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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.

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Play/Outdoor Super Activities for Super Kids

7 Clever Ways to Keep Kids Cool on Hot Days






The best summertime activities help your kids beat the heat while having a blast. Here are 7 fun ideas to try out!

By Madison Lee

Everyone loves summer: clear blue skies, long days, and the sun shining brightly. But sometimes the heat is just too strong, and what would’ve been a beautiful day to go to the park turns out to be a sweaty, sitting-on-the-couch, blasting-the-air-conditioner kind of day.

On days like these, what’s better than keeping everyone cool and entertaining your kids at the same time? We found 7 fun ways to keep kids cool when summer heats up.

1. Make Creative, Wacky Popsicles

There’s nothing better than a cold popsicle on a super hot day. Instead of just freezing juice, test out these cool DIY popsicle recipes! This one from One Little Project is made of gummy bears and Sprite, and this ice cream popsicle bar from Jacquelyn Clark is perfect if you love cookies & cream. If you don’t have a popsicle mold, try out Got Chocolate’s chocolate covered frozen banana – it’ll be fun for kids to pick out their favorite toppings!

2. Play Water Balloon Baseball

http://www.overstuffedlife.com/2015/06/water-balloon-baseball.html

If your kids want a game to play with their friends, this water balloon baseball from Overstuffed is the perfect solution. Fill up water balloons, grab a wiffle bat, and let the game begin! Kids will get splashed and have fun competing to see who can hit the most balloons. A modified version of this, if your kids aren’t baseball fans, would be to hang balloons with string and have the kids play piñata with water balloons.

3. Paint the Fence/Ground With Water

http://happyhooligans.ca/

This is a mess free, cost free activity for the artist in your kids. You might have some old paint brushes and rollers lying around, and then all you need is a bucket of water! Happy Hooligans’ version suggests that kids try covering the entire fence before it all evaporates, or they can take a more creative approach with some pictures/words.

4. Cool Off in a Homemade Backyard “Kidwash”

http://blessmyweeds.com/

Bless My Weed’s take on a traditional carwash might take a little more setup, but the result will be well worth it. Her backyard kidwash requires PVC pipes, sponges, and tarps. There’s room to be creative with setting it up, and your kids can help build it. This will definitely keep everyone cool!

5. Engineer a Water Wall

If your kids are crafty and like to design/build, this is the perfect summer activity!. Basically, you use zip ties to secure different items to a peg board, and pour water down your path. Teaching Mama made a pool noodle water wall, which is cool because you can race marbles down the noodles. You can also take inspiration from Things to Share and Remember’s recycled-objects water wall. Hers is made of tons of random old plastic containers you might have lying around. It’s totally hands on and there are no rules — just have fun with it!

6. Set Up Water Gun Races

This Grandma is Fun reinvents the classic squirt gun carnival game in her own backyard with these squirt gun races. All you have to do is hang 2 cups from string around your backyard; across the pool makes the race more challenging, and makes kids jump in the cold water. Kids can race each other pushing the cups all the way to the end of the course using only a water gun.

7. Play Angry Birds With Water Balloons

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/

Kids love this popular app, and now they can play it in real life! No Time for Flashcards created this water balloon Angry Birds game with her son. It couldn’t be simpler: draw out some pigs in chalk, fill water balloons, use a sharpie to draw on angry bird faces, and fire away! This game will be entertaining and beat the heat for sure.

Need ideas for indoor summer camps to keep kids busy and cool? Shop ActivityHero to find camps near you now.

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Best of ActivityHero Camps Friends of ActivityHero

ActivityHero’s Business Grant: Rewarding Camps Who Make a Difference






In our summer contest, your votes and reviews can help your favorite camp or class win money to improve their programs, plus enter you in a drawing for an ActivityHero Gift Card!

By Wendy Chou

 

Have you seen this logo on your favorite camp page in ActivityHero and wondered what it’s all about? We’ve just launched a new contest that benefits you and your favorite camps.

Help Support the Camps You Love

For a limited time, your favorite camp or after-school class can apply to win an ActivityHero Business Grant to enhance or grow the services they provide for families. The grand prize is $10,000 in cash and services from ActivityHero and co-sponsors, GoDaddy Website Builder and 4imprint Branded Promotional Products. This contest is a great way to reward a business that makes a positive impact for your family or community!

