Posts filed under ‘Camping and Hiking with Kids’

A Memorial Day to Remember – 5 Fun Family Activities

A Memorial Day to Remember – 5 Fun Family Activities to celebrate our service members!

Continue Reading May 21, 2015 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Activity + Craft: Nature Walk and Craft Project

Explore the outdoors with your little one(s) and collect nature materials to make cute critters! Not only will you a foster a connection with nature, your kids can also exercise their imaginations and creativity. There is so much you can find outside: nuts, rocks, sticks, leaves, petals, and more. 

Nature Animals | Let's Go Chipper

Picture from naturallymom

Chipper Playfully Teaches: Earth and Space Science, Creative Arts and Fine Motor Skills.

Adventure into the great outdoors with young children and use the natural materials as craft supplies for creating creatures from the children’s imagination or animals identified on the walks.

Collect with a Partner | Let's Go Chipper

Collect with a Partner

Timing: One Hour
Explore and collect: 15 minutes
Craft Time: 30 minutes
Extra 15 minutes:
 Travel time and padding because projects with young children will always take longer than you plan!

What you need:

  • Reusable tote to carry found treasures
  • Cardboard bases from recycled boxes and scrap paper and materials for accessorizing crafts
  • Glue and string
  • A partner or chaperone
  • Imagination
Create a crocodile | Let's Go Chipper

Create a crocodile!

Chippers Tips:

  • Explain the rules of staying together “You can play, but don’t stray!” and the project
  • Check off that everyone has their tote for collecting items. While exploring, be it in the backyard of a school facility, house, childcare center, or beyond the yard, keep children on track by talking about what they might find; the colors, shapes, texture and more.
  • Assist young children with glue or glue gun and string assembly.
  • Welcome conversation while exploring. What do you see, hear, smell and feel?
Get bit by nature...creatively! | Let's Go Chipper

Get bit by nature…creatively!

Upon returning, sit down and talk about the items in the bag and what can be made; a butterfly from leaves, a nature cake, a boat from sticks, a car from rocks and bark. Welcome the conversation and encourage the creativity!

Chipper Activity + Craft: Nature Walk and Craft Project

Image from WildlifeFun4Kids

May 9, 2014 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

Chipper Recycle Craft + Activity: Nature Journal

Chipper playfully teaches Earth and Space Science, Creative Arts and Fine Motor Skills.Create your own special nature journal with recycled materials that can both help save the environment and embrace the beauty of nature!

Let's Go Chipper | nature Journal

Collect Your Materials

Explore and Collect materials like:

  • Recycled paper (Paper bags, used computer paper, light colored newspaper, light colored magazine pages, etc.)
  • Cereal Box or any recycled cardboard box
  • Hole puncher
  • String and yarn
  • Paint, markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Leaves, petals, seeds, and sticks

Chippers Tips:

  • During your outdoor adventures, help your child engage their five senses to evaluate what they see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. When they find something that peaks their curiosity, ask questions and peak their interest in drawing or writing it in their journal.
  • Ideas to inspire creativity – cloud chasing or finding characters in clouds, bird watching, evaluating insects, making silly faces with friends, eating a piece of fruit and finding various types of leaves!
  • Tell your child to, “Play but don’t stray!” when they are exploring and to “Keep your tail on the trail!”
Let's Go Chipper | Nature Journal

Make your journal.

Making your Nature Journal: 

  1. For cover: Decide on the size of your journal and trace and cut out from your cereal box or every day box. You can use either side of the box to face out.
  2. Decorate the cover using collected and coloring materials.
  3. Journal pages: cut the paper bags or found papers to just within the size of the cover.
  4. With adult help use a hole puncher to make 3-5 holes lined up on the front and back cover. Do the same with the inside journal pages.
  5. Weave the yarn/string to connect the journal and tie a bow at the top or bottom to secure the bindry.
  6. Time for creating! Encourage story telling through pictures and images, words, and found materials all celebrating nature or daily experiences. Make it a weekly activity to explore the outdoors and then add to your nature journal!

