Kids VT, Spring 2023

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Saturday, September 23, 2023, at the State House Lawn in Montpelier

Sign up for the Point to Point, powered by VSECU, to have fun and help people in Vermont experiencing hunger.

On Saturday, September 23, ride your bike to raise money for the Vermont Foodbank. There will be rides starting at 10 miles, plus music, food, and fun and games for everyone. In fact, get your whole family to register! Every dollar we raise is a meal for Vermont families.

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Whether you’re considering clear aligners, retainers or today’s braces, an orthodontist is the smart choice. They have 2 to 3 years of education beyond dental school. So they’re experts at helping you get a great smile—that feels great, too.

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Curious George and related characters, created by Margret and H. A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Company and used under license. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. All rights reserved. Open thru May 14!
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What’s your favorite way to use real Vermont maple syrup?


Cathy Resmer


Colby Roberts


Mary Ann Lickteig

Alison Novak


Kirsten Thompson


Cat Cutillo


Katie Hodges


Kaitlin Montgomery


Martie Majoros

Angela Simpson


John James


Don Eggert


Jeff Baron

John James

Rev. Diane Sullivan


Matt Weiner


Marcy Carton


Jordan Barry

Chris Farnsworth

Heather Fitzgerald

Julie Garwood

Emily Hamilton

Elisa Järnefelt

Astrid Hedbor Lague

Maria Munroe


Daria Bishop

Andy Brumbaugh

James Buck


Julianna Brazill

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Snowdrops blooming in March 2022.

Ready for a Change

Spring is my favorite season. I love watching the world wake up after winter: The ice melts, the sap starts running, familiar birds return, green shoots and flowers pop up in my yard.

The timing is always unpredictable. This year a subzero freeze in early February made national news, then a burst of weirdly warm weather caused our snowdrops to bloom on February 15 — a new and somewhat unnerving record. Who knows what March will bring? Whenever it happens, spring always makes me more aware of and grateful for the changes happening all around me.

We love swapping sugar for maple syrup in our baking recipes. My toddlers have just recently gotten into helping me in the kitchen, so you’ll find us making cookies or something sweet several nights a week.

Do I have to pick just one?! We consumed 10 gallons a year when our kids were younger. But if I could only eat it one way, I’d pick maple milkshakes.

I use maple syrup as a substitute for sugar in lots of recipes, but the use that I look forward to the most is a big drizzle in my yogurt every morning.

With my morning porridge with toasted almonds — it’s the most basic breakfast I can think of, yet the maple syrup makes it taste luxurious, somehow.

When my kids were little, we would spend time together outside noting these shifts. Today those conversations often happen in the car — sometimes after my son shifts it into gear and drives us on an errand.


This spring issue of Kids VT is meant to help you savor the soon-toarrive season, whatever your kids’ ages. Want to know what to look for on walks outside in March and April? Environmental science educator Heather Fitzgerald o ers some tips in “Early Signs of Spring” (page 14).

Parents of toddlers who’d rather avoid a muddy mess will appreciate Julie Garwood’s review of five popular indoor play spaces in Chittenden County (page 18). Astrid Hedbor Lague suggests a delicious and unusual maple-themed recipe that involves radishes (page 13).

Burlington musician/cartoonist/dad James Kochalka has a new kids’ book coming out March 14, the latest installment in his Glork Patrol series. Kochalka has developed cartoons for Nickelodeon and won an Eisner Award for his 2018 children’s book Johnny Boo and the Ice Cream Computer Seven Days music editor Chris Farnsworth talked with him about why he loves drawing kids’ comics (page 26).

Parents of middle and high schoolers might be interested in Cat Cutillo’s dispatch from a robotics tournament at Champlain Valley Union High School in February. It was one of two state championship events supported by the new nonprofit FIRST in Vermont, which helps establish robotics programs across the state (page 23).

And everyone who’s ever wondered whether they could get another season out of last year’s winter boots can relate to Elisa Järnefelt’s comic (page 16) about keeping kids clothed during Vermont’s perpetually shifting seasons. The struggle is real!

We’re in it with you. We hope you enjoy this issue — and get a few moments over the next couple of months to pause and appreciate this time of transformation.

Salad dressing: variations on the oil and the acid, but always robust maple syrup.


I like to indulge in just a little maple syrup in my morning co ee, as a treat.




JORDAN BARRY is a food writer at Seven Days. She holds a master’s degree in food studies and previously produced podcasts about bread and beverages. Her essay about dealing with morning sickness during her first trimester is her first contribution to Kids VT — the first of many, we hope!

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Art director Kirsten Thompson found this spring photo of muddy kids posing in the bucket of a front-loader on Instagram. Photographer mom Cori Brago snapped the shot at Taylor Farm in Londonderry. Pictured are her sons Jack (far left) and “stinkin’” Lincoln (far right) with friends Jasper and Ellie in the middle. Taylor Farm owner Jon Wright and his sister Mimi run the farm and sugar in maple season, selling their maple syrup in the farm store. Please note: Actually riding in a front loader can be dangerous. Don’t try it at home!

Vermont's First Children's Museum is growing!

Vermont's First Children's Museum is growing!

Feb 28 we say goodbye to our home at 11 Center Street Rutland

Feb 28 we say goodbye to our home at 11 Center Street, Rutland

We'll be closed in March and April

We'll be closed in March and April

Opening in our new location on Merchant's Row in May!

Opening in our new location on Merchant's Row in May!

Learn more https://wonderfeetkidsmuseum org (802) 282-2678

Learn more:

https://wonderfeetkidsmuseum org (802) 282-2678

KIDS VT SPRING 2023 7 On the Cover
Welcome 5 Editor’s Note Staff Question Contributor’s Note Short Stuff 8 New YMCA Mural Free College Video Contest Gun Safety Columns 13 Mealtime 14 Good Nature 16 Elisa Järnefelt 31 Use Your Words Just for Kids 29 Coloring Contest 30 Coloring Contest Winners Calendar 11 Save the Dates
places to play indoors during mud season
A robotics championship powers up a passion for STEM 18
a coffee or a beer at Jericho Ale & Bean — and bring the kids
blasts off with the third installment of his cosmic kids’ comic Glork Patrol 21 26 23
James Kochalka
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Since 2013, Vermont teens have been eligible for the Early College Program, which lets students complete their last year of high school and their first year of college at the same time — for free — at one of six approved colleges. Last spring, the J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation announced it would fund a second free year for students enrolled in the Early College Program at the Community College of Vermont, allowing them to earn an associate’s degree at no cost one year after graduating from high school.

Kids Collaborate on a New Mural at the Burlington Y

Shortly after the Greater Burlington YMCA opened its new building on January 1, 2020, it had to shut the doors temporarily due to COVID-19. According to senior communications director Doug Bishop, sta had always envisioned some kind of artwork on the lobby wall, and when they heard about Juniper Creative Arts and its community mural projects, they knew they’d found the right fit.

