Get Outside Spring Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Now that spring has arrived, it’s time get outside, explore the world around you, and have some fun.  What better way to get reacquainted with the great outdoors than with a spring scavenger hunt?  This simple scavenger hunt will keep the kids busy as it opens their eyes to the world around them.

Download your FREE printable Spring Scavenger Hunt here.

Get Outside Spring Scavenger Hunt

Take this list outside and see how many of the spring items on this list you can find.  You’ll have to look high and low!

_______ Green grass

_______ Flower

_______ Acorn or other tree nut

_______ 1 brown bird

_______ A bee

_______ A butterfly

_______ A tree bud or leaf

_______ A pine cone

_______ Animal track(s)

_______ A worm

_______ An ant

_______ A feather

_______ A spider web

_______ A cloud shaped like an animal

_______ A colorful bird

_______ A bird nest

_______ A empty plastic bottle

Are you looking for more fun adventure ideas?  Check out our library of Adventure books that span all ages.  You’ll find books on survival, camping books for kids and families, outdoor adventure stories, and dozens of how-to manuals and guides for outdoor adventure.  With JM Cremp’s as your go-to resource, your kids will never be bored!

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Beat Winter Break Boredom With These Family-Friendly Activities

Christmas break is upon us and that means the kids are home and the house is busy.  Don’t be alarmed if after the excitement of presents, visiting, and Christmas cookies wears off, the “boredom” phase of vacation sets in.  This year, you can be prepared with a few “suggestions” to keep the kids (and even some of the adults) happily occupied.  Here are a few of our favorites.

Snowball fight!
Build a snow fort (or two) along with an arsenal of snowballs,  and challenge the family to an old fashioned snow-ball fight!

1.  Build a Snow Fort.  On second thought, build two snow forts.  That way you can join the kids in making an arsenal of snowballs, and the whole family can have a good old fashioned snowball fight.

2.  Plan Family Game Night.  Family game night is a staple at our house.  We pick a few games, order pizza, and let the family rivalry begin!

3.  Do Some Night-Time Sledding.  This is a fun diversion and an extra-special night for the younger children who are usually in the house after dark.  Grab some lights (headlamps work best), your favorite sled, and hit the sled hill.  The younger kids find this exciting and quite thrilling.  Finish your special night with a good cup of hot chocolate, and you’ll be a shoo-in to win the “Parent of the Year” Award.

If all else fails, you can do what I do.  I usually suggest a few chores, and within minutes, the boredom magically disappears!

 

Cure Their Technology Addiction in Two Days Flat

Break Their Technology in Two Days Flat
Strike a balance between your child’s love of technology and their natural desire to explore the world around them. All it took was a couple of hammocks and my teenage boys spend every afternoon they can at the lake.

Are you from the generation that remembers when a stick became a sword, a pile of blankets became a fort, and an afternoon outside meant an epic adventure to far distant places?  If you are, it can be hard to stomach the constant need for technology that today’s youth seem to have.  It can be disheartening to see a 12 year old curled up on the couch with his iPod in hand and headphones in his ears on a gorgeous and sunny summer afternoon.  Even more disheartening is when you wrench the headphones from his ears and tell him to go outside and play, and the response you get is, “Outside? Now?  It’s so boring out there!”

A 2010 Kaiser Foundation Study found that children and teens are, on average, spending seven hours and 58 minutes on entertainment media each day.  That’s over 53 hours a week!  The truth is, technology is here to stay and your kids love of it isn’t going to dim anytime soon.  But, fear not weary parents – we have some ideas on how to break that reliance and expose your children to the dreaded “outdoors”.

A weekend of family camping is at the top of our technology-busting list, and for good reason.  By taking the kids away from their electronic habitat, you’re removing them from their familiar routine.  Over the course of your camping adventure, they’ll be able to focus on exploring the world around them and getting hands-on with nature.  Since children tend to be curious creatures who bore easily (especially when they reach teenager status), you can play upon that personality trait to get them outside, get them moving, and keep them happy.

