PLAYGROUND Feb/Mar 2023 Health Issue

Page 22

PLAYGROUND a lifestyle magazine for central florida's modern parents #PLAYorlando FEBRUARY / MARCH 2023 FAMILY MEDICAL GUIDE Page 34 THE H ealth ISSUE U-PICK FARM PLAYGROUNDS • • • • • • • • • • • • Healthy WEIGHT & WELLNESS Program for Kids • • • • • • • • • • • • STORYTIME AT THE EmporiumWhimsy

As part of cancer care at Nemours Children’s Health, we offer you not only a second opinion but many opinions from a team of doctors and specialists. In fact, an entire board of specialists consult each other throughout your child’s treatment to ensure the best course of action is taken. What’s more, your child has access to the latest advanced treatments through clinical trials not always available at all children’s hospitals. Because here, cancer care will always go well beyond medicine to ensure the best health possible for your child. Which will make you feel good about choosing Nemours Children’s.

Go

well beyond at Nemours.org/Beyond
©2023. The Nemours Foundation. Nemours Children’s Health is a registered trademark of The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.
A second opinion. To make parents feel better too.
NOW ENROLLING O2B Kids Avalon • Enrolling Now for 2022-2023 School Year! • 25 YEARS of Experience in Kindergarten Readiness! • Indoor Play Village & Large Playgrounds • Meals & Snacks Provided • Extended Hours: 6:30 am - 6:30 pm Lic # C18SE0218 Schedule Your Tour TODAY! o2bkids.com Altamonte Springs (407) 676-7417 Casselberry (407) 337-8480 Lake Mary (321) 340-5799 Oviedo (407) 890-0330 Avalon Park (407) 759-4880 New School! We Help Parents Grow Happy, Successful Kids. RESERVE YOUR VPK SPOT!
TABLE OF CONTENTS 26 U-Pick Farm Playgrounds Live 6 Publisher's Note 8 Talk of the Playground 10 DIY: Healthy Homemade Popsicles 12 The Best NonTraditional Youth Sports Love 16 Helping Kids Create a Healthier Lifestyle 18 A Look at Lake Nona 22 Your Child's Mental Health Is More Important Than Their Grades Play 26 U-Pick Farm Playgrounds 28 Mom Quiz 30 Go Play! Family Events Calendar 38 See/Saw: The Whimsy Emporium
February / March 2023 4 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023
ealth ISSUE + Family Medical Guide Page 34
Photo: Sara Neal
THE H

Primrose Schools of Central Florida

During your child’s first five years , nurturing the development of compassion, independence and resilience is just as crucial as setting the stage for reading and math. That’s why our Balanced Learning® approach combines character development with play and academics to give children a strong, well-rounded foundation for learning and life.

Each Primrose school is a privately owned and operated franchise. Primrose Schools is a registered trademark of Primrose School Franchising SPE, LLC. ©2022 Primrose School Franchising SPE, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Welcome to 2023!

The holiday rush is behind us, and now it’s time to focus on becoming our best selves as we embark on a new year. Whether you’re committing to better nutrition, daily exercise, or strengthening relationships with your favorite people, this issue is here to inspire and support you on your journey.

To get a head start on healthy habits at home, we’ve partnered with the Diet Diva, Tara Gidus Collingwood, to bring you a collection of delicious and nutritious Healthy Homemade Popsicle recipes on page 10. Got a kid who’s not interested in traditional sports? Check out our round-up of Non-Traditional Youth Sports on page 12 for fresh ideas on how to keep them moving and grooving.

For extra support, we’ve included tips from the Healthy Weight and Wellness Program professionals at AdventHealth for Children on page 16. And to help minimize school stress, local success coach Kristen Tame reminds us to prioritize our child’s mental health over their grades on page 22.

When it’s time to head out for some fun, be sure to check out Lake Nona, a fast-growing community with a deliberate focus on health and wellness on page 18. And for a fun family activity, we’ve listed some of Central Florida’s best U-pick produce farms that also offer playgrounds on page 26. Plus, take our Mom Quiz on page 28 to find out what kind of Central Florida mom you are!

Finally, our handy-dandy Family Medical Guide on page 34 will help you find the best hospitals, pediatricians and dentists in the area.

I’m excited to dive into the new year with all of you! Email me at heather@ playgroundmagazine.com to let me know about your family’s favorite ways to play in Central Florida!

PLAYfully,

Heather Reneau

ABOUT THE COVER:

We took advantage of the beautiful Florida winter weather and headed to Southern Hill Farms in Clermont with little Naomi and Brayden (our own PLAYGROUND team members’ kids) to pick strawberries, frolic in the sunflowers and enjoy the playground. See the rest of the images from the photoshoot in the U-Pick Farm Playgrounds article on page 26. It’s the perfect season to get outside and visit a local farm. Photography by Sarah Neal (saranealphotography.com).

Heather Reneau Publisher & Creative Director heather@playgroundmagazine.com

Brant Muekeley Financial Manager brant@playgroundmagazine.com

Jessica Ventura Advertising Manager jessica@playgroundmagazine.com

Chris Karel Guest Editor

Cortney Thekan Copy Editor cortney@playgroundmagazine.com

Jessica Friend Graphic Designer & Photographer jessica.friend@playgroundmagazine.com

Alicia McKee Advertising Assistant alicia@playgroundmagazine.com

Kristina Hodge Henry Online Editor kristinahodgehenry@gmail.com

Contributing Writers:

Amanda Green

April Starinsky

Chris Karel

Jasmin Barone

Kristen Tame

Maddy Zollo Rusbosin

Tara Gidus Collingwood

Contributing Photographers: Jessica Friend

Sara Neal

PLAYGROUND Magazine is published bimonthly by Playground Media Group, LLC, 10151 University Blvd., Ste. 326, Orlando, FL 32817. Telephone 407-221-4932.

PLAYGROUND Magazine does not assume liability for products or services advertised herein. The content of PLAYGROUND Magazine is copyrighted by Playground Media Group, LLC.