    Let's Go Chipper | Nature Journal

    Explore and record!

Let’s Go Chipper into the Great Outdoors!

May 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm 2 comments

Remember when we use to frolick in Autumn Mist?

I’m a Chipper Mom: Review: Good Kids Apps

Puffs Playground App

A day long hike turning over rocks, jumping in and out of streams, and casting magical spells on each other was only made better by the sounds of my mom strumming her guitar singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” by the campfire. Even as a young girl, I always cried because it made me think of my first dog, Puff, a playful sheepdog ever loyal and at the ready to be my best friend. The song about a magical dragon sparked many adventures with my own imaginary friends. No matter where we went camping it always felt like the land called Honalee after that first night and most requested campfire song.

Imagination is a powerful tool for children and when we nourish it we help foster the creative spirit which even scientist say is necessary. Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist and author says creativity plays into the “aha” moment; this allows the scientist to think outside the box and push towards new beneficial discoveries be it in medicine, engineering, space programs, all of it. Imagination is the first seed of creativity and kids need the opportunity to exercise theirs through multi-sensory experiences. I say this because with so many apps on the market today, I often wonder if they stifle and stunt imagination over excite the wonder of true explorations that engage our five senses.

I recently discovered Puff’s Land of Honalee had gone digital so I was curious to see if after 50 years, could the magic still be sparked by tapping on an app. Puff’s Playground app welcomes all ages into Creative Cove, a creativity center with a plethora of tools to paint, draw, create mixed media collages, or simply use coloring pages from the original artwork Puff, the Magic Dragon storybook.

A fan of puzzles, I enlisted the help of my two daughters to join me in Puzzle Plantation where we connected the pieces to bring images from the original Puff to life. In Castle of Concentration we engaged in a classic game of memory featuring character art but innovated with playful sound effects.

A magical, good kids app.

A magical, good kids app.

Created by FatRedCouch, a Marin-based interactive media company headquartered in the former building of George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic, as well as Pixar, I was happy to see the spirit of imagination was alive and well along with the level of quality in the artwork and production. A quick browse through the publisher’s portfolio of apps and you can see they are indeed committed to creating good kids apps.

There is plenty to do with this app (it’s free with in app purchasing) but we hit our self-prescribed family-allotted time limit so it was time to grab our sticks and go have some fun on Mt. Tam frolicking in the mist we call fog this time of year. The app sparked memories for me and created another layer of wonder for my kids, I knew it would translate to more pictures being drawn at the kitchen table.

I’m a Chipper mom and, to me, a good kids app should inspire thought, conversation, and creativity. I want a Good Kids App to be playful and embrace nature, art, science, music, and educate while having fun. Sounds like a lot but it’s not when you focus truly on the development of a child; when it comes to imagination just excite it and watch the wonder light up. If you are choosing an app, I hope you will follow Chipper’s GoodKidsApp guidelines:

  1. Is it story-based with a clear, kind message
  2. Does it engage and excite imagination away from the gadget
  3. Does it spark conversation and promote learning

Puff’s Playground app does this and more for us as I quickly learned while listening to my girls sing a cherished song introduced by Peter, Paul, and Mary more than 50 years ago. Time to frolick!

Available on iTunes. Free with in-app purchases.


Puffs Playground App

Puff Playground App

Puff Playground App

February 23, 2014 at 9:23 am Leave a comment

Chipper Tip: Camping Tips for Kids

Chipper's Safe Campsite

With summer in full throttle, it’s the perfect time for camping! Not only does camping induce an environment of family bonding, it also encourages exercise and learning about the great outdoors. Camping is fun, educational, and family-oriented—only if safety is imposed. Here are some tips to help this trip stay safe and fun!


