50 Essential Outdoor Summer Activities

Happy Summer!

It's hard to believe that the longest day of the year has come and gone. The pessimist in me would say, "It's all down hill from here, the days are only going to start getting shorter." BUT being an optimist, instead I say, "Let's get out there and enjoy summer while we can!"

Take advantage of the warm weather and sunshine! Get outside with your family with these 50 essential outdoor summer activities.

50 Essential Outdoor Summer Activities

  1. Go to the beach.
  2. Build a sandcastle.
  3. Visit a local pool for a swim.
  4. Play beach volleyball.
  5. Camp under the stars.
  6. Go for a hike.
  7. Watch the sunset.
  8. Make homemade popsicles.
  9. Clean up a local shoreline.
  10. Go kayaking or canoeing. 
  11. Play with sidewalk chalk.
  12. Go fishing.
  13. Set up a lemonade stand.
  14. Have a water fight.
  15. Have a bonfire.
  16. Make s'mores over a bonfire. 
  17. See a movie at the drive-in.
  18. Play mini golf.
  19. Ride a roller coaster.
  20. Pick berries at your local farm.
  21. Have a family BBQ.
  22. Eat watermelon.
  23. Nap in a hammock.
  24. Have a picnic in the park.
  25. Go to an outdoor festival/carnival.
  26. Play tennis.
  27. Take a road trip.
  28. Make a summer playlist.
  29. Go to a baseball game.
  30. Concoct a signature summer cocktail.
  31. Try a new recipe on the grill.
  32. Watch fireworks.
  33. Celebrate Canada150.
  34. Visit your local farmer's market.
  35. Sleep with your windows open.
  36. Take a day trip to a new location.
  37. Hang a bird feeder in the backyard.
  38. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
  39. Make your own sand box.
  40. Fill up the kiddie pool.
  41. Have a water fight.
  42. Start a garden.
  43. Make a wild flower bouquet. 
  44. Wash your car.
  45. Mow the lawn.
  46. Create your own outdoor movie theatre.
  47. Go to the park.
  48. Go on a bug hunt.
  49. Run through a sprinkler.
  50. Take in an outdoor concert.

GIVEAWAY: Kick start your summer vacation with this great giveaway - your chance to WIN a one night stay at any Radisson in Canada or the US. Simply share THIS POST on Facebook (and be sure to tag @Radisson).

In need of some seasonal inspiration? See also: 50 Essential Outdoor Winter Activities and 50 Essential Outdoor Spring Activities.

While enjoying the great outdoors with your family, don't forget to protect yourself against the heat and ultraviolet rays. Need to take a break from the heat, and escape to the indoors with your family? Check out these ways to keep baby cool during the summer months, and these great places to visit in Toronto to beat the summer heat. 

What are your favourite outdoor summer activities? I'd love to hear!

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Fostering a Love of Animals

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PurinaMysteries #CollectiveBias

We live in a world filled with animals. Whether it be in our own home or at the local park, a character in a book or movie or even our favourite stuffed animal from childhood, animals are all around us. 

Children are naturally attracted to animals. They are also sponges for learning - absorbing, retaining and using new information at incredible rates. Teaching our future generation to love and properly care for animals from a young age is extremely important, regardless of whether you have a pet at home or not.  

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

There is a long list of reasons for why children should love animals, but topping that list is their own personal gain. Studies have shown that loving animals as a young child helps boost confidence and teaches responsibility, empathy, compassion and respect. For young children, animals are the perfect vehicle to allow them to practice building these social and emotional skills they need in order to be successful.

But, before a child can love something, they must first have a connection with it.  

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

As animal lovers ourselves, having a daughter that also loves animals is something that is extremely important to my husband and I. 

At just 15 months old, we have seen Morley's natural curiosity of my family's two chihuahuas blossom.

Morley loves her woof woofs, Tity and Nonna (also known as Titus and Lola). She can't yet say grandma or grandpa, but she sure can say the names of her two favourite pups.