Subscribe to PLAYGROUND Magazine at playgroundmagazine.com/subscribe

To update subscription information, email subscriptions@playgroundmagazine.com.

6 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023
@PLAYorlando Publisher's Note
PLAYGROUND
PLAY
a lifestyle magazine for central florida's modern parents #PLAYorlando FEBRUARY MARCH 2023 FAMILY MEDICAL GUIDE Page 34 THE Health ISSUE U-PICK FARM PLAYGROUNDS • • • • • • • • • • • • Healthy WEIGHT & WELLNESSProgram for Kids • • • • • • • • • • • • STORYTIME AT THE EmporiumWhimsy FebMar23_Cover.indd 1/24/23 PM
GROUND

Now Enrolling

Kiddie Academy has the teachers, tools and inspiration it takes to nurture oversized confidence and big ideas. It’s all part of becoming an amazing adult, and begins with our Life Essentials® philosophy:

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Phone: (407) 605-5410

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DCF License #: C09OR1065

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C18SE0249

Orlando-Conway Phone: (407) 601-3366

DCF License #: C09OR1160

Oviedo Phone: (407) 554-3816

DCF License #: C18SE0325

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Oakland Phone: (407) 961-6060

Coming around February 2023!

Lake Nona Phone: (407) 316-2354

Coming around February 2023!

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Learn more at kiddieacademy.com

Talk of the Playground

What's New for Families in Central Florida...

Meta Humans Is Growing Better Humans

Are you concerned that standard education models just aren’t cutting it for your kids? Meta Humans could be the answer. This brand-new Winter Park-based learning facility, launched in November, uses STEAM-centric lessons to inspire critical thinking and problem-solving in kids in grades 2–12. Meta Humans’ education studio is designed to facilitate exploration in areas like entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, game development and prototyping, just to name a few. The center offers flexible, membership-based access to meet the needs of both home-school and after-school participants. metahumans.com

Prepare to Be Stoked

Pipeline, SeaWorld’s rad new roller coaster, debuts in just a few months. Billed as the world’s first surf coaster, riders will be strapped into a surfboardstyle vehicle in a standing position before being launched down a halfmile of “wave jumping” motions at speeds up to 60 mph. Cowabunga!

seaworld.com

The Bridge Receives Accreditation

The Bridge at The Christ School (TCS) is the first instructional program in the state of Florida, and one of only 20 nationwide, to become accredited through the OrtonGillingham (OG) Academy. The OG approach is a prescriptive method of teaching reading, writing and spelling that TCS began offering its dyslexic students in 2018. “They are bright minds that flourish when taught in a way that makes sense to them,” said the program’s director, Alissa Plaisance (pictured left). Today, The Bridge at TCS serves more than 70 students from across Central Florida, and the school plans to expand the program in 2023–24 to serve over 100 dyslexic students in grades 1–6.

thechristschool.org

8 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023 LIVE

Cooking Up Creativity

Think your little one could be the next Gordon Ramsay or Julia Child? Early childhood professional and children’s book author Jennifer Laracuente has launched Adventure Culinary Creations, a service that offers cooking classes at Orlando-area preschools. Visit Adventure Culinary Creations on Facebook for more information.

A Tiny Town That’s Tons of Fun

Desperate to get your little one out of the house on those rainy spring days? Look no further than LolliPops Indoor Playground & Party Place. Located in Ocoee’s West Oaks Mall, LolliPops is set up like a kid-size town, complete with a salon, diner, grocery store and several other mini storefronts that will inspire creative play.

LolliPops also offers party packages. Ages 6 months–10.

mytinytown22.com

O2B Kids Is Opening in Avalon Park

O2B Kids, the early education and childcare provider known for expansive facilities and innovative educational programs, is opening its fifth Orlando-area location in Avalon Park on March 20. O2B Kids Avalon Park will offer preschool (infants to VPK), afterschool care and summer camp. The new facility will feature a science lab, art studio, learning library and play village. While O2B Kids locations are spacious enough for their everyday curriculum to include “on-site field trips,” outdoor enrichment experiences are also part of their daily learning cycle. It’s enough to make you want 2B a kid again!

o2bkids.com

9 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023

DIY: Healthy Homemade Popsicles

Nothing says “refreshing” on a hot day like a cold, sweet popsicle. Trade the artificial colors and extra sugar found in the store-bought versions for these DIY pops packed with real fruit, fiber and protein.

TIPS: When filling popsicle molds, leave a little space at the top (about ½ inch) for the mixture to expand when freezing.

Most popsicles take about 6 hours to freeze solid.

If you have trouble getting the popsicle out of the mold, run it under hot water to loosen it up.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana

Makes 10 popsicles

Ingredients:

- 4 bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen

- 1 cup of milk of choice

1 /3 cup of peanut butter

- 3 tablespoons of honey, agave or maple syrup

- 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Instructions:

1. Blend bananas, milk and peanut butter in the blender until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

2. Add honey and cocoa powder and blend until smooth.

3. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS:

Bananas are full of potassium, which is good for the heart. Bananas also include resistant starch, which can give you sustained energy. Peanut butter has protein, good fats, vitamin E and magnesium.

Avocado Lime

Makes 6 popsicles

Ingredients:

- 1 avocado, peeled and pit removed

- 1 can (13.5 ounces) of unsweetened coconut milk

- ¼ cup of sugar or sugar substitute like Swerve

- 1 tablespoon of lime juice

Instructions:

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS:

Avocados offer nearly 20 nutrients, including fiber and monounsaturated fats.

Strawberries & Cream

Makes 10 popsicles

Ingredients:

- 2 ½ cups of fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

- 3 tablespoons of honey

- 2 ½ cups of 2% or full fat plain yogurt

Instructions:

1. Purée strawberries and honey in the blender.

2. Blend the yogurt and strawberry mixture together.

3. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS:

Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants. Greek yogurt provides bone-building calcium and protein for muscles.

