Posts Tagged ‘ summer activities ’

Busy Philipps: “Get Outside And Spend Good Quality Time With Your Kids!”

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The sun is shining and families everywhere are kicking off summer—including Busy Philipps and her brood! Cougartown actress and mom of two young girls, Busy lives up to her name by packing the season with tons of fun activities. She’s teamed up with Banana Boat to make sure she and her gals stay protected from the sun, and Parents chatted with Busy about her daughters, Birdie, almost 5, and Cricket, almost 1, her penchant for arts and crafts, and the parenting problem she grapples with every day.

P: You’ve teamed up with Banana Boat for the Best Summer Ever campaign. Why did you want to get involved?

BP: The whole idea behind having the best summer ever is helping moms. Summers can be long. Look, let’s be honest: You need some help thinking of new activities to do with your kids. You want to be outdoors and encourage outdoor play and you want to limit the time watching television and playing video games and sometimes you need an idea or two to get you through.

P: A lot of families choose to sign their kids up for camp to keep them engaged. Cricket is a little young, but does Birdie go to camp?

BP: Cricket goes to sleep away camp. She’s 1 [Laughs]. No really, Birdie goes to day camp in the summer. We have a two-week Frozen dance camp.

P: Sign me up!

BP: Yeah! We’re all in that one together [Laughs]. She’s going to kindergarten next year, so she’s doing a little getting ready for kindergarten camp at her new school, which I feel like a lot of kids do during that transitional summer. She’s doing one of my favorite camps called Magic in the Forest that two women run in Los Angeles. It takes like 12-15 little girls, although there are occasionally some boys along for the ride too, and they explore for fairies in the park. Honest to God almost makes me tear up talking about it. Every year it’s a different story—what’s happened to the fairies and what they have to help the fairies do. It’s magical.

P: What—aside from fairy camp—is the key ingredient to the best summer ever?

BP: I think that what makes summer so special, even if you’re a working parent, if you’re able to take a week off to really spend that time with your kids and be focused on them. Let’s get out—and that’s where the sunscreen comes into play obviously because you need to remember to be protected. Coming up with fun activities even if you only have a Saturday with your kids that they’ll remember and cherish.

I read this book called No Regrets Parenting and there’s this statistic in it. It’s like you have only 900 Saturdays [P: 940 Saturdays] I’m gonna start crying—940!—from when they’re born to when they’re 18. When you consider that so many of those Saturdays are birthday parties and soccer games and Little League and all these other things, why aren’t we spending these Saturdays just loving every second of it? Especially in the summer. Put your phone in your back pocket and don’t check it for three hours. The world is not gonna end. I do this myself. Get outside and spend good quality time with your kids.

P: What are some fun outdoor activities you like to do?

BP: For Mother’s Day this year Birdie and I did a tie-dye project in the front yard. She made me a tank top I could wear to work out. I made her a sweatshirt. We both collaborated and made Cricket a onesie and little pants and my husband a T-shirt that he could work out in. It was so easy and it was the perfect 2.5 hour activity from start to finish.

P: Obviously you’re very crafty. What’s the craft of this summer?

BP: We haven’t come up with it yet. I feel like Birdie really loves sewing and she wants to learn how to crochet. That might be a good thing for us to kind of do at the beach. She and I just started doing a cross-stitch together and that’s hard for me even. We might do some good scavenger hunts when we go to the beach with her cousins in North Carolina. I haven’t been there since I was on Dawson’s Creek. It’s gonna be weird, but I’m excited to go back.

P: Summer is big for family events because of so many birthdays in your household. Cricket’s first birthday is coming up. Any big plans?

BP: So many birthdays. I feel kind of strongly that first birthday parties should be sweet and small and with family. We don’t have to Martha Stewart it up. They’re 1. Let’s be easy on ourselves. You’ve raised a baby and she’s made it to 1. That in and of itself is a triumph. We’re doing what we did with Bird: a small park party with a few friends and family obviously. And Cricket loves Elmo. She’s never seen Sesame Street. We just had some leftover Elmo dolls from Birdie and Cricket loves him so much. So I’m gonna make Cricket an Elmo cake. Her mouth will be red!

