Planning Day Trips with the Kids

Summer vacations do not have to be to be too time consuming. After all, planning for long trips with kids can get a little complicated. There are schedules to line up, supplies to pack and all kinds of extra expenses that might pop up. Do not let these common obstacles stop you from taking the family on the road for a quick and easy day trip this summer. Day trips can be just as exciting and convenient for your family during the summer months as any large scale summer vacation plans.

Photo by : Socram_yar

Here’s how to get started when planning a summer day trip with the kids –

Do your Research: What fun locales are not too far from where you live? To make sure you have the chance to see something a little bit different from your everyday norm, you’ll want to see what opportunities are within driving distance or even accessible by public transportation. Museums, nearby towns, amusement parks, outdoor festivals, hiking trails, county fairs, and more – the possibilities are endless! The over aching theme is to find a location and or activity that you can get to and enjoy within a single day.

Put it to a Vote: After you have lined up a few potential day trip locations, make sure that you end up choosing a trip that everyone will enjoy. Get the family together for a fun dinner and while everyone’s eating present some of your ideas to them and pitch them on the options that you have already screens and deemed appropriate, fun and within budget. To keep it fair do a blind vote by having each family member discreetly write down their choice day trip and slip it into a box so that you can calculate votes and settle on a locale. Letting the kids get their voices heard in this process will make it extra special.

Pack Supplies: Day trips often require spending some time in the car and on the road. This means you might want to think ahead and pack snacks, navigations tools, first aid kit, road games, and more or even DVDs if you’re able to play them in the car or through a portable device of some sort. Other things to consider packing include pillows and blankets for comfort, sanitizing wipes and paper towels, chargers for mobile electronics, music, a camera, and quick cash as you’ll be out and about all day.

Hit the Road: once everything is accounted for, your priority can switch from planning to simple having fun! Hit the road an start making family memories to last a lifetime.

Independence Day: A Festive Family Parade

Is your neighborhood hosting a festive block party or are you simply looking for a fun activity to increase family bonding time during this long summer weekend? Then, consider planning a 4th of July parade with the kids to show your patriotism. This is not only a great way to pass the time but it will make for great memories and family photo ops that you will cherish throughout the years. All you need are a few red, white, and blue decorations, your family, and their bikes, permitting that they already know how to ride them and a festive fun loving attitude.  Follow our tips for creating a holiday parade that will take your neighborhood by storm this season!

Photo by GoHomeKiki

Come summer your kids are probably already riding around on bikes with their neighborhood friends. And if they aren’t, there’s probably no better time than while they’re out on summer vacation to teach them how to rule the roads on a two wheeler or easy to ride tricycle (If you’re littlest ones are still at that ‘big wheel’ stage). Any wheeled mode of transportation will do. Start by lining up everyone’s bikes in the driveway or yard. Each bike can be treated as the corresponding family member’s own unique parade float.

Before starting to decorate, remember to keep safety as your top priority. As much as you want to deck the bike in the most festive gear that you can find., it will still need to function normally as a bike so steer clear of attaching anything that might create an unnecessary hazard for your child. That means nothing should be able to get tangled in their pedals or wheels or block visibility while they’re riding on the roads. While your goal is to have fun  during the holiday weekend, one thing that would put a major damper on this would be to have a run in with an avoidable accident.

From there gather your decorations. Tinsel, streamers, bows,  flags and any festive attachments will do! Then plan a route through the neighborhood and an order for people to ride in. Let your neighbors know about the event a head of time so that they can watch or possibly get involved themselves. The more people you have, the more options you’ll have for activities like performances or other parade like traditions. You might even invite some of your more experienced riders to carry more around a small mobile speaker to play music that the family can sing along to or simply enjoy while riding through the streets.

A fun time is sure to be had by everyone in your neighborhood when you family’s parade passes through!