10 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023 LIVE
Tara Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD is a sports dietitian in Orlando. You can find her at dietdiva.net. Photo: Jessica Friend
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The Best Non-Traditional Youth Sports

According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), over 12 million kids ages 6–12 participated in so-called “ball” sports in 2021. Soccer, baseball, basketball and football may be the most popular youth sports, but they’re not for everyone.

Fencing

Fencing is just as much a sport of the mind as it is a sport of the body. Quick reflexes help children excel in this sport, but strategy is equally important.

• Orlando Fencing Club is a competitive fencing training facility for elementary school ages through senior fencers. wgfencingacademy.com

Some kids may not feel comfortable with the physical confrontation that certain sports require. Plus, many sports require spending hours outside at practices and games, which can be tough in the Florida sun. Finally, some children may prefer sports that focus on individual skill.

“All sports offer health benefits,” says Laura Sarisky, a pediatric physical therapist at AdventHealth Sports Med & Rehab. “Some sports like bowling or chess may require less physical activity but they require strategy and develop cognitive skills.”

Whatever the reason, the Orlando area offers an abundance of programs for kids who want to try something different.

• Stoccata Fencing Academy & Club is an all-ages fencing club dedicated to promoting the sport throughout Central Florida. orlandofencers.com

• Swordmasters Fencing Academy offers group classes, private lessons and tournament opportunities for youth ages 5+. swordmastersclub.com

Bowling

Bowling is a fun sport that requires coordination and practice to improve your skills. Several bowling alleys in the Orlando area offer youth leagues.

• Aloma Bowl offers seasonal leagues for all experience levels, including beginners. alomabowlingcenters.com

• Boardwalk Bowl offers youth and junior leagues for all experience levels. League membership includes weekly coaching and end-of-the-season trophies. alomabowlingcenters.com

• PBA Jr. Tournaments, the youth club of the Professional Bowlers Association, offers tournaments in Apopka. pba.com

12 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023 LIVE
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ARCHERY

According to World Archery, archery is one of the oldest sports in the world, dating back to 10,000 BCE! Recent books and movies have made it popular again, and there are several places to practice the sport here in Orlando.

• Central Florida Archery is an educational archery school providing lessons and family fun. centralfloridaarchery.net

• Geneva Archery is an all-ages archery school offering multiple programs, private lessons and competitive opportunities. genevaarchery.com

• Orlando Archery Academy offers private lessons, after-school sessions and summer camps. orlandoarcheryacademy.com

MARTIAL ARTS

Martial arts build discipline, self-defense skills and selfconfidence. There are multiple practices and disciplines to choose from, and all of them are excellent for keeping children strong and active.

• At American Top Team Orlando, children can learn Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in programs designed for ages 5–14. attorlando.com

• Central Florida Karate Academy is a family-run martial arts studio specializing in the traditional Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do. centralfloridakarateacademy.com

• Championship Martial Arts offers group classes and private lessons for ages 3+ at multiple studio locations across Central Florida. championshipmartialarts.com

• Orlando Academy of Martial Arts specializes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for kids of all ages. orlandojiujitsu.com

• Victory Martial Arts is an all-ages martial arts studio with multiple locations across Central Florida for convenience close to home. victoryma.com

EQUESTRIAN

Every kid dreams of riding their own pony, but horseback riding requires strength, training and discipline. There are several places to learn the basics here in the Orlando area.

• Painted Oaks Academy offers riding lessons for ages 4+, from beginners to skilled riders. paintedoaksacademy.com

• Central Florida Equestrian Center specializes in English-style horseback riding and offers lesson packages, summer camps and training programs. claudiaheathfarm.com

• Long Lake Acres offers lessons and show competition opportunities for beginners to advanced riders. longlakeacres.com

SKATEBOARDING AND BMX

These high-adrenaline sports help kids develop balance, agility and perseverance.

• Central Florida Skate is an indoor street skate park offering individual youth lessons and rental opportunities. centralfloridaskatepark.com

• Oviedo Rippin’ Riverside Skate Park offers an outdoor lighted street course and bowls for scheduled skateboard, scooter and BMX sessions. cityofoviedo.net/529/Skate-Park

• Orlando BMX has a USA BMX sanctioned track for all ages and offers 1-day trial sessions for new riders or open practice and race sessions for competitors. orlbmx.org

14 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023 LIVE

We inspire students to love wisdom and discernment, to think deeply about the world around them and who made it, and to pursue wherever they are called with excellence and confidence for Christ’s cause.

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Helping Kids Create a Healthier Lifestyle

AdventHealth for Children’s Healthy Weight and Wellness Program focuses on developing healthy habits in a fun way.

For adults, the challenge to maintain a healthy weight, eat more nutritious foods and get more exercise is a familiar struggle. Health care professionals also observe similar challenges in children. According to the Florida Department of Health, 6 in 10 children born today will be considered obese by the time they graduate high school. Unhealthy weight in both children and adults can lead to chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and increased cancer risk.

16 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023
Words by April Starinsky
LOVE
Getty Images

So, what can parents do to help lay a foundation for healthy living? Indira Abraham-Pratt, Ph.D., a clinical health psychologist at AdventHealth for Children’s Healthy Weight and Wellness Program, says developing healthy habits at a young age is crucial.

“As adults, we’re not perfect,” Pratt said. “But, if we want a healthy lifestyle for our kids, it starts with us as parents or caregivers or aunts or uncles — whoever’s involved in those children’s lives — to really figure out how [to] model healthy behavior.”

Dr. Angela Fals, the program’s medical director, started the Healthy Weight and Wellness Program in 2010 with the goal of treating the whole child and the whole family in a multidisciplinary way.

“What is most fulfilling for me is to see the lightbulb go off in a child’s mind or in a teen’s mind,” Fals said. “Then I know that they have really embraced their health and wellness journey in a way that will be life-changing for them.” Both doctors say making small changes can have a big impact on families.

“There are so many families dealing with having kids that are not at a healthy weight, but I want parents to not feel overwhelmed,” Pratt said. “And many parents are also struggling with their own weight. Sometimes we can get paralyzed in that situation, feeling like we have this issue and we don’t know how to solve it.”

