January 31, 2011

Cute Heart Shelf Kid's Can Build

Home Depot's Kid's Building Workshops are a great way to spend cold, blustery winter Saturday mornings. The sessions are helpful and often help your child a cute and usable project. On Saturday, February 5, your child can build his or her own heart shelf 9:00 a.m. - noon at many local Home Depot locations. In addition to creating the shelf, each child receives a certificate of completion, a kid sized Home Depot apron and a pin to attach to the apron for the completed project.

Make sure to arrive early if you want this project, otherwise your child may end up with kit's from a previous project!

January 29, 2011

Metro Parent Magazines Super Summers Camp & Activity Fair

Last spring I wrote an article for AnnArbor.com on Kids summer camps. Then on the Ann Arbor Mom Blog I posted links for general topic summer camps, sports summer camps, summer camps for theatre and arts, and computer camps. I'll post articles like that for 2011, however for parents who might like to check out many kids summer camps in one shot, you should consider attending the Metro Parent Summer Camp Fair today!

For over twenty years, Metro Parent Magazine’s Super Summers for Kids: Camp & Activity Fairs have helped parents make good and educated choices for their children. This free one-stop-shopping event will be held in Ann Arbor on Saturday, January 29 at Washtenaw Community College in the Morris Lawrence Building from 11:00 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. This fair is designed to help parents plan a summer to remember for their children.

For additional information, visit MetroParent.com or call 248-398-3400, ext. 128.

January 27, 2011

Preschool Open House Events for the 2011-12 School Year

With preschool open house events cropping up rather quickly, I put together a complete list of Ann Arbor preschool locations that includes the dates and times for parent open houses on AnnArbor.com.

For parents though, who would rather view many options for ealy childhood education under one roof, the January 30 Preschool Expo at the Palmer Commons on the University of Michigan campus (100 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor 48109) is a great resource. The free event will feature many of the preschool, Montessori and nursery school options available throughout Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Saline for the 2011-12 school year. Parents should plan to attend. Parking is also free.

January 25, 2011

Tree Town Toys Provides Free and Low-Cost Craft Classes

If you decide to wander out and about this week, there are a couple of fun kids activities happening at Tree Town Toys tomorrow. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., kids ages 2 and over can create their own butterfly ring for only $1. After school, from 4:00-5:00 p.m., the older kid's can get into the act for a free class to create their own Australian aboriginal "Dot Paintings."

Family Science Workshops at the Ypsilanti District Library

The Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker Branch - 5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) is hosting a new series titled Family Science Workshops: Discover Water. The free program on several Saturday's throughout the winter will allow children ages 6-12 and their adult caregiver to explore many different aspects of water including what it is while learning how to protect this precious natural resource.

Registration is required for the free program online with a Ypsilanti District Library card, or by calling the library at please call the calling (734) 482-4110.
January 29: Water Wonders—what is water and what can it do
February 12: Water World—explore the way water affects life on Earth
March 12: Water Wisdom—caring for our water resources.

January 19, 2011

Weekend: Plymouth Ice Festival Has Fun For The Whole Family

UPDATED for 2012

I love this time of year. I know that many families can't stand the cold, but the family really embraces it and plays outside in the snow, ice skating, sledding or just building a fort. We also love attending the Plymouth Ice Festival and have attended every year even when the kids were in strollers!

This weekend, January 20-22, the Plymouth Ice Festival is celebrating it's 30th year. With sub-zero temps through Saturday,  the ice sculptures should be in pristine condition; This year's festival will feature over 100 ice sculptures that are available for viewing 24 hours a day!

The festival has many other great things to encourage families to visit including live music and entertainment, interactive family shows, winter-themed tasty treats and a variety of special events and activities to interest kids of all ages. This year there is a Sun and Snow Sports winter fun zone, a kid's petting farm, Radio Disney Live!, a Home Depot “Little Builders” kit construction project and a chance to meet the Plymouth Whalers’ mascot, Shooter the Whale among many other kid-friendly activities.

Back for another year, the Plymouth Ice Fest Rail Jam will also be happening on Saturday and Sunday. The Rail Jam event features a free course open to skiers and snowboarders who sign a liability waiver and provides eye opening entertainment for those watching. Watch cool stunts to good music - There may be a photo opportunity or two as well. The Rail Jam is free and open to ALL snowboarders and skiers on Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

2012 Plymouth Ice Festival Event Demonstration and Activity Times:

Friday, January 20st – 3:00pm to 9:00pm
Saturday, January 21st – 10:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday, January 22nd – 10:00am to 6:00pm

For more information be sure to visit the Plymouth Ice Festival website or find the Facebook Plymouth Ice Festival page! Make sure to download the complete Plymouth Ice Festival schedule before you head over too.

