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Volume 8 |May 2011 | KidsFunPlaza

Making the Most of

Family Time

READ LABELS

EAT BETTER

Travel > Guide DREAM VACATIONS

with Teens

The Importance of Family and School Communication May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 1


Contents

Educators of the Month: The Importance of Family and School Communication................4 Green & Healthy: Read Labels, Eat Better.......................................................................6 In the Oven: Coping With Spring Allergies During Pregnancy.......................................8 Community Guide: Travel Guide.....................................................................................11 Baby: Choosing a

Pediatrician................................................................................14

KidsFunSafety: Car Safety Tips.....................................................................................15 Toddler: Keeping in Touch with Long Distance Relatives..........................................16 Special Needs: The Other Special Child .......................................................................20 Buy Local: Flowery Headbands

and Other Felt Creations from Quarter Life Luck...............................................21 Kiddo: Making the Most of Family Time..................................................................23 Teens:

Dream Vacations with Teens........................................................................25

Grandma’s Wisdom Need a Vacation? Spring Clean Your

Family Finances for a Trip....................................................................................26 KIdsFun Events: Kids Fun Plaza Summer Expo .............................................................27 Events: What’s happening?......................................................................................31

family edition

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EDITOR’S LETTER

H

i! My name is Cassandra and I am thrilled to be starting this new adventure of serving as the Editor in Chief of Kids Fun Plaza. Let me take just a moment to introduce myself ! I am a lifelong resident of Troy and my husband and I are happy to be settled here to raise our family. We welcomed our first child this January and I am excited to share my experiences as a new mother with each one of you!

MEET OUR TEAM PUBLISHER

Ana Roca Castro Ana@KidsFunPlaza.com EDITOR IN CHIEF

Cassandra Spellman Cassandra@KidsFunPlaza.com

Now that I have told you a little bit about myself, let me introduce you to this month’s issue. For May, we are focusing on “family.” While all of us come from families of varying sizes with particular traditions and characteristics, there is one thing that I think we can all agree upon: family is special.

Art Director

Catalina Arango Catalina@KidsFunPlaza.com Marketing Director

Family members know you in a unique way because they have walked with you through your life’s journey. Family members are there to celebrate with you during milestone events. They are present to console and comfort you during those very trying times. It is through our family that we frequently learn patience, trust, cooperation, and service to others. Most importantly, family is where we first give and receive love. Family is something to celebrate!

Coleen Valenti Coleen@KidsFunPlaza.com Marketing Coordinator

Amanda Savarese Amanda@KidsFunPlaza.com Diversity Manager

That is indeed what we intend to do in this issue! Celebrating family usually involves being together. Beth shares some ways to make the most of your family time. She also gives some helpful advice on how to stay close to those family members who are physically far away. Of course, part of celebrating family also means taking good care of those you love. Alina will provide you with some ideas on how to ensure that you and your family are eating well, while Kelly gives practical guidance for choosing the best pediatrician. Finally, if your family has some teens in it, Sandra’s article will help you plan a vacation.

Roxanna Homic Roxanna@KidsFunPlaza.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Beth Levine

Alina M. Hensley Christina Gleason

So, as we celebrate families this month, be sure to remember your own family. Maybe you will devote extra time to an activity with your children or plan a special surprise for your spouse. Perhaps you will call your parents to tell them that you love them. While I find ways to celebrate my own family, I am also grateful to now be part of the Kids Fun Plaza family!

Kelly Razzano Roxanna Homic Kiki Lightbourn Sandra Foyt

Cassandra Spellman

Linda Carmical

WE’D LIKE TO CONGRATULATE THE WINNERS FROM OUR KIDS FUN SUMMER EXPO DRAWINGS.

Karen Katz

SummerExpo

LET’S GET A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR...

a a

Jennifer McNay, who won the Toy Ayeland gift basket.

a a

Chris Marsch, who won a DVD from Barnes & Noble.

a

Colleen Piere, who won the iPad 2!

Check out our Facebook Page for contests. http://facebook.com/KidsFunPlaza

J erome Rodrigo, Kylee Lewis, Evan Race, Sara Wall, Kelly Keegan Linn, and Maria Ortega, who won Price Chopper gift certificates.

Jeannine Barcher, who won one week’s tuition to summer camp.

Follow us on Twitter Twitter @KidsFunPlaza

THANKS GO OUT TO EVERYONE WHO TOOK PART IN THE FIRST ANNUAL KIDS FUN SUMMER EXPO! May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 3


Educators of the Month

The Importance of Family and School Communication

By Beth Levine, TheAngelForever.com

In order for children to get the most out of school – and their academic lives – there needs to be open lines of communication between the school and home. If parents are afraid of talking to educators, and teachers do not share items happening at school, it can lead to problems.

E

ach September, I would start the school year with homework for the adults at home. This was the start of open lines of communication. My “In a Million Words or Less” project was a way to get parents involved. It allowed them to tell me about their child. What are their strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and/or anything else that a teacher should know going into the year with them? Parents genuinely liked this and gave me amazing information that I used throughout the school year. This month, I posed the following item to a few local school administrators to get their view:

How do you open up the lines of communication with the families of your students? Explain briefly why you think this is important.

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Herman & Libbie Michaelson

PAM

SMILER is the Director of the Herman & Libbie Michaelson Early Childhood Education Center at Temple Israel in Albany. Her response was: At Temple Israel Nursery School, we feel it is very important for the staff to connect with parents of students by opening the channels of communication and creating an equal partnership. This is accomplished by providing opportunities for positive communication through greeting parents each day, inviting them in to see “what we are doing in our classrooms,” phone calls, and conferences.


In addition, parents can have a window into their child’s day through photographs, weekly newsletters, parents’ nights, open houses, classroom events, and celebrations with families. We always emphasize to parents that our staff is available to facilitate communication through whatever means including: a casual conversation at pick up or drop off, e-mail, or a scheduled meeting or call. This is important for the development of a relationship of trust between parents and teachers. This allows the child to be comfortable and for the parents to have confidence in the program.

JOHN BALL, the Assistant Head for Academic Affairs at Emma Willard School in Troy, said the following: We find the healthiest communications occur when the school and parents keep the student at the heart of our conversation. No policy is as important to us at Emma Willard School as the well-being of a single girl. We are at our best when we help a student do her best. To make sure the student is the focus of our efforts, we often involve the girl in the discussion – it is better for us to talk with our girls than to talk around them. This takes time and a willingness to listen, but our young people are worth it.

JENNIFER CHATAIN is the principal of St. Helen’s School in Niskayuna. Let’s look at it from her role in the school: As a principal, I have found that working with parents is crucial for building the climate and culture of a school. Parents are the captains of their child’s ship; the school is the fuel. Without both, the ship (child) will be stranded and alone. We must work together and respect that when we disagree, there is always a solution. I have four “musts” when collaborating with parents:

1. My door is always open and I always have time for a quick question. 2. I send weekly email blasts letting parents know what is happening. 3. I am open to their ideas and listen when they are frustrated! 4. I return emails and messages that day. Thank you to all of the educators that participated in the question for this month. If you are an educator and would like to be included in future issues, please e-mail Beth@ KidsFunPlaza.com with your name, education role, and subjects taught/topics you are comfortable talking about. Please share this with your friends so our database of educators can grow. Beth is a happily married teacher, now SAHM to her two young sons. She has a passion for all things Disney, reading, crafting , and traveling. A camera is always close to catch memories for her blog, TheAngelForever.com

May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 5


Green & Healthy

Read Labels, EAT BETTER By Alina M. Hensley, TheCraningGap.blogspot.com

W

e are entering a new era of food. The days of our grandmother’s Kraft-sponsored dinners are slowly slipping behind us, loosening their grasps and opinions borne from a time when chemicals, supposedly, enriched our lives. Now, both health and ecoconscious food celebrities are springing up, and the likes of Michael Pollan and Jamie Oliver have become household names, gently but firmly reminding us to eat plants, to cook together, and not to fail our children. apples; and a Kashi frozen dinner, such as their Mayan Harvest Bake, still looks like plantains and sweet potatoes, amaranth, and pumpkin seeds. These foods have not been processed. Make sure you can still recognize the food you’re putting in your mouth.

> Can You Pronounce it?

