Tag - Family

Fun Summer Activity for Indoors and Outdoors

Our Summer break has begun and we are in full-force entertainment mode. If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. The, “Mommy, I’m bored” can start as early as half a second after the last moment of school and I like to be prepared.

We have lots of lists for the Summer, I keep them put away until Summer break comes and then voila! they magically appear in our family command center (aka the place we keep our monthly calendar, chore charts, etc).

You may have already seen my post on Summer Schedule – Summer Rules but if not click the link HERE to get some ideas to a semi-relaxed semi-scheduled Summer that will help your household run more smoothly.

Another way we combat Summer boredom is by playing creatively. We always try to mix some old games/toys/activities with some new ones and this Summer we had the opportunity to check out the All-New Laser X – Laser Tag set

My girls usually opt out of playing laser tag at amusement venues because they aren’t sure what to expect and being highly sensitive, it can be intimidating with the loud noises and dark unfamiliar place. So when it comes to being able to play laser tag in the comfort of our own home and/or backyard, they were super excited.

Laser X features sophisticated electronics and optics that give players pinpoint blasting accuracy up to 200 feet. You can purchase sets of 1 or 2 and play with friends. Players can
choose to be on teams or select “rogue” mode where it’s every player for his or herself.

All Laser X sets work together, so games can have as few as two players – or the whole neighborhood can play. Advanced sensors in the Laser X blaster know when players are blasting, being hit, running or hiding. An interactive “coach” uses this information to give players tips and tricks throughout the game. Players can even plug headphones (not included) into their chest receiver and play music.

We tried out the Micro Blasters, but you can also purchase Original Blasters, Gaming Tower, and Long Range Blaster depending on the kind of play experience you are looking for. We highly recommend these as a fun summer or year-round toy for hours of fun (and a definite way to get rid of summer boredom!)

Sets range from around $29.99 to $49.99 and are sold online and at retailers nationwide. Get yours at GetLaserX.com before they are sold out for the summer!!

Thanks to Element Associates for sending a sample for review.

A Visit to the North Carolina Zoo – Travel Tips

This is NOT a paid post. Thank you NC Zoo for hosting our family for this trip. All opinions are honest thoughts from MommyB Knows Best.

 

Imagine walking around on a beautiful day enjoying time with your family surrounded by some of the most incredible animals nature has to see.

Our family had the opportunity to visit the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro recently and we wanted to share our experience with you. In this blog series you’ll find out helpful travel tips, learn more about the zoo and it’s different areas, and hear about upcoming events.

 

For this first post we will focus on some travel tips we have for visiting the zoo.

Getting Around the Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo is an expansive zoo that houses many different animals. It should take around 4-6 hours to visit the entire park. Touted as the worlds largest zoo there’s no surprise that when you visit there will be a fair amount of walking involved.

Major animal habitats provide a good amount of space to roam around and not feel as confined. Habitats are roughly 8 minutes walking distance from one to the other. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable walking shoes and take plenty of breaks. There are some areas to sit, take advantage of those with a short break, enjoy the scenery and check out where you’re headed next on the map.

Strollers and wheelchairs are permitted and strollers are highly recommended for little ones to offer a break from walking. These items are also available for rental on a first-come, first-served basis at the Earth Explorer Gift Shop and Safari Gift Shop.

The park offers tram cars and buses inside the park and I would encourage your family to make use of them when possible, especially when weather conditions are hot or if you have very young or elderly guests.

Parking

Parking is free and there is also a free shuttle that operates from 11:am to 5:30pm during peak tourist season. We got to the park pretty early and had a very easy time parking and were able to have a short walk to the park.

Tickets & Fun Tickets

Single ticket costs are $15 per adult, $13 per senior, and $11 ages, 2-12, ages 2 and under free. (*ticket price subject to change). For us this was a very reasonable cost for entry because of how large the park is and what we were able to see. You can check out ticket pricing and get yours HERE.

AAA, SEANC and military members receive general admission discount with member identification.

If you think you will want to visit several times a year, park memberships may be purchased through the North Carolina Zoological Society.

During peak visiting season you can save by purchasing fun tickets in bulk. Whether your kiddos would like to ride the Carousel, hang out on the Giraffe Deck, or your family would like to make use of the Paddleboats or sit in and watch the latest move at the 4D Theater, there’s something for everyone. *Some attractions are weather dependent.

