The Campfire

September 26, 2011

5 Fast and Healthy Foods for After-School Kids

By Heidi Drake

“Mooooom… I’m hungry!” It’s a rare day I don’t hear some version of this when I pick my girls up from school or when they're heading outside to play outdoors—despite eating Breakfast #1 at home, Breakfast #2 at school, lunch, and an afternoon snack, they’re ready for more by the time they get home.

They also have dance classes to get to and only about an hour in between, so I’ve got to think fast and healthy. Can’t have sugar crashes in the middle of tap or hip hop! I asked Elise and Maya for their five faves and they were happy to rattle ‘em off:

•    Celery with Peanut Butter. Buy pre-cut celery or take a little time to trim a bunch and store the slices in your fridge so they’re ready to be topped with peanut butter. A great source of fiber and protein, and kids love the creamy/crunchy combo.
•    Cereal! Pour their favorite breakfast cereal into a bowl and top with some fruit and milk. Quick, easy, and my girls just like having “breakfast” in the afternoon.
•    Cheesy Treats. I keep a big bag of grated cheddar (avoid the processed American-style “cheese”!) handy for fast nachos or quesadillas, and usually offer up a fruit plate for the kids to share for a well-rounded snack.

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September 19, 2011

The Fine Art of Layering for Fall

By Heidi Drake

Fall officially arrives this week (it’s been near freezing at night here in Sunriver)—time to pack up the kids’ flip-flops and shorts and think layers for school and outside play.

Why is layering so important? Uncomfortable kids are cranky kids, and that’s no fun for anyone kids-playing-in-leaves (especially them). I don’t know about where you live, but today it was 38 degrees when my kids left for school and it’ll be in the 70s by the time they get home. Can’t send ‘em with a complete change of clothes, so we layer. How?

•    Start with a moisture-wicking base layer.  Classroom temperatures vary, and some kids just run hot, so make sure they’re not sticky to boot. Synthetics work best—we love Patagonia’s Polartec Capilene fabric… oh, so comfy!
•    Let ‘em rock their style. Now that the first layer is taken care of, encourage your child’s sense of individual style by letting them wear their favorite cotton tee or fleece hoody over it.
•    Cover up! Jeans, cargo pants, skirts with leggings… your kids’ largest muscles are in their legs, so keep ‘em warm to avoid dragging feet by the end of the day.
•    Keep those tootsies toasty. It’s sock season, so arm your active kiddos with form-fitting performance socks that wick moisture and fight odors. If your kids are anything like my daughter Elise, you’ll save their classmates from horrible foot odor and help their favorite boots last longer.

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September 12, 2011

Road Test: Does the WingFlyer Really Fly?

By Heidi Drake


When the WingFlyer box arrived at Play Outdoors, we all wondered: Is it a scooter? A moving stair stepper? An outdoor fitness machine? It sure wasn't a bicycle.

It’s all of the above, actually. Our head Gear Guru, Ben Z., immediately took it for a test spin in the parking lot and deemed it “weird, but fun!” This melding of stair stepper-like pedals and scooter wheels and handlebars is the newest wheeled “toy” to hit the U.S. this past summer, and Play Outdoors was invited to give it a try. I couldn’t wait to take my own test monkeys, Elise (8 ½) and Maya (6 ½) out for a spin.

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