The foods you are putting in your body and your children’s bodies should be free of questions. If the list on the back of the toaster pastry box is longer than the usual suspects (wheat, strawberries, baking soda, etc.) and impossible to decipher, you probably shouldn’t eat them ... even if it does claim to be bursting with 50% more fiber.

> How Much Sugar is Hiding in it? We’re all firmly planted in our supermarket ruts – at least I know I am. We shop for the same things we always shop for. It’s comfortable – we know how to cook them, what their prices are like, and are absolutely certain that our families will eat them, whatever they are. How many of these habits are carried over from our own childhoods? How many of us, for example, are buying Velveeta because our mothers bought Velveeta? Stuck in this national crisis of foodstuffs, we’re getting no help from big name brands, who are still pushing sugars under the guise of “whole grain.” Meanwhile, mysterious chemicals are being dusted all over fast food fries, which are currently touted as “all natural.” It’s almost impossible to draw a line, and if you do draw it, it’s even more impossible to stick to your guns, especially when you have a house full of children who want what they want – and that’s usually chocolate milk and pizza rolls.

We all have to start somewhere, so ask yourself, “What can I do?”

>How Close to Nature is it?

Your foods should still be recognizable, at least mostly. A bowl of granola still looks like oats, nuts, and raisins; a home-baked apple pie still looks like sliced 6 KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley, NY |May 2011

High fructose corn syrup is in everything. If you thought your crudité crackers or white bread were safe, they’re not. Also be on the lookout for hidden fake sugars, as sucralose (typically Splenda brand) is snuck into many unsuspecting foods, and the packaging doesn’t always put the words “lite” or “sugar-free” to the fore. Always read the whole label when buying something new.

> Is That Color Natural?

Dye is a nemesis to many children (and adults) and they may not even realize it. It can make a person jittery, irritable, even hostile. Check the labels to find out if your food is colored that way naturally (using such things as beet juice or beta carotene) or if it’s not.

Take it one step at a time and introduce new things to your family slowly. It took a year to get my husband to start reading labels, and now he’s just as concerned about what we feed our daughter as I am. Make the transformation slowly, and your family (and their health) will be better for it.


May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 7


In the Oven

COPING WITH SPRING ALLERGIES DURING PREGNANCY By Karen Katz, Techvalleymom.com

The safest way to fight spring allergies is through your diet. Eating nutritious foods is healthy for you and your little one, and also has the added benefit of helping you fight your allergies. Fruits and vegetables are the best choice when it comes to getting rid of allergies. They are rich in antioxidants and can improve your health in a variety of ways. Tomatoes are great for allergies. If you don’t like eating them in raw form, tomato products can work just as well (tomato sauce or paste for example). It is also important to drink plenty of fluids while you are suffering from allergies.

C

oping with spring allergies during pregnancy is no breeze. You are already dealing with the typical pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, backaches, dizziness, fatigue, and now you can add allergies to the list. It is common for women to have spring allergies during pregnancy. I suffered from a runny nose and sore throat off and on during my pregnancy. If you suffered from allergies even before pregnancy, you may notice that they are now worse than ever. The hardest part about suffering from anything during pregnancy is that you are afraid to take any drugs to help with the problem. Even when my doctor told me that some over-the-counter allergy medications were safe, I still wouldn’t put them in my body. I guess the motherly instincts were already kicking in. If you are like me and are afraid to take traditional medications, then you may want to think about some natural remedies for allergies.

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Besides eating healthy, there are other natural ways to reduce allergy symptoms. You should avoid cigarette smoke (eliminate comma) and keep your air as pure as possible. You can use air purifiers at home to increase air quality. Purifiers work by getting rid of airborn mold and toxins. Be sure to change your air filters regularly and keep your windows closed. You may also want to use a humidifier at night. Saline nasal sprays are natural and healthy for the baby. It may not be possible to completely get rid of your allergies, but you should be able to lessen the symptoms. If avoiding triggers and eating healthy foods do not work for you, then you may want to talk to your doctor about which medications are healthy for you to take during pregnancy. Please remember to consult with your doctor before taking any medications and/ or herbs while you are pregnant. Coping with spring allergies during pregnancy is not fun, but when that baby is in your arms it will all be worth it!


May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 9


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Community Guide

Traveling Guide

I

f you haven’t already noticed, it’s that time of year again: the time when a lot of people are getting that itch to get away from the ho-hum and stress of their everyday lives. If you long for quality time with your family and for some overdue fun, then this list should make it easier for you to plan the perfect trip. For those of you who prefer to let a travel agent find the best price for your dream family vacation, or want a list of great trips at the best prices with the most to do for your money, you’ll find some local travel agencies below to help you out. If you prefer a more “DIY” way of doing things, or just want some ideas of favorite family destinations and activities to do when traveling, you’ll find good possibilities here, too.

LOCAL TRAVEL AGENCIES

*This list only offers suggestions and is not a complete list of local agencies. ALBANY COUNTY AAA Hudson Valley Travel Agency Service 518-426-1000 www.aaahv.com/?zip=12110 Advantage Travel 518-426-0052 www.advantagetravelinc.com Ayelet Tours, Ltd. 800-237-1517 ayelet.com

Airplane photo by María Avila

Atlantic Travel 518-489-6600 atlantictravel.nexion.net Bytner Travel 518-463-1279 www.bytnertravel.com Imperial Travel Services 518-462-1163 www.imperialtravelserv.com

By Linda Carmical

Liberty Travel 518-456-8691 www.libertytravel.com

Vacation Design Travel 518-346-3525 www.vacationdesigntravel.com

Lazy Days Travel 518-783-1177 www.lazydaystravel.com/new

Travel By Brown 518-399-3128 www.browntours.com

McGeary’s Travel 518-436-3411 mcgearystravel.com

Wood Travel 518-346-4066 www.woodtravel.org

SARATOGA COUNTY

Online Travel Agencies *This list only offers suggestions and is not a complete list of local agencies.

AAA Northway 518-587-8529 www.aaahv.com/travel/index.jsp Carlson Wagonlit Travel 518-371-2720 www.carlsonwagonlit.com/en Cruise Holidays 518-583-7447 www.cruise-holidays.com

Expedia.com Travelocity.com Orbitz.com Priceline.com Hotwire.com CheapTickets.com BookingBuddy.com Travelzoo.com Kayak.com

Heber Travel 518-306-3736 www.hebertravel.com Sand Dollar Travel 518-348-1233 sanddollartravel1.vpweb.com SCHENECTADY COUNTY Liberty Travel 518-374-3000 www.libertytravel.com Speed Wings Travel 518-456-8877 www.speedwingstravel.com Travel Empress www.travelempress.com 518-374-3176

May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 11


Traveling Guide

ARIZONA Some of the most beautiful landmarks in the world are in Arizona, which is full of sites to see. Grand Canyon (National Park Service) 928-638-7888 www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm GrandCanyon.com 866-944-7263 www.grandcanyon.com Phoenix Zoo 602-273-1341 www.phoenixzoo.org Old Tucson Studios 520-578-1269 www.oldtucson.com Big Surf 480-947-2477 www.bigsurffun.com Petrified Forest National Park (National Park Service) 928-524-6228 www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm PetrifiedForestNationalPark.com Visit Website for Information www.petrified.forest.national-park.com 12 KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley, NY |May 2011

COLORADO Colorado has family fun for the summer or winter. They have slopes to ski, ghost towns for the bravest, and if you want to pan for gold, it’s the place to be. Steamboat Ski Resort 970-879-6111 www.steamboat.com Ghost Town Museum 719-634-0696 www.ghosttownmuseum.com

FLORIDA Florida has been the go-to place for families wanting to get-a-way on vacation for years. It has everything fun you can imagine. Sea World Orlando 407-226-5189 www.seaworld.com Busch Gardens Tampa Bay 813-987-5082 buschgardens.com/Bgt


Community Guide

Traveling Guide Disney World Vacation Packages: 407-939-7675 Tickets: 407-939-1289 disneyworld.disney.go.com Magic Kingdom Vacation Packages: 407-939-7675 Tickets: 407-939-1289 disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/ magic-kingdom Disney’s Wild World of Sports Complex 407-939-4263 espnwwos.disney.go.com Universal Studios 407-224-4233 www.universalorlando.com Florida Aquarium 813-273-4000 www.flaquarium.org Daytona Beach Visit Website for Information daytonabeach.com Adventure Island 888-987-5600 www.adventureisland.com

