June 2024

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Summer Camps

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Paul M. Kline


Paul M. Kline


Karen Wawszczyk


Michelle Richter


Michele Miller


Barbara Blackburn • Donna Phillips

Shannon Carpenter • Deborah Williams

Mike Daugherty • Meagan Ruffing

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Where It’s At!

Happy Father’s Day


6 n Celebrate All the Dads in Your Life for Father’s Day by Rebecca Hastings

8 n A Day for Dad: Make This Father’s Day One He’ll Remember by Kimberly Blaker

10 n It’s a Dad Thing by Pam Moore

11 n Learn About & Celebrate Juneteenth as a Family by Rebecca Hastings

14 n Fun Summer Holidays You Don’t Want to Miss by Rebecca Hastings

16 n How to Give Your Kids a 1970’s Summer by Sarah Lyons


12 n Summer Camps

19 n SUMMER GO! GUIDE A Special Pull-Out Section

• Happy 150th Birthday Chautauqua Institution

• Escape to Ellicottville

• Family Fun in Lake George


50 n The Daddy Track Fatherhood is About Tacos by Shannon Carpenter

51 n Parent Previews by Kirsten Hawkes

52 n Tweens and Teens Teens Are In For A Summer Paycheck Wakeup Call

54 n Raising Digital Kids Raising a Digital Citizen: When and How to Give Your Child a Smartphone by Mike Daugherty

56 n Single Parenting

A Summer Bucket List for Parents by Meagan Ruffing

58 n Special Needs

Problem Behavior in Preschoolers Center for Parent Information & Resources

61 n The Family Pet Does Your Pet Have Fleas?

62 n Family Flavors

Fuel Family Fun with This Easy Recipe

63 n The Kiddie Gourmet Wallenwein’s Hotel & Saloon by Barbara Blackburn

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5 n Web Finds / What’s New In The Kid Biz

18 n Pick of the Literature by Dr. Donna Phillips

48 n Dear Teacher by Peggy Gisler & Marge Eberts

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June 2024 WNY Family 3
June 2024 • Volume 41 • Issue 4
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4 WNY Family June 2024

What’s New... IN THE KIDBIZ web.finds

Traveling with a Baby Summer has arrived and, for many families, that will include heading on a summer vacation. Traveling with a baby is rarely — okay, never — an easy feat! Here are some items that can ease the pain of on-the-go parenting!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Love Bug 2-Pack Cotton Muslin Swaddle Blankets

Baby will love these cotton muslin, breathable, prewashed blankets. The lightweight fabric keeps baby comfortable without overheating and they can also be used for nursing, changing, feeding, and traveling. They can be machine washed for maximum convenience and long-lasting use. The soft fabric is gentle on baby’s skin and gets softer with each wash. (Amazon, $19.99)

Elephant Music & Glow Soother

Made with a soft plush body rather than hard components, the hard parts are safely tucked away making it safe for baby to hold. This sweet Elephant plays a soothing lullaby to help baby transition into sleep. Easy to use on/off switch or auto shut-off. “Rock-a-Bye Baby” plays for up to 5 minutes and the light-up belly glows while music plays for added comfort and security. (Amazon, $23.99)

Baseball Activity Toy with Pull and Jiggle Vibration, Rattle and Travel Hook


The Niagara Arts & Culture Center will present live, on-stage performances of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat on Saturdays and Sundays from June 8 – 23, 2024 at 1pm.

Dr. Seuss’s classic tale is faithfully recreated with sound effects in this adaptation by the National Theatre. Not a word has been touched or added; anyone who’s read the story will instantly find themselves transported back to Seuss’ zany and creative world. From the moment his tall, redand-white-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that The Cat in the Hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat that they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and the craziest of ideas, he is certainly loads of fun. He turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure… but what will mum find when she gets home…?

The littlest baseball fans will get a kick out of the Base ball and Mitt Plush toy. Pull down on the ball to create a gentle vibration and rattle to engage and soothe baby. Added features include rattle and touchable satin ribbons for sound and tactile stimulation. The travel hook attaches to a stroller, high chair, car seat, diaper bag, and more! (Amazon, $11.99)

All-Natural Rubber Giraffe Teether

This natural teether is made of safe soft rubber to soothe baby’s irritated gums. The eco-friendly toy is made from 100% organically grown all-natural rubber sustainably harvested from the latex of Hevea trees grown in Sri Lanka. The giraffe shape is easy to grip for baby’s little hands to rattle and teethe. It is designed to engage babies and promote motor skills and sensory development at home and on the go. (Amazon, $19.99)

Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) and is part of The NACC’s Theatre for Young Audiences Series. This engaging new program is designed specifically to enrich the lives of elementary students and young families with unforgettable theatrical experiences. Performances in this series are tailored to accommodate the attention spans of young children, with show lengths ranging from 45 to 75 minutes. Future productions will include Peter Pan, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and James and the Giant Peach. Performances of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat will take place in The NACC Gym, located at 1201 Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls. Tickets are $15.00 each and can be purchased on the NACC website — www.thenacc.org.

June 2024 WNY Family 5

Celebrate All the Dads in Your Life for Father’s Day

Growing up with a single mom, Father’s Day always felt a bit tricky. I did have a relationship with my biological dad, but we were not very close. Instead of limiting the person we honored on Father’s Day to him, my mom taught me how to honor people who had a father-like role in my life.

I’ve been blessed to honor five other men who carried that role in my life. Being a father isn’t always about biology. Sometimes for Father’s Day, we focus on a biological dad. Other times, there are men in our lives who take on the role of a father even if there is no biological connection. For me, this was an uncle, a grandfather, and a step-father who later adopted me. When I got married, I added my father-in-law, and finally my husband as the father of our kids.

The beauty of Father’s Day doesn’t have to be limited to one person. Instead, we can recognize the contributions of people who are fatherly in our lives and our children’s lives. As we approach Father’s Day this year, you can recognize and celebrate all the dads in your life.

Celebrating these people does not

need to be complicated. Often, simple is better. You can find meaningful ways to honor the people who are father figures in your life.

Honoring Your Dad on Father’s Day

The most obvious person to celebrate is your own father. No matter why you consider this person your dad, you can use this day to honor them for the role they play in your life. Consider these ideas to honor your dad:

Personalized Gifts: Consider giving your dad a personalized gift that reflects his interests and hobbies. It could be a custom-made item, engraved with a meaningful message or his initials.

Cook His Favorite Meal: Prepare your dad’s favorite meal for dinner. It’s a thoughtful way to show him how much you care.

Memory Jar: Encourage family members to write down their favorite memories or messages for your dad and place them in a decorative jar. Present it to him as a keepsake and reminisce about some favorite memories.

Meaningful Ways to Celebrate a Grandfather on Father’s Day

Grandfathers have a unique role in their grandchildren’s lives. Sometimes they are part of your daily life. Other times, grandfathers live far away or there are other limits to how often you connect. Father’s Day is still a great time to remind them of how much you care. Here are some ways you or your children can honor a Grandfather:

Handwritten Letter or Card: Express your gratitude and love for your grandfather in a heartfelt letter or card. Share specific memories or qualities you admire about him.

Family Gathering: Organize a family get-together or a special meal to honor your grandfather. It could be a barbecue, coffee date, or dinner at his favorite restaurant.

Photo Album or Scrapbook: Create a photo album or scrapbook filled with pictures of your grandfather, family gatherings, and memorable moments together.

6 WNY Family June 2024

Ideas for Celebrating a Father-Like Relative

Many times, people have a relative like an uncle step into a fatherly role. This could be because a father is absent or simply because they care and want to show their love and support. Recognize them on Father’s Day with one of these ideas:

Gift Basket: Put together a gift basket filled with his favorite snacks, drinks, books, or hobbies. Tailor it to his interests and preferences.

Outdoor Adventure: Plan an outdoor activity that your loved one enjoys, such as fishing, hiking, or a stroll in the park. Spend quality time together in nature.

Video Message: If you cannot be with your uncle in person, consider recording a video message to send him on Father’s Day. Share your love and appreciation for him in a heartfelt video.

Celebrating a Friend or Mentor on Father’s Day

Often, people have adults in their lives who demonstrate fatherly characteristics. This could be a teacher, a coach, or a close family friend. It is thoughtful to show them how much they mean to you for Father’s Day. Try these ideas:

Gift of Time: Sometimes, your best gift is your time. Simply spending the day with this mentor, doing activities he enjoys, can be a meaningful way to honor him on Father’s Day.

Express Gratitude: Write a heartfelt letter or card expressing your appreciation for your mentor’s guidance, encouragement, and impact on your life. Share specific examples of how they helped you grow and succeed.

Public Acknowledgment: If appropriate, publicly acknowledge your mentor’s contributions and impact on your life or career. You could write a social media post, dedicate a blog post, or publicly thank them at an event.

Ideas for Celebrating Your Spouse

Watching your husband become a father impacts you and your children for a lifetime. Consider how you can make him feel special and loved for all he does. Think about ways you can show him you appreciate him as well as ways your kids can show him that they love him.

Breakfast in Bed: Start his day off with a special breakfast served in bed. Prepare his favorite dishes and include a handwritten note or card expressing your love and appreciation.

Family Outing: Plan a fun family outing or activity that your husband enjoys. It could be a trip to the zoo, a hike in nature, a visit to his favorite museum, or a picnic in the park.

DIY Gifts: Get creative and make DIY gifts together with your kids to surprise your husband. It could be homemade cards, crafts, or personalized photo albums that capture special family moments.

Tech-Free Day: Declare a techfree day where the focus is on spending quality time together as a family. Disconnect from devices and engage in activities like board games, completing a project, or outdoor adventures.

Family Movie Night: Set up a cozy movie night at home with your husband’s favorite films, snacks, and blankets. Spend the evening cuddled up together enjoying quality family time.

Surprise Getaway: Plan a surprise weekend getaway or staycation for your husband and the family. This is a great way to unwind and create new memories together.

Express Appreciation: Throughout the day, verbally express your appreciation for your husband’s role as a father and partner. Let him know how much he means to you and how grateful you are for everything he does for the family.

Rebecca Hastings is a former elementary teacher who traded the classroom for writing when she stayed home with her three children. Passionate about authenticity, faith, and family, you can find her at RebeccaHastings.net and on Amazon. In real life, she can often be found typing words, driving her kids places, or wherever there is chocolate.

June 2024 WNY Family 7

A Day for Dad: Make This Father’s Day One He’ll Remember —

It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. — Anne Sexton

Fathers play a significant role in their kids’ lives. They’re essential role models, influence children’s self-esteem and school performance, and make great coaches and fun-loving playmates. Once kids have grown and aged, fathers make great friends, confidants, and are there to lend a hand.

Father’s Day is just around the corner, so don’t be caught scrambling for the perfect way to show you care. Try some of these ideas to show your dad just how important he is to you.

Video Surprise

— Make a “World’s Best Dad” video he’ll treasure for years to come. Put on your brainstorming cap for your own ideas, or try some of these ideas for your video. Share special memories of your dad, sing to him, read him a poem, or do skits. Get the whole family involved and conduct interviews with each other with Dad as the main topic. Don’t forget your props such as a banner or collection of his prized possessions, including sports trophies or equipment, to add a personal touch. Most importantly, be sure to let him know just how much he means to you.

King for the Day — It isn’t every day your dad gets waited on hand and foot. So, offer to be his loyal servant for the day. Bring him coffee and toast in bed; fetch his newspaper; lay out his clothes, bath towel, and mat; be host or hostess and serve him beverages and snacks; clean up after him and anything else to give him the royal treatment.

Memories of Dad

Buy a scrapbook, and create a record of memories about you and your dad. Include photos of special outings, events, and holidays you’ve had together. Also include other memorabilia such as concert or sporting event ticket stubs, postcards, and brochures. Next to each photo or item, describe your memories of those special times with him.

A Man to Remember

— Get your creative juices flowing, and write a poem for your dad. You don’t need to be a poet to come up with a few thoughtful words to express how much he means to you. Describe the impact he’s had on your life, how he’s helped shape the person you are today, and what he means to you. Then print it on stationery, matte, and frame it.

Musical Moment — Take your father to see his favorite band or performing artist, head to a jazz or blues festival,

8 WNY Family June 2024

or pack up some lawn chairs, and enjoy a local concert-in-the-park.

Togetherness Takes Two

— Has your dad been putting off the dreaded task of cleaning out his attic, basement, or garage? Give him a gift of shelving materials and brackets, wall racks and ceiling hooks, and storage crates. Then spend the day helping him to get it organized while catching up on old times.

World’s Greatest — Let your dad know he’s valued 365 days a year! Give him a “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug, t-shirt, book cover, bookmarker, wallet card, or another trinket that he’ll see or use regularly.

Sports Buff’s Surprise — Take your dad for a sporting good time. Play a game of golf, tennis, or basketball, go fishing, or enjoy a paddle around a lake. If being a spectator is more his thing, buy tickets to his favorite sporting event such as a baseball or soccer game, boxing match, or auto race.

Weekend Getaway — Get in touch with nature and each other on a camping trip for two. Either rough it in a tent or rent a mini-cabin at a state park. Spend your weekend hiking, sightseeing, fishing, boating, playing cards, and taking it easy together.

Father’s Day Feast — As the old adage goes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. So, treat dad to a mouth-watering barbecue. Fix him his favorite: steak, ribs, chicken, burgers, or chops for starters. Don’t forget the grilled potatoes or squash, garlic bread or rolls, fresh green beans or asparagus, sweet corn, potato salad, and last but not least, his favorite dessert.

Treat Him Like a King

— What better way to show your appreciation for all his hard work than to indulge him? Give your father a gift certificate for a professional massage, which will be sure to please.

Just the Two of Us — Put together a photo collage of you and your father. There are many ways to do this. Find instructions at your nearby craft store and create a Decoupage photo collage. Keep it simple with a multi-photo frame, or buy a unique 3D photo collage frame. You can find them at art and craft supply stores and online.

Take a Stroll — Enjoy a peaceful walk in the park or the country together. Better yet, gather your bikes or roller blades, hit a scenic bike path, and enjoy the fresh summer air.

Certificates of Apprecia-

for 1 FREE car wash

tion — Show Dad you appreciate his hard work by returning the favor. Make coupons that say: “In appreciation for all that you do, Dad. Redeem this certificate for a hassle-free car wash by me!” Other favors include sweeping out the garage, mowing the lawn, or any other task he usually handles.

Catch a Flick…or two — Treat your dad to a movie fest. Rent a couple newly released videos or some of his long-time favorites. Or head to the cinemas for a double feature. Whether you take the movies in at home or the theater, don’t forget the hot, buttered popcorn, candy, and soft drinks.

