March 22, 2013

Week 12 - Weekend Events Round-up: March 22-24

There are lots of great things happening this weekend and it seems too that there are many Easter Egg Hunts starting up including the Jaycees' Frog Island Park hunt and one at Hudson Mills. Be sure to check the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor Egg Hunt post for more information. For something to do, also consider visiting the Easter Bunny at Briarwood Mall.

If that's not your thing, this weekend the Wild Swan Theater is presenting 'Peter Rabbit' at Towsley Auditorium (Morris Lawrence Building - 4800 E. Huron River Dr., Ann Arbor) Friday (10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.), Saturday (11:00 a.m.). Tickets for the production are $12 for adults and $8 for youth and seniors. $3 lap passes are available for infants and children under 2 years of age.

Here are the Pysanska Ukrainian Easter eggs the kids created in 2012.

My family will be busy wrapping up the Upward Cheer season, creating beautiful Ukrainian Easter Eggs and prepping for the holiday, which means cleaning. And by cleaning that means that *I* will be cleaning while everyone else will do whatever it is they do when I am cleaning, and re-cleaning their newest messes. Sigh...

What are your weekend plans? Found any activities to keep the kids busy? The Ann Arbor Mom always has ideas for fun, free (or cheap) activities or Ann Arbor events to fill your weekend event planner!

Saturday, March23

Start the day at 10:00 a.m. with a blast of spring as your child explores the Fairie Gardens at  Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor). Kids even get to craft their own Fairy Door! This event requires per-registration.  This workshop costs $10.00/child and includes materials and activities.

Need an excuse to hide away in the warmth of a movie theater? Well the weekend won't let you down since there are free movies at the local Quality Theaters at 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. This weekend see Rise of the Guardians. In My opinion, this movie was worth seeing too. See my review of Rise of the Guardians.

Want to check out some real bunnies while enjoying a special spring craft and storytime? Then Hop to It by heading to the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) at 10:30 a.m.This free event replaces the regular storytime and will feature critters from the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary. We've attended this event in year's past and found it to be quite crowded, so make sure to get there early! If you can't make it to the library, Nicola's Books (2513 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor) also has a story time program at 11:00 a.m. featuring Peter Rabbit.

I have mentioned in the past few weeks that there is an free educational program going on at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (1109 Geddes Ave. Ann Arbor) called DNA and Race. The free 20-30 minute interactive program is at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for kids ages 5+. Explore DNA and learn to better understand how it makes up the cells that make our bodies and even extract and examine their own DNA! Take the family to spend the day and enjoy free dinosaur tours as well. If science is your child's "thing" the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is hosting a second hands-on demo event at the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) 1:00-4:00 p.m. where kids will design and fly a spacecraft during the Kerbal Space Program. There will even be a prize awarded for the farthest successful return trip!

Maybe free kids crafts are your thing. If that's the case,EASTER EGG MOSAIC BY PERLER® BEADS let your kids explore their creativity for only $2, while you shop. Every 30-minutes starting at 10:00-11:30 a.m., store associates will help your children create their own Easter Egg Mosiac. Your teens can event get crafty with a free teen event at the Ann Arbor District Library (3090 E. Eisenhower Pky., Ann Arbor) at 2:00 p.m. creating jewelry and embellishments from hardware - That's washer's and nuts!

It will be a chilly evening, but that makes the after-hike bonfire even more enticing... On Saturday night, head out for the Almost the Worm Moon - Night Hike and Campfire at Park Lyndon (18801 N Territorial Rd., Chelsea) 7:30-9:30 p.m. Join naturalist Faye Stoner to hike the trail to the wetlands and back, talk about seasonal changes, listen for night sounds, learn about frogs and owls and other night animals, and look for the moon! Hot drinks and fire in the fireplace will be enjoyed at the end of the hike. Dress to be warm
for the hike.

Sunday, March 24

Certainly above I mentioned visiting the Easter Bunny and Briarwood Mall, however it is worth pointing out that at 9:00-11:00 a.m. special needs children can visit the "Caring Bunny" in a more controlled atmosphere!
Your kids can still have a great experience at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History for free dinosaur tours and the hands-on DNA demo at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Need another crafting opportunity?? How about 8-Bit Stitch at Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) at 2:00 p.m. Teens in grades 6+ can dig into DIY and crafty things by converting classic video game graphics into cross-stitch patterns.  Learn the basic techniques so that other classic characters can be turned into patterns to be made later.For the younger set, be sure to stop by your local Joanne's at 2:00 p.m. to create a cute t-shirt headband during their free make-it-take-it event.

March 18, 2013

Thomas The Train Outings for Your Child

Win tickets - See Thomas the Train at Greenfield Village for free
Thomas is at the village
4/27-28, 5/4-5 & 5/11-12
If your youngster loves Thomas the Train, or even playing with toy trains, then they might really enjoy an upcoming event. Thomas the train and his friends will be nearby for your family to spend A Day Out With Thomas!

