Nov 10

Get Outside! Tip Sheet for Kid-Friendly, Cold Weather Fun

Photo by Tony the Misfit (Flickr Creative Commons)

Even when the weather turns cold and wet, there’s no end to the activities and places you can explore with kids. You can, of course, opt for staying warm and toasty by browsing our growing list of indoor play areas on the Mom Maps iPhone app or on the Kids Play Guide website. (Also be sure to check out our recent post: “Kid-Friendly Fun on Rainy or Cold Days: Our Favorite Places to Get the Wiggles Out“.).

If, however, your family is up for braving the elements, this just might be the time to discover a new place to explore. Our community of mom and dad mappers has made it easy to find kid-friendly places for outdoor fun in your area and on the road. Browse the “Parks” and “Playground” categories on our iPhone App or website, and you’re sure to find a great new family destination.

To add to the fun, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite links and resources for winter and cold weather activities. Now bundle up, get outside and play!

  • From The Grass Stain Guru: Try a fall color walk or check out some other ideas from her Fall Play video
  • Try these winter nature activities for kids on eHow
  • Download this free Winter Activity Guide from Nature Rocks, chock full of games, activities and safety tips.
  • Our friend Erin (@AKontheGo) recently shared this great article from Wild Backpacker on Staying Warm While Backpacking the the Coldest Weather
  • Did you know? Winter can be the best time of year from some outdoor activities, like exploring tidepools. Here’s a good round up of theBest Tidepools for Kids in California from Trekaroo
  • If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area (where Mom Maps/Kids Play Guide is based), ready the rain shield for your stroller and find a great place to a walk on the Stroller Hikes website.
  • We like this list compiled by National Wildlife Foundation/Wildlife Promise on favorite Outdoor Blogs by Parents.
  • Our friends at Fun Orange County Parks have created the first and last resource you need for outdoor fun in Orange County from beaches to parks to playgrounds.
  • For all you Twitter fans, the #PlayOutdoors hashtag is one of our favorites for the best news on outdoor family fun, year round.


Take Our Skinny Scoop Poll: “When the weather turns cold, what activities get you outside with your kids?”

Nov 10

Video: Featured Kid-Friendly Place, Hapuna Beach (Big Island, Hawaii)

Kids Play Guide Mapper Stacie shares this video from a recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. This is one of the best (and only) big sandy beaches on the island. It’s on the Kohala Coast which home to many resorts (Hapuna Beach adjacent to the Hapuna Prince and Mauna Kea Hotels). Hapuna Beach has lots of amenities: big parking lot, lifeguard on duty, bathrooms, picnic areas, grills, snack shack.  It’s a great place for boogie boarding, although (beware!) the conditions can be rough at times. Overall, a great place to spend the day with the family.

In addition to mapping some of her favorite kid-friendly places on the Mom Maps iPhone app and Kids Play Guide website, Stacie writes a blog called “A Little Yumminess“, which covers family recipes and kid-friendly food adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. And… if you’re interested in kid-friendly food on the Big Island, click here to view her “Big Island Food Adventure” video post.

Looking for more kid-friendly fun from parks, to playgrounds, museums to indoor play places and restaurants? Click over to www.kidsplayguide.com and browse our growing list of more than 25,000 kid spots or take Mom Maps on the go with our iPhone app. It’s quick and easy to map and review your own favorites, too.

Nov 10

Featured Video: Totland (Berkeley, CA)

Mom Mapper Shayla shares this video from a recent trip to the Totland Playground in North Berkeley, CA. Totland has the goods from sand to swings to lots of “donated” toddler toys — shade, water and tables aplenty, too. It’s totally fenced in which parents of wee ones will appreciate and pssst… we’ve heard it’s a good place for a park birthday party or play date.

Check out this video from Shayla of “Me Turned Mom“, where she blogs about parenting, cool stuff, and interesting places….. and find more kid-friendly places in Berkeley and beyond using the Mom Maps iPhone app, or by browsing www.kidsplayguide.com.

Now get out there and play!

Sep 10

Featured Mom Mapper: Fun Orange County Parks

So how did we find the more than 24,000 kid-friendly places mapped in our Mom Maps iPhone app? We’ve been building  a vibrant community of parent Mappers who love to share their favorite picks and places for outdoor and indoor play, learning places, family dining and more. We’d like to introduce you to Fun Orange County Parks and Michele Whiteaker. She’s a KaBOOM.org Playmaker and self-proclaimed playground blogger who considers it her community service to share the scoop on outdoor play in Orange County.

