According to Oklahoma Department of Human Services, there were more than 11,700 confirmations of child abuse and/or neglect in Oklahoma in 2008. In 2007, 39 died as a result of abuse or neglect. To read the full report, click here.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and there are a lot of events and programs planned to bring awareness to this devastating problem.
The Kelsey Briggs Foundation is having a Child Abuse Prevention/Family Safety Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Woodland Park in Shawnee. OU football players will be there and there will be car seat checks, live music, guest speakers, booths, food and much more. Click here for more information.
At UCO, Building a Blue Ribbon Tree will start at 8 a.m. April 14 with volunteers tying blue ribbons at 8 a.m. along the trees of Broncho Lake. At 11 a.m., children from UCO’s Child Study Center will lead a parade. Visitors will then be encouraged to tie blue ribbons on trees to represent children who have been abused. For more information, contact Kaye Sears at 974-5786 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also build a blue a ribbon tree in your own neighborhood. Anyone can do this, anywhere. Click here for more information.
The Oklahoma County Kids Task Force has an abundance of information on child abuse prevention, helpful programs, referrals and hot line. They also have opportunities for volunteers to get involved in the fight against child abuse. Go to http://okcountykids.org.
Anything we can do to just help one child is worth it. Let’s cherish our little ones and remember just how young and innocent they are.
Ready to get some new ideas for summer fun? Then head down to the Sheraton Hotel downtown from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, for the annual Oklahoma Summer Adventure Expo.
There will be engaging hands-on activities for kids, visits from Rumble the Thunder mascot and the Thunder Girls, door prizes, discounts from vendors, a performance by the Sugar Free All Stars, and plenty more to see and do. The entertainment stage schedule will be posted on the site soon.
For more information, click here.
Bass Pro Shops is offering Easter fun for children this year. Kids can do free crafts, such as sun catchers and Easter decorations this weekend and next (March 27-28 and April 3-4), beginning at noon, while supplies last. And from 2 to 3 p.m. (same days) there will be an Easter egg hunt at the store for kids age 8 and younger.
Also, children can get a free picture taken with the Easter bunny. Instead of dropping big bucks at the mall this year, get a free 4X6. Pictures will be taken 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays from March 27 through April 4.
For more information, click here.
Then get them outside! Here’s some events and ideas our outdoor blog writer has posted that kids can enjoy in the coming weeks. Have a great New Year!
The time around the holidays is when the Oklahoma City offers some of its most fun things to do. Don’t let the cold scare you away … you’ll enjoy great events, specials and you won’t be fighting the crowds.
Here are some upcoming events at the zoo:
Nov. 25 – Free day. No admission fee! Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 27 – Feast for the Beasts. Some animals will be feasting on traditional Thanksgiving dishes from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
December through February – Free zoo admission every Monday!
Dec. 1 – 24 – Deck the Zoo. Bring and edible wildlife ornament and get admission to the zoo for only $1!
Dec. 5, 12 and 19 – Cupcakes with Santa. Kids can decorate their own holiday cupcake. They’ll create some unique holiday crafts and end the day with a visit from Santa himself. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Cost for children age 3 and older is $20 for ZooFriends members, $22 for nonmembers. Adults are free with a paid child. Pre-registration is required and must be made one week prior to the event. Register online at http://okczoo.recware.com or call 425-0218.
Dec. 5 – Wreath making class. Everything to make a holiday wreath will be provided. Cost is $20 for ZooFriends members, $25 for nonmembers and the class is for age 16 and older. Register at the same site or phone number listed above.
Dec. 7 – Coffee Connections. This is a new, FREE program for ages 16 and older from 9 to 10 a.m. Meet at the Rosser Conservation Education Center to learn about the zoo and its happenings while sipping a cup of joe.
Dec. 14 – Santa is stopping by the zoo to delivery goodies to the animals from 10 to 11 a.m. Guests in the Canopy Restaurant can enjoy free hot chocolate and doughnuts and get pictures with Santa. Activity is free, no reservations are required.
