Posts Tagged ‘kids’

101 Things to Do in the Summer with Your Kids

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Summer is a time for slowing down, released from after school activities and homework.  We all hold our childhood summer memories dearly, close to our hearts.  Here are just a few ways to make more summer memories with your kids:

  1. Go to the beach!
  2. Make homemade popsicles
  3. Run barefoot in the grass
  4. Have a movie marathon
  5. Jump rope
  6. Try yoga
  7. Go to the park (one with sprinklers is even better)
  8. Have a picnic dinner or lunch
  9. Kick around a soccer ball
  10. Chalk + sidewalk = inner artist
  11. Play video games together on a rainy day
  12. Play dress-up
  13. Go to a museum
  14. Go swimming
  15. Visit a local botanical garden or community garden
  16. Dance around the living room with abandon
  17. Visit the library
  18. Look up free concerts, movies, etc. in your area
  19. Go camping
  20. Eat watermelon
  21. Go strawberry or blueberry picking
  22. Taco Tuesday
  23. Have a spa day at home
  24. Host a sleepover
  25. Bubbles
  26. Play kick the can
  27. Make your own summer salad buffet
  28. Roast marshmallows
  29. Ride your bike
  30. Go on a hike
  31. Visit a flea market
  32. Make pet rocks
  33. Have a lemonade stand
  34. Go to an amusement park
  35. Plant flowers
  36. Watch fireworks
  37. Make homemade waffles
  38. Go fishing
  39. Write a letter to someone and actually mail it
  40. Catch fireflies
  41. Visit the zoo
  42. Ice cream sundaes
  43. Have a family basketball tournament
  44. Create theme weeks, like animals, space, or whatever your kid loves most.
  45. Make a blanket and pillow fort
  46. Go horseback riding
  47. Visit a farmers market
  48. Sno cones
  49. Play cat’s cradle:’s-Cradle-Game
  50. Go to a street fair
  51. Eat a pickle on a stick
  52. Go to a baseball game
  53. Fly a kite
  54. Go roller skating or skateboarding
  55. Family game night!
  56. Make a summer tote bag
  57. Write a song
  58. Wiggle your toes
  59. Make a fruit salad
  60. Learn how to hula hoop
  61. Play mingolf
  62. Have a scavenger hunt
  63. Dance contest
  64. S’mores
  65. Go bowling
  66. Play tennis
  67. Make a watercolor painting
  68. Have a science day
  69. Breakfast for dinner
  70. Learn origami:
  71. Frisbee
  72. Obstacle course
  73. Make a sandcastle
  74. Give the dog a bath
  75. Make shirts
  76. Visit a farm
  77. Hopscotch
  78. Make homemade pizza
  79. Visit a planetarium
  80. Make a bird feeder
  81. Go on a boat ride
  82. Make a nature collage
  83. Bake cupcakes
  84. Visit a thrift store
  85. Go to a carnival
  86. Make suncatchers
  87. Go for a walk at twilight
  88. See a play
  89. Slip’n’slide
  90. Play stick ball
  91. Science experiment
  92. Playdoh
  93. BBQ
  94. Make a summer photo album
  95. Finger puppets
  96. Star gaze
  97. Volunteer
  98. Have a sidewalk or garage sale
  99. Enjoy the sunshine
  100. Learn something new
  101. Make a list of activities you want to do this summer and hang them on the wall so the kids can check them off.

The Peach Trees

Monday, October 10th, 2011

When I was eleven years old, my Aunt had a pool in her backyard in Sheepshead Bay.  It was about four feet tall.  My cousins and I would play Marco Polo for hours, “Marco!” and “Polo!” rang through the summer air.  We ran around the edges of the pool, faster and faster, until we created a whirlpool.  We had handstand contests as we inhaled the stinging chlorine; the undeniable scent of the summer sun permeated the air.  We refused to leave the pool until our fingers and toes had shriveled up so tightly that we felt them in the water.

Sometimes the older boy cousins, rambunctious and full of mischief, would jump from the edge of the pool into the water.  The flimsy pool wall bent in utter misery, under the weight of their feet.  They would laugh as they pushed our heads under the water, letting us go only when we flailed our arms desperately as the water began to enter our mouths and nostrils. We bobbed up, concerned more about choking then those boys, coughing the excess water which burned our throats and reddened our faces with stinging chlorine.

At some point, we would exit the pool, land on our bare feet upon the uncaring concrete ground, water dripping off our bodies in a fierce competition with the warm sun.  Along the yellow-sided house were peach trees.  We would run to pull a soft, round, furry peach off the branch.  The peach was warm and we cupped both it in both hands careful not to squish its fragile body.  Then we bit into the peach’s sweet flesh and smiled as the juice ran down our chins all the way to our neck.

Clothing Wars

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

I remember a time, not too long ago, when I enjoyed shopping for clothes with my daughter, Elisabeth.  My son, Alex, was eight years old when she was born.  Which meant that I was quarantined to the tiny boy’s section for eight whole years; drowning in khaki shorts and rugged blue polo shirts.