Planning a Outdoor Treasure Hunt

Temperatures are rising and soon most kids will be heading home for the start their summer vacation. Combat boredom and take advantage of the sunny seasonal weather by planning a few outdoor activities for your little ones. Coordinating a neighborhood treasure or scavenger hunt will not only help keep them active, but it can be an exciting learning experience that encourages exploration and test your little one’s problem solving skills. Use these tips to set you kids on a journey through your local community!

Photo by Edenpictures

1. Create a map of the neighborhood – Print a map of the neighborhood or your designated hunt area as a simple starting point. Use this as a guide and get creative with how you choose to display neighborhood landmarks and all the information necessary to guide the kids through the area. Ideally, you’ll want to create an easy-to-read treasure map that will make the adventure seen that much more exciting, and if it were out of the pages of a storybook.

2. Plan clues and designate points along the route that the kids need to reach. This also creates smaller goals along the way to entice participants to keep going. Select locations to hide scavenger hunt items or use clues to describe local landmarks to visit along the way. If you want to skip the step of planting clues and objects on your kids’ route, then you might have the kids take photos by each of the items described in your clues or marked on your map.

3. Before you and the kids set out on this adventure, scope out the area to make sure its safe, well lit and that there are no major obstacles that might prevent your kids from progressing forward. You might even do a quick test run to assure that the kids can complete the hunt and have any necessary supplies like water or a snack.

4. Create ‘adventurer packs’ or treasure hunt treats to add to the overall experience, These just for fun packs can have toy binoculars, telescopes, and other tools and treats to help make the experience feel that much more real to your kids.

5. Pick your treasure! What is something that you kids have wanted for awhile and that they can’t seem to stop talking about? Designating a treasure that is worthwhile and that excites them. This will help keep the tips focused on an ultimate goal, especially in those moments where they might want to give up or appear to be losing interest in the task at hand.

The JumpStart Times: Jumpee Shout Outs

Happy Tuesday, Jumpeez! It’s that time of the week again, where Frankie shares some of his picks from the shout outs that have been pouring into the JumpStart Times from the in-game submissions features in the newspaper and through J-Tube. Here’s a preview of what some of your Jumpee pals have been talking about.

headerBreaking news new hall of fame
winner is Hannah bravehart!!!
– Hannah BraveHeart

Congratulations on earning so many new JumpStars,
Hanna BraveHeart! Great job and keep up all the
great work you’ve done around JumpStart.
– Frankie

I am so excited for the Winter Wonderland
FunZone!! It has so much detail and is really fun!!
– Alexandra PinkQuartz

Our festive FunZones for winter will be arriving soon,
Alexandra PinkQuartz! Keep checking back into the game
for regular seasonal updates.
– Frankie

I love my golden boat Ride!!!
– Ashley PrettyJewel

This ride is one that Jumpeez can earn by having their
in-world pals help them unlock the mystery box in their
Jumpee’s neighborhood. Great work, Ashley PrettyJewel!
I’m so glad that you are enjoying the prize.
– Frankie

OMG!!! I love Freefall. It is so awesome.
You got to try it!
– April JollyGem

Freefall Mountain is an exciting, high flying adventure,
April JollyGem. Thanks for sharing your game
recommendations with your fellow Jumpeez!
– Frankie

Labor Day Weekend Activities for the Family!

Every year, on the first Monday of September, citizens across the United States stop to celebrate Labor Day with a long weekend of fun, friends and family. A federal holiday designated to commemorate the general workforce, Labor Day weekend is a time about celebrating the efforts of people and parents  just like you. Are you prepared with a few family friendly activities to mark this annual weekend celebration? Here are some popular ways to make the most of this end of summer holiday.

Photo By: Daniel Morrison

Photo By: Daniel Morrison

Plan a Weekend Getaway – Look to local or nearby destinations for a fun weekend getaway that will enable your family to make a number of great memories with one another in the short time that that the kids are out of school. During long holidays weekends, you might consider a camping trip or exciting road trip!