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

One of the ways that we help build the connection and foster her love for the woofs woofs is to lead by example. This means being gentle with the dogs, taking them for walks, rewarding good behaviour, knowing when to give them their space and feeding them only the best food and treats.

Once a recent family trip, Morley recently took on the task of "walking" the dogs. Luckily, Titus has the patience of an angel and no matter how slow she was or how much she swung the leash handle as she walked, he calmly walked by her side. 

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals
Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

Another one of her favourite tasks? Giving them a treat. 

The go to? Purina® Beggin’

Purina has a wide variety of food, treats, and litter for your cats and dogs which helps take the mystery out of how to care for your pet and give them what they truly want.

Interested in finding Purina Beggin' dog treats for your dog? Hover over the above photo to click through to PetSmart.com and buy them!

No pet at home? No problem. There are many other ways that you can help build the connection between your children and animals. Below are just a few of my favourite. 

10 Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

  1. Visit a local zoo, aquarium or farm.
  2. Read books about animals. [These are a few of our favourites.]
  3. Go for a hike and look for animals.
  4. When out for a walk, pick up trash. Explain how littering can hurt the animals. 
  5. Watch child- and animal-friendly movies.
  6. Visit friends and family that have pets.
  7. Raise money for a local animal shelter.
  8. Hang a bird feeder in the backyard. 
  9. Donate birthday money or allowance to an non-profit organization that helps animals. 
  10. Enroll them in an animal-focused camp. 

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals
Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

A variety of Purina products can be found at your local PetSmart. Check out the dog treat aisle for Purina Beggin', which is the aisle closest to the cash at my local store. 

Don't forget to take advantage of this great offer: During the month of June, PetSmart shoppers can get a $10 Petsmart gift card when they purchase $40 in participating Purina products. For more information, check this out. (Offer available at US stores only.)

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

Do you have an animal lover in your home? I'd love to hear!

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Celebrating Canada150 in Toronto + Giveaway

Canada is such a beautiful country. I don't think you really get the full appreciation for how big and how beautiful it is until you see it with your own two eyes.

I've had the privilege of travelling a large portion of the country, crossing Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec off of my list. I've had the opportunity to experience things that make this country I call home truly amazing, such as the big white bears of Hudson Bay and the towering Rocky Mountains in BC. 

This year, Canada will celebrate its 150th anniversary, making summer 2017 the perfect time to experience all that this beautiful country has to offer. 

In celebration of Canada150we've chosen to stay Canada this summer and have been keeping our travels local. Camping at Ontario Parks, trips to the family cottage on the Bruce Peninsula and exploring our own city of Toronto, all fill our family adventure list.

How to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto

For those visiting, or even those that are proud to live here, Canada's 150 also marks the perfect time to learn what it means to be truly Canadian. In honour of the sesquicentennial, I'm sharing a list of 15 ways to celebrate Canada150 in Toronto, or more specifically, 15 of the most Canadian things to do in Toronto. If you're visiting Ontario's capital this summer or beyond, make sure to check them out. 

15 Ways to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto

  1. Cheer on the home team at a Blue Jays baseball game at the Rogers Centre. 
  2. Learn about the iconic Canadian species at Rouge National Urban Park, Parks Canada's first Urban National Park.
  3. Take a dip in Lake Ontario, the smallest of the Great Lakes, the largest group of fresh water lakes in the world
  4. Get a birds' eye view of the city from atop the CN Tower. If you dare, take a walk outside on the EdgeWalk. 
  5. Devour a peameal bacon sandwich at the St Lawrence Market.
  6. For dessert, grab a uniquely Canadian sweet treat, the Beaver Tail. 
  7. Wash it all down with a double double from Timmies. 
  8. Indulge in an adult beverage at Canada's largest independent craft brewer, Steam Whistle.
  9. Visit the preserved blue whale skeleton at the Royal Ontario Museum.
  10. Say hello to Lord Stanley's cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame. 
  11. Take a walk (and try not to get lost) in the PATH, the world's largest underground shopping complex.
  12. Rent a kayak and paddle through the Toronto Islands, all while taking in the sprawling skyline of Canada's largest city.
  13. Take in an independent film at the Toronto International Film Festival, the second most prestigious film festival in the world behind Cannes. 
  14. Ride a TTC street car, the largest streetcar system in the Western hemisphere in terms of regular riders, length of track and number of cars. 
  15. Take a walk back in time at the historic Distillery District, formerly the home of the largest distillery in the world.
How to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto
How to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto

Whether you're visiting family and friends, crossing iconic Canadian landmarks off your bucket list or celebrating the anniversary of this great nation, let Radisson help you get there and save big! With locations in several Canadian cities, each hotel is uniquely designed with individual style all their own. Be sure to join Radisson's Club Carlson Hotel Rewards Program and let the points add up.

Visiting Toronto this summer? Be sure to check out the Radisson Admiral Hotel Toronto -Harbourfront, located downtown Toronto just minutes from many uniquely Canadian experiences. With stunning views of Lake Ontario and downtown, the Radisson Admiral Hotel Toronto -Harbourfront offers a beautiful setting for work and leisure. The perfect destination for your next Canadian getaway. 

Plan your Canadian adventure today with the help of Radisson and SAVE! To learn more details, check this out.

How to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto


Want to WIN a FREE one night's stay at any Radisson in Canada or the US? It's simple - visit To & Fro on Facebook, share the link to THIS POST, make sure you tag Radisson in the shared post, and you're entered! [Must be 18+ to enter. Contest open to Canada and US. Ends July 6/17.]

Giveaway fine print:

  • Prize is one (1) night stay at any Radisson in Canada or the US (voucher, no substitutions).
  • To be eligible, you must share THIS POST on Facebook, and tag @Radisson.
  • One (1) winner will be selected at random, and contact via Facebook messenger.
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond and provide valid email address in order to claim prize.
  • Open to all Canadian and US residents, 18 year plus. 

What are you waiting for? Get out there and explore!

Of all the Canadian Radisson locations, which city is your favourite to visit, or on your must see list, and why? I'd love to hear!

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A Family First Camping Trip

We recently kicked off our spring/summer family adventures with a trip to one of my favourite camping destinations in Ontario - Pinery Provincial Park.

Growing up, my family and I spent many summers exploring all that the Pinery has to offer. Now, its my turn to create those memories with my little family and introduce Morley to one of our favourite outdoor activities - camping!

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

When it was just the two of us, the camping possibilities were endless. Camping at the base of a glacier? Check. A full day back country hike only to camp in the pouring rain? Check. Having a bear huff past your tent and not be able to sleep? Check. Taking a 6-hour ferry ride with plans to camp, only to find out there was still six feet of snow on the ground? Check, check, check. It's safe to say, we've had some pretty interesting camping adventures. But  have also made some amazing camping memories.

So, when it came time to plan Morley's first camping adventure, we figured we'd start small and play it safe with a car camping trip to the Pinery.

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

Located on the shores of the mighty Lake Huron, just outside of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is a hidden gem in the Ontario Parks' system. The 21 square kilometres of rare forests and rolling dunes offer excellent year-round outdoor recreations, including 10 walking trails, a 14 km bike trail and 38 kms of groomed ski trails. The Old Ausable River Channel, which runs the length of the park, is perfect for wildlife viewing, fishing or a relaxing paddle in a kayak or canoe.

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

Our long weekend at the Pinery was perfect. We spent our four days exploring the trails, the beach, the river, the dirt and just relaxing around the campsite. We couldn't have asked for better weather, or better company. With a jam packed campsite that included my parents, my brother, his girlfriend and three crazy dogs, there was no shortage of good laughs or activities going on.  Morley loved hanging out with her pups, Tity and Dooda (otherwise known as Titus and Lola), and was even introduced to a few new animal friends - raccoons, frogs and chipmunks galore. 

