News

Crafting With Kids – Paper succulents

Looking for something fun to create with your not so little kids? Make some paper succulents. We had so much fun with this project and we ended up making a lot of  these decorative succulents with. Check out the video on how to make these .

Here is how to make them:

Things you will need – Card stock, glue (we used glue dots), dowels and some free time.

  1. Find a template online for succulents, print it and trace it on to your card stock. Make sure to have different sizes of the petals. Cut out the petals on the card stock.
  2. Roll the edges of your petals to give the succulent a more fuller look and look more realistic.
  3. Stick all the layers together staring from largest to the smallest.
  4. Step back and enjoy your creation.

 

30 Things to do with kids at home – Covid-19 Edition

We are all stuck at home for who knows how long and we have got to find thing to do for our kids to do to keep them entertained.  Even though a lot of us tried to gather things that will keep our kids entertained, the kids get bored quickly and we are in need of new ideas to keep them entertained. We have put together a list using things most of us have at home since we cant just run to the store. Here are a few ideas that might be helpful :

  1. Play board games. Give everyone a turn picking the game of the day because, you know, we can  only take so much of Monopoly.
  2. Do puzzles.
  3. Paint and color.  If you don’t have any coloring books on hand, just Google ‘Free Coloring Pages’.
  4. Make cards for family members (to mail or give to them later).
  5. Play hide-and-seek.
  6. Make a scavenger hunt with things kids can find in the house or in the back yard. Give a small treat as a reward once they find everything on the list.
  7.  Bake cookies or a simple cake.
  8.  If you have some seeds on hand, have the kids plant them in the backyard or little pots.
  9. Make a movie at home. Kids off all ages can be involved in this. The older kids can come up with a plot and the whole family can act in it. Use your cell phone to video it.
  10. Set up a tent in the back yard.
  11. Learn new words in a foreign language.
  12.  Build card houses.
  13.  Learn a new gymnastics move. There is plenty of time to practice.
  14. Decorate an old T-shirt.
  15.  Build a blanket fort
  16. Blow bubbles and see who can pop the most.
  17. Learn a magic trick.
  18. Read a book.  You can get free e-books from your local library.
  19.  Make popsicles from whatever fruit you have on hand. All that frozen fruit you have will come in handy for this one.
  20.  Make slime.  You can find tons of recipes online.
  21. Picnic in the backyard. Have the kids help pack the food.
  22. ‘Paint’ with water and a brush on outside walls. Keeps the little ones entertained for hours.
  23. Make rubber band jewelry.
  24. Make sock puppets. Have the kids put on a show.
  25.  Decorate cardboard boxes with markers and stickers. A proven kid favorite!
  26. Make play dough. This will keep them entertained for days.
  27. Stacking cups.
  28. Have a tea party. Have the kids wear their fancy outfits and (makeup).
  29.  Set up an obstacle course in the backyard.
  30. Have a dance party in the living room.

 

Super fun day at We Rock the Spectrum

If you have little ones that love climbing, bouncing, jumping and running around they are going to have a blast at We Rock the Spectrum in Boca Raton.  It is such an amazing children’s gym where children with all abilities can come play and enjoy the amazing equipment.   I took my 6 and 8 year old daughters to their new bigger and better location in Boca Raton, FL.  They loved their zip line and  the many different  swings they have. The trampoline and the climbing wall was a huge hit with them too. They also have a really cute gym area where they have kid sized treadmill, stationary bike and other exercise equipment.  The dress up area  can keep a kid occupied  for a few hours.  For those looking for a quite time there are these big comfy chairs in the front to read books. They have a huge pretend play section where my girls had a blast playing for a long time.  The variety of toys they have for kids to play with is just great.  There is a also  a toddler area that has a wall full of age appropriate toys.

The gym was designed for kids of all abilities but specially kids with autism so that they can have a safe and fun environment to play and interact with other kids. The slogan for the gym is “a place where you never have to say I’m sorry” and the staff goes out of their way to make sure everyone is comfortable and no one feels out of place. Parents with kids with special needs are always looking for places that are friendly and safe for their kids and this gym fulfills that need. Parents and family members are encouraged to come play with their kids and have fun as a family.  This is a place where everyone can all play and grow together without the worry of equipment and environment that is not friendly to children who have special needs.

