Thursday, April 17, 2014

Summer Camp Guide: My Urban Toddler Camps

Disclaimer: My Urban Toddler is a sponsor of the Ann Arbor with Kids Summer Camp Guide. All opinions are my own.
Summer camps are not just for the school aged crowd! With Summer Camps from My Urban Toddler, you toddler or preschooler can enjoy a summer camp experience just like their older siblings. With a camper age range of 2-5, close in age siblings can even attend together.  The camps are also a great introduction for kids who will be starting preschool for the first time in the fall. While the children attend the class alone, a parent needs to remain on-site in either the cafe or shop during the camp making an easier transition for some kids.

My daughter loved My Urban Toddler when she was a toddler and would have loved attending these camps. I also appreciate that they have an afternoon session of some camps so that children like my daughter who was not a morning person and attended afternoon preschool could maintain her schedule. I also like that the classes only run through Thursdays allowing for long weekends.

The information below was provided by My Urban Toddler on their programs.
Our camps, hosted in our premier playspace, immerse your tots in arts/crafts, movement and hands on activities.
These camps are appropriate for children ages 2-5.

While your campers are enjoying organized and free play activities in our multi-purpose room with our friendly camp counselors, you will be relaxing close by in our cafe or shop. Each activity is centered on the week's theme. Older and Younger Siblings are invited to play for $20 for the week or $5/day while their siblings are in camp.

MORNINGS Mondays - Thursdays
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
AFTERNOONS Mondays - Thursdays
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
(PM camps are available on select camps only)

All camp weeks will include the following:

  • Art, games, crafts and music time based on that weeks' theme
  • 30 minutes of movement (ex: parachute time, dance, obstacle courses, etc.)
  • Story time and snack
  • Camp T-Shirt
  • Admission to our play space before and after camp.
  • Theme related guest appearances
  • Parents are invited to enjoy time in our cafe or shop while toddlers are in camp. Parents must stay on premises.

Community Helpers
Our community helpers are our local heroes like policemen, firemen, ambulance drivers and teachers. Your children will start the week making art smocks of their favorite community helpers. Each day we will have a visitor in a special vehicle come to tell a story to the children about how they help in our community. (Firetruck, Ambulance, Police Car and Mail Truck) Crafts and activities will be themed around these heroes.
June 16th - June 19th (9:30 - 11:30 am)
June 16th - June 19th (1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Knights and Princesses
This week is filled with Royal adventures. Your toddlers will start off the week by creating their noble smocks using various art media. Their adventure continues with royal themed art projects, large movement activities, play and stories. Whether you have a little princess or a knight in shining armor, they will be sure to enjoy this week. Parents are invited to attend the ROYAL Ball with their children on the last day of camp. Costumes are encouraged, but not required.
June 23 – June 26 (9:30 - 11:30 am)

Little Sports
We’re cheering for your superstar! Your toddlers will start off the week by making their team jersey! Your young athletes will enjoy a wide variety of non-competitive sport themed activities including soccer, t-ball, golf, basketball and gymnastics. You are invited to join your children on the last day for Field Day activities.
July 7th – July 10th (9:30 - 11:30 am)
July 7th –July 10th (1:30 – 3:30 pm)

Making Music
Bring your budding musician for a week of fun! Your toddler will start by making instruments that they will use all week and at home. Music themed art projects and movement activities will teach them how to appreciate a wide variety of music. At the finale, you are invited to attend and participate in a musical concert and dance.
July 14th - July 17th (9:30 - 11:30 am)

Fantastic Foods
Everyone can cook! This week our youngest chefs in training are our main ingredients. Children will start the week by making their cooking smocks and learning about basic nutrition. Each day your little chef will learn age appropriate culinary skills through activities like bean snapping, corn husking and melon balling! At the end, parents are invited to a feast at the chef’s table showcasing what your children have created.
July 21st - July 24th (9:30 - 11:30 am)
July 21st - July 24th (1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Under the Sea
We will discover the amazing life under and around the sea through stories, crafts and games! To start off the week, we will decorate our camp t-shirts with all the sea creatures that they love. Activities include making penguins out of water bottles and creating sea creatures to hang in the seascape they will be creating throughout the week! Your kids will enjoy water table fun and other "Ocean" themed projects and games.
July 28th – July 31st (9:30 - 11:30 am)

