It’s Humid, Muggy and Hot…Play in the Indoor Sandbox


With this humid, muggy and hot weather, indoor sandboxes are less sand and a lot more muck, however, you don’t have to give up the fun. If you are looking for indoor summertime activities for your child, in order to beat the heat…make your own sand-free sandbox at home!  It takes two minutes to prepare and provides hours of fun!

1. Take a large tupperware bin, container or a large pan of any kind.

2. Fill with dry rice and/or oats.

3. Insert sand toys and play away!

NOTE: place a sheet under the container for easy pickup when done!

Happy playing without the humidity, mugginess or heat!


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Summer Healthy Snacks on the Go!


Now that it’s summer, everyone is out and about. Whether you are flying, driving or just walking down the street to the park, one thing is certain…you can’t leave home without a healthy snack bag!  As any parent or caregiver knows, the one thing every child requires is energy. Sometimes replenishing this energy in a healthy way can be a challenging task, especially when on the go!  This summer try some of these easy portable healthy snacks that kids love and you can feel good about giving them!

Frozen grapes! This one involves little to no prep time and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  Simply take grapes (make sure they are seedless for the little mouths) and put them in the freezer.  Once frozen, the grapes will taste cool and tart, making them as refreshing as ice cream on a hot day, but without any of the added sugar and fat!

Make your own trail mix. This is a great way to get kids involved! Kids are much more likely to eat anything they feel they have made themselves. Set out nuts, granola, and dried fruit. Let them go to town combining all 3, by placing it in a snack bag and shaking it up to create the perfect snack they can grab and go.

Cheese and fruit kabobs. Take regular cheese and use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes with it; then stick it on a kabob with pieces of fruit (berries, orange slices, grapes, kiwi, etc).  For a time saver, skip the cookie cutter and buy the cubed cheese which is kabob ready out of the bag!

Tortilla roll ups! This snack is sure to keep those kids moving with it’s killer combination of whole grain and protein.  Take peanut butter and spread it lightly over a whole wheat tortilla.  Add bananas or you can substitute fruit spread.  Roll it up and either leave whole (like a tube) or cut into bite size pieces.

Black Bean brownies! This one is a secret recipe for moms and caregivers alike.  Take regular brownie mix and add one pound of unseasoned, undrained pureed black beans and NOTHING else; bake at 350 for 35 minutes..  This snack will trick your kids into thinking it’s a real treat but you will smile knowing they just ate their beans and replenished all the protein they need to keep moving.

Enjoy your summer and healthy snacks everyday!


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5 Must Follow Tips for Heading to The Beach with Children!


Summer is here and what better place to go then the beach?  Beach days offer fun and excitement to children of all ages; however, it can often seem like a daunting task for parents.  Follow these 5 tips and your beach day will truly be “as easy and relaxing as a day at the beach”!

1. Bring sun coverage. We don’t just mean lather on the sunscreen (an obvious)…bring a tent, large umbrella or other object that will provide respite from the heat. This allows for a sun break and offers a place for little ones to nap, if needed.

2. Plan for hunger, thirst and scope out a sand-friendly place to eat. Portable prop up trays and/or tables are great to keep sand out of food, and consequently, out of children’s mouths.  Kids use up a lot of energy in the sun and water, so bring nutrient dense foods, apples, cheese sticks, frozen grapes, peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat (avoid any meats), hummus and veggies. Also, prepare frozen water bottles because everything melts so quickly. By the time the children are thirsty, it will have turned from ice to ice cold water.

3. Aim for “comfy” weather.  Go early in the day or late in the afternoon rather then the middle of the day when the heat is at it’s highest. Overall, this will make your day more enjoyable and the chances of sunburns are a lot less.

4. While lifeguards are a must, they are not a replacement for mom and dad. Don’t rely solely on the lifeguards; make sure you watch your child at all times! Also, other parents are not responsible for your children.  If you want to rest and relax yourself, bring a babysitter or a friend who can take on “supervision duty” while you take a break.

5. Bring toys and rely on Mother Nature to provide entertainment when taking breaks from the water and waves. Children love the water, but it’s important to break, rehydrate and reapply sunscreen consistently. Bring sand toys to keep your child busy. Also, remember Mother Nature provides entertainment. Look for seashells, start a collection that you can bring home to paint or string the ones with holes to make a souvenir necklace! This will help to avoid a fight when you tell them to get out of the water.

The beach is a place to make many wonderful family memories. If you are prepared, it will be a great bonding experience for families of all sizes and children of all ages. Life should always be as wonderful as a day at the beach!


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Giving Your Kids “The Talk”


It makes you uncomfortable just thinking about having to talk to your kids about it. You still remember when your parents tried to talk to you about it – or maybe you’ve completely blocked it out of your memory. Somehow, it feels like they’re too young to even talk to about this, but you know you’ll have to do it sooner or later, or someone else will.