The Vermont-based Black and Dominican family collective includes Will Kasso Condry, Jennifer Herrera Condry and their daughter, Alexa Herrera Condry. They’ve completed mural projects all around the state — from North Country Union High School in Newport to Stowe Middle School to Champlain Elementary School in Burlington.

They kicked o the Y’s mural project with a public presentation on the power of community murals, then held a workshop with 15 youths ages 11 to 18 who use the Y to determine what the artwork should convey.

“The Y didn’t engage or steer this in any way,” Bishop said. The ideas came from the kids themselves.

The theme that emerged: “Protect the youth, secure the future.” Juniper Creative’s final design includes many animals that live in families and packs; animals that serve as protectors; and the image of a girl, Dream Justice, who attends preschool at the Y.

It also includes 321 shapes such as stars, crescent moons and diamonds decorated

by community members of all ages; Juniper Creative Arts incorporated them into the mural.

The Y unveiled the eye-catching results at a press conference on February 16. Said Bishop: “That mural will be there for years and years to come.”

Learn more about Juniper Creative Arts and their community engagement work at

The initiative, called the Free Degree Promise, also includes a living stipend and career counseling. All students currently enrolled in grades 9 through 11 are eligible to participate, along with high school students currently enrolled in the Early College Program at CCV.

This five-year commitment is testing whether giving

students access to a free education will make them more likely to enroll in postsecondary classes.

A year into the experiment, the answer appears to be yes.

This fall, CCV reported its largest Early College enrollment ever: 198 students, 39 percent of whom are firstgeneration college students and 42 percent of whom are identified as low-income by their school counselor, according to the McClure Foundation. That total represents a 30 percent increase in the number of students enrolled from low-income families.

Those who graduate with a two-year degree and want to continue in a four-year program are guaranteed admission to a number of colleges, including Champlain College and the University of Vermont.

Find more information about the McClure Free Degree Promise at

Blake, class of ‘22 at Williamstown High School, completed his senior year at CCV through the Early College Program and was one of the first to take advantage of the Free Degree Promise. He’s on track to graduate with an associate’s degree in business this spring and plans to become a licensed electrician.

PHOTOS: DARIA BISHOP Mural detail at the Burlington YMCA Mural detail at the Burlington YMCA Mural at the Burlington YMCA


How do you get your kids to save their money instead of spending it? Ask them to explain the concept to other kids!

That’s the thinking behind an annual video contest devised by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, a volunteer-run nonprofit dedicated to improving Vermont youths’ understanding of money matters. The contest, run in conjunction with the Vermont State Treasurer’s O ce, invites middle and high school students to make an original video about how to manage money responsibly.

This year’s subject: “It All Adds Up! Money — Wants vs. Needs.” According to the contest rules, videos should address questions such as “How does impulse buying a ect your budget?” and “How can you prevent overspending?”

Videos must be 30 seconds to three minutes long, and they can’t use any copyrighted material without permission. Participants have to make their own memes and dance mixes. If they win, it’ll be worth the e ort: The first place winner or team receives $500; second place earns $250; third wins $100. The deadline to submit entries is April 1.

Find more information about the contest at


A new public service announcement promoting safe gun storage is now running on local TV and radio stations. “Responsible Vermont gun owners do more than use their guns safely; they store them safely,” it begins. “Because a gun that ends up in the wrong hands can have devastating results.”

Such as, for example, the teacher in Virginia who was allegedly shot by her 6-year-old student.

The Vermont Association of Broadcasters produced the spots on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont. The office recently launched GunSafeVT, an initiative focused on Vermont gun owners.

“We want gun owners to store firearms safely — locked and unloaded and away from ammunition,” said U.S. Attorney Nikolas Kerest. “Safe gun storage helps put time and space between access to a firearm and potential gun violence.”

In addition to producing two PSAs, the U.S. Attorney’s O ce is giving away free gun locks at libraries and sheri ’s o ces around the state.

Find a list of distribution sites, along with information about Vermont’s temporary firearms storage program, at

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Save the Dates

Fun stuff for families this spring


Gotta Have That Funk

At BarnArts’ 11th annual MASQUERADE JAZZ AND FUNK WINTER MUSIC CARNIVAL, sparkly costumes are welcome, and fun for all ages is guaranteed. Headliner Zili Mizik, an all-woman African roots music ensemble, and other guest performers make dance-worthy music. A photo booth, crafts and a taco bar add to the festive atmosphere.

Saturday, March 11, 5:30-10 p.m., at Barnard Town Hall. $15-25; free for kids 6 and under. Info, 234-1645,

Guess Whooooo?


Patch Theatre, an Australian kids’ entertainment troupe, presents ZOOOM, a new play inspired by the classic picture book Harold and the Purple Crayon. Incorporating original music, lasers and stunning special effects, the story follows one girl’s magical, artistic quest to help a lost star find its way home. Ages 4 through 10.

Wednesday, March 29, 6:30 p.m., at the Flynn in Burlington. $25. Info, 863-5966,


Take a Dance on Me

TRIP, a competitive youth dance company based in Stowe, holds its annual FUNDRAISER at Spruce Peak Arts. The 22 determined dancers perform innovative, award-winning pieces that span genres — from ballet and modern to jazz and musical theater. Live stream available.

Saturday, April 1, 3 & 7 p.m., at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe Mountain Resort. $12-30. Info, 760-4634,

MAY 13

APRIL 22 & 23


Hope Springs Eternal

Kids and adults alike learn about East African music and dance from the young Ugandan performers of touring educational group DANCE OF HOPE Between musical numbers, the talented young performers share their culture, tell stories about how dance has transformed their lives and inspire audience members to turn negative experiences into creativity.

Thursday, April 6, 6:30 p.m., at Lebanon Opera House. Free; donations accepted. Info, 603-448-0400,


for VINS’ annual and

Quechee’s denizens of darkness take over the nature center for OWL FESTIVAL. Avian enthusiasts are treated to a day of raptor-related activities such as meet and greets with local birds, science lessons, gross-out fun with owl pellets, and crafts of all kinds.

Saturday, April 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee. Price TBD; free for members. Info, 359-5000,

Whatever Wool Be

Two days of shear delight are in store at the SHEEP SHEARING & HERDING weekend festival. Live demonstrations showcase collie herding, sheep shearing, yarn spinning, wool dyeing and more. Visitors can even try their hands at carding, weaving and other fiber arts.

Don’t Stop Me Now

St. Albans throws a rocking bash with its second annual KINGMAN FEST. Party people enjoy a street fair packed with food, drinks and other goodies; games and activities for all ages; and a Queen tribute concert in the evening. Proceeds benefit the downtown revitalization efforts of St. Albans for the Future.

