Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine - December 2020

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Toys, Books & More


Cover Kids

It’s a

Contest Winners


a Wr

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2020 Cover Kid WInner, Asher French, 5, of Rocky River has some fun wrapping up the year with us!




Learn when and how to visit schools this winter.





Many of Cleveland’s museums are struggling due to the pandemic. Here’s how they’re adapting.


Get a sneak peek at the cute kiddos who will grace the cover of Northeast Ohio Parent in 2020-2021.




Fun, festive activities to entertain you and your crew this season, including on New Year’s Eve!



Need to keep the kids busy over holiday break? Consider these camps.

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departments 06

EDITOR’S NOTE 2020 Wrap Up


WORTH NOTING We provide ways to help kids with moral courage, Health Tip, What’s Streaming and Reading Room.



Check out our schedule of local events, including in-person and virtual options.





Jason Lea shares 40 lessons he’s learned while parenting during a pandemic.

Gift ideas: You need ‘em, and we’ve got ‘em. See what’s trending this year, according to the National Parenting Product Awards. COVER PHOTO BY KIM STAHNKE PHOTOGRAPHY KIMSTAHNKEPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

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Editor's NOTE

2020 Wrap Up When Sherry Lundberg, our designer at Northeast Ohio Parent, proposed “It’s a Wrap!” for our final cover headline in 2020 — I thought it was perfect. It encompasses everything about this year. Yes, at the end of December, we all want to feel hopeful about what’s next on the horizon. It’s difficult, though. Even as I write this column, we are in the midst of a COVID-19 spike in Ohio and across the country. This means more Zoom holidays, work meetings, family gatherings and friend events. I am thinking about how 2020 seemed to end many of our normal in-person routines. My kids are back in virtual school, and I can’t help but wonder how virtual classes and activities will fit in their future. We have transitioned to a touch-free society, where curbside pickups, contactless deliveries and services are becoming more frequent. Many health care providers will likely have telehealth as part of their practices. Also, many moms and dads have become accustomed to working from home. My wish is that employers will provide pregnant workers and new parents opportunities to have this flexibility after the pandemic is gone. Some social norms, such as handshakes, have ended, for now, but our inner circles may be more close-knit now that we have to choose who we feel comfortable with and safe to visit. Many families have spent more time together in their homes this year. I admit, I feel a bit stir-crazy at this moment and I feel overwhelmed often, but I am content to be with my husband, kids and our dog, Jagger. We actually did get some projects done around the house and we were able to pick up a few forgotten hobbies. Of course, it’s not all rosy. People are depressed, sick and struggling at home with food insecurities and other concerns. Friends’ relatives have passed away, good businesses have closed and many organizations have had to cancel their public events. And, of course, there’s an erosion of trust in our communities due to political discourse. So, while 2020 is finished, it’s not all tied up neatly in a bow like we’d hoped. Let’s wrap our arms around the family we do have at this moment. Remember to keep moving, take deep breaths, connect with others and ask for help, if needed. See you in 2021! Please have a safe holiday season!

VOL. NO. 7 • ISSUE NO. 11

December 2020 Northeast Ohio Parent is a property of

PO Box 1088 Hudson, OH 44236 330-822-4011 PUBLISHER - Brad Mitchell 330-714-7712 EDITORIAL:

EDITOR - Angela Gartner 216-536-1914 CONTRIBUTING EDITOR - Marisa Palmieri Shugrue DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER - Denise Koeth GRAPHIC DESIGNER - Sherry Lundberg ADVERTISING SALES:

Chris Geer, 330-614-8471 Janyse Heidy, 330-671-3886 Michelle Vacha, 440-463-0146 Samantha Olp, 330-636-6127 Sherrie Kantarovich, 216-299-5455 Yvonne Pelino, 440-971-0595 OFFICE MANAGER:

Kathleen Mitchell, 440-533-1208 EVENT MANAGER: Tara Tonsetic, 330-819-7280 DISTRIBUTION INQUIRIES:


Have a story idea for 2021 or want to share an act of kindness by someone in your community? Email

Proud member of

Parenting Media


The Perfect Gift for Someone You Love “This book puts parents and kids on the same team”

“A quick-start manual for raising kids”

“Like an advanced degree in parenting, five minutes at a time”

BUY IT A T Amazon .c https://b om: hpcboo / k

$19. 95


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Proceeds support non-profit programming at Hanna Perkins. Serving parents and children since 1951

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Moral Courage


Raising kids who stand up for what’s right

ere’s an unwelcome fact: Most kids will experience bullying at school, even if they’re not directly involved. Studies show that 70 percent of students witness bullying at school and 35 to 60 percent of students are directly involved as either the victim or the perpetrator. What’s less certain is how those kids will respond to injustice. Will they have the moral courage to stand up for themselves or others? Can they do the right thing without a trusted adult there to coach them? “Today, research shows that peer cruelty is escalating, personal entitlement is going up, and while empathy is going down,” says Michele Borba, author of “End Peer Cruelty, Build Empathy: The Proven 6Rs of Bullying Prevention That Create Inclusive, Safe, and Caring Schools.” “It’s discouraging.” At a time when most Americans feel the country’s values are deteriorating — 77 percent say the country’s moral values are declining, according to a 2018 Gallup poll — how can we raise kids who show courage when it counts? It seems clear that when it comes to moral courage, caregivers can’t simply count on chance. “Parents who raise good kids don’t do so by accident,” Borba says. “You have to be intentional about it.” But since moral courage often means doing the right thing when parents and teachers aren’t around, how can we know if kids are getting it right? GROWING GOODNESS

New research shows that the traits we associate with moral courage — like empathy, self-control and honesty — get stronger with practice and effort.

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By Malia Jacobson

The Brave Bookshelf:

Books that build moral courage READERS OF ALL AGES

• What Happens Next by Susan Hughes • Henry the Boy by Molly Felder

• Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Ph.D., Marietta Collins, Ph.D., and Ann Hazzard, Ph.D. • The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad • Luca’s Bridge/El Puente de Luca by Mariana llanos

• Martin & Anne, the Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank by Nancy Churnin • The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero by Amalia Hoffman • Brave by Stacy McAnulty

• Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson • I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët


• Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw by Gina Loveless

• Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance edited by Bethany Morrow • We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

Stanford psychologist Carol S. Dweck wrote “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” about her research on intelligence and effort. She found that children with a growth mindset, or the understanding that intelligence could be developed through effort, were more successful than those who believed that

intelligence was fixed. These days, she’s applying this concept to the development of moral traits like self-control. In one of her recent studies, Dweck found that preschoolers can learn to resist temptation and delay gratification after listening to a story about it. Many effective antibulling programs have a strong peer advocacy element — in other words, they teach kids to stand up for other kids — because this approach is proven to work. Research shows that when other kids intervene, most bullying stops within 10 seconds. Like any strategy, though, peer advocacy only works when kids have the skills and knowledge they need. “Empathy is another cornerstone of moral courage,” Borba says. “The ability to identify with another’s perspective, built from babyhood on through one-on-one interactions, closely bonded relationships, even reading, is an essential trait of those who stand up for others. Teaching kids to identify and name their emotions can help build empathy and moral courage, too. When you teach emotional identification, kids learn, ‘He looks sad, I’ll go be a helper.’” Libby Buelt’s 11-year-old-son Henry experienced an incident on the playground at age 8, in which a child with disabilities was being mocked and excluded by a peer. Buelt, who lives in Tacoma, Wa., says her son called out the bully. Afterwards, his classroom adopted inclusive guidelines and started a sportsman club. “When it comes to homegrown goodness, talking with your child about your values, and modeling those values yourself, is hard to beat,” Buelt says. “We talk a lot at home about our responsibility to try and make the world a better place. I’m very proud of the person Henry is and continues to become.”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year... to snuggle up the couch and watch a holiday classic! Here are a few of our favorites and where to find them this season.

What’s Streaming:

Holiday Edition

By Marisa Palmieri Shugrue

“Little House on the Prairie: Christmas at Plum Creek” on Amazon Prime Get inspired about what truly matters by watching episode 15 from the first season of this 1970s TV show. Christmas is coming and members of the Ingalls family work, save and sacrifice to make their loved ones’ holiday wishes come true.

“Miracle on 34th Street” on Disney+ Treat your kids to the original 1947 version of this feel-good Christmas favorite, in which a department store Santa named Kris Kringle claims to be the real thing.

“An American Tail” on Starz via Hulu This 1986 animated hit from Steven Spielberg features a family of Jewish mice, including Fievel Mousekevitz, who gets his blue hat as a Hanukkah gift from his father before immigrating to the United States.

“Klaus” on Netflix See what the family thinks about this 2D animated film, released in 2019. It tells the story of a selfish postman and a reclusive toymaker who form an unlikely friendship and deliver joy to a town that desperately needs it.

Health Tip:

Talking to Kids About Growth

Kids differ in growth and development during childhood. All of this is usually normal. Encourage your kids to accept their own growth and development. Explain that some kids grow and develop at different rates — and late bloomers usually catch up eventually. Try to avoid comparing growth among siblings or other children. Answer questions honestly and even start talks about growth to help kids

understand the many changes they’re facing. This will help them accept the changes positively. If you’re uncomfortable discussing these topics, your kids may think there’s something shameful about the changes they go through and might be less likely to bring their concerns to you. — The Nemours Foundation/ KidsHealth,



by Jeannie Fleming-Gifford of Willoughby and Anna J. Magnusson of Columbus, illustrated by Kira Weber of Chagrin Falls


This playful story for children ages 3-8 is an introduction to symphonic music, the orchestra and supports literacy development. The book was inspired by watching young children enter the orchestra hall, many for the first time, to experience a live performance of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra where Fleming-Gifford worked as the education director for several years. The authors hoped to capture the viewpoint of young children and their expectations of going to the symphony versus their actual experience. Artist Kira Weber, who has autism, was tasked to bring the book to life. Fleming-Gifford met Weber at the Fairmount Center for the Arts, where Fleming-Gifford is the executive director. Proceeds from the book sales will support Fairmount Center for the Arts and I Am Able Iowa. For more information or to obtain a copy of “SymFUNNY,” visit

Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko

The book shares the blended traditions of two holidays — Christmas and Hanukkah — through the eyes of a young girl as her mixedfaith family comes together to celebrate.

Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

by Donna L. Washington and illustrated by Shane W. Evans The story of Li’l Rabbit captures the true meaning of Kwanzaa — coming together to help others. It provides a fun introduction to the holiday.

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2020/21 WINTER OPEN HOUSES JULIE BILLIART SCHOOLS Akron 380 Mineola Ave., Akron 330-333-5280, Dec. 2: 9-10:30 a.m. (Virtual)

Lyndhurst 4982 Clubside Road, Lyndhurst 216-381-1191, Dec. 9: 9-10:30 a.m. (Virtual) Westlake Campus 3600 Crocker Road, Westlake 440-471-4150, Dec. 16: 9-10:30 a.m. Dec. 16: 6-7:30 p.m. (Virtual)


37501 Center Ridge Road, North Ridgeville 440-327-1175, Dec. 7: 5:30 p.m. Upper School & Kindergarten Readiness (Virtual) Dec. 8: 5:30 p.m. Lower & Middle School (Virtual) Jan. 25: 5:30 p.m. Upper School & Kindergarten Readiness (Virtual)

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Jan. 26: 5:30 p.m. Lower & Middle School (Virtual) Feb. 22: 5:30 p.m. Upper School & Kindergarten Readiness Feb. 23: 5:30 p.m. Lower & Middle School

MENLO PARK ACADEMY 2149 W. 53rd St., Cleveland 440-925-6365, Dec. 8: 6-7 p.m. Kindergarten Readiness Information Session

RUFFING MONTESSORI SCHOOL 3380 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights 216-321-7571, Dec. 5 & 12: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Family Tours) Jan. 23: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Open House)

SETON CATHOLIC SCHOOL 6923 Stow Road, Hudson 330-342-4200, Jan. 31: 2-4 p.m.

ST. BARNABAS SCHOOL 9200 Olde 8 Road, Northfield 330-467-7921, Jan 31: Noon-1:30 p.m.


645 Moorfield Road, Fairlawn 330-867-8720 ext. 343, Kindergarten Kaleidoscope Virtual Open House Register by Dec. 31: K-8 Virtual Open House Register by Jan. 15:


500 Mull Ave., West Akron 330-836-9107, Jan. 31: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

UNIVERSITY SCHOOL Hunting Valley Campus (Grades 9-12) 2785 SOM Center Road, Hunting Valley 216-831-2200,

Shaker Heights Campus (Grades Junior K-8) 20701 Brantley Road, Shaker Heights 216-321-8260, Virtual campus tours available.

Submit your open house to us at

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to look back on. s the year comes to a close, there is a lot this year would No one could have predicted the way we’ve also seen challenge us. But with these challenges those around us. Everyday tremendous kindness and charity from care for one another. heroes have stepped up to support and THANKS TO SUMMIT DD STAFF

Summit DD sees our staff as heroes. We are grateful for their continued perseverance. We watched our staff discover new ways to meet the needs of the more than 5,000 children, families and adults we serve. The pandemic affected relationships, forcing people to stay apart. But our SSAs, RSSs and Developmental Specialists found innovative ways to stay connected and continue moving forward. They helped people and families navigate new and unsettling situations. And their dedication meant that people and families continued to receive services, find PPE or cleaning supplies, and stay engaged with their communities. We are grateful for their dedication and we certainly consider them heroes.


There is another group we believe also meets the criteria for everyday heroes. These unsung heroes are Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These dedicated DSPs provide the essential services that people with disabilities rely on. Each day, DSPs went into people’s homes knowing that their work ensured that people with disabilities had the opportunity to live their most independent life. They drove people to day programs and jobs. And they engaged people at day programs in the community. These DSPs recognized that in this time of social distancing, there was still a vital need for them to be physically present for others. Individuals appreciate them. Families appreciate them. And we appreciate them. ICYMI


As we look to 2021, we ask you to join us in thanking our Summit DD staff and the many DPSs in our community. We are grateful for their hard work, dedication and all they do for people and families we serve here in Summit County. rmination posted throughout 2020 at

dete Check out stories of hope, support and

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Making Meaningful Connections For Your Family Summit DD works with families to meet the unique needs of each child. Coming together is more important now, than ever. Our team remains committed to assisting families with their child’s development, even through uncertain times like these. We are here and ready to help. See how Summit DD is making meaningful connections for families ‌ one child at a time.

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flexibility How coronavirus is impacting Cleveland’s museums By Lisa Galek


ace coverings. Wellness checks. Hand-washing stations. Your next visit to a beloved Cleveland museum may look very different in the future. As local institutions have welcomed back guests, they’ve found ways to balance health and safety requirements while still creating a dynamic visitor experience. Like many industries, museums are also facing the economic challenges created by a global pandemic. PRIORITIZING HEALTH & SAFETY

Museums were closed for just over three months because of state stay-at-home orders. Still, their directors spent that time collaborating to decide how they could safely reopen to guests. “I’ve never been in

a city that has such an open communication and collaboration among the museum leadership,” says Kirsten Ellenbogen, president and CEO at Great Lakes Science Center. “We are talking together constantly. We’re sharing policies. We’re being very supportive.” That’s why you’ll notice many of the same welcome back protocols at Northeast Ohio museums. These include: • Advance ticket purchases. • Required face coverings. • Temperature and wellness checks. • Hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations. • Limited attendance. • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

It’s not surprising that institutions known for their commitment to science education and healthy communities would want to

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make fact-based decisions. “(Visitors) say this is what they expect from a science museum,” says Meenakshi Sharma, chief strategy officer at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. “There were one or two very vocal people who told us, ‘the mask is anticonstitutional,’ and we were very open to telling them we’ll be happy to refund their memberships.” Guest feedback has been overwhelmingly positive regarding the new safety regulations. Some visitors even prefer the new guidelines, which limit crowds to encourage social distancing. “Our guests have told us they actually enjoy having fewer people in the museum,” says Hattie Kotz, director of marketing and development at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. “It gives families more space to experience the exhibits.”


In addition to these guidelines, local museums have upgraded HVAC systems, purchased electrostatic misters to disinfect surfaces, ordered locally made, custom-fit masks for staff, and provided customer service training for staff members. All this comes at a cost. In June, the American Alliance of Museums surveyed its members and one-third of museums reported they were not confident they would survive until October 2021 without additional financial relief. Sixteen percent felt their organization was at risk of permanent closure. Though many Clevelandarea museums have a tradition of responsible fiscal management, the effects of shutdowns and reduced guest traffic have taken a toll. To



promote social distancing, museums are limiting the number of guests they allow to purchase tickets, but visitors are also reluctant to return to indoor spaces. While some days in July and August sold out, local museums report that guest traffic is down significantly compared to last year. Great Lakes Science Center credited the crucial efforts of staff members and donors, as well as taxpayer support through the Paycheck Protection Program, with their ability to stay financially stable during this period. “We’ll end the year very close to breakeven. We’ll probably be down, at most, $100,000,” Ellenbogen says. “It really depends on how attendance is (in the upcoming weeks).” Planning has been affected, as well. The Children’s

Museum had some projects in the works that have been put off because of the shutdown and ongoing pandemic. “We’ve had to reallocate these funds toward our reopening efforts and COVID-19 relief,” Kotz says. “Once the pandemic is over, we will be starting back at square one.” The Cleveland Museum of Natural History may be in the best shape financially. The museum closed out its fiscal year in June and reported a 60 percent increase in donations from museum members compared to last year. They also exceeded their annual goal numbers. “We are very, very grateful to the community for their support in the last quarter,” Sharma says. COMMUNITY SUPPORT

There are lots of ways to

help local museums during this difficult time. If you don’t feel comfortable visiting in person yet, there are other unique opportunities to engage: • Many museums are offering virtual learning opportunities. For example, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History offers a range of online classes on its website’s DiscoverE section. Learn about scientific topics and ask questions to experts • Buy a membership. With the holidays upon us, parents, grandparents and other relatives can gift a membership and its perks. • Donations to the museum. With the financial strain of 2020 for museums and other nonprofit organizations, monetary donations can help with the continuation of a museum’s offerings.

For example, donations to the Children’s Museum support their many education programs.

Whether you’ve visited a museum, renewed your membership or engaged online, local institutions emphasize how important it is for you to spread the word to your friends and family. “Our community is our best source of support and marketing,” Ellenbogen says, “So please speak up about your experience.” Lisa Galek is a freelance writer and editor. Her writing has appeared in Northeast Ohio Parent, Refinery29, Northern Ohio Live, and on literally thousands of American Greetings cards. She lives in the suburbs of Cleveland with her husband and three very clever daughters.

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Museum Profiles


he Cleveland History Center (CHC), headquarters for Western Reserve Historical Society, is dedicated to connecting the community with the rich history of Northeast Ohio. The CHC continues to expand its in-person and online experiences to inspire guests in finding their own voices in the ever-evolving story of Northeast Ohio. By exploring the history of the region and immersing themselves in the triumphs and tragedies that define Cleveland, guests are encouraged to explore the role they play in their community. These stories of innovation, immigration, entrepreneurship and diversity create a connection to the past that can help inform the present and inspire us to shape the future. At the Cleveland History Center, guests are encouraged to explore “Cleveland Starts Here,” sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. This in-person and digital exhibit takes visitors on a journey through Cleveland’s history from 1796 to today. The CHC is also home to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, which features significant automobiles, planes, boats and other transportation artifacts. The exhibits within the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum work in tandem to weave together the intricate story of Northeast Ohio’s crucial role in the development and continuing innovation of the transportation industry. In addition, guests can explore CHC’s online features. Online classes, lectures, activities, exhibits and learning resources offer yet another opportunity to find something that brings the past to life. History buffs, sports enthusiasts, parents, grandparents, students, educators and Cleveland lovers around the world experience the region’s collective stories when they explore what the Cleveland History Center has to offer on site or at home. Through activities and programs, rarely seen images, films, art and historical artifacts, guests are invited to

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celebrate local legacies as well as revel in the region’s promise and possibilities. The Cleveland History Center welcomes and encourages everyone to come together, explore, discover and make meaningful, long-lasting connections with the community and each other. Visit for hours, safe visit guidelines and a full listing of additional online experiences. Hours: Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Subject to change. Check for the most up-to-date hours of operation.)

