Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cleaning Out the Toys Can Be A Family Adventure

We are getting ready for the St. Paul consignment sale in Greensboro and the first step is always cleaning out and rotating all of our son's toys. We spent most of the morning pulling stuff out, playing with it and reminiscing on old "baby" toys. That little boy acted like he'd never seen some of this stuff before. He hasn't played with his Little People toys in forever, so before I sell it all, I decided to set up a Little People town in our great room--- putting all the toys on their own little Pergo real estate. He actually played with and thought it was Way Cool. He requested that we leave the Town out until his cousins can see it on Sunday. Heck, I'll leave it out until Christmas if he'll play with it. Next, I'm going to build a town out of Hot Wheels. Who knew....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Our First Drum Circle Experience

We tried out the drum circle at Ten Thousand Villages tonight. Of course most of the people in the drum circle were teenagers and adults (and really good), they were so sweet and welcoming to my son and the other children. They were delighted that so many little ones showed up to play and enjoy the store. The kids and adults got to try out many beautiful drums. I think my son's favorite part was walking around the store and picking out several of the hand-crafted items that he wants to purchase when he saves up his allowance. He has his eye on this one particualar bejeweled dragonfly. What a terrific store and fair-trade concept!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kids in Heaven at Toys & Co

At least once a month, my son requests to go play at Toys & Co toy store at Friendly Center in Greensboro. They have everything a child could dream of and some very unique toys. The best part is that there are toys out all over the store for kids to play! My little man prefers the race tracks and marble runs. Of course, while the kiddies are being entertained, I usually gather an armful of goodies and start making a pile on the checkout counter. Birthday presents, school supplies, cute stuff I just couldn't pass up.... and my son adds at least one item to his Santa list during the visit. At this rate, I will not only know what he wants for Christmas but have actually seen him play with it. It's a fun place to go and the staff is great. You can tell they are very excited to have kids come in and play.

After we play for 30-45 minutes, we usually head over to Coldstone Creamery. My son chooses some concoction with blue sprinkles and I often indulge in my favorite secret vice--- Chocolate Cake Batter Ice Cream. You gotta try it!

This all makes for a fun outing for mom and kid. You might also be able to sneak in some of your other shopping before the ice cream mood wears off.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Playgroups for older kids

My son is in a playgroup that has been together since most of them were infants. Many playgroups fizzle when kids get older so we're going to mix it up a bit and hopefully keep that from happening. Once a month we are doing family playgroup for the 5-6 families in the evening. We are inviting the daddies to join us and everyone will bring a dish to share. By adding this new family social component to our playgroups, I am confident that not only will our children continue to cement their bonds with each other, but the families will also grow in their friendship. Wouldn't it be great if we still had a social life after our kids are in high school????

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reflecting on a Family-Friendly Summer

School has started, pools are closing and summer is almost officially over. I consider Labor Day the real end of it all. My family has had a whirlwind fun summer. My 4 yr old has truly enjoyed the warm weather months. And, boy have we done a lot! Here are some of the highlights that get the Family Fun thumbs up!
  • My son and his pals bowled a lot thanks to the coupons! I hope this promotion was a success so they'll do it again next summer.
  • The Ron Jon Cape Caribe Resort in Cocoa Beach Florida was a kid mecca! My little one and his cousins enjoyed multiple pools, on-site mini golf, arcade games, hot tubs, lazy river, water slides, delicious and kid-friendly restaurant that offered room service, movie theatre, planned kids activities, outdoor sports, expansive beach, and this huge indoor play area that was like the play areas of Chickfila, McDonald's and Jump N Fun all rolled into one.
  • Boating with friends in beautiful Beaufort, NC.
  • We found Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN to be surprisingly fun! They had a very nice kids ride area, lots of yummy regional food and top-notch entertainment. If you haven't tried it, I recommend you add it to your travel agenda.
  • Gatlinburg, TN was heaven for my son and his cousins. They enjoyed endless amusement parks, arcades, unique attractions, mini golf galore and junk food everywhere! We especially enjoyed Ober Gatlinburg--- beautiful views from the ski lift and the air tram, carnival rides, 'slalom' rides, live music and lots of mountain relaxation spots.
  • Smith Mountain Lake is always a favorite! We spend many weekends there each year with family and friends---boating and swimming. Of all the places we go, this is where summer feels like it should. The kids fish and chase fireflies and just enjoy being young. Our new favorite thing to do is beach the pontoon on Christmas Tree island and let the kids play on the "beach at the lake." They have discovered very powerful water shooters.
  • What's summer without Myrtle Beach! Kingston Plantation was beautiful and I always love Broadway at the Beach. If you can sneak out for some adult time, I recommend Collector's Cafe for dinner and the Crocodile Rocks piano bar for some nighttime fun.
  • Of all the daytrips we took, SciWorks in Winston-Salem was a favorite.
  • Vacation Bible School at Westminster Presbyterian in Greensboro was a wonderful experience for my little one.
  • Tumblebees Open Gym times offered an indoor energy burn for the little ones. Open bounce at Jump N Fun, Bounce U and Pump It Up were also big hits.
  • Who knew that a sprinkler positioned under a trampoline could be the favorite summer yard activity!
  • Center City Park Tunes at Noon provided us with some great music, playtime, killer hot dogs and, of course, fountains. Tuesday music in the garden at Greensboro Children's Museum was also a fun time.
  • Our favorite summer camps were Science Camp at Natural Science Center of Greensboro and Kindermusik Summer Camp with Julie Davidson.
  • We took lots of nature walks--- Bog Gardens, KCE Library, Bur-Mil and nightime walks in our own backyard with flashlights.
  • Backyard camping.
  • Bur-Mil Aquatic Center and Wet N Wild offer crazy water fun if you can stand the crowds. Go early or late for best time.
  • We spent a glorious afternoon at Krispy Kreme eating their new soft serve ice cream (slurp!) and those mini donuts with sprinkles. Top it off with a donut-making demonstration and our pre-schoolers were thrilled.

That's the list of favs. I hope it will provide some fodder for your next year's summer fun calendar. Now off to bed... school awaits us in the morn.