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Parenting Resources Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

Score Some “Me Time” this Summer

Photo by Flickr user *michael sweet*
Photo by Flickr user *michael sweet*

Soon the kids will be out of school, but don’t panic — here are some ways to enjoy some much-needed “me time”.

By Sarah Antrim

Remember when you were a kid and summer meant you were totally free—free from the daily grind of homework, free to sleep in until the early afternoon, and free to spend every waking hour splashing in the pool with friends?

Fast-forward some 20 years… now summer means anxious kids bugging you for entertainment and plenty of skinned knees and bee stings to attend to. Their schedules clear which means your only alone time is in the bathroom (if you’re lucky enough to have a lock on the bathroom door).

Here are a few tips on how to get the kids out of the house and score some much-needed me-time this summer.

Summer Camps & Classes

Even a camp that takes kids away for an hour a day can save your sanity.

Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney, once commented on that kids who go away to summer camp have a real opportunity: “[kids] are away from [their] mother and father to make [their] own decisions.” If your kids are new to the camp scene, start small with a class that only meets for an hour or two a day or a few times a week. Sleepaway camp is great for the seasoned camper but make sure that you’re both ready to make that commitment.

Visit Activity Hero and find hundreds of camps featuring dance, music, sports, arts, computers, and more.

Schedule Play Dates

After being trapped in a classroom for 9 months where everything from lunch time to bathroom breaks is scheduled to the minute, some kids become overwhelmed at the thought of having free reign over their routine. Instead of walking outside or hopping on their bike, they’re likely to park themselves in front of anything with an LCD screen.

While decompressing like this might work for a few hours, it’s definitely not a good way to spend an entire summer.

Coordinate with other parents in your area and take turns supervising so everyone gets an occasional break. Schedule a time for the kids to get out and play together. Whether it be at the pool or street hockey, it forces them to get outside for something more stimulating than screens.

Volunteering

Kids cringe at the thought of cleaning up after their own pets, but send them to an animal shelter and they’re a different person. Sign them up to play with the kittens or walk the dogs at the local Humane Society for a few hours every week.

Volunteering builds character and a sense of responsibility, great for kids that are always begging for that puppy but can’t even manage to put the cap back on the toothpaste.

Put Them to Work

Many older kids are mature enough to start babysitting. Check to see if your park district has babysitter certification courses where kids will learn the basics of keeping another tiny human being alive.

If your kids don’t quite fit into that mold of responsibility, just about any able-bodied child can do yard work. Teach them to cut the grass and pull weeds, then send them off to the neighbors. They’ll benefit from the extra money in their pocket and you’ll have a quiet house for an hour or two.

Sleepover at Grandma’s

When in doubt, ship ‘em off to Grandma’s. You know they’ll be safe and she’ll get to fulfill her duty of letting the kids eat ice cream for dinner and stay up past their bedtime.

Don’t limit yourself to doting grandparents, either. Aunts, uncles, and trusted neighbors — it takes a village! Kids who have the support of other loving adults besides their parents have a richer set of experiences and an expanded worldview. Meanwhile, you’ll appreciate some precious moments to recharge.

Exercise

Whether you love yoga, strength training, cycling, or Zumba, try to find a gym or rec class that offers child care options. You’ll have the opportunity for an hour of healthy exercise and come back to parenting feeling more rejuvenated–a definite win-win.

To kids, summer means freedom. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a little bit, too.

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After-School Activities

Getting Kids to Practice Music: 3 Ways to Do it & Enjoy it!

Getting Kids to Practice Music: 3 Ways to Do it & Enjoy it!
image from jamminwithyou.com

If your child is anything like all the other kids in the world, chances are they were initially very excited about learning an instrument.

Emphasis on “initially.”

Now, six months later, you may find yourself not only still paying off that baby grand or drum set, but also putting in plenty of time making sure your child puts in his practice hours.

Music, like most other things in life, are fun until they become difficult and once they become difficult they tend to be neglected. Hence, the way of the young human when it comes to extracurriculars. Fortunately, there are a few tricks in getting kids to practice music and also to enjoy it at the same time.

Spend the Time

One of the number one reasons children cease to stick with an instrument may be the simple fact that they feel alone on the journey.

Perhaps the only time they can practice is while their friends are outside playing together, or when everyone else in the family are done with their responsibilities and are enjoying leisure activities.

Maybe a child’s group of friends started out playing the same instrument, and all have dropped out or lost interest, leaving your child as the only one still attending music lessons and having to practice every day.

Sometimes taking the journey with your child, or finding someone who will, makes all the difference when it comes to practice hours. Come alongside your child and encourage him. This may include statements like:

  • I am so proud of how hard you work to get better at that song
  • I love hearing the sound of you playing while I am doing chores
  • I used to play this instrument too, let me show you what I remember.
  • Would you like me to hang out in here while you practice?
  • Thank you for appreciating the gift we gave you by using it regularly.

Even if your child is well past the age of wanting to “hang out” with you, you may be surprised to discover how naturally and easily the two of you manage to share a moment during practice sessions.

Sidle up next to your child on the piano bench, volunteer to turn the pages of sheet music, or simply sit and encourage. It may make a world of difference in getting kids to practice music!

Re-Inspire

What was the first thing that prompted your child to want to play the particular instrument you are now battling over?

Perhaps there is a musician your child particularly admires – their latest CD plus a sheet music book featuring easier versions of some of their songs may make an awesome gift. Or, take them to a concert, watch a movie or remind them how much a younger sibling looks up to them and the talent they have.

Remember, there is a very fine line between inspiring and guilt tripping – if you can find that balance, you may accomplish getting kids to practice music and also feel like a total rockstar at the same time!

Provide Incentives

Don’t beg or barter – it never turns out well.

However, you CAN offer some incentives to make practicing more worthwhile.

During the summer, place practicing ahead of swimming or shopping trips on the calendar. Or, if your child is advanced enough, try to land them a local gig where their friends can see them play. Coffee houses and even a friend’s party are great venues to try.

Stay away from promises of candy, toys or trips – this can backfire if you end up not being able to provide your end of the bargain.

One of the best methods of getting kids to practice music is to just have patience.

Kids need breaks, they need days off and the opportunity to try new things. It isn’t a good idea to make a 14 year old continue something that they fell in love with at age 6.

However, if they are simply burnt out or distracted for some other reason, encourage them to get over the hump and keep going. They could turn out to be an amazing musician someday!