I could pick out Elisabeth’s clothes, cute little funky dresses, fun little striped tights, green and purple shoes, adorable hair accessories.  The world was my oyster and I didn’t do too bad for someone on a very tight budget (most of her clothes came from second-hand stores and Children’s Place Monster Sale).  She happily donned whatever I gave her and never complained about a stitch of clothing, not once.

Forward to real-time, ten years later, approximately one hundred Disney pre-teen episodes in, and a true calling to craving “stylish” and God forbid “cute”- Elisabeth has become a full-fledge individual.  I have encouraged this individuality is so many ways, wanting her to have the strong female self-confidence that was denied me growing up.

So why is it that now when I take her shopping, if I so much as graze my hand over something it is then tainted with “Mom-ness” and is forever to be shunned by her?  When did this happen?  When did she get so picky?  For now dresses will only be tolerated if forced for special occasions.  Skirts and skorts are no longer cool.  She prefers to simply wrap her hair in a plain ponytail with a plain headband each and every day.  All I can think is why won’t she let me pick out her clothes?  Of course, I still have final say on all choices.  I have only lost my ability to say yes, my no is still intact and will remain so for awhile to come.  I can still say yes, pick something out, go home with it, but it will lie in her drawer probably praying to see sunlight just once.

In retrospect, I wrap my hair up in a ponytail, I don’t wear makeup or jewelry, I prefer solids to prints.  I fall in love with a pair of shoes and will wear them until I feel like I have to have a funeral at their demise.  Did I pass this plainness to her?  She is so beautiful and so cool, why won’t she let me pick out the clothes I wish I could wear?  Perhaps my own longings are the issue here.  Even as a teenager I had long hair I almost never cut, no makeup, wore a plain t-shirt and jeans.  That’s it.  I always looked at the girls that could pull off funky, stylish clothes and wish I could too. I didn’t have it in me.  Later I learned to dress a bit more individually, shocking my friends at times with my eclectic style.  However, more often than not, I choose comfort every time.

So after I weigh all of the facts and causes, I should be happy that Elisabeth is becoming a self-confidant and individually strong young woman.  I rarely ever say “inappropriate” when she chooses something and there is nothing wrong with her decisions.

I should be content with this, but there is always a pang in my heart when I pick something up and her eyes begin rolling, a “Really?!” about to roll off her tongue as “This is so cute” is about to roll off of mine.

Old Town Alexandria-Day Trip

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

With Fall here, a part of me longs for trips up north to Vermont.  My mother lived there before she passed away and the crisp breeze calls to me.  However, with an insane school schedule and lack of funds, it is not an option.  While I remember my love of travel, I think of one of my other favorite places to visit here in the Northeast.  Old Town Alexandria, just outside of Washington, D.C.

Last Memorial Day Weekend, my kids and I, visited Old Town Alexandria. I have been there previously a few times, and every time I go back I am even more enchanted. There are tons of things to do while there. I wish I could say that we visited all the amazing art galleries, museums, or even trekked down to the famous Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Which was frequented by George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. However, we didn’t.

We actually took the Metro in from our hotel, L’Enfant Plaza to the Kings Street stop . Since we had spent the better part of three days making our way through the amazing, yet vast Smithsonian Museums we decided a simpler day was in order. So, the following are not the best of Old Town Alexandria, but they are fun little things to try not to miss when visiting (especially with kids):

·           Historic Alexandria is just a quaint, serene, beautiful little town. Cobblestones, pretty flowers hanging from the street lamps, a free old-fashioned trolley that runs through town, and a beautiful dock surrounded by a grassy field. Sitting on rocks by the water, a boat house, and a giant anchor that no child can keep from climbing.

•Historic Alexandria (Virginia) Visitor’s Center 

This is the best place to start before wondering around the town. There is so much information, extremely helpful and polite people to help with questions, a rest room, a sweet garden and a great place to find out if any special events are happening that day.

• Historic Alexander History Center & Museum Store

We didn’t actually make it to the Museum; however there was a very nice center with a coloring corner, Revolutionary dress up corner, a Civil War tent and other interesting information wagons.  My daughter had a fun time here; despite ourselves the adults did as well.  To be honest my teenage son wished he was anywhere else and he was starving!!!!! So whether or not you make it to the museum (we plan on it next time), don’t miss this little hidden “play place”!


We weaved in and out of such cute shops!  There were folk art, book shops, wine shops, cheese chops, fancy shops, toy stores, antique stores, and artisan shops.  We found a particularly adorable toy store where we picked up old fashioned small toys, like tops and things.  They even had little grab bags for $1 in paper lunch bags…which delighted my daughter with little treasures.


This by far was the most exciting thing.  After a sunny afternoon walk and hours of wandering around we were all famished.  Especially the previously mentioned, teenage boy!  The one problem we had in Washington D.C. was figuring out where to eat with kids.  Old Town Alexandria was the first place that we had options.  We finally decided on a fascinating chili place called: Hard Times Café.  Not only did it have an amazing history, lots of cowhides and vintage cowboy stuff, but it had amazing chili.  They even bring out a sampling platter of their four chilis!  The cornbread was so good. Family friendly and the waiters were extremely polite and helpful.  In fact this was one of my favorite parts of our visit.  The homemade root beer was so decadent and rich it was practically dessert, the best root beer any of us have ever had.