Little Scientists
For the curious toddler that wants to know how things are made! We'll start off the week by making your "lab coat" to wear during your experiments! Kids will make slime! Mini volcanos that bubble up "lava"! Your Little Scientists will learn how to mix things together, see reactions and demonstrate these at the "science fair" at the end of camp. Parents and siblings are invited to attend the fair on the last day of camp.
August 4th - August 7th (9:30 - 11:30 am)
August 4th - August 7th (1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Wild Wild West!
Exploring the wild wild west with horses and rodeos! Your children will start the week making their cowboy and cowgirl themed smocks. Each day we will have rodeo activities including making their horse, covered wagon and their very own cowboy/girl doll.
August 11th - 14th (9:30 - 11:30 am)

Fairy Tales
Adventures await for your imaginative toddler! The first day, they will decorate their art smock with their favorite fairy tale character. Activities and games will be appropriate for girls and boys. From friendly dragons to fairies in the forest, your child will love this new enchanted camp!
August 18th - August 21st (9:30 - 11:30 am)

Registration for Summer Camp is available on the My Urban Toddler Website.

Celebrate Easter with Springfest at Saline Rec Center

The Saline Rec Center will be holding their Springfest on Saturday, April 19. During Springfest, there will be 4 different Easter themed activities that you can opt to participate in.

The event will start with an Egg Scavenger Hunt at 11:30a outside in the woods behind the Rec Center. Bring your own bag or basket to collect eggs. There will be 3 age groups 2-3, 4-5, and 6-7. Every child will receive a goody bag with a few lucky eggs containing prize stickers. The egg hunt is $7 in advance or $10 at the door.

At noon, there will be a pizza lunch with the Bunny in the gym. The event is $7 in advance and $10 at the door. The pizza lunch is for all ages. Bring your own camera to take pictures with the bunny.

Also at noon is the Hippity Hop Trail where kids ages 2-10 can pick up treats at the Rec Center. The event is $2 standalone, or free for those participating in another event.

The final event is an Egg Dive for floating eggs at 1p for ages 6-10 in the leisure pool. The event is $7 in advance and $10 at the door. The Egg Dive will be split into ages 6-7 and 8-10 groups. All participants will receive a goody bag and participants finding an egg with a prize sticker will earn an extra prize.

Space is limited in each event, so I suggest registering soon or showing up early. Online registration is available.

Here is the video that the Saline Rec Center made about their upcoming events:

Rec Center April Update - Springfest from SCTN on Vimeo.

Summer Camp Guide: Rec and Ed Offers a Variety of Camps

Disclaimer: Ann Arbor Rec & Ed is a sponsor of the Ann Arbor with Kids Summer Camp Guide. All opinions are my own.
Summer is soon approachng, and now is definitely the time to start planning your child's summer camp enrollment as early registration deadlines are approaching.

Ann Arbor Rec and Ed offers a wide variety of summer camps in both topic and age range in the area. They offer both their own camps and some that are sponsored by other organizations. Their early registration deadline is Sunday, April 20, so I suggest registering this week. If you register your child for 4 or more eligible full-day camps at the same time, you will save 10% on each camp.

Rec & Ed's Virtual Summer Camps Fair is a great way to explore all of the options. You can explore their camps by category or by age range. Rec and Ed offers summer camps for children as young as 3 and as old as 12th grade.  Camp categories include Science, Drama, Hooked on Fun, Sports, and many more.

Rec and Ed has partnered with both the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum and Mad Science for several cool science camps. These include It's Not Magic, It's Science Camp, Fizz, Bang, Glow Camp, Science Fair Camp, and Science Extravaganza Camp. For tweens and teens, the Washtenaw Area Council for Children is running the Cyber Safety Initiative (CSI) camp. The Green Adventures focus on ecology, conservation, and being "green".