Airplane photo by María Avila; Statue of Liberty: Laverrue on Flickr

NYC There are zoos, museums, boat rides, educational, opportunities, arts, and other forms of entertainment, along with a list of other fun activities to do. Ground Zero Museum Workshop 212-209-3370 www.groundzeromuseum.com

Statue of Liberty 212-363-3200 www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm Empire State Building 212-736-3100 www.esbnyc.com/index2.cfm Central Park 212-310-6600 www.centralparknyc.org FAO Schwartz 212-664-9400 www.fao.com/home/index.jsp Bike the Big Apple 347-8789809 www.bikethebigapple.com Top of the Rock Observation Deck Observation Decks, Towers, and Lookouts 212-698-2000 www.topoftherocknyc.com Bronx Zoo 718-220-5100 www.bronxzoo.com

Wyoming, Montana, Utah One of the most breathtaking parks is located in these three states. Old Faithful, along with other geysers, Yellowstone’s Supervolcano (Caldera), the grizzlies, and other wildlife, will entertain your family and give you lots to talk about for years to come. Yellowstone National Park (National Park Service) 307-344-2117 www.yellowstonenationalpark.com YellowstoneNationalPark.com Visit Website for Information http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com

It doesn’t matter if you prefer to stay on land or want to sail the high seas, these travel resources will point you in the right direction to have a ton of family fun.

Gotham Walking Tours Tour all of NYC and its culture. 646-645-5782 www.walkingnyctours.com Real New York Tours Choose from tours available or customize a tour. 917-572-7017 www.realnewyorktours.com

Times Square 212-768-1560 www.timessquarenyc.org Staten Island Ferry See the Statue of Liberty 718-727-2508 www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/ferrybus/statfery.shtml

May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 13


Baby

By Kelly Razzano, AlbanyMommy.com

Choosing a Pediatrician N

ot only am I a mom of two young children, but I am also a pediatric registered nurse. I worked in the pediatric department of a local hospital for many years with newborns, patients in the ICU, and everything in between. I was able to see a lot of local pediatricians go through their residencies and watch them grow and develop. I always have friends ask me to suggest pediatricians to them. Some people know what they want in a pediatrician – local, sees patients over age 18, man, woman, traditional, holistic, etc. If you have someone who knows all the local doctors, great! If not, I’ll help you.

FIRST INTERVIEW PEDIATRICIANS OR GROUP PRACTICES YOU ARE INTERESTED IN. There is nothing like a face-to-face meeting to get a real feel for someone. See how they respond to your questions: do they answer them, or do you feel blown off ? If you know whether you are going to be breastfeeding or bottle feeding, how do they feel about it? Are they supportive of a mother’s choice, or do they feel you should absolutely do one over the other? You don’t want a doctor who is too stern about making the “right choice.” SECOND D  ID YOU KNOW THAT NEW YORK STATE HAS A WEBSITE TO CHECK ON DOCTORS? Little known fact: at nydoctorprofile.com, you can search for doctors by name and get tons of information. You can find out how long they’ve been in practice, when they got their license, if there has ever been any legal action against them, and more. THIRD

ASK YOUR FRIENDS.

There’s nothing like firsthand knowledge. Do they like their pediatrician? Does he/she answer their questions? When their child is sick, is he or she seen right away? Last, I have learned something very important. Mother’s instinct is a true thing. Mom and Dad know their children better than anyone else. If you think something is truly wrong, listen to your gut and don’t let your doctor tell you otherwise. Quite a few times in the hospital, I saw kids whose parents felt their child was very sick, took him or her to the doctor, or called the doctor who responded that it was “just” [fill in the blank] – only to have Mom be right, and the child was very sick. You know when something isn’t right. 14 KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley, NY |May 2011

Case in point: I was so sure there was something wrong with my son. He wasn’t eating well, and he usually ate everything in sight. Something was just off. I took him to our doctor and told her that he must either have an ear infection or be teething. Being a nurse, I was pretty sure I knew what was going on. She looked him over - no ear infection, gums looked fine. I was ready to take him home right then and she said, “No, Moms always know. You brought him in here; let’s find out what the problem is.” Turns out he had strep throat. He was way too young to have strep throat, had no fever, no symptoms, but my doctor listened and took me seriously. Every parent and child deserves that. Sample questions for aWhat are your office hours? a If it’s a private/one person practice, who takes calls or answers interviewing a questions after hours or on weekends? Pediatrician aAre they open weekends? aWhat is the policy for sick visits? a Do you have to be very sick to be seen or will they see you the same day?

a Do they get a lot of nervous new mom questions and how do they handle it?

a Will

they get upset if you call once a day when you first get home from the hospital with a newborn? Every other day?

a Will they see your baby in the hospital right after he or she is born? How soon after you are discharged?

a What hospitals/emergency rooms in the area do they recommend?

?


KidsFunSafety

K

eeping your little ones safe while driving can be an overwhelming concern. In 2007, child safety seats reduced the risk of death in a car crash by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers ages one to four years of age. It’s important to choose a car seat that best fits your child’s height, weight and age, keeping in mind that the most expensive one is not always the best. Here are some tips for purchasing the right car seat and how to install it:

TYPES OF CAR SEATS

4. Booster Seats (40-80 pounds): Children should be placed in these seats when they meet the maximum weight of the manufacturer’s recommendations or when their ears have reached the top of the car seat. Once a child is eight-years old, 80 pounds and four feet nine inches tall, they can sit in a car without a car seat or booster seat.

INSTALLATION TIPS Be sure to read the owner’s manual carefully before installing your child’s car seat.

First, be sure to choose a seat with a label specifying that it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. Here are the different types of car seats appropriate for various ages and weights: 1. Infant–Only Seats (Birth to 20 pounds and one-year old): Infants should always be placed in the back seat, facing the rear of the vehicle, preferably in the middle seat. Even if your child reaches 20 pounds but is not yet 1 year old, keep them rear-facing in the back seat of the car, since baby’s neck is not yet strong enough to support the head during a crash. 2. Forward Facing Only Seats (one-year old and 20 to 40 pounds and four-years old): It is recommended that children stay in a full harness car seat until they are 40 pounds and four-years old.

Car Safety Tips

Be sure to read the owner’s manual carefully because installation instructions will vary based on seat make and model. Here are some general guidelines for seat installation: • Make sure the seat fits securely. It should not move more than one inch side to side, or front to back. Check the tightness before and after you use it. • If using a harness (three or five point) it should always be placed at or below a child’s shoulders. If there is a chest clip make sure it is level with the child’s armpits. The straps should lie flat, and fit snugly against the baby. • On chilly days, make sure you strap your child in first and then cover your child with a blanket or jacket.

• The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system uses a tether strap to secure the car seat to the vehicle either by the top or a lower anchorage point. Most vehicles made after September 2000 should have this option. Contact your local police or fire department for more information or to have a qualified individual properly install your car seat.

by Megan Schwan, NSCA, CSCS, Price Chopper Wellness Coordinator

3. Convertible Seats (Birth to 40 pounds): These are a combination of the two seats mentioned above. Children face the rear until they reach 2035 pounds and one-year old. Then they can be converted to face the front.

mvphealthcare.com

May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 15


Toddler

By Beth Levine, TheAngelForever.com

Keeping in Touch With Long Distance Relatives My oldest son was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. We are lucky enough to have some local family, but we have a lot of family and friends who are quite a distance from us. When my son was little, we were limited with telephone calls to Bubbe and Grandpa. As you know, talking to a toddler on the phone can be an experience in and of itself. They don’t understand that the person on the phone does not see what they may be talking about. Toddlers are still learning to speak clearly, which also may complicate matters. By the time my younger son was born, we had a lot of additional options. These days, it is a lot easier to stay in touch and/or get to know family and friends who are unable to be here with us on a daily basis.

Skype to the Rescue Have you heard of Skyping? No, this is not a made-up word. It actually exists. Skype.com is a website that allows you to sign up for free video calling (among other things). If you have a computer and a web camera, all you have to do is head over to sign up for an account. Once your account is set, you simply add contacts and meet online. Following the steps is easy, and within minutes, you can be talking to and watching relatives near and far at your computer. It has been priceless to see my boys sing holiday songs to their grandparents, share a joke with their cousin, and brighten up the day of a friend who no long lives near us.

