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Bay Area Summer Camp Guide for Kids and Teens

This summer camp guide will help you find camps that fit your kids interests and provide some tips on how to make it easier to plan your summer with the greatest ease. 

Adventure Camps | Best Bay Area Summer Camps at Activity Hero

Bay Area kids benefit from a large variety of summer camps — sports, art, coding, outdoor and specialty camps! Many parents describe the camp planning process as a jigsaw puzzle as they try to fit together multiple kids, friends, and camp schedules. 

At ActivityHero, our mission is to make finding and booking summer camps easier for parents. We’ve put together this summer camp guide to provide an overview of all the top camp categories.

Sports Camps

Sports camps are popular with kids of all ages. Summer is a great time for kids to further explore a sport that they love or try something new. Besides keeping kids active, sports camps help kids learn teamwork and perseverance. Sports camps also tend to be less expensive than other camps. 

Boys and girls love soccer camps, and even in the summer, it’s not too hot in the Bay Area to be on the soccer field. The youngest campers have fun playing games and running off all that extra summer energy. Experienced players benefit from extra instruction during the off season.

Family favorites:
Coach Ken Soccer Camps: “Great staff and great experience for my son and daughter! This was our first year and my daughter who is 6 was interested in playing sports like her 8 year old brother. They both had a great time, learned a lot, and it was a great learning environment for the kids. Can’t wait to go back!”

Basketball camps are great for coordination, exercise and team-building. Campers learn the fundamentals of basketball through games and fun drills. Coaches group children by age and skill level, making it a suitable choice for beginner or advanced basketball players.

Family favorites:
Legarza Sports “My son loved his week at Basketball camp. Good instructors who care about the kids. Drop off and pick up were very easy. He’s excited to return next year.

Dance camps are a great way for artistic children to explore their creativity through a variety of different dance disciplines such as modern, jazz, ballet, hip hop, salsa or even aerial dance.

Family favorites:
Grrrl Brigade “A terrific empowering experience that exposes and teaches your child a wide range of dances, music, positive approaches to thinking and expressing themselves. The “show” at the end of the week is very inspiring and the staff is thoughtful, patient and kind in leading the girls through an impressive array of choreography.”

Multi-sport camps are a good way to give kids a variety of several different sports and outdoor games. Bald Eagle Sports Camp proudly says their multi-sport camp is “known for getting even the laziest kids up and moving…and loving it!” 

Family favorites:
Growfit “The staff at GrowFit are simply amazing. I sent both my kids here during the school break and they had an awesome time. The staff went above and beyond when my son was being called names. I really can’t say enough good things about them.”

Coding, Science, and Robotics Camps

Parents know how kids can consume technology for hours at a time on video games, YouTube videos, and social media. So it’s not a surprise that many parents are interested in directing this interest into creating video games, making movies, or coding the next social media app like TikTok. 

Summer is a great time to explore coding for kids because most schools don’t offer coding during the school year. Many coding camps use video camps as the subject matter for teaching kids how to use Scratch or Python to create their own game or learn Minecraft or Roblox mods. Teens may choose Java programming camps to prepare for high school computer science courses or App development camps to explore new app ideas. 

Science camps and STEM camps are popular for girls and boys who are naturally inquisitive. Camps that focus on science, technology, engineering and math challenges are engaging for curious children who like to explore the how and why. For middle and high school students, STEM camps can showcase a wide variety of potential career opportunities.

Family favorites:
Camp Galileo
Camp EDMO
Destination Science introduces new kid-oriented themes each year, like animals, space, or amusement parks. 

Robot summer camps are like coding camps with an extra element of competition. TV shows like BattleBots have introduced more families to the thrill of designing and battling robots. Many introductory robotics summer camps use LEGO Mindstorms, which is also used by the First Lego League in nationwide competitions for kids. 

Family favorites:
Wizbots
TechKnowHow 

Art, LEGO, and Maker Camps

Creative kids can grow their skills and express themselves in any number of art camps and maker camps. From learning to draw to learning to build, art and other maker camps can bring out the creator in every kid.

At a LEGO camp, kids build LEGO animals, spacecraft, and other creations. 

Family favorites:
KidzToPros
Brainvyne LEGO Camps 

For budding master chefs, a cooking camp like Sprouts Cooking Club or Culinary Dude offers hands-on cooking experience and a daily menu. On-demand activities include recipes and video walkthroughs for meals and desserts.

Kids and teens who want to learn to sew will find some creative sewing camps such as Camp Couture in San Mateo, owned by Project Runway finalist Alexandria von Brommson. Sewing camps like this let kids design their own fashions, accessories, and even soft toys. 

Woodworking camp is very popular, even in the high-tech age, but harder to find due to the specialized equipment and instructors. Maker Nexus in Sunnyvale has sewing camps as well as woodworking and industrial arts for kids and adults. You’ll also find woodworking at Tinkering School in San Francisco and Young Builders in Palo Alto. 

Outdoor and Nature Camps

For both boys and girls, outdoor camps are a top interest with kids ages 5-13. This is great news for parents who want their kids to spend less time with screens and more time connecting with nature and playing outside.

The Bay Area is the perfect place for kids to enjoy both water sports and mountain adventures. Kids can take a hike along creeks or try rock climbing, mountain biking, or canoeing. 

Family favorites:
Camp Galileo
Avid4 Adventure

Also popular in the Bay Area

Academic camps are a top interest for kids ages 7-10 who would like to explore a subject beyond the typical classroom curriculum in an exciting and engaging way.

Family favorites:
“My daughter loves math circle. She tells me that she’s not doing math like at school, rather she says she’s doing puzzles and games and that it’s really fun. I love that she’s having fun learning and that math circle helps her develop a positive attitude about math.”

Girls-only camps are a chance for girls to connect with other girls and get a unique perspective on topics such as leadership, teamwork and goal setting. A single gender camp can boost confidence and help girls find their voice while making friends.

Summer Planning Made Easy

Are you juggling a summer camp schedule with multiple children? Or, are you trying to coordinate camps and carpool with friends? ActivityHero has launched a new tool to make inviting friends and teammates even easier. You can now add your favorite summer camps to a saved list, invite friends and share as a group. Parents are able to RSVP that they are interested, registered or unavailable for that camp all in one convenient location. Save time and plan the ultimate summer experience with your child’s classmates, teammates, neighbors and more!

How many camps should my child attend?

It really depends on your child. Some kids can be single-minded and want to enjoy one camp for the summer and focus on their favorite activity, other kids want to take several classes in different areas throughout the season.

You can find these Bay Area summer camps and many more camps near you on ActivityHero or download our iPhone app for faster and easier searching!

