Movie Night with Benefits

21
Jun
2013


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Welcome to the 30 Days of Summer – Go-To Guide for Moms!

Day Twenty One

A school break can be an ideal time to read more books and watch more movies – and if you coordinate this kind of fun into a family activity, there may be far more benefits for your children than what first meets the eye.  I wouldn’t say that I want y kids watching a bunch more movies, but stay with me here…….

Why not pick a book to read as a family, then take an evening to watch the movie and have a discussion regarding what was different in the movie versus the book?  This could provide some incredible insight and talking points! [Read more…]

Museums CAN Be Fun!

10
Jun
2013


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Welcome to 30 Days of Summer – Go-To Guide for Moms!

Day Ten

Some places that often get overlooked during summer vacation planning are museums.  We tend to look towards outdoor entertainment, but really – when things get hot outside, it is nice to be inside some cool air conditioning!

Now, before you think that a museum will be too boring for your kids, think again.  There are some really cool museums and science centers available for kids to visit.  In our local area alone, we have two different flight museums, arts museums galore, science museums and more.

Natural History Museum

Kids love dinosaurs. This is a well-known fact. The immense size alone can tip a tot over as they look up higher and higher. If you want to have some family fun time, take a trip to a museum of natural history.

Here, your kids can learn about dinosaurs and reptiles, early man and cave dwellers, look at clothing worn thousands of years ago, and actually touch the bones of a brontosaurus.

Most of the museums today offer instructional CDs which you and your family can listen to as you walk through the ancient halls of life. Yes, your kids can read a book about early man and all of the odd-looking creatures that roamed the earth, but there is nothing like seeing these things and having the opportunity to touch them as well.

From one giant hall to the next, you all will be able to see how the dinosaurs bones were put together to form the exact image of how they looked thousands of years ago.  A great learning experience, even for very small kids.

Flight Museum

Hopefully in your local area you will find some type of flight museum.  We are fortunate to live in Boeing country, so we have several to choose from.  Honestly, if you don’t have a museum, but have one in your family interested in airplanes, go to a local small country runway and see if you can view some airplanes in the hangars and watch small planes take off and land.  Picking up a book from your library on different airplane types will create even more enthusiasm too!

Art Museum

Even if your kids baulk at the idea of going to an art museum – try to create interest by looking online at certain artists that you will find with exhibits.  Let your child take photos during the to look back at later and perhaps learn more about certain artists.  Who knows, you might just have a budding artist in your family!

Children’s Museum

Nearly every city has a children’s museum – displaying all kinds of fun stuff for kids to explore and touch.  You can find one locally at this site!  More and more families visit children’s museums each year for unique, face-to-face fun, enlightenment and shared experiences not found in traditional museums or other popular destinations.  Certainly a great way to spend an afternoon.  My preschooler just came back from a fantastic field trip to our local children’s museum and I am sure he would love to go back!

Overnight stays

Some museums offer families the chance to stay overnight at the museum.  Check into this by looking online or calling ahead.  What a fabulous experience to have and a great memory!

Take your kids to the museum and let them experience every facet of what is offered there.  Make sure you look for discounts on tickets and even those annual passes.  You might be surprised to find that several museums work together to offer an annual pass – this could save you a lot of money and provide many hours of entertainment.

Does your family have a favorite museum?

Family Fun Parks

9
Jun
2013


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Welcome to the 30 Days of Summer – Go-To Guide for Moms!

Day Nine

Here’s a riddle for you: What has water and waves but is not a beach? Figured it out yet? Well, if you want some family fun, spend the day at a Waterpark.  If you are extremely lucky, your park will have both, water and rides!

Going to a Family Fun Park for the afternoon, or even the entire day is a great way to spend some time during summer vacation.  But if you don’t plan accordingly you could end up with a bunch of crabby people. [Read more…]

Tips for Hiking with Kids

7
Jun
2013


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Welcome to the 30 Days of Summer – Go-To Guide for Moms!

Day Seven

Summer is the perfect time to get a bit adventurous and head out on a hike.  Even if your family has not done much hiking, it is still a great activity to fit into your summer plans.  It is inexpensive and a fabulous way to get some exercise while experiencing nature and all that is beyond your neighborhood.

Here are some tips to make your first hike as a family a success.

Find the Perfect Trail

Finding just the perfect trail can be as easy as asking a friend or looking up trails online.  In our local area, we have a trail association which has a great site that gives information on trails, the length, the difficulty and more.  It makes picking a hike simple and easy.  Look online to see if you have a similar site for your local region.

Get the Gear

The first thing is to choose clothes that are appropriate.  Most of us already have comfortable pants/shorts and shirts that fit the bill, but if you are looking to expand your hiking wardrobe, there are a lot of fun items you could add to make your hike even more comfortable.

Comfortable shoes, sneakers or hiking boots would be fine, as would light clothing in layers (depending upon the weather), and a slicker to carry just in case of rain. Bring binoculars as well because you never can tell what wonderful sights may await you and your family.  Make sure you check local second hand stores for clothing and shoes.  Especially for kids, these items are often outgrown before they are worn out.

