February 2016

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February 2016

How to change daycares PAGE 38


9 picks for sensoryfriendly fun Ella, 3, Farmington



Camp resources PAGE 48

Why you need a date night ! PAGE 14





The heartbreak of divorce When you’re a parent, the grieving process is open-ended. You can’t walk away. You can’t say goodbye.


Daycare blues Changing childcares? Your kid’s in for a huge life adjustment. Here’s how to make the transition go smoothly!


Sensoryfriendly spots Check out 9 top Twin Cities destinations for kids with special needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.


February 2016 • mnparent.com

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I never imagined how complex — and challenging — parenting could be!

Take a deep breath, for starters. Coach, don’t control. Then start bonding.



So not perfect

Wine guy


Stop yelling

If it bleeds, it leads

A New Zealand wine entrepreneur, husband, former Olympian and father of three has made Edina his new home.

The world is a scary place, but I won’t shield my teen from TV or that reality.


Ninja warrior?

Dates, not divorce If paying a sitter (and daycare) seems extravagant, consider the alternative. 16 TODDLER TIME

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, snowman, 8


Kids share what they want to be when they grow up. Our finance guy offers insight and some helpful advice, too. 24 ASK THE PEDIATRICIAN

Overfeeding worries It’s actually very rare for babies to over-eat or even under-eat.


Name: Ella Lorelai Greene

Favorite toys: Cheetah and Kitty

City: Farmington

Favorite activities: Gymnastics and swimming

Parents: James and Trina Greene

Favorite foods: Peanut butter and jelly, pasta and sushi

Personality: Ella is a ball of energy. She’s kind and compassionate, and loves reading, math and conducting experiments. She’s an animal lover and an avid theatregoer. If she could dress up every day, she would. Life is her stage!

Want to see your kid on the cover? Send your cover-worthy photos (ideally taken by a professional photographer who’s given you permission to share them) to editor@mnparent.com. Learn more at mnparent.com/contact/coverkid.

Photos by Tracy Walsh Photography / tracywalshphoto.com


February 2016 • mnparent.com

How would you react if you learned your child had a disability? 28 BOOKSHELF

It’s your turn Coloring books for grown-ups have come a long, long way. Try these!

One-pan dinner You don’t need Hamburger Helper to make a simple dish. Try this skillet lasagna from America’s Test Kitchen. 66 FROM OUR READERS


Readers share photographic evidence of how much their kids resemble them at various ages. Can you say mini me?


About our cover kid

Age: 3 1/2

Coping with a diagnosis


Toddler obsessions (such as snowmen) are just part of the fun of raising kids.

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The imperfect life P

arenting in the modern age — let’s face it — is complicated. To use the words of Jen Hatmaker in her viral essay for Today (tinyurl.com/jen-tab): We don’t just drink “a case of Tab” and send our kids outside for the day like parents of yore. No, we try to manage everything into a state of perfection. And things today are so not perfect. So, in this month’s magazine, we’re taking a look at a few of the complexities of modern parenting. That includes how to ease your child into a new daycare. Though some kids transition easily, others don’t. Photo by Tracy Walsh / tracywalshphoto.com Fortunately, you can equip yourself with knowledge and skills to help your kids accept their new world. The same goes for a much tougher, bigger, scarier topic: Divorce. If you find yourself in this hellish situation, know that you’re not alone. I’m with you, in fact: I’ve spent much of the past year trying to survive the cataclysmic change that separation brings upon a once-whole, perfect family. Divorce, for me, has opened up a world of profoundly painful and difficult parenting challenges. How do we protect our son from this? How do we make divorce painless and perfect? Well, we don’t. How will we ever get over seeing our kid only half the time? Well, we won’t. I’ve found strength I didn’t know I had. And I’ve learned there’s a whole new level of putting my child’s needs above my own. And guess what? I’m surviving; and our boy appears to be thriving. Life goes on, I’ve found, just very differently. “Co-parenting” in two separate households is our family’s new normal. As our article so rightly says: “When you’re a parent, the grieving process is openended. You can’t walk away. You can’t say goodbye. You and your former spouse will be making plans for winter break, sitting in proximity at soccer games.” If you end up getting a divorce, get all the help you can. Don’t go it alone. Check out the divorce resources listed with the article in this issue. (I highly recommend Daisy Camp.) Also, in this issue, we have two stories for families with kids on the autism spectrum, including places to take kids with sensory disorders as well as a piece by The PACER Center on how to adjust to an autism diagnosis. Now, here’s to the future and to enjoying the simple pleasures and joys amid the tremendous challenges of parenting (and life)!

Sarah Jackson, Editor


February 2016 • mnparent.com


PUBLISHER Janis Hall jhall@mnparent.com SALES MANAGER AND CO-PUBLISHER Terry Gahan tgahan@mnparent.com

ATTENTION WOMEN 21-33: Would You Consider Being an Egg Donor?

The Center for Reproductive Medicine is seeking women between 21 and 33 years of age to donate eggs for couples who cannot otherwise achieve pregnancy. You will be compensated for your time and dedication.

EDITOR Sarah Jackson 612-436-4385 • editor@mnparent.com CONTRIBUTORS Eric Braun, Dr. Peter Dehnel, Megan Devine, Shannon Keough, Dawn Marcotte, Michele St. Martin, The PACER Center, Jen Wittes, Tracy Walsh, Jennifer Wizbowski CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dana Croatt dcroatt@mnparent.com SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Valerie Moe GRAPHIC DESIGNER Amanda Wadeson CLIENT SERVICES Zoe Gahan 612-436-4375 • zgahan@mnparent.com Lauren Walker 612-436-4383 • lwalker@mnparent.com Emily Schneeberger 612-436-4399 • eschneeberger@mnparent.com CIRCULATION Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 • distribution@mnparent.com mnparent.com/find-a-copy ADVERTISING 612-436-4360 • sales@mnparent.com 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.

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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 mompro@umn.edu to see if you qualify for this research study U of M - Kinesiology Dept MNP 1212 S3.indd 1

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mnparent.com • February 2016



↑↑The Avery family — Shelley, Hunter, 7, Blaise, 11, Neve, 7, and Nigel — live in Edina. Photo by Venture Photography

New Zealand wine ties If you’re a wine drinker, you may have noticed that a lot of wine comes out of New Zealand, especially sauvignon blanc, the country’s most famed grape. What you might not know, however, is that Minnesota now boasts a local connection to the kiwi wine scene: Nigel Avery of Sileni Estates — a certified sustainable winery in the famous wine-producing region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand — has moved to Edina to help grow his family’s wine business in the U.S. He’s quite an interesting guy, too: Prior to joining the ranks at Sileni, Avery was a professional athlete, skilled in track-andfield, bobsleighing and weightlifting. He even participated in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. These days Nigel’s focus is on his family, including his wife, Shelley, and their three daughters (above). Sileni wines are available in wide variety of whites and reds for $12 to $15 a bottle at Haskell’s, Edina Liquor and MGM stores, as well as select Parasole Restaurant Holdings locations such as Manny’s Steakhouse in Minneapolis and Salut Bar Americain in Edina. Sileni’s latest introduction to the U.S. market is a single-serve plastic mini bottle that comes with its own cup for easy on-thego wine. Nano prices range from $3.99 to $4.99. Learn more at sileni.co.nz.


February 2016 • mnparent.com

HOW TO AVOID FLAME RETARDANTS Did you know that many household products — upholstered furniture, mattresses and children’s products, especially those containing foam (such as changing table pads and car seats) — can contain toxic flame-retardants? Once thought to slow the spread of fire, flame retardants have proven to be ineffective while also posing serious human health risks, including reproductive problems, learning delays and cancer. Fortunately for families, Minnesota is working to stop the sale of products made with these chemicals. A recently passed law will ban four flame retardants from children’s products and upholstered furniture, starting in July 2018. That’s good news for children, who are particularly susceptible to chemical exposure. Many manufacturers, meanwhile, are already going flame-retardant-free by using alternative methods to meet stricter federal flammability standards, which can be met without adding chemicals. If you want to see which brands and companies are ahead of the game (or behind), you can check out a new online report, Flame Retardants in Furniture, Foam, Floors: Leaders, Laggards and the Drive for Change, at tinyurl.com/safe-sofas. While 90 percent of the largest furniture manufacturers have stopped using the chemicals in favor of safer alternatives, 54 percent of top mattress makers contacted are still using the chemicals. When shopping for new home products, look for “flame-retardant free” labels. Avoid products with the words: “Meets California flammability standard TB 117.”

Learn more at tinyurl.com/ fr-tips-mn.

↑↑Naturepedic mattresses, sold online and at Twin Cities stores such as Moss Envy and Pacifier, are free of flame retardants.

The $20 bike ride “In six years, Warren and Stephanie have not spent a single weekend together away from their kids. They have stopped factoring their own needs into the family budget, and a babysitter is considered a rare luxury rather than a vital necessity. Simply put, they have never carved out the time and space they need to unwind and replenish themselves, either as individuals or as a couple.” — Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence


wrote about childcare in a previous column — when to start looking for it (ideally about five years before you get pregnant or adopt your child), why you need it (so you can get work done) and how you should feel about it (not guilty). What strikes me now is how utilitarian this view is. And I don’t think it’s just me; when I talk to other parents about “childcare,” there’s an unspoken agreement that we’re talking about the kind of help that one needs to do work — work that brings in money. It’s the center where you drop off your baby at 7:30 so you can get to work by 8, and then you get charged $1 a minute if you get there after 5:30, for example. Less discussed is the kind of childcare that allows you to leave the house, alone or as a couple, to do something fun or frivolous or even boring, but

I hadn’t really thought about the financial burden of ‘date night.’

without kids. As Esther Perel — an author, psychotherapist and relationship expert — said, hiring a babysitter is often considered a luxury, something that’s not essential. This all makes a lot of sense in the context of our culture that values work, industriousness and upward mobility so vehemently that we often cast a suspicious eye on anything that appears relaxing or pleasurable.

⊲⊲The high cost of togetherness But of course childcare is expensive, and after you’ve forked over anywhere from $200 to $700 per week for your daytime care, it can be tough to rationalize spending more just to go out to dinner without companions who fling sugar packets and climb out of their high chairs to slam themselves into the legs of waiters carrying hot soup. I remember the leader of my “new mother” group addressing this issue in one of our meetings.


Freezer trays ⊲⊲If you’re pumping breast milk or making your own baby food, check out Milkies Food Trays. Each tray freezes eight 1-ounce portions, allowing you to thaw the exact amount of food or milk you need for each feeding. Frozen “milk sticks” fit through all bottle openings and can be popped out and stored in any container (versus more expensive milk bags). Each tray comes with a loose-fitting lid for stacking. (Need more ideas? See our Moe-Mama blogger’s ultimate post on baby-food storage at tinyurl.com/moe-mama-food.) $21.95 for two • fairhavenhealth.com


February 2016 • mnparent.com

“Regular date nights aren’t always realistic,” she said. “When you factor in the cost of a babysitter, the standard dinner-and-a-movie date can end up costing around $150.” Holding my month-old baby, I remember feeling a vague sense of terror. Of course, I imagined I’d be the kind of parent who prioritized time with her partner after having a kid. I hadn’t really thought about the financial burden of “date night.”