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We love Fun Orange County Parks! It’s an incredible resource for outdoor play covering playgrounds and parks from Anaheim to Fullerton, Newport Beach San Clemente and everywhere in between. The best part is that the the information comes straight from parents who live and play in Orange County . What we also love about the site are the sections that feature ideas for nature-based play, kids activities, and family road trips — and even some music playlists to keep you going. You won’t want to miss the “Super Search” section where you’ll find handpicked lists in categories ranging from Park Birthdays, to Sand-Free Parks, Water (Puddles), and Beat the Heat.

We’re thrilled to team up with Fun Orange County Parks to enable you to browse hundreds of their Orange County park and playground recommendations and photos on-the-go using our Mom Maps iPhone app.

Now get out there and play!

Follow Fun Orange County Parks

  • www.funorangecountyparks.com
  • @OCPlayParks (on twitter)
  • Facebook: Fun Orange County Parks
  • If you’re a Twitter fan you may also want to check out the great hastag “#playoutdoors” where you can get your daily dose of links and resources for outdoor play culled from around the Twitter-sphere.

Download the Mom Maps iPhone app or search our library of kid-friendly places online.

Aug 10

Parents Pick: Shira’s Favorite Manhattan Playgrounds (and Discount on NYC Babysitting Services)

Mom Maps has now mapped more than 2,000 kid-friendly spots in the greater New York City area (and 23,000 across the US, and counting!). Find something new in your neighborhood or feel like a local when you’re just visiting — Find parks, playgrounds, museums, indoor play places and restaurants.

Of course, we couldn’t find all these great places without our wonderful community of Mappers: moms and dads, family travel experts, parent bloggers who love to share their favorite places for family fun. Shira, a NYC mom (and Mom Mapper), shares 3 of her favorite Manhattan playgrounds (find these and more NYC play places on the Mom Maps website .

Bryant Park: “A great park with a large lawn, an awesome carousel ($2 a ride) and a kids reading area (open spring through fall). All at the back of the main New York Public Library.”

Tompkins Square Playground: “A newly renovated playground with swings, sandbox, and everything a kid needs… within a nice large square/park.”

Union Square Playground: “A great large playground in the north side of Union Square. divided to a younger toddlers area with sandbox and swings and a wide space for bigger toddlers/kids. Brand new playground with cool facilities.”

(Photos: Bryant Park by ktylerconk, Tompkins Square by edenpictures, Union Square by timstock_nyc)

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AND… when you’re in need of a sitter in the Big Apple, we recommend Creative Sitters. They focus on weaving creativity through your child’s everyday routine in order for them to have a positive and happier childcare experience. Serving the New York City and Hoboken areas. Mention “Mom Maps” when you book a sitter and you’ll receive a 15% discount on your first sitting.


Jul 10

Guest Post: Exploring More National Parks with “Pitstops for Kids”

Our friend Amy Whitley at Pitstops for Kids has been on whirlwind, multi-state family road trip this summer. Her “Pit Stop A Day” series follows her 22-day “mega” road trip, touring four national parks, six family-friendly resorts, eight states. Luckily for the rest of us, we can go along for the ride (without all the potty stops) and take advantage of her many tips and recommendations when planning more modest itineraries. Visit her site to read the whole series and browse her reviews and recommendations for kid-friendly pitstops across the US.

Easy Hikes and Great Views at Arches National Park

UTAH — Moab is home to both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, which showcase some of the most stunning geological formations we’ve ever seen! Arches in particular is breathtaking, and offers many easy hikes and vista points for kids to explore. (General Tip: whatever your activity, get up and go early; later in the day, temperatures can be unbearable in summer.) Read the full story on Pitstops for Kids.


Ancient Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park

COLORADO — With so much to see, families can easily plan to spend 2-3 days exploring this park! Mesa Verde is home to more than 600 ancient cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Kids can hike right down to the ruins (some self-guided, some in group tours) and walk through ancient doorways, climb wooden ladders, and see how Mesa Verde’s first inhabitants lived firsthand. (General Tip: don’t let the high desert landscape fool you; Mesa Verde is at high elevation. Be sure to bring jackets and watch for altitude sickness when spending the day out in the elements.) Read the full story on Pitstops for Kids.


Hiking at Zion National Park

UTAH — The Emerald Pools is a great hike for kids because you can adjust it to your needs/abilities. There are three pools on the trail: the lower pool is only .6 mile from the trailhead (although it does climb quite a bit), or the second pool is only 1 mile. From either of these, ambitious families can continue to the third pool (another .5 mile) or return. When we visited in July, the pools weren’t much to look at, but the dripping water from the overhangs of rock were very impressive (and a great way to cool off!).Weeping Rock is another easy hike for kids. This trail is short (.4 mile) but steep, and very beautiful. Definitely worth a stop! Read the full story on Pitstops for Kids.

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