Categories
Camps Cooking Creative Arts Super Activities for Super Kids

Chicken Curry Recipe Your Kids Can Help Make — from A Little Yumminess

girls cooking little yumminess
Kids cooking at A Little Yumminess summer camp

Here’s a new recipe from Stacie Dong and Simran Singh of A Little Yumminess that will get you cooking with kids and getting them trying new flavors.

Chicken curry may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think “kid food”, but this simple chicken curry will convert even the pickiest of eaters. Plus, the younger you start introducing kids to spices and unfamiliar foods, the easier it is to integrate new flavors, textures and tastes into your family eating repertoire.

If you’re not a curry maker, this is a great “curry starter” as it requires minimal spices, preparation, and cooking skill. It’s also a great recipe for kids to make. You can serve it with rice or store-bought naan bread. Add a dollop of yogurt to further “cool” the dish.

See camps & classes from A Little Yumminess

Chicken Curry Recipe

(Serves 4)

  • 1 pound chicken thighs or breast cut into 1-inch cubes (save time by asking the butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 inch piece ginger, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup Greek or other plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (see recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch of chili flakes or powder (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (you can also use ghee or a combination of oil and ghee)
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • ½ cup water or chicken stock
  1. Marinate chicken in yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, coriander powder, salt and chilli (if using). Marinate for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, or until onion is golden and softened.
  3. Add the chicken with the marinade along with the water or chicken stock. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 20-25 minutes till the sauce is thickened and the chicken is fork tender.

Simple Garam Masala Recipe

Many grocery stores these days carry spice blends, including garam masala. Pop into a local Indian market if you have one nearby as the spices are usually fresh and inexpensive.

If not, it’s easy to make your own garam masala for this and other Indian recipes by blending spices you may already have in your pantry. Whenever possible, grinding whole spices will yield the most flavorful, vibrant results. With fresh, fragrant garam masala on hand you can experiment by using it to season roast chicken, vegetables or even popcorn! Spice mixes also make wonderful teacher gifts, so consider making extra!

(Serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

See all kids’ cooking camps & classes

You can also follow @alittleyum on Instagram for more fast and furious recipes!

Categories
Camps Cooking Creative Arts Super Activities for Super Kids

Recipe Spotlight: Bliss Belly Kitchen

Neelam Patil’s Bliss Belly Kitchen takes a whole new approach to culinary skills. They not only offer eco-conscious and soul conscious cooking classes using farm fresh ingredients, but they also take the time out to use yoga and mindfulness to give children the best possible connection to themselves and to the land — the source of where their food comes from. At Bliss Belly Kitchen, a happy mind starts with a healthy belly.

bliss belly cooking camp
Culinary campers enjoying the summer @ Bliss Belly Kitchen

Here, Chef Neelam shares a simple, fresh salad to add to your warm summer days that is perfect for outdoor parties or indoor family dinners.

See camps & classes from Bliss Belly Kitchen >>

Yummy Strawberry Kale Salad

bliss belly kale salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup French Lentils
  • 1 bunch of Curly Green Leaf Kale
  • 1 cup Strawberries (or one Apple if fall, winter, or spring)
  • 2 Carrots
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Organic Coconut Sugar
  • Salt, Black Pepper, & Oregano to taste

Recipe:

  1. Soak Lentils in water overnight
  2. Drain water from Lentils
  3. Boil Lentils in water; add Black Pepper and Oregano to taste
  4. Tear Kale into bite size pieces
  5. Shred Carrots with a grater
  6. Cut Strawberries into bite size pieces
  7. Pour Olive Oil and Lemon Juice onto the Kale
  8. Massage Kale until it is as soft as lettuce
  9. Add Cocount Sugar, Lentils, Strawberries, and Carrots to Kale
  10. Mix all ingredients together and serve.

See camps & classes from Bliss Belly Kitchen >>

See all kids’ cooking camps & classes >>

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Camps Cooking Creative Arts Super Activities for Super Kids

Recipe Spotlight: The Culinary Dude

Fun with food @ Culinary Dude Summer Camp
Fun with food @ Culinary Dude Summer Camp

The Culinary Dude‘s goal is simple and meaningful: Empower students with the culinary skills to become self-sufficient, and to make healthy choices for themselves, their families, and their future. Here, owner and chef, Scott Davis, shares with us a fresh and simple recipe to try along with your kids – the perfect summer salad for the pool or on the beach!

See camps & classes from The Culinary Dude

Black Bean & Corn Salad

(Makes 8-12 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 2 carrots, small diced
  • 3 ribs celery, small diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, fine minced
  • 4 green onion, small chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

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Camps Fashion Design Lego

Unique Summer Camp Ideas for Kids

It is that time of year again; the time for kids to explore, learn and grow without the structure and conformity of school. Summer is the perfect opportunity to really delve into what your child enjoys and foster that passion using uniquely designed programs. When people hear the word camp, most think of a tent, a fire and bugs, but camp can be so much more. Check out these unique summer camps:

Flying Camps

unique camp ideas for kids

Whether your kid are 5 and want to be a bird when they grow up or 15 and pursuing aviation as a college option, Hiller Aviation Camp encourages this passion through hands on activities and models, aircraft demonstration, behind the scenes museum gallery, and aviation themed games. Flying camps teach science and life skills in a fun way that allow children to enjoy their experiences, while also continuing their education.

Spy Camp

spy-camp

Sometimes you can just tell from a young age that your child is going to be a spy detective for the CIA. As unrealistic as that may sound, you really just never know. If your child enjoys spies, spy movies, or spying on his/her older siblings (or younger), develop that passion by giving him or her a summer filled with mystery, thrill and suspense. Spy Camps keep your child active with secret missions to accomplish each day. Whether you think your child will be a spy for the CIA or a detective for the police force, it is never too soon for you to encourage that pursuit.

Adventure Camp

adventure-camp

According to the dictionary, a person with a compulsive desire for excitement and adventure is an adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline, however is not necessarily a bad thing. It prepares the body for stressful or physically demanding situations. You never know when you will need your adrenaline to kick and save your life or the life of another. Adventure camps develop a child’s sense of adventure through hiking, exploring and playing. Teaching positive ways of releasing energy helps children later in life know how to cope with the constant stresses of day-to-day life.

Fashion Camps

Your little fashionista probably isn’t going to be into the whole muddy, dirty experience of sleeping on the ground and exploring the wilderness that is offered at an average camp. However, the idea may be a little more appealing to him/her if there was some kind of fashion involved. Fashion may seem like a passion your child will grow out of, but it is important to develop this passion in a way that gives them life skills. It isn’t just putting on pretty clothes; it’s a lot of hard work. At fashion and sewing camps, your child will learn how to come up with an idea, sketch it out, and then create it with master cutting and sewing skills. Inspire their creativity and sense of style at fashion camps across the world.