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⊲⊲It pays to pay “What are some of the things you miss the most from your life before kids?” a friend asked me recently. “There are a lot of things, to be honest,” I said. “One thing I miss is going on long bike rides with Nick on the weekends.” At first, it seemed irrational to pay a babysitter so we could ride our bikes around town by ourselves. We own all manner of devices that allow us to ride our bikes with the kids — why not just bring them along and save the money? But eventually, I gave in to my decadent impulses and hired a neighbor girl to watch the kids for a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon. My husband and I jumped on our bikes and headed toward the Greenway. We rode around like carefree single people, enjoying the freedom of not having a toddler sitting directly behind our handlebars. I arrived back at home in a good mood. I paid the sitter and was happy to see the kids. “How much did you pay her?” Nick asked. “Twenty dollars. Was that enough?” “Yeah, I think so. Wow, that was a $20 bike ride.” It was a $20 bike ride, indeed, but I think it was worth it. After all, like they always say, a $20 bike ride is cheaper than a divorce, right? Shannon Keough lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children. Send questions or comments to skeough@mnparent.com.

mnparent.com • February 2016


Your obsessed toddler W

hen my daughter was 2, she developed a fascination with snowmen. We lived in New York at the time and it was an unseasonably warm winter. We weren’t making any actual snowmen, and when we did they weren’t to her liking. She favored round, perfect snowmen drawn on paper, and she asked me to draw them every day. “Draw snowman with dog, Mommy. Draw TWO snowman!” Don’t get me started on the singing, jingle bellwielding, perfect, round snowmen at the Hallmark store. We got one. She played with it endlessly — the song an aggressive earworm for those outside the realm of snowman fandom. Bed, Bath & Beyond had a nice collection, which they kept out — 75 percent off — well past Christmas. My daughter wanted to go every day to watch them dance. She would straighten their little black hats, marching up and down the aisles and taking inventory. It got to the point where I’d have to go out of my way to avoid B, B & B, because passing it by brought on tantrums. “SNOOOOOOWMAAAAAAAAN! STOP MOMMY! SNOOOWMAAAAAAN!” It was a phase that left me a little baffled as a parent. Why snowmen? What’s the deal? Do I indulge her whimsy and spend endless afternoons at Bed, Bath & Beyond? Do I limit snowman related activity? You know … everything in moderation? When she counted to 10, which I was, of course, very proud of, she did so like this: “One, two, three, four, five, six, snowman, eight.” Cute, right? And strange. My son, too, had his things. “Ball” was his first word and his first — let’s call a spade a spade — obsession. Ball pits would frighten me, because he’d become so overwhelmed with the experience — looking in every direction, trying to grab as many balls as possible — I thought he might have a nervous breakdown. Of course, there were other phases — fanaticism over princesses, later to be aggressively shunned. Dinosaurs.


February 2016 • mnparent.com

All of them, everything about them, all the time. Thomas the Tank Engine, for both my kids, until my daughter proclaimed that Thomas had “naughty eyebrows.” What weird and wonderful creatures, these toddlers. As you move through first interests and as first interests bring about compulsive tunnel vision, you might worry: Is this normal? Google “toddler obsession” and you’ll find a thing or two about autism. Know that the obsessiveness that can come with Autism Spectrum Disorder tends to be different — such as fixation on cars in combination with playing with them in a very specific way, such as organizing them nervously by color or spinning the wheels endlessly. Just liking Elmo a whole lot isn’t any sort of diagnosis. What may help you better accept the inevitable obsessiveness of toddlerhood is the knowledge that they’re biologically wired to hyper-focus. For one, they’re going through dozens of rapid changes — learning to walk, starting to talk, potty training, changing beds, trying new foods. Obsessing over one favorite thing is a comfort measure, a way to establish a sense of routine in an otherwise evolving life experience. Furthermore, toddlers don’t have the bandwidth yet to multitask. Everything is new; everything is learning. It can be overwhelming. Learning about one particular thing until a

When she counted to 10, which I was, of course, very proud of, she did so like this: ‘One, two, three, four, five, six, snowman, eight.’


Spout router ⊲⊲Tired of your kid banging her head into the metal bath fixture? The Bath Spout Extender and Cover by Aqueduck, invented by a mom, attaches to nearly any bathtub faucet, creating a curved spout that directs the running water onto a child’s head, shoulders and back — without the risk of a head bump. $12.99 • peachyco.com

certain expertise is developed is much easier than “taking it all in.” As you and your toddler move through their “things” — be it Thomas or panda bears or Mars — you may, like me, wonder if you should limit obsessive behavior. It’s really up to you. If obsession seems to be getting in the way of family life — sure, set some limits. If not, roll with it. Hey — better yet — exploit it! Dinosaur stickers on the potty, anyone? One episode of Elmo for trying a new food? “One, two, three, four, five, six, snowman, eight.” There was a time when a snowman display would stress me out. Well, we’re never getting out of this store. Now, of course, I miss it. I tell the stories. I count the count. The obsessions have become our memories. 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 jwittes@mnparent.com.

mnparent.com • February 2016


How to yell less And after yelling happens, no one feels good.


ith four kids under age 10 in our household, we’re exposed to our fair share of sibling squabbles, as you might imagine. My children have the typical arguments over toys, food, clothes, seats in the car and chairs at the table. We also experience over-the-top disputes, where I find myself mediating conflicts over a gummy bear. During these petty arguments between my children, more often than I would like to admit, I run out of patience, lose my temper and end up yelling at my kids. And after yelling happens, no one feels good.

⊲⊲Promoting sibling harmony When I came across the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life, I was intrigued. In the book, psychologist Laura Markham presents

strategies for us as parents to be less reactive and, instead, proactive when regulating our own emotions, connecting with our children and coaching them to develop relationships. After reading the book, I came away with the following understandings that I’m working to put into practice in my daily life:

⊲⊲Keep calm Easier said than done, right? When emotions are running high, for both children and adults, our brains can react with a “fight, flight or freeze” response, even if there isn’t an emergency. Here’s an example from my life: My 4-year-old steals my 6-year-old’s LEGO guy. The 6-year-old gets overwhelmed and frustrated and pinches his younger brother. In seconds, there’s screaming, crying, more pinching and hitting. Then there’s me — my brain (in fight, flight or freeze mode) responding to the screaming and crying as if it really were an emergency. I’m overwhelmed and frustrated, not making a rational decision about how to respond. I end up raising my voice to stop the conflict. Markham notes that we as parents can be more peaceful by “returning ourselves to calm.” We can use mindfulness — noticing and acknowledging when we’re stressed or when our fuse is short — and shift our emotional state using calming strategies. Simply taking some deep breaths before we intervene with our children’s conflicts can help us have a better chance of responding with patience.


Yoga dolls ⊲⊲Celebrity yoga-instructor Alanna Zabel has created the world’s first yoga doll collection — known as AZIAM Girlz. Each doll features articulated joints that allow for a full range of motion. In fact, they’re flexible enough to do all common yoga poses. Asana, the first in the series of dolls, comes with doll-size fitness accessories, including a Pilates ball, hand weights, a hair brush and a slap bracelet that doubles as a yoga mat. Along with the dolls, Zabel is promoting 10 simple yoga moves (known as #10AZIAM) that families can do with their kids in just 10 minutes day. Doll sales will benefit the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. $29.95 • aziamgirlz.com


February 2016 • mnparent.com

⊲⊲Prevention Another way to be proactive in our efforts to help our children develop their emotional intelligence and healthy sibling relationships is to make time for connection. Some research says that if you have a positive relationship with each of your children, they’re much more likely to have positive relationships with each other. When we spend one-on-one time with our children, it helps us develop closer relationships and trust. In our family, it’s a bit challenging to give four young children individual attention each day. But between my husband and myself, we’re working to make this a priority both through routines and spontaneity.

⊲⊲Don’t control. Coach! It’s easy to make snap decisions for our children, but this isn’t always the most effective action. In her book, Markham differentiates between coaching versus punishing. Going back to my LEGO guy conflict between my boys, it would probably stop the fighting if I just sent them both into timeouts, but that would just be a shortterm solution. My boys would not be learning how to navigate conflicts and the same type of conflict would likely surface again with a similar outcome. Ultimately, we can’t control our children’s behavior, but we can work to model and teach effective conflictresolution strategies. Markham reminds us that no parent is peaceful 100 percent of the time. There will be times that we’re overwhelmed, distracted or tired — and our emotions will get the best of us. But we can’t go wrong when we open our hearts to learn and grow — and when we give our children extra time, attention and strategies to help them be their best selves as well. Megan Devine lives in Northeastern Minnesota. Send comments and questions to mdevine@mnparent.com, and check out her blog at kidsandeggs.com.

Why we watch the news I

watch the news every morning with a cup of coffee in my hands — like clockwork — at 6:05 to be exact. The kids know this is the only time no one (not even dad) can ask to change the channel. No cartoons, no Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, no stage audience laughs, just the news. My teenage son, who is up at 6 a.m. for the 7 a.m. bus, sits right next to me for my morning ritual. He nudges into the couch beside me. He brings his breakfast with him and a cup of coffee with sweet cream, his new ritual. It’s sort of our hangout time, Mom and son watching the goings-on of the world from our living room in the dark of early morning.

⊲⊲All that bad news It’s good to know the weather, especially here in Minnesota where we commiserate about the wind chill at the bus stop. But most of the rest of the news tends to make the world seem like a scary place. So much has been discussed on the topic of teens and technology. As concerned parents, we consider the exposure our tweens and teens have to topics we might’ve not known anything about at their respective ages. The devices they hold nearly constantly in their hands give us cause for this concern. But like a lot of other families, we have limits on what can be downloaded without our permission. The funny thing is, the TV is on every day — at least in our home. I can turn it down or turn it off, but I can’t control what it tells me or tells my children. Why? It sounds odd, but I want my teenage son to know what’s out there. I want him to know how fortunate he is to go to school,

how our country affords us the privilege of freedom and how lucky we are to go about our day and drive places safely.

⊲⊲Global citizen If he has a little a taste of the idea that there’s a whole world of people out there, perhaps his self-scope will be altered. It’s easy for us to drive to work and school, run our errands and involve our kids in great extra-curricular activities and think of nothing but our busy schedules. If he understands that there are people in situations much more dire than ours — places that are unsafe or troubled by poverty — perhaps his compassion will be sparked. I consider it my responsibility as a parent to teach him how to take care of himself. I also hope to engage his responsibility as a global citizen to give to those in need. There may be seasons when this is done regularly, or times when he feels the urge to donate funds to disaster-relief efforts, work at a shelter on a holiday or buy lunch for a friend who’s in a bad spot. I want to teach him to give. But, more than that, I want him to know how to follow his heart, when he feels that tug of empathy.


Parenting guide book ⊲⊲“There is a predictable pattern to teenage development, a blueprint for how girls grow. “When you understand what makes your daughter tick, she suddenly makes a lot more sense.” So says author and psychologist Lisa Damour in her new book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood. Billed as some of the best work on adolescent parenting since the groundbreaking Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, this conversational book covers the complexities of female development, friendships, emotions, power struggles, romantic relationships, planning for the future and self-care. $27 • randomhouse.com


February 2016 • mnparent.com

The funny thing is, the TV is on every day — at least in our home. I can turn it down or turn it off, but I can’t control what it tells me or tells my children.

