Play Right: Celebrate Summer with a Backyard Camping Trip

If you don’t have the time or funds for a weeklong vacation, you can still celebrate your favorite outdoor traditions with a backyard camping trip! Pitch your tent in the grass, bring out pillows and sleeping bags, and enjoy all the fun of a summer adventure without the added stress of a long-distance vacation. 

1. Take Your Tent Up A Notch

 

Get Your Kids In On The Fun

Before the big day, have your kids make their own decorations to turn your backyard into a camping destination. From outdoors-themed coloring pages to wreaths, birdhouses to hand-painted tiki torches, these creations will give your kids the added fun of seeing their hard work transform your home into a state park.  

 

Light It Up

For some extra decorations, string lights and quirky battery-operated lights bring a gentle, warm glow to every summer evening. If your backyard has wall outlets, you can break out your holiday lights. For a fun DIY project, fill Mason jars or brightly colored plastic containers with battery-operated string lights. These can then be placed in the tent or around the backyard for a colorful evening glow! 

 

Tent Games

Turn your tent into a game room with your favorite board games, or make up your own! (Pro tip: this is a great activity for a rainy day!) When it gets dark, use lanterns or flashlights to create shadow puppets on the walls of the tent. For an educational twist, invest in a constellation lamp or tapestry and teach your kids to read the stars.   We love The Night Sky by local educator and author Garrick Pfaffmann .

 

2. Kid-Friendly Campfire Recipes

 

Breakfast: Tin Foil Egg Boats

These tin foil breakfasts are perfect for picky eaters and adventurous foodies alike. Shape two pieces of tin foil into a “boat” and a lid. Fill the boat with whisked eggs, chopped veggies, pre-cooked bacon, or your other favorite proteins. Then, carefully fold the tin foil lids over the boats to make closed, football-shaped containers. Cook these on a grill or stick with a marshmallow spear to roast over an open fire. After 5-10 minutes, the eggs and mix-ins will be perfectly cooked. Top with shredded cheese, salsa, or sour cream and dig in! 

 

Lunch & Dinner: Campfire Meals   

Cooking over a campfire adds a new layer of smoky flavor to every meal. Did you know baked potatoes can be an entire delicious, nutritious meal? Scrub and salt your potatoes, wrap in tin foil, and place directly in the coals of your campfire. Let roast for 45 minutes, then set aside to cool. When they’re ready to eat, add your favorite toppings — your kids can mix and match healthy favorites like broccoli, olives, scallions, salsa, and cheese — and dig in! For a cheesier twist, you can make grilled cheese or quesadillas over the fire. Our kids love adding mushrooms, roasted peppers, onions, tomatoes, and other veggies to make unique grilled cheese masterpieces!

 

Dessert: S’more Healthy S’mores

Who said s’mores had to be unhealthy? You can add a fresh component to this campfire favorite by swapping your Graham crackers for sliced strawberries or bananas, then topping with mini marshmallows and low-sugar dark chocolate. For a pop of protein, add a handful of chopped nuts. If your kids are fans of ooey-gooey deliciousness (who isn’t?), build tin foil boats like you did at breakfast and fill with your favorite dessert toppings. You can roast these over the fire just like roasting marshmallows, and enjoy a delicious, sticky dessert! 

3. Turn Your Backyard Into A State Park

 

Flora & Fauna Scavenger Hunt

For an educational afternoon activity, look up your state’s common wildlife and indigenous plants. Locate these in your own backyard (or hide handmade versions if your backyard isn’t super green), then make a scavenger hunt for your kids to complete. Spend the afternoon identifying these plants, bugs, and birds, and learning fun facts about them! 

 

Summer Olympics

It may be an off year for the Olympics, but that doesn’t have to be the case at your house! Turn your backyard into a sports extravaganza with your favorite summer games, like horseshoes, cornhole, and lawn darts. Do your kids have a competitive streak? Plan a full afternoon of games and competitions, with points for the winners. At the end of the day, decorate each other’s medals and give awards like “Best Concentration Face” and “Most Enthusiasm.” Hold a medal ceremony and celebrate! 

 

Bedtime Storytelling Contest

When it’s time for bed, you can use the day’s activities to inspire a bedtime storytelling contest. Alternatively, you can use familiar fairy tales and swap out the main characters for members of your family or your kids’ friends. Climb into your favorite jammies and take turns telling stories with different categories — scary, funny, mysterious — and vote on the winners.

 

As a mom and business owner living in the Colorado mountains, I have access to tons of great camping and wilderness opportunities.  But my entire life I’ve loved spending time right at home in my backyard: big, small, rural, urban, sandy, grassy, or rocky.   There’s nothing better than grilling out, making a fire, enjoying your garden or native plants, kicking or throwing a ball, a round of quoits or corn hole, and loving whatever makes your home special.   And what excitement for the kids, just to set up a tent in the yard and sleep outside.   Let’s face it, Summer can be short, but sweet, so make the most of it, even if it’s just right outside your doorstep!

Sweet dreams! ~ Nicole

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Camping To Bond

I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.    My family enjoyed a fun-filled camping trip in our home state of Colorado followed by a local celebratory parade.   We live in a place where we are lucky to be surrounded by wilderness, yet we still love to get out and camp.   One of the things I love the most about camping is that it allows us to leave our never ending TO-DO list at home and just focus on our family and enjoying time together outside.    We cook a little slower over the camp fire. We relax a bit more taking in the morning air or the evening sunset.   We wander a bit longer through the woods looking for bugs, plants, birds or rocks that catch our eye.    This month Jenny Jackson is sharing great ideas for family camping with us.  As the Fall leaves change, it’s a great time to get outside, explore, and enjoy the last days of warm weather.