Get in Touch with His Soft Side — Give your dad a book of poetry specially written for fathers. Try one of these:

• Fathers: A Collection of Poems by David Ray and Judy Ray

• Father’s: Collected Poems by Ken Koprowski

• Thoughts to Share With a Wonderful Father: A Collection of Poems by Blue Mountain Arts Collections

A Gift of Giving — Does your dad have a favorite cause or charity such as the Humane Society, the Nature Conservancy, or the American Cancer Society? If so, why not give him a membership or make a donation in his name? Remember, small donations add up and are always appreciated.

Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. She also owns an online bookshop, Sage Rare & Collectible Books, specializing in out-of-print, scarce, signed, and first editions; fine bindings; ephemera and more at sagerarebooks.com.

June 2024 WNY Family 9

It’s a Dad Thing

My daughter is a few weeks old and lying on her activity mat. My husband gives me a kiss and says, “Have a great day!” and turns toward the door.

“Aren’t you going to say goodbye to the baby?” I know I am pouting and my tone is of the Whiny Baby variety but I can’t help it. I don’t understand how he can just ignore our perfect, tiny baby.

“Oh, right. Goodbye, sweetie!” He crouches down and gives her a quick kiss on the top of her soft, bald head and leaves for work, this time for real.

My husband is a good man and a loving father. But it infuriates me that he neglects to give our daughter a simple goodbye when he leaves and he often fails to greet her when he arrives home. How can he care so little about connecting with our beautiful baby?

My life revolves around her. I am breastfeeding and I will not return to work for another few months. My days are a blur of nursing, burping, diaper changing, and if I’m feeling perky, a load of laundry or a trip to Target. I talk to my mom on the phone a lot. I need to hear the voice of another adult and I need advice. I read the breastfeeding boards online. I try to find time to pump, in anticipation of someday leaving the house without the baby.

My husband’s life is largely the

same as it was before our daughter was born. He gets up and goes to work. He comes home from work and some nights we eat dinner together while our daughter sucks peacefully on her pacifier. The other nights we eat in shifts so one of us can hold the baby while the other eats.

In the middle of the night, I awake to the sound of our daughter’s soft whine, and wait, holding my breath, hoping the whine won’t escalate into full-blown crying, even though it always does, and then I go into her room to nurse her back to sleep. When I return to bed, my husband is blissfully unaware, breathing his deep, oblivious, sleepy breaths. I try not to hate him for being asleep.

At my new parent support group, a male therapist is our guest speaker on the topic of being a new dad. Although the group is for moms and dads alike, we are all women. The therapist talks about the unique challenges of fatherhood, which is enlightening. One thing he says really sticks with me. He tells us motherhood is about letting go of the child and fatherhood is about developing a relationship with the child. I still bear some resentment that I am the one getting up in the middle of the night but I start to understand my husband a little better.

And then our daughter starts to smile and my husband starts to engage with her a little more. She starts to laugh

and he starts to give her raspberry kisses on her belly and tickle her armpits. She starts to get bigger and he puts her in the Kelty backpack and takes her on hikes more often. I start to realize I don’t need to leave him with a list of reminders and instructions for her care. He starts to take her on walks in the neighborhood, allowing her all the time she wants to stop and admire dogs, collect twigs, and explore the rocks she finds on the sidewalk.

Our daughter is almost two now. Most mornings she cries, “I need the Mama! Where are you Mama!?” imploring me to rescue her from her crib at an entirely too early pre-dawn hour. But the other day, she yelled instead, “Daddy, read The Hobbit!” My husband is a science fiction/fantasy geek and reading The Hobbit has become a bedtime ritual he shares with our daughter.

I am too tired to open my eyes but I don’t need to see my husband to know his heart is smiling.

Pam Moore is an award-winning freelance writer, intuitive eating coach, and host of the Real Fit podcast. Get her free guide to improving your body image at pam-moore.com. This article was originally published on Mamalode.

10 WNY Family June 2024

Learn About & Celebrate Juneteenth as a Family

The holiday popped up on the calendar almost as suddenly as my kids asked what it was. I had that mom moment when I realized I had two choices: I could choose to dismiss the question and move on or I could admit that I didn’t know and suggest we find out more. I must have gotten a good night’s sleep because finding out more seemed like the best option. It can be hard when kids ask about something that we don’t know a lot about. The good news is that it’s the perfect way to connect and learn about something together. Try these ideas to help your family understand and recognize the importance of Juneteenth.


Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Despite the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves on January 1, 1863, it took over two years for the decree to free slaves in the Confederate state of Texas.

“Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as ‘Juneteenth,’ by the newly freed people in Texas,” according to Smithsonian.

Juneteenth became a holiday the following year. While Juneteenth was just added as a federal holiday in 2021, it is considered the oldest African American holiday in the United States. The name Juneteenth is a combination of the words June and nineteenth.

This holiday offers opportunities to consider what freedom looks like in our world. We can use Juneteenth as a way to look back and how far we’ve come and look forward to continuing the work of ensuring freedom for generations to come.


The most important way you can celebrate this holiday, regardless of your

race, is by showing honor and respect. Learning about black culture, supporting black organizations, and fostering an atmosphere of learning are the best places to start.

Start with Books

This is always a great place for families to start learning more together. It provides a culturally and age-appropriate way for everyone to learn more. Start with books such as:

• Juneteenth by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

• All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson

• Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

Beyond the holiday itself, choose books that highlight the black experience and black culture to help your family better understand what the celebration represents. Even exploring the Emancipation Proclamation speech and music such as freedom songs will create a more vivid understanding for kids.

continued on page 15

June 2024 WNY Family 11
— by Rebecca Hastings
12 WNY Family June 2024 716-634-3395 WWW.CSDS.DANCE CENTER STAGE DANCE STUDIO CENTER STAGE DANCE STUDIO CENTERSTAGEBUFFALO 4837 Union Road Cheektowaga (near Cleveland Drive) ACRO CAMP JULY 10, 17, 24, 31 AUGUST 7, 14, 21 5:30 Beginners 6:30 Int./Advanced 7:30 Int./Advanced TUMBLING 1/2 Day Summer Literacy Camp & Individualized Literacy Tutoring 2 Summer Literacy Programs Offered! 716-645-2470 www.buffalo.edu/clari ub-clari@buffalo.edu For Kids ages 4-12 Best Places To Work FinalistBuffalo Business First, 2023 Today’s families and staff choose Just for Kids! Before and After School Programs SUMMER CLUB LOCATIONS: Williamsville @ Maple East Elem. Cheektowaga @ Union East Elem. Sweet Home @ Willow Ridge Elem. Grand Island @ Kaegebein Elem. SUMMER DAY CAMPS Full and Half Day Rates Available Register Online: www.justforkidsonline.org Williamsville @ Maple East Elem. Cheektowaga @ Union East Elem. Sweet Home @ Willow Ridge Elem. Grand Island @ Kaegebein Elem. 716-639-8500 Coming this JULY and AUGUST CENTER STAGE DANCE STUDIO SUMMER DANCE CAMP invites you to 4837 Union Road Cheektowaga (near Cleveland Drive) JULY 22, 23, 25, 26 AUGUST 12, 13, 15, 16 CERTIFIED MEMBER OF DANCE EDUCATORS OF AMERICA 716-634-3395 WWW.CSDS.DANCE Classes offered in Ages & Levels Offered ACRO CAMP JULY 10, 17, 24, 31 AUGUST 7, 14, 21 5:30 Beginners 6:30 Int./Advanced 7:30 Int./Advanced TUMBLING 3-6 Tap/ Ballet Combo Tap Jazz Ballet Hip Hop 7-10 Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced 11 & Up Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced $12 PER CLASS CENTER STAGE DANCE STUDIO CENTERSTAGEBUFFALO
June 2024 WNY Family 13 CAMPs Summer Special Advertising Section Find the Right Camp for Your Child Junior Sailing Camp We Teach Sailing! Enrollment is Open, Sign Up Now! info@sail-buffalo.org 716-432-6589 www.sail-buffalo.org Sail Buffalo Sailing School Sail Buffalo Weekly Sessions Ages: 7 - 18 See website www.zpac.biz for classes July 15th, 16th & 17th Ages 1.5 - Adult are welcome! Competition Team (New & Returning) MUST take all 3 days For more information, call (716) 608-1010 or visit: www.zpac.biz Competition Team New & Returning Members Audition Thursday, July 18th 4:00-8:30pm Summer Intensive Fall Open Houses: August 25th from 1-4pm August 28th from 5-8pm

Fun Summer Holidays

You Don’t

Want to Miss

With longer days and warm weather, summer is a great time to celebrate. Everything from the wacky (can you say Flip a Coin Day?) to tasty (think ice cream!) has a holiday. From little things that take a few minutes to a full-day family outing, these ideas are sure to make this summer one you and your kids will never forget!

Check out some favorite summer holidays and ideas for how you can celebrate them with your family.


June 1, National Flip a Coin Day: Grab a book about coins, a handful of spare change, and voila! You can even search YouTube videos about how coins are made or make a chart and talk about probability for extra learning.

June 8, Best Friends Day: Today is the perfect time to tell best friends how great they are. Kids can make a fun card and drop it in the mail or plan a day with their bestie. Whatever you do, celebrate those friends!

June 18, International Picnic Day: This is one for the whole family, and it can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Have a few hours and a basket to fill with gourmet goodies? Great. Have a few minutes and a peanut

butter sandwich? Also great. Grab some food and a blanket to head outside for a picnic. And if it rains? Picnic inside!

June 27, National Sunglasses Day: That’s right, it’s a whole day devoted to sunglasses. Use the ones you have or head to the dollar store to get some truly wacky shades. Take turns wearing them everywhere you go and don’t forget to take lots of selfies!


July 1, International Joke Day: Start at the library with some books or with some online research for kid-friendly jokes to last the whole day. Tell them to each other but also try telling them to people when you’re out and about. I bet that cashier at the grocery store could use a laugh! And yes, that cheesy knock-knock joke from when you were a kid does count.

July 10, Pick Blueberries Day: That’s right, get outside and pick some blueberries.

If you don’t have a local farm, head to the store and “pick” out some blueberries to enjoy. Adding whipped cream is highly recommended! You can even find a delicious blueberry recipe to make together.


July 24, Amelia Earhart Day: Fly to the library and get some books to learn all about this airborne pioneer. Then get some big cardboard boxes from an appliance store and create airplanes for the next imaginary flight.

July 27, Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day: Load up the wagon. It’s time to get some fresh air for those houseplants. This silly holiday is a great way to get little legs moving and learn about taking care of plants. Plus, it’s sure to create a few laughs.


August 1, Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs: Give the shelter dogs in your community a birthday to remember. Gather supplies to donate like old blankets and towels. Bake or buy some tasty dog treats. Grab

14 WNY Family June 2024
— by Rebecca Hastings

some tennis balls and chew toys. Then head to the shelter to donate for the pups. The kids and the furry friends will feel great.


Have a Red Cookout

Celebrating outdoors represents freedom. The key to the foods you choose may be to step outside of your comfort zone. Red foods like watermelon, red velvet cake, strawberry pie, and even hot sauce on Juneteenth often symbolize resilience and strength, while foods like brisket, beans, and bread round out the celebration menu. This is a great way to have fun with everything from meat to spicy tea!

Show Support

August 6, National Root Beer Float Day: Perfect for a hot summer day, chill some glasses and add root beer and vanilla ice cream. Make sure to use a curly straw to get every last drop.

August 9, Book Lovers Day: Nothing goes with a lazy summer afternoon like a good book. Find a stack at the local library or pick one to read aloud as a family. See how many different places you can read in one day!

August 27, World Rock Paper Scissors Day: It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’ve got planned, you can celebrate this simple holiday anywhere. Challenge one another to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors and see who wins. You can even keep a running tally for the day and declare the winner after dinner. The prize? The winner picks dessert!

Juneteenth serves as an important reminder of our nation’s history. Supporting black-owned organizations and businesses is a wonderful way to continue the work that started so many years ago. Whether you shop in a local blackowned business or send a donation online, this type of support is a tangible way to link arms for the prosperity and freedom Juneteenth represents.

Say It

Wish black friends and family a Happy Juneteenth as you celebrate and recognize the holiday. This simple phrase goes a long way in fostering respect. “The easiest way to wish someone a Happy Juneteenth is by messaging them and wishing them a fulfilled day. Similar to Black History Month, and other important anniversaries to Black Americans, it is important to acknowledge it as an American holiday, even if you do not celebrate it,” says Alliyah Logan.

Keep Working

The best way we can all work to celebrate Juneteenth is to keep doing the work needed for racial freedom in the United States and beyond. Have honest and respectful conversations about racial issues (even when it feels difficult), seek to learn more about races other than your own, and be part of a solution of healing and hope as we move forward.

June 2024 WNY Family 15
To enter online, visit www.wnyfamilymagazine.com YES! Enter Us In “African Lion Safari” Drawing! (ONE entry per family/address. No photocopies accepted. No purchase necessary.) NAME __________________________________________________________________ STREET ________________________________________________________________ CITY _______________________________ STATE ________ ZIP ______________ PHONE __________________________ Kids ages: _____________________________ If you would like to receive our FREE Digital Issue, please provide your email (optional). Email: __________________________________________________________________ MAIL ENTRY to: WNY Family, PO Box 1573, Buffalo, NY 14225 ENTRY DEADLINE: Monday, June 24th ONE LUCKY FAMILY WILL WIN A FAMILY PASS THAT INCLUDES Open Daily through Sept. 15; Select Dates from Sept. 18 - October 13 • 2 Adults / 2 Children One Day Admission Tickets • An Overnight Stay at the Homewood Suites Cambridge

How to Give Your Kids a 1970’s Summer

As the whirlwind of the last few weeks of school fly by, I find myself ready for the long, unscheduled days of summer. Sleeping in, spending our afternoons poolside, and playing hide and seek until the fireflies come out. Realistically, my idea of carefree summer days come from my youth and not from the summers our own kids typically experience. Camps, playdates, and ball games fill up most of our calendars while any free time is consumed by parent-planned educational activities and crafts seen on social media. While these things aren’t bad, it can be a little daunting for parents due to the pressure to plan every minute of their child’s summer.

I have declared this summer to be different. My kids will have the kind of summer I had as a child. One that is less scheduled and more free play, less video games and more outside time, and less parent planned and more child created. If, like me, you are tired of feeling pressure to entertain and educate your child every waking moment, use these tips to enjoy your summer, 1970’s style.