Saturday, May 13, 5-9 p.m., at Kingman St. in St. Albans. Free. Info, 443-798-5380,

more family fun each week in the Seven Days calendar, or online at

Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock. Regular admission, $8-17; free for members and kids 3 and under. Info, 457-2355, 29
Color Me Impressed

"My daughter came back from camp a changed girl, not only did she gain a huge amount of skill on the bike, but her self-esteem and confidence grew leaps and bounds ”

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Men’s Lacrosse June
Women’s Basketball Women’s Lacrosse Men's Soccer
26-30: Men’s Basketball Women’s Lacrosse
3-7: Women’s Soccer
9-12: Field Hockey Overnight July 10-14: Women’s Basketball Men's & Women's Tennis
17-21: Field Hockey Men's & Women's Tennis July 24-28: Men’s Basketball July 31- Aug 4: Men’s Lacrosse Baseball (AM) S U M M E R C A M P 2 0 2 3 KIDS VT SPRING 2023 12
of a day-camper)

Maple-Miso Roasted Radishes

If you’ve only ever eaten radishes raw, you’re missing out. Raw radishes have a pleasant, crispy texture and a sharp, peppery, sometimes slightly spicy taste. When roasted, they become milder, more mellow and almost like parsnips. In a word, delightful.

As spring arrives here in Vermont — whether all at once, or, as usual, in fits and starts — so does maple season. Looking to use maple in more unique ways, my mind went to roasted radishes. Combining the sweetness of maple with the salty umami of miso seemed just the thing.

I served these maple-miso radishes alongside some rice and Asianinspired roasted chicken thighs made with soy, sesame and ginger. Our whole family enjoyed them — even those who normally snub radishes in raw form. I cooked three bags of radishes (a total of 2.25 pounds) and could easily have made at least 3 pounds and still not had any leftovers. This will be a recipe I return to. K


• 2 1/4 pounds radishes (I used three 12-ounce bags of rainbow radishes)

1/4 cup white miso paste

• 1/2 cup maple syrup (real only, of course)

• 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped

• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, melted 1-2 teaspoons salt


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash radishes, remove stems, then cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the radishes, to about 1-inch pieces.

3. Combine remaining ingredients except for olive oil, butter and salt and mix well. Reserve half the maple-miso mixture and set aside.

4. Coat radishes with half the maple-miso mixture and the olive oil.

5. Spread coated radishes in a single layer in a large roasting pan and roast for 25 minutes. Then increase temperature to 450 degrees and roast for an additional 10 minutes to caramelize radishes.

6. Remove radishes from the oven and toss with remaining maple-miso mixture and melted butter. Season with salt and serve.

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Early Signs of Spring

Wondrous things to look for during the bleak days of March

Some years ago, my college roommate came to a conference in Burlington in March. I was thrilled to spend time with her in between all of her conference duties, but as we shuttled back and forth between her hotel and my apartment in the Old North End, I imagined what she, a resident of the verdant South, must be seeing: dog poop everywhere, piles of melting brown — and yellow — snow, bare trees, zero green things, dirt and mud. Ick!

Even for those of us who love winter, there comes a time in March when the season has outstayed its welcome and spring can’t come soon enough.

If you find yourself fending off March misery, here’s something that can help: Try looking for specific wondrous things that appear during this transitional time. You can find a few of them on the Burlington Wildways nature clock, which collects observations from local amateur naturalists.

Here are some of the species that were observed doing interesting things in Burlington in March of the past few years: tufted titmice started singing (“Peter, peter, peter, peter”); Canada geese, turkey vultures, song sparrows, and red-winged blackbirds returned from their migratory journeys; skunk cabbage and silver and red maple flowers emerged; chipmunks and snapping turtles were spotted.

Doesn’t it feel manageable to keep half an eye out for five birds, three flowers, a mammal and a reptile?

Another resource to help you look for jewels in a sea of brown: Mary Holland, Vermont author and naturalist extraordinaire. She documents pretty much everything going on outdoors on her blog,, and in her many books.

Two of my favorites are Naturally Curious and Naturally Curious Day by Day. They’re written for adults, but the photographs — most of which she took herself — are so numerous and engaging that kids might enjoy flipping through the pages. Both titles contain a wealth of information.

Naturally Curious Day by Day will give you a few things to keep an eye out for every day of the year. Naturally Curious is organized by month. It begins in March, with a chapter titled “Awakening;” January and February come at the end of the book.

In the first chapter’s packed 34 pages, Holland lists the birds nesting in March — bald eagle, Cooper’s hawk and various owls, to name a few. She also offers details about the many mammals that breed in early spring. Think chipmunks, woodchucks, skunks, gray foxes, fishers, bobcats, mink and otters. Also included are when and where they give birth and the sounds they make — fisher: “yowls, howling”; bobcat: “shrill screams, harsh squalls, and deep-toned yowls”; mink: “chuckling”; otter: “caterwauling.”

Even though I don’t often encounter these animals,

just knowing that they’re busy out there helps me hang on until spring.

Holland also suggests things to look for on the ground during daylight hours. For example, have you ever been walking in the woods and come across a bunch of short tips of conifer branches littering the forest floor? Holland points out that red squirrels often nip spruce, pine, hemlock and fir twigs and eat the cones and tender buds. Hemlock, red maple, red oak and aspen branches could also be bitten off by porcupine, she writes. From a relatively safe spot near the trunk, a porcupine “nips off the tip of the branch, consumes the edible parts, and drops the uneaten portion onto the ground.” Look on the cut end of the twig for the porcupine’s incisor marks.

If, on the other hand, you see a shrub or tree with twigs that have been ripped off near the ground, Holland explains how to tell if it was a white-tailed deer or a rabbit: Since

deer don’t have top teeth, they grip twigs in their mouths and rip them off, making a shredded mess. Rabbits make a clean, 45-degree cut. Holland shares details about important plants each month, too. For example, did you ever stop to appreciate staghorn sumac fruits? She notes that this unassuming shrub “provides a great service to wildlife in winter and early spring, when food can be scarce and tiny red seeds still cling to its branches. Although not a first choice, sumac fruit is eaten by nearly 100 species of birds when other more desirable food is not available.” Plus, “cottontail rabbits and white-tailed deer frequently feed on the bark, branches, and fruit, and many insects overwinter inside its clusters of hairy seeds.”

I hope looking for a few of these sweet things helps you get through March, whether the month offers a late-season blizzard or just an extended mud season. It’ll be April before you know it, and you’ll be able to start looking for spotted salamanders and wood frogs journeying to vernal pools to mate, woodcocks courting, and early-spring ephemeral wildflowers like bloodroot, trilliums and hepatica emerging from the no-longer-frozen ground.

