Categories
After-School Activities Camps School Breaks Uncategorized

The 10 Best Spring Break Camps

Curated by ActivityHero families in your community, here are the most popular go-to online and in-person programs in support of your child’s learning (and your sanity) while school’s out. It’s also just a great opportunity to open their minds to new interests and build skills outside of the traditional classroom walls.

Top 5 In-Person Camps

  1. Horseback Riding 

Learn about horses. From grooming and feeding to bathing and even horse first aid! You’ll find out interesting facts about the history, evolution and anatomy of the horse while picking up some horse lingo, caring for and riding the horse you’ll have throughout the session at Horse Camp.

  1. Outdoor Adventure 

Imagine a camp that gets away from the brick and mortar limits and gives your child a 

world of possibilities. Coyote Kids Adventure Camp encourages outdoor and nature play. With incredibly small ratios and the best caregivers, they treat campers more like family than just standard childcare. 

  1. Wilderness Exploration

Get ready to discover the magical high desert landscape of Sedona and a Secret Mountain Wilderness Adventure! Spend your nights backpacking in stunning red rock canyons, kayak the Verde River, hike to incredible caves, and cool off in spring fed swimming holes. 

  1. All Day Soccer Play

This full-day program is filled with developmental practices, games, competitions and challenges. Challenger Sports’ soccer camp is more advanced and geared toward players looking for a more competitive training environment. 

  1. Aviation Camp

The Hiller Aviation Museum hosts a collection of some 50 different historic aircraft.  

Public and private museum admission, and programs for BSA Scouts and Girl Scouts, are offered periodically throughout the year.  

Top 5 Online Programs

  1. Crafting 

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein’s words are the backbone of every 

Camp Cosmo class, whether its focus is academic, artistic, physical, or social. This program is designed to inspire critical thinking, creative thought and social connections through play.

  1. Performing Arts

Choreography by Rae was founded as a way to help people of all ages amplify their voice through movement. Their motto is anyone can dance, even if you have two left feet. This supportive and inclusive environment provides students with an opportunity to develop a foundation in: Acting, Art History, Culture, Dance (Ballet, Hip Hop, Latin, Jazz), Storytelling, Singing, and more!

  1. Coding

Computer Kids Club is a computer science & academic program of typing, coding, design, math and engineering. Your child will be engaged in activities all while learning the importance of the computer and how it will help them through their school years ahead and eventually in a computer science related field. 

  1. Music

The LA School of Music offers fun and engaging music lessons and classes on piano, voice, and guitar to name a few. All music teachers are professionals with at least a Bachelor of Music. Most have a Master of Music degree. This is a special group of teachers who have been vetted through a competitive interview process for expertise, as well as creativity and fun personality.

  1. Art

Young Art believes in passion, creativity, and the power of education. Their team is committed to inspiring the next generation of young inventors, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs to be bold innovators by providing creative and enriching experiences through hands-on learning. Families are able to select from a variety of classes with modalities including clay sculpture, digital animation, acrylic painting and pencil sketching.

Categories
Camps Uncategorized

Parent Power: First-Time Campers 101

What to Expect When Thinking for Your Child’s First Camp Experience

ActivityHero Parent Power is a new series dedicated to helping you discover smart solutions to finding kid activities. Whether you are in need of seasonal camps, after-school programs, or academic tutoring we are here to help you stay informed on all things kid activity-related. 

In this episode we will talk about first time campers 101: what to consider when thinking about introducing your child to their first camp experience. Our guest for this interview is Courtney Cimoli. She is the chief operating officer of Camp Edmo, the leading camp provider in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento regions of California with a multitude of school year programs and 32 on-site summer camp locations. 

You can check out their current summer camp offerings on Activityhero.com.

One of the reasons why we love Camp Edmo at ActivityHero is because they collaborate with leaders in the fields of Science, Maker Education and Social Emotional Learning to design a well rounded and diverse curriculum for their programs. 

Q: How do I know if my child is ready for summer camp?

A: All camps have different guidelines around that. for EDMO, they need to be potty trained and at least 4-years old. Any camp you are looking at, verify what age do they start at and what are the parameters that you child needs to meet to be able to join the camp. From there, once they are starting to develop curiosity over different theme areas, if there’s something they are excited about and can get engaged about, that’s the time for camp. If you notice they love dinosaurs, try dino-science camp to match it off of something they really enjoy. In general, if they love hands-on activities, this is a great time for them to start camp. It’s really great when you can do those DIY things at home with them but it’s a whole other level when they can get in there and experience with other kids, other adults, and counselors. Another thing to note, there is a little bit for every personality type. So you might think “my child is really outgoing! they are ready!” but camp is great for the more reserved campers too. It’s a place to practice those skills. They are going to have to be outside the home and practice [social] skills.

This is an environment where they don’t have to, they get to. For myself, I was that really great place for me where I got to go out and practice my social skill building. I got to be in new environments, in a way that was really engaging and exciting. [Camp] is great for all types of kids.

Q: What types of camps are best for a first-time camper? Should I pick something more general, like all-sports or all-fun? Or should I go for something more specialized?

A: It depends on your kid. Are they really motivated by a particular thing and want to attend a specialized camp? Some kids need more of a general interest level, they are both great. Both camps have awesome benefits. One thing I would pay attention to, regardless of if it’s general-interest or specialized is, “whats the additional stuff to their curriculum?”. Even if it’s specialized, there should be other aspects of the camp day. You want them to be singing songs, performing skits, having outdoor game time, having some sort of SEL or social skill bulding session where they are learning traits such as responsibility and initiative. So whether it’s a general-interest theme or specialized theme, make sure you’re getting a well-rounded package. That’s what is going to really engage your child and get the best out of camp.

Q: Do you have a lot for campers that take the same camp or type of camp for multiple weeks in the summer? Is it better to have a longer time frame for first-time campers?

A: I would recommend, picking a camp and sticking with one or two. Floating them to a different camp every week can sometimes make it difficult for them to get established when they are really just learning what camp is. Camp involves so much culture. You show up, you go here for your rally in the morning, you learn where your boundaries are, when you’re relearning that every week at a different camp in addition to getting used to the atmosphere of camp in general, that can be really overwhelming.

I recommend a camp that offers a variety of themes, so they can mix it up each week. So they can mix it up, but still attend the same camp. At EDMO, they can attend the whole summer but do a different theme each week. So you’re doing this over arching convept of maker or science but you’re doing other themes each week so they can stay really engaged. But the general outline and structure of the day is the same so that can really help them get settled in.

Kids come for 6, 8, 10 weeks and by the end, that’s their home. They end up helping new campers get involved.

Q: Should I register for camp with siblings or friends?

A: For siblings, unless they are really close in age and depending on how the camp does grouping, they will likely be separated. Make it easy on yourself, do one drop off and one pick-up, especially if the camp have a vareity of offerings, like EDMO does. So your kids can have very different interests but still find something engaging.

Coming with friends can be great, it can help them feel comfortable from the minute they get there, especially if your child is a little more reserved and needs that extra support. However, they don’t need to. Make sure that the camp you are signing up for is ready with techniques to help them get engaged, make new friends, at EDMO, the first thing we do Monday morning is you meet your group and we do Team-Love. They do icebreakers, they create a team name and get engrained as a group. So it doesn’t matter if they didn’t have a friend when they walked in the door, they will have an entire group of friends within 15-minutes of being there. And then throughout the day, we have a variety of techniques with our SEL curriculum. The counselors are trained to help them interact with others and make new friends. Don’t be worried, if you are sending your new camper without anyone they know.

Q: Is there anything else you want to add about how counselors bridge the gap for kid and/or parents?

A: We have Team-Love and SEL curriculum to help them make connections thorughout the day. One thing that helps the kids and the parents is distracting them the moment they get there. Naturally, the kids want to stay with the parent, that’s who they know, that’s what they are used to, so a really good counselor is going to help them distract away from those nerves. So the second you walk into camp, there is some sort of activity going on.

