Category: Family Activities & Outings

Why Your Family Needs an Adventure Backpack

Why Your Family Needs an Adventure Backpack

Many, many years ago, there was a movie called One Fine Day featuring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney as two single parents working together to juggle their kids and their jobs. One of the recurring jokes in the movie is that ultra-controlling mom Pfeiffer always has what she needs in her bag, from juice boxes to costumes for the kids. Clooney, more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants dad, even asks at one point, “Where I can get a bag like that?”

I’m not sure why that random movie fact has stuck with me for more than 20 years, but I had a similar moment last week when we met up with some friends at a fairground. One of my girls needed to use the bathroom immediately, so we walked to the Porta Potties right around the corner. As she came out of her little hut, I was waiting with wipes and some hand sanitizer, which made my friend crack a joke about being a Boy Scout. I joked right back, “I’m not a Boy Scout, I’m a mom.”

Our family tradition of carrying a backpack came right after the diaper bag years. Typically, our “adventure backpack” stays in the trunk of our family car, filled with all the supplies we tend to need most.

Whether your family adventures include travel or exploring the outdoors, an adventure backpack can make life with kids easier!

Young girl on dad's shoulders with text: 16 Must-Haves for Family Adventures

What is an adventure backpack?

Our backpack is a simple, two-shoulder bag that holds all the things our kids tend to need when we are hiking, geocaching, touring the zoo, or visiting an apple orchard. We keep it light enough that any one of us can carry it if needed–but not so light that we end up sunburned or covered in bug bites because the sunscreen and/or bug spray is in the other car.

What should we put in our adventure backpack?

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

The type of backpack your family chooses depends on the types of activities you’ll need it for. Rarely do we hike more than a couple of hours and we typically drive right to our campsites, so we don’t need an actual hiking backpack. A regular school pack works just fine for our adventures, so long as it has lots of pockets for our supplies:

  • hats for everyone
  • sunscreen
  • umbrella
  • insect repellent
  • bandaids
  • wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • tissues
  • pain reliever
  • flashlight
  • compass
  • whistle
  • water bottles
  • snacks (optional)
  • zipper bags for trash or nature collections
  • notepad and pencil

Where should we take our adventure backpack?

  • Our family loves to go traveling–you can follow our adventures over on Instagram.
  • You can also read our guest post all about family adventures over on BethanyIshee.com {coming soon}.
  • Get lots of destination ideas here on our Family Adventures Pinterest board!

If your family is looking to have more adventures full of hands-on learning and fun memories, keeping a family adventure backpack in the car will be a lifesaver!

What do you keep in your adventure backpack?


Did you find this post helpful? Be sure to save it for later!

What is a family adventure backpack and WHY do we need one?

Patriotic Activities for Kids

Patriotic Activities for Kids

Here in the United States, summer officially arrives on Memorial Day weekend. Now that my girls are older (9 and 6), we will spend part of the weekend talking about the true meaning behind Memorial Day (no, not barbecues and pool openings). Like most countries, America has experienced a lot of loss — from the Revolutionary War to current conflicts. We will probably travel to see the latest version of the Freedom Rock and make a list of patriotic activities to get ready for our Independence Day celebrations.


Patriotic Activities for Kids | Celebrate Memorial Day and Independence day with these patriotic songs and resources, fireworks crafts, patriotic sensory bin, and more!

Click here to download our FREE Red, White, and Blue Activities for toddlers and preschoolers!

No email address required.


If you have young kids, you can start with the basics, The Pledge of Allegiance and The Star Spangled Banner! You can also teach them classic patriotic songs like America the Beautiful, My Country Tis of Thee, and This Land is Your Land.

Our favorite resources for learning about American history and geography:

(Just a reminder that Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.)

School House Rock: America

Stack the States (app)

Liberty Kids

You can also fill your home with fun patriotic books, such as America the Beautiful or Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution!

Click here for our entire list of recommended patriotic books for kids!


If you like to do crafts with your kids, there are lots of choices for Memorial Day and Independence Day. Last year, we made wreaths using red, white, and blue fabric with some senior adults at the local retirement community! You can see our ever-growing collection of patriotic craft ideas on my Pinterest board here.

Patriotic Activities for Kids | Celebrate Memorial Day and Independence day with these patriotic songs and resources, fireworks crafts, patriotic sensory bin, and more!

Our girls love sensory play, so be sure to consider a patriotic sensory bin. We like red and blue dyed rice (mixed in with undyed white rice), along with 4th of July “table scatter” found at the craft shop. My girls also enjoyed adding pom poms to the mix along with their favorite sensory bin accessories.   


Patriotic Activities for Kids | Celebrate Memorial Day and Independence day with these patriotic songs and resources, fireworks crafts, patriotic sensory bin, and more!

Want 35 more patriotic activities for kids for just $5.00?

Click here for our Patriotic Family Activity Guide.

St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

March is here! We celebrated by packing away our Valentine’s Day decorations and pulling out all of our favorite shamrock and rainbow activities. This afternoon, we switched out our Valentine’s Day sensory bin for another one of our favorites. This simple St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin combines a variety textures and lots of opportunities for fine motor play and math discovery.

St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin | learning fun at home, sensory play ideas, invitations to play, activities for kids, gold coins, hands-on learning

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you.You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

As I mentioned in this post about sensory bin storage, we keep a big basket down in our basement with all of our sensory bin materials: dried corn, peas, and beans, uncooked popcorn, and various shades of rice and noodles. (You can click here for instant access to our favorite tutorials about dyeing rice and noodles.) 

A few years ago, we dyed a bunch of noodles green: rotini, wagon wheels, and seashells. The variety of textures gives young children the opportunity to compare and contrast, sort, and pattern while they play. Best of all, the noodles are larger than other fillers like rice and dried peas, which makes clean-up a breeze!

St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin | learning fun at home, sensory play ideas, invitations to play, activities for kids, gold coins, hands-on learning

You can extend the play of this St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin by changing out the accessories every week or so. We started with plastic gold coins and a pair of green tweezers. We also have gathered these items:

  • green cups (these are our favorite)
  • orange and green silicone cups
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • ice cube trays

We love to take this sensory bin outside in the sunshine all month long. Hooray for spring!

If you try this St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


Get five rainbow-themed activity ideas to help your child build attention span and independent play skills.

Just add your information below to get instant access to our FREE Rainbow-Themed Invitations to Play download!