When it comes to nutrition, Pratt recommends planning, prepping and cooking healthy foods together. Parents should expose children to healthier food early and often. Rather than “banning” certain foods, families should set limits on less healthy options. Pratt says, “It’s not as disruptive to a family if we’re making a couple of changes like incorporating one new vegetable per week versus saying, ‘OK, we’re going to have a vegetable every day from now on.’”

Pratt also recommends prioritizing eating meals together as a family. “Parents should really sit down at the table with their kids at mealtime. Kids can see the parents are eating healthy foods, and everyone is doing that together.”

When it comes time to get moving, regular exercise helps keep bodies of all ages healthy. Children ages 6–17 need 60 minutes of physical activity or exercise daily. Children ages 3–5 should be encouraged to have three hours of active playtime daily.

It’s important for parents to make movement a fun family priority, not a chore. If kids are new to exercise or getting back into a

routine, they should start slowly and work their way back up, Pratt says. Parents should help kids find an activity they enjoy and keep it simple.

Making lifestyle changes can take time, and some families may need a more guided approach. AdventHealth for Children’s Healthy Weight and Wellness Program is a six-month intensive weight loss program for teens and kids ages 5–17 with a BMI in the 85th percentile or higher. The program takes a whole-care approach rather than focusing only on weight loss. Children visit with a pediatrician, psychologist, registered dietitian and exercise physiologist. There are also interactive workshops like cooking classes, grocery store tours and fitness classes. Pratt adds, “It just takes a few steps at a time and developing that momentum and having the support you need. So that’s where we as a program can provide that support, encouragement and resources that families need.”

For more information on AdventHealth for Children’s Healthy Weight and Wellness program, visit AdventHealthforChildren.com/WeightandWellness.com

17 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023
Indira Abraham-Pratt, PhD and Angela Fals, MD Photo: Jessica Friend

Lake Nona

A healthy, family-friendly ecosystem

One of the fastest-growing communities in America, Lake Nona is home to thousands of families seeking a better and more balanced way of life. Lake Nona has built a reputation for lively arts and experiences, beautifully designed neighborhoods and innovative features and businesses. At the heart of this community is a deliberate and focused effort to create a healthy ecosystem where wellness abounds at every corner.

If focusing on your family’s health is among your New Year’s resolutions, Lake Nona offers so many ways to support your 2023 goals. Home to award-winning hospitals, top-notch training and sporting facilities, community parks, miles of trails and engaging public art, Lake Nona is designed to support healthy living for the whole family. Here are a few ways Lake Nona can help you and your family keep the momentum going all year.

H ealth & Life Sciences

Central Floridians are probably familiar with Lake Nona’s health and life sciences cluster, commonly known as Medical City. Spanning 650 acres, the area started as a purposeful effort to create a centralized focus of sophisticated medical treatment, research and education in our community. Anchored by Nemours Children’s Health, the University of Central Florida (UCF) Academic Health Sciences Campus and the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the proximity of these campuses not only accelerates innovation but also provides quality health care at every life stage, from neonatal to geriatric care.

18 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023 LOVE
Article and photography provided by Lake Nona PHOTOS (Left to Right): The Glass House by Tom Fruin, Nemours Children's Health, Lake Nona Wave Hotel
A LOOK AT

Keep It Moving

Extending toward the Lake Nona Town Center, the Lake Nona Performance Club (LNPC) is designed for both body and mind conditioning with its state-of-the-art training facilities, the Chopra Mind-Body Zone and more. No need to leave your littles at home; you can bring them along for engaging childcare (starting at age 2 months) or kidfriendly programming (starting at age 6). With a variety of options, including the ROX Climbing Gym and the sports performance track, Kids in Motion classes span both physical and cognitive engagement to promote whole-person health through fitness, science, crafts, games and projects.

A short walk away, the Lake Nona Wave Hotel sits at the crossroads of health tech and innovation. The future-forward hotel features a bounty of amenities to promote wellness, including View Smart Windows that tint in response to outdoor conditions and provide a better night’s sleep, TOTO smart toilets, yoga and wellness programming and select Well+ech rooms that feature even more health amenities. A stay here also gets you free access to the LNPC for the duration of your visit.

At the 98-court United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus down the road, you can play as a family in the Nemours Family Zone, where kids can learn with smaller racquets and balls on proportionally sized courts. There are also plenty of programs for adults of all skill levels and dedicated kids camps throughout the year.

Beyond the tennis court, families can also stay active at Nona Adventure Park by climbing the inflatable aqua park/obstacle course, riding the waves at Nona Wake cable park or tackling the ropes courses. XL Soccer World provides another place for children and families to stay active together with multiple indoor multi-purpose fields for soccer, futsal, lacrosse, flag football and volleyball.

Get Outdoors

With parks around every corner and miles of trails, there are plenty of reasons to get outside. Visit one or both of Lake Nona’s two City of Orlando parks: Heroes Community Park and McCoy Community Park.

Within walking distance of Laureate Park Elementary School, Heroes Community Park features four multi-use fields lit for night activities. The park also has plenty of green space and a 12-footwide trail for walking and jogging. Play ball at the 25-acre McCoy Community Park with a pony field, softball field, and two Little League fields that are perfect for practicing your swing.

Additionally, Lake Nona hosts hundreds of community events each year, including the family-friendly Run Nona 5K and Nemours Kids’ Run (Spring 2023) and the Tour de Cure (March 26) and Ride for Ronald (Fall 2023) cycling events.

19 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023

Dine for Success

Don’t let your resolutions keep you from enjoying Lake Nona’s dining scene. Canvas Restaurant & Market offers waterfront dining with a focus on seasonal, regional produce and fresh seafood. Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen serves up small plates suited for any palate. Its bold twists on veggies will make you happy you made the healthy choice. If you’re on the run and need a quick bite, Veg’n Out offers a whole food-based menu with a variety of juices, smoothies and bowls, all made with ingredients that are thoughtfully sourced and nutritionally balanced.