Urban Toddler Discount With Groupon

Deal Alert:

Today's Groupon coupon is for Saline's Urban Toddler and includes two options for purchase. For a $30 purchase,  families get a three-month membership including unlimited drop-in play access for their indoor play room (a $60 value) and $10 worth of children's apparel or gear in the retail store. Families can also purchase a $15 Groupon and get six drop-in play passes which typically costs $30!

This would be a great baby gift for area moms (yes you can give Groupon deals as a gift) or well loved by any family with babies and toddlers. Grab the Urban Toddler Groupon deal fast though!

January 17, 2011

Kids Try Ice Hockey for Free at the Arctic Edge

Kids can try hockey this weekend at Canton's Arctic Edge.
Has your son or daughter ever expressed an interest in hockey but you were unsure of their abilities or true interest? Well, this weekend, kids age 4-9 can try hockey for free at Arctic Edge (46615 Michigan Ave., Canton) from 11:00 a.m.-noon. Free equipment will also be available based on availability. For more information call 734-487-7777 or register online for the free kids ice hockey.

January 16, 2011

Kid's Build a Free Ball Toss Game at Lowe's

Want to find something fun for the kid's? Next Saturday at Lowe's kid's can build their own ball toss game during the free Build and Grow seminar. The session begins at 10:00 a.m. at many area Lowe's stores, however it does require pre-registration at the Build and Grow website.

January 14, 2011

Skatin Station and Extreme Bounce Open Extended Hours on Monday MLK Day!

I heard of a couple more opportunities for kids to have fun on MLK Day, these are low-cost activities for older children and teens.

When exercise or physical fitness is on your mind, consider taking the kids to Extreme Bounce Zone (82 Aprill Drive, Suite C, Ann Arbor) for their extended hours 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. for bouncing when they're off school - Admission is $7/child (kids 5 & under receive the discounted price of $5/child). Another fun idea is to take the kids for roller skating at Skatin' Station II (8611 Ronda Dr., Canton) from 1:00-4:00 p.m. for some good exercise - Admission is $6 with a $2 skate rental fee.

January 13, 2011

Activities for Kids, Teens and Families to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Find many family activities in Ann Arbor
in celebration of MLK Day!
With most of the area schools closed Monday in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it leaves a parent with thoughts on what to plan for the kids. Thankfully, there is a lot going on that are both educational and fun. Check out some of these great activities for kids to do on Monday, I've included local free activities, low-cost events and some interesting featured programs.
All of the area libraries are including some wonderful programming available throughout the day. Start your celebration with a free movie and craft project at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti) 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Watch ‘Ruby Bridges’ followed by TAG members reading excerpts from MLK’s I Have a Dream speech. Then you’ll do some craft activities.  For more information on this drop-in program visit your local YDL branch or call 482-4110 ext. 1390.

The Ann Arbor District Library is also providing a wonderful program with local author Paula Young Shelton. From 2:00-3:00 p.m. at the Downtown Library, Shelton will be discussing her book "Child Of The Civil Rights Movement", which brings a child's unique perspective to an inspirational chapter in America's history. This event includes a book signing where books will be for sale.

If an afternoon full of activities is what your teen is looking for, consider taking them to the Drop-In Wii Sports and Crafts for Kids and Teens at the Dexter District Library (3255 Alpine St., Dexter MI) from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
The meeting room will be divided in half and on one side for the kids to play Wii Sports (Bowling, Tennis and Baseball) and enjoy some snacks with a craft available on the other side of the room. For more information, call 734-426-4477. This program is geared for kids and teens ages 8 and up.

Music is a wonderful way to fill the day and celebrate a man with a dream. At 2:00 p.m. at the University of Michigan Power Center (121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor), the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance is hosting a free musical celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. For more information call 734-763-3333 or check out the calendar of all MLK events at the University of Michigan offered that day.

For families who can not participate in a daytime celebration, consider taking your family to a free Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) at 5:30-8:30 p.m. hear patriotic and freedom songs, watch a documentary and celebrate MLK Day during this free event for the whole family.

In the evening, Trinity Episcopal Church (11575 Belleville Rd., Belleville) is hosting a dramatic Dramatic performance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches at 7:00 p.m. The event "The dream Lives On" is a joyful celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and contains exercerpts from his well known speaches as well as powerful music and audience participation.

