Familylife 2018 fnl

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SPENDING TIME WITH THE FAM Tips & ideas for spending quality time together

THE BEST FAMILY TRIPS IN MAINE Where to go and what to do on your next stay-cation


Publisher RICHARD J. WARREN Senior Editor, Special Sections MATT CHABE Print Sales Manager TODD McLEOD Advertising Sales Art Director AMY ALLEN Creative Services Manager MICHELE DWYER Creative Services MARCIE COOMBS, CORALIE CROSS, BEN CYR, CALLIE PICARD, CAROLINA RAVE Cover Image SERGEY NOVIKOV/ THINKSTOCK To advertise in our next edition, please call 990-8134 or email © 2018 Bangor Daily News. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without express written consent. Requests for permission to copy, reprint, or duplicate any content should be directed to PO Box 1329 Bangor, ME 04402-1329













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The frog clock outside the Maine Discovery Museum, and (below) inside the Rock & Art Shop in downtown Bangor.

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day trips A regional guide for parents (and grandparents) that proves Maine really is Vacationland. BY JASMINE J. HAINES

SOMETIMES WE WANT TO GET AWAY, but we don’t want to book flights, pack bags, and spend a ton of time and money. Sure, Florida sounds nice right about now—but all you really need to make some fun family memories is closer than you may think. Check out these three close-to-home trips perfect for families and grandparent/grandkid getaways alike. Designed not to break your budget (or your spirit), follow them to the letter or use them to inspire your own adventures!

BANGOR REGION WHEN YOU GET INTO DOWNTOWN BANGOR head to the Maine Discovery Museum (MDM) first. It’s right on Main Street and has a giant frog on the side—you can’t miss it. This is the largest children’s museum north of Boston, with three floors of interactive fun for a wide range of ages. Besides being an awesome place to play, it has live creatures to interact with, guided art projects to create, and supervised science experiments to really get the curiosity pumping. Check out MDM’s website before you go to see what special activity they are providing for that day. Admission is good for the whole day, so you can leave and come back if you get there in the morning but want to check out the afternoon programming too. The MDM provides a room where you can eat lunch, if you pack one. There are also a lot of good options in walking distance. I recommend Bagel Central’s “black and white” cookie for dessert. It’s just around the corner and worth the walk. The Rock and Art Shop is another gem in downtown Bangor. They offer stunning jewelry, plants that look like they could be from another planet, natural history objects, tons of unique gifts, and, educational toys. The best part is that it’s family run and curated— the Sohns family are committed to providing art and science to their local community. The place is full of whimsy and has hard-to-find items from all over the world. Though it’s a store, it feels like a museum, with every item deserving of your consideration. A souvenir from here will surely be cherished. If you are craving a little fresh air while in Bangor, the Penobscot River walkway on the Bangor waterfront is a great family friendly trail that is wheelchair and stroller accessible. It’s short, only about a half mile, but hugs the river making it a truly beautiful jaunt through the area to burn enough calories to grab supper at one of the local restaurants before heading home. BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM  3

The lighthouse at Owls Head State Park.

MIDCOAST REGION SITUATED ON THE PENOBSCOT BAY near Rockland, Owls Head State Park offers a stunning rocky beach walk and a trail that takes you up close and personal with the Owls Head Lighthouse. The views are straight off of a “Welcome to Maine” postcard (and if you make everyone in your family wear a red sweater, then you will have next year’s holiday card all done). Nearby is the Owls Head Transportation Museum with antique and working automobiles, planes, motorbikes and more. There is a Rolls-Royce from 1914, planes from WWI, and even a replica of the Wright Brothers’ plane they used for their first successful manned flight. While the antiques may make you think it’s not a good place for rambunctious kids, the museum is extremely child friendly and offers many interactive options for a wide range of children and children at heart. Throughout the year they have different events and displays so check their website ahead of time. After you have lunch you may want to stretch your legs on the Rockland Breakwater. Dress warmly and have good slip resistant shoes on. You will want to bring a water bottle for this two-mile walk out onto the harbor, but the stunning views are worth it.

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then Aroostook County has a lot to offer you. The Nordic Heritage Center (NHC) is nestled near the Presque Isle and Fort Fairfield border and offers fun and healthy year-round activities for all fitness levels. Mountain biking, snowshoeing, skiing, and hiking trails are available that showcase the beauty of The County and will make your Instagram followers jealous. You can rent equipment on the weekends at the Adventure Center and even get some recommendations for trails to fit your specific vacation vision. From a lazy snowshoe bird-watching experience or an energizing cross-country ski race between the kids, there is something for everyone. If downhill skiing is more your thing, head to Mars Hill mountain and take the family to Big Rock Ski Area. They offer over 30 ski trails of varying difficulty. Snow shoe and cross-country trails are also available, as well as snow tubing (for those of us over 42 inches tall). If you are heading up to Aroostook County, you might want to take your snowmobile. With a couple thousand miles worth of snowmobile trails, your day trip may turn into an entire weekend of exploration. Don’t have a snowmobile? There are lots of places to rent from and most offer all the equipment you will need plus a safety orientation before they hand you the keys. There are also many restaurants, lodging, and shops that are all connected to the snowmobile trails. Of course, there are many warm weather options in Northern Maine too. The Aroostook State Park is 800 acres of woods and water including Echo Lake and Quaggy Jo Mountain. Perfect for leaf peeping in the fall, swimming in the summer, and hiking all year round. If you are staying overnight, the campgrounds at the park are clean and affordable.

Children take the T-bar to the top of the slopes at Quoggy Jo Ski Club in Presque Isle.