Staff members are always friendly and excited to see the kids. That’s going to help the camper and the parent make that transition the first day or any day they are there.

Q: What do you believe is the biggest challenge for first-time campers?

A: Drop off! AM Drop off! Time and time again it’s the biggest challenge for campers and parents. I can tell you as a parent myself, I am not looking forward to leaving [her] for the first time for a full-day. So it can be just as hard on the parent as the camper. One thing a recommend is drop them off, and leave. Staying just allows the child to build up more anxiety, get more and more upset. And when we see a quick drop-off, because we have other techniques, we have activities that are already going on, 5-minutes, the camper ready to go!

Q: What benefits do you believe summer camp offers children, above free play at home through the summer?

A;So many! That’s a really big question. The thing I love about summer camps as an extracurricular activity, camp does not expect your child to fit the mold in any way. Camp is for everybody. There is a little bit of everything and it’s about discovery of yourself within that. That’s why I have devoted my life and career to it, because that’s what summer camp did for me many years ago. I was very shy, afraid of my shadow type, that was able to really find myself and get comforatble at camp. So the benefit of taking them to this environment that is so inclusive and inviting, is huge.

Social interaction, trained professionals, that can help them learn responsibility and initiative. Can they learn these things at home? yes. It it the same as learning this from other adults, surrounded by their peers, no. That’s a very different experience. I think both are important, but summer camp can really have so many levels of value.

Q: When you are a new parent to signing up for summer camp, it can be overwhelming. What do you feel like are the most important questions for a parent to ask when they are researching camps?

A: Make sure the camp is well-rounded throughout the day. There are a lot of safety measures for 2021, but there is still a level of interaction. So make sure there are different parts of the day, with outdoor recreation, various games that include collaboration and team work. Don’t get so excited about one theme that you forget about the schedule of the full camp day.

With COVID, camps are doing things differently. That’s what I would really be watching for this year. Are they truly staying in a stable group? I’m not going to lie, especially in our industry that’s something that’s really difficult to enforce when we are going in and out of different periods throughout the day. At EDMO, we’ve been working tirelessly to make sure our COVID-19 protocols are across the board being followed by our campers and counselors. Stable groupd are crucial right now.

I would pay attention to the staff they are hiring, but I wouldn’t get too hung up on qualifications. Just because a staff memeber is a college graduate in a specicial field, don’t mean they are vibey. You want fun, interactive staff. I’ve see 16-year old counselors who have attended camp for year, be the strongest counselor out of a staff of people much older than them. It’s really about the culture the camp is creating, more so, on-paper resume qualifications.

Q: Last advice?

A: When signing up for camp, get your campers involved. let them read the descriptions and help pick the themes. It is going to be so much easier if they are excited for the program.

Camp is for everyone. Scholarships are available through ActivityHero and EDMO.

Explore your child’s camp options today.

Categories
After-School Activities Camps Featured Posts Uncategorized

Camp Trends 2021 White Paper

7 Summer Camp Trends in 2021 - Official Report by ActivityHero

7 Summer Camp Trends in 2021

Official Report by

Introduction

Summer planning during a pandemic has incorporated many more considerations than in years past. As parents and their kids start to determine what to do when school is out in the next few months, here are some key factors ActivityHero has observed in our community of 4 million+ families that may help others start thinking about their plans now.

“This year, families are registering for camps a bit later than usual, but the earliest camp registrations show that families are eager to have kids get outside and be active. We’ve seen a big increase in demand for outdoor specialty camps.”

Peggy Chang
CEO & Co-Founder ActivityHero
Camp Trends Report Based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero. 45% of all searched activities are outdoor. Horseback riding and biking classes are filling quickly.

01. 45% of All Searched Activities are Outdoor

Parents want their kids outside. Many continue to struggle with balancing the “new normal” distance learning paired with increased screen time. Outdoor Activities and Non-Contact Sports have much more interest this year, contributing to most of the search inquiries happening on our platform. Horseback Riding and Biking classes, in particular, have been enrolled to capacity with long waitlists. Outdoor Petting Zoos and Outdoor Science Camps also support socially distant learning and have large upticks in popularity too.

Camp Trends Report Based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero. Many camps are held at public schools or temporary spaced and these locations are taking longer to confirm this year.

02. Locations

Many camps are held at public schools or temporary spaces and these locations are taking longer to confirm this year. You may see a “TBD address” more frequently, which means that the camp is still working on confirming the exact location.

COVID-Safety: Camps have adjusted many of their programs support their communities and their staff to follow public health guidelines.

03. COVID-Safety

Camps have adjusted many of their programs to support the families in their communities and their staff to follow public health guidelines You may even notice that many have dedicated pages on their websites addressing all the efforts to be taken to best ensure everyone’s safety. Face masks and daily screenings are regularly appearing as requirements with frequent hand washing and sanitizing reminders too

Camp Prices: Camp Trends Report based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero

04. Average Session Prices Increased 108%

Average camp session purchase prices have increased from $425 to $888 this year due to longer sessions that have become more common in some areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area. Camp sessions are required to be 3 weeks this summer to support more stable cohorts for COVID-safety. As a result, registrations for 3-week camps have increased by 5,000%, compared to last year.

On the plus side, attending a camp for multiple weeks helps kids make more friends and be more comfortable. 

It also gives them more time to master new skills such as art or coding.

Some camps have the same prices per week in 2021, including:

Camp Trends Report Based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero.

05. Updated Cancellation and Refund Policies

Many providers learned from their experiences last year to better apply more manageable and flexible policies this year. Some camps offer credit toward another registration and don’t offer cash refunds. There’s a wide variation of what’s available.

06. More Options for Deposits or Payment Plans

After last year’s unprecedented cancellation of camp, many have adjusted payment policies this year. More flexibility is now being offered as alternatives to only requiring full upfront payments. Families may only have to pay a small deposit to hold their spots. 

This year, 28% of registrations are using a payment plan.

Camp Trends Report Based on Q1 2021 data by ActivityHero.

07. Fewer Add-on Options

Extended care availability may also be limited for the same reasons. Based on ActivityHero’s community, we see a 25% reduction of this offering compared to last year.

Some camps offering extended care in 2021, include:


About ActivityHero

ActivityHero is the leading online marketplace for kids camps, activities, and after-school classes. Families book activities with one easy registration. Activity providers can claim and customize their listing and use online tools to get new customers.

Categories
Academics After-School Activities Creative Arts Dance Language Music Online Learning Science/Technology Uncategorized

Boredom Busters: Interesting New Classes To Try Next Week

Extra curricular activities open kids’ minds to new interests. They help build skills outside of the classroom. They provide a productive break from study. And they open new social opportunities to grow a community. Here are editor’s picks for interesting new classes to try:

Foreign Language

The many cognitive benefits of learning languages are undeniable. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills.*

Theater Games in Spanish – Beginners

by Rogue Artists Ensemble

Learn Spanish through theatre games and music! We naturally learn language through trial and error and through play. In Theatre Games in Spanish, students learn to communicate in Spanish by playing games and having fun. We strive to joyfully instill a love of language through embodied learning and play.

Grades K – 5

$17/day starting Feb 22

German for Beginners: Singing & Speaking

by Musical Learning

In this fun and musical class, learners explore German greetings, keywords, introduction vocabulary and pronunciation – through music! Learning a language is fun and easy with Ms. Kelsey – let’s sing, dance and color! 

Ms. Kelsey is a professional opera singer and language teacher, and she started Musical Learning in 2016. She has taught German, French, English and ‘Musical Science’ for the past 10 years both online and in person. 

Ages 3 – 7

$100/ 8 session series that meets twice a week starting Feb 22


STEM

Skills attained through STEM education include problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, leadership, entrepreneurship, acceptance of failure and more.*

Explorations in Quantum Physics

by Electivity Kids

In the first 4 weeks of the session, students learn about the electromagnetic nature of matter and energy, including: Magnetism, Magnetic Induction Electricity, Photons, Solar Energy. In the second half of the session, students are introduced to atoms, subatomic particles and the Periodic Table of Elements (Hydrogen to Xenon). They learn how atoms form molecules, and also learn about the structure of the Periodic Table.  Class content is taught through engaging visual aids, physical demonstrations and thought-provoking discussion.