We used our Fun tickets for Rio 4D and it was a great experience, got us out of the heat and was something fun for the whole family.

Food

There are picnic areas open outside the park and several restaurants and snack shops and food/drink carts located throughout the park.

Our family dined at Billy D’s Fried Chicken restaurant. We loved the idea of a sustainable meal. While sustainable and farm-to-table are buzz words these days it really is neat to know where your food is coming from and knowing that it’s benefiting local vendors. When we visited they had recently opened and we were excited to try their yummy offerings. The waffle fries were a family favorite and I loved the dill in the ranch dressing. If you’re looking for food that everyone will enjoy but have a fun twist, definitely check out Billy D’s.

Shows & Attractions

The NC Zoo features regular feedings, check the feeding times for each animal as they vary. While we didn’t experience this first hand I can only imagine how neat it would be to check out.

If you’re looking for some adventure the park also offers the Air Hike Ropes Course for a nominal fee. Height restrictions apply and activity is weather dependent.

Another new attraction that we were able to check out during our visit was the Birds in Flight Bird Show. This show is around 25 minutes of feathered-fun! We saw funny birds, beautiful birds, talented birds and loved the audience interaction. This is a show that’s great for the entire family! Tickets are $3 per person over age 2 and well worth the cost. A great chance to relax, laugh, and see some beautiful birds.

 

Head HERE for more park tips and purchase your tickets!

 

In our next posts we will highlight favorite parts of our trip in both of the zoo sections, North American and Africa.You won’t want to miss it so make sure you subscribe!

 

Have you ever visited? If so, what are your tips for visiting?

Have any questions about the zoo? Head to my Facebook page!

Ways to Encourage Creative Play

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Child’s Play Communications. All opinions are my own honest thoughts.

Whether you have a child who is naturally creative or one who needs some encouragement in that area of play, enriching our child’s imagination is beneficial to them in so many ways.

It helps them to become problem solvers.

It encourages them to be dreamers and share their ideas.

It helps them understand who they are as a person.

It teaches them to be bold and proud of their accomplishments.

Creative play is incredibly rewarding so why wouldn’t we want all these things and more for our children while also letting them be kids and have fun?!?

Just as children can be naturally creative or not, so can the big kids, the adults. If creative play doesn’t come easy to you, that’s ok. The Schleich brand brings inspiration to you with their carefully hand-painted figurines.

When you encounter a brand that was founded over 80 years ago and is sold in more than 50 countries you know it’s a business your family can trust. When we first unboxed the adorable animals we noticed the incredible details right away. There is no doubt these figurines are very high quality as they look like the real animals rather than a cartoon version.

The Schleich Farm World set and Wild Life Starter Set (sold separately) feature easily recognizable animals, not to mention there are so many other sets they offer including a unicorn set, and Marvel comics! Both my girls would be in heaven. I personally love the elephant the most.

Of course you’re thinking my child can play with these animals and make believe, but what else?

Although ideas are endless, here are a few ways we thought would be fun to play with the figurines:

Grouping and Sorting – Using the figurines (and other toys too) group them into different categories.
{The Schleich website has scientific AND fun facts on each figurine/animal.}
  • Group by letter in the word
  • Sort by where the animal might live
  • Sort them by most furry to least furry (or another describing word)
Use them for storytelling starting with one animal and introducing each to the story line until the ending.

Play hide-and-seek or use them for a scavenger hunt. Clues could be things the animal eats or sounds the animal makes.
Ask your child to pick a figuring and draw their own rendition of it. It will be neat to see how they view the animal from their point of view.

 

What other ideas do you have to get creative with your kiddos? Thank you for sharing your ideas for other parents and caregivers.

 

Spring Reading List – With Reading Reward Chart Printable

As the weather warms up and we have more daylight that means we have more time to read and enjoy new books as a family. When the Bradford pear trees aren’t stinking up our yard {can I get an Amen?!?} we love to sit outside with our books before it gets too hot out.

The B girls really enjoy reading a variety of books and we wanted to share some of our favorites that you might want to add to your child’s spring reading line-up.

Bible Belles

We recently heard about the Bible Belles series. These books take a strong woman from the Bible and show how her story encourages the main character Rooney to grow in Prayer, Patience, Bravery, Loyalty, and Leadership.