Ditch the excess

Today parents often feel the need to sign their kids up for as many camps, clinics, and activities as possible to fill their days. In the 70’s, kids did not spend their days at baseball camp, they played baseball with the neighbor kids in the backyard. They didn’t attend theater and dance camps but instead made up their own show to perform for parents and siblings. Give your kids the gift of free time to play and try things on their own. If kids are away at camps all summer, they won’t have time to create their own adventures.


Today we love our electronics. It is unlikely that many of us can make it more than a few hours without checking in with social media and responding to emails and texts. Our kids are no different but limits should be set on screen time to allow kids to experience outdoor

play, the joy of curling up with a good book, and allowing time to use their own imaginations. 1970’s kids didn’t have apps, educational or not, to entertain them and fill their days. Instead, they used their imagination to create inventions with recycled trash, build forts with whatever they could find, and cooperate with other kids to create games that could last for hours.

Go outside

“Go outside and come back when it’s dinner time.” is what my parents would say nearly every afternoon when I was growing up. There were no scheduled playdates, meet ups at the park, or specific activities planned. If I wanted to go to the park, I would ride my bike or walk there. If I wanted a friend to come along, I would swing by their house on the way and knock on the door to see if they wanted to join me. My parents had only a vague idea where I was or who I was with and this was the norm.

16 WNY Family June 2024

While many parents don’t feel quite as safe giving their child free reign, we can learn from this attitude. Kids do not need us to plan and intervene in their daily activities. Send them outside, have them go knock on a neighbor’s door and ask them to join them. Play in the sprinkler, ride bikes, draw with chalk, drink from the hose, learn to do cartwheels, jump rope, plant flowers, or simply sit in the sun. Go outside and don’t come home until dinner.

Let it go

Parents today have so much pressure to live up to unrealistic standards. We feel we must provide educational crafts, plan interesting and affordable outings, provide well balanced extracurricular activities, all while cooking healthy, organic food, maintaining a clean house, a healthy marriage, and balance our careers simultaneously. The truth is, none of us are able to keep up with it all. The 1970’s parents, while balancing many

of the career and family obligations we have today, did not put the type of pressure parents today place on themselves.

yourself, a 1970’s summer is to unplug, enjoy, and ease up on the pressures we place on ourselves. Let’s just enjoy our

This summer, take a break from the pressures of social media, enjoy your kids, join them outside, play a board game, have a movie night, lounge at the pool, eat a little (or a lot of) junk food, and give yourself permission to let things go and accept you can’t realistically keep up with everything anyway.

The key to giving your kids, and

kids and enjoy every unscheduled moment because, before you know it, it will be time to head back to school.

Sarah Lyons is a mom of six children including triplets. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and spending time outdoors with her family.

June 2024 WNY Family 17


June is a busy month! With outdoor activities in full swing, it is a most appropriate month to celebrate fathers. It is a “doing” month, and dads are doers! With summer sports in full swing and the school year winding down, your time and attention are needed. Research shows the important roles fathers play in a child’s emotional, social, and intellectual development. While mothers are often seen as creating the safe space for a child to develop, fathers create the challenges that help children take that security out into the larger world. Moving and making together helps create a bond of trust, challenge, and skills that are lifetime treasures and memories. Books can be a great resource for creating these opportunities and, perhaps even as important, when fathers read to their children, they set them up for school and lifetime success.

A fun “doing” book for dads and young children is At the Zoo (Sourcebooks, Naperville, 2024, $14.99), designed and illustrated by Anna and Daniel Clark. This is a sturdy board book with pop out animals that can be used for play and learning. With 13 animals you can create a whole zoo adventure while learning about where they live, what they eat, and what makes them special. And like puzzle pieces, they can be put back in the pages for easy storage and transport.

This would be a wonderful book to read to get ready for a trip to the zoo or to use after to have the fun and learning continue. From language development to fine and gross motor coordination, this book has so much potential for family memories and learning.

Children love sticker books and My Sticker Dress-Up: Babies (Sourcebooks, Naperville, 2024, $9.99), illustrated and designed by Louise Angelicas will engage young children and dads as they dress the babies for their adventures during the day. This book will encourage conversations and recollections about the things that a child does or has done. From waking in the morning to bedtime at the end of the day, there are clothes for every activity. Dress the babies for playing in the park, swimming, shopping at the market, having treats in the sweet shop, and more fun adventures. This is sure to be a book that can create stories imagined and real. These are the activities and the stories that children will remember all of their lives.

For older children with more dexterity, Lego 5 Minute Builds (Sourcebooks, Naperville, 2024, $14.99) has ideas for over 100 builds, challenges, and games. Simon Beecroft has created chapter activities for Watery Worlds, Go Wild in the City, Up, Up and Away, and

Adventures in Space. Colorful and clear illustrations make this easy for children (and dads) to figure out. Once you get your objects made, there are ideas for games and puzzles they can be used for and problems they can help solve. This book involves everyone in STEM activities to engage them in aspects of science, technology, engineering, and math creative problem solving and imagination. This is “dads doing” at its best!

Family storytelling has been shown to have a profound impact in forging identities, nurturing resilience, promoting mental health, transmitting culture, making connections, and helping children know the special people on their life and lineage. Gather Round (Viking, New York, 2024, $18.99), sensi-

continued on page 47

18 WNY Family June 2024

Summer Go! Guide Guide

Western New York Family Magazine June 2024


African Lion Safari


Go “On Safari!™” and get closer than you ever imagined to over 1,000 exotic birds and animals from around the world. Drive through 9 km of safari trail in your own car or take a guided air-conditioned Safari Tour Bus. Open daily May 4 - September 15 and select dates from September 18 to October 13 2024.

1386 Cooper Rd., Cambridge, Ontario, Canada N1R 5S2 • 1-800-461-WILD (9453) www.lionsafari.com

See ad on page 23

Aquarium of Niagara

Go on an aquatic adventure at the Aquarium of Niagara! Meet more than 120 species of animals including penguins, rescued seals and sea lions, jellyfish, and more! A brand new building dedicated to local wildlife – Great Lakes 360 – opens this summer.

701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls, NY 14301 • 716-285-3575 www.aquariumofniagara.org

See ad on page 27

As of our issue print date, the following events were scheduled for 2024. Be sure to check websites for the most current information and registration requirements.

Arcade and Attica Railroad

Come aboard the Arcade & Attica Railroad and step back in time on our 2 1/2 hour excursion. May - December with many special events. Be sure to visit our website.

278 Main Street, Arcade, NY 14 009 • 585-492-3100 www. aarailroad.com

See ad on page 22

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Explore the Botanical Gardens campus filled with exotic horticultural treasures from around the world. Deepen your connection to plants by indulging in the beautiful indoor and outdoor gardens. Transform your day with the power of plants and make today extraordinary!

2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo, NY 14218• 716-827-1584 www.buffalogardens.com

Discover Niagara Shuttle

See ad on page 34

Enjoy a day of discovery as you connect to over 30 destination sites along the 14 mile route from the “Falls to the Fort” on the free Discover Niagara Shuttle. Park and discover!

716-222-0729 www.discoverniagarashuttle.com

Hidden Valley

Animal Adventure

See ad on page 22

Nestled in the hills of Varysburg in Wyoming County, Hidden Valley Animal Adventure is one of Western New York’s most unique attractions. Escape to the wild with an hour-long guided safari tour, or self-drive through the park, for up close and personal interactions with animals from around the world including camels, zebra, llama, elk, bison and many more. Book tickets online.

2887 Royce Road, Varysburg, NY 14167 • 585-535-4100 www.hiddenvalleyadventure.com

Midway State Park

See ad on page 29

Make lasting memories at one of the oldest amusement parks in the nation! Family friendly atmosphere with nostalgic rides, arcade, gokarts, mini-golf, gift shop, museum, and great food! Open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day (see our website for days/hours).

4859 Route 430, Bemus Point, NY 14712 • 716-386-3165 parks.ny.gov/parks/midway

See ad on page 23

1 – Aug. 5 • Floral Spectra Exhibit Buffalo buffalogardens.com

7-9 • Ten Mile Garage Sale Lewiston wnypapers.com

7-9 • Strawberry Festival Forestville merrittestatewinery.com

8 • Touch-a-Truck Lewiston nypa.gov/niagarapowervista

8-9 • Civil War Garrison Youngstown oldfortniagara.org

8-9 • Allentown Art Festival Buffalo allentownartfestival.com

9 • 27th Annual Duck Race Olcott Harbor olcott-newfane.com

12-16 • Juneteenth Week Mumford gcv.org

Continued on page 24

June 2024 WNY Family 21
Look Forward to SUMMER

• Mini Camp - Ages 5-12

M/W 9:00 - 11:30am or Noon - 2:30pm; T/TH 12:30 - 3:00pm

• Quality Gymnastics: Ages 1-18yrs ~ Weekly Themes

• Trampoline & Tumbling Classes: 7-18yrs

• Open Tumble/Cheer Class July/Aug. - Mon. 8:50-9:45pm

• July/August Open WorkoutsWed. 7:15-9pm

70 Weiss Ave. • Orchard Park/West Seneca (Near Duff’s & Leisure Rinks) • 677-0338


Houghton Letchworth KOA

Only 12 miles from Letchworth State Park, this tranquil, family-owned KOA offers more than 80 sites for trailers & tents, along with cabins to rent. Enjoy themed-weekends, catch-and-release fishing, playgrounds, a general store, indoor & outdoor heated pools and a fun-filled lodge! 7632 Centerville Rd., Houghton, NY 14744 • 585-567-4211 www.HoughtonKOA.com

Sleepy Hollow Lake

Family friendly campground that offers a wide variety of activities and events. RV, tent and cabin available. Many on-site and planned activities for the entire family. We offer a lake, swimming, fishing, kayaking, tennis, mini golf, themed weekends, rec hall and more!

13800 Siehl Rd., Akron, NY 14001 • 716-542-4336 www.sleepyhollowcamp.com

Fairs & Festivals

4th of July Carnival

Head to The Great Pumpkin Farm from July 4-6 for the 4th of July Carnival! Families will experience exciting rides, fun games, face painting, balloon art, and delicious food. No entrance fee. Ride wristbands and tickets are available at the gate. 11199 Main St., Clarence, NY 14031 • 716-759-1929 www.greatpumpkinfarm.com www.gymnastics-unlimited.net

22 WNY Family June 2024
See ad on page 29
See ad on page 33 See ad on page 29
SUMMER 2024 TIME ARCADE & ATTICA RAILROAD STEP BACK IN 585-492-3100 aarailroad.com



Originally established in 1898 as a trolley park, Midway State Park is one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the nation.

Midway State Park offers a family friendly atmosphere that visitors have come to love.

Patrons can take a nostalgic ride on the vintage carousel, play a game of mini golf, take a spin on the tilt-a whirl and ride the go-karts, or watch their children enjoy themselves on the many kiddie rides. And, while some may prefer to relax while enjoying cotton candy, others can stop by the Gift Shop or test their skills at classic midway games.

June 2024 WNY Family 23 For More Information Visit: www.parks.ny.gov/parks/midway 4859 Route 430 | Bemus Point, NY 14712
Located on shores of beautiful Chautauqua Lake, Midway State Park is a family treasure.
at Join us forFireworks on July 13th to celebrate ourAnniversary! 716-386-3165


14-16 • Kenmore Days Kenmore villageofkenmore.org

15 • Fairy Festival Buffalo buffalogardens.com

15 • Dragon Boat Festival Buffalo RiverWorks hopechestbuffalo.org

15 • Animal Play Day West Falls hawkcreek.org

15 • 9th Annual Mermaid Festival Olcott olcott-newfane.com

15-16 • Lewiston GardenFest Lewiston lewistongardenfest.com

22-23 • Celtic Faire Mumford gcv.org

22 • 22 Kids Fishing Derby Olcott olcott-newfane.com

29-30 • Free Fishing Days

All Fresh Waters of NY State www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/44804.html#Days

As of our issue print date, the following events were scheduled for 2024. Be sure to check websites for the most current information and registration requirements. Continued on page 26

Old Home Days

The Jolly Boys of Williamsville are proud to sponsor the 46th annual Old Home Days. This year, Bank on Buffalo has become a major corporate sponsor to help us with the event. All proceeds are donated to youth groups in the area.

Island Park, 5565 Main Street, Williamsville, NY 14221


Family Programs

JCC Buffalo

See ad on page 31

With 2 convenient locations, the JCC features 2 heated indoor pools, a heated outdoor pool, playgrounds, sand volleyball, pickleball, snack shack, and everything else needed for the best summer ever! Join us for Day Camp for children in Grades K-10, relax at the pristine outdoor pool, make new friends, fly down the Dual Zipline, climb the rock wall, and so much more!

787 Delaware at Summer in Buffalo, NY 14209 • 716-886-3172

2640 North Forest Rd. (behind UB at Audubon), Amherst, NY 14068 • 716-688-4033 www.jccbuffalo.org

See ad on page 20

Farms & Markets

Becker Farms & Vizcarra Vineyards

Open every day! Kids welcome, pick your own berries, farm market, pies, ice cream, farm animals, play ground/picnic area. Visit Vizcarra Vineyards and Becker Farms and Becker Brewing Company for wine and beer tastings!

3724 Quaker Rd., Gasport, NY 14067 • 716-772-2211 www.beckerfarms.com

Greg’s U-Pick Farm

See ad on page 27

An in the dirt, educational, hands on experience for the entire family! CSA shares, U-pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and pumpkins available. Visit our farm market and bakery for fresh produce, pies, and more! Bring a group, book a field trip. Pick here! Grow here! Have fun here!

9270 Lapp Road, Clarence Center, N Y 14032 • 716-741-4239 www.gregsupick.com

Hamburg Farmers Market

The Hamburg Farmers Market is open for their 47th season! With a rotation of over 100 vendors throughout the season, the market provides a way for communities to access fresh fruits, vegetables and other locally sourced products! Come visit us and find out more!

45 Church Street, Hamburg, NY 14075 • 716-649-7917 www.southtownsregionalchamber.org

Hands-On Fun!

See ad on page 31 See ad on page 33

Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries

The 37 Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries & the “Library on Wheels” bookmobile provide a variety of year-round, all-ages programs, services, youth sports kits, resources, and more. Libraries are for everyone. And, libraries are fine free – plus library cards are free! Visit us soon! • 716-858-8900


See ad on page 33

24 WNY Family June 2024 Look Forward to SUMMER June
June 2024 WNY Family 25

Look Forward to


As of our issue print date, the following events were scheduled for 2024. Be sure to check websites for the most current information and registration requirements.

June cont.