While none of these destinations comes with an enviable tan or mouse ear souvenirs, they are all just down the road from wherever you are in Maine. With amazing views almost everywhere you turn, plus all the rich history, unique and talented artists, and child-friendly communities, Maine truly is Vacationland.



active Together How families can get up and go. FAMILIES OFTEN LOOK FOR FUN things to do together, and few things are more fun than physical activity. Choosing activities that combine fun with physical activity is a great way to bond as a family and get healthy at the same time. According to Let’s Move!, an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to fight the problem of childhood obesity, children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Parents know it can sometimes be hard to get kids to disconnect from their devices long enough to get out and play. But Let’s Move! notes that kids who are supported by their families or surrounded by others interested in physical activity are more likely to participate in such activities themselves. Families looking to get fit and grow closer can consider the following approaches to live healthier, more active lifestyles.

GIVE GIFTS THAT ENCOURAGE ACTIVITY. Both youngsters and adults are enamored with the latest gadgets, but tablets and video game consoles won’t do much to make families more physically active. In lieu of toys that promote sedentary lifestyles, give kids toys that encourage physical activity. Erect a basketball hoop in the driveway or go buy new bicycles for the whole family, resolving to go for a nightly ride together.

RESTRICT TV TIME. Establish house rules regarding how many hours of television kids and adults can watch each day. Kids will follow their parents’ lead with regard to how much television they watch, so parents should be mindful of their own viewing habits, resisting the temptation to plop down on the couch for several hours each night. Don’t turn on the television at night until the whole family has engaged in some physical activity.

WALK OR RIDE BIKES TO RUN ERRANDS. When running errands in town, take the kids along and walks or ride bicycles rather than drive. This is a great time for families to catch up, and walking or riding a bicycle is great exercise for adults and kids alike.

SCHEDULE PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES FOR THE WEEKENDS. When planning weekends, parents can schedule a physical activity for the whole family. Make time to go hiking at a nearby park or schedule a family basketball game in the driveway. Such activities are healthy, and they don’t have to cost a lot money, either.

VOLUNTEER AS A FAMILY. Another way to get up and go as a family is to work with a local nonprofit or charitable organization. Sign the family up for monthly park or beach cleanup projects that get the family out of the house and moving. Or sign the family up to work at a local soup kitchen where kids can learn the value of helping others while staying on their feet.

LET KIDS PLAN ACTIVITIES. One great way to get kids excited about an active lifestyle is to let them plan family activities. Kids who are encouraged to come up with activities, whether it’s visiting the zoo or going kayaking as a family, are more likely to embrace those activities.

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backyard play area HOMEOWNERS OFTEN ASPIRE to have attractive backyards that look like they belong in a magazine. While these can be picturesque and functional for adults, they may not be entirely practical for homeowners who have young children, especially when the majority of the yard is covered with paving stones or concrete. When young children are part of a household, homeowners may benefit by designing yards that are both functional and fun. Incorporating safe play areas for kids is one way to unlock the potential of both big and small backyards. As children run off to enjoy a playground, safety is the last thing on their minds. Kids are most interested in scaling ladders to treehouses or coasting down slides. That’s why adults must take it upon themselves to keep injury prevention in mind. indicates that playground-related injuries routinely result in severe fractures, internal injuries, concussions, and dislocations. In the majority of playground injuries to children younger than age 5, the head and face are affected. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 experience more leg and arm injuries than younger kids. When considering playground equipment for the yard, parents need to make safety a priority. The Canada Safety Society advises parents to follow the “5 S’s of Playground Safety”: Surface, structures, site, supervision, and safety. SURFACE: Parents should assume that children will fall. To lessen the blow of falls, choose playground equipment with a perimeter of six feet of a softer surface, such as sand, pea gravel, rubber pieces or wood chips. This material should be between six and 12 inches deep. STRUCTURE: The structure of the play equipment should be built from sturdy materials. Pressure-treated lumber was once the standard, but it’s not adviseable for kids’ playgrounds, as the chemicals used in the lumber can leach and young children may actually bite or pick at the wood. Use cedar or another wood that resists decay. Once the structure is built, inspect it frequently for damage. SITE: Look around the landscape for an ideal place to locate the playset. There should be no obstacles that children can hit while sliding or swinging. Avoid overhanging branches and do not place equipment too close to trees or fencing. Try to keep the set out of direct sunlight. SUPERVISION: Do not leave children alone while they are playing. Prevent children from using the playset in an incorrect manner.


SAFETY: Follow the directions for installation. Make sure all posts are anchored into the ground securely. Railings should be spaced so that children cannot get stuck between them. Check that metal components have not rusted and that there is no additional excessive wear. Be sure that no tools or other dangerous items are left around the yard.





Family Cruise IF YOU ARE LOOKING for a family-friendly experience to explore the rugged coastline of midcoast Maine by boat, you’ll want to book a trip with Camden Harbor Cruises. The “Lively Lady” is a traditional wooden lobster boat built in 1971, and she now carries passengers on a variety of trips departing daily (seasonally) from the public landing in Camden. A visit to Camden isn’t complete without a journey on the waters of Penobscot Bay, and they offer one of the most scenic and informative tours you’ll find. Camden Harbor Cruises offers a variety of trips on the “Lively Lady” that appeal to all ages. The Morning Haul — a crew favorite — is a one-hour interactive lobster fishing demonstration where guests can help haul, bait, and reset “Lively Lady’s” lobster pots. The one-hour Lobstering & Lighthouse Cruise takes guests past two lighthouses, and along the way the crew pulls a lobster trap to see what’s lurking on the ocean floor. On the one-and-a-half hour EcoTour, the boat travels across the bay to a remote seal habitat, again hauling a lobster trap and learning about conservation and the sea life that inhabits Midcoast Maine. The Sunday Lighthouse Cruise is a fantastic three-hour cruise through Penobscot Bay that travels past up to six lighthouses. If you’re a passport holder with the American Lighthouse Association, Camden Harbor Cruises can help fill up your book with stamps for each lighthouse you see on the trip. 8  FAMILY LIFE 2018