Knowing what to bring is important for any trip but especially for camping. Make a list and check it twice before departing on your nature adventure!Let's Go Chipper for Camping

  • Weather-appropriate clothing! It might be warm during the day, but temperatures drop significantly at night. With this in mind, pack accordingly. Moreover, opt for closed-toed shoes over flip-flops or other types of open-toed shoes. Closed-toed shoes not only help prevent insect and bug bites, but are ideal for the rough terrain associated with camping. If there lakes or other bodies of water, make sure to pack swimming suits so you and your family can enjoy a nice swim.
  • Bedding! Waterproof tent with pegs, sleeping bags and sleeping pads or a blowup mattress make for a comfy nights sleep in the woods. Check out this hand-held air pump for $20!
  • Flashlight with extra batteries! There’s also no-battery flashlights that can be re-charged by shaking them. Super cool and sustainable!
  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses, and a Hat! Prevent you and your family members from getting sun burned by being prepared. Always bring aloe with you as well just in case!
  • Downtime Activities! While you and your family may be away from technologies that your child usually engages with, be sure to pack some board games or cards so downtime isn’t completely empty. Check out this list of fun camping games!
  • First-Aid Kit! ALWAYS travel with one, just in case. Make sure to include bandaids, antibiotic ointment, and itchy cream. Better safe than sorry!
  • Maps! Knowing the area your camping in is very important for safety, especially if you are going to be hiking. Having a GPS or Compass is a very good idea for long hikes.
  • Toiletries! Even if you and your family opt out of “glam-ping,” make sure your kids practice good hygiene to prevent them from getting sick. Hand-sanitizer, toothbrush, and toothpaste are the bare minimums.
  • Whistle! If any family member gets separated from the others, use a simple whistle or cell phone (if it works) to contact the others. A small piece of mirror can work to grab someone’s attention from far away. You can even flag down a plane by shining the reflection between two fingers.
  • Food and utensils! Don’t forget to bring plenty of snacks for your little one(s), such as trail mix for a hike and s’more materials (don’t forget some skewers!) for dessert, as well as utensils, some nature-friendly dish soap, and a sponge for clean up. Always bring extra tupperware for any left overs. Never leave out food for friendly critter to get into!

CampingLet's Go Chipper for Camping

  • Watch out for bugs! To prevent bug bites, keep the tent door flap zipped and at all times, even if you’re just retrieving something from the tent for a minute. Also, because bugs are attracted to light, make sure to turn off lanterns and flashlights while in the tent as much as possible. According to the CDC, “Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can cause certain diseases. For example, mosquitoes can cause West Nile Virus, and ticks can cause Lyme disease. To help fight the bite, apply insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can protect up to several hours. However, for sprays containing 80% DEET or more, avoid spraying directly onto skin as it can be toxic, especially for young children. Apply the insect repellent permethrin to clothes to help keep ticks from attaching to them. Be sure to follow directions on the package. Check for ticks daily, and remove them promptly.”
  • Avoid wild animals. Although they may be cute, they are surely dangerous. Some animals contain contagious diseases, so avoid feeding, petting, or touching wild animals. Make sure your food is sealed in animal-impenetrable containers and make sure you and your family members are vaccinated.

Chipper LOVES camping and provides even further tips on the whole process of camping in the Let’s Go Chipper app. Sing-a-long and learn about the great outdoors with Chipper! Let’s Go Chipper for camping!

July 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm 2 comments

Chipper Tips: Get Outdoors Daily!

Children hiking in autumnChipper suggests that everyone, not just parents, have a daily “green hour” scheduled into their day. If you feel a little overwhelmed by that, start out with a bi-weekly “green hour” or try 15 minutes of outdoor play-time per day, everyday! The key here is to put nature on the calendar so that spending time in nature becomes a habit instead or a rare occasion.Playing kids outdoors

The National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their kids a daily green hour–time set aside every day to play outside and interact with the natural world. This time should be unstructured (no rules) and fun! If kids are reluctant or want to play their video games instead, show then how fun it is by joining them. Have them collect natural artifacts and discuss them or listen and identify all the sounds you hear outside! Get to know local tress and animals so you can test each other. There’s so much fun to be had outdoors if you just get them out there!