 

Owners Gail and John opened We Rock the Spectrum about two years ago because they felt that there was a need for a place where kids with all abilities can come and play and enjoy themselves. The smiles on the faces of all the kids there is proof enough that they have succeeded in what they wanted to achieve.  They try and make children and their parents feel welcome and John will go around and try and remember all the kids names. Their new location is huge and has so much more to do and even a huge separate room for classes and parties.

A lot of the equipment they use is specialized equipment that is designed for children with sensory processing disorders and it helps them with their sensory functions while they play.  Our favorite thing about the new location is the Calming Room, where kids can step away and take a few moments to themselves if they need.

 

Their New Location Reopening is on July 21’st, 2019 from 11:00 am to 4:00pm with vendors, DJ, special guest appearances. A fun event for the whole family that you won’t want to miss.

 

Local Focus – Odette Photo + Art

This month’s Local Focus features Odette Photo + Art run by the super talented Odette Fernandez Lopez. Odette moved to South Florida from Cuba four years ago with a strong drive to do something and to make a name for herself in her new home away from home. She always had a strong interest in photography and would take pictures when ever she got a chance. As a professor in Cuba, she started writing a column about photography and seeing the huge interest in her column along with the great feedback from readers made her look at photography as more than just a hobby.

Odette taught herself how to take great pictures. She made it a mission to take/edit pictures on a daily basis so she can perfect the art. When she takes on a project she likes to get to know the family so that there is an element of comfort and her clients feel like they can be themselves which shows in the pictures she takes. Her favorite quote is “When you take a photograph of someone, you take a portrait of their soul” and this truly reflects in her work. Her focus is on children’s photography and her bubbly personality makes her a perfect person to work with kids. She works with families doing family portraits, covering events and even doing photography for blogs and websites.

Odette Photography offers different packages that you can choose from to fit your needs and budget. Check out more of her work here.

Click here to contact Odette Photo + Art to book a session.

* All images are property of Odette Photo + Art and are used with permission.

Local Business Feature – Plaster Carousel

We are excited to bring you our new monthly feature focusing on a local business that caters to kids. We are lucky to have so many businesses that focus on kids in our area. Our goal is to shine light on each such business that you and your family can enjoy.

For our first ever business feature, we selected the Plaster Carousel Family Fun Center located in Coral Springs, FL.  Plaster Carousel has been in the community for over 30 years. Not much has changed since they first started because the way they do things works.  With a selection of over 300 projects and focus on providing the best customer service they’re an incredible choice for someone looking to have a fun and creative time with a loved one.  It has been a family favorite for decades. The prices range from $15 to $50 a project and includes paints, brushes, all other supplies plus studio time ( Pro-tip: They will let you come back to finish a project if you run out of time).  The longevity of Plaster Carousel has provided generational appeal, parents who used to come as kids now bring their own kids here.  It’s also a  place to come hangout, put your gadgets away and roll up your sleeves and pick a project and start painting.  A place where time goes slow but memories are made fast, a place where every family member can find something that will interest them.

Scott and Debbie have a great love for the arts which is why they recently purchased The Plaster Carousel. Their main focus is providing impeccable customer service and making sure everyone is having a good time.  Debbie is there most days in her painting apron just ready to jump in and help with anything that is needed and Scott is always around with a good story. They both have created a place that is so inviting and relaxing and without any distractions.  It makes for a great place for everyone including people with sensory issues. Scott and Debbie are very accommodating to individual needs. They want it to be a place the whole community can enjoy.

If you are looking for a place for a girls night or a date night, Plaster Carousel is a great option for spending good quality time. Recently, they have started special programs for adults where they are open extended hours on certain days for adult only painting time for a fun evening with friends.  Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events and activities to plan your visit.  Check them out if  you need a place for a kids birthday party, a fundraiser, team building events and camps. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will be back very soon! Check out their website here.

Check out more things local in our Local Focus feature.

 

South Florida Waterparks

Summer in Florida means a lot of sun and water fun. Splash pads and water parks are the best places to keep you and your family cool and entertained.


Broward County


Cypress Water Park – Coral Springs

Two water parks, one for toddlers and another one for kids with spouting fountains, water cannons, play structures and slides.  Take a dip in the big clover shaped pool and beat the heat. Also, a great place to host birthday parties.

