Sometimes Mom and Dad's ideas for summertime play involve hopping in the car and getting out of Dodge. Many of us have fond childhood memories of family road trips taken with our own parents, but now that we're grown up, we sometimes forget how boring the backseat can be. A great SUMMER OF PLAY should involve games that can be played inside, not just outside, and definitely within the confines of a car. So put away the electronics this road trip, and try some of these fun games that keep everyone in the car playing together.
The power of touch strongly comes into play when it comes to babies. Gentle, soothing infant massages are a great way for mommy and baby to bond. Infant massage is delicate, loving, and tender—an action that truly speaks louder than any words. Some of New Jersey’s infant massage experts weigh in on the power of touch—and offer classes on infant massage for those moms who want to learn more.
If you were raising your kids in, say, Utah—or any other place that doesn't have a Mommy Poppins daily calendar to point you in fun directions—you'd have to work a lot harder to keep your summer days playful. Our SUMMER OF PLAY partner, KaBOOM!, works with community leaders around the country to create more spaces and ways for kids to enjoy balanced and active play. Mother of three and registered nurse, Cyndalynn Tilley, is one of these community leaders in Woods Cross, Utah, and she's shared some of her favorite ideas for finding opportunities to play while doing ordinary daily activities. Backyard games are great when you have the time and space, but what about when you have to bring kids along to do chores like shopping and laundry? Even then grown-ups can help kids get the play they need to thrive.
This season, we're partnering with KaBOOM! to promote a SUMMER OF PLAY. A few months back, KaBOOM!, the nonprofit dedicated to bringing play to all children, held a nationwide contest with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to find America's Most Playful Family. Families all over the country shared the different ways they like to play, often illustrating that you don't need lots of toys or organized activities to have a great time. Play ideas can come from people of all ages, even caring adults who ensure kids get the balanced and active play they need to thrive.
You can't help but be inspired by America's Most Playful Family contest winners, the Thomases from Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico. Even though they don't have playgrounds in their community or fancy playthings, they invent games that incorporate cultural traditions and all three generations of family. Watch the video family portrait that won them the title, and then read about some of their fun games that you can try at home—no batteries needed.
Last year for April Fools' Day, we rounded up 10 fun pranks to play on your kids, but some of them were a bit elaborate and required a lot of prep. This year, we have 10 more pranks for parents who want to show their kids that they have a sense of humor, but also want the jokes to be super easy to pull off.
Regardless of whether your kids attend public, private or parochial, chances are their school is always looking for ways to raise much-needed funds to pay for enriching extras. Parents are often called upon to give money. But there are also lots of fun and easy ways for families to get involved in the fundraising process that involve donating your time and creativity, not your cold hard cash.
A few years back, I wrote a post featuring 7 successful large-scale fundraising projects I helped oversee at my son's school when I was PTA president. Today I'm sharing 9 simple fundraising ideas that can be implemented relatively quickly. In fact, inspired PTAs could get a couple of these off the ground before spring break arrives! You may have heard of some of these before (hello, bake sale) but I've included tips for ways to maximize profits and enjoyment.
What's the first thing my family does to prepare for Halloween season? No, not make costumes or crafts or plan out our calendar. Our very first activity is to throw out all the stale candy my daughter has been hanging on to since last October 31.
Whatever you do with your child's Halloween haul—donate, repurpose, hoard or eat—there's no question that trick-or-treaters collect way too much candy. And while I'm glad my kid doesn't actually ingest it all, many children do, and the health implications of that are pretty scary.
So this year I'm not going to be part of the candy craze. Instead, I plan to give out small, fun, non-edible treats, like the kinds of tchotchkes you might find in a birthday goody bag. (So if you have any of those lying around the house, start gathering them up now.) Yes, I realize these things may end up sitting around as long as last year's candy, but since they don't go bad I can always hand them out again next Halloween.
Here are some cool things to hand out on Halloween besides candy that won't get you egged.
When my family first heard I planned on homeschooling my two children they were baffled; why would I want to take on such a task, when I could “get rid” of them for six hours a day. Luckily my “crazy plan” isn't sounding too crazy, as more and more parents are ditching the school system and teaching their kids at home. New Jersey is an amazing state to homeschool in – no regulations, dozens of homeschool co-ops and groups and plenty to do. During the hours of 9-3 September through June my kids participate in nature studies, sports classes, and learning opportunities designed for homeschoolers that are either free, or extremely affordable. It's been such an amazing journey for us, and I'm excited to share some of my favorite homeschoolin' haunts.
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