The crew’s knowledge of the area is impressive, and the emphasis on “family” and “friendly” really shines through. During this truly interactive experience, the crew encourages exploration. There is an on-board touch tank, and sea creatures, shells, and other treasures are pulled from the bottom of the bay for guests to view up close. On the tours where the lobster pots are hauled, everyone has a chance to touch a lobster if they wish — one of the highlights for most of the young seafarers! Handy wildlife guides and binoculars are available to enhance the natural learning experience. On the boat, the seating is comfortable and shaded, and refreshments are available for purchase. Camden Harbor Cruises is familyowned and operated by Captain Dominic and Liz Gioia. Liz and Dom are native Mainers and University of Maine graduates. “As a family with a young daughter, we are excited to offer cruises that are appealing to families of all types, sizes and ages,” said Liz. “Our tours are informative as well as an opportunity to see gorgeous scenery and wildlife up close. We’re seeing a lot of repeat customers, both individuals and groups. Our passengers range from summer tourists to Maine ‘staycationers,’ birders, lighthouse enthusiasts, school groups, camps and more. We welcome all ages to come explore with us — infants to toddlers, grandparents and even well-behaved dogs.”

Dom and Liz also believe in the importance of community and donate generously to many auctions and charitable organizations in midcoast Maine. “Camden is a wonderful, close-knit community made up of many family-owned businesses like ours,” said Liz. “We’re glad that we are surrounded by vibrant and caring folks, and that we can share a bit of that local feeling with our guests on board ‘Lively Lady.’” Seasonal tours start in May and conclude in October. The Lively Lady can accommodate up to 35 passengers and is also available for private charters, including wedding events, parties, reunions, corporate events, school and scout groups, and for island ferry service. Whether you’re local looking for a chance to get out on the water with friends or if you’re from away and looking for the perfect Maine experience on the water, come on down to the public landing and take a cruise on the “Lively Lady.” There are many opportunities for great photos, so don’t forget your cameras. For more information or to make reservations, visit or call 207-236-6672.


For midcoast family outings, hop aboard the “Lively Lady.” COURTESY CAMDEN HARBOR CRUISES

Inexpensive activities


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES provide great opportunities for parents and grandparents to strengthen the bonds they have with their children. But finding affordable, fun events the whole family can enjoy can sometimes prove challenging for budget-conscious parents.


One of the best things about the great outdoors is that it’s often free to enjoy. Research local parks to find ones that offer age-appropriate hiking trails. Parents with young children should look for parks that offer more relaxing hikes with well-established trails that do not require any difficult climbing. If the kids are a little older, parks with more challenging, less-developed trails may suffice. Prepare lunches at home and enjoy a family picnic in the park. Many parks do not charge entrance fees, and packing your own lunches will save on meals. The only cost you might be on the hook for is the fuel it takes to get from home to the great outdoors.



While bowling is not free, it remains a relatively inexpensive and family-friendly activity. Bowling alleys may offer discounted rates for children and lower rates during off-peak hours. Seniors may also be eligible for discounts, so bring grandma and grandpa along as well. Bumper bowling makes it possible for toddlers to join in the fun, too, so don’t be discouraged from bowling if your children are closer to preschool age than high school age.


Many communities host weekend festivals that offer various family-friendly activities. These festivals may focus on a particular town or city’s cultural history or offer wider appeal, such as an apple festival or a film festival for kids. These festivals tend to cater to families, offering games and possibly even rides kids will love. Adults, too, can enjoy such gatherings, as festivals often invite local restaurants and food and beverage merchants to set up booths and peddle their wares to hungry festival goers. BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM  9

Nature walks for the family These 5 beautiful, easy Maine hikes are perfect for parents, grandparents and more looking to spend a day with their loved ones. STORY & PHOTOS BY AISLINN SARNACKI

FROM SUNNY MEADOWS and mossy cedar forests to shell-strewn beaches and ancient bogs, the public trails of Maine lead to some spectacular places. But with hundreds of trails marked on the map, it’s sometimes difficult to decide which one will offer the best experience for you. When it comes to families with young children and senior hikers, it’s often more enjoyable to stick to the smoother, well-marked footpaths that lead through a variety of habitats in a short distance. It’s also a nice feature for the trail to include interpretive signs and rest stops, places to sit down, learn and observe nature for a spell. The following five suggested hikes are just that — family-friendly and easy, showcasing the beauty of nature, from beach to bog.

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SHIP HARBOR NATURE TRAIL IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK One of the easier hikes in the famous Acadia National Park, the Ship Harbor Nature Trail forms a 1.3-mile figureeight that visits the rocky coastline and travels through a whimsical spruce-fir forest. The first loop in the figure-eight is wheelchair accessible, while the second loop is not, being narrower and filled with rocks and roots. At select locations along the trail are beautiful educational displays covered with realistic illustrations of things found in nature nearby. This trail is accessible year round. Dogs are permitted if kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length. All park visitors are required to pay for and display a park pass upon entry May through October. The entrance fee for a passenger car is $25 and good for seven days.

DIRECTIONS: Drive onto Mount Desert Island on Route 3, then veer right just after the causeway onto Route 102. Drive 5.2 miles, then veer left at a fork in the road to continuing on Route 102 another 11.3 miles, passing through Somesville and the town of Southwest Harbor. At 11.3 miles, you’ll come to a fork where you’ll veer right to remain on Route 102. Drive 1.6 miles to an intersection in the town of Bass Harbor and veer left onto Route 102A. Drive 2.3 miles and the parking lot for Ship Harbor Nature Trail will be on your right.


MOOSE POINT STATE PARK IN SEARSPORT Moose Point is just one of many state parks in Maine that’s great for family outings. With a playground, picnic tables and a network of easy trails, it’s a great spot to spend the day enjoying nature and the salty breeze off the ocean. This park is home to giant white pines, resident bald eagles and osprey, and a beach of rocks and sand accessible by two staircases. And for those with large families or groups, there’s a group shelter and gazebo available on the property as well. Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash not exceeding 4 feet in length. Admission is $3 for adult Maine residents, $4 for adult nonresidents, $1 for senior nonresidents, $1 for children 5-11 years old, and free for senior Maine residents and children under 5 years old.

