someplace new, you’re not on vacation from the facts of life. Exercise and good food choices should not go by the wayside just because you’re away from home. These six ways to stay fit as a family while on vacation should help you stay on track on your next family trip.

6 Ways to Stay Fit as a Family While on Vacation

Family time is important – and when on vacation, you’re likely full of a checklist of things to do, people to see, and making sure you don’t end up using too many outfits early on in the trip. While you don’t have to Instagram your #fitfam to make the experience real (yes, life does happen even if it isn’t on social media), your body and health will know you’re working hard to stay fit.

1. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, in their Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,  it is their recommendation  of 60 minutes of physical aerobic activity daily for children ages 6-17 (there are no specifications for those five and under), and 30 minutes daily for adults ages 18-64. To get that in while on vacation, plan a picnic at the park and bring along a basketball. Spend some time shooting hoops and playing two-on-two basketball before having that picnic and exploring the nearby flora and fauna.

2. Headed to the beach or have access to a pool? Swim! Swimming can be a major calorie burner. According to research, a 155-pound person swimming freestyle at even a slow rate may burn almost 500 calories in an hour.

3. Make fruits and vegetables the main part of your breakfast especially if you have a standard hotel breakfast option. They are high in nutrients, including vitamins and fiber. Pass on the pastries and opt for the plain active-culture yogurt over the high fructose corn syrup/fake berry blends.

4. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is an important part of health and staying fit. While traveling, it is easy to say “yes” to carbonated beverages but they’re full of empty calories and deplete bones of minerals as well.

5. If your kids are young, let them play at the park and while you’re watching them you can get a full workout in too. It is easy to utilize the various play structures and your own body to get a good workout in at the park. Running around is easy, but you can also do arm dips using a park bench. do pull-ups on the monkey bars and leg lifts on a hanging bar. The ideas are endless and you really can get a full body workout at the kids park.

6. Plan a “cheat” day. Yes, really, that needs to be part of your fit vacation plans. Why? Otherwise, many people will choose to make an exception to your diet… and after that will become another exception, and another… And, in the end, you’ll end up making some really bad choices.

Instead, plan for the healthy breakfast, a reasonable lunch, and choose the best available choices at dinner, but also know that say “on Friday, we’ll do the full buffet” so that you know you’ll get your fix of the local cuisine and not feel deprived. This is important to enjoying your vacation but still keeping yourself in check.

Keep your family informed of the healthy vacation plans, especially if this is your first #fitfam vacation. Why? They may think that vacation means a free-for-all on food and relaxation all day long. You don’t want to burst their bubble and cause fights on vacation, so just let them know the plan, and work on getting their buy-in BEFORE you leave the house. Safe travels!

 

 

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10 Things to Do as a Family at Redwood National & State Parks http://kidventurous.com/what-to-do-as-family-at-redwood-national-park/ http://kidventurous.com/what-to-do-as-family-at-redwood-national-park/#respond Mon, 09 May 2016 17:39:40 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9620 We visited Redwood National & State Parks in Northern California in July. This was my first time there and it was amazing on so many levels. We stayed in the north end, but it was very easy to drive to and explore other areas of the parks. Take a look at 10 things you must do if you take the […]

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10 Things to Do as a Family at Redwood National & State Parks

We visited Redwood National & State Parks in Northern California in July. This was my first time there and it was amazing on so many levels. We stayed in the north end, but it was very easy to drive to and explore other areas of the parks. Take a look at 10 things you must do if you take the kids to the Redwoods.

1. Stay Near the Park. As always, stay in a hotel or at a campground close to the park. We stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites Redwood Coast in Crescent City. It was basic at best, but it had a free hot breakfast, a coin laundry and a basketball court out front, so it definitely met our needs. It was also only about a five minute drive from the Crescent City Visitor Center.

10 Things to Do as a Family at Redwood National & State Parks

2. Get Prehistoric in Fern Canyon. Movie-goers will love a hike through Fern Canyon, one of the locations in Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World. It’s a little bit of a trek to reach Fern Canyon, but you’ll enjoy the dense forests and greenery when you reach the parking lot. There are some great easy hikes into the canyon too.