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Parenting Resources

10 Fun and Easy Recipes to Get Kids in the Kitchen

Summer can easily turn into a season of too much junk food and ice cream and not enough of the healthy foods kids need to stay active. Getting kids involved in the kitchen not only makes them more willing to eat the food they’ve made, but when you bring your kids into the kitchen they learn positive character traits such as patience, teamwork, and how to follow directions.

Fun Watermelon Shapes

Watermelon is a rich source of vitamins A & C and lycopene and also a great way to keep kids hydrated on hot days. Not only is it good for you but it’s mighty tasty too. Grab a seedless watermelon and some cookie cutters and you’re just about ready to go. Cut the watermelon into about 1-inch thick slices then let kids cut out fun shapes with cookie cutters. For an extra cool treat, pop them into the freezer for a couple of hours and enjoy on a hot summer afternoon.

Kabobs

Everything is a little more appetizing and fun to eat on a stick! Kabobs are a great way to get your kids to eat their fruits and vegetables. Grab some skewers (be careful of sharp edges) and simply feed fruits and vegetables on. Some great ideas are grape tomatoes, broccoli, green pepper chunks, pineapple chunks, strawberries, grapes, and watermelon.

Popsicles

Ditch the high fructose corn syrup and red dye on a stick and replace it with something tasty and healthy. Popsicle molds are available at many grocery stores, but an ice cube tray works just fine. Simply puree fruit with either juice or water and add to the tray or mold. Frozen strawberries and orange juice are a personal favorite in our house. Cover with foil and insert a popsicle stick in the middle (the foil keeps the stick in place) and freeze. For an extra healthy treat add yogurt to the mix.

Granola Bars

The best thing about granola bars is that they can have the chocolate chips kids want and still be healthy! All you’ll need is:

3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoons melted butter
3-4 cups of trail mix, nuts, coconut, M&M’s, etc.

Simply mix together all of the ingredients, press into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Encourage your child to be creative and mix as many different ingredients into their bars as they want! If you’re craving fruit, stick to the dried variety as fresh fruit may make the bars soggy.

Quesadillas

If you child is sick of sandwiches, try changing up the lunchtime routine with a quesadilla. Encourage kids to put their favorite lunch meats, cheeses, and whatever else they fancy between two tortillas and simply heat in a non-stick pan or on a countertop grill for 1 minute. Our favorite is peanut butter and banana in a whole wheat tortilla served with a side yogurt and honey dipping sauce.

Banana Breakfast Pops

Bananas are rich in potassium, essential to the active kid’s diet to prevent them from getting muscle cramps. To start, simply halve a banana and stick a popsicle stick in the end. Roll in yogurt, then granola, and place on a tray covered in wax paper. Freeze for about 1 hour or until the granola sticks well enough and enjoy! Kids can add special treats like slivered almonds or even chocolate chips. You’ve got a healthy breakfast and a free hand!

English Muffin Pizzas

These were my personal favorite as a kid. There’s something special about having your own tiny pizzas—and much healthier than a greasy delivery pizza!

All you need is:
English muffins
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Toppings of choice

Encourage your kids to make their pizzas just the way they like. Offer an array of vegetables to top their pizzas with such as sliced peppers and broccoli. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Allow at least 5 minutes to cool before serving.

Ants on a Log

A tried and true favorite, something about celery covered in peanut butter and raisins makes it so much more appetizing than plain old celery sticks! This snack is rich in both vitamin C and protein—great to keep kids energized for a long day outside. Simply cut celery stalks into 2-3 inch pieces, fill with peanut butter and top with raisins. If your children suffer from peanut allergies or simply don’t care for peanut butter, whipped cream cheese makes a great alternative.

Cheesy Pizza “Fundue”

All you’ll need is:
1 cup spaghetti sauce
6 oz.  Velveeta cheese
2 tbsp Kraft grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 cups of bite-size vegetables and bread

Place spaghetti sauce in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 1 minute. Stir in cheeses and microwave another 2 ½ minutes stirring occasionally until cheese is fully melted. Allow mixture to cool before serving with vegetables and bread.

Caramel Apple Nachos

Here’s what you’ll need:
2 apples, cored and cut into slices
1 small tub of caramel fruit dip
1 cup miniature marshmallows
½ cup roasted peanuts

Simply arrange apple slices around a large plate, pour as much caramel dip as desired (be careful, a little goes a long way), and arrange with the rest of the toppings. Kids can also add crushed graham crackers and chocolate chips for an extra treat.

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“Does this Cape make my Butt look Big?”

I’ll be the first to admit that the phrase “super mom” can be overused and at times even a little annoying. Nowhere near as fast as a speeding bullet, chasing around a toddler while avoiding a mine field of Hot Wheels… she’s a mom, she’s… a superhero? Let’s get one thing straight here, Superman didn’t get where he is now by popping on a blue unitard, drawing an “S” on his chest and walking around with a sense of self-entitlement—so gives your average everyday mom the right to call herself “super mom”?

Society paints the picture of a super mom as someone like Victoria Beckham. She takes her kids to soccer in stilettos, whisks them away on a whim to prance on the beaches of Jamaica, and lost her baby weight in less time than it took to labor her child. Now I’m sure that Ms. Beckham is a wonderful mother but let’s face it—this sets the bar a little too high for the rest of us. Walk into the home of a self-proclaimed “super mom” and you’re likely to find toys scattered about the floor, a sink full of dishes crusted with macaroni and cheese, and an exhausted, unshowered mom who may have been wearing the same milk-stained stretch pants for the past 2 days.

So what entitles any of us to call ourselves a super mom? To me, a mom who sacrifices her time, attention, energy, and a good night’s sleep (more like 18 years) to make sure that her kids are happy is a super mom. Her home might be a wreck and she might not have brushed her hair in a week or so, but her kids are happy and healthy. Or maybe she’s figured out a way to get herself showered, dressed, and looking presentable on a daily basis and that in itself deserves a medal. You see, a super mom fills the roles of about 100 people on a daily basis—chauffeur, chef, housekeeper, teacher, drill sergeant—just to name a few. Some days are more successful than others, but that comes with the territory.

So don’t be ashamed to call yourself a super mom, even if your wrinkled cape is covered in grass stains, doesn’t quite cover the spider veins from birthing a 9 pound baby, and wouldn’t pass a sniff test from a mile away—it fits enough to wear proudly.