Vote and Write Reviews to Help You AND Your Favorite Camp Win

Businesses who have earned parents’ trust and recommendations have the best shot of taking home the prize. Here’s how it works. You can vote directly from your camp’s ActivityHero listing (look for the logo), or you can search the gallery of contestants and click the “vote now” button under your favorite camp or class. Each vote counts as an entry. You can also write a review of the business, which counts as three entries. Here’s a bonus: Every vote and review you submit enters you in a drawing for ActivityHero gift card worth up to $100! Votes and reviews will be tallied from now until July 31. Votes received before May 31 will give the business the best odds, since there are 3 monthly drawings in total (May 31, June 30, and July 31) to determine finalists. In August, the judging phase of the contest will determine the ultimate winner based on whether camps stand out in innovative ways or make a significant impact on their communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I vote for more than one camp or class?

A: Yes, you are allowed at most 1 vote per activity provider, but can vote for as many providers as you want.

Q: Can my kids participate in the Business Grant contest?

A: Unfortunately, you must be 18 or older to participate. You must also have a valid e-mail address.

Q: Where do I submit a review?

A: Go to the camp’s individual ActivityHero listing and scroll to the bottom where you’ll click on a  “write a review” button.

Q: Can I write more than 1 review?

A: You may submit at most 1 review for a specific business. You may review as many businesses as you wish.

Q: I don’t see my favorite camp or class in the gallery. How can I support them?

A: We’d love to know about your recommendation! Just visit the “suggest a camp or class” link and fill out a short form. You can also contact the business and tell them about the Business Grant contest. Encourage them to apply by visiting https://www.activityhero.com/go/grant.

About ActivityHero

ActivityHero.com is the leading online marketplace for camps, activities, after school classes, workshops, and kids’ nights out. More than 2.5 million families use us to find and book kids’ activities from a wide variety of local providers. Visit https://www.activityhero.com to start your summer camp search today!

 

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After-School Activities Super Activities for Super Kids Uncategorized

Finding the Perfect Activities for a 5-Year-Old






Is your little one restless? One mom shares her tips for finding affordable, practical activities for a 5-year-old.

by Kristine Munroe

child with sandy hands

Find Classes, Workshops & Camps for 5-Year-Olds Near You >>

5-Year-Olds Have Opinions

I’m not a homebody. As soon as I could find activities for my son, Isaac, I signed us up. It started off as new mom/new baby groups before Isaac could even sit up. Then we graduated to mommy and me playgroups. And after he grew more active, we both loved Gymboree. Living in New England, I particularly grew desperate for classes where he could get some exercise during the winter months. So, I would just pick whatever suited our schedule and sounded fun to me. Easy enough!

But sometime after Isaac turned 2, he started getting opinionated. I signed him up for Soccer Tots through our local community education department. At the time, I thought the idea of 2-year-olds playing soccer sounded adorable. And, yes, it was adorable, but getting my stubborn little Isaac to participate was a challenge week after week. His favorite part was the snack break midway through the class. It wound up being really exhausting just trying to convince him to kick the ball into the goal.

toddlers playing soccer

After that, I realized that as Isaac left the baby/toddler stage, he was starting to develop his own interests. It was time to find activities that my soon-to-be 5-year-old would be enthusiastic about. I couldn’t necessarily just pick whatever I thought sounded cool anymore. Activities are supposed to be enriching, but above all, they should be fun — especially at the preschool age. The last thing I wanted was to drag him to weekly classes that he didn’t like. It would just be a waste of time, money, and the stress would suck the fun right out for both of us.

Trial Classes

Soon I discovered that many activities will allow you to do a trial class to see what it’s like. That was how we got hooked on Music Together classes when he was 3. Those classes were lots of fun. We’ve tried various trial classes here and there to see what would work. If we find something that Isaac loves, we usually will enroll for a few sessions.

Advice From Friends

We love to get advice from our friends, too.  Word of mouth is an awesome way to find out which classes are fun.  Ask around!

Looking for Deals

Price is also a big factor. Like many families these days, we’re on a budget. Activities can get expensive, but there are still plenty of options for reasonably priced activities or great discounts. I love to scour Groupon to see what deals I can find. I’ve seen Groupon deals for Gymboree classes, music classes, sports, ice skating lessons, ski lessons, and more. I’ve definitely taken advantage of these discounts. Often there are great sale prices, sibling discounts, and multiple session discounts on ActivityHero, too.

Community Rec Centers

Community recreation departments are other inexpensive places to find fun activities. From art to sports, they’re usually easy on the pocket book.  This past fall, we participated in a super fun farming class through a neighboring city’s community education department. The kids got to plant and harvest all sorts of herbs and hardy plants.

swimming-lessons-for-5-year-olds

Mommy’s Priorities

I like to keep practicality in mind as well. It was important to me that Isaac takes swimming lessons because of safety issues. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him going off to summer camp or even playing alongside the Charles River without him knowing how to swim. And since we live in New England, I’d like him to learn a winter sport — ice skating, snowboarding, skiing, or something — because it seems like everyone here knows how to do a winter sport except for me.