Lego Camp

lego-camp

Legos may seem like just a toy, but they are in fact great teaching tools and used by some of the most well known professions. Engineering, construction, and developing all start with one simple design, and this design can be created using “toys” such as a Legos. They also help with spatial skills and math concepts that children may not realize they’re even learning. Lego robotics, spatial skills, engineering, and so much more are at the heart of a kid who plays with legos. So, if you have a Lego obsessed child, get them into a LEGO camp to support their passion and desire to learn.

Unique camps are a tremendous way to foster a child’s creativity and enhance their learning experience. It may not always be possible to send your child to a week long camp at $80 a day or more, so read part 2 for ways to transform an ordinary camp ground into a fashionista dream land or spy camp never spied before.

Look for summer camps near you…your kids will thank you for an unforgettable summer!

Categories
Camps Cooking Creative Arts Super Activities for Super Kids

Recipe Spotlight: A Little Yumminess

From ‘MasterChef Junior’ to ‘Chopped Teens’, more kids than ever are learning to navigate their way around the kitchen. Cooking with kids not only teaches them a valuable life skill, but encourages them to use math and critical thinking skills, gets them trying new foods, and provides plenty of opportunities to talk about making healthy food choices.

A Little Yumminess cooking with kids
Kids enjoying summer camp @ A Little Yumminess

Here’s a recipe from Stacie Dong and Simran Singh of A Little Yumminess that will get you cooking with kids and getting them to try a few new flavors.

By varying the basic theme of “rice with toppings,” you can take your family on a world tour: from New Orleans-style red beans and rice to Japanese donburi, Puerto Rican arroz con gandules (pigeon peas), Hawaiian loco moco, to Korean bibimbap.

Korean bibimbap, which means ‘mixed rice’, is one of our favorite global rice bowl variations. It’s a feast for the eyes, as well as the taste buds. Traditionally, it combines a variety of fresh and cooked seasoned vegetables, as well as small portions of marinated meat, egg, or tofu (sometimes all three). You can keep things simple by choosing just a few toppings, or go all out with six or seven. In any case, it’s always fun to use bibimbap as an opportunity to try out a new ingredient or flavor alongside more familiar ones.

Another reason we love bibimbap is because it’s a great example of the vivid flavor and color combinations you’ll find throughout Korean cuisine. In fact, a guiding principle of Korean cooking is to bring together five colors (red, yellow, white, green and black) and five flavors (sweet, spicy, salty, sour and bitter). Kids will love the chance to go on a culinary scavenger hunt, looking for these colors and flavors in their own unique bowls.

See camps & classes from A Little Yumminess

Bibimbap Basics

  • Hot, cooked, short grain rice (or rice of your choice)

Suggested toppings:

  • Bulgogi (Marinated beef – see recipe below. This can be pan-fried as well, if you do not want to use the oven)
  • Cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • Red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • Mung bean sprouts, blanched in boiling water for several minutes until they begin to wilt, then seasoned with salt and a few drops of sesame oil
  • Sautéed spinach, dressed with soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil and sesame seeds
  • Sliced mushrooms, sautéed with soy sauce and a pinch of sugar
  • Zucchini, grated and squeezed to remove excess liquid, then quickly stir-fried and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Nori (sheets of seaweed used for sushi), cut into thin strips
  • Seasonal vegetables, stir-fried with minced garlic and red pepper flakes
  • Fried egg (We like to make the yolk runny and then mix it in with the rice and other toppings)
  • Extra firm tofu, dried well, then pan-fried until golden, cut into cubes and drizzled with soy sauce
  • Gochujang (Korean chili paste), mixed with soy sauce.

Bulgogi Recipe

(Serves 2 adults and 2 kids as part of a bibimbap bowl)

  • ½ pound beef (rib eye or top sirloin)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup grated Asian pear (or substitute pear puree)
  • 1 chopped scallion (white and light green parts only)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients except for beef, stirring well to dissolve sugar.
  2. Slice the beef thinly, against the grain, then toss with marinate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with vegetable oil. Drain excess marinade from beef and lay slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Broil for 5 minutes or until cooked through.

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Camps Cooking Parenting Resources

Spring Cooking with Kids






focus shot of kids in cooking class

Looking to put some “spring” into your home cooking routine? We asked the head chef at a kids’ cooking school to share handy tips and a delicious recipe.

By Wendy Chou

Cooking for kids can feel like a thankless task. When kids reject new foods and haven’t got a clue how much effort went into prepping a meal, it’s easy to get frustrated. Now consider cooking with kids. Having your kid help in the kitchen can break down some of their prejudices and teach them to appreciate where real food comes from. ActivityHero talked with Chef Cindy Roberts of the popular Bay Area-based “La Toque De Cindy” cooking school to hear how an expert helps kids learn to cook. 

Cooking is Fun… and Practical

Each of Roberts’ weekly summer camps showcases a different type of cooking: chocolate, world cuisine, and handmade pizzas and pastas are just some of the tempting offerings this year. She likes to emphasize the joy and creativity inherent in cooking. Cindy Roberts started cooking at the age of 3 and believes cooking can inspire as well as educate. “I focus on the “fun” aspect of cooking,” Roberts points out, “but it’s my sneaky way to teach them the health, cost and taste benefits of home cooking.” 

Getting Kids to Try New Things

Roberts knows one way parents can broaden the palette of picky eaters: give them a say. “Have them taste test something… and suggest improvements,” advises Roberts. In her cooking classes, asking the kids to experiment directly with ingredients “gets even the most finicky eaters trying out what we made and giving it a second chance.” In other words, the more they know about how a dish is put together, the more they can keep an open mind, even about foods they weren’t keen on at the outset.

> > Find cooking camps and classes near me   

Amazed by Their Own Potential

When asked what the kids in her classes find most surprising about cooking, Roberts says that young chefs are completely “surprised at how easy it is to make some of the products they buy packaged at the grocery store,” including basics like chicken stock and mayonnaise. The homemade versions wind up being fresher and better-tasting. Empowerment and self-confidence: these two ingredients are welcome on any family menu.

Try It at Home

Here’s a savory spring-inspired recipe for you to try at home with your kids. The kid chefs at La Toque loved it (and ate their vegetables)!  