As the ice on ponds melts, you might see beavers poking their heads above water for the first time since the ice formed. By the end of March, waterfowl migration will be in full swing — look for wood ducks courting on a stream or beaver pond near you. K

Find the Burlington Wildways nature clock at Heather Fitzgerald teaches field ecology and environmental science at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester and the Community College of Vermont. PHOTOS: MARY HOLLAND Wood duck Wood frog Beaver
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Gym Time for


Five places to play indoors during mud season

Playing outside during mud season can get messy, so March is a good time to head to a kid-friendly indoor space to burn off some energy. There are lots of options near our house in Burlington, from fitness clubs to gymnastics training centers. There’s even a local trampoline park.

I recently visited five play spaces with my 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. We usually had another adult along for the ride — either my husband or my mother — which gave both kids the freedom to explore.

Here are some notes on our experiences, to help you pick a spot that’s right for you and your toddlers. Some of these venues offer camps and classes for older kids, too!


298 College St., Burlington

You don’t have to be a member to enjoy family recreation time at the Greater Burlington Y. During this 90-minute session on Fridays and Sundays, the Y’s newly built gymnasium is reserved exclusively for young children.

The gym staff sets up padded mats, tricycles, balls and other equipment that’s perfect for kids to play with. My toddlers were thrilled to have a place to pedal after not being able to ride bikes for months due to snow and ice.

I was particularly impressed with the attentiveness of the staff, which made me feel comfortable and allowed my toddlers to roam without me. Most of the children who attended on our visit appeared to be between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old.

As a guest visitor, I paid a $20 day-pass fee. It also granted me access to the rest of the Y’s facilities, including the swimming area if I chose to sign up for Family Swim time. We didn’t bring our swimsuits, but maybe on our next visit?

Riding on a toddler bike in the gymnasium during family recreation time at the YMCA.


25 Omega Dr., Williston,

There’s nothing like a trampoline park to put a little spring in your step. We’ve made several visits to Get Air, always during “Toddler Time,” when the park is open only to jumpers 46 inches and under and accompanying adults. During these designated hours — every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon, and Sundays from 8 to 10 a.m. — admission is discounted to $10 per child and includes one adult, who jumps for free.

Not only is it a fun and safe environment for children to burn off energy and have a blast, it’s also a unique and memorable way to spend an hour or two. And the kids aren’t the only ones who’ll get a workout — even walking on the trampolines takes some effort. My kids and I have enjoyed exploring the trampoline basketball court and the foam pit.

You’ll definitely want to keep a close eye on your children as there is minimal staff supervision in the jumping areas, and, in several spots, you might not be able to see your kiddo from afar.


2 Corporate Dr., Essex Junction,

Another great weekday option: open gym time at Regal Gymnastics Academy. From 11 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, kids ages 6 and under and their caregivers can jump, bounce and use the foam pit in the same place where competitive gymnasts train, without worrying about run ning into bigger kids. There’s a Sunday option, too, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

We went there on a relatively quiet Wednesday, and I was delighted to see my 2-year-old daughter have the confidence to explore several different areas without her big brother leading the way. Both kids especially loved the long trampoline runway that leads to a giant foam pit. Afterward, they were very ready for lunch and a nap.

Regal’s facility is quite large, so I would recommend having one adult per child, especially if the kids are still new to jumping on their own. Admission on weekdays is $10 per child. On the weekends, the per-kid cost is $3 more.

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Gym Time for Toddlers


64 Harvest La., Williston,

Monkey Do’s elaborate indoor playground has so much to offer families. In addition to a multilevel climbing structure, it also includes obstacle courses built with inflatables and playhouses where kids can pretend that they’re at a fire station or a diner.

We especially loved going when our babies were tiny, as Monkey Do has a designated fenced-in area where the littles can explore safely. There’s also a large reception area where families can eat from the café or take a break, if needed.

If you’re planning to attend with younger toddlers, Monkey Do recommends bringing one adult per child, as there are several areas to explore and it can be difficult to keep track of the kids. You might also want to go during slower times — during school hours, for example — to avoid being surrounded by bigger kids. Monkey Do is a popular birthday party destination and can get crowded on weekends.

At $17 per child, it’s one of the more costly options. For us, a visit to Monkey Do is a treat we tend to reserve for special occasions. If you’d like to go more often, though, Monkey Do offers memberships and punch cards that make it


260 Avenue D #30, Williston,

This gymnastics center, known for its parkour, Ninja Warrior and freestyle trampoline training, is also a surprisingly welcoming place for toddlers. It runs three “Tiny Tumbler” open gym sessions each week for kids ages 1 to 5, on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Admission is $12 per child.

The staff was attentive and provided safety rules to caregivers.

On our Sunday visit, the gym was busy, but our kids still had a blast with the foam pit, Hula-Hoops, trampolines and balance beams. The center fosters a tight-knit community with a welcoming atmosphere, where I, as a parent, immediately found opportunities to socialize and bond with fellow toddler caregivers. Overall, it exceeded my expectations. We’ll be back. K


Looking for entertainment that’s a little less active? Here are a few of our favorite places to chill:

Champ Lane at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington is wonderfully designed for babies and toddlers, with water play and imaginative structures of various sizes.

• The Wiggle Room at the South Burlington Library includes large manipulatives, blocks and other toys in a closed-off room where parents don’t have to worry about their toddlers wandering off.

• The Youth Area at Fletcher Free Library in Burlington includes rotating themed

and sensory bins.

There’s always something new to see!
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Running through a large inflatable obstacle course at Monkey Do. Climbing a wooden
arch at GMTC’s Tiny Tumblers Program

Pint-Size Fun

The first time I walked into Jericho Ale & Bean with my then-21month-old daughter in tow, I was a little nervous. We were meeting my husband and infant daughter there, and it occurred to me that this coffee shopslash-brewery sells two kinds of beverages, both for adults. Maybe this was not the best place to bring two kids under 2.

But as I walked my toddler to the table where her dad and baby sister were waiting, a staff person caught my attention: “There are some toys over there for the kids, just so you know!” she told me.

My worries melted away. A toy bin in any space is a visual cue that kids are welcome. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between my little family and the new tenants of the former Jericho General Store, once known as Mel’s.

Open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jericho Ale & Bean is home to two local businesses: Lucy & Howe Brewing and Brew House Coffee. Their

shared space opened a little more than a year ago.

Both brewers create incredible beverages. There are a variety of beers on tap, with tasting flights available, as well as cans to go; the tap list is updated regularly on Lucy & Howe’s website. Brew House serves hot and cold lattes made from their flavored cold brews. They also sell a refreshing coffee soda, which is basically a light coffee seltzer. But it’s the space’s communal, family-friendly atmosphere that keeps us coming back weekend after weekend.

That vibe is absolutely intentional, said Brew House Coffee co-owner Jay Wimette.

