Posts Tagged ‘parks’


Paulo is wearing “Take Flight” from Le Top’s 2010 Fall/Winter collection.

When you schedule playdates in advanced, you hope the weather will be warm enough so you can meet up with your child’s friends at the park. I like meeting at a playground because it gives Paulo a chance to run around and burn off energy so that he naps well in the afternoon. Since we can’t always rely on the weatherman’s forecast, my Mommy friends and I always have a back-up place to meet in case it’s raining or if it’s too cold. That place is our local Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately, this is the back-up plan for everyone else, too. But that’s okay. It works out somehow.

Our bookstore has a train table in the children’s book section. They have a few trains for the kids to play with, and it’s cute (and sometimes not-so-cute) to see them learn how to share. Parents are also allowed to pick up a book from the shelves and read to their children. They have a little table and a few chairs, or you can even sit on the floor with your child on your lap and spend a quiet moment entertaining them with a story or two. Once a week, our bookstore has Story Time. The kids sit around the stage area while one of the staff members reads to the children. At the end of Story Time, they provide a small snack. Best part of Barnes & Noble? They have a Starbucks so I can order a grande soy caramel macchiato with whipped cream and enjoy drinking it while Paulo plays at the train table. Bliss!

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If you’re like me and just don’t have the funds to go to Disneyland, Hawaii or even day camp, there is still many enjoyable activities you can do with your children all for FREE!


My children could spend hours at the park. They love to run around and get dirty. They never seem to get tired. Our park has a giant sand box. The kids love to bring their beach toys and build sand castles. Some parks have a water play area so when it’s sunny and hot, get the kids in their bathing suits and cool off. (TIP: Don’t go everyday, but maybe once or twice a week just to keep it exciting.)


Keep your child busy by visiting the library. You can even get your child his/her own library card and teach them how to be responsible and accountable for books they borrow from the library.  Does your local library have a summer reading program? If so, sign them up (it’s free) and they can even win prizes. Best of all, you can listen to them become fluent with each passing day. Also, you may want to find out if your library has any upcoming summer events. Each week our library has free performances all summer long. We’ve seen Python Ron who fascinated us with his reptiles, Magic Dan who inspired us with his tricks, and a shadow puppet show that opened our imagination!


I know I’m guilty of being too lazy and too hot to go outside, but sometimes the smallest things give children the biggest smiles. I bet you have a bottle of bubbles somewhere in the house. (There’s always some bubbles inside every birthday goody bag we get!) Spend a few minutes outside just blowing bubbles and watching your kids try to catch and pop them. It’s good exercise for all!


Visit a nearby art gallery. It’s usually free to go in and browse. You can teach your child art appreciation, and we can learn a lot about our children, too. Ask them open-ended questions like, “How does this picture make you feel?” or “What kind of materials do you think the artist used?” For younger children, you can ask, “Let’s count how many colors the artist used.”

There’s still a couple more weeks of summer left. Make the most of it without spending a dime!

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Wii Fit is great, but the summer months are approaching and it is time to rediscover your nearest park for a little fresh air and old fashioned games.  Playing outdoors is more important than ever to incorporate into your kids’ weekly activities – it is fun and beneficial to your child’s health, as well as lays a foundation for your child to value a more active adulthood.

Below is a fun game I rediscovered over the weekend with my nieces – not only were they smiling with joy, but I was panting and out of breath chasing them, making me realize that I needed a little outdoor activity TLC.

Where Art Thou? (aka Scavenger Hunt)
# of Kiddies: 1+
Ages: 3+

Why?: Get back to mother nature and teach kids colors and a little about the environment.

What to Bring: A list of nature items. For younger children, use art or drawings to create the list.

Here is a short list to get you started:

  1. A worm
    Fun fact: There are about 2 700 species (different kinds) of earthworms around the world. They are invertebrates, which means they don’t have backbones. Earthworms dig large burrows, which let water and air into the soil.  As they burrow, the worms swallow soil and eat the plant matter that is in it. The soil they swallow passes though the worm’s body and is left in little piles on top of the ground. This is called castings and is excellent fertilizer (food for plants).
  2. A penny
    Fun fact: The average penny lasts 25 years. It is made of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.
  3. 2 different types of grass
    Fun Fact:  Bamboo is actually a grass!  Most animals cannot digest (cannot eat) grass. Animals that can eat grass are: pandas, cows, goats, sheep, camels, llamas, giraffes, buffalo, deer, wildebeest and antelope to name a few.
  4. Leaves from 3 different trees
    Fun Fact: Like us humans, trees and plants needs to eat and grow.  In fact, they like to eat sugar!  A tree’s sugar is made with the help of the sun and a green chemical called chlorophyll. If the tree is eating, the leaves will be green. Spring and summer are when trees eat and grow the most because there is the most sun. In autumn, trees like to rest and have stored enough food away for the fall to stop growing.  Since the tree is not eating and only sleeping in the fall, the green goes away, and the leaves turn red and purple, orange; yellow, and brown.
  5. Large rock
  6. Moss
    Fun Fact: Moss cannot have flowers
  7. Berry (Warn your children to not eat the berries, but rather inspect its color and texture, i.e. is it hard, soft?).
    Fun Fact: The Native Americans were the first to introduce berries to their diets.
  8. Pinecone
    Fun Fact: a pinecone can weigh up to 10 pounds!
  9. Something plastic (Explain how it doesn’t belong in nature)
  10. Animal tracks (Draw them on paper after you find them)
  11. Nut or acorn
    Fun Fact: Acorns come from Oak trees.
  12. Flower
  13. Something red
  14. Feather (Have your children guess what type of bird the feather came from? Blue Bird, Seagull, Pigeon and more!)
  15.  Seeds
  16.  A gum wrapper
  17. Something that makes noise
  18. Something that fell out of a tree
  19. Something that begins with the first letter of your child’s name

Note: Can’t make it to the park?  Here is a list of items you can find in your backyard:

  1. A garden tool
  2. A yellow flower or Dandelion
  3. A ball
  4. A white object
  5. A two pronged twig
  6. A snail
  7. A leaf with 3 tips

How to Play: Give the kids a printed list of nature items to find.  The first player or team to report back with all of their items wins the prize (could be a healthy snack such as your child’s favorite fruit or even allowing the winner to pick the next game!).  If your kid is lucky, mommy and daddy could even let the child pick:

a)      Where he/she would like to eat that night for dinner
b)      An educational program on the computer to play with for 20 minutes
c)      A family board game to play at home that night

Note to Self: Since this game is obviously held outdoors, be sure to make a set of rules and guidelines for your kids. If you have more than 4 kids, set them up into teams, set a reasonable time limit and make sure to tell them to stay within the boundaries of the park where you can still see them as a chaperone.  It’s always a good idea to pair up your kids and make a buddy system; young children can carry a cell phone with them. Everyone can be safe, learning and having fun!

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