Camping and Outdoor Activities: Get Involved with NatureWritten by Valerie Giles
Camping mixed with outdoor activity is a great way to get ourselves involved with nature. National Parks can provide an excellent backdrop for some of your outdoor activities. Activities such as hiking, fishing, cycling, horseback riding, white water rafting and kayaking, skiing, rock climbing and mountaineering are just a few of sports you might want to include on your camping adventure.
Itís important when traveling to bring along proper clothing. Always include some rain and windwear, a fleece jacket is also a good idea. A first aid kit and plenty of drinking water should always be available. Of course if you are planning on doing any outdoor activities in winter you will need more clothing etc. Bring along your bicycles and hiking boots if you have them. Usually equipment rentals will be available for activities you donít generally do.
Whatever outdoor activity you decide on pursuing, itís always a great idea to do a little research. Most of National Parks you will be visiting have excellent web sites that you can look into and see what sort of hiking trails and activities are available. Information such as popular points of interest in parks will also be available in travel books and park brochures. Depending on where you will be staying you can also research area you will be visiting for information on bicycle rentals, kayak rentals and lessons, and boating. There will be different outfitters available in area that may offer excursions and rentals through park you are visiting.
One of most convenient and popular camping activities is hiking trails. For some people a hike can consist of a simple walk around park, while others prefer a much lengthier hike. Regardless of what sort of hike you will be taking, a little preparation will go a long way in ensuring a comfortable journey. Hiking trails offer highly scenic and incredible views of nature. Hiking is a wonderful way to view nature at its finest, as parks really are preserving special pieces of our wilderness. Depending on what park you will be hiking, trails will offer different ranges of difficulty levels. Many trails will lead to scenic vistas as easy hikes, while other hikes may be significantly more challenging and too steep for some.
Always be prepared for weather when hiking. Carry a daypack with some water, a rain/wind jacket, a fleece/wool jacket or sweater, a first aid kit and some food. Good hiking boots are essential. On some of your hikes it is quite likely you will come across wildlife such as moose, black bears and grizzly bears, big horn sheep and deer. It is a good idea to know what you should and should not do when coming across animals. Parks often will have signs up if animals have been sighted in campground.
Fishing is a wonderful way to enjoy sport and see beautiful streams, ocean, lakes and rivers all over United States. National Parks offer both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Check with state fishing regulations for exact dates and detailed fishing information, including proper license requirements. Some fishing opportunities will require overnight backcountry use permits. It is always important to respect park you are fishing in, in order to maintain quality waters that protect natural fish populations and food sources for bald eagles, ospreys and otters among others.
Cycling is an excellent and convenient way to explore national park or area where you are staying. Bringing along bicycles allows you to just get up and go wherever you are. It is important to check beforehand as to where cycling is allowed. Most National Parks only allow biking on paved and backcountry dirt roads throughout parks. Most hiking trails do not allow bicycles. Most of your cycling through parks will be done on same roads used for cars. For this reason special caution should be used; stay alert and be visible using both head and tail lights along with reflective clothing. Look into area where you will be camping. There may be trails available specifically for cycling.
Pretend Play and Dress Up Encourages Imaginative PlayWritten by Valerie Giles
A childís imagination is something to be encouraged and treasured. Young children learn many skills through imagination, from independent play, interactive play, language and cognitive skills to name a few. Pretend play and dress up are wonderful ways to allow your child to dream and act out all sorts of fun adventures.
There are a wide variety of excellent toys available to enhance their imaginative experiences some of which include; cooking and baking toys, dress-up costumes, gardening toys, housekeeping toys, money and banking sets, spy gadgetry toys, tools and puppets.
Your child probably watches you preparing and cooking meals everyday. There are many cooking and baking toys available that allow your child to have hours of entertainment. Some of wonderful toys manufactured are; picnic baskets (complete with play bread, cheese, lettuce, hot dog and bun, ketchup, corn on cob etc.), bakery sets, plastic food sets, a wide variety of tea pot sets, pots and pans, dinnerware sets (complete with plates, utensils, bowls and cups) and coffee sets. Itís easy for your child to set up their own little imaginary kitchen with ovens that actually bake cookies, working mini refrigerators, plastic refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, barbecueís and toasters. Little shopping markets complete with plastic store items and cash registers can be purchased, along with gum ball machines and sno-cone machines, list really is endless.
Dress up play is a favorite among all ages of children, whether itís dressing up in dadís baseball uniform or having fun with momís closet. There is a great variety of all sorts of different types of costumes, masks and accessories for children to select from. Costumes come in designs such as fireman and police uniforms, doctor and veterinarian uniforms, engineer suits, magic hats with cape and gloves, dresses, waitress outfits, cherubs, devils, witches, ballerina and popular character suits with capes and muscle chests to name a few. Great accessories such as crowns, tiara sets, ninja swords, light sabers, cowboy hats, purses complete with keys and cell phones, doctor and medical kits and magic kits can be found. Dress up play allows your child to use their imagination in a fun way through role play and acting out adventures.
For all young outdoor landscaping enthusiasts there are wonderful gardening tools and accessories available. Little wheelbarrows are made in plastic and metal designs (tiny metal designs look and work as well as adult counterparts), both helpful at removing dirt, weeds and gravel around yard. Metal and plastic gardening pails, watering cans, mini gardening sets (complete with mini rake, shovel and trowels), gardening aprons, gardening totes with seeds (mini rake, shovel, trowel and pail), gardening rakes, shovels and gardening gloves can also be purchased. Other adorable gardening sets include planters, seeds and tiny fairy cottages ready for planting around.
Probably only time your child will enjoy housekeeping is when they are young. Most children seem to love helping out mom or dad with cleaning and simple household chores. With this said youíll find many housekeeping toys to keep your child busy and entertained for hours on end. Vacuums, cleaning sets (complete with broom, mops, gloves and pails), talking irons and ironing boards, working sewing machines and clothes washers are a few of items to be found.