Photo by Flickr user Lollyknit

Leek and Olive Tart

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Serves 6-8
  • Adapted by Cindy Roberts from Field of Greens cookbook

Ingredients

TART DOUGH 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 ½ – 3 tablespoons cold water

FILLING

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium sized leeks, white part only, cut in half then thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 small whole olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 or 4 eggs (use fewer if using jumbo eggs)
  • 1 ½ cup half and half
  • ½ teaspoon minced lemon zest (optional)
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, about 2/3 cup

Instructions

  1. MAKE THE SHELL: Mix flour, salt, butter and shortening until mixture has the appearance of small peas.
  2. Add water a little at a time until dough holds together.  Press into greased quiche pan (or pie pan).
  3. MAKE THE FILLING: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Saute the leeks for a few minutes until starting to wilt with ½ teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper.  Add the garlic, cover and sweat for about 7 minutes. Remove the lid and sauté 2 minutes more.
  4. Mix leeks in a bowl with olives, thyme and parsley.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Beat the eggs with the half and half.  Add ½ teaspoon salt, a pinch of pepper and optional lemon zest.
  7. Spread the cheese over the bottom of the tart dough, followed by the leek mixture.  Pour the cream mixture over. Bake for 40 minutes until set.

Chef Cindy’s Tip:

The amount of participation is easy to modify depending on age. “Kids as young as 4 could assemble. At age 8, kids could make the crust themselves. By age 10 they could make it all on their own!”  

Ready to explore more cooking? Find cooking camps and classes near you by visiting ActivityHero.com.  

 

Categories
Business Crafts Leadership Super Activities for Super Kids Tutoring Uncategorized

6 Business Ideas for Enterprising Kids

Encouraging kids to think like entrepreneurs teaches them long-lasting lessons about the value of hard work, careful planning, and creativity.

By Melanie Hargrave

child businessman

We all remember sitting at the end of our driveways at a table, a pitcher of lemonade waiting expectantly, with a big cardboard sign announcing our 25-cent cups of refreshment. Most likely, that lemonade stand came out once or twice a year over summer break as a fun way for mom to get you out of the house and for you to make some money for candy.

But what if you wanted to make money more permanently?

Teaching kids the value of money is an important life lesson that too many parents delay. While children are often given an allowance of some kind, most kids and even young adults grow up with very little concept of business skills.

Rather than waiting until your kids are out of the house to teach them about getting a job, you can encourage them to handle money responsibly, work hard, and develop their creativity by starting their own business now. It’s an important life lesson: hard work and dedication pays off!

And although the lemonade stand is a classic fall back, here are 6 other business ideas your kid might like to try his or her hand at.

Find business camps & classes near you

1. Dog Walking

Starting a dog-walking business can be a very lucrative endeavor—even for adults! Since many families are out of the house all day at work or school, their pets are often left home all day in need of exercise and relief.

Help your child organize a service by contacting neighbors and friends. With Facebook and other social media outlets, it is even easier to find people who may need a dog walker. You can even set up a blog or website for local families to find the business and contact you (or your child) about hiring him/her.

child walking a dog

2. Selling Crafts

Does your child have a talent or passion for crafting? Show them that this talent can be more than just a hobby by selling his or her crafts. Show them how to set up an account on an e-commerce site like Etsy or help them contact local businesses and boutiques that might be interested in selling them at their shop. From homemade slime to beaded jewelry, there is a market for just about anything.

3. Doing Yard Work

Doing yard work doesn’t have to be a chore. Many homeowners are more than willing to hire a young entrepreneur to mow their lawns, pull weeds, and do other similar tasks. They can enjoy paying a lower price for good work and your child will get a pretty penny for their efforts. If you take time to send out seasonal flyers and business cards, your kid can develop a small side business into quite a lucrative empire.

l doing yard work

4. Babysitting

Babysitting is another classic go-to, but is no less viable an option. Depending on the age of your kid, they can work as mother’s helpers or independent nannies. Help them set prices and rates for services and sweeten the deal with CPR certification. If they set competitive rates, your son or daughter may have parents banging down your door for their services. Experienced babysitters can organize a half-day or full-day summer camp for neighborhood kids by combining activities such as arts & crafts, sports or baking.

5. Tutoring Younger Students

Professional tutors can cost parents an arm and a leg. However, if your child is particularly gifted at a subject like math or writing, he or she could easily start a tutoring business for younger students. Their rates will obviously be dramatically lower than professional prices (which can be as high as $60/hr.—yikes!) but still a great income for a kid.

teen tutoring a younger child

6. Blogging

Writing on a blog is a great outlet for kids to make some money. If they need some inspiration, help them find a topic they enjoy and show them how to set up a blog and optimize their posts. Once they have some regular content up, they can monetize their blog through Google and other online ad services fairly simply. This is probably a good business venture for middle school or high school kids, but any age can have fun with this side project.

Find business camps & classes near you

Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves writing about a variety of topics from business to home improvement, and finds inspiration from success stories like that of Rick Schaden.

Categories
Creative Arts Vacations

12 Apps, Shows, and Books to Inspire Creativity Over School Breaks






Do your kids have extra time over school holidays? Get inspired and find new ideas for hands-on, creative projects from these apps and shows.

By the Kids’ Media Experts at SmartFeed

What do the following items all have in common? Trampoline, Popsicle, Ear Muffs, Calculator

They were all invented by kids! Creativity, curiosity and a unique perspective are keys to coming up with a new idea. The inventor of the trampoline was at a circus in the 1930’s and saw the trapeze artists falling into a large net. He was a gymnast, and realized that the net could help with his training, so he worked with his coach and together they invented what is now known as the trampoline.

Here are a few ideas to help inspire your budding inventors, engineers, and artists during the upcoming school breaks and Columbus Day holiday. While we don’t expect every kid to become an inventor or artist, we can promise that they will be inspired and entertained. To get you started, below are 12 hand-picked apps, shows, and books that will engage your little creator.

Apps to get Kid’s Creativity Flowing

Wizard School

Ages 7+

This creative tool is chock full of fun interactive challenges. Start with an informational video or two, then move straight into an art project, learning amazing animal facts, or venture outside to take a photo of the sky for your Weather project. With topics as varied as Design, Animals, Imagination and Space, everyone will find an interesting project to keep them busy!

MOMA Art Lab

Ages 7+

This well-rounded app guides the user first to viewing art from MOMA’s expansive collection, then to simple tools to create their very own masterpiece. Group projects are possible as well as adapting some of the app activities to hand-on art projects.

Drawing Pad

Ages 4+

Creativity is number one in this art app. If you can imagine it, you can create it with every digital tool you need. Draw, paint, create!

Wreck This App

Ages 8+

Making a mess and using your creativity in new ways is the focus of this app, based on the book Wreck This Journal. Scribble, draw outside the lines, whatever you like.

How to Make Origami

Ages 9+

It seems as simple as making a paper airplane, but the 80+ origami patterns in this app use reasoning skills, spatial thinking and fine motor skills, all while creating something beautiful with your own hands.

Big Nate: Comics by U!

