INCREDIBLE: Pumpkin Patches • Family Festivals • Fall Break •
Roadtrip • Halloween Happenings
Creating family art | Deciphering dyslexia Tips for moms reentering the workforce
SUPER fall fun a he ad!
TENttOBER AN EVENING IN EDMOND'S BACKYARD
EDMOND PARKS & RECREATION PRESENTS A CAMPING EVENT IN
MITCH PARK BENEFITING THE PINE PANTRY FOOD BANK MONETARY, CANNED GOODS, & HOUSEHOLD ITEM DONATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED DURING THE EVENT
OCTOBER 19TH -20th, 2019
4:00 P.M.- TENT SET-UP
$70 PER CAMPSITE (INCLUDES FOOD) $30 FOR 4-PERSON TENT RENTAL (DEADLINE 10/17)
OUTDOOR GAMES STORYTIME WITH BEST OF BOOKS S'MORES (PINE PANTRY WILL BE ACCEPTING DONATIONS) DINNER
7:30 P.M. - OUTDOOR MOVIE 8:00 A.M. BREAKFAST (PINE PANTRY WILL BE ACCEPTING DONATIONS) 11:00 - ALL TENTS CLEARED
CALL 405.359.4630 TO REGISTER SPACES ARE LIMITED
JOIN US: October 14 - 19
Free Family Fun begins at 10:30 a.m. each day!
1400 Classen Drive (NW 13th Street and Shartel Avenue) | 405.235.4458 | oklahomahof.com
Features 8 Fall Fun Ahead! Find 23 autumn adventures from our advertising partners 12 Get Creative Inspiring family art projects for all ages 14 Playroom to Boardroom Tips for moms reentering the workforce 38 Hope for the Hurting New metro nursery cares for kids, families in crisis 46 Deciphering Dyslexia Pivotal pointers for early diagnosis and intervention
In Every Issue
6 New & Now 16 Calendar of Events Fright-less fun to haunted happenings, 189 family events 34 Exploring Oklahoma Plan a fall road trip to the Lawton area 42 Local Family Fun Little anglers gain confidence through Fishing in Schools program 54 Real Kids of the Metro Meet teen author and tennis star Kobe Nhin
activities to develop school readiness. Classes cover developmental milestones, parent and child activities, everyday learning, purposeful parenting and family health and wellness. Smart Start Central Oklahoma offers Early Birds in more than 20 local schools and community partner locations in Oklahoma County. Find a class near you at www. metrofamilymagazine.com/early-birds.
tag #OKCFamilyFun in Facebook and Instagram photos of your family out and about in OKC for a chance to be featured in upcoming issues of MetroFamily Magazine. Let the #OKCFamilyFun begin!
Only Online All the Fall Fun The fall season brings pumpkin patches, hayrides, campfires and tons of fairs and festivals to the OKC metro. Weâ€™ve rounded up the greatest fall fun attractions and events in the Oklahoma City area, Fall Break camps and Halloween happenings. Find it all at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/ fall-fun. FREE Fall Parent Programs Early Birds is a free program supporting parents and caregivers of kids under 5 with toys, books and
4 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Your Family Could be Featured! Weâ€™re starting something NEW in our November issue. Help us show off how FUN OKC can be! Use the
Enter to Win! The SpongeBob Musical is coming to OKC! Humor, heart and theatricality will combine for a neon-sparkly party for the eyes and ears. Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to the Nov. 12 performance at www. metrofamilymagazine.com/contests. Deadline Oct. 18 at noon.
am a full-fledged fall fanatic. My family will tell you I go a little overboard this time of year, on fall decorations, family fun plans and pumpkin flavored everything. (Don’t let them fool you too much — they are just as fall-crazy as I am.) More than any other time of year, the crisp air, vibrant leaves, sunset hayrides and plentiful pumpkin patches transport me back to my own childhood. Some of my most vivid memories as a little girl are of nature walks, carefree Fall Break trips and carving jacko-lanterns. Perhaps it’s the desire to recreate those same meaningful experiences for my kids that has me scouring our calendar of events daily this time of year!
Managing Editor Erin Page
Assistant Editor Lindsay Cuomo
ReRe Lunsford, Debbie Murnan, Heather White, Katherine Hickey
Contributing Photographer Bridget Pipkin
Art Director Stacy Noakes
Project Manager Kirsten Holder
Athena Delce Dana Price
Office/Distribution Kathy Alberty
Marketing Assistant Lauren Smith
318 NW 13th St, Ste 101 OKC OK 73103 Phone: 405-601-2081 Fax: 405-445-7509
Whether you border on being an out-ofcontrol fall fan like me or are more evenkeeled about your feelings for the season, every family can find their perfect fit for fall fun in our guide on page 8. Fall is high time for fishing in Oklahoma and thanks to one local program, little anglers are gaining training around the state. Read about how fishing inspires kids’ confidence on page 42. If you’re searching for Fall Break plans, a trip to Lawton offers families opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, experience life as an early Oklahoma settler and check out a peak point for the paranormal. Plan your itinerary on page 34. As we head into fall, many of our kids have settled into the routine of school, some enthusiastically, some begrudgingly, soaking up new skills and information. But for kids who struggle with reading, schoolwork can be a constant source of frustration and anxiety. While not every kid who has a hard time reading has dyslexia, it’s a more common learning disability than I realized. Local experts explain signs of dyslexia, how to advocate for kids in the classroom and the strides Oklahoma is making to improve awareness and resources on page 46.
PROOF I’M A LIFETIME FALL FAN. FALL BREAK 1980S STYLE.
For kids overcoming obstacles of any kind, one Edmond high school student aspires to share what he’s learned about talking positively to himself, facing frustration and improving mental toughness through his series of popular books. Read Kobe Nhin’s story on page 54. CAPTION
Finally, for all you moms who’ve questioned your career choices since you had children (and I’m among you!), I hope the opening act of ReRe Lunsford’s series on the topic on page 14 inspires and encourages you to make the choice that best fits your family and you as a woman. Wherever you feel called, know your individual voice and skillCAPTION set are needed and impactful in your corner of the world.
Happy fall, y’all!
Erin Page Editor
firstname.lastname@example.org www.metrofamilymagazine.com MetroFamily Magazine is published monthly. Copyright 2019 by Inprint Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Articles and advertisements in MetroFamily do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Inprint Publishing, Inc. We do not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by MetroFamily does not constitute an endorsement of the products, services, or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service which is fraudulent or misleading in nature. Circulation audited by
Proud member of
Also a member of Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Edmond Chamber of Commerce & Moore Chamber of Commerce
This Month’s Cover Jhett, 6, and Kash, 4, are our 2019 sibling Cover Kids winners. The Edmond brothers’ superpowers include melting hearts, hitting home runs and cheering on the Sooners. Jhett is in first grade where he loves math, and Kash, excited to start pre-K next year, is a bean burrito aficionado. Jhett plays short stop and third base for his competitive baseball teams, the Yankees and Legends, for which Kash plays, too, slamming homers over the fence. As sweet and gentle as they are rough and tumble, the brothers enjoy playing outside and attending church with their family. The sons of Qua’Don and Mychal, the boys are super big brothers to Londyn, 2, and look forward to adding a baby brother to their family in December.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
NEAR & FAR: Pumpkin Patches with a Purpose What better way to get those Instagram-worthy pumpkin pics than visiting a fall pumpkin patch? With the plethora of pumpkin-themed fall fun to be had around the Oklahoma City metro, it can feel extra nice to know your family’s good time
also helps others. In this special autumnal edition of Near & Far, we highlight two Oklahoma pumpkin patches that are welcoming families with fall follies for a good cause!
Wings Fall Festival is entering its ninth year with extended hours and new happenings. All proceeds from the festival benefit the programs of the Wings Special Needs Community, which enhances the lives of adults with developmental disabilities with social, vocational and residential programs. Wings members collaborate with local nonprofit partners every week, assembling hygiene kits, cooking for foster families and sharpening thousands of pencils for metro teachers. Each fall Wings welcomes metro families to join their community during the Fall Festival, open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 13. The traditional hayrides, pumpkin train rides, corn maze, bounce houses, pony
Kenny Farms in Woodward started as a birthday celebration and grew into what the Kenny family calls an ultimate “agritainment” adventure! The family expanded their daughter’s, Lady Caroline, farm-themed party into a Fall Family Farm Festival, now in its fourth year of operation. The farm invites families to spend a day enjoying a variety of activities for all ages including a corn pit, giant slide, zip line, pumpkin slingshot and bounce pad. An interactive petting farm features just about every barnyard animal you can imagine: llamas, alpacas, cows, horses, rabbits, donkeys and more. And, on one special night, Kenny Farms hosts foster families from the Woodward area, completely free of charge. “Foster kids and their foster and biological families get the run of the farm and can have
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an evening to make memories together,” said Jennica Kenny. “We know that foster families get assistance but it is costly to provide for extra children and we wanted to let them have fun together with no extra stress.” The farm also hosts school field trips at a discounted rate and family fun nights for local churches. “The reason we do the farm is because we enjoy seeing kids experience life on the farm and the freedom to run and explore,” said Kenny. “That is what keeps us going and has been the greatest blessing for our family.” The fall festival is open until Oct. 27 on Saturdays and Sundays and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for Kiddie Days, featuring half-price admission. To learn more, visit www.kennyfarms.com.
BY LINDSAY CUOMO
rides, games and hay slide will be available throughout the entire festival, and Saturdays feature additional activities like Touch-aTruck with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Edmond police and fire departments. A petting zoo and the Land Run Alpacas will also make special appearances. Score cute porch décor at the impressive pumpkin patch, with plenty of photo opps and pumpkins and gourds of every size, shape and color for sale. For just $5 per child plus the price of your pumpkin of choice, you can get your family fall fun fix, purchase your fall décor and make a big impact on a deserving metro organization. Find all the festival details at www.facebook.com/WingsOK.
Metro library launches Autism Advocacy series The Patience S. Latting Northwest Library will host an Autism Advocacy series this October with four free sessions for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Librarian Becky Fesler created the series to provide an informative, welcoming atmosphere where community members can meet and share information. The issue is personal for Fesler, whoâ€™s watched a family member deal with both the triumphs and struggles of being on the spectrum. â€œI know how vital it is to see representation, to hear from others who have been in similar situations and to feel understood and accepted for who you are,â€? said Fesler. â€œSpeakers for each event include professionals working in areas related to developmental disabilities and disorders as well as individuals on the autism spectrum.â€? The first session on Oct. 3 will highlight autism identification and advocacy, answering questions for families with newlydiagnosed children, connecting parents with local resources and providing expertise from other parents further in their journeys. Session two on Oct. 5 will cover adults with autism in the workplace with an opportunity for participants to discuss the
PATIENCE S. LATTING NORTHWEST LIBRARY
hiring process, communicating with coworkers and requesting accommodations at work. Session three on Oct. 10 focuses on the school-age years with a discussion about special education rights, including the ins and outs of IEP and 504 plans. The final session on Oct. 17 will be about teenagers on the spectrum, including how parents can assist in the transition from childhood to adulthood and empower teens to advocate for themselves. For more information about the Autism Advocacy series, visit www.metrofamilymagazine.com/autism-advocacy-series.
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METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Fall Fun Guide
The online polling website YouGov reports fall is the favorite season for most Americans, so itâ€™s no surprise fall brings tons of new activities and events to the Oklahoma City metro. Pumpkin patches, hayrides, festivals and trick-or-treat events are just a few of the many exciting things happening throughout the metro this month. See these options from our advertisers and be sure to check out all our fall guides at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/fall.
Ongoing Events Wings Annual Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkinville at Myriad Botanical Gardens
Through Oct. 13 13700 N Eastern Ave, Edmond 405-242-4646, www.wingsok.org
Oct. 11-27 301 W Reno 405-445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org
Hayrides, pumpkin train rides, corn maze, hay slide, bounce houses, pony rides, Betsy the milk cow, games and much more! Pumpkins are available for purchase. All proceeds go to Wings, a special needs community that enhances the lives of adults with developmental disabilities through social, vocational and residential programs. Special Saturday activities, like touch-a-truck, a petting zoo and the Land Run Alpacas, vary. $5 per person for ages 3 and older; ages 2 and under are free. Open Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 1-6pm.
Pumpkinville is a celebration of all things fall! The Children’s Garden transforms into a vintage fall carnival featuring thousands of pumpkins, hundreds of gourds, crafts, games, imaginative displays and more. Visitors can enjoy Paint-a-Pumpkin and harvest-themed vendors, plus ride the Pumpkinville Express Train on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission includes rides on Mo’s Carousel. Members and kids 2 & under are free; non-members, $8.
Pumpkin Patch at Kenny Farms Through Oct. 27 205562 E County Rd 40, Woodward 405-714-3453, www.kennyfarms.com Experience a laid-back day of country living this fall at Kenny Farms. Pick out your pumpkin and hang out with mini pigs, horses, donkeys, bunnies, goats, chickens and ducks in the petting farm. Also enjoy a plethora of family-friendly activities including pedal cars, a tractor playset, corn pit, inflatable obstacle course, pumpkin slingshots and more in the fresh country air. Admission is $10; the farm is open on Saturday, 10am-6pm, and Sunday, 1-6pm. Kiddie Days feature halfprice admission on Tuesday & Wednesday from 10am-2pm.
Chester’s Pumpkin Patch Through Nov. 3 5201 Cimarron Rd, Piedmont 405-373-1595, www.facebook.com/chesterspartybarn/ Celebrate fall at Chester’s Party Barn with unlimited pony rides, a petting zoo, hayrides, a three-acre mystery maze, barnyard games, free pumpkin with admission and more. Annual memberships are available. Special activities are planned for Fall Break, Oct. 19 and 20. In addition to the daily amenities, guests can enjoy food trucks, giveaways, shopping and live entertainment. Admission is $10 for children and $6 for adults. Infants 12 months and younger and seniors 65+ are free. Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, noon-6pm.
Rustic Roots Pumpkin Patch Through Nov. 2 105340 Greer Rd, Lamont 580-713-3608, www.rusticrootsevents.com Rustic Roots Pumpkin Patch features pumpkins and fall décor as well as a 10-acre corn maze, petting zoo, corn cannon, hay maze, tractor rides, jump pad, giant slide, concessions and more. Admission is $8-12. Open weekdays for field trips; Friday & Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 1-8pm. Open special Fall Break hours Oct. 16-21 from 10am- 8pm.
Fall Y’all at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Oct. 14-19 1400 Classen Dr 405-235-4458, www.oklahomahof.com Welcome fall with the whole family at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Fall Y’all celebration. Enjoy story times, crafts, movies and special activities with community partners. Daily themes include pajama day, dinosaur day, dance day and more. Activities begin at 10:30am. Admission is free throughout the day.
Camp Cadence Fall Break Horse Camp Oct. 17-19 Cadence Equestrian, 14150 S Pine St, Edmond 405-348-7469, www.cadenceequestrian.com Whether you are new to riding or want to expand your horse skills, learn something new during Fall Break (and other school breaks) at Camp Cadence, a day camp that is all about horses. No previous horse experience necessary. Safe camp horses used for indoor and outdoor riding.
Storybook Forest Oct. 23-30 Arcadia Lake, 7200 E 15th St, Edmond 405-216-7471, arcadialakeok.com Fairytales come to life on a fun, not-scary trail filled with roaming characters at Spring Creek Park. Additional activities include hayrides, games, story time and a campfire for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. A $2 discount is available for tickets purchased before Oct. 23 (buy them at any of the Lake Fee Collection Stations or at the MAC building at Mitch Park). Admission charged for children; adults in same car with child(ren) are free. Weekdays, $12; weekends, $15. The trail is open nightly from 5:30-8:30pm.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Day Events: Fort Reno Historical Spirit Tours
Turn the Town Upside Down!
Oct. 12 & 26, 7-10pm Historic Fort Reno, 7107 W Cheyenne St, El Reno 405-262-3987, www.fortreno.org
Oct. 26, 10am-noon National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St 405-478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org
By lantern’s light hear the stories of the restless spirits of the old military post and how they align with some of the unsolved mysteries at Fort Reno. It’s a spooky, fun and educational evening for the whole family, and the Oct. 12 event features a special trick-or-treat night. Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for kids. Families can also enjoy a special screening of Hocus Pocus at Centre Theatre on Oct. 11 at 7pm and Downtown El Reno’s FREE Spooktacular on Oct. 26 from 10am-noon.