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After-School Activities

Top Reasons For Summer Sports Involvement

Elite sports begin young, and select those few who will be the superstars of the next generation early on. Whether you desire this intense experience for your child, or simply want them to be active, have fun and learn a new skill – summer is a great time to get it done.

Competitive sports can be, well, competitive – even during elementary school. While everyone should try to be a good sport on game days, coveted positions on teams can cause jealously and fierceness to flare up. And then outside of the parents, the kids will feel the pressure too!

In today’s world of young athletes, it can be difficult for school-aged children to try out for a team when they have zero experience in the sport. A summer camp or intensive can help resolve this issue, providing the child with one of two things:

–        For the beginner: a basic, non-competitive environment in which to learn

–        For the seasoned athlete: a chance to enrich skills during freed up hours during summer

No matter which goal your family has in mind, taking advantage of longer days and less commitments over the summer is vital to improving one’s game.

Finding a True Love

Perhaps your child is young or new to sports and aren’t sure which one to plug into. Since every recreational activity that involves being part of a team tends to be both expensive and time-consuming, summer is the best time of year to “try things out” and see what really excites your child. You may have always envisioned her as a soccer star, but then discover that she is a tennis pro. Summer vacation is a wonderful time to just explore and play. Many summer intensives for sports (including dance and gymnastics) invite those new to the arena a chance to sample a handful of different things. An intensive sports camp may include a week of softball, football, tennis, volleyball and soccer – or any other combination of sports. Basic rules are taught, mock games are played, and information about what to do next if you’ve caught the bug for one in particular are usually included. For dance, a smattering of different dance disciplines are taught, and may include ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary or hip hop. Gymnastics intensives for new athletes may choose to focus on all events within competitive gymnastics, or instead just work on strength-building, basic tricks and safety protocol.

Encouraging an Elitist

If your child is going to become a sports elitist, taking the summer off is not an option. Elite sports demands a generous amount of commitment from both the athlete and his/her family, and summer is a time spent ramping up training, endurance levels and honing new skills. If the competition season prior ended up being a bit rough in some regard, then those skills which caused the fumbles will often be worked on intensively.

Summer is time for the elitist to spend the hours he/she would normally be in school working with a private coach or taking extra classes. The goal of an advanced athlete is to use summer camps and intensives toward improving significantly in their sport of choice, or at least maintaining the level they are at.  These months are often the only time of year where you can get an “edge” on your fiercest competition, as there are fewer distractions in life.

Finding Your Heart

Parents tend to have big dreams for their youngsters, and kids really do need us to dream big for them. However, every parent must be careful they aren’t dreaming beyond what a child is capable of, or not forcing their own slighted ambitions onto a little one. Explain the importance of summer intensives to your child, but if they don’t want to be an elitist in their sport, or just really need a summer off to avoid burnout, it’s important to honor that whenever possible.

Whatever your activity decision-making may be, the heart of it should always be your child’s dreams and passions. Take a good hard look in your family mirror – is the sacrifice something that is worth it? Does your child’s elite sport make his/her life enhanced? Is this something that is child-driven rather than parent or coach-driven? If so, take advantage of one of the great intensive camps available in your region. You can find out about them through your child’s regular trainer or coach, or simply look online. Discounts and scholarships are often available to ambitious young athletes hoping for high-quality summer enrichment without an overwhelming price tag.

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After-School Activities

6 Reasons To Pick this Winter Activity This Summer

Swimming, softball clinics and church camps – you can likely rattle off the lists of summer activity options in your sleep by now. However, there may be one “cool” sport you may have missed while packing your calendars full this summer – ice skating!

Sure, it may take you a moment to shift your focus from sipping ice water poolside to watching your child learn a new skill rink side, but as you weigh the benefits, chances are your family may become winter sports enthusiasts – even while the weather is hot.

children ice skating

1.     Beat the Heat

Unless you live in an uncommon destination where snow’s the norm, chances are your summer plans are often driven by your desire to stay cool during a standard heat wave. Reduce your spending on A/C units and family-sized popsicle packages, and instead head to the local ice skating rink for the chance to chill out while your child enjoys learning a new skill. Many skating rink day camps around the country offer your family the chance to not only learn how to ice skate, but also participate in arts & crafts, movies and games – all with an abundance of air conditioning for mom and dad.

Find ice skating camps and classes near you! >>

2.     Enjoy a Discount

Most camps will offer some sort of discount, either via promotional code or multiple registrations. However, winter sports offer an additional incentive – many of them are more affordable than their summer counterparts during this time of year for the sole reason that they are often an afterthought for many families. Elite figure skating lessons and ice hockey gear can get pricey, and summer is a great time to take advantage of discounted public sessions or kid-focused day camps that can save you a bundle.

 3.       It’s Unique

Especially with slightly older children, the idea of doing something out-of-the-box may make the annual mundane activity selection process a bit more exciting. And you don’t even have to sell them on the idea of participating in a winter sport all summer long. Groups that make summer camp their business maintain a more traditional fusion of academics and camp events, while making each Friday a field trip day. Included with many? Ice skating.

4.     Support Local Business

Yes, we know it’s nice to take that big sigh of relief when your kids are on their own for a bit under the watchful eye of an adult that isn’t you. While we all need alone time, even with a full camp schedule the cabin fever crazies can set in during even two days in a row at home. Get out and support local businesses by taking them to your neighborhood rink to participate in a public skating session or to cheer on a friend on the ice hockey league. Or, if you live where it snows, find out what those local resorts are offering now that it’s all melted away. They may have some great summer options like whitewater rafting or mountain biking that don’t get a lot of publicity because their snowy reputation precedes them.

5.     Get More Mileage Out of That Wardrobe

Remember that hot pink sweater she NEEDED to own, only it was stubbornly never on sale? Or, even better, did you purchase a warm weather clothing item for your child only to experience the weather shifting dramatically only a week or so later? Seasonal shopping can be tricky, and winter sport participation during the summer months ensures you get the most mileage out of those items that would otherwise hang out in the back of the closet. So pull out those sweaters and long pants for a hockey camp or ice skating party.

6.     Get What You Pay For!

Finally, summer camps are great fun, but many times the schedules change because of the weather. Yes, it’s warm outside – but in most regions of the U.S. summer still involves at least a bit of rain and windy days. This means a swimming day may get canceled, as can any outdoor event. Since the majority of summer camps plan their thrills in the great open air, the very thing that motivated you to sign up for that specific destination may not materialize. With winter sports and activities, Mother Earth doesn’t get much of a say in what kids can or cannot do. Controlled temperatures and routine schedules reign supreme when it comes to indoor, winter-themed fun.

