End-of-Summer Activities for the Whole Family

As the summer months come to a close and children prepare their backpacks for a new school year, it can be quite the bummer for both parents and kids. However, just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean everyone has to be gloomy. The weather is still warm, so there’s still plenty of time to have some fun. Here are a few end-of-summer activities for the whole family.

Head Over to the Local Park

It may be too late for a long hiking trip, but there’s always time to take a walk at the park. Gather the whole family and head over to your favorite city park to enjoy some quality outdoor time. If you want to take that extra step to make it a lot more fun, you can even prepare a scavenger hunt for the kids.

Throw a Small-Scale Summer Bash

Who needs a ton of people to party? One of the best ways to celebrate the end of the summer months is to throw your very own end-of-the-season bash in your backyard. Set up the pool, play some games, and make some snow cones. This bash will be that cherry on top of the summer for your entire family.

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4 Ways to Bring Your Family Together

Jennifer Powers - New York City - 4 Ways to Bring Your Family Together

Most families spend an average of 37 quality minutes per day together. Getting more time together doesn’t have to be complicated. Even mundane, everyday tasks can become a fun-filled family affair. Here are four simple ways to bring the family together before summer ends!

 

Invite the Family to Help with Tasks

Chores, cooking, and exercise are things many parents already have on their to-do lists. Why not invite the family to help out? Not only will quality family time increase, but parents can also instill essential values at the same time. Children may not efficiently load the dishwasher or safely use a knife, but side-by-side with a parent, they learn the importance of work and get the attention that nurtures the family relationship.

 

Listen to Each Other

A little bit of conversation can do a lot to enrich family relationships. Asking the right questions and actively listening to answers communicates interest and love. Come up with a question each day to learn more about loved ones. Find common interests to discuss, and find ways to pursue those interests. Allow children to participate in planning family vacations, deciding family values, and setting up family rules. Letting children participate in family matters helps them see different perspectives and get invested in family goals.

 

Turn Off Devices

On average, a smartphone is unlocked about 150 times per day, and nearly half of parents think their child has a smartphone addiction. Limiting device usage is a simple way to create more time for family. Bust out a board game, start a family book club, or go on an adventure. These activities don’t have to cost a dime—not even adventures! A walk around town can turn into an expedition. Children and adults alike unleash creativity and forge strong relationships when they put their devices away.

 

Schedule Family Time

Many families are too busy to get much unstructured time together. Formally scheduling family time helps families keep relationships a top priority. Schedule the same time every week for family time, so everyone gets into the habit. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time to make a difference.

 

Make these trying times a bit easier with a little more family time!

Five Recipes to Cook and Enjoy with Kids

Cooking with kids can be chaotic and messy. Still, it’s rewarding to pour effort into something the whole family can enjoy. Here are five fun meal ideas that both parents and kids will love to make and eat!

Kabobs

Provided that children are old enough not to poke themselves with the sticks, kabobs of any sort are fun to create and cook as necessary. There is no right or wrong way to assemble them, so kids can use their imaginations, and parents can encourage kids to try new foods by combining them on kabobs with beloved mainstays.

Meat kabobs can include a variety of meat and seafood ingredients or just one protein.

Fruit kabobs dipped in yogurt are a healthy, no-cook alternative.

English Muffin Pizzas

English muffin pizzas are super simple to create and a great way to give children more hands-on experience in the kitchen. Sauces, cheeses, meats, and vegetables are the condiments added to customize them. Pop them in the toaster oven for ten minutes, and enjoy some tasty homemade personal pizzas!

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How To Get The Family Involved In Philanthropy

The word “philanthropy” often brings to mind the establishment of trusts, scholarships, or research institutes worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. It can feel, to many people, like something that is restricted to those with access to vast amounts of wealth. But the truth is that the majority of philanthropic giving is done by middle- and working-class people. So, how do you establish a spirit of philanthropy that endures for generations to come?

