June 29, 2012

Weekend Events Round-Up: June 29-July 1

Many folks are beginning to head out for a week of vacation this weekend, but for those of you staying in town, there is no lack of great things to do. You could hit the drive-in movies at Compuware Arena, get out in the many local parks for a picnic or simply splash at any of the areas splash parks.

Looking for things to do though, here's the weekend events round-up for your planning pleasure!

Friday, June 29:

Kids in grades K-5 can make their own Trash Tanks at Ann Arbor District Library (2359 Oak Valley Dr.,  Ann Arbor) at 2:00 p.m. This free event lets kids better understand what happens to what we put in the landfills. (I suggest this program after the kids do a thorough room cleaning!) Then they will make a mini trash tank to find out!

Check out the Kidszone with RobinSongs at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park 5:00-8:00 p.m. They will also enjoy the Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.

Get out and take the family on a botany hike on Saturday afternoon!

Saturday, June 30:

Get out and enjoy nature during a “Summer is Here!” botany hike at 2:00 p.m. at the Scio Woods Preserve. A naturalist from Washtenaw County Parks and Rec will take you and the family along to explore the many plants and flowers of summer.

Kids age 8+ can make a Seashell Picture Frame at Ypsilanti District Library (8975 MacArthur Blvd., Superior Township) at 2:00 p.m.  While this is a free event, registration is required: 482-4110 ext. 1391 Kids will use shells, sea glass, and yarn to create a beach-inspired picture frame to display their favorite summer photo.

Check out the Kidszone with U-M Natural History Museum at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park 5:00-8:00 p.m. They will also enjoy the Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.

Kids can make their own maracas during a free workshop
with Ann Banana  and the band at the AADL on Sunday!

Sunday, July 1:

Kids in grade K-3 will enjoy celebrating music with a workshop with Ann Banana at 1:00 p.m. The band will lead a hands-on craft session making maracas for the kids to use during their evening concert! This free event will happen at the AADL downtown branch!

Check out the Kidszone with U-M Natural History Museum at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park 5:00-8:00 p.m. They will also enjoy the Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. and an AADL Kids Rock Series concert with Anna Banana at 6:30 p.m.

See a free movie under the stars at 10:00 p.m. at Top of the Park. This weeks movie is Jurassic Park!

June 22, 2012

Weekend Events Round-Up: June 22-24

It's going to be a busy weekend for the family! We're hoping the weather hods out for our backyard camping experience - Actually we'll be taking part in camping at Rolling Hills but the park is close enough to be in our back yard (sort of!). Are you taking part in the Great American Backyard Campout or camping at the Leslie Science and Nature Center even? Do tell...

Another great family event is the Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival at Pioneer High School. Don't forget to get your $2 off discount admission armbands before you head out though! And of course the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park KidsZone is the place to be Friday and on Sunday the kids can rock out with Ratboy Jr.!

Friday, June 22

Is your child interested in all things science? Then be sure to check out the Glow Lab at the Ann Arbor District Library (2359 Oak Valley Dr., Ann Arbor) at 1:00 p.m.  The free program for kids in grades K–5 will explore light and all things that glow.

Your teen can shake it for prizes at the Just Dance! Dance Off! at Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) 6:00-8:30 p.m. Teens in grade 6+ and adults can compete for prizes  for flyest threads, most swagger on the dance floor and of course the winners of the dance- off. "Rhythm is a dancer".

Check out the Kidszone with the Leslie Science and Nature Center at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park 5:00-8:00 p.m. There is also a concert your kids might appreciate by Magdalen Fossum - Bet she's event the same age as some of your kids!

Don't forget to check out the Ann Arbor Jaycees Summer Carnival this weekend!

Saturday, June 23

Get creative and build something fun at the Grange Jr. Maker Program at 10:00 a.m. - noon.

Free tours are on tap otherwise for the day. I know my Cub Scout needs to tour a historic building and it looks like there will be several opportunities to do so happening throughout the weekend! Tour the Rentschler Farm and Saline Railroad Museums or take a free Dinosaur Tour at the U-M Natural History Museum.

Check out the Kidszone with Ann Arbor Rec and Ed at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Sunday your family can catch the movie Hugo at 10:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 24

Celebrate Log Cabin Day the way the pioneers did - Well maybe not entirely, however you can check out a working grist mill and tour a historical log cabin in Washtenaw County at the Parker Mill from 1:00-4:00 p.m. courtesy of the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation folk!

