Updated: May 17, 2022
Nothing makes a 5-year old feel more special than a costume and the chance to earn rewards. So when our family visited Yosemite National Park, I put together fun Adventure Packs for Itsy Bitsy and E-man. And you know what? It was the ABSOLUTE BEST $150 I spent toward the vacation.
If you have read any of my other posts about our family travel, you may have surmised that Itsy Bitsy is a bit of a rough and tumble princess. This means that any active toys I purchase for her need to be durable enough to withstand her intense play but inexpensive enough that I am not going to be upset when she loses something. Same goes for E-man, but even more so!
This is why I really like Backyard Safari toys. Thus far, we haven’t had anything break on us (fingers crossed), and between Itsy Bitsy and E-man, only one accessory was lost during our 5 days of exploring Yosemite. The kids really loved these adventure enhancing and inspiring toys. They were entertained the entire trip and truly engaged their imaginations while learning all about the world around them. To add even more fun Gigi, Aunty Coco, and I would help the kids to earn “badges” during the day that we then sewed onto their vests each night. SO MUCH FUN.
So how did I make these super awesome Outdoor Adventure Packs for two of my favorite 5-year olds? In the quacking easiest way I know how … with Amazon and a travel backpack. If your kid doesn’t already have a travel backpack, check out my blog Fat Mama's Favorite TWF and Family Travel Backpacks for tips on choosing the right packs for your travel style.
Here is a breakdown of what I purchased, the quantity, and the cost (not including tax or shipping).
Books and Games
Title and Author QTY/Price
Costumes and Toys
One of the things I like most about Backyard Safari toys is that all the toys have practical uses while still leaving room for open ended imaginative play. For example, when Itsy Bitsy and E-man first started exploring the Adventure Packs I put together for them, they knew right away what the items were … water bottle, vest, book, field tools … but they started coming up with their own uses for them.
“This is going to be my notebook and I am going to pretend these are all my notes I learned about the forest.”
“I’ve got my dino exploring tools!” “No, those are cave exploring and rock climbing tools.”
“Don’t forget your super gadget belt for all your super hero stuff!” “I’m NOT a super hero! I’m a scientist who's NOT a princess!!!”
Yes, these are real overheard conversations between my daughter and nephew. I love the way kids' minds work. The point is, these toys helped the kids explore the world around them in very real, tangible, scientific ways while still using their unique and creative imaginations. Just amazing.
Oh, and when the kids realized one of the tools in the Safari 6-in-1 Field Tool Set was a magnet they could NOT STOP sifting through the dirt to see what would "stick" to their magnet. And what was even more amazing was that they found loads of minute magnetized minerals, sediment, and/or metal shavings around the park. It was a great teaching moment that Geophysicist Pappy enjoyed sharing with his grandkids.
Also, most of the Backyard Safari items come with an iron on patch or badge that you “earn” by using the item. Aunty Coco and I made up our own meanings for the badges to help keep the kids entertained. For example, it was very hot during the day while we were visiting Yosemite. So to help the kids stay hydrated, we told them they would earn the “hydration badge” that came with their canteens by carrying the full canteens with them and drinking from them all day. Which the kids happily did.
The next day, the kids earned their “family hiking badge” that came with one of the other toys by completing a small hike and picnic around Church Bowl Picnic Area in the Yosemite Valley. Unfortunately, this is where the Backyard Safari badges ended and I had to scramble to start making up new ones. Luckily, Aunty Coco was able to help me find fun new badges every day on our adventures, as iron on patches are fun collectables available at just about every gift shop.
So what items should you pack to support the Adventure Packs? I brought along a small sewing kit because in my experience, iron on patches NEVER stay on unless you sew them on. A pack of crayons or colored pencils never hurts as kids can never get enough coloring time … also it's fun to do nature rubbings and drawings while exploring. And, of course, always pack your sunscreen, bug spray, and emergency first aid kit. A few snacks and extra bottled water goes a long way too.
Lastly, check out all the fun stuff Backyard Safari has to offer. The few items I included for Itsy Bitsy and E-man are just the tip of the iceberg. Which, of course, I’m excited about because that means the next time we go for an adventure, I can add to their kit without breaking the bank and the adventure will keep on growing.
How do you like to enhance your family outdoor adventures? I would love to know if these or other fun products have been adding to your family's activities! Leave a comment or drop me a line. Your tips and tricks just might show up in a future post.
Keep calm and quack on!