Grades 5 – 12

$230/ full series, ongoing until March 22

Python Programming 1: Live Online Class

by Kodeclik Online Academy

Python is one of the most feature-packed coding languages ever and today underlies the foundation of many websites, applications, and games.

This fast moving course assumes no prior experience with Python programming but rapidly takes you to high levels of functionality illustrating how you can write your own programs in Python!

Ages 11 – 18

$399 / 16-session series beginning Feb 19

Ancient Greece to Quantum Realms

by Digivations Institute

With An Emphasis on the Homeric epics of The Iliad and the Odyssey, the Milesian School of Thought yielding Thales, Pre-Socratics highlighting Democritus and the Socratic Period illustrative of Socrates Philosophy in the Context of Innovation Ranging from The Theory of Everything to Einstein’s Unified Theory and Quantum Realms.

Digivations Institute has NASA award-winning curriculum and is an ActivityHero Best of 2020.

ages 12 & up

$49/day ongoing until May 25

Curiosity Club S.T.E.A.M. Lab – science & art fun

by Active Art & Science

Join us online for S.T.E.A.M powered fun where you will explore the curious worlds of science, technology, engineering, art and math. Conduct experiments, create art, build, take things apart and enjoy learning how art, science, engineering and technology are connected.

Ages 5 – 10

$96/ 6-session series beginning Feb 22


Homeschooling

Homeschool offers academic flexibility. During these ever-changing COVID times, many families have turned to this option. Try these classes for academic homeschooling and enrichment education!

Martial Arts & Life Lessons

by Family Karate

Family Karate provides fun, fitness, karate, and life skills.  Now your child can enjoy our unique blend of martial arts and character building in our live online classes with a Master Instructor.

In each class we’ll ask you to set a self leadership goal for your children, and in the next class we’ll follow up progress on those goals.

Ages 5 – 11 but fun for the whole family! Try it as a stress reliever!

$10/day trial classes or $20/day regular price ongoing throughout spring

First Grade Curriculum! Homeschooling 101!

by Homeschool Academy

This is a great introductory trial for parents thinking about homeschooling their kids.

In this curriculum which follows the Common Core State Standards, we dive into EVERYTHING your child should learn in First Grade WOW! See below for a snapshot of some of the covered content. In previous classes on different platforms– parents would RAVE how their child would not be able to read at all prior to Mrs. Hendricks Academy and by the end of the curriculum- they were reading whole sentences, creative writing on their own and excelling. 

Ages 4 – 8

$7/class. Special discount available $145/month

Princess Story Time Ballet Dance Camp

by Lovely Leaps

Each week we will have a different princess joining the class. After the princess arrives the children will perform their dance while the princess sings, Then they will sit with their favorite toy while the princess reads a fun book! After story time the children will have a chance to each personally interact with the princess! It’s not everyday your child will get to have a virtual Disneyland experience! 

Ages 3 – 6

$17/day starting March 4


Tired of online classes? Try a fun Lego® course:
Amusement Park LEGO® Engineering

by SNAPOLOGY OF LOS GATOS

We bet your child loves going to amusement parks to experience the variety of fast, dropping, and spinning rides, but have they ever thought about the science that goes into building those rides and the people who are responsible for designing them? In Snapology’s Amusement Park Engineering class, students will become engineers building their own amusement park rides like roller coasters, Ferris wheel , Bumper Car and other awesome rides!! 

Snapology of Los Gatos serves Almaden, Camden, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Cupertino.

Ages 5 – 12

$150/ 4-session series starting Feb 24

Categories
Featured Posts Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Mindfulness On-Demand Parenting Resources

A Teens Guide to the Social Dilemma

Has social media been sneaking into your brain? Many teens are spending hours scrolling through perfectly filtered photos, obsessing over likes and shares, or encountering virtual bullies. Teens are going down a “rabbit hole” online, experiencing the tricks software developers use to keep people on Instagram, Snapchat, video games and other media. 

How can we build healthier relationships with technology?Max Stossel, Head of Education for The Center for Humane Technology, illustrated some of the specific ways technology is designed to be addictive & distracting, provided tools to help combat these designs, and showcased a much needed discussion among peers about the impact of phones & social media on our lives during ActivityHero’s free event, The Teens Guide to the Social Dilemma.

Watch Max Stossel’s presentation available on-demand >>

Max’s Top tips for Social Media Well-being

  1. Turn off all notification except from people you care about
  2. Unfollow every account that makes you feel badly about yourself 
  3. Delete toxic apps 
  4. Use a physical alarm clock 
  5. Get the phone out of the bedroom at least an hour before you go to sleep
  6. DF Youtube: an extension to make YouTube a more kid-friendly place (distraction-free, without suggested videos) 
  7. Practice mindfulness to know yourself; what are you thinking and feeling?
  8. Give an 8-second hug a day! 

#mysocialtruth
Share your stories on Socialtruth.humanetech.com


Q&A with Max Stossel

Transcribed from The Teens Guide to the Social Dilemma

Q1: What is the recommended time per day to spend on social media? How do we strengthen the emotional awareness of teens, should we slowly reduce screen-time or just stop?

There is no golden rule for the amount of time. I think it’s far more helpful to look at in terms of life. What role is social media serving for us? Is it entertainment? Are we aware of these mental health challenges? Are we doing other things? Are we doing the things we need to do with our lives? Some people do report saying “I have this one hour a day when I’m not going to just go on in a mindless moment. From 7 to 8 [o’clock], that’s going to be my social media time because I like social media.” Some people like doing it this way.

Especially for younger kids, these mental health challenges are real. To me, it’s just not worth the cost in the younger, middle school-age years. I don’t believe it’s worthwhile. And in terms of developing that emotional resilience, parents know better than me. I believe, especially in schools,  looking into those curriculums and focusing on those topics is going to be practical. In this next generation, we’re going to need to know ourselves and our emotions to thrive in the digital world. 

Q2: Is there an age where you think it’s ok for kids to be on social media?

I’m one person, with one person’s opinion, but I have spoken to a lot of parents. I have spoken to a lot of parents who have been very glad they have delayed. I have not spoken to parents who believe they wished they gave it earlier. For me, I would wait until at least high school. Our adult brains are hardly capable and it’s doing a number on our mental health. 

It doesn’t mean don’t talk about it, or don’t have the conversations about it until high school if you’re on it, like sharing, and using it in your life. I could not build a better self comparison machine than social media. 

To be honest, the idea that porn won’t seep in is not honest. People believe, it’s not my kid, but it’s a box with the entire internet on it. Everything that comes with the entire internet is involved with that box. We want the golden bullet – we want to have the good and not the bad. I think a more honest approach is recognizing this is really a lot and we haven’t as a society figured out good guard rails for ways of doing this thing yet. Let’s approach it honestly as a result.

Q3: Can you please discuss the YouTube rabbit hole and how does affect my brain?

YouTube is deciding with it’s algorithm, based on all your information, to figure out what’s the perfect piece of content that will get you watching. It doesn’t particularly care what is good for you, will make you smile, what will make you care, make you any of these things. What it cares about is you watching. Oftentimes that’s just like the most out-there extreme radical idea. And then we start believing what’s out there, not true things, and it messes with our sense making of the world. YouTube DF is a powerful tool so you can just turn off the recommended videos. So you can go to that one video that you meant to watch, and watch it, and then go about doing your best. And we might find now and then, as the slot machine, “I found something I really like!”, but if we turn off the recommendations we will be much happier. 

Q4: I recently started my own YouTube channel, how does it affect me? I mostly post my own content. 

I am an artist and a filmmaker; I use social media. I use it to promote. At your age, you can probably relate to this – you post something and then how does it feel? You are asking yourself “are people liking this?” “are people engaging with it?” I think one of the hardest things to do as someone creating content on YouTube, is to actually stick to doing to what you want to do. Not let “how many views did this get” drive what you’re making, everything you’re doing, because then you’re not really doing it because you want to do it. 