So, when is the best time to start talking to your kids about money?

Our philosophy – it’s never too early, and it’s never too late. But who has the time? Where do you start? And how comfortable are you anyway with your kids asking you questions about your money situation?

Your kids become aware of the fact that you use money to pay for things as young as 3 years old, so it makes sense to start having these conversations with them as early as possible, especially when you take them on errands to the bank or grocery shopping, or when you take them to the toy store and end up buying them yet another Lego set. The infographic below gives you some guidelines on how to talk to your kids about money using the 3 C’s – Consistency, Connection, and Choice:


Check out some simple suggestions for how to use the 3 C’s to turn writing your grocery list into a financial learning experience:

  • Consistency: gives kids an idea of what essential food items you need to buy for the house
  • Connection: start a dialogue with your child about needs and wants and when it’s okay to buy wants
  • Choice: involve kids in the shopping process and decrease the requests for random things at the store as you both decided exactly what you need

Thank you to our friends at Pockets Change for sharing this advice!

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“Cool” Summer Time Activity for Children on a Record Heat Day


On a hot summer day when the heat has reached record highs, what can you do with your children to let their creativity flow and also keep cool? We have a fun summer time activity for children that will score record points with your kids and also make you “cool” in a child’s lingo way.

1. Place a teaspoon of tempera paint in each section of an ice cube tray, including all different “cool” color options.

2. Fill tray with water and stir with toothpicks; let the tray stand for about 10 minutes and then mix again.

3. Place the trays in the freezer until frozen.

4. Pop the ice cubes out and let your little Picasso at the paper. Have them drag the ice across the paper. Use any design and color! The picture will appear once the ice melts.

5. Have fun beating the heat and watch your children cool off creatively during this summer time activity.

NOTE: PLEASE watch little ones as they paint. Be sure not to allow them to eat ice cubes and only use paint trays to make ice, not trays intended for ingestion.

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My Child is Scared of The July 4th Fireworks…


It’s easy to forget that for a small child, this year’s July 4th fireworks display may be the first time it has even occurred to them that huge, fiery balls of color loudly exploding in the sky could be a good thing!

Here are some tips to have an anxiety-free July 4th!

1. Prepare little ones. Watch movies featuring fireworks displays, explain what they are, prepare your child for the noise, and reassure them that the fireworks are very far away. Tell them not to be scared that the fireworks cannot fall on them. Introduce earplugs and demonstrate how the noise changes significantly when wearing them. This may help them feel ready for what they’ll see and hear.

2. Go for a trial run. Visit the location of the fireworks, search online for examples of what fireworks look and sound like. Many communities have fireworks days leading up to July 4th, however, they aren’t quite as big and loud as the real deal. This can still be a good way to gauge your child’s initial reaction and help them get a taste of what’s to come.

3. Location, location, location. If you are going to “venture out” and try the fireworks, find a well lit, not too crowded area that is easily escapable to make a quick exit. If you feel that your child is too scared and cannot handle being outside with the fireworks, try watching from a window (car or house) so they don’t miss out on the complete experience.

4. Make a home-based plan. If you have multiple kids, some enthusiastic some not, divide-and-conquer strategy in which one parent/family member takes the kids who are not scared to watch, while the others stay at home and do something that’s “fun” for them.

Happy Independence Day!


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Fun Math Activities to Avoid Summer Regression


Just because there’s no homework, syllabi or grades over the summer does not mean you should forget about learning.  Exit: your child’s teacher…enter: YOU! Summer regression is a real thing and it can happen to the best of us. In fact, students typically lose 2.5 months of learning over the break. Avoid summer regression in your household by incorporating math into some of your child’s favorite summer activities.

Cook and/or bake. Find fun recipes that incorporate mixing and measuring. Put your child in charge of the numbers.  For an added challenge, add in a few extra fractions and multiplication problems by making a “bakers dozen” or a “double batch”.

Schedule a day trip or vacation. Allow your child to play a role in planning. Establish a budget. Determine how much gas will be need based on how many miles you will be going. Also, figure out how much time you can allocate to each activity, etc…the numbers are endless!

Hold a game night. Playing games are a great way to incorporate math. Many games require adding numbers on a dice, counting numbers of moves, and keeping track of scores.  Some of our favorites include: Rush hour, Sumoku, Sum Swamp, Head Full of Numbers, Monopoly, Sorry, Candyland, Bingo, Life, Trouble, Chutes and Ladders, and for the real little ones Richard Scarry’s “I Found It”.

Play sports. When you take your child out to the ball game, have them keep track of the score and figure out the batting average of their favorite player.  Also, keep track of the team records and compare who’s best in the league.