Author: Tamara Warta

Categories
After-School Activities

10 Free Activities to do with your Kids to Build Character

Keeping kids entertained can come with a hefty price tag and can often do more harm than good to their personalities. With video and computer gaming on the rise, more and more kids are losing their social skills and becoming less involved with their community and healthy activities. Character building exercises can be cheap, fun, and easy if you use a little imagination and have the right guidance.

  1. Take a trip to the local animal shelter. What kid doesn’t love animals? And what kid hasn’t begged their parents for a puppy? Most children only see the playful and fun side of puppies and leave the dirty work to the parents. Animal shelters in most areas are in need of volunteers on a regular basis. Dedicate one day a week or month to be a volunteer day and your child will learn the responsibility it takes to take care of an animal. Volunteers are usually asked to play with the animals, take them for walks, and tidy up the cages. Be sure to explain to your child that shelters are just temporary homes or “pet hotels” until they find them a new home. This will curb the heartache when an animal they may have grown attached to is adopted. Many shelters also have a “resident pet” that may have been around so long that the staff has basically adopted it as their own. Encourage your child to become friends with this animal so as to avoid the disappointment of turnover in the shelter. Be sure to check with the staff ahead of time to check which animals are safe for your child and won’t intimidate or startle your child.

  1. Ask your child help you out in the kitchen. This is also a great way to introduce kids to new foods. Children are more likely to eat something if they’ve seen exactly what goes into it. Give your child fun tasks and tools like using a salad spinner, measuring out dry ingredients, and stirring dough batters. Just be sure to leave the chopping and cooking on the stove for the adults. Even clean up can be made into a game. Assign them a task such as drying dishes or putting away clean items and let them know that if the kitchen is clean after dinner they get to choose a dessert recipe.
  2. Get to know the city workers in your area. Do you know your mail carrier by name? How about your garbage man? You may see these workers on a daily or weekly basis but may never take the time to get to know them. Introduce your child to your mail carrier and let him or her ask them a few questions if they’re not in too much of a rush. Most would be glad to give a couple minutes of their time to a friendly face. This will encourage your child to take pride in his community. As Dr. Seuss said, “A person is a person no matter how small.” Explain to your child that it is important to treat people equally, no matter how big or small a role they play in their lives.
  3. Visit a nature or conservation area. Forget waiting in line at the zoo and paying the high price of admission, check to see if your community has a wildlife refuge or conservation area. Nature centers usually have information centers with knowledgeable staff eager to educate a hungry mind. Explain the importance of maintaining a beautiful Earth to your child through cause and effect. Have you child compare the untouched nature in a conservation area to the land in your neighborhood. What’s different about the two? What animals live in the conservation area that do not live in the city? Wildlife refuge centers are a great way to show your children how important it is to respect nature and the world they live in.

  4. Make a “me” collage. This activity helps to build self esteem and identity. Kids take a photo of themselves and surround it with clippings from magazines or newspapers of their favorite hobbies, activities, values, or things that they think describes their personality. Try to avoid material objects such as toys or games they would like. Have your child present their board to the family and explain what they like about their board and how they plan to carry out their activities and hobbies in the future.
  5. Spring cleaning and clothes donations. Instead of sifting through your child’s clothes after they’ve outgrown them and hauling them over to the local Goodwill store, encourage your child to get involved in the process. Ask your child what each piece of clothing means to them, the last time was that they wore it, and if they could think of someone that needed it more than they do. Explain to your child that in order to get new things, you must first get rid of old things that are not in use. If they are not using an old doll or sweater, they must try to keep it in the cycle of use so that someone else may get as much joy as they have from it. This promotes fairness and caring for those with different needs than theirs.
  6. Visit the farmer’s market. Foods straight from the farm are not always as appealing to the eye as the ones on display at the grocery store. Showing your kids that the glossy, pretty, and perfectly symmetrical foods at the grocery store aren’t always the tastiest is an important lesson to learn. Introduce your child to new fruits and vegetables they may have never seen or tasted before. Most farmers are more than happy to educate you on their growing process and teach a curious child about the health benefits of their crop.
  7. Make a comic book about their own super hero. This could be a person in their life or someone they have made up. Ask your child what they like about the character and what makes them a hero. If they were a super hero, what sort of super powers would they have and what would they do with them? How can they incorporate some super powers into their own life? If the character is imaginary, ask them who in their life most resembles their character. What do they respect about this person or character?
  8. Tell tall tales to uncover the truth. Tell your child a story about something that happened to you with 5 things that are true and 5 that are untrue. Ask them which things were the truth and which were made up. Let your child make a story of their own with true statements and false statements. Ask them what they think about lies and people who tell them. Do they have friends that don’t tell the truth? What do they like or dislike about that, and what are the consequences of not telling the truth? Make sure your child knows how important it is to be honest.
  9. Keep a dream journal. Put a notebook by your child’s nightstand and encourage them to jot their dreams down as they awake in the morning. Ask your child if they would like to share their dreams with you. What do they think that their dreams mean? Do they represent something they want or like about their lives or something that they are afraid of? Some children have difficulty expressing and identifying their feelings, and with your help that can make better sense of their dreams, goals, and fears.

Author: Sarah Antrim

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Parenting Resources

Reuse, Recycle, Repin: Pinterest-Inspired Crafts for Kids

Is perusing Pinterest your favorite way to unwind online? We’ve got a great pinning assignment for you: Search the site for fun, easy, and inexpensive ways to entertain your kids with at-home crafts! Here’s a sampling of some projects that we just love — all involve recycling and reinventing common household materials to create fanciful, colorful art projects that are perfect for rainy days, days off, summer vacations, winter breaks and more!

By Amanda Austin

Kids love crafts — and so do their creative caretakers. That’s because making original artwork keeps children amused while challenging their imaginations, fine-tuning their fine-motor skills, and exploring their world in a way that’s hands-on fun. Pinterest is a great place to find an almost endless supply of ideas for all ages. Here are some of our favorites to entertain your children the next time they cry “I’m bored” during a quiet weekend, rainy day, school holiday, or summer vacation. Plus, all are made with items you likely have on hand, so there’s no need to run to the craft-supply store first!