We start [creating content] because I love XYZ and that’s why I’m going to make videos about it – I love it. But, then we start to get more into “this one I liked it, but it didn’t do as well, maybe I shouldn’t do it” like that and then the outside world starts to govern what you’re creating, what you’re making. And you start to care so much more about what everybody else thinks. That’s what to look out for. and it’s hard. It’s hard so get together with some friends and be like “hey we’re going to support each other”. Let’s make sure that we are actually doing this because we want to do it. If we [create content] for getting the likes then it becomes so addictive, literally addictive. 

I have YouTube videos with millions of views and it’s endless. If you want to have one you want 5 and 10 there’s no number that is satisfying. It’s an endless treadmill. I want more more more more more and it never ends. So you can beat it by just posting what you actually want to post. Try and do what you actually want to share and not think about how good it does. Doing this is easier said than done. 

Q5: What is the right age for kids to start gaming (i.e. Roblox)? Parent says “I’m very confused when my child says he plays for achievements.” 

I mean I think that’s a similar example to what I was explaining with Halo. I just needed to get to the next level, I needed to accomplish it! Especially for young boys. Life is confusing for teenage boys and in Halo I know that “I do this one thing that is really hard, and then I get to the next level.” In life everything is scary and hard. Life doesn’t have an experience bar in that way.

What age is right? I think some games can be really educational. Games are obviously really really fun. My best advice would be – I would not compromise on the “just one more game because I’m going to lose.” The systems are designed so that you lose. When it’s dinner, it’s dinner like in the real world. Real world takes precedence over the video game world. And to recognize we are going to set limits because we know how easy it is to fall into the radicals of these games. Set and stick to those limits, make it an open conversation. Kids should have a voice in this. They should say what’s working and not working. It should be not a dictatorship, but a conversation. 

Q6: How can you tell a teen is addicted to social? “My teen is says he’s not addicted to social, but he plays Discord and Roblox. I have noticed after he spends hours playing, his personality changes. He does not want to accept he is addicted.”

I am not a mental health counselor. There are many resources on our website that might be helpful. But your child has to be ready and willing and admitting that there’s a problem for any of this stuff to work. So having these conversations – talking about some of these resources, asking those questions, like “notice how it’s making you feel?” Also, they are probably afraid you’re going to take it away from them. This is a real problem that tends to exist.

Opening the conversation is the way to start. Some of these games are really disturbing because there aren’t actually enhancing something on a human level.

Are we learning something from it? Or is this just engaging? We have not approached this well as a society. Social media just happens to be a strong pull. It’s a journey. Hug your kids and tell them you love them. It’s not a solution but I have seen in my work it has been very helpful. 

Q7: How can I monitor what they’re doing on their phone without infringing on their privacy ?  

That question makes me laugh. Monitoring what they are doing on their phones, is infringing on their privacy. We want the best for them. This is a good example of creating trust and opening conversation. 

You can try, you can put all of the monitoring software on there. But they will be able to get around all that software. Conversation can be one of the best. And for me, delay is the answer. Try to delay until high school to start introducing this stuff into lives. For me the mental health risks are not worth it. 

Q8: Whenever I play video games and I am done, I always feel like there is nothing else to do and I feel bored. Then I want to play it again. 

Try creating your own game, find new things. There are skills in life – video editing, photography, etc that you can choose to try rather than playing Fortnite. Find a replacement hobby, but have the expectation that nothing will hit you as hard as Fortnite. 

Resource Links:

The Center for Humane Technology
Stayfosucd – site blocker for Chrome
Gamequitters.com/hobby-tool/
ActivityHero.com – find new educational or enrichment activities that build useful skills, like coding, video editing, web design, art, music, and more.

Watch Max Stossel’s presentation available on-demand >>

Categories
Contests Holiday Break Camps

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids Activities

Are you searching for a fun and creative gift for a kid in your life? Our Gift Guide goes beyond gift cards and gaming systems to give you ideas on kids activities that can still be gift-wrapped!

Whether you are shopping for your child, a niece/nephew or family friend – we’ve rounded up our top gifts for 2020. Can’t decide? Gift an ActivityHero gift card for in-person camps, online classes, or on-demand activities!

Gift Guide for Kids

KidzKeys Holiday Package by FunClubs

Jump into a fun musical experience in our 6-week group piano class and receive your very own Mini-CASIO Keyboard! Students join our inspiring teachers LIVE in Online Classrooms where they learn to read music, play fun songs, and express their creativity.

Find online music classes & camps for kids>>
Find on-demand music classes>>

30 Day All Access Pass for Unlimited Young Art Lessons + Art Kit

Perfect for your kids who love to explore their creative side through a variety of art mediums. Inspiring instructor-led classes and access to video library for on-demand content at anytime. Learners will choose from a range of lessons including sketching, painting, sculpture, crafts, culinary and digital art.

Find online art classes & camps for kids>>
Find on-demand art activities>>

Sony KOOV Kit + Camp Program

The Sony KOOV™ Camp Program is designed to be used in a variety of learning environments – whether it’s an existing robotics/coding camp, international competition or at home for enrichment activities involving design. The KOOV Kits provide kids a learning tool that is out-of-the-box ready and includes curriculum for repeated and continued growth.

Find online robotics camps & classes>>
Find on-demand science activities>>

Learn to Sew Project Kit by GreenArt Labs

Bring joy and creativity to your child, as they sew their way to confidence! This beginning sewing kit is a perfect holiday gift that will engage for days to come. And paired with our step-by-step video, children will have fun making 3 different sewing projects all by themselves!

Find online sewing classes for kids>>
Find on-demand sewing projects>>

Pottery Kit + Class with Broadway Clay

The Ship & Make Kit from Broadway Clay includes air dry clay, a ceramic tile, tools, acrylic paints, and a pottery badge! The 30-minute YouTube instructional video will allow children/tweens to follow along and pause when they need more time. This video was recorded to meet the requirements for the Girl Scout Pottery Badge, but fun for all to participate! 

Find online art classes & camps for kids>>
Find on-demand art activities>>

Sound Science Kit + Camp from Science Nature Labs

Kids will learn about concept the of sound, how sound travels, use equipment to measure sound, using tuning forks, make their own musical instrument. This sound kit comes with activities the whole family can do together, make a real musical instrument and do other fun activities involved.

Find online science classes for kids>>
Find on-demand science activities>>

Chess Set + Classes from Yes For Chess

Chess brings people together. Share stories and spend time together this holiday season. Give your child the gift of chess! Sit down, play a game and plan your next move.

Find online chess classes & camps for kids >>

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids - a guitar and online lessons

Guitar Holiday Package by Fun Clubs

Turn up the volume and rock out in our 6-week group guitar class with your very own 34″ Student Size Guitar! Students join our inspiring teachers LIVE in Online Classrooms where they learn new songs, develop new skills, and express their creativity.

Find online music classes & camps for kids>>
Find on-demand music classes>>

LEGO® gift set

LEGO® Fun-gineering Kit by the ROC Network for Learning

Fungineering keeps little ones busy learning through the holidays while having fun playing with stories and worlds that they build!  With our Supply Set, children spend hours building real-world models that move –  cars, merry-go-rounds, hand mixers, fire trucks and more, all on their own, or alongside our step-by-step Online or On-Demand classes.

Find online LEGO® classes & camps for kids >>
Find on-demand LEGO® activities >>

SoccerStars at Home Soccer Ball and Class Kit

Soccer Stars @ Home

Our Soccer Stars @HOME Virtual Classes will take soccer training to the next level. Through our digital classroom, children can see their teammates and work directly with their coach. Wrap up a soccer ball or training cones with the gift of these virtual classes for the perfect gift for your next little Messi or Morgan.