29 • Strawberry Moon Festival Lewiston artpark.net


4-7 • Ellicottville Rodeo Ellicottville ellicottvillerodeo.com

4 • Independence Day Celebration Mumford gcv.org

4-6 • 4th of July Carnival Clarence greatpumpkinfarm.com

5-7 • The Siege of Fort Niagara Youngstown oldfortniagara.org

6-Aug. 3 • Free Family Saturdays (except for July 13) Lewiston artpark.net

3 • Fireworks & Concert Olcott olcott-newfane.com

4 • Patriot’s Day Parade Olcott Olcott-newfane.com

Clay Hands Pottery

Paint yourself silly this Summer! It’s easy, pick your piece from a large selection of pottery and choose your paints to make your one of a kind creation! Clay Hands offers birthday parties and girls night out, scouts, bridal parties and so much more!! Gift Certificates Available. 10086 Main Street, Clarence, NY 14031 • 716-759-1208 www.clayhandspottery.com Please include your phone number.

Designing Dish

Everyone is an artist at Designing Dish – a paint your own pottery store featuring Glass Fusing. Now offering Pottery To Go Kits for individuals and for groups, field trips and private parties. Celebrate summer by visiting us. Facebook and Instagram. 138 Grey St., East Aurora, NY 14052 • 716-655-4456 www.designingdish.com

Raff and Friends

One stop shop for summer FUN! For All Ages. Games, puzzles, science, plush, dolls, car/trucks, dinosaurs, books, adult games, logic, baby/ toddler, crafts and more. Playmobil, Melissa & Doug, Breyer, Bruder, Thinking Putty, Squishable, Metal Earth.

4545 Transit Rd., Eastern Hills Mall, Williamsville, NY 14221 • 716-632-4202 www.raffandfriends.com

See ad on page 34

Indoor Recreation

Buffalo Turners Gymnastics – “Sound Mind, Sound Body.” Buffalo Turners, the oldest gymnastics club in Western New York, offers instruction for students, 3 to 18 years. Children develop confidence, strength and body awareness. But most of all, learning gymnastics is fun!

3200 Elmwood Avenue, Kenmore, NY 14217 • 716-877-2700 www.BuffaloTurnersGymnastics.com

See ad on page 31

Cornerstone Ice Arena

Everything’s better on ICE! If skating isn’t your thing - or you just want a change of pace – check out our Ice Bumper Cars! Rides are 10 minutes long during our public sessions or you can book a private party for up to 25 people with 12 cars. Pre-register at www.CornerstoneIceArena.com.

1 Grigg Lewis Way, Lockport, NY 14094 • 716-438-7698 www.CornerstoneIceArena.com

Gymnastics Unlimited

See ad on page 31

Flip into summer with us! Your child will be head over heels joining our classes, fun mini day camp, birthday parties, open workout or open tumbling!

70 Weiss Ave., West Seneca, NY, 14224 • 716-677-0338 www.gymnastics-unlimited.net

Living History

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

See ad on page 22

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village has STEAM and Pioneer Summer Camps! July 15-19 and 22-26, and August 5-9 and 12-16. All camps go from 9 am to 4 pm. Sign up at BNHV.org or call 716-689-1440 for more information!

3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst, NY 14228 • 716-689-1440 www.bnhv.org

See ad on page 29

26 WNY Family June 2024
See ad on page 31
See ad on page 31
Continued on page 28
June 2024 WNY Family 27 U-PICK STRAWBERRIES Starting MID-JUNE and in JULY Raspberries and Blueberries www.BeckerFarms.com All in One Location FUN for the Whole Family Craft Brews on Tap 20 Different Varieties 3724 Quaker Road, Gasport, NY | 716.772.2211

Look Forward to SUMMER

As of our issue print date, the following events were scheduled for 2024. Be sure to check websites for the most current information and registration requirements.



6-Aug. 18 • Sterling Renaissance Festival (weekends only) Sterling sterlingfestival.com

12-14 • Christmas in July Weekend Olcott olcott-newfane.com

12-14 • Pirate Festival Olcott olcott-newfane.com

12-14 • Geneseo Air Show Geneseo nationalwarplanemuseum.com

13-14 • Taste of Buffalo Buffalo tasteofbuffalo.com

14-21 • Canal Fest City of Tonawanda canalfest.org

13 • Fairy House Festival Lewiston artpark.net

16 • 716 Day ($7.16 Admission) Buffalo buffalogardens.com

16-21 • Chautauqua County Fair Dunkirk chautauquacountyfair.org

Genesee Country Village & Museum

History is for everyone at New York State’s largest living history museum! Less than 1 hour from Buffalo, GCV&M has fun for the whole family in a working 19th-century village, the John L. Wehle Gallery with exhibits, and the Nature Center with 5+ miles of trails. Visit gcv.org to learn more and purchase tickets online.

140 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford, NY 14511 • info@gcv.org www.gcv.org

Old Fort Niagara

Old Fort Niagara offers exciting living history programs and authentic 18th century buildings and fortifications. The Fort presents daily history adventures and a full calendar of special events that are fun for the whole family. Connect with Niagara’s past as you walk in the footsteps of history.

102 Morrow Plaza, Youngstown, NY 14174 • 716-745-7611 www.oldfortniagara.org See ad on page 34

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center reveals authentic stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in Niagara Falls. Visitors experience stories and hear from individuals who connect the historic Underground Railroad past to present day around the world.

825 Depot Avenue West, Niagara Falls, NY 14305 • 716-300-8477 www.niagarafallsundergroundrailroad.org


Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

Family-friendly museum with exhibits, carrousel rides, and kiddie rides. Children’s Gallery activities, special events, and party room. Museum housed in the historic Allan Herschell Company factory building. Once around is never enough!

180 Thompson Street, N. Tonawanda, NY 14120 • 716-693-1885 www.carrouselmuseum.org

National Comedy Center

Named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today & a “Top 25 Family Weekend Getaway in the U.S.” by U.S. News & World Report, the National Comedy Center is a laugh-filled interactive museum experience for all ages. 90 min. from Buffalo!

203 West Second St., Jamestown, NY 14701 • 716-484-2222 www.comedycenter.org

See ad on page 25

Nature & Outdoors

Adventure Calls Outfitters, Inc.

Come experience Letchworth State Park as only we can show you - from the bottom up! Paddle class I/II ra pids on our guided trips. Perfect for families with younger children and novice paddlers.

P.O. Box 391, LeRoy, NY 14482 • 888-270-2410


28 WNY Family June 2024
Continued on
See ad on page 22
See ad
See ad on page 34
See ad on page 27

Llama Adventures

June 2024 WNY Family 29
Book your adventure now at LlamaAdventures.us ➤ Llama Hikes ➤ Farm Visits ➤ Birthday Parties ➤ Field Trips ➤ Educational Programs ➤ Fund Raisers ➤ Weddings And More… OFFERING: (Offer available until 8/30/2024, holiday weekends excluded. One discount per family allowed.) NO ENTRANCE FEE!! Wristbands & tickets available at the gate Wristbands: $30.00 per person Tickets: Family Pack of 30 tickets for $30 / Individual tickets: $1.50 each All riders must have Wristbands or Tickets Daily from Noon - 9pm July 4 th – July 6 th (Wristband or tickets required), family-friendly games, and delicious food! Enjoy great rides available daily from 1-5pm! Face painting and balloon art ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Join us for Fireworks at dusk on Thursday, July 4th & Saturday, July 6th! www.GreatPumpkinFarm.com Visit Facebookourpage for a $5 off coupon, good for everyday! NoonONLY.5pm ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Look Forward to SUMMER

Llama Adventures

Llama hikes, farm visits, field trips, company outings, birthday parties, other occasion - come do it with llamas. Add grandeur to your event with llamas - birthday parties, weddings, fund raisers, school visits, nursing homes, more - we can bring llamas to you!

360 Park Rd., Arcade, NY 14009 LlamaAdventures.us

July cont.

See ad on page 29


16-19 • Old Home Days Williamsville oldhomedayswilliamsville.com

20 • BurgerFest Hamburg hamburgburgerfest.com

20-27 • Genesee County Fair Batavia gcfair.com

20 • Porter-on-theLake Summerfest Youngstown niagarariverregion.com

24-28 • Genesee Valley Great Outdoors Fest Mumford gcv.org

25 • National Carousel Day North Tonawanda carrouselmuseum.org

26-28 • Buffalo Irish Festival Outer Harbor buffaloirishfestival.com

26-28 • Galbani Italian Heritage Festival Hertel Avenue, Buffalo buffaloitalianfestival.com

27-28 • Old Olcott Days Olcott olcott-newfane.com

As of our issue print date, the following events were scheduled for 2024. Be sure to check websites for the most current information and registration requirements. Continued on page 32

New York State Parks

From swimming to golfing to camping to the wonder of Niagara Falls, experience your local state parks this summer! Visit www.parks.ny.gov to find your next adventure.

250 throughout New York State www.nysparks.com

See ad on page 25

Theatre & Entertainment


ARTPARK’s scenic setting overlooking the Niagara River has been a family destination for over 50 years! Summer events and family programming blend art and nature for unique experiences. Enjoy trails, woods, picnic areas and fishing docks. Visit artpark.net for the summer schedule.

450 South 4th Street, Lewiston, NY 14092 • 716-754-4375 www.artpark.net

See ad on page 27

Niagara University Theatre

NU Theatre, the producing arm of the Dept. of Theatre & Fine Arts, has been proudly entertaining and educating audiences since 1964. Summer shows tour and perform on-campus.

P.O. Box 1913, Niagara University, NY 14109 • 716-286-8329 theatre.niagara.edu

See ad on page 32

Niagara Arts & Cultural Center

Your Creative Journey Starts Here! The largest multi-arts center in WNY, The NACC offers free and ticketed events almost everyday. Check out live theater performances, listen to concerts, visit art galleries, or sign up for a fun workshop. All Ages.

1201 Pine Ave, Niagara Falls, NY 14301 • 716-282-7530 www.TheNACC.org

Vacation Destinations

Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau

See ad on page 34

Plan a summer vacation to the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Region of Western NY. Discover the unrivaled natural beauty of our many lakes, waterways and trails as well as experience one-of-a-kind cultural attractions. Request a Free Travel Guide.

Main Gate: Route 394, P.O. Box 1441, Chautauqua, NY 14722 • 866-908-4569 www.tourchautauqua.com

See ad on page 46

30 WNY Family June 2024
June 2024 WNY Family 31 BUFFALO TURNERS GYMNASTICS Featuring: • Recreational Gymnastics: Beginner to Advanced • Competition Teams: USAG • Gym-Tots (3-4 years) • Gym-Kids (5 years) 3200 Elmwood Ave. Kenmore, NY Celebrating 171 YEARS! www.BuffaloTurnersGymnastics.com 716-877-2700 CALL
www.clayhandspottery.com 10086 Main Street Clarence, NY 14031 716-759-1208 GLASS FUSING PAINTING POTTERY PARTIES A Pottery Painting Party Place and more... Visit us or like us on Paint yourself silly this summer! ~ Gift Certificates ~ See the public skate schedule online at cornerstoneicearena.com 1 Grigg Lewis Way | Lockport, NY 14094 | 716.438.7698 Ice Bumper Cars at BIRTHDAY PARTIES | HOCKEY PUBLIC SKATING | FIGURE SKATING LEARN TO SKATE | FUNDRAISING bumpingbumperFun! Pottery Painting and Glass Fusing. Follow us on Facebook & Instagram Open for walk-ins 7 days a week, Birthday Parties, and Ladies Nights. 138 Grey Street, East Aurora, NY 716-655-4456 • www.designingdish.com 9270 LAPP ROAD • CLARENCE CENTER, NY 14032 PICK HERE. GROW HERE. HAVE FUN HERE. 716-741-4239 GREGSUPICK.COM Visit our farm market & bakery Bring a group or book a field trip! CSA SHARES AVAILABLE
Clay Hands Pottery

Look Forward to


July cont.

27-28 • Revolutionary War Reenactment Youngstown oldfortniagara.org

27-28 • Wild America Nature Festival Panama Rocks wildamericafest.com

31-Aug. 3 • Gerry Rodeo Gerry gerryrodeo.org

31-Aug. 4 • Niagara County Fair Lockport cceniagaracounty.org


1-4 • Attica Rodeo Attica atticarodeo.com

1-4 • Eden Corn Festival Eden edencornfest.com

1-4 • Lucille Ball Comedy Festival Jamestown comedycenter.org

3 • Enchanted Wild Fest West Falls hawkcreek.org

As of our issue print date, the following events were scheduled for 2024. Be sure to check websites for the most current information and registration requirements.

1-29 • Kids Free Days Thursdays ONLY Mumford gcv.org

7-18 • Erie County Fair Hamburg ecfair.org

10-11 • Lewiston Art Festival Lewiston artcouncil.org

11 • Law Enforcement Day Olcott Beach olcott-newfane.com

17-18 • Fiddlers’ Fair & Making Music Weekend Mumford gcv.org

Continued on page 35

32 WNY Family June 2024
June 2024 WNY Family 33 Akron, NY sleepyhollowcamp.com 716.542.4336
34 WNY Family June 2024 Summer fun at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum “Once Around is Never Enough” 180 THOMPSON ST., N. TONAWANDA, NY 716.693.1885 FOR MORE INFORMATION,VISIT:WWW.CARROUSELMUSEUM.ORG Summer 7-day Schedule Starts June 17th Kiddieland Open May 25th - Sept. 6th Rentals and tour bookings Available Year Round! Featuring a 1916 carrousel, band organ collection & more! www.raffandfriends.com Inside Eastern Hills Mall - Across from Duff’s | (716) 632-4202 and So Much More! One Stop Shop for SUMMER FUN! Breyer Horses • Plush • Bruder Trucks Science • Puzzles • Games • Store Hours: Tues. - Sat. 10am - 6pm ~ Sun. 11am - 4pm

Happy 150th Birthday Chautauqua Institution

When Chautauqua Institution President Michael Hill opens the nine-week season with the traditional “three taps of the gavel” on Sunday morning June 23, he will be kicking off the 150th season. It will be filled with celebrations and special events designed to pay homage to this most special place on the shores of Lake Chautauqua.

It was here in 1874 that Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and industrialist Lewis Miller began a training center for Sunday school teachers. Their dream was a two-week meeting at which teachers could vacation in canvas tents, listen to self-improvement lectures by the light of pine-knot torches, and stroll by the lakeshore.

“Chautauqua is an idea, embracing ‘all things of life’ — art, science, society, religion, patriotism, — whatever tends to enlarge, refine, and ennoble the individual,” Vincent explained.

Children and families have always been welcome.

