Kids, Museums, and Trying Something New

Exploring all around the Smithsonian Museums

Okay, I am not a big museum fan. Usually I head in, spend the requisite hour or so and then I am out again. Not these past few days! My kids and I have been in Washington, DC and we have hit the Smithsonian Museums hard. I am impressed with how much resilience they have [they are 8 & 10]. We have hit the Air and Space Museum, American Indian Museum [lunch], Natural History Museum, and the American History Museum all in ONE day. Then today we went to the museum where they have the Discovery space shuttle and so much about aviation history including every type of plane imaginable and flight simulators [my kids did them twice and would have stayed on forever!] It was magical! I cannot believe how amped up we ALL feel planning for, during, and after exploring something new!So in Boulder we don’t have the Smithsonian, but here are some ideas of a few places to go to stretch your kiddo’s [and our] minds:

Don’t forget to watch for FREE DAYS at the Denver Art Museum, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the Denver Children’s Museum. I list them each week as they arise. Also, a great hint for keeping the kids engaged during  a visit to an art museum is to stop by the gift shop FIRST & let your kids each pick out a postcard of a piece of art that they like. Then engage them in finding that piece of art. Could work for other types of museums too. Go. Explore. Don’t worry how far you have to drive. Get out there. Have fun!

Family Travel: What I [Re]Learned On My Trip to Sayulita, Mexico

Sorry for the silence from my end this past week. I just got back from a last minute trip to Sayulita, Mexico with my kids [8 & 10] to visit a friend and her kids. My friend and I were solo for the week with both husbands traveling, so why not go? The friend I was visiting lives life fully! She is always packing in more in a morning than I get done many days. We have traveled with the kids lots, but this trip was incredibly humbling as a parent. Since many of you will be traveling this summer I want to pass along my lessons learned. Here is what I [re]learned:

1. Make sure your kids wear a rash guard/swim top if they are going to be spending the first few days submerged in the ocean and out in the sun. My 10 year old go so burnt [even though I applied sun screen–Badger–multiple, multiple times!] that he blistered, was so uncomfortable, and I believe got sunstroke and landed us in the hospital for fluids. I felt SO bad. Actually I still do. So maybe the waterproof sunscreens do have a place in our family or maybe we will just stick to the rash guard.

2. Hydrate! Ensure your kids are drinking LOTS! Honestly this is so important when you are outside all day in the sun. Somehow you have to double your water intake on a vacation! So buy the kids the cold water. Let them drink the icy limonadas.

3. Make sure you have sufficient entertainment for the kids in case of travel delays! We were delayed over 12 hours and finally ended up spending the night in Houston where I didn’t get my kids to sleep until 12:45am. Our family loves mazes, books, crossword puzzles, art supplies, and the good old iPad. Make sure they are with you, not under the plane!

4. Bring snacks–even if it’s a short flight. Our scheduled 2+ hour flight to Houston where we caught a flight to Denver turned into an over 6 hour flight as we had to circle forever, then were diverted to San Antonio where they had us on the ground for hours without food. United Airlines did not have food on the plane.

5. Throw caution to the wind and just go! We made this trip happen really last minute. It was great to just get up and go. You can do it! It makes for such great memories for the whole family. You don’t have to go to Mexico. Check out the National Parks right here in Colorado, spend the night at a cabin in the mountains, go camping, etc.

6. Get the kids involved and into the culture. I made sure the kids learned a little bit of Spanish before we left. I would practice phrases and words. They had to order their own food and ask in Spanish. They loved it! It made them feel so proud!

So along with sun burnt skin, dehydration, being stuck on a plane all day and having to spend the night in Houston, Mexico was just as I remembered. The people are so warm and friendly. They love it when you speak Spanish. The ocean is magnificent and so welcomed from a Boulder, Colorado family. The kids felt heart broken by the street dogs and wanted to take every dog without a collar home. They tried new things–and loved them [food, jumping from 30 ft. cliffs, surfing, etc.]. We felt really safe. We walked the streets at night. We met all sorts of people. We would do it again in a heart beat! I hope we make it happen sooner than last time [It’s been 10 years since I have been to Sayulita].

Globetrotting Kids: Check Out These Kids’ Blogs About Traveling

National Geographic Kids is supporting kids to blog about their experiences on their Around The World family trip. Way to go National Geographic. I am SO jealous! For some interesting reading check out these two kids’ blogs:

National Geographic is such a great resource! My kids pour over it when it arrives and invariably there is an article & certainly photos that capture their curiosity. When I was researching stories about traveling with kids I found some great resources at National Geographic:

Boulder Family Deals: March 30, 2012

  • Free Cocoa from Pete’s Coffee: go Boulder Families on Facebook to download the coupon.
  • Legoland Deal: Plumdistrict has a great deal on a 2 Night Stay & 2, 2-day Hopper Passes. From $359. For details click here.
  • Kids Color Me Playhouse: From Groupon. $24 shipped to your house. For details click here.
  • Maximize Your Travel Miles: The Mommy Points blog is a great resource for learning about how to maximize your travel miles. Check out Mommy Points.

Family Deals: $20 off at Whole Foods/JetBlue/Disney/Kids Eat Free!

I am really excited about this one! Today I got $20 back from AMEX for doing my usual shopping at Whole Foods. It feels great! It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. I did it today and it worked! Read on…

  • Amex/Whole Foods & More Deal: Amex and Twitter are offering awesome promotions right now and you can find them summarized right here. Honestly I am most excited about the $20 off at Whole Foods [I signed up today and I got a note right away from Amex saying I earned $20 after shopping at Whole Foods & spending $75. WooHoo!!!], $15 off at Sports Authority [think soccer & other sports], $ off at Best Buy, & much more. You do need to get a Twitter acct, but that’s easy. [If it feels overwhelming shoot me a note and I will send you a step by step outline showing you how to make this offer work, including signing up for Twitter.] How to sync an Amex card to Twitter here.
  • JetBlue Deal: Livingsocial is running a pay $25 and get $50 to spend on travel between Denver and JFK or Boston. Get your deal right here.
  • Disney Deal: From Aug. 25 through Sep. 29 Disney is offering a free dining plan on vacations of 5 nights or more. The free dining plan can save a family a lot of money as the food at Disney can get quite expensive.
  • Other Deals: Whole Foods: Organic Strawberries are on sale for $4.99 & yummy pizzas at the Pearl St. store for $8.99 on Fridays [usually $13.99 I think]. Lucky’s Market: Organic Avocados 2/$1.
  • Kids Eat Free!: I keep updating the Kids Eat Free! in Boulder listing on the blog. So check back often to see what’s up with dining out.

What other deals should families know about right now? Shout it out!

I am not compensated in any way for showing you these deals. I just want families to know about great deals that are out there.