DIRECTIONS: The park is located off Route 1, between the downtown areas of Belfast and Searsport, with the address of 310 West Main Street in Searsport. During the winter, the gates to the park are closed, but visitors are welcome to park outside the gates and walk into the park on foot.

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ORONO BOG BOARDWALK IN ORONO Beginning in a forested wetland at the edge of Rolland F. Perry City Forest in Bangor, the Orono Bog Boardwalk crosses the town line into Orono as it travels out onto an open peat bog. Measuring 4,200 feet long, the boardwalk starts as one path, then splits to form a loop, offering an out-and-back walk of about 1 mile. Along the way are educational displays and benches, where families can rest while learning about various plants and animals that you’ll only find in that unique habitat. This boardwalk is wheelchair accessible and is usually open May 1 through late November, though that may vary depending on boardwalk maintenance. The boardwalk is off limits to dogs, though the other trails in the city forest are open to dogs. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.

DIRECTIONS: From Bangor, drive toward Orono on Stillwater Avenue (by the Bangor Mall) and turn left onto Tripp Drive. Continue to the end of Tripp Drive. At the cul-de-sac, drive straight onto a dirt road, which will end at the large gravel parking lot for the city forest. From there, walk to the northeast side of the parking lot, where you’ll find the wide, 0.25-mile gravel path leading to the boardwalk. You can refer to a detailed map on display at the parking lot.

(Above) Carnivorous pitcher plants grow in the moss of the Orono Bog Boardwalk. (This photo) Nadia Winters and Curt Carter walk along the Orono Bog Boardwalk with their son Emmett.


The Parker Reed Shelter, the hub of activity at the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Alton and Old Town, can be seen across Lac D’Or, a man-made lake built by the preserve’s founder, Oliver Larouche.

HIRUNDO WILDLIFE REFUGE IN OLD TOWN The 2,460-acre Hirundo Wildlife Refuge includes a vast network of trails, including a new wheelchair-accessible “Trail of the Senses,” an easy, wide path that visits several educational displays that touch upon different ways to observe nature with all of your five senses. The easy trail also leads to a new, wheelchair-accessible wildlife observation deck on Lac D’or, a man-made pond that attracts a wide variety of waterfowl, frogs and even the occasional beaver. For visitors looking for longer, more challenging trails, there are plenty of moderately challenging routes in the refuge’s trail network, which altogether totals about 7 miles. Dogs are not permitted. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.

DIRECTIONS: The physical address of the refuge is 1107 West Old Town Road in Old Town. Take Interstate 95 to Exit 197 (Old Town/Hudson), and at the end of the exit ramp, turn west on Route 43 (Hudson Road) and drive 4.75 miles to Gate 1 on your right. The main parking lot for the regure is at the end of the driveway beyond Gate 1. In the winter, the gate is closed but visitors are welcome to park outside the gate (while not blocking the gate) and to walk into the refuge on foot.

The Loop Trail, completed in fall of 2016, is one of three wheelchair-accessible trails planned for the new Trail of the Senses network at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge

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FIELDS POND AUDUBON CENTER IN HOLDEN One of the eight wildlife sanctuaries owned and operated by the Maine Audubon, Fields Pond Audubon Center is home to about five miles of intersecting trails, including easy loop trails around meadows that are filled with birds in the summertime. The trail network also visits a frog pond, a hilly forest and the shore of Fields Pond, which is a popular place for swimming, paddling and fishing. In the property’s visitor center is a small museum and display of local artwork, a shop and a gathering space for the center’s many public workshops and presentations. The center and trails are open year round. Dogs are not permitted. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.

DIRECTIONS: From Route 1A in Holden, turn onto Copeland Hill Road and drive until you reach a stop sign, then turn right onto Wiswell Road. In a little less than a mile, turn left onto Fields Pond Road. Drive about 1 mile and Fields Pond Audubon Center will be on your left.

AISLINN SARNACKI is the author of the 2017 guidebook “Family-Friendly Hikes in Maine,” available at local bookstores and at For more information on Maine hikes and other outdoor adventures, visit her blog at actoutwithaislinn.

April McKinney of Levant enjoys a day of walking the trails at Fields Pond Audubon Center with her sons Zen Taylor and Finn McKinney. (Inset) A tree swallow perches on a nesting post in the meadow. PHOTOS: BDN FILE | LINDA COAN O’KRESIK BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM  15



Family Fun To discover a great time with the family, check out Maine Discovery Museum. COURTESY MAINE DISCOVERY MUSEUM MAINE DISCOVERY MUSEUM (MDM), located in the heart of downtown Bangor, is all about discovery: looking at the world around us with fresh eyes; asking lots of questions; and a desire to keep learning. With three floors of exhibits and daily programming, MDM has gained a regional and national reputation for high-quality learning opportunities, original exhibits, and innovative programs. As a unique community resource, MDM provides opportunities for exploration and discovery that incorporate aspects of Maine into a greater understanding of the world in which we live. MDM’s goal is to educate children and families, encourage creativity, nurture a sense of wonder, and to challenge all to learn in new and innovative ways. Our most recent program is the Maine Science Festival (MSF). Launched in 2015, with more than 60 events and activities (including forums, films, exhibits, talks, workshops and hands-on activities) for allages, with every event except the headliner 16  FAMILY LIFE 2018

available free-of-charge. The MSF is a four-day celebration of Maine science, engineering, innovation and exploration, brought to you by the national and worldleading Mainers who do it. This year, the 4th Annual Maine Science Festival takes place March 15-18, with events held throughout downtown Bangor and at the Cross Insurance Center. The 2018 headliner is RadioLab’s Robert Krulwich, who has spent his professional life explaining what we know at the MSF: that science is everywhere. At its heart, MDM is about exploration all around us with a focus on Maine and how Maine connects to the rest of the U.S. and the world. We use S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) as the tools for unlocking that knowledge. In our exhibits, educational outreach, programming, and at the yearly Maine Science Festival, we are always asking, “What will you discover?” We hope you’ll come explore!