“Bring the boys and girls to the Assembly,” an 1877 Chautauqua news-

paper said. “They may spend half their time climbing trees or boating on the lake...but they cannot avoid seeing and hearing many things which will...shape their destiny in life.”

What was it like to visit Chautauqua in 1874? Come on June 23 to Miller Park from Noon to 2 pm. There will be an unveiling of a circa 1874 tent constructed by volunteers using original directions used by early visitors to build their summer accommodations. Period re-enactors will help bring this experience to life.

Chautauqua is truly one of Western New York’s greatest treasures and it is just an hour and 20-minute drive from Buffalo, making it a perfect day, weekend, or longer family trip.

During the summer season, about 7,500 people are in residence on any day. More than 100,000 people attend public events each year. Admission is by gate pass during the season and free the rest of the year. Sundays are free for all and children 12 and under and adults 90 and older are always free.

Concerts, classes, lectures, sports, theater — there’s something for everyone continued on page 36

As of our issue print date, the following events were scheduled for 2024. Be sure to check websites for the most current information and registration requirements.

cont. 17 • Urban Farm Day Tours Buffalo urbanfarmday.com

18 • Olcott Beach Carousel Park’s 22nd Anniversary Olcott Beach olcott-newfane.com

21-Sept. 2 • New York State Fair Syracuse nysfair.ny.gov

31-Sept. 1 • National Buffalo Wing Festival Highmark Stadium buffalowing.com

31 – Sept. 1 • War of 1812 Encampment Youngstown oldfortniagara.org

5-8 • Niagara County Peach Festival Lewiston niagarariverregion.com

28-29 • Wildlife Festival Lewiston nypa.gov/niagarapowervista

June 2024 WNY Family 35 Look Forward to
The Athenaeum Hotel

and every age. There are hotels, inns, condos, rooms, and houses for rent on the grounds and many other choices of accommodations nearby. There is a wide range of dining options including the Athenaeum Hotel and other hotels, casual cafes with outdoor seating, a food truck, the United Methodist Church, and the Sunday Fire Department Chicken BBQ.

There are two public golf courses and tennis courts at the Tennis Center, as well as playgrounds and fitness centers.

Children’s programs start as early as three years. The Boys’ and Girls’ Club for grades 2-10 is considered the oldest day camp in the country. The Youth Activities Center is a drop-in center for ages 12-17 and features a snack bar, TVs, games, table tennis, and pool tables.

Chautauqua’s Special Studies program provides age-appropriate learning programs similar to programs available for adults. The curriculum offers a wide variety of subjects from computer skills, art, dance, music, writing, language, photography, and more.

Every season a few families with limited incomes are offered a first-time, one-week Chautauqua experience. Scholarships cover gate passes, tuition for Special Studies classes, children’s activities, and housing rental.

The anniversary calendar is organized around the theme The Seasons and Stories of Chautauqua. The calendar invites visitors to learn about the history of Chautauqua and the Chautauqua Movement, to capture their own Chautauqua story and to take part in one-of-a-kind activities created especially for the anniversary.

The season is divided by weekly themes and there are daily lectures in the Amphitheater revolving around the themes. Week One is “The Evolution of the Modern Presidency.” Week Two is the AI Revolution and Week Three is “What We Got Wrong: Learning from our Mistakes.” Week Seven is an extra special theme. It is “Wonder and Awe: A Week Celebrating Chautauqua’s Sesquicentennial.” The final week is “Rising Together: Our Century of Creativity and Collaboration with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.”

The season ends on Sunday, August 25 with the closing three Taps of the Gavel speech by President Hill. Earlier in the

day, The Great Massey Organ Sing-Along will close the institution’s performing arts season, featuring the historic 1907 Massey Organ — the largest outdoor organ in the world — as it accompanies the community to “sing out” the season.

The grand dame of Chautauqua’s buildings is the Athenaeum Hotel that sprawls comfortably on a lake vista knoll. It is girdled with verandahs, laced with carpenter’s Gothic balustrades and cornices. This impressively Victorian hotel has been a landmark since it was built in 1881. The Athenaeum does more than preserve the past, it extols it down to a classic brass Otis elevator and the rows of rocking chairs on the verandah.

The Athenaeum was wired for electricity by Thomas Edison, Miller’s son-in-law. His favorite table was next to a large window that extends to the floor, permitting easy access to the porch that nearly encircles the hotel. He was a shy man who would come in through the open window and leave the same way so he could avoid admirers waiting outside the dining room door.

Edison, whose friends at Chautauqua included Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, was one of many famous people to speak or vacation there. Nine U.S. presidents have done so, starting with Ulysses S. Grant.

Teddy Roosevelt was enraptured with Chautauqua and visited five times. An ardent fishing enthusiast, Roosevelt was a fan of fishing for Chautauqua’s famed muskies which continue to draw visitors today. Franklin D. Roosevelt visited four times and delivered his “I Hate War” speech from the Amphitheater platform in 1936.

Out on the lake, its distinctive whistle signals a steamboat’s presence in front of the Bell Tower. The Chautauqua Belle is one of only three genuine steam-powered boats east of the Mississippi River and offers the perfect 19th century atmosphere for Institution visitors who want to explore the lake. It departs from the Bell Tower or nearby Mayville.

The Chautauqua Belle comfortably accommodates 120 passengers and is a much smaller version of the 19th century behemoths that steamed up and down the lake. It is painted a festive blue and white with an enormous red paddle wheel that is powered by steam that sends the paddle wheel around 18 times a minute.

36 WNY Family June 2024
INSTITUTION continued...
The Chautauqua Belle

The last of the original steamboats stopped operating in the 1950s. Steamboats lasted longer on Chautauqua Lake than any other body of water its size in the country. In 1975, the Chautauqua Belle was built and revived the steamboat tradition.

A perfect day for first time Chautauqua visitors:

Plan a visit for a Sunday when gate admission is free for all. Is it a warm day? Visit the beach and take a dip in Chautauqua Lake. Bring or rent bikes, since it is the perfect place for the whole family to bike around the grounds. Kayaks, sailboats, and pontoon boats are available for rent. Be sure to save some time for enjoying the rocking chairs on the impressive Athenaeum Hotel front porch.

Don’t miss the free Sunday afternoon family friendly concerts and programs in the Amphitheater. On June 30, the Amphitheater will with be filled with laughter with The Chipper Experience! Where Comedy & Magic Collide! Families are invited to meet Chipper on the Amphitheater Porch following the show.

Travel Tip of the Month: The summer season runs from June 22 — August 25. For more information on the Chautauqua Institution visit chq.org or call 800-8936-ARTS. The full schedule of anniversary events is available at chq.org/150. For information on other attractions and accommodations in Chautauqua County visit tourchautauqua.com or call 866-908-4569. For Chautauqua Belle information visit thechautauquabelle@ gmail.com or call 716-269-2355.

Deborah Williams lives in Holland, NY and is a veteran travel writer whose work has appeared in national and international publications. She is the recipient of the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Gold Travel Writing Award.

June 2024 WNY Family 37
The Bell Tower

WEscape to Ellicottville

hether it is a family vacation with your pup in tow or a romantic weekend getaway after dropping the kids off with grandma and grandpa, escape to Ellicottville in neighboring Cattaraugus County for an unforgettable alpine adventure!


Situated north of Salamanca and south of Springville along U.S. Route 219 just past the outskirts of Allegany State Park, the Town of Ellicottville which surrounds the quaint village also bearing its name are year-round destinations for locals and visitors alike. Known for its two local ski areas, the semi-private HoliMont Ski Club, and Holiday Valley Resort, which is open to the public, Ellicottville is also a popular summer destination, primed for stellar mountain biking, hiking, skateboarding, and other outdoor recreation.

A Brief History

Settled in approximately 1815, Ellicottville incorporated from Franklinville (originally named Ischua) in 1820. The

town (and later, village) took the name of “Ellicottville” after Joseph Ellicott, the principal agent of the Holland Land Company, comprised of Dutch investors who purchased over three million acres of land in Western New York. The Village of Ellicottville was formerly incorporated in 1837 and served as the county seat of Cattaraugus County from 1817 to 1868, after which the seat was relocated to Little Valley. Today, the Town of Ellicottville and the Village of Ellicottville have governments independent of each other.

Where To Stay

Inn at Holiday Valley –(pet friendly) $$$ 6081 US-219 Ellicottville, NY 14731

www.holidayvalley.com/lodging inn-holiday-valley/ 716-699-2336

If you’re looking to stay near Holiday Valley, look no further than the Inn! Rooms accommodate two to four guests and up to two of your four-legged friends. Accommodations range from hotel-style rooms to suites equipped with Jacuzzis, fireplaces, and ADA-accessible rooms.

Complimentary WiFi, private ski lockers, ski-in/ski-out accommodations, a pool, an on-site golf course, and winter ski shuttles are just some of the amenities on offer. Check the website for pricing and special packages.

The Jefferson Inn –(pet friendly) $$ 3 Jefferson Street Ellicottville, NY 14731

www.thejeffersoninn.com/ 716-699-5869

This charming 1830’s guest house offers a good option for a Victorian bed and breakfast situated in the heart of downtown Ellicottville. Choose from four bedrooms or one luxury suite all located within the main house, or, for travelers with children under 12 and/or pets, choose one of the two efficiency suites located on the ground level. Amenities include private baths for all the rooms, complimentary breakfast for guests of the main house, complimentary WiFi, and use of the on-site hot tub and many sitting porches. Guests of the efficiency suites have fully-equipped kitchens with a Keurig, kettle, microwave, and refrigerator, along with complimentary coffee and tea. Check the website for availability, rates, and seasonal specials.

38 WNY Family June 2024

Ellicottville Lofts –(sorry, no pets) $$ 12 Martha Street

Ellicottville, NY 14731 www.ellicottvillelofts.com/ 716-500-LOFT (5638)

Located within the village, the Lofts are a great option for those looking for a nightly or short-term rental to enjoy snow sports, or for more long-term, furnished accommodations. Halfway between Holiday Valley and HoliMont and a stones-throw from Washington Street and downtown Ellicottville, the Lofts have a lot to offer. Unit rental configurations include one-, two-, or threebedroom, and can accommodate up to 12 guests (pets are not accepted at the time of publication). All units are spacious and beautifully appointed with modern furniture and amenities and offer TVs, full kitchens, fireplaces, and WiFi.

Saisons Inn – (sorry, no pets) $$ 6416 Route 242 E Ellicottville, NY 14731 www.saisonsinn.com/ 716-699-9004

For a beautiful bed and breakfast that is more of an oasis than hotel, look no further than Saisons Inn. Husbandand-wife innkeepers Deborah RyanPelletier and Jean-Yves Pelletier are gracious hosts during guests’ visits. Stay in one of the six rooms in the historic main house or relax in the Kennedy Cottage for additional privacy and enjoy a truly unforgettable western New York experience.

Where To Eat

Ellicottville is home to over 20 restaurants and eateries, from fine dining to casual to an axe throwing bar to pubs, and everything in between. Highlights are numerous and vary, from newcomers who have made a recent splash on the scene, to the more tried-and-true, family-friendly classics. Here are a few options to consider on your next visit.

Katy’s Café

38 Washington Street

Ellicottville, NY 14731


Those seeking a relaxed breakfast, brunch, or lunch served with a farmhouse-meets-coffee-house vibe, look no

further than Katy’s Café further down Washington Street away from the hustle and bustle. Take your pick from loaded breakfast burritos, bagels, sandwiches, paninis, wraps, salads, soups, and more. Hours are seasonal, so be sure to check online or call ahead. Spring hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Great news! Katy’s now offers delivery via DoorDash for those not willing to leave home.

West Rose

23 Washington Street

Ellicottville, NY 14731



Fresh off the block, relative newcomer West Rose opened on Washington Street to much-deserved fanfare and great anticipation in December 2019 and the accolades keep coming. From the same owners of The Grange Community Kitchen in Hamburg and The Grange Outpost in Orchard Park, Executive Chef Brad Rowell and his wife Caryn brought on board Chef Anthony Petrilli as coowner and overseeing chef. Dishes that chef Petrilli and team put out are nothing short of extraordinary – oysters on the half shell, expertly seasonal vegetables,

humanely-raised meats, woodfire pizzas, and decadent, mouthwatering desserts. Seasonally focused using sustainably sourced ingredients, West Rose is a must for any trip to the EVL. Hours of operation vary with the season so check website for opening. Now serving dinner Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday Brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Raw Bar Saturdays (only) from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Where To Play

Holiday Valley Resort

6557 Holiday Valley Road Route 219 P.O. Box 370 Ellicottville, NY 14731-0370 www.holidayvalley.com/ 716-699-2345

Opened in 1957, Holiday Valley is a destination familiar with many ski and board enthusiasts throughout the northeast, the Great Lakes region, and eastern Canada. A four seasons resort, Holiday Valley offers 300 acres of skiable trails and boasts a total acreage of 1,400. With a 750-foot vertical drop and 60 trails, terrain parks, tubing, and night skiing, the resort offers something for everyone. Winter is not its only season, as the resort is home to an 18-hole, 70-par golf course aptly named the “Double Black Diamond”. Adventure seekers won’t want to miss Sky High Aerial Adventure Park, the largest aerial adventure park in the State of New York and the third largest in the country. Children seven and over and their adult chaperones can enjoy breathtaking views from high in the trees on this elevated aerial course consisting of platforms, ziplines, and bridges.

HoliMont Ski Club

6921 Route 242

P.O. Box 279

Ellicottville, NY 14731 holimont.com/ 716-699-2320

HoliMont is North America’s largest private ski area designated for family skiing, according to the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce. With eight lifts, 55 runs, two terrain parks, and a vertical drop of 700 feet, all surrounded by the rolling foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, HoliMont has something for all levels of snow sport enthusiasts to enjoy. Open to member families only during the weekends and to both members and non-members during most weekdays (see season calendar for blackout dates), HoliMont is a great option for family snow fun, and offers lessons as its premier ski school, from novice to leisure to advanced and competitive. Catch it in the off-season, as mountain bikers will revel in exaltation at HoliMont’s Bike continued on page 40

June 2024 WNY Family 39

Park, featuring 16 trails and over 12 miles of rideable terrain.

Nannen Arboretum

28 Parkside Drive

Ellicottville, NY 14731 www.nannenarboretum.org/

Spanning eight acres, Nannen Arboretum features numerous botanical gardens, a wading pond, a Japanese garden, and over 250 rare and unique species of trees, plants, and shrubbery. Formerly part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, the arboretum is now managed by the Nannen Arboretum Society. A popular wedding and event venue, the arboretum welcomes locals and visitors alike and offers walking paths with benches, outdoor event seating, and more. Be sure to bring Fido, because the arboretum is pet-friendly!