3. Wrap Your Arms Around a Really Tall Tree. Sequoia National Park may have the largest trees, but Redwood National Park has the tallest trees, and you’ll find some really big ones at Lady Bird Johnson Grove. You’ll then need to pose for the obligatory arms-around-huge-tree pose like my daughter did.

10 Things to Do as a Family at Redwood National & State Parks

4. Go Tidepooling at Battery Point Lighthouse. Since we stayed in Crescent City it was just a few minutes’ drive to Battery Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse alone is lovely, but there’s a great beach down below there that’s perfect for tidepooling and hunting around for sea glass.

5. Have a Picnic at Klamath River Overlook. I knew we’d see tall trees when we visited the Redwoods, but I had no idea we’d be privy to such stunning coastal views. Bring a picnic lunch and drive up to the top of the bluff for sweeping views. Keep your eyes open for gray whales in the spring.

10 Things to Do as a Family at Redwood National & State Parks

6. Become a Junior Ranger. My kids love earning badges and patches at various national parks through the Junior Ranger program. You can pick up an activity booklet at any visitors center inside the park. As a bonus, you can earn both a ranger badge (national) and a ranger pin (state).

7. Drive Through Chandelier Tree. So, Chandelier Tree technically isn’t in Redwood National Park, but if you’re driving to the Redwoods from the south, it’s worth a stop to squeeze your car through this tree at Drive-Thru Tree Park in Leggett, CA. It cost $5 but it was on the way to the park and it was very cool. :)

10 Things to Do as a Family at Redwood National & State Parks

8. Take Lots of Photos. It’s okay, take as many photos as you like. I easily took dozens of photos of the tall trees and coastal beaches. Every view seemed better than the last and worthy of a photo. It’s incredible to look back at the photos and think that we were there. So amazing.

9. Spend the Afternoon at the Beach. It’s not all trees at Redwood National Park. In fact, there are several beaches that are perfect for splashing in the waves and building sand castles. The kids and I had a great time at Klamath Beach. Others worth checking out include Crescent Beach and Gold Bluffs Beach.

10 Things to Do as a Family at Redwood National & State Parks

10. Stamp Your Passport (Multiple Times). First, buy a Passport to Your National Parks online for $8.95 or at the park visitors center. Inside the park, buy the official sticker for Redwood National & State Parks to add to your passport book. Then, keep your eyes open for cancellation stamps. There are a handful of stamps, including stamps that can be found at the Crescent City and Hiouchi Information Centers.  

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15 Free Things to Do in Chicago with Kids this Summer http://kidventurous.com/15-free-chicago-kids/ http://kidventurous.com/15-free-chicago-kids/#respond Mon, 02 May 2016 21:28:27 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9469 Chicago may be a big city, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can even vacation in Chicago and still manage to do plenty of things that don’t cost a dime. take a look at 15 of my favorite free things to do in Chicago with kids. Have fun. 15 Free Things to Do in Chicago with […]

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Free Things to Do in ChicagoChicago may be a big city, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can even vacation in Chicago and still manage to do plenty of things that don’t cost a dime. take a look at 15 of my favorite free things to do in Chicago with kids. Have fun. :)

15 Free Things to Do in Chicago with Kids

1. The City of Chicago, as well as the suburban areas, are home to hundreds of children’s parks. The city alone has 580 parks! The Chicago Park district keeps a listing of all the parks, including dozens of spray parks that are open for free through the summer.

2. City of Chicago Cultural Center – Located on Washington Street, the Chicago Cultural Center is full of art displays, music, and galleries.

3. Take a stroll through Millennium Park inside the loop and don’t miss the “The Bean.” Find it inside Michigan Avenue, Randolph Street, Columbus Drive and East Monroe Drive. There’s a lot of architecture around it, as well as a good deal of public art. 

4. The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the biggest  zoos you’ll visit for free. Take time to spay your favorite animals and enjoy a day in the sun with your family. Plan to pay for parking or take the CTA bus if you’re staying at a hotel in the city.