“Family is extremely important to us, and we know firsthand how difficult it can be for families, especially those with young children, to find a place where there’s something for everybody,” he said. “We’re honestly building out what we would have wanted available to us when our kids were younger.”

What does that look like in practice? Jericho Ale & Bean’s Halloween

celebration included a kids’ crafting table where my toddler painted a rock that we picked up the next morning. Its New Year’s Eve party featured a s’mores station and culminated with a video of a ball drop from years past — at 7:30 p.m. We had some beer, rang in 2023 and still had the kids in bed before 8:15.

Every Friday morning, the spot hosts “Cartoons, Coloring and Coffee,” where the kids can play, color or watch cartoons while parents and caregivers enjoy a caffeinated beverage and some precious adult conversation. Even the board game selection there is tailored to little kids, with options like Guess Who? and — my daughter’s personal favorite — Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza.

And despite serving primarily coffee and beer, both brewers offer beverages for the kiddos, too, including juice boxes and an alcohol-free drink that changes regularly. In the past, they’ve offered a maple lemonade and a lemon-lime soda.

The food menu is limited to buildyour-own cheese platters, bottomless popcorn, some kids snacks and usually some baked goods available in the mornings. The staff has been very open to us bringing in outside snacks for our toddler, though.

All of these things create an ambience that is freeing for me as a parent. It’s nice to have a cozy spot near our home in Essex where I can enjoy a beer and talk with my husband and not have to worry about my toddler scribbling all over the whiteboard. (It’s totally fine, by the way, as long as you put the caps back on the markers when you’re done.)

Often the juice boxes and toys on the tables at Jericho Ale & Bean outnumber the pints and cups of coffee. That’s probably not what you would expect from a combination coffee shop and brewery, but it might be just what you need. K

KIDS VT FALL 2022 21
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARIA MUNROE Find Jericho Ale & Bean at 51 VT-15 in Jericho and at
Grab a coffee or a beer at Jericho Ale & Bean — and bring the kids
A toy bin in any space is a visual cue that kids are welcome.
Jericho Ale & Bean The beer cooler at Jericho Ale & Bean Maria Munroe and her daughter
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Battle of the ’Bots

A robotics tournament powers up a passion for STEM

On Saturday, February 11, the gym at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg was the site of a state championship tournament for a 21st-century sport: robotics.

The annual Vermont FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship drew 19 teams from around the state. Each had designed and built a remote-controlled robot that could pick up plastic cones and place them in various spots on a 12-footsquare playing field — including on poles of different heights.

The challenge? To place as many cones as possible in two and a half minutes, earning points along the way for each cone placed — and to score higher than the other teams doing the same tasks at the same time.

In a game like this, speed and strategy matter. So does having a good pit crew that can make hasty adjustments. It’s not as athletic as basketball, but it can be just as intense.

Take it from CVU senior Sam Yager, who’s competed in four state championship tournaments. “There’s nothing quite like being up there, cheering your team on, and watching the points go up and down after the match and wondering, Are we going to advance to the next level? What’s going to happen? Win or lose, it’s awesome,” he said.

The rules for this year’s game were revealed in September, in an animated video made by FIRST Robotics.

FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The nonprofit organizes the sport as a way of interesting K-12 students in science, technology, engineering and math. According to FIRST, more than half a million young people around the globe participated in its programs in the 20212022 season.

“FIRST Robotics is the only sports where every student can go pro,” said FIRST cofounder Dean Kamen, an entrepreneur and engineer who claims the Segway as one of his many inventions.

Kamen’s quote is displayed prominently on the website for FIRST in Vermont, a nonprofit founded in June 2021 to support

youth robotics programming in every corner of the state. There are three levels of competition: FIRST LEGO League for elementary school students, in which they build and program LEGO robots; FIRST Tech Challenge, where middle and high school students build and program more sophisticated robots using hardware components; and FIRST Robotics Competition, where teens build industrial-size ’bots. Every level encourages kids to be creative in solving problems — and in choosing a team name. Current FIRST teams in the state include the Williston Wire Cats, the Rutland Robo Rhinos and Aluminum Avian Antics in Grand Isle. Robotics competitions aren’t bloodthirsty events. In FIRST, there’s a big emphasis on working together. Four

teams compete at once — two as part of a red alliance, two as part of a blue alliance. Teams might face off against one another in one round and have to work together in an alliance in the next.

“It’s a ‘coopertition,’ — a partnership in competition,” explained Joseph Chase, the state coordinator for FIRST in Vermont. “You see teams helping other teams if they’re struggling with something. It’s a really positive energy.”

The best time to form a team is at the end of the school year, Chase said. Signups to compete in the state championship are at the beginning of August. If kids need help finding a team to join or would

like to organize a new one, Chase is eager to help.

Lacey Bennett, 12, was among the youngest participants at the FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship in February. A sixth grader from Montpelier, Bennett and her team of six middle schoolers — the Robo Raiders — began the school year as a FIRST LEGO League team but decided to switch to become a Tech Challenge team midway through the fall.

Bennett was happy with how her team performed at the championship. “We made it to the semifinals against high school teams, so I’m very proud of myself and my team,” she said.

Her biggest takeaway: “Simple engineering doesn’t mean it won’t work well … As long as it will work, you can probably get quite a few scores with it.”

Jesse Batdorff, 13, from East Montpelier, was excited that Bubbert Innovations, his team of 12, advanced to the semifinals. Although Batdorff fixes computers at home, he said, “I wasn’t a very good engineer at the start of the school year. Now, I’ve learned about engineering, and I’m hoping to improve on that throughout the years.”

In the final match, emotions ran high. Gripping their remotes, the drivers from each team steered their robots, while looks of sheer intensity beamed from beneath their goggles. Both red and blue alliances appeared to be trying to will their robots to glory with their laser-sharp focus and synchronized body leans.

In the end, the CVU RoboHawks eked out a win alongside their alliance partners, the CVU junior varsity RoboRedHawks. Both teams will advance to the world championship event in Houston in April.

Yager said the best part of the day is the comradery between opposing teams. After a few seconds of celebrating their win, the CVU RoboHawks went over to high-five their competitors, HiveMind Robotics from Essex and Bubbert Innovations from Montpelier.

“We’re always sad when a robot on the other side breaks,” Yager said. “You want to win with them, not against them.” K

For more information about FIRST in Vermont, visit or email Joseph Chase at firstinvt.coordinator@

In a game like this, speed and strategy matter. So does having a good pit crew.
Clockwise from top: Vermont FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship at CVU; a robot contestant; winning CVU RoboHawks team See a photo slideshow of the event online at

Our beautiful state is home to a wide range of camps, independent schools and summer programs, from traditional overnight options to those that teach STEM skills, circus arts, gymnastics and mountain biking. Kids VT helps you connect with them.