There are currently 5 books in the series and C is absolutely loving these books written by Erin Weidemann. We have two books from the series, Hannah the Belle of Prayer (Book 1) and Deborah The Belle of Leadership (Book 5) we found that the books seem to go better when you have the backstory of the previous book.

Also being a super hero-loving family these books definitely draw in kids who love action with a little bit of “time travel” to books of the Bible and empowering stories. We love strong women role-models and who better than those God has called to inspire our kiddos?!?!

Purchase a 3 book set kiddos are sure to love: BibleBelles.com

 

The Greatest Brick Builds: Amazing Creations in LEGO

If you have LEGO or block builders in your family The Greatest Book Builds by Nathan Sawaya is a MUST HAVE. This book features so many unique amazing creations that are sure to inspire your children. These jaw-dropping creations are presented in full color, with close-up photos, scale representations, historical commentary on the structures, and details on how each model was constructed using LEGO bricks. Included in this collection are the Golden Gate, the USS Missouri, and the Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as other iconic structures created by LEGO crafters from around the world.

My girls enjoy trying to replicate some of the builds in the book while others they try to imagine how they are created. I love how LEGO creations are presented as art and giving this generation some “outside-the-lines” ideas to encourage creativity.

Get your copy here:

Cul-de-Sac Kids Series

Both of my children LOVE a kids mystery. I guess they’re a lot like their mom because I really like mystery as well. The Cul-de-Sac Kids series features great, non-scary story lines. The characters are funny and easy to relate to and you don’t have to worry about rude language or inappropriate/bratty behavior like some books that are similar in this genre and age-range.

{Someone please tell me why kids have to be disrespectful in books, television, and movies!?!?}

We’ve purchased several box sets that our 7-going on 8 year old, has whizzed through. We almost can’t keep up with her. It looks like there are 24 books in total so we have at least 2 more box sets.

Check them out for yourself, makes a great gift too!

 

Samantha Sanderson Series

Speaking of mysteries, here is one for the older crowd, the Samantha Sanders series by Robin Caroll. Again, appropriate behavior and language so you don’t have to worry about what your kiddos are reading {though it’s never a bad idea to pre-read or read books with your child.} We love FaithGirlz brand books and these are among some other great books we are excited to check out.

Miss A has all 4 of the books in this series and I’m sure once C gets a little older she will be excited to read them as well. When A gets really passionate about something I can tell in the way she talks about it and she loves sharing stories from these books, always a great sign.

Add these to your cart today: 

 

Some other books that your kiddos might like:

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes, we haven’t read this yet but it looks like something C will adore, it has dress-up, creativity, and a fun spirit. I can’t wait to see what she thinks!

Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel, we love this series, perfect for your inquisitive kids who love black and white answers. It’s great for them to hear another perspective on faith and these books focus on several topics like Christ, Grace, the Creator and more.

 

Before you go, here’s a fun printable to encourage reading! You may want to offer a reward for reaching a certain number of books read, something fun that will motivate your child, if they need a little extra encouragement. And don’t forget, even as your children grow and get older it’s to read to them now and again, that can provide some incredibly sweet moments.

Click here to print – Kids Reading Tracker

 

 

Now it’s your turn to share: What books do your kiddos love?

 

 

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, if you purchase through the links I thank you in advance for contributing to my coffee funds and helping me keep MommyBKnowsBest.com up and running!

Fun and Easy Valentine’s Ideas for Kids

Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to celebrate with kids. My girls love languages are gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time, so basically they cover 4 out of 5 of the love languages. If you haven’t heard about love languages check out my blog post on Exploring Love Languages.

 

Because they have different love languages we do a few things both leading up to Valentine’s Day and on the day itself. Here are just a couple new and old traditions that we partake in to celebrate.

Valentine’s Day Countdown – Make a paper chain, calendar countdown, or think of something creative to count your way down to Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t matter what day you start but here are some ideas of what you and your family can do to count your way down to the 14th.

  • Hug someone in your family
  • Read John 3:16
  • Make a craft with hearts
  • Say one reason you love each member of your family
  • Help cook a family meal or treat in the shape of a heart
  • Look at pictures from past V-days
  • Help someone in need
  • Spend time with another family
  • Invite someone to church
  • Color pictures for extended family members
  • Write a letter to a missionary or military family
  • Make Valentine’s Day cards
  • Decorate your home with words of kindness


Valentine’s Day Tree

We found this Valentine’s Day Tree in the dollar section at Target. It was made for the classroom, but I find a lot of great items that we can use at home are teaching tools or made for school. I love how easy it is to love with words of affirmation and kindness using this simple decoration.

