Community Firefly Hike at Indian Lake County Park Hwy 19, Cross Plains
July 11, 2015
7:30-10 p.m. 

Let the kids stay up late tonight.

Join Get Kids Outside on an easy hike and then cook some marshmallows and make a firefly craft while we wait for the show. Why do they blink? What makes them glow? We may even catch a few. Bring water, bug dope, a flashlight and a clear container for catching bugs if you like. Hike starts at 7:30 p.m. from the parking lot. Cost is $5 per person, $15 for family of four. Tickets are available at Contact Diane Schwartz at 608-358-8314, Click here for map. 

Get Kids Outside believes that nature is the greatest healer and teacher. We create community through public hikes and events that heal our hearts, calm our minds, and remind us that we are more alike than different. We provide outdoor opportunities that increase health and wellness and promote learning among children and families of color. All proceeds will provide more outdoor opportunities for kids. If you are inspired by this work, please donate


Firefly Hike at Indian Lake County Park

firefliesJoin Get Kids Outside on Friday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. for a magical Fireflyhike at Indian Lake County Park, 8183 Hwy 19, Cross Plains, WI.
We’ll take an easy one-mile hike around the lake and then, as the sun sets, we’ll start to see hundreds of fireflies. Why do they blink? What makes them glow? We may even catch a few. If there’s interest, we’ll build a fire and cook some marshmallows. Firefly Information
Time: 7:30 pm – 9:30 p.m. Meet in the parking lot at Indian Lake at 7:30 p.m. If you arrive late, go the ‘warming shelter’ by the sledding hill.
Cost: $10/family suggested donation or donate what you can. We will pass the hat to cover leader expenses.
Location: Indian Lake County Park, 8183 Hwy 19, Cross Plains WI 53528. Take Hwy 12 west to Hwy 19 west toward Mazomanie. The entrance to the park is off of 19 about 3 miles from hwy 12.
Bring water, bug dope, a flashlight and a clear container for catching bugs-check the recycling bin for glass jars. I will have bug dope for those who don’t have it and a few containers.
Dogs: Well-behaved dogs okay on a leash are okay.
Transportation: On your own. Meet at the park.
Waiver: Adults/Parents will be asked to sign a waiver when we get to the park. All children must be accompanied by a parent/adult.
RSVP so that I know that you’re coming 24 hours in advance. Cell phone coverage is spotty at Indian Lake so I will not be able to get messages at the park.  
Cancellation Policy: In case of bad weather, I will send out an email to those who said yes to the hike by 6 pm. I will also post on my Facebook page. 

Hope to see you there.


Kids learn to enjoy winter at Indian Lake County Park

Even without snow, the kids made use of the sledding hill.

Lou and his mother didn’t look too happy as we gathered at 9 a.m. on a cold, December morning for a trip to Indian Lake County Park.

“I had my doubts,” mom admitted. But she showed up anyway along with 30 others. At the end of the day, they were all smiles and glad they came.

Despite the lack of snow and 10 degree temps, the kids found lots of ways to stay warm and have fun. Plus, Indian Lake is a drop-dead gorgeous park. The sunny, blue skies formed a perfect back drop for limitless outdoor fun:

– Kids ran, slid and rolled down a frost covered sledding hill.

– Kids played on a huge pile of wood. They turned the wood pile into a fort, a mountain or just a neat place to climb. They killed off space aliens, played soldier games and lots more.

– Kids played with sticks, the best toys ever.

– Kids examined beautiful frost crystals that coated the ground.

Sticks are the best toys ever. Note the lack of mittens.

– Kids helped build a fire.

– Kids played football and kicked around a ball.

– Kids hiked up the hill to see a historic chapel.

– Kids ate hot dogs and hot chocolate.

But mostly, the kids learned that sometimes it’s important to get up and go even if it’s cold. Parents set the example. Unfortunately, about 15 kids missed out because their parents cancelled.

We forget how warm kids get when they run around. No matter how many times we asked kids to put their hats on, most didn’t listen and took them off anyway. Go figure. Kids just don’t react to cold the same way as adults.

Winter is a great time to get outside. It’s important to help parents and kids learn how to enjoy the winter.

How do you respond to fears about cold weather? 

Playing football in the morning sun. Again, no mittens. Are they crazy?

Blissful Solo Skiing: A Joyful Escape to Indian Lake

On Sunday, I went cross-country skiing at Indian Lake County Park .

Without kids. Without anyone.

It was blissful.

This doesn’t mean that I’m out of the kid business. Ski lessons start in a few weeks, so that day is coming. What it does mean is that solo escapes are a necessary part of working with kids.

Teaching kids how to ski is rewarding, but it takes patience. They are learning, and in the beginning, there is more falling than skiing. They need help with their skis. They need coaching and lots of encouragement. I tend to get cold quicker because I’m not moving as much. That’s why taking time for me is so important.

It felt great to sink into a  downhill turn and swoosh up the next hill unfettered by others.  Unbelievably, I was the only skier in the park. The miles ticked by quickly and by the end of the red loop – about 4 miles – I didn’t want to go. I stopped by the fire pit and talked to a few sledders before taking off.

What a great day in the woods.

What are you doing to get ready for your next adventure with kids?

You can find Diane teaching kids how to cross-country ski at Black Hawk Ski Club in Middleton starting in January 2011. Contact her at Looking for inside Bubble Fun?  Subscribe to my blog now and I’ll send you an 11-page bubble activity guide FREE.