July 29, 2010

Create Your Own Ice Cream Bowl This Sunday!

After some very HOT, humid weather in the Ann Arbor area of late, I'm personally ready for a break. I've been cooped up inside with the A/C blaring coming out only after dark. I'm starting to feel like a vampire... Maybe that's an exageration, however I know of families everywhere who have been hiding from the heat, and that's where this fun (and cool) event comes in... How about having a "Sundae" @ the Ann Arbor Art Center?

On Sunday, August 1, 2010 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Ann Arbor area families are invited to head over to the Art Center to paint their very own, one-of-a-kind, ceramic ice cream bowl. Your bowl will be fired and ready for pick up after the event, and while you wait, enjoy your very own ice cream sundae! Since the kids typically get finished much faster than the adults when doing craft projects, the folks at the Ann Arbor Art Center will also have face painting, balloon animals, and a building scavenger hunt for the day.

This would be a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon, together with the people you love most. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchase online at the Ann Arbor Art Center or by calling, 734.994.8004 x 101.

July 26, 2010

Free Upcoming Kids Build-It Clinics

Kids who love to build or work with their hands will thoroughly enjoy the upcoming free building projects available at Home Depot and Lowes. In general the clinics are geared for children ages 5-12. They are a great way to spend quality mother-son or father-daugher time with a parent, they are fun (and free), and finally the workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills and tool safety, while at the same time helping to instill a sense of accomplishment!

Upcoming projects for August projects, highlighted below, focus on bugs and (gasp!) back to school projects...

  • Saturday, August 7, 2010 - Build your own school bus pencil or crayon organizer at a Home Depot kids clinic between 9:00 a.m. and noon. Besides receiving their free constructed project kit, each child receives a kid-sized orange apron and an achievement pin.
  • Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at a participating Lowe's, children can build their own "beetle shaped" bug box for capturing their favorite critter. Besides the project, each participant will receive a free apron, goggles, a project themed patch, and a certification of merit - As an added bonus, kids who participate in the Lowe's Build and Grow projects this summer will receive a coupon for their own FREE Jr. Frosty at Wendy's. To sign your child up for the free Lowe's Build and Grow clinic of choice, be sure to register in advance at the Build and Grow website.
  • Saturday, August 28 at 10:00 a.m. kids can build a cool school bus at Lowe's. The clinic includes stickers, and a secret compartment in the bus to store chalk. The cute school bus even has a sliding chalboard on top to get creative on!

July 22, 2010

Week of July 26, 2010: Kids' Craft Events

Hello readers...  Do you need more fun kids' craft ideas that are inexpensive and fun?  Here are a few more that are happening in AnnArbor next week!

Monday July 26, 2010:
Children can create works of art using their own hands as a stencil! Add googly eyes, pompoms and gemstones for a finishing touch. This is a free family event for ages 4+ at 10:00-11:00 a.m. and from 3:00-4:30 p.m. at Tree Town Toys, Ann Arbor.

Thursday, July 29, 2010:
"Rock-A-Doodle" is a fun way to create a critter - Think of creating a spider, bird, school bus or even a person - by simply painting and decorating a rock with cool colors and designs. This in-store craft at Tree Town Toys will use supplies from Creativity for Kids, a branch of the famous art supplier Faber-Castell, that specializes in fun, open-ended art projects for kids. Each child, aged 3+, will paint stones and use peel and stick shapes, wiggly eyes and fuzzy, fun embellishments to create a pebble friend to take home. This kids craft project costs $2 and is available from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

July 20, 2010

Youth Summer Reading: Incentives for Children & Teens!

Millions of parents out there are beginning to wonder how summer is slipping by so quickly, while their children begin to graon as they see the school supplies and back to school sales beginning... I've actually been enjoying the summer with my kids, but it has gotten away from me some. In fact I meant to post this article a month or more ago.