Turn “Trash” into Treasure

Pinterest is teeming with projects for kids created from products you have around the house — or would normally throw out. Here, a few clever selections:

  • Instead of recycling your empty toilet paper tubes, save a few for this adorable toilet-paper-tube snake project.
  • Are all those broken nubs of crayons driving you crazy? Melt them down to make multicolored recycled crayons with the help of this easy tutorial, or have your children glue longer crayons to canvas and use a hair dryer to melt them into unique crayon art.
  • Paper grocery or lunch bags can be embellished to become adorable paper bag puppets, with a wonderful bonus of “puppet show playtime” when the craft project is complete.
  • Every home has dozens of mismatched buttons cluttering junk drawers and sewing boxes. It’s almost as though they are just begging to be turned into beautiful button art.

  • Or dig through your craft cabinet and use up odds-and-ends in “combination” projects, such as this stunning “starburst” artwork made with glue, salt, and watercolors.

Preserve Kids’ Tiny Handprints

What mama doesn’t love adorable handprint art? Plus, these personalized pieces make great gifts to send to far-flung relatives and friends — or to give as a thank-you gift to a favorite teacher or after school instructor. If you’re stuck for unique ideas, Pinterest has you covered. Consider searching with a theme in mind: Maybe, for instance, you can connect your handprint artwork to a recent activity or outing. Here, a few ideas:

  • Planning on paying a visit to a flower show or butterfly garden? Check out this Very Hungry Caterpillar handprint project idea to create before or after your trip.
  • Did your kids get along swimmingly with the dolphins and fish at a recent aquarium visit? This fish aquarium handprint idea is the perfect project to commemorate the trip.
  • For a little girl who loves to dance, check out this ballerina handprint project. It’s the perfect craft to make before (or after) a recital — or to give to a cousin or sister after her big solo.
  • You can also create a handprint craft that helps you preserve special memories of the whole year. This tutorial gives you ideas for a new themed handprint every month. When you’re done, glue the handprints into a calendar. Add a few notes about what you did as a family each month, for a touching memento.

Make Your Own Craft Supplies

DIY-ers and penny-pinchers rejoice: Pinterest is the hottest go-to source for “make-your-own” art supplies. Plus, creating one of these items can serve as a kid-friendly project in its own right! Consider these options:

  • Have a child who loves to sculpt? Create some homemade “play dough” in every color of the rainbow using — surprise — colored gelatin as an ingredient!
  • For kids who love lightweight modeling foam, grab the shaving cream and cornstarch and whip up a batch or two of foam dough, using this super-simple recipe.
  • Pinterest can even help make bath time colorful with this washable, non-staining homemade bath paint. With this craft, the art-making and the cleanup are an all-in-one event!

Pinterest has scads of ideas for making unique art projects with your kids in ways you might not have thought of on your own.

If you find your child has a flair for fine arts, take a few minutes to call up the art-class offerings on Activity Hero — there, you’ll also find some great ways to nurture your child’s muse through camps, classes, and drop-in art sessions.

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After-School Activities Parenting Resources

10 Awesome Green Activities for Kids

Our children are our future. The world will soon be in their hands. Show them the importance of caring for their environment, recycling, and appreciating the luxuries of everyday life with these green activities.

1. Make a compost pile. A compost pile is a way for kids to watch nature recycle itself in action! Natural waste, such as grass clippings and table scraps, is slowly broken down to make new soil that many farmers and gardeners consider the golden ticket to a thriving crop. Did you know about 30% of the waste in landfills across the country is yard and food waste that could be used for composting? According to the Clean Air Council, the average American generates about 4.5 pounds of trash every single day—that’s over 1600 pounds per year! If every person turned their natural waste into compost, it would eliminate almost 500 pounds of garbage from going to the landfill! This project will encourage your kids to think twice about wasting their sandwich crusts or uneaten vegetables. Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to turn your trash into treasure.

2. Start a worm farm. Not only are worms fun to watch squiggle and wiggle about, but I bet your kids didn’t know what a huge role they play in the environment. Worms are basically nature’s way of recycling. They munch on dead leaves and grass clippings and create pathways in the soil for plants to grow and breathe. Making a worm farm is fairly easy and low maintenance; they are just about the easiest pet to have. When you’re finished with the worm farm, you can set them free in a garden or compost area and watch them thrive in their natural environment! A worm farm is a great way to teach the responsibility of being in charge of another living thing—practice for a future pet perhaps? Follow these simple instructions.

3.  Plant a garden. Kids are more willing to eat their vegetables if they’ve seen where they come from and put forth the effort into tending to them. Have your kids to pick out plants or seeds of fruits and vegetables the like, and encourage them to pick out something they’ve never tried before like zucchini or sugar snap peas. Kids will see the watch magical process of how food is grown and how much work goes into it!

4.  Recycled arts & crafts. From toilet paper tube teddies to broken button bottle banks, just about everything old can be made into something new. All you’ll need is some clean recyclable waste—such as Kleenex boxes, paper towel rolls, empty soda bottles, or plastic cutlery—and some craft supplies like glue, string, ribbon, etc. Turn empty baby food jars into memory jars, brown paper bags into puppets, and old tin cans into wind chimes. Find a list of great recycled crafts at favecrafts.com. Once your crafts have run their course, snap a digital picture of them and place them back into the recycling bin to keep the use cycle in motion.

5.  Make recycled paper. A great project to show kids how much effort goes into making a single piece of paper. Perhaps they’ll think before wasting too many sheets next time! All it takes is some old newspaper, water, and a few other supplies to make a brand new sheet of paper from old newspaper. Kids will need the supervision of an adult for this project as it requires the use of a blender. Follow the instructions at childrenoftheearth.org.

6.  Make reusable grocery bags. It’s a widely known fact that most plastic grocery bags end up right in the trash; only a small amount are actually recycled. Paper bags aren’t much better and use even more energy to create and transport than plastic ones. Teach your child how something seemingly small can make a world of difference. You’ll need a sewing machine for this project as hand stitching won’t quite hold up to the weight of the groceries. Gather a few pillow cases and as much “old” fabric as you can. All you’ll need is a couple of straps to stitch on and you’ve got yourself a bag! Kids can decorate their reusable grocery bags with pieces of fabric or use fabric markers to personalize them.

7.  Create a backyard habitat for neighborhood animals. With expansion and construction on the rise, many animals’ habitats are being threatened or eliminated. Have you child help you create a welcoming environment for local wildlife and enjoy the views of butterflies, birds, and small mammals. Set up a bird bath to attract a variety of local birds, plant local flowers and trees, and set out a few bird and bat houses and the will find its way! Kids will love watching the joyful wildlife enjoying the gifts they’ve provided them!