Ages 8+
Imagine yourself creating your own comic strip…this app helps make that a reality. There are multiple settings, so you can decide how much you want to do on your on. Especially fun for fans of the Big Nate series of books.

 

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TV, Videos, and Movies that showcase creativity

Goldieblox – Hack Along with Goldie Blox and Scrappy Robots with Simone Giertz

Ages 7+  Fans of Goldieblox will love their latest venture, two new weekly STEM-based shows on their YouTube channel—“Hack Along with Goldie Blox” and “Scrappy Robots with Simone Giertz.” Both shows feature DIY engineering projects that combine crafting and invention.

Underwater Dreams

Ages 10+

Future engineers or robotics fans will love this underdog story of a group of high schoolers from LA taking on a powerhouse college team from MIT in a robotics competition. Great teamwork and perseverance are on full display here.

Dream Big: Engineering Our World

Ages 7+

What drives creative people? This movie seeks to explore those reasons along with strong examples of innovation, creativity and how engineering can change lives.

 

All-American Makers

Ages 10+

This STEM-based reality show follows the path that inventions take. Seeing the progression from from idea to product is a great lesson for want-to-be inventors.

 

Annedroids

Ages 5+

Centered around a girl-genius scientist, her androids and school friends, this excellent tv series pairs STEM education with real-life examples of scientific exploration and discovery along with a healthy dose of friendship and creativity.

 

Book that Encourages Creativity

ScrapKins: Junk Re-Thunk

Ages 7+

Using recyclable material around the house, the Scrapkin characters make a variety of fun projects that readers can copy, and expand upon. This book not only sparks creativity, but also encourages responsible recycling.

 

For a deeper dive, see these playlists at SmartFeed (SmartFeed Makes Finding Good Media Easy) – Art Apps for Elementary School Kids and Apps and Shows for Young Makers & Engineers.

 Want to get more inspiration from a camp or class? Find activities near you on ActivityHero

Categories
Cooking

Get Cooking With Kids: Great Recipes for Every Age






Cooking teaches life skills and healthy eating to toddlers, grade-schoolers, tweens, and teens. Here, 5+ simple recipes that are fun to make and eat.

By Karen Walsh

child stirring a red bowl

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Cooking with children is one of the greatest joys and frustrations of parenting. While it can create a love of healthy food — as well as self-sufficiency as they get older — finding recipes can be challenging. For the Littles, the challenge is in finding recipes to match their skills. For elementary-school kids, the challenge is in finding foods that they’re willing to eat. For teens, it’s in finding recipes that are more interesting than Snapchat.

It’s worth the effort, though: Cooking with kids has a range of benefits. From making math fun to sharing fundamental life skills to spending quality time together, preparing food can be a tool, as well as an experience. If you’re trying to instill healthy eating habits in your child, you want to have them learn the value of ingredients from the time they can walk. And some of the best childhood memories include standing with Mom while holiday dinner cooks on the stove, of sneaking a taste before the meal was done. With all of this in mind, we’ve put together a roundup of recipes for kids of all ages to make cooking fun for the whole family.

The Littles: Cooking with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Getting toddler-aged children into the kitchen can seem overwhelming. They jump around and have no patience. Their ability to pay attention seems like that of a goldfish — Ooh! Shiny! However, parents need to teach Littles the value of healthy, homemade food from a young age to build good habits. While it may require some effort ahead of time to prepare and pre-measure, the long-term results of raising children who love to cook makes it worthwhile. Here are two perfect choices for getting your Littles engaged in food prep.

1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

Most kids love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. One way to add more nutrients (while still keeping the grumpy eater happy) is to turn it into a smoothie. Kids love smoothies because they think they’re “getting away with something” by drinking a meal. The addition of yogurt and strawberries adds vitamins, protein, and calcium — and the subtraction of bread means it’s a great gluten-free option for kids with an allergy. Since any Little can push a button, it’s the perfect recipe to whip up together!

2. Guacamole

One of the first foods a lot of people feed their kids is avocado because it’s soft and nutritious. What parents may not think about? If their children like avocado, guacamole is a really great way to teach Littles how to cook. Once the grown-up measures out the ingredients and slices the avocado, all that’s left is to dump and stir — skills that are perfect for the Littles. Best of all, there’s no hot oven or stove. (And the result is something green and gooey!) If you want to start cooking with your kids early in their life, guacamole is a delicious, healthy way to engage their interest.

The Middles: Cooking with Grade-Schoolers and Tweens

Anyone with an elementary-school child knows that, as kids get older, they get fussier. At some point, children move from the pre-toddler eating-mangoes-and-avocado stage to the “I will only eat hot dogs and pasta with butter!” tantrum stage. This means that teaching them how to make healthier options is even more important for this age group. For those nights when your Middles have decided that your home-cooking is gross and icky — or those days they don’t like the lunches you pack — it’s important for them to be able to make something other than cereal.

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3. Wheat-Free Rice Flour Muffins

As kids move into these school years, they also start to notice differences more. Kids who need to be wheat-free may feel excluded at snack or lunch. For these kids, learning to bake foods that are fun and tasty can be life-changing. With healthy sugar-substitutes of maple syrup or honey, as well as the option to substitute soy milk, Mollie Katzen has the perfect recipe for wheat-free muffins.

4. Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

Although baking is something all kids like to do because the outcome is so much fun, teaching healthy eating habits means making real meals as well. Almost every child loves pizza. The best part about pizza is that it’s easy to make at home … and it’s a food that all ages can help to make. Taking a family fast-food favorite and making it healthier, like with this Eating Well whole-wheat pizza dough recipe, means that you can give your children a head start on enjoying healthier options. The best part of pizza? If your Middles have younger siblings, the Littles can help, too, doing everything from pouring in pre-measured ingredients to sprinkling (or dumping!) on cheese to choosing their own toppings. Of course, give your Middles a bit of added responsibility: Maybe they can do the measuring?

The Bigs: Cooking with Teens

Teenagers. Someone once said that a parent’s job is to make themselves irrelevant. As teens move through high school towards adulthood and independence, one of the best skills parents can teach is cooking. Being self-sufficient means preparing food from start to finish, which should be less of a challenge if your Bigs have been learning to cook since they were Littles.

5. A SuperBowl Spread

With the SuperBowl right around the corner, your teen might consider planning a get-together to watch the game with friends. As teens begin to socialize on their own, giving them a sense of control over not just their friendships but where and how they socialize can empower them. This means that when you provide them the opportunity to prepare sandwiches, dip, and rollups for their party, you’re helping them grow into their identity. It also gives you time to begin selecting some recipes to make once the nest is empty.