Find all online sports & fitness classes for kids>>

How To Be A Sports Surgeon + Toy Kit by Little Medical School

This Little Medical School toy kit offers aspiring sports surgeons a wide variety of hands-on and educational activities. Children will learn about the bones in the hand using the hand decal and stickers, make their own skeleton with our bone stickers, learn how to care for a sprain and strain with our bandage, make a ball and socket joint and hinge joint and finish by completing Tommy John surgery on our surgery board. 

Find all on-demand activities for kids>>

Acoustical Class + Makey Makey Kit with Engineering for Kids of South Kern-Bakersfield

When your favorite song comes on the radio do you sit quietly or do you dance around and play the air drum solo? In Acoustical Engineering with Makey Makey, we will create our own interpretations of common musical instruments like bongo, piano, guitar, and create our very own dancing program. Great Christmas gift for 7yr – 11yrs old.

Find online music classes & camps for kids>>
Find on-demand music classes>>

Clay Ornament Kit + Virtual Class with Dragonfly Designs

Give the gift of creativity! Who doesn’t remember helping decorate the tree when they were growing up? Each ornament has a special meaning attached to it, especially the handmade ones. Students will learn how to make precious Clay Ornaments. Imagine their sense of pride when giving their loved ones a treasure that they made themselves.

Find online art classes & camps for kids>>
Find on-demand art activities>>

Holiday Gift Guide ActivityHero

ActivityHero Gift Card

The perfect gift for every child – from the Minecraft obsessed to the young artist or future chef! ActivityHero has all kinds of activities for kids, including in-person camps, online classes, and printable DIY activities on-demand.

  • Does your child love drawing? Include an ActivityHero gift card with art supplies to take an online art class!
  • For cooking enthusiasts, wrap up a special apron or cooking utensils with an ActivityHero gift card to pick out an online cooking or baking class!
  • Curious kids might enjoy a science kit and an ActivityHero gift card to experiment at an online STEM class!

Categories
Crafts Creative Arts Featured Posts Holiday Break Camps Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged School Breaks

Thanksgiving kids’ activities inspired by pumpkin spice






Get ready for Thanksgiving Week with these hands-on kids’ activities inspired by Pumpkin Spice and Thanksgiving turkeys.

Enjoy the smell of Pumpkin Spice and try one of these Thanksgiving project ideas with your kids. For a longer activity, find a 1/2 day or full day Thanksgiving camp or workshop.

What makes pumpkin spice smell so good? Betty Crocker‘s homemade recipe is combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Mix the spices together in a small bowl and let your senses take it all in.

Pumpkin slime

Kids love making and playing with slime and this recipe for pumpkin slime adds a Thanksgiving spin to it. Growing a Jeweled Rose has a simple recipe to make pumpkin slime that adds pumpkin spice to the glue and borax slime concoction.

Pumpkin slime from Growing a Jeweled Rose

Pumpkin pie spice play dough

Younger kids will enjoy this simple, homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Play Dough from Left Brain Craft Brain. With just a few ingredients from your kitchen, you can make this pumpkin spice scented play dough with your kids.

doh with leaves and pinecones
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Dough from Left Brain Craft Brain

Find Thanksgiving Break Camps >

Pumpkin spice latte for kids (coffee-free)

With this simple recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron, pumpkin spice lattes aren’t just for grownups or coffee drinkers.

Kids Pumpkin Spice Latte from Chelseas Messy Apron

Turkey arts and crafts

A simple paper plate is the center of this Turkey art from Lakeshore Learning.

Turkey art from Lakeshore Learning

Thanksgiving camp

Full day or half day camps can keep your kids engaged and busy over Thanksgiving week. Many camps have special themes for Thanksgiving Camp.

Find Thanksgiving Break Camps >

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Mindfulness Online Learning

5 Ways to Help Kids Focus During Online Learning

Sit still. Pay attention… These seem like easy concepts, but these days while kids are attending school or an online class from their bedroom or kitchen table, it’s especially hard for kids to focus and listen to a teacher who is online.

ActivityHero sought out the guidance of Chaia May, an early childhood educator and writer. Her daughter was also struggling with ADHD and was “intensely fidgety and anxious” as a child. Chaia gives us five easy ways to use sensory integration to help kids overcome wiggles and wandering thoughts.

  1. Fiddle Away! Choose your “Tactile”

Give kids something in their hands to fiddle or squeeze. Very interestingly, pressure to the fingertips can help a child focus (imagine prayer beads) and also facilitates speech in speech-delayed children. Let them choose amongst things such as a double-balloon filled with cornstarch or a stress ball.

  1. Push with your legs!

Tie an elastic band around the four legs of their chair. As the child pushes against it with his or her feet, they work their ligaments and muscles. It also gives kids who like to rock in their chairs an alternative so that they don’t fall over!

  1. Sit on a bouncy chair 

We have the fewest nerve endings on our bottoms, so we are most passive when sitting. 

Use the bouncy ball chairs and build up their core muscles. If their core is strong, it helps their back and their shoulders. Supporting their weight helps keep their whole body strong and more alert. Also, a little bouncing break adds to vestibular stimulation. 

  1. Pedaling for mind power! 

Get one of the mini-bicycles that you can peddle that fit under your table or take breaks every half hour or so and do the “bicycle” on the floor. Or use training wheels to prop up a kids bike like this clever mom on Facebook. 

The magic of the bicycle is that when you are using opposing arms and legs, the mind cannot wander. 

5. Carry a load and feed the muscles and mind!

Give children a load of books to carry or a few chairs to push in between classes. While they push, they are working their ligaments and large muscles. It organizes and calms the whole body and makes them stronger as well.

These tips utilize sensory integration to help the brain stay alert, calm down, re-focus on one particular thing or cancel out extraneous information. 

Did you know there are three more senses in addition to the five senses we learned about in school? The first is tactile. It describes whatever sensory information is carried through our skin. Children can be either especially sensitive to touch (hypersensory) or not feel it at all (hyposensory.) Input into the tactile system can calm or stimulate as needed.

The second is proprioceptive. This describes what signals we get from receiving input into our ligaments and muscles (elbows, knees, for example.) Pushing into them can help children (particularly those who are lightweight and don’t get that input when they walk) regulate their nervous system and not bump into things or avoid things as they seek sensory input or avoid it, accordingly.

The third is vestibular. This is what we feel when we fight or resist gravity in any way: spin, twist, lean over, or rock. Children who love to spin, climb, or rock are self-stimulating to help organize their nervous system. Just leaning over can be enough to recalibrate and re-focus.

For more information about Chaia May and her books, visit LearningPlay.org. You can sign up for classes with Chaia May on ActivityHero. 

Categories
Adventure/Outdoors Biking Guest Posts Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Play/Outdoor Super Activities for Super Kids

Biking: 6 Practical Tips for Families






Whether you love a leisurely ride or a real off-road adventure, find a type of biking that appeals to your family. Here are 6 practical tips to get kids started with family-friendly biking.

Source: Flickr

By the ActivityHero Team with Guest Amanda Wilks

Kids are often tempted to spend hours of their unstructured play time glued to electronic devices. Instead, why not encourage them to go out for a ride? With many benefits for the body and mind, biking is a healthy outdoor activity that can be done at almost any age. Looking to try it out? Here’s expert advice on sizing, types, gear, classes, and specialized activities like mountain biking.

1. Get Fitted

The most important step is to measure your child’s Inseam. A bicycle inseam (or leg length) is not the same as a clothing inseam.

To measure, grab a book and a tape measurer. The child should stand with her back against a wall, spreading her feet about 6 inches apart, either barefoot or in socks. Place a book between her legs, close to the crotch to mimic the bike seat.

Measure from the top of the book (that is, the spine) down to the floor. Choosing a slightly larger bike is fine in order to leave a little room to grow into. Avoid choosing a size which is too far off the mark for your child, which would impede his ability to learn correct riding habits and even expose him to greater danger.

2. Choose the Right Bike

Depending on your interests, there are three main styles of bike: road, mountain, and “hybrid” (a blend between the two), depending on your interests.