8.  Go for a nature hike. A growing number of kids spend most of their time indoors, and many don’t even make it a point to go outside every day. Encourage your kids to explore the wide world around them and appreciate all the beauty that nature has to offer! Visit a nature preserve in your area and take a long walk. What colors, animals, and plants do they see that they don’t see at home?

9.  (Almost) zero carbon footprint day. Pick one day to be the greenest family on the block! When children see their parents setting an example and getting involved in a cause they are more likely want to get involved themselves. Spend the day biking to the grocery store, shutting all lights off before leaving the room, and conserving as much water as possible. Kids will learn to appreciate everyday luxuries that are often taken for granted.

10.  Make a milk carton bird feeder. Your kids will enjoy watching the local birds flock to their backyard and enjoy a tasty treat! Cut a hole in the side of the carton big enough for birds to come and go about 2 to 4 inches from the bottom of the carton. Cut a small hole below to add a dowel rod below the hole for birds to perch. Cut 2 holes in the top of the carton and thread twine through to hang from a tree. Finally, using a pin, poke several holes in the bottom of the carton to promote moisture drainage as soggy bird feeders can cause illnesses in birds. Fill with a wild bird feed and watch the birds flock to your snack station.

Sarah Antrim

Categories
After-School Activities Parenting Resources

Kids Activities Are Crucial for Your Child: 10 Essential Reasons Why

1. To find something he loves doing.

Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life, said the former Mr. Jennifer Lopez. Most of us dream of being able to make a living doing something we love – being able to share our talents with the world. Having a passion in life is a gift, and it is important that children be allowed to explore their unique combination of interests and talents to find something they truly love doing. Whether or not it leads to great success, or even a career, the opportunity to find true joy in an activity or organization can be a source of lifelong happiness.

2. To learn how to lose, and to win.

 Any activity done over years will involve competition — both with others and beating one’s own personal bests. Like it or not, competition is a fact of life, and understanding how to deal with competition builds character. Committed participation in an activity helps children see that defeat and rejection are not the end of the world, and makes losing a teachable moment. Long-term involvement in an activity also shows kids that success is not an endgame, but rather a jumping off point toward a new goal.

3. To find identity and community. 

When a child finds a pursuit to which she wants to devote herself, it redefines how she presents herself to the world. As this sport, subject or art form becomes a deeper part of herself, she will likely want to explore it further by reading, doing research online, going to professional events or by starting her own groups. This identity will unite her with a new support system or “family” of people who share her interests, goals and possibly, worldview.

4. As an emotional refuge. 

Bullying currently occupies a large and troubling space in our national dialogue about childhood and adolescence. With the current prevalence of bullying, it is crucial for kids to have a space, both physical and emotional, where they feel safe and valued. A place where a child comes to practice a favorite activity with friends with similar interests can be, quite literally, a life-saver.

5. To have a way to express herself. 

People express different aspects of their personalities in different settings. Many famous people including Brad Pitt, and (really!) Lady Gaga are shy in person. A boy who is introverted and withdrawn may be a colorful and dramatic actor. A bookish and quiet girl might manifest an aggressive tenacity on the debate team. A high-schooler who could write a master’s thesis on being popular, might have a gift for working with small children or performing community service. An activity can bring out hidden facets of your child’s personality or skill set, and give him or her an outlet to shine!

6. To develop a strong work ethic. 

There is no happiness, Henry Ford wrote, except in the realization that we have accomplished something. Successful people find joy in working toward a goal. In their chosen field they live by the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing well. They know that success doesn’t happen overnight, and they take responsibility for their own process. They learn from their mistakes. The disciplined, exacting approach that comes from mastering an art form, sport or subject is a foundation for achievement in any endeavor.

7. As a way to focus a frenetic mind and body.

Children with ADHD, who often have some combination of behavioral, social, emotional and academic issues can benefit immensely from a constructive way to organize their thoughts and direct their impulses. Kids activities such as martial arts, basketball or soccer, where there are specific skills and constant movement done under close direction, are an excellent way for a child to focus and develop his or her gross motor coordination. Studying a musical instrument or the fine arts can also develop muscle control and focus. Furthermore, if a child comes to excel at a given activity, her success will likely downplay the negative aspects of her condition in her own eyes and others.

8. To work closely with adult role models.

Parents know that they will not always be the sun, moon and stars to their children. Adolescence is often a time of disillusionment with other adults, as peers replace grown-ups as confidantes and idols. A child who is involved in a longtime activity has the opportunity to interact with nurturing adults who love and understand the activity in question just as much. An experienced and well-respected coach, or dance or music teacher can fill a void in a teen’s adult interactions, especially when it comes to providing valued life and career advice.

9. Because competence breeds confidence.

Self-esteem is fabulous. Kids need it. But it has to be based on something – getting a trophy just for showing up gives kids a dangerously wrong message and that in the end leaves them feeling empty and defeated. The “Tiger Mother,” Amy Chua was taken to task for her decrying of Western parents’ emphasis on self-esteem at all costs. But Ms. Chua understands that a child’s self-confidence comes from excelling at something. It comes from working diligently and not giving up and being better than one was before. It comes from knowing that s/he’s good at something.

10. To have a higher purpose. 

Children are extremely susceptible to the message that material things and being friends with the right people bring happiness. Having something healthy, something bigger than themselves to aspire to – to occupy their whole beings – body, mind and soul is an important life principle.

 

 

 

Keesha Beckford

Categories
Parenting Resources

10 Things to Do on Memorial Day with Kids

memorial day for kids
Photo by Flickr user DooleyPhoto

Memorial Day weekend is often regarded as being the unofficial beginning of summer—the local pool and beaches are open, the ice cream truck pays a visit, and kids get an extra day off of school.

It often slips our minds to remember what Memorial Day is really about; it is a day to remember the fallen heroes of war. As grim as it may sound for a young child, they must learn and appreciate the risk that our servicemen take to protect their freedom.

Here are a few things to do on Memorial Day to get kids involved in the holiday.

1. Make a Care Package for “Adopt a Platoon”

Founded in 1998, the Adopt a Platoon program strives to improve the quality of life for deployed service members by ensuring they are not forgotten by their country.

