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​8 must-haves for a family camping trip

What to pack before your next outdoor adventure, mama.

​8 must-haves for a family camping trip

Stargazing, telling stories around the campfire and making s'mores—there's nothing like camping with little ones. The only trick is that "roughing it" isn't really a possibility with young kids in the mix. (At least if you have any plans to sleep.)

But don't worry, mama, we've got you covered with our favorite pieces of camping gear. Just don't forget to pack the marshmallows.

1. Child carrier for hiking

If you have any plans to hit the trails with a baby over six months, save your back with a child carrier. The name isn't a misnomer, either: with great support for you and an adjustable child-seat height, this carrier really can see you through your little one's early years. In other words, by the time they outgrow it, they should be able to keep up on their own two feet.

The airspeed back panel and built-in sunshade will help keep both of you cool while soaking in the sights.

$290.00

2. Kid-sized sleeping bag

There's no reason to fear the nighttime temperature drop with a sleeping bag made especially for little campers. This mummy-style sleeping bag will keep your kids toasty down to the freezing mark—but is also lightweight enough to keep them cool in warmer temps.

Best of all, it's designed to grow with your camper. Thanks to an expandable foot section that lengthens the bag by 10 inches, they can get use out of it until they fit the 5-foot mark.

$29.99

3. A space for baby to snooze

If you're heading out overnight with a camper who isn't quite ready for their own sleeping bag, keep them cozy and close with the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light. This portable, ultra lightweight crib fits comfortably in most family-sized tents—meaning everyone else won't feel squished. Setup is a breeze (which is nice after the process of setting up the tent), and the mattress is much more comfortable than any other travel crib on the market that we've tried.

The mesh sides allow for great air flow to keep baby cool during the night and you can get use out of it until your little one hits the 35-lb. mark.

$299.99

4. A shady place to play

Camping with a little one allows you to see the world in a whole new way. Who knew how many tiny little rocks and other small items were just calling out for your baby to eat? 🤣 Add this pop-up playpen to your shopping cart and thank us later.

Featuring UV 50+ sun protection, a mosquito net and siding that will contain curious hands, it ensures peace of mind for you. And with a comfortable mattress and trio of toys, baby is sure to approve, too.

$69.99

5. Kid-sized headlamp

If you're planning to stay up after the sun goes down, help your little camper light their way around the site with a fully adjustable LED headlamp from the camping experts at Coleman. The headlamp style allows them to keep their hands free and shines a beam up to nine meters in front of them. The water resistance is a nice added bonus.

$10.18

6. Travel potty

There are lots of great reasons to go camping—but access to great bathrooms is not among them. Help your little one out with this travel potty that's easy to tote, dump and clean, and folds up easily for compact storage. (It can even be used without the legs as a potty seat on a regular toilet when you're out and about.) Pro tip: It's handy to keep this in the back of the car for roadside emergencies with little ones who are still working on their potty training.

$19.99

7. A portable place to eat

If your little one can't quite reach the top of a picnic table, help them pull up a seat with this handy travel high chair. A better bet than chairs designed to clip onto the sides of tables (which may be too thick), this fits inside a bag for easy transportation and then unfolds to put baby at table-level with their very own tray.

Convertible from a high chair to a booster and featuring a machine-washable cover, the Pop N' Sit is great for campers up to 3 years old.

$49.99

8. Their very own camp chair

After a successful day in the wild, everyone can probably agree that s'mores are completely essential. Let your little one pull up their own seat around the campfire with this kid-sized folding chair. With a personal cup holder and fun design, the challenge will be convincing your kiddo not to set it up in the living room when you get home.

$21.99

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These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

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