Sharing Home Videos Online

The next step is to put these videos online. Go to YouTube.com, Vimeo.com, or a similar place, and make another account there. The beauty of these online communities is that you can make videos private and only share with those you want to, or upload them for anyone to view. Swap video making on a rotating basis with the loved one at a distance. Have Grandma read them a story, ask Grandpa to sing a lullaby, or get your funny cousin to introduce their pet to your family.

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Phone photo by [JP] CorrĂŞa Carvalho

If Skype is not an option because you have no web camera, or there is a significant time zone difference, videos are still a great option. These days, you do not have to own a fancy video camera to capture moments to share. There are small, less expensive video cameras like the Flip that make it easy to record moments to share at any time. In addition to this, most digital cameras have the ability to make movies. Record your child playing with their favorite new toy, saying new words, singing a silly song, or anything else to share. The possibilities with toddlers are endless, since they are always on the go and exploring the new world around them.

It is hard not to be near family and friends. No matter how you decide to keep in touch, the cherished memories of these moments watching, listening, and interacting will be kept in the hearts and minds of toddlers for years to come. Beth is a happily married teacher, now SAHM to her two young sons. She has a passion for all things Disney, reading, crafting , and traveling. A camera is always close to catch memories for her blog, TheAngelForever.com


May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 17


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Rainbow Chard Gnocchi Brazo de Gitano

Pollo Sabroso 

Dessert Pizzas

Cheese Quesadilla Yogurt Covered Pretzels Chicken Parmesan Apples and Honey

Sloppy Joe Burritos Whole Grain Toast with Nutella Chicken and Bean Chili Raspberry Pie

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal Caramel Corn

Apple Spice Cookie Bar

Yogurt with Fruit

Cereal with Milk

WEDNESDAY June 1

Fruit Cup

Scallion Pancakes

WEDNESDAY May 24

Toast with Jam

TUESDAY May 31

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

WEDNESDAY May 17

Ginger Yogurt with Fruit

Cheesy Beef and Potato Bake 

Matcha Shortbread

Corn Fritters with Roasted Red Pepper

Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter

Apple Walnut Tart crumbled with Yogurt

TUESDAY May 23

Fruit

Spiced Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream

No-Bake Apple Walnut Tart

TUESDAY May 16

Pasta bolognese with garlic bread

Carrot sticks and peanut butter

Chicken Ceasar Salad

Fruit and string cheese

Yogurt with granola

Mozzarella and Porcini Calzone 

Scallion Pancakes

Sloppy Joes

Trail Mix

Brazo de Gitano

MONDAY May 30

Lemon Cake

Chicken soup

Broccoli and Bacon Beschamel on Radiatore

Apple Spice Cookie Bar

Pear and Walnut Sandwiches

Matcha Shortbread

Oatmeal with Apple Butter

MONDAY May 22

Herb Roasted Chicken and baked potato

Trail Mix

Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter

MONDAY May 15

Graham Crackers and fruit

Greek Chickpea Salad

Suppli al Telefono

Banana and Nutella

Whole Grain Toast with Nutella

Apple Spice Cookie Bar

Lightened Up Crème Brûlée French Toast

SUNDAY May 29

WEEK 3

Broccoli and Cheese Omelet

SUNDAY May 21

WEEK 2

Banana Nut Pancakes

SUNDAY May 14

WEEK 1

Peanut Butter Cookies

Lamp Chops and Brown Rice

Baked Sweet Potatoe Chips

Warm Bread and Pesto

Celery Sticks and Peanut Butter

Chocolate Banana Crepes

SUNDAY June 5

WEEK 4

Sausage Egg & Cheese on English Muffin Apple Cake

WEDNESDAY June 8

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Beef Fried Rice

Crispy Fried Tofu

Chicken Salad

Kid-Friendly Sushi

Flan with Granola

TUESDAY June 7

Vanilla Ice Cream

Oven Fried Chicken with Yellow Rice

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Turkey Sandwich w/ Cranberry Mayo

Lightly Salted Peanuts

Cereal with Milk and Fruit

MONDAY June 6

Find all the recipes and shopping lists on KidsFunKitchen.com

MEATS/BEANS

DAIRY

FRUITS

VEGGIES

GRAINS

42 Oz

FOR MOM

WEEKLY GOAL

35 Cups

10 Oz

10 ½ Cups

14 Cups

35 Oz

KIDS (2-8)

WEEKLY GOAL FOR

DESSERT

DINNER

LUNCH

SNACKS

BREAKFAST

GLOSSARY

Monthly Menu


May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 19

Number Of Servings

Flan

Spiced Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches

Fall Vegetable Soup Whole Grain Toast with Nutella Pasta All’Amatriciana Raspberry Pie

Bombay Aloo

Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter

Baked Chicken with Carrots and Olives 

Snickerdoodles and Fruit

32

Pistachios Baked Chicken Strawberry Kiki Fruit Tarts

Yogurt and Graham Crackers Tacos Fruit with Sorbet

19

16 11,630 Cal

12

22

16

13

16 10,983 Cal

27

25

S’Mores

Fruit

Coconut Potato Candies

16

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Beef Stew with Rice Volcanoes

Baked Salmon and Spinach en Papillote 

11

Yogurt

Shrimp Samosas

Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter

23

Coconut Butterut Squash Soup

Black Bean Soup

Roasted Potatoes with Eggs Over Easy

19 12,117 Cal

Fruit and String Cheese

Whole Grain Toast with Nutella

Apple Maple Pecan Bread

12

Bagel and Cream Cheese

SATURDAY June 4

Cheesecake with Lime-Poached Pears

Grilled Turkey with Zucchini

Caramelized Onion and Apple MiniTarts

Salmon, Cucumber and Dill Salad

Fruit and Graham Crackers

Granola and Yogurt

Yogurt with Fruit

SATURDAY May 27

Fruit with Sorbet

Baked Trout with Potatoes

Trail Mix

Warm Lentil Salad

Caramel Corn

Granola with Milk

Turkey Sandwiches

Chicken Salad

20

18

10 12,751 Cal

Guava Cake

16

Fried Spaghetti Pizza

Graham Crackers

Egg Salad Sanwich

25

Nut Raisin and Chocolate Trail Mix

Cereal with Milk and Fruit

SATURDAY June 11

Vanilla Cake

Seafood Alfredo

Mango Slices

Spinach Cups

Salad Nicoise

Yogurt with Fruit

FRIDAY June 10

Kid-Friendly Sushi

Grapes and Cheese

FRIDAY June 3

Granola with Yogurt

THURSDAY June 9

Pumpkin Pie

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Sweet Potato Potstickers

Green Beans with Bacon

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Polenta with Fruit Compote

SATURDAY May 20

Tiramisu

Sliders with Avocado and Chipotle Mayonnaise 

Apple Maple Pecan Bread

Fresh Chicken Salad

Matcha Shortbread

Honey-Nut Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

FRIDAY May 26

Trail Mix

Apple Maple Pecan Bread

FRIDAY May 19

Granola and Yogurt

Breakfast Bagel

THURSDAY June 2

Ropa Vieja

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Broccoli Pasta

THURSDAY May 25

Fruit and String Cheese

Trail Mix

Corn Fritters with Roasted Red Pepper

THURSDAY May 18

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Chicken Chili Tacos

Beef and Potato Burritos

Just enter your age, height, weight & gender at: mypyramidtracker.gov/ planner

FIND OUT YOURS

45 ½ Cups

21 Oz

14 Cups

21 Cups

56 Oz

FOR DAD

WEEKLY GOAL

35 Cups

12 Oz

10 ½ Cups

17 ½ Cups

By: Kiki Lightbourn


Special Needs By Christina Gleason, CutestKidEver.org

The Other Special Child

K

ids with special needs often get a lot of attention – both in school and at home. Maybe they need help with the basic activities of daily living, like getting dressed and eating, or maybe they just need reminders to stay focused or make eye contact when talking to people. But one thing’s for sure, if that special needs child has a “typical” (nonspecial needs) sibling, that sibling probably feels less than special, at least part of the time. It’s a delicate balance, making sure each of your children gets the attention that he or she craves and deserves. The very term “special needs” implies that you have to provide special attention to address those needs, but attention is a very tricky thing. You only have so much of it to go around, and kids know when your attention isn’t focused on them. So how do you show your typical child that he or she is special, too?