Ellicottville Skatepark 11 Parkside Drive

Ellicottville, NY 14731

Go! Guide

Located at Ellicottville Village Park, a new concrete skatepark built for skateboarding, in-line skating, and BMX biking invites participants young and old of all abilities to flip, grind, stall, skate, stomp, and tailwhip around. Made possible through funding raised by the Ellicottville Skatepark Committee (SK8EVL) and provided by Tony Hawk’s The Skatepark Project, The Village of Ellicottville, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the skatepark is open to the public for all to enjoy. In winter months, enthusiasts can skate at nearby Daily City Train which offers an in-door skatepark located in the back of its skate and bike shop.

Getting There:

Ellicottville is a 45-minute drive from the Buffalo-Niagara area. The town and village are both situated on U.S. Route 219 running north-south through Ellicottville, from Buffalo in the north to

Salamanca in the south. State Route 242 runs east-west through Ellicottville and intersects U.S. Route 219 in town.

For information on Ellicottville, visit ellicottvilleny.com or call 800-3499099 or 716-699-5046.

Dena J. DiOrio is a professional writer and mom to a very busy 4-yearold and a rescue pup. She holds a BA in French from the University of Denver and an MS in Professional Writing from New York University School of Professional Studies. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dena grew up summering in Chautauqua County, playing ice hockey and snowboarding throughout New York state, and working at some of the top restaurants in Manhattan. She spends time traveling with her family between the sunny beaches of Charleston, South Carolina and the rolling hills of Western New York. Her writing covers an array of topics including family and experiential travel, food, spa, and outdoor and recreation.

Summer Be Sure to Tell Our Advertisers You Saw Them in the WNY Family Magazine
Nannen Arboretum

Family Fun in Lake George

Lake George, New York, about a five-hour drive from Buffalo, is a fun place to take a family vacation, as it has a variety of attractions that will appeal to all ages. Whether you like leisurely waterfront activities, thrilling amusement rides, beautiful scenery, or even retail therapy, you’ll find it all here.

I’ve been to Lake George a couple times in the last several years, most recently this past summer. There are a number of things to do right in the village of Lake George, which sits on the south shore of the lake with the same name, as well as activities to do on the outskirts and in neighboring towns.

One of the first things you should do is stop by the Lake George Visitor’s Center at the corner of Beach Road and Canada Streets, where you can get tourist information, as well as view exhibits on the area’s environment. Be sure to head to the area behind the visitor’s center to check out the Lake George Mystery Spot. Find the large circular area with the big X in the middle. Stand on the X and shout, you’ll hear an echo, like you are inside a cone. Why does this happen? No one is really sure. Next, take a short walk down Beach

Road to the Lake George Steamboat Company (www.lakegeorgesteamboat. com), which has been operating on Lake George since 1817. They offer a variety of scenic cruises, including daytime cruises, dinner cruises, specialty theme cruises, and more. One of their ships, the Mohican, was first launched in 1908; it is the oldest continually operating tour boat in America.

Across the street from the steamboat docks is Fort William Henry (www. fwhmuseum.com), which was constructed by the British in 1775; it is open daily in the summer for guided tours. Continue strolling down Beach Road to Lake George Beach State Park, which includes “Million Dollar Beach,” the area’s most popular beach. How did it

get its name? When it opened in 1951, it cost $1 million dollars to construct it. Head back into the village and take a stroll down Canada Street; there are a number of shops to browse through, along with numerous casual restaurants. Also located along Canada Street is Shepard Park, which has a small beach. The park is also the site of a number of festivals throughout the year, as well as free concerts in the amphitheater by the lake.

About a mile south of the visitor’s center is the entrance to the Prospect Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway, which is the most scenic drive in the area. This 5.5 mile drive up Prospect Mountain ($10 fee per car) has three scenic overlooks before you get to the parking lot. From there you can either walk or take the shuttle bus to the summit, where you can enjoy a 360-degree, 100mile view of the surrounding area from the 2,030-foot summit of the mountain. On a clear day you will even be able to see Vermont’s Green Mountains, New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the Adirondack High Peaks and even Canada’s Laurentian Mountains. There are picnic tables at the summit, so feel free to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy.

Back in the late 1800’s, the Prospect Mountain House Hotel was located

continued on page 43

June 2024 WNY Family 41
42 WNY Family June 2024
View from Prospect Mountain

here. Guests could stay here for $3 a day, with meals included. To get to the hotel, guests would either ride in a stagecoach up the rough mountain road or, if they wanted to splurge, they could pay 50 cents to ride up the Prospect Mountain Inclined Railroad, which operated between 1895 and 1903. At the time, it was the longest and steepest inclined railroad in the country. The bull wheel, which operated the railroad, as well as the masonry ruins of the railroad and hotel are still visible today.

There are a number of other familyfriendly activities in the Lake George area that will keep you busy for days. Just south of Lake George village is Lake George Expedition Park (www.lgepark. com), which includes the Magic Forest, a small amusement park geared to wards younger children that originally opened in 1963. Dino Roar Valley, which fea tures animatronic dinosaurs, is the newest addition to the Ex pedition Park.

If you enjoy mini golf, check out the 18-hole Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf (www.pira tescove.net), which has been voted one of the best mini golf courses in the Capital Region. They have a second location in nearby Queensbury.

outdoor waterpark, live entertainment, special events and concerts. Lodging is available across the street at Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark. Other accommodations in the Lake George area include the Tiki Resort (www.tikiresort.com), which features a Polynesian-themed dinner show, Lake George Courtyard Marriott, which has Adirondack style décor, and the Fort William Henry Resort Hotel (www. fortwilliamhenry.com).

When hunger strikes, there are a number of places to choose from, including A&W (open seasonally) where you can enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, and of course a cold, frosty glass of A&W root beer.

Also located in Queensbury is Six Flags Great Escape (www.sixflags. com/greatescape) which features over 135 rides and attractions, including an

Across the street, the retro style Prospect Mountain Diner (www. prospectmountaindiner.com) is open year-round for breakfast and lunch. If you like barbecue, check out the nearby Barnside Smokehouse BBQ (https://barnsider.com). Of course, one of the areas must visit restaurants is Martha’s Dandee Crème (www.marthasicecream. com), located across the street from Six Flags Great Escape, between Lake George and Glens Falls. Their ice cream

is made fresh daily, with different flavors offered every day throughout the season from March through October. See their website for the calendar listing the daily flavors. In addition to ice cream, they also serve burgers, fries and specialty “loaded fries.”

If shopping is your thing, along with the previously mentioned shops on Canada Street in Lake George village, there are a number of factory outlet stores along Route 9, just north of Martha’s Dandee Crème.

Tourism information:

Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce, 2176 Route 9, Lake George, 518-668-5755. www.lakegeorgechamber.com

Warren County Tourism, 1340 Route 9, Lake George, 1-800-95-VISIT, www.visitlakegeorge.com

Christine A. Smyczynski is the author of several travel guides about western New York and New York State. In addition, she has written hundreds of articles on a variety of topics for local, regional, and national publications.

June 2024 WNY Family 43
Shepard Park

Why the Ultimate Family Campsite is

Right in Your Backyard (and 4 Simple Strategies for Success)

There is a plethora of things you can do before taking your kids camping to maximize your chances of a successful trip. You can choose a campsite that’s relatively close to home, invite other families (read: other kids to entertain your own kids), and bring a solid supply of junk food, to name a few strategies.

But the key to ensuring a successful camping experience is right in your backyard. Seriously, the best way to see if your crew is ready for real camping is a backyard test run (or two or three). Why? If someone is crying, the only ones losing sleep are you and perhaps your neighbors. At a campground, on the other hand, your kid’s wailing multiplies your stress by however many campsites are within earshot. (Multiply that number by about a million if any of your fellow campers are drunk and belligerent.)

able kid back into the house just when you’ve finally found a comfortable sleeping position, but it’s harrowing to

flee your tent in the middle of the night with only your crying baby, your wallet, and your headlamp as the rowdy guys in the adjacent campsite rapidly and loudly lose patience with your crying kiddo. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)

stress of packing. If someone’s teething, the Tylenol (or Ibuprofen, homeopathic tablets, whiskey – no judgment) is in easy grabbing distance. Too cold? No problem, just run to the linen closet and grab a blanket or ten. Forget to charge your Kindle? Don’t worry, the pile of magazines you’ve been meaning to read since the birth of your first child is just a few steps from your tent. Bonus: You’re not shoving your partner awake to bug them about where they stashed the teething remedy/extra blanket/emergency reading material, or whisper-yelling at them because they forgot to pack it.

Pro Tips for the Ultimate Backyard Camping Adventure

It may be annoying to bring a miser-

Backyard camping means reveling in the pleasures of camping without the

1. Include at least one adult who is thrilled about camping — I’m talk-

44 WNY Family June 2024
Sure, you can practically see your kitchen table from your tent, but the kitchen table is boring

ing Birthday/Christmas/Hanukkah/Last day of school/Going to Target Alone levels of excitement. Though the effectiveness of trickle-down-economics is sketchy at best, trickle down excitement is totally a thing (until your kids hit puberty). Additionally, if one adult in the family is trying really hard to enjoy camping but can’t help occasionally dropping a snarky comment about how little sense it makes to sleep in a tent when beds are so comfortable, the excitement level of the adult who loves camping will result in a positive net excitement factor. (My husband and I may or may not demonstrate such a dynamic.)

2. Let Anticipation — Build As soon as it is reasonable, tell them about the backyard camping adventure so they can start getting excited, count down the days, ask you if you’re camping today, ask you if you’re camping tomorrow, and ask, “how much longer till we go camping?” Just how much notice you give will be a function of how well your children understand the concept of time and how much pestering your nerves can withstand. Whether you give them a week or an hour to wrap their minds around the idea is up to you—what matters is that there’s time for their excitement to build.

3. Get Your Kids Invested in the Process — Let them pack their own backpacks. How much supervision they’ll need will depend on their age and will vary from kid to kid. By doing this, you’re giving them agency in a situation where the negative consequences of a mistake are practically non-existent. Let them pack whatever jammies they want, a favorite stuffed animal or two, and a few books.

If they’re old enough, give them a flashlight or a headlamp of their own. Speaking of flashlights, do not give your toddler a Mag-Lite. Even if that’s the only available flashlight, even if she is generally a gentle, loving child, and even if you haven’t yet

fed her any sugar. (My husband may or may not have inspired this tip.)

4. Enjoy Delicious Outdoor Eats —

Sure, you can practically see your kitchen table from your tent, but the kitchen table is boring. Half the fun of a backyard camp out is the novelty. Roast marshmallows or make s’mores together over your fire pit or your grill. If you have the strength to bring your kids to the grocery store, let them pick their favorite treat and let them eat it sitting on a picnic blanket or a camp chair under the stars. Yes, giving kids sugar right before bedtime is ridiculous, but some might argue that sleeping on the ground when you could be snuggled into your very own bed, just 20 feet away, is ridiculous too.

Most of parenting is reacting to random, unexpected situations. Sleeping in a tent may not be luxurious, but having the opportunity to prepare for it is nothing short of decadent.

Pam Moore is an award-winning freelance writer, intuitive eating coach, and host of the Real Fit podcast. Get her free guide to improving your body image at pam-moore.com This article was originally published on Motherly.

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46 WNY Family June 2024

tively written and astutely illustrated by David Covell, is a simple book with lasting implications. It is the story of a family on a walk in the woods gathering items for a campfire. In the process, they learn about things that make good tinder, how to create a safe fire site, and how to build a good fire. Once it is lit, the magic begins. What do you see in the red and gold flames? How does it feel? How does it smell? Now it is time to cook dinner. In go carrots, onions, beets, and potatoes. Once dinner is done, the stories start and imaginations soar! There is magic in the air and in the sky. Stars, fireflies, and the wonders of the universe are overhead. Soon songs are being sung and marshmallows toasted. As the evening and the book comes to an end, we are presented with a closing verse, “A Campfire is a Living Thing…Just like you. A campfire needs air… A fire eats things… A fire can get angry… A campfire has to sleep…” This book is a wonderful way to capture the magic of family time with dad, the memories that a day like this can create, and its lasting impact.

Whether you are a father, stepfather, or someone who has acted like a father, your time and attention will not be forgotten or go unappreciated. The lessons you teach by your words and your deeds and the values you model serve to inspire a new generation. Whether you are an athlete, an academic, both, or anything in between, everything you do and say matters and does not go unnoticed. June is the month to celebrate the men who we honor as our father and call our dad. Happy Father’s Day!!!

Dr. Donna Phillips is an associate professor in the College of Education at Niagara University where her specialty is literacy and children’s literature. She lives on Grand Island, NY and is the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of one.

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June 2024 WNY Family 47
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all parents make their children’s educational experience as successful as possible

How Parents Can Help their Children Learn to Read

Parents: No skill leads to children being successful in school more than being able to read. And it is generally acknowledged by all the reading experts that children need to be good readers by the end of third grade. Of course, all of you want to help your children learn to read. The question is: How do you do this?

Helping Children Learn to Read Should Start Early

You can start reading to newborns; however, you definitely must be reading every day to children by the time they are nine months old. Keep reading time short and fun at first. Choose books with nonsense words, rhyming words, texturized illustrations, and even pop-ups. If children mimic a sound, respond to it. Even if very young children may look like they are not paying attention, they are hearing a variety of words and the rhythm of your reading voice. The cuddles and sound of your voice will make these early reading sessions enjoyable for them. You cannot delegate this task to the television or audio books — it is just not as effective.

As your children become toddlers, they will begin to take in all kinds of useful information from your reading to them. Their vocabulary will increase, and they will be learning about numbers, colors, animals, and so much more. Some may want to hear the same story repeatedly. Even if it drives you crazy, humor their requests. However, it is certainly acceptable to steer them toward similar stories. At this point in time, don’t ignore children’s interruptions while you are reading, respond to them as it shows their interest in a story.

Four-and Five-Year Olds Are Pre-Readers

These are the years that children are picking-up clues about reading from learning that letters are put together to form words, knowing the sounds of some letters, and even to recognizing a few sight words. By four, it is the time to read and teach nursery rhymes to them as it will teach them to recognize ending sounds. In fact, rhyming is another approach to learning to read along with phonics. And when you are reading to them, ask questions and talk with them about what has been read. It is also the time to expand reading beyond the reading of books. While you are “on the go,”

point out signs (the stop sign) and business names (McDonald’s). Plus, let your children see you reading, and build a library of books for them to read with you and by themselves.

