Sleeping Under the Stars

Sleeping Under the Stars
You don’t need to go far to experience the thrill of camping!

Summer is just about upon us, and that means camping season!  Swimming. watermelon, campfires,  smores, and sleeping under the stars go hand in hand with summertime camping adventures.  As a family, it is the perfect way to make lasting memories for everyone, but sometimes it’s hard to wait until you can find a weekend away.  In the meantime, how about  some backyard camping?  It’s fun, rewarding, and a lot less packing!

For a backyard camping adventure, it’s easiest to just sleep under the stars in a sleeping bag.  A good sleeping bag will keep you comfortable and warm, and the Wenzel Santa Fe Mummy Bag is a good choice for moms, dads, and kids alike.  Do you have a trampoline in your yard?  If you do, why not sleep on it one warm, starry night?  Sleeping on the trampoline adds extra fun and excitement to the night.  If sleeping on the trampoline isn’t for you, then how about sleeping under the stars in a hammock?  The Ultra Light Traveling Hammock is perfect for the backyard and the backwoods and because it is under $20, it is very affordable.

Marshmallow Hotdog Roaster
The Fishing Pole Hotdog/Marshmallow Roaster will make anyone smile!

Nothing speaks to camping more than an evening around the campfire.  It’s the place to sing songs, tell stories, visit with one another, and of course – roast some special campfire food!   Our Fishing Pole Hot Dog Roaster puts a fun, fishing-themed twist on campfire cooking.  Slide the marshmallows or hot dogs onto the prongs, then hold them over the fire. When you are ready to flip them, use those fishing skills and “jig” the pole.  In the blink of an eye, the marshmallows or hot dogs flip over.  For an extra-fun twist, check out the Camo Marshmallow Blaster.  Load it up with marshmallows and you are ready for the ultimate marshmallow gun fight.  This gun can shoot a large marshmallow up to 40 feet!  You’ll never look at an innocent marshmallow the same way again.  (For some more fun campfire food recipes, check out our Kids Camping Recipes.)

Whatever style of camping you plan on doing, just make sure you include a little fun, and little family, and a lot of laughter.   If you do, you’ll be sure to have a great time!

Fishing With Kids and Other Valuable Life Lessons

Fishing with the kids is the perfect way to get the family together for a fun afternoon or evening.  Taking the kids fishing teaches them valuable skills and life lessons. You also get the opportunity to spend quality time with your kids while creating lasting memories for everyone.

Fishing for Kids
Take your kids fishing and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Here are some tips to remember to make the outing perfect:

  1. Keep it simple – There is no need for fancy equipment or complicated techniques.  A simple pole and some basic spinners or live bait usually does the trick and helps to build confidence.  (Your kids can make their own fishing pole here.)
  2. Keep it short – The younger the child, the faster they get bored.  If you keep them out too long, they’ll lose interest and may not want to fish again.  It’s best to take them out in short increments until they are older.  All-night fishing trips may not be the best way to instill a life-long love of fishing into a 6-year old!
  3. Keep them involved – In order for your kids have a good time, learn something, and fall in love with fishing; you need to keep them engaged the entire time.  So many times, we do all the work for them and then hand them the pole when a fish is on line.  This works when the fish are really biting, however, they will feel much more satisfied if they are involved every step of the way. To start with, let them catch the bait (grasshoppers, worms, night crawlers, etc).  Show them how to tie a hook on the line.  Teach them how to put the bait on the hook.  Show them how to cast properly.  Have them help you to clean their catch, and if you really want to make their day – let them help you cook it!

Not only is fishing fun, but it is also a great opportunity for you to visit with your kids. Sometimes our days and lives are so busy that we don’t take the time to listen.  Just having the time and space to talk without the interruption of cell phones, video games, and television can help us to really engage with our kids.  It gives us the time to listen to them and also the opportunity to teach them some valuable life lessons.

Check out the full line of JM Cremps fishing equipment for kids.  Our best selling kids fishing vest is in stock, along with our most popular kids fishing gear.  If your kids take a liking to fishing, the book Kids Gone Fishing is our most popular kids fishing book.  The tips, techniques, and tricks contained within its pages are valuable for kids and adults too!

Make Your Own Kids Fishing Pole – Huck Finn Style!

Huck Finn Homemade Kids Fishing Pole
Huck Finn would have made his own fishing pole too!

Mark Twain’s character, Huck Finn, was the ultimate adventure seeker. Huck knew how to make the most of every day, and every opportunity. You can bet that when spring rolled around, ole Huck would be outside on the riverbank. You may not be as free to roam as Huck, but you can spend a day lazing on the riverbank just like he did. If Huck were around today, he wouldn’t buy his fishing pole at the store – he’d make his own. He’d whittle a tree branch, attach some line, dig up a worm, and catch some dinner!

Here’s how to make your own kids fishing pole – Huck Finn Style:

Step 1: Find a tree branch that is approximately the same height as the person who will be fishing with the fishing pole. Using a pocketknife, remove all of the protruding branches and twigs so your pole is straight and smooth.