Bedtime can be special each day, even with older kids. My mom always came in to tell me good night and that she loved me all the way up to the day I got married and moved out. My brother, who’s still in college, may not admit it, but he also looks forward to my mom telling him good night when he comes home. Taking two minutes every night to tell your kids that you love them before they drift off to sleep may seem like a small thing, but it could mean the world to them. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Capital Region Speech & Swallowing “CRSS”

PRIVATE TIME Try to schedule “private time” with each of your children at least once a week. Let them know that, for one or two hours each week, they will have your undivided attention. Go out to lunch, watch a movie, or just play games together at home while everyone else is out of the house. Be sure to ask them how school is going, what their friends are up to, and if there’s anything special they would like you to know. Take this time to connect with them and let them know how much you enjoy spending this time together. FEELING SPECIAL EVERY DAY Making each child feel special for just an hour or two a week probably isn’t going to feel like “enough” of your attention when you’re so focused on your special needs kid the rest of the time. It’s important to listen to your typical children when they talk to you and let them know that you really hear them – and you aren’t just smiling and nodding as you half-listen. Of course, you can’t do this in the middle of your other child’s epic meltdown, but you can take a moment during that meltdown to say, “I can’t talk about that right now, but please remind me that you want to talk to me when things calm down.”

Be Understanding

Listen to your child when he or she tells you it’s “not fair” that their brother or sister gets all the attention. Let them vent – out of earshot of the sibling in question. Let them know that it’s not fair all the time, but that you love them very much, and ask what they think would help 20make KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley,about NY |May them feel better the2011 situation.

Directed by NYS CERTIFIED SPEECH /LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A New & Innovative Approach to Improve Test Scores, Reading skills, Math, Cognition, Creativity, Coordination, Focus and Motor Skills

CRSS utilizes innovative evidenced based approaches to accelerate learning based on the principles of neuroplasticity (Neural regeneration in the brain). We utilize therapies that incorporate neurofeedback, brain retraining, metronome therapy, sensory integration, attention/focus training and music to obtain positive and, in many cases extraordinary results in individuals dealing with…. ADHD/ADD Autism Brain Injury S peech/language delays Auditory Processing Early Intervention Screenings! • Stroke • Learning Disabilities • Dyslexia

• • • • • •

See if we can help with a Free

Our Peak Performance brain enhancing accelerated learning classes can boost your child’s potential (typically 1-2 years in reading). Improve performance on standardized test. Improve your child Athletic abilities with evidenced based proven techniques the Pro’s are using to increase the mental focus, timing and attention. For additional Information contact: capitalregionspeechswallowing.com Informational meeting/Open houses scheduled May/June Call ASAP to schedule visit or free screen!!

* Gladys Konye (is a NYS

Licensed Certified Speech language Pathologist)

634 Ste 207 Plank Road, Clifton Park, NY 12065

518/682-2799


Buy Local By: Kelly Razzano, AlbanyMommy.com

Flowery Headbands & Other Felt Creations from

Quarter Life Luck

E

veryone who has a little girl wants to dress her cute and frilly, right up to the hair accessories. Think of how many times you have seen cute little baby girls with practically no hair who still have some kind of barrette attached to their head. I was lucky enough to have a baby girl born with a full head of hair – very full. We started right away with barrettes and always had something in her hair. I was lucky that she didn’t pull everything right out. There was no way she was going to be mistaken for a boy!

Kim also makes coffee sleeves. Some sleeves are made completely of felt, others felt and another fabric. All of her sleeves are double layered to keep hands from burning and all have a unique design. For instance, you can choose from a denim sleeve with hot pink music notes, a blue felt sleeve with stars, or lots with flowers. I am the type of person who would buy my daughter a headband and get a matching coffee sleeve for myself. Why not? I think it’s hilarious that Kim is the mom of one child, a boy. Looking at her shop, I thought she must have a little girl, but no.

You can find Kim’s Etsy store at www.Etsy.com/ shop/QuarterLifeLuck. Headbands run between $7 and $10, and coffee sleeves are $5. Shipping rates are extremely reasonable.

As much as I want to dress my little girl up like a girly girl, I still want to be a little different; I want my baby to show off some style. I found a local mom’s Etsy store completely by accident, and she makes headbands for girls, among other things not just any old flower headband either. She makes the flowers from felt! I have never seen any felt headbands before perusing Quarter Life Luck. Kim is a local mom from Schenectady who started her store, Quarter Life Luck, on Etsy.com this past summer. It’s a wonderful shop with things for moms, girls, and gift items. Looking at the pictures, you can see that these felt headbands are gorgeous. Aren’t the flowers amazing? Kim’s designs are simple, classy, and perfect for any female. Each piece of felt is cut so precisely. I could never cut tiny little things that well. Kim has quite a talent! Each headband piece can also be made into a clip, pin, or whatever you would like. Some little ones like headbands, some prefer clips. Quarter Life Luck will make whichever you prefer. I love a shop that’s versatile and will do so much to give what you, as the customer, want.

May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 21


22 KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley, NY |May 2011


By Beth Levine, TheAngelForever.com

Kiddo

Making the Most of Family Time S

pending quality time with your children can often be a challenge. Responsibilities at home, work and school often leave us wondering where the day has gone. The reality is that our children grow up way too quickly. Our tiny little baby, now in elementary school, will be knocking at the middle school door before we know it. Thanks to this, we must work on making the time we have together filled with memories. A Group Effort When your kids are in elementary school, sit down with them. Let them know that you want to make special memories with them. Of course, we need to make sure that they understand that there are lots of different ways to do this. Spending money is not always needed. Have a family meeting with your older children to brainstorm ideas. Make a list of items that they like to do, items that you enjoy, and try to find a common theme. Remember that this is also the perfect place to be a role model. If they see that you do something they want, your child may be more likely to be flexible with your item next time. Remember to include items to do inside and outside. Mix in physical activities to promote healthy living and exercise.

By Beth Levine, TheAngelForever.com

as a child? Perhaps it was Charlie and The Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. Make some popcorn, sit down together as a family, and enjoy the film with your children. Rotate from time to time who gets to select the film everyone will watch. Remember to think outside the box and be creative. Only you and your family know the best way to spend quality time together.

Story Time with Family We often think of story time as something to do with little kids. Once our children start to read on their own, we get used to them reading to us – or alone. Read-alouds are still important with older children. The educational benefits are huge. In addition to working on listening comprehension, you are sharing your love of reading. Pick out a book that may be out of their reach to read alone. Make it an outing that you do together. Go to a local bookstore, or library to select something together. Another fun option is to pick up an audio book. These are great to listen to in the car when driving around. Family Game or Movie Night Sometimes just staying home and doing something fun together is the best bet. Recently, there was a movement for reinstating family game and/or movie night. Game night could be spent using traditional board games, or having everyone play a Wii game to get moving and competitive. These days, there are so many different video games that allow you to participate as a group. Of course, there are also games to break out of the closet like Monopoly, Scrabble, Cranium, and others. While having fun, you are often challenging your brain, practicing taking turns, and learning. Did you have a favorite movie

FUN WAYS TO SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY: • Plant a garden and tend to it together. • Plan out menus for the week, shop, and cook the meals together. • Check out volunteer opportunities in your area that your entire family could do together. • Work on planning a special family movie night. • Go on a photo hunt together. Use the pictures to create a memory book. May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 23


24 KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley, NY |May 2011


Teens

Dream Vacations with Teens FUN TRAVEL SITES Road Attractions www.roadsideamerica.com EMS Adventure Travel www.ems.adventureus.com

T

ravel with teens doesn’t always feel like a vacation. Families go to great lengths to book trips at resorts where teens can go one way, while parents go another to avoid family battlefields. Getting teens to spend quality time with their parental units takes a little creativity, a lot of patience, and a good dose of humor.

AS YOU PLAN YOUR SUMMER VACATION, CONSIDER THESE FUN TRAVEL IDEAS: Find the Passion – I like to stroll through art museums, but with my kids, a little art goes a long way. When we visit an art museum, I check ahead to see if there are any exhibits that appeal to their interests. For example, capitalizing on my son’s interest in the Lightning Thief series, we explored the book’s setting in the Greek and Roman Galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. On another visit with teen girls, we signed up for the Fashion in Art tour. Keep museum visits short and sweet, and your children may even ask to come back.