For those of you parents who have been tracking your children's summer reading though, it means there will be lots of freebies coming shortly. Take a look at some of the great summer reading program rewards for your child:

  • Barnes and Nobel is giving your child a free book after they have read 8 of them! Just be sure to download your summer reading passport to get started. This program is running through September 7, 2010.
  • Borders is double-dog daring kids to read 10 books to get 1 free! This program ends August 26, 2010 and can be redeamed at Borders, Borders Express or Walden Books.
  • Kids who love to read should join Nicola's Summer Reading Bonanza. Stop by the store to pick up a Reading Bonanza form and start reading! Read 10 books (that you haven't read before) by the August 31st deadline to receive a free book (up to $7.99 in value). Kids names will also be put into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate!
  • Check out your public library. In our case with the Ypsilanti District Library summer reading program, the kids got a free Dairy Queen cone at the start of the program, the will get something half way through and will get something at the end too! I understand that the Ann Arbor District Library also has a great summer reading program for children and youth! 
If you know of other programs with summer reading incentives, please pass it along, I'd be glad to add them to the list!

July 19, 2010

Taking The Kids To The Ann Arbor Art Fair?

It’s art fair week in Ann Arbor, and if you are like countless parents in the area (like me), you may be asking yourself, “If I attend the Ann Arbor Art Fair with the kids in tow this year, will we have fun?” Quite possibly too you might be asking, “What will taking the kids to the art fair mean to me?” “Will there be melt downs?” “Will I have fun if the kids are in tow?” And most importantly, “What is there to do at the art fair for children?”

As my children are becoming more independent and gaining a few years on them it is easier for me to take them places. I’m also beginning to understand the power that these types of experiences afford me – Taking my kids to the art fair becomes a teaching experience, a cultural moment and so much more. So what are the kid friendly aspects of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs; what is there to do at the art fairs this week? Make sure to check out my ideas for parents that are considering taking their kids to wander the Ann Arbor Art Fairs - it's published on www.AnnArbor.com.

July 15, 2010

Upcoming Kids Craft Events

Check out the great upcoming craft projects that are happening throughout the month of July at Tree Town Toys (2611 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor).

Sunday, July 18, 2010:
Stop into the store between 11:30am and 5:30pm to get a free color-in tattoo. If your children are like mine, this event will be a "must do" family outing... Tree town Toys staff will help kids apply the temporary tattoos that they can color in!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010:
Pablo Picasso saw geometric shapes in the planes of the human body - He didn't worry if facial features were scattered on the canvas. Think of his artwork as the perfect kid friendly project! From 1:30-2:30 p.m. kids ages 6+ will learn how to use a variety of angles and shapes to capture energy and motion in a Picasso-inspired portrait with Faber-Castell watercolor pencils on a canvas. Cost for this kids’ project is $5. Please make sure to register in advance by calling 734-929-6545.

Thursday, 22, 2010:
Children ages 6+ may create a one-of-a-kind "designer puppy" from 10:00-11:30 a.m. - Each pup can be designed as a favorite dog breed or create a one-of-a-kind polka dotted pooch! All puppies get tired, so kids will also decorate a bed for their puppy. Cost for entire project is $6.

Saturday, July 24, 2010:
Sticky Mosaics are a fun way to create magnificent mosaic artwork. It's also an excellent summer learning activity since children follow the numbers and place the colorful sticky foam squares onto the patterns. From 3:00-4:00 p.m. kids can create one mosaic in the store and get a second, different pattern, to take home to occupy their time later. This activity is geared towards children ages 3+ and costs $3.00.

More events will posted next week, so stay tuned. To RSVP to any of their kids' events, check out the Tree Town Toys Facebook fan page, or the Tree Town Toys website or call the store at 734-929-6545.

July 14, 2010

Family Campout and Movie in Canton

Pack up your family tent and bring the lawn chairs and blankets for a fun family night under the stars in Canton. On July 16-17, families can come enjoy some great fun at the Heritage Park amphitheater (1150 S. Canton Center Road, Canton MI). There will be some great activities throughout the evening including entertainment starting at 6:00 p.m., followed by the movie Monsters vs. Aliens at dusk.

Families who want additional fun can opt to camp overnight for only $15.00 too. It's a great way to experience camping, and be close to home "just in case" things don't go as planned!

Canoeing will be available for a separate fee during the event. Please note that the event is requestion tents only - No trailers or mobile homes please.

For more information call 734-394-5100.