In a few weeks, you and your child can spend a Day Out With Thomas at Greenfield Village (20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI). The event runs for three weekends starting April 27. Kids will enjoy many Thomas themed activities with Sir Topham Hatt and even RIDE Thomas the Train. Then after, the entire family can spend the rest of the day exploring the village and all it has to offer. 

Tickets for A Day Out With Thomas at Greenfield Village start at $11.75 for Henry Ford Members. Non-member tickets are a bit more, but worth the entertainment value when combined with entry into the village. Admission tickets for babies and toddlers age 1-4 ($11.75), youth age 5-12 ($29.95), Adults 13-61 ($$35.75) with Senior admission tickets ($33.75), free admission is given for infants.

Ann Arbor Mom blog readers have a chance to win FREE tickets to a Day Out With Thomas at Greenfield Village. Actually there are three ways to win. First tell me in the comments below who your favorite Thomas the Train character is, then hop on over to the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook page and be sure to comment on the wall about your favorite character there. Share the post and get your friends to like the Facebook Page and comment on the post that YOU sent them, and score another opportunity for your child to enjoy A Day Out With Thomas at Greenfield Village for free! A random winner will be drawn April 13 from all entries on or before April 12!
Huckleberry Railroad, kids event, Flint, Flint kids
Thomas visits the Huckleberry Railroad in August 2013 too! 
Can't make any of those weekends? Don't worry, as Thomas and his friends will be back in August at the Huckleberry Railroad (6140 Bray Rd., Flint, MI). On the weekend of August 16-18 and the 23-25, spend more time with Thomas and his friends riding the train and exploring Huckleberry Railroad while enjoying good stories and live music.

Tickets for A Day Out With Thomas at the Huckleberry Railroad are $18.00 in advance or $20.00 at the door. The best Thomas the Train deal yet though is if you have a large family, or a group of 20 or more, then your admission price drops to just $14.00 a person!

I'll admit, I wanted to go to A Day out With Thomas several times in the past. When my son was a toddler, and going through his Brio train stage though, he was very nervous about activities such as this. He was actually terrified! We kept waiting, hoping that he would outgrow the fear; The next thing I knew though, he "wasn't into it" or it was no longer interesting to him. I guess I just have to get the kids to understand that they are too young to grow up!

This is a promotional opportunity for my family as well. I will have (4) tickets to give away but will also enjoy a preview of the event.

March 12, 2013

Kids' Fair at the University of Michigan

Billed as the  single largest student-run volunteer event on the UM campus, Kids' Fair is a day where kids get to spend an entire day with college buddies, participating in hundreds of  student organizations  student organization activities while experiencing different highlights of college in one day! This year, Kids' Fair happens April 12 and has a theme of K-Zoo.

Want your child to experience all that Kids Fair has to offer? Be sure to sign up to have them spend a fantastic day with a college buddy - Details are on the K-grams at the University of Michigan website.

March 8, 2013

Week 10 - Weekend Events Round-up: March 8-10

Do you ever feel like you are fighting that up-hill battle? Weekends never get any easier do they? Parents run around town finding great things to do with the kids or with the entire family, then the week starts all over again. It's the same for us. Tonight I'm taking the kids to the Detroit opera House to see The Lion King. Then tomorrow my son will be busy with his Communion class while my daughter cheers for Upward then heads out to sell Girl Scout cookies with her Daisy Troop. It seemed we might have gotten a break on Sunday until I remembered that the Washtenaw Science Olympiad Team I am coaching (Water bottle rockets) is meeting at my home. So just like that, our weekend filled with many activities!

We're even losing an hour this weekend, but with that hour is plenty of sunshine and spring warmth. Especially when you consider that this weekend's weather is looking to be a couple of sunshine filled days. To my family that's an added bonus, as we are hoping our maple taps run and fill our buckets so that we can make some maple syrup!

I suppose the warmth and sunshine is one reason that I hope all of my Ann Arbor families get outdoors some. Hit the Big 400 Maple Festival at the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center & Waterloo Recreation Area happening this weekend or take a little hike in the woods.

What are your weekend plans? Found any activities to keep the kids busy? The Ann Arbor Mom always has ideas for fun, free (or cheap) activities or Ann Arbor events to fill your weekend event planner!

Saturday, March 9

It's a great weekend to check out Ann Arbor Maple Syrup festivals.
Learning to make maple syrup is a lot of fun, and the
sunshine this weekend should make the sap run!
If you are going to be indoors, you might as well take advantage of seeing a free movie! This weekend Ann Arbor families can see Ice Age 4 at area Goodrich Theaters or Hotel Transylvania at local MJR Cinemas. 

I used to love Bill Nye the Science Guy, submitting experiments to the science fair or visiting the Detroit Science Center I suppose that's why I really love that my kids really like science and doing experiments! I get such a charge out of those light-bulb moment my kids have when playing with science. I like it even more when my kitchen table is not their laboratory. This weekend there are a couple of great science activities your kids and teens can participate in starting with the family reading science workshop at the Ypsilanti District Library at 10:00 a.m. (5577 Whittaker Road Ypsilanti ) or 3:00 p.m. (229 W. Michigan Ave. Ypsilanti). The free event helps kids understand the universal language of music through making and exploring instruments and their sounds. This program is being presented by the University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History.