Drama camps run included Narnia (grades 1-4) and Shakespeare in the Arb (Grades 2-5 or Grades 6-9). As a bonus, the Narnia camp is being held at the air-conditioned Cultural Arts Building.

Our first experience with Rec and Ed camps was in 2011 when my daughter attended Safety Town before entering kindergarten. I definitely recommend Safety Town to all children entering Kindergarten or first grade (if they did not previously attend). More details can be found in the Safety Town post.

Last year my daughter attended the Star Wars camp run by Hooked on Fun through Rec and Ed. My daughter loved the camp despite it being one of the hottest week of the summer - is it any surprise that it was the week of Art Fair? This year they are offering Star Wars camp again and she wants to attend one of the sessions. Other Hooked on Fun themed camps include Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pokemon, Dinosaur, Circus, Reading, Math, and many more. These camps will all be held at Clague Middle School this year.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Heart Walk in Washtenaw County

The American Heart Association will be holding the Washtenaw County Heart Walk & 5K Run on Saturday, May 10 at Eastern Michigan University. The event grounds open at 8a with the opening ceremony at 8:30a, the 5K run at 9a, and the 1 mile walk at 9:30a.

Registration for the walk is FREE while registration for the 5K which includes a mini-super hero cape is $35. There will be a Kids Zone with fun family activities.

You can get more information or register at the Heart Walk's website.

I wish we were available to participate, but my daughter and I are participating in Science Olympiad that morning. If like us, you are unavailable to participate, you can sponsor a walker or make a general donation.

Summer Camp Guide: Safety Town is a Must for Kindergarteners/First Graders

Disclaimer: Ann Arbor Rec & Ed is a sponsor of the Summer Camp Guide. All opinions are 100% my own.
When my daughter was transitioning from pre-school to kindergarten, I started to look for summer activities. Aside from swim lessons, the first activity that came to mind was Safety Town. To this day (more than 30 years later), I still remember my Safety Town classes (in Illinois) and how excited I was for the class. My daughter attended Safety Town in 2011 before entering kindergarten and really enjoyed it. One of her highlights from Safety Town was getting to ride a school bus.

Safety Town is offered with your choice of a half-day standalone program (9a-noon) or as a full-day Safety Town Plus Camp program (7:30a-5:30p). Children move from their camp room to a Safety Town room which will include non-camp children as well. My daughter attending just Safety Town was able to be placed in a class with her friends who were enrolled in Safety Town and Camp. My daughter's only complaint about Safety Town was that she didn't get to stay for the afternoon camp like her friends did. Also, please note that the schedule changes for Friday. Safety Town ends at 10:30a on Friday with a presentation made to parents after drop-off and before graduation. Parents are encouraged to stay for the day. Students enrolled in camp may stay for the entire camp day.

Safety Town is primarily geared towards children entering Kindergarten. This year they have expanded eligibility to include children entering first grade who did not previously attend Safety Town. I am glad that they have made this change since I know a few children who were unable to attend due to logistics the year they entered Kindergarten (extended travel, newborn sibling, relocation, etc). Actually, I am fairly certain that I didn't attend Safety Town the summer before entering Kindergarten as we moved late in the summer the year I started Kindergarten.

For 2014 Safety Town will be held at Dicken Elementary School (it was at Bryant when my daughter attended). The program will feature a new town board painted by an artist who is also a Safety Town teacher. There will also be some updates to the Safety Town curriculum for 2014. The curriculum includes learning car safety, bicycle safety, fire safety, stranger danger, and much more. There have been several cases where lives have been saved by what children learned at Safety Town.

Safety Town costs $89 while Safety Town plus Camp costs $249. However, you can save $10 on either registration by enrolling your child before April 20. There will be 4 sessions of Safety Town/Safety Town plus Camp to choose from:
Registration for Safety Town is available online through the Rec & Ed website or at the links above for specific sessions.