Fun and fantasy abound when the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum welcomes families to the transformed Prosperity Junction Western town to enjoy imaginative, kid-friendly activities. Families can sample sarsaparilla in the Silver Dollar Saloon, create a spooky woven mat, make a lantern and color a trick-or-treat bag. Costumes encouraged. Activities are free with museum admission. No reservations required. In addition, families can enjoy special activities at the museum during Fall Break. Drop in Oct. 17, 18 & 21 to create your own masterpieces from 10am-2pm.
SONIC Drive-in Family Day at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art Oct. 20, noon-5pm Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Dr 405-235-3100, www.okcmoa.com Visit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art for FREE, thanks to SONIC Drive-In! On top of free admission, families can take part in free artmaking activities and explore the pop-up library with friends from the Downtown Library. Make memories with OKCMOA and SONIC that last a lifetime!
Haunt the Harn Oct. 24, 6:30-8:30pm Harn Homestead, 1721 N Lincoln Blvd 405-235-4058, www.harnhomestead.com Head to the historic Harn Homestead for old-fashioned Halloween fun including trick-or-treating stations, games and other fun activities. $7 in advance; $10 at the gate. Best suited for ages 5-10. Those accompanying trick-or-treaters do not have to pay admission.
Church of the Servant Fall Festival Oct. 25, 6-8pm 14343 N MacArthur Blvd 405-721-4141, www.servantokc.org Enjoy a celebration of all things fall including carnival games, trunk-or-treating, a costume contest, face painting, inflatables and balloon animals. The evening will conclude with a fireworks display. Admission is free but a hot dog dinner, cotton candy, popcorn and a bake sale will be available for minimal cost. Children should bring treat bags to collect candy and prizes. Guests are encouraged, but not required, to bring donations of diapers or wipes for Infant Crisis Services. Non-scary costumes are welcome. In case of rain, all activities will move indoors.
Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Block Party Oct. 25, 6-9pm Unpluggits Paint & Play 575 Enterprise Dr, Edmond 405-340-7584, www.unpluggits.com Art and science collide at this fun, FREE Halloween Block Party featuring Unpluggits and Mad Science! Enjoy exciting games, festive crafts, face painting, interactive science demonstrations and more. Guests in costume will be entered into a drawing to win fun prizes and a food truck will be onsite serving up tasty snacks.
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Skate Galaxy’s Spook and Roll Oct. 26, 1-5pm & 7pm-midnight 5800 NW 36th St 405-605-2758, www.skategalaxyokc.com Go retro at Skate Galaxy’s Spook and Roll Halloween party. Families can skate to spooky tunes, play games to win prizes and compete in a costume contest! New this year, families with younger kids can start their festive fun earlier with an afternoon session. Admission is $10 for the afternoon and $15 for the evening. Also check out Fall Break day skates on Oct. 17 & 18, family skate night on Oct. 17 and all-night skate on Oct. 19-20.
Edmond Park’s Trunk or Treat in the Park Oct. 26, 5-8pm Mitch Park, 1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond 405-359-4630, www.edmondparks.com Calling all ghosts and goblins! Trunk or Treat returns to Mitch Park. Visit decorated vehicles to get candy in a fun, safe environment. Attendees can try their hand at the dunk-a-cop station. The event is free to attend and costumes are encouraged.
New Covenant UMC Trunk or Treat Oct. 27, 3-5pm 2700 S Blvd, Edmond 405-562-3200, www.newcov.tv/events/trunk-or-treat Decorated trunks, tons of candy, games, face painting and inflatables await at New Covenant United Methodist Church’s annual Trunk or Treat. Non-scary costumes are encouraged and admission is free.
Nichols Hills United Methodist Church Fall Festival Oct. 27, 5-7pm 1212 Bedford Dr 405-842-1486, www.nicholshillsumc.org Enjoy all your family’s favorite things about fall in a single event. This Fall Festival features a chili cook-off, hay rides, games, s’mores and more. Admission is free.
Destiny Fun Fest Oct. 27, 5:30-8pm Destiny Christian School, 3801 SE 29th St 405-677-1451, www.destinyokc.com
Bring the entire family to Destiny’s Fun Fest to enjoy an evening of fun with inflatables, costume contests, music, family photo opportunities, carnival games and trunk-or-treating with tons of candy! Admission is free and concessions will be available for minimal cost. In case of rain, all activities will move indoors.
Brick-or-Treat Oct. 28, 4-7pm Bricktown, S Mickey Mantle Dr 405-235-3500, downtownokc.com/brick-or-treat Parents and guardians are invited to bring their children to Bricktown to trick or treat at participating businesses. The central hub of the event is at Mickey Mantle Plaza at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark where attendees can pick up an event map. There will also be a free pumpkin painting station, free photos from The SNL Booth, roaming characters and lots of great costumes. This event is free and open to the public. Trick-or-treaters must be under age 14 and in costume to receive candy.
Bone Chilling Halloween Event Oct. 31, 6-9pm SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology, 10301 S Sunnylane Rd 405-814-0006, skeletonmuseum.com
Yukon’s Pumpkin Harvest Craft Festival Nov. 2, 9am-3pm 1200 Lakeshore Dr, Yukon 405-350-8937, www.yukonok.gov Yukon’s Dale Robertson Center comes alive with fall spirit featuring more than 45 booths from across Oklahoma selling candles, wood art, needlework, home décor and more. There will also be Indian tacos for sale along with a bake sale with proceeds going toward Friends of the Park. Admission is free.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church’s Holiday Bazaar Nov. 9, 9am-3pm 308 NW 164th St, Edmond 405-348-3292, www.holytrinityedmond.org Score unique holiday gifts while supporting a great cause at the annual Holiday Bazaar, sponsored by Lutheran Women in Missions. Browse a selection of unique gift ideas from more than 80 local vendors featuring paintings, quilts, jewelry, pottery and more. Proceeds benefit the Regional Food Bank’s Backpack Program and the OKCity Crisis Nursery.
Enjoy a spooky, but not too spooky, celebration with trick-or-treating stations, candy, raffles, games, owl pellet dissections and more. Costumes are encouraged and admission is $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Kids under 3 are free.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Creator SPACE Make #okcfamilyart your way
BY HEATHER WHITE AND KATHERINE HICKEY. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
Creating beautiful, engaging, memorable art projects together with your children is easier than you’d expect! Making art at home is an enriching, educational experience for kids of any age, from toddlers to teenagers. Early learners practice skills they will use in elementary school like hand-eye coordination, dexterity and creative thinking. Big kids, middleschoolers and teens find a medium for selfexpression and mindfulness. As funding for arts education in schools continues to suffer, or for families who homeschool or whose kids aren’t yet old enough for school, simple, low-cost and high-yield art-making opportunities can be incorporated into family life to enhance creativity and relationships. Employ these simple strategies to help your child get the most out of the creative process: • Process over product. Focus on the process of making art and exploring materials, rather than the end product. Remind your child there is no right or wrong way to make an art project. It’s about having fun and creating something new and unique. Not only does process over product facilitate greater creativity and independent thinking, it also alleviates the stress of replicating the project example. When you embrace the process over the product, your child is free to play with the materials and infuse their own voice and style in their art. • Provide a variety of materials. Mix crayons, markers, colored pencils, watercolors and whatever else you have on hand in one bin. A varied collection of mark-making tools allows children to make artistic choices and experiment with types of lines and layering colors. For older children, introduce more sophisticated materials, such as crinkle-cut scissors, glitter and artist-quality sketching pencils and markers.
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WHENEVER POSSIBLE, ENCOURAGE KIDS TO GET MESSY IN THEIR ART-MAKING PROCESS!
• Engage the senses. Augment your child’s sensory experiences and enhance brain development while making art: • Mix spices or a few drops of essential oils into paint to add smell. • Switch out paint brushes for cotton balls or sponges for new textures. • Keep paint in the fridge to create a cold sensation when finger painting. • Mix salt or sand into paint for a gritty texture. • Whenever possible, encourage kids to get messy. Keeping baby wipes or paper towels on hand can help mitigate the mess. • Use your words. Making art together is a deeply connective activity that facilitates conversation and bonding. It also provides a great opportunity to develop vocabulary and practice sharing thoughts and interpretations. Talk to your children about their creations, sources of inspiration and feelings. Ask open-ended questions like “What made you choose these colors?” or “What were you thinking about when you were drawing?”
Editor’s Note: Heather White is an art teacher, museum educator and inclusion specialist. Katherine Hickey is a children’s librarian. Over the next three months, the duo will feature a series of process-based, open-ended projects that can be modified for all age groups. Projects include simple, straightforward instructions, use easily available and affordable materials and encourage kids to move, create, explore and play.
Dance Drawings Let your hand “dance” across the page to create an abstract mixed-media composition! Vocabulary and concepts: • Expression • Inspiration • Spontaneity • Line • Abstract • Movement • Rhythm Supplies: • White paper (drawing paper, computer paper, sketch paper or card stock) • Black crayon • Watercolors and paint brushes • Music Adults: Select music in advance. Look for a variety of styles and rhythms such as jazz, oldies, salsa, classical and mariachi. Your local library is a great place to browse CDs, or look up any genre online.
3. With your eyes closed, move your crayon over your page to create dancing lines in response to the music.
Discuss together: What are some of the ways we move when we dance? For example, we twirl, jump, shake, spin, clap, wiggle, curve, sway or act wild and crazy.
5. Set up your watercolor tray and grab your paintbrush. Keep listening to music as you add color to your abstract composition. The wax crayon will resist the watercolor paint, creating a layered effect. What colors represent the mood of the music?
1. Sit down with your sheet of white paper and your black crayon.
4. Open your eyes and check out the groovy lines your have drawn!
2. Close your eyes. Start the music and simply listen to the beats and rhythm for a few seconds.
Repeat the process. Start a new song with a different rhythm, style or beat. How do your dance drawings change with each new song?
Adapt the projects in whatever way works best for your family, then share your family’s art on social media with our hashtag #okcfamilyart. We’ll share as many as we can via our social channels. We can’t wait to see the art you create together!
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
JENNA WORTHEN, OWNER OF A STRATEGY COMPANY AND FOUNDER OF MOM WHO WORKS, SPEAKS AT A GATHERING OF LOCAL WORKING MOMS. ABI RUTH PHOTOGRAPHY.
Reentry Reality Moms talk transitioning back into the workforce after staying home with kids BY RERE LUNSFORD
It’s 7 a.m. and Cristina Riggins’ washing machine promptly starts filling, preparing to wash a load of clothes the Norman mom prepped the night before. A year ago Riggins didn’t know the delay wash function even existed, but the former stay-athome mom who recently returned to the workforce said that button, along with several other timesaving strategies, have helped her transition into working outside the home. Motherhood comes with many decisions, including what to do careerwise after kids are born. Oftentimes when moms choose to stay home that decision is not permanent, many finding themselves reentering the workforce and adjusting to new routines, expectations and schedules after staying home. “It was always a goal to stay home with my kids, but financially it wasn’t realistic,” Riggins said. Riggins, who has a 9-year-old and 4-year-old, decided to stay home after the birth of her oldest in 2010. She opened an in-home daycare but as years went by she decided it was best she return to work outside the home. She began looking for jobs that would fit her family and skill set.
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“My advice is to think about what schedule works best for your family,” said Riggins, now an elementary resource assistant for Norman Public Schools. Many fears and uncertainties can come into play when considering returning to work. From resume gaps to worries about inadequate or outdated training, some mothers feel discouraged or intimidated about making the transition. But Lyndi Zavy says women need to remember the skills they’ve developed raising a family can be utilized in the workplace as well. “No one knows how to negotiate, balance and juggle life better than a mother,” Zavy said. “We get it.” Zavy, a mother of two and a former human resources director, said women are capable and their voices are needed in the workplace no matter how long they have been away. “Don’t be afraid,” said Zavy, now vice president of organizational development at an Oklahoma-based alternate site infusion pharmacy. “Go in and say, ‘here are the skills I’ve honed while at home and what I can bring to the table.’ From an employer perspective, we need her, we need her voice.” Oklahoma City mom Jenna Worthen agrees mothers returning to the workforce need to talk up their skills, experience and willingness to learn on the job.
“It’s been incredible to see how reluctant some women are to share their stories because they don’t think it’s relevant,” said Worthen, who owns her own strategy company and has been witness to numerous moms returning to positions below their skill sets. In 2018, Worthen founded Mom Who Works, an online community that examines what it means to be a working mom. “There are expectations that are put on that title that don’t come for my working husband,” said Worthen, who has two children and one on the way. Moms should remember there’s nothing wrong with simplifying some aspects of home life in the interest of striking better work/life balance. “You do not have to do it all,” said Worthen. “I think the badge of busyness is gone. No one is getting a prize at the end.” Housekeeper and grocery delivery services are among the options moms can utilize. Riggins hasn’t only relied on the delay wash feature to ease her transition. Her Instant Pot has become an asset, and she’s thankful to be able to lean on family.
JENNA WORTHEN FOUNDED MOM WHO WORKS IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE CAMARADERIE AND SUPPORT AMONG WORKING MOMS.
“I have huge family support,” said Riggins, whose stepdad helps with school pickup for her oldest child. “I couldn’t do it without him. I’m very fortunate.” Diana Rogers Jaeger also attributed family support as integral in her transition from working full-time outside of the home to starting her own consulting firm and working from home. “The transition would have been so much more stressful if I didn’t have my mother-in-law,” said Rogers Jaeger, who lives in The Village and has two children. Rogers Jaeger started her own business two years ago because she wanted more flexibility with her family, and the ability to live abroad in the summer, and she found the best model was to own her own business. Going from the boardroom to working from her home definitely has its challenges as she manages work and her boys. “I just make it work,” said Rogers Jaeger. “I didn’t really have fears; I saw it as a challenge.” Mom of two Holly Rhoades had to face her fears when considering reentering the workforce. The former Norman resident, now Corpus Christi, Texas transplant, was scared she would be out of her element when she returned to work after staying home with her oldest for two years.
DIANA ROGERS JAEGER QUIT HER FULL-TIME JOB TO START HER OWN CONSULTING FIRM, AFFORDING HER MORE FLEXIBILITY WITH HER FAMILY.
“There was this fear of ‘will I remember how to do things,’” said Rhoades. “It all came back really quickly. It was just like riding a bike.” Even if it doesn’t mirror riding a bike, Worthen encourages moms to remember reentering the workforce is not the first big transition they’ve tackled. “How long did it take to be confident as a mom?” Worthen prods. “It’s the same as a new job.” Rhoades is currently back to staying home with her kids but plans to once again return to work when her 15-month-old son turns 2. She thinks it’s important mothers do what is best for them and their families, whether that is to stay home or go back to work. She said those who do return to work after staying home should remember they were more than “just” a stay-at-home mom and to not be afraid to take that step back into the workplace. “Don’t get paralyzed in fear,” Rhoades said. “Let fear be a motivator instead of a road block.”
CRISTINA RIGGINS RECENTLY TRANSITIONED FROM BEING A STAY-ATHOME MOM TO WORKING FOR NORMAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Editor’s note: This article is the first of a two-part series examining career change questions and challenges women often consider after becoming moms. ReRe Lunsford is a Norman mom of two boys and an adjunct journalism professor at The University of Oklahoma.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
October EVENTS CALENDAR
TOP 5 EVENTS Oct. 14-19
FREE Fall Yâ€™all Family Fun at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame
FREE Wiggle Out Loud Family Music Festival at Myriad Gardens FREE SONIC Drive-in Family Day at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Storybook Forest at Arcadia Lake
FREE Magic Lantern Celebration in the Paseo Arts District
CALENDAR SPONSORED BY
Through Oct. 6
Pumpkin Drive at the Oklahoma City Zoo (2101 NE 50th St). Bring a pumpkin larger than your head and receive FREE same-day admission to the zoo. The donated pumpkins will be used to decorate the Haunt the Zoo trail. 424-3344, www.okczoo.org
EdFest at the Downtown Edmond Festival Marketplace (26 W 1st St, Edmond) features food trucks, local breweries and live music. Activities for kids include inflatables, face painting by Silly Lily, balloon animals, temporary
16 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
tattoos, carnival games, character photos and more. Free to attend; KidsZone wristbands, $5. 6-10pm. 341-3111, www.edmondmobilemeals.org
A Day Out with Thomas at the Oklahoma Railway Museum (3400 NE Grand Blvd) features train rides pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine, model trains, photo opportunities, a bounce house, live music, miniature golf and more. Advance purchase recommended. Friday, $16; Saturday & Sunday, $18; children (2 & under), free. 8am-6pm. 424-8222, www.oklahomarailwaymuseum.org
Greek Festival at St. George Greek Orthodox Church (2101 NW 145th St) features authentic Greek food and live entertainment. $16, meal included. Friday & Saturday, 10am-10pm; Sunday, 11am3pm. 820-2942, www.greekfestokc.com FREE Rock Island Arts Festival at the Rock Island Depot (100 Chickasha Ave, Chickasha) features fine art displays, craft booths, live music and entertainment, face painting, storytelling and inflatables. Friday-Saturday, 10am9pm; Sunday, noon-4pm. 274-7547, www.rockislandartsfestival.org
Antique Agriculture Festival at Hunter’s Home (19479 E Murrell Home Rd, Park Hill near Tahlequah) features nineteenth-century agriculture and heritage farming on a historic 1850s farm. Enjoy demonstrations, entertainment, food and shopping. Adults, $7; students, $4; kids (5 & under), free. Friday & Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 10am3pm. 918-456-2751, www.antiqueag.org
FREE Fishing Days in Oklahoma City (various locations). The City of Oklahoma City offers FREE fishing on the first Saturday of each month. No city permit is required; state license required for anyone 16 & older. Regular fishing regulations apply. 297-1426, www.okc.gov
Down Syndrome Festival & 5k at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features a 5k and awareness walk, games, inflatables, a petting zoo and more. Participation in the awareness walk and entry into the festival are free. 5k, $40. 8am-noon. www.dsfestivaland5k.com Oklahoma Czech Festival at Yukon Czech Hall (205 N Czech Hall Rd, Yukon) features a parade, carnival rides, food, music, dancing and craft show. The celebration concludes with the Oklahoma Czech Royalty Coronation Ball at Czech Hall. Free to attend. 8am-5pm. 206-8142, www.czechfestivaloklahoma.com Pioneer Library System Touch-a-Truck at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds (615 E Robinson, Norman) features large vehicles and drivers. Children are free to climb aboard their favorite large vehicles and ask questions about the equipment. Benefits PLS Cleveland County locations. $2 suggested donation. Quiet hour, 9-10am; engines on, 10amnoon. www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org Walk4Water at Wheeler Park (1120 S Western Ave) features a free familyfriendly event designed to raise awareness of the millions of people worldwide who must walk miles to gather safe water. Attendees will walk on a closed course designed to simulate the experience of a three-mile journey to collect water. All ages welcome. Free to attend; fundraising encouraged. 9am-noon. 551-8214, water4.org/walk
Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida OKC at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (2 S Mickey Mantle Dr) features a familyfriendly event with a non-competitive walk/roll, educational resource fair, activity stations and opportunities to connect with families and individuals affected by Spina Bifida. Free to attend; donations welcome. 9am-1:30pm. 310-3599611, www.sbevents.org/event/wnrOKC Moore Arts and Crafts Marketplace at Moore Central Park (700 S Broadway Ave, Moore) features local vendors selling handmade items and other types of arts and crafts. Free to attend. 9am-3pm. 7934332, centralpark.cityofmoore.com/events
October is Pink Ribbon Bagel® Month During the month of October .25 cents of the sale of the Pink Ribbon Bagel will be donated to Komen® Oklahoma.
Friday, October 18th 100% of the proceeds will be donated.
Market in the Park at Harrah Heritage Park (1374 N Church, Harrah) features a craft show, music and kids’ area. Free to attend. 9am-6pm. 454-2951, www.cityofharrah.com OKC River Run at Wiley Post Park (2021 S Robinson Ave) features a chip-timed, USATF certified 5k/10k course along the picturesque Oklahoma River. Benefits Rett Syndrome research. $25-$35. 8-11am. 918-633-8097, www.RunSignUp.com/OKCRiverRun FREE Saturdays for Kids at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St). Put on your favorite cowboy gear and join in on stick horse barrel races, roping and more at the Little Buckaroos RoundUp. For ages 4-12. Free for children and accompanying adults. 10am-noon. 4782250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org FREE Fall Festival at First Presbyterian Church (1001 NW 25th St) features pumpkin carving, chili cook-off, arts & crafts, exotic animals, games, inflatables, food and storytelling. The event is free, open to the public and pet friendly. All ages welcome. 10am-2pm. 525-6584, fpcokc.org WANDERLUST Pop-Up Shops at Wheeler Ferris Wheel (701 W Sheridan Ave) features an outdoor market with artists, hand-crafted artisans, boutiques and local businesses offering repurposed, vintage and unique products. Free to attend. 10am-5pm. 810-6977, www.revolve-productions.com
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this simple bagel concept – created in my Tulsa bakery-cafe – would grow to where it is today, educating the community on breast cancer and inspiring those who are fighting this disease. I’m extremely blessed to have survived to see the Pink Ribbon Bagel make such an impact over more than a decade.”
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Sue Stees, c0-creator of the Pink Ribbon Bagel and 35 year breast cancer survivor.
Mid-America Street Fest at Charles J. Johnson Central Park & Town Center Plaza (SE 29th St & Mid-America Blvd, Midwest City) features an art show, live music, food trucks, carnival rides, games, petting zoo and more. Free to attend; participation prices vary. 11am-6pm. 739-1297, www.midwestcityok.org FREE Santa Fe Homecoming Event at the Santa Fe Depot (614 E Main St, Shawnee) features model trains, a real engine on the tracks, vintage automobiles, stagecoach rides, a petting zoo and more. 10am-5pm. 2759780, www.santafehomecoming.net
share their experiences. 12 & up. 2-4pm. 631-4468, www.metrolibrary.org
FREE Let’s Get Midwest City Moving 5k Walk/Run at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park (8700 E Reno Ave, Midwest City) features a non-competitive 5k run and walk for all fitness levels and an interactive wellness expo before the race. Expo begins at 1pm; run, 3pm. www.facebook.com/MWCmoving
OKC Philharmonic Classics Series: The Voyage at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features Bombay Jayashri and a selection of music from Britten & Debussy. $19 & up. 8pm. 297-2264, www.okcphilharmonic.org
FREE First Mondays for Kids at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman) features complimentary admission for kids 17 years old and under on the first Monday of each month. General admission applies to guests 18 and older. Adults (18-64), $8; seniors (65+), $6; Kids (17 & under), free. 10am5pm. 325-4712, samnoblemuseum.ou.edu
Sensory Sensitive Sundays at Chuck E. Cheese (2201 Interstate Dr, Norman) features less crowds, dimmed lighting, the music and show turned down or off and limited appearances from Chuck E. Prices vary. 9-11am. 366-8200, www.chuckecheese.com/ events/sensory-sensitive-sundays
FREE Family Pizza Chef at the Downtown Library (300 Park Ave). Create your own make-and-take pizza as a family. One pizza per family. Preregister; space is limited. 2-3pm. 231-8650, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Creepy Oklahoma at Southern Oaks Library (6900 S Walker Ave). Members of the Oklahoma Paranormal Research & Investigations (OKPRI) will
FREE Museum Open House at Fred Jones Jr. Museum Of Art (555 Elm Ave, Norman) features a museumwide scavenger hunt. Prizes will be awarded at the front desk for those who complete their hunt. All ages welcome. 1-5pm. 325-3272, www.ou.edu/fjjma
Kids Consignment Sale at Yukon Shopping Hills (1093 S Cornwell, Yukon) features gently used items for babies and children. Free to attend. MondayFriday, 8am-7pm; Saturday, 8am-4pm. www.kidsconsignmentsale.com
(Times may change)
(Closed on Halloween)
Kids $12 Monday through Thursday | $15 Friday, Saturday & Sunday $2 discount if purchased by Wednesday, October 23.
Volunteers & Additional Info please call
Sponsored by Arcadia Lake and Edmond Electric Vehicles not purchasing a child’s ticket will be charged the daily entrance fee.
18 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
DONâ€™T MISS A
Little Sapling Series at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features songs, games and interactive fun to learn about nature. For ages 2-5. Members, $3; nonmembers, $4. 10-11am. Also held: Oct. 22. 4457080, www.myriadgardens.org
Fishing 101 at Mitch Park Pond (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond) features an introduction to pond fishing including how to set up tackle and bait a hook. Preregister. For ages 8 & up. $20. 5:307pm. 359-4630, www.edmondparks.com
3D Archery at the MAC at Mitch Park (2733 Marilyn Williams Dr, Edmond). Learn how to shoot a compound safely at 3D targets from varying heights and distances. Preregister. For ages 8 & up. $8. 5:30-7pm. 3594630, www.edmondparks.com
FREE Monster Makeup at Southern Oaks Library (6900 S Walker Ave). Learn how to create creepy scars and
wounds with makeup, liquid latex and common household supplies. Preregister. For ages 12-18. 4:30-5:30pm. 631-4468, www.metrolibrary.org
Cheese and Wine Festival in Watonga (Main St, Watonga) features a parade, live music, crafts, art show, wine tastings and more. Participation prices vary. Thursday, 6pm; Friday, 11am; Saturday, 9am. www. facebook.com/watongacheesefestival
FREE LIVE on the Plaza in the Plaza District (1700 block of NW 16th) features artists, live music, special events and local shopping. 6-10pm. www.plazadistrict.org/live
Adults Only Night at the Museum at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman). Explore exhibits after hours and enjoy a night of trivia, prizes, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. For ages 21 & up. Members, $25; nonmembers, $35. 6-9pm. 325-1008, samnoblemuseum.ou.edu
Sensory Night at Pumpkinville at Myriad Gardens’ Children Garden (301 W Reno Ave) features a welcoming environment to experience the fall festival with no loud music and smaller crowds. Attendees can enjoy festive booths, crafts and activities. Preregister. $10 per child; accompanying adults & kids (2 & under), free. 6-7:30pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org
Oct. 11 & 12
Tombstone Tales at the Enid Cemetery (212 W Willow, Enid) features a tractordrawn hayride tour through the cemetery to see unusual characters who once lived in Oklahoma. $15. 6:30-8:30pm. 580233-3643, www.chisholmtrailcoalition. org/tombstonetales.html
Historic Spirit Tours at Historic Fort Reno (7107 W Cheyenne St, El Reno) features a tour of the fort. Hear stories of the restless spirits and how they align with some unsolved mysteries. It’s a spooky, fun and educational evening with a special trick-or-treat night (Oct. 12 only). Preregister. Adults, $15; seniors,
All the news and events at your favorite near-metro community. Concerts, chills, family events and romantic date nights at world class facilities. On I-40 East just 30 minutes from Tinker; about 45 minutes from downtown OKC or the OU Campus. Find out more at VisitShawnee.com. Weekends - Nerf Nightmare @ Nerfed Shawnee Weekends - Nightmare Harvest @ Sunshine Shelly’s Weekends - LIVE Music @ Brickhouse Saloon 3/4 - Monkey Business Consignment @ OK Expo Ctr 4 - RATT Live @ Grand Casino Resort 5 - Santa Fe Depot Homecoming @ Train Depot 5 - Fall Festival @ Shawnee Mall 5 - Family Day @ Blackhawk Casino 5 - Haunted Tours @ Brush Bar 12 - Zonta Golf Classic @ Firelake Golf 14 - Halloween Town @ Heart of OK Expo Ctr 15 - Gordon Cooper Tech Ctr 50th Reunion @ GCTC 18 - Block Party @ Downtown 18/25/26 - Farmers Market @ Downtown 18/19 - Fall Fest Flea Market @ Shawnee Trading Post 19 - Craft & Vendor Sale @ Harvest Moon
20 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
19 - Citizen Potawatomi Nation Fall Expo @ Firelake Arena 19/20 - Two Sisters Craft Fair @ Heart of OK Expo Ctr 24/25/26 - Boo on Bell @ Downtown 25 - Native Ink Tattoo Expo @ Grand Casino Resort 25 - Puddle of Mud LIVE @ Grand Casino Resort 26 - $1000 Winner Costume Contest @ Firelake Casino 2 - Commodores & Isley Brothers LIVE @ Firelake Arena 9/10 - Alpaca Blastoff @ Heart of OK Expo Ctr 5 - Christmas Parade of Lights @ Downtown 8 - Charlie Brown Christmas @ Firelake Arena 13 - Elvis Tribute LIVE @ the Historic Ritz
Stay the Weekend in Shawnee!
Details at VisitShawnee.com Facebook.com/ VisitShawneeOklahoma
$10; kids, $7. 7-10pm. Also held: Oct. 26. 262-3987, www.fortreno.org FREE See You Saturdays at Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) features themed experiences and learning opportunities for families to enjoy together including crafts and guided tours. All ages welcome. 10am-5pm. 235-4485, www.oklahomahof.com Uptown 23rd Patio Parties in the Uptown 23rd Street District (various locations) features programming and discounts from local businesses, children’s activities, tailgate parties and live music. Free to attend. 10am-4pm. 200-5848, uptown23rd.com/patio-parties FREE Fire Building & Camp Fire Cooking at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond). Learn how to build a fire and make some basic campfire dishes. All supplies provided. Preregister. For ages 8 & up. 5:30-7pm. 359-4630, www.edmondparks.com FREE Prague Pumpkin Festival in Downtown Prague (Main Street, Prague) features pumpkin decorating, local entertainment, a pie eating contest, a kids’ craft area, clowns, a health fair, games and inflatables. 10am-2pm. 567-3932, www.praguechamber.org FREE Paranormal Fest at the Downtown Library (300 Park Ave). Learn about all things paranormal with presentations by guest experts. Take part in a variety of activities. 10am4pm. 231-8650, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Llama Llama Red Pajama Party at the Northwest Library (5600 NW 122nd St) features story time about llamas, crafts and activities. Attendees are encouraged to wear pajamas. Best suited for ages 4 & under. 2-3pm. 606-3580, www.metrolibrary.org
4-12 and a caregiver. $30 per couple, $10 each additional boy. 5-8pm. 3594630, www.edmondparks.com
Girls Day Out at OKC Farmers Market (311 S Klein Ave) features a day of shopping with local vendors for handmade items and boutiques. Cash bar available. Benefits Infant Crisis Services. $5, kids (12 & under), free. Noon-5:30pm. 810-6977, www.revolveproductions.com/upcoming-events
just add water.
Featured MetroFamily’s Cover Kids Search at Park House Event Center (301 W Reno Ave). Preregistration required by Oct. 8; registration at the door will be at a higher price and numbers are limited. Preregistration is $25 per one entry; $50 for up to 5 entries from the same family. 1-4pm. Entering families receive a swag bag with over $100 in valuable tickets to attractions. www.metrofamilymagazine. com/coverkidssearch Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features a series of pieces by jazz master Duke Ellington. $15. 3pm. 594-8300, www.okcciviccenter.com
Create lasting memories while learning together. Getting your infant confident and comfortable in the water can start as early as 3 months. Research has shown that attending swim lessons with your baby helps deepen the parent-child bond.
+ LESSONS ARE PROVEN TO INCREASE BABY’S MOTOR SKILLS, BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL CONFIDENCE + A PROVEN CONFIDENCE-BUILDING CURRICULUM THAT PROMOTES A LOVE OF SWIMMING AND TEACHES KIDS TO BE SAFER IN AND AROUND THE WATER
OKC Energy vs Rio Grande Valley FC at Taft Stadium (2501 N May Ave). Attendees can enjoy a variety of fanfare including an autograph session following the game. Kids 12 & under eat free. $11 & up. 6pm. 235KICK, www.energyfc.com/tickets
+ BABY-FRIENDLY FEATURES INCLUDING PRIVATE CHANGING ROOMS, COMPLIMENTARY DIAPERS AND A COMFORTABLE 90° POOL
FREE Words + Crafts at Best of Books (1313 E Danforth Rd, Edmond) features a fun art activity using popular children’s books as inspiration. Preregister. Best suited for ages 2 & up. 3-4pm. www.edmondparks.com
FREE Halloween Town at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center (1700 W Independence St, Shawnee) features an indoor trick-or-treating event with a pumpkin carving contest, inflatables, photo booth and more. Costumes welcome. All ages welcome. 4-8pm. 275-7020, www.shawneeexpo.org
Mummy & Son Costume Party at the MAC at Mitch Park (2733 Marilyn Williams Dr, Edmond) features a night of dancing, games, snack food and a costume contest. Preregister. For ages
Basic Kayaking at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond). Learn the basics of kayaking. Preregister. For ages 8 & up. $6. 5:30-7pm. 3594630, www.edmondparks.com METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
BUY 2 MONTHS OF LESSONS, GET 1 MONTH ON US! Prepay for group lessons for October - November & receive December for FREE! ($112 value. Nonrefundable. Expires 10/31/19)
EDMOND | 405.696.7500 goldfishswimschool.com |
Oct. 17 & 18
FREE Fall Y’all Family Fun at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) features fun activities for the whole family including story time, crafts, movies and special activities with community partners. 10:30am. 235-4458, www.oklahomahof.com
Hello, Dolly! at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features a musical comedy tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion. For ages 8 & up. Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30pm; Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2 & 8pm; Sunday, 1 & 6pm. 594-8300, www.okcciviccenter.com FREE TLC (Touch, Learn, Create) – Pumpkins at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library (2201 SW 134th St) features themed sensory activity stations for kids ages 2-6. 10-11:30am. 979-2200, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org
FREE Planter Pumpkins at the Moore Library (225 S Howard Ave, Moore). Participants will learn how to transform their pumpkins into biodegradable fall planters. Preregister. All supplies provided. 6-7pm. 7935100, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org
Third Thursday at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features hands-on art activities, live music and outdoor activities, including on the Roof Terrace, weather permitting. $12; members, free. 5-9pm. 236-3100, www.okcmoa.com/third-thursday
Saloon Series at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features themed drinks and mingling in a saloon-themed atmosphere. Admission includes a drink flight, tasting class, featured cocktail, hors d’oeuvres and live music. Patrons must be 21 & older to attend. $25. 6-8pm. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org Raiders of the Lost Locker Escape Room at the Warr Acres Library (5901 NW 63rd St, Warr Acres). Discover clues, solve puzzles and open the locks to escape. Preregister. For ages 12-18. 6-7pm. 721-2616, www.metrolibrary.org
22 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Fall Break Drop-In Activities at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St). Create make-&-take activities each day while supplies last. Free with admission. 10amnoon. Also held: Oct. 21. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org
Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa at River West Festival Park (2100 S Jackson Ave, Tulsa) features German bands, authentic European foods, arts & crafters, carnival and fun activities for the entire family. Adults, $7-$10; kids (12 & under), free. See website for schedule of events. 918-596-2007, tulsaoktoberfest.org Family Fall Dance at the Del City Community Center (4505 SE 15th St, Del City) features music, light refreshments, photo opportunities, giveaways, a candy bar buffet full of sweets and more. Familyfriendly costumes are welcome. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. 6:30-8:30pm. 887-1511, www.familymatterstoday.com
Moonlight Masquerade Family Dance at the 12th Ave Recreation Center (1701 12th Ave NE, Norman) features a live DJ, haunted house, pumpkin patch and more. Costumes encouraged and refreshments included. Preregister. All ages welcome. $10 in advance; $15 at the door. 366-5472, www.facebook.com/normanokparks Pumpkin Chomp & Stomp at the Oklahoma City Zoo (2101 NE 50th St) features a Halloween-themed animal enrichment event. 10am-2pm. Free with admission. 425-0262, www.okczoo.org FREE Meet Me at Main at 10 West Main Shopping Center Parking Lot (10 W Main St, Yukon) features live music, shopping, vendors, food trucks, face painting and kids’ activities. Lawn chairs welcome. 6-10pm. 823-2429, www.facebook.com/meetmeatmain Trail of Fears at Little River Park (700 SW 4th St, Moore) features a haunted trail through the woods of Little River Park with terror lurking around each corner. Best suited for kids 12 & up. Ages 11 & under must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets must be purchased in advance. $5. 8-11pm. 793-5090, centralpark.cityofmoore.com/events
An Affair of the Heart at State Fair Park (3001 General Pershing Blvd) features a three-day shopping event with art, clothing, antiques, collectibles, gourmet food and more. 3-day pass, $10; kids (12 & under), free. Friday & Saturday, 9am-6pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm. 632-2652, www.aaoth.com/heartofoklahomacity Robbers Cave Fall Festival at Robbers Cave State Park (4575 Northwest 1024th Ave, Wilburton) features arts & crafts, classic car show, food, carnival rides, entertainment and activities. Free to attend. 9am-5pm. 918-4653400, robberscavefallfestival.com
Stockyards Stampede at Stockyard City (1305 S Agnew) features chuckwagons, blacksmiths, gunfighters, carriage rides, food trucks and a children’s educational area with commodity trailers, tractors, straw mazes and games. Free to attend. 10am-4pm. 235-7267, www.stockyardscity.org
Industry Flea in Midtown (399 NW 10th St) features an open-air market with food trucks, live music and a variety of artisans and shops offering vintage clothing, furniture, art and locallymade food. Free to attend. 9am-6pm. 514-5205, www.industryflea.com FREE Fall Crafts At Warr Acres Library (5901 NW 63rd St, Warr Acres) features a come-and-go craft time to create fall-themed masterpieces. All ages welcome. 10:30am-12:30pm. 721-2616, www.metrolibrary.org “Carnival of Animals” Kilgen Organ Performance at Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr) features two performances by Adam Mark Pajan of the American Organ Institute. FREE with admission: adults, $7; students, $4; kids (5 & under), free. 10:30am12:30pm. 522-0765, www.okhistory.org FREE Fall Festival at Ralph Ellison Library (2000 NE 23rd St) features a festival of learning and literary delights. Costumes welcome. 1-4pm. 424-1437, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Under the Big Top: The Greatest Afternoon on Earth at the Midwest City Library (8143 E Reno Ave, Midwest City) features carnival games, circus
low resolution images
performers and more. All ages welcome. 2-4pm. 732-4828, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls at the Norman West Library (300 Norman Center Ct, Norman). Attendees will create hand-decorated ceramic skulls. All materials will be provided. Preregister. 2-4pm. 701-2644, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Midtown Walkabout (various locations in the Midtown district) features specials, discounts, in-store activities and giveaways at area merchants as well as face painting, live art, kids’ crafts and a photo booth. 2-6pm. downtownokc.com/midtown-walkabout FREE Cracking the Dewey Code Escape Room at the Warr Acres Library (5901 NW 63rd St, Warr Acres). Discover clues, solve puzzles and open the locks to escape. Preregister. All ages welcome. 2:30-3:30pm. 7212616, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Heard on Hurd in Edmond (Broadway between 1st & Hurd, Edmond) features local food, unique shopping and live music. 6-10pm. www.facebook.com/heardonhurd
THROW A FAMILY DANCE PARTY
Oct. 19 & 20
Haunt the Zoo at the Oklahoma City Zoo (2101 NE 50th St) features photo opportunities, fantasy-themed booths to trick or treat and more. Costumes encouraged. Zoo admission is required as trick-or-treaters can also explore the zoo. Zoo admission plus trick-or-treat bags: $7; members, $6. 9am-4pm. Also held: Oct. 26 & 27. 424-3344, www.okczoo.org
Tenttober at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond) features a park camping event benefiting The Pine Pantry Food Bank. Enjoy fishing, outdoor games, story time, s’mores, dinner and an outdoor movie. Donations of money, canned goods and household items will be accepted during the event. Preregister, space is limited. $70 per campsite (includes food). 4pm-8am. 359-4630, www.edmondparks.com
FREE Wiggle Out Loud Family Music Festival at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features Kindie Rock bands, fun movement and creative activities. 10:30am-4:30pm. 271-4870, www.wiggleoutloud.org
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
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FREE SONIC Drive-in Family Day at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features free museum admission to the galleries and fun art-making activities. Noon5pm. 236-3100, www.okcmoa.com FREE Open Streets in Oklahoma City (S Robinson Ave between 15th & 29th St) features food trucks, each with a healthy option, and health and wellness activities. City streets will close to motorized traffic to encourage active transportation such as biking and walking. 1-5pm. www.openstreetsokc.com Fall Harvest Fest at Delmar Gardens (1225 SW 2nd St) features a community chili cook-off, live music, yard games, pumpkin carving, DIY caramel apple “nachos” and a pop-up farmers market. Money raised benefits OKC Beautiful programs. For 21 & up. $35. 2-5pm. 5258822, www.facebook.com/OKCBeautiful
“The Phantom of the Opera” Kilgen Organ Performance at the Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr) features organist Bernie Anderson and a screening of a 1929 restored version of “The Phantom of the Opera.” Members, $10; nonmembers, $20. 7-8:30pm. 522-0765, www.okhistory.org
Oct. 23-30 Featured Storybook Forest at Arcadia Lake (7200 E 15th St, Edmond) features a fun, not-scary trail filled with roaming characters and lots of treats. Additional activities include hayrides, games, a campfire for roasting marshmallows, hot chocolate and story time. Weekdays, $12; weekends, $15. $2 discount if purchased before Oct. 23. 5:308:30pm. 216-7471, arcadialakeok.com
FREE Spike’s Spooktacular Fall Festival at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman) features gallery hunts, photo booths, face painting and crafts. Kid-friendly costumes encouraged. 4-7pm. 3254712, samnoblemuseum.ou.edu
FREE Harry Potter Night: Wizards Unite at the Warr Acres Library (5901 NW 63rd St, Warr Acres) features themed snacks, treasure hunts, crafts and games. All ages welcome. 5-7pm. 721-2616, www.metrolibrary.org Haunt the Harn at Harn Homestead (1721 N Lincoln Blvd) features oldfashioned Halloween fun including trick-or-treat stations, game areas and other fun activities. Trick-or-treaters: $7 in advance, $10 at the event. 6:30-8:30pm. 235-4058, www.harnhomestead.com FREE Special Effects Makeup for Teens at the Southwest Oklahoma City
Free therapeutic screening The J.D. McCarty Center for children with developmental disabilities offers a free therapeutic screening for children with special needs and their families to meet with our experts and receive information about services and resources available. The center serves children from birth to age 21. Call 405-307-2800 to schedule a free screening and to learn more about how we enrich the lives of children with disabilities!
24 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
J.D. McCarty Center 2002 E. Robinson St. Norman, OK 73071 405-307-2800 www.jdmc.org
Library (2201 SW 134th St). Explore the art of special effects and learn how to use makeup and simple household ingredients to create a costume or persona. For ages 12 & up. 6:30-7:30pm. 9792200, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org FREE Ping Pong Mania at The Station at Central Park (700 S Broadway Ave, Moore) features a family-friendly evening of ping pong. All experience levels welcome. Kids 6 & under must be accompanied by an adult. 7:30-9:30pm. 793-5090, centralpark.cityofmoore.com
Boo on Bell in Downtown Shawnee (Main St & Bell Ave, Shawnee) features trick-or-treating, live music, costume contests, family activities and a parade. See website for schedule. Free to attend; participation prices vary. 6-10pm. 7776505, www.facebook.com/SEFFShawnee Scary Tales at the Henry Overholser Mansion (405 NW 15th St) features spooky stories about Oklahoma history
and a tour that explores areas of the mansion not typically open during daily tours. This event is family-friendly, but ghost stories will be told. $25. 7-9pm. 525-5325, www.overholsermansion.org
FREE Itty-Bitty Dance Party at the Midwest City Library (8143 E Reno Ave) features a dance party for kids ages 1-5. 10-11am. 732-4828, www.metrolibrary.org
and enjoy some Halloween sweets and treats. Costumes encouraged. Best suited for ages 16 & up. $35, 6-8pm. 814-0006, skeletonmuseum.com FREE Urban Legends: Fact or Fiction at the Norman East Library (3051 Alameda St, Norman). Learn more about urban legends and use critical thinking to debunk some famous myths. For ages 12 & up. 5-6:30pm. 217-0770, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org
Pumpkinville Party at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features food, drink, dancing, a costume contest, a DJ, lawn games, spiked cider tastings for adults and complimentary samples of delicious fall desserts from participating vendors. All ages welcome. Members, $12; nonmembers, $15. 6-8pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org
FREE Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Party at Unpluggits Paint & Play (575 Enterprise Dr, Edmond) features games, crafts, face painting and more. The event will be in partnership with Mad Science. Food trucks will also be on site. Wear your costume and be entered into a drawing. 6-9pm. 340-7584, www.unpluggits.com
Halloween Forensic Night at SKELETONS Museum of Osteology (10301 S Sunnylane Rd). Explore what law enforcement, doctors and anthropologists can learn by examining human skeletons
FREE Fall Festival in Downtown Norman (Main & Jones St, Norman) features trick-or-treating, games, activities, costume contest and prizes. 6-9pm. 3668095, www.facebook.com/FallFestNorman
Make memories with your family at the Kenny Farms Fall Festival Open Now - October 27 Kiddie Days - Tues. 10-2, Wed. 10-2 - $5 Admission Weekends - Sat. 10-6, Sunday 1-6 - $10 Admission
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Interact with over 50 farm animals in the petting farm · Ride a pony or horse · Jump on the bounce pad & obstacle course bouncer · Fly beside the animals on the chicken flyer · Slide down a giant slide into a corn pit · Make & eat S’mores · Take pictures in the pumpkins
205562 E County Rd 40, Woodward 405.714.3453 · www.kennyfarms.com METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
FREE Fall Festival at Church of the Servant (14343 N MacArthur) features trunk-or-treat activities, carnival games, inflatables, face painting, balloon animals, a cake walk, a bake sale and more. The evening will conclude with a fireworks display. Dress up encouraged, but no scary costumes please. In case of rain, all activities will move indoors. 6-8pm. 721-4141, www.churchoftheservant.com Moore Mummy & Son Dance at The Station at Central Park (700 S Broadway Ave, Moore) features a Halloween-themed dance for mothers and sons ages 4-14. Costumes encouraged. $5 per person in advance, $10 at the door. 7-9pm. 793-5090, centralpark.cityofmoore.com/events Haunt the Zoo for Adults at the Oklahoma City Zoo (2101 NE 50th St) features a party at the zoo with drinks, dancing, games, goodie bags and more. For adults 21 & up. $25 & up. 7pmmidnight. 424-3344, www.okczoo.org
Oct. 25 & 26
Edmond Historic Ghost Tours in Downtown Edmond (19 N Broadway, Edmond) features a tour of the downtown area where many founding fathers of the city lived and worked. Tour guides dressed in late 1800s and early 1900s period costumes will play the parts of deceased historical figures to bring them back to life. Other activities include horse drawn wagon rides and s’mores. $7; kids (10 & under), free. 6-8pm. 285-9700, www.facebook.com/edmondhistory Ghost Stories at the Hunter’s Home (19479 E Murrell Home Rd, Park Hill near Tahlequah) features storytellers in period costume sharing tales about the Murrell Home and the Cherokee Nation. Sessions will begin every 15 minutes. Best suited for kids ages 8 & up. Preregister; space is limited. $10. 6:308:30pm. 918-456-2751, www.okhistory.org
The Simon & Garfunkel Story at Hudiburg Chevorlet Center (6000 S Trosper Pl, Midwest City) features an
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immersive concert-style theater show that chronicles the amazing journey shared by the folk-rock duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. $27.28 & up. 8pm. www.okcbroadway.com/sgstory Bandstand at the OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center (7777 S May Ave) features an inspiring new American musical with infectious music and highoctane, heart-stopping dancing. $30$45. 8pm. 682-7579, tickets.occc.edu
PAW Patrol LIVE: The Great Pirate Adventure at Cox Convention Center (1 Myriad Gardens) features a pirate-themed adventure to uncover hidden treasure during a live stage show. $19 & up. Friday, 6pm; Saturday, 10am & 2pm; Sunday, noon & 4pm. www.pawpatrollive.com
HallowMarine at the Oklahoma Aquarium (300 Aquarium Dr, Jenks) features an indoor trick-or-treat trail, a sweet and spooky play area with
age-appropriate games, candy and prizes. Kids are encouraged to wear costumes. Kids (ages 3-12), $11; adults $15; 2 & under, free. 6:30-9pm. 918296-3474, www.okaquarium.org
Spook and Roll Halloween Party at Skate Galaxy (5800 NW 36th St) features a costume contest with prizes, games, festive decorations, music and more. Costumes encouraged. All ages welcome. $10, 1-5pm; $15, 7pm-midnight. 602-2758, www.skategalaxyokc.com
FREE National Weather Festival at the National Weather Center (120 David L Boren Blvd, Norman) features a tour of the center including forecast operation areas as well as local TV meteorologists, emergency response vehicles and equipment displays. 10am-2pm. 325-3095, www.facebook. com/NationalWeatherFestival Turn the Town Upside Down at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features sarsaparilla samples in the Silver Dollar Saloon, spooky crafts, treats and more. Costumes encouraged. Best suited for kids ages 3-10. Free with museum admission. 10am-noon. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org Creative Kids Show at 10 West Main Events (10 W Main St, Yukon) features a kid-focused craft show with products made by local kids. Free to attend. 10am-4pm. 694-1549, www.thesewcialinitiative.org FREE Spooktacular in Downtown El Reno (Main Street, El Reno) features a costume parade, trick-or-treating, prizes and more. Parade, 10am; trick-or-treating, 11am-noon. 2628888, www.elrenomainstreet.com Halloween on the Green at Will Rogers Gardens (3400 NW 36th St) features a trick-or-treat trail, a sugar skull craft, face painting and more. Preregister. All ages welcome. $5. 10am2pm. 297-1392, www.okc.gov/active FREE Spooktacular Saturday at the Southern Oaks Library (6900 S Walker Ave) features a Halloween costume contest and fun activities. Preregister.
Best suited for ages 9 & under. 10:30amnoon. 631-4468, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Saturday Spooktacular at the Norman East Library (3051 Alameda St, Norman) features warm cider, family-friendly Halloween movies and spooky crafts. Costumes welcome. Preregister. 10:30am-1:30pm. 2170770, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org Gypsy Glam Roadshow Fall Festival at Eldon Lyon Park (7400 NW 36th St, Bethany) features food trucks, trick-ortreating, face painting, a pooch parade, art activities and pumpkin decorating. This event is kid- and pet-friendly. Free to attend. 11am-3pm. 602-1851, www.oklahomagypsyglam.com Trick or Treat City at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park (8700 E Reno Ave, Midwest City) features a Candy Village where kids can collect candy from costumed characters. There will also be a carnival with crafts, games and inflatables. Costumes encouraged. Trick-or-treating, free; carnival, $1 for four tickets. 7391293, www.midwestcityok.org FREE Sugar Skull Craft at the Bethany Library (7941 NW 23rd St, Bethany). Embellish a sugar skull with glitter, feathers, a hat and more to celebrate El Dia de los Muertos. Preregister. All supplies provided. For ages 12 & up. 2-3pm. 789-8363, www.metrolibrary.org
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FREE Trunk or Treat at Casady Square (9207 N Penn Ave) features trunk or treating with area merchants in costume handing out candy and other giveaways. 3-5pm. 843-7474, www. facebook.com/ShopCasadySquare Spooksville at the Yukon Community Center (2200 S Holly Ave, Yukon) features a dog costume contest, kidsâ€™ costume contest, carnival area with games, clowns, magicians and lots of treats. Costumes encouraged. Kids, $3; adults, free. 3-6pm. 3508937, www.cityofyukonok.gov Spooky Pooch Parade at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features spooky music, pet booths and a parade of pooches. Preregister. Members, $5 per dog; nonmembers, $10 per dog. 3-4pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
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FREE Haunt Old Town in Moore (Broadway Ave, Moore) features trick-ortreating, food trucks, inflatables, games, music and candy. 4-7pm. 793-5000, www.facebook.com/MooresOldTown FREE Trunk or Treat in the Park at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond) features decorated vehicles and candy for kids in a safe and fun environment. Attendees can also try their hand at a dunk-a-cop station. Costumes encouraged. 5-8pm. 359-4630, www.edmondparks.com
Oct. 26 & 27
Oklahoma Mineral & Gem Show at State Fair Park (608 Kiamichi Pl) features more than 30 vendors with crystals, artisan jewelry, tools, rough rock, fossils, gems, mineral specimens and home décor. See exhibits and demonstrations and take part in kids’ activities. $6; kids (12 & under), free. Saturday, 9am-6pm; Sunday, 10am-5pm. 719-8477, omgs-minerals.org Halloween Train at the Oklahoma Railway Museum (3400 NE Grand Blvd) features a Halloween train ride, moon bounce, miniature golf and treat for the kids. Smiley O’Riley from Dental Depot will be handing out goodie bags to all of the children. Costumes encouraged. 13 & up, $12; kids (3-12), $5; kids (under 3), free. Saturday, 9:30am-4:30pm; Sunday, 12:30-4:30pm. 424-8222, www.oklahomarailwaymuseum.org
FREE Fall Festival at Nichols Hills United Methodist Church (1212 Bedford Dr, Nichols Hills) features a chili cook-off, hay rides, games, s’mores and more. 5-7pm. 842-1486, www.nicholshillsumc.org
Featured FREE Trunk or Treat at New Covenant United Methodist Church (2700 S Boulevard, Edmond) features a family-friendly evening with plenty of candy, decorated trunks, games, inflatables, music and free food. Costumes welcome. 3-5pm. 562-3200, www.newcov.tv FREE Destiny Fun Fest at Destiny Christian Center (3801 SE 29th St) features inflatables, costume contests, music, family photo opportunities and trunk-or-treating with tons of candy and
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
carnival games. Concessions will be available for minimal cost. In case of rain, all activities will move indoors. 5:308pm. 677-1451, www.destinyokc.com Miles for Miracles Run at the Children’s Hospital Foundation (901 N Lincoln Blvd) features a 15k, 5k and one-mile fun run benefiting Children’s Hospital Foundation. Attendees can also enjoy food trucks, activities for children and a costume contest. $20-$50. 7am3pm. www.milesformiraclesokc.com Cheers & Beers Festival at Legacy Park (1898 Legacy Park Dr, Norman) features a variety of local breweries and wineries, live music from Banana Seat and Spinster as well as a costume contest, yard games, Bricks 4 Kidz and face painting. Free to attend; tastings, $25. Noon-4:30pm. www.facebook.com/normanokparks FREE Halloween Story & Craft Time at the Edmond Library (10 S Boulevard, Edmond) features story time, games, music and crafts. Costumes welcome. 3-4:30pm. 3419282, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Magic Lantern Celebration in the Paseo Arts District (Paseo Ave). Children of all ages are invited to “come as they are,” transform themselves with the help of local artists and then join in on a costume parade on the labyrinth painted on the street. Costume making, 3-5:30pm; costume spin, 5:45pm. All children must be accompanied by adults. 525-2688, www.thepaseo.org
FREE Halloween Toddler Dance at Southern Oaks Library (6900 S Walker Ave) features dancing, singing and slightly spooky tunes. Costumes welcome. Preregister. For ages 5 & under. 10:3011:15am. 631-4468, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Brick-or-Treat in Bricktown (Reno Ave & Mickey Mantle Dr) features trick-or-treating, pumpkin painting stations, costumed characters and a photo booth. Trick-or-treaters must be under 14 years old and in costume to receive candy. 4-7pm. 236-8666, downtownokc.com/brick-or-treat FREE Critter Fest at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library (2201 SW 134th St) features an amphibian, reptile and invertebrate exploration with
the Oklahoma City Herpetological and Invertebrate Society. See snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises, frogs, toads, salamanders and all kinds of bugs. Costumes welcome. 5-6:30pm. 9792200, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org FREE Haunted House at the Capitol Hill Library (327 SW 27th St) features a creepy haunted house, best suited for ages 10 & up. 5:30-7:30pm. 6346308, www.metrolibrary.org Yukon’s Mummy & Son Masquerade at the Yukon Community Center (1024 E Main St, Yukon) features a fun evening of carnival games, costume contest, hot dogs, spooky music and lots of candy for boys ages 4-12 and their mummies. $4 in advance, $5 day of. 6-8pm. 3508937, www.cityofyukonok.gov
FREE Halloween Story Time at the Moore Library (225 S Howard Ave, Moore) features themed songs, stories, crafts and music. Costumes welcome. Best suited for ages 5 & under. 10-11am. 793-5100, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org
FREE Trunk or Treat at St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church (14700 N May Ave) features giant inflatables, dinner, candy, prizes for best costumes and trunk-or-treating. 6:308:30pm. 751-7874, www.sac-okc.org
FREE Itty Bitty Dress Up Dance Party at the Northwest Library (5600 NW 122nd St) features a dance party for toddlers, preschoolers and their caregivers. Costumes welcome. 1011am. 606-3580, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Mission: Explore NASA at the Belle Isle Library (5501 N Villa Ave). Make craters on the moon, build rockets and learn to make robots like astronauts use at the space station. This program is designed for children and accompanying adults. 4-5pm. 843-9601, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Fall Festival of Treats at St. Luke’s Edmond (900 N Sooner Rd, Edmond) features inflatables, trunk-or-treating, candy and indoor/ outdoor playgrounds. All ages welcome. 6-7:30pm. 285-2313, stlukesedmond.org
Bone Chilling Halloween Event at SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology (10301 S Sunnylane Rd) features trickor-treating stations, candy, raffles, games, owl pellet dissections and more. Costumes encouraged. $7 in advance, $8 at the door. Add-on activities available. 6-9pm. 814-0006, skeletonmuseum.org FREE Spooktacular Storytime and Parade at the Downtown Library (300 Park Ave) features story time and a costume parade. Preregister. Best suited for age 5 & under. 10-11am. 231-8650, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Haunt The Hill on Calle Dos Cinco (SW 25th St between Hudson & Robinson) features a costume contest, safe trick-or-treating, games and goodies. 5-7pm. 6320133, www.historiccapitolhill.com FREE Halloween Arts Spectacular at The Station at Central Park (700 S
MamaFest at Embassy Suites by Hilton Norman Hotel & Conference Center (2501 Conference Dr, Norman) features resources for both new and experienced moms including industry experts, vendors and more. There will also be a dad lounge and a kids’ zone. $10; couples, $15; kids, free. 10am-3pm. www.mamafest2019.com
Broadway Ave, Moore) features a Halloween-themed art-making time including drawing, painting, candy and treats. A certified art instructor will be present. Costumes encouraged. 5:30-7:30pm. 793-5090, centralpark.cityofmoore.com
FREE Pumpkin Harvest Craft Festival at Dale Robertson Center (1200 Lakeshore Dr, Yukon) features a variety of vendors from across the state offering candles, wood crafts, needle work, home décor, holiday decorations and more. There will also be Indian tacos for sale along with a bake sale with proceeds going toward Friends of the Park. Free to attend. 9am3pm. 350-8937, www.cityofyukonok.gov
Native American Heritage Day at the Chickasaw Cultural Center (867 Cooper Memorial Dr, Sulphur) features language demonstrations, social stickball games and cultural demonstrations from the Chickasaw and other native tribes. Free to attend. 10am-5pm. 580-622-7130, www.chickasawculturalcenter.com Orr’s Gourd Wild: Pumpkin Festival at Orr Family Farm (14400 S Western Ave). Bring your old pumpkins to the farm to smash or destroy the unsold pumpkins at the farm in unique ways. Free with admission; $15.95. 10am-9pm. 799-3276, www.orrfamilyfarm.com/special-events
Saints 5k at Oklahoma Christian School Campus (4689 E 2nd St, Edmond) features a 5k and fun run benefiting programs and activities on campus. Preregister. $30. 8:30-11am. runsignup.com/Race/ OK/Edmond/OCSSaints5KRun
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FREE Saturdays for Kids at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St). Make your own tipi and personalize it with symbols that are meaningful to you. For ages 4-12. Free for children and accompanying adults. Activities available while supplies last. 10am-noon. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org FREE Día De Los Muertos event at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (555 Elm Ave, Norman) features family-friendly activities including make-your-own ofrenda, sugar skull masks and papel picada decorations. Attendees can also visit the Menagerie installation and enjoy light refreshments to celebrate Latin American culture. 1-4pm. 325-3272, www.ou.edu/fjjma
Nov. 8-10 Featured Mistletoe Market at the Cox Convention Center (1 Myriad Gardens) features a one-stop holiday shopping extravaganza with unique merchandise from more than 100 carefully selected vendors from Oklahoma and across the country. Shop for clothing, gourmet foods, gifts, children’s items, jewelry and more during the market. Benefits the mission of the Junior League of Oklahoma City. Adults, $10; seniors (65+), $5; kids (12 & under), free. Friday & Saturday, 9am-8pm; Sunday, 9am-5pm. 8435668, www.mistletoemarket.org
Holiday Bazaar at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (308 NW 164th St, Edmond) features crafters with painting, quilts, jewelry, pottery and more. Free to attend. 9am-3pm. 3483292, www.holytrinityedmond.org
OKC Philharmonic Discovery Family Series: Music-Palooza at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features a family-friendly concert designed to entertain and educate youngsters ages 4-13. Maestro Matt and OKC favorite Lucas Ross will lead a bluegrass blowout. Pre-concert fun includes an instrument playground, conductor’s corner, meet & greets with performers and more. $9. 2pm. 842-5387, www.okcphilharmonic.org/discovery
30 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Spooky Fun If your household is looking to trade in their treat bags for some frightful fun, check out these spooky options happening in the Oklahoma City metro and beyond: On select days throughout the month, including Halloween night, Fright Fest will take over Frontier City. As the sun goes down, the ghouls and goblins come out to play. There will be several haunted houses and scare zones throughout the park. Zombies have taken over RIVERSPORT Adventures! Test your survival skills on the SandRidge Sky Trail before heading into one of the metro’s newest haunted attractions, The Splice, presented by The Sanctuary. Both attractions are open Fridays & Saturdays throughout October and on Halloween night. On Friday, Oct. 18, terror will be lurking around every corner at Little River Park. For one night only, the City of Moore hosts a haunted trail, and this year’s Trail of Fears theme is Camp Deadwood. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $5 per person. The Castle of Muskogee takes on a haunted twist with nearly a dozen spooky attractions, each with their own terror rating. The annual Halloween Festival is open Fridays & Saturdays until Oct. 26.
Not-so-Spooky Fun Several venues will be hosting fall festivities this month and these kid-friendly events are sure to delight more than fright! Enjoy old-fashioned Halloween fun at Harn Homestead’s Haunt the Harn trick or treat on Oct. 24 or the Turn the Town Upside Down event at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum on Oct. 26. The Oklahoma City Zoo rolls out its Halloween fun during the annual Haunt the Zoo days. This popular event welcomes trick-or-treaters with a fantasy-themed trail on two weekends: Oct. 19 & 20, 26 & 27. Squeeze in some extra dress-up time at the Downtown Library’s FREE Spooktacular on Oct. 31. Enjoy a special Halloweenthemed story time and a costume parade! Preregister to save your spot for the fun.
Weekly EVENTS CALENDAR
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Little Sapling Series at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features songs, games and interactive fun to learn about nature. Each week features a new theme with corresponding activities and learning opportunities. Preregister. For ages 2-5. Members, $3; nonmembers, $4. Select Tuesdays, 10-11am. 4457080, www.myriadgardens.org FREE Art Adventures at Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (555 Elm, Norman) for ages 3-5. Young artists are invited to experience art through books. Tuesdays, 10:30am. 325-3272, www.ou.edu/fjjma FREE Botanical Balance Yoga at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features an alllevels class. Check in at the south entrance to the Crystal Bridge to find out location. Bring mat and water. Tuesdays, 5:45pm; Saturdays, 8am. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org Tuesday Night Classics at Harkins Theatre (150 E Reno Ave) features classic films on the big screen including Escape from New York and The Addams Family. Tuesdays, 7pm. $5. 231-4747, www.harkins.com Toddler Story & Craft Time at Unpluggits Paint & Play (575 Enterprise Dr, Ste 110,
Edmond) features a short story time and age-appropriate craft. Free with admission. Wednesdays & Thursdays, 11-11:30am. 340-7584, www.unpluggits.com Fortnite Dance Party at the MAC at Mitch Park (2733 Marilyn Williams Dr, Edmond). Learn dances from the popular game during a one-hour class taught by young teens. Preregister. For ages 6-12. Parents welcome to stay. Thursdays, $10. 5:306pm. 359-4630, www.edmondparks.com Family Skate Night at Skate Galaxy (5800 NW 36th St). Includes basic skate rental. Family package includes admission, skate rentals, pizza and drinks for up to five family members. $6 per person OR $29 for the family deal. Thursdays, 7-10pm; Sundays, 6-8pm. 605-2758, www.skategalaxyokc.com FREE Childrenâ€™s Story Time at Full Circle Books (1900 N Expressway) features a fun story time with a special guest or staff member. Saturdays, 10:15am. 842-2900, www.fullcirclebooks.com FREE Littles Story Time at Commonplace Books (1325 N Walker Ave) features a halfhour, all-ages story time. Saturdays, 10:30am. 534-4540, www.commonplacebooksokc.com
FREE Wide-Open Wednesdays at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features complimentary admission, courtesy of Oklahoma Ford Dealers. Attendees can also enjoy a free Western movie matinĂŠe at 1pm. Wednesdays, 10am-5pm. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org
FREE Story Time & Craft at Best of Books (1313 E Danforth Rd, Edmond) features a kid-friendly story time and corresponding craft activity. Saturdays, 11am. 340-9202, www.bestofbooksok.com Fall Foliage Paddle at the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge (NW 51st St & N Stinchcomb Ave). Paddle through the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge on a dragon boat or flatwater kayak, all while surrounded by changing colors of fall foliage. For ages 5 & up. $19. Select Saturdays, 11:30am & 1pm. 552-4040, www.riversportokc.org/lake-overholser FREE Learn to Skate Lesson at Skate Galaxy (5800 NW 36th St) features a FREE roller skating lesson. No sign up required. Skate rentals start at $2. All ages welcome. Saturdays, noon. 6022758, www.skategalaxyokc.com Discovery Time at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman) features interactive, hands-on activities such as stories, crafts and discovery table specimens. For preschool & elementary-aged kids. Free with admission. Saturdays, 2pm; Sundays, 2:30pm. 325-4712, samnoblemuseum.ou.edu
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Ongoing EVENTS CALENDAR
Pumpkinville at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features crafts, games, imaginative displays and more. Members & kids (2 & under), free; nonmembers, $8. 10am-5pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org
to life on a fun, not-scary trail filled with roaming characters at Spring Creek Park. Additional activities include hayrides, games, story time and a campfire for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Adults, free with child entry; kids, $12 (weekdays), $15 (weekends). 5:30-8:30pm. 405-216-7471
Through Oct. 26
Mix-Tape at Factory Obscura (25 NW 9th St) features a brand-new, permanent exhibit described as a 20th-century take on the classic audio autobiography, experienced through immersive auditory and tactile art. Visitors will also have the opportunity to collaborate with MeowWolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, N.M. Adults, $15; kids (4-12), $12; kids (3 & under), free. Thursday, 11am-7pm; Friday & Saturday, 11am-8pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm. www.factoryobscura.com
Through Oct. 13
Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch at Wings Special Needs Community (13700 N Eastern Ave, Edmond) features hayrides, pumpkin train rides, corn maze, hay slide, bounce houses, pony rides, Betsy the milk cow, games and more. Play patch admission: $5; kids (2 & under), free. Friday & Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, 1-6pm. 242-4646, www.wingsok.org Layered Stories - America’s Canyonlands at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features more of the Museum’s permanent collection that focuses on landforms unique in the American West, in particular those landforms created through wind and water erosion. Adults, $12.50; kids (6-12), $5.57; kids (5 & under), free. Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org
Through Oct. 21
Crystal Reverie by Rachel Hayes at the Crystal Bridge Conservatory (301 W Reno Ave) features textile art that responds to nature and highlights attributes from canyons, deserts, forests, lakes and even her own backyard. Adults, $8; kids (412), $5; kids (3 & under), free. MondaySaturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org
Storybook Forest at Arcadia Lake (7200 E 15th St, Edmond) makes fairytales come
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park presents “The Tempest” at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave), which features Shakespeare’s First Folio in a love letter to theater and the printed word. Best suited for ages 13 & up. Thursday-Sunday, 8pm. 235-3700, www.okshakes.org
Through Oct. 27
Pumpkin Patch at Kenny Farms (205562 E County Rd 40, Woodward) includes a plethora of family-friendly activities like a petting farm, pedal cars, a tractor playset, corn pit, inflatable obstacle course and pumpkin slingshots in the fresh country air. $10. Half-price admission Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, 1-6pm. 405-714-3453, www.kennyfarms.com
Through Nov. 2
Rustic Roots Pumpkin Patch (105340 Greer Rd, Lamont) features pumpkins and fall decor as well as a 10-acre corn maze, petting zoo, corn cannon, hay maze, tractor rides, jump pad, giant slide, concessions and more. $8-12. Friday & Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday 1-8pm. Fall Break hours Oct. 16-21, 10am-8pm. 580713-3608, www.rusticrootsevents.com
Through Dec. 31
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Fireworks at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features a the works of internationally renowned filmmaker and visual artist Apichatpong. In a single channel video installation that the artist’s website describes as a “hallucinatory memory machine,” the flickering light of fireworks and the sudden flash of a digital camera illuminate unconventional animal sculptures at a temple in Northeast Thailand. Adults, $12; kids (6-18), $10; kids (5 & under), free. Wednesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. 236-3100, www.okcmoa.com Find more information about current museum exhibits at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/ museums. Find family fall fun at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/fall-fun.
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
One of the world’s largest collections of Chihuly glass.
LAWTON LONG WEEKEND
WICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE. STORY AND PHOTOS BY DEBBIE MURNAN.
If the busyness of life has your soul craving time in the great outdoors, a short 90-minute drive to Lawton may be just what your family needs over Fall Break. Lawton is home to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, a 59,000 acre preserve boasting rock mountains more than 500 million years old, expansive grass prairies and an abundance of wildlife. The city is also rich with history and interactive museums for the entire family to enjoy before ending the day with a gorgeous sunset over Lake Lawtonka. Team Murnan (including my husband, Patrick, our boys Mason, 7, and Aiden, 6, and our Great Pyrenees pup, Max) has compiled our six favorite Lawton stops sure to delight kids of all ages.
Whether your family weaves a Lawton day trip into your Fall Break plans or spends several days exploring the area, the close-to-home hub of outdoor play and culture will inspire memories for years to come.
34 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
THE MURNAN FAMILY AT WICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE.
WICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE Families could easily spend an entire day exploring the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (32 Refuge Headquarters Road, Indiahoma, 580-429-3222, www.fws.gov/refuge/wichita_mountains). The Visitor Center is the perfect place to start to gather maps, check out the educational exhibits and take part in guided family hikes, starting at 9 a.m. every Saturday morning. The refuge offers 15 miles of designated hiking trails, and leashed pets like our Max are always welcome. Some good starter trails for kids are the Little Baldy Trail and the Elk Trail, which can be extended for a longer hike along the Bison Loop. Charonâ€™s Garden Trail is the perfect place to find bison roaming, and the Kite Trail is popular for overlooks into the FortyFoot Hole, a natural depression filled with water from Cache Creek. Keep in mind the terrain can be rough in some areas, so sturdy shoes and lots of water are a must. Cell phone service can be spotty throughout the refuge, so keep those maps handy and enjoy the chance to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with family. For those who enjoy camping and fishing, the refuge offers 90 wellmaintained campsites at the Doris campground, and there are 13 public lakes available for fishing.
MASON AND AIDEN EXPEND ENERGY AT ELMER THOMAS PARK.
ELMER THOMAS PARK Elmer Thomas Park (501 NW Ferris Ave, Lawton, 580-581-3400, www.lawtonok.gov/ places/elmer-thomas-park) is a beautiful urban park providing plenty of outdoor spaces to play, including a splash pad in summertime and a shaded playground. The park is also home to two museums dedicated to the history of early life on the Great Plains. The Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center (701 NW Ferris Ave, Lawton, 580-353-0404,
www.comanchemuseum.com) is free to visit and an opportunity for the family to learn about Lawton’s largest American Indian tribe through both historical collections and art. Located next door, the Museum of the Great Plains (601 NW Ferris Ave, Lawton, 580-581-3460, www.discovermgp. org, tickets $8-10) is an interactive museum providing new perspectives on what life was like as an early Oklahoma settler. Kids can explore an outdoor fort, learn how to lasso a cow or even step inside a basement for a tornado simulation.
DEBBIE, MASON AND AIDEN EXPLORE THE PARALLEL FOREST NEAR LAWTON.
Ready to venture off the beaten path? Lawton has unique curiosities to add to a family-friendly weekend. The Holy City of the Wichitas (262 Holy City Rd, Cache, 580-429-3361), built in the 1930s, is a little slice of ancient Jerusalem located east of the Wichita Refuge. The grounds are free to explore every day of the year but are best known for its annual Easter passion play, a now 90-year tradition. Just up the road from the Holy City, the Parallel Forest (on Meers Road near Lawton) is worth a quick stop. The eerily beautiful forest, with more than 20,000 red cedars planted in rows six feet apart in all directions, was built by the government as a workforce project to grow fence posts in the early 1900s. Several other nearby lots were planted and used, but the Parallel Forest was added to the refuge before its turn for harvesting, leaving the unique site for visitors to enjoy today. The area is rumored to be prime for paranormal experiences, so it may be best to explore this forest before the sun goes down!
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Little Buckaroos Round-up
October 5 • 10:00 a.m. – Noon Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Put on your favorite cowboy gear and join us for stick horse barrel races, roping and more.
Fall Break Activities! 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
October 17 • Fall Leaf Suncatchers October 18 • Foil Art October 21 • Clay Art
nationalcowboymuseum.org/kids 1700 Northeast 63rd Street Oklahoma City, OK 73111 Mon – Sat, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sun, Noon – 5:00 p.m. (405) 478-2250 Free with Museum admission. Available while supplies last. This program is made possible, in part, with support from the Robert Glenn Rapp Foundation.
WILDLIFE & NATURE VIEWS Autumn is the ideal time to plan an extended drive along the Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway (Loop W of Apache on Hwys 19, 58, 115 & 49). This 105-mile stretch of highway will leave you wondering if you’re still in Oklahoma as you take in the rocky landscape and changing colors of trees and grasslands. Wildlife viewing is guaranteed especially throughout the refuge, where herds of bison, elk, white-tailed deer and longhorn cattle can easily be spotted from the road. Prairie Dog Town (located along Highway 49) is another highlight for children of all ages. Observe a large community of highly entertaining (and equally adorable) prairie dogs in their natural habitat. Families will also enjoy the 3-mile drive to the top of Mount Scott for some breathtaking summit views and boulder hopping; just be sure to check online for road closures (www.fws.gov/refuge/Wichita_Mountains). PRARIE DOG TOWN IS A PRIME STOP FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES.
ICONIC EATS When it comes to dining in Lawton, there is no shortage of classic burger joints. Back Porch Drafthouse (1925 W Gore Blvd Lawton, 580-699-2990, bpdrafthouse.com) is a popular spot for incredible burgers with unique topping combinations and a wide selection of craft beer to pair with them. For a lighter meal, the Cobb salad or veggieloaded tacos and wraps hit the spot. Red Boot Grill (1916 SW Lee Blvd, Lawton, 580-713-5335) is a family-owned American diner, praised for outstanding customer service and delicious scratch-made food.
TASTY TACOS FROM BACK PORCH DRAFTHOUSE HIT THE SPOT.
MEDICINE PARK A trip to Lawton isn’t complete without a stop in the charming town of Medicine Park. Established in 1908, it was a summer resort destination promoting health spas and medicinal healing from the water of Medicine Creek. The town suffered financially during the Great Depression but was restored in the early 1980s as iconic cobblestone buildings were made new, businesses began to open and the population grew. Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center (1 Aquarium Dr, Medicine Park, 580-529-3601, mpmns.org, tickets $5-10, kids under 3 free) is a new attraction where kids can feed turtles or watch an electric eel show. Lastly, a walk along Medicine Creek near Lake Lawtonka will leave your family with stunning waterside views all against the backdrop of the Wichita Mountains. ALTHOUGH PERFECT FOR SUMMER WITH ITS WATER FUN IN THE MIDDLE OF TOWN, MEDICINE PARK IS A BEAUTIFUL LOCALE TO VISIT ANY TIME OF YEAR.
36 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
The lunch menu offers sandwiches and burgers, but their Indian taco gets all the rave reviews. For a historic dining experience, Meers Store and Restaurant (26005 OK-115, Meers, 580-429-8051, www.meersstore.com), established in 1901, claims to be home of the “best burger in Oklahoma.” Meers’ homemade cobblers are the perfect complement to a nice fall day. Be prepared for long lines during peak hours, and bring plenty of cash since credit cards aren’t accepted.
We’re starting something NEW in our November issue.
Help us show off how fun OKC can be! Use the tag #OKCFamilyFun in photos of you and your family out and about for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue of MetroFamily Magazine.
Enjoying the kiddie rides at Frontier City. Posted by @okiedads Thumbs up for Theo’s Doughnuts at The Collective, OKC. Posted by @_lael
#OKCFamilyFun begin! Checking out the animals at the Cleveland Co. Fair. Posted by ReRe Lunsford (Facebook) Learning about local flora and fauna. Posted by @wildernedge
1/3 horizontal: 7.125” X 3.084”
#OKCFamilyFun is sponsored by Crestone Ridge.
Country living at its finest! • Yukon schools • Close to the Kilpatrick Turnpike • Clubhouse with pool • Playground • Beautiful custom homes
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Hope for the
New metro nursery cares for kids, families in crisis BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
OKCITY CRISIS NURSERY IS STAFFED ENTIRELY BY VOLUNTEERS.
The last six months have opened Jennifer Roberts’ eyes to the impossible decisions moms living in poverty or fleeing domestic violence face every day. The Oklahoma City mom of three recently opened OkCity Crisis Nursery to care for kids in crisis, realizing along the way that offering a hand up to the adults who love them is the best way to ensure a strong family going forward. Roberts has met moms carrying heavy burdens, working as hard as they can to provide for their children, and, along with an impressive team of volunteers, served as the light to families in what previously felt like hopeless situations. Rather than choosing between going to work while leaving kids in a questionable childcare situation or caring for kids themselves and not working, moms are empowered to choose quality childcare and jobs that can sustain their families.
Answering the call Roberts has long been passionate about helping children, participating in various church outreach ministries over the years, but she was unsure how to make a longterm, lasting difference for vulnerable kids. After the death of a friend’s child and the seemingly constant onslaught of negative media stories about Oklahoma kids being neglected or abused, Roberts felt a strong pull to do something. She knew fostering or adopting weren’t the next steps for her family, but kids in limbo and difficult situations were the exact demographic she wanted to help. COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF DONATIONS FOR THE NURSERY.
38 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
After many sleepless nights researching how other states are working to prevent child abuse and neglect, Roberts stumbled upon the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in Spokane, Wash. For 30 years the nursery has provided 24-hour child care, parent education, crisis counseling and referrals to community agencies with the intent of strengthening families. Parents who come to the nursery are typically having trouble providing safe shelter and care for their kids, sometimes as a result of domestic violence, homelessness or substance abuse. “I knew immediately we didn’t have anything like that here and we needed to do it,” said Roberts, “even though I didn’t know the first thing about running a nonprofit or daycare.” Roberts quit her full-time sales job last October and began fundraising. An anonymous donor helped the organization find a location for the nursery, and Roberts successfully completed the process to become a licensed childcare provider through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Knowing the nursery would be caring for many children in traumatic situations, Roberts worked with Edmond-based Angels Foster Family Network to better understand trust-based relational intervention and learn how to provide trauma-informed care. OkCity Crisis Nursery opened in May, providing free, 24-hour care to any family who needs the service. As of early August, Roberts and her team had already welcomed more than 300 children through their doors. Currently the nursery is entirely funded by individual donations and staffed by volunteers. The nursery space is cozy and welcoming, equipped to care for up to seven kids at a time. Kids are dropped off and picked up anytime throughout the day, and Roberts
Great offer here! and her team have cared for as many as 18 children in a 24-hour period. Referrals to OkCity Crisis Nursery come primarily from DHS, hospitals and current clients. Parents have made use of the free childcare for a wide variety of reasons, like a mom and dad headed to the hospital to have a baby, with no safe family or friends nearby to watch older kids; a mom interviewing for a job that will provide a better life for she and her kids; moms fleeing domestic abuse who can more easily collect the documents and complete steps to secure housing or food stamps without kids tagging along; a mom working the overnight shift or a second or third job; or kids in the foster care system who need a safe, loving place to stay while case workers find the best foster family fit. “Many people have resources or friends that can help, but a lot of these people don’t have that,” said Roberts. “They get stuck in how to survive today rather than how to get out of a situation. They get overwhelmed by [ongoing] crises and just shut down. They just need a little help.”
Loving kids by serving parents Roberts often gets asked if she fears parents dropping off kids and never coming back, a question that now causes her to bristle since she better understands the hardships many of her clients endure. She’s also quick to defend the parents who’ve made use of their free services, saying she hasn’t seen any signs of abuse or poor parenting. “These are good moms, working overnight, working second jobs to pay their bills,” said Roberts. “They care about their kids and want them to be in a safe place.” Often parents who come to the nursery for the first time are wary, needing the childcare but unsure whether Roberts and her team can be trusted. Some fear Roberts is involved with DHS, and she reassures parents that though she has a positive working relationship with the department, she’s not required to provide DHS with any more than the basic forms parents must fill out for any licensed childcare. “Once they know I’m not going to take their kids, they don’t have to worry about private information getting out, they see it’s a safe place for them and their children, then we can get a plan together,” said Roberts. While the short-term fix OkCity Crisis Nursery provides is childcare, what Roberts aspires to provide is a hand up to the families she serves, connecting them to local resources to meet their needs.
“I usually give them my own phone [to call] because a lot of them don’t have phones,” said Roberts. “We help get their resume together, get ready for job interviews and then we’ll watch their kids while they go do it. Before, they were dragging their kids all around trying to take care of all this stuff. It’s just too much.” Roberts admits she once thought the plight of moms like those the nursery helps would be fairly simple to extricate herself from, with just a little planning and work, were she in their shoes. She assumed, like she believes many others do, they could easily get a second job or apply for food stamps or find the resources they needed. She didn’t consider all the potential extenuating circumstances someone living in poverty, fear or crisis could face. “If you are fleeing from a situation that is dangerous, you might not have your birth certificate or ID or a car,” said Roberts. “You also may not have an address, which means you can’t get food stamps.” Nursery volunteers help moms acquire documentation and housing, required to qualify for food stamps and for many other local services, like Infant Crisis Services, an emergency food and diaper pantry. As volunteers alleviate childcare burdens and provide listening ears and caring hearts, families gain hope. Roberts has watched volunteers build relationships with clients, which occasionally extend outside of their walls. A 33-weeks-pregnant mom and a volunteer discovered they have kids the same age, so the two have built a friendship and enjoy playdates together. “Some of our volunteers have been through some of the same things and can tell [clients] how they overcame [their situation],” said Roberts. “We are connecting people with resources and helping them build their village.”
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Caring for kids in crisis When the stress and uncertainty of securing quality childcare is alleviated, parents can better focus on their next steps to improve their situations. Rather than worry about whether their kids can acclimate to the rules and climate of OkCity Crisis Nursery, parents are reassured that each child receives individualized attention and control over what his or her experience entails. Other than an expectation that kids are kind to each other and stay safe, there aren’t many rules at OkCity Crisis Nursery.
soccercityokcity.com 4520 Old Farm Road, OKC (west of Meridian, south of 122nd)
405-748-3888 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
“We are not a daycare, and we tell every parent and kid who comes in that,” said Roberts, an allusion to both the fact it’s not a long-term solution and that kids can play basketball in the living room if they so choose. “We spoil them in the short term and don’t say no very much. It’s more like going to a friend’s or grandparent’s house.” Kids can go outside with volunteers when they want to, have a snack or eat a meal anytime and, truly, play basketball in the living room. “This is a safe place to have fun,” said Roberts. “They just want to play, and it helps them forget about whatever they are going through.” The most popular part of the nursery is the kitchen, always fully stocked with meals and snacks, always open. Community members sign up to provide meals through the nursery’s Meal Train account, which Roberts says takes a big burden off their volunteers, previously trying to provide care and make meals. Because the kids feel secure and aren’t asked probing questions about their situations, Roberts says that often means they feel
comfortable opening up with volunteers, which has been especially meaningful for nervous foster children staying at the nursery while they await placement. For children who need a place to stay for more than 24 hours, Roberts works with Safe Families Oklahoma, an organization with a similar mission to support at-risk children and parents, keeping families together and kids out of the foster care system, when possible, by providing longer-term childcare. In addition to providing emotional support to parents beyond their kids’ stay at the nursery, volunteers seek to meet some of their physical needs. Kids leave OkCity Crisis Nursery with as many snacks as they can carry, and families are offered clothing, diapers, wipes, formula and gift cards, all donated by nursery supporters. A sibling pair going into foster care recently spent time at the nursery, and Roberts was able to provide them clothes, backpacks and pairs of Adidas shoes. “It was really nice stuff another mom had donated,” said Roberts. “The 14-year-old boy had nothing for school, and he was so excited
to have cool shoes and a backpack. It’s a little thing, but it really means a lot to them.” Another sibling pair, twin 4-month-old boys in the foster care system, needed a place to stay for a few hours while their caseworker found a placement. “The case worker was distraught because it’s really hard for them to do that when the babies are at their office for hours at time,” Roberts said. All the boys had when they arrived were their carseats and a single can of formula. Roberts said the baby boys were held and snuggled all day by their team of volunteers. The caseworker found a foster family who agreed to the placement and came right away to pick up the babies from the nursery. Though very willing, Roberts said the family was obviously feeling overwhelmed as they’d previously only taken placements of teens and had no baby gear or supplies. The nursery provided a months’ supply of diapers, wipes, formula and clothing. Perhaps even more important, because she and volunteers had spent all day getting to know the little guys, they were able to give their new foster
El Reno for
October 11 - 7 pm- Flashback Friday
Hocus Pocus - Centre Theatre - $3 - Free Popcorn!
October 11-13 - Town Wide Garage Sale Come put our junk in your trunk!
October 12 & October 27
*family *Seniors *newborns *fashion *events
Ft. Reno Historical Spirit Tours Book today: (405) 262-3987 October tour dates ll up quickly.
October 26th 9am – 11am - Spooktacular Downtown El Reno - Costume Contest, Trick or Treat, Prizes and More! For more information, visit www.elrenomainstreet.com or call 405-262-8888.
Also in October enjoy Boutique Shopping, Wine Bar, Restaurants, Museum, Golf and more!
Close to you. Far from ordinary.
40 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
mom some information about the babies’ temperaments. “She was so scared and she was already doing this heroic thing,” said Roberts. “Instead of her going in blind, we were able to tell her what we learned about them, like that one seemed to have acid reflux and liked to be held in the carrier. And, ‘Oh by the way, do you need a carrier? Here, take this one.’” Perhaps the most touching, and extreme, family story Roberts has gotten to be part of was that of a dad whose child was kidnapped by the biological mother in Texas and brought to Oklahoma. When police located and were able to rescue the child, the typical next step would have been to place him in state custody until the dad, driving from Texas, could arrive to be reunited with him. Instead, Roberts was able to care for the child in the interim. “That was our first police escort to bring a child,” said Roberts. “The dad came in the door from Dallas, the little boy was yelling he was so excited to see him and dad was crying. And that’s a child that didn’t have to go into custody.”
Strength in community WalletHub recently released comparisons of child neediness across states, with Oklahoma rated the seventh worst state for the welfare of children. Oklahoma is the fifteenth worst state for the percentage of kids in households with below poverty income, the seventh for child food insecurity rate, seventh for the percentage of kids in foster care and twenty-second for the child and youth homelessness rate. The opening of OkCity Crisis Nursery comes at a time when Oklahoma kids and families are vulnerable, and as Roberts has found, strengthening local families and helping parents improve their situations has a direct positive impact on kids. But the nursery’s mission can’t be sustained without community support. “We are lucky we’ve had a huge community backing from the start,” said Roberts, who’s relied on the generosity of individuals and families to fund her passion project. “Even people giving $20 here and there really adds up.” In addition to financial donations, OkCity Crisis Nursery relies entirely on volunteers,
with no paid staff. Potential volunteers must undergo a background check. Once approved, volunteers sign up for one hour a month (or more) on a day and time of their choosing. Volunteers can bring their kids with them as long as it does not put the nursery over capacity. Those built-in playmates have been a great source of fun and helped alleviate fear for kids being dropped off. Community members can also sign up to bring a meal or donate individually packaged snacks, bottled water or gift cards. Roberts has gotten emotional when previous clients bring back clothing their kids have outgrown or other donations, an opportunity to pay it forward as thanks for the help they received. By making donations and referring their friends who need help, these client moms are providing the greatest source of affirmation for Roberts and her team that their services are improving lives, strengthening families and keeping kids safe. For more information about OkCity Crisis Nursery, and how you can help, visit www. crisisnurseryokc.com.
YUKON LOCATION NOW OPEN! 1445 Health Center Parkway Call (405) 840-1686 to schedule an evaluation!
Thank you for voting us Best Special Needs Therapy Service Provider!
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Our therapists provide fun, inventive and playful interventions that address your child's specific needs. We offer physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language therapy.
Play • Learn • Thrive
14715 Bristol Park Blvd., Edmond • 5701 SE 74th St., OKC METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
PE teachers cast traditional activities
BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED.
In his 22 years of teaching physical education, Edgar Fowlkes has gained great appreciation for activities that gets kids of all abilities moving their bodies. His passion for fishing collided with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Fishing in Schools program, whose curriculum he’s incorporated in his Northmoor Elementary School classroom over the last two years. “This levels the playing field for a lot of kids that normally don’t like PE because they can’t shoot a basketball or don’t run very fast,” said Fowlkes, whose school is in the Moore Public School District. “Everybody is successful, and it’s one of those skills that brings people together as opposed to something like dodgeball where the strongest kids reign.” Fowlkes has fond memories of fishing with his grandpa and typically spends his days off decompressing with a rod and reel. He’s realized the current generation has little experience fishing, making the opportunity to teach his kids a brand-new skill even more rewarding. “I get to pass along something I love that can be a lifelong skill for these kids,” said Fowlkes. “And fishing gets them in the outdoors, away from the Xbox and Game Boys.” The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife COOLIDGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE FISHING IN SCHOOLS PROGRAM RECEIVED A TRANSPORTATION GRANT FROM THE PAUL GEORGE FOUNDATION TO TAKE A FIELD TRIP TO DOLESE PARK POND.
42 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
Fishing in Schools Conservation launched Fishing in Schools in 2011 and currently has more than 400 active schools participating, with an average of 50 schools added each year, primarily via word of mouth. The program is offered free to Oklahoma schools as part of an outdoor education package, which also includes curriculum on archery, bowhunting and bow fishing. The department trains and certifies interested teachers, and through a grant, covers the cost of equipment, a value of $500 for the fishing program alone. The archery program does require some outof-pocket equipment costs for schools, though the majority of total costs is covered by a grant. Schools are required to implement the outdoor education curriculum during the school day so all students can enjoy the program’s benefits. Some schools offer stand-alone outdoor classes, but most, like Fowlkes, incorporate the lessons in PE. “So many schools are on a tight budget, so this is a great program to introduce at a low cost with a lot of added
support,” said Daniel Griffith, aquatic education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Fishing in Schools curriculum covers much more than how to cast. Fowlkes teaches his students about fishing equipment, why certain times of year are best for fishing, identifying markers for various species of fish, how to tie knots, the importance of conservation, water safety and how fishing contributes to the state economy. The Department of Wildlife Conservation receives no state tax dollars, relying on the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and federal excise taxes on equipment to fund initiatives like building new boat ramps or fishing docks and improving wildlife habitats and hunting access around the state. “Creating future hunters and anglers though this program will bring in money that will help us better manage our state’s resources and wildlife,” said Griffith. CESAR CHAVEZ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS FISH AT CRYSTAL LAKE.
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Little anglers in action The classroom curriculum encourages active participation from students. Jeremy Miller, PE teacher at Rockwood Elementary School in the Oklahoma City Public School District, teaches the curriculum to his students over a two-week period, where they most enjoy learning to cast and reel in pretend fish in the classroom.
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After completing the program, teachers often schedule a field trip to a local body of water so students can try out their new skills. Fowlkes arranged a Saturday fishing outing for students and their families at a pond in Moore so little anglers could catch perch and catfish. Eli Tamez, a third grader at Northmoor, loved fishing and appreciates that Fowlkes is “strict but not too strict.” Eli’s mom, Tonya Lett, values that Fowlkes is more intent on building character than athleticism and provides such a wide array of activities in PE. “My kids love that there is such a variety, like archery and fishing,” said Lett, mom of three. “I went to a smaller school where we didn’t have these kinds of opportunities, and [traditional PE] can be hard on kids who aren’t coordinated with a ball or who struggle.” Though the program doesn’t require schools to take students fishing, it’s become a special rite of passage for many participants. When Griffith realized some schools couldn’t afford transportation, his team formed a partnership with the Paul George Foundation, focused on getting kids active outdoors, to cover those costs. “Learning in the classroom is very different from being able to utilize those skills to actually catch a fish,” said Griffith. “I love kids’ reactions when they catch their first fish, and all the other kids’ reactions as they huddle around to look at it, touch it and fight over who gets to put it back in the water!” Miller’s students were one of 13 recipients of that transportation funding last school year. “The Wildlife Department met us out there, supplied all the poles and had hooks baited and waiting for the students,” said Miller. Most of Miller’s students had never held or even seen a fishing pole before he introduced the curriculum. In fact, the first day he brought a pole to class students asked if it was a sword or a light saber. After
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completing the curriculum, many added a fishing pole to their Christmas wish lists. “Many of these kids come to school, go home and play video games or watch TV,” said Miller. “This allows them to experience something new and get out of their comfort zone.” Like Fowlkes, Miller was raised fishing and enjoys taking his six kids out on his boat. He has been awestruck at both the support provided by the Wildlife Department and his students’ reactions to the program. “This is so easy to incorporate into the classroom, and the staff does an incredible job working with teachers, replacing broken equipment and even removing the barrier of transportation costs for some schools,” said Miller. “We are getting kids involved in something they can do for the rest of their lives that’s inexpensive to enjoy, which is what they need.” Fowlkes is teaching the Fishing in Schools curriculum again this fall. Because fish are eating more aggressively as they prepare for hibernation, they are easier for his students to catch this time of year. Fowlkes looks forward to continuing the archery program after his students took first place at last year’s state competition, earning the highest score for any elementary team in the state in their first year to compete. “These are tremendous programs,” said Fowlkes. “This has helped PE teachers give our students more options than the traditional stuff. You’re not going to reach everyone with basketball, but these programs allow every kid to get up and move and participate.” Miller laughingly remembers the student with the first catch of their field trip, who initially ran away from the fish on her line. Ironically, she caught more fish than any other students that day. Several students with wide eyes declared fishing was something they’d always hoped to try. Many had never seen a fish before and were eager to see how the scales felt under their gentle touch. “The smile on their faces when they’ve mastered the skills and pull in a fish for the first time makes it all worthwhile,” said Fowlkes.
Fishing near you
For kids or families learning to fish, close-to-home waters (www.wildlifedepartment.com/fishing/close-to-home) are area lakes and ponds managed by the Wildlife Department or cities that are stocked with fish regularly.
Fishing is big business in Oklahoma, with anglers supporting more than 15,000 jobs and spending $1.8 billion on fishing equipment annually, according to Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell. Pinnell’s office launched a new tourism initiative in June, the Oklahoma Fishing Trail, designed to better capitalize on Oklahoma’s popularity for fishing, namely because of the state’s fish diversity and lack of fishing seasons and restrictions. The Wildlife Department had a hand in creating the web site that highlights the best fishing spots around the state, which Griffith says will also be a resource for the teachers and students in the Fishing in Schools program.
“Find a place where a child can become successful even if they are just catching little perch,” said Fowlkes. “It’s better to say ‘I caught something’ as opposed to three hours without a bite.” Once kids find success at some of the smaller close-to-home waters, Miller recommends families explore area lakes like Hefner, Draper and Overholser to provide new and sometimes more challenging experiences. The Wildlife Department offers ongoing events, including popular summertime family fishing clinics. Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation also offers free fishing days the first Saturday of each month and Hooked on Fishing classes at various local fishing waters throughout the metro during the summer. Free clinics offer participants engaging, informative presentations followed by fishing. No license is required and equipment is provided. In addition to a state fishing license, some cities and municipalities require daily or annual fishing permits. Anglers 16 years old through under age 62 should contact local officials for permit costs and requirements. For more local fishing resources and information on licenses, visit www.metrofamilymagazine.com/fishing-in-okc.
“The trail will encourage kids to take the skills learned and go use them,” said Griffith. “It also shows the importance of fishing, not just for tourism but as a means of helping fund conservation.” For more on fishing bigger bodies of water around the state, families can peruse the new Oklahoma Fishing Trail, featuring 38 lakes, at FishinOK.com. For more information about Fishing in Schools, visit www. wildlifedepartment.com/education/fishing-education/ oklahoma-fishing-schools-okfits.
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Deciphering Dyslexia Tiffany Jenkins was in the fourth grade when she was identified as having dyslexia. Now the academic language therapist and mom of two helps other kids with the learning disorder thrive. “It makes it easier to relate to the kids,” said Jenkins. “And for parents, they see there can be success on the other side.” When a child is struggling with reading therapy, Jenkins reminds them she used to struggle, too, and now she teaches others to read. Her students are intrigued when they see her listening to an audio book or using a dictation tool, the same learning accommodations she recommends to them. It’s never lost on Jenkins how hard therapy can be for a child with dyslexia. “They have a full day in class and then you’re asking them to do the very hardest thing for them when they are already exhausted,” said Jenkins. Those challenges push Jenkins to advocate for local kids with dyslexia, including her oldest son now serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. Jenkins serves on the Dyslexia and Education Task Force created by the state legislature, helped write Oklahoma’s first Dyslexia Handbook to increase understanding about the disorder and serves as a state leader for Decoding Dyslexia
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Oklahoma, a grassroots group providing support, education and advocacy. Vanessa Gerst is also a leader on the state task force and Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma, and it was her oldest son’s difficulty with reading that prompted the former second grade teacher to become a certified reading specialist and academic language therapist. Gerst works in a northwest Oklahoma City school, the only certified reading specialist in her district. Thanks to champions like Jenkins and Gerst, Oklahoma is making strides to provide more awareness about and resources related to dyslexia for teachers and parents. “We can really give kids an easier life so they are not having to struggle and fail,” said Jenkins.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a lifelong neurological learning disability that affects an individual’s ability to recognize the differences between sounds in speech. According to the International Dyslexia Association, people with dyslexia often experience difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition, spelling and decoding, despite proficiency in other cognitive abilities. The National Center for Learning Disabilities projects one in five students has a specific
BY ERIN PAGE
learning disability, with 70 to 80 percent of those experiencing reading deficits. While not every student who struggles to read is dyslexic, dyslexia is the most common reading, writing and spelling disability. An individual with dyslexia’s brain processes less efficiently than a typical reader. According to Melissa Ahlgrim, director of RSA curriculum and instruction for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, when a typical student learns to read, processing occurs on the left side of the brain with a clear pathway identified through brain imaging scans. “In a student with dyslexia, you have things firing all over the brain, like a pinball machine,” said Ahlgrim. “By the time the information gets where it needs to go, the student isn’t able to process it because they have exhausted their capabilities.”