Of course there are great events happening at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (1109 Geddes Ave. Ann Arbor) too including free dinosaur tours as well as a hands-on demo called DNA and Race. At 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. kids ages 5 and up can participate in a free 20-30 minute interactive program where they will explore DNA and learn to better understand how it makes up the cells that make our bodies. They will even get the chance to extract and look at their own DNA through a process of chemical extraction.

PAPER EASTER BASKETMaybe free kids crafts are your thing. Like with science experiments I love making messes elsewhere - Sweeping glitter and scraping glue are not what I look forward to before each meal! The Ann Arbor District Library (3333 Traverwood Dr., Ann Arbor) can help your kids get "knotty" as they make Knot Your Average Bracelet to wear at home or trade with a friend. If you want to shop or just let someone else have the mess, Michael's Crafts will allow your kids to explore their creativity for only $2/child. On March 9, 10:00-11:30 a.m. your kids can male a paper Easter Basket. You can reserve a spot for your child ever half hour. Of course there is always the free Lowe's Build and Grow clinics. This weekend the kids are building a Monster Jam truck - You just need to be registered!
Think your teen needs something to do? The weekend has sever great teen events including a free program s for teens in grade 6+ at the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S 5th Ave, Ann Arbor) called 3D Printing With All Hands Active. There is something exciting about using Google SketchUp to create 3D images that can later be printed out into real 3-dimensional objects!The program runs from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Objects created can be printed and picked up at a later date. Also on Saturday, your teen can create a windsock during a free Windsock Workshop. This project is rather involved, so plan on staying for the entire event 2:00-4:00 p.m. All materials are provided. 

For those wanting a little extra exercise consider taking your kids to Jump City (2825 Boardwalk Dr., Ann Arbor) for an extra bounce time 6:30-8:30 p.m., or take the kids ice skating during one of the many open skate sessions at one of the many local Ann Arbor ice rinks!

Sunday, March 10

Your kids can still have a great experience at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History for free dinosaur tours and the hands-on DNA demo at 3:00 p.m. as well as catch a free movie on Sunday as too.

Who would consider that math and crafts go hand in hand, however the Ann Arbor District Library (2359 Oak Valley Dr, Ann Arbor) is bound to prove you wrong as they present Math & Mobiles at 2:00 p.m. Your kids will get to explore platonic solids and create their own mobile!

Don't forget I told you that getting outside this weekend is a must. If you aren't heading down to the Shamrocks & Shenanigans race with the kids then consider a free educational program and hike with Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation. Explore the Green Things in Late Winter at 2:00 p.m. at the Scio Woods Preserve during a 2-hour hike.

Finally one of my other favorite things is theater, and this weekend Ann Arbor families can see  Martha Speaks at the Michigan Theater (603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor) at 1:30 p.m. One lucky Ann Arbor family even won tickets to the show by being an Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Fan. If you are attending, be sure to get your discount Michigan Theater tickets too. I blogged about teat the other day!

March 6, 2013

Goldfish Swim School Ann Arbor

A couple of weekends ago I took my daughter and her Daisy Troop to a Goldfish Swim School party. We actually bought it with a Groupon last spring using part of their cookie money, however we were challenged to schedule it. I think it was worth the wait though, and the girls completely enjoyed the experience.  My co-leader and I spent time in the pool with them too, which I'm sure thrilled the other parents who were all to happy to snap MANY photos!

The pool is very warm, nearing 90-degrees. Safety is a big deal too, so all of the girls were expected to wear appropriately sized life vests unless they passed a swim test. The facility also had the correct number of lifeguards for the number of girls we were expecting to swim. I appreciated the goggles they allowed the girls to borrow and certainly everyone enjoyed the many pool floaties, especially the large, dense foam mat that they went "surfing" on!

The entire facility was all about comfort, and convenience and was very clean. My biggest complaint is that they are not easy to spot the first time you drive there - I swear I drove past them four times before spotting them.

We went during a privately booked party, however the open family swim sessions would be a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

The Goldfish Swim School Ann Arbor also offers a variety of swim lessons for all skill levels. I would think learning to swim in the warmer water would be the way to go!

March 5, 2013

Win Tickets to Martha Speaks at the Michigan Theater

What are you doing this weekend? Why not take your kids to see Martha Speaks at the Michigan Theater (603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor) this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The on-stage musical is part of the Benard L. Maas Not Just For Kids Series presented by Toyota and promises to be doggone good fun!

Want to win FREE tickets? Fans of the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook page have been given an opportunity to win a family (4) pack of tickets to Martha Speaks. Just be sure to chime in on the post on why your family needs to go by the end of the day on Friday, March 8. A winner will be randomly chosen from all listed comments.

Fear not though, even if you don't win the tickets, The Michigan Theater has given Ann Arbor Mom fans a $3 discount to the show PLUS eliminated all ticket fees.

Get discount tickets to the Not Just for Kids Theater series at the Michigan Theater -
Martha Speaks is this weekend, on March 10 at 1:30 p.m.