5 Tips for Kayaking with Kids

Try something new this summer by learning to kayak with your kids -- we've got tips & inspiration for how to get started!  This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . All details & opinions are mine only.

Every summer, we like to get out and try something new with our kids. 

In my own little world, I have this list of "things I want to experience with my kids before they grow up and won't be around any more" :) 

So each year, I revisit the list and pick something that I think would be fun to try.

Because one of the best parts about family is experiencing something new together!

To inspire you, we're starting a short summer series on the blog -- Outdoor Family Adventures!

My goal is to introduce you to fun and adventurous activities that families will enjoy -- hiking, horseback riding, snorkeling and ...

... today's feature activity -- kayaking!

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Great Wilderness Adventure Books for Ages 9 - 12

With the first official day of summer coming this week, I sat down to review our summer reading list.

Since I know first hand that it can be somewhat challenging to get those older kids reading during the summer months (or reading something OUTSIDE of their normal 'book type'), I always like to have some go-to chapter books on hand.

One of our favorite genres during the summer are outdoor adventure books -- stories where kids are up against nature and must do some quick thinking and use their survival skills to get through a tough situation.

Those books where kids think "Man, I wish I could have an adventure like that!"

So today's book list is for all those adventurous spirits out there -- both boys & girls -- who wonder what it would be like to be lost in the woods or shipwrecked alone on an island.

Stories like these help our kids to think about how they might 'step up' and handle a challenging situation when there are no adults to lead the way. 

And they're sure to entice and capture the attention of even the most reluctant of readers!

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Go BIG! Life-size Games & Art Activities that Make Kids Say "WOW!"

Have you ever noticed that normal sized things are boring for kids?

"Want pancakes this morning?" and all I hear is  "Ok."

But if I ask "How about a pancake the size of your plate?", then I hear "AWESOME!"

Yep, size matters to kids ;)

They LOVE things that are super big or super small -- small world play is always a huge hit and creating BIG art is something they can do for hours.

So in keeping with our 105 Ways to Make Memories with the Kids without Spending a Dime theme this summer, we are introducing some VERY BIG activities the kids will really enjoy!

 

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30 Fun Things to do in June: Holidays & Observances

Sometimes creating fun memories is as simple as celebrating a day together -- so I thought I would share some of the fun & unique June Observation Days that families will enjoy!

It seems that there is a Fun Day celebration for everything under the sun -- Hug your Cat Day or Make a Sandwich Day (odd but true).

And the whole concept of there being days unique observances is a little foreign to kids -- except when they ask you "There's a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, so when is it Kid's Day?" 

Of course, we all answer "Every day is Kid's Day", right ;)

For June, choose a few observation days that fit your family's life -- maybe you're an outdoorsy group and want to do something special for National Get Outdoors Day.

Or maybe your kids LOVE Bomb Pops -- then make National Bomb Pop Day a new family tradition.

In line with our $0 Summer: Fun & Free Ways to Make Memories with the Kids philosophy, it doesn't have to be time-consuming or expensive -- it's the little things that create BIG impressions!

 

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Awesome Father's Day Gift Ideas for Dad

It's June, which means sunshine, swimming pools and a special day for Dad - which means!

When is Father's Day this year? 

Don't worry, you've still got time -- it's June 19th. 

And for the record, my Dad's birthday is the same week so I've been browsing for some fun and unique gifts for a few of the special men in my life. 

Now, my husband will tell you that the best gift any man could get would be an unlimited supply of bacon (and who am I to argue) but I was thinking of something a little better than bacon ;)

I know, there's probably not much that's better than bacon but here are some unique ideas that I think most Dad's will enjoy.

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Science & Water Activities for a Day at the Pond

One thing I really enjoy during the summer are days out with the kids! 

We like to explore almost anywhere but since we have a summer budget, finding free places to visit is always a plus since we like to get out a lot during summertime.

You don’t have to travel very far for the kids to feel like they are “on a vacation”.  

I began to realize the benefits of days out with the kids when I took the kids to a pond one morning – we packed a picnic lunch, grabbed our favorite blanket along with a few other fun things that I had stashed in the car and headed out for a few hours.

It’s amazing how much fun kids have exploring the water!

So today we are sharing all the fun things you can do on a trip to the pond, creek or lake – including a great book list, FREE printable list and some great activities everyone will enjoy.

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10 Books for a Day at the Beach or Lake

10 Books for a Day at the Beach or Lake

Wonderful books about the beach and lake that are perfect for that summer reading list!

There are SO many things to do at the beach! 

Have you tried any of these Science at the Beach activities?

But a day on the sand or at the lake can tire out even the most active of kids so be sure to bring along a few books for the trip. 

Or better yet, take them in the car for some before-beach fun.   

Kids can learn a TON while digging in the sand or floating on the water and these books will inspire them to explore items they may find and enjoy some downtime on the blanket.

Which means some downtime for you too -- so don't forget to take along a book for yourself ;)

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27 Simple Summer Science Experiments

Enjoy these simple summer science experiments that will inspire curious minds!

Memorial Day, the unofficial start of Summer is next week!