Take in the Sights

While physical health and staying active is important, it’s also important to take care of your mental health. Lake Nona’s public art program is filled with countless opportunities to explore, engage and stimulate your mind, from sunsets over The Glass House to handcrafted sculptures and colorful murals. As you move through Lake Nona, take a deep breath and a look around; there’s beauty in the little things.

More than what meets the eye, Lake Nona has so much to offer Orlando families. As you strive to maintain your freshly set resolutions, Lake Nona offers abundant inspiration and resources to keep your routine interesting.

20 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023 LOVE
PHOTOS (Left to Right, Top to Bottom): Canvas Restaurant & Market, Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen, Nona Adventure Park, community park
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Your Child's Mental Health Is More Important Than Their Grades

Why pushing perfect grades in elementary school can hinder your child's growth.

As a 20-year veteran of Central Florida education, an academic coach and the parent of a high schooler, I’ve come across far too many parents who believe that elementary school grades are of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, I’ve also encountered many students for whom that mindset was harmful and who are still dealing with the fallout of poor study habits, demotivation and lack of confidence through high school and beyond.

When kids are in elementary school, parents should keep an eye on trends, patterns or sudden changes in their child's overall grades, but it's not necessary to monitor and obsess over every grade that comes home. Rather, parents should allow kids to use those early years in their educational journey to explore their individual learning style. It’s a time for parents to be a guide on the side, stepping in to encourage and support kids as they develop their skills but allowing them some independence, too.

If we want children to develop good mental health qualities like confidence, perseverance and resilience, we must give space for mistakes and imperfection. It’s messy and may produce some low grades, but that is perfectly okay! We all learn these qualities best through stumbling and figuring out how to get back up.

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@smallcakesfl 11/18/22 11:51 AM N D O S H A K E S ! ee House Adventure | O R L A N D O S H A K E S . O R G

Try Using These Encouraging Words:

u“You can do this!”

u“I believe in you!”

u“Do you feel like your homework time is working for you?”

u“What are some things you could change to feel better about your school performance?”

u“Is there any way I can help?”

Here are some common concerns and thoughts to consider:

“If my kids don’t get straight As, they’re not reaching their full potential.”

Grades only measure a child’s ability to retain knowledge and then recite it in the form of assignments, homework and tests. As every adult knows, life requires far more of us than that. So, avoid defining your child’s “potential” in terms of grades. Instead, focus on their natural strengths and gifts, like their athleticism, creativity, thoughtfulness or love of nature.

“How will my kids establish good study habits down the road if I don’t make sure they get good grades now?”

Making mistakes and then learning from them is essential to forming good habits of any kind. Pushing for perfection can keep your child from developing those good habits. Make sure your fear of failure isn’t intruding on your child’s need to gain perseverance and self-sufficiency. It’s tempting for us to constantly step in to help with homework, but imagine how much more self-confidence they will gain when they earn that grade themselves.

“What will the school/teacher/friend/family think if my child has low grades?”

In this case, you are putting the opinions of others over your child’s well-being. Your kids will think that pleasing others is prioritized over their own needs, which can cause resentment and hurt feelings.

“I got As in elementary school, so I expect my child to get good grades, too.”

Our kids are not us, so expecting them to perform in the same way we did at their age is unrealistic. When children are continually pushed so as not to fall short of your expectations, it can cause them to pull back and become unmotivated. All of us (including children) learn the best when we are doing things for ourselves, not because someone else is pushing us.

Instead of worrying about your child’s grades, focus on offering encouragement and guidance, fostering independence and modeling that mistakes are the best teachers. Getting back up after failure is the only true way to learn perseverance and resilience, which gives your children the grounded confidence and healthy self-esteem they need to succeed.

Want more information on how to create effective habits throughout the school year? Visit kristentame.com/join to get a free copy of my eBook: Top 5 Tips for a Successful School Year.

KRISTEN TAME is a local mom, educator and success coach who focuses on providing students ages 10+ with study skills coaching and social-emotional support. Additionally, Kristen hosts a middle school girls’ club called The Athenian Society and provides affordable online workshops for parents. For more information, visit her website www.kristentame.com or email her at kristentame@gmail.com

24 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023
LOVE

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U-Pick Farm Playgrounds

It’s peak season to try some of Central Florida’s most delicious u-pick produce experiences. In addition to juicy produce, these local farms also offer fun playgrounds and family-friendly events. Happy picking!

Words by Jasmine Barone • Photography by Sara Edwards Neal Location: Southern Hill Farms

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PLAY
Feb
2023

4 Farm Playgrounds to Visit this Spring

1. Oak Haven Farms and Winery offers a pick-your-own strawberry experience from early December through midMarch. The sprawling farm in Sorrento includes a small playground with slides and climbing for big kids, play space for toddlers, several types of swings for kids and adults, a sand pit, hayrides and even a small merry-go-round. The on-site winery produces a variety of fruit and grape wines, so grab a bottle or two for dinner or a future date night. berriesandwines.com • Instagram: @oakhavenfarms

2. Southern Hill Farms grows strawberries, sunflowers, pumpkins, blueberries, peaches, zinnias and a selection of winter vegetables that will keep you coming back to pick your own produce in spring, fall and winter. This 120-acre farm in Clermont also offers plenty to do after your basket is full. Go for a farm wagon ride or take a tour on the Blueberry Express. After that, grab some treats and head over to the shaded barns, where you can take in some live music or sit back and relax in a rocking chair. Kids can play in the covered playground that offers swings, chalk, tunnels, obstacles and a sand area.

southernhillfarms.com • facebook.com/southernhillfarms

Instagram: @southernhillfarms

3. Tom West Blueberries is a 10-acre family farm in Ocoee, established in 1954, where you’ll find lots of varieties of blueberries. Once you’re loaded up with berries, grab a snack and a seat in the shade. The kids can swing, play basketball and jump in the bounce house while you wait for the tractor ride. tomwestblueberries.com

facebook.com/tomwestblueberries

4. Showcase of Citrus is the bigger farm and u-pick experience on the list. Wander through the property as you pick from more than 50 varieties of citrus. Next, hop aboard the World’s Largest Monster Truck Safari and traverse swamps and groves to view the entire 2,500-acre farm. Afterward, hunt for treasure at the Gem Mine. Before you head out, stop by the Old Time Country Store for a creamsicle (a delicious combination of orange slushy and vanilla soft-service ice cream swirled together). showcaseofcitrus.com

facebook.com/theshowcaseofcitrus

Instagram @theshowcaseofcitrus

No matter the venue you select for your u-pick experience, it’s important to respect the rules and guidelines of each property. Always be mindful of little hands and feet; it’s OK to explore, but be sure your child doesn’t damage or destroy the plants.