One of the greatest and lasting rewards of a weekend of camping is the memories that your family will carry with them forever.  My family used to do quite a bit of summertime camping, and many decades later (but not too many), those camping weekends form some of my fondest childhood memories.  Now that I’m a mom of teenage boys, it puts a smile in my heart when my boys run out the door with their hammocks, backpacks, and fishing poles for a day of adventure.

If you aren’t a camping type of family, then you can still encourage (or in my case “trick”) your children into spending more time outdoors and away from their X-Box.  All it took for our family was for our boys and their friends to get a couple of hammocks.  Before I knew it, they were heading out to the lake or the local bluff with not only their hammocks, but fishing poles, backpacking equipment, and even assorted survival gear.  Of course, they bring their phones and iPods along and text me pictures, but that’s the kind of technology I DON’T mind!

JM Cremps carries a full assortment of outdoor camping and hiking gear for children of all ages.  Find the ideal outdoor gift for the child in your life here:   You can also find several ideas for camping fun and outdoor activities for children on this blog.

Winter Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Winter Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Grab your list and get outside! See if you can find a rabbit such as this snowshoe hare. (Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org)

Winter is a great time to get outside and explore.  Although the world around you may look dormant and asleep, there is still a lot going on.  Download, print, and take your list outside to see how what you can find.  You’ll be surprised at what’s out there!

_______ 1 squirrel

_______ 1 tree with brown leaves

_______ 1 bird’s nest

_______ 1 pinecone

_______ 1 seed pod

_______ 1 pine needle branch

_______ 1 group of berries

_______ 1 acorn

_______ 1 icicle

_______ Any rabbit or squirrel tracks

_______ A deer

_______ A chickadee

_______ 1 shovel

_______ A snowball

Winter Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Christmas Break Fun and Games

Christmas break is finally here.  Screen shot 2013-12-24 at 10.06.24 AMWhen all the presents are unwrapped, the cookies are eaten, and the stockings are emptied – what are you going to do?  Don’t worry, we’ve got some great ideas to keep the kids outside and  the parents enjoying Christmas break.

Sled Hill Obstacle Course
Take an empty milk jug or soda bottle and fill it with water.  Add a few drops of food coloring.  You will use this to mark “obstacles” on your sled hill.  When you get to the sled hill, pour some of your colored water in the shape of X’s on the hill in various spots.  Whoever can make it down the hill without hitting one of the obstacles is the winner.

Sled Hill Capture the Flag –
Place a flag on the hill.  Whoever captures the flag on the way down is the winner!

Snow Fort Battle  
Divide into two teams.  Each team will need their own flag.  To start you need to build a snow shelter and a amass a pile of small snow balls.  Put your flag in the middle of your fort.  The goal of the game is to capture the other team’s flag and return it to your team’s fort.

JM Cremp’s has lots of fun toys and gear to complete your outdoor winter adventures.  Our zipfy sleds will get you to the bottom of the hill in record time.   Our snowshoes are perfect for winter treks into the woods with the family.  And for the downhill skiing family, our Kids Beginner Skis & Poles will give the youngest of toddlers the feel of downhill skiing.

How to Make a Sling Shot

The slingshot is a simple, hand-held tool that dates back thousands of years. Early slingshots were used as hunting weapons and in the hands of a skilled user could bring down small game. Today, slingshots are the iconic image of the fun adventures of boyhood. As the ultimate adventure store for boys, JM Cremps offers a great variety of ready made slingshots.

From plastic launchers to the old style of wood and leather, there is a huge variety of slingshot available today. But, because slingshots require few materials and are simple in design, they are the perfect do-it-yourself project for those outdoor boys. They will love the challenge it offers, and best of all it will provide hours of entertainment once completed.

The follow instructions will show you how to make your very own slingshot. Adult supervision is recommended.