First Birthday Cake - Part One
First Birthday Cake - Part One
First Birthday Cake - Part One

P: With two girls, are there any moments where Birdie or Cricket does something and you think wow, she is such a mini-me?

BP: [Birdie] asked me the other day if she could buy clothes online like I do. Like, if that was possible for little girls. “Can I buy clothes online like you do?” Not saying that I’m setting the best example, but that is so me. Also, the personality traits and [mannerisms]. She was shaking her head the other day and she goes “you know I got that from you.” She knows: The shaking her head she got from me.

P: Is there anything about parenthood that still continues to baffle you?

BP: I think the guilt and the worry that you’re not doing right by your children or that you’re not doing enough or you should be doing better or you should be calmer or you shouldn’t have been so upset. I think that’s the one thing that I have the hardest time with is going easy on myself. Giving yourself a break. But, if you’re not worried about messing it all up, then you’re probably messing it all up. Right? If you think you’re nailing it, you’re probably not nailing it. Like all moms who are trying to do a good job, feel like they’re not doing a good job or that they could be doing better.

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Brooke Burke-Charvet: “We have a pretty good sense of adventure as a family.”

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

One celebrity mom who knows a thing or two about travel: Brooke Burke-Charvet. The Dancing with the Stars champ and mom of four has ventured all over with her family, from the states to Europe, even Africa. It makes perfect sense then that the TV personality recently teamed up with Embassy Suites Hotels to host a panel with her daughter Rain, 7, and son Shaya, 6, on the “Pretty Great Family Debate,” a discussion on tackling common family disputes like homework, bedtime and yes, vacation planning. Parents got the scoop on how Brooke keeps her cool while traveling and what she can’t wait to do with her kids this summer.

P: So your family likes to plan vacations together. What helps you all make decisions without butting heads?

B: I’m all for a family meeting, but it’s really tough. I have four very opinionated children. The little ones, Rain and Shaya, kind of go with the flow but my teenage daughters Neriah, 14, and Sierra, 12, always have their own plans in mind. We try to do one big family vacation a year, so what we do is we’ll sit down and agree on a destination. More so, it’s about them deciding how we want to spend the time once we’re there. I try to let everybody choose one thing that they want to do. You want to make sure that family travel is enjoyable for every member, so it’s not just all about the kids or all about the parents.

P: In your travels, what places have your kids found cool?

B: We have a pretty good sense of adventure as a family. My children love to be on an island; they love the water. This summer, we’re going to try scuba diving for the very first time now that the kids are old enough. We’re going on a family cruise too, which I’m really excited about. They even like to go to Europe and discover history. I’ve always felt like we make every destination family-friendly. We teach them how to conduct themselves in any environment.

P: How do you keep your children entertained on longer trips?

B: I really feel like that depends on the energy and nature of the parent. I mean, I took Shaya and Rain to Africa when they were 2 and 3, even though every other mother thought I was insane. It’s just a matter of trying to go with the sun rather than staying on your own time zone. Be flexible as a parent and try not to travel as Americans. Get into the mindset of the local people wherever you are. When you go into a trip expecting to have exactly what you have at home, you’re just going to be disappointed. And I’ve found red-eye flights can be really great for long trips because everybody can just shut down and go to sleep.

P: What go-to items are with you all the time on vacation?

B: Books! I’m a big believer of less is more, and I like to encourage my children to read. It’s a great way to wind down on the plane. I limit tech, but everybody likes to have some iPad time. They’ll play with a mix of educational and pure entertainment games. I also like arts and crafts that are containable, like everyone’s into these bracelet-making projects right now. The things that take up a small amount of space but are cute and nifty are great for me.

P: Family fights are never fun! How do you handle meltdowns during a trip?

B: With more kids, it’s bound to happen. There’s always one child not happy. I just think you have to nip it in the butt really quickly. I don’t tolerate a lot of family fighting.