Help Kids Build “Mad” Kitchen Skills

Want some other kitchen activities to try with your kids? The BBC Good Food website lists the skills that kids should be able to master at various ages and offers links to additional recipes that are age appropriate. Or sign up your Littles, Middles or Bigs for a cooking class in your local area!

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Categories
Creative Arts

Art Class Analysis: What to Look for if Your Kid Wants a Career in Art






Art classes are fun for many kids, but if your child is expressing an interest in making a career of his craft, he might benefit from something more structured and serious. How can a parent know which courses are most likely to teach the techniques and philosophies that can help kids build an impressive portfolio? One ActivityHero provider shares tips to help parents find the right fit for their art-minded offspring.

By Haley Burress

career-in-art

You’ve spotted the signs: Those little clues that make you wonder if your child may be destined for a future in the fine arts. Your child’s notebooks may be covered in cartoons or illuminated by illustrations. Perhaps your daughter maxes out your credit card at the local art supply store. Or maybe your son spends endless hours manipulating modeling clay, creating unique characters to star in his stop-motion videos. Or maybe your child has come right out and said he or she wants to go to art school after graduation. Besides praising and supporting your child’s decision, how can you foster creativity and ensure there are plenty of strong pieces in his or her portfolio? Finding an art studio that offers advanced classes, as well as inspiring mentors, can be your saving grace. CD Hullinger, owner at CD’s Kids Art Studio, loves when a family brings in “a brave child who is ready to make a commitment to pursuing creativity, art, and passion.” Here are a few things she says parents should look for when seeking a studio to call “home.”

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Take a Tour of the Space

When it comes to choosing a studio that will guide and inspire your serious artist, first and second impressions matter, so don’t sign up your child until you both pay a visit. Hullinger also encourages parents and prospective students to sit in on classes to see if the location is a good creative fit.

Ask About the Mix of Classes

Make sure that the studio offers space dedicated to your child’s preferred medium, as well as spaces devoted to trying out new things. After all, creatives are often inspired by other media, and your child may want to branch out and try something new for a semester.

Also check to see if technology is available for pursuits such as computer animation, game design and anime, but don’t shrug off good old-fashioned canvas and paint. A well-rounded studio experience will offer a nice mix of both traditional and modern media..

Finally, determine if your studio of choice has a series of classes that are focused on building a portfolio and resume for your child. Portfolios are important whether your child chooses to go to art school or become a working artist upon finishing high school.

Studios and instructors should also offer some classes, or at least mentor sessions, that teach teens how to interview for college programs, how to deal with rejection, and how to get plugged in with local creatives.

Find Out if “Open Studio Time” Is Offered

When visiting the studio, ask if your child will have access to “open studio time” (time when they are permitted to work in the studio during non-class-time). Open studio time provides additional opportunities for students to grow and to create in the company of other artists. It’s also helpful if your child chooses a medium such as pottery or silk screening, for which you don’t have equipment at home.

Count the Number of Instructors

Look for an art studio that features more than one instructor, advises Hullinger — or, even better, one that features more than one instructor in each class. It’s important for young artists to be introduced to a variety of personalities, passions, media, and experiences. Each instructor will have something unique to teach your child. Also, having multiple instructors in each class means more individualized attention and guidance for your child.

Check the Instructors’ Resumes

The instructors at your studio of choice should be passionate artists themselves. Look for a studio that features artists who are well-known, have won awards, or are respected in the art community. It isn’t necessary that instructors tout major credentials or advanced degrees, as many successful artists pursue their craft without attending college.

Finally, confirm that there are instructors who are well-versed in and passionate about the medium that your child wishes to explore. It can be particularly helpful to learn from instructors who have real-world (not just classroom) experience with that medium and have secured paid commissions related to it.

Look for a Personal Connection

Take a close look at the personality of the instructors as well as their interest in your child. Instructors should be educators and mentors for their students, offering up life experiences that the kids can learn from. It is through these instructors that your child can start to develop roots and connections within the local community of artists and creatives. Networking is a crucial component of the artist life, and your child is never too young to start building a foundation of mentors and network connections.

Try Something New Now and Then

Even if you have a favorite studio that is a great fit for your child, consider attending a different location once in a while. In fact, Hullinger recommends exploring courses in an art studio in an entirely new city. She suggests that parents consider heading out of town with their child for a few weeks to seek instruction in a locale that offers a bustling creative community. Some ideas: Head to Chicago for a summer class, or fly to New York City for Fashion Week. Not only is this a great life experience, it also allows your children to cast a wider net for connections, which can come in handy when they are searching for an internship or job.

Looking at art studios for your serious artist can be intimidating, especially if you aren’t exactly the creative type. But as long as you find a studio that is engaging and inspiring — with instructors who have the desire to mentor young students — your child will be in good hands.

Take a Look at Art Schools with Classes Starting Soon!

Start your search right here with ActivityHero to find studios and art classes in your area.

Categories
Cooking Crafts Lego Robotics Science

Maker Activities to Make at Home






Need something entertain your kids when they’re not at school? These 8 easy, at-home maker activities will keep hands busy and minds sharp.

By the Editors of ActivityHero

Maker kid engaged in an activityWhat’s the solution for beating kids’ “brain drain” while on extended school closures? Maker activities! According to the education website Edutopia, “A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her.” (It’s easy to see why the Maker philosophy has become so popular!)

Luckily, ActivityHero has a close relationship with hundreds of summer camp counselors and activity providers who know a thing or two about maker activities and where to find them. Here are a few of our editors’ favorites – and a handful of helpful websites where you can find enough ideas to last all year long.

Make Backyard Bubble Snakes

Here’s a quick and easy project from Come Together Kids. All you need is a few supplies you likely have around the house … and a few kids who love bubbles. Gather up an old washcloth, a plastic water bottle, a large rubber band, and some bubble solution. The instructions to assemble the bubble snake maker are on the Come Together Kids site, along with two recipes for homemade bubbles, which will come in handy on days when you run out of the store-bought stuff.

Think Inside the Box – delivered to your home!

Kiwi Crate - Kites

Here’s a clever solution for those weeks when you can’t make it to the craft store: Sign up for a monthly subscription to Kiwi Crate. This company delivers – directly to your home – everything you need to “tinker, create, and innovate.” Each Kiwi Crate is chock-full of high-quality materials, kid-friendly instructions, a maker project, and a special magazine, all designed for ages 5 to 8. For ages 9 to 16+, the site also offers Doodle Crates (for art enthusiasts) and Tinker Crates (for STEM subject fans). Preschoolers (ages 3 and 4) can enjoy playful fun with a Koala Crate, which includes a parent guide to support “inquiry-based learning,” a magazine, and plenty of creative activities.