 

There’s also something similar on Amazon*, and of course you could make your own as well:

 

Now that I’ve shared a couple of things we do in our home, I would love to hear your ideas for Valentine’s Day. Share how you celebrate by leaving a comment in the comment section below.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you make a purchase I get rewarded too. I would never link something I didn’t think would be a good purchase for my readers. Thanks for supporting MommyB Knows Best and be sure to leave a comment!

Kids Holiday Fashion Tips

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh B’gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

 

The holiday season is busy for our family, from hosting our own gatherings to attending get togethers with friends and even school parties and Christmas programs. As modern traditional parents, we want our kids to look festive but still be comfortable and age-appropriate.

We love the kids fashion that OshKosh B’gosh offers this time of year. Whether you have a child who likes fancy dresses or a child who prefers a nice sweater and jeans, OshKosh really does cater to a variety of styles.

With so many events to attend it gets pricey paying for several new outfits, but instead of buying one outfit for each event we love to buy separates that you can mix and match and Osh Kosh B’gosh kids has a great selection of coordinating pieces.

While shopping we saw adorable ponchos and super frilly dresses. Miss C ended up choosing some adorable print leggings and a romantic flowy top. She also picked out a glittery navy skirt to mix and match.

Another great way to save on the holiday clothing for your children is with an amazing Osh Kosh B’gosh coupon!!

Save 20% off $40 or more purchase with the following codes:

In-Store: 037264
Online: OKBG3418

 

And as a treat for the holidays, enter to win a $50 Osh Kosh B’gosh gift card!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen – Treat the Team Giveaway

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

Fall is here and if you’re anything like our family you are busy with school, activities, sports, and preparing for the holidays. Scouts, football, hockey, gymnastics, book clubs, robotics teams, whatever your family is involved in you are on-the-go.

Let’s be honest with running errands and shuttling the kiddos to their activities it can leave you with little together time and you know if your child is a part of a group they want to hang out with their teammates and club mates outside of that activity. So how do you fit in together time?

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is making it easier for small groups like families or large groups like sports teams and clubs to “treat the team” and enjoy a made-from-scratch meal, whether it’s dine-in or to-go.

The B Girls are part of an amazing scout-like group called GEMS where they get together bi-weekly and love seeing friends, and learning new things. It’s not often when we get the opportunity to spend extra time with our GEMS friends, but thanks to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen we were able to enjoy a fun night of conversation, filled with laughter and no cooking or cleaning for me.

I’d love to pass on the opportunity to you. Check out a Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen near you to learn more about their menu, great kid’s meal pricing, and let the team and family bonding begin!

Win a Treat the Team Game Day Pack?

 

Enter to win a $50 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen gift card (with $4.99 kids meals, it goes a long way), 1 folding stadium chair, 1 fleece stadium blanket, 1 football, 1 first aid kit, and Treat the Team activity sheets that the kiddos will love.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Subway’s Share the Color Food Workshop – Giveaway

This post is in partnership with Subway. Any opinions expressed are my own.

 

I’m excited to share with you about the upcoming “Share the Color” Food Workshops hosted by Subway Restaurants in the Charlotte area!

 

Share the Color food workshops will be hosted from October 14th-21st at various Subway locations all across the Carolinas for families to attend.

Check out these links to find an event near you:

Charlotte Area

Carolinas Area

{Feel free to register for your free tickets through the link as well.}

Local food and nutrition experts will be on-hand, teaching a short lesson on nutritious food choices and making sure you have a lot of color variety on your plate. Children will participate in a hands-on sub making activity and enjoy a free nutritious lunch and a fun food explorer coloring book.

In honor of the event, I’m giving away a $25 Subway gift card to one lucky reader. To enter you must comment below letting me know your favorite thing to eat at Subway. For extra entries, share this post, and tag your friends on social media.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pouring Into Our Children

If you’ve read any of my Love Languages blog posts you know that we all give and receive love in unique ways. Our children are no different. While you may feel loved and love by giving hugs (physical touch), your child may feel cared about more with kind words.

