Please note: This blog contains affiliate links, which means that I may make a commission from purchases made using these links.
Hi Readers! This past weekend my family and I had one of our best day outings together and it literally cost us NOTHING (aside from a small amount of gas). All it took was about 10 minutes of preparation prior to leaving home to run an errand.
How it happened…
We usually plan ahead and come up with some sort of a family outing for us to do over the weekend. Occasionally, however, we fail at this. Sunday will roll around and we realize that we haven’t left the house to do anything fun for all of us. This past weekend, my husband worked Saturday so my daughter and I stayed home, did some cleaning and spent the day recovering from our previous day’s activities. The day prior we had spent the day with my daughter and three of her friends for her birthday celebration. A day at the zoo and going to a HUGE park with these kids was exhausting for all of us, so recovery time was definitely needed. We did however make it out to the grocery store to restock our fridge and pantry for the following week. I am totally starting to ramble… c’mon back the point April.
ANYHOW, Sunday morning we all get up eat breakfast together and do the “what do you want to do today?” “I don’t know what do you want to do?” conversation. Getting nowhere fast with this, we established that we needed to attempt to find some shoes for my 14 month old’s odd feet (he has one foot significantly larger than the other). I told my daughter to get dressed and dress for anything. meaning where tennis shoes and something she can be active in. While my husband and daughter were keeping Jasper occupied I grabbed a small cooler and started preparing snacks and sandwiches for all of us. Sandwiches for lunch ,where ever that may be, who knows we may picnic on a mountain, or even in a downtown Phoenix museum… the valley was our oyster! I packed some healthy snacks as well. Some grapes, cheese cubes, hummus and carrots filled my mini bento boxes. This filled every bit of the small green cooler that I had planned on keeping in the back of my car. Drinks, we definitely need to pack some drinks. I filled a Ju Ju Be fuel cell with water bottles, and placed it in the back of the car next to the cooler.
The back of our car usually contains a couple of park toys, sunscreen, Ergobaby, first aid kit and our City Select jogging stroller. We were ready to go, we loaded up in the car and headed to our only planned destination, the Phoenix Premium Outlets. After over an hour of unsuccessful shoe shopping we headed back to the car when my 11 year old started complaining that she was hungry. She grabbed the grapes I had packed and munched away in the backseat. Now leaving the outlet mall do I take a right down the highway towards Tucson or a left towards Phoenix (and home)… left, it is. Next my option is east or north, east (still back towards home), our exit approaches do we get off of the freeway or keep going? We keep going! Then I realize what we are nearing… Tumbleweed Park and Rec. Center. I have been meaning to check this place out for… oh I don’t know… FIVE YEARS! Perfect, “we have our heading,” as Captain Jack Sparrow would say.
As we enter the Tumbleweed Complex, we see that there are a few other activities we could do, one being a train museum as well as a little farm area. As a family we decided to head on over to the park’s “Playtopia” to eat lunch and play for awhile. Grabbing our little green cooler and fuel cell full of water we made our way into the fenced in play area. Once inside the Playtopia area we found a nice shaded park bench to sit and eat at. The weather was fabulous, and the park looked like so much fun. There is a huge covered area that houses a very large jungle gym/ obstacle course thing. There is also a desert reptile themed sandbox, zip-line, playground area for smaller kids and even an area for kids to ride bikes and scooters on little roadways. My daughter and I even got to play this fun table tennis game that it kind of like Simon/Whack a mole (pic below). My husband and I enjoyed people watching and exploring all of the different play areas with our two children. Before we knew it, we had been there for two hours!
As it got later in the afternoon, we decided it was time to go. We packed up the car and headed out of the parking lot to explore what else Tumbleweed had to offer. A short drive from the Playtopia we saw the Arizona Railway Museum, now this looked like fun! Unfortunately the museum was about to close, so we decided to save it for one of our planned outings, possibly even for the following weekend. How could we have lived in the area for so long and never visited this park? Our little planned but unplanned adventure brought us to a place that we will likely visit often! I wonder what other spontaneous adventures our little green cooler will take us on…
So readers, if you are unsure of what to do or find yourself bored without a plan and not wanting to spend a lot of money…
- Preparing snacks, lunch and water (enough for at least half a day).
- Preparing your car (extra diapers, change of clothes, outdoor toys, first aid, picnic blanket, etc.).
- Preparing for driving around (maybe stop off at a gas station and fill up your tank).
…And most importantly…
- Preparing yourself by keeping an open mind (you could end up anywhere and sometimes something that seems ordinary or strange and not so much fun can be made fun just with a picnic).
These are all things that help with preparing for a spontaneous adventure with your children.
If you are interested in any of the items that I keep in my car, you can click on the images below for links to the products on Amazon.
Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear about a spontaneous family adventure you’ve had!