⊲⊲Politics As a high school sophomore, he’s currently taking U.S. history. He’s learning how our country’s leaders in the past have made decisions — and the outcomes of those decisions. And because he’s just three years away from gaining the right to vote, I want him to follow the current presidential race from its beginnings. It’s educational, listening to the debates and even the candidates when they speak at news conferences. And it gives me the opportunity to ask him: What do you think of one way of thinking versus another way, and why? What makes a good president? Who would you vote for? Then there are mornings we catch the weather with our warm mugs in hand, and I look over at him and smile and switch the channel to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And those mornings are important ones, too. Jennifer Wizbowski lives in Excelsior with her husband, 11-year-old daughter and 15-yearold son. Send comments, questions and story ideas to jwizbowski@mnparent.com.

What do you want to be? L

ike most parents, sometimes I get to feeling anxious about money. And sometimes this anxiety gets tangled up with angst about my career choice. I mean, sure, I like what I do. But writer/editor isn’t the most lucrative of careers. Would I be happier if I were making tons of money as a podiatrist or a high-powered corporate lawyer? Or some sort of super-in-demand IT guy? Would my kids be better off if money were no object? Probably not.

By about age 8, the top career choice for 8- and 9-yearolds was ‘video game designer.’

Their answers were predictably cute, with the majority of 3- and 4-year-olds saying they wanted to be superheroes and at least one respondent answering, “mattress tester,” and another answering to the siren call of “American ninja warrior.” What struck me is that, in general, young kids wanted to emulate what they respect, which explains why 2and 3-year-olds answered doctor, parent (aw!) and firefighter — in that order. By 5 years old, veterinarian was No. 1, followed by scientist.

⊲⊲Modeling meaningful choices

⊲⊲Finding a calling

We all want to provide for our families, but when I start feeling angsty, I try to keep in mind that what we’re providing isn’t just money (and the things it can buy). We’re also giving our kids a blueprint for being successful grown-ups by setting an example about what it means to work. The best careers don’t only bring home the bacon, they also have meaning for us. Most of the time, I feel lucky to make my living in publishing. The fact is, all work contributes to society in some way. Our kids, ever-vigilant, pick up on how we feel about our own roles. If we can model that our work makes us happy and helps others in some way that we feel good about, our kids are more likely to seek a career that does the same for them. In turn, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their adult lives. Right?

Another thing that stood out to me is that kids seem intuitively to get the “do what you love” motto of most career advisors. Not that the concept should be so complex — after all, you spend most of your waking hours at your job, why not enjoy it?

⊲⊲What kids actually say As I was thinking about this recently, I came across a poll by Fatherly.com, which asked 500 kids between ages 1 and 10: What do you want to be when you grow up?


February 2016 • mnparent.com

By about age 8, this seemed obvious to many kids: The top career choice for 8- and 9-year-olds was “video game designer.” (That sounds good at any age if you ask me.) By age 10, the top three choices were athlete, chef/baker and veterinarian. Sports, food and pets — you can hardly argue with that logic.

⊲⊲Watching what we say I think when most of us parents imagine the futures we want for our children, career satisfaction is more important than wealth. But I also think we sometimes send mixed messages about this. For example, how often do you describe your work as something you have to do to make money rather than as something that makes you happy and satisfied? I know I’m guilty. So how exactly do we encourage our kids to hang on to their instincts of doing what they love? For one thing, we can be deliberate about how we describe our careers and jobs. When our kids are young, we can resist the impulse to explain work as something we do in order to buy nice things or pay the bills. We can go a little further and describe the reasons why our work is important or why it makes us feel good. Think about it: “I just want to spend a few more minutes on this because I really want it to turn out great” sounds a lot different from “I just need to finish these emails so my boss doesn’t get mad at me or I don’t lose my job.” Another thing we can do is try not to crush kids’ dreams when they’re young (plenty of time for the world to do that). So if your child wants to be a pro athlete or an astronaut or — as one kid in the poll claimed — a “beast master” — I say cheer them on. Eric Braun is a Minneapolis-based writer, editor and dad of two boys. He’s currently working on a financial literacy book for young readers. Learn more about his other published works at heyericbraun.com. Send comments or questions to ebraun@mnparent.com. Salad Girl Organic Dressings MNP 0216 H4.indd 1

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mnparent.com • February 2016


Dr. Peter Dehnel

Kids and gut health Do you ever recommend probiotics for children? Probiotics may benefit kids in a number of ways, but research still needs to be done to understand exactly how they can be most beneficial. The intestinal tract contains millions of microorganisms — primarily bacteria and fungi (yeast). These microorganisms are generally considered either good organisms — contributing to the overall health and well being of the person — or bad organisms — leading to illness, inflammation and/or intestinal distress. The good organisms help filter out and eliminate substances and toxins that could otherwise injure or damage the intestine. They promote the regulation of food digestion through the intestinal tract. Finally, these good organisms prevent a number of potential irritants and damaging substances from crossing through into the wall of the intestine.

I’m bottle-feeding our baby and I’m worried about overfeeding. Can you share your tips to avoid giving her too much? This is an excellent question. Infants, for the most part, take in only the calories they need to maintain their current health and provide for good growth. They rarely over-eat — or under-eat.


February 2016 • mnparent.com

The balance between the good and bad organisms can change from day to day. A number of factors can tip this balance in a negative way, including poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotics, some types of medications and environmental factors. It’s believed that a person can reverse some of these negative effects by eating foods and taking supplements that naturally boost the number of good organisms. This includes eating foods with active cultures like yogurt. Taking probiotic supplements directly can also be helpful. There are also good yeast supplements that can be prescribed or purchased over the counter. So does all this work for kids? The answer is a definite maybe. And in kids with some conditions it’s more likely to be effective than others. This includes a child who’s getting over a bad stomach flu (gastroenteritis) and also children who are on antibiotics. The longer-term protective effects, such as the prevention of conditions like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, are still unknown.

If your baby’s going through a growth spurt, she’ll need more to eat than what the feeding charts recommend. If she’s more active than average from a motor-skills standpoint, she’ll use more calories as well. If she’s a taller baby and her weight matches that, she’ll likely need to eat more for that reason. In general, if your baby seems hungry, it’s very likely she needs the calories. It’s really hard to overfeed your infant. However, where families do get into some problems with overfeeding is when they use a bottle as a pacifier or are feeding to simply stop the baby’s crying. Parents may also end up overfeeding if they’re propping a filled bottle in the baby’s mouth so that she or he doesn’t have any option not to drink even if he or she is already satisfied. These are both very easy to avoid. Remember, your daughter’s clinician can assess her height, weight and activity level to help you determine a more precise suggestion on caloric intake based on her specific needs.

How many words should a normal 2-year-old be using? A 2-year-old should have two to three dozen words that are generally easy to understand. To start, it’s helpful to think about language in two parts: The first is receptive language: Does your toddler seem to understand what you’re saying? This part generally develops first. If he or she doesn’t seem to understand what you’re saying, your child’s even less likely to be able to start using words — expressive language. Frequent ear infections are a big culprit for this situation. Two-year-olds should also be at the point of putting two words together to start forming sentences. If your child is using the right number of words and is starting to put them together, but the words aren’t very clear, he or she may have other barriers to good language development. As always, remember that different children develop at different rates. Girls are a little faster in language development on average than boys. If a child is born very prematurely, this can also affect the age of language. Please talk to your pediatrician about these issues if you have additional questions.

Dr. Peter Dehnel is a board-certified pediatrician and medical director with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Send questions to drdehnel@mnparent.com. This column is intended to provide general information only and not medical advice. Contact your health care provider with questions about your child.

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How to cope with a diagnosis I

t’s been almost three years now, but Jim McKenzie still remembers the moment with crystal clarity. He and his wife, Marie, were sitting nervously in a small conference room at the clinic when they received the news — their 3-year-old son, Jason, had just been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The first words out of Jim’s mouth might seem surprising or selfish or worse, if you haven’t been in his situation: “Is he going to be able to play football?” Jim asked the pediatrician. Hearing the news that your child has a disability of any kind is a tremendous shock. “Judge me if you want to,” Jim said, “but it was the first thing that hit me. Sports have always been such a big part of my life. I had played basketball and football in high school and I just wanted my son to experience that, too.” Jim managed to hold it together until the couple reached the parking lot. He climbed into his pickup truck, closed the door quietly and burst into tears. “At that moment, I was just devastated,” he said. “I could not believe this was happening to us, but I’m sure a lot of parents feel that way.” Surprise. Concern. Confusion. These are all valid reactions when your child is diagnosed with a disability, developmental delay or mental-health issue. There’s a tendency to fear the worst, to worry about money and doctor visits and what the neighbors are going to say. There’s often disbelief and denial, too. “We were first-time parents,” Jim said, “and we didn’t have anything to compare it to. We knew nothing about autism and we were scared.” At that point, Jim and Marie did what most parents do — they began searching for information, support and services, and they sought professional help. Over time, they’ve adapted to Jason’s public outbursts and learned ways to help prevent them, and


February 2016 • mnparent.com

they’ve found plenty of family activities he can participate in. Jason might not be on the football team, but with the help of friends and family and professionals who care, the McKenzies are doing well. What would you do if you learned that your child has a disability? How would you react? There’s no single right answer or path for any family, but here are some steps to consider:

⊲⊲1. Ask questions It’s really important to gather as much information as possible about your child’s disability and the impact it might have. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to support your child. “We didn’t have any idea what to do in our situation,” Jim said. “We just kept asking questions.” Don’t be afraid to ask for more information or look for other ways to get support from organizations such as Autism Speaks. PACER also offers a number of helpful resources for parents of young children with disabilities at PACER.org/ec. (The handout When Should Parents be Concerned About Their Child’s Behavior is a helpful checklist for parents about the most common concerns.)

⊲⊲2. Adapt to your reality Many parents find themselves in denial at first, which is perfectly understandable. But at some point, you need to move on and focus on what you can do to help your child. Before the diagnosis, Jim and Marie’s family members reassured them there was nothing wrong with Jason, and the couple had tried to ignore their son’s unusual behavior.

We were first-time parents and we didn’t have anything to compare it to. We knew nothing about autism and we were scared.

“They may have meant well, but we knew something was wrong,” Marie said. “To me, not knowing is worse than finding out what the issue is.”

⊲⊲3. Pursue early intervention Once your child’s been evaluated and you’ve received a diagnosis, it’s time to begin early intervention. Children with disabilities of any type can make progress, and the sooner you get them the help they need, the better off you and your child will be.

⊲⊲4. Dream big Just because your son might not become a star quarterback or win a state championship, doesn’t mean he can’t achieve great things. “I used to think that if someone has a disability that they weren’t capable of much, and that’s just wrong,” Jim said. “There are plenty of things that Jason can do. But sometimes he needs to be pushed just like any other kid.”