It’s important to pour into our children on a daily basis. While some days are easier than others the end result of them knowing you are on their side even when it feels like no one else is, is totally worth it.

Lately I’ve been reading “Love and Logic“, by Foster Cline, while it’s not a new book by any means it has some pretty relevant parenting tips. The more I read and hear people speak on the topic of parenting, the more I realize we only have these children in our care for 18 years. Then, most of them are out on their own, becoming their own people, and hopefully including us in their “grown-up” lives.

There are so many ways to let our children know we love them and support them, while also allowing them to learn life lessons and grow.

Here are a few ways (with love language guidance) you can show your children how much you care:

Words of Affirmation

Handwritten notes may come to mind as a way to express how we feel with words. To make notes a little more fun try to place them in areas that will surprise your children, tuck a sweet note in their shoe, or leave a thoughtful card in their backpack.

Physical Touch

Warm hugs can make any child melt if done at the right time and place. Be mindful of when you think your child may need a little extra TLC. Physical touch can be holding a hand, rubbing their back, or even playing with their hair.

Acts of Service

While it’s true a lot of parents are always showing their love through “acts of service”, folding laundry, picking up toys, but these things may go unnoticed, so try to think out of the box. What tasks do your children do for themselves that they might enjoy not doing once and a while? If your child packs their lunch, but doesn’t love it, why not make them an extra special one?! Bring the trash cans back to the house without them noticing, an act of service can be a delightful surprise. {This is not to say we should take over chores for our kids, but occasionally it can be seen by them as an act of love.}

Quality Time

Spending time doing homework or running errands with your child is time, but doesn’t quite quite qualify as “quality time”. Sorry parents!! If your child enjoys surprises, by all means, choose an activity that you can do together and surprise them after school or on a weekend. On the other hand, if your child is more of a planner, sit down with them and plan something fun to do together, this will double the quality time in both planning and doing.

 

Gifts

If you’ve read my blog post on gifts you’ll know the present doesn’t have to be extravagant, just thoughtful. It’s a really great idea to write down things that you’ve heard your child mention they really like, for example, if they say they really like pink roses, take note for a future day. If they are frustrated because their favorite markers are running low on ink, grab them a new pack and surprise them.

 

The only way we can truly pour into our children, no matter what Love Language they may have, is to invest in them. Your child doesn’t need to be your whole world, in fact they really shouldn’t be, {that’s another blog post}, however, just as with any relationship, you have to put time, effort, and care into it for it to flourish.

 

For those of you who read my blog, but aren’t parents or around children on a daily basis, can I encourage you to reach out to youth? You may not realize it, but you have so much to offer the next generations. Volunteer, find a neighbor, there are so many children who would benefit from your time, trust me.

What are you going to do to pour into your child(ren)??

Carowinds KidsFest Celebration

A couple of weekends ago we had the privilege of attending Carowinds’ KidsFest with our family. Although it was only for that weekend, I can assure you the many times we have been to Carowinds and hosted events this is certainly a theme park that has a lot of activities and rides for children of all ages.

While we were at Carowinds, we were able to watch and participate in singing and dancing at Harmony Hall midway with our favorite PEANUTS™ characters. We took a break from the head to color under some shade that was provided by The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas (CBCC). We also got hands on with with Atomz Lab, learning about earth worms and physics. The nice people at Cabela’s taught us some safe ways to shoot arrows and C even got to try her hand at shooting foam-tipped arrows at floating targets.

One of my favorite parts of our day was the opportunity to meet local heroes. We were able to meet and thank the Flint Hill Fire Department, and people really enjoyed checking out the police car and appreciating Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).

Unfortunately due to rain, we missed Disney Junior’s musical act Choo Choo Soul, but they did still perform at PEANUTS™ Showplace, and everyone who attended had an amazing time.

The only thing I felt could have been more kid-friendly was the DJ music as it seemed to cater more to the adults, but overall the entire event was a blast. We saw kids hula hooping, enjoying Planet Snoopy rides, and also loved the pop-up vendors and games.

We hope that Carowinds continues to host more kid-friendly events and look forward to those already scheduled.

 

What are your thoughts on Carowinds when it comes to younger children? Would love to hear your feedback.

This is not a sponsored post. We received media passes in order to experience and give our honest thoughts. All opinions are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com, each individual experience may vary.