High school teens can game then watch during and afternoon of Ninjas at the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) at 1:00-4:00 p.m.  What is better than video games and movies - Not much. Stop by and see what the fun is all about! Find games, movies, soda and popcorn. Prizes awarded for best theme related costume and gameplay related contests.

Want to learn to write music? Then be sure to come to the music workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library (2359 Oak Valley Dr., Ann Arbor) at 1:00 p.m. Ratboy Jr. will help kids in grades 3–8 learn about the Song-O-Matic and how it c an help your child write songs!

Check out the Kidszone with the Judson Center at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park 5:00-8:00 p.m. That evening there are also two great kid-friendly concerts, one by Jeanie B! & The Jelly Beans at 5:00 p.m. and AADL's Kids Rock Series with Ratboy Jr. at 6:00 p.m.

See a free movie under the stars at 10:00 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park. Tonight's movie is Hugo.

June 19, 2012

Wacky Wednesday's

Catch the wave full of fun this summer at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) during Wacky Wenesday's. In celebration of the summer reading program, each Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., your kids can create fun crafts, catch a movie or just hang in the library for some under the sea fun. The free program runs through August 15.

Wacky Wednesday Programs:

June 20 - Watercolor War
June 27 - SpongeBob Party
July 11 - Seashell Picture Frame
July 18 - Smiley Shark Story and Craft
July 25 - Treasure Chests
August 1 - (Movie) Oceans and craft
August 8 - Water activities outside
August 15 - (Movie) Dolphin Tale

June 18, 2012

Epic Race Events for Kids Age 7-15

I'm not sure what it is lately, but my son has decided he wants to "race". He and I even registered for the Ann Arbor Color Run despite my not having raced in 25 years! I secretly think he only wants the prize medals, but I won't deter him from health habits either and will train with him.

Is your child interested in racing? Perhaps you want to instill some healthy habits? Maybe you just want to kids to be outdoors? If so, then you might consider checking into a couple Epic Race events happening this summer. The events, for kids ages 7-15 include swimming events, running events, biking events and even events that combine several of these activities! All of the events help the kids learn to lead active, healthful lifestyles.

June 23: Tri Kids Tri - Kids length triathlon - The event should probably be "TRY"athalon since the event focus is on participation and not competition. Fun, safety, and spirit will be the priority during this multisport event. It does take into account age appropriate distances as well!  at the Waterloo Recreation Area (17030 Bush Rd., Chelsea) in Chelsea.

July 1: Firecracker Splash and Dash - Kids length aquathlon at the Fuller Pool in Ann Arbor. This fast paced event combines running and swimming.

June 17, 2012

Summer Carnival at Pioneer High School

From the Tilt-a-Whirl to elephant ears, everyone
will love this fun-filled family event.
June 20 is the first day of summer and for me anyway, the kids are already driving me crazy wanting to "do something". Are yours? If so, I may have a solution for those families looking for things to do.

On June 20-24 at Pioneer High School, the Ann Arbor Jaycees is hosting the 61st Annual Summer Carnival at Pioneer High School (601 W. Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor). At the carnival your family will find the typical midway foods, rides and carnival games they love as well as plenty of fun and entertainment for everyone! Families will find free admission to the carnival itself with $20 unlimited ride wristbands, however discount Summer Carnival wristbands are available for $2 off for families looking for a good deal!

Summer Carnival Hours:
June 20 - 6:00-11:00 p.m.
June 21 - 4:00-11:00 p.m.
June 22 - 1:00-11:00 p.m.
June 23 - 1:00-11:00 p.m.
June 24 - 12:00-11:00 p.m.

Be sure to stop by and get summer started with a bang by hanging at the Ann Arbor Jaycees 61st Annual Summer Carnival at Pioneer High School!

June 16, 2012

Cartoon Fun Build and Grow Clinics

Looks like Lowe's has changed it up a bit this summer to offer two building clinics sponsored by films. The first is this weekend Saturday AND Sunday where kids can build their own Madagascar 3 Luxury Assault Vehicle. The second is not until July 14-15 when kids can build a Kung Fu Panda Spinning Attack toy.

Saturday building clinics begin at 10:00 a.m. and Sunday clinics begin at 2:00 p.m. Be sure to register for these free events at the Lowe's Build and Grow website.

Summer Skills Fun at AADL With Mathnasium

I'm certain that most parents don't let the summer slip away without adding a few educational opportunities - I'm always looking for something to do in Ann Arbor with kids, especially when it offers me some kind of teaching moment. That's one of the reasons I was excited to see that the Ann Arbor District Library has several "math" sessions this summer.