Clean Out Your House with Upcoming Events

There are several events on Saturday, April 26 that will help you clean out your house and dispose of unneeded items safely.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office is partnering with the DEA on an upcoming drug take back event  on Saturday, April 26 from 10a-2p. You can bring unneeded pills to the Washtenaw County Sheriff's  Office Service Center at 2201 Hogback Rd in Ann Arbor. They can only accept pills, no liquids, needles, or sharps. The take back is free and anonymous.

The University of Michigan and Ann Arbor Public Schools have partnered for an ERecycle event on Saturday, April 26 from 9a-2p at Pioneer High School. They will be accepting items from Businesses and Non-Profits on Thursday and Friday, April 24-25 at the UM State St Commuter Parking Lot.

Saline City Hall is also holding an e-Waste recycling event on Saturday, April 26 from 9a-3p at Saline City Hall.

We have used events like these in the past particularly for eWaste, and I definitely recommend them.
Disclaimer: I am a Gazelle Affiliate and am compensated for sales through links to Gazelle. I appreciate your support of my site by trading in through my links
Another great option for certain electronic devices such as cell phones or tablets is a trade-in program such as Gazelle. They currently have two bonus promotions running:
In November, we traded our old iPhones when we upgraded and it was nice to receive cash instead of just recycling them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Frog Fest at Leslie Science & Nature Center

Leslie Sceince & Nature Center will be hosting Frog Fest on Saturday, May 3 from 7-9p. Frog Fest is an all-ages event to celebrate spring. The event is $8/person or $30/family and has limited space, so advance registration is suggested.
Read their press release below for more information on the event:

ANN ARBOR, MI, APRIL 14, 2014 –

Leslie Science & Nature Center (LSNC) is proud to present the return of one of our most popular annual education programs, Frog Fest, on-site at LSNC, 1831 Traver Rd, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105, on Saturday, May 3 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. This all-ages evening event is a celebration of early spring and these local amphibians, including games, hikes, and opportunities see diverse frog species.

The current long, wet spring season is expected to yield a particularly rewarding Frog Fest. The best time to look for frogs and other amphibians in the wild is when the weather and ground are wet. Visitors can anticipate that the trails used during the event will be muddy and are encouraged to wear boots or shoes that they don't mind getting messy. As frogs love rain, weather will not be grounds for cancelation, and attendees should be sure to wear rain coats. Weather that's pleasant for frogs can be the opposite for humans - mammals like us can get quite chilly once our skin gets wet!

The program will begin with an introduction to the frog life cycle and the differences between reptiles and amphibians, along with an overview of some of the hidden macro-invertebrates currently living in LSNC's Black Pond and providing a food source to the pond's frogs. Hikes into Black Pond Woods and a visit to the native and non-native frogs of LSNC's Critter House will demonstrate the diversity of frogs around the world and better help program participants to understand the traits specific to Michigan frogs.

Black Pond, the vernal pond on the LSNC grounds, makes the site particularly rich grounds for learning about frogs and other amphibians. "Vernal" in this case refers to the pond's seasonal nature - a vernal pond is filled by spring rain and sometimes dries up completely by the beginning of winter. As fish cannot live in a pond that is often at risk of disappearing and reappearing throughout the year, vernal ponds are safe breeding sites for a variety of animals and insects, with one less major predator to avoid while the young hatch and mature.

The trail that takes site visitors to Black Pond is about a half a mile in length and has some small hills and bumpy trail points. However, the event group will observe a slow hiking pace and will tread carefully to avoid stepping on any of the small animals we hope to observe as we move through their habitat. The program will include two hikes; one will be immediately at the start of the program and the second to close the event as the sun goes down.