Leslie Science Center and Dancers Edge Programs Available Monday

Some families require child-care when the kids are out of school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For those families, there are several fun, but paid for opportunities available for the day.

The Leslie Science and Nature Center is offering a program from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. that includes a pizza lunch for $60 per child in grades K-5th. Send your kids to learn with Leslie Science and Nature Center when schools are closed. Discover the wonderful world of nature, explore the forest, fields, and trails. For information call 734-997-1553.

For children more interested in arts, Kristin Walters will be teaching a class at at Dancers Edge @ Studio "D" (3045 Broad St., Dexter MI) from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Cost is $50 for children ages 6-14 with supplies included. For information call 734-424-2626.

Free Admission to The Henry Ford Museum on MLK Day

Spend MLK Day exploring The Henry Ford Museum with
free admission during Target Family Fun Days.
 Monday is Target Family Fun Days at the Henry Ford Museum. What does that mean? Free admission to the museum courtesy of Target!!! It doesn't get much better than that.

So when you are considering what to do when the kids are off school Monday, consider taking the family to The Henry Ford. The free day of fun and education includes live musical performances, give-aways, and make and take projects, or simply use the day to explore the entire museum including the With Liberty and Justice For all exhibit!

January 12, 2011

Deeply Discounted Eats for A Day at the Movie Theatre!

Deal Alert!

I thought today's AnnArbor.com Real Deal might be of interest to Ann Arbor families who love movies. Families can get Rave Motion Picture (on Carpenter) coupons for 2 medium sodas and a medium popcorn for only $9 - That's typically a $15 value!  You can even buy up to 5 to use through February - With the price of movies, every little bit helps!

January 11, 2011

Recipe for Play-Doh

For frugal parents everywhere a friend of mine posted this recipe for homemade play-doh that would be fun to create, inexpensive and educational!

Origami FUN-damentals at the Ypsilanti District Library

On Saturday, January 15 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. kids and teens ages 10 and up can learn to create flowers, birds, dinosaurs, boxes out of single sheets of paper! This free event hosted by the Ypsilanti District Library - Whittaker Branch (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) features origami expert Dave Strenski to teach the kids the basic paper folding skills of origami.

January 10, 2011

Free Activities for Kids - Paint a Tile, Create a Book, Free Outdoor Ice Rink

There are several great free kids events and activities scheduled this week in Chelsea, Ypsilanti, Saline and throughout the area - Although they are free, many require pre-registration, so don't forget to register for these great family activities.

Create your own folded book at the Chelsea District Library (221 South Main Street, Chelsea MI) on Wednesday, January 12 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Families and kids over age-8, will take a hands-on workshop to create a hand-folded book along with a box to keep it in. All materials will be provided free for families.

On Thursday, January 13, teens and kids over age 8 can Paint a Ceramic Tile at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti) from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Add a favorite pattern or picture to a customized tile. Registration is required and all materials are free. 734-482-4110 ext. 1340.
Bennett Street in Saline, MI - The outdoor ice rink is located
on the NE corner of Henne Field.
If outdoor activities are your bag, don't forget to check out the new outdoor ice rink in Saline for some free skate time! The ice rink in located at the northeast corner of Henne Field just off Bennett Street with hours from 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Remember that families skate at their own risk, and safety gear is recommended. No hockey sticks or
pucks are allowed.

January 6, 2011

Pre-School Roller Skating in Canton Thursday Morning's

Learning to stop during Skatin'
Stations free roller skating lesson
at the pre-school skate.
 I took my daughter to Canton's Skatin' Station II for their pre-school skate this morning. It's a perfect indoor winter activity that she finally decided try. 

The roller skating session runs Thursday mornings from 10:00-11:30 for $5. With that though, the kids (and skating adults) get admission, skate rental, a small snack and a drink. (This week it was a small lemonade and package of Goldfish crackers!) Plus the kids get a free basic roller skating lesson and fun dances during the skating session.

It was great fun and great exercise for my daughter - and me - That we're ready to do again!

Skatin' Station II
8611 Ronda Drive, Canton MI 48187
(Located off of Joy Road between Haggerty and Lilley.)

Hugely Discounted Classes for A Mom's "Me Time" at Pure Barre

For busy parent's, Groupon has a great deal today. I figure I can even squeeze in a workout while the kids are at school in between drop off and pick up times! Get 5 body-toning, fat-burning workouts at Pure Barre in Ann Arbor for only $25!

For the new year I have decided to try getting some "me time" working out. I know that it will make me a better and more focused parent, and by changing up my routine, it will stay fresh! So one month at Pure Barre would be a great way to try something new!