Admission Rates: Adults $12, seniors (62 and older) $10, veterans $9, college student (w/ID) $10, children (ages 3-12) $6. Children 2 and under, WRHS members and active military are free. Tickets are available at


ti c

c 216-721-5722

Face Masks Required Pr a

social media: @CleStartsHere

Health Guidelines: Western Reserve Historical Society’s top priority is the safety of its visitors, volunteers and staff. Adhering to all policies set forth by the state, local officials and the Centers for Disease Control, WRHS is currently open to the public. The first hour each day is reserved for at-risk guests. Advanced timed tickets and face masks are required for all. For more information, visit


10825 East Blvd., Cleveland email:

eS ta ocial Dis


Museum Profiles

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Museum Profiles


olden Forests & Gardens is made up of two of Northeast Ohio’s most important environmental and cultural institutions — the Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden — whose mission is to connect people with

the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities. The 14th largest public garden in the country, Holden Forests & Gardens has nearly 17,000 member households and an annual attendance of over 350,000. Holden Forests & Gardens is making a positive impact on the community and region through urban greening and forestry initiatives, ground-breaking environmental research, educational programs, and world-class visitor experiences at its two campuses. Cleveland Botanical Garden, located in Cleveland’s University Circle cultural district, is an ever-changing 10-acre urban oasis where visitors find enrichment and inspiration through fabulous gardens including the family-favorite outdoor Hershey Children’s

Garden, an exotic Glasshouse featuring the rainforest of Costa Rica and spiny desert of Madagascar, and seasonal events. The Holden Arboretum incorporates about 3,500 acres in Lake and Geauga counties, with 200 acres dedicated to cultivated gardens and special collections. The arboretum in Kirtland, OH is a popular destination, due in part to the Murch Canopy Walk, a 500-foot-long elevated walkway that is built 65 feet above the forest floor, and the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower, a 12 stories tall structure that takes visitors above the forest canopy and provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding area all the way to Lake Erie. The dog-friendly miles of woodland and garden hiking trails are a treat for nature lovers of all ages.

Cleveland Botanical Garden

The Holden Arboretum

216-721-1600 •

440-946-4400 •

11030 East Blvd., Cleveland

9550 Sperry Rd. Kirtland


Admission Costs: $15 adults, $10 children (3 – 12 years old), members always free

Ongoing Attractions: Glow: Saturday, November 21 Sunday, January 3


HOURS OF OPERATION: GLOW HOURS (NOV. 21 – JAN. 3) Reservations required Wednesday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Thursday – Saturday: noon - 8:30 p.m., Sunday: noon - 6 p.m Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

CLOSED on Mondays and Tuesdays except for Dec. 21, 22, 28 and 29 when Glow will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

CLOSED on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Hours subject to change, check for the latest information.



Pr a

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Face Masks Required

eS ta ocial Dis


Admission Costs: $15 adults, $10 children (3 – 12 years old), members always free

Ongoing Attractions: Tilt-a-Whirl Stickwork sculpture by Patrick Dougherty

HOURS OF OPERATION: Tuesday – Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Reservations required • CLOSED: Mondays

HEALTH GUIDELINES: If you’d like to visit with others, please limit your guests to people you live with. The maximum group size when visiting the grounds is 10 people. All guests age 2 and older must bring face coverings with them when visiting the grounds. A face covering must be worn at all times when indoors, and outdoors when within six-feet of others. Please comply with the state mandated six-foot physical distancing rule.

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fun start s now

Step into the





G RADE S CHAT le How to Hand

AMIN G WHAT'S STRE Optio ns Kid-F riendl y

at 1 | Family Living

November 2019 | 1 NortheastOhioPare - NortheastOhioParen

Its Best



he winners are in for the 2020 Northeast Ohio Parent magazine Cover Kids contest. We received more than 200 entries of children ages 2-15 from across the region. The judges — which included Parent staff, editors, designers and

april 2018

Outdoor play ideas for your little Ones

summEr camp GuiDE Find Your child’s Next summe r adventure

sciENcE mattErs

Foundations for New Discove ries NortheastOhiopare


freelancers — had a difficult time deciding on the winners. We appreciate all those who have entered! Parents around the region stepped up their game by sending photos that made us say “Wow!” We had to make some tough choices this year.

• FrEE!

autism awarENEss

Navigating social situatio ns

tODDlEr taNtrums

lessons from the Outbursts

April 2018 • NortheastOh


We chose nine winners across the

categories. Each winner will receive a

cover photo shoot for a future issue of Northeast Ohio Parent magazine.

We also named 15 runners-up, who

we felt deserve credit, so we decided to show you all these wonderful kids!

And the winners are...

Aiden Yee-Lane, 10

Aria Hall, 2

Asher French, 5

Noah Andrews, 3

Grant Case, 2

Norah Gavin, 10

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Missed this year’s contest? That’s OK, we will be taking entries yearround. The deadline to enter next year’s contest is Oct. 15, 2021. Send a photo (no professional photos) to with the child’s name and age, plus the parent’s name, address and phone number. You may submit multiple children, but only one photo entry per child. Please send a separate email for each child.

Dominic Gatej, 4

Meet the runners-up...

Adhrit Gupta, 7

Aria Sova, 6

Ava Zahler, 12

Carter Thomas, 4

Drake Walker, 14

Greer Deliberato, 5

Iris Dierksheide, 9

James Marzavas, 8

Kate Dillen, 11

Maddie Libeg, 6

Quincy Boyd, 12

Rylee Melvin, 2

Salvatore Vitale, 11

Torence Cooper Jr, 7

Varoon Shah, 2.5

Olivia See, 5

Zaria Boyd, 9 December 2020 2020 -- December

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Skincare is important for the whole family


Why it’s Important for the Whole Family to See a Dermatologist Skincare isn’t just for when you run into a problem as an adult. In fact, much of great skincare starts as a kid, which means your kids should be practicing safe, healthy skincare as well. WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON SKIN CONDITION IN KIDS?

For some parents, taking care of their kids’ skin simply entails putting on SPF when going outdoors. However, for many there are additional skin conditions that can be cause for concern.



• Rashes • Warts • Eczema • Acne COMMON SKIN CARE GOALS FOR MOM: • Anti-aging • Texture • Discoloration • Body Contouring At Apex, we take pride in treating the whole family. Think of us first for your children’s skincare needs and also your own! Same-Day Appointments Available 10 Locations in Northeast Ohio

Rashes – rashes may pop up at any time, and it’s helpful to have an accessible and knowledgeable dermatologist that can see you quickly when that happens! Warts – unpleasant but very common, you’ll be so glad to have an expert treat it vs. the old duct tape trick of your childhood! Eczema – extremely common in children and can range greatly in severity. If your child is suffering at all with eczema, we encourage you to bring them so that we can help! WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SKIN CONDITIONS FOR TEENS?

You probably know which skin condition will be mentioned in teenagers. While acne makes up a big part of common skin ailments in those in their teenage years, that’s not all to be on the lookout for. HERE ARE THE MOST COMMON SKIN CONDITIONS FOR TEENS:

Teens also get their fair share of rashes, warts and eczema, but the most important skin condition for many in this age group is acne. Dr. Tracey says, “Up to 85% of teens suffer from acne (ref Bhate et al) and would benefit from comprehensive evaluation and treatment with a dermatologist. Uncontrolled acne can leave permanent scars, so treatment should not be delayed!”

They can of course also suffer from other conditions. Onset of chronic conditions

such as psoriasis may also emerge in the teen years, and it’s crucial that kids get started on a treatment and maintenance plan early on, so they are set up for success in managing these conditions for the rest of their life. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BRING KIDS TO A DERMATOLOGIST VS. A GENERALIST?

Skincare is a very specific type of treatment that needs someone experienced in the ins-and-outs of similar looking rashes, warts, and other ailments. Dr. Elisabeth Tracey explains, “A dermatologist can get the right diagnosis and the right treatment for your child started right away so they can get back to learning, playing, and being a kid!” MOST COMMON MEDICAL SKIN CONDITIONS FOR WOMEN

Not unlike their teenage kids, many women still suffer from acne breakouts! Some have a bit of lingering acne from their younger years, but many actually see worsening of their acne in adulthood, particularly around the jawline. Adult women also commonly struggle with rosacea, which often gets worse with age, as does hyperpigmentation and sun damage. “A lot of women see their skin changing and buy all kinds of over the counter products to try to reverse it,” Dr. Tracey details. “There is no way for them to know what is useful and what is just a marketing ploy. A medical professional can help women navigate that world so they don’t waste their time and money on things that don’t work.” For adults, it is also prudent to schedule a full body skin cancer exam, so the experts can check for any suspicious lesions and assess your risk


Everyone likes to put their best face forward and feel confident and happy in their skin.

Some of the most common skin care issues women identify are: • Anti-aging • Wrinkles • Texture • Discoloration • Many also struggle with their body shape. “It’s important in my initial consultation with women to fully understand their goals and develop a plan together that makes sense for them. Then, follow up visits are crucial to track progress and make sure we are optimizing their skin care regimen,” Dr. Tracey says. OVERVIEW OF SOME OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS FOR SKINCARE

We help with all of these common concerns! From medicated creams and ointments, to injectables such as filler and Botox, to treatments like chemical peels, lasers, microneedling, and more, we can help you reach your skin care goals. And for body contouring, we offer CoolSculpting, the FDA approved technology to permanently eliminate stubborn subcutaneous fat. “It is so rewarding for me to be able to use my expertise to not only cure medical problems but to help people look and feel their best. I think my college training in art, in addition to my dermatology training at the Cleveland Clinic, makes me uniquely suited to meeting the aesthetic needs of my patients.”

At Apex, we take pride in treating the whole family. Think of us first for your children’s skincare needs and also your own!


22 | Family Living at Its Best


Dr. Elizabeth Tracey is a medical and procedural dermatologist practicing at the Apex Dermatology in Westlake. Her dermatology residency at the Cleveland Clinic provided premier training in medical, pediatric, procedural, cosmetic, and laser dermatology. During residency, she researched high-risk skin cancer, authored a book chapter on melanoma, and led the department’s free clinic and community outreach. She spent a year working as a medical producer at the Dr. Oz Show, has authored many healthcare articles and was a regular guest on the podcast, Dermatology Weekly.





By Elena Epstein e’ve had fun at National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA) unboxing, testing and playing with lots of toys. And now, we’re bringing you the best of the best. We have something for everyone on your list — from books for a kinder world, toys focused on creative play and learning, games for family night, cuddly friends, outdoor time and baby fun. At NAPPA, we know the best memories are made through play and family time spent together. That’s why we have been celebrating the best family products for the past 30 years.

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Books for a Kinder World 1. JAMBO BOOKS

A boxful of children’s books featuring characters of color. Members receive two to three books each month that feature diverse children as the stars of their own stories. Starting at $34.99, ages birth-13,


THE WORLD A HAPPIER PLACE! 125 KIND THINGS TO SAY & DO With joyful illustrations and kid-friendly writing, this idea book serves as a delightful collection of 125 concrete activities empowering kids to make the world a kinder place. $12.95, 5 and older,


AND OPA MAKE MUSIC When both grandpas visit at the same time, they can’t understand each other’s language and there is a lot of silence. The grandson’s clever thinking helps find a way for everyone to share the day together as two cultures become one family. $14.99, ages 4-8 years,


Turns out the world’s greatest champions of civil liberties have relatable interests and problems — often in the middle of extraordinary circumstances. $13.95, ages 9-12,


MAKING A DIFFERENCE This book offers young readers a lot of ideas on how to spark change. Includes quizzes, tips and inspiration from real girls. $12.99, ages 10 and older,


FEAST! 44 RECIPES THAT CELEBRATE THE WORLD’S CULTURES A book with step-by-step photography featuring children from a wide range of backgrounds preparing dishes that reflect their unique food traditions. Includes a pop-out food passport, world language flash cards and flag stickers. $18.95, ages 8+,

Unbox the Surprises 13.

ITTY BITTY PRETTYS GIANT TEACUP PLAYSET A squad of collectible fashion-forward, tea-loving, friendship-fostering characters of all backgrounds with over 25 surprises that come together for the ultimate par-tea. $29.99, ages 4+,


THE ANIMAL An unboxing truck where The Animal can claw and climb over anything in its way — including its own box. The Animal transforms from a powerful 4×4 truck to beast. It can be placed back inside its box and the entire unboxing can be repeated over and over again. $39.99, ages 4+,


RAINBOW JELLIES Create your own collection of squishy characters. Inside the cloud full of surprises, reveal and select a sweet face, tuft of floofy hair and magic goo. $19.99, ages 6+,


HAIRDORABLES HAIR ART SERIES Customize their “Big Hair Don’t Care” attitudes with the name barrette featuring a printed hair art extension. Collect all new dolls, including the ultra-rare Kat Mascot. $12.99, ages 3+,


RYAN’S WORLD MYSTERY SPY VAULT Go on a secret spy mission with this large surprise-filled vault and

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Riley is Papa’s princess and Daddy’s dragon. She loves her two fathers! When Riley’s classmate asks her which dad is her real one, Riley is confused. She doesn’t want to have to pick one or the other. Families are made of love in this heartwarming story that shows there are lots of ways to be part of one. $14.99, ages 4-8,


Ravi never minded being the smallest in the family, until one day he runs into a lot of frustrations and can’t control his temper. Along the way he finds something very important about voicing his feelings. $17.99, ages 3-6,

9. A WAY WITH WILD THINGS A beautiful story celebrating the shy and introverted kids among us, as well as the other small creatures to be found if we look closely enough. $17.99, ages 3-6,

discover Ryan’s World-inspired surprises inside. $39.99, ages 3+,


RAINBOCORNS BIG HAIR SURPRISE This toy offers over 30 hair-mazing surprises and three exclusive characters with fun and wacky hairstyles. $49.99, ages 3+,


RAVEL TALES Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime with this innovative children’s DIY collectible. Unwind your yarn ball to uncover 12 surprises along the way. Children can create three charm bracelets, one pet collar, two pom poms and a pillow pet bed. $9.99, ages 5+,




SMASHERS DINO ICE AGE SURPRISE Smash, fizz, build and battle. The giant blue dino egg comes with over 25 different icy surprises


From the New York Times bestselling author of “A Dog’s Purpose” comes a new chapter book series for young readers. There’s no dog quite like Lily, a rescue dog who rescues other animals. $5.99, ages 7-10,


BRAM’S SKINNAMARINK Based on the classic folk song made famous by a beloved trio of children’s entertainers, this picture book is best sung aloud! A timeless anthem of love and inclusion. $17.99, 12 months and older,


HELLO FRIEND A fun, bouncy bilingual song from 123 Andrés’ Grammy Award-winning album, now brought to life in a whole new way that’s perfect for story time sharing. $8.99, 12 months and older,

inside. Follow the arctic scratch map through different ice-agethemed compounds to uncover each piece of your Smash-OSaur. $24.99, ages 4+,


HATCHIMALS PIXIES RIDERS Featuring fluttery wings, poseable heads and legs, these toys come with a matching Glider they can really ride! $14.99, ages 5+,


BLUME RAINBOW SURPRISE SPARKLE PLAYSET Discover 25-plus surprises and the magical power of rainbow rain with this friendship set. $19.99, ages 3+,


TWISTY GIRLZ Transform them from stylish girls to a trendy bracelet and back again. Each toy comes with a hidden pet that transforms into an adorable ring. $9.99, ages 4+,


Imaginative Play



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FAILFIX Take over the makeover and create head-to-toe transformations. Comes with a new outfit, face and hair tools. Dolls available in diverse styles and body types. $19.99, ages 6+,


POWER TREADS All-surface vehicles that flip, rip and roam all around. Create your own custom course using the modular track set, level up by adding household items for your vehicles to power over, under and through. $24.99, ages 5-8,


REAL-ACTION FIRE ENGINE Features a ladder that extends to over 2 feet high and rotates a full 360 degrees, a retractable fire hose and more. The truck opens to reveal an exciting command center with all kinds of authentic details built right in — from a radio and a computer to tools and gear. $49.99, ages 3+,


SQUEAKEE THE BALLOON DOG An interactive balloon pet that’s part dog, part balloon. Bursts with personality with over 60 sounds and movements — barking, sitting and scooting. Includes multiple touch sensors and responds to voice commands. $59.99, ages 5 and older,


DISNEY JUNIOR DOC MCSTUFFINS WASH YOUR HANDS SINGING DOLL, WITH MASK & ACCESSORIES Press Doc’s stethoscope to activate and she sings and says some of her iconic phrases. Standing 11 inches tall and dressed in her classic doctor’s outfit, Doc comes with a face mask, doctor’s bag, pretend stethoscope, thermometer and otoscope to help her care for her patients. $24.99, ages 3 and older,


MY FAIRY GARDEN FAIRY LIGHT GARDEN A toy that’s also a real, live garden, it features a charming fairy house that lights up like magic, an area to grow plants and a small pond with a working water wheel. $29.99, ages 4 and older,


VETERINARIAN PRACTICE WITH PETS All the animal patients are lovingly treated and nursed back to health in this detailed playset with all the needed equipment and medications and a super clever vet. $59.99, ages 3 and older,


MEALTIME MAGIC Maya is an expressive and lifelike feeding baby doll that recognizes and reacts to the foods you feed her, with over 70 sounds and phrases. $59.99, ages 4 and older,


MONSTER JAM MEGALODON STORM A remote control vehicle that can dominate water and attack land. Conquer any terrain – water, dirt, rock, snow and perform 360 degree spins and wheelies. $49.99, ages 4 and older,


WHATSITSFACE Feeling happy, sad, surprised, amused, angry or sleepy can all happen with a twist of a knob or a flip of a face. Helps build empathy skills. $24.99, all ages,


LITTLE LIVE PETS GOTTA GO FLAMINGO Kids can feed a potty-trained flamingo, Sherbert, and he wiggles his neck. When he sings the “Uh Oh, Gotta Go!” jingle, grab the included potty to catch his squishy, neon poop, which is reusable. $29.99, ages 4+,


BRIO BUILDER RECORD & PLAY SET Build cool new toys, record your own sounds, then listen to them as you play with this 67-piece play set. $39.99, ages 2+,


PAW PATROL ULTIMATE POLICE CRUISER This toy features a Chase figure, lights and sounds and includes four mini vehicles, a dual motorcycle launcher and helicopter with motorized propellers for the ultimate rescue. $79.99, ages 3+,


GET CREATIVE Cool Maker Hollywood Hair DIY studio that lets you design your own hair extensions. Load the hair ribbon, press the button and watch as it magically transforms into a cute hair extension. Comes with a curler and spray bottle. $24.99, ages 8+,


DOUGH PARLOUR DELUXE BUILD-YOUR-OWN GIFT BOX Premium, 100 percent nontoxic, fruity-scented, handcrafted modelling dough that arrives in a whimsical gift box. Select your own scents, colors and educational tools and accessories, to allow for an exciting, sensory play experience. $60, ages 2+,


DINOMAZING EGG DECORATOR Explore your inner paleontologist with this dynamic craft kit that’s two activities in one. Decorate and then crack open the shell to discover a surprise collectible covered in colored slime. $25.99, ages 3+,


KINETIC SAND SANDWHIRLZ PLAYSET Use the Sandwhirlz tool to reveal the surprise shape and flow of Kinetic Sand. Inspired by the drop and squish play pattern, reload the cylinders again and again for endless play. $19.99, for all ages,


SPIROGRAPH SCRATCH & SHIMMER Create amazing art in a whole new way. The glitter gears and wheels can be used with your own pens and markers on regular drawing paper, as well. $19.99, ages 8+,


PIXEL STARS DREAMHOUSE A virtual dollhouse that lets you build, decorate and customize your world! Become a Celebrity Chef, Street Style Fashionista or Social Media Star as you customize your outfit, style your hair, decorate your house, adopt a pet, and much more! $29.99, ages 6+,


KIDIZOOM CREATOR CAM Create awesome videos with this high-definition video camera kit. Use the included green screen and 20+ animated backgrounds to get chased by a T-Rex, go to outer space or make yourself disappear! $59.99, ages 5+,


CHOCOLATE PEN Write, draw and add your chocolatey touches to fruit, cookies, or anything else your sweet tooth desires! These DIY creations harden in minutes. $29.99, ages 6+,

45. HUE ANIMATION STUDIO Create your own stop-motion animation videos — whether you’re making a Lego brick film, animating in claymation or capturing a flower bloom using time-lapse photography — bring anything to life in minutes with the easy-touse software. $69.95, grades K-12, 46.