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Create an Ivory Soap Explosion

Here’s a squeaky-clean indoor activity from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas. All you need is a bar of Ivory soap and a microwave. Follow the instructions carefully, using just one-third or one-quarter of the bar; if you toss in the whole bar, your soap blob will grow to mammoth proportions. Also allow the “soap cloud” to cool for a bit and test the temperature yourself before letting kids touch it. Then check out the website for some fun things to do with the fluffy soap after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over its expansion. Sudsy snowballs anyone?

Build a Brushbot

You may be familiar with Science Buddies as a resource for winning science-fair project ideas, kits, and guides. It’s also a great place to find summer projects like this brushbot, which was created by a Ph.D., and includes a materials list, complete instructions, and ideas for ways to “explore more” once the project is complete. Take a look at their “Awesome Science for Summer Break!” page for more cool ideas, including how to make a paper speaker, build a mini trebuchet, and generate electricity with a lemon battery. Complete kits for projects like these are also available at the Science Buddies online store.

Cool Off with Ice Cream in a Bag

On Growing a Jeweled Rose, ideas abound for parents searching for ways to help kids play, learn, and grow. Their offerings include plenty of “play recipes,” which is delicious fun for kids who love to spend time in the kitchen. One of our favorites during warm weather is Ice Cream in a Bag! Even very little children can help make this concoction using heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar. (You’ll also need salt and ice cubes, but those don’t go in the creamy mixture.) After the project is put together, it takes 5 to 10 minutes of shaking to create an ice creamy treat, which means your children will use up some of that kid energy. View their 100+ Play Recipes right here.

Create Wind-Powered Lego Contraptions

On Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls, Lego projects abound – in fact, there’s a whole section that includes activities and projects using these colorful bricks. The Lego windmill shown here requires a few special bricks and a couple of minutes to assemble, but your kids can create their own options using whatever Lego bricks they have on hand. (Be sure you supervise them when using a fan.) Click on the site’s LEGOS tab for Lego engineering ideas using pulleys, a Lego matching game, and a Lego Minifigure display.

Other tabs lead you to activities for babies and kids of all ages, family fun, homeschooling, seasonal projects, and even a special section to help you organize toys and clean up after projects … in a fun but frugal way.

Bake Some Movie Night Cupcakes

If you’d prefer to do your “making” in the kitchen, why not have some creative baking kits and mixes delivered to your home? Visit Foodstirs, a website created by Sarah Michelle Gellar and two of her closest friends. We unanimously voted two thumbs up on the Movie Night Cupcake Kit – for a fun twist to your standard movie night snacks. To learn where the delicious idea for Foodstirs originated, read the interview ActivityHero snagged with Sarah Michelle when she wasn’t busy cooking up a storm.

Earn Patches for All Sorts of Projects

If your kids love a little extra incentive, consider joining DIY, an ad-free website designed to be “The School We Wish We Had.” This website provides thousands of activities for kids and is a safe, supportive online learning community with 99.7% kind comments in its posts. Try it free for 14 days!

On this site, kids can explore new skills or increase their proficiency in activities they love. They can take part in a challenge, receive feedback from other kids, and earn patches for their work. Many of them also share photos or videos of their accomplishments (with parental permission and using an avatar), and other kids can turn to them for inspiration. Along the way, staff mentors offer help and encouragement when needed, and parents can access reports to see what DIY activities their kids are trying.

Trending topics include a daily challenge, science, Lego, Minecraft, and stopmotion. To join the community, visit DIY.org or download the app on your iPhone or iPad.

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Categories
Drawing and Painting Gardening Hiking

8 Spring Activities for Preschoolers






Need something new to do with your little ones as the weather warms up? Welcome spring together with these creative and sensory outdoor activities.

By Skyanne Fisher

After a long winter, preschoolers will perk up when you introduce them to new spring activities. Head outside in the sunshine, and celebrate the arrival of spring!

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Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk chalk was a childhood favorite of mine, and it seems to be a timeless pastime, as every child I know loves it. Instead of just grabbing a box of chalk at the local store, create a new family memory by making your own.

To create chalk: Cut a paper towel tube into 3- or 5-inch pieces, and use waxed paper to line the inside and cover one of the ends. (Hold the paper it in place with masking tape.) Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of tempera paint, ¾ cup of plaster of Paris, and ½ cup of water. Pour the mixture inside the tubes and let sit for a few hours, until solidified. Peel off the waxed paper and cardboard tube, and you have your own homemade chalk for hours of decorating your sidewalk.


toddler finger paintingDabble in Finger Paints

I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t love finger painting, and rarely do I meet a child who doesn’t “accidentally” get a little paint in their mouth. Most finger paints are labeled “nontoxic,” but I still like to make my own paint because I know exactly what is in it. Plus, helping you make the paint can be a fun activity for a child.

To make finger paint: Use a ratio of 1 part flour to 2 parts water. For one child and a few colors, I typically start with ½ cup of flour and 1 cup of cold water. Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and heat it on the stove, stirring until it becomes a smooth mixture and the lumps are gone. Then remove the flour mixture from the heat and divide it into bowls, one for each color you’d like to make. Slowly add cold water until the paint is at the desired consistency, and stir in food coloring. Add a pinch of salt, which helps to stop the paint from spoiling, and you can store it in the fridge indefinitely.

Whip Up Some Homemade Bubble Mix

Bubbles are another springtime favorite. While it’s easy to run to the store to grab a bottle of bubbles, making your own is super easy. And witnessing a child’s excitement when they see the bubbles they’ve made themselves is far better than grabbing a bottle at the store. However, I do recommend picking up some bubble wands to get the most fun out of this activity.

To make bubbles: Combine 12 cups of water, 1 cup of dish soap, 1 cup of cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons of baking powder. You can also add 1 tablespoon of glycerin, but the recipe works fine without it. Combine all ingredients, taking care not to create bubbles as you stir. Let sit for 1 hour, then enjoy an afternoon of bubble fun!

OutdoorPlay-300x226Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Take a walk with your child and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Head through your neighborhood to the local park or, if you’re lucky enough to have access, walk along a creek bed. Encourage your child to explore and search for butterflies, salamanders, worms, frogs, birds, and other small animals. Ask them to count how many different types of flowers they see. Seeing nature “waking up” is the perfect introduction to spring.

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Fill Up a Spring-Themed Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are a great thing to have around throughout the year. Essentially they are plastic bins, boxes, or similar containers filled with objects of various sizes, shapes, and textures. They are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who are fascinated simply by the way things feel, and they are a great way to introduce children to new things. Sensory bins are particularly helpful during rainy days when the kids can’t get outside to play.

To create a spring sensory bin: Fill a plastic bin about halfway with dirt, sand, or pebbles. Then add things like flowers from the yard, miniature flower pots, kid-safe indoor gardening tools, plastic bugs or worms, and any other fun additions that you find around the house.

