25 July 2009

Travel Hula Hoop Giveaway

We thought finding a quality Hula Hoop for our shop wouldn't be so difficult. We've had a few requests at our storefront, and thus went 'on the hunt' for a match between quality, and packability (keeping in mind that we are primarily a TRAVEL activity store!). Well, not many companies offer a solid Hula Hoop that comes apart. After searching near & far, we are so psyched to have found and to offer an 8-piece Hula Hoop unlike any other (at least in our humble opinion).

The Hula Hoop is 'wavy' which helps keep the hoop on the hips more easily, especially for beginners. The basic hoop one weighs about a pound, and we also carry a 1.5 and 2.0 pound version. All versions pack well for travel. You will be wanting this classic activity to borrow from your kids for fitness! We believe it's a great way to keep kids (and adults) active during travel or anytime. At $8.99 for the 1 pound version it's hard to resist! And, although the 1 pound is described as for 0-60 pound kids, we find it the perfect 'one size fits all' Hula Hoop.

We recently had a Hula Hooping Contest at a local fair in Bethel, Maine with the 1 pound version, and the winner kept it orbiting around his for over 33 minutes, and may have been longer if it weren't for an unsuspecting spectator. (OK, the challenge has been set!)

We thought this would be a fun thing to giveaway. Our experience last weekend had us realizing this is something that brings out fond memories for 'big people' and renewed curiosity in the next generation of hip "swayers"!

Would you like to win one?! One lucky winner will receive the 1 pound, 8-piece Sports Hoop, and FREE standard shipping within the U.S. We always extend the FREE shipping offer to any additional items you care to order, but, of course, there is no obligation to do so.

It's easy, here are several ways you earn entries (feel free to enter in ONE method or ALL or any amount in between!)
  1. become a follower of our BLOG (on the right-hand column of our BLOG)
  2. follow us on Twitter, comment here with your twitter name so we can check
  3. RT about this contest and include @kidstravelhappy as proof, and comment here that you tweeted
  4. Become a Facebook fan
  5. go to our home page and join our newsletter (sign up is lower LEFT of screen, you may have to scroll down)
  6. leave a comment about a Hula Hoop memory you may have
  7. visit this link, and tell us what other classic toy/game you like from our site
  8. blog about this giveaway, and leave a comment here with the link (this is worth 5 entries, so leave 5 comments about it)
Remember, basically, you should leave a comment for every way you participate so that you earn the proper entries, we will check links etc.

WINNER to be ANNOUNCED on August 5th (NOTE: this has been extended as we posted this contest late this month), with help from Random.org. Entries received until August 4th at 11:59PM Eastern Time.

Good luck and get those hips shakin'!

Travel Hula Hoop GiveawaySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

22 July 2009

The ONE TANK Summer Trip

Yes, we're all feeling the effects of the down-turned economy, and even my family has been trying to 'buy' into the idea of a STAYCATION, but, frankly, we're NOT buying into that term.

We have a 1990, 21' Class C RV. For those interes
ted, that just means, as my son tells me, "it's a 'drive' RV (vs. PULL or on a PICK-UP, or one the size of a BUS) with a sleeping space above the cab". Anyway, talk about inefficient gas mileage, we get about 10 mph, which is pitiful compared to the compact cars we drive on a regular basis. However, we don't like to see the RV out of storage, sitting in the driveway, collecting mud splash from such a rainy summer in Maine. And, we love being self-contained, especially since we've had children.

We've decided to explore our options as far as the RV will take us on ONE TANK. Quick math = 10mph x 30 gallons = 300 miles. 300 MILES! That's a long way, even from rural Western Maine.
One of our favorite 'ONE TANK' trips we've taken was to Northern Vermont, where Norm (hus
band) and I enjoyed swapping turns on some of the best single track Mountain Biking out there, at the 'Kingdom Trails'. We also took the kids on some road rides, the youngest in a bike trailer, and the older one on a tag-along bike. We try to look for campgrounds with a beach, some mini-golf, playground, pool or other activities that keep the kids UNplugged. There's so much to do in nature, we encourage anyone young and not-so young to discover the wonders of the outdoors.

For us, it's just a matter of getting away from the distractions (which, is one reason we are NOT big fans of the STAYCATION idea) and 'chores' that call to us when we are home. Even a night away with friends at a nearby campground a month ago allowed us to relax and enjoy chatting, playing in the woods, hearing all the kids' laughter, and the wonderful chorus of frogs 'peeping'. Make a point to visit, not-so-far away friends. It's inexpensive, fun, and you'll feel like you're miles away, even if you're only a state away (or town).

