January 29, 2016

Winter Fun Fest

Get your Winter Fun Fest passport stamped
at three events and get a free t-shirt and tote bag!
Many of my readers will know that I am a scout leader for both of my children. My son is now in Boy Scouts and I am his Assistant Scoutmaster and my daughter is a Junior Girl Scout. What makes scouting amazing to me is the amount of outdoor activities the scouts do. The non scouting part of me also likes to be outdoors - Playing sports, hiking, sitting in the woods or foraging for good eats. Basically the outdoors is a big part of our lives.

This winter your family can enjoy the outdoors too during the Winter Fun Fest happening throughout Washtenaw County. Winter Fun Fest runs from January 30th until Feburary 20th with over 20 fun winter events in three weeks! Whether you like warming up by the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa or tromping through the freshly fallen snow, we've got something for everyone to enjoy.

 At the first event you attend you can pick up your Fun Fest Passport - if you attend three events in the next three weeks, you will win a free T-Shirt or Tote! A full list of Winter Fun Fest events can be found here: http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/parks_recreation/activities/winter-fun-fest/2016-winter-fun-fest-calendar-of-events

Did I mention that these are free events? Certainly there may be some parks that require an entry fee but get ready to have some free fun with the family!

January 28, 2016

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan Opens March 25!

I am so excited to hear that the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan announced today that the grand opening will happen March 24-25. I will get to be part of the action participating in several preview events and perhaps even the ribbon cutting but wanted to share this news with my readers ASAP!

The LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan will be a 32,000-square-foot indoor attraction at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, featuring millions of LEGO bricks and themed exhibits including a 4D cinema, two interactive rides, large soft play areas and much more.

“We are looking forward to opening our doors to children and families who are looking to experience a world of color, creativity and imagination,” said Hayley Anderson, general manager for LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan. “LEGO has a long history of encouraging learning through play, and we believe that our attraction will soon be an integral part of the fabric of the Southeast Michigan community.”

The attraction will feature a MINILAND display, Inspired by the metro Detroit region’s sights and culture. MINILAND is a miniature LEGO brick landscape of local buildings, attractions and other notable landmarks, and is one of the most highly anticipated displays at each new LEGOLAND Discovery Center. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan’s MINILAND will include the GMRENCEN, Spirit of Detroit, Belle Isle, Motown Museum, Fox theater, Guardian Building, Comerica Park, Uniroyal Tire, Michigan Central Station, and the Heidelberg Project.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and will be available online prior to the attraction’s opening date. Walk-up admittance will not be available. For more information about ticket sales visit the  LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan website or find them on Facebook at: www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/michigan/ Also know that the Ann Arbor Mom blog will bring you an early peek at the exhibit and perhaps more...

January 25, 2016

Ann Arbor Summer Camp & Day Camp Expos

Find details on Ann Arbor Summer Camps
and Summer Day Camps during the Summer
Camp Expo at Briarwood Mall.
It may be cold and the sun may not be shining much, but I know many Ann Arbor parents are beginning to plan what to do this summer when the sun DOES come out; Ann Arbor parents are already considering summer camp and day camp experiences when the kids are out of school for summer vacation! I know, I have already started looking too...

I am in the process of updating my annual list of Ann Arbor summer camp and summer day camp options for parents, but if you are anxious (and I know many of you are based on the e-mails I have received) then I have a solution for you!

On March 5, 2016, noon-4:00 p.m., Briarwood Mall will once again host its annual “Spring into Summer” Camp Expo. This year’s event will hist more than two dozen camps and will address a wide range of interests for children and young adults up to age 18. Some of the camps already slated to attend include Oz’s Music, Go Like the Wind Montesorri, Summer’s Knoll, and several YMCA day camps.

Attendees at the free event will also enjoy entertainment from Colors the Clown and various kids activities. Do you have a fun kids activity to include in the event? Be sure to register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/campexpo2016

For a complete list of participating summer camps, please Like the Briarwood Mall Facebook page.

Ann Arbor summer camps that wish to send me updates on their summer camp programs can contact me at tmayrend at gmail dot com - This year I will also have openings for sponsorship and special advertising deals for Ann Arbor summer camps and those in the surrounding communities!

January 6, 2016

Ann Arbor Hands On Museum Visit

This last week I was given the opportunity to re-visit the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum. I had the week off and was looking for fun activities to do with the kids and even got to connect with an out of town friend. The museum was busy but it was a ton of fun in one of the special exhibits and exploring the many hands on displays throughout the museum.

As a parent of two very active kids, I especially appreciate the how the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum encourages kids to interact, climb-on, run through and otherwise EXPLORE the many displays. Of course they ARE a "hands on" museum so one would expect this, however that's not always the case. The museum would be the perfect escape from this week's frigid weather!

For those of you who already know about the museum, you know it's a great place to visit. Perhaps you took your preschool aged child to explore. But there is so much more for older kids too. On the day we visited my kids created bookmarks using shaving cream and paint, created film canister rockets, made ice candles and even made some goop! I of course had to confiscate their goop so it did not end up in a mess somewhere at home. It's now at my desk at work - I mean who does not like to play with goop?!?

We had to drag the kids away from this exhibit, the way
that the magnets reacted in the fluid was just fascinating!
Learning at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum though becomes an adventure for older kids too. I was excited to see that my kids took more time to read the displays, and spent more time exploring many of the exhibits. When they were younger it was all about the preschool displays and simply running a-muck! The additional time this trip made for a nice get-away.

Favorites on this trip included playing with the giant water table in the H2Oh! exhibit where they explored complex concepts about fluid motion. Of course they got wet, however we love that there are handy wall dryers so that kids can get warm and dry after their water fun.

Another big hit was in the DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics area, where the kids enjoyed the stringless Laser Harp, the many great experiments and especially dancing around like crazy people to see how the shapes changed on the projected image. We seriously spent 45 minutes in that room. Oddly enough the other parents must not have gone that deep into the museum, however my friend and I got to dance with the kids then sit on the bench in the room and just chat! Our kids had a blast. They also spent much time using the green screen in the MediaWorks area. I think my daughter would make an excellent weather girl, don't you? My son preferred to play in traffic or interact with the giant spiders.

She made it. The giant bubble did not pop
until it was over her head!
My kids and their friends also spent a significant amount of time in the World Around You exhibit. Any time you can play with and make giant bubbles kids of all ages get tuned in. They also enjoyed making various sounds, climbing on the climbing wall and generally exploring the area. For some reason there was a tuning fork that got there attention this time too!

Of course at this point, my friend and I were exhausted. We had gone up and down the stairs to the museum several times and wandered all over. I think our best idea came when we sat down together in the Concourse. The kids spent at least an hour building "forts" with the huge foam blocks. There may have been a war after that, but so long as they were aware of the "littles" in the area, we let them play! 

For those of you with toddlers and pre-school aged children, know that there is much to do for your kids too. There is an entire area dedicated to that age and there are many story-time programs available too. A big hit for that audience seems to be the All About You are where kids can was riding in the ambulance and even climb a fire pole. My kids LOVED the fire pole!

My son sending a secret message that was received
by his other friend.
I appreciate too that the museum keeps things fresh with new exhibits, a pop-up maker space, little scientist club and so much more. Before you go, be sure to check the calendar of events. Know though, that no matter what age of child you have, you and your kids will enjoy a visit to the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum. There is always something to do! Bring out-of-town guests, relax inside with your parent and simply stop in to get away from the weather - Booking a trip to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum is the perfect stay-cation this January!








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