Nature is amazing. I don't care if you're 3 years old or 93, the Alps (and the Rockies, and the Grand Canyon, and so many more) will never cease to amaze.
The blog at Children and Nature Network has a great post lamenting the decline of nature as a theme in children's literature and recommending books for children that can help spark interest in nature. They cite several of my favorites, including Abel's Island, My Side of the Mountain, and The Lord of the Rings. Read it in full here.
The Appalachian Mountain Club's Great Kids, Great Outdoors blog has a very helpful post on kids and backpacks. How heavy should my child's backpack be?
I frequently think my kids' school packs are heavier than they should be, but they did great with the real thing on the Appalachian Trail last summer.
Bright Horizons invited Brooklyn child- and parenting-related bloggers to tour their new facility on Kent Avenue in trendy Williamsburg. I attended and must say the place is very nice, and they make a real effort to feature natural materials, calm earth tones, room for gross motor play, and nature and science themed playthings.
There's a useful post over at the blog "A Little Campy," on things that aren't "essential" in terms of camping gear, but that are almost essential for camping with kids. Top 5 Non-Essential Camping Essentials For Kids. Every one of these items is a must-have in my experience, except perhaps the checkers or playing cards.
More good stuff from Kaboom! which has a blog article up suggesting that active, outdoor play can actually increase kids' life expectancy, linked to a cute video about what kids think they would do with the extra time.
Here we are at the trailhead on Dennytown Road in Clarence Fahnestock State Park.
I'm alternately excited and a little nervous about our upcoming family backpacking trip. This will be Top Kid's first time; Tree Kid did a Trek week at Ten Mile River Scout camps, the Tarpmaster is experienced, and he and I did some bits of the Appalachian Trail together before we had kids. The excitement is about spending time in nature and with my family and introducing my boys to a new experience. The nerves are in case anything doesn't go well or anyone doesn't have fun. Will the food be enough/too heavy? Will the weather be reasonable? (We don't expect perfection!)
We spent the holiday yesterday going to, and at, Grandma and Grandpa's house in Long Island, as we usually do. This time we decided to bike there. It's just under 30 miles door-to-door from our Brooklyn apartment to their home by the scenic route through the Rockaways. Almost all of it is bike path or "greenway" through some lovely beachy scenery, and it's mostly flat. (Unfortunately the last bit is on streets with nasty Nassau County drivers who don't believe bikes belong on the road at all.) It took us just over 3 hours because we were riding at a child-friendly pace.