Overall, we had a wonderful day, I think we all returned to the Metro (on the free trolley of course!) wishing we had some more time to look around.  We also spent very little and got the most from what we did spend, in this tight economy that was a plus! Next time we visit Washington, D.C., I have every intention of staying in Old Town Alexandria instead of by the National Mall.  Waking up in such a pretty place, taking a morning stroll with coffee along the City docks sounds like a great way to start a day full of museum visits with kids in tow!

School Year End

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I remember a time when the school year end meant that the teacher pulled out the board games and crayons for drawing pictures.  We scrubbed pen marks off our desks with Comet and we talked about what we wanted to do for the summer.  There was always the feeling that we would have a happy ending to our grueling school year, field trips and testing left a faint taste in our mouths.  Cafeteria food would make way for watermelon and tomatoes picked right out of my grandmother’s garden.  It was a whimsical time, school friends bidding goodbye to become reacquainted with the children on our blocks.  We would share our  tears spilled from skinned knees and relish the first time we could spend a dollar on the ice cream truck, it’s sweet melody luring us away from sidewalk games like the pied piper.  The anticipation of block parties and barbecue made our skin tingle.

Today we have playoffs and end of the year meetings.  We have summer activities to schedule and day camps to send our children off too.  We have vacations planned and end of the year parties, for school and for every darn activity our child participated in.  We have summer to prepare for, new swim suits and sunscreen to buy.  I continue to wonder why it costs almost eight bucks a bottle!  The upcoming school year reaching from September into June to suffocate us and make us drop to our knees.  Summer is a break from the busy world we live in all year and it is in danger of extinction.  We need to perserve our summer days. The lazy summer days that never seem to end, particularly the most humid of the bunch are now cast aside.

My third grader had finals this week, she was stressed and studious trying to cram the last bit of information inside her head before school finishes.  She is not given the natural slide from school to summer.  It sometimes causes sadness when I see the tension that the idea of faster and more is better, creates.

Of course, summer will come whether we schedule its everyday or not.  I personally want nothing more than my daughter to sit on our Brooklyn stoop with an Italian ice with a friend.  Sticky goodness running down to their elbows, complaining they are bored while they count the scabs on their legs after running through the park.   School and the accompanying work a distant memory for a few months.

Time Flies

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Time. We wish we all had more of it. We spend money on things that might help us get more time. We spend more time trying to get the money for things that will save us time. We run from place to place trying to catch up with the time we need to have more of. We schedule ourselves and our kids around this concept, day after day, week after week.

We wake up in the morning, slamming the snooze button. Our body is aching for just three more minutes, tired and bleary eyed we say, “ I can afford fifteen minutes more, I’ll spend less time doing something else, except I am not giving up my trip to Starbucks, that isn’t negotiable.”

Remember. There was a time when time meant nothing. It was 1983 (insert your time here), I was about eight years old, there was so much time I was bored. I was actually bored, with nothing to do. Remember being bored? Sometimes I found something to do, like read or play with my siblings. Sometimes I just sat still and stared at the wall. When was the last time you watched a bug fly around a room? Without wanting to get up and smack it with a rolled up newspaper. Remember when the newspaper ink rubbed off unto your fingertips. This faint dark gray ink and you would notice how intricate your fingerprint really was?

I remember being so hot in the summer time, and we would eat popsicles from the ice-cream truck. After we ate the ice pop, the stick became a toy. We would play for hours; my favorite game here in Brooklyn was placing the stick in the middle of two concrete squares on the sidewalk. Each kid stood at the edge of a square and we would throw a bouncy blue hand ball aimed directly for the stick. Whoever hit the sticks past the other person’s line won. We were entertained for a long time, leisurely eating our pops and playing with that stick. Do kids have time to do things like that anymore?
I think that is what old people think, that they had time. Young people think it too. We middle of the road folk, we don’t think that. Is it our present circumstance or are we like all the others that came before us? Do we feel that we have so much to do and no time to do it, that we are different? Is it that life is different in these modern times? I think they are, but what do I know?

Remember, when adults used to get together in huge ambiguous groups, us children never really cared to pay too much attention. The reason is because those semi-familiar adults brought children over as well. They came for a “visit.”

 It was always visiting, along came their children. They couldn’t just leave them home by themselves. “Oh look, see here, there are others like you, small and whiney, go play with them, leave Mommy and Daddy alone, go outside and play.”
Our problem is this. It is our memories. We remember this time we had in abundance. We remember a time that was without play dates, appointments and obligations. We yearn for the simple spontaneous and glorious freedom of days gone by. I leave you with one more image, one more nugget.
Little over ten years ago, we could say this when the phone rang. “I’m sorry, I missed your call, and I was out all day.” The person on the other line understood completely. It’s not like they expected you to answer the phone every time they called…