If you missed the Kids VT Camp and School Fair on February 4, check out the listings on CAMPFINDERVT.COM; all of the fair exhibitors are listed there, along with a couple dozen more programs in Vermont and neighboring states.

According to our post-fair exhibitor survey, the vast majority of them still have summer or school vacation openings.

These are the programs you’ll find on

• Aloha Foundation

• American Dance Training Camps

• American Precision Museum

• BCA Summer Camps

• Bolton Valley Summer Camps

• Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront

• Camp Billings

• Camp Birch Hill

• Camp Common Ground

• Camp Little Notch

• Camp Mi-Te-Na & Camp Foss

• Circus Smirkus

• Common Roots

• Cultural Camp presented by Shidaa Projects

• The Current — Summer Art Camps

• Davis Studio

• Dunkley’s Gymnastics Camp

• Eagle Island Camp

• ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

• Farm & Wilderness

Camp Mi-Te-Na

• The Flynn

• Generator Makerspace

• Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains

• Girls on the Run Vermont

• Green Mountain Conservation Camp

• Head Over Heels

• Hosmer Point

• Humane Society of Chittenden County - Camp Paw Paw

• Humane Society of Chittenden County - Animal Welfare Warriors

• Humane Society of Chittenden County - Humane Heroes Workshop

• Kingdom Mtb Camps

• Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center

• Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Summer Camps & Teen Expeditions

• Lake Champlain Waldorf School

• LetGoYourMind Summer STEM Programs

• Mater Christi

• Mountain Village School

• Night Eagle Wilderness Adventures

• Ohavi Zedek Summer Day Camp

• Paint & Create Kids Camp by Burlington Paint and Sip

• Partners In Adventure

• Petra Cliffs Climbing Center & Mountaineering School

• Pok-O-MacCready Camps

• Purple Knight Camps

• Rebels of the Moon

• Rock Point School Camp

• Talent Development Institute

• The Schoolhouse Learning Center

• The Strike Zone

• Sylvan Learning Summer Camps

• SUN Camps VT

• Theater In the Woods

• Trad Camp

• University of Vermont 4-H

• Vermont Ballet Theater School

• Vermont Day School

• Vermont Golf Association

• Vermont State University Camps and Jump Starting College

• Water Wanderings

• Wildflower Wilderness Expeditions

• Williston Community Theatre-Jazz Jivin’ Theatre Camp

• WND WVS Windsurfing Camp

• YMCA Adventure Camp

At Rock Point



14 Options for ages 6 and under

43 Day camp programs

18 Academics/skills camps

51 Programs for teens

24 Overnight camps

• YMCA Camp Abnaki on
59 Summer camp listings
Time to Sign Up for CAMP!

I look forward each year to the togetherness that camp brings. Many people have felt isolated these past few years with COVID-19, remote work and school, and limited travel. Camp is a refuge from all that, where people come together and celebrate one another for who they are. You can’t beat the feeling of summer camp starting up again, and I can’t wait to have it back for another summer.

I’m really looking forward to our two new camps Underwater Explorers camp will be a week of snorkeling and exploring everything underwater. We’ll be going to several different field sites to look at different species of fish, underwater rock structures and even a shipwreck. Watershed Ecology camp will also be at field sites, but we’ll be tracing the path that water takes through our region. We’ll be hiking, snorkeling and canoeing as we follow the water from small streams down to Lake Champlain.


Arts and Crafts! It is personally my favorite time of day, and I love seeing the creativity that comes from the campers.


V ERMONT Camp & Sc hool Finder

We love seeing our returning campers, many of whom have been coming to Davis Studio since they were in first grade. And it’s always exciting to meet new campers, too!

Letting kids explore careers they might not even have thought of.


I’m looking forward to making more memories with campers and staff and creating more lake access for our underserved communities. Our mission is everything.

I am most looking forward to planning new programs for this summer! Every summer I work to create new experiences in the form of large-scale camp activities. Last year we had a pirate scavenger hunt where all the leadership campers dressed as pirates and hid around camp to hand out clues to campers. Everyone had a blast!


More terrain options for mountain biking.

We asked camp staff to tell us what they’re most looking forward to this summer. Here are a few of their answers:
— KEEGAN BOSWORTH, BOLTON VALLEY SUMMER CAMPS Bolton Valley Davis Center Circus Smirkus Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center Pok-O-MacCready

Out of This World

James Kochalka blasts off with the third installment of his cosmic kids’ comic Glork Patrol

Adventure comes knocking when a mysterious package is left on the doorstep of an interstellar patrolman. Inside the box is a tiny robot named Gonkbot, who launches the junior members of the Glork Patrol on a journey across the stars.

Thus begins

Glork Patrol (Book

Three): Glork Patrol and the Magic Robot, the latest in a series of graphic novels for kids by Eisner Awardwinning cartoonist and musician James Kochalka. The Springfield native and Vermont’s first cartoonist laureate is the creator of independent comic smashes such as Monkey vs. Robot and his long-running comic diary, American Elf . He’s developed cartoons for Nickelodeon, recorded rock-and-roll Halloween tunes with the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra, and even adapted his comics into video games. But Kochalka, a father of two, always tends to return to kids’ comics.

Glork Patrol is a spinoff of his popular Glorkian Warrior series. Book three follows the exploits of the younger members of the Glorkian family, Gonk and Baby Quackaboodle, as they try to recharge Gonkbot’s batteries (which they depleted by having the pint-size robot do too many dance moves).

Glork Patrol and the Magic Robot hits shelves on March 14. Ahead of the release, Kochalka spoke to Seven Days from his home in Burlington.

KIDS VT: It’s a welcome return to the world of the Glork Patrol for your readers. What’s new with the gang?

JAMES KOCHALKA: Well, the first three books were all about the Glorkian Warrior. The three Glork Patrol ones follow the kids of the series more. I also got a little tired of the words “war” and “warrior.” There wasn’t really a lot of combat in the books anyway, so I wanted to put the emphasis on “patrol” instead. Because he doesn’t really fight,

you know? He goes on patrol; he’s a space ranger.

KVT: Yeah, it seems like he just ends up adopting all of his adversaries rather than vanquishing them.

JK: The first time is in The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza, the first book. We meet Gonk in that book, who is wearing a giant robot battle suit. But Glorkian Warrior destroys the armor and figures out that Gonk is just a little kid, so he adopts him. Same thing with Baby Quackaboodle, which hatched from an egg of an alien space god. One day it will grow into a devastating giant space monster, but right now it’s just a baby and part of the gang.

KVT: Is there a deeper lesson in that? Is finding allies where you least expect a sort of moral to the Glork Patrol story?

JK: You know, I don’t think too much about morals with my kids’ books. I just try to make them entertaining. I sometimes hear from parents or educators or read reviews where they mention the morals in my stories. Really, I’m just trying to make kids laugh. That’s the only thing I want to do.