At these ages, children who are in pre-school are typically receiving some instruction in the identification and sound of letters. You can strengthen this instruction by reading alphabet books to them, and having alphabet blocks and puzzles, and possibly alphabet programs on computers and apps for them to play with. What you do at home to enhance their pre-reading skills depends so much on your child. You may decide to select an early-to-read instruction program to help them gain reading skills. This is a tricky thing to do. Some children savor a slightly more formal approach to learning to read while others just aren’t ready and could even be turned away from wanting to read. Like so many others, we have developed apps with stories and games as well as books to help children learn to read. You can learn about our rhyming and fun Skinny Books and Apps on the Dear Teacher website. Whatever you do, keep reading fun, and limit any teaching time to five to ten minutes. And don’t forget to keep reading to your children.

The Pre-Reading Skills Your Children Must Have

Do not be afraid to help your children acquire pre-reading skills. Have confidence in your ability to teach them. After all, you have taught them so many things from how to go potty to dress themselves. Most reading educators list the following five pre-reading skills as the ones needed for children to become successful readers. They are:

1. Motivation to Read – must want to start understanding what the words in a story say.

48 WNY Family June 2024

2. Letter Knowledge – awareness that the alphabet letters have different names and sounds.

3. Phonological Awareness – able to hear the different sounds in words (beginning, middle, ending, and rhyming sounds).

4. Language Skills – ability to ask and answer questions, describe things, share their knowledge about things, and have solid listening skills.

5. Concepts of Print – understand how books work (how to hold a book, turn pages, and read from left to right and top to bottom).

The Development of Reading Skills

Most children learn to read by six or seven when they are in first or second grade. Be aware that the trend to push first grade curriculum down into kindergarten means that more and more children are starting to read earlier. Do understand that when it comes down to it, children learn to read at their own personal pace. There are always the children who are reading independently at three and four. Surprisingly, such an early start does not necessarily mean that they will stay ahead. Others will usually catch up. So have fun with your children as you help prepare them to read. They will let you know when they are ready to learn new skills.

Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher. com, and visit the dearteacher.com website to learn more about helping their children succeed in school.

us in educating local parents about how they can improve their family’s health.

June 2024 WNY Family 49
Health & Wellness
to WNY
Appearing July 2024 In Print & Online Family Space Reservation Deadline: Monday, June 10, 2024 Contact Paul Kline at (716) 836-3486 for more information healthy HEALTHY CHILD, Family 24th Annual! A Special Pull-Out Section Showcase your center & increase enrollment with our CHOOSING CHILDCARE section! Appearing six times a year, in our JANUARY, FEBRUARY, APRIL, JULY, AUGUST & SEPTEMBER ISSUES. Source: Circulation Verification Council Audit, June 2023 Did you know… Did you know… 29% of our over 55,000 readers will be looking for Childcare Services in the next 12 months? Call today to reserve your space 716-836-3486
Family Magazine


The Fall Guy

Movie Options: In Theaters and Streaming Online



After a catastrophic injury ends a stunt man’s career, he’s surprised to be invited back to the biz – this time as a stunt double for a big star. What he doesn’t know is that the movie is being directed by his erstwhile fling and that the lead actor has gone missing. The Fall Guy is blessed with the comic talents of Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt and delivers the expected fun, stunts, and energy. Parents should note that the movie has plenty of action violence and a whole bunch of profanity. The PG-13 rating should be taken seriously. Photo ©Universal Pictures


What if imaginary friends were real? And what if they need new friends when their human pals outgrow them? When Bea’s father needs heart surgery, she meets the mysterious Cal who takes her to a retirement home for Imaginary Friends (IFs), where the matchmaking process takes place. Often quite somber and slow-paced, this film is also touching and whimsical. It’s impressively cast and offers upbeat tunes and some happy tears for many viewers. Photo ©Paramount Pictures

Having won the war for the planet, ape groups have spread across the earth, forgetting their own history When Noa’s village is razed to the ground, learning about his history and finding the tyrant Proximus who is terrorizing ape communities becomes critically important. This rebooted franchise is always better than expected, with thoughtful scripts, intriguing ideas, and some of the best digital effects in the world of cinema. There are some scenes of intense violence but other negative content is minimal. Photo ©20th Century Studios

Thelma the pony dreams of musical greatness, but fame eludes her – until she is accidentally doused in glittery paint and mistaken for a unicorn. Soon she’s a viral sensation, struggling with issues of honesty and authenticity. This is not a complicated film, but it delivers solid messages to kids, along with bouncy tunes and a determinedly upbeat attitude. The gross-out potty humor will be a bit much for adults, but it will make kids giggle. Photo ©Netflix

Determined to rebuild his career in America, Australian concert promoter David Smallbone moves his family to Nashville. The job doesn’t work out and soon the family are working odd jobs to pay the bills – and taking a hard look at their homegrown musical talent. Based on a true story this clean Christian-lite film offers a glimpse at a united family that works and struggles together – and creates a legacy of musical achievement . Photo ©Lionsgate

June 2024 WNY Family 51
Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs PG-13 C+ C A- C- C
Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs PG A- A A B A
Theaters Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs PG-13 B- C A B- A
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
Thelma the Unicorn Netflix Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs PG B+ B A A A
Theaters Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs PG B+ B+ B+ B+ A
Unsung Hero
Detailed reviews available at www.parentpreviews.com

Summer is traditionally a time when teenagers get their first job. According to the Labor Department, teen employment reached a 14-year high last year. While most teens are under the impression that working will lead to big bucks, that’s not always the case, especially when taxes are involved. We’ve all seen the videos of parents filming their excited kids opening their first paycheck when suddenly that excitement turns into horror when they see just how much was taken out in taxes, social security, and other fees.

Certified Financial Planner and CEO of BusyKid, Gregg Murset shares his tips for helping prepare kids for a summer job as well as their first paycheck.

Secure the Job

The first step is helping to guide your child to successfully landing their first job. Amusement parks, restau-




In For A Summer Paycheck Wakeup Call

rants, local pools and golf courses are just some places to start your search as these places tend to hire teens and often have openings. It’s also worth skimming the local newspaper or NextDoor app to see if any businesses have put out ads looking for workers. Another option is having kids create their own summer business such as babysitting, dog walking, lawn care or just doing tasks or errands for neighbors, family members or friends.

Be Prepared for the Interview

Nothing is ever in the bag and kids shouldn’t walk into any interview with that mentality. Along with making sure they present themselves well, it’s also important kids present their answers just as well. Run through a mock interview with your child before they head out to the real thing and offer constructive criticism where necessary.

Be Transparent with Teens

The best way to prepare kids for working and what their paycheck will look like when they receive it is to show them yours. Explain what each deduction from the paycheck means and where the money is going. This is also the perfect time to discuss having to do taxes and what that process entails. There’s no point of sugar coating it and setting up kids for disappointment. Seeing it visually can help the information stick in their minds.

Don’t Earn It and Burn It

Kids getting their first job is the perfect opportunity to practice a balanced financial approach. Don’t let the money burn a hole in their pocket and allow them to just spend it on frivolous things they don’t actually need or want. It should be discussed and set in stone what the child needs to do with their paycheck each week or bi-weekly. Set a percentage they need to save from each check, as well as how much they are able to spend. Investing is another option that kids have with the money they make and can have long term benefits.

52 WNY Family June 2024

Bonus Tip!

If your child is under the legal working age, you can still provide them with hands-on job experience by hiring them at home to do tasks around the house that you tend to hire professionals to do such as washing the cars, cleaning the pool or patio furniture, and yard work. They won’t have taxes taken out of their checks, but they still get the experience of the responsibility and hard work it takes to accomplish a job, as well as what to do with the money they make.

About Murset & BusyKid

The co-founder and CEO of BusyKid, Gregg is a groundbreaking inventor, father of six, certified financial planner and consultant who is a major advocate for sound parenting, child accountability and financial literacy. He was named Fi-

nancial Educator of the Year in 2017 and is featured in hundreds of media stories each year promoting improved financial literacy in schools.

BusyKid helps children develop a healthy financial routine they can carry into adulthood. With the help of parents, children use BusyKid to get the hands-on experience in making various money decisions, including how much to save, share, spend, and invest. With pre-loaded chores and allowance based on children’s ages, parents can easily set up any kid account in minutes and kids can be earning money. Payday is each Friday after parents check the work to verify that it was completed and approve a notification on the phone to ok the transfer of funds. After getting paid, children can save some money, donate some, and use the rest to get cash or learn how to invest in real stock. Every child also has a personal debit card to use while parents can follow all transactions. BusyKid is available via Apple Store and Google Play. For more informa-

June 2024 WNY Family 53
Explain what each deduction from the paycheck means and where the money is going Re a d y, Set C A M P ! Last Chance to Advertise in WNY Family’s 2024 Advertising Space Reservation Deadlines: For more info call 716-836-3486 July Monday, June 10 Learning Competitions Crafts tion about BusyKid, visit www.busykid.com.

Welcome to 2024, where parenting meets the pulse of digital innovation! As we navigate through apps, updates, and new tech, deciding when to introduce your child to the world of smartphones—and perhaps smartwatches or starter phones—is more exciting and challenging than ever.

The Elusive “Right Age” for a Smartphone

What’s the perfect age for a child to get their first smartphone? Spoiler alert: there’s no magic number. It’s less about chronological age and more about gauging your child’s maturity, needs, and your family’s lifestyle.

For instance, a child heavily involved in after-school activities or one needing to stay in touch during a split custody arrangement might benefit from a smartphone earlier. Understanding your child’s daily routine, social habits, and emotional regulation capabilities can help you make a well-informed decision.

The Stepping Stones: Starter Phones and Smartwatches

For those not quite ready to hand over a full-fledged smartphone, starter phones and smartwatches serve as excellent stepping stones. These gadgets typically offer basic functionalities like calls and texts, sometimes with GPS tracking for added safety—enough to stay connected without overwhelming young users with too many apps or unfettered web access.

Raising a Digital Citizen: When and How to Give Your Child a Smartphone


These devices can be a practical step for teaching responsibility before graduating to a smartphone.

Questions to Ponder Before You Shop

Before rushing to the store, take a moment to consider these thought-provoking questions to ensure both you and your child are prepared for this new digital chapter:

● Tech Temperament: How does your child handle current gadget use? Are they able to follow screen time limits without constant reminders, or does it turn into a nightly battle? Can they regulate their emotions while using technology, or do they become easily frustrated or upset?

● Social Considerations: Does your child have a strong social network established? Would having a smartphone enrich their social life by allowing them to connect with friends more readily, or would it simply become another screen time distraction, isolating them from in-person interactions?

● Responsibility: How often does your child misplace their belongings? If scarves and lunchboxes frequently disappear, a smartphone might just follow suit. Discuss the importance of keeping track of their device and the potential consequences of losing it.

Digital Maturity: Building Responsible Digital Citizens

Smartphones are incredible tools—lifelines to the outside world, gateways to endless information, and platforms for social interaction. However, they can also be portals to potential risks like exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and privacy issues.

Beyond screen time and gadget-related responsibility, has your child been educated on the ethical implications of using technology? Understanding the permanence of online content and the impact of their online behavior is crucial. Discuss topics like cyberbullying, online privacy, and responsible online sharing.

Monitoring Mechanics: Tools for Peace of Mind

Are you considering using parental control technology to oversee their smartphone activity? Tools like these can help manage their exposure to risky content and potentially harmful interactions. Explore the various parental control options avail-

54 WNY Family June 2024

able for different devices and app stores. These tools can be valuable when used responsibly and can help build trust as your child matures.

Setting the Stage for Success: Rules, Role Modeling, and Real Connections

So, you’ve done your research, had the difficult conversations, and decided to give your son or daughter a smartphone. Now what? Here are some crucial next steps to consider:

With careful planning, open communication, and the right tools, this experience can be incredibly positive and educational.

● Create a Set of Rules Together: Sit down with your child and establish a clear set of guidelines for using the device. There are several templates online that can serve as a starting point. However, it’s essential to include them in the creation of these rules and the consequences for breaking them. This collaborative approach will foster buyin and a sense of ownership. Tailor the guidelines to your child’s individual maturity level and needs; a one-size-fits-all approach seldom works well. Finally, be mindful of flexibility. As your child demonstrates responsible behavior, consider adjusting the rules to allow for growth and trust.

● Model the Behavior You Expect: This cannot be overstated. If the rules you create stipulate no smartphone use at the dinner table, you need to put your phone away during that time as well. Lead by example, and your child is more likely to follow suit.

● Prioritize Face-to-Face Interactions: This is some of the best advice you’ll find. In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to let the quick back-and-forth convenience of text messages replace real dialogue. Remember to focus on the quality of conversations you’re having, not the quantity. In-depth discussions and shared experiences foster strong connections and emotional well-being in children. Aim for one meaningful interaction, like a family game night or a walk in the park, over ten quick text exchanges.

Educational Perks of Smart Devices

Smartphones and smart devices aren’t just about staying connected; they’re powerful educational tools. They provide access to a plethora of educational apps and resources that can enhance learning outside the classroom. Encourage your child to explore apps that offer interactive learning experiences in subjects like math, science, languages, and even coding.

However, it’s important to remember that screen time shouldn’t replace traditional learning methods. Work with your child’s teachers to identify complementary educational apps and resources. Utilize these tools to reinforce classroom concepts, spark curiosity, and personalize the learning experience.

Challenges and the Evolving Landscape

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and with it, the challenges we face as parents. Be mindful of the growing concern of screen addiction and its impact on children’s physical and mental health. Promote healthy digital habits by encouraging breaks, setting screen time limits, and fostering participation in outdoor activities and hobbies that don’t involve a screen.

Conclusion: A Lifelong Conversation

Introducing your child to a smartphone or any smart device is a unique adventure that each family will navigate differently. With careful planning, open communication, and the right tools, this experience can be incredibly positive and educational.

Remember, this conversation about technology and responsible digital use doesn’t end here. As your child grows and explores the online world, continue to have open and honest conversations about their experiences. Stay informed about the latest trends and adapt your approach as needed. By fostering trust and setting clear boundaries, you can empower your child to become a responsible and confident digital citizen in this ever-evolving technological landscape.

Ready, set, go—let the digital adventure begin (but remember, there’s a whole world beyond the screen waiting to be explored too!)

Mike Daugherty is a husband, father of three young children, author, speaker, Google Innovator, and possible Starbucks addict. He is a certified educational technology leader who has served in a variety of roles through his twenty-year career in public education. Currently, Mike is the Director of Technology for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School district in Northeast Ohio. As an IT director he has developed creative, well thought out solutions that positively impact teaching and learning.