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⊲⊲5. Be a support team As a parent, you’re the person who believes the most in your child’s potential, and you can have the most impact on helping him or her succeed. It could be earning a high school diploma or competing in the Special Olympics, or maybe the goal is something much simpler. Jim and Marie’s objective is to provide Jason with every opportunity he can possibly have. “It can be hard sometimes — really, really hard,” Jim said. “But I try every day to help him, to encourage him, to try and lift him up. Having a child is a gift. It’s a blessing and you need to embrace it.” © Disney. Reprinted with permission from Disney Online. All Rights Reserved. This article originally appeared on Babble.com 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 pacer.org. Science Museum of MN MNP 0216 S3.indd 1

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Color wonder By Sarah Jackson

Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. In fact, publishers are catering to adults like never before with a bevy of adult coloring books released in the past year. The Doctor Who Coloring Book? Yep, that’s a thing. There’s also an Indie Rock Coloring Book (with pages dedicated to bands like Bon Iver and Iron & Wine) and The Tattoo Coloring Book. Coloring between the lines — sometimes very intricate ones — can be extremely therapeutic for mind and body. Check out these options to get started.

The Time Chamber This sequel to Korean artist Daria Song’s The Time Garden continues the story of a red-haired fairy who explores the world outside the cuckoo clock where she lives. Intricate scenes on every page of heavy-stock paper provide hours of challenges for would-be artists. Ages 10 and older $15.99

Splendid Cities This 9-inch-square coloring book takes you to cities around the world — some real (including Paris and Moscow) and some imagined (think floating kingdoms in the sky). Similar books include Secret Paris, Secret New York and Secret Tokyo, all with the subtitle of Color Your Way to Calm. $16

GIVEAWAY ⊲⊲We’re giving away The Time Chamber and The Time Garden adult coloring books! To enter to win, send a cute or silly digital snapshot of your kid to editor@mnparent.com with

1 Big Gigantic Herd of Invisible Cosmic Zebras Brain-injury survivor Jessie Riley is the founder of Kitanie Coloring Books, a large collection of paperbacks designed for kids and adults. Coloring, according to Riley, isn’t just a way to relax, but also a proven method of healing after a concussion. Coloring is an approved activity during the brain-rest phase after a concussion — and it can actually help rebuild brain health. This book’s theme — specifically geared toward anyone struggling with an invisible illness — is hope.

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February 2016 • mnparent.com

I HEART Coloring Try any in this series of pursefriendly books — all 6 inches square — if you’re new to this whole adult coloring thing. Next time you take the kids out to eat, you can co-color I HEART Cute Coloring — by far the easiest and most kid-friendly of the series. I HEART Coloring and I HEART Coloring Flowers are more advanced if your goal is to stay inside the lines.

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Weeknight dinner! By America’s Test Kitchen SKILLET LASAGNA 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes Water 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, chopped fine Salt and pepper 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 pound meatloaf mix 10 curly edged lasagna noodles,


February 2016 • mnparent.com

TIPS broken into 2-inch lengths 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus 2 tablespoons, grated 1 cup (8 ounces) whole-milk ricotta cheese 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil Serves 4 to 6

⊲⊲Don’t use no-boil noodles in this recipe. ⊲⊲You can substitute part-skim ricotta in this recipe, but don’t use nonfat ricotta, which has a very dry texture and bland flavor. ⊲⊲If meatloaf mix isn’t available, use 8 ounces each of ground pork and 85 percent lean ground beef.

DIRECTIONS Place tomatoes and their juice in 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 4 cups. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add meatloaf mix and cook, breaking up meat into small pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Scatter noodles over meat but don’t stir. Pour tomato mixture and tomato sauce over noodles, cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes. If the noodles seem especially dry, you may need to add extra water to the skillet while the pasta cooks. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan (off the heat) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dollop heaping tablespoons of ricotta over top, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan and serve.

VARIATIONS ⊲⊲Spicy Increase the amount of pepper flakes to 1 teaspoon. ⊲⊲Sausage and red bell pepper Substitute 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, for meatloaf mix. Add 1 chopped red bell pepper to skillet with onion.

Source: Adapted from 100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Ways to Make the True Essentials from America’s Test Kitchen — everyday recipes, updated with innovative, kitchen-tested techniques.

Where Amazing Lives.

the D word Divorce is one of the hardest things a family can experience. Here’s how to survive — financially and emotionally — and how to help your kids cope, too. By Jen Wittes

Divorce is like a death, in a sense. The death of your — however misguided — picturebook fantasy, the death of living under one roof — always — with your intact family, the death of “’til death do us part.” When you’re a parent, the grieving process is open-ended. You can’t walk away. You can’t say goodbye. You and your former spouse will be making plans for winter break, sitting in proximity at soccer games and picking open wounds left and right until you learn how to steel yourself and how to scar. And that’s just the tip of the massive emotional iceberg. mnparent.com • February 2016


the D word Divorce brings about logistical complications and adjustments as well. Financial restructuring, quasi-single parenthood, scheduling conflicts and new significant others are just a few of the hurdles on the horizon. Oh, and you’ll be colliding with those obstacles while helping your children cope. Divorce with kids — no matter how mindful, friendly, consciously uncoupling the parents are — is not for the faint of heart.

Parting ways as a couple Yes, divorce is unfathomably difficult. But that’s not a good enough reason to stay together. Though, of course, parents should try and try again to make the marriage work — staying together just for the sake of the children isn’t always the best bet. Because while kids do thrive in a stable, whole environment, they thrive best with happy parents. They learn about love from watching others and from feeling it in the home. Though divorce isn’t ideal, it can be superior to excessive fighting, resentment, disrespect, distance and disap-


February 2016 • mnparent.com

pointment. And — incidentally — being the reason for two miserable parents to stay together is an incredibly heavy burden for a child to bear.

It’s really over. Now what? Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions about a couple going through a divorce is that “they didn’t try hard enough.” On the contrary — a couple that’s faced so much adversity that there’s literally no other way but out has likely tried harder than the proverbial Joneses down the street. And then they made what was likely the most terrifying and painful decision of their lives. Though the writing is usually on the wall for some time — years even — the ultimate decision to split brings a sudden chaos and panic. How do we do this? Who stays? Who goes? What can we afford? Jennifer McBride McNamara, a Burnsville mother of three, mental-health practitioner, divorce survivor and author of books about divorce, said parents should be skeptical of the

advice that will inevitably come their way. “By that, I mean that there are a lot of people who have a stake in your divorce besides just you, your partner and your kids. Some extended family members have a vested emotional interest. Those in the divorce industry certainly have a financial interest,” McBride McNamara said. “That isn’t to say that all motives are bad or greedy; it’s just that it’s helpful to always ask ‘why’ before taking advice.” In other words — keep your eyes open, know your options and take your time — as long as time isn’t ticking away endless billable hours for your attorney or mediator.

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How does it work? Reeling emotionally, financially strained and scared of facing what, for many, is a worst nightmare, people often stumble into the process of divorce hastily, without exploring the options. There are four basic ways to get a divorce. It’s recommended that you thoroughly research these options and weigh the pros and cons of each: DIY: You literally sit down at the kitchen table and hash it out, filling out extensive legal paperwork on your own — not often recommended for people with children or significant assets. Though it will save you a bundle in legal fees, there’s a lot of opportunity for error and, perhaps, regrets. Sites such as divorceonline.com, divorcenet.com and completecase.com offer advice, state-specific legal forms and downloadable divorce kits. MEDIATION: A neutral party, usually a lawyer or a financial advisor specializing in divorce, helps both parties come to an agreement. This can be done with or without lawyers representing the two sides. It’s important to remember that the mediator’s goal is agreement — any agreement at all. Mediators don’t offer legal advice.

mnparent.com • February 2016


the D word COLLABORATIVE: This 25-year-old Minnesota-born method of divorce (now practiced by attorneys in all 50 states and overseas) is supposed to be driven by clients, not attorneys. The goal is an outcome that’s best for the entire family and involves legal professionals, financial analysts and family therapists who are trained in the collaborative process. All parties sign an agreement to resolve the divorce outside of court. (Learn more at collaborativelaw.org.) LITIGATION: This means going to court to let a judge decide the terms of your divorce. It’s taxing on the family and notoriously expensive. Both parties, plus family and friends, may end up testifying. Most experts recommend mediation before trial to, at the very least, get as much ironed out as possible outside of court. (Learn more at mncourts.gov.)

What will it cost? Divorce doesn’t produce any “winners.” Separating one household into two virtually doubles all household expenses and can greatly reduce disposable income for all parties, regardless of the settlement. And that’s not to mention the legal costs: The average cost of a contentious divorce in the U.S. ranges from $15,000 to $30,000, according to one Forbes article, which puts the costs of less contentious — mediated or collaborative divorces — at $5,000 to $6,000. According to a nationwide divorce survey by Nolo, a legal-advice website, attorney fees average $250 per hour. The more contentious a divorce is, the more the divorce will cost and the longer it will take to complete. (Most divorces, according to Nolo, take about 10 months.)

What matters most? Going into divorce knowing your most important issues is a good idea. “I think it is helpful for people to identify ‘hot spots,’” said Rachel Osband,

an attorney at Southtown Law in Bloomington. “This allows us to better assess what process may be most beneficial and expeditious.” There are a million decisions — and points of negotiation or conflict — child support, spousal support (alimony), parenting schedules and the division of assets and household goods. But, ultimately, the most important thing is the emotional wellbeing of the children. Osband emphasized the following three points: Put your kids first: Make sure they feel safe and secure and don’t make your fight their fight. Work together: Explain the divorce. Focus on language that reinforces the love you have for them. Remind them that you are still family, always. Respect your ex: As hard as this may be at times, kids will pick up on your attitude toward your ex. You have to be the grown-ups. Making encouraging comments about your ex to your children will do wonders for their sense of confidence and security.

It’s OK

Resources Take a crash course: Daisy Camp, a local nonprofit organization, educates women on the financial, emotional, parenting and legal issues that come up in divorce with one-day retreats and other workshops in the Twin Cities. See daisycamp.org. Also, read about divorce basics in Minnesota at mncourts.gov. Seek financial counseling: Find a local Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) by ZIP code — to help you navigate the financial aspects of divorce — at institutedfa.com. Estimate child support: The Minnesota Child Support Guidelines Calculator helps families estimate the amount of child support the court may order based on income and expenses. See childsupportcalculator.dhs.state.mn.us. Find a therapist: Search for therapists, psychiatrists and support groups by ZIP code at therapists.psychologytoday.com. Filters allow you to select therapists by their specialties, insurance plans and treatment styles. Join a religious group: DivorceCare is a Bible-centered, Christ-focused divorce support group that offers weekly programs led by laypeople at a variety of local churches of many denominations. See divorcecare.org to find a group near you.


February 2016 • mnparent.com

Love yourself, forgive yourself and forgive one another. Of course, all of this is easier said than done. In emotional discord, you will say the wrong things to the kids now and then. You will accidentally set off a fight with your ex. You will cry on the shoulder of the kindergarten teacher on your day to volunteer. It’s OK. It’s all OK. You’re human. Be human. Be messy. Forgive yourself. True forgiveness of your ex may take a lifetime, but bending in that direction is a goal with the result of a better emotional outcome for you and your kids. In the meantime, just be easy on yourself. Practice self-care to an absurd

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degree. Find someone — anyone — who’s gone through a divorce. There’s much to be learned from the stories of others and a level of understanding you can’t possibly reach with those who — frankly — just don’t know what it’s like. Finally, hold your head high. Know yourself. The D word can at first feel like a dirty little secret, a failure, expulsion from the club. But the truth is, it happens. It happens to the best of us. Jen Wittes is a freelance writer and mother of two who lives in St. Paul. Learn more about her work at jenwittes.com. Send questions or comments to jwittes@ mnparent.com.

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Starting a new daycare? Here’s a handy guide to helping your kid transition smoothly.

By Michele St. Martin

mnparent.com • February 2016





ou’ve moved across country — or even just across town — or changed jobs, and now the childcare program your kid’s been enjoying (practically since birth) has become inconvenient or just plain impossible. Maybe you’re just not happy with the care your child’s getting, and it’s time to make a change. No matter why you’re making the switch, your child is in for a huge life change. It can often take a few weeks for a child to get into a comfortable rhythm at a new daycare, especially if he or she is attending childcare for the first time ever. How can you ease the transition? Check out some of these strategies and tips.

Talk it up One of the most important steps parents can take is to talk to their children about the new daycare well in advance of their arrival. Discuss the new daycare’s toys, play spaces, teachers, storage cubbies, special activities and more to help your child visualize his or her new environment. Don’t assume the new daycare will be just like the old one. If things will change, even in small ways, talk about those differences. Circle time may be a staple at the old daycare but pretty much unheard of the new place. Birthday cupcakes may be de rigueur at one daycare, while goody bags are preferred at another. Naptimes and “lovey” or comfort-object policies can vary, too. Of course, you’ll have to study up on the new daycare — by asking lots of questions — so you can pass the new information along. Your efforts, however, will be worthwhile, said family childcare provider Diane Natrop of St. Paul. “Every program has different rules,” Natrop said. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, like, ‘You won’t have to nap,’ unless you know that’s the case.” In fact, you may want to adjust your child’s home naptimes to coincide with the new daycare’s schedule.

Visit early and often

Just as important is visiting the new daycare in small bursts before your child starts attending regularly for long stretches. Beth Jackson of Kids on the Korner Daycare of St. Paul feels so strongly about the importance of a gradual transition that she builds it into her fees. If a child starts on a Monday, he or she is invited to come in the week before for a half-day on Wednesday, followed by a half day around lunch time on Thursday and a full day (or second half of the day) on Friday.


February 2016 • mnparent.com

By breaking up the day, Jackson helps her young charges sample what happens throughout the day. “Kids are creatures of habit,” Jackson said. Children, just like adults, appreciate predictable routines. “They like to know: ‘Who comes at the same time as me? Who am I going to see?’” Jackson said. Karen Fogolin, associate director of Child Care Aware of Minnesota, agrees with Jackson. “Take it slowly,” Fogolin said. “Go to visit. See how the children interact. Gradually build it up.” Fogolin said it can be really useful for a child to see the provider’s routines before plunging into the mix. Other ways to boost a child’s comfort level include reading picture books about characters starting new daycares, drawing pictures of daycare or acting out daycare activities with stuffed animals or dolls. If you know other children at the center, you might also set up play dates with those kids’ families.

One change at a time Jackson urges parents to avoid consecutive transitions during daycare changes: Don’t buy a new house, have a baby and switch your child to a new daycare simultaneously, if you can help it. Even the most resilient child may feel her world is being rocked if too many changes occur at once. “Transitions suck and they are hard on kids,” Jackson said. Also, if your family is going through a challenging time — such as parents separating or grandma moving in — be sure to let your childcare provider know. You don’t have to provide full details, but a heads-up can help a daycare better support your child during rocky times.

Don’t stay with your child Daycare providers understand why you want to stay with your child — but that doesn’t

RESOURCES Child Care Aware Minnesota: This local program is part of a national organization that helps families find childcare. Learn more at mnchildcare.org. Minnesota Department of Human Services: Get information about childcare assistance and much more on this state-run site at mn.gov/dhs. Need a nanny, sitter or other caregiver? Check out collegenanniesandtutors.com (which offers on-call childcare, nannyplacement services and more) as well as Care.com, CareBooker.com, SitterCity. com and UrbanSitter.com for a variety of babysitting and childcare resources.

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763-544-3300 • Harrison-Electric.com

Harrison Electric MNP 0115 12.indd 1

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available & for event e c n a perform rentals

Kid feeling separation anxiety? Teach your kid the catchy PBS Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood song, Grownups Come Back. See tinyurl.com/grownups-comeback or tinyurl.com/grownups-comeback-2.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre Offering performances, residencies and touring shows. since 1973

612.721.2535 · hobt.org

mean it’s a good idea. “I have rules in my house and they are In the Heart of the Beast MNP 2014 12 filler.indd different than the rules you have in your house,” Jackson said. “[Having a parent there] sets up a weird dichotomy because if I’m telling a child to do something, the child looks at Mom — because she’s Mom and maybe she will say something different. “And it throws all the other kids off: ‘Johnny’s mom’s here; my mom’s not.’” Jackson’s kids attended daycare for 11 years, so she gets it. “I understand how parents feel,” she said. “But I have to keep 12 kids safe.”


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Leave with confidence When it’s time to drop off your child, it’s important to model confidence and calm — even if you don’t feel it. “Kids pick up on their parents’ emotions,” Jackson said. “If we feed into their fear and anxiety, it’s 20 times worse.” She recommends parents model a positive attitude as well as curiosity about the other kids at the daycare.

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An easy kid, a not-so-easy transition Emily Stahn and Xavier Burt’s daughter — 2-year-old daughter Brielle — is an easygoing child who likes “school.” “She’s not one of those kids who screams when you leave her there,” Stahn said. “We’ve been lucky since the beginning. Brielle hasn’t had any separation issues.” Stahn and Burt, of St. Paul, had been planning to move Brielle from a large daycare center to a home-based program, and they were thrilled when an old family friend, Beth Jackson, had an opening for a 2-year-old in her family childcare. Burt had known Jackson since he was a toddler: What could be better than having someone they knew and trusted, caring for their child? They liked the idea of more attention for their daughter, due to the smaller setting. And the savings they realized in moving to a family childcare were significant, Stahn said. Stahn and Burt assumed their daughter’s transition would be easy, given her temperament and the fact that she already knew Jackson. In retrospect, Stahn thinks they should’ve talked more about the change with Brielle, and taken her to Jackson’s family childcare in advance. Brielle had been at her original center since she was 6 weeks old. “We didn’t have too much time to talk about it [with Brielle],” Stahn said. And how much, they wondered, could a young toddler (16 months old at the time) comprehend anyway? Although it was clear that Brielle liked her new childcare overall, she also clearly missed her old center, too. “She kind of acted out,” Stahn said. And Brielle began to experience sleep ↑↑Two-year-old Brielle Burt (center) poses with friends — Carter, Delaney and Saeed issues so severe her pediatrician referred — on one of her first days at Kids on the Korner, a family childcare in St. Paul. her to a sleep specialist. By following the sleep specialist’s advice and adjusting Brielle’s nap schedule at childcare, Brielle was able to return to normal sleep. Stahn, looking back, wishes she’d prepared their daughter better for the transition. Fortunately, things worked out in the long run: “She loves school,” Stahn said. “She’s learning lots. She loves all of the different ages of kids — she likes the babies, the older kids,” Stahn said. “Brielle loves it there.”


February 2016 • mnparent.com

“‘Lydia’s a big girl. Don’t you want to go play with her?’” Jackson said. “Kids will take their cues from their parents.” Let’s face it: Some days, it can be heartbreaking to leave your child and head off to work for eight to 10 hours a day. But you’ll help your child more by making drop-off — and pickup times — fun. Instead of sneaking out — which experts don’t recommend because it violates a child’s trust — create a goodbye ritual, such as a certain number of kisses, hugs, highfives or waves. And try to drop off and pick up at the same time every day (at least during the transition) to reinforce your child’s sense of routine. Give yourself enough time to come and go, especially in the morning, so you don’t feel rushed or anxious.

Comforts of home What are your child’s favorite things? Let the new provider know, Jackson said. It’s important for a child to have a comfort object from home, she said. “Loveys are the only thing a child doesn’t have to share,” Jackson said of her house rules. “Most of the children keep their lovey in their cubby. If they’re having a bad day, it’s really nice for them to have that object with an attachment to home — a blankie, a bear, something that smells like Mommy.” Natrop agrees about lovies being important — within reason. “No one wants to have a kid pulling a queen-sized comforter around behind him all day long,” Natrop said. Jackson suggested to one mother that she give her child a lovey to bring to daycare. The child, however, invented her own. “One day, the mom dropped her off with a bag of pretzels — and her daughter carried that bag around with her all day,” Jackson said. Keep in mind that kids are resilient, Fogolin said, adding, “We underestimate them.” Michele St. Martin is a freelance writer who lives in St. Paul.



Multiple Locations Offered Across Metro Flexible Camp Options Between 7:30 AM & 5:30 PM All camps divided by age and ability

Multi-Sport Half-Day & Full-Day Camps Ages 6-14 — 25 different sports activities played every week

Sport Sampler Half-Day Camps Ages 4-8 — three different sport activities offered every day

Positive Coaching Environment to Encourage Learning Challenging Non-Competitive Approach to Foster Teamwork Child Development Best Practices for Sport Instruction

PLA-IT.COM | Info@RevSports.org | (612)234-7782

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By Dawn Marc

Minnesota History Center This St. Paul destination offers a variety of displays that encourage touching. There’s a replica of a grain elevator to climb through and hop scotch to play, too. The tornado experience is loud and isn’t recommended for children who are sensitive to sound, but the rest of the museum tends to be quiet. There also are many out-of-the-way corners where children can take some time to regroup, if needed. When: The museum is closed on Mondays, except for holidays. Where: Minnesota History Center, St. Paul Cost: $6 for ages 5–17, $10 or $12 for adults. Admission is free from 5–8 p.m. Tuesdays. Memberships are available and include free admission to all 26 of the Minnesota Historical Society’s museums around the state. Info: minnesotahistorycenter.org or 800-657-3773


February 2016 • mnparent.com

The Works Museum This hands-on, interactive museum features large and open spaces with no loud noises or displays. Its mission is to inspire the next generation of innovators, engineers and creative problem solvers. When: The Works is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the school year. During special events, the museum can get quite crowded, so it’s a good idea to check the calendar and avoid those times or dates, such as Tech Fest on Feb. 27 and Robot Day on April 9. Where: The Works Museum, Bloomington Cost: $8 for all visitors age 3 and older Info: theworks.org or 952-888-4262

Pump It Up The Plymouth and Eden Prairie locations of this popular chain of indoor bouncyhouse warehouses offer sensory-friendly open-jump sessions every month. During this time, lights are dimmed and the music is turned off. When: 6–7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in Plymouth and 6–8 p.m. Feb. 16 in Eden Prairie. Call ahead or check each location’s calendar for future dates. Where: Eden Prairie and Plymouth locations of Pump It Up Cost: $7 to $7.95 per kid; siblings are welcome, too. Adults can jump for free. Info: pumpitupparty.com; Plymouth, 763-553-0340; Eden Prairie, 952-943-0052

The Raptor Center This fascinating facility at the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine — which rehabilitates about 800 sick and injured raptors each year — allows families to get up close to a variety of interesting birds. When: The center is closed Mondays. Where: St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota Cost: Guided tours, offered every 30 minutes, are $3 for ages 3–17, $5 for adults. There are free tours once a month on select Fridays and Saturdays. Info: raptor.umn.edu or 612-624-4745

Theatres at the Mall of America The Mall of America movie theaters, as part of their Free Family Flicks events, play a free movie at 10 a.m. every Saturday morning. Seating is limited and is given on a first-come, first-serve basis. One theater is set aside as a sensory-friendly venue with lower sound and moderate lighting. Extra staff at the concession stands help families avoid long wait times. When: 10 a.m. every Saturday. February shows are Fantastic Mr. Fox, Hop, Stuart Little, Puss in Boots. Where: Mall of America, Bloomington Cost: Movie admission is free. Standard concessions prices apply. Info: theatresmoa.com/event/free-sensoryfriendly-films or 952-883-8901

Bell Museum of Natural History Nature Centers Want to escape the urban bustle of the city? Minnesota is home to a stunning array of nature centers that offer year-round programming for even the youngest of kids — as well as older explorers and would-be naturalists. Kids can explore a bit outside and then come indoors to warm up and check out hands-on activities and exhibits. Examples of recently featured winter activities include family yoga at Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Township, kicksledding at Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington and puppet shows at Eastman Nature Center in Dayton. Cost: Admission to most nature centers is free. Programs often require registration fees. Info: minnesotaparent.com/nature

Sensory-Friendly Saturdays at the Bell allow kids with sensory sensitivities to explore dioramas, a mini planetarium show and the Touch & See Discovery Room — all with lowered lighting, quieter sounds and fewer visitors. The museum also offers sensory items for check out anytime, including visual timers, fidget toys, weighted lap pads and noise-cancelling headphones, plus a quiet-space cube in the Touch & See Discovery Room. When: Upcoming events will be 8–10 a.m. Feb. 20, March 5, April 16 and May 14. Advanced registration is required. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Siblings without sensory sensitivities are welcome as well. Where: Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota Cost: $5 for ages 3–17, $7 or $8 for adults Info: bellmuseum.umn.edu/programs-events/sensory-friendly or 612-626-9660

AuSM events The Autism Society of Minnesota provides a calendar of sensory-friendly events around the Twin Cities. Learn about sensory-friendly show times at the Children’s Theatre Company or Stages Theatre Company and discover other sensory-friendly events in the area, including story times and concerts. See ausm.org/autism-community-events.html.

The Conservatory at the Como Zoo Winter can feel interminable in Minnesota, but families can visit this balmy, greenery-filled haven anytime to remind themselves of spring. The Sunken Garden displays rotate throughout the year. And the zoo offers a daily story time at noon. Go early to avoid crowds and to walk through the many different types of gardens (bonsai, ferns, orchids, to name a few). Be sure to visit the Leonard Wilkening Children’s Gallery in the lobby near the conservatory, featuring hands-on activities for kids. When: The zoo and conservatory are open every day of the year. Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: Admission is free, but an optional donation of $2 per kid and $3 per adult is suggested. Info: comozooconservatory.org or 651-487-8201 Dawn Marcotte lives in Farmington with her husband and two daughters. Follow her adventures around the Twin Cities at thingstodowithkidsmn.com.

mnparent.com • February 2016



YMCA SUMMER RALLY DAYS Thursday, March 3 – Tuesday, March 8

SAVE $50 on registration fee

SAVE $15 per session fee

SAVE $50 on registration fee




Grades K – 5

Grades 1 – 6

Grades 6 – 8

Summer Power is your answer to quality care and exciting adventures. We offer flexible 3-, 4-, and 5-day options. No two weeks are alike! Weekly themes and weekly field trips.

Youth will have the opportunity to learn new skills, practice and play new sports. Y Summer Sports is a safe, fun, non-competitive sports program designed to build teamwork, leadership skills and self-esteem.

Uproar provides an exciting combination of spirited adventure and growth. Teens get their first taste of leadership as they help to plan their summer activities and participate in weekly field trips.

Thursday, March 3 – Tuesday, March 8

Register Online ymcadiscoversummer.org Membership not required. Financial assistance available. Need more information? Attend the

YMCA SUMMER PROGRAMS FAIR Saturday, March 5 9:30 a.m. – Noon

Thursday, March 3 – Tuesday, March 8

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Summer Preschool SP Kindergarten Summer Power Summer Sports Summer Uproar Specialty Programs 16-SP05_MP

YMCA CAMPS ymcadiscoversummer.org


Ages 7-16. Camp Warren, located in the north woods on Half Moon Lake near Eveleth, MN, offers girls-only sessions the first part of the summer and boys-only sessions later in the summer. Camp Warren has a strong tradition of progressive activities including sailing, archery, tennis, photography and horseback riding.


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All Ages. Located on the edge of the BWCA on Burntside Lake, Camp du Nord offers a totally unique week-long camping experience for families. Cozy woodland cabins with kitchens range from rustic to upscale. Tent camping sites, full/partial food service also available. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, nature and arts programs are offered as family activities and for children’s age groups. Relax at days end with an authentic Finnish sauna.

Ages 12-18. Camp Menogyn is located on the Gunflint Trail 30 miles north of Grand Marais, MN. There are no roads leading to Menogyn, so all campers cross West Bearskin Lake by boat to arrive at this beautiful, intimate wilderness setting. Our focus is on the small group, compassionate guided wilderness canoeing, backpacking and rock climbing trips that are safe, fun and enriching.

CAMP WIDJIWAGAN Ages 11-18. Located on Burntside Lake near Ely, MN, Widji offers high-quality canoe and backpacking adventures in the BWCA and throughout North America. Widji wilderness trips are focused on respect and values that build skills for life and a relationship with the environment that is unparalleled.

YMCA DAY CAMP AGES 4 - 14 YMCA Day Camp provides a week full of exciting camp activities like canoeing, archery, fishing, camp crafts, cookouts, swimming and more! Day camps facilitate a great introduction to camping in a safe environment. Kids are home each night. Bus transportation is available at most locations.

YMCA DAY CAMPS: SPECIALTY CAMPS Develop a greater passion for the things you love, or try out something new at one of our YMCA specialty camps! Campers spend approximately 2 hours each day in their specialized activity. The remainder of the day is spent enjoying traditional camp activities. ges 4-5 )


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Ages 7-16. Located on Lake Independence just 22 miles west of Minneapolis, MN, Ihduhapi offers youth a traditional experience or sailing and horseback riding specialty camps. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions. Leadership development programs for grades 8-11.


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Ages 7-16. Located on Lake Wapogasset near Amery, WI. Icaghowan offers traditional camp and a variety of unique specialty camps focused on activities such as horseback riding, river canoeing and skateboard camp. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions.

SAVE $25

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Ages 7-16. Located on the St. Croix River, two miles south of Hudson, WI. Campers participate in a wide variety of traditional camp activities or select a specialty camp such as horseback riding, rock climbing, sailing and canoeing. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions.



SAVE $15

per session March 3 – March 8

DAY CAMPS Camp Christmas Tree 6365 Game Farm Rd., Minnetrista, MN 55364, 952-544-7708. Located on 45 acres at Dutch Lake near Mound, MN. YMCA Camp St. Croix – DayCroix 532 County Rd. F, Hudson, WI, 612-465-0560. Located on 400 acre site overlooking the St. Croix River. Camp Guy Robinson 3100 217th Ave NW, Oak Grove, MN, 763-785-7882. Located at Lake George Regional Park. Camp Heritage 7732 Main Street, Lino Lakes, MN; located across from Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes. YMCA Day Camp Ihduhapi 3425 Ihduhapi Rd., Loretto, MN 55357, 763-479-1146. Located on Lake Independence. Day Camp Ihduhapi offers the beautiful, north woods feel of camp. Camp Kici Yapi 13220 Pike Lake Trail NE, Prior Lake, MN 55372, 952-835-2567. Located on 80 acre site in Prior Lake. Camp Kumalya 1515 Keats Ave. N., Lake Elmo, MN, 651-731-9507. Located at Lake Elmo Park Reserve in Lake Elmo. Camp Manitou 763-535-4800. Attraction-packed new location at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Camp Spring Lake 13690 Pine Bend Trail, Rosemount, MN 55068, 651-456-9622. Located at Dakota County Spring Lake Park Reserve in Rosemount. Camp Streefland 11490 Klamath Trail, Lakeville, MN 55044, 952-898-9622. Located on Lake Kingsley in Lakeville.

Ihduhapi Kici Yapi Kumalya Manitou Spring Lake Streefland

Membership not required. Financial assistance available.



Academic 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 communityed191.org

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 bellmuseum.umn.edu

Gifted & Talented Institute (GTI) Find Your Challenge South of the River. A partnership of south metro school districts,


February 2016 • mnparent.com

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, week-long course options in a variety of core disciplines. 952-707-4150 giftedtalented.org

Groves Academy Summer Programs Groves Academy offers summer programs for students entering grades 2–12 from the community with learning and attention challenges. Taught by Groves teachers, our small class sizes and customized instruction build success and confidence. Both academic and enrichment programs are available. Contact us for more information. 3200 Hwy 100 S St. Louis Park 952-920-6377 grovesacademy.org

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 Ave S Minneapolis 612-870-1329 hennepinhistory.org

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 jaum.org/ja-summer-camps

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. 4200 W River Pkwy 612-728-7745 minnehahaacademy.net/summer

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 minnetonkacommunityed.org

mnparent.com/camp 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 763593-1168. St. Louis Park Recreation Center 3700 Monterey Dr St. Louis Park schoolchess.org

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 blakeschool.org/summer

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 theartacademy.net

Art Camps at Studio Seven One week painting and drawing camps for students ages 7–18. Compositional elements will be explored through landscape and figure studies. Students will paint and draw both in the studio and outside. Trips to galleries and museums included. Camps are Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. $550 per week, all materials are included. kahlowcurtis@gmail.com. 708 N 1st St Minneapolis 612-376-0381 studio7artmn.com

The Works Museum

Edina Art Center

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.

Since 1977, the Edina Art Center has been your home for art and culture in Edina, specializing in fine art education including pottery, drawing and painting, jewelry, and 83 children’s summer art camps. Edina — Every Day I Need Art.