Want your children to have fun with and "play" with math? Then be sure to check out one of the four sessions offered this summer.

During each session at the Ann Arbor District Library, Mathnasium of Ann Arbor will have math coaches standing by for math games and strategies that will help your child improve their skills. Each session is fun (my kids really do LOVE Mathnasium), but also helps curb your child's summer learning loss while improving their skills and building confidence! This is a free event for students in grades K-3.

 Dates for Mathnasium Summer Skills at the Ann Arbor District Library:
  • July 13 - 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the AADL Malletts Creek Branch (3090 East Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor) 
  • July 27 - 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the AADL Traverwood Branch (3333 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor) 
  • August 17 - 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the AADL Traverwood Branch (3333 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor) 
  • August 24 - 10:30-11:30 a.m.at the AADL Malletts Creek Branch (3090 East Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor)
Catch the fun learning sessions while you can! And if the sessions are not enough for your child, Mathnasium of Ann Arbor also has several summer camp options as well as math tutoring programs throughout the summer months.

June 15, 2012

Butterflies, Bugs & Dragonflies: Nature Programs

Do you have a little entomologist in your midst? How about taking them to one of the programs at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens for one of two programs next week?

Your children will love checking out the many dragonflies, hummingbirds and summer flowers they will run across while on w guided hike on Wednesday June 20 at 10:00 a.m. For only $5, your child can explore and then celebrate summer with crafts and games.

Can't make the Wednesday class? Fear not, the beautiful, beneficial bugs will be back on Friday, June 22 at 10:00 a.m. as well.

This second sensational nature program is also only $5.00 for admission and helps your kids to understand how beneficial bugs help out the environment. The kids will take a hike to look for pollinators and build a model flower and fantasy pollinator to celebrate our winged friends.

To register for either of these programs, call 734-647-7600 or register online at www.mbgna.umich.edu.

Weekend Events Round-Up: Father's Day Weekend

I can't believe that summer officially starts NEXT WEEK! My kids only got out of school Wednesday and they're already fighting, complaining and asking "What can I do?" Boy is it going to be a l-o-n-g summer. Luckily, there is always a lot to do around Ann Arbor with the kids! In fact there is no shortage of activities and events!

Of course this is Father's Day weekend, so we'll be doing that. Also the Strawberry Festival hits Belleville and we're volunteering our time at our church for their sale (I'd be remiss to not to let you know that the BEST Strawberry Pies in town will be available all weekend at Trinity Episcopal Church on Belleville Road too!!!)  as well. But there is a lot to do elsewhere too.

The weekend is sure to get filled up with events and activities, so be sure to stop in tonight for the opening night of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park (your child will love the KidsZone!), spend some time crafting for Dad (a few years ago my kids made these cute golf balls with Sharpies for dad!) or tour the many local sites around Ann Arbor!

Festival season in Michigan has begun. Be sure to swing by
Belleville's National Strawberry Festival this weekend!

Friday, June 15:

It's all about opening night at the Ann Arbor Summer FestivalBelleville's National Strawberry Festival or Canton Liberty Fest which runs through Saturday. The first two listed happen all weekend!

Saturday, June 16:

Want to get crafty with the kids, perhaps gifting their creation to dad? There are two opportunities for free craft events today. The first allows the kids to Make a Father's Day Card at Ann Arbor District Library (2359 Oak Valley Dr.,Ann Arbor) at 11:00 a.m. then head to the Ypsilanti District library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) to design dad his own mug at 2:00 p.m.

Think that's fun, teens in grades 6+ can hit the Hands-On Workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) 1:00-5:00 p.m. for 3-D Printing fun. The makers of All Hands Active (AHA) lead an intro to 3-dimensional printing. Learn about 3-D technology, see how a 3D printer works to create objects before your eyes, and experiment with designing some objects using the freely available Google Sketchup. Participants will be able to submit simple designs to be printed and picked up at a later date. For more information on this event call the Library’s Youth Department at 327-8301 or visit our website at aadl.org.

Your pre-schooler will surely enjoy the swashbuckling Pirate Party at Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) at  10:30-11:30 a.m.  Swing aboard for some pirate-themed stories, songs, and a craft or two as we hunt for buried treasure.

At 2:00-4:00 p.m. be sure to check out the Ann Arbor Book Festival for free games with prizes, music, storytelling followed by a talk and book signing!  

