Why I Am Getting My Kids Outdoors This Summer!


Boulder County is a mecca of outdoor activities. Why is it that we parents find ourselves begging our kids to get off technology on a regular basis? At least I do. I love getting my kids out the door and into the backyard, on a hike, on their mountain bikes, or anywhere other than indoors as often as possible!

The summer is a great time to get the kids outside and engaged in authentic learning opportunities – the kind that present themselves all the time in the outdoors. I get the brochures for STEM and engineering focused camps and these all look amazing, but I say summer is a time to get outside, leave the traditional classroom behind, and explore a more authentic and engaging “classroom” in the outdoors. This summer I’m getting my kids out the door and learning more about themselves through outdoor experiences! It is time to get our kids out the door and into the outdoors this summer!

Authentic outdoor education programs offer our kids incredible opportunities to push themselves and develop the whole person by allowing them to:

  • Be without technology and fully engage!
  • Build confidence and grit doing things things that are fun but tough!
  • Be bold and try new things! 
  • Engage in healthy risk taking – the activities have high perceived risk, but low real danger!

The outdoors is a seriously powerful tool for personal growth and empowerment for our kids! I want my kids to face challenges and learn that they can push through them. I want my kids to have to engage fully by leaving all the distractions of technology behind. I also know with two boys they need outlets for taking risks in a healthy environment. I believe these are all best accomplished through purposeful engagement in outdoor adventures. This is why I’m turning to some engaging outdoor opportunities for my kids this summer. Let the outdoors be their teacher!

There are so many ways to get our kids going – even at really young ages! Think of the options: Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Biking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Hiking, Mountaineering, and many many more! Get the kids out there however you do it – on your own or with a camp program this summer. Of course it depends on how old your kids are and their innate interests, but you can find so many opportunities for authentic learning in the outdoors around Boulder County!

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Photo Credit to Avid4 Adventure

I did some research and I found Avid4 Adventure. I knew they were around but I had not really looked at outdoor camps until now. This summer my 12 year old will be rock climbing with Avid 4 – scaling walls and meeting new friends. He will be scaling walls and pushing himself beyond the limits he currently perceives. He will be getting out of his comfort zone. He will be getting scraped up. He will be exhausted when he gets home after long hikes to climbing spots. I believe he will come back each day with his cup full of life and ready for more adventures. Here’s to summer outdoor adventures! 

More details about Avid4 Adventure in case you think your kids are ready for an outdoor challenge this summer. They offer really professional programs and believe in authentic education through outdoor adventures. Avid4 offers day and overnight programs for all outdoor enthusiast kids and those who just want to dip their toes in the water so to speak. I love Avid4’s philosophy and professionalism! Check out their great general [kids try a little of everything] and sport specific outdoor programs for kids pre-K through 11th grade at their two Boulder County bases of operation:

Avid4 Adventure offers camps out of two local locations that may be interesting for Boulder Families – Boulder Camps and Lafayette Camps @ Avid4 Adventure

Are your kids going to camp this summer? Any great outdoor learning experiences to share with the rest of us?

#Kids #SummerCamp #Summer #Boulder #GetOutdoors

Podcasts Are Rocking My World!

Podcasts App

Podcasts App

Podcasts are rocking my world! I know they have been around for years, but recently I finally figured them out. I love them for these five reasons that may appeal to other parents:

  • Learn something new. Honestly, if I want to learn about history – cue up the podcast. If I want to get some parenting wisdom – cue up the podcast. If I want to relax – cue up the podcast. They are sort of miraculous!
  • Put me to [back to] sleep. I have a few podcasts I use to help me go to sleep – or go back to sleep if I wake up in the middle of the night. I leave my phone by the bedside with my earbuds attached. If I wake up, I pop on one of my cued up podcasts, and I’m back off to sleep. I don’t remember a word of the podcast, but they work without fail to get me off to sleep.
  • Get exercise. I often cue up a podcast and go out on a run. I’m learning so much!
  • Get things done. I get into listening to my podcasts and find myself folding the laundry. It’s one of my least favorite tasks and yet I find [more] time for it when I’m listening to a podcast.
  • Family Time. Driving up to the mountains each weekend skiing we try to listen to a podcast together. Yup, the kids are interested and learning some really interesting things!