  • Cost: $3.25 Children 18 years and under and seniors 62+$3.75  Adults
  • Where: 1300 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33071
  • Hours: Mon./Wed./Thurs./Fri. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Tuesday 12 Noon – 4 p.m.
    Saturday & Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Splash Adventure at Quite Waters Park – Deerfield Beach 

Wade into the zero-depth pool where children can play in the water playground featuring slides, tunnels, water spouting animals, hand wheels, water curtains, water dumping bucket and so much more.


Calypso Cove – Margate 

Two slides to keep you and kids splashing down into the cool waters below. Two areas to play in. A zero depth pool for toddlers with a play structure, water spraying animals, palm trees with tipping coconuts and a plunge pool with slides for kids 48′ and over. Lots of umbrellas and lounge chairs where you can sit and relax.

  • Cost – Residents: $4 children 4 years and older and adults. $1 for children 3 and under.  (Resident ID required)
  • Cost – Non-residents: $7 children 4 years + and adults. $1 for children 3 and under.
  • Where: 6200 Royal Palm Boulevard, Margate, FL 33063.
  • Hours: June 10 – Aug 20, Open daily 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Civic Center Aquatic Complex – Sunrise

Swim in the 50- meter pool or have the kids splash around in the children’s zero- depth wading pool featuring a curving water slide.


Caporella Aquatic Center – Tamarac

Pool to cool off with zero- depth entry with a double tornado slide.  Little ones can play on the water playground with water spouting at them. Picnic tables and chairs are available to relax and enjoy a snack from the concession stand.

  • Cost – Residents: $2 children 12 and under, $3.25 adults
  • Cost – Non Residents: $2.50 children 12 and under, $3.75 adults
  • Where: 9300 NW 58 Street, Tamarac, FL 33321
  • Hours: 10:00 am – 6;00 pm, daily.

Miami- Dade County 


Grapeland Water Park – Miami 

A shallow play area for kids smaller than 48′ with water shooting cannons, splash fountains, waves of water and two water slides. Children 48′ and above and adults can enjoy the Pirate’s Plunge with three water slides, water shooting cannons, splash fountains, shallow water play area, low rise slides. Float around the lazy river which is lined with water sprayers and fountains.

  • Cost – Residents $7 ages 2-13, $12  for ages 14 and older. ( I.D. required)
  • Cost – Non-residents $7 ages 2-13, $15  for ages 14 and older.
  • Where – 1550 NW 37th Ave, Miami, FL 33126
  • Hours – 10:00 am – 4:45 pm

 

New York in a day….with kids!

This summer we headed to New Jersey for a wedding in the family.  With only one free night we decided to head to New York.  We stayed in a hotel in the Financial District, so we decided to head over the Federal Hall to check out the statue of George Washington. The best thing about kids is that they are easily entertained.  They had a great time hanging around the statue and posing for pictures.  If you not still full of of a massive bagel from breakfast, the Financial District is a great place for lunch. There are a bunch of food carts and restaurants with mouth watering food.

Next on our list was the Charging Bull.  Since we were walking everywhere we stopped at Trinity Church and checked it out.  We loved it and  surprisingly so did the kids.  They had so many questions specially about all the tombstones.  Next we headed to our intended destination of the Charging Bull. The area is so full of tourists that it is hard to get close to the bull. Eventually we succeeded and some pictures in front of the bull. Maybe something we should have skipped given the long wait.

On to more fun things, we headed to The Sea Glass Carousel at The Battery Conservancy.  It is a bit of a hike from the Charging Bull specially if you are not used to walking a lot. Wear comfortable shoes not just cute! Bring a baby carrier or a stroller.  Bring snacks!  Once you get there though things will get better.  Luckily when we got there we didn’t have to wait in line.  At just $5 a ticket the rides are pretty reasonable. We got our tickets and headed into the beautiful blue green interior made to look like you are in the ocean.  After hopping on our desired fish we enjoyed our ride while beautiful music played.  Put your feet up, relax and give your tired feet a break.

After a quick lunch and a short nap back at the hotel we headed out to the Rockefeller Center.  We bought our tickets online which saved us a wait in the long long line. You still have a long line for security check and it takes a while to get up to the top.  The kids didn’t necessarily love it when we got to the top but we did so it wasn’t all bad.