5. Play at the new Maggie Daley Park, which takes up a 20-acre corner section of Grant Park. You’ll find rock climbing walls, mini golf and a massive playground.

6. Explore Navy Pier. Located on Lake Michigan, the iconic Navy Pier has an accessible boardwalk as well as free outdoor concerts and fireworks in the summer. 

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7. Summer is a time for lakefront music festivals that are free, including Grant Park Music Festival (June-August), Chicago Blues Festival (June), Chicago Gospel Music Festival (June), Chicago Jazz Festival (August) and the World Music Festival (September).

8. Learn to dance for free at Chicago SummerDance every Friday and Saturday all summer long. Located at  Grant Park, nearly 50 bands in different genres will rock, jazz and bring the tunes to make your body move! You may even learn a dance step or two, too.

9. Visit the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (JAHHM), which serves as a dynamic memorial to social reformer Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. A donation is suggested, but you can enter the museum for free.  

10. On Tuesdays, Cat & Mouse Games, a fun store that sells board games, puzzles, mind benders and more, offers a free game night from 6:30-10:30 pm. They have locations in Bucktown and West Loop. 

11. From April to mid-October, look for a 20-minute water show at the Buckingham FountainIf you’re out in the evening, a spectacular light and music display accompanies the major display at dusk every hour on the hour. 

12. Head to the beach. With the Lake Michigan shoreline, there are plenty of spots. Consider the 12th Street Beach on Northerly park or one of the many other locations.

13. Visit the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier on one of the free entry nights. Target Free Family night is usually Thursday evenings and kids are free on some Saturday mornings. See their website for more details. 

14. Many stores and cafes offer free storytime for kids. Barnes and Noble has a few times a week, as well as places like Little Threads, which offers free storytime every Monday at 10:30 am. See their website to confirm times. 

15. Visit Arcade Park for plain old fun recreation. Grab a Frisbee or a ball and glove and have regular old-fashioned, unstructured fun. Kids need those activities and there’s a lot to be said about just being active, putting down the devices and enjoying time together as a family.

Chicago is easily accessible from midwestern states and also makes a good stopping point for those heading across the country to visit family and friends. With plenty of places to visit, there’s no reason you can’t make Chicago a fun, and fairly inexpensive, stop along the way.

Even if you’re from Chicago, it can be fun to be a tourist in your own city too!

What are your favorite free things to do in Chicago?

 

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10 Fun Things to Do in Orlando With Kids http://kidventurous.com/10-fun-orlando-kids/ http://kidventurous.com/10-fun-orlando-kids/#respond Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9433 Whether you’re headed to Orlando for the first time or piggybacking off of a conference and adding time to have fun with your family, there are so many options for making a great vacation out of your time in Orlando. Of course there’s Walt Disney World, but what else is there to do with kids? Here are 10 fun things to […]

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Fun Things to Do in Orlando With KidsWhether you’re headed to Orlando for the first time or piggybacking off of a conference and adding time to have fun with your family, there are so many options for making a great vacation out of your time in Orlando. Of course there’s Walt Disney World, but what else is there to do with kids? Here are 10 fun things to do in Orlando with kids.

1. Disney. Okay, we still have to start with Walt Disney World because it’s huge. There are multiple parks, loads of places to stay and entertainment that can keep you busy from morning until night. Preschoolers will love Magic Kingdom (here’s a perfect itinerary just for them).  If you have more time and kids of a variety of ages, buy discounted Park Hopper Tickets from Best of Orlando and visit multiple Disney parks.

2. Crayola Experience. The new Crayola Experience is an awesome hands-on attraction with over 25 things to do to show your creativity. They have a great variety of options for kids and adults of all ages. You can even experience the magic of color by turning drawings into 4D art. Or, create and name your own crayons.

3. American Girl. Another fun option is the American Girl Store. Check out all the dolls, dine on-site (complete with chairs for dolls) or even let your doll enjoy a makeover at the salon. Costco members, look for American Girl gift cards. They’re often on sale at $80 for two $50 gift cards. What a great savings.