If you’re interested in mountain biking, according to MountainBikeReviewed, you can easily find and buy sturdy bikes for less than $300, like the Mongoose Statis Comp, the Villano Blackjack 2.0 or the Schwinn High Timber. Other great mountain bike brands which are geared towards kids are Spawn, Cleary, Early Rider, Pello and Stampede. Many mountain bikes are, contrary to opinion, quite cost-effective.

For road bikes, your local bike shop should have recommendations. Online retailers like Amazon will often have many customer reviews posted. There are also online outfits like BikeExchange if you prefer doing research online.

No matter what style you go with, when the child stands over the bike, there should be a 1-2 “ space between the crotch and the top bar of the bike. Also, “a beginner should be able to plant both feet flat on the ground when getting off the bike, which ensures safety and helps with confidence,” recommends Nick Pavlakis of Pedalheads, a learn-to-ride bike camp based in Seattle, Portland, Denver and Chicago.

Ideally, the right bike choice should be made based on the wheel size, not the frame size. Use the chart below:

Wheel Size 12″ —> Age 2 -3 —> Height 2’10 – 3’4

Wheel Size 14″ —> Age 3 -4 —> Height 3’1 – 3’7

Wheel Size 16″ —> Age 4-5 —> Height 3’7 – 4’0 

Wheel Size 20’ —> Age 5-8 —> Height 4’0 – 4’5

Wheel Size 24′ —>  Age 8-11 —> Height  4’5 – 4’9 

Wheel Size 26′ —> Age 11+ —> Height 4’9

These are rough approximations and, since every child is unique, you should use these numbers only as a guide.

3. Get Essential Gear

A good helmet which protects the brain is the single most important safety feature you must have. Make sure it fits, covers the entirety of the forehead and is properly ventilated. According to Pavlakis of Pedalheads, “research shows that up to 90% of fatal bicycle crashes result from head trauma,” so using a properly fitted and certified helmet will protect the head and brain from damage, which might save your child’s life. Note that helmets are mandatory for children under the age of 16 in most areas. “Check that there is no more than a two-finger gap between your eyebrows and the front part of the helmet,” advises Pavlakis.

Layer up with season-appropriate clothing. In summer, light clothing with good arm and leg coverage will protect from sun, and in cooler temperatures, don’t forget gloves, warm socks, and a wind-proof shell.

For urban and suburban biking, invest in a solid bicycle lock.

If you want to take the whole family along but have younger children who aren’t yet able to pedal on their own steam, the most common options are: Trailers (a wheeled carriage which attaches in back of a bicycle), Pedal-less Bikes (also called Balance Bikes, where kids push off the ground to move forward), and Trail-a-Bikes (a seat plus single-wheel that attaches to a bicycle, allowing pedaling without steering capabilities).

4. Find Classes or Camps

Classes and camps will generally cover the four basic rules of bike riding:

  • Riding in a straight line without deviating from it;
  • Looking back without losing balance or swerving;
  • Stopping the bike using the brakes, taking into account the surroundings;
  • Good speed control and adapting it in accordance with the terrain.

After mastering these basics, group classes are a great way for kids to learn important skills like giving hand signals, negotiating hilly terrain, understanding road signs and dangers, following traffic flow, and practicing proper spacing between riders.

 Find biking camps and classes near me > >

As a side note, older kids will benefit from learning some everyday maintenance routines, like checking the bike tire’s air pressure, putting the chain back together, and testing the brakes, often covered in more advanced classes or camps.

More inclined to teach on your own? Here’s a helpful guide.  Remember to read up on safety do’s and don’ts. If you get to the stage where a child is nearly ready to remove the training wheels, Pavlakis advises parents to take their time: “Don’t rush the process. Taking the training wheels off too early can become a negative experience for the child and may lead to resistance in learning.”

5. Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a sport that is growing rapidly in popularity by offering excitement, challenge, and unique outdoor settings. To get kids started with mountain biking, you should remember that at the outset, your child might not have the physical endurance or the attention span needed to finish a certain route. Try increasing trip difficulty and length gradually to make the learning process smoother.

First, make sure your child is very capable and comfortable traversing flat, easy terrain. Then transition to doubletrack dirt trails with varying degrees of difficulty and topography. Plan ahead to reduce the chance of accidents. Initially choose short, fun routes that you know well and that you feel your kid can complete with relative ease. Have fun increasing the level of difficulty over time!

6. Find Focus, Stay Safe

Pavlakis recommends that beginning bikers “maintain focus and awareness at all times,” of the conditions on their road or trail to reinforce safe habits. Biking is a perfect way to leave behind the distractedness of everyday life and be more fully engaged in the present. Have fun!

On a roll? Check updated schedules and reviews of popular biking camps and classes in your area on ActivityHero.

About the author

Amanda Wilks is a writer, veteran MTB rider and sports advocate. Her passion for mountain biking dates back to her childhood, when she would join her dad every weekend for a quick ride uphill. She is now addicted to the sport and she never misses a trail. Learn more about Amanda on Twitter.

Categories
Schools Uncategorized

Atlanta Area School Calendars 2020-2021






If you have children in either the Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb County School District, Decatur School District, or the Fulton County School District, then this is the resource of you. Here we have the 2020-2021 school calendars for all of the districts for you to see exactly when your kid is out of school so you can sign them up for their favorite activities.

>> See camp schedules

>> See camp schedules

Atlanta Public Schools Calendar

  • First Day of School 8/10/2020
  • Labor Day 9/7/2020
  • Fall Break 10/12/2020
  • Teacher Professional Learning Day 10/13/2020
  • Teacher Professional Learning Day 11/3/2020
  • Thanksgiving 11/23/2020 – 11/27/2020
  • Winter Break 12/23/2020 – 1/1/2021
  • Teacher Professional Learning Day 1/4/2021
  • Martin Luther King Day 1/18/2021
  • Teacher Professional Learning Day 2/15/2021
  • Teacher Professional Learning Day 3/15/2021
  • Spring Break 4/5/2021 – 4/9/2021
  • Last Day of School 5/26/2021

Decatur County School District Calendar

  • First Day of School 8/12/2020
  • Labor Day 9/7/2020
  • Fall Break 10/14/2020 – 10/16/2020
  • Thanksgiving 11/23/2020 – 11/27/2020
  • Winter Break 12/22/2020 – 1/2/2021
  • Teacher In-service 1/4/2021 – 1/6/2021
  • Professional Development Days 1/7/2021 – 1/8/2021
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day 1/18/2021
  • Winter Break 2/12/2021
  • President’s Day 2/15/2020
  • Spring Break 3/29/2021 – 4/2/2021
  • Last Day of School 5/21/2021

DeKalb County School District Calendar

  • First Day of School 8/17/2020
  • Labor Day 9/7/2020
  • Columbus Day 10/12/2020
  • Teacher Workday 11/3/2020
  • Thanksgiving 11/23/2020 – 11/27/2020
  • Winter Break 12/21/2020 – 1/1/2021
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day 1/18/2021
  • President’s Day 2/15/2021
  • Teacher Workday 3/12/2021
  • Spring Break 4/5/2021 – 4/9/2021
  • Last Day of School 5/28/2021

Fulton County School District Calendar

  • First Day of School 8/10/2020
  • Labor Day 9/7/2020
  • Teacher Workday 10/9/2020
  • Holiday 10/12/2020
  • Professional Development Day 11/3/2020
  • Thanksgiving 11/23/2020 – 11/27/2020
  • Winter Break 12/20/2020 – 1/1/2021
  • Teacher Workday 1/4/2021
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day 1/18/2021
  • Professional Development Day 2/12/2021
  • President’s Day 2/15/2021
  • Teacher Workday 3/12/2021
  • Professional Development Day 3/15/2021
  • Spring Break 4/5/2021 – 4/8/2021
  • Last Day of School 5/26/2021
  • Calendar
  • Website

>> See camp schedules

Categories
Guest Posts Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged

QuaranTEEN

A resource for family-focused entertainment and positivity during COVID-19. The blog, created by two Bay Area teens, is 100% free and all donations benefit the non-profit, Frontline Foods.