Even on a rainy day, you can still get out and play together as long as you’re dressed for the weather. As E.E. Cummings wrote, the world is “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful.” Being prepared to go out doors is always a good idea! Chipper has lots of great tips and activities to try outdoors in past and future blogs or check out  In 2007, the National Wildlife Federation launched, an online resource providing parents the inspiration and tools to make the outdoors a part of daily life. There are many ideas there to inspire you and the kids!

Scheduling your green hour with another family can also help you time manage. Arrange a regular “Outdoors Date” with one or two other families with kids around the same age. Depending on weather and the ages and interests of your participants, this could be as simple as meeting at the playground every week or month, or something heartier, like a series of hikes or an ongoing flag football game. Do the same thing every meeting or let a different participant choose each meetings activity. Or just let the kids play with no plan! The important thing is that once it’s on the calendar, and others are depending on you, you’re less likely to make excuses and skip it. Make it a family affair by inviting grandparents, cousins, and other family members to join in. Nature is a great place to connect with family and enjoy each others time.  Let’s Go Chipper into the Great Outdoors today!

December 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm 3 comments

Chipper Tips: Learning, Educating, and Entertaining with Apps

Some parents and educators lament that technology is taking away from their kid’s natural and organic childhoods. Yes, hours upon hours of watching TV or playing video games  is not a good thing for young, developing minds but various studies have shown that  interactive games or apps and sing along DVDs and music are excellent educational tools. One study, organized by the Education Development Center, Center for Children and Technology in 2001 for the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee (United States Senate), found that using educational technology improved test scores and early literary skills.

Chipper entertains while playfully educating children about nature and the great outdoors. Click here to download award winning movies, books, music, games, and more easily for everyday fun on-the-go!

Not only are apps a great way to excite kids to learn and immerse themselves in various subjects, apps can be specially designed to different kinds of children with different learning needs. Whether they are dyslexic, autistic, or need more help with their math, there are apps that were specifically innovated to benefits various individuals! More and more, educators and parents are turning to iPads and apps to help inform and prepare our future generations. What better way to prepare your kids or students for the newest technology in the workplace, than by giving it to them as a part of their education? Apps are inexpensive, easy to use, and your kids/students will love you!

On the go fun that is educational and entertaining. Camping, hiking, or outdoor fun Chipper playfully teaches good character and a love for the environment. Click here to download now!

Chipper’s iPhone app was created to excite kids of all ages and needs to get outdoors and teach them about our diverse environment. Help your child develop their analytical skills and have some fun on your next road trip or flight! Apps are great for on-the-go entertainment and are also a wonderful tool to avoid the summer learning slump. Check out this article about Chipper’s app to learn more and see a user review!

Please enter COUPON CODE “40ipads” and 50% of your purchase will go to purchasing iPads for Children with Special Needs through the non-profit Growing Up For Good, and in support of A4CWSN, Apps for Children with Special Needs. Shop now through August 15, 2012. Each purchase includes a special Chipper For Parks badge. Download Chipper’s iPhone app for on-the-go fun! Like Chipper’s Facebook Page for special deals and free downloads!

No mess, no fuss with Chipper’s coloring pages that are playful and easy-to-follow. Select, swipe on the color, and save or start all over again. Click here to download now!

Here is a list of other Apps designed for kids with special needs:
 Here is a list of sites devoted to giving teachers and educators the best ways to use the iPad and Apps in the classroom:

July 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

Chipper for Parks: Family Camping this Summer

There’s nothing like spending time with the family around the camp fire under the open sky. Camping gives us all a retreat from the crazy, busy pace of our daily lives and gives us time to reflect and connect with your children. A little fresh air does wonders to a depressed teenager or a grumpy 4 year old. Take a nature walk and collect some rocks and leaves or just laze by a stream and watch the butterflies flutter by. There is no limit to the fun you can find when exploring our parks open spaces.