Slingshot
1. Find a sturdy, Y-shaped piece of wood. You can make a slingshot with a forked branch of just about any size, but a piece about 6 to 9 inches long with a fairly uniform thickness of 1 to 2 inches will make a strong, easy-to-use slingshot. Try to find a piece with as few imperfections as possible; even moderate cracks can render your slingshot dangerous or unusable. If there are knots or bumps you can cut or sand them off.
Peel Bark
2. Peel off the bark. With the bark gone the slingshot will be more comfortable to hold. You may need to let the branch dry a little before you can get the bark off.
Slingshot wood
3. Let the wood dry. This step isn’t necessary, but if the wood is still green, it’s a good idea to let it slowly dry. This will give it more stability and strength.
Slingshot Rubber Band
4. Get a long, thick rubber band to form the firing mechanism. You can make a stronger firing mechanism by using surgical tubing or several rubber bands wound around each other. You can experiment with the length to find out what works best, but it is important that it be strong and thick.
Cut the Rubber band
5. Cut the rubber band in half. You now have a band for each side of the slingshot. If you’re using surgical tubing or multiple rubber bands, you can skip this step; just make sure that each band (for either side of the firing mechanism) is of equal length.
Leather or Cloth
6. Get a rectangular piece of leather or strong cloth. (Several rectangles of duct tape stuck together work, too.) This will be your holder or “pocket.” It should be slightly rectangular, with each side measuring between 2 to 4 inches.
Cut Slit in Leather
7. Cut a slit on either side of the pocket. Use a knife to make an incision about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in from each edge. The slits should run parallel to the shorter edges of the pocket and be the same distance from their respective edges. The slits should also be just large enough for the rubber band to fit through without being wrinkled.
Tie in ends
8. Slip one end of one of your rubber bands through the slit and fold it back over itself so that it makes a little loop around the edge of the pocket. Secure the loop by putting a small, but sturdy rubber band around. The smaller rubber band will probably have to be doubled or tripled around itself to make it tight enough. Repeat this other rubber band on the other side of the pocket. Make sure the bands on both sides are still of equal length.
Secure Ends
9. Secure the free ends of the long rubber bands to the handle by tying them or using electrical tape. Attach one free end to either branch of the “Y,” near the tip. Once again make sure the bands are of equal length.
Shoot Your Slingshot
10. Shoot your slingshot. Use small rocks, rubber balls, and wadded-up pieces of paper–just about any small projectile–as ammunition. Exercise caution when firing your slingshot and wear eye protection.

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikiHow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make a Sling Shot. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Hunting with Kids – Tips and Tricks for Success

Hunting with kids can be a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.  Instilling a love of hunting in your sons (and daughters) while they are young can lead them to a lifetime appreciation of the great outdoors.  To make it as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved, follow these simple tips:

Hunting with Kids
Hunting with kids can be fun and rewarding for everyone involved.
  1. Keep it Short –  The younger they are, the shorter their attention span is.  Therefore, the hunt should be short enough that they will stay focused and engaged without becoming bored.  Remember, you want them to come home with fond memories and exciting stories of their day in the woods.
  2. Plan for Success –  This one is simple, but it is easy to overlook.  It’s best to start kids off with small game hunting where success is much more likely.  Deer hunting or elk hunting can be boring for a child because there is little to no action on most days.  Show them success and they’ll be hooked!
  3. Keep it Interesting –  If there is a lull in the action, use the opportunity to teach them about their surroundings, demonstrate proper gun safety, or explain hunter’s safety tips.  There are a lot of things that you’ve learned over the years, so use the opportunity of “no action” to teach them a few nuggets of wisdom.
  4. Watch the Weather –  Try to plan your hunt during decent weather.  As adults, we can suffer through storms, cold, and bad weather when the goal is some trophy game, but most kids will not enjoy such conditions.  Often, our kids don’t have the same high-tech equipment and gear as we do, and they will succumb to the elements much more quickly.  It’s easiest on them (and you) if you plan your next hunt around decent weather.
The Original Genesis Bow is the Best Beginner Compound Bow
The Original Genesis Bow is the ultimate beginner compound bow. That’s why it is the official bow of the National Archery in the Schools Program.