Go Wacky – I don’t get the appeal of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, but most teens can’t get enough of the odd or bizarre. On our road trip across America, my teen daughter’s favorite stops were for weird street signs or unusual road attractions that became the subject of giggly photo text exchanges with friends back home.

Follow Your Own Path – Tailor your travel adventures to your family’s interests. Since my son is crazy about fossils, we included stops at fossil quarries and rock museums on our US road trip. He added to his fossil collection, and the entire family benefited from his enthusiasm and expertise on the subject.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Risky sports that make parents cringe are usually a hit with teens. The scarier, the better. Don’t tell the teens, but it doesn’t even have to be dangerous. Many outfitters offer guided adventure trips that introduce you to a sport, while keeping you relatively safe. Popular family travel adventures include: white water rafting trips, zip line tours, trail rides, kayaking, and rock climbing.

Sweet Rewards –

When nothing else works, a sweet treat never fails. No matter how lame the activity, the promise of something sugary can bring a smile to the most jaded adolescent. On hikes, we forage for berries. At museums, we check out the desert menu in the café. Any excursion with a teen ends well with a stop at the candy shop, ice cream parlor, or bakery. Next time you travel with teenagers, follow these tips and you may be amazed by the results. Don’t be surprised if your moody teen is replaced with a happy, smiling child eager to spend time with his parents. By Sandra Foyt, AlbanyKid.com May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 25


By Linda Carmical, LindaCarmical.com

Grandma’s Wisdom

NEED A VACATION?

Spring Clean Your Family Finances for a Trip

H

ave you had a rough year? Has the stress of everyday life got you down? Do you find yourself daydreaming about a relaxing and fun getaway, but you just don’t know where you’ll find the money to finance your escape? Wouldn’t it be nice to have the money to spend quality time with your family and make some memories for a life time? Well, it’s possible. You can gather the family up, load them in the car, and head out to your “Fun Land.” You just need some creative thinking and money management tricks for the family budget to make it happen.

At first thought, you may be like me when I think of saving money in my “stretched-out-to-the-max” family budget: IMPOSSIBLE! Depending on your situation and creativity, you may just be able to find money for a short family getaway or an extended vacation. Below are some creative ideas you can use to save money or find money you don’t know you have. If there are none you can use, maybe these will get the old thinker thinking, and you’ll come up with your own creative ideas.

WAYS TO SAVE ON YOUR MONTHLY HOUSEHOLD BILLS CELL PHONE PLANS

LAND-LINE PHONE

FREE ONLINE PHONE MINUTES Do you pay for long distance on your home phone? Skype to Skype is free, and with a webcam, you can see each other while you talk. Sean and I use it to call our granddaughter Audrey; she thinks it’s so much fun to see us on the computer.

If your home phone bill is more than $25.99 a month, you may want to look into Vonage or another VOIP service provider, like the locally owned ViaTalk. I used them before and loved their service. I decided to go with just my cell phone, so I stopped using them. I’m now missing my home phone and thinking of trying Magic Jack. I still need to compare their service with Vonage. Their yearly cost is $19.95 after the first year’s cost (under $40.00).

EMPLOYER PARTNERSHIPS Does your employer partner with other businesses to offer their employees discounts? Check to see if they have Internet, cable, cell phone services, etc. I hear US Postal workers get a great deal on phone services via AT&T.

Compare your cell plan with others. You may be throwing money away on a plan you can get for a cheaper price and more for your money to boot. I like Validas and Bill Shrink.

a GET A DISCOUNT ON CAR INSURANCE Take a defensive driving course. It will lower your insurance cost.

Hopefully these help you save money or get your creative juices flowing to find your own ways to save. Just give it some thought and think outside the box. You’ll be relaxing and having fun with your family before you know it. 26 KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley, NY |May 2011

PAYING MONTHLY BILLS WITH A CREDIT CARD I offer this as the most creative trick and ONLY following these rules: Must have the cash to pay the credit card off before the card’s 30-day pay no interest rule.

a

Must not forget to pay the credit card bill on time.

LindaCarmical.com This grandma is a southern girl at heart who came to realize one day staying home, being my own boss, blogging, and dabbling in web content was where it’s at. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell me I’d be working harder and longer hours than ever before! It’s a good thing I love this!


KidsFun Events

T

he first annual Kids Fun Summer Expo kicked off with a bang last month – literally! As the guys from Let’s Get Cookin! (LetsGetCookinShow@gmail.com,) rolled out a Stompmeets-Julia Child skit that had kids and parents alike laughing, dancing, and on the edge of their seats. It was a fantastic start to the day.

Fueled by laughter and a white chocolate latte, I hit the pavement (or marble, as it were) and wandered around the lower level of Colonie Center, chatting with the representatives from many of the camp’s tables, asking them each the same fundamental question: “What sets your camp apart?” And some of the answers I got were surprising. SUMMER CAMP AT SARATOGA CHILDREN’S THEATRE, (580-1782, SaratogaChildrensTheatre.org) offers programs for kids ages 6-18. For the very youngest of the kids there are performances of Disney classics including their favorite songs. For the older kids there are timeless Broadway numbers and programs that teach skill sets such as auditioning and directing. SCHAUBER STABLES, (281-0088, SchauberStables.com) is a horse farm in Ballston Lake which offers a drop-in summer camp for ages 6-13, as well as birthday parties, lessons, clinics, horse shows, trail rides, and great seasonal activities. Their answer? “We’re one of the only camps that works exclusively with rescue animals and we’re an entirely family run business.” SIDNEY ALBERY JCC, (438-6651, SAAJCC.org) is a summer camp run by a Jewish Community Center, but is absolutely not just for Jewish families, I was told by Director of Youth Services Andrew Katz. Their camp is open for kids ages 3-15, making them one of the few camps to admit kids so young. Andrew’s answer to my question? “We offer volunteer opportunities for teens, which gives them community service credits.” SUMMER AT SAGE, (292-1704, Sage.edu/Summer) was described to me as being really out of the box, and has something for kids grades 5-12. “It’s like a mini college experience! The kids can create their own curriculum, taking whichever classes they like, and they’re not held to them. If they want to explore something farther, they can. Also, it counts as college course credits for the high-schoolers who attend.” Offering science, arts and creative writing courses, as well as a law camp which is new as of this year, the Sage experience is truly unique. THEATRE INSTITUTE AT SAGE, (244-5404, Sage.edu/TheatreInstitute) is geared towards those kids in your life who really should win an award for being so dramatic and is open to kids ages 9-18.

Alina Hensley is happily raising her daughter in her native New York, and passionately passing on her love for writing, culture, and the arts.

Whether attending their Summer On-Stage course, or learning stage combat in their Summer Shakespeare Institute program, there’s something for every theatrical child. “They learn real skills, and at the end of the summer we do a show together, and there’s a role for everyone. The whole camp is involved.” SCHENECTADY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL & SCOTIA ACADEMIC & ARTS CAMP, (370-4272, SchenectadyChristian.org & SAACamp.com) offers a full range of summer opportunities for grades 3-12, from sports camps to theater and the arts, plus plenty of academic opportunities, such as a technology camp for computer science. What sets them apart is that they offer a Ministry Leadership camp for high school students. They learn how to effectively run and teach in a youth ministry, setting skills which they will then put to the test when their ministry is opened to the community. YMCA CAMP WA WA SEGOWEA, (656-9462, Segowea.org) for ages 7-15 was described to me as being “really old fashioned.” I laughed, but I knew what they meant. Located in the Berkshires, you’re “out in the woods with no pretenses; you really become the person you’re meant to be.” The true embodiment of sleep-away summer camp, this camp offers boating, archery, campfires with plenty of marshmallows and singing, and all the other awesome experiences that come along with that kind of camping. They also offer a counselor training program for 10th grade graduates of the camp. May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 27


