Tag Archives: Summer

From Sun and Sand to Back to School

phpO96nKfPMHow do you go from endless summer days filled with sun and sand, watermelon and corn on
the cob to backpacks and lunch boxes, pencils and crayons? The answer is simple—it’s not easy! As much as I try to hold on to the joys of summer, every year at this time the little voice in my head starts whispering a hefty to-do list. So, in order to enjoy what’s left of summer vacation, how do you prepare for the busy season ahead?

Ease back in to back to school shopping. I used to carve out entire days for back to school shopping, but I’ve learned over the years that it’s easier to get back into the school mindset gradually by picking up different items at different times. If there’s a sale on school supplies somewhere, my kids and I will head to that store and get what we can. If I can’t get everything at once, it’s okay. This way my kids have their say and I can finish up at my leisure. In my experience, kids are much more concerned about choosing their lunch boxes and backpacks than anything else! Which brings me to my next tip . . .

Invest in a good backpack! For parents of older children, it’s worth investing in a really good—sometimes expensive—backpack. It will hold up better throughout the year and can easily go in the wash. As my kids got older, they used their backpacks for more than just one year, and even swapped backpacks with cousins and friends for a little variety. As for lunch boxes on the other hand, don’t overspend—you’ll want to throw them out at the end of the school year or maybe use them for camp if you’re really lucky.

Start implementing a regular bedtime. Especially if your children are in pre-K through primary school, decide on an appropriate bedtime and start putting it into practice. Don’t start a new bedtime all of a sudden; ease it into your kids’ schedules so that those first few school days aren’t disastrous. For parents of night owls, by the end of August it will start getting dark out earlier, so that should help with getting your kids into bed at a reasonable hour. If you are fortunate enough to have good sleepers, start getting them up earlier in the morning.

phpb1sKaDPMSchedule check ups and physicals. This one’s simple. You child will definitely need a physical for school, so by planning for it now when things are a little less hectic, you won’t have to switch your whole schedule around just to get to the doctor’s office.

Take even just one of these tips and put it into practice, and you’ll be way ahead of the game! You’ll still have plenty of time to head to the beach, put your toes in the sand, and enjoy the last of summer.

Children Approach Museums with Excitement and Know-how!

Claire’s Creative Museum Adventures Brings Children’s Art Education to NYC’s Museums and Galleries!

Are you a NYC family wanting to expose your children to the fascinating world of art around you that they can enjoy?  Do you have friends or family members traveling through NYC seeking a truly memorable cultural experience together?

We all know that New York City is known for its culture and the arts.  It’s world-class museums and galleries provide an extraordinary opportunity to learn!  So how can your child take advantage?

Creating unique professional artist or theme-based visits that are educational AND entertaining is not an easy feat!  First, children tire easily.  Even getting to the artwork can be intimidating in large museums, especially those like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  And how do you know where to begin?

There are ways to demystify not only the museum, but also the art processes, while making them easy to understand and fun to learn!  Following a few simple rules can help.

For many museums, just getting to certain galleries can be a hike.  First, know where you are going before setting out.  You don’t want your child to see it as a chore if you have to cover too much ground.  Pick a small section each visit to explore more fully.

Next, select just a few pieces that are in close proximity with each other, which provide ample learning opportunities based on one theme. Locating the artists with something in common helps to bring home specific ideas, without wearing out your child.

Many artists may seem too sophisticated to share with kids.  Not so!  Breaking down the art processes of artists and making them easy to understand and fun to learn can be exciting!  Of course ages and special interests are important to consider for each visit; Explaining color theory to a 4 year old by using the Impressionists may be too much, however, Ellsworth Kelly or Roy Lichtenstein is a great start.  Balance and line exploration using Calder’s mobiles, or even metal-working with pieces from David Smith and John Chamberlain, is a pragmatic way to teach.

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Kids don’t want a lecture!  Since there is no teacher like doing, actually making artwork in front of a piece of art is instrumental for kids!  Knowing what materials work best, and which ones are appropriate in a public space, is also not easy.  That’s often where experts come in.  You may not feel comfortable bringing in recycled materials to discover El Anatsui’s magic, however, you can never go wrong with pencils, colored pencils or wire for your first endeavors as a parent.

Be sure to switch it up:  construct, collage or create colors with separate visits.  Since a child’s attention span is short, each project needs to be divided into simplified steps, and include more than one simple hands-on project.

Some great first galleries I would suggest are the modern painters at the Met.  There are beginning discovery lessons in line, shape and color here like no other!  Then those lessons can be applied to more artists, once digested.

Keep it simple and fun.  You want your child to be eager to not only go to see art, but excited by the process…  and if you become a learner with your child along the way, you’ll see them making connections and coming to their own conclusions you would never have thought of!

Don’t miss out on the amazing educational opportunity to discover art with your child by using your city’s resources.  You may also wish to take advantage of an experienced and engaging tour leader to illuminate your experience.

By Claire Munday, Founder of Claire’s Creative Adventures, LLC for kids ages 2-12.  Museum and Art Adventures uses NYC’s modern, contemporary and multicultural art resources to go beyond school curricula to “demystify” artists and their processes. Children (and their accompanying adults) are introduced to modern and contemporary artists as well as diverse cultures, based on current exhibits from the myriad of NYC museums and galleries, providing all of the supplies, education and entertainment while actively engaging the children in the fantastic world of art from museum arrival to departure… Click here to book your next tour or class!



Benefits of Outdoor Play for Kids

Playing outside every day is good for the body and the mind.  Being outside for playtime has many benefits for children and we listed a few of our favorites here:

  1. Children can see the community they live in.  By going outside to play, children see other people who may be the same or different from them all living in one area.  You can even pack some gloves and a trash bag and pick up trash on your way there and back.  Children feel more included when they helping pitch in.  Of course, never let your child pick up any sharp objects, even with gloves!
  2. Children are encouraged to use their imagination.  With everything made in miniature version, it is fun and healthy for children to use their imagination to create a “cake” by mixing “ingredients” with a “spoon” they found outdoors.  This is actually an early form of problem solving!
  3. Children have the opportunity to exercise.  Everyone, even children need exercise.  While we go to the gym for an hour (more like forty minutes) our kids need room to run and jump and climb and there is no better place than outdoors in your local park!
  4. Children learn social skills.  The park and playground are for everyone, which means children must learn to take turns, wait and play by certain rules.  This is something we can tell our children, but really this all takes practice.  An even better bonus?  There are new and different people every time you go, so your child may have to learn different social adjustments each and every time!
  5. Children learn to try new things.  Remember the first time you went across the monkey bars alone?  This is a great chance your child to feel accomplishment when they master something that was challenging.  Nothing builds self-esteem like real accomplishments.  Just remember, it’s important that your child feels a tad frustration to feel like he/she accomplished something!

So now with a few reasons why being outside is a must, make sure your child gets some time every day to play outside!

By Shannon Drummond, founder of The Play Champs.  The Play Champs offers outdoor classes to build child development in local parks throughout New York City.

5 Must Have Items to Always Have on Hand This Summer

4800995010_6ae6cb95b5_zWith the summer season almost officially upon us, the temperatures are starting to heat up. With the kids out of school and the gorgeous weather, that means that you will be spending most of your time outside. Whether it’s a trip to the beach for a family vacation or just a picnic in the park, you want to make sure that you have a bag of essentials with you at all times. These items will get you and your children through those hot summer months.

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