9740 Grand Ave S Bloomington 952-888-4262 theworks.org

4701 W 64th St Edina 952-903-5780 edinaartcenter.com

Kidcreate Studio

Arts 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. Twelve sessions, June 13–September 2, 2016. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Eagan, Arden Hills 612-532-6764 julianmcfaul.com

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 EdenPrairieMN@kidcreatestudio.com 1785 Radio Drive, Ste F, Woodbury 651-735-0880 WoodburyMN@kidcreatestudio.com kidcreatestudio.com

mnparent.com • February 2016



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 loft.org

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 mcad.edu/ce

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


February 2016 • mnparent.com

photo studio. Bring your digital camera! Limited DSLRs available to rent. 2400 N Second St Minneapolis 612-643-3511 mplsphotocenter.com

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 seekittysew.com

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 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 blakeschool.org/summer

Dance/Music/ Performance Chan DT Musical Theatre Camp Chanhassen Dinner Theatres offers summertime theater camps for kids and teens (ages 5–18). It’s a fantastic week of full and half-day sessions focusing on musical theater fundamentals taught by Chanhassen professionals throughout the summer. Sessions begin June 13th. Register now! PO Box 100 Chanhassen 952-934-1525 chanhassendt.com

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 talked-about and unique summer camps anywhere. 1270 Montreal Ave St. Paul circusjuventas.org

mnparent.com/camp 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 luther.edu/music/dorian

Your Summer Camp Headquarters! 83 Art Camps 3–Day T–W–Th (am or pm)

Clay on the Wheel, Extreme Pets, Wacky Watercolors, Half-Pint Horses, Moustache Class, Origami, Pet Portrait, African Clay Village, Animation, Web & Game Design

952-903-5780 EdinaArtCenter.com Every Day I Need Art

Lutheran Summer Music

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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!

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Excite and challenge your child with a summer camp from UNW Academy of Music • Brio Music Camp, Intro to Music for ages 4-8 • Show Choir for ages 9-16

122 West Franklin Ave, Ste 230 Minneapolis 612-879-9555 888-635-6583 lutheransummermusic.org

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.

For more information unwsp.edu/academyofmusic or call 651-631-5108

• Piano Institute for ages 10-18 • Music Recording Camp for ages 13 and up

Camp Location: Northwestern Campus 3003 Snelling Ave N, Roseville, MN Registration opens April 1st (with deadlines in June)

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The Celtic Junction 836 Prior Ave N 612-722-7000 osheairishdance.com

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 shelllakeartscenter.org

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 boychoir.org

if you are a fan of determination, then you are already a fan of Special Olympics. volunteer, support, coach or compete.


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CAMP RESOURCES 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 blakeschool.org/summer

Stages Theatre Company 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 stagestheatre.org

StageTime Camp

University of Northwestern - St. Paul, Academy of Music

StageTime musical theatre performance camps for ages 6-16. Campers rehearse age appropriate musicals in small groups. No experience/lots of experience, campers get a chance to show their amazing skills - a stage-school experience culminating in a musical performance.

Whatever the age or musical ability of your child, UNW Academy of Music has a summer camp to excite and challenge them on their musical journey. Brio Music Camp, Intro to Music for ages 4-8, Show Choir for ages 9-16, Piano Institute for ages 10-18, Music Recording Camp for ages 13 and up.

Glen Lake Elementary School, Minnetonka Concordia University, St. Paul 952-300-5893 stagetime.camp

Northwestern Campus 3003 Snelling Ave N 651-631-5108 unwsp.edu/academyofmusic

SteppingStone Theatre Camps & Classes

Zenon Dance Company & School Summer Camps

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.

Week-long 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.

55 Victoria St N St. Paul 651-225-9265 steppingstonetheatre.org

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. 2400 3rd Ave S Minneapolis 612-874-0400 childrenstheatre.org/education/classesand-camps


February 2016 • mnparent.com

528 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis 612-338-1101 zenondance.org


Excelsior 612-235-7284 camptanadoona.org

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Como is an experimental learning center that engages visitors in a multitude of encounters with animals, plants and cultures. Home to 9 of the 10 animal species that visitors most want to see, in habitats that allow visitors to observe them at close proximity. 1225 Estabrook Dr St. Paul 651-487-8201 comozooconservatory.org

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 rchs.com

Camp Tanadoona

Gibbs Girl

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-year-old 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.

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.

3300 Tanadoona Dr

2097 W Larpenteur Ave Falcon Heights 651-646-8629 rchs.com

mnparent.com/camp I need a remodeler with ethics.

That’s why I depend on NARI.

Hopkins Camp Royal Summer Rocks

Three Rivers Park District

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!

More than 100 camps across the Metro. Including: farm life, extreme fishing and hunting, survival, archery, pirate and fairy adventures, golf, sailing, photography, art, raft and kayaking, the Civil War, Laura Ingalls, nature and science exploration, more! Scholarships available.

Eisenhower Community Center 1001 Hwy 7 Hopkins 952-988-4070 hopkinssummer.org

Playworks Summer Camp 2016 Sign up now for Camp Xtreme: Xtreme Learning, Xtreme Adventure, Xtreme Fun! June 13-–September 2. Open to grades 1–6. Children learn through hands-on experiences and interactions in outdoor play, field trips, and entertaining educational programs. Daily meals included. 2200 Trail of Dreams Prior Lake 952-445-PLAY (7529) playworksfun.com

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 shoreviewcommunitycenter.com

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 internationalschoolmn.com

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.

St. Anthony to Minnetrista, Maple Grove to Prior Lake 763-559-6700 threeriversparks.org

Zoo Camp

Visit narimn.org or call 612-332-6274 to find a NARI-certified professional for your next remodeling project or to become a NARI member. The NARI logo is a registered trademark of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. ©2008 NARI of Minnesota.

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Half-day to week-long adventures for toddlers to 12th graders at the Minnesota Zoo. Campers will meet animals, make new friends, and have fun learning about the natural world! Check out our popular Horse Camps and NEW! Treetop Adventure Camps. Register at mnzoo.org/zoocamp. Minnesota Zoo 13000 Zoo Blvd Apple Valley 952-431-9320 mnzoo.org

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 regentarabians.com

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 sunnysidestables.org

Hopkins, Wayzata 952-988-3463 blakeschool.org/summer mnparent.com • February 2016


CAMP RESOURCES Language 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 concordialanguagevillages.org

English Language Learner Residential Summer Camp at International School of MN ISM’s ELL Residential Summer Camp is designed for students to learn or improve their English as they enjoy everything Minnesota has to offer. Students will participated in exercises and activities that will strengthen their written and spoken English in the morning while afternoon cultural activities are organized to practice English skills. 6385 Beach Rd Eden Prairie 952-918-1812 internationalschoolmn.com/englishlanguage-learner-summer-camp

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 blakeschool.org/summer

Other 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 discoveryclub.spps.org

Overnight 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. info@ audubon-center.org. East side of Grindstone Lake near Sandstone 888-404-7743 audubon-center.org/summer-camps

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 morris.k12.mn.us

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 campbirchwoodforboys.com


February 2016 • mnparent.com

Camp Birchwood for Girls 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. Northern Minnesota 800-451-5270 campbirchwood.com

Camp Chippewa for Boys We develop character, through adventure, inspired by tradition. Your son will receive individual attention as they learn new skills, make new friends, in a wilderness environment. They will come home more confident, self aware and resilient. 22767 Cap Endres Rd SE Cass Lake 218-335-8807 campchippewa.com

Camp WeHaKee Have fun, build friendships, be yourself! More than 40 activities that each girl chooses. Campers from around the world. Exceptional staff! At the heart of WeHaKee is relationship. Just three hours from Minneapolis in Northern Wisconsin! N8104 Barker Lake Rd Winter, WI 800-582-2267 wehakeecampforgirls.com

mnparent.com/camp Girl Scouts River Valleys’ Summer Camps All girls welcome, including non-Girl Scouts. Residential sessions at four locations, each with unique scenery and outdoor opportunities. Classic camp experiences, with horse and wilderness opportunities, canoeing, kayaking, archery, swimming, biking, arts and crafts, and more. Financial assistance available. Camp Elk River, Zimmerman Camp Lakamaga, Marine on St. Croix Camp Northwoods, Mason, WI Camp Singing Hills, Waterville 800-845-0787 girlscoutsrv.org/camp

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 campolson.org

Year Round Riding Lessons Available for All Ages Horse Camp · Birthday Parties Rosemount, MN

651-226-2027 • sunnysidestables.org

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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


Sophia Comnick, Age 8

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@ ausm.org for more info. Register today!

651.699.1573 | theartacademy.net 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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2380 Wycliff St, Ste 102 St. Paul 651-647-1083 ausm.org

Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) Summer Social Skills Classes AuSM Social Skills summer classes for youth and adults with autism offer low-stress, accepting environments that encourage learning and growth while participants develop social skills and confidence. Classes centered on special interests including computer design, the great outdoors, exciting community outings, zoos, plants, animals, art, drama, and more are offered in locations throughout the metro area. E-mail education@ ausm.org for more info. Register today! 2380 Wycliff St, Ste 102 St. Paul 651-647-1083 ausm.org mnparent.com • February 2016



whole lot of fun. 8223 Hwy 7 St. Louis Park 952-924-0083 thelittlegym.com/edinamn

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.

Nike Tennis Camps Come join the fun and get better this summer at the University of Minnesota Nike Tennis Camp. Overnight and day camp options for boys and girls, ages 6–18 of all ability levels. Special Tournament Training component offered during the second and third session.

Camp Lakamaga 12300 Lakamaga Tr N Marine on St. Croix campchoson.org

Dynamic Arts, Aeronautics with Drones & Robotics

University of Minnesota Minneapolis 800-645-3226 ussportscamps.com/tennis

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”.

PLA-IT: Revolutionary Sports

Throughout Minnesota 651-303-8955 robots-4-u.com

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 blakeschool.org/summer

True Friends’ Camp Courage & Camp Friendship True Friends is the parent company of Camp Courage and Camp Friendship. Offering residential and day camp sessions for people with developmental, physical, or learning disabilities. Need-based scholarships are available. Camp Friendship, Annandale Camp Courage, Maple Lake Camp Eden Wood, Eden Prairie Camp Courage North, Lake George 800-450-8376 truefriends.org

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. Blaine, MN at the National Sports Center Schwan’s Super Rink Coon Rapids, MN at the Coon Rapids Ice


February 2016 • mnparent.com


Center 651-447-2454 akasport.org

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. 2015 Silver Bell Rd Eagan 651-454-6203 9775 85th Ave N, Ste 500 Maple Grove 763-493-2526 gleasons.com

InnerCity Tennis Summer Camps Learn a sport you can play for a lifetime in a fun, group setting! Outdoor lessons at 23 park locations across Minneapolis. Indoor lessons with air conditioning at Reed Sweatt Family Tennis Center. Camps open to boys and girls ages 6 and up of all ability levels. Scholarships available! 4005 Nicollet Ave S Minneapolis 612-825-6844 innercitytennis.org

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

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 pla-it.com

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 blakeschool.org/summer

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 tagsgym.comW

plan a summer

ADVENTURE at Minnesota Parent’s 10th annual

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

meet one-on-one

with dozens of camp representatives Free admission! Free parking! mnparent.com/campfair 612-825-9205 • events@mnpubs.com SPONSORED BY

Out & About FEBRUARY


Tropical Beach Party ⊲⊲Escape the cold at the zoo with a party in the tropical exhibit space, featuring a giant indoor sandbox! Bring your own pail (BYOP) or favorite sand toy and play surrounded by palm trees, exotic animals and special activities. Weekend events include scavenger hunts, 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: Free with zoo admission ($12 for ages 3–12 and 65 and older, $18 for ages 13–64) Info: mnzoo.org

JAN. 28–FEB. 7

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, art shanties, parades, live music events, a Frozen Family Fun Night (Feb. 2), a Frozen Film Festival (Feb. 4–6), a mini ice palace in Rice Park.