JM Cremps carries a full selection of kids hunting gear that will make your young hunter feel like he’s really a part of the hunt. Our Deluxe Upland Game Vest is just like the adult version, and is loaded with pockets for all of their gear.  When it comes to archery season, our best-selling Genesis Bow Kit has been voted the best starter bow for young archers.  Its quality construction and youth-friendly design help to make it the official bow of the National Archery in the Schools Program.

(You can read our complete product review of the Original Genesis Bow here.)

What is the Real Story Behind Labor Day?

What is Labor Day?  According to the United States Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. “

Labor Day Parade 1882.
This is an image of a Labor Day Parade in Union Square in New York City in 1882.

This last hurrah of summer is cherished by many for the long weekend it brings us, but the true meaning behind this holiday is often overlooked.  This year, take a moment to explain to your children the real reason we celebrate “Labor Day” and the interesting history behind it.

The first Labor Day holiday, better known then as the “working-men’s holiday”, was organized by the Central Labor Union of New York.  It was originally celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882.  In 1894 Congress decided to make this holiday an official National holiday and designated the first Monday in September as “Labor Day”.   Originally, Labor Day celebrations consisted of union organized parades, displays of products and machines, large community picnics, and even labor rallies.

Original Labor Day celebrations were very family-oriented, and as such, there was usually good food, entertainment, and games for the whole family.  You can replicate that old-fashioned, family fun this weekend at your celebration.  The whole family can get involved, and best of all, there are no electronic devices required!

Here are some of the original Labor Day games that you can try during your Labor Day celebrations:

Classic Egg and Spoon Race
Children the world over enjoy a Classic Egg and Spoon Race.
  • Tug of War – Split your family and friends into two groups.  Grab a rope, mark a spot on the ground that corresponds to the middle of the rope, and TUG!
  • Potato Sack Race – Flour sacks, potato sacks, or pillow cases will work for this race.  It’s easy, just put on your sack and hop your way to the finish line.
  • Three-legged Race – Find a partner, tie your legs together, and run (or hobble) as fast as you can.  The duo that crosses the line first will be awarded the designation of the Fastest Group on Three Legs.
  • Egg Spoon Race – Split your group into two or more teams.  This is a relay style race, so the first member balances an egg on their spoon and hurries to the turning point and back.  That person carefully transfers the egg to the next racer in line who repeats the process.  The team to cross the finish line first with their egg intact wins.  (Or the team with the egg that survives the longest without breaking will win by default.)
  • Watermelon Eating Contest – This one doesn’t really require too much explanation, but it does require a lot of watermelons!
  • Seed-Spitting Contest – After all that watermelon has been eaten, you can make good use of the seeds by having a seed-spitting contest.  Have the contestants line up behind a barrier or line.  Each contestant spits a seed as far as they can. Have the crowd keep track of whose seed goes the farthest to declare your winner.

JM Cremps, the Adventure for Boys Store, is dedicated to bringing families together.  While Labor Day celebrations only last for the weekend, the memories your family makes will last a lifetime.  Rest assured, these old-fashioned picnic games are sure to bring on some memorable moments!

Adventure for Boys from the Original Boy Scout Leader, D.C. Beard

As parents of boys, we’ve come to understand “boy behavior” pretty well – except for when those sweet boys come home with worms in their pockets.  Although we may struggle to understand, D.C. Beard, founder of the Boy Scouts of America, understood “boy behavior” quite well.  That innate understanding has led to generations of adventurous boys becoming upstanding men.

Daniel Beard Boy Scout Founder
D.C. Beard was a 20th Century American author, illustrator, outdoorsman, and founder of the Boy Scouts of America.