Kids can express their gratitude for our servicemen away from home by putting together a care package or sending cards and letters. Some of the most highly anticipated treats are hard candy that can withstand extreme heat, powdered drink mixes, air fresheners, small pillows with pillow cases, playing cards, small hand-held fans and disposable cameras. Your child can put together a thoughtful package and include a personal drawing or letter thanking the platoon for their dedicated service.

Check out adopt a platoon for more details & guidelines on how to get involved.

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2. Make a Patriotic Wreath of 5-pointed Stars

According to USHistory.org, George Washington’s original sketch for the American flag contained 6-pointed stars for each of the 13 colonies. However, Betsy Ross, who stitched the first American flag in 1776, suggested that each star have five points after demonstrating that it could easily be made in one snip by folding the fabric just right.

Grab about a dozen sheets of red, white and blue construction paper and follow the instructions to snip your own stars at USHistory.org. Visit your local craft store to purchase a Styrofoam wreath ring and cocktail toothpicks with red, white and blue tips. Use the toothpicks to stick the stars into the wreath and hang it proudly upon your door.

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3. Pay Homage to Your local Veteran’s Hospital or Retired Veteran’s Home

No matter what age, a veteran always appreciates a word of thanks for their service.

Some wounded soldiers may not have the opportunity to interact with the public often because of injuries or disabilities. Take your child to a veteran’s home or hospital and encourage them to shake hands and thank the residents. If they feel comfortable enough, they can even ask questions and learn a thing or two about the retired servicemen and their duties.

If you are unsure of the nearest veteran’s hospital or looking for another way to get involved, contact AMVETS to see what sort of assistance you can provide to help veterans in your area.

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4. Volunteer with Your Local USO Center

The USO provides veterans and their families with great programs such as “United Through Reading” which allows deployed parents to record a bedtime story onto a DVD for their children.

The USO is always accepting donations of your time or monetary value. Services and opportunities vary by center and some USO centers have a minimum age requirement of 18 years of age to volunteer so be sure to contact your local center beforehand.

If you are unable to make it to a center, kids can also volunteer virtually by sending a personal instant message to the family of a veteran at JoiningForces.uso.org.

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5. Suggest Your School Participates in the “Take a Veteran to School Day”

Developed by the History Channel, “Take a Veteran to School Day” encourages kids to learn more about the different branches of the military and what service members do when they are deployed. Veterans are asked to visit the school and given an assembly where they are asked questions about their service and often given a token of thanks such as a flower or thank you note from each student.

To learn more and see step-by-step instructions of how to get involved in this program, visit history.com.

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6.  Visit Your Local American Legion or VFW Post

A regular hangout for many veterans, the VFW and American Legion posts are open to the public. Many local posts have special events for Memorial Day such as picnics or pancake breakfasts.

Contact your local VFW or American Legion to see what sorts of events they have planned for the holiday weekend and encourage your kids to interact with veterans in their area.

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7.  Get Involved with Your Community’s Memorial Day Parade

Most communities have parades for Memorial Day that include participants from local schools, retired veterans, and village board members.

Visit your village hall to inquire about any help needed to participate in the parade. Your child will feel honored to march alongside his community. If the parade is not in need of volunteers, be sure to attend the event with your child. Ask your child which of the uniformed  service members he recognizes and which are new to him.

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8.  Learn to Distinguish the Different Military Uniforms with Coloring Pages

Can your child spot the differences between deep blue Marine Corps dress blues and the green camouflage battle uniform of the Armed Forces?

Visit PatriotColoringPages.com for fun coloring pages all about Memorial Day and Military service uniforms. Visit Military.com’s Guide to Uniforms to find correct coloring and facts about the different uniforms of the military.

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9.  Bake and Decorate American Flag Cookies

Although it would take a pretty big cookie to make an accurate representation of the American flag of today, that’s not to say that baking cookies can’t be educational.

Follow the Taste of Home’s recipe for flag sugar cookies.  Assign your child small baking tasks such as measuring the dry ingredients and rolling out the cookie dough. While the dough is chilling in the fridge, educate your child on the history of the American flag. Show your child the evolution of the flag and what each aspect of the flag means.

For a complete timeline of the flag, visit USHistory.org. When the cookies are finished baking, encourage your child to be creative and attempt to replicate some of the flags from the timeline.

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10.  Decorate the Memorial of a Fallen Service Member with Flowers or Cards

Most states have established cemeteries reserved for veterans. Many are regularly open to the public for visitation. Have your child pick some flowers and decorate a thank you card for a veteran.

Explain to your child the importance of sacrifice and courage that military members exhibit on a daily basis. Visit cem.va.gov for a complete listing of veteran’s cemeteries and contact information.

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Written by Sarah Antrim

Photo by Flickr user DooleyPhoto

Categories
After-School Activities

Happy Mother’s Day from Activity Hero

While Mother’s Day is obviously a special day set aside to honor moms from all walks of life, here at Activity Hero we want to applaud the efforts of motherhood every single day of the year. So today we take a look at mothers as diverse as their children— celebrity moms, homemakers, and single mothers– each is famous in the eyes of their children and the others they touch around them.

Abraham Lincoln once said of his mother Nancy, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Credited by historians as the primary educator of the president’s young years, as well as being responsible for the honest, loving personality he was consistently recognized for throughout his life. She passed away when the younger Lincoln was only 9-years-old, and the young boy helped build her coffin. While Lincoln regularly credited his values and success to his mother, other celebrities have followed suit in the centuries after.

Tom Cruise is famous for bringing his mother to awards ceremonies and other events, either as a guest or as his date. Their close relationship is evident to the media, and they share a winning smile. Supportive moms are historical, like Albert Einstein’s mother whom patiently homeschooled him for years to help him through academic hindrances like dyslexia. She likely did this out of love for her child, not once thinking he would be heralded as a famous genius in adulthood.

Then, of course there are moms who are themselves popular in the public eye; juggling both career and motherhood…and winning at it thanks to the awesome legacy their own mother left behind. Actress Felicity Huffman is quoted as saying, “My mom gave me the gift of fun and pleasure — she showed me how to enjoy every moment. Another great gift: She was honest about how tough motherhood can be. I can always call her and say, ‘It’s so hard!’ and not feel bad about it.”

And, as mothers all around the world can attest to, parenting IS hard. Perhaps one of the most difficult things a woman will ever do in her life – which is exactly why every mom deserves red carpet fanfare. Of course, few actually ever receive such accolades.