No RV? Don't like to camp? Inexpensive hotels can be
found everywhere. Pick one at the edge of your "ONE TANK" and make a journey out of getting there. Or, rent a cabin at a campground, many offer them these days.

None of these ideas suit your desires? Figure our YOUR road trip vehicle's ONE TANK distance, get out a map and draw a circle that encompasses the possibilities. Chances are you have NOT even explored much of the area around your own 'backyard' so to speak. Beach? City? Country? Campground? Friends? Grandma/pa? Historical Sites?

LASTLY, here are a few links that may help get the ideas flowing.
Please share your ideas or experiences on your ONE TANK adventures. We'd love to hear them!

The ONE TANK Summer TripSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

15 July 2009

Pack Small, Exercise BIG

We're very excited to have found and added some really fun, exercise-based activities that pack small for travel. This week we feature the company "Just Jump It" as a NEW addition to our lineup of offerings.

Remember 'Romper Stompers'? Just Jump It offers their 'modern' version, the 'EZ Stepper'. Strings are adjustable to make handles for those small or tall, and they hold up to 100 pounds (this over 100-pounder, has done NO damage to them yet, however!!).

Next on the list of easy to pack, fun to play, is the 'skipper' - a nicely weighted ball with a bell (makes a soothing 'jingle' when it is shaken) on a sting with a loop that is stepped into and positioned on an ankle. Place the ball behind you and kick forward to get it going. Very little space is needed to get kids moving - use in an airport, at the playground, waiting for the bus, or at a rest area to get the 'blood' flowing. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the challenge.

Lastly, from Just Jump It, is a solid-colored, polypropelene (and washable!) jump rope. You can get an 8-foot, solo rope, or a 16-foot 16-foot ropes for 'double-dutch').
These do NOT come with handles, but for good reason - adjust the knot at the end of the rope depending on the size of the user, and it's a one-size fits all, high-quality jump rope. We really like the 'swing weight' of the rope, and it's a good value at $5.50 for the 8-foot rope. multi-player rope (or, TWO).

These were so popular at a recent festival in town, we almost ran out! We think you'll LOVE them too. Not only are they a perfect travel activity, they add some exercise to any summer outing.

(Hmm... maybe a good future GIVEAWAY item?). Stay tuned for MORE ideas for on-the-go exercise toys and activities!

Pack Small, Exercise BIGSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

08 July 2009

Documents & Regulations for Travel

With my Passport renewal due in October, and setting our sites on visiting Costa Rica with the kids in 2010, I have started to look into renewal costs, how much it will cost for the kids etc.

In a nutshell, a U.S. Adult Passport (ages 16 and Up) costs $100
If you already have a U.S. Passport and meet certain requirements, you can renew through the mail and save $25.

WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) - regulations.
These just changed the 1st of June. Do you know what these changes are?
Generally, (and I'm quoting) "The goal of WHTI is to facilitate entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors, while strengthening U.S. border security. Standard documents will enable the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and reliably identify a traveler."

Wondering what (if any) type of ID your Kids need these days? Here's some general info, and then see our 'link-list' below for more detailed information.
  • TSA Adult ID requirements
  • Generally speaking, minors Domestic U.S. travel requirements for identification are NONE, however, it is highly recommended that for safety issues children have some form of I.D. (on their body somewhere) whenever they travel
  • Check with your airline for their specific requirements which may vary
  • There are additional requirements for children traveling SOLO, this link is a great resource for required documentation for that type of travel
What's a Passport Card?
A Passport Card has the same validity as a Passport (see above), but is only valid to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. It cannot be used for International AIR travel (even to any of the previously mentioned bordering countries). The advantage of a Passport Card is that it is wallet sized, and cheaper, $45 for an adult, $35 for those 16 and under, and only $20 to renew.

So, you've determined that you need a Passport, NOT the Passport Card, now what?
For those applying for the first time, it will cost you $100 for a 10 year Passport if you are 16 and over, and $85 for first time applicants under 16. Minor Passports must be renewed every 5 years. First time applicants MUST go and apply in person .

Other links, costs and important travel document information.
The bottom line? All these things need proper planning, Passports can take a while (READ "4-8 WEEKS!"), unless you are willing to pay many times worth their value. If you are planning an international trip in the near future, file your application. Kids need Passports for international travel, and check with your airline for domestic travel.

When you plan ahead you can make sure everyone 'travels happy'!

Documents & Regulations for TravelSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

01 July 2009

Eco-Home Winner Announced!

Congratulations to janetfaye - the Random.org # was 31! Janet has one week to claim her Eco-Home from Plan Toy.

Please check back soon for a new Blog Post, and the middle of every month for a new giveaway.

Eco-Home Winner Announced!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend