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January 2016


The health issue Autism aware Mental-health help for kids Exhausted by ADHD? PAGE 40



Kindness projects for your child




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Help with mental health Facing the fact that your child might have a mental-health issue isn’t easy. Fortunately, Minnesota is home to a variety of support services.

38 7 ways to give Kindness is a skill. Help your kids flex their charitable muscules with these fun, caring activities just for families.


Autism aware


Winter safety

Early detection of developmental delays is critical for children with autism. Don’t let your doctor dismiss your concerns.

Talk to your kids about the dangers of cold, snow and ice. Then make sure you provide the right clothes and equipment.


January 2016 •

Lutsen Mountains MNP 1115 V3.indd 1

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Mind and body



Addressing ADHD

If you suspect your child needs emotional help, don’t wait to take action.

Keeping a journal of concerning behaviors can help you help your child.



Toothbrush boxes

Seasonal joy!

Get dental-hygiene supplies delivered to your door by a new local company.

Activity overload

Create a sense of wonder around winter for your little ones with these books.


Over scheduling can lead to stress for children as well as parents.


Mom friendly Baby-centric hosptials are awesome, but let’s take care of the mothers, too. 16 TODDLER TIME


Younger days We were adolescents once — and it helps to remind our teens of that. 22 GROWS ON TREES

Freeze this moment

The next time you feel ‘The Need to Stop Time,’ settle for slowing it down.

Out & About

Get out for less

Candied bacon

Try one of these seven winter ideas for affordable, seasonal family fun.

Enlist the kids when you make this simple, Dad-inspired recipe.



Yes, you should buy a separate seat for your under-2-year-old child.

Readers share their favorite tot shots. Plus: Check out our latest giveaway!

Flying with Baby


Name: Alexander
 Age: 23 months
 Parents: Tony and Kara Byington
 City: Isanti
 Personality: Alex is a very playful ball of energy! He loves all animals, especially his four dogs at home. His smile brightens every room. Everyone he passes gets a wave and sometimes even a kiss blown their way.

Favorite toys: Stacking/building blocks, ball pits and dinosaurs Favorite book: The Little Blue Truck series by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry
 Favorite activities: Going on walks with Mama and the puppies, playing in his sandbox and guitar/ukulele time with Daddy
 Favorite foods: Sweet potatoes, mangos and French fries

Photos by Tracy Walsh Photography / 

January 2016 •

Your kids in pictures


About our cover kid



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Mind and body We love our children unconditionally — fiercely — oh, so very fiercely. Sure, they wear us out to the point of financial and emotional ruin almost daily, but they’re amazing and perfect. And when someone criticizes them or says they’re anything short of miraculous — or hints they might be bringing down their entire kindergarten class with their undiagnosed ADHD — or suggests they might be suffering from anxiety or other childhood disorders — well, it’s pretty hard to hear. They’re kids, we say. It’s normal for them to move constantly, be afraid or even feel sad — a lot. Photo by Tracy Ann Walsh / Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls. Right? Except, sometimes it’s not normal. What if your kid is the one getting kicked out of the daycare? And that’s when our fierce love gets complicated. We have to admit real problems. This isn’t the stuff of Facebook humblebrags: When serious problems arise, we have to get help and face our kids’ imperfections head on. We have to call the doctor, or Brain Balance or the Washburn Center for Children. And it can all cause unbearable fear, doubt and even guilt. In this issue — our annual Health Issue — we’re diving into just a few of the mental-health issues our kids face (because we believe mental health is as important as physical health). And, thanks to Minnesota’s efforts to improve mental-health awareness and mental-health services to kids with emotional and behavior disorders, parents here have options. And stigma about being emotionally or developmentally imperfect is fading, as families realize the incredible power of acceptance and early intervention. We’re lucky to have such astonishingly wonderful children. And we’re fortunate to have the services and tools to support them every step of the way. If you suspect your child needs help, don’t wait to take action. Check out this issue for a host of resources that might make life — which is hard — easier for your kid.

Sarah Dorison, Editor


January 2016 •

PUBLISHER Janis Hall SALES MANAGER AND CO-PUBLISHER Terry Gahan EDITOR Sarah Dorison 612-436-4385 • CONTRIBUTORS Shannon Andreson, Eric Braun, Dr. Gigi Chawla, Megan Devine, Jenny Friedman, Shannon Keough, The PACER Center, Dr. Edward Su, Jen Wittes, Tracy Walsh, Jennifer Wizbowski CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dana Croatt SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Valerie Moe GRAPHIC DESIGNER Amanda Wadeson CLIENT SERVICES Zoe Gahan 612-436-4375 • Lauren Walker 612-436-4383 • Emily Schneeberger 612-436-4399 • CIRCULATION Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 • ADVERTISING 612-436-4360 • 50,000 copies of Minnesota Parent are printed monthly, available at news stands statewide. Get Minnesota Parent mailed to your home for just $12 a year. Call 612-825-9205 for more information.

Are you currently pregnant or had a baby during the previous month and interested in participating in a telephone-based health and wellness program? The University of Minnesota is seeking women who are currently pregnant or less than 6 weeks postpartum to participate in a research study examining the effect of exercise and wellness on mood following childbirth • Participants receive a motivational exercise program or a health and wellness program, which begins after the birth of your baby (participants can sign up for the program during pregnancy)

Minnesota Parent (ISSN 0740 3437) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. POSTMASTER send address changes to: MINNESOTA PARENT, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403. Minnesota Parent is copyright 2016 by Minnesota Premier Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Address all material to address above.

• Program delivered to you via the mail and phone • Must be 18 years of age or older; must not currently exercise regularly • Must not take antidepressants • Must have a history of depression • You will receive $100 for your time

Call 612-625-9753 or email to see if you qualify for this research study U of M - Kinesiology Dept MNP 1212 S3.indd 1

11/15/12 2:37 PM • January 2016 11


TOOTHBRUSH DELIVERY! Did you know dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months? It’s not because the bristles wear out. Alas. It’s because the average toothbrush contains more than 10 million bacteria, often including E. coli and staph. Ew. Hint: Flush your toilet with the lid down to reduce airborne bacteria that can collect on your toothbrush and other bathroom surfaces. Another proactive thing you can do is check out the dental-care subscription service from Boka, a new Minneapolis company working to keep families on schedule — and chemical free — when it comes to oral care. When you sign up for Boka, you don’t have to remember when to replace your brushes, they’ll just come in the mail, along with add-ons such as floss wrapped in natural beeswax (rather than the traditional Teflon or petroleum) and Boka’s minty toothpaste made with essential oils (but without sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, parabens, fluoride or artificial flavors). (Boka argues that fluoride isn’t as effective in over-the-counter toothpastes as we’ve been led to believe.) Best of all, Boka’s toothbrushes are designed to fight bacteria because they’re made with Japanese Binchotan activated charcoal, which naturally inhibits the growth of nasty microorganisms. Eric Frost of Kenwood and Amanda Zweerink of Richfield — both parents and both employees of the Minneapolis marketing firm Zeus Jones — co-founded Boka with James Hagen of Minneapolis, who runs American Dental Accessories, an e-commerce site for dentists. Hagen hopes Boka will inspire families to improve their oral health, which has been closely tied to overall health. “One of our customers claims that their Boka box got their daughter excited about dentistry for the first time in her life,” he said, adding that kids enjoy the “unboxing” experience, making each arrival seem more like a gift than a toiletries restock. We love the Boka brushes’ bristles, which are soft but tapered at their tips to be effective on plaque. (We signed up for the service and it came to $27 for a year of brushes (eight) for a family of two.) Learn more at


January 2016 •

↑↑Eric Frost of Kenwood and Amanda Zweerinkof Richfield, co-founders of Boka, try out some of their new company’s toothbrushes.

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↑↑Maria Keller of Plymouth has collected and distibuted more than 1.7 million books to low-income kids.

Plymouth teen honored Fourteen-year-old Maria Keller of Plymouth has been named a 2015 honoree by the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes for her non-profit organization, Read Indeed. Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates 25 inspiring, public-spirited young people who have made a positive difference in the world. Maria was honored for her work in distributing nearly 1.7 million gently used books to more than 300 schools and organizations in 43 states and 16 countries, all at an estimated value of $4 million. Maria, an avid reader, was in second grade when she began collecting books for low-income kids, setting a goal of 1 million books by the time she turned 18. When she met that goal before she had even turned 13, she revised it to 3 million books and is now working to distribute books to every state in the U.S. and every country in the world. Maria enlists the help of volunteers — most of them children and teens — who hold book drives and then work with her to identify recipients of the books. Learn more about the Colorado-based group that awards the prizes at barronprize. org. • January 2016


Mother-friendly birthing T

he hospital tour guide stopped next to a bank of windows, behind which stood a darkened room filled with folding chairs, empty boxes and definitely no babies. “This is the nursery,” he announced, smirking. Some prospective patients laughed nervously; others chuckled knowingly. “Yeah, we don’t ship babies away to the nursery at this hospital,” he said. “In fact, we keep the coffee pot in there!” “Makes perfect sense to me,” I thought, having sucked down a veritable Big Gulp of the natural parenting Kool-Aid: Nurseries were a relic, a misguided practice from the era of rampant pregnancy smoking and twilight sleep. Betty Draper surely sent her babies to the nursery. Look how things turned out for her!

⊲⊲Let’s hear it for the babies This dreamy vision of childbirth is hot these days, at least among a certain upper-middle class demographic. The notion of the “baby-friendly hospital” is also an ideal many health systems aspire to. And why not? I mean, who wants to give birth at a babyunfriendly hospital? The mission of the baby-friendly hospital initiative, for those who are unfamiliar, is basically to strongly encourage hospitals to make a full-scale commitment to promoting breastfeeding as the ideal way to feed babies. And that’s great, right? We need more programs and policies that support women who choose to breastfeed.

⊲⊲First time: Baby-friendly ⊲⊲The proper way to give birth Any well-informed person today knows there are certain things you should do in order to ensure the best outcomes for one’s baby. When I was pregnant with my first child, I’d internalized a variety of specific ideas about what constituted the “right” kind of birth. An un-medicated childbirth was a given, of course, preferably in a tub of water. Epidurals had clearly been invented to keep women “on their backs,” both literally and figuratively. Naturally, I was going to hire a doula. I didn’t have plans to slow dance with my partner in the hospital hallways to ease labor pains (I have my limits), but I had every intention to “ride the rolling waves of contractions” while splayed regally atop a stability ball. But that was just the criteria for the birth. Once my baby was born, I would hold her close — skin to skin — for at least an hour while our mingling mojo opened the floodgates of my breast milk. Then we would snuggle in our cozy hospital room, settling effortlessly into a breastfeeding groove.

The hospital where I had my first baby was definitely baby-friendly in spirit, if not in official designation. We had no choice but to room in, which means your baby stays in your room at all times and you’re expected to change all the diapers, handle the feedings and so on. There are no trips to the nursery, obviously (remember, that’s where they keep the coffee pot). There are no pacifiers, and there’s definitely no formula. For me, all this baby-friendliness was a nightmare. Breastfeeding clearly wasn’t working (as evidenced by my daughter’s unremitting screaming at the breast), but no nurse, midwife or lactation consultant (LC) would admit it. “Deep into the breast,” the LC would murmur as she attempted to cram my spindly, almost-premature baby’s mouth into my “breast sandwich.” These were good-intentioned efforts to support my decision to breastfeed. But when I think back to my hospital stay, all I can remember is a sleepless nightmare punctuated by visits from healthcare professionals who seemed to be telling me this breastfeeding thing would work itself out as long as I was willing to try harder. (Note: I actually breastfed my baby for over a year, but always had to supplement with formula. This was after months using a supplemental nursing system and pumping every four hours.)

⊲⊲Second time: Mother-friendly With my second baby, I wasn’t interested in revisiting the martyrdom of my first postpartum stint. I had an epidural. I “offered the breast”


January 2016 •


Car-seat cozy ⊲⊲Keep Baby warm this winter — and avoid the unsafe use of puffy coats, which can compromise car-seat effectiveness — with the Cocoon from 7 A.M. Enfant. It has an elastic base for easy installation and removal, plus central and side zippers for quick access. It has a water-repellent outer shell and is machine washable, too. $59 •

and pumped in the hospital to encourage milk production, but I also supplemented my baby with donor milk — from a bottle — during his stay in the special care nursery. In other words, I thought about my needs, in addition to the needs of my baby (which were front and center, of course). When you’re pregnant, giving birth and navigating the postpartum period, it’s essential that you learn to advocate for yourself. That might mean questioning your doctor’s advice to induce, or refusing the offered epidural, or insisting that your partner and doula be admitted to the delivery room. But it can also mean that you learn to advocate for your own comfort and health, too — like asking a nurse to watch your baby for an hour so you can rest, or taking a bath instead of pumping for the third time in 10 hours. Shannon Keough lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children. Send questions or comments to skeough@

The Need to Stop Time “T

he days are long, but the years are short.” “Enjoy every minute! It goes too fast.” “Don’t you just wish they could stay this way FOREVER?” Ah, the many clichés that we, our own parents and grocery-store busybodies, use to describe the phenomenon of watching our children grow up. The push for milestones, the simultaneous adrenaline and ache deep in your chest as she takes her first step or races into karate class — confidently — without so much as a nod in your direction. You yearn, some days, for bedtime — desperate for a long bath, a cup of tea, that good book. Yes, more clichés! Certain phrases and creature comforts earn that designation for good reason — because they’re tried and true.

⊲⊲Blinded by love The beauty of writing this column in hindsight, just a few short years out of toddler parenting myself, is that I have a certain perspective — and the hot-pink T-shirt they give you when your child enters pre-K that reads, “I survived!” What I know, from this side of the twos and threes and fours, is that we all mess up and our kids are better for it. I know we all think our toddlers are, actually, the cutest and smartest and most amazing. Our next child is equal in cutes and smarts and awesomeness to our first — and, of course, WAY cooler than the neighbor’s kid, who totally picks his nose and eats it.

I also know that, though we champion our kids in this way — extremely biased and absolutely blinded by love — we’re also exhausted and crabby and dirty, grass-stained from the trenches of the backyard and jelly-smeared from … life. But you probably already know all of this by now, savvy Toddler Parent. What I can give you from my hotshot perspective of just out of the toddler years is this:

⊲⊲Every age is really cool That feeling that you must stop time and keep things exactly as they are continues, leaving you in that ping pong between nostalgia and your desire to use the bathroom without an inquisitive, sticky, clingy audience. Though leaving the toddler years behind is hard, 5 becomes the next best age. Is there anything better than a kindergartener? Six is fun. And 7 brings back the toothless grin. Yes! You get to play tooth fairy! And build snowmen and write letters to Santa. You get to put away the stroller and walk with your child through the zoo, hand in hand, talking about the animals in a way that’s both meaningful and coherent. There will always be a part of you that stops to hold the 2T jammies to your chest, after pulling them shyly from the keepsakes box you stumbled upon while digging out the Halloween decorations. You’ll long for these years and the baby years before that. Pregnancy too will be glorified as a time when you and your child shared blood and breath. Never mind the morning sickness.


Sneeze sleeve ⊲⊲The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends coughing and sneezing into the upper sleeve to help stop germs from spreading. But, for a kid with a major cold, that’s a lot of sleeve slime. Enter the Sneeve — a disposable, anti-microbial sleeve designed to absorb the yucky stuff. Sized for ages 3 to 8, the stretchy, bright blue Sneeve — not a Dr. Seuss creature — reminds kids to cough and sneeze into their arms. $6.99 for a box of 7 •


January 2016 •

There will always be a part of you that stops to hold the 2T jammies to your chest, after pulling them shyly from the keepsakes box you stumbled upon while digging out the Halloween decorations.

↑↑Jen Wittes embraces her little ones in the midst of their fleeting toddlerhood.

⊲⊲The birth of nostalgia With each passing year, however, comes the knowledge that the speed of time is what creates this nostalgia; and were you really given the power to grind life to a halt, you wouldn’t feel this way at all. You would be saddled with an eternity of toddlerhood. With all of the picked flowers and bubble bath beards and first trips to the State Fair, a lifetime of ushering a little person through the years often tagged as “terrible” would be — if not complete torture — really damn hard. And nostalgia would not exist. So, the next time you feel that oxytocin sucker punch known as The Need to Stop Time, settle for slowing it down. Snuggle in, hunker down, unplug, observe and smell. Be OK with them crawling into bed with you for the 10th night in a row. Be OK, too, with the fact that it keeps getting better, for different reasons. You love them as much at each subsequent age, if not more. I imagine this comforting thought, which I’ve so boldly presented, stops short in the teenage years, but I really don’t know. I don’t have that perspective yet. Cue my own sucker punch. Because I don’t have the power to stop time, I just close my eyes and let myself feel it — the bruised, breathless ache of parenthood.

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Jen Wittes lives in St. Paul and is a mother of two. She’s helped many Twin Cities families in her work as a postpartum doula. Send questions or comments to • January 2016


Activity overload? O

n a bulletin board mounted to the wall above my computer I’ve hung a large desk calendar that acts as our family command center, perpetually organizing our fast-paced life with four young children. The oversized squares that encapsulate each date are chock-full with activities, meetings, schedules and reminders. Indeed, our family schedule is gaining some serious momentum with (almost) all of our children now in their school-age years. Currently on my desk, sits a registration form for yet another activity my 10-year-old daughter’s shown interest in. Considering this additional extra-curricular commitment has sparked much thought and conversation in our household over the past week, and I think we’ve finally come to a consensus on our plan of action.

⊲⊲Reaching a balance Today’s children can participate in an abundance of structured extracurricular activities outside of the school day. Our challenge, as parents, is to find the right balance — for our children, our families and ourselves — between healthy enrichment and activity overload. There are many benefits to participating in extracurricular activities. According to research presented by Harry Kimball from the Child Mind Institute, afterschool activities, especially for older children, can provide structure and protection, which may deter kids

Regardless of the activity in which your child is engaged, it’s more important to consider your child’s quality of life.

from making unhealthy choices (involving substance abuse or other dangerous behaviors). After-school activities help children develop confidence, talents, passions and all kinds of relationships. They can offer outlets for creative expression and physical activity, too. Over scheduling, however, can lead to stress, not only for our children, but also for us as parents. It’s easy to be caught up in the modern culture of busyness, and it can be difficult to reflect on the consuming habits of our lifestyle.

⊲⊲Quality of life Taking a mindful approach to our commitments — by looking at our time management, lifestyle choices and the cues our children give us through their behaviors — is crucial. Involving our children in these conversations and decisions is an opportunity to model and apply these critical life skills. In the New York Times article — Overscheduled Children: How Big a Problem? — Bruce Feiler shares suggestions from psychologist Michael Thompson: Regardless of the activity in which your child is engaged, it’s more important to consider your child’s quality of life by asking the questions: Is your child joyful? Is he or she eating and sleeping well? Does he or she have enough time to complete homework? In the same piece, child and adolescent psychiatrist Alvin Rosenfeld, author of The Over-Scheduled Child, commended involvement in enrichment activities, but expressed the importance of balancing them with down time.

⊲⊲Finding our own way There isn’t a concrete solution that works best for every child or every family. In my own experience as a teacher and mother, I’ve developed an understanding of how family values, dynamics and economics can influence the decisions families make for their children. What might work for one family may be out of the question for another. Our plan of action right now is to pass up this


January 2016 •


Fort maker ⊲⊲Pillow-fort season is upon us! Keep cabin fever at bay with a Discovery Kids 77-piece build-and-play construction set. We recommend you buy two sets (or supplement your fort-making endeavors with your own furniture) if you want to create a roomy playhouse. Retailers include JC Penney, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx, Toys R Us and Walmart. $19.99 •

newest opportunity for our oldest daughter. When we made that decision together, thoughtfully, she even expressed some relief. (Me, too!) Yes, many of her friends will be participating and she’ll be missing out on this particular opportunity to develop a new interest and skill set. But making this choice will allow us to continue to have dinner together as a family each weeknight and provide an opportunity for some unstructured free time at home, which is a priority in our life right now. Ultimately, the choice came down to intuition. I think our daughter knew it would be too much right now. She just needed the conversation, support and permission to say no. I invite you to reflect on your own family life, consider your child, your family and yourself when making decisions that impact your family life. Megan Devine is an elementary school teacher and mother of four. She lives in Northeastern Minnesota. Write her at and check out her blog at

When we were young O

ver the last couple years, my husband and I have taken it upon ourselves to introduce our 15-yearold to some of things we loved when we were teenagers. Call it a walk down nostalgia lane. We’ve had many a Friday night listening to music, hopping around Spotify to find our favorites. Inevitably, it always returns to the ’80s. My son, who plays guitar, loves most of it. (Of course when we land on Spandau Ballet, he’s suddenly nowhere to be found). I’d been looking forward to watching all of the John Hughes classics with him: We laughed through Ferris Bueller. I cringed a bit during Sixteen Candles. And I felt his shock at the sadness he felt after watching The Breakfast Club. It all got me thinking about how rebellious behavior and teens have often shared the spotlight over the years. Were the pressures we felt as teens — the things we wanted to hide from our parents — the same as what my son goes through today?

communicate these concerns. I don’t text and drive. I hand the phone to whichever kid is in the front seat next to me, and I dictate my reply. My 15-year-old son gets rides from friends and is learning to drive himself, so he’s watching me. I ask when he private messages friends to pretend their parents are sitting right over their shoulders reading what comes in. I’ve warned him if he gets a questionable image to delete it immediately and not share it with anyone. But what if we were to actually ask what they’ve been exposed to on their phones? That’s a whole other scary conversation.

Were the pressures we felt as teens — the things we wanted to hide from our parents — the same as what my son goes through today?

⊲⊲Technology changes the game It can be hard not to have a bit of trepidation as we circumnavigate the teen years. Technology definitely adds another dimension to the child-rearing experience. We’re bombarded with the negative effects of our phones — terrible accidents caused by texting and driving, cyberbullying and sexual images that can be sent across the globe. I’ve tried to follow all of the advice out there to


LGBTQ stories ⊲⊲Listening Library and Penguin Young Readers have just launched a new resource for LGBTQ teens, parents, teachers and librarians: Read Proud Listen Proud. Readers can find suggested books and audiobooks highlighting LGBTQ issues and characters, along with author interviews and discussion guides at The site was inspired by the We Need Diverse Books movement and award-winning author Ann Bausum’s recent book and audiobook, Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights, one of the first nonfiction chronicles of the gay-rights movement written for young adults (grades 9 and higher). $16.99 •


January 2016 •

⊲⊲Drugs, sex and rock ’n’ roll We all know what we were exposed to. How do we start these awkward conversations with our teens? We want to be relatable to our teens. I think we have the mindset that if we seem more open to things then maybe they’ll be more open to share. I’m pretty lucky. My firstborn is a chatterbox. He gladly shares the details of his day with me. He talks about funny conversations with friends and teachers. But he’s still a teen figuring out what’s safe to share with us and what isn’t. Out of nowhere the other day, he talked about how a girl asked him if he wanted to “vape” (e-cigarette) when they were sitting at the back of class. He told her no. He couldn’t believe she just pulled it out of her bag in the open. But he didn’t tell me that day. It sort of worked its way out on its own. I was glad to be able to tell him good job on saying no to something he wasn’t comfortable with.

⊲⊲Jumping into the fray More recently, we saw an alarming text from a friend on his phone. Yes, we spot-check his phone to see what’s going on. In most cases it’s innocent, but this text seemed more like a cry for help: I felt obligated to call the parent directly, given the situation. Instead of getting upset with me, like he could have, my son actually felt relieved, I think. So we worry sometimes, we lecture sometimes, we give space sometimes and sometimes we get nosy. We remind our teens that we’re here for them. For our family, it helps, I think, to sing our hearts out to old music — letting our old adolescent emotions fill the room and, perhaps, permeate the mind of our teen. Jennifer Wizbowski is a freelance writer who lives in Excelsior with her husband, daughter and son, ages 12 and 15. Send comments, questions and story ideas to jwizbowski@

7 affordable winter activities I’m talking about grabbing the Nerf football and playing a few downs of touch — all the better if the snow is deep and you stumble and fall into soft landings.


e had that nice, long, warm fall. Remember? Shorts and T-shirts in November! So it feels a bit, well, complainy, to complain about the cold now. But it is cold! I don’t like it. When that jerk Jack Frost is out prowling the neighborhood, many of us feel tempted to set up camp in front of the TV or on the sofa with a book. But, deep down, all Minnesotans know that getting outside is the best way to survive the season. I know: Winter sports are expensive, especially for families! Thinking about all the fancy equipment, lift tickets, event fees and other expenses may conjure up images of dollar signs floating out of your home like heat through an inefficient window. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s a handful of cheap or free ways families can get active during the winter. 1. Go geocaching. Try this outdoor treasurehunting game in which you search for hidden objects using GPS coordinates and a GPS device or smartphone. Many of our state parks have hidden geocaches that you can hunt year-round, so you have the chance to take in some of the natural beauty of our state while entertaining the family. Pick up a device at one of 35


January 2016 •

geocaching checkpoints in the Minnesota State Parks system, or use your own smartphone. Once you find a few treasures, let the kids hide one of their own. GPS devices are free to borrow, so the cost for a geocaching adventure is limited to a $5 one-day park permit ($35 for a full year). Learn more at mn-geocaching. 2. Snowshoe. Again, the Minnesota State Parks are a great resource. You can rent a pair of snowshoes for $6 a day at many parks throughout the state, and you’re off and shuffling to explore miles of trails. The parks even host guided hikes, including candlelight events. You can rent snowshoes for $6 per hour from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, as well as from REI and other sporting goods stores. 3. Have a dance party. This is a staple for indoor exercise — crank up some tunes and let the kids shake their thangs. Don’t forget to join them; it’s more fun for you, and a whole lot more fun for them to see Mom and Dad get down and look silly. While you’re at it, why not take this party outdoors? Pull on the snow gear, bring a mini speaker, and spin, jump, run in place, and get down with your bad selves until you’re ready to drop.

4. Go sledding. This is an easy one, I know. But it’s a classic you shouldn’t forget about. And if you have a sled, there’s no cost. Tubing isn’t free, but it’s usually cheaper than skiing and no experience (or fancy gear) is required. Parks, such as Theo Wirth in Minneapolis and Elm Creek in Maple Grove are usually less expensive than ski resorts. See a list of sites that offer tubing at 5. Winterize summer sports. I’m talking about grabbing the Nerf football and playing a few downs of touch — all the better if the snow is deep and you stumble and fall into soft landings. Better yet is diving to make dramatic plays (even if they’re only dramatic in your kids’ minds). Other sports that might be fun winterized: Frisbee golf (make up your own age-appropriate holes), soccer (highkicking over snow!), running races and beanbag toss. There’s no cost for any of these assuming you have the gear.

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6. Make an obstacle course. You can use the play structures at the park or do it at home with your own obstacles made from toys or anything you have around. Jump over your old riding toy tractor! Crawl through this cardboard box! Run to the mailbox and put the flag up! Throw a snowball at a target on the fence! If you’re creative, you can make this last all afternoon. 7. Go swimming. No, I’m not talking about that polar plunge. Many gyms have a pool with open swim time (even for nonmembers), and there’s something about swimming in the winter that feels exotic to kids. See for a list of water parks, including indoor options. (You’ll also find indoor play spaces.) Don’t let that punk Jack Frost intimidate you this year. Get outside and shake your thang. Eric Braun is a Minneapolis-based writer, editor and dad of two boys. Send comments or questions to • January 2016


Don’t let your infant fly unrestrained Do we need a car seat for our 1-year-old on an airplane? Airline travel with young children is no easy task. The planning checklist often includes items needed to ensure adequate entertainment, food, diapering and clothing changes and comfort or transitional objects. But the most fundamental planning must start when purchasing airline tickets. Though children younger than 2 years old are able to travel on an adult’s lap without a purchased seat of their own, both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urge parents to purchase separate seats for their children instead. From a convenience standpoint, an additional seat for an infant allows an adult more freedom, hands free, to entertain an infant or child and travel more comfortably themselves. More important, an additional purchased seat offers a much safer travel experience for an infant or child than traveling in an adult’s lap. Without this additional seat, parents are meant to serve the role of a safety restraint and are often unable to reliably overcome forces of turbulence. Lap-infants or children, during turbulence, are often catapulted several rows from their adults, which raises a risk of injury to the child as well as other passengers. Other times, infants have suffocated in parents’ arms while both have been sleeping in the adult’s seat. Parents also make the mistake of attempting to

When should we start eye-care visits? Eye evaluation begins with the first newborn examination aftenr birth and continues with every well-child visit at 1 week of age, 2 weeks, 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 months, and then annually thereafter. Pediatric and family-practice clinicians examine the external appearance of the eyes, the red reflex and the alignment and movement of the eyes. When children are able to understand screening instructions and can communicate reliably, vision testing


January 2016 •

drink hot beverages while holding an infant or child and risk scalding them. Under the age of 1 year, infants should travel on airplanes in their car seat in a seat purchased for them. This is the only strategy that will keep them safe in an emergency. Above the age of 1 year (and 22 pounds), children should also have a purchased seat. In addition to a car seat, a Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES), may also be safely used. CARES is a FAAapproved airline safety harness that may be purchased. It’s a five-point restraint, similar to that found in a child’s car seat, which attaches onto their airline seat and utilizes the airline seat’s lap belt. Planning travel to include purchasing a separate infant or child’s seat — ­­ and arranging ample time on the day of travel to transport and install a car seat or CARES device — is worth it for your child’s safety.

is also performed annually. This usually begins at about 3 years of age. It’s important for parents to remember that as children grow and change, so may their child’s vision, so at least annual evaluations should occur. If parents describe a family history of eye conditions, clinicians may a recommend an evaluation by a specialist anyway. Additionally, a visit to a specialist may be merited if parents raise specific concerns including misalignment, vision concerns, abnormal external appearance of the eyes or asymmetric reflection of light noted in photos (red reflex).

At what age is it safe to serve raw fish (sushi or sashimi) to a baby? Introduction of sushi raises concerns due to potential fish/ shellfish allergy and because of the undercooked presentation. From an allergic standpoint, food allergies are a growing concern. The CDC reports that rates of food allergies increased 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. The most common foods are milk, soy, wheat, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanut and tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios and pecans). Symptoms of allergy may range from vomiting and diarrhea to tongue swelling and difficulty breathing — and frequently require medical intervention. There’s evidence to support that small tastes of these most commonly allergic foods, as early as 4 months of age, may decrease the rates of food allergy. Considering the safety of raw or undercooked fish, however, both the Federal Drug Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics have taken the position that raw fish should be avoided for young children due to risk of possible infection or toxin. But, neither define the age of “young children.” Food toxins from fish/shellfish produce symptoms that are limited to diarrhea, vomiting and belly pain and are usually short-lived. Infections, on the other hand, may require medical intervention, but are rare. Additionally, some fish like white tuna and swordfish, may pose an additional risk of mercury poisoning. Read the FDA’s suggested limitations for the weighted consumption of these types of fish at fda-food-mn. Dr. Gigi Chawla is a board-certified pediatrician and the senior medical director of primary care at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. • January 2016


What to do about ADHD P

arenting can be exhausting, especially when you have a very active 4-year-old who’s in near-constant motion from sunrise to sunset. That’s how Gail feels most of the time. The young mother used to be energized by Marcus’ constant activity and sense of adventure — the way he could climb into his highchair without help, how he’d been so early to walk, his constant curiosity about games and toys and almost everything else. But lately it’s become too much. One morning a few weeks ago, Gail walked into the kitchen to find Marcus playing in the cupboard above the stove! It wasn’t the first time his impulsive behavior had put Marcus in a precarious situation, but this was new territory. Gail carefully coaxed the boy down from the cupboard, lifting him gently off the countertop. “What you did is really dangerous, Marcus,” she told her son. “You could fall and break your arm! Please don’t do that again.” Two days later, Gail went looking for Marcus in the backyard. When she stepped out onto the patio, Gail was mortified to see her son leap from the top of the fence and take off running down the sidewalk. She quickly went after the boy and, with the help of a neighbor, managed to corral him and bring him home. “This is more than I can take,” she thought as she sent Marcus to his room. “What am I going to do?” It was Gail’s mother who first suggested that Marcus might have ADHD — Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — and from what she knew of the condition, Gail agreed it was a possibility. Marcus’ high-octane behavior didn’t just happen at home. His child-care provider had expressed concern because Marcus wasn’t able to stay on task at daycare. He didn’t wait his turn, frequently interrupted the other children and adults and wouldn’t sit still for a moment. But Gail was hesitant to follow up because she’d heard many stories of kids with ADHD being put on behavior-


January 2016 •

altering medication, and she didn’t want that for her 4-year-old. Eventually, Gail’s mother convinced her to call the doctor. It’s actually not unusual for young children to be hyperactive, impulsive and lack focus. And every child is unique, so it can be difficult to know the difference between age-appropriate behavior and actions that might indicate an emotional or behavioral issue. If you have a child who doesn’t respond to redirection, can’t follow your instructions or is doing things that are dangerous, it’s probably time to dig a little deeper. Here are a few steps you can take if you’re concerned that your child might have ADHD:

⊲⊲Observe your child and take notes Keeping a journal about your child’s behavior for a few weeks is a good first step. Gather information from others who interact with your child — the babysitter, family members and your childcare provider, for example. Create a checklist naming the specific behaviors you have concerns about. PACER’s handout, When Should Parents Be Concerned About Their Child’s Behavior? can help you get started. (See

⊲⊲Make a doctor appointment Most parents who’ve had their child evaluated for emotional or behavioral issues will tell you that it’s much easier to cope once you know your child has challenges that need to be managed — versus sitting at home worrying about the unknown. The Internet can be a helpful tool to learn more, but don’t rely on a search engine to provide you with accurate answers. Call your pediatrician. Explain your concerns when you make the appointment and request a developmental screening for your child.

⊲⊲Be prepared for the visit This is where a journal can be incredibly helpful. Because children develop on their own timelines, the behaviors you’re concerned about may not seem so

Gail walked into the kitchen to find Marcus playing in the cupboard above the stove!

alarming to your child’s pediatrician. By bringing your behaviors checklist and notes with you to the appointment, you’ll have valuable information to share. A checklist also makes the discussion more objective and can help take some of the emotion out of the conversation.

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⊲⊲Accept the situation Learning that your child has emotional or behavioral challenges isn’t easy, and some parents are reluctant to hear this uncomfortable news. They worry about medication, special education at school and even what the neighbors will think. The stigma of behavioral conditions like ADHD remains a very real issue for children and families. Do your best to accept the reality of the situation. It’s up to you to get the answers you need, and learn more about your child’s situation so you can get help.

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⊲⊲This is about your child Remember, this isn’t about you. This is about your child’s well-being, both now and in the future. Gail found it stressful to worry constantly about her child’s safety, and she felt uncomfortable making excuses for her son’s behavior. But life for Marcus wasn’t easy either. The Mayo Clinic reports that toddlers as young as 2 or 3 can display the primary signs of ADHD — impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. If those words describe your child, it might be time to take action. The good news is that early intervention is usually effective, and likely to make life much more manageable for you and your child in the long run.

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© Disney. Reprinted with permission from Disney Online. All Rights Reserved. This article originally appeared on and was published in partnership with The PACER Center, a nonprofit organization based in the Twin Cities that helps families with children with disabilities and also runs the National Bullying Prevention Center. Learn more at • January 2016



Winter’s joy! By Sarah Dorison Minnesota winters can be harsh, sure. But brrrrrr is our thing: We can take pride in our resilience and the fact that we have real seasons here. Honestly, who wants to live in California where it’s 70 degrees every day? (Wait, don’t answer that.) OK, so how can we teach our kids to enjoy and embrace the crisp, clean air of winter? Check out these books that find glory in our snowiest season.

Toys Meet Snow Everyone in the house is gone one winter day when curiosity gets the best of three little toys — Lumphy, a stuffed buffalo; StingRay, a plush stingray; and Plastic, a bouncy red ball — who make their way outdoors to see what snow is really all about. Filled with colorful metaphors and engaging challenges for the three loveable characters (StingRay must use a plastic bag to stay dry), this is the perfect picture book for young kids learning to love winter. Ages 3–7 $17.99


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Max and Marla In this magical, playfully illustrated tale, a boy and his owl buddy must endure the ups and downs of life on the precarious sledding hill near their home. These real-life “Olympians” (apparently living entirely free of grownups) are wise beyond their years. They take care to prepare, dress, rest, regroup, care for their equipment and — most of all — never give up. Ages 3–5 $17.99

First Hockey Words Best-selling authorillustrator Per-Henrik Gurth of Ontario is back with an homage to one of Minnesota’s favorite sports. Kids get to learn all about Zambonis, pucks, passing, goalies, face-offs, breakaways, power plays and penalties, too. Are you really into winter sports? Check out Hockey Opposites and Snow Sports: Ready, Set, Play, also by Gurth. Ages 2–5 $15.95

The Thing About Yetis Even Yetis get tired of winter. Sure, they love snowy, quiet mornings, hot chocolate with marshmallows, sledding, skating, building snow castles and snowball fights. But they also get cold, really cold. And they yearn for summer and sand castles, too. How do they cope? They create a bit of summer indoors. Note: If you’re giving this book as a gift, we highly recommend you purchase an Aurora World Yulli Yeti stuffed-plush yeti (pictured below), available on for $15.99.

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A better bacon By Mike Adamick I know what you’re thinking: It’s bacon. How can it get any better? Well, it can. Oh, it can.

The best part, beyond the deliciousness, is how easy it is for kids to make something that will literally bring “oohs and ahhs” from anyone who eats it. That’s got to make a beginner chef proud and happy. Just thinking about these makes my mouth water, so let’s get right to it. 30

January 2016 •

SWEET CANDY BACON 6 strips of bacon, the thicker the better 1/4 cup maple syrup Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you have a convection-roasting feature, use that. If not, regular baking will work just fine. Place cooling racks inside the baking pan. There should be about 1/4 inch of space between the pan and the cooling racks. This will allow hot air to get under the bacon and cook it all over. Lay your bacon strips on the cooling

racks so that the strips run perpendicular to the rack rods. Pour syrup into a small bowl and then dip a basting brush and paint each strip. Then set aside the syrup. This step should be done by your child. Seriously. Nothing’s hot yet. It’s just bacon-laying and painting. Any kid can do it. Yes, there will be syrup everywhere and your kid will probably smell like some combination of raw pork and syrup but, well, yeah. Given the raw meat situation, I should probably advise you to be sure he washes his hands thoroughly afterward. But don’t stress. Think of the powerful immune system you’re building. See? Bacon really is the best. Bake the bacon for about 10 minutes. Pull pan out and paint another coat of syrup on the bacon and put it back in the oven. Bake for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bacon is done to your desired crispiness level. Remove, plate, then listen for gasps of sugar-bacon pleasure.

This recipe was excerpted from Dad’s Book of Awesome Recipes: From Sweet Candy Bacon to Cheesy Chicken Fingers, 100+ Recipes the Whole Family Will Enjoy! by Mike Adamick. Adamick is a stay-athome dad who writes the Daddy Issues column on and contributes to the San Francisco Chronicle’s parenting blog, The Poop. Learn more at


January 2016 •

FACING THE MENTAL HEALTH MONSTER Accepting the fact that your child might have a mental-health issue isn’t easy. Fortunately, Minnesota is home to a variety of support services for children suffering from emotional problems.


Without hesitation

you’d take your child to the emergency room for a broken arm, the dentist for a cavity, the pediatrician for a sore throat. But what do you do when your child suffers the death of a loved one, bullying at school or low self-esteem? What happens when you learn that your child is hurting other kids at day care, refusing to eat, engaging in self-harm or acting out in school? When it comes to emotional wellbeing, we don’t always know how to “fix it.” Here’s the good news: You don’t have to know how to fix everything. You only need to know how to ask for help. And, fortunately for local families, Minnesota boasts a wealth of resources for kids in need of mental health-care expertise. In fact, multiple children’s mental health-care providers in the Twin Cities have been investing millions in expansions to meet the growing needs of families with kids suffering from anxiety, depression, childhood trauma, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and other emotional and behavioral disorders.

MOVING BEYOND STIGMA Of course, even with a wide variety of options available, seeking treatment can be difficult for parents. Our biggest wish for our children is for To admit that them to sail through life without such a child might complicated challenges. need help is To admit that a child might need help is to open the to open the heart and mind to an heart and onslaught of frightening “what ifs.” mind to an onslaught Fortunately, the stigma surrounding of frightening talking about — and treating — mental‘what ifs.’ health problems seems to be decreasing as parents have become more comfortable advocating not just for the physical health of their kids, but for their mental wellbeing as well. That’s part of why so many providers have been expanding their services, said Jen Holper, a licensed social worker and marketing director at PrairieCare, a Twin Cities mental health-care provider. “Our culture has become more accepting of disorders, therefore • January 2016




Where can you turn if you feel your child has a mental-health concern? Our state — the metro area in particular — is home to many uniquely skilled private practices, early intervention programs, family wellness centers and top-notch treatment facilities. ⊲⊲Beyond exploration of the larger organizations mentioned here, ask around. ⊲⊲Seek recommendations from teachers, neighbors, friends and family members. ⊲⊲Vet your list of possibilities through online comments and reviews. ⊲⊲You can also search for therapists, psychiatrists and support groups by ZIP code at Filters allow you to select therapists by their specialties, insurance plans and therapy styles.

ST. DAVID’S CENTER FOR CHILD & FAMILY DEVELOPMENT Specialties: Early childhood education, children’s mental health, pediatric therapies, autism support, parenting education and services for individuals with lifelong special needs.

5WASHBURN CENTER FOR CHILDREN Specialties: All social, emotional and behavioral problems, including trauma, anxiety, learning difficulties, depression, behavioral problems, attention deficit disorders and more. Washburn Center offers school-based therapy programs in the Bloomington, Eden Prairie and Minneapolis school districts. What’s new? In December 2014, the Washburn Center for Children moved from its longtime Nicollet Avenue location to a newly built children’s mental health-care facility west of downtown Minneapolis, doubling its home base to 55,000 square feet. Where: Minneapolis, Minnetonka and Brooklyn Park Info: or 612-871-1454

PACER CENTER Specialties: Information, resources, advocacy and assistance for parents of children with all disabilities, including mental-health and emotional or behavioral disorders. Based on a parents-helpingparents model, PACER helps children receive the other services they need to be successful, including educational supports. What’s new? PACER’s Children’s Mental Health and Emotional or Behavioral Disorders Project ( helps families navigate multiple systems of care so they can access necessary services for their child. PACER is also working to promote increased understanding of — and eliminate stigma associated with — mental-health challenges. Where: 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington Info: or 952-838-9000


January 2016 •

What’s new: A $13.7 million expansion and renovation of the nonprofit provider’s Minnetonka campus will double the number of children who have access to early intervention and treatment services at St. David’s, which also has mental-health professionals in the Hopkins and Osseo school districts. Where: 3395 Plymouth Road, Minnetonka Info: or 952-548-8700

THE EMILY PROGRAM Specialties: Eating-disorder assessments, group therapy, inpatient, intensive day treatment and overnight care. Where: There are eight locations in Minnesota, including Burnsville, Duluth, St. Louis Park, Woodbury and four locations in St. Paul. Info: or 888-EMILY-77 (888-364-5977) Also check out: Melrose Center at Park Nicollet in St. Louis Park, Maple Grove and St. Paul ( and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s Center for the Treatment of Eating Disorders in Minneapolis (

PRAIRIECARE Specialties: This privately owned, clinician-led organization offers outpatient and inpatient mental health care for all ages. What’s new? PrairieCare, founded in 2005, has expanded its services every year since 2007. Facility expansions were completed in 2015 at the Edina, Chaska, Rochester and Woodbury locations — and a new Maplewood location is expected to open in March. There’s also a Maple Grove location and, in Brooklyn Park, a new 75,000-square-foot child and adolescent specialty psychiatric hospital, the only facility of its kind in the state. Info: or 763-762-8800

people are more likely to seek help — increasing the number who are diagnosed,” Holper said. Thanks to that awareness, more parents are taking action, said Stephanie Combey, senior director of children’s mental-health services at St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development in Minnetonka. “I think that parents who may have struggled with their own mental-health issues, such as ADHD, in their youth, don’t want to see their own children struggle when they start to see the symptoms emerging.”

EXPANDING IN THE TWIN CITIES PrairieCare has seen dramatic growth — 35 percent each year by patient visits — during the past five years. It now boasts six, going on seven, locations in the metro area, including a new 75,000-square-foot child and adolescent psychiatric hospital in Brooklyn Park. During the past seven years, the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Washburn Center for Children — a children’s mental-health center — has seen the number of children it serves double to more than 2,700 per year. After completing a $24.5 million capital campaign in December 2014, Washburn Center moved from its longtime Nicollet Avenue location to a newly built children’s mental-health facility west of downtown Minneapolis, doubling the size of its home base to 55,000 square feet. St. David’s Center is in the final stages of a $13.7 million facility expansion as well. Combey said the center has seen significant growth in early childhood mental-health services, including early intervention to support socio-emotional readiness for kids entering kindergarten. “Another goal for our early childhood mental-health services is to prevent de-missions of children from their early childhood settings that result from behaviors that are too challenging to manage in a preschool setting,” Combey said. 



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FACING THE MENTAL HEALTH MONSTER WHAT’S ‘NORMAL’? One out of five kids will experience a mental-health challenge during childhood, said Dr. Rachael Krahn, associate clinical director at the Washburn Center for Children. “But knowing when to seek help can be challenging for caregivers,” Krahn said. “The frequency and severity of a child’s symptoms are important factors in determining whether professional help is needed,” Is this a phase of frequent tantrums or have the outbursts turned into constant, chaotic periods of rage? Do your child’s moods come and go? Or have burdening symptoms been present for quite some time? It’s important to remember that kids go through tough times, learn through experimentation, have big emotions and can’t always find the words to communicate feelings. “Some periods of development are typically more challenging for families, such as the terrible twos and adolescence, though this might not be the case for all parents,” Krahn said. “For some caregivers, infancy feels easy, while others find it difficult.” Common signs that your child may need to meet with someone include difficulty making and keeping friends, loss of interest in social activities, significant changes in behavior at home, concerns about self harm such as cutting, difficulty communicating feelings and hopeless or suicidal comments, said Alyssa Wright, a licensed marriage and family therapist at The Family Development Center in St. Paul. Anxiety problems are becoming increasingly common among children, Krahn said. “Anxiety is often an underlying theme/diagnosis in many of the children we serve,” Krahn said. “We’ve continued to see how anxiety disorders significantly impact a child’s healthy development.”

DISCOVERING INVISIBLE PROBLEMS Jennifer Schmidt, a Richfield mother of two, learned the value of an in-depth mental-health assessment when it came to her daughter, Sophia. Sophia was having problems at daycare. The provider recommended she be screened for behavioral issues and dismissed her permanently from the daycare. Schmidt had her daughter screened through the local school district, but the evaluator found nothing unusual in Sophia’s assessment. Some of her daughter’s “undesirable” behaviors included isolation from the group, speech delays and not following directions. Schmidt later enrolled Sophia in a preschool. Again the teacher recommended an evaluation. But this time the teacher specified that Sophia should be screened at the Washburn Center for Children. That made a difference. “It was way different at Washburn,” Schmidt said. “With no


January 2016 •

↑↑St. David’s Center for Child disrespect to the public school & Family Development in district screenings, this was Minnetonka recently added a more than just checking off a new playground for all of its programs, including Family long list of boxes. The first Place, a day-treatment program thing the specialist recomfor children struggling to mended was getting Sophia’s manage their emotions and tonsils and adenoids checked.” behaviors at home or in a childcare or school setting. That turned out to be an important suggestion. “Sophia had so much fluid in her ears,” Schmidt said. “It was like she had been hearing from underwater.” For Sophia, a physical limitation was causing behavioral issues. This can often be the case. Dyslexia and other visual issues can also bring about a teacher’s recommendation to see a behavioral specialist — as can certain food sensitivities, if the reaction is severe enough.

WHAT ABOUT MEDS? Some parents may hesitate to take a child in for treatment because they have mixed or negative feelings about the use of psychotropic medicines. Laura, a St. Paul mother of four, has seen two of her daughters through the use of mental-health medications. She was particularly concerned about her youngest daughter, who was only 15 when she started taking anti-depressants. “We had heard that meds were especially hard on teenagers, who are still growing and developing,” Laura said. “We heard it made them more prone to suicidal thoughts. It was an option none of us wanted, but when my daughter actually asked if she could try medicine, I listened.” Freaked out at the thought of putting your kid on psychotropic medications? Remember that you’re in control of this situation. If psychotropic prescriptions are recommended and you would rather try another route first, seek a second opinion. Also take comfort in this: Using medication isn’t the first step for most professionals. In the case of children and teens, most try other methods of

treatment first and — when they do prescribe medication — it’s sometimes for a short duration and almost always combined with other forms of therapy.

LETTING GO OF STIGMA If you’re feeling doubt and guilt, which can often come along with the realization that your child needs mental-wellness help, try to let it go. Life is hard. And therapy can help. And you’re not to blame for your child’s special needs. Early intervention among younger kids can be extremely beneficial because mentalhealth disorders sometimes coincide with otherwise undiscovered developmental or behavioral issues. Addressing these issues sooner rather than later often results in the best benefit. Combey, with St. David’s, said research clearly indicates that mental-health issues can start developing in early childhood and even infancy, and that demands early intervention. “For example, anxiety in children often leads to avoidance of school, social situations, peers, etc. Providing the child and his parents with an understanding of anxiety, methods to cope with those thoughts and feelings, and opportunities to be successful in stressful situations can decrease the impact of the child’s anxiety on both the child and his parents,” Combey said. Getting help — and taking proactive steps to find solutions and support for your child’s needs — can give your family an edge. And what about your own mental health? Remember, tending to your emotional needs can actually produce a trickle-down effect. So lose the shame and embrace emotional health — for the whole family. Jen Wittes is a mother of two and a freelance writer who lives in St. Paul. Learn more about her work at • January 2016


d e r i p s In ing v i g

Kids can be taught kind ness. Try these 7 super-sim ple habits of giv ing in the new y ear!


ny Frie

By Jen

When it comes to cultivating good kid habits — reading every day, saying please (and thank you) and cleaning up your own messes — it’s really never too young to get started. Now add to that list the habit of kindness: Researchers have found that caring and compassion skills can be practiced and, like a muscle, get stronger with use. Even toddlers and preschoolers can learn from simple family activities such as making cards or sharing a batch of cookies you made together. Here are seven ideas to get you started with your kids.

Make a pot for pennies

Do a nature sweep

Become stewards of your child’s favorite patch of nature. Pick your favorite walk and do a one-time sweep. Have everyone pick up five pieces of trash before playing at your local park. Make cleanup a routine event by keeping plastic bags in your “to the park” backpack. (Always wear sturdy gloves, be careful on riverbanks or near roads, have adults handle dangerous items and supervise children closely.) Explain that litter is trash that was put in the wrong place, and that it’s ugly, costly, illegal and sometimes dangerous to animals and people. To add to the fun, visit to see how to submit an essay about your clean-up experience and get your children’s names on the organization’s Registry of Apprentice Ecologists.


January 2016 •

Create a “charity box” using a jar, coffee can or shoebox, embellished with homemade decorations. Then have each family member donate a certain amount of his or her allowance each week, or simply put in loose change. When it’s full, decide together where to donate the money you’ve collected. Choose a nonprofit with a mission your child can understand, like a local animal shelter, or kidfriendly charities such as Heifer International (, Family-to-Family (family-to-family. org) or Kiva (

Let your voice be heard Post the addresses and photos of your elected leaders to the fridge. (You can find the information on the League of Women Voters’ website.) Then, if an issue captures your family’s imagination (like endangered animals, homelessness, support for your local school), you can work together to create a letter (plus your child’s drawing) advocating for your cause.

Create a card-making station Fill a box with paper, stickers, stamps, glue and markers, and put it someplace handy. Call it the family card-making station and encourage your child to spend free minutes making cards — a get-well greeting for an ill family member, a cheery card for an elderly neighbor, a thankyou note for your garbage hauler. If your child takes to this project, several websites are in need of cards that they can distribute to people in need. There are children with serious illnesses eager for some happy mail (, isolated elders who’d like colorful drawings ( and soldiers eager for messages ( Talk to your kids about how the recipients will feel when receiving their masterpieces.

Add to your grocery cart Each time your family shops for groceries, ask your child to add an item to your cart to donate. At home, place the item in a decorated box or bag that you keep in your kitchen. When the box or bag is full, take your kids along and drop it off. Also use your grocery store trips to prompt some meaningful conversations: Imagine together what it would feel like to be hungry. Explain why not everyone is able to get the nutritious food they require. Call 2-1-1 to find your nearest food pantry. Call ahead to find out the best time to make your delivery.

Share your baked goodies

Are you a family of bakers? Make it a habit to whip up extra cookies, brownies or muffins to donate to friends, neighbors or family members who could use some good cheer. You might also ask a nearby care facility if they’d appreciate some homemade treats to share with residents. Have your child add a cheery card before making your delivery together.

Preach what you practice Finally, look for any opportunity to chat about being helpers, receiving help and being part of a community. When you witness an act of kindness, point it out to your children and let them know how much you value giving. At the dinner table, ask questions like, “Who did you help today?” and “Who helped you today?” This kind of reflection reinforces that we’re all “givers” and “receivers,” and that the world is a better place when we help one each other out. Studies increasingly suggest that if you want your child to be successful (whether that’s defined as happiness, academic achievement, good health or social connections) “doing for others” should be high on your family’s to-do list. Jenny Friedman is founder and executive director of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Doing Good Together, which empowers families to raise caring, engaged children by offering unique programs and events, valuable services and fun activities that promote kindness and giving. Learn more at • January 2016


Five-year-old Gabriel Baker of Eagan was diagnosed with autism at age 2 — rather than the national-average diagnosis age of 5. Thanks, in part, to early intervention services, he’s thriving in kindergarten.

Early detection of developmental delays is critical for children with autism. Don’t let your doctor dismiss your concerns — or your kid could miss out on opportunities for crucial early intervention. Don’t ‘wait and see.’

Story and photo by Shannon Andreson


abriel is a bright, adorable 5-year-old. He runs around the park, playing on the equipment, occasionally checking in with his mom, even trying, when urged, to include his 3-year-old sister, Cecilia, in the park’s cool climbing structure. “It’s his favorite,” said his mom, Tara Baker of Eagan. Things weren’t always this carefree for Gabriel. It’s only through years of therapy that he’s been able to navigate a complex situation like a playground with other children. Three years ago, Gabriel was diagnosed with autism at Minneapolis-based Fraser — Minnesota’s largest provider of autism services — and the resulting years of intervention have changed everything for this family. Kindergarten started this fall and Gabriel has fit right in with his classmates. He leaves class for speech and occupational therapy and a social-skills group, but otherwise his days are fairly typical. Baker attributes this success to his time in autism day treatment. It was there that she noticed the most significant change in her son’s ability to communicate and interact.

Barriers to diagnosis Autism is a developmental disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 45 children in the U.S., according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control. New research continues to inform our understanding of the disorder — what causes it, how to treat it and most important, how to catch it early. Despite controversial public debates about the disorder, most experts agree on some key points: It’s present at an early age, 6 months, according to a new study, and early intervention is key to lifelong success. These findings point directly to early diagnosis — before the age of 2 — as a clarion call for primary-care providers, who are on the front lines when it comes to detecting developmental disorders. And yet, at times, those front lines can become barriers to families getting the help they need. Research published in the April 2015 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics clarified those barriers. Families are experiencing delays in diagnosing their children with developmental delays, according to the study, and those delays correlate directly to their primary-care provider’s response to their concerns. • January 2016


Don’t ‘wait and see.’ In particular children with autism experience the longest average delay, 2.7 years, from the date their parents first express a concern.

‘He’ll grow out of it’ Baker, along with thousands of other parents, experienced this first-hand with her son. She first brought concerns to her pediatrician at her son’s 12-month check-up. “I was mainly concerned with his language development,” Baker said. She was told to wait and see. “At 18 months, I flat out knew there was something wrong, but still she told me to wait and see.” The clinic, in response to Baker’s insistence, did administer a specialized screening tool, the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), which indicates if a child is at risk for autism. Gabriel scored high enough on this screening to be flagged “at risk.” “The public health nurse happened to be at the clinic that day,” Baker said. “She popped in and said, ‘He’ll grow out of it.’” They gave Baker information on ways to encourage language development and told her to follow-up at the next appointment.

Proactive pediatrician Within a month, the family had moved, and they got a new pediatrician. This time around, Baker knew she wanted a pediatrician who would be more proactive, but wanted to get her son in as soon as possible. So she found a good clinic and took the first opening. “She’s still our pediatrician,” Baker said. “We love her.” That first appointment lasted for 1.5 hours and ended with Baker walking out the door with referrals to speech therapy, occupational therapy and an autism diagnosis/assessment that would open the door to early intervention services. Baker felt she had finally been heard and her concerns were taken seriously. “Our new pediatrician respects that parents oftentimes do know best. They know their kids best. I feel it’s a true partnership,” she said. Gabriel got his diagnosis at a young age — 2 years old — compared to most children with autism. The national average is 5 years old.

Addressing doctor delays It’s this kind of outcome that Maria McGannon, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, points to when talking about the new program she implemented at South Lake Pediatrics, which has six Twin Cities locations. In partnership with Fraser, McGannon set out to address delays in diagnosing developmental disorders in their patients.


January 2016 •

The resulting program involves educating physicians about screening and disorders like autism, but most important is setting up a process for referrals. “Our approach has taken away the barriers,” McGannon said. “We no longer respond to parental concerns with ‘wait and see.’” At South Lake Pediatrics, the process involves screening and immediate referrals — to the Help Me Grow program and Fraser — for those who have results that indicate they’re at risk. “Four to five years ago, my response to parent concerns would have been very different. I followed the wait-and-see route too,” McGannon said. “But now we’re a unique practice in that we don’t sit on them any longer.”

Early interventions lost In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a recommendation that all children be screened for developmental disorders at regular intervals during well-child visits. It’s this screening that indicates if a child is at risk for developmental delays such as autism, attention deficit disorder, intellectual disabilities and others. Despite this recommendation, less than half of the children in the U.S. are ever screened. This rate is problematic because one in six children today have a developmental disability, said Katie Green, a heath communications specialist with a program through the CDC called Learn the Signs. Act Early. “Don’t neglect early childhood. We know that doing screening and listening to parent concerns is key to getting kids the help they need,” Green said. “If a child isn’t being screened and parents aren’t being vigilant, they aren’t being diagnosed until school, so they’ve missed the opportunity for early intervention.” The Learn the Signs. Act Early program educates healthcare providers. It also provides tools to parents, such Learn the Signs. Act Early as developmental checklists and the Amazing Me book, which details healthy developHelp Me Grow ment milestones in infants and young children.


Empowering families Parents are often the driving force behind early detection of developmental disorders. Wendy Berghorst, director of Healthcare Services at


More: Free online autismscreening tools and more can be found at m-chat. org, and

Fraser, said it’s critical that families have a good family care provider who knows their child and is willing to make referrals. Putting in the time to find that type of doctor for your family isn’t always easy. One way is to seek out the right fit before your child is born. Most pediatric clinics offer a prenatal visit for expecting parents. Liz Hass, an advanced practice registered nurse at South Lake Pediatrics, strongly recommends that families go to those. “You can find a lot of information now online,” Hass said. “But walking in and meeting someone makes such a difference. It’s the only way to get a feel for if this practice will work with you and your family.”

Finding a good fit It’s that good fit and the relationship families develop with their primary-care physician that’s crucial to getting a timely diagnosis. “You need that click,” said Hass. “You need to feel like you’re heard, you’re being listened to and that this person cares.” It’s this relationship and level of caring that made all the difference for Baker’s family. “I pushed for it. I kept bringing it up. I fought to get that diagnosis,” Baker said. “I knew I had to find someone who would listen.” Baker said her change of pediatrician, accelerated by a relocation, made all the difference in her son getting the help he needed. “I took the time to educate myself,” she said. “If I had a different personality type, it would have been really easy to just trust the doctor because I trusted her for all the other things.” Shannon Andreson lives in Minnetonka with her husband and two delightfully quirky sons. She works with local nonprofits and writes for and manages a blog at



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COLD, SNOW, AND ICE, OH, MY! Talk to your kids about the dangers of winter’s harsh conditions. Then make sure you provide the right clothes and equipment. By Dr. Edward Su


here are few things as magical as experiencing falling snow through a child’s eyes — and Minnesota winters (usually) give us many opportunities to enjoy plenty of snowflakes. And that’s a good thing: It’s important for families to get outside and remain active during winter months. The more active kids are, the healthier they’ll be. Winter safety can be tricky, however. Snow and ice invariably speed up the pace of our winter fun. That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down with your family at the start of the season and review coldweather safety rules. Here are some tips to help you keep your children safe this season:

Slips and falls Ice is everywhere during our winters, and is responsible for an annual uptick in the number of fall-related injuries we treat. Dressing children in appropriate winter boots with treads and traction is your best preventative bet. Sneakers don’t typically have the


January 2016 •

slip-proof treads that boots do, and dress shoes have terrible traction. Luckily, it’s easier to convince children to wear winter-safe shoes than it is to convince adults, especially if you choose bright, fun colors that appeal to kids.

Snowboarding Snowboarding probably sends more children to our clinics than any other winter sport. Because this sport appeals more to older teens, they’re the most vulnerable to injury, especially when they attempt jumps and tricks in terrain parks. Daring moves like spins and flips appeal to teenage bravado, and definitely predispose young people to falling. The icier the conditions, the greater the risk. It’s tough for parents to try to stop their children from snowboarding if that’s what they want to do. However, they can protect kids by insisting on helmets, wrist guards and safety education.

tearing a ligament. This injury often requires surgery. One way to prevent this injury is for children to make a conscious effort to close their hands into fists or grip ski poles tightly when they fall.

Sledding As long as temperatures are moderate and children are warmly dressed, sledding can be great fun. Parents should scout the area where children plan to sled in advance. Steeper hills and faster speeds may increase the thrill for a child, but speed also increases injury risks. From a safety perspective, gentle hills without obstacles are safer than steep hills dotted with trees.

Frostbite Skating Hockey is immensely popular in Minnesota, and many young athletes skate all year. We see a lot of hockey injuries because this sport involves so much contact and physical interaction. Some of the most common are trip-and-fall injuries and hand and wrist fractures that occur when hockey players slide and hit the boards at high speeds. Hockey players can’t wear wrist guards, but standard protective gear is a must. Outfit your young hockey players with helmets, gloves and hockey pads.

Snow banks The mountains of snow churned up by snowplows look enticing to climb or tunnel into, but they can be dangerous. A misstep on an icy snow bank can result in a tumble, and every year we hear reports of children who tunneled into an unstable snow bank only to have it collapse, trapping them. It’s safer to build snow forts and snowmen in the backyard.

Skiing My oldest child skis, and my 4-year-old wants to take lessons. So far, they’ve avoided the most common injury I treat with this winter sport — skier’s thumb. It happens when a skier tries to buffer a fall with an open hand, and the thumb is hyperextended upon impact,

The highest risk of frostbite is during temperatures that drop 20 degrees below zero. How long children can safely remain outside in very cold weather depends on their clothing. Heavy mittens and hats, warm boots and winter gear maximize protection against exposure. However, if you’re wearing only thin gloves, frostbite to the fingers can occur in less than 30 minutes. Wind chill will also considerably shorten the time to tissue damage. Dress small children in appropriate gloves or mittens and winter outerwear, and keep them inside when it’s ridiculously cold. It’s also important to talk with your teens. They’re at higher risk during subzero temperatures because they have more freedom and sometimes aren’t conscious of the cold until tissue damage has been done. I’ve seen teens lose fingers to frostbite, and that’s very sad. Cold weather requires a bit of common-sense care and caution, but that’s no excuse to hibernate indoors as the mercury drops. When your children are properly equipped for cold temperatures, they can safely enjoy all of the beauties of our winter wonderland as well as the healthful benefits of year-round activity.   Dr. Edward Su is a physician at Summit Orthopedics, which has 14 locations in the Twin Cities. For more information about winter safety go to • January 2016



Dance/Music/ Performance



Cyber Village Academy Cyber Village Academy is a charter school serving students K–12 in a unique hybrid model that blends on-campus and online instruction. Strong test scores; great climate! Perfect for families wanting to stay highly involved in their children’s education! 768 Hamline Ave S, St. Paul 651-523-7170

Edvisions Off Campus School (EOC) EOC is an online learning community for 7–12th grade students. Create projects based on your interests and enjoy a flexible schedule while earning credit for your MN high school diploma. Discover what you are passionate about while developing real-life skills. Online Throughout Minnesota 507-237-8444

The Center for Irish Music (CIM) All ages and abilities will explore and grow musically within the context of the Irish tradition. CIM offers half-day camps, private and group lessons on whistle, song, fiddle, harp, and drumming as well as children and teen programs at the Minnesota Irish Music Weekend, June 12–14. 836 Prior Ave N St. Paul 651-815-0083

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) With Theatre Arts Training classes and professional productions for toddlers through teens, CTC was named by Time Magazine as the number one theater for families in the U.S.A. Tickets start at $10. 2400 3rd Ave S Minneapolis 612-874-0400

Minnesota Youth Symphonies One of the nation’s premier youth orchestra programs, MYS enriches and inspires talented orchestral musicians by providing professional, comprehensive educational experiences, and thrills audiences with outstanding performances of orchestral repertoire. Auditions take place June, 2016. Symphony Orchestra tours Cuba 2017! 790 Cleveland Ave S St. Paul 651-699-5811

Stages Theatre Company Stages Theatre Company is committed to the enrichment and education of children and youth in a professional theater environment that stimulates artistic excellence and personal growth. 1111 Mainstreet Hopkins 952-979-1111, option 4

Entertainment Science Museum of Minnesota

The Science Museum of Minnesota is the Twin Cities’ must-see, must-do museum.

Saint Thomas Academy Join us at our Open House — January 10 @ 1:00 p.m.

Academics, Arts & Activities

Our curriculum, designed specifically for boys, facilitates classroom performance in grades 7–12. Saint Thomas Academy teachers prepare young men for college, career and life.

Inquire about an STA education | Cadets.Com/InquIry | 651-683-1516 Thomas Academy MNP 0116 H2.indd 48St.January 2016 •


12/3/15 12:46 PM Hands-on exhibits, a giant screen Omnitheater, provocative live science demonstrations, and activities for all ages will provide an unforgettable spark of science learning and fun. Science Museum of Minnesota 120 W Kellogg Blvd 651-221-9444


Landmark Center Tours St. Paul’s historic Landmark Center offers FREE general building tours that take you throughout Landmark Center and offer you an insider look into the remarkable building. Free public tours, which are perfect for homeschool families, are Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 12 p.m. 75 W 5th St St. Paul 651-292-3225


Dodge Nature Preschool On a 110-acre area of our Environmental Educational Preserve, Dodge Nature Preschool brings the natural world into the lives of children, through visits to our farm, reptile lab and raptor house, hikes, gardening, and more. NAEYC accredited. Four Star Parent Aware rated. 1715 Charlton St W St. Paul 651-455-4555

Especially for Children For 40 years, Especially for Children has provided high quality childcare and education for Twin Cities families. Our NAEYC Accredited programs foster the development of the whole child. Visit us today!

what makes

Calvin Christian School special? Your child! We’re small enough that your son or daughter has a special place here—but we have a big academic vision and a rich, biblical worldview. Since 1961, Christian parents have looked to Calvin Christian for excellent, God-honoring education. Call today for more information or to schedule a visit. K-12 Edina • Blaine • Fridley 612.900.7300 Calvin Christian School MNP 1012 H4.indd 1

9/18/12 3:42 PM

Bloomington, Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Inver Grove Heights 952-857-1100

ISD 191 Preschool Tiny Tots Skilled early childhood educators provide a nurturing and educational environment that meets the needs of each child. Programs offer social learning, nature education, school readiness curriculum, and outdoor classrooms. Part day schedules available year round. MN Reading Corps, Parent Aware 4 Star Rating. Burnsville, Eagan, Savage 952-707-4150 • January 2016


EDUCATION RESOURCES Joyce Bilingual Preschool

The Nativity Early Learning Center (NELC)

Joyce Preschool is a bilingual SpanishEnglish program for children ages 3–5 with strong emphases on kindergarten readiness, second language acquisition, early literacy, and parent involvement. Joyce also offers parent-child classes (ages 0-5) and summer camps (ages 3-8). Two locations for 2016.

The NELC offers a safe and loving environment for children ages 33 months to 12 years. We have a Full Day Preschool program with convenient hours and a dedicated staff. Our programs maximize the educational and social benefits with a curriculum that grows as they do! The NELC is accredited by the NAEYC.

Joyce Preschool Park Site: 3400 Park Ave Minneapolis Joyce Preschool Windom Site: 5821 Wentworth Ave S Minneapolis 612-823-2447

Project STEAM For all infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their parents, an evening full of hands-on family activities about the world and how it works! Register online. Friday, February 5. Meal at 5:30 p.m. Activities at 6:15 p.m. FREE. (Meal: $5/person, $15/family maximum) Calvary Lutheran Church 7520 Golden Valley Rd Golden Valley 763-545-5659

1900 Wellesley Ave St. Paul 651-696-5437

Wooddale Academy Wooddale Academy is a Christian school serving families with children ages six weeks to five years. The Academy strives to teach through guided conversations, spontaneous teachable moments, Bible stories and songs. NAEYC accredited and Parent Aware rated. 6630 Shady Oak Rd, Eden Prairie 5532 Wooddale Ave S, Edina 952-944-3770

YMCA The Y is for Youth Development, nurturing the lives of children through value-based enrichment programs and serving the needs of infants, toddlers, preschool, and school

age children. We are your partner with over 70 program locations across the metro area. Metro-wide 612-230-9622


The Blake School Blake students strive for excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts. Thoughtfully prepared curriculum helps students think critically, solve problems, empathize, create, and make our world better. Blake provides need-based financial assistance to approximately 21 percent of its student body. Highcroft Campus (Gr. pre-K–5): 301 Peavey Ln Wayzata; Blake Campus (Gr. pre-K–8): 110 Blake Rd S Hopkins; Northrop Campus (Gr. 9–12): 511 Kenwood Pkwy Minneapolis; 952-988-3420

Holy Name of Jesus School Open House Thursday, Jan. 7 • 6-7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10 • Noon-2 p.m. Learn about our 2016-2017 programs for preschool through sixth grade and the excellent, faith-based opportunities HNOJ School offers.


Carla Durand Call: 763-473-3675 or email:


January 2016 •

Holy Name of Jesus School MNP 0116 V6.indd 1

12/14/15 4:11 PM Breck School Breck is where perpetually learning students meet a perpetually learning school. Come visit our beautiful campus where students progress from wide-eyed preschoolers to wise seniors among peers and adults who feel like family, with abundant opportunities in academics, athletics, service, and the arts. Financial aid is available. 123 Ottawa Ave N Golden Valley 763-381-8200

Calvin Christian Schools (CCS) CCS’s comprehensive program provides rich learning experiences that meaningfully integrate a biblical world view. Over the past 50 years, CCS has built a solid reputation for delivering an outstanding, Christ-centered education. Today Calvin Christian’s three campuses serve nearly 450 students representing 100 churches and 45 metro communities. K-8: 4015 Inglewood Ave S Edina 8966 Pierce St NE Blaine High School: 755 73rd Ave NE Fridley 612-900-7300

Rosemount - Apple Valley - Eagan Public Schools

FULL OF POTENTIAL Find a home for your child in District 196 schools, where students come first and high expectations inspire greatness.

The French Academy of Minnesota A French-American school offering language-enriched educational programs starting from 16 months to Grade 5. A French-based curriculum taught by native French-speakers introduces a global mindset in a loving, nurturing environment. The school also welcomes surrounding communities to a variety of public events. Learn more online! 9400 Cedar Lake Rd St. Louis Park 952-944-1930

Holy Name of Jesus School Holy Name of Jesus School offers a preschool– grade 6 educational experience focused on excellence in academics, service to others, and faith formation. Our mission is to provide academic excellence while proclaiming, celebrating, and living the Gospel of Christ. - 651.423.7775 ISD 196 MNP 0116 H4.indd 2

“I have had a joy from which no one can rob me. Can you offer anything to that joy of an artist?” — Mary Cassatt, 1844–1926

155 Cty Rd 24 Wayzata 763-473-3675

The Basic Elements of Drawing and Design

Ages 5-8 Providing the foundation for later study in watercolor and oil painting.

Call or go online for Class Information

The International School of Minnesota (ISM) ISM is a private, non-sectarian, college prep school for preschool (age 3)–grade 12. In addition to a rigorous curriculum,

12/8/15 11:45 AM

Malcom Kelner, Age 8

6 51.69 9.1573

Chosen by WCCO “2013 Best Places for Summer Art Activities” | Winner: City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities” Art Academy MNP SPEC H4_#1.indd 1

12/10/15 12:59 PM • January 2016 51

EDUCATION RESOURCES students experience an international learning community where cultural diversity is embraced and celebrated. World language is taught daily by native speakers. Extended day available 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Weekly swimming lessons included for preschool–grade 3. 6385 Beach Rd Eden Prairie 952-918-1840

Metropolitan Open School Since 1972, Metropolitan Open School students have had individualized curriculums based on their needs and interests in language arts, math, science, social studies, music, art, dance, French, and physical education. Students delve deeply into the subjects they study, and creativity and curiosity are nurtured and encouraged. 3390 Library Ln St. Louis Park 952-926-5552

Minnehaha Academy As a pre-K–12 school of distinction, we focus on academic excellence while integrating Christian faith and learning. Minnehaha graduates dynamic leaders who will significantly impact the community and world. Metro bussing and tuition assistance available. Email Lower & Middle School: 4200 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis Upper School: 3100 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis 612-728-7756

Minnesota Waldorf School Located on eight acres of open space with areas of prairie and oak savanna restoration, wetlands, an orchard and more, our school is a haven for curious minds, active bodies and open hearts. The Waldorf curriculum skillfully weaves core academics with music, art, movement, foreign language, handwork and horticulture, creating lifelong learners who are curious, motivated and conscientious. 70 E County Rd B St. Paul 651-487-6700


January 2016 •

Hopkins Public Schools A leader in STEM curriculum, Hopkins offers: Spanish instruction in every K–4 classroom; Chinese Immersion beginning in kindergarten; secondary Chinese and Spanish Immersion options in grades 7–12; junior high IB; an extensive AP program; more than 250 course choices in high school. Hopkins: Harley Hopkins Family Center (birth– preschool) Alice Smith Elementary Eisenhower Elementary + XinXing Academy Minnetonka: Gatewood Elementary Glen Lake Elementary L.H. Tanglen Elementary North Junior High West Junior High Hopkins High School Golden Valley: Meadowbrook Elementary 952-988-4110​

Minnetonka Public Schools Among the state’s highest performing school districts, Minnetonka is recognized nationally for classroom technology. Small class sizes allow personalized learning. Every school offers a language immersion option (Chinese, Spanish, or English) beginning in Kindergarten. Specialized programs for highly gifted students. 952-401-5000 Clear Springs Elementary School, Minnetonka 952-401-6950 Deephaven Elementary School, Deephaven 952-401-6900 Excelsior Elementary School, Excelsior 952-401-5650 Groveland Elementary School, Minnetonka 952-401-5600 Minnewashta Elementary School, Excelsior 952-401-5500 Scenic Heights Elementary School, Minnetonka 952-401-5400

Saint Thomas Academy

North Metro Flex Academy

A Saint Thomas Academy education is an investment in your son’s future. Students receive a personalized, faith-based, college preparatory education. Our teachers guide each student to be an intellectual, ethical, servant leader throughout his life. We are an all-male school serving grades 7–12. Every year, we provide more than $2.5 million in financial grants.

North Metro Flex Academy is a tuition free public school opening the fall of 2016. We offer an innovative, rigorous, and technology-infused academic program for grades K–4.

949 Mendota Heights Rd Mendota Heights 651-454-4570 International School of MN MNP 0116 V4.indd 1


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2350 Helen St North St. Paul

Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools (ISD 196) District 196 is a state- and nationally- recognized school district of choice serving residents in the Twin Cities’ desired south suburbs. The district has a comprehensive curriculum, award-winning schools, outstanding teachers, supportive communities and a high level of parent involvement. 651-423-7775

Roseville Area Schools Let us be the right fit for your family. We offer year-round options, Spanish dual language, STEAM programming, before- and afterschool child care, and much more! With locations closer than you think. 651-635-1600

White Bear Lake Area School District The White Bear Lake Area School District serves nearly 9,000 students in programs ranging from Early Childhood offerings to high school graduation. Students at all levels achieve outstanding results though community partnerships, world language experiences, and International Baccalaureate opportunities. 4855 Bloom Ave, White Bear Lake 651-407-7500 Elementary Schools (Gr. K–5): Birch Lake Elementary, White Bear Lake Hugo Elementary, Hugo Lakeaires Elementary, White Bear Lake Lincoln Elementary, White Bear Lake Matoska International IB World School, White Bear Township Oneka Elementary (Gr. 2–5), Hugo Otter Lake Elementary, White Bear Township Vadnais Heights Elementary, Vadnais Heights Willow Lane Elementary, White Bear Lake Middle Schools (Gr. 6–8): Central Middle School, White Bear Lake Sunrise Park Middle School, White Bear Lake High School Campuses (Gr. 9–12): White Bear Lake Area High School - North (Gr. 9–10), White Bear Lake White Bear Lake Area High School - South (Gr. 11–12), White Bear Lake White Bear Lake Area Learning Center (Gr. 9–12), White Bear Lake

ISD 191 Tiny Tots Preschool School Readiness for Children Ages 3 to 5

Resources Help Me Grow MN

Young children grow, learn and change all the time. Keep track of the developmental milestones your child reaches. If you have concerns about your child’s development, talk to your doctor or refer your child at or call 1-866-693-4769. 1-866-693-4769

952-707-4150 #191community

ISD 191 - Tiny Tots MNP 0116 H4.indd 1

So Much to

Discover 12/15/15 2:06 PM • January 2016 53

A school that cares about what your child wants to learn • Online public charter school • Project based learning • Field trips & travel opportunities

EDUCATION RESOURCES ISD 191 Community Ed 191 Community Education provides ECFE, birth–school age childcare, aquatics, award winning chess, children’s theater, driver education, fitness, language, preschool, coffee talks, fun and friendship, dance, sports, music, art, gifted and talented programs. Cultivating community and lifelong learning for every age! Burnsville, Eagan, Savage 952-707-4150 | 507-248-3101

Parent Aware Parent Aware helps families find the quality and education their children need to succeed. Parent Aware is a search partner. We work side-by-side with families, offering free resources to help them make informed choices about high-quality care and education.

9/17/15 9:38 AMcare

Edvisions Off Campus MNP 1015 12.indd 2

Statewide Locations 888-291-9811

available & for event e c n a perform rentals In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

Specialty The Art Academy

City Pages Winner: Best of the Twin Cities! Year-round traditional drawing and painting classes and camps for students ages 5–18 612.721.2535 · years. Exceptional student/teacher ratio. Homeschool Program. A Renaissance Program for adults also offered. See samples of student 11:10 In the AM Heart of the Beast MNP 2014 12 filler.indd 1 8/27/14 11:56 AM artwork; visit our website. Call for a brochure. Offering performances, residencies and touring shows. since 1973

French Academy MNP 0116 V6.indd 1


651 Snelling Ave S, St. Paul 651-699-1573

Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) For more than 45 years, AuSM has been providing resources and services to the Minnesota autism community. Offered yearround, AuSM Social Skills classes for youth and adults with autism offer low-stress, accepting environments that encourage learning and growth while participants develop social skills and confidence. AuSM classes are offered in various locations across the Twin Cities and beyond. Register today! 2380 Wycliff St. #102 St. Paul 651-647-1083

Landmark Center St. Paul’s historic Landmark Center boasts four FREE museums and galleries showcasing art, music, and history. Families can take part in incredible hands-on musical experiences, amazing wood art interactives and engaging historical exhibits. 75 W 5th St St. Paul 651-292-3225

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Minnehaha Academy Summer Programs


Our high-quality program offers more than 60 half-day and full-day athletic, enrichment, and academic classes for grades pre-K–12.

191 Community Ed Summer Programs ISD 191 Community Education offers activities and camps for your K–6 student. Art, sports, swimming, dance, theater, and technology classes are offered throughout the summer at an affordable cost. #191community Burnsville-Eagan-Savage 200 W Burnsville Pkwy, Ste 100 Burnsville 952-707-4150

Bell Museum Science Discovery Day Camps Unearth unforgettable STEAM experiences at the Bell. Week long camps include outdoor adventure, space exploration, science labs, creative play, and U of M scientists! June 13–September 2, pre-K–6. New camps in sustainability, climate, and paleontology! Minneapolis 612-626-9660

Gifted & Talented Institute (GTI) Find Your Challenge South of the River. A partnership of south metro school districts, managed by ISD 191 Community Education. GTI provides gifted and talented youth in grades K–9 opportunities for challenge and exploration. Classes run late June through July. Half- and full-day, weeklong course options in a variety of core disciplines. 952-707-4150

Hennepin History Museum History comes alive in this unique museum where kids and adults of all ages will be inspired to look at the world around them in a new way. Make history of your own at our summer camps for kids! 2303 Third Avenue South Minneapolis 612-870-1329

Junior Achievement Summer Camps Students in grades 4–8 will learn how to run a successful business through a variety of fun, interactive activities. Held at JA BizTown, our unique kid-sized city. June session explores STEM careers; July session will appeal to the young entrepreneur. Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest 1800 White Bear Ave N 651-255-0037

4200 W River Pkwy 612-728-7745

Minnetonka Community Education Minnetonka Community Education offers more than 300 summer enrichment, recreation, and academic summer camps for children ages 18 months–18 years. From art to archery, STEM to soccer, and everything in between — there’s a camp that appeals to every child’s interests and passions. 5621 Cty Rd 101 Minnetonka 952-401-6800

School Chess Association Summer Day Chess Camp All levels of chess instruction, professional educators tailored to the student’s individual needs. Fun activities include swimming, water slides, field ball, Magic the Gathering, soccer, tennis, roller skating, bowling, fishing, sign language, and role-playing games. Programs: June 27–30, July 11–14, July 18–21, July 25–28, Aug 1–4, Aug 8–11, Aug 15–18. Registration forms online or call Lorene 763-593-1168. St. Louis Park Recreation Center 3700 Monterey Dr St. Louis Park

Spring Break & Summer at Blake Love of learning and courage are central to Blake’s mission and summer offerings, spanning pre-K–12, are open to students throughout the Twin Cities. Students investigate topics and skills with time to delve deeply and take risks. No grades, just growth. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

The Works Museum Science & Engineering Camps for girls and boys in pre-K–grade 6 who love to explore, design, and build! Kids learn how things work through fun, hands-on science and engineering projects. Coding, robotics, architecture, inventing, chemistry, and more! Camps run June–August 2016. 9740 Grand Ave S Bloomington 952-888-4262


Adventures in Cardboard, Mythic Play in Wild Lands! Build your own arms and armor, create giant castles to defend, battle along trails, fields and shorelines. Plan invasions from land and sea. Bows, swords, catapults, magic and monsters! Make your own history! Full days spent in beautiful parks across the metro region. 12 Sessions, June 13–Sept. 2, 2016 Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Eagan, Arden Hills 612-532-6764

The Art Academy City Pages Winner: Best of the Twin Cities! Year-round traditional drawing and painting classes and camps for students ages 5–18. Exceptional student/teacher ratio. Homeschool Program. A Renaissance program for adults also offered. See samples of student artwork; visit our website. Call for a brochure. 651 Snelling Ave S St. Paul 651-699-1573

Kidcreate Studio Kidcreate Studio’s award winning summer camps are designed to inspire and educate young artists, ages 3–12, in an environment where giggles and grins are encouraged. Camps focus on art principles and introduce students to many types of art materials and techniques. Camps include; 3D Art Adventure, All About the Sparkle, Beyond Pinch Pots, Canvas and Clay, Disney Princess Dress-Up, Glow-in-the-Dark Art, How to Draw Animals, Let’s Paint on Canvas, Masters in Clay, Star Wars, The Messiest Art Camp Ever and many more! At Kidcreate, making a mess is the best! 7918 Mitchell Rd, Eden Prairie 952-974-3438 1785 Radio Drive, Ste F, Woodbury 651-735-0880

The Loft’s Young Writers’ Program The Loft’s Young Writers’ Program offers more than 100 classes this summer that foster creativity, enrich talents, and create friendships. Classes run all summer for ages 6–17 at all skill levels. Open Book 1011 Washington Ave S Minneapolis 612-215-2575 • January 2016



Minneapolis College of Art and Design Join us at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for a series of innovative, handson, and engaging visual art and design camps and classes for kids and teens ages 5–18! Weeklong and multi-week options. Scholarships available. 2501 Stevens Ave Minneapolis 612-874-3765

MPLS Photo Center Digital Photography Camp Day camps for kids and teens in Minneapolis. Indoor/outdoor fun with digital cameras, capturing pictures cellphones can’t! Portraits, candids, action, still-lifes, nature, landscapes, natural light and flash. In a professional photo studio. Bring your digital camera! Limited DSLRs available to rent. 2400 N Second St Minneapolis 612-643-3511

See Kitty Sew See Kitty Sew teaches boys and girls (kids and adults!) to sew or advance their skills. Beginning projects include tote bags, drawstring backpacks, water bottle holders, and more! Semi-private (max. 4) instruction and no need to have your own sewing machine! 5821 Newton Ave S Minneapolis 612-805-8845

Spring Break & Summer at Blake Blake’s visual and performing arts challenge students to creatively express themselves in an array of disciplines and materials from the


January 2016 •

kiln to the stage! These programs, spanning pre-K–12, are open to students throughout the greater Twin Cities area. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

Dance/Music/ Performance Circus Juventas

Travel the globe without ever leaving our Big Top! Our full-day, week-long camps explore a vast array of circus arts from Morocco to Mongolia, China to Russia. Reserve your spot now to be a part of one of the most talkedabout and unique summer camps anywhere. 1270 Montreal Ave, St. Paul

Dorian Music Camps This summer marks the 52nd year of Luther College Dorian Music Camps. Each summer 325 junior high and 300 senior high students come to this scenic campus to study with Luther music faculty, whose reputation for excellence makes these camps a unique musical experience. 700 College Drive Decorah , IA 563-387-1389

Lutheran Summer Music Lutheran Summer Music is a 4-week residential music academy for talented musicians, grades 8–12. Band, choir, orchestra, pipe organ, and composition. June 26–July 24, 2016 at Luther College in Decorah, IA. Now offering a 2-week option! Check us out today! 122 West Franklin Ave, Ste 230, Minneapolis 612-879-9555


O’Shea Irish Dance Classes Director Cormac O’Se, original member of Riverdance. Professional Irish Dance training for preschoolers through adults; for competition, for fun, and for fitness! Weekly Classes: Mondays–Saturdays. Beginners Classes registering now! Summer camps June, July, August. The Celtic Junction 836 Prior Ave N 612-722-7000

Shell Lake Arts Center With programs in jazz, rock band, show choir, art, theater, film, and more, the Shell Lake Arts Center is like nowhere else! Just two hours northeast of the Twin Cities in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin. Come join us for the experience of a lifetime! 802 1st St Shell Lake, WI 715-468-2414

Sing Minnesota August 8–12, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sing Minnesota is a weeklong day camp for girls and boys, ages 8–12 sponsored by the Minnesota Boychoir. While focusing on choral singing, campers also participate in other creative arts: drama and movement, visual arts, and outdoor fun and games! $350, scholarships available. Concordia University Buetow Music Center 300 Hamline Ave N St. Paul 651-292-3219 Spring Break & Summer at Blake Blake’s performing arts engages and challenges students to express themselves creatively. From jazz to improv, Blake offers experiences for novice to accomplished performers. Blake’s programs, spanning pre-K–12, are open to students throughout the Twin Cities. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

Think your child can’t draw like this? Think again. The Basic Elements of Drawing and Design Ages 5-8 Providing the foundation for later study in watercolor and oil painting. Call or go online for Class Information

Stages Theatre Company Sophia Comnick, Age 8

Summer Theater Workshops: June 15– August 24. Calling all actors, singers, and dancers: Have fun learning about theater from some of the area’s finest teaching artists. Stages Theatre Company offers a variety of age appropriate workshops for students ranging from ages 4–17. 1111 Mainstreet Hopkins 952-979-1111, option 4

651.699.1573 | Chosen by WCCO “2013 Best Places for Summer Art Activities” | Winner: City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities” Art Academy MNP 010116 H4.indd 1

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Speak face-to-face with dozens of camp instructors

SteppingStone Theatre Camps & Classes SteppingStone Theatre explores creativity year-round with youth grades pre-K–high school. Check out our summer camps as a unique way for students to build confidence, theater skills, and community! Have fun this summer at SteppingStone Theatre! Scholarship/Membership pricing available. 55 Victoria St N St. Paul 651-225-9265

Theatre Arts Training at Children’s Theatre Company June 13–August 12, ages 4–18. Theatre Arts Training offers camps for all levels in acting, musical theater, improv, and more, making it easy to find the perfect fit for the young actor in your life. Be Curious. Be Creative. Be Confident. Registration now open.

Find Your Camp

at Minnesota Parent ’s Camp Fair

2400 3rd Ave S Minneapolis 612-874-0400

Zenon Dance Company & School Summer Camps Weeklong dance camps for ages 6–14. Each day will include technique and choreography classes. Participants will perform for family and friends on the last day! Hip Hop Camps: June 20–24, August 1–5. Youth Dance Sampler Camp: July 18–22. 528 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis 612-338-1101

Saturday, February 27th, 10am–2pm Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

FRE EvenEt

Free Entertainment and Activities

Visit for more information SPONSORED BY:

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Camp Tanadoona Explore 103 acres of forest and prairie along Lake Minnewashta in the southwest metro. Campers ages 5–17 enjoy water and nature activities, archery, adventure course, 90-yearold traditions, and more! International and local staff! Day and Resident Camps weekly, plus Northwoods Adventure Trips and Leadership Development Programs. Open House: May 7, 12–3 p.m. 3300 Tanadoona Dr Excelsior 612-235-7284

Gibbs Farm Day Camps We’ve created the perfect mix of day camps for your kids! Family-friendly pricing, fun for kids ages 4–14. Choose Pioneer PeeWees, ages 4-5; or one of our three-day camps, ages 6–10, including Pioneer Kid, Gibbs Girl or Say It In Dakota. Digging History, our newest three-day camp, is for ages 11–14. Offered June 21–August 25. 2097 W Larpenteur Ave Falcon Heights 651-646-8629

Gibbs Girl Three days, three experiences! For girls 6–10. This craft-rich camp explores the lives of girls in Minnesota during the 1800s: Life as a Pioneer girl, Dakota girl and Victorian girl. Tuesdays– Thursdays, July 19–21; 26–28 and August 2–4, 9–11 and 16–18, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. each day. 2097 W Larpenteur Ave Falcon Heights 651-646-8629

Hopkins Camp Royal Summer Rocks A camp for youth K–6. Add the sizzle to your child’s summer! Full- and half-day camps— build your own schedule. Art, sports, dance, legos, pottery, cooking, theater, music, chess, STEM, crafts, plus more! Eisenhower Community Center 1001 Hwy 7 Hopkins 952-988-4070

Shoreview Parks & Recreation Camps Three-day to eight-week, half- and full-day sessions including playground programs, specialized sports, art camps, dance and more. Ages 3–15. Camps available June 13–August 26. Visit our website or call for more info. 4580 Victoria St N Shoreview 651-490-4750


January 2016 •

Summer Adventure Camp The International School of Minnesota offers full- and half-day camp from June 12–August 12 for ages 3.5 to those entering grade 8. Camp activities include Spanish or American Sign Language, swimming, arts & crafts, nature hikes, outside play, and beach Friday. Options include basketball, soccer, music & theater, MN biology, rockets and engineering. 6385 Beach Rd Eden Prairie 952-918-1828

Summer at Blake Looking for adventure, sports, arts and friendships? Blake’s Acoma camp has gathered children from the Twin Cities for 50 years. Campers develop curiosity, creativity, and positive risk-taking skills. Unique themes provide opportunities for physical, social, and intellectual skills in a friendly, safe environment. Hopkins, Wayzata 952-988-3463

Horseback Riding Regent Arabians: Developing Equestrians for Life

Lessons and horsemanship mentoring. Handle, groom, & ride beautiful & intelligent Arabian horses. We educate year round on horse care & riding. Students improve their physical & mental fitness, self-esteem, respect & focus while pursuing their dream with horses! 26125 Tucker Rd Rogers 763-428-4975

Sunnyside Stables Horsemanship Summer Camp Sunnyside’s camp is a place to discover horses and new friends. Each day includes riding—rain or shine, as we have an indoor and outdoor arena as well as scenic trails. You will discover the basics of grooming, saddling, body language, posture, contact, and balance to develop independent riding skills. 15400 Emery Ave E Rosemount 651-226-2027


Concordia Language Villages We are the premier language and cultural immersion program in the U.S. Since 1961, we have provided an authentic experience with programs for all ages offered in 15 different languages. Day camps, residential

youth camps and family camps offered. 8659 Thorsonveien Rd NE Bemidji 1-800-222-4750

Spring Break & Summer at Blake Join the Blake School for Latin, Greek, Spanish, and Programming camps! Spanning grades 1–12, offerings are open to students throughout the Twin Cities area. Hopkins, Wayzata 952-988-3463


Discovery Club St. Paul Public Schools Pre-K through 6th grade children participate in recreational & academic activities supporting positive youth development. Weekly field trips, optional tennis and swim lessons. Open 6:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. at multiple elementary locations. $42/day offering flexible schedule options June 20–August 26. 1780 7th St W St. Paul 651-632-3793


Audubon Center of the North Woods A variety of youth summer camps with a focus on wildlife, nature, and outdoor skills. Rocks, Ropes & Rafts (ages 12–14); Ways of Wildlife 1 & 2 (ages 10–12 & 12–14); Junior Naturalist Camp (ages 12–14); Outdoor Explorations (ages 10–12). June–July. East side of Grindstone Lake near Sandstone 888-404-7743

Camp Alpha Camp Alpha is designed for children completing grades 4–8. Our goals are to provide meaningful, hands-on experiences in the space sciences and to foster the natural curiosity and interest that children have in space exploration. June 19–June 22. 153 South Columbia Ave Morris 320-589-4394

Camp Birchwood for Boys Hike, bike, fish, canoe, kayak, or rock-climb, it’s up to you. Campers choose their own adventures and activities. Between adventures campers choose from archery, riflery, waterpark, crafts, tubing, fishing, and more. Boundary Waters Canoe Area 218-252-2641 Camp Birchwood for Girls

Camp Choson

At Camp Birchwood the experience is about lifelong skills, friendships, and memories. We provide campers with opportunities for making their own choices, encourage them to challenge themselves and to discover who they are through a long list of available activities.

Camp Choson is a dynamic, welcoming day and resident camp that offers youth ages 4–17 opportunities to explore Korean arts and culture. A camper’s experience includes Korean language and culture, traditional dance and drum, Taekwondo, music, selfrespect, archery, and swimming.

Northern Minnesota 800-451-5270

YMCA Camp Olson Since 1954, Camp Olson has been providing unforgettable and life-changing experiences for youth and young leaders through quality camping programs. Traditional summer camp available as well as specialty programs in sailing, horseback riding, nature study, and leadership development. 4160 Little Boy Rd NE Longville 218-363-2207


Minnesota Parent’s Camp Fair February 27, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Start thinking camp! Attend Minnesota Parent’s 10th annual Camp Fair to get a jumpstart on planning for day or overnight summer camps, be it music, art, technology, sports, and everything in between. FREE admission. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory 1225 Eastbrook Dr. St. Paul 612-825-9205


Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) Summer Camps AuSM’s summer camps are tailored for youth and adults with autism and feature options including 1:1, 1:2, and 1:4 staff to camper ratios. Parents and caregivers can rest assured knowing that their campers are being cared for by highly trained, experienced staff, while campers make memories that last a lifetime. Camps for AuSM members include Hand in Hand (residential, 1:1); Wahode (day, 1:2); and Discovery (residential, 1:4). E-mail camp@ for more info. Register today! 2380 Wycliff St #102 St. Paul 651-647-1083

Camp Lakamaga 12300 Lakamaga Tr N Marine on St. Croix

Dynamic Arts, Aeronautics with Drones & Robotics Offering multi-level Robotics. Our expanded Dynamic Arts bringing Art & Technology together building moving sculptures. In addition, offering Aeronautics & Drones, Students are introduced the Forces of Flight & Physics while learning to fly their robot for “aerial competitions”. Throughout Minnesota 651-303-8955

Spring Break & Summer at Blake From robots to rockets, Blake challenges students to creatively express themselves in an array of disciplines. Sports, academics, arts, and day camp spanning pre-K–12, are open to students throughout the Twin Cities. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463

Sports and Fitness Active Kids Association of Sport (AKASPORT)

AKASPORT’s mission is to keep kids and families well rounded through sports and fitness. The goal is to get kids more active through sport and exercise and provides multi-sports camps, clinics, school programs and charitable events. National Sports Center, Blaine Coon Rapids Ice Center, Coon Rapids 651-447-2454

Gleason’s Gymnastic School What better way to spend summer than learning something new at Gleason’s Gymnastic School? Our fun facility and our professional instructors combine to make Gleason’s classes a tremendous learning experience for children of all ages and experience levels.

The Little Gym of Edina Anytime Summertime Camp For kids ages 3–12. The most flexible camp in town lets you pick one day or as many as you want! Each week has a fun new theme with games, art, physical activity, and a whole lot of fun. 8223 Hwy 7 St. Louis Park 952-924-0083

PLA-IT: Revolutionary Sports We offer instructional classes, day camps, and fundamental leagues for players as young as age two. Coaches combine active sport instruction with child development best practices to create a fun and positive learning environment. The challenging but noncompetitive approach helps foster teamwork and leadership skills. AirMaxx: 7000 Washington Ave S Eden Prairie, MPRB- NE Arena: 1306 Central Ave NE Minneapolis Additional metrowide locations 612-234-7782

Spring Break & Summer at Blake Blake sports camps offer opportunities to try new activities, enhance skills and deepen physical fitness. Campers are guided by Blake’s award-winning coaches and championship athletes. These programs, pre-K–12, are open to students throughout the Twin Cities. Hopkins, Wayzata 952-988-3463

TAGS Gymnastics Camps Fun, fitness, friends! Gymnastics camps for boys and girls ages 3–17 in June, July, and August. Kids will learn fun, new skills while developing strength, flexibility, and coordination in a safe, positive atmosphere! TAGS Apple Valley: 5880 149th St W Apple Valley 952-431-6445 TAGS Eden Prairie: 10300 W 70th St Eden Prairie 952-920-5342

2015 Silver Bell Rd Eagan 651-454-6203 9775 85th Ave N, Ste 500 Maple Grove 763-493-2526 • January 2016


Out & About JANUARY

St. Paul Winter Carnival ⊲⊲This multi-faceted festival is the oldest and largest of its kind in the nation, with more than 75 events and nearly 1,000 volunteers. Check out ice carving, snow sculpting, skiing, dogsledding, a torchlight parade, the world’s biggest ice castles and more. When: Jan. 28–Feb. 7 Where: Various venues throughout St. Paul Cost: Most events are FREE. Info:

DEC. 31

New Year’s Eve Party ⊲⊲Ring in the new year with an evening of music and dancing with Jack and Kitty, inflatables, crafts, swimming, ice skating (free rentals), Xbox, board games, an indoor playground, concessions, a 9:45 p.m. balloon drop and more. When: 6–10 p.m. Dec. 31


January 2016 •

Where: Maple Grove Community Center, Maple Grove Cost: $9 in advance (available for purchase through 3 p.m. Dec. 31), $12 at the door, if tickets are still available Info:

DEC. 31 AND JAN. 1

Noon Year’s Party ⊲⊲Ring in the zoo year during a special

celebration with craft making, animalenrichment activities, giveaways and a countdown to noon with hundreds of beach balls dropped from the ceiling. When: 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 Where: Como Zoo Park and Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:

JAN. 3

JAN. 10

Boychoir Concerts

Urban Expedition: Sweden

⊲⊲Hear the Minnesota Boychoir’s winter concert, courtesy of Sundays at Landmark, a series of cultural and art events (most of them free) designed to entertain, enrich and educate an allages audience. When: 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Jan. 3 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:


Omnifest ⊲⊲The Omnitheater’s annual giant-screen film festival will feature five films, running in rotation, on its 90-foot domed screen, including Tropical Rainforest, Jerusalem, Forces of Nature, Mysteries of the Great Lakes and Humpback Whales. Viewers will experience larger-than-life adventures — from the breathtaking iconic holy sites of Jerusalem to the vibrant rainforests of Costa Rica and Australia. Mysteries of the Great Lakes will feature majestic vistas, shipwrecks and wildlife such as woodland caribou, bald eagles and the fascinating and mysterious lake sturgeon, all in Minnesota’s own backyard. Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: Film tickets are $8 for adults and $7 for ages 4 to 12 and age 60 and older. Subsequent same-day film tickets are sold for 15 percent off the original price. Info:

JAN. 9

Book Launch Party ⊲⊲Edina children’s book author Megan Maynor will read from her new book, Ella and Penguin Stick Together. Ella and Penguin want to see their new glow-inthe-dark stickers glow — but they don’t want to go into the dark. When: 10:30–11:30 a.m. Jan. 9 Where: Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:

⊲⊲Explore the rich culture of Sweden as part of the Urban Expedition series hosted by Sundays at Landmark, a series of cultural and art events. When: 1 p.m. Jan. 10 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:

JAN. 12–FEB. 28

The Frog Bride ⊲⊲A royal ball, a broken heart, a search for true love and a cursed princess are all bundled up in this show, recommended for grades 3 and higher. The New York Times calls the production “enchanting.” When: Jan. 12–Feb. 28 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $10. Info: or 612-874-0400

JAN. 16

Lake Harriet Kite Festival ⊲⊲Kites of all colors, sizes, shapes and themes fly over Lake Harriet. Other activities include ice fishing, horse-drawn wagon rides, snowshoeing, a children’s medallion hunt and a marshmallow roast. When: Noon–4 p.m. Jan. 16 Where: Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info:

JAN. 17

Children’s Concert ⊲⊲The Saint Paul Civic Symphony performs free concerts throughout the St. Paul area, including an annual concert for kids. Art activities for the kids — organized by ArtStart — begin at 2 p.m., followed by an hour of music, starting at 3 • January 2016

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Out & About p.m. Children are encouraged to dance or move around. When: 2 p.m. Jan. 17 Where: Mount Zion Temple, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:

JAN. 17

Carpathian Celebration ⊲⊲Join in a cultural festival of music, dance, language, food, costumes and art traditions of the seven cultures hailing from the Carpathian region of Eastern Europe , courtesy of Sundays at Landmark, a series of events.

When: 11 a.m. Jan. 17 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: $4–$6 Info:

JAN. 22–FEB. 15

Bear Snores On ⊲⊲Bear and all his friends cozy up in an imaginative new musical as, one by one, they venture into his warm cave on a cold, stormy winter night. Even after the tea has been brewed and the corn has been popped, Bear just snores on! Wait and see what happens when he finally wakes up and finds them having a party. When: Jan. 22–Feb. 15 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $16 Info: or 952-979-1111

JAN. 24

Urban Expedition: Haiti ⊲⊲Explore the rich culture of Haiti as part of the Urban Expedition series hosted by Sundays at Landmark, a series of cultural and art events designed to entertain, enrich and educate an all-ages audience. When: 1 p.m. Jan. 24 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:

JAN. 31

Free Symphony Concert ⊲⊲Enjoy a free concert by Saint Paul Civic Symphony, courtesy of Sundays at Landmark, a series of cultural and art events. When: Jan. 31 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:


Sid the Science Kid ⊲⊲This new traveling exhibit brings the award-winning PBS KIDS TV series to life, by tackling everyday science questions around Sid’s home, at school in the Super Fab Lab and on the playground.

Adult Nights Out at the Minnesota Zoo ⊲⊲Imagine going to the zoo without your children! You could actually take your time to learn about the animals at your own pace (not your toddler’s)! That’s the joy of the Minnesota Zoo’s new grown-up — kid-free — nights, held after normal zoo hours. Participants must be 18 to attend and 21 to drink. Attendees can stay (with advanced registration) for the Our World Speaker Series, held on select nights. When: Jan. 23, March 18, April 22, May 27 and June 16. Most events start at 4:30 p.m. and end at 7 p.m. Other adult-only events include Warm Up in the Wild on Feb. 20 and the Beastly Ball on May 7. Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Cost: Admission is reduced to $10 and food and beverages are available for purchase. Info: RSVP at


January 2016 •

When: Jan. 31–May 31 Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum, St. Paul Cost: Free with museum admission ($9.95 for ages 1 and older) Info:

FEB. 5–7

City of Lakes Loppet ⊲⊲This cabin-fever reliever features a cross-country ski festival, a snowsculpture contest, skijoring and more. When: Feb. 5–7 Where: Minneapolis

Cost: FREE Info:


Snowy Day ⊲⊲Ezra Jack Keats had a gift for capturing the rapturous joy in a child’s day-to-day life. In this new staging of a variety of Keats’ beloved works — with puppet designs by Italy’s renowned Fabrizio Montecchi — star performers will bring the little boy in the red coat to life. When: Feb. 9–March 20 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $10. Info: or 612-874-0400


Tropical Beach Party ⊲⊲Escape the cold at the zoo with a party in the tropical exhibit space, featuring in a giant indoor sandbox! Bring your own pail (BYOP) or favorite sand toy and play in the sand, surrounded by palm trees, exotic animals and special activities. Weekend events include a scavenger hunt, educational family activities (11 a.m.–2 p.m.), face painting (11 a.m.–2 p.m.), zookeeper talks (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and more. When: 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 13–March 6 Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Cost: $12 for ages 3–12 and 65 and older, $18 for ages 13–64 Info:

FEB. 27

Minnesota Parent Camp Fair ⊲⊲Get a jump on summer planning with Minnesota Parent’s 10th-annual Camp Fair. When: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Feb. 27 Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info:

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12/17/15 12:13 PM • January 2016 65



↑↑Carson and Ethan Bowman, ages 3 and 6, of Woodbury show off some their fanciest duds. Photo by James Calubayan

←←Alice Ellen Carroll of Shoreview, 14 months old, delights in one of the first snows of the season.

Parents: Do your kids look A LOT like you did when you were young? Email your “mini me” photos (one of you and one of your kid) to editor@manparent. com for a chance to win four ticket vouchers to the world premier of The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats, opening Feb. 9 at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. You must include your first/ last name, your kid’s first name and age (as pictured) and your city of residence to be eligible to win. Use the subject line #minime. The deadline is Jan. 15 and the drawing will be Jan. 18. Photos will be considered for publication in a future issue of Minnesota Parent. Here’s Minnesota Parent editor Sarah Dorison and her son, 7-year-old Sam, in his second-grade school picture.

←←Two-year-old Oliver Hanson of Minneapolis explores the observation deck in the Foshay tower in downtown Minneapolis.

↑↑Elliot Anderson of Andover, 3, takes a break at the park to flash a classic, toddler-style smile.

Want to see your kid on this page? Send photos with your child’s first/last name, age and city to


January 2016 •

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January 2016  
January 2016