In a way though, everyday moms are the true heroes. The ones who balances all that society expects of her – clean, respectable, smart and talented children; a perfectly coifed house; fashionable clothing and hair; a continually attractive body; a great cook; a wonderful wife; a valuable asset to a company. While some of these expectations may seem outdated or unfair, almost any woman with children can attest to feeling each of these pressures at least once in their motherhood career – likely much more than that.

You may not be raising a movie star or future Nobel Prize winner, but what you do every day matters, from finding the missing soccer cleat to tucking your youngsters in at night (and walking back to bed, re-tucking in, getting that glass of water, tucking in again….). You are leaving your own legacy behind for future generations – your star power parenting of today will affect the way your children raise their children and beyond. You set the tone for decades of happy, confident children. And that, in reality, is what deserves the biggest prize.

We at Activity Hero salute moms all over the nation as we gear up for Mother’s Day this Sunday. Though we are a young company, we strive to make this appreciation apparent in everything we do, be it our great customer service and activity listings to just taking the time to recognize these every day heroes.

Activity Hero will be contributing to a local bay area charity that serves low-income mothers struggling to make their children’s dreams come true each and every day. We dedicate this donation in honor of all the moms out there – famous or not – who have never given up on taking the time to be a great example of motherhood.

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More About Us

Activity Hero Joins the 500 Mentor Network

So what is a startup for moms by moms up to at 500? Kicking butt, of course!

Like many other startups that hustle to get into 500, we crashed an invite-only New Year’s party. We found an unsuspecting & tired Dave McClure, and excitedly pitched the most useful thing ever in the entire universe for a mom (or something like that).

It is quite easy for us to get excited about what we do. We’re after all a company built out of the frustration that no one else thinks our problems are important enough to be solved. Why $2.1 trillion seems a trivial market for Silicon Valley to pursue, we know not, but that parents need help spending $20 billion on kids after-school activities and summer camps, we know quite well, so we’re determined to help them spend it right. And let’s not forget the vendors, over 50% of whom are paying us because of the order of magnitude better conversions they get from our site compared to similar channels; we are determined to continue to awe them.

And we’re not stopping there. Heck no! We’re not resting until all the problems every fellow mom encounters finding the right local services for her kids are solved. It’s a real problem, our problem, and we’re determined to make the lives of our everyday unsung heroes a little easier. (Yep, we just called ourselves everyday unsung heroes. We have pictures in capes to prove it.)

And this is where the 500 mentor network has been super helpful so far. (No, not the cape part, the solving the problem part) In this short time we’ve been here, the conversations with just a handful of mentors, leveraging their combined experience, has just been a goldmine of information, leap-frogging our growth and stopping us from going on wild goose chases. It’s not just time and money that was saved, but the frustrations and consequent greying of hair! Talking to someone like Dave Schappell about vendor acquisition and retention; Bret Terrill about game mechanics; Evan Nisselson about community building; Jason Hreha about design; James Levine about two-sided marketplaces & Chris Turitzen about awesome ideas for FB fan acquisitions around Hallmark & non-Hallmark Holidays – none of which would’ve been available to us just a month ago when we were on the “outside”. This, we already know, is just the tip of the iceberg. We see everyday the 500 family very active on the internal dashboard talking about everything from advisor stake to immigration attorneys to joint Mother’s day campaigns. The network has amazing people proudly proclaiming #500strong.

We’re very excited to be a part of this family. As a startup built by moms, our favorite self-made quote is “it takes an entire village to build a company”. We’ve always known that it’s the people who are going to make the difference, and we are always looking for the right people who can help make the dream of every busy frustrated mom a reality. You can help too: if you have big brains, we can use your help; if you have a loud mouth, we can use your help; if you have big pockets, we could use your help too. Come join our family and let’s kick some butt!

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Events

Cinco De Mayo for Kids: Celebrations Around the Bay Area

There’s plenty Cinco de Mayo for kids in the Bay Area this week. And with sunshine continuing through the weekend, a lot more fun is sure to be had!

Check out the events below if you’re looking for something to do with your kiddos as spring fever continues to go strong.

Cinco de Mayo Street Party – Pleasanton, May 2

Peruse the various community booths and enjoy food, music and fun.

Friday Night Music Jiggle Jam – Carmel Blue, San Francisco, May 4

Preschoolers and toddlers learn to make music and engage in interactive circle time with their parents and other little ones.

Camp Open House – Roughing It Day Camp, Lafayette Reservoir, May 5

Come test drive some camp activities and enjoy an open house complete with site tours and snacks.

May Fete Parade and Fair – Palo Alto, May 5

It’s the 90th anniversary of this annual parade with plenty of fun fair games and vintage vehicles for dad.

Bay Area Children’s Theatre – The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs – Berkeley, through May 6

Kids will love this interactive theatrical production where THEY get to decide if the wolf really is guilty.

Spartans Sports Camp Basketball Clinic – Mountain View, May 6

Join up with other aspiring NBA stars at this completely free clinic on Sunday, May 6.

Kids Game and Puzzle Night – Jigsaw Java, Redwood City, May 5

Enjoy a night away from the kids as they enjoy pizza, popcorn, hot chocolate and game/puzzle time. Ages 5-12 only.

Sunnyside Springfest – San Francisco, May 6

Come support this local elementary school as you enjoy live bands, dance performances, games and a raffle & art show.

Finally, with summer just around the corner, there are plenty of parades and festivals happening all around the bay.

Vintage Vehicles and Family Festival – Palo Alto, May 5

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta – San Francisco, May 5

Fit & Fun Fair – Sunnyvale, May 5

Cinco de Mayo Festival – Sausalito, May 6

Art and Fort Mason – San Francisco, May 6

Norway Day Festival – San Francisco, May 5 & 6

Categories
Parenting Resources

Summer Camp Planning

Does it feel like you spend a LOT of time and money planning and sending kids to summer camps? Well, you do. Here is something we put together from the data we have on San Francisco parents and summer camps.
San Francisco summer camp: 2012 factsSan Francisco Summer Camp

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And, here’s some shameless horn-tooting: use our search & summer planning calendar tools to save time, and, check out our discounts page and our free week of camp to save some money! You can even subscribe to our newsletter on the sidebar (look to your right) and get these discounts delivered to your inbox once every 2 weeks!

And, it doesn’t stop there, we give you two sham-wows!!! ok, we don’t. But we do help you find after-school activities during the school year too.

We would love to hear how we can make this even easier. Please tell us!