4. Gator Tour. Whether you choose airboats or plain swamp tours, let your adventurous side come out and see the natural flora, fauna and wild of Florida. The gator tours can be done in nature or you can find one of the many mini zoos that operate in and around Orlando. One to try is Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Tours.

5. Kennedy Space Center. While the Kennedy Space Center technically isn’t Orlando, it is an easy day trip from Orlando (it’s less than 90 minutes to Titusville). This takes you to the Space Coast where you can learn all about astronauts, Cape Canaveral and also explore space in the various tours they offer on-site. You can even have lunch with an astronaut.

6. Universal Orlando. Like Disney, Universal Orlando is a destination itself, with two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure (get deeply discounted tickets from Best of Orlando). You’ll also find on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex called Universal CityWalk Orlando to keep the fun going after the parks close. Read all about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter here.

7. SeaWorld. While there are SeaWorld options sprinkled throughout the U.S., the fact is SeaWorld Orlando is much more than an aquarium. Complete with rides, shows, and restaurants, there are plenty of things to do at SeaWorld over a day or three while visiting Orlando. Take time to feed the sea lions and watch the live Pets Ahoy show.

8. Wet ‘n Wild. Visit America’s first waterpark when you’re in Orlando, Wet ‘n Wild. Look for loads of slides, raft rides, a lazy river, even a massive wave pool. And, of course, it’s a must to spend time with the kids at Blastaway Beach, which has a six-story castle, two pools, 15 waterslides and 160+ interactive water features.

9. Outlet Shopping. When you need a break from theme parks, it’s time to go shopping at Orlando’s three outlet malls. First, head to the 700,000 square foot Orlando Premium Outlets. Then, don’t miss Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, which boasts more than 60 shops. Finally, check out the second Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Avenue. You’ll find fewer shops at this location, but it’s more high-end.

10. Kayak Tour. Take a kayak tour to enjoy the outdoors in Orlando. There are lots of options, like a gentle water tour, a manatee tour or even a bird lover’s tour. As a bonus, the weather is fantastic so much of the year in Orlando that you can get out into a kayak pretty much any month of the year. Check out A Day Away Kayak Tours.

On a budget? Here are 20 Free Things to Do in Orlando with your kids. Looking for a great family-friendly place to stay? Here are the top 6 Family-Friendly Orlando Hotels.

What are your favorite things to do in Orlando with kids?

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Best Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids http://kidventurous.com/healthy-road-trip-snacks-kids/ http://kidventurous.com/healthy-road-trip-snacks-kids/#respond Mon, 25 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9463 With gas prices as low as they are, now is the time to really start thinking about a summer road trip. And, of course, as any mom or dad knows, snacks can make or break any road trip, but what should you bring? Packing healthy snacks for the car is a great way to save time and money while having […]

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Best Healthy Road Trip SnacksWith gas prices as low as they are, now is the time to really start thinking about a summer road trip. And, of course, as any mom or dad knows, snacks can make or break any road trip, but what should you bring? Packing healthy snacks for the car is a great way to save time and money while having quick bites readily available for the kids.

Best Healthy Road Trip Snacks for Kids

When it comes to kids’ food options, convenience is key, but healthy options should also be a key consideration. It’s a good idea to bring food from home, then seek out healthy options along the way as needed. Look to the Grab ‘n Go section of a Petro or TA gas station for good picks like apples, bananas and fresh salads.

 

Healthy Snacks from Home

When headed on a road trip, consider foods that are healthy not just because they are a better option, but because you aren’t very active while on road trips. Poor food choices + many hours of sitting in the car = poor digestion. Here are some healthy snack ideas that kids will enjoy on your road trip.