Times and availability can vary based on weather and seasonal popularity. Check each venue’s social media accounts or call for updates, seasonal pricing and additional experiences.

27 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023

Mom Quiz

What type of Central Florida mom are you?

Are you the outdoorsy type, exploring off-thebeaten-track trails and parks? Would you be the one holding court with your family at the hottest new eatery in town? Or would you be the go-to woman for the hook-up on theme park passes?

TAKE OUR QUIZ TO FIND OUT!

1. Where’s your go-to shopping destination?

a. Mall At Millenia — where else you can find the top designers?

b. Disney Springs so you can shop and grab a bite at one of your favorite spots

c. From Etoile Boutique to The Lovely Boutique Market, you’re all about thrifting

d. Target or Amazon — efficiency is key!

e. Lululemon or REI — you always need more active wear

2. On a typical weekend afternoon, what’s your family up to?

a. Having Orlando Picnic Popup plan a chic outdoor fête

b. Making the most of your Walt Disney World Annual Pass

c. Exploring somewhere around Loch Haven Park — between the Orlando Museum of Art, the Rep, and the Orlando Science Center, there’s so much to see and do!

d. A soccer game, a birthday party, then a neighborhood cookout

e. Paddleboarding on the Winter Park Chain of Lakes or biking on the West Orange Bike Trail

PHOTOS

Animal Kingdom: @kaylamgavigan

Soccer: iStockphoto.com

Lake Eola: iStockphoto.com

Crooked Can Brewing Company: @jessicafriend

Orlando Museum of Art: @jessicafriend

3. You’re craving something sweet. Where do you go?

a. Sugar Factory’s milkshakes make the best Instagram posts

b. Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs for the Mickey Mousse

c. Gideon’s Bakehouse is worth the wait every time

d. Publix makes delicious cookies that are easy to bring along wherever you go

e. Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream because a cone always cools you off

4. What local fundraising event are you most passionate about?

a. Runway to Hope Spring Soiree

b. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

c. Orlando Ballet’s Ballet Ball

d. Your kid’s annual school fundraiser

e. Keep Orlando Beautiful cleanup events

5. If you could swap places with your children for a week, you’d immediately want to…

a. Log into TikTok to show off your dance moves

b. Get a makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

c. Feed the swans before hitting the playground at Lake Eola Park

d. Sleep in

e. Test your skills at Obstacle Ninja Academy

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(Left to Right):

6. What’s your favorite cocktail?

a. Craft cocktail from AVA MediterrAegean

b. Hot butterbeer from The Leaky Cauldron in Universal Studios

c. Old fashioned at Mather’s Social Gathering

d. Hard seltzer at Dave & Buster’s while the kiddos play

e. Pint at Crooked Can Brewing Company

7. How do you like to work up a sweat?

a. Aerial yoga glass at Elevate Yoga Center

b. Hitting up all the different countries at Epcot

c. Spin class at Rukus Cycling Studios

d. Running outside

e. Scaling the walls at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center

How do you add up?

TALLY UP YOUR ANSWERS TO FIND YOUR MOM PERSONALITY!

mostly As

THE MOMFLUENCER

Whether it’s knowing where to find the most photo-worthy backdrops or being the first to wear a unique local designer, you are always on the forefront of what’s cool around town. You’re the social butterfly of your mom friends and give the best recs.

mostly Bs

THE ATTRACTION ENTHUSIAST

What’s the point of living in Orlando if you’re not hitting up the theme parks? You make the most out of having Disney and Universal in your backyard, and you know the spots that typical tourists don’t.

mostly Cs

THE CULTURE QUEEN

You soak up all that the City Beautiful has to offer, from checking out the latest exhibits and shows to dining at hidden foodie gems. You’re proof that Orlando is more than meets the eye, and you are always looking for ways to enrich yourself culturally.

mostly Ds

THE BUSY BEE

It’s your kid’s life, and you’re just living in it. You thrive on hanging out at sporting events and staying on top of your family’s busy social calendar.

mostly Es THE EXPLORER

Bring on the adventure! You’re an expert on where to get your nature fix in Central Florida. Kayaking, camping, biking and breathing in the fresh air is all you need.

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a. b. c. d. e.

GO PLAY!

Family Events Calendar

Compiled by Heather Reneau

Now–April 30

EARTH MATTERS

Now through April 30

ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER

Rethink the future with Orlando Science Center's newest exhibit: Earth Matters. Explore our changing planet through a different lens, immerse yourself in incredible ecosystems and learn how the smallest actions can have a big impact on our natural world.

disneyworld.disney.go.com

EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

Now through February 20

EPCOT

This colorful event is a delight for families that is bursting with creativity and joy. Immerse yourself in this art festival with food, live art, music and so much more. disneyworld.disney.go.com

BABY & ME

February 1, 8, 15 & 27; March 1 & 8

ORLANDO REPERTORY THEATRE

Shake up storytime with sensory play! Each class has a unique theme and includes music, expressive movement and dramatic play for you and your baby (0–24 months) as well as interactions with other parent-child pairs. Tickets are $10.

orlandorep.com

LUCHADORA!