Create kid-friendly spaces MAINTAINING A HOME that is welcoming


and kid-friendly can be challenging. Kids are full of energy and oftentimes put fun ahead of tidiness. But no matter how energetic their youngsters are, parents can still employ several strategies to ensure their homes are both sophisticated and child-friendly.

CHOOSE WASHABLE FABRICS. Upholstery will need to stand up to the abuse kids can dish out. Sofas and chairs with slipcovers can be advantageous because many slipcovers can be easily removed and laundered. Patterned fabrics will hide some stains, while treated fabrics may resist liquid spills for easier cleanup. CREATE A CATCH-ALL SPOT. Special bins or other organizational tools in the entryway can help to cull clutter when children come in the house from school or play. Be sure the keep cubbies, containers and coat hooks at a child-friendly height. THINK OUTSIDE PINK AND BLUE. For children’s rooms, make sure they’re colorful, but consider other hues to give the rooms some personality. Focus on a hobby or activity and borrow the color scheme from the accessories used for decorating. HANG WHIMSICAL ARTWORK. Employ framing and lighting to make kids’ artwork look like professional pieces. Routinely change the pictures when a new look is desired.


encouraging kids’

Creativity To spur development, get kids into the arts. BY ALAN CROWELL children develop the social, cognitive and even neurological building blocks they need for success in school and beyond. So when is the best time to get children involved in the arts? As early as possible, says Argy Nestor, award winning educator and director of arts education at the Maine Arts Commission. Nestor, who was an educator for 30 years and a former Maine Teacher of the Year, said engagement in the arts is a natural for young people. Interest in performing, drawing and other forms of self-expression is present at a very young age and parents and educators can use that interest to help children learn key skills whether it be the problem solving necessary to turn an idea and a lump of clay into sculpture or the collaborative skills necessary to make words on a page come alive on stage. By encouraging children to begin creating at an early age, parents and educators can not only help children develop confidence in themselves, they can also help children learn how to learn, communicate and collaborate, skills that are vital in a world that seems to be changing at an ever-increasing pace. “The skills that are needed today to be successful in the world, so many of them can come in and through the arts,” said Nestor. Giving children a head start in the arts can be as simple as providing an environment where children are supported in these activities — for painting think large pieces of paper on a table or a large easel and big paint brushes that are easier for small hands to hold. Young children can learn to keep a journal in books of unlined paper, documenting events that are important to them and telling stories about their lives. Those same skills can form the base for creative writing later. Learning to play music at an early age has been linked to the development of higher math skills as well. One study found that grade school children who were taught to play the keyboard subsequently did much better in tests of proportional math skills — involving fractions and proportions. When children begin their formal schooling, Maine is also lucky to have excellent arts programs in many schools, said Nestor. “We definitely have quality across the state, particularly in visual arts and performing arts,” she said. The Maine Arts Commission is a state agency that works to promote the arts in all parts of the state through a wide variety of programs, including offering grants to schools to develop art education projects and administering Poetry Out Loud at the state level. Poetry Out Loud is a national program that encourages students to learn about great poetry and awards a yearly $20,000 scholarship. For more information about the Maine Arts Commission, go to To read Argy Nestor’s blog posts, go to 18  FAMILY LIFE 2018


A GROWING BODY of evidence indicates that arts education can be a great way to help

The following are some simple ways parents can bring more art into their kids’ lives, courtesy of Americans for the Arts.

JOIN IN THE FUN. Parents can make art more fun for kids by playing music around the house and singing and dancing alongside their children. Read a book to or with your children and join in when they pursue other artistic endeavors, such as drawing or painting.

FIND LOCAL EVENTS. Many school districts have slashed their arts budgets in recent years, but parents can still find local arts events for kids in their communities by reading the local newspaper. Support local theater groups by attending performances with your children and explaining to them that the performers live in the community just like they do.

PITCH IN WITH LOCAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS. Local arts organizations typically rely on donations and volunteers to support their programs. Parents who want to instill a love of the arts in their children can help local organizations’ fundraising efforts and even volunteer their time. If possible, take kids along when volunteering so they can get some first-hand experience with the arts.

ENCOURAGE KIDS’ ARTISTIC PURSUITS. Some kids may decide to pursue artistic endeavors on their own, and parents can encourage such pursuits. Celebrate kids’ participation in arts-based activities in school and in the community, recognizing their hard work in the same way you would acknowledge their successes in the classroom and in sports.



screen time limits BY ALAN CROWELL

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WHEN IT COMES to screen time, early childhood experts and pediatricians alike agree that children are getting too much time in front of screens (televisions, smart phones and computers) each day and not enough physical activity. Children age 8 to 10, for example, on average get six hours a day of screen time, with four of those hours in front of television sets, according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Noneducational screen time should be dramatically reduced, according to the CDC, and more of those hours should be used in activities like sports or play that encourage social growth or better physical fitness. For most families, however, an outright ban on screens may not be realistic, given the importance of technology in almost all aspects of life. Mary Ellin Logue, director of the School of Learning and Teaching at the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development, said it is important for parents to think not just about the amount of screen time their children get each day, but how much time their children are spending in activities that help them grow and prepare them for success in life. Children of all ages need physical activity and time to interact and socialize with friends in real life, as opposed to through social media or other screen-based mediums, said Logue. Face-to-face conversations with people who care about them, such as parents or other family members, are also vital to the development of children. Dr. Valerie M. O’Hara, medical director of the Way to Optimal Weight Program at Eastern Maine Medical Center, said it is important to keep recreational screen time to less than two hours a day and to keep screens, including televisions, phones and computers, out of the bedroom. O’Hara said one problem with too much screen time is the amount of time children spend watching commercials, often for unhealthy food. People also tend to eat more when distracted by a screen. Not only is too much screen time associated with less physical activity and unhealthy eating habits, it can also lead to disrupted sleep, which in turn affects the way hormones tell our bodies to store energy, said O’Hara. Because screens are a ubiquitous part of modern life, it may be impractical for most parents to prohibit screen time, but O’Hara said it is important to find a healthy balance. For instance, she said, parents can encourage their children to exercise while watching television or earn screen time with physical activity. Parents should also be good role models and turn off their own screens as well as their children’s, especially at meal times. It is also important to have open conversations with family members about why it is important to turn off screens and connect with each other. And finally, as a parent as well as a pediatrician, O’Hara said it is important to not just limit screen time but to make sure children are using their time in ways that help them grow.