Organize a Neighborhood Block Party – Connect with your neighbors and get the proper permits to throw a day of fun, family and games.  Whether you designated the block party location in a nearby park or decide to block off your street for the celebration, be sure to encourage attendees to help provide food and decorations.

Enjoy an Outdoor Hike and Picnic – Take the kids out on a nature hike as a fun means of learning about plant life and local wildlife.  Additionally, hiking can be an exciting and interactive means of keeping the family active. As an added activity, consider packing a delicious and nutritious picnic meal for everyone to share outdoors, if the weather permits.

Attend a Community Festival or Event – Labor Day brings about a number of great opportunities for families to attend community events like food festivals or outdoor concerts and fairs.  Look into what might be happening in your area and gather with friends and neighbors for a fun day out.

How do you plan on teaching your kids about Labor Day? Do you have any fun family traditions to share? Let us know more about how you prepare for this annual holiday!

Create Some Family Fun this August!

Did you know that August is considered Family Fun Month? As summer comes to a close, now is as perfect a time as ever for you to start planning for a few last minute fun in the sun summer activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. From a quick and simple craft or learning activity to a larger scale trip or project, there is a full range of exciting things that parents like you can plan for to help bring your loved ones together.

If you’re looking for a few fun ways to observe family fun month before your kids head back to school, here are a few of JumpStart’s favorite family activities –

Create summer photo album – What better way to mark the end of the summer than by reminiscing about the memories that you’ve already made. Gather your family to create a fun and unique scrapbook. The time spent piecing together the pages will be time spent together and strengthening bonds.

Cook a family meal together – When it comes to family, there can never be too many cooks in the kitchen. Take the time to get the kids involved in planning and cooking a special meal that will be memorable for everyone involved. When choosing recipes you might plan courses around family members’ favorite foods.

Erect a temporary lemonade stand – Not only will projects like this allow kids and parents to spend time together, it will also be a great learning tool. From measuring out lemonade ingredients to managing money from sales, running a temporary lemonade stand is a long held summer tradition that you kids are sure to love and remember.

Go for a hike outdoors – Hiking is a great way to encourage your family to be engaged in staying active and fit. While hiking, parents can even teach kids about local wildlife or plant life. As a fun post hike activity, consider hosting a pop quiz on some of the nature topics you covered for a fun little prize.  Getting kids and adults to experience nature first hand will make for an unforgettable learning experience and means of exercise.

Celebrate the Last Month of Summer

Summer is officially coming to an end as we inch closer to the start of the back-to-school season. How will you be enjoying the last few days of this fun in the sun time of year? Now is the perfect opportunity for you to create a few extra summertime memories with your kids before they get tied down with school and other extracurricular activities. To help make the transition a little easier, here are a few of our favorite end of summer activities to help you get in some extra time with the kids.

Photo by : sushi zume

Photo by : sushi zume

Host a back to school party
To catch up with the families from your kids class or school, host a small social gathering or end of summer BBQ to get everyone together before the official start of classes. This can be a great way for parents to regroup and run through their last minute checklists before summer officially comes to an end. Think big with a backyard or block style party or keep it personal with a shorter guest list.

Backyard campout
The end of summer also marks the end of the outdoor activities season. Reminisce about summer by planning a fun and festive “staycation” with a quick backyard campout. If having a safe back yard fire pit is an option. Kids might appreciate telling stories around the fire while roasting a few delicious marshmallows for s’mores. This unique take on camping will be one to remember!

Take a quick trip
Are there any local sights or nearby cities that you’ve been hoping to explore, but haven’t had the change to see? Research popular options in your area to mark the end of summer and give your kids another reason to gather and bond over a shared interest. You’d be surprised by the adventures that you can have by staying close to home.

Back to school prep
Why not get your kids excited for the start of school by taking them out for a bit of back to school shopping? From unique school supplies to a few new clothes for fall, there are a number of things that can help them transition back to school in their own unique way. Making a full day of these events