KVT: Did you use your own kids as a test audience?

JK: My kids are big now. One is at Castleton University and the other is in high school, so they’re too old to test my kids’ stories on anymore. But I rigorously tested on them when they were small [laughs]. With all that practice, I can do it without the kids’ test audience now. I’ve got the chops.

KVT: Looking at the latest Glork Patrol, the colors really pop off the page.

JK: I studied for years as a painter — I went to grad school for oil painting. I studied a lot of color theory, and I could never ever make any practical use of anything I learned. Early on, whenever I tried to use colors, they just never made any sense to me.

So what I do now is I try to pick a di erent color for each thing, each character, so that they stand out from the other colors and the image is clear. That’s honestly it. They sure do pop though, and that’s because I put all of my e ort into making sure the images are clear.

Trusted Live-in Child Care for Your Family k8v-AuPairAmerica030123.indd 1 2/17/23 2:05 PM Saysawyou it in School Trips Nature Education Teambuilding Overnight Stays a year-round resource for: Starksboro, VT COMMON GROUND CENTER k12v-CommonGroundCenter030123 1 2/23/23 11:59 AM KIDS VT SPRING 2023 26
Right: Glork Patrol: Glork Patrol and the Magic Robot by James Kockalka James Kochalka

A lot of it is down to keeping things simple. I don’t want the reader to be belabored trying to decipher my art. I like that kids read my books and think, I can do this!

KVT: Were there comics that did that for you when you were a kid?

JK: Oh, for sure. But when I was a kid, I really wanted to make movies. I made all these Super 8 films. But I quickly learned that when you’re a kid trying to make movies, your friends aren’t really reliable as a cast and crew. You need a team, and you need money to make films. Comics are more accessible to a creator. There’s just so much more you can do as a creator, by yourself, with just your imagination in comics.

KVT: Do you try to alternate between


I like that kids read my books and think, I

kids’ stuff and more adult stuff — or your music — to stay fresh?

JK: I’m always working, one way or the other. I’m already working on my next book, actually. I don’t worry about what sort of book it is or what kind of story I want to tell. I don’t even worry if ideas are necessarily good or bad! I just keep going.

That’s what I’ve learned, doing this for all these years: Just keep moving. The more you let your brain play, the more fertile your imagination will be. K

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Glork Patrol (Book Three): Glork Patrol and the Magic Robot by James Kochalka, Top Shelf Productions, 40 pages. $9.99. Learn more at

On any given day, there are approximately 1000 children and youth here in Vermont who are cared for by foster families. Foster care provides birth families time and support necessary to help them get back on their feet.

Through foster care, children of all ages, needs and backgrounds are given the compassion, understanding, and stability they need until they can reunite with their families. But when reunification is not possible, some of these children become eligible for adoption.

Welcoming a child or teen into your home, whether for a short time or a lifetime, helps them to heal, grow, learn new things, and make lasting connections.

If you have ever considered foster, respite or kin care, you can find out more online at:, or, contact Carrie Deem at 802-735-6042. You may also email her at

FOR AGES 6-17 SIGN UP AT 1/27/23 2:20 PM
ON-CAMPUS June 18-24 &/or June 25-July 1 INFO@TDIVERMONT.ORG Providing fun and engaging activities for advanced, creative and gifted students entering grades 4-10. Vermont State University — Johnson K16-TDI020123.indd 1
Talent Development Institute
k4t-VTDeptChildServices1122.indd 1 11/4/22 10:52 AM Explore. Discover. Grow. Come connect with us! DELIVERING HOLISTIC EDUCATION FOR OVER 25 YEARS. Where learning is rooted in relationships. k8h-Bellwether1323.indd 1 2/22/23 3:18 PM KIDS VT SPRING 2023 27
can do this!

building, coding, testing, and modifying their LEGO brick creation!

• Week-long ballet and jazz camps for ages 7 – 12


various summer-long intensives
Weekly ballet classes for
and advanced pre-professional
Classes & Camps 2023 SUMMER VERMONT BALLET THEATER SCHOOL CENTER FOR DANCE PRESENTS CELEBRATION OF DANCE 2023 Saturday, May 27 at 1:00 & 6:30 p.m. Our annual showcase of talent from ages 4 through pre-professional will dance their way onto the Flynn Main Stage in Burlington for two exciting performances. For show & ticket information visit This summer come dance with the best at VBTS! For schedule and enrollment information, visit us at WWW.VBTS.ORG, or call 878-2941, or email INFO@VBTS.ORG VBT Summer Intensive 2023 Auditions are Sat. March 11th for ages 7 & up. Visit website or call for details! Vermont Ballet Theater School Center for Dance presents Celebration of Dance 2019 Our annual showcase of talent from ages 4 through pre-professional will dance their way onto the Flynn Main Stage in Burlington for 2 exciting performances, Saturday May 25, 2019 at 1:00 & 6:30 pm. For show & ticket information visit This summer come dance with For schedule and enrollment information, or call 878-2941, or email VBT Summer Intensive 2019 Auditions Sat. Visit website or call for k4t-VBTS0219.indd 1 k2v-VBTS0223.indd 1 1/19/23 2:27 PM LEGO engineering, robotics, and stop motion animation! WINOOSKI August 7-11, 2023 SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER SCHOOL SUMMER PROGRAMS ‘23 LetGoYourMind offers age appropriate STEM programs using LEGO bricks! Throughout the week teachers will lead students in multiple guided LEGO robotic builds, in which kids will experience the engineering process including
Ages 6 - 13 STEM PROGRAMS SOUTH BURLINGTON July 10-14, 2023 & July 17-21, 2023 VERMONT COMMONS SCHOOL BURLINGTON July 24-28, 2023 & July 31-Aug 4, 2023 O.N.E. COMMUNITY CENTER ESSEX JUNCTION June 26-30, 2023 & July 5-7, 2023 ESSEX JUNCTION RECREATIONS AND PARK Untitled-1 1 1/25/23 10:07 AM A C C E P T I N G A P P L I C A T I O N S L I M I T E D A V A I L A B I L I T Y E x p e r i e n c e M a t e r C h r i s t i S c h o o l ' s t r a d i t i o n o f v a l u e s - c e n t e r e d a c a d e m i c e x c e l l e n c e W e p r e p a r e c o u r a g e o u s a n d c o m p a s s i o n a t e l e a d e r s t o s e r v e a v u l n e r a b l e w o r l d . 50 MANSFIELD AVENUE | BURLINGTON, VT | 802-658-3992 WWW.MCSCHOOL.ORG P R E S C H O O L - G R A D E 8 k4t-MaterChristi030123 1 2/22/23 11:23 AM KIDS VT SPRING 2023 28
• Week-long ballet Mini-Intensive for
12-18, for the serious dancer looking to stay in shape for


Coloring Contest!