P: With summer on its way, what activities are you most excited to do with your kids?

B: My two teenagers are into paddle boarding, and I also just started doing Soul Cycle with my oldest, Neriah. We have a trampoline in the backyard; that’s great exercise and super fun. Shaya is honestly determined to teach me how to do a back flip. God help me! We also like to be outdoors and go on hikes.

P: I’m sure you’ll have more free time this summer with your children out of school. What helps you unwind in your spare time?

B: For me, it’s really my workouts. That’s totally my only hour in the day that’s me-time where I really don’t have to think about anything else. It’s not just a physical benefit; it’s also great for mind, body, and soul. And I love to cook. I find that it’s really relaxing. It’s a huge bonus because my family loves to eat and there’s a lot of people to feed.

Planning a family roadtrip? Use these tips for a smooth ride!

Top Tips for Better Family Roadtrips
Top Tips for Better Family Roadtrips
Top Tips for Better Family Roadtrips

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Fun Ways to Prevent Summer “Brain Freeze”

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Family playing cardsEditor’s Note: In the first post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month.  He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.

Children’s brains go to sleep as soon as school ends for summer vacation, and they can hibernate until after school starts again in the fall. While kids need rest and rejuvenation, structured and unstructured play, physically active and tranquil days, and homework-free evenings, the summer “brain freeze” (a.k.a. “summer meltdown” or “summer slide”) can last too long. When resting brains slip into vegetative states defined by TV, video games, Facebook, text messaging marathons, and MP3 hypnosis, it’s time for an intervention.

Fortunately, there is a cure: enrollment at Family Summer University (FSU)! At FSU, there is no tuition and no homework, but there are tests (more like friendly and funny family competitions) every night.

As Dean of FSU, it’s your job to set aside a little time each day to write the quiz questions. Tailor them to the ages and learning levels of your kids, but don’t be limited to school subjects.  Instead, include a wide range of topics: celebrities, cartoon characters, favorite storybooks, sports teams, movies and TV shows, or any other topics that each family member will enjoy.  Fun trivia about Justin Bieber and Jeremy Lin can help camouflage the educational lessons about hypotenuses, homonyms, and Hamlet.  Mix and match questions every night from different subject areas or dedicate different nights of the week to certain subjects.

Look to brain teaser games, flash card sets, home versions of TV quiz shows, the library, the internet, and yes, your kids’ school books, to write your questions. But don’t overdo it — set a maximum of 20 questions per child per day, 10 questions if you have more than three kids! Remember, if you’re asking your 6 year old a tough question for his age, you should also be asking your 12 year old a tough one for her age.

Once your questions are written, gather the kids on the designated FSU campus (it can be the porch, patio, or another comfortable venue that’s preferably outdoors) and let the games begin! A great time for FSU to gather is after dinner because everyone is already together. Play every night or play a few days a week. Add bonus questions, musical prompts, and picture clues to make the game more interesting. Watch as scarce minutes with your kids turn into special moments.

After the answers are given, discuss them with your kids.  Gently explain the questions they missed and have them explain ones they got right. Tally the correct number of answers for each contestant each dayk. At the end of each week, give a prize to the child with the highest score, and then start scoring from scratch the next week.  This way, no one falls so far behind that they have no chance of catching up.  Good “prizes” can be letting the winner choose the DVD on family movie night or the theme for a special dinner night.  At the end of the summer, have an FSU “graduation” ceremony with cardboard caps, bed sheet gowns, and colorful paper diplomas. Then, make sure to go for ice cream!

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.  He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).


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Fun Family Activities for the Fourth of July

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Have some red, white and blue fun as we celebrate our nation’s independence.  Indulge in some patriotic pastimes like catching a baseball game or eating a tri-color parfait.  Or put together your own mini parade or wave homemade parade batons at your neighborhood celebration.

Check out more Fourth of July activities, crafts, and recipes below.

Fourth of July Activities

Fourth of July Crafts

Fourth of July Recipes

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