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

And even though we slept in the trailer with my parents (Morley would not even go near the tent), she absolutely rocked her first camping trip. This kid continues to amaze me, constantly adapting to every new situation we toss at her.

We can't wait to get out and create many more amazing memories with Morley this summer!

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

When heading out on an adventure, whether to the local park or camping, we always consider Morley’s safety first. That is why when it came time to upgrade her car seat, we chose the radian®rXT from diono. Premium materials and thoughtful safety features like a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced side walls, energy absorbing EPS foam and five-point harness put your mind at ease as your little one stays safe and sound. The reinforced adjustable head support provides additional side impact protection, and comfort when the little one crashes after a long day of adventuring. 

One of my favourite features of this car seat, which will come in handy on our trip to Alaska in the fall, is that the car seat folds flat for travel and is FAA-certified. Radian car seats fit 3-across in most mid-size vehicles, making it the perfect choice for growing families. And while we are not yet at the stage where we have to worry about that (I promise), one day down the road this will come in handy. 

The radian rXT car seat comes in a variety of colours, but we chose black plum. It adds a pop of colour, while still helping hide the inevitable toddler spills and messes. Find the radian rXT car seat at a retailer near you.

diono radian rXT car seat review

Check out To & Fro on Instagram for more from our camping trip to Pinery Provincial Park. 

Where will your adventures take you this summer? I'd love to hear!

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Disclaimer: I received product and/or compensation for this post, however, all opinions are 100% my own. I only support brands that I trust and love.

Preparing Your Vehicle For Summer Family Fun

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CanadianTire #QuakerState #CollectiveBias

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

It's hard to believe that in just two short weeks, summer will officially be upon us. Where has 2017 gone?! Despite the calendar still reading spring, the outdoor adventures that come with the glorious summer season have already begun in our house. 

Summer time is travel time. During the warm and sunny months, we love to get outside. Camping, hiking, swimming and exploring our own backyard are some of our favourite activities. We also love a good road trip, usually to visit my parents or our family cottage, both on Lake Huron.

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

After saying goodbye to our faithful ultimate road trip companion in the fall, we look forward to making new road trip memories with our new crossover. We can't wait to load up the car and hit the open road to create some amazing summer family memories.

But before doing so, we must first make sure our vehicle is prepared to get us to and from our summer adventure destinations safely. Especially with a little one in tow.

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip
How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

Extreme heat and long drives can be tough on cars, so here are 6 tips for preparing your vehicle for a successful summer family road trip.

6 Tips to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

1. Check your brakes. 
Your brakes are the single most important safety feature in your car, so its important to maintain their condition. Don't put your or your family at risk this summer by driving on worn or even faulty brakes.

2. Inspect all lights and bulbs. 
Having properly working head lights, tail lights and brake lights is important, especially at times when visibility is reduced, whether during rain or darkness.

3. Maintain clean air filters.
It is important to change both your engine and cabin air filters to improve airflow and prevent dust, dirt and allergens from entering both the engine and cabin. 

4. Maintain your air conditioning.
If you've ever driven a car with no air conditioning during the hot summer months, then you what a big difference a little cool air makes. Air conditioning systems are complicated, so if you think there is a fault in yours, take it to the professionals. 

5. Create a summer emergency kit.
A well stocked kit can be a lifesaver if you find yourself stranded, even in the summer months. For the summer, items to include are jumper cables, flares, flashlights with extra batteries, first aid materials, snacks and water. If you're traveling with children, adding an extra supply of diapers and wipes, a few toys, sunscreen and extra snacks and water is key. Make sure to store your kit in an easily accessible place. 

6. Top up your fluids.
In the summer months, important fluids for your vehicle include windshield washer fluid, coolant and motor oil. Remember to keep all topped up, and carry extra in your vehicle just to be safe. 

As a family on a budget, we opt to change our own motor oil. Not only is it cost effective, it is also super easy. Working on our own vehicle also gives us a sense of accomplishment when hitting the open road. 

Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil is the perfect motor oil for your summer road trip adventures. Not only do the fuel-saving additives give the oil more durability and help keep the oil fresh, but as engine temperatures increases, heat-activated viscosity improvers and anti-wear additives kick in to maintain oil thickness to help extend your engine life. Quaker State® gives you more durability and more honesty.

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

Changing you oil is easy! First, we opened the hood and located the dipstick to check your motor oil level. We removed the dipstick and wiped it with a clean, lint-free cloth. The dipstick was then replaced and removed once more to re-check the level (left photo above). When completing this step, make sure the level is between the minimum and maximum level marks. If it is below, add oil immediately. To add oil, we removed the oil filter cap, which is usually located beside the dipstick. Remember to add oil that meets the correct specifications of your vehicle. This information can be found in your owner's manual. Once oil was added, we rechecked the oil level using the dipstick. If the oil level is correct after completing this step, simply replace the dipstick, replace the oil filler cap, close the hood and you're good to hit the road!

Remember to take all necessary safety precautions to protect you, your vehicle and your family.

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

Quaker State® Ultimate Durability Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a great oil at a great price. It can easily be located in the Automotive Department at your local Canadian Tire. Just look for the gold bottle!

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

Whether we're hitting the road to visit the wilderness, family or even the local pool, having a vehicle that is prepared to handle our adventures is key to a safe and fun summer season.

Where will your summer adventures take you? Have you ever used Quaker State® automotive products? I’d love to hear about it!

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Camping Reflections

Camping season is officially upon us! 

Did you know that June is National Camping MonthI truly believe that spending time outdoors is good for the soul, and encourage others to get outside as much as possible and explore the beauty of Mother Nature. One way to do that is by going camping! 

National Camping Month

Now that Morley is a bit older and enjoys being outside as much as we do, we look forward to dusting off the tent and sleeping bags and visiting our local provincial park for a family camping adventure. But until then, I will celebrate this amazing month by sharing and reflecting on To & Fro's favourite camping memories

From memories and recipes, to safety tips and activities, I hope these posts will inspire you to get outside and connect with Mother Nature this summer.  

Camping Memories

Favourite Camping Memories  //  I have many amazing camping memories, but these are 3 of my favourite. 

Backcountry Hike to Eagle Lake, Alaska (Summer 2011)  // Our first taste of camping in Alaska.

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska (Summer 2011)  //  What a way to ring in my 25th.

Camping at Eagle Lake, Alaska

Disconnecting in Algonquin (Summer 2014)  //  The start of a yearly tradition.

You'll Find Me in the Trees of Algonquin (Summer 2015)  //  Pushing them outside of they comfort zone.

Canoeing in Algonquin Provincial Park

Reasons to Go Camping

8 Reasons to Get Outside  //  Nature is good for the soul. Period. 

10 Reasons to Go Camping  //  You shouldn't even need 1, but here are 10 reasons to plan a trip.

5 Camping Activities  //  You've planned the trip, not what do you do?

Camping at Canisbay, Algonquin Provincial Park

Camping Safety

Favourite Camping Gadgets  //  Because camping wouldn't be camping without the gadgets. 

Camping With Your Dog //  Make sure your four-legged friend is safe and has fun! 

Camping in Bear Country  //  Because you can never been too careful. 

Camping with Your Dog

Camping Food

Tips for Planning a Camping Menu  //  The food is a top priority on our camping trips. 

Favourite Camping Recipes  //  A few of our go-to food and drink recipes. We don't mess around.

Camping Recipe: Campfire Chili Cheese Fries  //  Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Camping Recipe: Philly Cheesesteak   //  A camping trip fave.

Camping Recipes

Whether you are a seasoned back-country explorer, prefer the comfort of an RV or are a glamping pro, National Camping Month is the perfect excuse to gather your friends and family and enjoy the great outdoors!

Do you have any camping plans this summer? I'd love to hear about them!

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