D.C. Beard was an American author, illustrator, and founder of the Boy Scouts of America and its sister foundation, the Camp Fire Girls.  He knew that happy, healthy boys must explore, create, and build their way to being happy, healthy, productive men.  His ideas to foster that adventurous spirit laid the foundation for the Boy Scout’s philosophy, and those concepts are still in use today!

Daniel Carter Beard, commonly known as “Uncle Dan”, was born in 1850.  He spent most of his childhood in the hills of Kentucky where he was immersed in the Kentucky pioneer’s way of life.   He spent countless hours and days exploring the area around his home.  Because he spent so much time in the woods, he became an expert at building shelters, starting fires, gathering food, identifying edible plants, and tracking wild game.  The skills he learned as an adventurous boy he later taught to other adventure-seeking youth through the Boys Scouts of America and the Camp Fire Girls programs.

Uncle Dan became the first leader of Boy Scout Troop No. 1, and under his leadership, those first lucky Boy Scouts flourished.  Unfortunately, Uncle Dan passed away in 1941, but his lessons and quest for adventure carry on in the books he authored and illustrated.   His most famous trio of books, the The American Boy’s Handy Book Series, is still used by Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, and adventurous souls everywhere.

The first book, The American Boy’s Handy Book:  What to Do and How to Do It, is full of fun games and fascinating projects.  It is broken down into four sections based on the seasons, and each section is full of answers to the question, “What is there for me to do today?”  This book gives detailed instructions on how to make kites, fishing tackle, telescopes, boats, tents, traps, snow forts and more!  It is the ideal counter balance to today’s couch-potato lifestyle.

DC Beard Handy Book Series
The Handy Book Series of books by D.C. Beard will encourage an adventurous spirit in your boys.

The second book in the series, The Book of Camp-Lore and Wood Craft will keep any kid occupied, regardless of the weather.  This book is full of ideas for both indoor and outdoor activities.  It contains complete instructions for building a backyard clubhouse, setting up a workshop, creating backyard games, and many other diversions.  Uncle Dan knew that if boys stayed busy, they’d also stay out of trouble!

The third book in this series is The Field and Forest Handy Book:  New Ideas for Out of Doors, and it is all about living and surviving in the wild.  There is practical instruction on how to build shelters, pack a horse, make clothes, build boats, construct a sled, and cook over a campfire.  To this day, survivalists rely on the timeless advice offered in this book.

In our never-ending quest to understand and encourage boys of all ages, we rate the American Boy’s Handy Book Series at the top of our “Good Books for Boys” list, and we think you will too!

Geocaching is a Treasure Hunt for the Whole Family

Awww, who doesn't dream of finding buried treasure?
Who doesn’t dream of finding buried treasure?

“There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life that he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.” – Mark Twain

Who hasn’t dreamed of finding hidden treasure buried in the backyard? The words, “X marks the spot” is enough to get every child’s heart pumping.  Now that summer has started, the quest for adventure can begin! Treasure hunting and geocaching are the ultimate in fun activities for kids and are the perfect family activities.

Geocaching is one of the fastest growing activities, and its popularity is sweeping the planet.  If you haven’t tried it yet, then you’re in for a treat.  This real world, outdoor treasure hunt game requires a GPS-enabled device. All you have to do is navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache container hidden at that location.  It’s that simple!

Because JM Cremps is devoted to bringing families closer together, we are happy to provide you with two-way radios for communicating with your fellow treasure hunters, a compass to point you in the right direction, and all other supplies to make your geocaching experience the perfect family outing.

Once you have the necessary equipment, the rest is easy.  Just visit the international geocaching database at http://www.geocaching.com.  Enter the zip code where you’d like to search for treasure.  You will then see a list of hidden geocaches and their coordinates.  Pick whichever one you’d like, enter the coordinates into your device, and get started!

If you haven’t got the equipment necessary for a full on geocache hunt, then why not try a good, old-fashioned scavenger hunt for kids.  We’ve got several good ones ready for you to print out and get started.  Best of all they are FREE!  Regardless of which activity you choose, we are happy to be a part of your next fun family activity!