  • Snap peas, carrots with a side of guacamole. Avocado is full of nutrients and good fats. As a bonus, a cup of guacamole has almost five grams of protein. Snap peas and vegetables, in general, are also a good source of vitamins.
  • Squeeze pouches. Yes, mashed fruit is all the rage. Mott’s makes a variety of Snack & Go products that make great on-the-go snacks. Since they store well and don’t go bad, I recommend these as a backup option. Eat the fresh food first.
  • Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Since you’re grilling them, you’ll have less mess and they actually taste pretty good when cold. Choose nitrate free ham, “real” cheese and add tomato for an extra health benefit.
  • Nuts and seeds. These are packed full of energy as well as nutrition. While they could get messy if they fall, they may be worth the risk since they won’t spread gooey-ness everywhere.

Healthier Snack Options at Convenience Stores

When you’re on that long drive, stopping at restaurants again and again can add up in terms of both time and money. Instead, grab snacks while re-filling the car at the gas station. When you can, bypass the aisle of candy bars and pastries. Instead, make healthier choices. It’s true, gas station food does not have to be unhealthy. Here are some good picks:

  • Yogurt. Choose real yogurt with active, live cultures.
  • Fresh fruit. Many gas stations sell apples and bananas available, which can be cleaned up quickly and eaten on the road. Since they bruise easily, eat them before any prepackaged snacks.
  • Packs of nuts. There are tons of unsalted and less salted varieties, so check those out first.
  • Hard boiled eggs. You’d be surprised but these are actually quite common on the road. Truck drivers love them and you can too. Check the expiration date on them, just in case.
  • Whole grain cereal cups. These are becoming more readily available. Choose one that has fiber and whole grains. Skip those with artificial flavors and high sugar wherever possible. Many gas stations also carry single serve milk to go along with the cereal.
  • String cheese. These are grab and go and you can drop them into your cooler for later. Just try not to overdo it on the cheese. The lack of movement in the car may add to any tummy troubles.
  • All natural snack bars. Choose ones that have more nuts and berries than chocolate and grains. These can be tasty, full of fiber and protein. They taste pretty good too.

To make your road trip healthy, opt for water over sugary drinks and sodas. No slushies or fruity drinks. Instead, opt for plain water or even water with lemon. Not only is it better for you, but when you bring your own bottle from home, you save money too.

In the car, keep it healthy by saying no to mess. No one wants the stress of extra clean up. Keep a small trash bag in each row of the vehicle and expect all trash to head there. Also include:

  • Baby wipes for clean up.
  • Gallon size zip top bags for any items that need to be “taken care of later” (e.g., dirty clothing).
  • Hand sanitizer in case something icky is touched before eating and you aren’t quite sure if the baby wipes did the job.
  • Small size spray cleaner. You can keep this in your glove compartment, but keep some sort of cleaner with you so that in case of car sickness or just a big mess, you can easily clean it up without having to live with the smell for too long.
  • Absorbent paper towels or microfiber towels. Whichever you choose, take it along in case there’s a mess that needs to be cleaned up. Prepare for the worst, but expect the best, right?

Have fun and enjoy your family time, but also set realistic expectations. Take your time, stop to stretch your legs, have a picnic at a local park along the way. Let the kids get some energy out, fill up their water bottles, then head back out on the road. Don’t forget to take along some fun in the car with you, grab some of these free printable travel games for kids.

In your opinion, what are the best healthy road trip snacks for kids?

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10 Reasons to Go to Kings Dominion this Spring http://kidventurous.com/10-reasons-kids-kings-dominion-spring/ http://kidventurous.com/10-reasons-kids-kings-dominion-spring/#respond Tue, 19 Apr 2016 15:49:48 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9524 Over the weekend, my kids and I had the opportunity to check out the third annual Spring Bloom Festival at Kings Dominion near Richmond, VA. Operating on Saturdays and Sundays through May 15, the Spring Bloom Festival is all about flowers, family and fun. We had a great time exploring the rides and activities at Kings Dominion during the opening […]

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10 Reasons to Take the Kids to Kings Dominion this Spring Over the weekend, my kids and I had the opportunity to check out the third annual Spring Bloom Festival at Kings Dominion near Richmond, VA. Operating on Saturdays and Sundays through May 15, the Spring Bloom Festival is all about flowers, family and fun.