Laura Gautreaux, academic language therapist and owner of Encouraging Words therapy center, often fields calls from parents concerned their kids are reversing letters, a common misconception and developmentally normal until a certain age. Dyslexia isn’t reading backward or related to a child’s vision or hearing. It’s not more prevalent in boys than girls, and it’s not an intellectual or developmental disability.
The underlying issue is phonemic awareness: the ability to hear, notice, think about and manipulate sounds in spoken words. “Not being able to rhyme, consistently mixing up letters or being late to talk are the biggest signs,” said Gautreaux. Kids with dyslexia may struggle with organization or math and have noticeable issues with speech, particularly swapping letters. Kids cannot outgrow dyslexia, which Ahlgrim says speaks to why it must be addressed early. Smart kids can and do have dyslexia. “When they are extremely verbal and using great vocabulary but struggle with identifying letters of the alphabet, that is a discrepancy,” said Ahlgrim. “Those should be developing together.” The hardest misconception for Gautreaux to stomach is that kids with dyslexia lack motivation or are lazy. “In reality they are working harder than anyone in the room, giving 110 percent, and year after year told they need to work harder,” said Gautreaux. Dr. Erica Faulconer, a pediatrician in northwest Oklahoma City, says many learning disabilities have similar onset symptoms, making them difficult to distinguish. Dyslexia can be misdiagnosed as ADHD because kids have a hard time sitting still or completing classwork. “Kids can’t focus or finish reading assignments because they get confused or frustrated,” said Faulconer.
Dangers of dyslexia
According to the Nation’s Report Card, Oklahoma students have lost ground in reading proficiency over the last two years. In 2017, 29 percent of Oklahoma fourth graders and 28 percent of eighth graders were considered proficient, compared to 35 percent for both nationally, according to the National Assessment for Educational Progress. “If we don’t get reading right, [students] can’t do anything embedded in math, science or history,” said Jenkins. “Eventually they are left to jobs that don’t require reading.” Poor reading skills, left untreated, can be an indicator of school drop out rates and incarceration. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 70 percent of incarcerated adults cannot read at a fourth grade level. Faulconer says it’s critical for kids with dyslexia to be diagnosed and start intervention in Kindergarten or first grade.
The longer an individual deals with untreated dyslexia, the more therapy they may require to read efficiently. Reading struggles can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. “Kids experience trauma from reading difficulties,” said Jenkins. “They may be getting scolded or criticized at home, or not getting along with their teacher. I’ve seen kids as early as second, third and fourth grade having to be treated for suicidal tendencies. We can’t wait for them to be broken or fail [before receiving treatment].”
Catching dyslexia early
The Reading Sufficiency Act helps ensure Oklahoma students have the opportunity to develop strong foundational reading skills by the end of third grade. Schools are required to evaluate students’ reading abilities three times per year in grades Kindergarten through third, focusing specifically on phonemic awareness. Gerst says leeway is given the first semester of Kindergarten when many students can’t read on their own and are acclimating to a school environment. It’s often in first grade when students start falling behind. “Some kids can hide it a little easier,” said Gerst. “When they start to take [reading assessments] on their own, as opposed to having them read to them, that’s when we really start to see them pull away from the class.” Dr. Julie Collins, reading professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, says some Kindergarten and first grade students who score poorly on initial screening assessments will progress normally after receiving classroom instruction or intervention. Those who don’t will need further evaluation and instruction. In either case, parents should ask questions at student conferences about how they are performing on assessments and whether there is cause for concern. “Open communication is so important,” added Ahlgrim. “Those closest to the issue have the greatest potential to solve it, and teachers want to help.” Family history of dyslexia, homework or reading taking an excessive amount of time, parents with an intuition their child isn’t performing at the level expected or even students feeling they can’t keep up with peers are signals to approach a classroom teacher about creating a new learning plan. “It takes four times longer to remediate in fourth grade than in Kindergarten,” said Ahlgrim. “The gap continually gets larger and larger until it’s almost impossible to catch up.”
Gerst believes reading assessments have been effective in her district at catching students with reading struggles before the critical third grade year. But not all schools or districts have an onsite reading specialist or speech-language pathologist, also often knowledgeable about dyslexia. Without onsite specialists, many parents are left seeking outside intervention. Students receiving reading therapy though Encouraging Words often come to them in third grade, when students are expected to move beyond learning to read to reading to learn. “By the time students move to third grade they are no longer being taught to read, they are gathering information through reading,” said Gautreaux. “That’s not true of [dyslexic readers], so their peers are making huge gains and they aren’t because they can’t gather information like their peers.”
The challenge of a formal diagnosis Though Oklahoma recognizes dyslexia as a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, some schools throughout the state have been hesitant to name students with dyslexia. Ahlgrim believes that reluctance could stem from a lack of information about the learning disorder or even hesitation to “brand” students with a disability.
“They call it a specific learning disability, or SLD, which is an umbrella term,” said Gautreaux. “The problem is this broader category can fail the student by not giving them adequate and appropriate intervention. Specifically calling it dyslexia means schools need to provide targeted support students need.” Faulconer says it’s imperative kids with learning disabilities get a formal diagnosis. Though most schools will work with students who have difficulty reading by providing accommodations in the classroom, students cannot receive additional time on standardized state testing or college entrance exams without a formal diagnosis. Collins adds a formal diagnosis is important when kids transition from high school to college, allowing continued use of accommodations for effective learning. There is no single test for dyslexia. Students must undergo a comprehensive evaluation to make an official diagnosis, determining strengths, weaknesses and appropriate interventions. At the UCO Reading Clinic, the dyslexia screening is made up of 11 tests. Informally, students’ writing samples,
METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
reading, spelling and phonemic awareness can be assessed to determine their potential to have dyslexia. Jenkins says most Oklahoma schools have the capability to test for dyslexia onsite but may not know how to use the necessary evaluations or feel qualified to perform them. Testing options outside of schools are limited in the metro. Though schools have an obligation to provide testing if parents or teachers request it, either onsite or through a third party, oftentimes parents get frustrated by long waiting periods as students fall farther behind. “In theory, the district should pay for it,” said Jenkins. “But if a parent doesn’t want to wait or the school doesn’t want to use an outside source, they may pay for it themselves. Parents are giving up college funds to get kids reading.” Completing the battery of tests outside of schools can be extremely costly for families, from $1,500 to $2,000, according to Jenkins, who paid for son TJ’s testing out of pocket, and Faulconer cites a range of $100 to $1,000, depending on tests. Even though dyslexia is neurological in basis, neither testing nor treatment is covered by medical insurance. Ahlgrim suggests parents request a full educational evaluation in writing from a child’s school, rather than asking specifically for dyslexia testing. School districts must respond to parental requests within a “reasonable” timeframe, agreeing to evaluate or denying the request. If the district agrees, the request must be fulfilled within 45 school days o f obtaining parent permission, according to Collins. If a school refuses, parents still have options. “There’s a safeguard that can get outside testing paid for by the school,” said Jenkins, referring to the Child Find mandate, legally requiring schools to identify and evaluate any child it knows or suspects may have a disability. “No one wants to escalate a conversation, but you have to be strong voice for your child especially when they don’t have that voice yet.” Both Faulconer and Jenkins share concern for lower income populations without the resources to secure testing on their own dime. The State Department of Education can answer questions about testing timelines, legal obligations and special education requirements, and the Oklahoma Parents Center, which provides training across the state on parents’ rights, the Individuals with Disabilities Special Education Act and special education, can assist parents in understanding their rights and student advocacy.
48 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
The power of intervention
With or without a formal diagnosis, students with dyslexia require explicit instruction, learning and practicing reading strategies one at a time. “Kids with dyslexia need a very structured way of learning to read,” said Faulconer. “They need somebody who has expertise in that field, and they need extra tools, not just extra time.” Parents should first ask what kind of intervention is available in the child’s classroom or after school by professionals with experience in dyslexia. Because proper intervention takes a big chunk of time in a student’s day or if a school doesn’t have the resources to provide help onsite, parents may turn to outside experts. Gautreaux’s research-based instruction starts at the beginning with new students, discussing letters and how they are formed in the mouth. When students understand how they learn, Gautreaux finds they are better able to cope when learning is hard. “Even in being supported, encouraged and learning specific strategies, there will be hard things,” said Gautreaux. “But they have the ability to persevere and work through adversity that a lot of students don’t.” Gautreaux not only helps kids learn to read, she also provides emotional support. “You see a kid who feels broken or thinks something is wrong with them, but once they get the right tools, they feel empowered and capable,” said Gautreaux. “They realize they have gifts and talents just like everyone else.”
Because students with dyslexia learn and process differently, they may require accommodations in the classroom that alter how curriculum is presented. Those could include extended time on assignments or tests, dictating or typing assignments, audio books and text-to-speech software. Like a student with vision issues needs glasses to learn, accommodations for kids with dyslexia merely level the playing field.
Oklahoma’s improvements and next steps In the 2017 legislative session, the Dyslexia and Education Task Force was created, which developed the Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook for schools, teachers and families to better understand how to identify students who have reading difficulties and the best resources and interventions for them. A new state statute will require that all Oklahoma schools provide dyslexia awareness professional development to teachers, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. The State Department of Education is creating online modules about dyslexia, available to schools and teachers starting this year. Also through RSA, programs are available to teach the science of reading and how to meet kids’ needs who are struggling. Through her work on the task force and with Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma, Jenkins has found teachers are hungry for information, eager to help students who struggle with reading. Ahlgrim and Gerst, both education majors, note that neither learned how to identify or teach kids with dyslexia in their
college degree programs, an issue that must be remediated for future teachers. Gerst and Collins question whether the new training will be enough to give teachers the tools to recognize symptoms and connect students to qualified resources. They remain hopeful it will at least start conversations and encourage teachers to request additional training. “If what we want to [eventually] do is put specific teachers who are qualified at each school and provide instruction, we’ll need funding,” said Collins, who encourages parents who have kids with dyslexia to call their legislators to encourage that funding. The recognition of dyslexia by schools, teachers and parents can give students the power to better understand themselves and learn the skills they need to read effectively and efficiently. “It’s empowering for kids to give it a name,” said Gautreaux. “Whether you name it or not, they know and fundamentally think there is something wrong with them. Now they know they just learn differently.”
Local dyslexia resources Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma decodingdyslexiaok.org
Oklahoma Parents Center oklahomaparentscenter.org
A task force of local parents and teachers providing parental support, resources, education and legislative action for kids with dyslexia
A federally-funded parent training and information center providing free services to Oklahoma families and teachers of children with disabilities
Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook sde.ok.gov/special-education
University of Central Oklahoma Reading Clinic (405) 974-5711
Authored by members of the Dyslexia and Education Task Force appointed by the Oklahoma Legislature, providing guidance to parents and teachers on the best practices for identification, intervention and support for kids with dyslexia. Also find Oklahoma State Department of Education resources and contacts
Dyslexia testing and intervention services Payne Education Center www.payneeducationcenter.org A nonprofit organization providing dyslexia resources to parents and educators, as well as professional development opportunities
Find additional resources at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/deciphering-dyslexia.
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Growing Grit Edmond high school student teaches kids how to achieve mental toughness in children’s book series Kobe Nhin’s competitive tennis career started on a high as the 10-year-old won a fair amount of matches. As he got older, and his competitors grew in stature and strength, it became more and more difficult for him to win close matches.
As Nhin worked with his coaches to further his tennis skills and overcome the frustrating plateau, he also invested time and energy into his mental game. Nhin researched mental toughness and began using imagery tactics to visualize himself winning those close matches. Not only did Nhin begin to close more tennis matches, his mom Mary Nhin says he learned to love the sport again. “Playing without worry was one of the hardest things for me to get over,” said Nhin, now a 14-year-old freshman at Edmond Memorial High School. After writing a research paper on mental toughness for a class in school, Nhin realized he wanted to help other kids overcome their self-limiting beliefs, too. From that research and his own experiences, he wrote and self-published How to Win Wimbledon in Pajamas, with mom Mary Nhin as co-author. Nhin’s book teaches readers five mental tips to conquer performance anxiety, negative self talk and frustration, with the goal of overcoming adversity and achieving success. The simple, actionable tips are easy to read and implement, and the book’s mental growth plan helps kids rate their current skills and write out goals for the future. “His book has been a best seller since its
54 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2019
release,” said Mary Nhin. “We’ve received a lot of great feedback from parents, counselors and coaches that it’s an answer to a missing niche – mental strength – in the children’s book genre.” How to Win Wimbledon in Pajamas has expanded to the Grow Grit series, with Nhin adding How to Win the World Cup in Pajamas, featuring soccer, and How to Win the Gold Medal in Pajamas, featuring Olympic sports like swimming, basketball, ice skating, gymnastics, track and field and snowboarding, to his repertoire. Nhin dreamed up the title of his books while contemplating what it feels like when he plays with a calm, carefree attitude. “Playing in pajamas means to not worry about what others might think,” said Nhin. “It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, what matters is how much heart you compete with.” The concept of winning in pajamas also alludes to the visualization Nhin practices before bed. “At night I practice deep breaths and I win my matches in my head in bed,” said Nhin. “I can see and feel what each stroke feels like when I do this. It’s called imagery and it’s one of the things I teach in my books.” Some of the other tools kid readers will gain from Nhin’s series include how to speak
positively to themselves and how to exhibit confidence even when they don’t feel that confident. Nhin teaches readers how to develop a growth mindset by setting and focusing on long-term goals rather than outcome goals and how to increase focus and attention by adopting individualized rituals and habits. Nhin hopes readers will feel empowered to not only handle challenges that come their way, but will also understand that the process of overcoming obstacles is an opportunity to learn and grow. “The more kids understand that even mistakes and failures teach us, the more they can focus on celebrating their journey, mistakes and all,” said Mary Nhin. “Our books teach kids how it feels to be scared and brave all at once and how to move past fear to jump.” Even as Nhin balances his competitive tennis schedule, school work and extracurricular activities, he is considering writing more books for his series with new sports themes. “The mental toughness theme is not only universal but transcends into business and life,” said Mary Nhin. “The books in the Grow Grit series help teach kids the techniques used by business leaders and top athletes of the world.”
Wiggle Out Loud is Oklahoma City’s free family music festival. We aim to get kids of all ages movin’ and groovin’ their way to healthier lives. The 2019 Lineup: • Chasing James // 10:30 - 11:10 a.m. • Microgiant // 1:30 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. • Race Dance Company // 12:30 - 1:10 p.m. • Jazzy Ash & the Leaping Lizards // 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. • Sugar Free Allstars // 2:30 - 3:15 p.m. • Koo Koo Kanga Roo // 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. Find us on Facebook for more event details or go to www.wiggleoutloud.org The Children’s Hospital VOLUNTEERS is the charity partner for Wiggle Out Loud. Sponsors, discounted services, creative collaborations and donations allow the festival to be free for families and helps cover creative arts programs for kids at The Children’s Hospital.
Get ready to Wiggle Out Loud!
Benefiting The Children’s Hospital Volunteers // www.wiggleoutloud.org
November 15, 2019 – January 5, 2020 This holiday season, Gaylord Texan Resort will present a winter wonderland with two million lights, a 54-foot tall Christmas tree and 15,000 ornaments! Family events will include Snow Tubing, Ice Skating, Gingerbread Decorating Corner, Breakfast with Charlie Brown™ & Friends, Build-A-Bear Workshop®, and our signature hand-carved attraction ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Stay overnight to experience it all! Tickets and packages on sale now.
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