Check out the early season fireworks at 10:15 p.m. during the closing of Canton Liberty Fest for 2012. Bring chairs, blankets, bug spray and snacks to Heritage Park for the excitement!

Sunday, June 17:

Feeling like there's nothing to do? There are always the free Dinosaur Toursat University of Michigan Museum of Natural History Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Don't forget to hit the the free tour of the Rentschler Farm Museum during one of their free tours too!

Ann Arbor Summer Festival: Top of the Park

In my opinion, Top of the Park is one of the best Ann Arbor summer traditions. Strangely enough I hadn't experienced it until I was invited to a "Thank You" party for AnnArbor.com contributors a few years back. My date that night was my beautiful daughter, who thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. (As did I.)

Check out the fun this summer at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival at
Top of the Park in Ingalls Mall!

Top of the Park is the perfect night out for any Ann arbor singles, couples or even families and I highly encourage you to check it out if you haven't already. You'll find all of the best things that make Ann Arbor so wonderful during the summer - Good food, wonderful music, movies, art and of course the people.This happens all weekend AND throughout the week from June 15 through July 8. Below I've listed a few of the more family friendly events that are part of this summer's line-up however the entire event is appropriate for the family if you'd like to head out!

Inspire your child with music by some talent folks, some of whom are the same age as your kids! Your child might even enjoy a movie under the stars! Of course there is always the KidsZone space open 5:00-8:00 p.m. where your kids can get temporary tattoos, creating homemade instruments,,  jam out rock band style and experience so many great free kids activities. Every Friday night there is a unique KidsZone sponsor, so don't miss one! For a full list of family-friendly events and activities during Top of the Park, be sure to check out the website.

Top of the Park Highlighted Events & Activities:

Sunday, June 17 6:00 p.m.- AADL's Kids Rock Series presents Royal Order of Chords and Keys (R.O.C.K.) featuring kindie rockers who deliver energetic punk rock in original children’s songs.

Sunday, June 17 10:00 p.m. - (Movie) Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (with Gene Wilder)

Tuesday, June 19 6:30 p.m. - Rock The Mall a Teen Music Competition offers young artists the opportunity to perform. 

Top of the Park offers many great opportunities for families to catch a movie under the stars!
Tuesday, June 19 10:00 p.m. - (Movie) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Friday, June 22 5:00 p.m. - Enjoy eleven-year-old singer and ukulele player Magdalen Fossum of Ann Arbor. 

Sunday, June 24 5:00 p.m. - Jeannie B and the Jelly Beans delivers an upbeat live show filled with dancing, sing-alongs and interactive music that’s fun for kids and parents alike.

Sunday, June 24 6:00 p.m. - AADL's Kids Rock Series presents Ratboy Jr. performing energetic, catchy (and often improvised) tunes broken up by funny onstage banter.

Sunday, June 24 10:00 p.m. - (Movie) Hugo.

Tuesday, June 26 10:00 p.m. - (Movie) Ghostbusters

Wednesday, June 27 7:30 p.m. - BollyFit Dance

Sunday, July 1 6:30 p.m. -  AADL's Kids Rock Series presents the Ann Bannana Band with songs that bounce between rock, reggae, pop, folk, punk and Latin music.

Sunday, July 1 10:00 p.m. - (Movie) Jurassic Park

Tuesday, July 3 10:00 p.m. - (Movie) Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Wednesday, July 4 10:00 p.m. - (Movie) Forrest Gump

Friday, July 6 5:00 p.m. - 15-year-old singer/songwriter Taylor Fernandez.

Sunday, July 8 6:00 p.m. -  AADL's Kids Rock Series presents Big Bang Boom with their pop/rock playful kid’s music.

Sunday, July 8 10:00 p.m. - (Movie) Dirty Dancing

June 4, 2012

The Zany Umbrella Circus Is Coming to Town!