Please join us for Frog Fest on Saturday, May 3 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Leslie Science & Nature Center, 1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105. Registration is $8 per person or $30 per family, and because event size will be limited pre-registration is encouraged at or by calling 734-997-1553.34-997-1553.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

23rd Annual Pittsfield Township Easter Egg Hunt

Pittsfield Township is holding their 23rd Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Montibeller Park. The event is for children ages 3-10 and will be broken down into different age ranges. In the past, the different age ranges hunt in different areas of the park all starting at 10a. The egg hunt starts promptly at 10a with registration beginning at 9:30a. When you register your child, they will also receive a raffle ticket for prizes.
2009 Pittsfield Township Egg Hunt

The Township brochure states that each child will receive a goody bag. If so, this is a big improvement from the previous years that we have attended the event. In the past, each egg had a piece of candy with a suggested limit of 10 eggs per child that was ignored by many children and resulted in other children finding only 1 egg or no eggs. I think the switch to a goody bag model is a good choice to combat the greedy patrons.

I suggest arriving early to the event as the event gets crowded and Montibeller Park has limited parking. In the past, we have parked in the Meijer lot and walked to the park.

We have not attended since 2010 due in part to our schedule (my daughter had just had her tonsils removed in 2011 and we were away in 2013) and in part the bad experience in 2010. With the changes, I am willing to give it another try depending on our availability.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Break Is Ending Weekend Roundup

Whether you were traveling or enjoying time at home, I hope you had a great spring break. We went to southern California - San Diego, Sea World, Legoland, and Disneyland. It was a great trip, but we're happy to be heading home. I tried to keep up with the blog during the week, but after 12-14 hour park days at Disneyland I was beat. I must say that Disney did a great job with Carsland at California Adventure. The rides were fun and the theming was amazing. It was also very cool to ride It's a Small World on it's 50th Anniversary and participate in a Sing Along with Richard Sherman, who authored the song with his brother. I'll definitely be sharing some trip reports over the next few weeks.

Closer to home, there are plenty of great events around Ann Arbor this weekend. Since Easter is next weekend, there are a few Easter events like Ypsilanti Area Jaycees Egg Scramble and Marshmallow Drop at Frog Island Park, the Easter Bunny at Briarwood Mall, and Kids Club Craft Easter Fun at Michaels Stores.

It is a great movie weekend with the opening of Rio 2. Quality 16 will have a Lights Up Sound Down showing this weekend. The LEGO Movie, Muppets Most Wanted, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman are still playing. I know our weekend plans include seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We thought about trying to squeeze it in during our trip, but my daughter was too tired the one night we were back early. On the plus side, she did get to meet Captain America at Disneyland.

It's a great museum weekend with Fun Friday Night at UM Museum of Natural History, Critters Up Close with Leslie Science Center at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, and Family Day at Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.

American Girl fans will want to attend the American Girl Truly Talented You Event at Learning Express on Saturday.

Both the Ann Arbor District Library and Ypsilanti District Library have some fun events this weekend including a Classic Board Game Party at Michigan Branch of Ypsilanti District Library, Mario Kart Tournament at Downtown Branch of AADL, and Paper Making from Pulp to Sheet at Malletts Creek Branch of AADL.

What events are you looking forward to this weekend?

Friday, April 11
 Saturday, April 12
Sunday, April 13

LEGO Hobbit Video Game Deal

My daughter loves the LEGO Video Games. When we were at LEGOLand this week, one of her favorite activities was the game room with various LEGO Video Games (despite the fact that we had all of the games at home as well).
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For Christmas we upgraded from a Wii to a Wii U primarily because the new LEGO video games were not being released for the Wii anymore. My daughter really wanted the LEGO Marvel game which is currently her favorite of the LEGO video games.

We have been debating whether we should purchase LEGO The Hobbit - Wii U on April 22. Our only hesitation was due to the fact that the game only covers the first two Hobbit movies and does not include content from the third game.

We were still debating whether to buy the game or not, when Amazon announced a $10 promotional credit on pre-order purchases. Since we shop frequently through Amazon, this is a great deal for us. The order is also protected with Amazon's PreOrder Price Guarantee so that you will receive the lowest purchase price between the date you place your order and the shipping date.

LEGO The Hobbit is already available for: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Since the game is already available for these systems, you will not receive the promotional credit.


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