First Aid

No matter how hard you try, someone will surely get a cut or scrape – so be sure to carry along a small first-aid kit with a lavender young living oilfew bandages and antiseptic.  I love throwing in my Lavender oil and a few bandages, perfect for those incidents that can happen.  Did you know Lavender is used as a swiss army knife of essential oils – for all things skin related?  

Self-Sufficent

When your family ventures out on a hike, this is especially a great time to help your children care for their own needs.  By providing their own small backpack for them to bring their own supplies of water and snacks you will be teaching them responsibility and also learning how to anticipate their needs.  I love this small, lightweight and packable backpack just for this use!  We talk about learning that responsibility in the 10 Strategies of a Successful Summer Action Guide – teaching them to care for themselves goes along way!

Be Respectful

Much has been advertised and written about the importance of preserving nature and all living things. Teaching our children about nature and animals who inhabit our planet is not only a necessary exercise, but one from which children can learn all about specific habitats, the creatures who live in them, and the need to preserve them for their generation as well as the generation to come.  Helping kids remember to stay on designated trails and to not mar and mark areas which are to be left in their natural state will keep areas intact for generations to come.

Learn about the Environment

While most kids can learn about nature from textbooks, it is walking among the different trees and flowers, discovering different species of birds and insects that makes it real for them and easier to relate to and understand.  Before you venture out on a hike, grab a few small pocket books from the library on the different  birds, plants and animals in your neck of the woods.  This will make for great learning while you are hiking.

Has your family done much hiking?

Volunteering at Summer Camps

5
Jun
2013


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Welcome to the 30 Days of Summer – Go-To Guide for Moms!

Day Five

One of the benefits of summer is that you can volunteer your time to help kids of all ages enjoy their summer camp experience.  This is a great activity to do as a family or for each of your children, depending on their age to venture out to do on their own.  You can choose from many different levels of camps – day camps, or overnight camps, the options are endless!

Is Your Child Going to Camp?

If you are sending your child to summer camp, and want to volunteer your time, make sure you talk to the person in charge to see how you go about passing all the requirements.  A lot of care is taken now with background checks, etc to ensure that the folks caring for the kids at camp are safe.  If your child is going to camp, this is a great place to start volunteering.

I can remember the first year my daughter when to a 4-day overnight camp sponsored by our church – she was a little apprehensive, so I assured her I would be coming out a couple different times to volunteer, so she was sure to see me.  It worked out great!

Vacation Bible School

Is your local church providing a Vacation Bible School this summer?  If so, find out how you can help out.  If you don’t have the means to volunteer for the entire week, perhaps you can share a position with another mom who is in the same position.  Or perhaps you could volunteer to supervise lunch time so allow the other volunteers to get a break.  There are options open to helping out.  Volunteer to provide snacks or craft materials.

Older Kids?

If you have older kids, why not encourage them to volunteer at a camp that would be interesting to them?  This is a great thing to keep in mind as your child grows and begins to fill out job and college applications.  This type of volunteer experience is highly favorable by admission offices and prospective employers.

Family Experience

Perhaps you can find a camp to volunteer together as a family.  Something as simple as helping out on check-in day can make things easier for other camp volunteers.  Helping to take campers to their cabins or tent areas is really helpful and can ease a campers anxiety.  Even with small children you can find a camp who will allow you to share your experience and willingness in just the right way.

Finding a Camp

Finding a camp is rather simple, there are a myriad of online sites who are asking for volunteers this summer. Check the summer camps in your area to determine which one is the best for you.

Here are a few online camp resources:

Camp Page –  This site is great, not only can you check the summer camps within your state, but you will be able to email them as well. In addition, this site also provides the individual camp’s website, where you can apply for the type of camp you are looking for. Or you can utilize their Summer Camp Articles and Resources page  which includes links for employment as well.

What is so wonderful about this particular site is that it gives you the type of camp, age range, and a little piece of information about the camp and its activities. You really can’t ask for better than that!  Instead of scouring around trying to find a specific camp, this site will direct you to all of the camps within your state so that you can make an informed decision. In some cases, for example, this listing also letís you know when the camp was established.

Volunteer Guide – This site has a huge list of camps which cater to special needs campers.  If this area is close to your heart, check it out to see if there is a camp locally which could use your support.

Girl Scouts – I went to Girl Scout camp s0 many times while growing up – these were some of my best memories of summer vacation.  Perhaps this is a place to start – you could volunteer while your daughter attends a camp?

Volunteering for summer camp, for whatever age group you choose, is a selfless act. The benefit in volunteering for summer camp is immeasurable. Knowing that you took time out of your summer to show and kindness to others is invaluable to the camps and the kids.  If you did this as a family, even better!

Whether you choose girls, boys, coed or wilderness – you can be certain it is appreciated, since most of these camps need as many volunteers as possible.

Have you volunteered at a summer camp before?