ETCH A SKETCH REVOLUTION Classic fun with a new twist — a magical spinning screen that allows you to draw circles. $9.99, all ages,

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Fun and Learning




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OCTOBO, THE TECH TOY THAT TEACHES Storytelling meets creative technology with this character-based play platform that transforms screen time into customized, active play time with lovable interactive plush toys. Filled with games, stories and learning adventures. $139, ages birth-7,


ROYBI ROBOT Sleek and adorable with over 500 lessons, including language learning, basic STEM, stories, games and songs with the power of AI. $199.95, ages 3+,


ROBO WUNDERKIND EXPLORER PRIME KIT Empower kids to learn to code through the joy of play. Young inventors can build their own robots and gadgets, customize them with Lego bricks and program them through intuitive apps. $249, ages 5+,


EARLY LEARNING CENTRE LITTLE SENSES LIGHTS AND SOUNDS SHAPE SORTER Bursting with lights, sounds and music to make learning fun. $24.99, ages 6 months+,


DIY MUSIC MAKER SCIENCE LAB Explore the science of pitch, vibration and acoustics while making a box guitar, pan flute and ocean drum. Fun music and sound concepts come to life within a 36-page, illustrated storybook and activity guide. $34.99, ages 5+,


SQUISHY WATER BEADS SCIENCE LAB Learn about the characteristics of gases, liquids and solids while creating a squishy stress ball, a scented mini mood lamp, and a calming mood tube. $34.99, ages 5+,

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JIGGLE & GIGGLE FISHING SET Cast your line into a sea of play and learning. The smart bobber recognizes each sea creature you catch, triggering a unique response with songs and phrases as kids learn about animals, colors and numbers. $24.99, ages 2-5,


PAPER FLOWER SCIENCE LAB KIT Watch color bloom before your eyes using the magic of physics and capillary action as you learn about the science of water “wicking.” Includes 12 flowers that can “re-wick” color over to change their look and design. $19.99, ages 7+,


BUENOS DÍAS – SPANISH LEARNING SONGS A celebration of the vibrant music, language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. Irresistible salsa, merengue, flamenco, reggae and Andean rhythms encourage kids to sing along as they learn traditional foods, animals, songs, instruments and more. $14.99 (CD), $9.99 (download), all ages,


TELLY JR. TEACHING TIME CLOCK Learn to tell both analog and digital time using two learning modes. $27.99, ages 3+,


HIGH CONTRAST BABY PACK A whimsical collection of seven high-contrast cards and two books that support a child’s development from the earliest weeks of life. $16.99, ages birth and older,

BACK TO THE FUTURE: DICE THROUGH TIME It’s up to you to help Doc and Marty repair the spacetime continuum before time paradoxes unravel the very fabric of the universe. Jump in your time machine, complete events, return items, and help restore temporal order. $29.99, ages 10+,


TRAILZ A light-hearted take on a strategy game where teams of shrooms and slugs face off to outsmart and outmaneuver each other. $14.99, ages 7+,


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CHERISH BABY HANDPRINT KEEPSAKE ORNAMENT Capture sweet memories with this kit that comes with everything you need. Made with food-grade clay, safe for newborns. $23.96,


ELOISE THE ELEPHANT This knit with a luxe marl grey yarn has the sweetest baby trunk and little tasseled tail. Each doll sold provides 10 meals to children in need. $68+, ages birth and older,


MAGICAL TALES BLACK AND WHITE GYMINI Bring the fun for baby anywhere. Each mat comes with a developmental guide to better stimulate baby’s innate desire to explore. $47.99, ages birth-6 months,


INNYBIN A unique and frustration-free introduction to shape learning. Each chunky shape block has different textures to promote exploration. $24.95, ages 10 months+,


DISNEY HOCUS POCUS: THE GAME Work together to stop the Sanderson sisters from draining the lives of Salem’s children by ruining their potion before the sun rises. $19.99, ages 8+,


BUILDZI The fast-stacking, nerve-racking, block-building game! $24.95, ages 6+,


MARVEL VILLAINOUS: INFINITE POWER Dominate the Marvel universe as an iconic comic book villain! Three different game modes allow players to scale the difficulty of their game. Specialty cards add to each villain’s ability. $34.99, ages 12+,


THE RANK GAME BY STORYASTIC A super-fun game about you and your people — and your likes and dislikes. $29.99, ages 8+,


GEMZ! THREE CORNER CARD GAME Gem-collecting, bling-building fun! Minimal words makes play easy for early and nonreaders. Action cards swing momentum and the swap card brings surprises. Part of a series of card games for different ages. $9.99, ages 4+,


DRONE HOME Launch aliens down the ramps, racing to land inside the drone so they can fly home. Watch out — there’s a delay once you make it in, so others can knock you out. $19.99, ages 8+,


CONTINENT RACE GAME A fun family game featuring the national flags of countries throughout the world. The first player to collect the required number of country cards wins the game. Great for game night or as a resource for virtual learners and homeschoolers, $34.48 ages 7+,


ARTSY FARTSY From dragons to dog farts, not much is off limits in this fast-paced, hilarious game where you draw, guess and steal clues. $24.99, ages 10+,


ICE TUMBLE Players take turns rolling the die and collecting ice blocks. The objective is to stack the blocks carefully to make an ice sculpture without any tumbling off. The blocks are slippery, so be careful or the sculpture may come tumbling down! $36, ages 7+,


ESCAPE THE ROOM: THE CURSED DOLLHOUSE An immersive Escape Room experience in your own home! Explore a mysterious three-dimensional Doll House, solving puzzles in search of a way out. $42.99, ages 13+,


PURRFECT COUNTING PURSE This soft, multitextured fabric cat purse comes with loads of personality, accessories and learning content. Learn, pretend and music modes add playful variety to learning numbers, colors and shapes. $19.99, ages 6 months+,

SVOLTA ACE 2-IN-1 SIT AND STAND SCOOTER This easy-to-ride sitting scooter easily converts to a stable 3-wheel scooter by snapping the seat in the front holders. $108, ages 1-5,


MICRO MAXI DELUXE A smooth-gliding, three-wheeled scooter with a lean-to-steer design that offers a stable ride that supports children as they curve and carve the sidewalk. Adjustable handlebar grows with your child. $139.99, ages 5-12,


YOUNG EXPLORERS ADVENTURE CLIMBER An indoor and outdoor play set that encourages children to use their imaginations while engaging in active play. $219.99, ages 1-6,


GLOBBER ONE K E-MOTION 4 This sleek and reliable electric scooter for kids delivers safe and intuitive rides and light-up front wheels. $199.99, ages 8+,

Give Cozy

KAI BEAR These super-soft teddy bears are sweet dreamers with their head in the clouds. They feature adorably oversized heads and embroidered paw pads. $20-$40, birth and older,

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PENGUIN 2-IN-1 PORTABLE NIGHT LIGHT Add a touch of whimsy to your nursery with this light that will grow with your baby. Kids can carry the egg with them during nighttime visits to the bathroom or when they get older use it to read under the covers. $52.59, ages birth and older,





Outdoor Fun

EVEREDEN SOOTHING BABY MASSAGE OIL Create a restorative ritual with this boost of superfood moisture to nourish and soothe baby’s delicate skin. Made with only five ingredients that are all natural and organic. This plant-based baby line includes shampoos and lotions. $16, birth and older,


THE LULLA DOLL A sleep companion for preemies, babies and kids, providing the soothing sounds of real-life breathing and heartbeats. $49, birth and older,


KORI 2-IN-1 ROCKER This baby seat has a modern design and is lightweight, supportive and easy to adjust from stationary to rocking. Machine-washable fabric makes for easy cleaning. $119.99, up to 20 pounds,


CRUZ V2 BY UPPABABY This stroller’s streamlined design gives you more without weighing you down. It features a reversible toddler seat, one-handed recline, extendable, UPF 50+ zip-out canopy, adjustable leather handlebar, extra-large and easy-access basket and one-step fold for easy storage. $649.99, birth and older,


THE FIRST YEARS FINGER FOOD PLACEMAT This 100 percent silicone placemat features wavy grooves that let little fingers grasp food for easier self-feeding. It’s designed to fit on most standard highchairs or can be used right at the table. $9.99, ages 9 months and older,

COZYGANOOSH FOR MESA These ultra-plush covers provide coverage and warmth when strolling or transporting a child in inclement weather. $59.99, ages birth and up to 32 inches in height,


MIGHTLY ORGANIC COTTON “NO NASTIES” PAJAMA SETS Artist-designed and ethically-produced toddler and kids PJs made with organic cotton. They’re super soft and stretchy. $29.95, sizes 2T to 14,


KIDS’ COFFEE BEAN SHIMMER DOWN JACKET Warm, cozy and stylish, made with particles of carbonized ground coffee, which give the fibers better heat storage and antistatic properties, the two-in-one jacket can be worn as a vest and turned into a winter jacket by adding the sleeves. $134.95, sizes 4T-14,


JJ COLE AGILITY FLEX STRETCH CARRIER Slips on like your favorite T-shirt with no complicated wrapping required and in a one-size-fits-most design that can easily be swapped between parents. Features comfortable stretch fabric with adjustable straps for a great fit and comfort. $39.99,


ZUTANO BOOTIES Soft, comfy and designed to stay on even the most wiggly little feet. $21-$25, ages birth-24 months,

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Fun with Friends




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HEALTHY ROOTS DOLLS Meet Zoe, who has learned to love her hair, specially designed with curl power that allows it to be washed and styled with real products. She wants all kids to love their curls too. $79.99, ages 6 and older,




COURTNEY DOLL, BOOK AND ACCESSORIES An avid gamer growing up with her blended family in 1986. She’s a total ‘80s girl whose big, bright and bold ideas inspire today’s girls to find their inner hero. $140, ages 8 and older,


BATMAN LAUNCH AND DEFEND REMOTE CONTROL BATMOBILE Race your Batmobile around Gotham City and launch Batman into action with a push of a button. This iconic vehicle comes with an exclusive 4-inch Batman figure. $39.99, ages 5 and older,

28 | Family Living at Its Best


97. UNDER-THE-SEA MERMAID PALACE Splash into an undersea adventure with enchanting features on every side so the 3 poseable mermaids can sit in the royal throne, whoosh down the slides and so much more. $49.99, ages 3+, PJ MASKS ROMEO’S FLYING FACTORY PLAYSET It can really roll and opens to reveal a secret lair. Includes a lights and sounds control panel, working crane, laser launcher, drone and two of Romeo’s greatest gadgets, The Squashatron & The Sniff-O-Whiff! $44.99, ages 3+,


BLUE’S CLUES & YOU! DANCE-ALONG BLUE PLUSH This plush includes Josh’s Handy Dandy Guitar as a controller. Press the button on the guitar for sounds and motion. Blue dances along to the music, moving her head and lifting her ears and paw up and down. $49.99, ages 3+,


GO! GO! CORY CARSON CORY’S STAY & PLAY HOME Kids can explore every room with mini characters in this 360-degree playset. Built just for cars with a pretend bathtub car wash complete with scrub brush, ramps and more. Place any SmartPoint character (sold separately) on the SmartPoint location to hear them talk, play music and light up. $39.99, ages 2 and older,


PETS ALIVE FIFI THE FLOSSING SLOTH Get ready to floss like a boss. Mimicking one of the most iconic dances of the decade, Fifi’s hilarious floss movements, cute blinking eyes and butt wiggle are sure to get everyone up dancing. $24.99, ages 3 and older,


TONIES Screen-less and adorable audio entertainment system full of stories and songs. Comes to life when paired with one of the Tonies characters, including Disney favorites and Creative Tonies to personalize your recordings. $99.99/starter kit, additional tonies available from $11.99$14.99, ages: 3-5,


THE LITTLE MERMAID TUBBY TIME Make bath time playful with this shape-matching, storytelling game combined with fun puzzle play. $14.99, ages 3+, amazon. com/60001870/dp/B086B7JDWY

Elena Epstein is director of the National Parenting Product Awards. For more product reviews, visit

J O I N U S F O R H O L I DAY F E S T I V I T I E S ! Nights of Lights | Music & Lights Show • 5–9PM every night Menorah Lighting • every night December 10–18 at 5:30PM Shop the best national, local and emerging brands. Dine at an award-winning selection of chef-driven restaurants and specialty eateries. Enjoy incredible year-round entertainment venues.

+ on-site

fi t n e s s s t u d i o s a n d h o t e l a c c o m m o d a t i o n s

3 Palms Pizzeria • AC Hotel by Marriott • Apricot Lane • Bibibop Asian Grill • Blackbird Fly • Brighton The Candle Studio • Casper (coming soon) • Citizen Yoga • Club Pilates • Color Me Mine • Condado Tacos Duck Donuts • Eye Candy Optical • Fabletics (now open!) • Firebirds Wood Fired Grill • First Watch Graeter’s Ice Cream • Homage • Indochino • j. bellezza • J.Crew • Laura of Pembroke • Luxe Redux Bridal

Madewell (opening 2021) • Next Door Eatery • NG Collective • Oak & Embers Tavern • Orangetheory Fitness Outfitters • Peloton • Pinstripes • Pottery Barn • Red, the Steakhouse • REI • Restore Cold Pressed Saucy Brew Works • Sephora • Shake Shack • Silverspot Cinema • Tailored Epiphany • TD Ameritrade UNTUCKit • Urban Outfitters • Verizon • Vineyard Vines • Warby Parker • West Elm • Whole Foods Market Williams Sonoma • Woodhouse Day Spa • Zen Nail Spa

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Holiday Event Listings


Leave the World Behind and Visit Castle Noel. Santa will be onsite with the magic of Mark Klaus. Featuring personal, interactive moments with Santa to lift your heart. It’s all captured live. Alien Vacation Mini Golf is open. New for 2020, The Polar Bear Club, an immersive environment for adults. Castle Noel, 260 S. Court St., Medina,


Deck the Hollow Holiday Lights. Join Stark Parks this holiday for a lighted walk at Quail Hollow Park to safely ring in the season with decorated trees, lights, and festive music. Kids can drop off their letters to Santa and watch a message from Saint Nick himself — directly from the North Pole. 13480 Congress Lake Ave., Hartville,

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these events are subject to change. Please check with venues before attending an event to ensure times and availability are valid and to understand health guidelines. Please follow state guidelines, including wearing face coverings, maintaining 6 feet apart from others and washing hands. Visit for more upcoming events.


Tween Take and Make: Holiday Decorations. Craft instructions will go live with a link to the YouTube video when it’s time to pick up the supplies. Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd., 440933-8128,


Santa Returns to SouthPark Mall. Santa will be meeting children and families in a safe, contactless way. Reservations are strongly encouraged with walk-up visits available as space allows throughout the day. SouthPark Mall, 500 SouthPark Center, Strongsville,

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Santa’s Village. Drop off your letters to Santa and take your holiday photos. Check out pet photos with Santa, Holiday Express, Tree Garden and more. Crocker Park, 189 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake,


Holiday Nights. Discover dazzling festive displays and awaken your senses as you wander through the enchanted gardens. Get creative with a fun makeand-take craft in Santa’s workshop and spread Christmas joy at the elf dance party. Fridays and Saturdays 5-9 p.m. Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, 11929 Beech St. NE, Alliance,


Holiday Lights Cruise-Thru. Drive-thru family event. Please bring one nonperishable food item to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Carlisle Reservation Equestrian Center, 13630 Diagonal Road, LaGrange, Wild Winter Lights. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is again transforming into a winter wonderland this holiday season. Experience the all-new lighting display, with more than one million individual lights and unique twists on holiday traditions. Thursdays-Sundays. 5:30-9:30 p.m. 3900 Wildlife Way, 216-6353391,


Wild Lights. Come enjoy the wildest lighting display this holiday season. Nearly the entire zoo is decorated and several animals will be out. 5-9 p.m. Akron Zoo, 505 Euclid Ave., Akron, 330-375-2550,

Deck the Hall. Come see the estate illuminated inside and out with over one million lights with the Manor House interiors decorated to reflect the theme of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 N. Portage Path, Akron, 330-863-5533,


Bethlehem Hills Christmas Light Park. The magic and wonder of the Christmas season is captured at this new 1.25-mile drive-through park on 240 acres featuring 40 spectacular light displays. Berkshire Hills Golf Course, 9760 Mayfield Road, Chesterland, 440-862-4735,


Winter Wonderland. Both the inside and outside mall will be decorated with beautiful artwork made by Monarch’s students using inspiration from winter animals and imagery. Eton Chagrin Blvd., 28601 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere,

The Rink at Wade Oval. Lace up your skates and enjoy the fresh ice on picturesque Wade Oval. 10820 East Blvd., Cleveland,


Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides. Step into a vintage white carriage and take a ride through the beautiful Gervasi estate. 5-8 p.m. 1700 55th St. NE, Canton,

DAY-BY-DAY 12/1-15

The Magical Santa Experience. Personalized video invitation from Santa’s head elf, a private Zoom conversation with Santa, plus an old fashioned letter mailed to your kids from St. Nick. Magical Theatre Co., 565 W. Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton, 330-848-3708,

Magic of Lights. Drive through and enjoy more than one million holiday lights stretched across a one-plusmile pathway, including fan-favorite light displays such as the Enchanting Tunnel of Lights, Candyland, 12 Days of Christmas and other holiday characters. 5:30-10 p.m. Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 19201 E. Bagley Road, Middleburg Heights,


Gingerbread Journey. With gingerbread people as your guides, journey through the woods along the Nature Trail to learn how gingerbread cookies and cakes are made. Susan Hambley Nature Center, 1473 Parschen Blvd., Brunswick, 330-7229364, Winterfest. This year’s event is tailored to the latest health and safety guidelines with virtual and in-person events and activities to get into the holiday spirit. Cleveland Public Square, 50 Public Square Suite 1700, Snowland Celebration. Daily snow showers in the Grand Lobby, seasonally themed crafts, festive stories and songs and new this year: a Cocoa Trolley. Enjoy the waterpark, dance parties and more. Great Wolf Lodge, 4600 Milan Rd (U.S. Route 250), Sandusky,, 800-641-9653


The Tree of Remembrance. Stop by and hang a weatherproof ornament on our tree in memory of a loved one. Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home, 8466 Mentor Avenue, Mentor, 440-255-3401,


Winter Riverfest. New holiday event along the Cuyahoga River in The Flats will feature synthetic ice skating, festive light displays, a beer garden, fire pits, retail shop and igloo village at Merwin’s Wharf. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

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Holiday Event Listings


Country Lights Drive-Thru. Experience some new and some familiar lighting displays throughout the Farmpark as you enjoy the festivities from the warmth of your own vehicles. 5-9 p.m. Lake Metroparks Farmpark, 8800 Euclid Chardon Road, Kirtland, 440-256-2122,

12/2, 6, 9, 13 & 16

Santa Nights. Visit with Santa Claus from the comfort of your car at this drive-thru holiday event. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Lakeview Park, 1800 West Erie Ave., Lorain,

12/3, 10-12 & 17

Magic on Main Street. Enjoy Christmas music courtesy of Wadsworth Community Radio, luminary-lined sidewalks, horse and carriage rides, a North Pole Mailbox and much more. Main Street Wadsworth,


Home For The Holidays. Jingles the elf is searching for a promotion at the North Pole. She will help our cast earn “Nice” points by having them share holiday memories and familiar melodies like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Where Are You, Christmas?” and many more. The Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, 440-951-7500,


Holiday Card Making. Create homemade nature-themed holiday cards to spread some cheer this season. 6:30-8 p.m. F. A. Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Road, Akron, 330-865-8065,

32 Family Living Living at at Its Its Best Best 32 || Family

12/4, 11-12 & 18

Miller Woods Holiday Express. A special ride on the Little Green Choo through the woods to Santa’s workshop. Enjoy the lighted displays, sounds of the season and possibly a glimpse of the man in red. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Miller Nature Preserve, 2739 Center Road, Avon,


Holiday Lantern Tours. Take a lantern-lit tour of the village and visit historic homes, bustling with holiday preparations. Experience the sights and sounds of the season through a series of charming holiday vignettes. Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Rd., Bath, 330-666-3711,


Old-Fashioned Christmas. Meet Santa and recapture the simple joys of the holiday season with live music throughout the store, delicious Christmas treats, simple crafts to make your season bright and wonderful holiday shopping. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Lehman’s, 4779 Kidron Road, Dalton, Festival of Lights. Kent’s winter wonderland will include a visit from Santa, the Dickens Carolers, horse-drawn wagon rides, extended business hours and more. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Hometown Bank Plaza, Gazebo and Main Street Bridge, Kent, Greens for Giving. Please register for a one-hour session at this annual event where you will help make evergreen decorations for Geauga County Department on Aging’s home-delivered meals for seniors. 9:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. Big Creek Park, Meyer Center, 9160 Robinson Rd., Chardon, 440-286-9516,


Holiday CircleFest. A free annual Circle-wide celebration with activities, entertainment and a procession led by community lantern artists, illuminated dancers and giant puppets. 1-7 p.m. Wade Oval, 10820 East Blvd., Cleveland, The Nutcracker At Home. A live-streamed celebration of holiday dance, music and fun specifically designed for families to enjoy whether together or apart. 3-4 p.m. Fairmount Center for the Arts, 440-338-3171, performances


Menorah Lighting. Celebrate the start of Hanukkah at Pinecrest. 1-271 & Harvard Road, Orange Village,

12/10-12 & 17-19

Scuba Claus is Coming to Town. See Scuba Claus dive in 230,000 gallons of water and ask him questions while he visits a porcupine pufferfish, green moray eel, goliath grouper and other aquatic friends. Greater Cleveland Aquarium, 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, 216-862-8803, greaterclevelandaquarium. com


It’s a Wonderful Life. An angel is sent from heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. Watch on Canton’s largest screen. 6:30 p.m. Canton Palace Theatre, 605 Market Ave. North, Canton,


Light Up Lakewood Reimagined. LakewoodAlive has creatively reimagined the most joyous of Lakewood traditions this year. They will be virtually connecting the community to safely bring the spirit of this beloved event to life with a mini-parade, lighting ceremony, story time, holiday craft and much more. lightuplakewood.


Help Keep the Cheer Here this Holiday Season! One thing everyone can agree on is that 2020 will be a year for the record books. But as we enter the holiday season, there is no better time to be thankful for our families, friends and the small businesses that make up each of our local communities. Hudson is proud to be home to more than 80 unique local shops, awardwinning restaurants and superior service businesses along Main Street, First & Main and throughout town.

Whether you are searching for the perfect gift for a loved one, in need of a quick bite to eat, or a full pre-ordered meal to make the holiday hustle easier, the Merchants of Hudson have everything you need this holiday season. Make it easy with call ahead ordering, online options and curbside pick-up offered at most local merchants. And, don’t forget gift cards are a great option for gift giving as well as to use after the holidays and provide a great boost for

local merchants right now. Whether it’s in person or online, our local businesses need your patronage now more than ever. Additionally, Hudson has created several fun, outdoor programs to encourage strolling through downtown. Details can be found at The members of the Merchants of Hudson invite you to shop, eat and support local this holiday

season as we work to “Keep the Cheer Here” for our small businesses and continue to safely share the experience of Hudson and all it has to offer.

Happy Holidays from your friends in Hudson!

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Holiday Event Listings


Menorah Lighting Ceremony. Family and friends are welcome to this special Hanukkah celebration, which will include traditional foods like latkes, jelly donuts, activities and much more. Free. 6-8 p.m. 28699 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere,


Virtual Christmas Origami. All you need is a few pieces of blank printer paper to follow along with us. You will learn to craft an ornament, a bar envelope, and a gift bow for the holidays. 4-5 p.m. Geauga County Public Library, geaugalibrary.libcal. com/event/7278996


Kwanzaa Celebration. Family Zoom program to celebrate African American culture and pride. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library,

12/17 & 19

Virtual Polar Express. Families are invited to join us virtually this year, live on Zoom, for this special holiday program of crafts, songs and story. Hudson Library & Historical Society,


Super Science Saturday: Christmas Physics. Come check out the study of energy and motion in this fun-filled celebration. 10:30 a.m. Akron Fossils & Science Center, 2080 S. Cleveland Massillon Road, Copley, 330-665-3466,

Christmas Bird Count. The Portage Park District is once again partnering with Hiram College for the annual Christmas Bird Count. If you are interested in assisting with the count, please email Jen at jcwhite@portage Gingerbread House Challenge. Do you have what it takes to create a sturdy edible house out of frosting and graham crackers? Join University Heights Branch Library on Zoom for a sticky sweet construction challenge. Ages 7 and up. Materials provided the week of the program.



The Exceptional Polar Express. For individuals with special needs and their families. Stop by this drive-thru event to enjoy “to-go” hot cocoa, drop a note for Santa, visit Bethlehem, tour the North Pole and more. Noon-2 p.m. St. Rita School, 33200 Baldwin Road, Solon, 440-248-1350,


Santa’s Wild Workshop For Kids with Sensory or Developmental Disabilities. Make a toy, ride the Wildwood Express, see outdoor displays, visit with Santa and decorate cookies. 6-8 p.m. Wildwood Cultural Center & Park, 7645 Little Mountain Road, Mentor, 440-974-5735, W-E Celebrate: Noon Year’s Eve. We’ll read, dance and watch the ball drop to celebrate the end of 2020. Take and make kits with some party essentials can be picked up at any of our four libraries starting the week of Dec. 14. 11 a.m. -12 p.m. Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library,


New Year’s Eve Nature Celebration. Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the new Veterans Legacy Woods with fun activities for all ages. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 14085 Ravenna Road, Newbury Twp., Noon Year’s Eve. Make a resolution to count down to the “noon” year during this daytime celebration of New Year’s Eve. Wear something festive and bring a noisemaker. Register to receive a Zoom link. 11:30 a.m.-12:05 p.m. Akron Public Library, Virtual New Year’s Eve Party. Listen to a story and learn how to make some fun crafts, such as a party hat, noise maker and popper. 11 a.m. -12 p.m. Wadsworth Public Library, Countdown-to-Noon Family Storytime. Join in on social media for a special New Year’s Eve family storytime featuring our favorite stories, songs and rhymes. 11:30 a.m.-noon. Westlake Porter Public Library, Happy Noon Year Party. Ages 3-10 celebrate on Zoom and enjoy music, games, dancing, snacks and of course…the ball drop. Get dressed up in your best attire and let the fun begin.11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Mentor Public Library,

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12/21-23 & 12/28-30

Camp Snow Cubs. A social developmental play skills camp filled with plenty of fun, adventure and activity for children ages 10-16. Includes activities that are playbased to help children develop better social relationships, all with a therapeutic approach. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Peak Potential Therapy, 7689 Sagamore Hills Blvd., Northfield,

12/21-23 & 12/28-1/1

Camp Curiosity Winter Break Camps. The Great Lakes Science Center has eight different themes for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade to choose from, featuring everything from engineering to chemistry, and physics to robots. 8:15 a.m.-4 p.m. 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, 216-694-2000,


Beck Center offers classes at the Lakewood campus, as well as online in dance, theater, visual arts, and private music lessons. Students of all ages and abilities learn as they create unique works of art, discover hidden talents, and have fun. We have something for every interest and every skill level. Looking for entertainment? Beck Center is streaming virtual productions! Please call 216-521-2540 x10 or visit for more details today.


When school’s out, The J’s in! Let your child spend their winter school vacation days with friends at the Mandel Jewish Community Center. Campers will participate in enriching activities that foster their creativity. Kids in kindergarten through sixth grade can enjoy camp favorites such as art, sports, ukulele, theater games and more. Plus, campers will swim every day in our indoor pool. The experienced staff will provide safe and social-distanced fun. The J is a state licensed childcare facility where mandated safety guidelines are observed. Choose one or two-week options for your camper. The J offers a 5% discount for siblings. 26001 S. Woodland Road Beachwood,

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Now in its 13th year, the Stop the Hate contest is comprised of two components: Youth Speak Out Essay Writing Contest and Youth Sing Out Songwriting Contest. Both celebrate Northeast Ohio students in sixth to 12th grade who are committed to creating a more S AND inclusive society by IZEaccepting, 0 IN PR ,00speaking standing$up and out against 100 , and bigotry as they ENTSbias TUDprestigious RtoSwin O F compete for the chance awards. S D R A AW OLS and with the help SCHOenter, Each year, aboutR3,000 students D N A , S TE ACHEreaders, 25 arning of 400 volunteer the Hate Le are named. Since the opfinalists our new St n tools on io e at or uc m ed n Lear bias contest started, more 30,000 students in 12 counties across free antissthan ce ac us pl rtal NortheastPoOhio have participated, and $1.2 million has been Digital Tour op the Hate Take a Stand awarded to students schools. es iti tiv ac l ith optiona Rooted in thew Jewish value of respect for all humanity, the hop with oom Works a Classrthat riting)to give young people gw Maltz Museum is proud it continues Book on (s ic erican Mus Roots of Am writing) of all faiths and backgrounds a platform to speak out in support ie Ink (essay or Lake Er of inclusion and diversity. t es nt co te op the Ha t) or th Sing Ou

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December 2020 -

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DECEMBER CAlenDAR Find more events at


ty Activi s Pick-Up


Take & Make - Paper Cocoa Mug. Make your very own paper cocoa mug to help you feel cozy as winter nears. Stop in to pick up the supplies. Middleburg Heights Branch Library, 15600 E. Bagley Road, 440-2343600,

Pick - a - DAY MONDAYS

Mental Health Mondays. We want to make sure you’re feeling OK (and it’s OK not to feel OK right now). Lisa Goodwin from LCADA will help you through anything you have going on. 3-4 p.m. Through 12/14. Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd., 440933-8128,


Artpocalypse. Get fun and colorful craft ideas with Mr. Josh from Mentor Public Library’s Headlands Branch. Noon. Can be viewed on the library’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, or at mentorpl. org/artpocalypse


Kindergarten Readiness Home Activity Series. Activity packets available for pick up while supplies last. Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, 3512 Darrow Road, 330-688-3295,

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these events are subject to change. Please check with venues before attending an event to ensure times and availability are valid and to understand health guidelines. Please follow state guidelines, including wearing face coverings, maintaining 6 feet apart from others and washing hands. Please visit for more upcoming events.