How to get your hands on some cool podcasts? Here you go…

  1. Download the podcast app for your smart phone. Just search “podcast” and it will come up in the iTunes or Android stores. It’s a free download.
  2. Do some research on podcasts you may like – try Google searching “podcast” and anything else [parenting, exercise, mindfulness, love, etc…]
  3. Some fun podcast ideas:
    1. Modern Love
    2. Mom and Dad Are Fighting – by Slate 
    3. Smart People
    4. NPR: Parenting
    5. TED Talks – Ideas worth sharing
    6. This American Life

What podcasts do you enjoy? 

The CU Wizards Are Here. Let Them Engage Your Child In The Wonders Of Science!

wizard-0The CU Wizards program is an ongoing science discovery program presented free by CU professors on a variety of topics. The presentations are geared towards kids in grades 5 to 9, but everyone is welcome! These are fun, interactive, intense, silly, engaging presentations so take a look!

The next CU Wizards program is March 14, 2015: Waves & Radios: The Physics of the Information Age

CU Wizards website

Wizarding schedule


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Lions, Bobcats, Lynx, Oh My – Natural Selections Offers Guided Hikes for Families in and around Boulder

Lions, Bobcats, Lynx, oh my! Natural Selections is the educational arm of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks that offers hikes and activities to get the whole family outdoors and learning about our natural environment. They offer events for families at least once a month, year around – even in the snow! These events are fun, educational, entertaining, engaging, and all about the natural environment all around us.

Upcoming Hikes for Families:

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Some of these hikes require registration, so check in before hand. You can get on their email list to get advance notice of upcoming events:


Thanks to Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks for engaging Boulder kids in nature!



Parent Engagement Network [PEN] Offering Truly Excellent Parenting Workshops

PEN is a great Boulder area resource! They offer free [or reasonably priced] workshops and lecture series. They often seem focused on tweens & teens, but for those of you with younger kids these topics will still apply and honestly it is never too early to start thinking about some of the issues on the horizon.

Here is the PEN calendar [some of these dates are long past]:

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But PEN has some more great topics coming up:

1/16: Child safety in the digital age

1/22: High expectations [yes, it’s the high you are thinking]

I love how PEN works to support families and children in Boulder! Thanks, PEN!!!!

The CU Wizards Are Here. Let Them Engage Your Child In The Wonders Of Science!

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 10.38.00 AMThe CU Wizards program is an ongoing science discovery program presented free by CU professors on a variety of topics. The presentations are geared towards kids in grades 5 to 9, but everyone is welcome! These are fun, interactive, intense, silly, engaging presentations so take a look! The next Wizard program is titled Sink or Swim! on 1/18.

CU Wizards website

Wizarding schedule


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DIG INTO READING with the Boulder Public Library’s Summer Reading Program!


The kids are out of school and summer if finally here in Boulder! Want to keep them motivated to read? I highly recommend kids being a part of the Boulder Public Library’s Dig Into Reading summer reading program. My kids have done it for years! They run a great program every summer and this year is no exception. Registration is open! Here is what you do to get involved:

  1. Stop into ANY Boulder Public Library and sign your child up. It’s free and easy to sign up. Pick out a book at that time.
  2. Read! Your child/you complete the tracking form.
  3. Head into your library each week to show your tracking form and get a prize
  4. It is really easy and motivating to the kids!

To keep things interesting there are a lot of programs happening throughout the summer. Attend a wide variety of programs. Including:

Get more information on Dig Into Reading here. Or Call 303-441-3099 for more information!