February 2016 • mnparent.com

When: Jan. 28–Feb. 7 Where: Various venues throughout St. Paul Cost: Most events are FREE. Info: winter-carnival.com


Dive-In Movies ⊲⊲Enjoy crafts and games followed by a family-friendly movie projected on a screen

over Shoreview’s popular indoor water park. Bring your own noodles or floaties. When: 7 p.m. Jan. 29 and March 4 Where: Tropics Indoor Waterpark, Shoreview Cost: $9 for ages 1-17, $9.99 for ages 18 and older or $36 for a family (up to six), plus discounts for Shoreview residents Info: tinyurl.com/dive-in-movies-2016 or 651-490-4700

JAN. 31

FEB. 6

Free Symphony Concert

Children’s Book Carnival

⊲⊲Enjoy a free concert by the Saint Paul Civic Symphony with a special guest — the Minnesota Boychoir — courtesy of Sundays at Landmark, a series of cultural and art events.

⊲⊲Meet authors and illustrators who will sign, sell and read their own original works. Kids are invited to create a book, make a puppet, add to the graffiti wall and enjoy free books from the Minnesota Humanities Center.

When: 3 p.m. Jan. 31 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: landmarkcenter.org

When: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Feb. 6 Where: Wilder School, Minneapolis Cost: FREE. Bring a children’s book to donate (optional). Info: tinyurl.com/book-carnival-mn


Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit ⊲⊲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 and on the playground. Through fun, hands-on activities, kids will use scientific tools and thinking to learn about simple machines, the laws of motion, magnetism, air power and the five senses. 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: mcm.org

FEB. 7

Nature Center Open House ⊲⊲Discover the customs of the Chinese New Year with themed crafts, treats and activities. Check out the nature center’s new indoor tree feature as well as new boardwalk sections outside. And be sure to stop by the annual open house next door at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center “animal hospital.” When: 1–5 p.m. Feb. 7 Where: Harriet Alexander Nature Center, Roseville Cost: FREE Info: cityofroseville.com/hanc

FEB. 9–MARCH 20 FEB. 5–7

City of the Lakes Loppet ⊲⊲This cabin-fever reliever and crosscountry ski festival features ski games for ages 12 and younger, a variety of races, skijoring, a snow-sculpting contest, beer gardens, food trucks, vendor booths and more. When: Feb. 5–7 Where: Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: loppet.org/cityoflakesloppet

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: childrenstheatre.org or 612-874-0400 mnparent.com • February 2016


Out & About FEB. 21 AND 23

Yoga at the Zoo ⊲⊲Get the kids into yoga (or try it on your own) at the zoo with a certified yoga instructor in the morning before the zoo opens. Children ages 3 to 6 can attend family classes (minimum of one child and one adult per registration). Ages 16 and older can attend adult classes. Bring your own mat if you have one. When: 8:30 a.m. on select Tuesdays for families (Feb. 23, March 15, April 12, May 24 and June 14) and 8:30 a.m. on select Sundays for adults only (Feb. 21, March 20, April 10, May 22, June 12) Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Cost: $12 per person ($10 for members) for family classes and $18 ($15 for members) for adult classes. Zoo admission is not included for non-members. Info: mnzoo.org/blog/programs/ yoga-at-the-zoo-2/

FEB 24–28

Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate ⊲⊲Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy as they celebrate with a medley of holidays, celebrations and festivities from around the globe, including a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with your favorite Disney princesses, including Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and Tiana; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a whole new world with Jasmine and Aladdin; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney villains and more. When: Feb 24–28 Where: Target Center, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $12. Info: disneyonice.com

Beauty and the Beast ⊲⊲A prince harshly turns a beggar woman away from shelter in his castle. She’s secretly an enchantress, who, angered by the prince’s lack of compassion, changes the prince into a hideous beast and all the castles’ human inhabitants into living objects. The enchantress tells the beast that before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose, he must find true love or all will remain forever altered. When: March 4–Sept. 3 Where: Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Chanhassen Cost: $49–$85; ages 5 and older are allowed in the theater. Info: chanhassendt.com or 800-355-6273

FEB. 27


Tech Fest

Steps of Hope

⊲⊲This hands-on, interactive celebration of National Engineers Week features live demos by scientists and engineers, handon projects, family activities and more.

⊲⊲This Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) fundraiser supports the local autism community by funding AuSM programs. Festivities for spectators will include children’s activities, live music, face painting, balloon animals, free snacks and beverages — and Minnesota’s largest autism resource fair.

When: Feb. 27 Where: The Works, Bloomington Cost: $8 for all visitors older than 2 Info: theworks.org/events-and-camps

When: 8:30–11 a.m. March 6


February 2016 • mnparent.com

Where: Southdale Center, Edina Cost: FREE Info: sohwalk.org


Harlem Globetrotters ⊲⊲The world’s most famous basketball stars will bring their unrivaled family show to town to celebrate 90 years of smiles, sportsmanship and service to millions of people worldwide. When: 7 p.m. March 25 and 1 p.m. March 26 Where: Target Center, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $20. Info: harlemglobetrotters.com

Marvel Universe Live ⊲⊲More than 25 Marvel icons — including Spider-Man, The Avengers, Iron Man, Black Widow and The Hulk — come together in one epic quest. Feel the energy of cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts and motorcycles. When: April 7–10 Where: Target Center, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $15. Info: marveluniverselive.com

Wild Kratts Live ⊲⊲Martin and Chris from the hit PBS series will activate a variety of Creature Power Suits to confront a classic comic villain, Zach. When: 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. April 30 Where: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis Cost: $33.75–$53.75 Info: hennepintheatretrust.org


Ice Castles ⊲⊲Explore a fortress of ice and snow, featuring ice caves, frozen waterfalls, towering archways and tunnels, plus fire dancing, Frozen characters and treats.

When: Opening Jan. 23 and continuing through March 5, weather permitting Where: Miller Park, Eden Prairie Cost: $6.95–$18; free for ages 3 and younger. Buy tickets online for deep discounts. Info: icecastles.com/ep

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. When: Through Feb. 15 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $12–$16 Info: stagestheatre.org or 952-979-1111

Music Under Glass ⊲⊲Beat the winter blahs by boogying to blues, bluegrass and ballads in the tropical two-acre Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. This free concert series showcases some of the Twin Cities’ finest musicians, plus beer, wine, soda and light snacks available for purchase. When: 4:30–6:30 p.m. Feb. 7, 21, 28 Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: comozooconservatory.org


The Frog Bride ⊲⊲Acclaimed storyteller David Gonzalez masterfully narrates a classic Russian folk tale, backed by a rich, multimedia show, featuring video projections (including the abstract works of Wassily Kandinsky) and live musicians performing an original jazz-funk score (recommended for grades 3 and higher). When: Through Feb. 28 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $10. Info: childrenstheatre.org or 612-874-0400

mnparent.com • February 2016

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Out & About 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. When: Through March 3 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: smm.org/omnifest

Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice ⊲⊲Maneuver through a swampy bog, buzz around a fiery volcano and get up close with a triceratops. Meet touchable dinosaurs, slip down an icy slide, dig for fossils and big bones, climb into a troodon’s nest to play with dinosaur eggs and go nose-to-nose with a T-rex! When: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, except Sundays 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; see the exhibit through May 15. Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum @ MOA (Mall of America, Bloomington) Cost: $7.95 for ages 1 and older Info: mcm.org/visit/moa


The Snow Queen ⊲⊲The magical fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson that inspired Disney’s Frozen springs to life in this world-premiere ballet. When: March 4–20 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $12–16 Info: stagestheatre.org or 952-979-1111


February 2016 • mnparent.com

Minnesota Parent Camp Fair ⊲⊲Get a jump on summer planning with Minnesota Parent’s 10th-annual Camp Fair. Meet one-on-one with representatives from more than 50 summer camps, including sleep-a-way camps and day camps, too. While you explore camps, your kids can enjoy family-friendly activities, including face painting, crafts and a few featured animals from the zoo. When: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Feb. 27 Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: mnparent.com/campfair or 612-825-9205

Kids’ Film Festival

Adult Nights Out

⊲⊲Watch films from around the world that celebrate the small things — the adventures and the silliness of life — at part of the Walker’s Free First Saturdays event for families in March. The lineup, geared toward ages 5 to 12, includes two screenings of animated shorts at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and a feature animated film, Boy & the World, at 3 p.m.

⊲⊲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 grownup, kid-free nights, held after normal zoo hours. Participants must be 18 to attend. Attendees can stay (with advanced registration) for the Our World Speaker Series, held on select nights.

When: March 5 Where: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Cost: Admission and all screenings are free. Info: walkerart.org/free-first-saturdays

When: March 18, April 22, May 27 and June 16. Most events start at 4:30 p.m. and end at 7 p.m. Other adultonly 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 mnzoo.org/adultnights.

Animal Dance ⊲⊲This preschooler-friendly play explores what kids (baby goats) and kids (notso-baby people) have in common. World-renowned choreographer and performance artist Ann Carlson will dance her way to the answer with the help of some curious goats and their animal buddies in this brand-new piece developed specifically with preschoolers in mind. Stomp your hooves, clap your paws and expect the unexpected. When: March 22–May 1 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $10. Info: childrenstheatre.org or 612-874-0400

Robot Day ⊲⊲Celebrate National Robotics Week by interacting with robots of all kinds, experimenting with kid-friendly robotics and watching demos by robotics experts and student teams. When: April 9 Where: The Works, Bloomington Cost: $8 for all visitors older than 2 Info: theworks.org/events-and-camps

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Musical ⊲⊲Greg Heffley is in survival mode — All. The. Time. He faces middle-school bullies, his big brother and his own height-challenged stature. Inspired by the award-winning and bestselling book series, this brand-new musical features Rowley, Manny and, of course, Rodrick. When: April 12–June 5 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $10. Info: childrenstheatre.org or 612-874-0400

mnparent.com • February 2016



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February 2016 • mnparent.com

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Creative Party Decor

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Tiny Diva Princess Party

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mnparent.com • February 2016



Your Mini MEs!

↑↑Alexandra Charloff and her mother, Deborah, of St. Louis Park, both at 18 months old

↑↑Diego Connell of Brooklyn Center, at 8 months old, and his father, Patrick, at 12 months old

←←David Ruby and his mother, Andrea, of Golden Valley, both at about 9 months old

←←Andrew Gerhard of Robbinsdale, and his father, Jesse, both at age 5

Giveaway! Want to win a set of four Disney on Ice ticket vouchers for Feb. 24-28 (disneyonice.com)? We have two sets to give away! To enter to win, send a cute or silly digital snapshot of your kid to editor@mnparent.com with your kid’s first and last name, city of residence and age in the photo for publication on this page. Use the subject line “Disney.” Large file sizes are preferred. Deadline: Feb. 15. Drawing: Feb. 16. Want to see your kid on this page? Send photos with your child’s first/last name, age and city to editor@mnparent.com.


February 2016 • mnparent.com

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