Look For Activities With Added Value

I try to look for activities with certain perks beyond the specific classes. Places like Gymboree and My Gym also offer open play times, which is an absolute lifesaver in a Boston winter. The open play times give you and your kid an opportunity for unstructured play in a safe, indoor environment, and it’s covered by the cost of your monthly membership.

We also joined our local YMCA. I use it as a gym, plus it deeply discounts activities. So far we’ve done t-ball and swimming there. Many YMCAs are not just for sports; you can find lots of classes ranging from arts to music to cooking. Our family membership is worth its weight in gold.  You can also use it for discounted prices on after school programs, summer camps, and camps for school vacation weeks.

As for Isaac? Right now we’re about to head out the door for his final swim class of the year at our local YMCA. These swim lessons have been one of his favorite activities and he can’t wait to start up again next year.

Find Classes, Workshops & Camps for 5-Year-Olds Near You >>

Swim Lessons Around the U.S.

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After-School Activities Events Parenting Resources

10 Summer Activities that will Satisfy Bored Kids AND your Wallet






Summer: the ultimate free-for-all.

Instead of being entertained and engaged for 5 to 8 straight hours every day, kids are now looking to you with those big eyes that say “I’m bored.”

Here’s some fun and thrifty ideas to beat summer boredom that will keep both your kids and wallet happy.

Make a tire swing

A simple summer classic, tire swings can easily be put up and taken down as often as you’d like. On the days that the park is too crowded or it’s too hot to make the walk, hop on the tire swing and let the fun begin!

Simply hang a tire from a sturdy branch with strong rope and you’ve got yourself a swing.

10 Thrifty Summer Ideas Guaranteed to Beat Boredom, not your Wallet
Photo by Flickr user twred

Have a cooking day

For those days that the air conditioning is more comforting than the wicked heat, rally the troops into the kitchen and come up with some fun recipes to make as a family.

On those especially hot days where turning on the oven is a no-no, check out this list of no-bake desserts that are sure to beat the heat.

Cooking with Kids

Backyard obstacle course

Who is the greatest obstacle warrior of them all?

Have a competition in your backyard that will be sure to keep kids busy for hours. Make an obstacle course out of wading pools, tires, and ropes to test kids’ balance and agility. For some great obstacle course ideas visit here.

Scavenger hunt

Keep kids entertained and having fun by sending them on a scavenger hunt. Hide clues throughout the house and yard so that kids will have to follow clues to get to their final destination. Place clues underneath rocks, hide a message in a balloon, or even bury clues in the yard so kids will have to dig for them.

The final destination could be anything from a surprise ice cream cone to a special screening of their favorite movie.

geography for kids
photo by Flickr user artstreamstudios

Rainy day fort

What better place to set up camp than in the comfort of your own living room?

Grab some pillows and blankets and build a fort worth writing home about. Shut off all the lights and bring out the lanterns so kids feel like they’re really at camp. Kids can share ghost stories, eat s’mores, and play flashlight tag all just steps from their bedrooms.

Photo by Flickr user designerBrent
Photo by Flickr user designerBrent

Have a boat race

Toy boats can be made out of anything from wood to Tupperware—as long as it floats, it can be a boat!

Go to your local creek or simply fill up a pool in the backyard and let the races begin. Kids can use straws to set their ships sailing and see whose boat is the quickest. For some ideas on how to construct your own boat, check it out.

Photo by Flickr user Jon Olav Eikenes
Photo by Flickr user Jon Olav Eikenes

Tie dye

This is a great outdoor craft as it can get pretty messy!

Grab some white pieces of clothing such as socks, t-shirts, or dresses, and get ready to dye! Tie dye kits can be purchased at any craft store, or simple fabric dye will work just the same. Be sure to follow all the instructions provided to avoid too many stains.

Photo by Flickr user Karly Soldner
Photo by Flickr user Karly Soldner

Dress-up box

Kids love to pretend, and what better way to create a living story than with costumes.

Raid your closet for old bridesmaid dresses or bedazzled jean jackets that you knew would come in handy one day. Most thrift stores are a gold mine for dress-up boxes. Fancy hats, heels, and costume jewelry can be found at a fraction of their cost if you know where to look!

Photo by Flickr user mooshoo {littlepapoose}
Photo by Flickr user mooshoo {littlepapoose}

Backyard water wonderland

This is a great activity for those unbearably hot days. Drag out the inflatable pool, sprinkler, water guns, and even water balloons and have an all-out water blast–bored kids no more!

For an extra cool dip, float some ice cubes in the pool and call it the “cool off zone.” When kids get overheated from running around they’ll get a quick chill of relief.