The Intersection of Yoga and Parenting

DownwardDog-300I love yoga. I don’t do it enough, but I still love it! Yesterday I was at a delicious yoga class at The Little Yoga Studio deeply immersed in sweat and downward dogs, when my mind started to wander. I cherish the time when I give myself the space for my mind to wander -it doesn’t happen a lot these days. All at once the words that yoga instructors have said over the years started to accumulate in my head. They came flooding in. It started with the yoga instructor telling us about her decision to bring Joy back into her life. Joy. Joy? Joy’s honorable. We all want to feel joy, right?

I was joyful, in between praying with all my being that this was not a class that was over 1 hour and wondering how I was going to ask my friend Wendy this question since she seemed to in the moment and engaged any time I glanced over to see if there was an iota of an opening to ask my very important question. It was hot in there, I was seriously sweating, I hadn’t been to yoga in a few weeks, and I know my body sort of turns off after an hour of yoga. I guess I was panicking a bit. I forgot at first how much more than exercise I get every time I am on my mat. But here were all these thoughts about ways of being that were floating around my head.

Back to the intersection of yoga and parenting. The words of past yoga teachers flooded in and it occurred to me how yoga informs parenting. And vice versa. But at this point with a pre-teen boy and a pre-pre-teen boy in my house I was really appreciating how yoga could support me.  I need some support. Some of the words of wisdom that were ringing though my head about how the essence of yoga cold support parenting include:

  • Be kind to yourself. If you need to take a break just take child’s pose or let your family know you need a break [even for a moment just go outside] and accept that it is okay to not be perfect.
  • If you wobble, it’s okay. Think tree pose and life. We will all wobble. It’s okay. Be accepting.
  • Look for joy. We are given many opportunities to find joy in our lives we just need to let them in. Don’t take life too seriously. 
  • Find ease [smile] even when it is tough. It’s not where we stand in times of comfort and convenience, but rather in times of difficulty and hardship that matter! [paraphrase of the MLK quote] Think of how this could transform the act of getting out the door in the morning.
  • Be thankful. Appreciate that you are here on your yoga mat. It’s okay to do something good for yourself. 

There are so many more wise words I have heard and wish to live by, but these are a few of the ways that yoga and parenting intersect.

Add to the conversation. What are the ways you see yoga and parenting intersecting and informing each other? I would love to hear from this amazing, yoga loving community!

Parenting Support Via Parenting Tips

IMG_0217Parenting is truly a journey! Sometimes it can be rough, other times you feel in sync and sail through. Either way we can all reach a higher level of self-understanding and be the best parents possible by getting support. We get that support in many ways: teachers, friends, family, church, classes, etc. Think about who it is that has pushed you to think deeply about the way you are with your child, spouse, friends. Who supports you to think, reflect, act?

I have found a few parent educators who offer support via emails that I think they are worth sharing. You can add their insights to your “bag of tricks” if you choose:

1. Michael Vladek: He focuses on families, teens, parenting and offers a weekly email that offers parenting insights. To sign up for his weekly insights click here.

2. Scott Noelle: His website is Enjoy Parenting. He offers daily parenting insights that come to your email. He is insightful and I have enjoyed his vision for a few years. To sign up for his daily parenting tips click here.

Do you have suggestions for other resources for Boulder Families? 

Pathways to Parenting Success Offers Free Talks About Important Topics to Boulder Families!

IMG_0171Take advantage of these! The Boulder Psychological Services offers some really incredible, free, lectures on essential parenting topics. Examples include:

  • Technology’s Impact on Child Socialization
  • Understanding and Dealing with Teen Depression
  • Stress Reduction
  • Understanding and Managing Sibling Rivalry
  • Family Communication
  • And lots, lots more!

There are relevant topics for every family and situation! Even if your child isn’t a teen yet, it’s never to soon to start thinking about what is coming up. If you have an infant you still might be interested in topics of stress reduction or understanding family communications.

I highly recommend taking advantage of these free discussions/lectures. They are led by experts in their fields and every one I have attended was worthwhile! You can get more information about upcoming events at www.boulderpsychologicalservices.com. Click on calendar on the left side to find the most complete list of upcoming events.