Join Chipper in supporting our Park Systems this summer by visiting and camping at our State and National Parks. Get out there and have your own adventure at one of our 279 State Parks. Click HERE to find parks with available sites and reserve your spot to start enjoying the great outdoors! Our noble Park Ranger’s can use all the support they can get with budget cuts and closures happening left and right. Donate in your name to any park of your choice when your purchase our Chipper for Parks Badge. Nothing inspires and benefits you and your children quite like nature and parks are the safest, easiest place to reconnect with our beautiful planet. Where will you go for your next camping adventure?

July 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1 comment

National Trails Day

This Saturday, June 2nd, join Chipper and friends for the 20th anniversary of America’s largest trail celebration! Save the date and find an event near you at this link: There are so many trails to explore at our State and National Parks!

Take a local hike or take the dogs out for a nice walk in the summer sun. There are also bike events, horseback rides, and paddle trips if you really want to get active. Gather the family and go on a photo safari or bird watching expedition. Your kids will love the outdoor experiences and learn so much, especially with extremely educational geocaching activities taking place at a number of parks.

Take advantage of this special day to volunteer and give back to the community. There are a number of projects where you can lend a hand: trail maintenance and clean up, health fairs, and more! Talk to the Park Rangers at a park near you to learn more and Get Chipper on the trails this weekend!

For those of you living in the Bay Area, here’s a link to all the local activities and volunteering opportunities to celebrate our trails this weekend:

Twin Lakes trail exploring!

May 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

50 Ways to Explore Nature in Your Own Backyard!

Click here for a fun activity to Explore the Senses in Nature! (by Stacy Teet)

Exploring nature is good or the body and the soul! Playing outside creates meaningful connections with peers, siblings and family while also providing necessary exercise. We can learn so much about our planet and ourselves by just stepping into the forest. Enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t have to be limited to hiking, camping or heading to the mountains for a weekend getaway (although those are all fine ideas). Connecting with nature is as simple as heading out the back door! Why not try one of these ideas in your very own yard this Summer?

  1. Go cloud watching
  2. Build a fort
  3. climb a tree
  4. Roar at the moon
  5. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
  6. Plant a garden
  7. Create a backyard beach
  8. Explore a flower
  9. Run barefoot through the grass (especially wet grass)
  10. Dig in the dirt
  11. Watch ants
  12. Camp out in your backyard
  13. Tour your neighbor’s front gardens
  14. Take a color walk and name all the colors you see
  15. Jump in puddles
  16. Birdwatching expedition
  17. Bake mud cakes
  18. Raise a caterpillar; release a butterfly
  19. Build a fairy house with twigs and leaves
  20. Make leaf, rock or bark rubbings (get creative and make an outside art project out of it)
  21. Start a back yard field guide (complete with a drawn  map and descriptions)
  22. Create rock art (trying to balance as many rocks on each other can be fun too–Rock Jinga!
  23. Gaze at the stars and find shapes
  24. Plant a tree from seed or some flowers
  25. Play with sticks (sword fights are always fun but be careful!)
  26. Build snow animals during the Winter
  27. Watch a sunset or a sunrise from your yard; look at it each day and see how the sun moves!
  28. Go butterfly watching (and maybe catch a few!)
  29. Host a back yard garden tour or throw a planting party!
  30. Make a moon journal
  31. Run through a pile of leaves
  32. Start a seed collection..or a rock collection!
  33. Paint with mud
  34. Take a flower walk (collect some, place in a thick book, for a fun, beautiful dried-flower craft!)
  35. Create a fairy garden
  36. Go on a backyard photo shoot and make a album of your findings later!
  37. Search for spider webs
  38. Go on a back yard safari
  39. Explore a tree
  40. Design a backyard hiking trail
  41. Create a treasure map
  42. Enjoy a backyard campfire
  43. Go on a bird scavenger hunt
  44. Make a bird-feeder
  45. Start a nature journal
  46. Paint rocks
  47. Create land art
  48. Take a compass walk
  49. Make sand angels (or a nice snow angel in Winter)
  50. Go on a backyard bug hunt

    Dig and plant!

There’s so much to do with out going very far! For more ideas and inspiration to get you and your family outside and connecting with nature, visit: Get outdoors and get Chipper today!

May 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm 2 comments

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