Start at home

Teaching your children the value and importance of charitable giving and philanthropic work is essential to creating a legacy of giving. It can begin by teaching children to be charitable to each other, family, and friends, and can extend to the wider community as children mature. Teach children that doing things for others is rewarding and the right thing to do. Involve your children from an early age in community work and set up a family tradition of giving that will last their whole lives.

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Top 5 NYC Day Trips for Families

New York City is packed with parks, playgrounds, and museums, offering plenty of activities for families. In fact, there are so many activities that it can be nerve-wracking to choose just one. However, planning a trip in the Big Apple with kids doesn’t have to be intimidating! Here are five fun places to visit that kids (and parents!) are sure to love.

Governors Island National Monument

Take a 10-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn to this former military base, now operated by the National Park Service. Free ranger-led tours are available to learn about Castle Williams and Fort Jay, the island’s two forts. Rent a bike to explore the island and take in scenic views of the city! Be sure to also check out the many art shows, performances, and concerts that are offered on weekends.

Dylan’s Candy Bar

Imagine Candyland meets Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Dylan’s Candy Bar is a magical candy shop which houses over 7,000 confections and boasts that it is one of the largest collections of candy anywhere in the world. Go home with chocolate, 3D printed gummies, ice cream, fudge, and more!

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How to Encourage Children to Help With Chores

jennifer powers - how to encourage children to help with chores

If all members of your household work or learn full-time, you’ve probably created a chore schedule for everyone. Chores are a great way to teach children responsibility and cleanliness, but they aren’t always as fun as video games or television. If your children aren’t keen on drying dishes or making their beds, here are some tips to get them a bit more invested in housework.

Establish Rewards

This is by far the fastest and easiest way to entice children to help out around the house. Allowances, snacks, and extra computer or TV time are a few rewards that can inspire children to do their part. The right rewards can encourage children to complete their chores in a timely manner. However, you should always double-check and make sure that bigger chores, like cleaning a bedroom, aren’t simplified. The cartoon trope of shoving discarded items into an overstuffed closet had to have come from somewhere.

Set a Deadline

Hard deadlines are another useful trick to encourage the completion of chores. “Fold the laundry” comes off as vague and lackadaisical. To ensure your children understand the importance of chores, make sure assignments are clear, and set proper timelines for completion. For example, “please fold the laundry as soon as the dryer buzzes to avoid anything wrinkling. Then, bring the basket up to the living room so everyone can grab their items.” Notice the explanations given for actions you request, which establish the timeliness of the task. Clear instructions can also help eliminate the chance of chores being left half-finished.

Don’t Turn Chores into Punishments

If you want chores to become ordeals, assign them as punishments. That’s the fast-track to fostering animosity between children and their weekly duties. Chores should be built into schedules and considered part of home life, just like homework and family time. Avoid doling out extra chores when children misbehave. Chances are, this will create a negative opinion about all types of chores, not just the punishment. While children likely won’t grow to love cleaning, they can easily learn to loathe chores.

Make Chores a Team Effort

Convert multi-faceted chores, such as dusting or collecting items for donation, into a family activity. Put on some music, split up in teams, and see who can complete their duties quickly and accurately. Make a whole day of deep-cleaning the house, and enjoy a fun night out on the town as a job well-done. Building chores into family time helps children feel less overwhelmed with their responsibilities and can save you plenty of time on those tricky tasks. Take a look at your chores list and see which ones could translate into games!

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How to Teach Your Kids Self-Care

Any hard-working mom knows the importance of some good, old-fashioned self-care. Whether it’s yoga with your girlfriends or a night in with some wine, looking after yourself is the first step to living a happy, healthy life. But how can moms emphasize the importance of self-care to their children? There are plenty of ways to impart this wisdom on your kids, but here are just a few to get you started.

Encourage Their Hobbies

Your child comes running into the room, clutching a piece of construction paper in their paint-stained hands. You pluck the paper from their hands and see a Pollock-esque mishmash of brick red, robin’s egg blue, and burnt umber. According to your child, it’s a family portrait.

