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August 2014




Page 34


Clare, of New Hope, turns 4 this month!

s s i l B y a d Birth Perfect-party primer Page 26

Party resources Page 52

Throw a dino-themed bash! Page 30


Minnesota Parent August 2014




Plan a perfect party! By Jen Wittes

30 A PARTY WITH DINO MIGHT Who knew dinosaurs could be this cool?


12 BABY ON BOARD It’s time to start solid foods for Baby No. 2! 14 TODDLER TIME


Potty training is like the SATs of parenting. 16 ASK THE PEDIATRICIAN What can you do to get your kid ready for kindergarten?


32 TEACHER MAMA We’re looking out for your kids. And ours! By Megan Devine

18 IN THE KITCHEN Get grilling and be seasonal with a savory peach and lentil salad.




Make this school year your kid’s best ever.

Schools address anti-bullying law with lessons in empathy, new policies. By Cali Owings

22 GROWS ON TREES Learn how to make allowance really mean something.


Age: 4

City: New Hope

Parents: Peter and Kathy

24 BOOK SHELF Get excited for school, even preschool, with the right books.

Sibling: Samuel, 2 Favorite Activities: Crafts, playing dress-up, swimming and bike riding Favorite food: Chicken dumpling soup and strawberry ice cream

58 FROM OUR READERS Check out our Photos of the Month, plus party theme ideas from local parents.


6 August 2014 • mnparent.com

Out&About PAGE 44


From the editor

Let’s party (and learn)!

Y OPENES HOUS 21 & Aug. 188 p.m. 6 p.m. –cations} {both lo

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ay, the kids are going back to school soon! What? You’re not excited for the unofficial end of summer? We understand. So, instead of calling this our Back to School issue — honestly, what Minnesota parent really wants to see that in August? — we’re calling this The Party Issue! Why? Well, in addition to numerous stories to help get your kids set for a return to full-time education, we’re also providing everything you need to get inspired for your kid’s next birthday party. Because parties, no matter what size, are fun! Whether you’re a party minimalist set to avoid a big bash at all costs or a party-planning diva ready to invite the entire class list to the event, we’ll get you inspired with our birthday party-primer, including the pros and cons of traditional venues, interestinspired locations (like a local ice creamery!), seasonal sites, home parties and even big outings that take your kid (and one or two buddies) somewhere really special. And check out the dinosaur-themed party put together by local Live the Fancy Life blogger Jessica Flannigan. We admit, we’re a bit jealous of her natural talent for decor, but, mostly, we’re just awed! Need even more ideas? Check out the back of the magazine for party ideas in the From Our Readers department, plus an advertiser-sponsored Party Resource Guide. And, now, back to reality: School. We’re here to help you minimize the chaos with cool back-to-school gear in the Chatter department, plus 10 tips for getting out the door on time every weekday and an important update on bullying and the law, including what’s expected of Minnesota schools, parents and kids. Finally, with this issue, we’re delighted to introduce two new columnists: Jennifer Wizbowski — an Excelsior mother of a 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter — is taking over our Teens and Tweens column. With her kids both starting new schools this year, she’s determined to help them make the most of the academic year ahead. Eric Braun, a Minneapolis father of two, is joining the Minnesota Parent team, too. He’s now at the helm of our personal finance column for parents, Grows on Trees. Even though his sons (a teen and a tween) are older than mine, he’s already got me thinking seriously about how to make allowance really mean something for my 6-year-old, who’s going into (gulp!) first grade.

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Vol. 29 • Issue 8

Co-Publishers Janis Hall jhall@mnparent.com Terry Gahan tgahan@mnparent.com General Manager Chris Damlo 612-436-4376 cdamlo@mnparent.com Editor Sarah Dorison 612-436-4385 sdorison@mnparent.com Contributing Writers/Photographers Eric Braun Peter Dehnel Megan Devine Vincent Francoual Zoe Gahan Shannon Keough Cali Owings Jodie Tweed Jen Wittes Jennifer Wizbowski Creative Director Dana Croatt dcroatt@mnparent.com Senior Graphic Designer Valerie Moe

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Graphic Designer Amanda Wadeson Sales Administrator Kate Manson 612-436-5085 kmanson@mnparent.com Circulation Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 distribution@mnparent.com Advertising 612-825-9205 sales@mnparent.com 60,000 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. 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 2014 by Minnesota Premier Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Address all material to address above.

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MABEL’S LABELS Tired of trying to label every item your kid brings to school with his or her full name? Meet Mabel’s Labels. We’re smitten with the Ultimate Back to School Combo (available through Sept. 30). It features 40 dishwasher- and microwave-safe Skinny-Minis, 50 washer-and-dryer safe Tag Mates for clothes, 16 waterproof and UV-resistant shoe labels, plus two metal bag tags (Teeny Tags). Customizable allergy-alert labels and disposable ID bracelets are available, too. Tori Spelling loves this line so much, she gave personalized Teeny Tags as favors at her son’s birthday party. Learn more at mabelslabels.com.

CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE! You’ve got to check out Minnesota Parent’s recently updated website! This month, we’re debuting some new features, including three new bloggers: • Moe-Mama’s Must-Haves: Valerie Moe of Bloomington shares her favorite baby products. Her discoveries, painstakingly researched, make her blog a must-read for new moms! • The Dad I Want To Be: Dana Croatt of Maple Grove shares the honest truth about parenting his son and daughter, both younger than 5. • Beyond Perfect: Minnesota Parent Editor Sarah Dorison of Golden Valley isn’t trying to be a perfect mom anymore — and that’s a source of strength and joy. Other upgrades to our site include: • A redesigned Out & About calendar • Easily accessible content organized by topics and age groups • Improved resource directories for camps, schools, mom, baby and beyond • Web-exclusive content • And new social media feeds. Check it out at mnparent.com!

10 August 2014 • mnparent.com

If you’re looking for something other than the usual Frozen or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles motifs for back-to-school backpacks, we’ve got you covered: The SoYoung line of backpacks, lunch coolers and diaper bags features retro-inspired designs that are simply gorgeous, not garish. Cooler bag and lunch boxes, available in matching styles, come with leak-proof insulated inserts for easy cleaning. If your kid still wants a Spider Man or Hello Kitty backpack, you might just have to buy one for yourself. See soyoung.ca.

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Just one more bite …


t’s that time again — time to introduce my baby to the exciting world of solid foods! At least, I wish I felt excited about it. In theory, it’s a momentous time in the life of a baby. My little son, for the first time in his short life, will step away from the familiar world of milk to try his first bites of “real” food. It’s one of his first moves toward toddlerhood and a life of increasing independence! To be honest, however, I’m not really looking forward to it. When I think about what it was like to start solids with Lydia, I remember an overwhelming sense of boredom. “Wow, feeding a baby takes forever,” I thought more than once, as I languorously spooned pureed sweet potatoes into the mouth of my halfheartedly interested daughter. Now that I’m finally getting around to reading Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter, one of the leading books about childhood feeding and nutrition, I’m coming to realize I was doing it all wrong. Satter advises parents to follow the lead of the child when it comes to feeding: “Pay attention to how your baby reacts to being spoon-fed,” she says. “If he doesn’t like it, if you get into struggles with him to get him to eat, if it is no fun for you, it isn’t working.” I was familiar with Satter’s work when I started feeding Lydia solid food. I even interviewed her for a past column in which

12 August 2014 • mnparent.com

I explored this topic as a first-time parent. But did I read her classic book and really dig in? Of course not. After all, it’s more than 500 pages long! But I’m reading it now, and I can wholeheartedly say it’s worth it. It’s well written and she includes plenty of research and history, so I feel like I’m doing something smart just by reading it. But most important, it just makes sense.

Important lesson: Don’t force it Satter outlines some of the reasons a mother might want to rush her baby into eating solid foods — because she wants to be the first mom in her playgroup to do it,

because it’s the “right” time, because she believes it will help him sleep through the night — the list could go on and on. Satter urges parents to set aside their agendas as well as ideas of what constitutes the right time to start. “Start when your baby is ready,” she says. And how do you know he’s ready? You go by what he can do, not by how old he is. Here are some of the signs your baby is ready to take an active part in feeding: • He can sit up, alone or with support, and can hold his head up straight. • He mouths his fingers and his toys. • He opens his mouth when he sees something coming and turns his head away if he doesn’t want it. • He can close his lips over a spoon.

• He can keep food in his mouth: It doesn’t just squeeze back out onto his chin. Satter says most babies show these signs between 5 to 7 months old. She makes a strong case for starting with baby cereal; basically, she says it’s a excellent way to teach them to eat from a spoon while providing them with necessary iron. I pooh-poohed the baby cereal the first time around: “My daughter shall eat vibrant vegetables, not boring cereal!” But am I a renowned authority on infant feeding? I am not. This time, I’ll give the cereal a go.

Another important lesson: Settle down “The way to get a kid to eat is not to try,” writes Satter. That’s another great thing about this book — all the memorable philosophical musings on eating. Satter is probably best known for defining the “division of responsibility in feeding,” which states that parents are responsible for the what, when and where of feeding, while children are responsible for the how much and whether of feeding. In other words, you provide the healthy food at predictable times, and then you get out of the way — no “airplane” feedings, no pleading with junior to take “just one more bite,” no “finish your vegetables or no dessert” threats. Eating should be enjoyable for you and your children. As Satter says, “Your job is to feed your child, see how he grows and love whatever he turns out to be.” So this time around, I’m determined to be more easygoing about feeding. And, actually, as of press time, I’m pleased to report that young Felix is gobbling up his rice cereal with obvious joy. I lightened up, followed his lead and can honestly say that feeding is pretty enjoyable so far with baby No. 2. Shannon Keough lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children. Send questions or comments to skeough@mnparent.com.

toilet without bells and whistles, programs or tarps, charts or Hershey’s Kisses. It would be an organic experience. No fuss, no muss. I had a plan. I also had a new baby.



Timing is everything

Potty training: The SATs of toddler parenting


otty training is like the SATs of toddler parenting — hard, confusing, exhausting, sometimes pointless. Getting through successfully allows you to move on to bigger and better things,

14 August 2014 • mnparent.com

but your memories afterward are disjointed and hazy. There are books, boot camps, videos, trained professionals, singing toilet seats, sticker charts and something — honestly — called the iPotty. What a lumpy mess of nonsense devoted to — of all things — elimination. My mother joyfully tells and retells the story of potty training me. She got some kit with a doll, treats, a vinyl record and a book. As she tells it, the kit strictly instructed the parent and child to spend the whole day together devoted to one mission — successful use of the potty. Take the phone off the hook, the book said. These were simpler times. After the program’s designated nap hour, my mom found me standing in my crib with my hands on my hips. “No potty, no dolly, no treats,” I proclaimed. So many times have I heard this story, when it came time to potty train my own daughter, I had those words playing in my head like a primal chant. No potty, no dolly, no treats. I had this big plan: Teach her how to use the actual, regular-sized

It was near impossible to do this while nursing a little one. As I fed my son, pretty much constantly in those early days, my daughter peed on everything — the floor, the high chair, the new couch. She hated the toilet and clearly hated me for having this baby and insisting that she — upon his arrival — become a big girl while he lounged about on the diaper changing table with Mom as a handmaiden. There were tears and tantrums — mine, hers. And eventually, there were Diego potty seats and bright red potty chairs and Hello Kitty panties and stickers and Pull-Ups, bathroom books, yogurt raisins and eventually the heavy artillery: jelly beans. I potty trained in every way imaginable — hard — for the better part of a year. Here’s the thing: I didn’t take timing into consideration. Though I’d always been an instinctive parent, when it came to the potty, I listened to peer pressure and general age recommendations and warnings from grandmas at the supermarket. I didn’t pay close enough attention to my own emotional state (postpartum depleted) or my daughter’s: Mom’s got this awful thing called a brother glued to her chest all day long.

Follow the child’s lead Luisa Urban, a seasoned nanny who’s worked with — and helped potty train — over a dozen children, suggested that parents can start potty training whenever they want. However, things will move along more quickly and with less struggle if they follow the child’s lead. She also explained that the reward and motivation system might vary for each child — making some of the kits and programs a little too “one size fits all.”

Having worked with twins, Urban has seen that each child has his or her own unique struggles and setbacks: One twin had trouble with overnights, and the other — yikes — wanted to play with his poop.

Watching for the signs After the hazy, crazy potty training year with my daughter, I waited a while with my son — waited for the opportunity to present itself. While there were moments of direction and encouragement, it basically just happened when he was ready. This, in part, was due to my confidence that it could and would. I had been there before. If anything, I learned to watch for readiness: hiding behind furniture to fill the diaper, taking off diapers, asking to be changed. We started the discussion long before we took action — this is a toilet, this is toilet paper, this is what happens when food goes into our tummy. I watched for an open window — interest and willingness. And I respected the occasional abrupt closing of the window — frustration and stubbornness. On those days, we went with a Pull-Up, without worrying about the long-term repercussions.


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Trial and error The second time around for me was two steps forward, one step back and learning from experience. That’s not to say that the famous three-day potty training method won’t work for you. Perhaps the upcoming start of preschool demands that you hone in and get it done, via treats, charts and songs — even fireworks. Like the SATs, it’s a multiple choice — sometimes you have the answer and sometimes you take a guess. With trial and error, a few horror stories and unavoidable messes, you can eventually put this incredible test behind you and move on. Jen Wittes lives in St. Paul and is a mother of two. Send questions or comments to jwittes@mnparent.com.

mnparent.com • August 2014 15

plan a trip — or two or three — to the school playground during summer (if it’s open to the public) to get him excited about the playtime school provides in addition to learning. You may find your child makes friends in his class before school even starts. Some children find the transition to kindergarten stressful. In fact, it can be the source of considerable anxiety. Reassurance is a good first step if this is their reaction. In some cases, working with a psychologist or behavioral health specialist may be needed. Talk with your pediatrician if this is your experience.


Dehnel, MD

What’s the story on pacifiers, nipple confusion and nursing? What about thumb sucking? I’m expecting next month and would like some information.

What can I do to help my child get ready for kindergarten? Transitioning to school can be a big deal for many 5-year-olds — most of the time in a very positive way. Reinforcing the notion of this being such a “big boy” thing to do — and how great it is that he’ll be starting kindergarten this fall — will ease the transition. Take a little extra time to read a variety of new books in this last month before school starts. Reading time before school is one of the best ways to help children acquire reading skills after they start. An adventure to a local library is a good

16 August 2014 • mnparent.com

strategy if that isn’t already a part of your family’s routine. Art projects — freehand drawing, coloring and painting — are a good way to enhance a child’s fine motor skills, including learning to print and write. Some children, especially boys, seem not as gifted or interested in fine-motor-skill development, so it may be a bit of a challenge to get your son to participate. Get to your know son’s school. Attend as many school-sponsored orientations and/or parent events as possible. And be sure to

Infants find sucking to be very soothing. They also like to exercise their facial structures and this probably helps enhance speech and language skills. It’s an important developmental task and way to take in nutrition. In other words, it serves a lot of purposes immediately and long term. Because of this, infants will suck on a variety of different objects — bottles, pacifiers, fingers and toys. Infants can’t suck too much, but you should have some control over what they use. There’s some difference of opinion regarding breastfeeding, pacifiers and nipple confusion. Many professionals believe pacifiers are fine to use, and will not interfere with breastfeeding. On the other hand, if breastfeeding does not go well, a pacifier will likely get blamed. The real cause for most problems encountered with nursing has more to do with the mechanics of breastfeeding, milk supply, postpartum stressors and/or characteristics of the baby’s mouth and tongue. Working with a lactation specialist may be a good way to improve success if you find yourself with nursingrelated problems. About 12 month of age is a good time to reduce and/or stop using pacifiers and

bottles. Toddlers are very capable eaters and drinkers at that age, and they don’t need these objects to further develop their oromotor skills. It’s more challenging to stop bottles and pacifiers at 18 months compared with a year of age because a strong objectattraction phase starts around 15 months.

I’m nursing my newborn and want to give her expressed breast milk when I eventually go back to work. What’s the best way to store breast milk, and how long can it be at room temperature before I have to throw it out? Clinicians at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (mayoclinic.org) recommend the following for the handling and storage of breast milk: Room temperature: Freshly expressed milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours. If you believe it’s going to be longer than six hours, consider placing it in a refrigerator, freezer or even an insulated cooler. Refrigerator: Place freshly expressed milk

in the back of the refrigerator, where it’s cooler. It can be safely stored for five to eight days, depending on the average temperature of your refrigerator. It’s best not to store it in the door, because temperatures tend to be higher. Freezer: The back of freezers in standard

refrigerator-freezer models can safely store freshly expressed milk for three to six months. Chest-type freezers can store it for six to 12 months reliably. Coolers: Insulated coolers with ice packs

can provide temporary storage of expressed milk for up to one day. Transferring it to a more permanent location is good to do as soon as reasonably possible to ensure freshness. 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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By Chef Vincent Francoual

Grilled peach and lentil salad 4 ripe peaches, pitted and quartered ½ cup of uncooked black lentils, rinsed 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced 1 yellow bell pepper, diced ¼ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped 3 tablespoons of pine nuts 4 tablespoons of golden raisins ⅛ teaspoons of cayenne pepper (optional) Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling Salt and pepper Sweet chili vinaigrette (recipe included)

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat. Place lentils in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain lentils and cool.   Drizzle peaches with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place peaches on grill rack, cut sides down. Grill 4 to 5 minutes or until soft and slightly browned.   Combine the lentils, shallots, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, pine nuts and raisins in a mixing bowl.    Add 3 tablespoons of the sweet chili vinaigrette to the salad. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (optional).   Divide the lentil salad on to four plates and top with the peach quarters.   Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad. 

Sweet chili vinaigrette 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon water 4 ounces of sweet chili sauce ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil Mix the mustard, red wine vinegar, water and sweet chili sauce in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. This recipe makes extra vinaigrette. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Serves 4

Chef Vincent Francoual has been the chef/owner of Vincent, A Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis since its inception in 2001. In 2013, he and Brenda Maurseth welcomed a daughter to the family — their “petite fromage,” Chloe Neige. Francoual is enjoying his adventures in fatherhood and is quite sure Chloe will follow in his culinary footsteps.

18 August 2014 • mnparent.com


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Back-to-school success


y daughter, 11, is starting middle school this fall, and my son, 13, is starting high school. Although, I know they’re both excited, I sense a bit of apprehension at the mention of a big step-up year. They’ve both heard the horrors of far more work and academic challenges at their next levels of school — the older one, of course, adding to the drama by telling his younger sister: “Middle school is not like elementary school: It’s a lot harder.” Perhaps your tween/teen is also feeling some apprehension about the amount of work they might face, or maybe they had a hard year previous and want to do better (and are already feeling overwhelmed). Paula Erbisch, a school counselor at Minnetonka’s Middle School West in Excelsior, offered four steps students can take:

Getting through school shouldn’t be about perfection, but about helping each other shine in the face of our imperfections.

1. Attitude: This is a new year! Take the opportunity to show your best self. This year is another chance to do great work. 2. Create your own organizational system: You may be someone who needs

one binder for every class. Perhaps you’d rather have everything clumped into two large binders, one for morning and one for afternoon classes. (My daughter loves an accordion folder to keep everything ready in one spot.) Erbisch says, “Start with a plan from Day 1 — and stay on top of it.”

20 August 2014 • mnparent.com

3. Set reasonable goals: Generic goals like, “I want all A’s and B’s” are admirable, but tend to be too broad. Think tangibly: My goal is to spend two hours on work every night. My goal is to turn things in on time. My goal is to work on projects a week ahead of time. 4. Talk to teachers and counselors:

They’re busy, but they want to help. Go to them after class with questions, or drop them an email. They want you to be successful! Erbisch also urges students to get to know their counselors. “Our No. 1 job is to be your advocate. We help you determine if your needs are being met holistically. Think of us as the 911 you’d dial for help — not as the office that tells you you’re in trouble.” And, remember, middle schools and high schools often offer more educational assistance opportunities than those at the elementary level. Erbisch says students should take advantage of programs that offer academic support. Go to zero hours before first period, learning labs and before- and after-school support sessions.

Many high schools have writing and testing centers staffed by students who are focused on preparing classmates for all the papers and tests that come their way. Parents: How can we get our kids emotionally ready to face a new year head-on with anticipation — and not fear? 1. Send them to camp: Summer camp experiences, whatever they are, encourage not just socialization (and a break for us) but maturity and growth. 2. Shop smart: Keep in mind that schools have a dress codes. As Erbisch says, “It’s such a bummer to show up in the cutest outfit ever and have to be told to change.” Make sure they get their hands on those class supply lists as well. Things tend to run out quickly, so getting them a few weeks out is helpful. 3. Get them on campus: If your kid’s

going to a new school this fall, make sure he attends orientation — or have him walk his schedule at the end of summer with the school’s permission. And get your young middle-schoolers practicing on their padlocks as summer draws to a close. I believe getting through school — and parenting through the school years — shouldn’t be about perfection, but about helping each other shine in the face of our imperfections. If we can all remember this, I think this will be our best year yet. Jennifer Wizbowski is Minnesota Parent’s new Teens and Tweens columnist. She’s a freelance writer who — if she isn’t driving her kids around — is likely reading, walking the dog or out on her paddleboard. She lives in Excelsior with her husband, and daughter and son, ages 11 and 13. Send comments and story ideas to jwizbowski@mnparent.com.

mnparent.com • August 2014 21



Making allowance work


he other night, my 13-year-old came up to me while I was working at the computer. “I have done the math,” he said. “And you owe me $92.” Whoa, what? He was right. Last week I’d borrowed $40 when I needed cash. The other $52 was because my wife and I had forgotten to pay his allowance of $13 for four weeks running. Sure, it’s a little embarrassing to be borrowing cash from our kids, but we always pay them back eventually. No harm done, right? But, the more I thought about it, I realized there is something wrong with this picture. I want my sons to see their money build week by week. But too often, when Sunday rolls around, we don’t have dough to pay up, and we just let it ride. After a few weeks, we hand over a chunk of money, and they burn it all at once on a big LEGO set or an iTunes card. Or, worse, we’re at Target and we just buy them something. “I’ll get you the new FIFA game for the Xbox, and we’ll call it even.” Kids don’t learn anything from that transaction. They aren’t making decisions about saving, donating and spending, and they aren’t participating — paying

22 August 2014 • mnparent.com

cash, getting change — which is an important part of learning to manage money. We decided that the beginning of the school year is a good time to make the commitment to change. It turns out there are plenty of digital tools to help:

Smart Piggy Bank This free website tracks deposits and withdrawals into kids’ virtual accounts. It’s a simple system — something you might do with pen and paper or in Excel — but allowance deposits are automated. Kids can access their own accounts to check their balance and record transactions. If they buy a movie on Apple TV with your credit card, for example, they (or you) can log the debit in their account. You can also deposit gifts and have the site calculate interest if you want to reward kids for saving money. But because it’s not an actual bank account, if your son wants to make a withdrawal — say that $92 you owe him — you’ll still have to come up with cash (smartpiggybank.com).

Buckaroo This 99-cent mobile application is similar to Smart Piggy Bank in that it automates virtual allowance deposits and interest, if desired, and allows for other deposits and withdrawals. Its advantage is that it’s mobile and syncs via the cloud, so multiple people can access it. When you’re out at the Dollar Store, for instance, and your child wants to buy a Super Soaker, you can check the app. Does she have enough

money? How much would she have left after she buys it? This could make those in-store, discussions more grounded (tinyurl.com/buckarooallowance).

iAllowance iAllowance is like Buckaroo, but more sophisticated. This mobile app allows you to track payments by individual chores, if that’s your thing. It also allows you to make deposits into separate accounts for the same kid — one for spending, one for saving and even one for donating (jumpgapsoftware.com/iallowance).

Allowance Manager The free version of this app is similar to those above, but the Pro version is more robust because it works with real money. Each kid gets a Visa debit card connected to his account. You can restrict purchases at certain stores, but other than that, the card works anywhere a Visa card does. Kids have the same easy access to their account information. You make authorized deposits from your own account. Pro costs $7.95 a month or $79 per year if you prepay (info.allowancemanager.com).

The Verdict When I talked about these options with my sons, they ruled out Smart Piggy Bank right away. They wanted a mobile app. I thought they’d be attracted to Allowance Manager Pro because we’d be dealing with real money. But the cost was an issue: I suggested we could split it. They also told me they like to have actual cash. Because I like the idea of putting saving and donating accounts into the mix, we’ll try iAllowance. We’ll still need cash when they want to make withdrawals. But this takes the squishiness out of trying to recall when they were paid and how much we borrowed. That’s a positive step, I think, toward teaching them how to manage money. Eric Braun is Minnesota Parent’s new Grows on Trees columnist. He is a Minneapolis 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.

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BACK TO SCHOOL! By Sarah Dorison

Shapes in Math, Science and Nature Learn how to ace paper-airplane making, blow cube-shaped bubbles, master the “expanding circle trick” and send secret messages using a cylinder cipher. With this book, a compendium of books on circles, squares and triangles, your kids — ages 9 to 14 — won’t just have fun. They’ll become experts in applying math and geometry out in the world and in even in the context of history, thanks to references to the pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge and Red Square in Moscow.

Star Wars Workbooks Is the O sound in Yoda a long O sound or a short O sound? Kids who love Star Wars characters will find out with a new series of Star Wars Workbooks, 12 in all, for ages preschool through second grade, including Preschool ABC Fun for ages 4 and 5, which focuses on upper and lowercase letters, prewriting, phonics, matching and other early education activities. Bright colors and fun images adorn every page to keep your little one engaged — along with 10 Star Wars finger puppets.

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F is for Feelings Created by two Ontario-based psychologists, this book’s big, bright, simple pages follow kids dealing with emotional situations at school and home. It seems ideal for anyone helping young ones learn how to describe and understand strong feelings, good or bad. “E is for Embarrassed: I didn’t mean to do that. I don’t want anyone to laugh at me.” “P is for Proud: I did it! I feel good about myself.” In the back of the book, there are activities for teachers, parents and caregivers to try. By Goldie Millar and Lisa A. Berger Illustrated by Hazel Mitchell • $9.99

24 August 2014 • mnparent.com

Super Silly School Poems Bring your kids’ minds back to school at the end of summer with a collection of silly, school-themed poems. Children in the rhyming, sing-song poems cover it all — mind-reading teachers, homework, school bathrooms, lunch, show-and-tell, escaped school snakes and even out-ofschool teacher sightings. By David Greenberg Illustrated by Liza Woodruff • $6.99

Martha Bunny Loves School If you’re got a bunny with a lot of energy getting ready for her first day of school, this book is for you — especially if your little one is the first of three to adventure into the real world. Martha’s so excited for kindergarten, but she still manages to make her departure a time of joy for her younger brothers, Pip and Monty. Martha creates a special club, including a secret den, for her supportive siblings — and all day the three of them are connected by their Happy Bunny Club badges. By Clara Vulliamy • $16.99

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26 August 2014 • mnparent.com

Wittes By Jen


You — and your kid — will have a blast with our party-planning primer! A child’s birthday celebration seems to bring — to the parent — a unique mix of excitement and dread. You pitch, you plan, you budget. You try to reconcile your preconceived notions of “special occasion” and “spoiled rotten.” You deal with the child’s changing mind and ever-changing moods. You struggle to create a day to remember, knowing that in just a few short years, they might not remember it at all! Then, there are so many choices — typical venue, unique venue, classic home party, wild-andcrazy home party! Is this the year you break down and have the sleepover? Are you really ready to become one of those families with the enormous, inflatable bouncy house in your yard? Take a deep breath; relax. It’s a birthday party. It was born fun. You cannot mess this up. Of course, it’s best if you get there in one piece and with at least a hint of sanity. So let’s break down your options.

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Interest-driven venues Still want the mess out of your house but crave something atypical? There are plenty of venues that can provide a unique experience tailored to your child’s interest du jour, for example: • Izzy’s Ice Cream: Tour the St. Paul facility, make a batch of ice cream, bake brownies, learn how novelties are made. Then finish the day with a sundae bar. • Kiddywampus: Creative theme parties are the specialty of this St. Louis Park art studio and toyshop. Fairy, princess, Jedi or pirate? They’ve got you covered. Their most popular (and most clever)

Traditional venues Chuck E. Cheese, Grand Slam, Pump It Up, Brunswick Zone, Sky Zone and the like are ideal options for the busy parent who wants to go big without the self-inflicted workload and mess. They get the cake, they make the treat bags, they organize the timeline, they put your kid in the crazy ticket-blasting machine. For a price, you can wash your hands of the whole affair. Most likely, your child will be thrilled. Kids can run amuck without worry of chocolate frosting on the sofa. They can laser tag like lunatics; they can literally bounce off the walls. Perhaps your child has always longed to be the star of one of these birthday parties, because there’s a good chance she’s been to one. And there’s your downside: Traditional pizza-play-cake locations can feel a little “been there, done that.” Because so many families go this route, it may not be exceedingly memorable 10 years from now. Such a party might not speak to your child’s individualism. But sometimes that’s OK! Sometimes we overthink these things. Sometimes a romping good time is precisely what a birthday kid needs.

28 August 2014 • mnparent.com

option is the “Action Jackson” party — a Jackson Pollack-inspired paint splattering free-for-all. • Way-Cool Cooking School: Throw a cooking party for your little chef. Pizza making, chocolate loving and a pasta party are some of the options from this company with locations in Eden Prairie and Savage. They also have deluxe theme parties such as Hello Kitty, Harry Potter and Star Wars (to name just a few). Gluten-free options are available as well. • Leonardo’s Basement: This educational venue works with your child to plan a completely individualized

creation party. Woodworking, jewelrymaking, invention, chemistry, rockets and recycled art are a few of their suggestions. They’re up for any project or experiment your child wants to try with venues in South Minneapolis and St. Paul! • Yoga Center of Minneapolis: Get them moving! This top-notch St. Louis Park institution offers themed yoga parties — circus, fairy or outer space. Song, dance and crafts round out the experience. Add-ons such as henna tattoos and face painting are available, too. • More: These venues are just the tip of the iceberg. (Check out the Party Resource Guide in the back of this issue, too!) Other options include nail salons, pottery painting studios, nature centers and volunteer opportunities with organizations like Minnesotabased Feed My Starving Children.

Think seasonal It’s Minnesota: Embrace the elements, whatever they are! Mid-summer birthday kids sometimes feel bummed out about being disconnected from schoolmates and school celebrations, but their reward is endless possibility — waterslides, lakes, the slip and slide, any one of the many parks and playgrounds in the area. Fall birthdays bring to mind pumpkin patches, apple picking and hayrides. If your child doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight with a holiday, a costume party near Halloween is always a hit. For the January birthday, don’t feel confined to the indoor play spaces or Grandma’s finished basement. Ice skating, sledding and snow tubing (followed by hot cocoa, of course) could turn into quite the memorable occasion.

Staying home There’s really something to be said for a good old fashioned birthday cake, iced unprofessionally by Mom with gobs of pink frosting — decorated with M&Ms, gum drops and one of those big numeral candles. Pin the tail on the donkey, crazy piñata bashing and wrapping paper strewn across the floor. One of the cool things about this birthday standard is your child’s ability to take ownership of the situation: This is my house; check out my toys, I picked out the green streamers myself. Of course, you can take the home party to the next level. Ask your friends and neighbors for ideas or consult Pinterest. A detail-oriented theme party — though more work and often more expensive than you’d think — can be amazing. Here’s a quick list of possibilities to get your creative juices flowing: • Football game: Invite enough kids for two teams and serve concession foods — hot dogs, popcorn and peanuts. • Art extravaganza: Set up an easel, small canvas and smock for each kid. Send hand-drawn invitations by the guest of honor. • LEGO mania: Create a scavenger hunt of LEGO pieces. Build a tower as a group. Race LEGO vehicle creations down a homemade ramp. • Under the sea: Decorate in blue and green, pin the tentacles on the octopus and — if you’re over the Barbie and Hot Wheels wrapped up with the ubiquitous Target gift receipt — consider having each guest bring a freshwater fish for a new aquarium.

suit for Dad or you can rent a sno-cone machine. A fitting option for first and second birthdays is a parent-child barbeque complete with cocktails and — yippee! — adult interaction. If you’re willing to deal with it, sit back, relax and make way for a little mayhem, the home party is a good way to go.

Small group, big outing Beyond a big soiree, there’s one more option that deserves attention: an experience. Sometimes all your daughter wants is her best friend and a good time. Take the two of them to Wisconsin Dells for a girls’ weekend and really do it up — water parks, mini spa treatments and breakfast in bed. Other small-group outing ideas include a Twins game, Valleyfair, a fancy restaurant, an overnight stay in a downtown hotel or a big day at the Minnesota State Fair. Don’t be afraid to suggest this, because kids usually think it’s great. Invite one to three kids and make some memories. Remember, outside of forgetting your child’s birthday completely, it’s hard to go wrong. It’s their day. They’ll eat cake. You’ll sweat, smile, cry and take 100 pictures. You’ll put your feet up at the end of the day, pour a glass of wine and think back to that remarkably small newborn baby you once knew — and wonder where the time went. 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.

Anything is possible in your own back yard — pony rides, inflatables, a pieeating contest. You can rent a Darth Vader

mnparent.com • August 2014 29

DINO MIGHT Photos by Jessica Flannigan

Simple party planning never looked so good Jessica Flannigan of Maple Grove — author of the Live the Fancy Life blog — knows how to throw gorgeous parties. Her oldest son Bodhi’s third birthday party this past spring was no exception, even though she was starting her third trimester of pregnancy during the planning. She simply went store-bought (mostly Target, even the cake) except for a few custom-printed items by Sarah Maiga Designs on Etsy. She painted plastic dinosaurs white for decorations and used only the cake-topper letters she needed from HOORAY to spell ROAR. Then she splurged on teeny-tiny cookies by Susan Howell, also on Etsy, and a backyard bouncy house for the kids. Get all the details at livethefancylife.com.

30 August 2014 • mnparent.com

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in this early morning hour, while my own four young children are asleep, with a knot in my stomach and tension in my neck and a large mug of coffee. I’m an educator and a mother, trying to stay present in these By Megan Devine last few days before I head back to work as a kindergarten teacher. I’ve already spent full summer days working, preparing my classroom, researching, reading and training. I know, soon, my home and work life will be kicked into high gear for the next nine months, and I’m eagerly and anxiously anticipating the challenges — and accomplishments — ahead. I now have my list — 22 children who will be trusted in my care. I’m to teach these children to read, meet their needs and enrich their lives. I also have the task of carving out quality time with my own children and husband, keeping up with the responsibilities of home and making time for myself in efforts to stay balanced. This life, of a teacher-mama, is one of unrelenting responsibility, a service of giving and care with enduring purpose. As I look to the school year ahead, I offer these quick thoughts to the parents of children who are sending their young ones off to teacher-mama-led classrooms: Be gentle on us: We’re real people. We’re here for

your child, dedicating our professional life to help your child grow, learn and be prepared for this big wide world. We worry, too: We have butterflies before that very

first day of school, anxieties about sending our own

32 August 2014 • mnparent.com

children off to daycare and third grade, and we worry, how we’ll get dinner on the table before the 3-year-old throws a fit. We know the power of our words and actions, positive and negative:

We pray for patience — for the school day and at home. We strive each day to do our best, hoping the right words come to us in effort to inspire and connect with your children. We want them to love to learn as we do. We go home thinking of kids: We often leave work, feeing like we’re carrying the day on our shoulders as we try to figure out how to meet the needs of the children we serve, including many aspects of their lives that are out of our control — extending beyond the reach of the school day. Know that every little thing you do for your child, for your neighbor’s child or for that child across town — even if it’s just a genuine smile, an outreached hand or a suspended judgment — can make a difference. It can be the simplest of habits that can change the quality of a person’s day. We’re in this together: Be a partner in your child’s education. Ask and listen. Be consistent. Accept and offer feedback. Develop a home-to-school partnership of respect and trust. Together we can have the greatest outcome. Saying this, and refilling my mug of coffee, I offer a toast to the new school year: May it be one that encompasses purpose, balance, collaboration and joy. Megan Devine is a writer and early childhood educator. She lives in Ely with her husband James, her four children (ages 3 to 9), a flock of chickens, two beehives and a white German Shepherd. She blogs at kidsandeggs.com.

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34 August 2014 • mnparent.com


hen summer unofficially ends — egad! — in just a few weeks, it’ll be time for many Minnesota parents to get into a different kind of groove: Back to school! We’ll stock up on supplies and maybe even update our kids’ wardrobes. It’s goodbye flip-flops and hello new gym shoes! And so long Slip ’N Slide and nice to meet you, glue sticks. But it’s not really the gear that gets us ready for the grind of getting out the door on time every weekday, is it? Nope. And you don’t want your kid and his brand-new backpack to miss the bus. Fortunately, these times of transition present us with ideal opportunities to develop more efficient, stress-free morning routines. Our advice? Reevaluate what worked well last year and add in a few changes to create a morning routine that brings more calm and happy for your kids and less chaos and stress for you. Need a boost? Try one — or all — of our top tips for getting out the door on time!



Flight attendants always advise airline passengers to secure their own oxygen masks first, and then put them on their children in an emergency. This same survival strategy applies at home. Hard as it might sound, try getting yourself ready before the kids get up. “If you wake up rushed and not ready, that negative energy that you’re portraying is infectious in your family,” said Twin Cities parent coach Cheryl Eliason. “Moms are so good at multitasking. But don’t do that. Have yourself 100 percent ready before you need to get the kids ready so you’re 100 percent focused on getting the kids out the door.” Robin Olson of Delano wakes at 5:30 each morning to get herself ready before waking her children, Tate, 7, and Taylor, 5. And she actually finds peace in the process. “I could arguably get up at 6 a.m., but it gives me extra time,” Olson said. “That’s my quiet time. I’m not rushing, and no one is up. I can think about what is ahead of me in the office, as well, and then I’m prepared and ready to take on my two-footed monsters.” If it helps, give yourself an incentive to wake up earlier. On mornings you’re ready to go before the kids are awake, reward yourself by stopping for coffee after you’ve dropped them off at school.





Parents should be intentional in helping their kids understand expectations within well-defined family routines, Eliason said. Rotate certain morning chores, like setting out the breakfast cereal and bowls, clearing the table and putting the milk away. “Teach them how to help out,” Eliason said. “The earlier you start building structure and routine in the life of your family, the more kids feel that this is part of life.”



We know: At the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is start on the next. But the benefits are well worth it. Assemble lunches and pack backpacks with necessary supplies and signed parent permission forms to eliminate panic, arguments and other morning angst. Help your kids take on the responsibility of making sure everything they need ends up in their backpack. Create a drop zone by the door where everything, including backpacks and shoes, should be staged the night before for easy, grab-and-go access. Olson’s kids’ backpacks go in the car the night before — and both she and her children pick out their clothes the night before, too. Even the breakfast menu is worked out the evening before and is ready to go by morning.

It can be easy to push off school assignments and projects until after dinner and other activities, but this can make for later bedtimes and cranky kids in the morning. When your children get off the school bus, fix snacks to be eaten at the kitchen table and have the kids complete their homework at the same time. Jennifer Norquist, a Baxter mom of three teenage boys — Jack and Luke, 15, and Reed, 13 — said her sons sometimes need to be gently nudged back into school mode when they get home from school or afterschool events. “If it’s the first time I’ve seen them since school, I always say, ‘I’m glad to see you,’ and have them go through their backpacks and unload everything,” Norquist explained. “You can find out the things they need for the next morning, like, ‘I need a prism-shaped thing for math,’ or ‘It’s my show-and-tell day.’ “These are the things that will drive you crazy in the morning, so find out those details in their head that may not be found written down in their backpack.”

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Are morning distractions a major issue in your house? Buy an inexpensive wind-up kitchen timer to help your kids understand how much time they have for a given task, like eating breakfast or taking a shower. It will help move them along and give younger children a better concept of time management.

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If Sunday is laundry day in your home, it can be a perfect time to choose school outfits for every child in the house for the entire week. Many closet-organizing systems on the market can help with this. Simply fill each cubby with school clothes for each day of the week. In Olson’s home, everyone picks out his or her clothing the night before, her included. (Changing your mind the next morning is not an option.) “These are lessons I’ve learned the hard way,” said Olson, who commutes to her job as a paralegal at an intellectual property law firm in downtown Minneapolis. “This is what works for us. I was guilty myself of standing at my closet, figuring out for 20 minutes what to wear.”

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During times you need to focus on a task, assign a task to your chief instigator to keep him or her occupied. Eliason, for example, would ask her second oldest son to play with the baby to buy her some time.

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Plan to be ready 30 minutes before you need to leave, Eliason said. “Something always comes up,” Eliason said. “That’s just family life. That slush time is really building margins into the morning routine so anything unexpected can be dealt with.” When Eliason’s four kids were little — all age 7 and younger, including a child with special needs — she and her husband Jeff quickly learned to budget extra time. “My husband would say, ‘We have to get out the door in five minutes. I’m like, ‘You’re insane. We can’t get four kids out the door in five minutes.’” Sometimes parents need slush time for the occasional, inevitable power struggle, Olson said. “My kids have a different agenda than I do,” Olson said. “It’s funny to me that it’s the same routine every day, but they seem surprised — every day — that they have to brush their teeth, for example. I have to build in time for those battles.”

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Prepare smoothies and other transportable breakfast items for reluctant eaters. While Norquist’s teenage boys get themselves up on their own in the morning now, she said she had to find a creative solution for breakfast, since they would rather sleep longer than take time to eat. So she makes breakfast smoothies for them and other breakfast options to eat on their way to school. Remember that in the long run, your goal is to raise self-governing, independent children. As they grow older, help them set their own alarms, learn to do their schoolwork and pick out their own clothes to build strong character and a solid work ethic. “You want to grow yourself out of a job. That’s ultimately the goal,” Eliason said. “You want them to not need you to coach and prompt them — because they can do those things on their own.”

Jodie Tweed is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and two young children in Pequot Lakes.

mnparent.com • August 2014 37

Schools address g anti-bullyin law with lessons in empathy, s new policie

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38 August 2014 • mnparent.com

hen Sumi Mukherjee travels to schools throughout Minnesota to talk about his experience with years of childhood bullying growing up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, he starts the conversation the same way each time. “How many of you have been bullied?” he asks. The Plymouth-based writer and speaker then sees about half of his young audience members raise their hands. “If you haven’t been bullied yourself, how many of you have witnessed bullying or seen bullying happen?” For the second question, almost every hand in the room is raised. While it’s been nearly 20 years since Mukherjee graduated from high school — and moved past the torment that caused him to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder — bullying is still a serious issue in Minnesota schools. In recent years, a series of high-profile bullying incidents and teen suicides outside the Twin Cities helped heighten awareness of the issue on a national level while also catching the attention of local lawmakers. As a result, this past April, the state Legislature passed the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act. That means students heading back to public school this fall will be governed by a new anti-bullying law, which defines bullying as a pattern of “intimidating, threatening, abusive or harming conduct that is objectively offensive.” Under the law, schools are required to establish their own policies and programs for preventing and quickly responding to reports of bullying. Schools that don’t want to develop their own policies can follow a model policy developed by the state.


Efforts to create change Parents may not immediately notice changes in school bullying policies, however, because some schools have already beefed up their anti-bullying efforts.

mnparent.com • August 2014 39


The Minneapolis Public Schools district, for example, has been proactive in its approach to bullying prevention and intervention, said Julie Young-Burns, a safe and drug-free schools coordinator. Because the district was involved in lobbying for the changes made to the bullying law, it’s well positioned to align with the new rules, which also address cyber bullying and intimidation. Bullying prevention, Young-Burns said, starts with encouraging the development of empathy. Teaching kids to understand how others are feeling and how their actions can

40 August 2014 • mnparent.com

impact others can help reduce harm. It also can make kids more likely to stand up for fellow classmates, she said. Mixed messages in the media and at home about how to achieve success in the grown-up world can make it a challenge for kids to understand how to act, she said. Kids may think they can get ahead by being aggressive, showing power or exerting control. “It’s a matter of balancing that with the power and value of being kind — and not getting your needs met at the expense of someone else’s,” she said. Another tenet of the district’s approach is

an emphasis on social and emotional learning. Young-Burns said students are learning skills and strategies in the classroom in hopes they’ll be applied outside of school. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what bullying is, Young-Burns said. But often it’s about an imbalance of power. “When we see two kids in conflict going back and forth, it’s a little bit of juggling of control or power, or what might be considered humor or a display of affection that gets out of hand,” she said. Young-Burns said one way for parents and teachers to tell whether an

TEACHING EMPATHY Raising your child to think of others’ feelings is one of the best strategies to prevent bullying and teach kids to stand up for others when something’s not right. Here are a few strategies to try at home:

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Reframe the situation: Help put your child in a peer’s shoes by asking how he would feel in the same scenario. When the tables are turned, children might gain a better sense of how words or actions might impact others. Appreciate differences: This starts with validating your child’s uniqueness as an important quality and something to value. If your child mentions that another student is “weird” or different, explain that what makes a person different also makes them more special. Practice helping others: Encourage your children not to be bystanders by helping them figure out how to recognize if another child is hurt. Urge them to find way to help. Encourage your child to practice these skills during play with friends or siblings. Ask them how they would respond to feelings such as anger and sadness.

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Model kindness: Demonstrate the opposite of bullying by being kind, even in times of conflict, in front of your child to encourage appropriate behavior.

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BACK TO SCHOOL WITHOUT BULLYING? action constitutes bullying is if a student can’t make it stop. If telling someone to stop doesn’t curb the behavior, it’s a problem. Students then need to know where to turn for help. Under the new law, schools must designate a staff member as a primary contact to receive reports of bullying behavior. School employees who witness bullying, meanwhile, are required to report the behavior under the law.

Beyond bullying Walter Roberts, a professor of school counseling at Minnesota State UniversityMankato said districts can create or adopt policies that reflect their schools’ values while also complying with the law. Roberts, who co-chaired a task force established by Gov. Mark Dayton to address the state’s school bullying laws, doesn’t think schools will have trouble meeting the law’s minimum requirements. He said districts should adopt tried-andtrue programs used in other schools that have a track record of being useful for all students. Some programs aren’t singularly focused on bullying, he said. In fact, they help with a variety of behavioral problems and help kids “be respectful, solve problems in the absence of conflict and de-escalate conflict,” Roberts said. Though the new law is set to take effect with the 2014-15 school year, change at some schools may be gradual, said Monica Herrera, director of safety, health and nutrition for the Minnesota Department of Education. “Schools get a lot thrown at them,” Herrera said. “It will take a while to see how this fits current culture and what they need to modify.” The law also calls for the establishment of a new School Safety Technical Assistance Center to help students, parents and schools with bullying prevention and education efforts. It’s set to be online later this year, Herrera said.

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Restorative justice Minnesota’s new law encourages remedial responses over punitive measures, also referred to as restorative justice. Restorative justice means helping the child taking part in bullying behavior as well as the child hurt by it. “Individuals who intimidate others and who bully others have some issues that we need to look at,” Roberts said. In Minneapolis schools, the district encourages solutions that don’t focus as much on punishment, Young-Burns said. Children and parents are involved to discuss the situation. And everyone involved works to help the child who’s been harmed, repair the relationship and restore a balance of power. Some children simply may not realize they’ve harmed others. And some kids involved in negative behaviors may have been victims in the past, she said. “Sometimes, because they have themselves been bullied, they end up doing the same thing back to someone else,” Young-Burns said.

Consequences of torment Starting when he was in kindergarten in the Plymouth school district, Mukherjee was a victim of bullying. Children quickly latched on to his unusual name, appearance and other aspects of his race and ethnicity as grounds for Mukherjee harassment. Mukherjee, whose parents are from India, said he was the only person who looked different growing up. “It was extremely difficult to focus on what I was there for, which was to learn,” he said. “I was dealing with all of these other hassles: How am I going to deal with this person or these people coming at me?” After years of being told he was ugly by his classmates, Mukherjee struggled with deep self-esteem issues. Even today at 38 years old, he still fights those negative feelings. Mukherjee developed an obsessivecompulsive disorder as a result of years of physical and emotional harassment at

school, he said. In his new book, A Life Interrupted: The Story of My Battle with Bullying and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, he chronicles his experiences. He said, it’s easy to feel like “giving up and falling into a trap — where you feel like the only option is to give up and to leave this world.” His goal is to share his story because many other victims of bullying are no longer alive. He hopes to “do something positive and inspire some positive change.”

Parents’ role This fall, as kids head back to school, parents should feel welcome to reach out to their child’s school if they have concerns about bullying. Minnesota’s new law specifically requires schools to engage and respond to parents as part of bullying prevention, Roberts said. “Bullying is a community problem, it’s not just a school problem,” he said. Mukherjee’s repeated attempts to call attention to the bullying at his school weren’t addressed by most administrators and teachers. But his parents never gave up the cause. They took his concerns seriously and never made him feel like he was making an unnecessary fuss. “[They said] ‘We know you’re really struggling and you don’t deserve to struggle like this,’ ” Mukherjee said. Parents should be involved with the school and keep talking with counselors, administrators and teachers until someone is willing to listen, Mukherjee said. Many times schools will try to lessen the severity of the incidents by telling parents that the kids are just being kids. But Mukherjee said bullying isn’t a rite of passage — and parents should make that clear by validating their child’s feelings. “Let them know that what is happening to them is not trivial in your eyes, even if you’re not having success,” he said. Cali Owings is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and a frequent contributor to Minnesota Parent.

ANTI-BULLYING TOOLKIT FOR PARENTS PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center: You’ll find numerous online resources, courtesy of this children’s advocacy organization. In 2006, PACER started National Bullying Prevention Month, which takes place every October. Thanks to this site, students and families can sign petitions to stop bullying, get involved with anti-bullying events like Run, Walk, Roll Against Bullying and hear stories and poems from other young people about their commitment to the cause. See pacer.org/bullying.

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StopBullying.gov: This site, maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, features games and videos for kids, including a series of 12 webisodes that follow cartoon characters as they navigate bullying scenarios. Follow-up quizzes drive home the lessons learned. Check out stopbullying.gov/kids. Bully, the movie: This heart-wrenching, PG-13 documentary, released in 2011, follows families and communities across the U.S. who have been affected by bullying, including Kirk and Laura Smalley, whose 11-year-old son committed suicide. Parents can use the documentary as a teaching tool at home with help from a viewing guide by the group Love Is Louder: See tinyurl.com/bullyviewingguide. Apps to try: You can prevent cyberbullying and monitor your child’s behavior online with a few apps. Some — like Mobicip’s Safe Browser (tinyurl.com/mobicipsafebrowser) and Safe Eyes Mobile (tinyurl.com/ safeeyesmobile) help parents block certain content. Others like My Mobile Watchdog (mymobilewatchdog.com) allow you to see who’s contacting your child. It also lets you monitor calls, text messages and social media apps for inappropriate or harmful content.

READ THE LAW, LEARN MORE Read the full text of Minnesota’s anti-bullying law, Safe and Supportive Schools Act, at tinyurl.com/mnbully. Read more about Minnesota’s anti-bullying efforts at education.state.mn.us.


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$6,900 in Prizes! 6/20/14 1:47 PM mnparent.com • August 2014 43


Big Bugs! ÎÎCatch the last month of this larger-than-life exhibit, which features giant, animatronic bugs, live bug displays and several interactive activities to teach visitors about the important role bugs play in an ecosystem. When: On display through Sept. 1 Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Cost: Free with zoo admission, $12–$18 Info: mnzoo.org/big-bugs or 952-731-9200

ONGOING Free To Be You and Me ÎÎCelebrate everyone’s uniqueness with this children’s play adapted from the best-selling book of poems and inspirational stories, which encourages children to be themselves. When: Through Aug. 8 Where: Old Log Theatre, Greenwood Cost: $9–$16 Info: oldlog.com or 952-474-5951

Minnesota Fringe Festival ÎÎThis annual theater festival features several family-friendly shows this year: The Neverland Players, Buckets and Tap Shoes, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, The Jungle Book, Kafka Nuts, SPEAKEASY and The Adventures of Tapman. When: Various dates during the festival, Through Aug. 10 Where: Locations throughout the metro area Cost: Admission buttons, which cost $4, are required, plus $12 admission for adults and $5 for ages 12 and younger per show. Info: fringefestival.org

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Summer History HiJinx: Robot Mania!

Butterflies: Beauty in Flight

ÎÎSee vintage robot toys in the Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s exhibit, and afterward spend some time with cardboard, paper and markers to create your own contraption.

ÎÎEnjoy an exhibit of live butterflies and witness their bold colors close-up. An “emergence cabinet” allows visitors to see the insects in the chrysalis stage of their transition into butterflies.

When: 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Tuesdays– Saturdays; noon–4 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 15 Where: Minnesota History Center, St. Paul Cost: Free with museum admission Info: minnesotahistorycenter.org or 651-259-3000

When: On display through Aug. 17 Where: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska Cost: $3 for ages 3 and older in addition to arboretum admission at the gate Info: arboretum.umn.edu or 952-443-1400

Neverland! by Cirucs Juventas ÎÎAdvanced students from Circus Juventas perform a rendition of the classic story of Pan, Tink and the Darling children on their journey to the island of Neverland with contortionists, clowns and acrobats. When: Through Aug. 17 Where: Circus Juventas, St. Paul Cost: $14–$35 Info: circusjuventas.org or 651-699-8229

Open Eye Driveway Tour ÎÎRotating through four puppet shows, Open Eye Theatre performs family-friendly theatre in backyards, front yards, parks and driveways throughout the summer. When: Various dates through Aug. 17 Where: Locations across the Twin Cities Cost: FREE Info: openeyetheatre.org/tour or 612-874-6338

The Little Mermaid ÎÎBased on the classic Disney animated feature — originally rooted in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale — this production is full of bright costumes, beautiful sets and songs for all ages. When: Through Aug. 30 Where: Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Cost: Prices vary depending upon seat and date. Info: chanhassentheatres.com or 952-934-1525

AUG. 1–3 The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood ÎÎFront Porch Theatre presents a familyfriendly backyard comedy show about the story of Robin Hood, with a cast of local semi-professional and professional actors. Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and bug spray. When: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 1–3 Where: Backyard at 1829 Burr St., Maplewood Cost: FREE or a $12 suggested donation Info: facebook.com/frontporchtheatre or 952-454-7344

AUG. 2 Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour ÎÎWatch artists work with liquid-hot metal, heated in a 2,700-degree furnace, and see how they pour it into molds to create unique sculptures. When: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Aug. 2 Where: Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer Cost: FREE Info: franconia.org or 651-257-6668

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids! ÎÎEnjoy a screening of the science-fiction family comedy, complete with snacks. When: 2–3:30 p.m. Aug. 2 Where: Riverview Library, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: sppl.org or 651-292-6626

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Renaissance Festival ÎÎThis mock 16th-century European village features musicians, magicians, jugglers and mimes, plus hundreds of artisans selling handcrafted goods and food. When: 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Aug. 16–Sept. 28 Where: Intersection of Highway 169 and Highway 41, Shakopee Cost: $22.95; $13.95 for ages 6 to 12, free for ages 5 and younger Info: renaissancefest.com or 952-445-7361

Super Spiders ÎÎAges 4 to 11, accompanied by an adult, can meet live spiders, learn about their webs and silk, participate in a craft activity and take a nature hike to see spiders in their habitat. When: 10–11:30 a.m. Aug. 2 Where: Maplewood Nature Center, Maplewood Cost: $4 per child. Register online by July 30. Info: maplewoodnaturecenter.com or 651-249-2170

Time Capsule for Kids: 1861 ÎÎChildren and their parents are invited to explore the historic Alexander Ramsey House, learn about the Civil War and inventions of the 1800s, sample gingerbread cake and build a time capsule to take home. When: Tour times are noon and 1 p.m. Aug. 2. Where: Alexander Ramsey House, St. Paul Cost: $10; $9 for seniors and students; $7 for ages 6 to 17; FREE for members and ages 5 and younger Info: mnhs.org or 651-296-8760

AUG. 2–3 Powderhorn Art Fair ÎÎPeruse a variety of fine art from local exhibitors and enjoy food, beverages and music.

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When: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Aug. 2; 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Aug. 3 Where: Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: powderhornartfair.org or 612-767-3515

for a full pass; $10 for teens; FREE for ages 12 and younger Info: minnesotabluegrass.org or 800-635-3037

AUG. 7–21

AUG. 4–25

Preschool Sunshine Club

Summer Music & Movies

ÎÎEach week, ages 3 to 5 learn about a new animal through stories, crafts and nature hikes. Bring a white T-shirt to the first session to make a Sunshine Shirt to be worn each week.

ÎÎPresented by the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, this free outdoor film and music series takes place in Loring Park for three consecutive Mondays — and on the Walker’s lawn the last Monday in August. When: 6 p.m. Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25 Where: Loring Park, Minneapolis and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: minneapolisparks.org or 612-370-4929

AUG. 7–10 Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival ÎÎNational and regional bands will perform along side demonstrations, workshops, games, crafts and children’s shows at this family festival. When: Aug. 7–10 Where: El Rancho Manana, Richmond Cost: $18–$30 for daily admission; $77

When: 10–11:15 a.m. Aug. 7, 14, 21 Where: Maplewood Nature Center, Maplewood Cost: $15 per child for the series, $5 per session. Register online by Aug. 6, 13 or 20. Info: maplewoodnaturecenter.com or 651-249-2170

AUG. 8–10 Dear Edwina Junior ÎÎYoung Edwina Spoonapple gives advice to neighborhood kids through songs in this children’s musical. When: 7 p.m. Aug. 8–9; 3 p.m. Aug. 9–10 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: $12 Info: childrenstheatre.org or 612-874-0400

AUG. 8–10 Irish Fair of Minnesota ÎÎAuthentic Irish heritage will be celebrated through step dancing, Gaelic sports, a Celtic marketplace, cultural displays, food and drink and live music. When: 3–11 p.m. Aug. 8; 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Aug. 9; 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Aug. 10 Where: Harriet Island, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: irishfair.com or 651-645-0221

AUG. 8–23 The Dandelion Seed ÎÎThis is the world premiere of a play designed for young children (ages 18 months to 3 years), based on the book of the same name, written by Joseph Anthony and illustrated by Cris Arbo. When: Aug. 8–23 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $10 Info: stagestheatre.org or 952-979-1111

AUG. 9–14 Fishing in the Neighborhood ÎÎThis traveling event, presented by DNR Fisheries, includes a fish-related story time, outdoor programing and fish on display in a 100-gallon tank.

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When: 1–2 p.m. Aug. 9; 1:30–2:30 p.m. Aug. 13; 11 a.m.–noon Aug. 14 Where: Arlington Hills Library, Aug. 9; Saint Anthony Park Library, Aug. 13; Merriam Park Library, Aug. 14 Cost: FREE Info: sppl.org or 651-632-3870

AUG. 9 Cafesjian’s Carousel 100th Birthday Party ÎÎHelp celebrate the centennial year of the carousel, which was moved to Como Park in 2000. The ride’s 68 horses will be operating, and old-fashioned games and treats will be available for guests. When: Noon–6 p.m. Aug. 9 Where: Como Park Zoo, St. Paul

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Minnesota State Fair ÎÎCelebrate summer at one of the best state fairs in the country, the Great Minnesota GetTogether, featuring food, activities, animals, rides, games, music and shows for all ages. When: 6 a.m.–Midnight, Aug. 21–Sept. 1 Where: Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul Cost: $13; $11 for seniors and ages 6 to 12; FREE for ages 5 and younger Info: mnstatefair.org or 651-288-4400 PHOTOS BY MINNESOTA STATE FAIR

Cost: $2 for carousel rides (for ages 1 and older) Info: ourfaircarousel.org or 651-489-4628

Dinosaur Day ÎÎFossil and dinosaur-related activities will take place around the museum, as well as talks by experts on dino-themed topics. When: Noon–4 p.m. Aug. 9 Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: Free with museum admission Info: smm.org or 651-221-9444

Dragonflies and Grasshoppers Galore! ÎÎTry your hand at catching grasshoppers — and use jars, nets and magnifying glasses to get a closer look — during this program for ages 3 to 8 with an adult. When: 10–11:15 a.m. Aug. 9 Where: Maplewood Nature Center, Maplewood Cost: FREE. Register online by Aug. 8. Info: maplewoodnaturecenter.com or 651-249-2170

Truck Extravaganza ÎÎChildren get the opportunity to explore and climb on a variety of trucks, along with truck-themed activities and a free lunch.

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When: 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Aug. 9 Where: Folwell Park, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: minneapolisparks.org or 612-370-4916

AUG. 14 Magician Matt Dunn ÎÎDunn presents an action-packed, fastpaced and interactive comedy magic show. When: 10:30–11:30 a.m. Aug. 14 Where: Arlington Hills Library, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: sppl.org or 651-632-3870

AUG. 15 Magical Mia ÎÎWitness unusual magic tricks from Asia presented by Magical Mia. When: 10:30–11:30 a.m. Aug. 15 Where: Rice Street Library, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: sppl.org or 651-558-2223

AUG. 16 Dog Tales ÎÎEncourage a love of reading with story time alongside a therapy dog from Pals on Paws.

When: 10–11 a.m. Aug. 16 Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum, St. Paul Cost: Free with museum admission Info: mcm.org or 651-225-6000

AUG. 16 Music @ Franconia ÎÎBring a blanket, grab a bite or beverage from vendors, and enjoy an afternoon of song and dance in the Earthen Amphitheater. When: Noon–6 p.m. Aug. 16 Where: Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer Cost: FREE; parking costs $5 per car. Info: franconia.org or 651-257-6668

Riverfront Quest Family Tour ÎÎTake a family-friendly hunt along the Minneapolis Riverfront to find hidden boxes, solve riddles and write in a quest journal. This event, though designed for ages 6 to 11, should be enjoyable for all ages. When: 1–2:30 p.m. Aug. 16 Where: Mill City Museum, Minneapolis Cost: $11; $9 for seniors and students; $10 for ages 6 to 17; FREE for members and ages 5 and younger Info: millcitymuseum.org/tours or 612-341-7555

Out About AUG. 17 Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival Î Explore the art, music, food, martial arts and cultural traditions of Japan in this family-friendly event, which culminates in the lantern-lighting ceremony at dusk when hundreds of paper lanterns float skyward. When: 3–9 p.m. Aug. 17 Where: Como Park Zoo, St. Paul Cost: $5; $3 for seniors and ages 3 to 12; FREE for ages 2 and younger Info: comozooconservatory.org or 651-487-8200

AUG. 19 Plant ID and Lore Î Adults and ages 14 and older are invited to take a nature hike to identify prairie grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees, hear stories about their history and lore, and sample some edible plants. When: 6:30–8 p.m. Aug. 19 Where: Maplewood Nature Center, Maplewood Cost: $20, includes wildflower field guide. Register online by Aug. 16. Info: maplewoodnaturecenter.com or 651-249-2170

AUG. 23 Cultivate Festival Minneapolis Î This festival, presented by Chipotle, showcases cooking demos by celebrity chefs, live music, local food and beverages and other activities emphasizing sustainable food. A kids’ zone will feature games designed to teach children about local food. When: 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Aug. 23 Where: Loring Park, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: chipotlecultivate.com

AUG. 23 Monarch Open House: King of the Butterflies

and participants of all ages are invited to stop by and help a naturalist tag the butterflies and learn about their journey, history and habits. When: 1–3 p.m. Aug. 23 Where: Maplewood Nature Center, Maplewood Cost: FREE Info: maplewoodnaturecenter.com or 651-249-2170

AUG. 30–SEPT. 1 Fest du Nord Î Celebrate summer with a family-friendly weekend of sing-alongs, jam sessions, activities and live folk music from local acts including the Okee Dokee Brothers, Jeremy Messersmith and Lucy Michelle. When: 3 p.m. Aug. 30 through the morning of Sept. 1 Where: YMCA Camp du Nord, Ely Cost: $100–$900, depending on accommodations Info: dunord.org or 218-365-0365

AUG. 31 History Day at the Minnesota State Fair

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Î This fifth-annual history day combines music, trivia, dancing, performances, hands-on art activities and more for a full day of learning with the Minnesota Historical Society. When: 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Aug. 31 Where: Carousel Park, Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul Cost: Free with fair admission Info: mnhs.org or 651-259-3000

MONDAYS Monday Morning Kids Series Î Join a different artist each week to learn and play. When: 10:30 a.m. Mondays through Aug. 4 Where: Moir Park, Bloomington Cost: FREE Info: bloomingtonmn.gov

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Family Fun Tuesdays

Summer Concert Series

Rockin’ Reader Summer

ÎÎThis educational performance series encourages children and their parents to experience a variety of art forms, cultures and new ideas.

ÎÎEnjoy free, kid-friendly, parentapproved music along with a different weekly activity.

ÎÎEvery Thursday a Burnsville elementary school principal will read his or her favorite books geared toward elementary and preschool children, followed by a concert for preschoolers at noon.

When: 10–11 a.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 26 Where: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Cost: FREE or a suggested donation of $4 per person Info: caponiartpark.org or 651-454-9412

When: 10–11 a.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 20 Where: Creative Kidstuff, The Shops at West End, St. Louis Park Cost: FREE Info: creativekidstuff.com or 952-540-0022

Preschool Playdate Tuesdays

Summer Concert Series at Woodbury Lakes

ÎÎPreschool-age kids can take part in activities for little hands and minds, including science experiments and performances.

ÎÎDon’t miss this chance to see live music, including the Okee Dokee Brothers, Koo Koo Kanga Roo and more, plus interactive, imaginative activities for children.

When: 10 a.m.–noon Tuesdays Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: Buy one $13 adult admission and get one FREE child admission for ages 5 and younger. Info: smm.org/playdates or 651-221-9444

Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate ÎÎAges 3 to 5 are invited for activities, storytelling, films and art projects. When: 11 a.m.–1 p.m. second and fourth Tuesdays Where: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: walkerart.org or 612-375-7600

Dress Up and Boogie Down Kids’ Music Series ÎÎKids and families are encouraged to wear goofy clothes and listen to live music. When: 5:30–7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 12 Where: Arlington Hills Library parking lot, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: sppl.org or 651-632-3870

When: 10–11 a.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 6 Where: Woodbury Lakes Shopping Center Cost: FREE Info: woodburylakes.com or 651-251-9500

Playdate Wednesday ÎÎTeeny Bee Boutique offers a weekly play date for parents and kids. When: 10:30 a.m.–noon Wednesdays Where: St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: teenybeeboutique.com or 612-644-2540

Wee Wednesdays ÎÎAges 5 and younger are invited for crafts, educational programming, live puppet shows, dancing and more. When: 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Wednesdays Where: Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: midtownglobalmarket.org/events or 612-872-4041

Crafts for Kids ÎÎHave fun learning a new craft each week. When: 5–7 p.m. Wednesdays Where: Riverview Library, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: sppl.org or 651-292-6626

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When: 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 21 Where: Nicollet Commons Park, Burnsville Cost: FREE Info: tinyurl.com/rockinreaders

Mommy+Me Music Class ÎÎEncourage a sense of rhythm, music and movement for ages 3 and younger. When: 3:30–4:15 p.m. Thursdays Where: Teeny Bee Boutique, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: teenybeeboutique.com or 612-644-2540

Passport to Invention ÎÎThe Bakken’s student workshop is open for young makers and inventors. When: 4:30–6:30 p.m. Thursdays Where: The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis Cost: $25 or $20 per visit with the purchase of a 3- or 6-visit pass. Info: thebakken.org/passport-to-invention or 612-926-3878

FRIDAYS Family Fridays at the Global Market ÎÎEnjoy free live music, a children’s play area and free balloons for the first 50 children. When: 5–8 p.m. Fridays Where: Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: midtownglobalmarket.org/events or 612-872-4041

Itty Bitty Beach Party ÎÎEnjoy music and fun for ages 6 and younger. When: 10 a.m. Fridays through Aug. 22

Out About Saturday Live! PARENT PICK

Uptown Art Fair

ÎÎMore than 350 professional artists exhibit their work at this nationally known art fair, which also features activities, entertainment, music, food, kid-friendly performances and a Family Imagination Station. When: Noon–8 p.m. Aug. 1; 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Aug. 2; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Aug. 3 Where: Uptown, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: uptownartfair.com or 612-823-4581

Where: Round Lake Park, Eden Prairie Cost: FREE Info: edenprairie.org or 952-949-8470

SATURDAYS Tamarack Tykes ÎÎAges 2 to 5 are invited to explore nature themes through crafts, hikes, stories and songs. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. When: 9:30–11 a.m. second Saturdays Where: Tamarack Nature Center, Maplewood Cost: $9.75 for an adult and child, $6.50 for each additional child, $3.75 for each additional adult. Pre-registration is required. Info: parks.co.ramsey.mn.us/tamarack or 651-407-5350

Free Family Flicks ÎÎEnjoy a free movie — first-come, first-serve to theater capacity. When: 10 a.m. Saturdays Where: Theatres at Mall of America, Bloomington Cost: FREE Info: theatresmoa.com

Free Sensory Flicks ÎÎEnjoy a free movie with accommodations for children with

developmental disabilities. Lights are left up, sound is reduced and audience members are welcome to dance, sing and move around during the film — first-come, first-serve to theater capacity. When: 10 a.m. Saturdays Where: Theatres at Mall of America, Bloomington Cost: FREE Info: theatresmoa.com

Free First Saturdays at The Walker ÎÎFamilies can enjoy live performances, films, adventures and art-making, plus free gallery admission. Activities are recommended for ages 6 to 12. When: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. first Saturdays Where: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: walkerart.org/free-first-saturdays or 612-375-7600

Free Second Saturdays at The Bakken ÎÎEnjoy science-related programming and free admission to the museum. When: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. second Saturdays Where: The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: thebakken.org/saturday or 612-926-3878

ÎÎEvents will feature puppets, magicians, wild animals and storytellers. When: 11:15 a.m. Saturdays Where: St. Paul Central Public Library Cost: FREE Info: sppl.org or 651-266-7034

SUNDAYS Family Day at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts ÎÎFamilies can make art, go on adventures and meet local musicians, artists and storytellers. When: 11 a.m. second Sundays Where: Minneapolis Institute of Arts Cost: FREE Info: artsmia.org or 612-870-3000

Slojd Handcraft Club ÎÎAges 7 to 14 can enjoy art-making activities with a Nordic twist. When: 1–3 p.m. first Sundays Where: American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis Cost: $15. Register in advance online. Info: asimn.org or 612-871-4907

Target Free Third Sundays ÎÎExplore the museum for free! When: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. third Sundays Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: mcm.org or 651-225-6000

VARIOUS Red Balloon Bookshop ÎÎCome for baby, preschool-age and toddler story times, including one day in Spanish. When: 10:30–11 a.m. Mondays–Thursdays Where: Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: redballoonbookshop.com/ storytimes or 651-224-8320

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PARTY RESOURCE GUIDE AirMaxx Trampoline Park & Fun Center AirMaxx offers the most exciting parties on the planet! Our traditional parties have just one focus: your birthday child. Our party heros will keep the kids busy with games, activities, food, and fun- NONSTOP! 7000 Washington Ave S Eden Prairie 952-232-0096 airmaxxtrampolinepark.com

ArtStart Birthday fun begins at ArtStart’s ArtScraps! If you want a creative, fun, memorable, trouble-free party, try an ArtScraps Birthday Party. Two hour weekend party for ages 5 and up includes scrap invitations, art project, and party favor bags. 1459 St Clair Ave St. Paul 651-698-2787 artstart.org

beARTrageous Do you have a birthday wish? We can grant it. We create unique, custom parties for all ages that are sure to be remembered. If you want it to be special, call us. It will beARTrageous. 2121 W 21st Kenwood, Minneapolis 612-423-7554 be-ARTrageous.com

763-503-2695 12200 Singletree Ln Eden Prairie 952-941-0445 11129 162nd St W Lakeville 952-435-2695 brunswickzonexl.com

Bunker Park Stables Bell Museum of Natural History Every party has a private room and host to entertain with storytelling and games. Add-ons include hands on time with insects and reptiles or an ExploraDome space blast. Have a WILD birthday at the Bell. Parties sell fast, call today! 10 Church St SE Minneapolis 612-626-9660 bellmuseum.org

Brunswick Zone XL Birthdays are better at Brunswick. There’s something special about a birthday party at Brunswick Zone XL. Kids love bowling, pizza, lazer tag, and video games. Moms and Dads love how easy it is to plan and host a memorable party with our trained staff. 11351 Ulysses St NE Blaine 763-561-2230 7545 Brooklyn Blvd Brooklyn Park

52 August 2014 • mnparent.com

Your GO-TO horse facility for the safest and most fun horse parties. Available for all ages! Make your event unforgettable! 550 Bunker Lake Blvd NW Andover 763-757-9445 bunkerparkstable.com

City of Inver Grove Heights The Grove Aquatic & Fitness Center The Grove Aquatics Center is the place to have your child's next birthday party! Our indoor water park boasts two large watersides, lily pad walk, zero-depth area, diving boards, and more! Birthday party packages are available! 8055 Barbara Ave Inver Grove Heights 651-450-2480 funatthegrove.com

City of Woodbury Lookout Ridge A themed design and sound effects

accompany slides, forests, a tree house, and even a cave. Kids are able to climb inside cliffs imitating the St. Croix River Valley, then zoom down a mountain spiral slide emerging from a cave. 8595 Central Park Place Woodbury 651-414-3434 woodburylookoutridge.com

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Have a Birthday Bash to Remember at Como! We offer seven unique party themes for kids age 1 and up. We can even provide pizza and cake. Join us for a party so exciting kids won’t notice how much they’re learning! 1225 Estabrook Dr St. Paul 651-487-8272 comozooconservatory.org

Creative Kidstuff Let us plan a party your birthday boy or girl will never forget. Kids will engage in active games and craft projects based on a chosen theme. Themes include Art Extravaganza, Superhero, Pirate Adventure, Girl Power, Fun & Games, and Toddler Palooza. Ages 2+. Wayzata 952-249-1707 St. Paul 651-222-2472 St. Louis Park 952-540-0022 creativekidstuff.com

ADVERTISER LISTINGS We tell our members:

Davanni’s Pizza & Hot Hoagies Locally and family-owned Davanni’s Pizza & Hot Hoagies has been serving the Twin Cities since 1975! Every shop, except Uptown, has FREE (with minimum purchase) one to two party and meeting rooms, which comfortably hold between 10 and 60 people. 21 locations in the Metro area davannis.com

“Before anything else, build their trust.”

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.

Have a Wild Birthday at Como Zoo!

Fun Birthday Parties for children ages 3 and up!

Call 651-487-8272 for more information or to schedule your party.

Eagles Nest Indoor Playground We make planning a birthday party a piece of cake. We offer a wide variety of party NARI MNP 2011 NR1 12.indd packages. Come experience the fun of leaping into a ball pit, zooming down over 75 feet of slides, and much more! New Brighton Community Center 400 10th St NW New Brighton 651-638-2130 newbrightonmn.gov


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Edinborough Park Discover Adventure Peak for your next Birthday Party! The “Peak” is a giant climbing structure full of slides, tubes, climbing events, and a 30 foot tall oak tree. The Great Hall offers hours of fun with scooters and a bounce house! 7700 York Ave S Edina 952-833-9544 edinboroughpark.com

Firefighters Hall & Museum Located in NE Minneapolis, our Museum has over 12,000 square feet dedicated to fire education, safety, prevention, and telling the history of firefighting. The Museum contains thousands of historic items going back to the 1860’s including many hands-on exhibits. info@firehallmuseum.org. 664 22nd Ave NE Minneapolis 612-623-3817 firehallmuseum.org

GameTruck Party Complete video game party brought to your doorstep. We manage the party so you can relax. All we need is a place to park and people to play in our climate controlled GameTruck. 6200 W Old Shakopee Rd Minneapolis 612-345-8381 gametruckparty.com Maple Grove Community Center MNP 0814 H4.indd 1

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PARTY RESOURCE GUIDE Gleason’s Gymnastic School Looking for a unique and memorable way to celebrate a birthday? Try Gleason’s Gymnastic Birthday parties! You provide the refreshments...WE PROVIDE THE REST! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the CELEBRATION! Call the office to schedule your party today! 2015 Silver Bell Rd Eagan 651-454-6203 9775 85th Ave N, Ste 500 Maple Grove 763-493-2526 gleasons.com

Good Times Park This one-of-a-kind indoor park features a huge playground, basketball court, turf field, 38-foot inflatable jumper, and more for one all-inclusive price per child. Bring food and drinks to enjoy in the picnic area. Purchase day passes or memberships online. Open every day. 3265 Northwood Circle, Ste 100 Eagan 651-454-5736 goodtimespark.com

Gopher Spot Gopher Spot is a great place to host a birthday party! Birthday packages can include bowling for 10–12 people, food, drink, decorations, treat bags, and even a visit from Goldy. Please contact us for more information. St. Paul Student Center 2017 Buford Ave 612-624-4452 sua.umn.edu gopherspot@umn.edu

Heartfelt We offer unique craft activities in a cozy setting to help celebrate your child’s special day. Enjoy face painting, a treasure hunt, crafts, and our special treehouse. Bring your child’s favorite cake or treat; we supply plates, glasses, forks, and napkins. 4306 Upton Ave S Minneapolis 612-877-8090 heartfeltonline.com

Kidcreate Studio Kidcreate’s parties combine fun art projects with lots of giggles and grins. We have 100’s of projects- Frozen, clay, Legos, and more! Celebrate at Kidcreate, and leave the mess with us! MENTION CODE 50BD14 TO

54 August 2014 • mnparent.com

SAVE $50.00 ON A FALL PARTY! 7918 Mitchell Rd Eden Prairie 952-974-3438 1785 Radio Dr, Ste F Woodbury 651-735-0880 kidcreatestudio.com

KidzArt KidzArt offers a fun arternative to traditional birthday parties. KidzArt works with you to customize a project, provides all the materials, and guides your guests as they create their own masterpiece to treasure! Minneapolis 763-494-6957 nwmpls.kidzart.com St. Paul 651-484-4166 shoreview.kidzart.com

Mad Science of Minnesota Mad Science is the World’s Leading Science Enrichment Provider, sparking imaginative learning. We make science fun! Offering Birthday Parties, Camps, Special Events and Shows, Preschool Programs, In-School Field Trips, Schoolhouse Chess, and Before and After School Programs. Mad Scientists come to you! (All of MN & Western WI) 651-793-5721 mn.madscience.org

Maple Grove Community Center Recreational and meeting venue offering meeting rooms, pools, indoor playground, gymnasium, ice arena for open skating, Teen Center with arcade games, concessions, skate park, sand volleyball courts, playground, and a shelter. 12951 Weaver Lake Rd Maple Grove 763-494-6500 maplegrovecommunitycenter.org

Minnesota Children’s Museum Break the birthday mold without breaking the bank. Birthday parties at Minnesota Children’s Museum are easy, fun-filled, and unforgettable. Best of all, our staff does all of the set up and clean up for you, allowing more time to spend with your family and guests in our hands-on, interactive galleries. 10 W Seventh St Downtown St. Paul 651-225-6000 mcm.org

Monkey House The ultimate kids party and play place. Huge 5,000 square foot indoor play center. Giant inflatable bounce houses, obstacle course, 18 foot slide, climbers, foam pit, and more! You get an entire play arena and party room exclusively for your group. 1815 Buerkle Rd White Bear Lake 651-348-8233 monkeyhousemn.com

My Gym Children's Fitness Center Every birthday party is a perfectly planned celebration created especially for your child. Our amazing birthday party specialists will make your birthday party unique and special. All of our birthday parties feature nonstop action-packed activities, games, puppets, songs, and more! 6545 Flying Cloud Dr Eden Prairie 952-906-0028 mygym.com/edenprairie

Park Tavern Bowling & Entertainment Center Park Tavern has been a dining and entertainment tradition for over 50 years specializing in small to large, up to 400, gatherings for any occasion. We feature "Children's Cosmic Bowling Party" packages every Saturday and Sunday between noon and 2 p.m. 3401 Louisiana Ave S St. Louis Park 952-929-6810 parktavern.net


Teaching children skills for a lifetime, not just playtime. Le Tout Petit Programme A Bilingual French/English Program for children ages 18 to 33 months

Playworks Family Play Birthday Party. $45 admission for up to five children. Includes cupcake, five arcade tokens each, playtime in our fun-filled Atrium. Bring your decorations. No reservation needed. Adults are free! 2200 Trail of Dreams Prior Lake 952-445-PLAY (7529) playworksfun.com

Pump It Up At Pump It Up we love entertaining kids! Our Kid's Birthday Parties are 100% private and the best in the industry. Let us take all the stress out of fulfilling your child’s dream of inviting the whole class! 7406 Washington Ave S Eden Prairie 7045 6th St Oakdale 952-943-0052 pumpitupparty.com

Beginning Fall 2014

Serving Preschool through Elementary Ages

A true French school...in Minnesota.

Call for a tour today! (952) 944-1930



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Reptile & Amphibian Discovery Zoo Have a fun birthday party with turtles, lizards, snakes, and alligators. You can come to the zoo to see more than 150 different kinds of animals, including a 12 foot alligator, or we can bring the animals right to you. 3297 N Cty Rd 45 Owatonna 507-455-1465 theradzoo.com

Shoreview Community Center Celebrate at the Shoreview Community Center where kids can explore our twostory jungle-themed playground and make a splash in our Tropics Indoor Waterpark! We can provide the room, cake, meal, and more. It's a piece of cake! 4580 Victoria St N Shoreview 651-490-4790 shoreviewcommunitycenter.com

Sunnyside Stables, Inc. Birthday Parties, Lessons, Kids Horse Camp, and Trail Riding!! 15400 Emery Ave E Rosemount 651-226-2027 sunnysidestables.org


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Brooklyn Park Blvd. 7545 Brooklyn L (2695) (763) 503-BOW

Lakeville . West 11129 162nd StL (2695) (952) 435-BOW

Eden Prairie e Lane 12200 Singletre (952) 941-0445







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PARTY RESOURCE GUIDE Twin Cities Inflatables Large selection of inflatable bouncers, bouncer/slide combos, obstacle courses, giant slides, dunk tanks, water slides, and more. Fun for all ages at birthday parties, grad parties, family reunions, block parties, school or church carnivals, or any other event! Eagan (Delivery to entire Metro) 651-882-6575 twincitiesinflatables.com

Water Park of America Party like a Rock Star at America’s Biggest Indoor Water Park. From park passes to birthday cake, our staff will create a fun and easy party that leaves them screaming for more! Plus, affordable packages without the work! 1700 E American Blvd Bloomington 952-229-5731 waterparkofamerica.com


Williston Fitness Center

Works Museum, The

Leave your child’s next birthday party to us! We offer swimming and play structure party packages. If that’s not enough, we have an Ultimate Party Package too! Call or visit our website for details. 14509 Minnetonka Dr Minnetonka 952-939-8370 eminnetonka.com

Host an unforgettable birthday party at The Works Museum. Explore our hands-on exhibits, engineer your own party favors, and let your party host take care of set up and clean up. Ideal for birthday kids ages 5 to 12. 9740 Grand Ave S Bloomington 952-888-4262 theworks.org

Woodloch Stable

Zero Gravity Trampoline Park & Laser Tag

Woodloch Stable is a family-operated barn that specializes in boarding, lessons, and training. We offer an extensive riding education from beginner to experienced, young or adult to the finished horse and rider in any discipline desired. 5676 170th St Hugo 651-429-1303 woodlochstable.com

Looking for a new place for your child's birthday party? Check out Zero Gravity. Shoot hoops, flip into a foam pit, play dodgeball- all on trampolines. We also have Laser Tag and an arcade. Jumpers must be 3 years or older. 2292 Woodale Dr Mounds View 763-231-3033 zerogravitymn.com


Creative Kids Academy

Catalina’s Preschool Spanish Learn SpaniSh with Your ChiLd

Imagine the Possibilities... Early Education * 6 Weeks–12 Years

Fun music-based classes for ages 1½-6 & parents

612-922-2222 www.preschoolspanish.com — 24 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE — Catalina's Preschool Spanish MNP 7/18/12 0812 1cx1.indd 3:39 PM 1

Nannies from the Heartland

763-550-0219 nanniesheartland.com

Create Playing Singing Composing Free Preview Classes Ages 3-Adult CYMS Edina: Edina Community Center 5701 Normandale Rd

CYMS Roseville: Hamline Center 2819 Hamline Ave N

CHILDREN’S YAMAHA MUSIC SCHOOL Celebrating Over 40 Musical Years in Minnesota!

www.cyms.ws • 612-339-2255

Mis Amigos Spanish Immersion

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Anoka * Centerville * Lexington * Maple Grove * Minnetonka Mounds View * Orono (Old Hill School) – 952-473-1225

ckakids.com 844-ckakids email: info@ckakids.com Nationally accredited and Parent Aware 4 star rated

4/21/14 11:40 Creative AMKids Academy MNP 0814 2cx2.2.indd 1

sing. play. learn.

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A developmental music curriculum for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Free Mom & Ba by Classes

Locations in Hopkins, Minnetonka, St. Paul, and St. Paul Park


Free Music, Spanish, Yoga, Storytelling and Karate!

Offering classes for Infants through Preschool

Call 952-935-5588 and schedule a tour! www.misamigosimmersion.com


Bring Growing With Music to your child care program or playgroup!

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Maple Tree Cottage South Mpls. Preschool Program • Waldorf-Inspired Program • Trained, Licensed Teacher • Mornings with Lunch Option • Organic Whole Foods Snacks www.mtcottage.com

Learning Center & Day Care

Rainbow Montessori


6 Weeks — School Age



952-888-8052 · rainbowmontessoriinc.com

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@MNParentMag finance



5/21/14 12:16 PM


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7/23/14 2:01 PM

Our Mom & Baby Directory at mnparent.com/baby

Theme shows for ALL AGES and BUDGETS! 30th Anniversary! Nationally awarded & recognized by child development experts! www.teddybearband.com (612) 861-3570 richard@teddybearband.com

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Lessons * Horse Camp * Birthday Parties Public Guided Trail Rides by Appointment Only

Half Pint Parties

Year Round

Magic • Facepainting Balloon Animals Characters for Parties & Events



Riding Lessons Indoor Arena

Not just on for the ride—learn all the basics about horses. (ALL AGES)


Half Pint Parties MNP 0312 1cx1.indd 2/3/121 6:15 PM

612-825-9205 MNPARENT.COM

Sunnyside Stables, Inc. Rosemount, MN www.sunnysidestables.org 7/24/14 4:52 PM mnparent.com • August 2014 57

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From our readers

Party time!



The minions! Everything yellow and black, including peanut M&Ms. — Rochelle Hargis, Prior Lake

Favorite foods party! We kept it simple and invited friends and family over to share in all his favorite foods.

Kaia Myhran, 4, stops to smell the flowers on a nature walk in Shoreview.

— Janine Kellogg, Minneapolis

Legoland theme with stations: Make Your Best LEGO Car, Race the LEGO Cars. Pinata was a LEGO head. — Nancy Xyooj Yaj, Brooklyn Park Jaden Morataya, 3, of Richfield gets ready for a quarter-finals match — Brazil vs. Colombia — FIFA World Cup 2014!

Monster truck party. My son loved it. We did a smash station and tire-track station to put paint on the tires. They all loved it. — Shayna Clute, Apple Valley

Pinkalicious theme. — Donielle Palladino, Minneapolis

Princess party! Cupcakedress cake, glitter, wands and lots of pink. — Donielle Palladino, Minneapolis

PhuongAnh Bui, 3, plays at East Bush Lake Beach in Bloomington.

Raya Jane Mathiason, 4, enjoys being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival on Father’s Day.

Want to see your kid(s) on this page? Send your favorite photos to editor@mnparent.com.

58 August 2014 • mnparent.com

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Walgreens App

Summer Care

Convenience is becoming a big factor in the Walgreens app. Link your Balance Rewards and set up digital coupons, make photo orders, and chat with the pharmacist to see if your prescription is ready.

Summer is here, and that means the sun will be, too. Take advantage of our great prices on sunscreen and water toys for the little ones!


Be Well

Walgreens offers many different photo services that you may not know! Through the website or app you can link to your Instagram and get pictures printed from there!

In the Walgreens app, link up your steps to earn more Balance Rewards points! Link up your card to FitBit!

1-800-WALGREENS (1-800-925-4733) • WALGREENS.COM

You can get there. We can help.

Visit www.MN529today.com or call 1-877-338-4646

Profile for Minnesota Parent

August 2014  

August 2014