Monday, May 20, 2013
Summer in Chicago is the best: Nothing beats spending a day at the beach with my family, or hanging out in our backyard with a neighborly BBQ. I love being able to ride our bikes to the Lincoln Park Zoo, stopping for cupcakes and at a Wizard of Oz inspired park on the way home. I love our neighborhood, Logan Square, which manages to be both trendy and urban and sometimes downright smalltownish. I love traveling the world via the restaurants, cultural events, neighborhoods, and festivals in Chicago. I also appreciate raising my kids here (Check out my top 7 reasons why I'm thankful that I'm raising my kids in Chicago).
I have been blessed with the opportunity to write about all things fun for families in Chicago for the Chicago Visitor's Bureau. If you're looking for fun things to do with your kids in Chicago this upcoming summer and beyond, visit me at Choose Chicago.
|Director Barbara De Bernardi teaches kids Italian with a fun and creative|
method that makes every child - even those that don't speak Italian
at home - feel welcome
(1-3 years old)
(3-5 years old)
(5-8 years old)
Insieme a Chicago Tuition-12 week Season:
In choosing a venue, it is imperative that you thoroughly check out the facilities on offer and make sure they parallel your needs. For example, car parking provision, catering facilities and a stage or platform may be critical to the activities and ultimate success of your event. All encompassing venues such as Ballara take all these things into consideration. The success of any event is heavily influenced by the level of service provided at the venue. Any staff that will be appointed to assist with the event should be familiar with the venue and, if staff are provided by the venue itself, it is important that they are familiar and confident in working at the type of event you are hosting.
The selection of a venue is definitely one of the most important decisions to be made when hosting an event. By choosing a great venue that offers the facilities required, sets a wonderful tone and meets the needs of you and your guests, you are very likely to deliver an event that is an incredible success.
- Isabelle Riley
Disclosure: I received compensation for editing and posting this guest post.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Disclosure: I was compensated for sharing this guest post.
Friday, May 17, 2013
This spring and summer, I have worked hard to transform little, neglected patches of dirt in our front and backyards into lovely urban mini-gardens, with a little help from Miracle-Gro.
Our little front garden
Miracle-Gro came up with The Gro Project as a way to simplify gardening for a whole new class of gardeners and show that it can be easy, fun and enjoyable! These simple, fun garden projects are easy enough for preschoolers - my daughter, age 3, even helped out with my project.
For my Gro Project, I constructed a window box out of simple plywood (with a little help from a carpenter...), filled it with Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix (an ideal filling for container gardens since it absorbs 33% more water than ordinary potting soil and protects against over and under watering) and then planted it with bright yellow and white pansies. I love looking out my front window and seeing my happy pansies.
I also had installed a simple raised garden in our backyard, filled it with Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix and planted basil, parsley, tomatoes, strawberries, sunflowers and kale. My kids, especially my daughter, had a ton of fun planting this simple garden with me. The sunflowers, kale and basil are grown from seed, which we had initially planted in an egg carton and then transfered to the raised garden. We're looking forward to watching our garden grow and perhaps even eating some of our garden goods come harvest time. Stay tuned!
Our dog checking out our urban garden
If you would like more tips and information from Miracle-Gro check out these links:
- Scott’s Miracle-Gro online (video and article library)
- The Gro Project
- Miracle-Gro Facebook page
- Miracle-Gro on PinterestThe Gro Projectfun garden projectsMiracle-Gro
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I am working my way through the IndieFlix selection and I really enjoy the quality and variety of movies. Two documentaries that have moved me so far are This Way of Life, about a family living off the grid in New Zealand, and Finding Kind, another documentary, about the sad culture behind girl/girl bullying (an increasing issue in schools everywhere). I am so inspired by Finding Kind that I'm thinking of launching a Kindness Team at my high school next year!
I have ten 2-month subscriptions to give away to ten lucky readers! You won't be required to enter any credit card number or otherwise obligate yourself to continue after their trial period is up. To win, enter via Rafflecopter below!
Thanks for entering and good luck!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Of course, your newborn baby isn’t going to learn complicated mathematics or be able to read sheet music, just by watching that musical Mozart DVD. However, they will be engaged by the melody and learn from the colors and other elements. Babies do learn from play, as do children of all other ages. A baby most benefits from toys that develop motor and language skills.
If you want to develop your new baby’s ability to grasp things, try offering her a set of plastic keys. Babies may even reach for your keys, but keep in mind anything they’re able to grasp is likely to go into their mouths. Anything with a handle will have them reaching out and grasping, as they learn to control their hands and fingers.
Other developmental toys include:
- Nursery mobiles
- Ring stacks
- Push-pull toys
Toddlers are beginning to pretend play, to be more responsible for their environment, and to socially interact with other children. This is a big time in your little one’s life and it’s time to promote their learning with toys that are proven to help them hone skills, like reasoning and color differentiation.
In these formative years, you may begin to notice your child giving their toys personalities. Toddlers are just beginning to apply personalities to their stuffed animals, dolls, and action figures. This is a good time to seek out a FreeBears.com coupon code, in order to hook your toddler up with a furry friend they’ll love for years to come.
Other toys that help toddlers develop include:
· Pop-up toys
· Digital toys (learning and coloring apps)
· Nesting cups
· Play sets (kitchens, doctor’s kits, etc.)
When you’re preschooler plays, he is using his imagination in fantastic and new ways. It’s likely you’re kid whizzes around like an airplane, dives from an imaginary high board, travels the world, defeats pirates, and saves the day – all before dinner. This little tyke learns through imagination, just as much as he does through toys. It’s important to encourage this type of play, oftentimes jumping in for a round of pretend yourself.
Not only are preschoolers pretend players, they also love their toys. It’s around this age that you’ll notice your child wanting more toys that come with labels and the ones their friends have. This can get pricey, but online you can find everything from a Crate and Barrel promo code to codes for free shipping at top children’s stores. So, employ smart shopping strategies when seeking out new toys for your kids.
Here are some great learning toys for preschoolers:
- Arts & crafts
- Construction sets
- Anything that encourages socialization and imagination
As your baby develops into a bonafide little kid, you’ll notice their activity level picking up. They’ll be more outgoing, more athletic, and more intelligent than they’ve ever been. This is a proud time for parents and one where they can seriously get involved with development, by encouraging their relationships with peers and promoting their maturity.
Here are some great learning toys for elementary aged kids:
· Athletic toys, like basketballs, jump ropes, and volleyballs
· Chemistry sets and other school-relevant toys
· Musical instruments
· Board games
· Card games
It's important for your children to have fun while developing by playing with toys targeted for learning. What toys do you and your infants personally have experience with?
Disclosure: Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article