July 9, 2010

Surviving Summer With Your Kids - A Dose of Humor

A friend of mine from college, Christine Cashen (humorist, dynamic pubic speaker and author) recently did this television segment highlighting ways for moms to survive summer while their kids are at home. I thought all of the tips were excellent and wanted to pass them along - ENJOY!

I do have one final note for moms that she didn't mention... Getting her book, The Good Stuff and locking yourself away to read it would also be a fantastic way to survive your kids being home in the summer. Just don't come out until you've finished reading it. You WON'T be disappointed!

July 8, 2010

Try Fuzzoodles This Weekend!

In AnnArbor.com I recently wrote about my experience with Fuzzoodles - they are fun to use fuzzy, flexible (and reusable) building sticks created by an Ann Arbor company. Luckily the Ann Arbor Learning Express (2465 West Stadium Boulevard) store will be selling them and has a fun "try them out event" this Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

Be sure to stop in and check them out - I am SURE you will like what you see and the kids will enjoy playing with Fuzzoodles as well...  Think of it as free entertainment!

July 7, 2010

Ann Arbor Learning Express Rubber Band Trading Event

Over the holiday weekend I was introduced to the latest kids crazy - Silly Bandz. I had heard about them, and thought my son might like them as an inexpensive souveneer of his weekend up north. Sure enough he was already familiar with these glorified rubber band bracelets that all the kids were wearing. He purchased a pack, with my mother purchasing a second pack of red-white-and-blue glow in the dark "Monster Bands" (knock offs).

So what do we do with them now that we have them? Well he can always just wear them, and in fact was taught a neat trick to combine two colors... OR he can trade them!

This Saturday, July 10, at the Learning Express store (2465 West Stadium Blvd.) in Ann Arbor, there is a Rubber Band Trading Event at 2:00 p.m. - Bands will be displayed, and traded and of course many fun and colorful styles and shapes will be available for purchase!

This Weekend: Free Slurpee Sunday

I have fond childhood memories of hopping on my bicycle and riding to the neighborhood 7-Eleven to get a Slurpee - Heck just thinking about a Slurpee makes me want one! So it's lucky that this Sunday, July 11 2010 is FREE Slurpee day at participating 7-Eleven Stores across the U.S.

In celebration of 7-Eleven's 83rd birthday, 5 million free 7.11oz Slurpee drinks (a child's size) will be given out this Sunday from 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. - Check out the 7-Eleven FREE Slurpee Day deal for yourself.

For those families in the Ann Arbor area, there are three 7-Eleven locations nearby in Ypsilanti (2200 Ellsworth Road, Ypsilanti), Belleville (6040 Rawsonville Rd, Belleville) and south Canton (45490 Michigan Avenue, Canton).

Free Art Class for Preschoolers and Parents

This friday morning is your last chance to check out a fun and free preschool art class at the Allen Creek Preschool (3027 Miller Ave., Ann Arbor 48103) from 10:00-11:00 a.m. The event is a great chance for parents and children to work together, explore art and build a lifetime of memories! Children and their caregivers can choose from projects offered in different classrooms under the guidance of the highly regarded early education teachers at Allen Creek Preschool.

For more information call Allen Creek Preschool at 734-994-3382.

July 6, 2010

Babysitter Training in Ann Arbor

If your teen is hoping to make some extra cash babysitting this summer, there is nothing better than attending a Red Cross training class. It's the "gold seal standard" for parents hoping to hire a young individuals for babysitting services too!

This Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. the Washtenaw County Red Cross Chapter (4624 Packard Road, Ann Arbor) will be offering a chance for your teen to become more confident in the face of an emergency while babysitting.

If your teen can not attend this Saturday's session, other dates include July 14, 24, and 28. For more information and to register (cost $50) contact the Washtenaw County Red Cross Chapter at 734-971-5300.

$10 Chiropractic Exams and Adjustments for Kids

I saw this item, and although it isn't an "event" it is an inexpensive way for you to get your child a chiropractic exam and adjustment.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, First Choice Chiropractic (4748 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor 48104) is offering exams and adjustments, by appointment, for children 12 and younger for $10 on Saturdays. All proceeds benefit Ann Arbor’s SafetyTown program.

For more information call First Choice Chiropractic 734-434-1100