Two Bay Area high-schoolers, Katherine Kudriavtsev and Sarah Emberling, cooped up at home and stuck in quarantine, decided to use their time for something other than scrolling through TikTok. That’s how QuaranTEEN was born, a nonprofit creative entertainment platform for teenagers and parents to utilize during the quarantine. QuaranTEEN was created for the purpose of sharing people’s stories, spreading positivity, and providing a way for people to stay in touch and connected despite the shelter-in-place.

“COVID-19 is not only a pandemic, but also a psychological pandemic. Lots of people are feeling stressed, scared, lonely, or hopeless, because of the health or economic problems caused by COVID. We created QuaranTEEN to combat these feelings of negativity. We wanted to find a way to give everyone a creative outlet and safe space to cope with their feelings,” Founder Katherine Kudriavtsev states.

QuaranTEEN is a website that contains many fun and interactive features such as a teen blog, a community forum, entertainment quizzes, as well as a pen-pal exchange.

“Being stuck at home for months has been really hard: I think most, if not all, teenagers miss being able to go out with their friends and meet new people. We wanted to include a Pen Pal project on QuaranTEEN to give teens a way to make new friends from their very own couch, a way to continue to socialize but still adhere to quarantine and social distancing laws,” says founder Katherine Kudriavtsev.

Outside of being a platform for teens, QuaranTEEN also aims to provide relief for working parents by producing multilingual reading videos to entertain younger children, as well as a separate blog page dedicated to helping parents share tips and advice regarding childcare. There have been over 20 reading videos featured on QuaranTEEN’s “Kids and Parents” page, in English, French, and Russian, providing entertainment to children of all languages and cultures. 

“As much as everyone loves children, there are times when you just need a break, parents included! Our reading videos were made just for that! A quick, fun, and educational way to entertain your child to give you your well deserved break,” says Founder Sarah Emberling.

The Kids/Parent Page and the Teen Blog Page also give teens an interactive opportunity to volunteer as blog writers or readers for the site.

Founders Katherine Kudriavtsev and Sarah Emberling add on, “We have already received numerous amounts of teen volunteers: readers and blog writers from all over the world, reaching as far as from the Americas, to Europe, to Asia, but we are always looking for more people to become content creators on our site and expand our team! We welcome anyone who’s interested, passionate about writing, having their voice heard, or simply wants to do their part in helping people during this difficult time, to apply and join our QuaranTEAM.”

Our volunteers share their personal reasons for joining the team, “QuaranTEEN reminds us that there is more to this pandemic than just statistics and death counts. At its heart, the thing that is going to get us through this is people. Not statistics. Not feel-good advertisements. Not corporations. People. By writing for QuaranTEEN, I hope to be able to be that reminder. A reminder that behind all the sorrow and death, people are still there, ready to reach out and offer their support,” says Talia Ostacher, blog writer for QuaranTEEN and incoming senior at Henry M. Gunn High School.  

Fellow blog writer Julianna Chang agrees, “During this time, it’s essential that teens have a creative outlet to post, share their feelings, and interact with other teens. I often find myself bored and wanting to do something useful, but I can’t seem to find the right place to go and spend my time.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity overall to help others during this time in a unique way,” Los Gatos student Priyanka Pulikeshi says.

Reader and Blog Writer, Clementine Devaux of Menlo Park High School states, “I really love the website and how there is so much to offer: quizzes, blogs, and more! It’s really fun to be apart of this, so I can help as many people as I can during quarantine, whether it be giving people ideas for things to do to cure their boredom or donating.”

Although QuaranTEEN is 100% free for use, QuaranTEEN accepts donations through their GoFundMe. All donation proceeds go directly to supporting Frontline Foods, a non-profit organization aiming to aiding local small businesses/restaurants that have been hit hard by shelter-in-place measures, as well as feeding front line healthcare workers. QuaranTEEN’s mission is to raise as much money for Frontline Foods as possible, to help support local Bay Area businesses, as well as feeding the essential heroes who continue to work in this time. The recently published QuaranTEEN has already raised $300 for Frontline Foods, and is aiming to get to $1,000 by the end of the month.

“Frontline Foods is an amazing non-profit organization. It helps keep small businesses from being economically destroyed and shut down by the pandemic, and it helps feed and boost the morale of essential workers, all at once! If you’ve enjoyed using QuaranTEEN, like our initiative and site, or have the means donate, it would mean so much to us if you could help us reach our goal of $1,000 for Frontline Foods by donating to QuaranTEEN’s Go Fund Me!” Founders Katherine Kudriavtsev and Sarah Emberling say.

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Parenting Resources Vacations

5 Tips When Kids Won’t Listen






Does it feel impossible to get your child’s attention? Does your child tune you out when you have something important to say? When you are frustrated because your child is not listening, try these 5 tips to make communicating with kids more productive and get kids to really listen.

By Wendy Chou

Susan Stone Belton is a noted author and speaker on family and parenting issues. Her book, Real Parents, Real Kids, Real Talk, has excellent advice for saving our sanity, one day at a time. Here are some of the tips we learned from the book.

1. Talk less

Fewer words will have more impact and staying power. Remember the saying about drinking from a firehose? Kids are better able to process directions when you prepare your main point in advance and stay laser-focused. For many parents, this doesn’t come naturally. But that’s OK, because –guaranteed — you can get in a lot of practice! Keep trying. And do keep the tone neutral or positive, rather than negative.

2. Listen more

Role model the way you want your kids to listen to you. Don’t interrupt or be dismissive. “If we want our kids to listen to us, we need to listen more. We need to give our kids our full attention. We need to feel that what they are saying is important. We need to be patient and listen to their entire story,” says Stone Belton. She recommends a strategy called “Listen and acknowledge; then respond.” With a billion things running through a parent’s head at any given moment, it’s easy to tune out the things our kids are telling us. Monkey see, monkey do.

Kids who feel heard are more likely to reciprocate. So slow down and really absorb what they are saying before responding. A thoughtful response shows a child that what they said matters to you. The child may not be able to move past their own thoughts until they feel heard and understood. It also prepares them to listen to you.

3. Use non-verbal cues

When children are absorbed in their task and don’t respond to your voice, try another approach. Getting close and putting a hand on their shoulder makes a big difference in getting someone’s attention.

With younger children, get down on one knee to be at their eye level, which can create a better connection.

4. Seek out opportunities for communication

Family schedules can get packed, so making connections with each other sometimes needs a little forethought. The classic example is nightly conversations around the dinner table. But even if you’re on the go, parents can still connect with kids in the car — say, on the way to soccer practice or choir rehearsal. Other kids may enjoy talking about the day’s events just before bedtime.

Know your own kids and when they feel most comfortable opening up. Some kids open up more if you’re not even there — for instance, through text messages or written notes — because these forms of communication are more neutral and less emotional. Make a mental note of what works for your family. These everyday moments, especially added up over time, are valuable!

5. Schedule in low-tech “no phones” time

Sometimes all we need is a digital break to be able to reconnect with each other. For some pointers, check ActivityHero’s blog post on how to turn off distracting smartphones.

Susan Stone Belton is a parenting/family coach and author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her website is: http://susanstonebelton.com/

Families: ActivityHero is your convenient online destination for kids’ after-school activities and summer camps. Browse schedules, read reviews, and book your whole summer with our easy registration form.

Wendy Chou is a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Categories
Parenting Resources School Breaks Uncategorized

Virtual Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-8th, but kids across the nation aren’t physically in school.

Virtual Teacher Appreciation Week - Ways to say thank you to your teachers from a distance during COVID-19.

Teacher appreciation is at an all-time high during the COVID-19 school closures, but families may not have an opportunity to show gratitude before the end of the school year. The sudden switch to online learning for kids has not been easy on families or teachers. Here are some creative ideas to say a virtual thank you to teachers from a distance.