Now through February 26

ORLANDO REPERTORY THEATRE

Check out what happens when Vanessa discovers a pink lucha libre mask and learns about the wrestling matches of the 1960s from her grandmother Lupita. Free on opening weekend, February 4 and 5. orlandorep.com

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS MARDI GRAS CELEBRATION

February 4–April 16

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

This year's Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Studios Celebration begins on Saturday, January 28. Included with your admission to the parks. universalorlando.com

KIDS NIGHT OUT

February 10 & March 24, 6–9 p.m.

MAD SCIENCE LAB, OVIEDO MALL

Parents, do you need a night off? Drop you kiddos (ages 4–10) at the Mad Science Lab for a night of science experiments, making new friends, crafting, movie time and more. cfl.madscience.org

SEVEN SEAS FOOD FESTIVAL

Select Days, February 17–May 7

SEAWORLD ORLANDO

The Seven Seas Food Festival is back at SeaWorld with 200+ flavors and 28 live concerts! Experience something new every night while you set sail on a tasting adventure around the park. seaworld.com

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Get out to enjoy these local family-friendly events and activities happening in Central Florida.
Earth Matters
ORANGE COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM YEARS Celebrate 100 years with us in 2023 with special events and programs all year long! ocls.info/100

SPARK STEM FEST

February 17–20, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER

The Otronicon has evolved into Spark STEM Fest, and it’s time to ignite innovation. There are dozens of interactive exhibits and hands-on workshops, plus art displays and exciting science demonstrations. osc.org

ORLANDO WETLANDS FESTIVAL

Saturday, February 18, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

ORLANDO WETLANDS PARK

Explore the wetlands with guided hikes, live animals, hay rides, bird watching and lots of environmental exhibits at the Wetlands Festival starting at 2:00 p.m. This is a familyfun FREE event! eventbrite.com

STORY STROLL

February 18 & March 25, 9 a.m.

ORLANDO REPERTORY THEATRE

This fun and engaging 30-minute class is for caregivers and toddlers (ages 2–3) to experience a journey of creative play through Loch Haven Park. Reserve your spot ahead of time or drop in! In the event of inclement weather, class will move inside at Orlando REP. orlandorep.com

DANCING WITH THE STARS LIVE!

February 20, 7:30 p.m.

DR. PHILLIPS CENTER

The Dancing with the Stars tour delivers a heat-pounding performance for an unforgettable night. See world-renowned dancers performing time-honored dances like the Cha Cha, Tango, Salsa and everything in between. drphillipscenter.org

6TH ANNUAL SANFORD PORCHFEST

February 25, 11 a.m.

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN SANFORD

Check out the FREE all-day concert in Sanford for the 6th annual Sanford Porchfest with one community, 17 porches and over 70 bands! sanfordporchfest.org

PEANUT BUTTER MATINEE:

THE PRINCESS BRIDE

February 26, 1 p.m.

ENZIAN THEATER

Kids can build their own PB&J at this free (for ages 12 and under) showing of Enchanted. General admission: $11 enzian.org

MOVIE NIGHT: THE GOONIES

March 3, 7:30 p.m.

LEU GARDENS

Enjoy an outdoor movie in Orlando’s most beautiful garden. Pack a picnic basket and chairs; alcohol is permitted. This movie is rated PG; children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Weather permitting. Tickets are only available online. leugardens.org

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL

March 6–April 30

THE ORLANDO REP

Are you ready, kids? Dive into the undersea town of Bikini Bottom with SpongeBob and his quirky circle of friends and neighbors – Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs and even Plankton – in this dynamic stage musical with songs from music’s most legendary artists. orlandorep.com

ST. PATRICK’S DAY TRUCK PULL & STREET FESTIVAL

March 18, 5–10 p.m.

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN SANFORD

This event takes place in the "Famous L" between Celery City Craft and West End Trading Co. Watch teams try to pull a fire truck to benefit Special Needs Advocacy Program, Inc. Live music on multiple stages, craft beer, food trucks, craft vendors and lots of Sanford Fun! drphillipscenter.org

TASTE OF OVIEDO

March 23

OVIEDO MALL

This annual event showcases the best businesses in Oviedo, providing a day of music, food, entertainment and fun activities for the whole family.

owsrcc.org/tasteofoviedo

FAMILY FUN CAMPOUT

March 25–26

GENEVA WILDERNESS AREA

Learn to camp at this fun, family-oriented event. There will be tent-pitching assistance, an animal program in the Nature Center, fishing, hiking, cooking s'mores over a campfire and much more! Campout starts Saturday at 2 p.m. and ends Sunday at 9 a.m. This event is tailored for families with children ages 5–13. Pre-registration is required; space is limited. Cost is $20 per person; meals are included.

recreation.seminolecountyfl.gov

SEMINOLE COUNTY FARM TOUR

March 25

SEMINOLE COUNTY

Every family needs a farmer. Who's yours? Take this opportunity to meet and support your Seminole County farmers in person. seminolecountyfl.gov

SAVE THE DATE:

THE PREGO EXPO

April 2, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

THE ROSEN PLAZA

The Prego Expo brings together all of the biggest names in the baby game under one roof for a special day designed just for expectant moms. With over 70 exhibitors, get answers to questions, try out products, attend informational seminars and enter to win prizes! VIP ticket-holders are guaranteed a signature swag bag and are entered twice for prize giveaways. VIP and Premium Admission ticket-holders will be allowed early entrance one hour before the expo doors open. Supplies limited. VIP: $80; Premium Admission: $40: General Admission: $20; Kids: $5 thepregoexpo.com

32 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023
Feb 18 Orlando Wetlands Park
TWO LOCATIONS 11309 Lake Underhill Rd., Suite 103, Orlando 7250 Red Bug Lake Rd., Suite 1024, Oviedo The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) guidelines state that dental visits should occur within the first year of life. Dr. Lincoln B. Taylor a healthy smile begins at birth 407-208-0288 | pediatricdentalcareorlando.com

2023 Family Medical Guide

AdventHealth for Children

AdventHealth for Children in Orlando, home of the Walt Disney Pavilion, is the heart of a children’s network that includes primary care pediatricians, specialty clinics, emergency care and kids urgent care facilities. Nationally recognized as one of the best and safest children’s hospitals in the country, AdventHealth for Children is committed to delivering world-class programs, extraordinary patient care and clinical excellence.