KidsFun Events SIENA SPORTS CAMP, (Siena.edu) for kids ages 6-17 is seriously all about the sports. They offer basketball, baseball, softball, dance, lacrosse, volleyball, and soccer. “The kids get expert training because the camps are run by the coaches themselves,” I was told. “But the number one goal is to have fun.” ST HELEN’S CATHOLIC SCHOOL SUMMER PROGRAM, (382-8225, SaintHelens. net) was one of only a few camps to bring in children as young as 30 months old. Their nursery school program was one-of-a-kind at the expo, and the fact that they run from 7am to 6pm was a huge boon for working parents! For children all the way up to 5th grade, their basis in academia, field trips and foreign language studies set them apart. JMU 4 KIDS (376-6668, JMU4Kids.com) offers an array of camping choices for kids ages 4-14 in Albany, Loudonville, and Rensselaer. The most unique of the choices? Their XTREME CAMP which involves paintball, mountain boarding, wilderness survival, geocaching and more, and their Harry Potter camp, which immerses kids in the world of Hogwarts at Doane Stuart. “One of these things is not like the others,” I joked with Joe Urschel, founder. “We have all kinds of stuff,” replied. “It’s a lot of fun.” BROWN SCHOOL, (370-0366, BrownSchool.org) is hosted by an independent school in Schenectady. They offer programs for kids 30 months old through 8th grade. Their time schedule is flexible and customizable, there are discounts for siblings, and they require no deposit in advance. “We have a chef, and lunch and snacks are included,” I was told, but the real selling point made itself evident: “We potty train!” WOODLAND HILL MONTESSORI, (283-5400, WoodlandHill.org) in East Greenbush sets itself apart by employing the methods of Italian education pioneer Maria Montessori. Woodland Hill carries these principles straight into the summer with their unique themed sessions that go all summer long for kids ages 3-12. BETHLEHEM CHILDREN’S SCHOOL, (478-0224, BethlehemChildrenSchool. com) in Slingerlands is a small, outdoor camp with plenty of handson activities for kids grades K-8. With plenty to choose from, from survival to theater, chemistry to greenhouse growing. “You might learn something without knowing it!” PERFORMANCE SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND THE ARTS, (383-6654 x4, CliftonParkSummerCamps.com) offers camps for kids ages 3-13 in ballet, musical theater, guitar, Suzuki strings, and more, including a righteous rock n’ roll camp, and a build-your-own guitar camp, giving kids a real sense of ownership over their instruments. SUMMER CAMP AT THE ALBANY ACADEMIES, (429-2300, AlbanyAcademies. org) offers a truly unique class lineup. Hidden among the more standard arts and sports are such things as Chinese and Japanese art, forensics, cooking cultural cuisines, robotics, animation, Zumba, and driver’s ed. “We have rocketry!” I was informed emphatically. I have to say, that really took the cake.

28 KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley, NY |May 2011

SUMMER AT THE MUSIC STUDIO (457-7799, The-Music-Studio.com) in Albany offers music courses for children ages 2-15. The have a Rock Band session, piano, songwriting, and even Orff ensemble. And trust me when I tell you any piano class that involves Boomwhackers is well worth taking! CHILDTIME LEARNING CENTERS (869-5505, Childtime.com) in Albany (and across the Capital District) took the award for youngest children accepted, starting their programs at children of 6 weeks and going up to only 5 years old. The nursery and preschool crowd can look forward to days filled with fun and gentle learning, special guests, and interesting field trips. ALBANY’S INDOOR ROCKGYM (459-ROCK, AIRRockGym.com) is hosting summer climbing clinics for youth ages 9-18. Explore their indoor cave system and go airborne with their zipline! GREENBUSH CHILD CARING, (GreenbushChildCaring.org) in East Greenbush offers sessions for kids in grades K-8, including field trips, swim lessons, and a leader-in-training program for teens. KIDS DANCESPACE @ EBA, (465-9916, eba-Arts.org) for kids ages 7-12 is located in Albany and is offering an incredible Around The World Camp, which explores the arts and dances of Egypt, India, Africa, Russia, Turkey, China and more! They also offer a Myths and Legends Camp wherein campers will explore myth, legend, and storytelling, and then have the opportunity to create their own story with unique characters and concepts, write a book about it, and create a performance based on it. KIDS ON CAMPUS SUMMER PROGRAMS AT HVCC, (629-7339, HVCC.edu/ KidsCamps) offering something for kids ages 4-16 in Troy and Rensselaer, this mini-college for kids system offers courses that truly speak to children’s individual interests. From an author study on Eric Carle, circus performing and physics, to neurogenesis, scrapbooking and biomes, summer at HVCC is the place to be. ST PIUS X CATHOLIC SCHOOL, (465-4539, StPius-X.com) in Loudonville offers a summer program including drama, fitness, and technology in an intimate setting where the children truly have the opportunity to get to know one another and learn together without feeling overwhelmed. TSL ADVENTURES, (368-2653, TSLAdventures.net) for children ages 5-10, has locations in Niskayuna, Troy and Brunswick and is offering a 10-week themed summer youth program, covering everything from carnivals and Survivor, to myths and legends and the arts. New as of this summer are hot lunches and swimming! In addition to all of these fine summer programs, appearances from Mater Christi Catholic School (MaterChristiSchool.org), Capital Region Speech and Swallowing (CapitalRegionSpeechSwallowing. com), Bath Fitter (BathFitter.com), The Smile Monster (SmileMonster.com), rounded out the day, sending everyone home with a grin. We truly thank every representative who was there with us, ready to kick off the summer with great programs for kids!


ADVERTISE WITH US

May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 29


30 KidsFunPlaza | Tech Valley, NY |May 2011


here is

WHAT ’S HAPPENING Schenectady

SCHENECTADY MUSEUM & SUITS-BUECHE PLANETARIUM • FETCH! LAB: 3:00 4:30 pm Come to this exciting weekly program to learn about science and do hands-on activities like the ones on the popular PBS tv show!

• LITTLE WONDERS OF SCIENCE. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. May 19 and 21st, 11:00-12:00 pm. It’s never too early to introduce a child to the wonders of science! Bring children ages 3 - 5 to discover caterpillars with Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Inspire curiosity with storytelling and makeand-take activities. Explore a different topic each month! Limited

All Wound Up Ready, set, roll! Power a racer with a rubber band at the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium’s FETCH! Lab. June 2, 3, 4 and 5. Hang Time Build and race your own whirligig. FREE with Museum admission. May 19, 20, 21 and 22. Set it Straight Build a tabletop seesaw using household items. May 26, 27, 28 and 29. Target Practice Build a catapult using a lever, and power it with a rubber band. Then, use what you’ve learned to build your own design, and send a marshmallow flying through the air. June 9, 10, 11 and 12.

PROCTORS THEATRE DINOSAURS ALIVE $8 Individual Adult, $7 Individual for 17 & under $6 Group Adult, $5 Group 17 & under.

openings. Register online or call 382-7890 x 224 to register today! • INVENTION CONVENTION EXHIBIT OPENS. Saturday, May 7 - Thursday, May 26. Invention Convention is an annual statewide competition for Capital District students, grades K through 8, who submit an original idea to solve a problem they have encountered in their lives. Be inspired! See the top 100 student inventions on display through May 26.FREE with Museum admission. April 14 and 16, @11:00-12:00 pm. 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady Phone: (518) 382-7890       Email: Programs@SchenectadyMuseum.org www.schenectadymuseum.org

(Showing only with reservations) Mon/Fri at 9:30am/ Wed at 11:00am Worldwide paleontologists from the American Museum of Natural History travel the world on a mission to discover pre-historic dinosaur evidence. As fossils and forms emerge through the exploration, this film brings them to life; dinosaurs from the Triassic Period to monsters of the Cretaceous bound from the giant screen and come alive in a way that is astoundingly realistic and fascinating! Dinosaurs Alive! depicts archeological expeditions in exotic places, from the sand dunes of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert to the mountains of New Mexico. 432 State Street, Schenectady • Phone: (518) 382-3884       Email: info@proctors.org • proctors.org May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 31


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WHERE TO GO Saratoga County

•TUESDAY FOR TOTS. 10 am - 12 pm and 1 -3 pm. This is a special time for our younger visitors to gain preschool readiness skills in a fun and social environment. Join us anytime between 10:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1 – 3 pm for playdough, crafts, games and friends! May 17, 24 and 31. June 7 and 14. THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT PUPPET SHOW June 10, 4:30—5 pm free with admission or for guests with a SaratogaArtsFest Pass. Please note, the museum is closed for play at the start of the performance. The popular Dorothy Nolan Elementary Puppet Club returns to present the Tale of Peter Rabbit for SaratogaArtsFest! Come early, because space is limited!