All screens, all the time? It might be time to limit it.

Unstructured play is very important for the development of young children — games like duck, duck, goose can be played inside as well as outside — and the whole family can benefit from going for a walk after dinner or for a swim at the local YMCA, said O’Hara.

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NeSt egg Five easy steps to building a family nest egg. COURTESY CHANGING SEASONS FCU planning for college tuition? Know you will need snow tires next year? What about stashing some money away for a dream vacation? No matter what your financial goal, we’ve got five easy tips to help.

1. SET YOUR GOAL If you know the end result, it can help you set a realistic plan to reach your goal. If you want to take the family to Disney next year and know you need $1,000 for spending money, it makes it easier to plan (and you may be more motivated) if you have something specific in mind.

2. KNOW YOUR OPTIONS Do you have more success when you separate your savings account from your checking account? Maybe a club account to separate your savings would help you reach your goal? Direct deposit or an automatic transfer may be the best tool. Explore your options and choose what works for you.

3. DECIDE HOW MUCH YOU NEED TO SET ASIDE Once you have a goal in mind and have decided where you are going to keep that money, cut up the amount in easy-toswallow pieces that will work for you. $1,000 over a one-year period (52 weeks) equals about $19.25 per week; that equals about 3 lunches at your favorite fast food place, so maybe you can pack a lunch 3 times a week instead. 22  FAMILY LIFE 2018

4. REVIEW YOUR EXISTING BILLS TO SEE WHERE ELSE YOU CAN SAVE While it may seem obvious to consider skipping your morning drive-through cup of coffee or watching a movie on streaming video instead of going to the theater, there may be other areas where you can trim your budget. Take a look at your existing loans and credit cards; there may be opportunities to refinance and save especially on the higher interest rates.

5. MAKE MONEY ON YOUR SAVINGS WITH LONG TERM OPTIONS If your savings goal is a bit more longterm, consider a Money Market account

or Certificate of Deposit. These accounts traditionally offer higher rates of interest and are harder to access, so you may tend to leave them alone until they are really needed. Setting up a budget can make managing your finances less stressful, and save you money in the process. It’s easy to get carried away on purchases or not realize what you really have in monthly bills. Contact Changing Seasons FCU in Hampden and learn how we can help you create a free Budget Blueprint today. In just 20 minutes we can start you on the way to achieving your financial goals. Changing Seasons FCU, 115 Mecaw Rd, Hampden— Here for what tomorrow brings.


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The way life should be In Maine’s north woods, one sporting family instills values from a young age. BY GENIE JENNINGS

ALMOST NO ONE consciously decides to instill a particular lifestyle on his or her family. Few, if any, even consider that they have a ‘lifestyle;’ we simply live our lives. However, the things we do, the things on which we spend our time and energy, the ways in which we interact with our friends and, especially, our family members demonstrate what we value. These are the things our children absorb; these are the lenses through which they see the world; these are the things that dictate how those children will act and what they will value. Not that our children will necessarily follow our paths, but we will have given them guideposts. We can learn a lot about families by knowing their children. Last summer I met Laurelai Winslow, a delightful 7-yearold girl who gave me some insight into the almost-mythical independent, self-reliant, individualistic Maine character. For many generations her mother’s family has operated a group of iconic sporting camps in the North Maine Woods. Her father is a Registered Maine Guide in both hunting and fishing.

24  FAMILY LIFE 2018


Like several male ski instructors with whom I have worked, Tim Winslow has often been the primary caregiver for his daughter, while Alison has worked outside the home. For some, being a Maine guide is more conducive to including children in your work than an office environment. To a great degree, Laurelai has been brought up in the woods. She was backpacked into a remote camp for her first hunt with her family when she was about a year and a half old. The toddler happily trudged along, stomping in mud puddles, helping to carry the upland game birds back to the cabin. When your father is a guide and takes you with him from the time you can walk, you learn a lot about nature. It takes an enormous amount of preparation to take clients hunting or fishing. As your father goes through those preparations, you learn about the animals he is going to hunt, as well as the other animals and plants that populate the same areas. You pick wild blueberries and raspberries. You eat the things that are harvested. When hunting is a way of life and not an occasional recreation, you develop a different perspective than many others. Almost everyone in Laurelai’s family hunts. Laurelai has been hiking through the woods with her family since she could walk, and when she was six she began carrying a rifle on the trips like the adults. Hers was pink camo. She shot her first grouse “with my Nana.” She is proud to be able to put food in the freezer, like the adults. Like many little girls, she loves animals. Unlike most, she expands that love to the creepy, crawly critters many children do not like to handle. Her favorite part of hunting is “the shooting,” but she also enjoys simply watching the turkeys or deer or whatever else comes into view. She is learning, as every good hunter should, when and how to kill the food animals so that they are not hurt in the process. If you are brought up and live in our kind of civilization, you have a different perspective of the circle of life. For many generations we have had the luxury of leaving difficult and messy tasks to others. Our meat comes in tidy plastic-wrapped portions that do not look anything like the animal

Laurelai shows off her first turkey with her lucky Barbie. (Below) Laurelai with her first grouse and her Nana.