407-303-KIDS • AdventHealthforChildren.com

34 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023 A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Go to leugardens.org/classes for details and registration. SUMMER CAMPS! leugardens.org 1920 North Forest Ave. Orlando, FL 32803 407.246.2620

AdventHealth for Children | Dr. Tace Rico

At AdventHealth for Children, we believe that all children should feel incredible. Dr. Tace Rico specializes in treating children with birthmarks, hemangiomas, port wine stains and scars. Recognized as the best pediatric dermatologist in Central Florida by PLAYGROUND Magazine readers, Dr. Rico uses innovative treatments and specialized lasers and is dedicated to helping your child feel incredible inside and out.

615 E. Rollins Ave., Suite 416, Orlando 407-303-1687

• AdventHealthforChildren.com/dermatology

Nemours Children’s Health offers primary care, virtual, specialty, emergency and hospital care. Ours are some of the best doctors, nurses and specialists in the country and we support each child’s whole health — the social, economic, and environmental factors that affect children’s lives. We’re not just thinking differently; we’re going well beyond medicine to create the healthiest generations of children.

6535 Nemours Pkwy., Orlando 407-567-4000 • Nemours.org

Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children has provided experienced, compassionate care to the children, teenagers and young adults of Central Florida for more than 30 years. Led by world-renowned doctors, and together with dedicated specialists and caregivers, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer offers a wide range of advanced pediatric services in an environment built just for kids.

92 W. Miller St., Orlando 321-843-KIDS (321-843-5437)

• ArnoldPalmerHospital.com

Orlando Pediatric Dentistry

Dr. Girardot is a board-certified pediatric dentist who provides dental services to infants, children, teens and special needs patients. Dr. Girardot strives to create a positive dental experience in a comfortable, fun and caring environment.

907 Outer Rd., Ste. A, Orlando 407-898-5437 • orlandopediatricdentistry.com

The New Pediatric Dental Care of Greater Orlando

Visit PDCOrlando.com or call 407-208-0288 for details. Consistent with the AAPD guidelines that dental visits should occur within the first year of life, the slogan at PDC is, “A healthy smile begins at birth.”

Oviedo: 7250 Red Bug Lake Rd., Suite 1024, Oviedo East Orlando: 11309 Lake Underhill Rd., Orlando 407-208-0288

• pediatricdentalcareorlando.com

36 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023
A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

AIRPORT LANES IN SANFORD, ALOMA

BOWL IN WINTER PARK AND BOARDWALK

BOWL IN ORLANDO ARE THE PERFECT DESTINATIONS FOR FAMILY FUN! WITH PREMIERE AMENITIES, DAILY DEALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS, THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.

SCAN THE QR CODE TO LEARN MORE!

OrlandoPediatricDentistry.com

• Dental health care for infants, children, teens, adolescents, and special needs

• Pediatric Dentistry in a caring, fun, and gentle environment

• Building a lifetime of healthy and happy smiles

Javier F. Girardot, DMD

Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

407-898-5437

907 Outer Road, Ste. A Orlando, FL 32814

Located in Baldwin Park

EMPOWERED BY

Highlanders receive an unparalleled education with long-lasting life lessons rooted in integrity, grit, and grace.

DEFINED BY

Being a part of the middle school Robotics club gives me the time to use concepts I have learned in math and science classes to solve a practical problem in a team environment outside of the classroom.

LAKE HIGHLAND PREPARATORY SCHOOL EDUCATION CHARACTER

FAVORITEVOTEDFAMILYPEDIATRIC DENTIST Krishna
“#1 K–12 Private School” by Niche.com | www.lhps.org • 407-206-1900 ext. 1

The Whimsy Emporium

Photos by Jessica Friend

Quaint and fanciful, The Whimsy Emporium is a new gift shop in Lake Mary. Known for her children's party planning services, Andrea St. Onge has expanded her business to a storefront offering curated party supplies, books, specialty gifts and events. Local families are invited to check out the Reading Corner during a free storytime on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Look out for monthly low-cost events featuring whimsical themes, music, games, coloring activities and snacks — plus, some events will include character meet-and-greets, live animal interactions and special entertainment. Visit thewhimsyemporium.com for a list of upcoming events!

241 N. Country Club Rd., Lake Mary

PLAY 38 PLAYGROUND Feb / Mar 2023 SEE/SAW
321.460.2844 • admin@allkidspanish.com • www.allkidspanish.com FUN ONLINE SPANISH PROGRAM FOR KIDS Ages 2-10 • Year round programs • One-on-one and group settings • Beginners to advanced levels • Reading in Spanish for Intermediate level SCHEDULES FOR BUSY FAMILIES.  Registration is Open A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Locally-Owned, Kid-Approved Shop these locally-owned businesses. Advertise your locally-owned business in the next issue of PLAYGROUND Magazine. Contact Jessica Ventura today for affordable rates and package options: 407-243-8253 jessica@playgroundmagazine.com BIG DREAMS BLOOM Independent Executive Director Buy. Host. Join. Christina Lahr cplahr@hotmail.com | mythirtyone.com/cplahr facebook.com/groups/cgifts | 407.766.8207 TEXT me for a catalog! Workshops, Classes, Camps & more! www.bigdreamsbloom.com Big Dreams Bloom is a girls' empowerment program, based on learning HERstory through fun & educational STEM activities.

Extraordinary Care for Extraordinary Kids

As an award-winning destination for pediatric health care in Central Florida, AdventHealth for Children provides a statewide care network with innovative specialty programs, pioneering technologies and unmatched compassion.

Consistently recognized as one of the best and safest children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group, AdventHealth for Children provides world-class, expert care for the center of your world.

Scan to see what makes AdventHealth for Children special.

22-AHFC-09600
Official Healthcare Provider at Walt Disney World® Resort
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