SARATOGAARTSFEST WEEKEND: ART IN 3D June 11 & 12, 1-3pm. ree with an ArtsFest Pass, museum membership, or normal museum admission Art in 3D is a two day workshop of three-dimensional media on Saturday and Sunday, both days from 1:003:00 pm. Saturday’s workshop will be clay building for younger children and paper mache making for older kids. In continuation with Saturday, Sunday’s work- shop will be decorating and finishing the clay and paper mache objects. STORY ART. May 19, & 26. June 2, 9, 16. 10:30am-11am. Free with admission. Reading together is always better, so please join us Thursdays for an exciting new story each week. We’ll use our imaginations and the story to inspire art projects that explore different media and styles. WIGGLE & GIGGLE. May 6 & 20. June 10 and 24 . 10 am-11:30 am. Free with Museum admission. This is a special time for younger children to learn what they can do with their bodies through structured group activities and guided free play. Together, caretakers and the museum foster the physical development of children in a social and creative environment. Kids can crawl through tunnels, walk the balance beam, roll balls, toss bean bags, and make music with all kinds of intstruments. This is a great opportunity to meet new friends and get some exercise! 69 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs • Phone: (518) 584-5540. www. cmssny.org

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CLIFTON PARK-HALFMOON PUBLIC LIBRARY SCHOLASTIC BOOK FAIR The Friends Scholastic Book Fair will be held on Friday, June 3, 2-5 PM, Saturday, June 4, 10 AM- 3 PM Sunday, June 5, 12-4 PM BULLY PROOF YOUR CHILD Monday May 16, 7:00 PM Author Mark Shepard presents a workshop to teach adults--parents, grandparents, caregivers and education professionals--simple, effective ways to protect children from the trauma of bullying. No registration necessary. For more information, call the Library at 371-8622 x2261. Location: Children’s Activity Room

PJ STORYTIME for 4 and 6 years old May 3 through May 24. 10:15 or 1:15 pm This fast-paced program features a lively mix of stories, rhymes and music, and concludes with a simple craft. This drop-in story time is offered weekly on Tuesdays beginning beginning April 5 and ending May 24 (no session on April 19). Children must be at least 4 years old to attend. (Parents are welcome but not required to remain. GLORIOUS GLADIOLAS, May 11, 6:30 m. Songs and stories about gardens and butterflies

WAGGING THEIR TAILS FOR TALES. May 18 at 4:00 pm. Improve reading skills or help your child gain more confidence in his/her reading abilities. Children entering grades 1-4 may sign up to read alone, with a sibling or a friend. Bring your own book or choose from the shelves when you arrive. Call 371-8622 to make a 15-minute appt. 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park, NY. • Phone: (518) 371-8622 Email: cphcirc@sals.edu • cphlibrary.org

Photographs: paper mache art, by Suzettesuzette on Flickr, ; Anime by Yakinik on Flickr

THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AT SARATOGA


ACTIVITIES in Tech Valley, New York Rensselaer County TROY PUBLIC LIBRARY • PRESCHOOL FAMILY STORY TIME Wednesdays, May 18 , 20, 25, 27 and June 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 10:30 am Family Storytime will be offered for children up to the age of 5, accompanied by parents and caregivers. We will share stories, rhymes, songs and simple crafts.

Mondays at 10:30 am – Sycaway Branch Wednesdays at 10:30 am – Main Library Fridays at 10:30 am – Lansingburgh Branch RED CROSS BABYSITTER TRAINING Main Library Saturday, May 21, 9-5:00 pm The babysitter training presented by the Red Cross will include the following: • Earn a Red Cross Certificate •Learn how to respond in an emergency •Obtain critical decision-making skills •Learn First Aid Please call 274-7071 to register for this FREE training.


Albany County BETHLEHEM PUBLIC LIBRARY • KIDS AT WORK: STORYTIME May 25. 10:00 AM Age 2-6 and families. Stories and activities about trucks and tools. Hard hats not required • CREATION STATION: Creation Station: Stars and Stripes June 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 at 9:30, Saturday 11 at 10:30 am. and Sunday 12 at 1:30 pm. Stop into the Children’s Place and make a patriotic craft.

• PRESCHOOL PICNIC - Healthy Kids Edition May 20, 11:00 am. Start Time: 11:00 AM Up to age 6 and families. Bring your lunch or a snack to an indoor movie picnic.

•COOKS AND BOOKS-MY FRIEND CLIFFORD Storytime . June 15. 10:00 AM Age 2-6 and families. He’s big. He’s red. He’s a DOG. We’ll read Clifford stories and then we’ll make dog biscuits.

•ANIME CLUB AT THE MAIN LIBRARY -Lasinburgh Branch, May 25, 6:00 pm - Main Library. Main Library. June 29 , 6:00 pm Thanks to the Weed and Seed Program, the Anime program is back at the Troy Public Library, and it’s better than ever! Join us for Anime viewings, DDR nights, contests, and prizes EVERY Wednesday. If you have any questions, feel free to call the library at 274-7071 and ask for Maria. Sycaway Branch : School 18, Hoosick Street , Troy NY Phone: (518) 274-1822 Lansingburgh Branch: 114th Street and 4th Avenue, Troy NY Phone: (518) 235-5310 Main Library: 100 Second Street, Troy NY Phone: (518) 274-7071. Email: troyref@uhls.lib.ny.us • thetroylibrary.org www.engagedpatrons.org/Eventscalendar

• PAJAMA-RAMA. 6:30 PM-7:00 PM. Wednesday May 18. and June 14. Up to age 6 and families. Stories, songs and dancing--wear your PJs! 451 Delaware Ave • Phone: (518) 439-9314 . Email:bpl@uhls.lib.ny.us • bethlehempubliclibrary.org May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 33


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WHERE TO GO

NEW YORK STATE MUSEUM ART SMART May 21 and June 25 : 1:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M. Location: Adirondack Hall ART SMART is an interactive hands-on workshop designed for children and adults to participate together. Each month participants will explore a pre-selected painting within the Museum, discuss who the artist is, the time frame it was painted in, the feelings it evokes and the artist’s style and technique. The second half of the program is a hands-on art activity expressing a theme in the artist’s style. RAIN OR SHINE ... IT’S READING TIME. May 11 and 25. June 8 and 29. 2nd and last Wednesdays of the month. Read a story with Museum staff and visit a special exhibit to learn more about New York State. Meet at Kids’ Cove. For Preschoolers Only FREE Program FURRY TALES AND TOUCHABLES May 21, 2011 : 11:00 A.M. - 11:45 A.M. Location: Discovery Place Recommended for children 4 to 6 years of age ᆰ FREE Program Stories come to life as youngsters touch real animal skins, bones, plants, and more while listening to a storybook reading.

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SONGS FROM THE PIANO BENCH May 25, 2011 : 12:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M. Listen in while enjoying your lunch or lend your voice as singers perform a variety of songs, from popular folk and rock-and-roll to Victorian parlor and Civil War, chosen from the more than 35,000 pieces of sheet music in the New York State Library Collection. MUSIC JAM May 19 and 26, 2011 : 12:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M. Location: Fourth Floor - Terrace 4th Floor . FREE program Take a lunch-time musical break or join the musicians as they play acoustic music inspired by the Celtic tradition of jigs, reels, waltzes, hornpipes,and marches, as well as occasional popular songs, jazz standards, and early music. All levels of skill on any acoustic instruments are welcome. Please bring several copies of sheet music for those who do not play by ear or for the tunes that are not commonly known. For more information, e-mail pkernan@mail.nysed.gov or call 518-486-2024. Cultural Education Center of the Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY. Phone: (518) 474-5877. Email:msparks@mail.nysed.gov  • nysm.nysed.gov


Editorial Calendar for KidsFunPlaza! Month

Theme

Guide

January 11

New Beginnings

Health Care Providers

February 11

Love

Schools

March 11

Community

Camps

April 11

Spring

Non-Profits

May 11

Family

Traveling

June 11

Summer

Staycations

July 11

Arts & Crafts

Museums/Local Arts

August 11

Education

After Schools

September 11

Autum/Nature

Farmers/Markets

October 11

Halloween

Party Resources

November 11

Thanksgiving

Daycares

December 11

Holidays

Kid Friendly Restaurants

To be on the guides contact advertise@kidsfunplaza.com or call 888-512-1444 May 2011 | Tech Valley, NY | KidsFunPlaza 35


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May Issue