Tips For A Fun Family Camping Getaway

Since 2014, an additional six million families are taking up camping per year. As a classic way to bond with the family, camping allows you and your family some time away from the real world and lets you focus on who matters most. When planning your next family camping trip, it is essential to bring the proper supplies, entertainment, and the right attitude to make your camping trip a success.

It Starts With Supplies

A good camping trip hinges on how well prepared the campers are. When collecting supplies, it’s best to start with the necessities. Tents, sleeping bags, and warm blankets protect you and your family from the elements and make your stay comfortable. Make sure to keep extra blankets especially for toddlers or young children. Flashlights, batteries, bug spray, and extra clothing are all crucial too, as they increase safety. Finally, the most important items to stock up on are food and utensils. While the amount of food you pack depends on the facilities available, a grill, pots and pans, cooking utensils, and dishwashing supplies are great to feed the whole family. Packing snacks and sweets such as s’mores will keep any child happy as well.

Entertainment and Activities

Children are often very active and curious, and it is imperative you keep them entertained and active during your camping trip. The last thing you want is to be constantly nagged by bored children and lose valuable serenity, so bringing along games and activities is a must. Activities such as nature scavenger hunts, flashlight tag, singing campfire songs, and making s’mores are all great ways to keep the family busy and bonding. For a more cerebral twist, reading and telling stories, nature walks to learn about the ecosystem, and animal spotting can all be fun educational ways to get closer during a family camping trip.

It’s All About Attitude

In today’s world, children are plugged into smartphones and computers while you are busy in your career. Camping is a way to unwind, but can also be a complete switch up from your normal routine. When making such a drastic change in scenery with your kids, it is important to have a good attitude and remain positive and engaging. It is also imperative you are organized and prepared for anything. Safety comes first and being ill-prepared is not a good situation to be in. Lastly, make sure your children are involved. By allowing them to memorize landmarks for directions, hold the compass, or carrying a whistle you are giving them responsibility and involvement in the decision making. This can make them more engaged and receptive.

Go Camping Soon

Camping as a family is both fun and healthy for the family relationship. In order to be prepared make sure you bring the proper supplies such as tents, sleeping bags, and plenty of food. Also, make sure you invest in activities or entertainment for the kids, anything from nature walks to skipping rocks can keep them attentive. And lastly, have a good positive attitude and be prepared. Your next family camping trip awaits.

~Jenny Jackson

Play Right: Plan a Family Vacation to Remember

At New Jammies, we know the benefits of traveling with the kids to new, and familiar, places. We see the wonder in their eyes of seeing special landmarks. In the diverse cultures they experience. And in the memories made together as a family.

“Vacation is essential to strengthen personal relationships, inspire creative thinking, improve professional performance, and promote better heath,” says Project: Time Off, a leading national movement to transform American attitudes and change behavior about taking vacation time.

“We aim to shift culture so that taking time off is understood as essential to personal well-being, professional success, business performance, and economic expansion.​“

Although Project: Time Off sees the value of vacation time for close relationships and work growth, the movement says Americans still fail to use 662 million vacation days annually.

“The stockpile of unused vacation is creating a spike in worker burnout and even larger balance sheet liabilities that directly affect a company’s bottom line,” the movement reports. “What’s worse—employees forfeited 206 million vacation days in 2016.”

And Project: Time Off says 51% of Americans still skip the one step that could help them vacation: planning.

”Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once, and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured,” Project: Time Off reminds us. “A majority of parents believe that family vacations are worth the time and money because they ‘give my child experiences that they will remember years down the road.’”

To encourage parents and caregiving family members to do so, the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off initiative established the last Tuesday of January as National Plan for Vacation Day in 2017.

This day is ideal to start planning ahead and declare vacation days at the start of the year. Project: Time Off says the first-ever National Plan for Vacation Day saw organizations implement creative activations for Americans to take time off to reunite with family and friends and rejuvenate.

“In its inaugural year, more than 600 organizations, representing all 50 states, came together to encourage Americans to plan for vacation,” Project: Time Off says.

This year’s National Plan for Vacation Day, on Jan. 30, 2018, is a day to encourage Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year. The registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National Plan for Vacation Day to be observed annually in 2018 as an opportunity to come together at a single moment to rally around the importance of planning for a vacation.

Learn more at ProjectTimeOff.com/Plan and join the conversation online with #PlanForVacation on social media. Project: Time Off is making it easy for Americans to plan their vacations with the new Vacation Planning Tool.

And take this advice from Nationwide on planning a family vacation with kids.

“It makes sense to go for one that’s stress-free and age appropriate. (For tips on the stress-free part, check out their page on packing light.)” says the Nationwide Learning Center. “While ‘less is more’ applies to any kind of travel, The Family Travel Files has specific family travel tips for different age groups, including the young ones:

Children six weeks to five years
It’s never too early to start traveling with young children, as long as parents are prepared for the slow pace and frequent naps. Before you begin your trip:

• Get a well-baby checkup (especially if you’re traveling to another country)
• Pack first aid items including water, sunscreen & insect repellent
• Pack baby-proofing items like socket plugs, corner tabs & nightlights

Children ages 6-12
Family vacations can create life-long memories for kids in this age range. Even better, children in these primary-school years are still very dependent on their parents and haven’t yet reached the rebellious teenage years.

• Pack light, because children often lose personal items
• Pack a surprise to keep your child occupied in transit, during delays and long lines

Read more tips here.

Bon voyage!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.