Inside on a Rainy or Snowy Day – Keep Yourself and Your Kids Entertained

Playing in robot

When it’s cold and raining or snowing outside on weekends and during school breaks, the days can drag on. What can you do to keep the kids entertained but not spending the day in front of the television? Try some of these fun activities for a rainy day inside. Keep what you need on hand and you’ll always be prepared for anything. 

Have an indoor treasure hunt. This is a great game for all ages, because you can decide how challenging it is. Hide a small present for each child. It can be a toy or an IOU for a fun day at the movies or skate park. Then, create a set of clues for each participant and hide the clues in order, so the first clue leads them to the second clue, the second clue leads to the third, etc., until they find their treasure.

Create an inside campsite. Drape some sheets over the furniture around one of your rooms to make a tent. Your tent can be as big you want and your sheets will allow. Add some pillows and blankets inside your tent and you have a place to tell ghost stories, play games and, if you’re lucky, take a nap. It may even be fun to have a picnic inside the tent.

Create a story book. All the kids can create their own story books or they can create one together. All you need is some paper, some crayons, a few pens and lots of imagination. Let them write their stories on the pages and draw pictures to go with them. At the end of the day, everyone gets to read their books out loud.

Bake some chocolate chip cookies. Everyone has fun during and after this activity, as the reward is a cookie. Want to sneak a vegetable in? Add some chopped garbanzo beans and add them to the cookie dough before baking to sneak in something good.

Make a splash! If it’s a warm rainy day and it’s just raining, not thundering or lightning, it’s the perfect time to put on the rain boots and rain jackets and grab an umbrella. Go outside for some fun letting off steam and splashing in puddles. Because no one wants to be inside all day if they don’t have to be!

Make a movie. It’s rare today that our phones and digital cameras don’t come complete with their own video recorder. Have some fun. Write a script, learn your parts and try out your acting skills while you make your own movie. Pop some corn and watch your movie on the computer.

Make a family dinner. Is it getting later in the day and it’s still raining? Get everyone involved in dinner preparation. Let the kids make salads or help you stir a sauce. And encourage someone else to set the table.

Put together a Rainy Day / Snow Day Box that you keep on hand. Inside include arts and crafts supplies, like papers, crayons, glue, glitter, beads and other things that kids can use to create fun art; coloring books or other activity books; books to read; puzzles and games; a deck of cards. You can pull this out in a pinch on a rainy day or any time your kids say, “I’m bored.”

With these tips in your box of tricks, there’s no reason your or your kids should be inside AND bored when the weather outside keeps you in. 

Unique Party Games for the 4th of July

Little patriots

We’re celebrating America’s independence in just a couple of weeks. Are you ready? If you’re hosting a barbecue, you may want some ways to have some fun.  Try some of these 4th of July games to spice up your party for children and adults. These games can be played outside or inside.

Red, White and Blue Balloon Pop
Get balloons for all of the kids at your party (adults, too!). Put notes in each balloon. Put them around the party area. When the kids pop the balloons, they get the prize that’s written on the note. Make sure you have enough prizes and balloons for each kid. And if you play this with adults and kids, make sure to separate the two balloon stomps so the prizes are age-appropriate.

Uncle Sam’s Hat
Set up a special table with craft supplies – safety scissors, glue, tape, stars, glitter, construction paper, cotton balls and any other Fourth of July themed craft supplies you’d like to include. Children, teens and adults can make their own Uncle Sam hat. Wear them all day or have a parade to show them off. If you’re looking for a photo for your social media to showcase your Fourth of July holiday, people in their hats will be picture perfect.

America History Trivia
Do you have a backyard full of trivia fans? Get some U.S. history facts and divide trivia buffs into teams or play as individuals. Players can use bells or buzzers to “ring in,” and answer the questions. One person can be a designated “question asker” and another can be the score keeper, or you can take turns.

Independence Day Scavenger Hunt
Get some small Fourth of July themed objects – Liberty Bell, a small Declaration of Independence, flags, mini Uncle Sams and whatever else you can think of. Hide these items inside or outside and create clues that help your guests find them. Let kids work in teams of two or three but hide these items well!

There’s a lot of time between grilling burgers and hot dogs before the fireworks start. Don’t miss a beat. Have fun from beginning to end on this special day. 