Craft a Few Bird Feeders

Making bird feeders each spring was a favorite tradition of mine and something I love doing with my children. All you need is a toilet paper roll and some peanut butter, birdseed, and string.

To create a bird feeder: First, put the string through the center of the toilet paper roll and leave at least 6 inches of string on either side of the roll before tying the ends together in a knot. This is how you will hang the feeder in a tree. Next, cover the outside of the toilet paper roll with peanut butter and roll it in birdseed. Make sure to cover the entire surface. Head out to your yard, select a tree, and hang it up. It’s fun to choose a tree that’s visible from the house so you and your kids can watch as the birds come to eat.

Mix Up Some Spring Goo

“Goo” is another great sensory activity — especially since this fun substance acts like a liquid and a solid.

To create Spring Goo: Mix 1 part water with 2 parts cornstarch. Stir in flowers, glitter, or anything else you think might be a good addition. Goo can also be turned into a fun science experiment: It’s a solid when cupped in your hands or resting in a bowl, but it behaves like a liquid when you pour it from your hand.

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toddler in the gardenSpend Time in the Garden

Spring is planting season. Why not allow your child the chance to have his or her own kid-size garden? If you already have a garden, dedicate a small corner to your child. If not, choose a sunny spot and create a new garden bed together. Allow your child to choose the seeds, help plant them, and then tend the garden as one of their daily responsibilities. It’s an educational experience that also gives children an opportunity to connect with nature … while getting a little dirty!

Categories
Crafts Holiday Break Camps

5-Minute Fall Crafts for Kids






Holiday dinners and cleanup leave parents tired … but kids still want something to DO! Here are quick, clever crafts to spark playful fun and learning.

By Anne Carey, from Left Brain Craft Brain

Girl having fun making fall crafts

Why Craft with Your Kids?

It’s already busy during the holidays, and it might seem like a chore to prep craft projects for your children. But it’s well worth the few minutes of simple setup. Crafting creates a break in the day that’s fun (for kids) and relaxing (for you). Also, art projects and sensory play help kids recharge their batteries and trigger creative thinking — both of which are especially helpful as the year winds down. Try these fall-and-winter-themed “5-Minute Crafts” to inspire your kids to create … and maybe even learn a little!
doh with leaves and pineconesPumpkin Pie Spice Play Dough
Relive that heavenly smell of baking with this simple, homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Play Dough. Free play with play dough encourages children’s creative problem-solving skills while stimulating their senses. Add some pinecones, acorns, and leaves for a natural “creation station” for the kids. Plus, did you know that washable markers can turn play dough into art?

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Tree sculptures from nuts and boltsTinkering Trees
Inspire the tinkerer in your kiddo with this fun tree-building activity. (It’s also a perfect way to start making the transition from autumn decorations to winter ones!) Nuts and bolts are great supplies for developing fine motor skills, math learning, and design thinking.


pie plate paintingPumpkin Pie Painting
You just might have a few pie pans lying around after Thanksgiving, right? Turn them into a fun art project and pretend-play combo with Pumpkin Pie Painting. Kids will love this unique sensory art especially once they add the “whipped cream” paint.


use red tape to create a glitter forestTape-Resist Glitter Forest
Tape, paint & glitter … These are a few of our favorite things when crafting with the kids. Lay out the supplies for this Tape-Resist Glitter Forest, and let the kids explore the patterns that emerge when the tape is removed. Creating shapes for the trees is an opportunity for spatial learning, which has been shown to aid math-skill development in kids.


feathers and balloons to make whirly turkeysWhirly Twirly Flying Turkeys
Did you know that turkeys can fly? Up to 55 mph even! Kids can learn what makes birds fly with this easy balloon craft. It’s science made silly and fun!

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Keep Your Creative Kid Inspired All Season Long!

These crafts are a great way to feed the creative spirit in your child, while building important skills and offering a little insight into the world of science, too. To keep kids’ creative juices flowing — and find a little extra time for your own holiday preparations — consider enrolling your child in a fun and creative drop-in art class or holiday STEAM-inspired session. Check out ActivityHero for local options near you. Slots fill up fast, so don’t wait too long!

Categories
Cooking

8 Movies, Books, Shows & Apps for Kids Who Love to Cook






Learning to cook can help picky eaters branch out — and teach all kids some key life skills. Whet your kids’ appetite with these books, apps, and shows.

By the Kids’ Media Experts at SmartFeed

what to watch with a child who loves cookingHave a budding chef in your house? Or maybe you’re a foodie who would love to impart your knowledge of unique cuisines to your kids? Letting kids sample some cooking-themed media will provide them with information on kitchen gadgets and techniques that can prep them for one day donning the chef’s hat (or at least the sous chef’s hat) in your kitchen. Below is a list of kids’ cooking TV shows, apps, movies, and books that are wholesome and delicious.

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A Book for Kids Who Love to Cook

bakingkids
Baking with Kids: Make Breads, Muffins, Cookies, Pies, Pizza Dough, and More!
Ages 7+
Step-by-step instructions, photos, and special steps for younger bakers make this cookbook exceptionally kid-friendly.

 

Apps for Kids Who Love to Cook

cookie_doodle
Cookie Doodle
Ages 4+
This popular app combines creativity, fine motor skills, and lots of sugar! Kids mix dough, roll it out, then cut out cookies, and finally, decorate them.

 

drpanda
Dr. Panda Restaurant Asia
Ages 5+
Role playing as chef in their own restaurant is great fun for children using this app. Kids choose their kitchen tools and food. No keeping score; just fun and creativity in the virtual kitchen.

 

Movies for Kids Who Love to Cook

Ratatouille
Ratatouille
Ages 6+
“Friendly rat as high-end French chef” is this Pixar gem in a nutshell. As a bonus, parents and kids alike will enjoy this film.

 

 

 

Pressure_Cooker
Pressure Cooker
Ages 10+
Hard work and a positive attitude are served up in this fascinating documentary about a group of Philadelphia high school students who are challenged all year in a high-end cooking class. The ultimate reward is competing for a culinary scholarship and a chance for a college education.

 

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TV Shows for Kids Who Love to Cook

GoodEats
Good Eats
Ages 8+
Food-meets-science-meets-humor in this kid-friendly series. A different technique or ingredient is showcased each episode, with food facts, history, and general goofiness in equal parts.

 

MasterChef_Junior
MasterChef Junior
Ages 10+
Creative competition is the focus in this series. Talented kid chefs inspire, create, and ultimately impress.

 

NoKitchenRequired
No Kitchen Required
Ages 10+
World-class chefs compete in foreign locales, featuring native ingredients, traditional recipes, and a tough set of critics … the local residents.

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