We had a great time exploring the rides and activities at Kings Dominion during the opening weekend of the festival. This was our first time visiting the park in the spring and it was such a treat. The temperatures were cool, the sun was shining and the ride lines were short.

Get the kids in the car and head to Kings Dominion for the Spring Bloom Festival. Not that your kids will need much convincing, but here are 10 great reasons to go this spring. Have fun. :)

1. Planet Snoopy. We love Planet Snoopy and always start there first when we visit Kings Dominion. There are nearly 20 rides just for kids, including Joe Cool’s Driving School and Lucy’s Tugboat. There are also two kid-sized roller coasters, including Woodstock Express, which I rode twice and screamed both times.

2. Cute Baby Animals. Who doesn’t love a petting zoo with baby animals? Open from 12-5 pm, the petting zoo is located in the Planet Snoopy area of the park. Look for bunnies, alpacas, sheep and miniature horses. There were even some very, very small baby piglets playing with a tiny kitten. So cute. :)

Who doesn't love baby animals?

Who doesn’t love baby animals?

3. Shorter Ride Lines. While not related to spring, one great reason to the take the kids to the Spring Bloom Festival is that the lines for rides are much shorter than in the summer. Even better, the weather is cooler, which is nice when plans have you outside all day.  

4. Spring Bloom Food Faire. Under the Eiffel Tower, look for the Spring Bloom Food Faire, a showcase of foods inspired by four different countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland. There you’ll find tasty treats like Swiss Mac and Cheese with Diced Bacon and Smoked Gouda (a favorite of my 10 y.o.).

The foods at the Spring Bloom Food Faire were so yummy!

The foods at the Spring Bloom Food Faire were so yummy!

Each country features three dishes created by the park’s own Chef Paul. You’ll need to buy tickets at the booth under the Eiffel Tower to try out the dishes. It’s $3 for a sample portion or $8 for a full-size portion (honestly, we found that the sample sizes were plenty). It’s a must while you’re in the park.

5. Character Meet & Greets. Of course, there are character meet and greets every day at Kings Dominion, but now the Peanuts characters are dressed up for the season. We saw Linus and Charlie Brown both dressed up as if ready to play spring sports. They were always roaming, so there were lots of good photo opps.

We loved meeting all the Peanuts Gang characters!

We loved meeting all the Peanuts Gang characters!

6. Live Entertainment. There’s a band that plays every day of the Spring Bloom Festival between 12:30-2 pm and 4-6 pm on the main stage near the Eiffel Tower. There are several cafes and ice cream shops near the stage, so you’ll want to grab a snack, take a break and listen to the music. We love free concerts.

7. Spring Flowers. Of course, if you’re going to an event called the Spring Bloom Festival, you’ll want to check out the colorful spring flowers all around the park. They’re all so beautiful, especially near the front of the park when you first enter. Keep your eyes open for butterfly and dragonfly decorations, too.

The spring flowers throughout Kings Dominion were beautiful.

The spring flowers throughout Kings Dominion were beautiful.

8. Funnel Cakes and Dippin’ Dots. I love to go to theme parks, like Kings Dominion, if only for the fun foods we can’t get at home, like funnel cakes and Dippin’ Dots. Among our other faves are candy apples, frozen custard and walnut fudge. Such a yummy treat.

9. Multigenerational Fun. We picked up my parents on our way to Kings Dominion. Not only did they have a great time with two of my kids, but my step-father told me that he realized that you can have fun at Kings Dominion without riding any of the rides. It’s a fun place to just be with the grandkids!

Riding Woodstock Whirlybirds with Grandma.

Riding the Flying Ace ride with Grandma.

10. Springtime Crafts. My kids love hands-on activities, so head to the Kids Garden inside Planet Snoopy for family-friendly activities, like flower pot decorating (from 3-5 pm). They also have a Lowe’s Build & Grow Workshop (from 12-2 pm) where kids can use their hands to build things, like chalkboard planters.