 

Most moms would immediately hang it on the fridge, and rightfully so! After all, your kid worked so hard on this masterpiece, there’s no reason to let it go to waste.

 

This scenario is an example of one way you can encourage childhood self-care, even in toddlers. Praising the work your child has done will improve their self-esteem and encourage them to continue their efforts. Your child doesn’t have to be the best singer, artist, writer, or athlete—so long as you support them, and so long as they’re having fun, they’ll find fulfillment in whatever activities strike their fancy.

 

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Back-to-School Necessities for Your Kids

It’s nearly autumn. That means back-to-school commercials saturate the airwaves, and your children grouse and gripe about the bygone days of summer. As stores around the country advertise school supply sales for students of all ages, it’s about time you take your kids shopping for new notebooks and sharpened pencils. If you’re at a loss for what your kids might need this year, here are a couple of necessities that will help your kids succeed.

Colored Tabs

These bright, sticky tabs will help everyone from the last-minute studier to the hyper-organized academic. Colored tabs can be placed in textbooks, workbooks, and packets to highlight important text for quick reference. They’ll stay securely in place and they are easy to remove without tearing any pages. Your children can use them to mark important textbook passages, bookmark chapter books, or even flag troublesome homework problems. No more light-as-a-feather pencil marks that never get erased, no more dog-earing, and no more frantically flipping through homework packets to find the one problem that wasn’t filled out.

 

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The Benefits of Summer Camp

The summer is approaching fast, and many children will soon head off to summer camp for a few weeks, or even the entire season. Along with that souvenir t-shirt, they’ll have fun, interact with others, and learn new things. Sure, they can get all this at school and extra-curricular activities, but summer camp offers benefits exclusive to the camping experience. Following are a few unique ways children can benefit from summer camp.

A Boost in Self Confidence

One extensive study found that 70 percent of campers’ parents reported that their children came home from camp with more self-confidence. Camp kids must work through homesickness and tackle new activities. When children are in another environment, they’re more likely to push themselves further on skills give they already have. Back at school, this new sense of pride can lead them to try out for teams and activities they might have otherwise avoided.

Develop a Unique Interest

Camps that specialize in activities like video game design or archery give children an environment to try out skills without the fear of reproach. They can concentrate on that one skill set without worrying with other studies and homework. They now have the time to work on developing a unique interest. This interest can lead to new success for them.

Helps Connect to Nature

Kids today are often caught up in cyberspace and detached from the natural world. In fact, The Nature Conservancy conducted a nationwide poll and found that a mere 10 percent of children spend time outside every day…

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Planning a Family Vacation on a Budget

Vacations provide a great opportunity to get away from the stress of everyday life. Whether it involves a road trip or a flight to a tropical location, a vacation can literally be just what the doctor ordered. However, the expenses that come with a vacation can lead to other forms of stress. This is why it’s important to have a budget in place when planning a vacation. Here are some options for saving money on a family vacation.

Research With The Kids

Miserable kids can make for a miserable vacation. Therefore, it’s a good idea to involve the children in the planning of a family vacation. This will involve talking over the options that are available with them and preparing them for what to expect once the trip starts. When they know what’s coming up, they are likely to be happier about the trip, which should also make the parents happier about the trip.

Go In The Off-season

Fewer people go to many popular vacation destinations in the fall. This means that airlines and hotels will offer off-peak pricing. Cruises can also be cheaper in the off-season. Additionally, it’s likely that less people will be around popular destinations so families will have more room at the pool or on the beach.

Set Limits On Souvenirs

There may be a temptation to buy kitschy souvenirs at every single stop on a vacation. This is not a good idea for those who are looking to save money. A good idea is to set up a budget for the kids before leaving home. Maybe they will have $25 or $50 to spend on whatever they want. However, once the money is gone, it’s gone…

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