26  FAMILY LIFE 2018


Laurelai carrying birds back to the cabin.

from which it came. Along with eliminating the work and mess of processing our own meat, we have developed some erroneous impressions of those who do it themselves. Many of us have never killed anything except insects or rodents that have annoyed or hurt us or damaged our property. We have hostile emotions toward “pest animals.” It is sometimes very different for people who hunt for their own food. Rather than an animosity toward their prey, most hunters respect and enjoy them. When we begin to learn about grouse and woodcock, deer and moose, at a very young age, we develop a bond with them. That bond becomes part of who we are. In addition to the feelings about the animals, there is a special respect and concern for other people that is engendered in this family. Guiding and running a sporting camp are service industries of the highest caliber. Hunting, fishing, and hiking in the deep woods can be dangerous endeavors, and many clients (“sports”) are far from adept. They need care. As we prepared for our first fishing trip together, Laurelai showed me her backpack with a bottle of water on each side. “I am bringing these for you and Stan,” she told me. I assured her I had plenty of water, because I did not yet understand the situation. We were “sports” and she was acting as our guide. She felt a need to provide for us. She is very generous and aware of the needs of others. On one of her turkey hunts this past year, she got a big tom. There were others available and her father suggested she take another. Her reply was that she had one, but others in the group had not, so he should help them instead. She has learned to share in a way few do. Already, she knows to put her own pleasure in perspective, and to enjoy others’ successes. Impressive in such a young child. Hunting and fishing require a quietness and patience, and an understanding that there is not always a successful outcome. Running a small business such as a sporting camp is the same. Just as there is no guarantee that the deer or grouse or fish will be where you want them, there is no control over whether guests will come, if the weather will cooperate. To survive, one must be able to cope with things, good or bad, as they come. This serenity defines a kind of existence that is still surviving and being perpetuated in Maine, the way life should be.

Laurelai’s first hunting trip.





out of this world Share the universe with your family at the Emera Astronomy Center. COURTESY EMERA ASTRONOMY CENTER

PLANETARIUMS ARE A great way to inspire

If you haven’t visited a planetarium since you were a child, these facilities have changed greatly and offer an immersive multimedia experience not possible in other venues. While planetariums still share the night sky with stars, constellations, and planets, Emera Astronomy Center can transport visitors through space, take them to other planets in the solar system, explore stars beyond our own, and even visit distant galaxies. Digital projection allows these facilities to share the latest NASA images from planetary missions in stunning resolution. Interested in the planet Jupiter and its moons, or the rings of Saturn? Why not take a simulated trip to them and fly through these systems? It is all possible in these new digital domes. Take a trip from Earth to the edge of our known cosmos using the latest data from the world’s foremost astronomical observatories and

particle accelerators. Experience what it is like to be an interstellar traveler in time and space—all at Emera Astronomy Center planetarium. Interested in an “out of this world” birthday party, a stellar wedding, or a special celebration? Emera Astronomy Center can help you plan unique events and make it something you and your guests will always remember. Explore topics beyond astronomy and space such as flight, go inside the human body to look at how cells work, look at how various cultures used the sky, or explore our oceans and atmosphere. Experience the latest science research from local experts and discover how it influences your life. For a current schedule, show descriptions, and a variety of information on our facility and offerings, visit astro., call 207-581-1341, or email


curiosity and a desire to learn. Come join us at Emera Astronomy Center for immersive experiences that will transport you to new worlds, thrill your senses, and help you make sense of your place in the vast universe! Space, planets, stars, astronauts, science and more: all can be found at Emera Astronomy Center at the University of Maine in Orono. The facility is host to the state’s largest planetarium and the only fully-digital facility, two observatories, a multi-purpose classroom, and a variety of interactive exhibits. Public programs are offered on Friday evenings at 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. with changing topics each month. In addition, there is a monthly science lecture series, public telescope viewing on Friday evenings, school programs, and a number of other special programs. Friday evening shows are suitable for older students and general audiences, while Sunday shows are geared for families with younger children. All programs include a tour of the night sky as viewed here in Maine.

28  FAMILY LIFE 2018


great study environment A STUDENT’S ACADEMIC performance is influenced by a host of factors, including the learning environment both inside the classroom and at home. Here are some tips on creating a home study environment that is conducive to learning. CREATE A “DISTRACTION-FREE” ZONE. Today’s students are inundated with distractions. Whereas students were once most distracted by radios, televisions and the great outdoors when studying at home, nowadays kids must also find time to focus on their studies with their tablets and smartphones just a stone’s throw away. ESTABLISH QUIET HOURS AT HOME. Quiet hours at home while kids are studying can help them better absorb their coursework, and that may lead to improved performance in the classroom. While it’s important that a kids’ study areas remain distraction-free, it can also help if distractions outside those areas are minimized. Keep televisions and other potentially noisy distractions turned off while kids are studying. If you want to catch up on a favorite television show or watch a movie, do so on your tablet instead of the television, connecting earphones so kids are not overhearing anything while they’re trying to study. KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS ON HAND. Hunger can be just as distracting as electronics or noisy housemates, so keep healthy snacks on hand. Keep your home stocked with fruits and vegetables and protein-rich snacks like Greek yogurt. Such snacks will quell kids’ hunger pangs while also providing a boost of energy.