June 2024 WNY Family 55

A Summer for Parents


Who said the summer was just for kids? Parents need time to let loose and have something to look forward to just as much as the next person. Every year, I do an A through Z Summer Bucket List with my kids, where we check off an activity that starts with a specific letter of the alphabet. I thought, why not make this into something specific to parents? Alas, here is my first-ever summer bucket list, parent-edition.

AAsk a friend to grab an iced coffee at a local café. Consider reaching out to someone who you haven’t seen in a while and have been wanting to connect with. Sometimes, reconnecting with an old friend can lead to new beginnings and fresh starts.

BBreakfast in bed. Indulge your inner foodie and make yourself a delicious spread for the morning. Hop back to bed, drink your coffee, and eat your homemade breakfast while you watch Netflix.

CCut your hair! Nothing screams “Summer’s Here” more than a fresh haircut. It’s just hair. It grows back. If you don’t have a dedicated stylist, ask around on Facebook or through your circle of friends

where you should go. I found myself a stylist that I love, and it makes all the difference in my confidence. I know when I schedule an appointment with her, she’s going to take care of me and make me feel like a million bucks.

DDogs need walks, too! I grab my two dogs Tommy and Conner and we hit the trails while I listen to a good audiobook and get lost in the beautiful outdoors. If you suffer from depression, the Vitamin D from being out in the sun will help with your mood. It’s a winwin.

EEat out with your friends. Try out that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to stop at and treat yourself to a nice meal. Make it a game and create a Bingo sheet with different restaurants and food trucks to visit during the summer. Once you get Bingo, celebrate with an ice cream cone or a good old fashioned hot fudge brownie sundae.

FFinish that house project you’ve been putting off. For me, it’s painting the shutters on

the front of my house. If you have more than one thing to do, make a list and prioritize what you would like to get done. It’ll feel good to check things off and move on to the next.

GGirls’ Day! Grab your girlfriends and head to town for some shopping. Make a day of it and grab coffee in the middle of your time together to catch up on each other’s lives.

HHike the trails. Do a quick Google search to find out where you can hike in your area or ask around in your friend circle. Pack some snacks, water, and keep an open mind as you get outside to explore.

56 WNY Family June 2024

IThe ice cream truck still comes around even if the kids aren’t home! Grab that twenty-dollar bill and walk yourself right up to that ice cream truck to transport yourself back to the eighties when you looked for the funny cartoon character with bubble gum for eyes.

PThrow a party…just because! Try your hand at Bunco and host an impromptu game night at your house.

JQJoke’s on you! Look for a comedy show near you and head out for a night full of laughs. If there’s nothing super close to you, consider making a quick road trip with a friend. You’ll be glad you tried something new.

KKayaking is a great summer activity and a fun way to beat the heat. If you’re new to this activity, research a place that offers help for beginners. Don’t let something new intimidate you. Go for it!


Listen to your favorite tunes while you work out in your garden. Make a playlist specific to summer and sing your heart out.


Make s’mores when the sun goes down. Gather your friends around the fire pit and have a relaxing night under the stars.


Bake some cookies for your next-door neighbors. This will be a fun way to get to know them and do something friendly.


Open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. That special occasion is now and you’re worth celebrating.

Quit everything for one day. Seriously. Say no to everything and make it a ‘YOU’ day where you do whatever you want. We all need a random day when we can focus on ourselves and our mental health.

RRest and relax. This could be at a spa or in your own home. Consider curling up with a good book and taking a nap.


Spa Day. This is my favorite. Try something new to you like a facial or an aromatherapy massage. Head on over to Groupon first and see if there are any deals in your area.

TTag sale shopping or sometimes known as a garage sale, estate sale, or yard sale. Pick a weekend where you wake up early and see what treasures you can find.

UDrop off that used clothing you no longer wear and clean out your closets. You’ll be happy that you made room in your house and did a good deed by donating to someone who needed it.

VVisit a friend who you haven’t seen in a while. It’s fun to change things up and surprise people. I always try to bring fresh flowers with me when I stop by my friends’ houses.

WWash your car. This always feels like such a treat, and it starts my week off right. I remember my dad washing his car when I was kid so it’s also a feel-good memory for me.

XTry an escape room! X marks the spot. This could be something you do with a bunch of friends or maybe even coworkers.

YYardwork can be fun, too. I look forward to sprucing things up around the outside of my house. It makes me feel like I’m ready for the summer and it feels good to get things in order.


Ziplining. I’ve done this before but would like to find new places to try out. Google for places close to you and see what you think!

See how many letters you can check off your bucket list this summer. It’ll give you something to look forward to and will keep things exciting over the next few months.

Meagan Ruffing is a parenting journalist, mental health therapist, and single mom who tries to do her best each day. She doesn’t always get things right but continually strives to do better.

June 2024 WNY Family 57

Specia l N eeds


Most children who are treated for disruptive behavior problems are school-age: They’ve been acting out in class, ignoring or defying teachers’ direction, or being too aggressive with other children. But in many cases these children have been exhibiting problematic behavior for years before they start school. Signs that preschool kids might need help learning to manage their impulses and regulate their behavior include:

• Maybe they’ve been having more—and more serious—tantrums than typical kids their age

• Maybe they’re extremely hard for exhausted and frustrated parents to manage

• Maybe they’ve been kicked out of preschool or excluded from play dates

• Their behavior may be disrupting family life and putting serious strain on other family members

• Conflict over behavior may be creating negative relationships with parents

• Parents might be concerned that they might hurt younger siblings

Problem Behavior in Preschoolers

— Source: Center for Parent Information & Resources

shape a child’s behavior more effectively, and reset the family relationships in a more positive way.

• Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT): In PCIT parents receive live coaching from therapists behind a one-way mirror as they lead children between 2 and 7 through a series of tasks and practice techniques for setting limits and responding effectively to both desired and undesired behavior. Training usually requires 14-17 weekly sessions.

• Parent Management Training (PMT): In PMT parents are usually seen without the child present, although children (3 to 13) may be asked to participate in some sessions. Skills to deal more effectively with challenging behaviors are taught and modeled by the therapist and then role-played with parents. After each session, parents practice the skills at home.

mation and skills to increase confidence and self-sufficiency in managing child behavior.

When should you start therapy? Evidence shows that children are most responsive to therapy to change behavior up until age 7. The younger the kids are treated, the longer the parents have this skill set to apply with them, explains behavioral psychologist Melanie Fernandez, PhD. “You have time to lock in the gains, to entrench these positive types of interactions, to improve a child’s long-term trajectory.”

What kinds of therapy are effective for preschool children?

At this age, therapy directed at helping children with behavior issues centers around parents—teaching them skills to

• Positive Parenting Program (Triple P): Triple P is designed to treat child behavior problems from toddlerhood through adolescence and promote positive parent-child relationships. Its focus is on equipping parents with infor-

When young kids are behaving in ways that parents find troubling, they are often told to wait, because kids will just grow out of it. But the reality is that when kids aren’t able to act in age-appropriate ways, it’s best not to wait, says Dr. Fernandez. Children are learning all the time, and the longer their out-of-control behavior is tolerated, the more firmly rooted it becomes. “The longer that maladaptive behavior goes on,” says Dr. Fernandez, “the harder and more stressful it is for parents to turn around.” Par-

58 WNY Family June 2024
Insp ire Th ri  Advocate
Growth Abilit

ents also may worry that they’ll be criticized for being “helicopter parents,” she adds. But parent training simply helps kids who are disruptive or out of control learn skills they haven’t learned—to reel in their impulses and respond effectively to direction. It helps them avoid being labeled as “problem” kids.

How can a parent know when a child might benefit from parent therapy?

All two-year-olds, all three-yearolds, have tantrums, and can resist parental direction, notes Dr. Fernandez. It’s natural at two for kids to be saying no to many things. The behavior really deserves attention when “no” is the only response you’re getting, and it doesn’t change without a huge fight. With tantrums, it’s a matter of frequency, but also how impairing they are. You may need help if you’re seeing not only frequent temper tantrums but full-blown tantrums, where the child is upset, crying for a long time, and inconsolable.

Parents all feel like pulling their hair out at moments, but you should think about getting help when difficult behavior becomes a regular thing, when it’s causing distress in the family, when you’re starting to get depressed, or so stressed that you’re having trouble liking your child. It’s not uncommon to hear parents say, “I love my child, but it’s hard, because everything’s a fight.”

Another sign of a problem is if you find yourself having to adjust your life


June 2024 WNY Family 59
Another sign of a problem is if you find yourself having to adjust your lifestyles because you can’t really go many places—not even kid-friendly places. continued on page 60
We’re here to help. We are WNY’s largest provider of evidence-based programs and services for autism. Our programs use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methodology – identified by hundreds of scientific studies as the most effective method to teach individuals with autism. Our goal is to help your child lead the most independent and fulfilling life possible. Call 716-629-3400 | Visit TheSummitCenter.org Comprehensive services for children and adults with autism. Support for your family. · Evaluations · Early Autism Program (Preschool) · Summit Academy (Ages 3-21) · Respite Programs · Recreation & Leisure Programs · Vocational & Employment Services · Adult Programs · Behavioral Health Clinic · Parent Training

— Courtesy of the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society

Fleas in your yard often means you will get or already have fleas in your home. Have you seen fleas hopping on your drapery, carpet, or furniture? Found flea eggs in carpeting? Noticed flea bites around your ankles and knees? Observed your pets scratching, licking, or biting their fur excessively? Found lots of brown and black debris throughout the fur coat?

If your pet has fleas then you probably have fleas in your home, as this is how most fleas get inside. But there are other signs of fleas, such as finding fleas, flea eggs and/or flea dirt in furniture, bedding, your yard, and other hiding spots.

One flea in your house means there’s a good chance there are more – maybe even thousands more.

If the conditions are right and a female flea lives to a ripe old age (about 2 years), the female can lay up to 8 000 eggs in her lifetime. Luckily, most fleas are eaten or killed by the animal they live on long before that, so the females only live long enough to lay about 100 eggs. But each female that hatches from these eggs goes on to lay another 100 eggs. And those females each lay another 100 eggs. Which is how quickly you can get a flea infestation in your home.

Places to look:

• Carpets and rugs

• Mattresses and bedding

• Bedroom furniture

• Pet beds

• Between floorboards

• Cracked floor tiles

• Cracks in walls

• Wood furniture

• Fabric curtains or drapes

• Upholstered furniture

• Tall grass and under shrubs around the house

Does Your Pet Have Fleas?

If So, Maybe Your House Does Too

Killing the fleas on your dog is just one part of the problem. You also need to determine how to get rid of fleas in your home. This requires patience. It can take as long as three to four months to get rid of an infestation, as you’ll need to wait for all of the fleas in your home to go through their life stages.

Here are the steps you need to take to eradicate fleas in your home:

1. Wash all dog beds and soft dog toys in hot, soapy water. Repeat this frequently until the infestation has ended. Also, wash your own bedding, throw rugs, bath mats, and any blanket or cushion where your dog likes to sleep.

2. Vacuum all carpets, hardwood floors, linoleum and tiled floors, curtains, and upholstered furniture, and throw away the vacuum bag immediately in an outside garbage bin. You will need to vacuum on a regular basis to be sure all of the stages are addressed. If your dog has been in your car recently, you should also vacuum the seats.

3. Choose and apply an environmental flea control spray or fogger that will treat all stages of fleas or call a local exterminator.

4. Choose and apply a spray, pellet, or nontoxic flea treatment for your yard. Keeping grass and brush short will also make your yard less inviting to fleas and ticks. Patch fences to discourage raccoons, rabbits, and other wildlife that carry fleas from coming into your yard.

5. Continue to treat your dog and any other pets with a monthly preventative.

6. During flea season, don’t let your dog interact with unfamiliar dogs. Be sure any puppy playmates are free of fleas.

When in doubt, call in the experts. Ask your veterinarian about how to get rid of fleas on dogs, as vets are up-to-date on the latest flea treatments and preventatives.

They can help you find the best and safest treatment option for you and your dog.

The Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society is a 501(c)3 organization comprised of more than 75 small animal hospitals and more than 225 practitioners in Erie and Niagara Counties. It exists to advance public awareness and understanding of appropriate and compassionate pet health care, veterinary services and the veterinary profession.

Spring showers bring leptospirosis.

Check with your vet to make sure your pets’ vaccines are up to date.

Leptospirosis symptoms in dogs include not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, yellow eyes or gums, and stomach pain. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t give her the care you do for yourself and other family members.

More than 75 small animal hospitalsand200 practitionersinErieand NiagaraCounties.

June 2024 WNY Family 61

Fuel Family Fun with This Easy Recipe

(Family Features)

Between work, after-school activities and homework, planning memorable family time is nearly impossible. Changing that mindset can start by making mealtime simpler with recipes that serve up big smiles for the whole family and fuel fun, even on weeknights.

As a quick and easy mealtime solution that gives families time back to make lasting memories, Mrs. T’s Pierogies are pasta pockets filled with the stuff you love like creamy mashed potatoes, cheesy goodness and other big, bold flavors. Now, parents can get all their loved ones involved with the Go-Fun-Me Challenge – a commitment to make a simple dinner one night a week and create a memorable family experience in or out of the home with the time saved. By opting in between May 2-June 3, parents are entered to win $12,000 and a year supply of pierogies to help fund and fuel all of that fun.

You can find a little inspiration in recipes like these Pierogi Burrito Bowls, loaded with cheesy pierogies, cherry tomatoes, corn, sliced avocado and homemade avocado mayo crema for a simple meal everyone in the family can enjoy.

No matter how parents switch up their weeknight routines, like a trip to the park or an at-home movie night, pierogies make weeknight recipes like this one possible because they’re simple and easy to prepare,

leaving more time for parents to do the stuff they love with the ones they love.

Opt into the challenge and find more recipes fit for family fun by visiting MrsTsPierogies.com/GoFun-Me.

Pierogi Burrito Bowls

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

Burrito Bowls:

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 bag (2 pounds) Mrs. T’s 4 Cheese Medley Pierogies

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh or frozen corn, lightly roasted

1 ripe avocado, pitted and thinly sliced

1 cup pickled red onions

3/4 cup Cotija cheese

fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Avocado Mayo Crema:

1/2 cup mayo

1 ripe avocado, pitted and roughly chopped

1/2 lime, juice only

To make burrito bowls: In medium skillet over medium heat, add avocado oil. Saute pierogies in batches, approximately 8 minutes on both sides, until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Divide pierogies, cherry tomatoes, corn, avocado, pickled red onions and Cotija cheese evenly among serving bowls. Garnish with cilantro.

To make avocado mayo crema: In food processor, process mayo, avocado and lime juice until smooth.

Drizzle avocado mayo crema over bowls, as desired.

62 WNY Family June 2024

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