The Spring Bloom Festival is open Saturdays and Sundays through May 15 at Kings Dominion. Also, be sure to come back for the Memorial Weekend Salute (May 28-30), Star Spangled Celebration (July 2-4), KidsFest (July 16-17, 23-24) and Great Pumpkin Festival (September 19-October 30). Have fun. :)

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand. I have been compensated for my participation. However, all opinions are my own.  

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15 Fun Things to Do in Hilton Head with Kids http://kidventurous.com/hilton-head-family-vacation/ http://kidventurous.com/hilton-head-family-vacation/#respond Thu, 14 Apr 2016 12:00:31 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9500 Over Spring Break in mid-March, not only did we explore Myrtle Beach, but we also spent a few days exploring Hilton Head, SC. This was our first Hilton Head family vacation and there was so much to see and do, especially with kids. We loved riding our bikes and kayaking along the waterways in Hilton Head. And, of course, the […]

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Over Spring Break in mid-March, not only did we explore Myrtle Beach, but we also spent a few days exploring Hilton Head, SC. This was our first Hilton Head family vacation and there was so much to see and do, especially with kids.

We loved riding our bikes and kayaking along the waterways in Hilton Head. And, of course, the beaches are fantastic. We had just three or four days in town, but I definitely could have spent more time here. Take a look at the 15 must-do’s if you’re considering a Hilton Head family vacation.

1. Stay at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. There are a variety of hotels and rentals to book in Hilton Head, but we loved Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which has a variety of home and villa rentals that are perfect for families. It’s quiet and serene, but there’s plenty to do, too.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

Our vacation rental at Palmetto Dunes had a fantastic full kitchen.

We stayed in a two-bedroom condo (740 Queens Grant) at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which worked perfectly for my family of six (there was a pull-out sofa for two of my kids). Our condo had a full kitchen, a washer and dryer and a good-size family room. There was plenty of space to move.

The beach was a short walk from our condo, as was a bike rental shop, tennis courts, three golf courses, a kayaking lagoon, a convenience store and Big Jim’s Restaurant (be sure to order the nachos). There were also loads of bike paths. One of my favorite things about Hilton Head and Palmetto Dunes is that it is so bike-friendly. You can truly bike everywhere that you need to go on your Hilton Head family vacation.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

There’s just so much to do at Palmetto Dunes in Hilton Head.

Within Palmetto Dunes, look for daily activities, like golf clinics, tennis exhibitions and live music. There’s even a Nachos Day at Big Jim’s on Saturdays. I will tell you that Martini Monday at Big Jim’s is popular, so if you want to eat dinner there on Mondays, get there early to beat the crowd.

2. Rent Bikes and Explore the Island. There are lots of bike rental shops on the island, but since we were staying at Palmetto Dunes, we rented ours from Hilton Head Outfitters. You can rent all kinds of bikes, as well as bike baskets and helmets, even kiddie carts. We opted for tandem bikes, which my six- and eight-year-olds absolutely loved. As a bonus, Hilton Head Outfitters delivered our bikes right to our condo.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

We rode our bikes everyday while in Hilton Head. An absolute highlight.

3. Play Pickleball. Introduced last summer at Palmetto Dunes, pickleball has quickly become one of the most popular activities at the resort. A mixture of tennis, badminton and ping pong, Palmetto Dunes offers pickleball lessons several times a week, as well as daily round robins. Kids will love hitting back and forth with over-sized paddles and softball-sized balls.

4. Go on a Boat Cruise. There are several cruises available on Hilton Head, including dolphin and nature cruises, but we opted for a pirate cruise with Pirates of Hilton Head, which sets sail from Harbour Town at Sea Pines Resort. This was our first pirate cruise and the “pirates” on board were amazingly good with the kids. Even my older girls (10 & 12) loved spraying water cannons at Stinky Pete. Highly recommend.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

The cruise with Pirates of Hilton Head was such a treat for the kids.

5. Tour a Lowcountry Plantation. It’s a must to check out a Lowcountry plantation while in South Carolina. Rose Hill Mansion is said to be the only antebellum plantation house left in Beaufort County. Guided tours are offered weekdays at 2 pm. No children under six-years-old are allowed on the tour. Since Rose Hill Mansion is a private residence, reservations are required.