Three winners will each receive a collection of art supplies. Send Kids VT your work of art by May 1. Be sure to include the info at right with your submission. Winners will be chosen in the following categories: (1) ages 5 and younger, (2) ages 6-8 and (3) ages 9-12. Winners will be named in the Summer issue of Kids VT. Send your high-resolution scans to with the subject Coloring Contest, or mail a copy to Kids VT, P.O. Box 1184, Burlington, VT 05402.

Artist Age Town Email Phone


Make it the best summer ever!

• Overnight boys camp in No. Hero

• Boys learn skills, build confidence, and make friends

• Incredible location on the lake, all technology-free

• Archery, sailing, ropes course, more!

Sign up now!

The Y’s



Our judges were delighted by all the exceptional submissions mailed in as part of the Kids VT winter issue’s coloring contest. Paddy, 12, championed the season with a fully decked out “Hockey Cat,” complete with fans in the stands and gold sparkles. Seven-year-old Vivien’s vivid yellow snowsuited-up kitty charmed us with colorful polka dots and a magenta nose. Elois, 5, sent us a striped tiger cat skating in a sky full of multicolored dots with lovely blue blasts of shapes. We can’t wait to see what you send us next!



Mary Love, 10



Ayla Batsone, 5



Ophelia Laskovski, 7 Roxbury


Harper Corbett, 8 Middlebury


Drew Emilo, 4 Weybridge


Tor Carrol, 12



Henry Miller, 7 Berlin


Ania Carr, 4 Underhill


Julia Williams, 7 East Montpelier



Onna Russell-McDae, 8 Woodbury


Merritt Dowds, 4 Burlington


Paige Davis, 7 Georgia


Sophie Felix, 8 Burlington

more about our summer programs by scanning the QR Code, or visit
machines evolve to modern technology in a National Historic Landmark. k6h-AmericanPrecisionMuseum0222 1 community arts center,
k6h-Atristree020123 1 1/18/23 9:12 AM
theatre & gallery
k6h-GBYMCA(Abnaki)030123 1 2/17/23 4:43 PM KIDS VT SPRING 2023 30
“Hockey Cat” Paddy Healy, 12
to 12
“Icy Cat” Vivien Homan, 7 JEFFERSONVILLE
6 to 8
“Rainbow Snow” Elois Roth, 5 VERGENNES
5 & under
The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

Rise and Shine?

A food writer navigates a nauseous first trimester

As a food writer for Seven Days , it’s my job to eat everything. Bear sausage, fish heads, chicken hearts and mealworms have all been on the menu, and I’ve devoured every last bite. Only olives gave me the ick — and I got over that with buttery Castelvetranos and O Bread Bakery’s olive-studded ciabatta.

Until the first trimester of my pregnancy, that is. Up to week six, my biggest issue was trying to be sly about skipping Negronis and natural wine at social gatherings.

Then the morning sickness hit. Friends had thoroughly warned me, often with the classic joke, “I don’t know why they call it that. It lasts all day.” I was still surprised that the constant, nagging nausea knocked me out for six weeks; some days, it made my job impossible. I had more aversions than a beige-food-loving toddler, and even the beige foods didn’t sit well.

The only time I actually puked was on my birthday. I lounged in bed, doing the Wordle and scrolling through baby registry guides. By the time I got up, my oh-so-empty stomach was in full revolt, and I was kneeling over the toilet. Happy birthday!

Another “present”: a general sense of queasiness, hanging over my day like dreaded items on a procrastinator’s lengthy to-do list. I was eating constantly, though never very much at a time: a bite of peanutbutter toast here, a handful of blueberries there. My concerned husband suggested smoothies — (supposedly) soothing sustenance that he read about online as he watched me choke down my 10th plain Eggo.

He quickly became a smoothie whiz, blending berries, bananas and yogurt in perfect proportions, or combining kale, ginger and apples to make sure I had something green. They were staple substitutes for breakfast or lunch, often both.

Still, to write about restaurants, I had to eat at restaurants. I started making reservations for 5 p.m., since 8:30 was my new bedtime. To make sure I could stomach the food I was supposed to be reviewing, I’d eat a granola bar and drink a lemon seltzer in the car on the way, especially if it was a winding drive. I chose straightforward dishes that I usually wouldn’t and let my dining companions tackle the more adventurous items, prodding them for sensory details and sticking to a taste or two.

None of my strategies were working at an early dinner at Vermont Fine with my husband and in-laws. I dove into a slathered salad, forgetting that Caesar dressing typically includes raw egg, a pregnancy no-no. In a panic, I hid out in the very nice bathroom to compose myself — as much from the fear of poisoning my unborn child as from a wave of early-evening queasiness. Thankfully, both sensations went away — somewhere between the creamy polenta with braised beef and pastry chef Sarah Howley’s excellent s’mores entremet.

After that harrowing experience, I realized that I needed to tell my food-team colleague about my pregnancy sooner than I’d planned. Around week eight, as we discussed our schedule over a meal of dumplings

and fried turnip cake at Café Dim Sum, I let her know that stories about unpasteurized cheese, raw oysters, booze and cannabis edibles would be out for a while.

Recreational cooking was no fun, either. I fell victim to the pregnancy cliché of gagging at raw chicken; that ruled out chicken pot pie and our staple enchiladas. Leftovers, which I usually love, were gross. The only home-cooked food I looked forward to for six weeks was the birthday lasagna my mother-inlaw made when I said I was too pooped for a party.

The start of week 12 was circled on my calendar. While not true for every pregnancy, that was the magic date I kept reading about, when the morning sickness might go away, aided by a doctor-recommended combo of Unisom and vitamin B6. When it did — like clockwork — it was replaced with a persistent fear that something must be wrong. The nausea, it turns out, was a reliable reminder that things were on track.

Several scans and reassuring heartbeat sounds

later, my focus is firmly on avoiding the list of things pregnant people aren’t supposed to eat and getting enough of the things we are. Kale smoothies are back to being a novelty (and an important source of iron). I have enough second-trimester energy to slowly simmer a stew or bake a pie, and enchiladas and leftovers are both back on the menu.

I was a little overzealous filling out the three-day food diary for my 16-week appointment. I noted serving sizes in ounces and explained that fonio is an ancient African grain full of complex carbohydrates. Next to a midday Dirt and Worms creemee from ShireTown Marketplace, I wrote, “For a story!” My midwife laughed at that and graciously said creemees didn’t need to be justified.

Now halfway through my pregnancy, I don’t freak out about the occasional runny egg. I’ll even admit to ordering the falafel Benedict at the Grey Jay in Burlington, just once. It was for work, after all. K

The constant, nagging nausea knocked me out for six weeks; some days, it made my job impossible.
k1-McKenzie082521 1 8/11/21 3:24 PM