Eating Right Tips to get kids excited about eating right. BY ALAN CROWELL CONVINCING CHILDREN TO choose more vegetables and fruit over less healthy options may not be easy, but with a little persistence and education it is more than possible, according to Tina Fabian, school nutrition program director in Maine’s Regional School Unit 3. RSU 3 offers students fresh produce snacks, a salad bar with nutritious greens and a menu that features locally sourced meats and produce whenever possible. Fabian said that not only do students eat their fruits and vegetables, they actually help grow them as well. “I am amazed at the receptiveness of the students when we put out fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Fabian. That openness, however, is not something that Fabian takes for granted. She believes the reason students are open to eating more healthy food is a commitment on the part of both school staff and the wider community to making more fresh fruits and vegetable available at school and offering more locally grown food. That commitment trickles down to the students, she said, and it also helps that the school district has a gardening program that allows students to get involved in growing produce in a greenhouse at the high school and at gardens at outlying schools. An emphasis on fresh and healthy foods has

30  FAMILY LIFE 2018

become a priority at many Maine schools at least in part because of an alarming increase in childhood obesity caused by poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of childhood obesity has roughly tripled since the 1970s, with one in five school-aged children now considered obese. That trend has set off alarm bells because obesity in children is linked to problems like lower self-esteem and a higher rate of depression. Children who are obese also are much more likely to be obese as adults and to be at risk of a wide range of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, as well as some types of cancer. The good news is that while changes in eating habits helped cause the increase in obesity, the trend can also be reversed by a focus on healthier eating. To improve your children’s nutrition, consider taking a few pages out of RSU 3’s cookbook. A family commitment to healthier eating is an important first step. Also vital is educating your children about where their food comes from and working to make food more attractive to your children — think marketing.

SOME TIPS: A GREAT WAY TO MAKE GOOD NUTRITION MORE APPEALING IS TO INVITE CHILDREN INTO THE KITCHEN. People who cook often cite the pride they feel when they prepare meals that they and their families enjoy. Kids feel the same sense of pride and accomplishment and that may increase the likelihood that they will eat the entire meal, including vegetables.



Experiment with vegetables to make them more attractive. For example, rather than serving carrots without sauce or seasoning, serve them with a bowl of hummus that kids can dip their carrots into to add some flavor. If hummus does not do the trick, parents can look for other healthy dips, such as those with a Greek yogurt base.

KIDS MAY BE MORE LIKELY TO EMBRACE HEALTHY DIETS WHEN THEIR PARENTS SOLICIT THEIR INPUT. If kids ask for unhealthy fare like hamburgers or macaroni and cheese, compromise by offering healthier alternatives, like turkey burgers or whole grain pasta with parmesan cheese. Also, don’t be afraid to veer off course every so often and let kids choose a meal that’s not as nutritious as you would like. Straying from healthy fare is only problematic if it becomes routine.




future scientists MSSM summer camps: encouraging campers to pursue passions in science and more.

THE MAINE SCHOOL OF SCIENCE and Mathematics Summer Camp is an exhilarating experience for campers ages 10 to 14. The camp blends classes in science, technology, engineering, and math with the traditional summer camp activities such as water slide, family olympics, “Monster Night,” and a talent show. Now in its 21st year, the MSSM summer camp encourages campers to pursue their passions and become scientists, computer programmers, engineers, and mathematicians for a week through handson interactive classes. Each year, the MSSM summer camp offers a variety of topics such as “Real Life CSI,” “Astronomy Mystery tour,” computer programming, robotics, and building popsicle stick bridges. Classes change each year depending on the interests and availability of the instructors. In 2017, MSSM summer camp offered a Rube Goldberg class called “Complicating the Simple.” You may not be familiar with Goldberg’s name, but you most likely have 32  FAMILY LIFE 2018

seen his creations. He made seemingly pointless contraptions that involved balls rolling along tracks and knocking over things that eventually open a door. Another popular class was “Calculus in a Week.” This is a class usually taken by seniors in high school, but MSSM presented a math teacher that knows how to teach it as an introductory class at a middle school level. It’s always a blast for the kids to do this upper level math and then return to their schools and be able to understand more than the rest of the class. The other class taught by the same teacher is “Games and How to Win Them Using Math.” People think games like Monopoly are completely random, but there are strategies about which properties to buy and if/when to buy hotels. After taking this class, the students were seen in the lower lounge playing various board games (and usually winning). In addition to the STEM-based classes, campers also participate in a variety of activities in the afternoon and evenings.

These activities include a slip n’ slide, capture the flag, swimming, NERF wars, duct tape art, tie-dying, and rock climbing. No previous knowledge is required to participate, just an interest in learning and having fun. The camp runs for 5 weeks starting July 1. This year, MSSM offers a co-ed week right in the middle. The first two weeks are boys’ weeks, the middle one is the co-ed Capstone Week, and the last two are for girls. The idea behind the new Capstone Week is much more than the co-ed experience. It’s designed to be a special “thank you sendoff” for the 14-year-old students that will age out of camp. As a way of thanking them for spending a week or two with us at camp, MSSM summer camp will have special activities planned for the 14-year-olds. MSSM has been doing the camp for 20 years and getting better each year. MSSM wants the summer camps to be something kids remember forever—not just the cutting edge STEM classes, but also the new friends from all around the world they meet.




healthy and


HOUSEHOLDS IN WHICH both parents work and kids have school and extracurricular commitments can get a little hectic, particularly on weeknights. But there are ways for busy, time-strapped parents to make sure weeknight dinners are both healthy and simple. STOCK A HEALTHY PANTRY. When grocery shopping, purchase some healthy nonperishable foods that you can rely on in a pinch. Instead of stocking the freezer with unhealthy yet easily prepared frozen foods that are often loaded with saturated fat, stock your pantry with whole grain pastas. Once water is boiled, whole grain pastas can be prepared in roughly 10 minutes. RELY ON A SLOW COOKER. One of the simplest ways to prepare healthy meals is to use a slow cooker. Set dinner in the slow cooker in the morning before leaving for work, and by the time you arrive home each night you will have a fully prepared, healthy meal ready to be served. COOK MEALS IN ADVANCE. Prepare healthy meals over the weekend and then refrigerate or freeze them so they can be cooked on weeknights. Just remember to remove them from the freezer the night before and place them in the refrigerator so they are thawed out when you arrive home. CHOOSE SIMPLE RECIPES. Trying new recipes is one of the joys of cooking. But trying new recipes on weeknights can be time-consuming because cooks have yet to grow accustomed to each step in the recipe. When looking for new weeknight recipes, look for meals that can be prepared in five steps or less, leaving the more complicated recipes for weekend meals. BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM ď‚­ 3

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