6. Explore the Coastal Discovery Museum. Relax and enjoy a walk around the grounds at the Coastal Discovery Museum. Take the Honey Horn Trail around the property for lovely water views and Spanish moss hanging from the live oak trees. Kids will love the Kids Zone inside the Discovery House. The museum also offers guided walks and nature tours, even “kids only adventures,” several days a week.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

Take a walk along the Honey Horn Trail at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

7. Play a Round of Miniature Golf. Hilton Head may not be the Mini Golf Capital of the World, like nearby Myrtle Beach, but it’s still a definite highlight while on a Hilton Head family vacation. Try Adventure Cove, which has two 18-hole miniature golf courses (Paradise Falls and Lost Lagoon). There’s even an arcade. While in town, pick up a copy of 101 Things to Do, the free visitors magazine, for money-saving coupons.

8. Get Out on the Water. There’s so much to do on the water on Hilton Head Island. You can go stand-up up paddleboarding, tubing, wakeboarding, sailing, water skiing. The list goes on and on. We opted for kayaking around Palmetto Dunes, which you can rent from Hilton Head Outfitters. You can get right on the water behind the shop and we did so in our single and double kayaks. So much fun.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

We loved kayaking as a family while in Hilton Head.

9. Watch the Sun Set. There’s nothing like a good beach sunset. Sure, Hilton Head may be on the east coast, but you can still catch some amazing views as the sun dips below the horizon. Head to Shelter Cove Harbour or Harbour Town, both of which are popular spots for catching the sunset. Vagabond Cruise also offers several sunset dinner cruises.

10. Try Out a Treetop Canopy Tour. I can’t lie, I love a good treetop canopy tour, so I was super excited for our two-hour aerial adventure through the trees with Zipline Hilton Head. We walked across tight ropes, traversed cargo nets and made our way across various obstacles. The staff is amazing there too, even guiding my son across the first “element,” as they say. The second time on the course, my son crossed no problem.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

The guides were fantastic at Zipline Hilton Head, even helping my son cross this element.

11. Climb a Lighthouse. Climb 114 steps to the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse at Sea Pines Resort. Stop on your way up to check out various artifacts and photographs. Take in the views from the top and pick up some souvenirs at the gift shop at the top of the lighthouse. Or, just grab an ice cream cone at the base of the lighthouse like my kids did while I went to the top of the lighthouse. :)

12. Go Horseback Riding. Head to Lawton Stables for a one-hour guided tour on horseback. It’s a great way to explore the Lowcountry of South Carolina. While trail rides are for riders ages eight and up, Lawton Stables also offers pony rides for kids ages seven and younger. It’s a great way for little ones to enjoy their own ride on a friendly Shetland Pony.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

Take time for a one-hour horseback trail ride at Lawton Stables.

13. Go Crabbing. Head out on a sport crabbing cruise on board the Crabber J II with Adventure Cruises out of Shelter Cove Harbour. Plan to motor out into the calm waters of Broad Creek to fish for blue crabs, but be warned, it can get competitive. Catch the most crabs and win a coveted Crabber J II t-shirt. Also, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins playing during this nearly two-hour cruise.

14. Visit the Small Animal Farm. In addition to horseback trail rides and pony rides, make sure to visit with the goats, alpacas and pigs at the free animal farm at Lawton Stables. There’s even a deer named Callie who walks freely around the petting area. Lawton Stables offers food that you can buy to feed the animals while you are there.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

We loved petting the alpacas at the animal farm at Lawton Stables.

15. Take a Boat Cruise to Savannah. Given Savannah is just a riverboat cruise away (or 45 minutes by car), hop aboard the Spirit of Harbour Town for a historic cruise of Savannah. Riverboats depart twice a week and allow for plenty of time to explore and eat lunch in Savannah before heading back to Hilton Head. You can buy tickets for guided tours of Savannah’s historic district right on the boat.

Have you been on a Hilton Head family vacation in South Carolina? I’d love to hear your favorite things to do with kids.

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