Photo by Flickr user jennyhud
Photo by Flickr user jennyhud

Fly a kite

Check your local forecast and plan for the next windy day. If your kids have never flown a kite before, I recommend picking up a cheap starter kite. You can find them at any super store or even some dollar stores.

Keep in mind they probably won’t last long, but it will teach your kids the basics of kite flying. Once they’ve mastered it, consider purchasing a good kite that will last all summer.

Photo by Flickr user Vironevaeh
Photo by Flickr user Vironevaeh

Written by Sarah Antrim
Categories
Events

Bay Area Moms: Things to do with your Kids this Weekend (April 6th- 8th)






Looking for something to do in the bay area this weekend? There are plenty of happening (or should we say “hop”pening?) events all around the bay with Easter just around the corner!

April 2-6

San Francisco

First Thursday Free Admission Day – come check out the Pez Museum in Burlingame, which includes plenty of oddities the older kids will love. When: April 5, 10am. Free.

Moonlight Hike – head on over to Oakland for a hike through the redwoods at twilight. Perfect for adults to experience with older children. When: 5pm at Chabot Space & Science Center.

East Bay

Hands-on Art – this drop in activity is ideal for kids aged 18 months and older. Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland – members are always free. When: Tues-Fri, 10am-3pm.

Zeum’s Lil Z Program – For kids 5 and under, your little ones will enjoy exploring music, stories and creativity-based activities in this one-hour educational play session. When: Fridays 10-11am.

South Bay

Friday Night Pajamarama Storytime – come in your favorite jammies and enjoy a storytime designed for kids of all ages. It takes place every Friday evening at the Eastridge Mall in San Jose. When: Fridays at 7pm. Call 408 270 9470 for details.

Baby StorytimeThe littlest ones of the family can enjoy a baby storytime just for them each week at the Campbell library. There are also special storytimes for toddlers, preschoolers and families. When: Times vary – see website or call 408 866-1991 for details.

Easter Weekend (April 7-8)

San Francisco

Union Street Spring Celebration & Easter Parade – local restaurants will roll out their best eats while kids enjoy everything from a climbing wall and bounce house to costumed characters and a petting zoo.  When: Sunday, April 8, 10-5. Free.

Beach Chalet Easter Concert & Egg Hunt – After a yoga session for the adults, stick around to meet the Easter bunny and enjoy an egg hunt. This is followed by the JamBand Family Festival. When: Sunday, April 8, 3-5:30pm. Hunt begins at 3:20.

North Bay

Belvedere Community Center Easter Bunny Brunch – music, face painting, games and of course an egg hunt. Take your own photos with the Easter Bunny. When: April 7, 10am-12pm. $15 per person, includes brunch. Infants are free.

San Anselmo Children’s Egg Hunt – Enjoy the hunt and then a modest fair and puppet show. It’s all happening at Memorial Park. When: April 7, 11am. For ages 7 and under only. Free.

Easter Bunny Breakfast – A $5 donation per person benefits Special Olympics Marin at this special breakfast
happening at the Cheesecake Factory. Children’s music and balloon animals will accompany the breakfast. When: April 7, 9-10am. $7 admission.  Reserved seating only – 415 924 8921

Strawberry Recreation District Spring Faire – designed for children aged 1-8, you can make your own Easter basket, enjoy carnival games and take your photo with the Easter bunny. When: April 7, 10a-12:30p. Children: $8.

East Bay

Children’s Fairyland Bunny Weekend – check out Tap Dancing Easter Bunnies and then meet plenty of other seasonal bunnies and storybook characters. Mother Goose will also be in attendance to show the kids around. When: April 7. Tap dancing at 11:30am. Meet bunnies 1pm, Arts & Crafts 12-3pm. $8 for all ages.

Eggster Hunt and Learning Festival– UC Berkeley is hosting their self-described “largest free egg hunt in Northern California” on the Valley Life Sciences Building lawn. Educational activity booths round out the day. When: 10am-3pm. Free.

South Bay

Los Altos Recreation Department Egg Hunt – find them at Hillview Soccer Field. Four different hunts are divided up by age groups and each include post-hunt activities.  Hunt at 10am, Activities run 9:30-11:30am. Ages 1-8 are free.

Gamble Garden Children’s Easter Party  – This Palo Alto event features arts & crafts, an egg hunt and even a mermaid-themed puppet show. When: April 7, 9:30am-1:30pm. Members: Adults $10, Kids $20. Non-members: Adults $15, Kids $25.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Santa Clara – located in Central Park, the hunt takes place in the softball field at 10am. The field is divided into 4 age divisions, and also features an area for those with special needs. Bring your own basket and stay for post-hunt events that run until 4pm. Call 408 615 2260 for details. Free.