Being the cool parents we are we headed to M&M World next.  The excitement in the kids  eyes was just enough to say that they were in one of the best places on Earth.   After spending far too much time and more money than I care to admit on M&M’s we stopped for a quick bite to eat before we headed back to the hotel.

We couldn’t leave New York without checking out the Statue of Liberty. We decided to stop at Liberty Park on our way out because we didn’t have time to go to the Statute of Liberty.  Its a great park with a great view of the statue, that is if you don’t mind looking at the back of  it.  We didn’t and kids didn’t seem to mind either although they did initially wanted to see the front of it.  Once they started playing in the playground they forgot about that rather quickly though.

We saw pretty much everything that we wanted to in the short amount of time.  New York is always a experience for the kids and adults and  as expected we came back with awesome memories.

 


Palm Beach Zoo

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Gather the kids and head over to the Palm Beach Zoo for a day filled with animal fun! The zoo welcomes you with a big interactive fountain right when you enter it and it is the best sight for a hot sunny Florida day! Don’t forget to bring your kid’s swimsuit or better yet put it on them, they will want to play in the fountain as soon as they see it. Parents can sit on a shaded bench and watch their young ones squeal  with all that fun!

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The zoo is perfect for little legs.  Even though it has hundreds of animals and birds it is just the right size for little ones to enjoy without getting too tired.  Most of the habitats are beautifully designed to look like natural habitats of animals.  This means that kids and parents can observe the amazing animals in a natural setting.

Along with all the animals and birds you and your kids will enjoy, there is a kids zone which has a Wildlife Carousel and a Safari Train. The rides cost $3 each and benefit the zoo’s animals. At the Explorer’s Play tent children can experience hands on activities, educational games, animal encounters, story time and meet and greets. Click here for the schedule.

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Costa Rica Adventure

Every couple of years my husband’s extended family takes a trip (13 people, 5 kids, 8 adults), 3 years ago it was Disney World, this time Quepos, Costa Rica. We rented a house through HomeAway for our Orlando trip, so thought why not do it again.

We picked Quepos, on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, near the Manuel Antonio National Park mainly because of the options we had available. We looked at HomeAway and found the perfect home for us, overlooking the ocean, fully staffed and a pool. (Quepos Home)(we do not receive compensation for including the link, but because it was such an amazing experience we have included). Flights from S FL we very reasonable, we found a JetBlue flight from FLL to San Jose for under $250 roundtrip. We were looking to rent a van, but my brother-in-law had a friend whom frequented Costa Rica refer a driver and we were sure happy for the help. Not that driving in Costa Rica would have been difficult, we just had one more person to show us around, Costa Rica.

Once we made it to Quepos, we had the pleasure of finding the house, now for a family originally from Montana the terrain seemed to be fitting, it was in the middle of nowhere and if it had been the rainy season we would have needed 4×4.  The fact that it was in the middle of nowhere was ideal because we were secluded and felt like we had our own slice of Costa Rica.

While in Quepos we enjoyed the man offerings the area had to offer, we took a boat ride to watch the dolphins and snorkel.  We visited a Vanilla plantation to see how vanilla is cultivated…we also got to sample some great cookies and ice cream.  We also took a trip to a waterfall (which was really just a small stream), which to our drivers surprise because it was the first time he had taken tourists to such a place, it’s something they normally do as locals.

By far the biggest delight on the trip was the kids were able to have fun with their cousins.  One found memory is the little zip line on the road to Manuel Antonio park.  The zip line isn’t something we would have to do if it were for the kids as it is very small but affordable.  Keira was super excited to go on it, so she went first and as she was waiting for her cousin to go (because she thought it was a little scary), Keira asked the employee if she could go again and they were happy to let her go for free.  After talking herself out of the ride Keira’s cousin decided not to do it, so we left.  After our lunch and site seeing around the Manuel Antonio area, Keira’s cousin decided to try the zipline…which meant Keira had to go again…three more times!  In all, Keira did the zipline 5 times that day.

It was a trip none of us will forget and we don’t typically travel to places we’ve already been, but we might make an exception for Quepos!

 

 

 

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