Express Yourself Youth Art Workshops. Let your voice be heard and tell your story through art. These virtual workshops are for you, whether you’re a beginner or ready to take your art to the next level. 4:15-5:15 p.m. Through 12/17. Cleveland Public Library,


Got Science? Students in grades 1 and 2 are invited to learn about Newton’s Law of Motion. Through 12/11. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, 440-871-2600,


Caturday. Meet adoptable cats and kittens. 12/12 & 12/26, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. North Canton Public Library, 185 N. Main St., 330-499-4712,


Kinder Club. Pick up your Kinder Club packet on or after Dec. 28. Each bag will contain multiple early literacy concepts that will be featured weekly on the library’s Kinder Club blog. Ages 4-6. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, 440-871-2600,

day - by - DAY 12/1

Something Russian Food Drive-thru. Featuring some of your Russian food favorites. Order your meal in advance, then drive up to get it on that day. 4:30pm6:30pm. 755 S. Cleveland Ave., Mogodore,


Watercolor Postcards for Kids. Register to receive everything you need to make two wintery watercolor postcards via the library on YouTube. 6-6:30 p.m. Twinsburg Public Library, 10050 Ravenna Road, 330-425-4268,

✱ Submit Your Event to Us!

38 | Family Living at Its Best


Puzzle Drive. Drop off some puzzles to be added to a library puzzle exchange on Dec. 12. 9 a.m. Reed Memorial Library, 167 E. Main St., Ravenna, 330-2962827,


Hound Hike. Parade through the park with your favorite pooch by your side. 1-2:30 p.m. Frohring Meadows, 16780 Savage Road, Bainbridge Township,

12/7 & 1/11

Virtual Nature Story Time: Feathered Friends. Children ages 3 ½-7 with an adult are invited to join Zoom to read a story. The characters in the stories teach us that there are many different ways to get to know the birds in your neighborhood. 4:30-5 p.m. The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes,


Never Melting Snowman. Make a 3D snowman using starch and string. Fun, hands-on project via Zoom. 5-6 p.m. Cuyahoga Falls Library,


Grandparenting Today. Join a lively discussion from your home for grandparents-to-be and new grandparents about the changes in birthing and infant-care practices. Fairview Hospital Wellness Center, 2025 Wooster Rd., Rocky River, events.


Virtual Nature Drawing for Teens. Join an interpretive artist for a lesson in nature drawing. A computer, sketchbooks, pencils and a good attitude are the only requirements. Noon-1 p.m. Summit Metro Parks, Virtual Family Day: Play with Art. Use your creativity and imagination to make playful creations. Make toys and other amusing artworks using simple materials. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Akron Art Museum,

12/12 & 1/9

Virtual Fam Jam. Featuring music education activities curated by the Rock Hall’s award-winning education team, live performances from The Beck Center for the Arts, crafts with The Children’s Museum of Cleveland and story time with The Cleveland Public Library, each virtual variety hour event is jam-packed with engaging content for kids of all ages. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,


Family Food For Thought. Explore the basics of understanding how recipes work via this Zoom program. 4-5 p.m. Lorain Public Library, Virtual Vittles Zoom Cooking Class for Kids. Learn how to make some tasty, no-bake treats. 4-4:30 p.m. Mentor Public Library,


Family Stroller Winter Walk. Stroll the beautiful streets of University Heights. Masks are required for everyone over the age of two. 6-7 p.m. University Heights Branch Library, 13866 Cedar Road, 216-932-3600, Winter Wanderers: Coyotes and Foxes. Tune in to see what they are up to and how you can find signs of them. 6-6:30 p.m. Stark Parks, Math & Science Tutoring. Need some personalized help learning math or science? Sign up for a virtual tutoring session. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Medina County District Library,


Stories & STEAM. Join in for a short virtual storytime. Stories and science, tech, engineering, art and math for grades K-2 via Facebook and YouTube. 4-4:15 p.m. Morley Library,


Family Fun for the Birds. Learn about winter birds, make a pinecone feeder, hand-feed a chickadee and warm up at the campfire. Social distancing will be the order of the day, with four 45-minute time slots available (10 & 11 a.m., 12:30 & 1:30 p.m.). F. A. Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Road, Akron, 330-8658065,

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Candle Light on the Longest Nights. Register for a time slot to drop by and enjoy a self-guided walk along a beautiful, candlelit trail through the forest while discovering cultural traditions associated with the Winter Solstice. 6-8 p.m. & 8-10 p.m. The West Woods, 9465 Kinsman Rd., Russell, 440-286-9516,



Natural Discoveries Hiking Series: Industrious Animals. Our animals are constantly building, even during winter. On this hike, look for signs and examples of these industrious animals at work. 3-4 p.m. Wolf Creek Environmental Center, 6100 Ridge Road, Sharon Center,


Teen Physics: Think Like a Scientist. Teens will get the chance to practice solving problems and explaining real world observations. There will be a practical application with experiments, robots, puzzles and more. 4-5:30 p.m. Reed Memorial Library, 167 E. Main St., Ravenna, 330-296-2827,



Storybook Explorers: Evergreens. Preschoolers with an adult are invited to hike to the Children’s Nature Discovery Trail where we will read a story about evergreen trees then we will hike the trail looking for pines, firs and hemlocks. 10-10:45 a.m. Carlisle Reservation, 12882 Diagonal Road, LaGrange,


Flight. A social skills group that offers different interventions to meet each child’s specific needs and can serve as an alternative for preschool/kindergarten. 9:30 a.m.-noon. Reaching New Heights, 6960 S. Edgerton, Brecksville, 440-241-8366,


Adaptive Hip Hop Class. Age appropriate and adaptable for any ability. Meets in-person and virtually. Ages 7 and up. 4-4:45 p.m. Beyond Words Music & Dance Center, 6048 Royalton Road, North Royalton,


Move It, Groove It. A virtual exercise class designed by board-certified music therapists that joins the power of music with purposeful movement for people of all abilities. Ages 12 and up. Beginning Jan. 7. The Groovy Garfoose, 440-252-2822, Sib’s Support Club. For children who have a sibling with special needs where they can gain peer support and participate in fun, social activities. Third Thursday of each month. Boys meet 4:15-5:15 p.m. and girls meet 5:30-7 p.m. Friendship Circle, 27900 Gates Mills Blvd., Pepper Pike,


Virtual Music Therapy & More. Virtual hands-on program designed to teach families how to use music to improve their child’s academic, motor, communication and social skills as well as behavior. 10:30-11 a.m. Connecting for Kids,

12/5 & 1/9

The KIDnections Group Virtual Cooking Class. Anyone in your household of any age who can cook or assist with cooking is invited to participate. 10-11 a.m. The KIDnections Group,


Little Language Learners Social Skills Group. Designed for children with emerging communication (verbal, sign, augmentative device, or PECs) who need to practice requesting, turn taking and interactive play. 9-10:30 a.m. ABA Outreach Services, 6537 Brecksville Road, Independence, 216-272-3963,

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A short list of everything I learned in

By Jason Lea

Jason Lea has a son, daughter and a full-time job at the Mentor Public Library. He also blogs for Northeast Ohio Parent in his nonexistent free time. You can find this East-sider on Twitter at @jasonmarklea or read his blog at northeastohioparent. com/bloggers

42 | Family Living at Its Best



Every word to every song from Disney’s Zombies 2. 2. You can’t microwave pancake batter. 3. I mean, you can, but you won’t get pancakes. 4. Calendars mean nothing in a pandemic year. If you go caroling in April or trickor-treating in June, your neighbors will go with it. 5. When everything was closed, what I missed the most was my immunocompromised mother. Oh, and the baby rhinos at the zoo. 6. When it comes to kids, a little bit of learning every day is better than no learning. 7. Blowing something up — like, say, pancake batter — counts as “learning.” It’s a chemical reaction, after all. 8. Teaching a kindergartner to read is difficult. 9. Coaxing a kindergartner to clean up is more difficult. 10. Kids learn addition and subtraction faster if you use Goldfish crackers instead of flash cards. 11. Being a teacher requires the wisdom of Athena, the patience of Job, and the endurance of Atlas. Also, coffee. So much coffee. 12. You can overdose on caffeine. 13. No time spent outside is wasted. 14. The European beech tree by the lily pond at Holden Arboretum is the Platonic ideal of a climbing tree. 15. Girdled Road Park in Concord Township has a shady creek that’s perfect for catching minnows in July. 16. The aforementioned shady creek is ensconced between two hills, one of which you must climb to get there, making you want to die of heat exhaustion. 17. Wear sunscreen. 18. Getting an enormous, painful sunburn is an opportunity to teach your children about ultraviolet light. 19. Swings are essential. 20. The Wendy’s drive-thru is essential. 21. Panda cams are also essential. 22. Panda cams are not a substitute for therapy.


23. Bring a sketchpad everywhere. You never know when your children are going to be inspired. 24. When purchasing art supplies — markers, paints, crayons, whatever — make sure they’re labeled “washable.” 25. When children ask if you want to see their artwork, always say, “Yes.” 26. Don’t read “Harold & the Purple Crayon” to your children before bedtime unless you want to wake up to a mural. 27. Take a picture of the mural before you clean the wall. 28. Preschool teachers and administrators also deserve at least 30 minutes of “panda cam” time a day. 29. You can live in pajamas and princess dresses. 30. Even a 3-year-old will lose enthusiasm for Frozen 2 if allowed to watch it continuously for four months. 31. If you want your children to be excited about museums, tell them that they can’t go to one for four months. 32. We are living in a golden age of children’s television. If you grew up with Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? as your only edu-tainment options, then you’ll be shocked to find entire channels dedicated to teaching your kids science, reading, math and art. 33. Parents can play with their children, but they are not a substitute for friends. 34. Watching Friends is also not a substitute for friends. 35. The iPad is not a substitute for a parent, but it can take a shift babysitting. 36. It’s physically impossible to get 3-year-olds to socially distance. 37. Everybody is going through something. Lead with empathy. 38. It’s impossible to feel like a competent employee and good parent at the same time. 39. There’s no need to be embarrassed by your kids interrupting the Zoom call. This has happened to everyone this year. Even people who don’t have kids. 40. The mask goes over the nose.

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44 | Family Living at Its Best

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