Grow a garden. This doesn’t need to be in a large area, it can simply be in a windowsill. Have your little one help determine the amount of water and soil needed.  Measure the growth of the plants each week.  Count the buds of flowers. Track during which month and week the plants show the most growth.

These math activities will not only avoid summer regression, but add more quality family time. *Added bonus: they will be having so much fun they won’t even realize they’re learning!

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Bringing my Child to a Wedding…HELP!


With wedding season upon us, it’s difficult to achieve a happy balance of enjoying the festivities, while ensuring your child(ren) aren’t becoming more of a focus then the bride and groom.  In order to avoid that moment where you are profusely apologizing and leaving early, here are some simple steps to prepare for bringing your child(ren) to a wedding

Arrange Childcare. If the wedding is out of town (and in a hometown of the bride or groom or a city where they currently reside), ask for names of trusted babysitters in the area that have experience with kids, and can stay in the hotel room, so you can enjoy the reception.

Research the Venue. Find out if there is a quiet place children can rest once they get tired, such as an indoor balcony above the ballroom or a small private area/room. Come prepared with a Pack n’ Play, blanket, pajamas and books.  Note: make sure it’s a secure place where you can frequently check on your child.

Plan a Schedule for the Weekend. Be aware of the timing of all of the events throughout the wedding weekend. You may need to change the normal “routine”, including adjusting naptime, if needed, and avoiding any energy consuming activities. Rest and relax until it’s time for the festivities to begin so you will not be dealing with an “over tired” child.

Bring Snacks. Be careful to make sure they are the right type of snacks.  Since they are crunchy, avoid things such as crackers, chips, or cereal.  Instead bring a napkin to cover their attire and opt for grapes, soft cereal bars, juice, water boxes and bananas.

Seating Location. During the ceremony, sit in the back or close to a door, this way if you find yourself on the verge of a tantrum you can exit before it’s in full swing.

Follow these recommendations and bringing your child(ren) to a wedding will be less stressful. Hey, you might even have FUN!


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Bring the Classroom Outside this Summer with Fun Outdoor Activities


Summer is here and school is out! Even though your child will not be seeing the classroom for 2 months, it doesn’t mean that they won’t continue to learn throughout the summer. By sneaking “lessons” into fun outdoor activities, your child won’t notice that you are actually teaching them outside of the classroom.

Play Hopscotch: Have your child organize the board, including writing the numbers. In additional to playing traditional Hopscotch, be the moderator and have your child jump to specific numbers on the board. Start with “Jump to 5”. To make the game more difficult, continue to add to a string of numbers. For example, “Jump from 1-2” then increase to “jump to 1-2-1-4”. For older kids, throw in some addition, subtraction and even multiplication, instruct them to “jump to ‘3+4’ or ‘7-3’ or ‘3×3’”. You should get in the game too! Take a turn and have your child shout out numbers and math problems for you. It’s a great way to test if they really know the answers to their own questions, to have fun and keep up those math skills!

Grow a Garden: Have a discussion about the environment, including the plants, bulbs and seeds. As the garden is setup, count the seeds to keep track of each of the different plants. You might want to make a chart. Water the plants together each day. Watch them grow and measure over time. When the vegetables are ready, prepare a meal using them!

Take Different Methods of Transportation: Experience a new mode of transportation; pick one that your child does not normally use. If you take a car everywhere, then go for a ride on a bus, train, ferry, subway or a cable car. Do research online and find a book in the library with pictures and a description. Buy a roundtrip ticket and go for a ride!

Provide Chalk for the Sidewalk: In addition to building your child’s creative and artistic abilities, model writing letters, numbers, words and shapes, and have them imitate. Also, specify the color chalk; continue to change colors so they have the opportunity to recognize the different colors. For older children, give words they can spell and write independently.

Go swimming: On a sunny, hot day, go for a swim at the pool, lake or beach. For parents of strong swimmers, have them guess: How many laps can you do? How many strokes can you do? For parents of beginner swimmers, have them guess: How long can you hold your breath? How long can you blow bubbles? Keep track and count. Did your child guess right? Figure out the difference between their guesses and their actual performance.

As a result of these fun outdoor activities, this summer your child will be using and sharpening their fine and gross motor skills, math skills, including counting, adding subtracting, measuring and number identification, color recognition, increasing reading abilities, spelling and writing skills. Happy Summer learning and enjoy fun outdoor activities while the weather allows it!

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A Special Way to Celebrate Your Child’s Graduation


With preschool graduation and kindergarten graduation approaching, here is a memorable way for your child to celebrate this milestone.  Purchase a special book with your child, such as, Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and have his or her teachers sign and write a personalized note at the end of each school year. After eighteen years, it will be a fun way to reflect on their individual accomplishments throughout school and have fond memories of their teachers. This can be a wonderful keepsake for the whole family to enjoy for years to come

Happy Graduation, Class of 2014!


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