You won't find elephants, animals or three rings at this circus, but instead the
Zany Umbrella Circus uses fire juggling, slack rope walking, and aerial
acrobatics in their one-of-a-kind magical show!
Catch the Zany Umbrella Circus when it returns to the Leslie Science and Nature Center (1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor) on Saturday, June 30 for two shows (11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.). Your kids will be amazed watching "Stories of the Season". Enjoy the magic storytelling as the performers highlight "the seasons and the natural world" through acrobatics on aerial fabric and trapeze, fire juggling, and slack rope walking during their unique street theater performance! 
"I want to tell you a bit more about the Zany Umbrella Circus because they are an incredible group. But they aren’t international for the typical reasons," said Susan Hutton, Development Director at the Leslie Science and Nature Center. "When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, they went to Afghanistan and worked in Afghani orphanages as performers and teachers. They’ve made similar tours to Jordan and Ethiopia; They’re outstanding performers, and they’re outstanding people, too. They’re a terrific story on so many levels."
Tickets for this unforgettable event are $15/person or $50/family in advance or $17/person or $60/family at the door. Register online at the Leslie Science and Nature Center website.

June 1, 2012

Weekend Events Round-Up: June 1-3

After today's rain, this weekend would be an excellent time to go Strawberry picking at Rowe's (10570 Martz Rd., Ypsilanti) I like to take the kids at this time of the year so that we can make our own strawberry jam for my husband. It's the only kind he'll eat and strawberry jam makes an excellent Father's Day gift! If that doesn't sound exciting then check out the Friday night fireworks in Milan during the Milan Fair, head to the Waterloo Farm Museum to see how tintypes were made or even heard out to the many sub-wide garage sales happening this weekend. My kids LOVE "shopping" garage sales.

Whatever ideas you have, I hope the Weekend Events Round-Up helps give more ideas on what to do with the kids in and around Ann Arbor!

The Milan Fair is in town with fantastic fireworks and Kids Day on Saturday!
Friday, June 1: 

5:00-9:00 p.m. Friday Fun Night at the The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor). Families can enjoy $3 planetarium shows hourly starting at 5:30, free dinosaur tours hourly starting at 6:00 p.m. and a a free DNA demo at 6:00 p.m. The event will also have storytime for the youngest family members. The book Stellaluna will be read at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. with images from the book projected projected onto the planetarium dome. That's a great way to spend a night at the museum!

7:00-10:00 p.m. The 63rd Annual Milan Fair (Wilson Park - Wabash St., Milan) is in town through June 2 with a whopping Wild West theme. A co-worker told me too, that the Friday night fireworks (at 10:00 p.m.) shouldn't be missed! The fair will also host midway rides and typical fair vendors to wander. You're kids will LOVE to go!

Saturday, June 2: 

7:30 a.m. Bring your entire family to  Hudson Mills Metropark to observe the birds for an early morning bird hike. Check out the many species in the park at this time of the year, record their location, and better understand their migratory trends from year to year. Families will get to explore a variety of habitats and bird species throughout the park. If you have them, bring binoculars and a field guide. Cost for this event is $3 plus a vehicle entry fee.

9:00 a.m. - noon Get an early start on Father's Day by taking your child to Home Depot (3300 Carpenter Rd., Ypsilanti) so they can build Dad his own organizer! Projects take 30-45 minutes to complete and dad will surely like the gift!

11:00 a.m. Kids Fly Tying at Schultz Outfitters (4 East Cross St., Ypsilanti). Kids learn to make their own bait, which when considering the amount of bait we go through when fishing, is priceless!

11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Tour The Rentschler Farm & Saline Railroad Depot Museums.

Noon-midnight - Milan Fair. Kids Day happens from noon-5:00 p.m. too! The tractor show happens on Saturday too.

1:00-5:00 p.m. Head to the Waterloo Farm Museum (13493 Waterloo-Munith Rd., Grass Lake) to see a group of re-enactors as the grounds become a 19th century portrait studio. Your family can get a better understanding of early photography viewing the making of wetplate collodion photographs or "tintypes". Watch as photos are taken on Victorian cameras then developed before your eyes! Admission is $5 Adults, $2 children age 5-12. Children under 5 receive free admission.

2:00-3:30 p.m. The Fly Children's Art Center (32 N. Washington, Ypsilanti) posted the Duct Tape Art event on the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook page the other day - The duct tape flowers sure look like a fun craft project! Make a purse, flowers or a wallet for Father's Day. The event is only $15 per child.

Sunday June 3:

11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Tour The Rentschler Farm & Saline Railroad Depot Museums.

1:00-5:00 p.m. Waterloo Farm Museum Victorian photography day.

2:00-4:00 p.m. Does your child enjoy getting wet and muddy while exploring outdoors? Then

Crossing the Marsh with Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation will be right up your alley. Wear old shoes and long pants to explore at Independence Lake Park. Families should meet at
lot across from construction work at Gamble Group Center for this free nature program.