And our kids are already out of school -- yea!  We're on summer break! :)

Summer is a wonderful time to let the kids show off their curiosity and do some simple science:

Mom, do you think this {non-waterproof object} will float?

If I put my popsicle down in the sun, how long will it take to melt?

and the best one that's always asked at our house --

If we put the hose at the top of the slide and turn on the water, how fast will I slide down?

They shoot off that thing like a greased pig I tell you :)

So in order to inspire & nuture that growing sense of curiosity -- and even allow them to live a little dangerously at times -- we thought we would bring you an awesome list of Simple Summer Science Experiements to try!

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15 Animal-themed Math Activities

Math has always been an issue at our house.

My son LOVES math!  We were constantly looking for fun ways to expand on different math concepts that he enjoyed because he was always working ahead in that area.

Now my daughter -- NOT a lover of traditional math at all :)

Worksheets & math books make her cringe.

But she really enjoys hands-on activities and reading so my goal has always been to find interesting ways to engage her (read that:  trick her as she would say) into doing more math.

With summer coming, it's really important to keep the kids practicing their math concepts.  During the summer months, most kids will lose two months of mathematical skills!

I know - shocking!

Math is one of those things that requires daily practice -- BUT it doesn't have to be the boring-do-a-worksheet kind of practice. 

There are a lot of fun ways to integrate math into summer activities so kids are not only learning but also having a great time while they play!

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10 Terrific Road Trip Movies for Kids

Awesome road trip movies for kids that are perfect for long car rides or family movie night!

Today we are combining two of our favorite summer activities -- movie time and road trip adventures -- in the last post of our Summer Movies for Kids series!

Just in case you missed that previous posts, here are the other movie lists we've shared:

The 25 Best Kids Books Made into Movies

9 Totally NOT Boring History Movies

12 Movies that Inspire Kids to Tinker

 

Summertime is a great time to travel -- head out on an adventure and explore the unknown!

Even if the unknown is only 30 minutes away and the adventure only lasts for a few hours, kids really benefit from visiting new places & having new experiences.

Since most families will venture out on a road trip at least once in their lives, I thought it would be fun to feature some of the more famous kid-friendly road trip movies.  Whether you watch these films before you set off on vacation or pop them in during your trip, I'm sure you'll identify with more than a few of the antics and escapades that accompany a memorable family road trip :)

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The Best National Park Adventures for Kids

Learn about the Junior Ranger Program for kids -- the best kept secret at the National Parks!

If you visit our blog frequently, you'll know that we are BIG fans of getting kids outside :)

Our first post featuring Kids to Parks Day focused on 30 Games & Activities to Play at the Park.

Today, I thought we would share some of the secrets about the awesome kids programs at our National Parks.

Yep, secrets!! 

Shhhh.....

 

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Recycle End of Year School Supplies for Back to School

Have your kids started their countdown for the last day of school yet?

The clock is quickly ticking away at our house!

And I adore that last day of school -- all the excitement about summer, the hugs for the teachers, our special end of school traditions and the kids knowing they are "one year older" in school years ;)

But I do dread all the end of the school year stuff that comes home with them -- stuffed in an "I-just-couldn't-get-it-zipped" backpack and overflowing brown paper bag.

They run into the house carrying that huge lot -- their whole desk or locker just dumped in it (UGH!) -- and it just spills out on the floor, quickly forgotten.  

So before they ditch their school supplies and reach for their bathing suits, have them follow these quick & easy steps that will save you time & money come Fall!! 

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How Do Leaves Breathe? A Simple Science Experiment for Kids

Learn how plants breathe with this easy outdoor science activity that makes the invisible visible!

I just realized that we haven't shared many Simple Science Experiments lately.

Our goal with Simple Science activities is to provide you with quick & easy ideas that help kids explore science! 

Most of these require very few items (many of which are found around your home) and can be set up in less than 5 minutes. If you'd like to introduce your child to science, these experiements are the perfect place to begin!

For today's Simple Science experiment, we're going to head outdoors and learn how leaves breathe!

All you'll need is a bowl of water and a leaf!

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12 Inspiring Science Movies for Kids

Movies about science & inventors is the focus of this week's Summer Movie Series for Kids!

There are a number of wonderful films that will inspire children to tinker and create new things -- kids always come up with the most amazing ideas when given the chance ;)

For example, my daughter wants a robot that will do all her chores (wouldn't we all love one of those!)

In addition to some very creative inventions, these movies also offer a peek into the process of trial & error. 

No one gets it right on the first try -- being an inventor is all about not giving up which is a great message and important life skill for kids to understand.

So pop some popcorn and turn down the lights -- reminding the kids that both of those things were created by some awesome tinkerers!

Then offer the kids the opportunity to do some inventing of their own with some of the hands-on tinkering activities we've also featured in the post -- here's to a creative summer!

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15 Things to Craft & Make Using Newspapers

Even though we only get the newspaper once a week, we always seem to have a pile of it lying around the house or tossed in the recycle bin.

In fact, that was my inspiration for our DIY Eiffel Tower project!

Why go out and spend money on building materials when you have some great stuff around the house, right!

So, since I know that newspapers are easy to come by and usually just recycled once read, I thought we'd share some inspiration for a few high fun, low cost summer projects for kids!

 

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