Monday, 20 November 2017

Gift Guide for Adventure Loving Families

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Micro Kickboard. All photos and opinions are my own.

The holidays are just around the corner which means it's time to start thinking about gift ideas. 

I'm a big fan of giving gifts that encourage the kids to get outside and play, even more so if it's a gift that encourages the whole family to play together. So today, I'm sharing some of my favorite gift ideas for families that love exploring, spending time outdoors and doing adventurous things together. 

Stay tuned for a fun give away at the end!

Micro Kickboard Scooters
For our city living family, scooters are a handy way to get around town. They're faster than walking, more convenient than bike riding and they're a ton of fun! My big kids have been getting around by scooter for years, and thanks to Micro Kickboard, Mathilde and I have now joined them! 


Ava and Lola ride the Sprite scooter which is designed for older children through to adults. It's a classic style two wheeled scooter that comes in a large range of colors. It's light enough for the kids to easily ride, but strong enough that either Kim or I could jump on and take it for a spin. The girls love that it has a handy kickstand so they don't always have to find something to lean it against when they get off.  Because the Sprite is lightweight, it's easy for the kids to carry around when folded too.


Mathilde rides the three wheeled Mini Deluxe which is suitable for children aged 2 - 5. The Mini Deluxe steers by pushing on the handle rather than turning it. It took Mathilde no time at all to pick it up. Just like a big scooter it has a rear brake, which is something missing from other toddler scooters on the market. And trust me, she zooms pretty fast keeping up with her big sisters so that brake comes in handy! 


My scooter is the Micro Black which is the best selling scooter for adults. It's really comfortable to ride and adjusts to suit a large range of sizes which means that Kim is able to ride it too. One of my favorite things about my scooter is that my kids love that I'm joining in the fun with them instead of just watching from the side lines. 


One thing I love about our scooters is they make for the perfect day out of fun. They're so easy to throw in the trunk of the car and take on adventures with us. Because the larger scooters fold up they take up very little room which means we can even take them on longer road trips and camping trips too. They're so much more convenient than taking bikes on our adventures, and just as much fun.


Wouldn't scooters for the whole family would make such a fantastic gift? Head on over to microkickboard.com for some great Black Friday deals with up to 40% off scooters for the whole family starting November 22. Don't forget the helmets for the kids. 

Oh, and stay tuned for a fun giveaway at the end of this post!


Kayaking Adventure
Because we live in a small apartment and have limited space I'm a big fan of giving experiences as gifts. For his last birthday the girls and I gave Kim a gift voucher for a kayaking trip. Kim had been kayaking in the past but it was completely new for the kids. A little while back he took Ava out for a day of kayaking on San Francisco Bay and they had an absolute blast. 


Their guide taught them all the basics before they got in their kayak to go for a practice ride in the still waters by the pier. Once they felt comfortable they headed out for a group tour around AT&T Park and the surrounding area. They kayaked under bridges, past piers and at one point they even spotted a sea lion basking in the sun on a dock. 


Mathilde is a little too small for kayaking just yet so we weren't able to go as a whole family (maybe next year), but in the mean time Kim will be taking Lola for a kayaking adventure soon.  


If you're in the Bay Area, I recommend City Kayak. Gift vouchers can be purchased online and can be used for either kayak rental or a group trip like Kim and Ava took. 


National Parks Annual Pass
Getting out and exploring the natural beauty all around us is one of my favorite things to do as a family, and what better place to explore than one of the amazing National Parks around the country.
We've visited quite a few National Parks as a family, including Zion, the Grand Canyon, Alcatraz, Joshua Tree, Muir Woods and many more. We have a huge list of National Parks that we're looking forward to visiting in the next few years.


As well as taking in all the natural beauty and learning about the history, one of my favorite things for the kids to do in National Parks is the Junior Ranger program. Most parks offer a free Junior Ranger program for kids aged six and up. Participants get a work book to complete as they make their way through the park and once they're done they meet with a real park ranger to be sworn in. It's such a cute program and a great way for the kids to learn a little more as they explore, but the best part (as far as my kids are concerned) is the badges! Every kid who completes the Junior Ranger program earns a special badge. My kids are accruing quite the collection. 