Buy a Teacher Dinner

Teachers are learning new technology and adapting lesson plans, many while being parents themselves. Buying dinner for your teacher is a nice gesture during this stressful time. A gift card to a local restaurant or food delivery service such as UberEats are great options.

Virtual Thank You Note

Don’t underestimate a simple thank you note from your child. If you don’t want to mail the card to the school, scan and email to your child’s teacher directly or send an e-card with a photo of your child.

Video Compilation

If your kids are older, they may enjoy collaborating with their friends to create a thank you video compilation for their teachers. Bonus: they get to put all those new dance moves and screen time to good use.

Thank You Photo Collage

Teacher Appreciation Week 2020 virtual thank you photo collage from students.

Coordinate with the other parents in your child’s classroom to create a photo collage. Each child can hold up a sign to say thank you for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Teacher Appreciation Yard Signs

Coordinate with the other students at your child’s school to contribute to outdoor signs thanking the teachers. Get permission from your school administrator to display in front of your school.

Digital Gift Cards

Support small businesses and teachers at the same time! Purchase a gift cards to a local restaurant, retail store, bookstore or even salon. If your child’s teacher is also a parent, give them the gift of time with an ActivityHero gift card for kids camps or classes.

ActivityHero Gift Cards for Camps and Classes > >

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged

Kitchen Science: Easy and Fun Experiments Straight from the Cupboard






You don’t need spendy science kits to have fun with your kids and teach them (or learn with them) about science at home. Never fear – you don’t need special tools or any deep knowledge of chemistry to take on these projects. Your kids will be thrilled to be doing science with you and you can be excited that they’re doing something educational and spending a few minutes away from video games, texting and TV. There are endless possibilities for at-home science or online science classes to do experiments with things you already have in your cupboards or that you can buy for less money.

Fantastic Foam

One bar of basic Ivory soap (must be this brand)
Microwave safe plate

The experiment:

Unwrap the bar of Ivory soap and place it in the center of the plate. Turn the microwave on and just watch what happens. The soap will begin to bubble and puff up, then will expand to 10 times or more its original size. It’s incredible to watch. Expect a lot of oohs and ahhs from the kiddos. Once it’s splendidly large, turn off the microwave and open the door, but don’t touch! It will be hot.

Wait a few moments then use a pot holder to pull out the plate. Wait about 5-10 minutes for it to cool then your kids can touch it, break off chunks and even wash their hands with it. While they wonder at the feel of exploded soap, you can explain the science behind what they saw and are now feeling. The soap will get a bit harder once it cools down, but it will stay in the shape it expanded to.

The science behind the phenomena:

Ivory soap is whipped up with air, that’s why it’s so much lighter than other brands of soap. The microwaves interact with the water molecules inside the air pockets trapped in the soap. The water molecules turn to steam and that increases pressure on the soap and breaks down the outside. It then puffs out for the same reason that popcorn kernels do when they’re microwaved. Cool, huh?

Breathless Balloon

What you’ll need:

Round balloons
White vinegar
Baking soda
Twist ties
Empty 16 oz water bottles
Funnel

The experiment:

Using the funnel, have your kids pour two tablespoons of vinegar into the balloon. Secure it tightly with a twist tie close to the lump of filling. Next, rinse your funnel and use it to fill the water bottle with a cup of vinegar. For littler kids, you can do this prep work for them or help out with the sloppy parts, but ages five and up should be able to do all this on their own.

Stretch the neck of the balloon over the neck of the bottle with the twist tie still in place. Once it’s snug in place, undo the twist tie and let the baking soda fall into the vinegar and watch the balloon inflate as if by magic. Your kids will be amazed. Once it’s done, they can remove it and knot it off and it will stay inflated just as if you blew it up with your mouth.

The science behind the phenomena:

Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. When combined, there’s a chemical reaction that breaks apart both original substances and forms new ones. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and vinegar is acetic acid and water. This chemical reaction leaves you with water, salt and carbon dioxide. It’s the carbon dioxide that fills the balloon. Recognize CO2? That’s the stuff we breathe out.

Elephant Toothpaste

Hydrogen peroxide (regular will work but for a bigger reaction, get 6% from the beauty store)
Liquid dish soap
Food coloring
Packet of yeast
Funnel
Bowl
Cake or foil pan
Plastic gloves
Empty 16 oz water bottle

The experiment:

Use gloves to keep peroxide off your kids’ skin and make sure your kids don’t get it in their eyes. Use the funnel to pour ½ cup peroxide into the water bottle, add ¼ cup dish liquid and a few drops of food coloring. Gently swirl the bottle to blend the ingredients. In the bowl, mix the packet of yeast with a bit of warm water and leave it for 5-7 minutes until it’s foamy and active.

Put the bottle into the center of the pan to control any mess and then use the funnel to pour the active yeast mix into the peroxide/soap mix. Then stand back and be amazed. You’ll get a foam that expands up and out of the bottle like a gush of toothpaste out of a tube. Standard peroxide will give a thinner foam. Let the kids touch the foam and bottle to feel the heat that comes with the chemical reaction!

The science behind the phenomena:

Hydrogen peroxide has lots of oxygen in it and when you added the yeast, it served as a catalyst that remove the oxygen really fast and created tons of bubbles. Because it also produced heat, it’s called an exothermic reaction. The products left over are just soap, water and oxygen, so it’s safe for your kids to touch – but don’t let them get it in their mouth or eyes.

Clean up tips

When disposing of your science experiments, you can keep the Ivory soap around, just chip it up and put it in a bag for hand washing or toss it in the trash if you don’t want to keep it. The baking soda and vinegar from the breathless balloon can go straight down the drain – they’re harmless. The elephant toothpaste leftovers can also go down the drain since it’s just soap and water.

And, you never know, your kitchen science experiments may inspire one of your kids to be the next Neil deGrasse Tyson or Mary Leakey. If these science experiments are a big hit, there’s no need to stop here. Check out online science classes or science camps for more at-home projects and experiments.

Find online classes in science and technology  >>

Categories
Crafts Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged School Breaks

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts For Kids

Charm your kids with these festive St. Patrick’s Day crafts and activities. With a little luck, your kids will be busy for hours!

St. Patrick's Day Crafts for Kids - Leprechaun Binoculars - ActivityHero

Upcyling Crafts

One of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day crafts are these adorable binoculars made out of simple household products. All you need is a couple empty toilet paper holders, colorful craft paper, kid-friendly scissors and tape. Your kids will be off searching for leprechauns in no time!

Turn Art Projects into an Annual Tradition

Another fun and easy St. Patrick’s Day tradition is to build a leprechaun trap. The best part is that there is no wrong way to create your magical contraption. An old shoe box, an empty jar or even an empty paper towel roll can be upcyled and reused. Don’t forget to add some lucky charms or gold coins as bait for your elusive leprechaun!

Color Crafts for Kids

St. Patrick's Day crafts and activities - ActivityHero

This colorful art project by CraftyMorning is perfect for all ages. Create a St. Patrick’s Day themed twirling rainbow out of a paper plate. Younger children can use crayons, markers or paint and be assisted with the cutting by a parent or sibling. Don’t stop with just one – create a whole collection for home or porch decorations.

Easy Crafts with Household Items

St. Patrick's Day crafts and activities - ActivityHero

Reuse an old cereal box to create a fun leprechaun hat with just a few other easy crafting supplies like glue, craft paper and paint. St. Patrick’s a colorful holiday, so make it your own with glitter, stickers or ribbon.

How to make St. Patrick’s Day Slime

St. Patrick's Day crafts and activities - ActivityHero

Slime can be a fun craft and science project to make at home with your kids. For St. Patrick’s Day slime, add green or gold and glitter for a festive look.

According to Little Bins for Little Hands, “Mixtures, substances, polymers, cross-linking, states of matter, elasticity, and viscosity are just a few of the science concepts that can be explored with homemade slime!”

Hands-On St. Patrick’s Day Activities

If your child is a little older or not really into crafts, check out these 6 fun St. Patrick’s Day science experiments for kids from our friends at ScienceBuddies.org.