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.

 

Palm Beach Zoo – Kids free in August 2020 *

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If you are looking to do with your family while social distancing, Palm Beach Zoo is a great option. The Palm Beach Zoo has updated its guidelines for Covid -19. Some exhibits maybe closed to ensure social distancing. Details on steps they are taking can be found here. Kids can visit the Palm Beach Zoo free all of August 2020* ( *some restrictions apply). Click here for details.

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 splash pad right when you enter. Don’t forget to bring your kid’s swimsuit and watch them have a great time while the parents sit on a shaded bench overlooking the splash pad.

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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. 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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* This article was written pre- Covid 19, some of the exhibits listed in this article may not be accessible due to Covid 19 precautions.

 

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!

 

 

 

Lion Country Safari

If your family loves animals, you cannot miss Lion Country Safari. As Florida’s only drive thru safari its the best place to be on a warm sunny day.  You can watch all the animals while in the comfort of your air conditioned car. At the entrance you get a CD that guides you through all the animal exhibits and it feels like you are getting a private tour at your own pace.  You can spend as much or as little time as you want watching the animals.
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With over 900 animals, encounters, animal feeding experiences, various conservation programs, rides and a water spray ground there is enough to keep your entire family entertained.  They offer various programs for toddler all the way to adults that are designed to give you an experience with the animals at the safari through stories, crafts and animal presentations, lectures and enrichment programs. Check out the petting zoo to feed and brush the sheep and goats. You can also feed the Giraffes and Budgies for a small fee for the food.

 

The safari has a bunch of rides like the Carousel, El Paso Train, Flying Elephants, which are all complimentary.  There is a mini golf course and a maze that you can enjoy free of cost too. The paddle boats and the Safari queen are available daily and also at no additional charge.

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If after a long day you are looking to cool down than you need to head to the Safari Splash which is an interactive water spray ground with 23 water options. Then head on over to the two water slides to continue the water fun. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, you don’t want to miss on all this fun.

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Lion Country Safari is also a great place for birthday parties. They have party packages available that will fit your needs and provide tons of fun for your party guests.

Check out their website at www.lioncountrysafari.com and click here to print a discount coupon.

 

Exploring Flamingo Gardens

 

This summer we got the Adventure Pass and I am glad we did.  It was amazing to check out 7 different attractions for one price. One of our favorite attractions on the pass was the Flamingo Gardens. We have been there 3 times this summer  and the kids ask to go back every weekend. Here are some of the things we love about this awesome place:

The wildlife:

Besides the gorgeous flamingos this place has bunch of other animals and birds too.  We LOVE the beautiful peacocks running around and  if you are lucky they will stop and pose for pictures.  Their Koi pond is filled with some beautiful fish that you can feed. Just remember to take some quarters for the fish food.  There are plenty of iguanas and lizards around too. They also have Florida Panthers, an alligator and a Black Bear.

The Tram Ride:

This tram ride is pretty incredible. They take you on a tour of the 42 acre property  and you see a bunch of different trees and plants. My favorites are the mango tress. The tram drivers do an excellent job of pointing out different wildlife and have great knowledge of the  plants and  trees. Keep and eye out for huge iguanas as they drive by the water. The best part of the tram ride is that it is included in the ticket price.

The Aviary:

If you are interested in looking at birds up and close this is the place to do it. They have so many different variety of birds and you could spend a lot of time watching them. Just watch out for some….umm bird poop!

 

One of our visits there was their back to school event and the kids had a blast. They had a bunch of water slides, pony rides, games, food and music. I think this is partly why the kids want to go there every weekend! Click here to check out their website.

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