STEP 2: Cut a piece of fishing line 12 inches longer than your pole.

STEP 3: Using your knife, cut a groove around the tip of your fishing pole approximately ½ inch from the end. The groove needs to go all the way around the circumference of the fishing pole, and must be deep enough for you to wrap the line around three times.

STEP 4: Wrap one end of the line around the groove three times. Tie a secure knot so your line won’t slip out of the channel. (Not good with Knots? The Fisherman’s Ultimate Knot Guide fits in your pocket, explains how to tie the most popular knots for every occasion, and even has a ruler edge so you can measure the monster fish you catch.)

STEP 5: Tie a fishing hook to the end of the line. If you are fishing in a creek or river, then attach a sinker about 6 to 12 inches up the line. If you are fishing in a pond or lake, you likely won’t need a sinker.

STEP 6: Dig up some worms, head out to your favorite fishing hole, and join Huck in a day of fishing, fun, and adventure!

Making Wooden Fishing Lures - Kids Fishing Book
Make your own kids fishing pole AND your own wooden fishing lures.

If you like the idea of making your own fishing gear, then check out the book, Making Wooden Fishing Lures. You’ll learn tips and techniques to create effective lures that you can be proud of. Another great kids fishing book that is kid-friendly, easy to read, and loaded with fun photographs and drawings, is Kids Gone Fishing. It’s one of our favorites here at JM Cremps, and it just may instill a lifelong love of fishing in your kids. If a homemade pole isn’t your thing, then JM Cremps carries a great “Huck Finn” alternative – the 3-piece 12’ Bamboo Cane Fishing Pole. It’s easy to carry, durable, and catches fish!

How to Make a Kite – The Perfect Fall Activity!

Learn how to make a kite yourself - it's fun and easy.
Learn how to make a kite, and you’ll be ready for some real fun on the next windy day.

Fall is here!  Besides school, apple pies, and pumpkins, it’s also the best time of year for kite flying.   Fall days are often windy which makes them ideal for some fun in the sky with a kite.  You may not be an expert kite flyer – yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out there on the next blustery day and have some serious fun.  Don’t have a kite of your own?  Well don’t worry, you can make one yourself, and it’s actually pretty easy!  (See below for complete instructions on How to Make a Kite.)

EO Atom Kite is an alternative to learning how to make a kite yourself.
The EO Atom Kite is ready to fly, flip, and have fun.

Don’t want to fuss with making your own?  That’s understandable.  JM Cremps carries some really awesome kites that are super-fliers, and we are giving our loyal followers a huge discount!  This week only, save big on one of our favorite kites.  The EO Atom Kite not only looks ultra cool, it’s unique shape offers some fun advantages.  When the kite is in the air, give the line a tug and the kite will give you a great tumbling show.  Don’t let the crazy shape scare you – it’s still easy to fly.

As a special offer to our blog readers, SAVE OVER 25% on the EO Atom Kite right now!

Looking for a more traditional kite?  Then check out the Jazz Stunt Kite Fire.  It’s durable, beautiful, and will fly the blue skies at altitudes that birds dream of.

How to Make a Kite:  (Download your printable How to Make a Kite instructions right now!)

Kites come in many sizes, shapes, and colors, but to keep it simple, we’re going to make a traditional diamond shaped kite. First, before we learn how to make a kite, we need to gather our supplies and tools.

Supplies needed to make your own kite:

  • A kitchen garbage bag
  • Two wooden dowels. One that is 24 inches long and one that is 20 inches long.
  • A roll of string or fishing line
  • Clear packing tape
  • Glue
  • Markers, stickers, etc. for decorating your kite
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Ribbon
  • Knife for notching your dowel – Make sure parents say it is ok to use a knife!

Once you’ve got all your supplies ready, you are all set to make your kite.  Let’s get started:

  • Take your 24 inch long dowel and measure 6 inches from one end.  Mark that spot.
  • Take your 20 inch long dowel and measure the halfway spot (10 inches from one end).  Mark that spot.
  • Lay the shorter dowel across the longer dowel lining up your marks. Your dowels will now make a cross shape.
Learn How to Make a Kite Step 1
Glue your dowels together to create the cross-shaped frame.
  • Glue the dowels together where they meet. Once your glue is dried, reinforce this area by wrapping string around and over this spot crisscrossing the string as you go.
  • With a knife, carefully notch each end of your cross so that there is a groove along the edge that the string will slip into. Make sure you carve the notch at least 1/8 inch deep.
  • Take a piece of string and run it along the edge of each dowel to form a “frame” in the shape of a diamond.  Make sure the string fits securely in the groove at the end of every dowel.  Make sure your string is taut, but not so tight that it bends the dowels or snaps the string.  Reinforce the hold by placing a dab of glue on each notch.  You’ve now created the frame for your kite!
Learn How to Make a Kite Step 2
Run string all around the ends of the dowels to complete the frame.
  • Take the garbage bag and cut it open along one side seam and the bottom seam. The bag will now be a flat sheet.
  • Lay the frame on the top of the open garbage bag. Trace the diamond shape onto the bag.
  • Now it is time to cut out the diamond, but in order to wrap the plastic around the frame, you need to cut the diamond about two inches bigger on all sides than the shape you traced onto the plastic.  This will give you enough room to wrap the edges of the plastic around the frame.
  • After you’ve cut the plastic diamond, decorate the top and bottom of it however you would like.
Learn How to Make a Kite Step 3
Cut out the plastic and secure it to the frame.
  • Place the plastic over the top of the frame.  Flip it over, and wrap the edges around the bottom.  Tape the edges to the underside of the plastic. You’re almost done!
  • Cut a piece of string 20 inches long.  Poke holes in the top and bottom of the kite one inch from each end.  Tie one end of the string to the top hole, and the other end of the string to the bottom hole.  This is your bridle.
  • Tie the rest of your kite string to the bridle string at about the same point where the dowels intersect.
  • Attach the ribbon by taping it, gluing it, or stapling it to the bottom end of your kite.  This is your tail and is important for your kite to fly properly.

Now get out and fly your kite!  It’s fun and easy. On the next windy day, just start running with the kite dragging behind you a couple of feet. As your kite lifts into the air, let out more string. Be careful of power lines and trees. You do NOT want to fly your kite anywhere near power lines, including the lines running to your house.

How to make a kite - the finished product can be decorated however you like.
Decorate your kite, then get outside and fly it!

Outdoor Kids Games – Backyard Water Games

There are few things more fun and satisfying than blasting someone with a squirt gun.  However, if you blast your Dad as he comes home from work, you might end up in more “hot water” than you bargained for.  Instead of taking that risk, the next time your trigger finger gets itchy, why don’t you organize a little friendly competition?  Whether it’s with your family on a Sunday afternoon, your friends on a hot evening, or the guests at your next party, these outdoor kids games and water games will keep you cool even as the fun heats up.

Aqua Zooka 12 Water Gun for Outdoor Kids Games
When a water fight is looming, you’ll need the superior fire power of a really good water gun.

Outdoor Kids Games #1 – Fountainhead Race:

What you need:  2 plastic or paper cups,  2 empty 20 oz. bottles, 2 buckets or pitchers filled with water.

What to do:  Divide into two teams.  One person from each team, called the bottle holder, will sit on the ground at least 20 feet away from the rest of the team and hold the empty bottle on their head.  The next team member, called a runner, will fill their paper cup with water, run to the bottle holder, and pour the water from the cup into the bottle.  When the runner’s cup is empty, the runner and the bottle holder switch places, and the new runner runs back to the team.  Because this is a relay, the next person in line does the same thing, and on and on until the 20 oz bottle is filled with water.  The first team to fill their 20 oz. bottle wins!

Outdoor Kids Games #2 – Run the Gauntlet:

What you need:  Several Cans of Shaving Cream for the runners, and one squirt gun for every shooter, one bucket, several clothespins, rocks, or other small to medium sized objects.

What to do:  Set up a simple aisle or path (sidewalks work perfect for this) and position the clothespins on one end, and the empty bucket on the other.  A good distance apart is anywhere from 30 to 70 feet.  Position the shooters on the sides of the aisle approximately 2 feet from the aisle (they are not allowed to touch the runner or to get in the runner’s way.) Paint a “target” of shaving cream on the runner’s chest. (Try to use the same amount of shaving cream for each runner). The runner’s job is to run back and forth delivering clothespins, one at a time, into the bucket. The object is to see how many clothespins he can get into the bucket before the shooters shoot all of the shaving cream target off. Once the shaving cream is gone from the runners chest, his turn is over. Count the number of objects that runner was able to place into the bucket. The one who delivers the most clothespins wins!

Outdoor Kids Games #3 – Fizzy Fighters:

What you need: A watergun and an alka-seltzer necklace for every player.

What to do: Have each player make an alka-seltzer necklace by using a needle to thread one to three alka seltzer tablets onto a string. Use the needle to poke a small hole in the middle of the tablet, but make sure your hands and work area are completely dry or your necklace will dissolve before you even get to play the game! To play the game, rope off a designated play area that all players must stay in. From the word “go” each player tries to dissolve the other players alka-seltzer necklace. The person whose necklace lasts the longest is the champion!

Just like a mom can never have too many pairs of shoes, a kid can never have too many water guns either.  Fortunately, JM Cremps carries a near arsenal for all of your water gun wars.  For some precise firing capacity you’ll be able to shoot your way through every battle with the Aqua Zooka 12.  Of course, when you really want to bring out the big guns and rule the neighborhood, you can’t go wrong with the Stream Machine TL-750.  For a real fun twist that will dominate any battle, a water balloon wrist-launcher is beyond fun.

Just for fun, check out this historic water gun fight that set the Guinness World Record for the largest water gun fight ever!