Thursday, April 24, 2014

Get your kids outside to play! It's Unplug and Be Outside Week, plus used paddling gear sales!

Take your kids hiking before they even know they're hiking ... 
The foothills trails may be wet this weekend because of all the rain;
see alternative recommendations below. 
Hi all,

Every year, I tout the Unplug and Be Outside Idaho events because they're a great opportunity to get your kids outside and away from the trappings of their computers, ipads, cell phones, video games, Xbox's, Play Stations, Wii's and more.

Consider this: Over the past 30 years, the obesity rate in children 6-11 years old has quadrupled. There is a connection between the number of hours spent in front of the TV and childhood obesity. The average American child spends more the 30 hours a week in front of the screen (TV, computers, and video games). The impact of TV and other screen-time can have a harmful effect on a child’s health and well-being.

Get them outside and let them be kids! 

This year, the weather forecast is kind of wet -- in fact it's downright soggy! -- so the "Healthy Kids Day" events at the Treasure Valley YMCA locations on Saturday, April 26, may work out just great. The YMCA opens the doors of its facilities to the public for free from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can go swimming, play basketball, dodge ball, racquetball, use the weight machines, ride the spin bikes, enjoy the waterslides in the pools ... the list goes on and on. The Nampa Recreation Center also is opening their doors for free from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with many of the same amenities inside.

Unplug and Be Outside Idaho events have been running through this week, and they end on Saturday.

More events that sound fun for kids:

  • Earth Fest at the MK Nature Center at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's state office headquarters on Walnut Street in Boise. Runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Earth Fest includes kid activities, games, crafts and kite-making workshops. All free.  
  • Dance, cheer and tumble at the Motions Dance Studio in Meridian, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Take a walk on the Story Trail at the Foothills Learning Center on north 8th street in Boise. Wander the 1/4-mile trail with your kids, look for plants and animals, and read "Hoo, Hoo ... Lives in Hulls Gulch?" 493-2530.  
  • Kids golf clinics at Lakeview Golf Club in Meridian. 2-3 p.m. for kids aged 5-9, and 3-4 p.m. for kids aged 10-16. Phone number is 888-4080. 
  • Free large bucket of range balls at Ridgecrest Golf Club and Centennial Golf Course in Nampa. 
  • Take Me Fishing trailer provided by IDFG will be parked at Ed's Pond in Emmett. They offer all the fishing gear you need and provide tips on the right kinds of fishing lures to use to catch fish. 
  • Speaking of fishing, IDFG has recently stocked many of the ponds in the valley. Take your kids fishing and catch some fresh trout for dinner! Here's a list of family fishing waters in SW Idaho. 
Normally, I'd recommend a list of kid-friendly hikes in the local area that you can enjoy. But because of the weather forecast, I'd stay clear of foothills trails until they dry out. Some alternatives for walks include any portion of the Boise River Greenbelt, the Eagle Greenbelt on the north side of the river or Rocky Canyon Road.
For future reference, here are five kid-friendly hikes that I recommended last year ... and here is a list of family friendly hikes that Ridge to Rivers recommends. 
On Saturday, there are two used paddling gear sales happening in Boise that offer great deals on life jackets, kayaks, whitewater rafts, canoes, SUP's and much more! If you're a paddler in need of gear, go to these sales and go early to find the best selection. Plus, if you have stuff to sell, you can do that too! 
  • The annual used equipment sale at Idaho River Sports benefits the Idaho Whitewater Association. IRS is located on the new Whitewater Boulevard near the Boise River, Greenbelt and the whitewater park.  
  • Alpenglow Mountainsport also is hosting a used equipment sale, one they do every year. The sale promises to be bigger than ever, shop officials say, and they also announced that their shop is now an official AIRE dealer. AIRE craft are very affordable, and AIRE has a bomb-proof guarantee in case any repairs are needed. Alpenglow is located in the McU Sports Highlands store on Bogus Basin Road.   
This also is the weekend of the annual Leslie Gulch campout, led by Leo Hennessy. A lot of people are bailing out because of the lousy weather forecast, but Leo said he'll be there at Leslie Gulch all weekend, starting tomorrow and running through Saturday and Sunday. I would recommend waiting until Saturday, because tomorrow there is 100% chance of rain. 

If you want to go, just drive out to Leslie Gulch and look for Leo at the Slocum Creek campground, near the boat ramp on Owyhee Reservoir. How to get there: Take I-84 to the last exit in Nampa. Take ID 55 to Marsing. Go through Marsing, then turn south on U.S. 95 and follow that for a number of miles to a signed turnoff for Leslie Gulch. Follow signs on the gravel road to Leslie Gulch. It's a beautiful area with many unique rock formations. More information can be found in my guidebook Owyhee Canyonlands - An Outdoor Adventure Guide.  

Have fun!
- SS 

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