Another thing my kids love to do when we visit National Parks is collecting stamps in their National Parks Passports. You can buy these books online or at most National Parks gift stores. My kids have a book each and love collecting the stamps. The stamps are usually found either at the ranger station or within the park gift store.


An annual pass for the National Parks would make a great gift for a family that likes to explore the great outdoors. Depending on the parks that you visit, the annual pass can pay for itself in just three or four visits. Each pass covers entry for one car with up to four adults. Children under sixteen are always free. Annual passes can be obtained at www.recreation.gov


Museum and Zoo Membership
As I mentioned earlier, I'm a big fan of giving experiences as a gift, especially seeing as we live in a small apartment. As all of our family are on the other side of the world, experiences such as museum and zoo passes or annual membership make a fantastic gift as there are no expensive shipping costs involved. It's a win-win situation!


We're lucky that here in the Bay Area there are so many wonderful and kid friendly museums and zoos to visit. The Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, Oakland Zoo, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Lawrence Hall of Science and Children's Creativity Museum are just a few of our favorites. A visit to any of these places is always a fun day out. Plus it's educational too, whether the kids realize it or not! All of these museums and zoos offer gift membership as well as gift passes.


Annual membership to science and children's museums often offer the added benefit of reciprocal
admissions programs around the country, and even world wide. Such programs are fantastic for families that travel as their membership for a museum at home can be used for free, or discounted, entry to museums when travelling. Zoo memberships usually offer a similar program with reciprocal benefits at zoos and aquariums around the country.


Another added bonus: annual memberships for science museums and zoos are often tax deductible as they are considered a donation. There aren't many other gifts that you can claim on your tax!

GoPro
It's probably no surprise that I take a lot of photos when we're out and about on adventures! While I always have my trusty camera with me (an Olympus OM-D E-M5ii, if anyone's interested) it's not always best suited to our adventures, especially those that involve water. This is when our GoPro camera comes in super handy. We have the screen-less GoPro Hero Session camera which is available in a bundle with a handle, case, head strap and clips so it can be used in many different ways.The screen-less GoPro works in conjunction with a phone app. A version with a screen is also available.


The kids love using the GoPro on the beach to film in tide pools or when playing in the water. Because it's waterproof, it's perfect for filming and taking photos in the pool, at the beach, in splash parks... The girls generally use it attached to the handle with the safety strap around their wrist. In the chance that they drop it (which I know they will) the handle floats, so I never have to worry about retrieving it from the bottom of tide pools or swimming pools.   


It's fun to attach to bikes or scooters too. During our vacation to Denmark earlier this year we hired a Christiania cargo bike to ride around town and Mathilde sat in the front holding the GoPro by its handle filming the sights (and a lot of close ups of her smiling face!) as they zoomed by. I also attached it to the front of my bike to film a little. 

On their recent kayaking adventure, Ava wore the GoPro camera on the head strap to film everything from her view point. The head strap kept the camera securely in place and Ava didn't have to worry about holding it at all. 

 

A GoPro would make a fantastic gift for a family that loves travel and adventures.


Slackline
Last year Santa brought Ava a slackline for Christmas and it turned out to be such a fun gift for the whole family to use. It's such a fun thing to take on camping trips and picnics, or even just to a local park. All you need are two strong trees to attach it to and you're set to go.


Walking across the slackline is a great way to gain balance and core strength, but it's also really just a lot of fun!


You can purchase kits that come with a support line which is helpful for beginners. This has come in super handy for the kids - and even for me!


If you have the space in your backyard, but no suitable trees, you can even purchase A-frame stands to securely and safely set up a slackline. As we're living in an apartment we don't have a backyard to set up the slackline in, so parks are the go for us.


The slackline is compact and easy to set up so it makes for the perfect fun in the park gift for the whole family.

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I hope I've inspired you with some fun gift ideas for adventure loving families. I know it's not always easy to find gifts for families that are always on the go or those with limited space.

Now remember I mentioned a give away? Thanks to Micro Kickboard, one lucky Little Hiccups reader will win a children's scooter of their choice between the Sprite (ages 8+), Maxi Deluxe (ages 5-12) or Mini Deluxe (ages 2-5). Click here to head over to my Instagram account to enter now!

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