10 Dog Hikes that Coloradans and their Best Friends Love

 


Hiker and Dog Sitting on a Rock at Ice LakeAre you and your 4-legged best friend ready to get into gear and get out into the great Colorado outdoors? Grab his leash, grab his water bottle (and yours, too), grab some plastic bags, and get going. Here are 10 of great Colorado hikes that will give you and your hiking companion a taste of what this great state has to offer. Some of these are easy, some are moderate and others strenuous, so make sure you pick the one that is right for you.

Dome Mountain Trail: A strenuous hike near Loveland that climbs to the summit of Sheep Mountain, high above the Big Thompson River and Canyon. The trail is well marked with informative signs that guide you through the plant life, erosions and interesting geology.

Rainbow Lakes Trail: A 2.5 miles out and back trail near Nederland. This hike features a lake and is recommended for hiking from June – October, and is accessible for all skill levels.

Forsythe Canyon to Waterfall and Gross Reservoir: This 2.2 mile out and back trail near Nederland features a lake and waterfall and is accessible for all skill levels. It’s shady, if you’re looking to escape the sun.

North Cheyenne Canon Park: This state park is near Colorado Springs and offers 56 miles of trails, from easy to moderate. Check out the website for a trail guide that can help you decide where to start.

Elk Meadow Park: In Evergreen, Elk Meadow Park is meets the expectations set by its name, providing a likely space to see elk. Your dogs must be leashed at all times for the safety of you, your dog, the elk and other park visitors. This park offers myriad options from easy to difficult.

Alderfer/Three Sister Park: Near Evergreen, you can hike through old stands of Ponderosa Pines, check out landmark rock formations, and view stunning vistas. This park boasts the most trails per acre of any foothills park, with over 15 miles on 1,127 acres.

Red Rocks Trail: The Red Rocks Trail outside Denver is great for a sunrise hike, if you and your dog are early risers. The park includes a cave carved into the sandstone and an interesting geological overlook.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park: Over 35 miles of trails provide something for everyone. Whether you want to spend just an hour or two or make a weekend out of it, you’re going to find stunning views and opportunities for much exercise.

Mount Falcon Park: Hike to an old castle, a lookout tower, and to a site that was intended to be the “Summer White House.” While you’re there, check out gorgeous views of Denver, Red Rocks and the mountains. Close to Denver, in Morrison, Mount Falcon offers this and more.

Three Mile Creek Trail: Be prepared to spend the day with your best friend. This hike, outside of Bailey, is 14-mile trail through a dense deciduous and conifer forest. You’ll cross over a shallow stream several times.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for all Colorado has to offer for hiking. This dog-friendly state makes it easy for you and your best friend to spend time together in the great outdoors. Check out more hikes here and read how to keep you and your dog safe. And have a favorite hike that you and your best friend take? Let us know!

Colorado’s Best Wildflower Hikes

Wildflowers in the Gore Range

If you’re new to Colorado (or even if you’ve been here a while), you may not realize that our states is not only home to gorgeous mountains housing icy blue lakes and rivers, but Colorado is also home to some of the most awe-inspiring wildflowers. Spring, summer and even early fall in Colorado are all about the colors of these oft-forgotten gems.

When the wildflowers start popping up, it’s time for you to start planning your hikes. Here some Colorado favorites that are close to home and some that give you a reason to get away for a weekend.

Littleton, Chatfield Farms, Denver Botanic Gardens, Peak bloom May – August
Belvue, Lory State Park, Peak bloom late May – June
Fort Collins, Cathy Fromee Prairie Natural Area, Peak bloom, June
Leadville, Mayflower Gulch, Peak bloom, Late May – July
Crested Butte, Multiple Locations – Check out their annual Wildflower Festival, Peak bloom, Late May – October
Durango, Engineer Mountain Trail, Peak bloom, July – August
Nederland, Hessie Trailhead, Peak bloom, July
Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods, Peak bloom, April – July
Aspen, Hunter Creek Valley, Peak bloom, Mid July
Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Peak bloom, June – July

Whether you want to stay close to home, take a day trip, or go for a weekend, surely these ideas have given you reason to lace up your hiking shoes and get out into the wild.