Dec. 29, 30 – Winter day camps are available for ages 4-11. They are from 9 a.m. to noon and cost $20 for ZooFriends members, $25 for nonmembers. Snacks will be provided, but bring a lunch. Advance registration and payment are required. Enroll at http://okczoo.recware.com or call 425-0218.
For more information about upcoming zoo events, go to www.okczoo.com.
We all want our children to be safe this Halloween and with a few simple reminders, it can be a fun and safe time for everyone. Safekids.org has ten good rules of thumb to follow.
The first five are for trick-or-treaters:
1. Cross the street safely at corners. Use traffic signals and crosswalks. Walk, don’t run, and always look left, right then left again before crossing.
2. Stay on sidewalks or paths. No sidewalks? Then walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
3. Slow down, stay alert. Keep an eye out for cars turning or backing up. Don’t dart into the street or cross in between parked cars.
4. Young kids should always be with an adult. Especially those younger than 12.
5. Costumes should be safe. Reflective tap is essential. If possible, choose a light-colored costume. Choose nontoxic face paint over a mask that can obstruct a child’s vision. Have kids carry glow sticks and flashlights. Make sure they can be seen.
The last five are for drivers:
6. SLOW DOWN. Especially in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Most often, trick-or-treating is done between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.
7. Be especially alert. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Kids can be unpredictable so be on guard.
8. Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.
9. Reduce distractions when driving. Don’t talk on your phone or text. It only takes a second to miss a child darting out in front of your car. Concentrate fully on the road and your surroundings.
10. Keep your headlights on so you can spot kids at a greater distance. Children may not be able to see your vehicle.
Let’s keep these 10 important tips in mind so everyone has a safe and happy Halloween.
Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department has planned some FREE summer activities for kids. Here’s some fun you and your children can get in on:
FREE Kids’ Fishing Classes
For ages 5-15, these classes teach casting, knot-tying, fish identification, angler etiquette and fishing regulations. No license or permit required and equipment is provided. Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
July 25 – Dolese Youth Park Pond, NW 50 and Meridian
June 20, Aug. 22 – Crystal Lake, 6625 SW 15
July 11, Aug. 8 – Metro Tech Springlake, NW 36 and Springlake Drive
July 18, Aug. 15 – Edwards Park Lake
City Pools are now open and admission is free all summer. They include:
Northeast Pool, 1300 NE 33
Woodson Pool, 3405 S. May
Carson Pool, 8301 S. Villa
Minnis Lakeview Pool, 12518 NE 36.
Swim lessons are offered for kids and adults at all area pools for $20 per session. For more information about lessons, or to get a free parks & pools guide, call 297-2211.
Play in the Park
This annual program offers FREE supervised activities such as arts, crafts, games , reading and field trips for kids age 6 and older. 26 metro-wide locations have the program. Click here for more information.
Father’s Day Downtown
On Sunday, June 21, Dad gets in free (with a paid family member) to:
Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W. Reno
OKC Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City National Memorial, 620 N. Harvey.
So take Dad out on his special day and enjoy all downtown has to offer.
For more information about OKC Parks & Recreation’s events, go to http://www.okc.gov/Parks/index.html.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
It’s so easy to read 8 books in a day to a 3-year-old so we decided to do that this week to reach our second goal in the Metro Library System’s Summer Reading Program. What an easy way to not only make sure your child is getting read to every day, but it’s a great way to earn great prizes.
Just for completing Goal 2, we received a ticket to Frontier City/White Water Bay, 2 tickets to an Oklahoma City RedHawks game and a ticket to Oklahoma Children’s Theatre.
Sign up today, get reading and get rewards!
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
If you visit one of the libraries of the Metropolitan Library System and haven’t enrolled your child in the summer reading program, you’re missing out on some neat prizes.
“Be Creative @ Your Library” is a free program for children and teens. Just to get you and your child started, you’ll get a packet with all kinds of free goodies: stickers, a coupon for free tots at Sonic, a couple of bookmarks, a reading log, free admission to local attractions and a chance to win tuition from Oklahoma College Savings Plan.
Then all you need to do is read 8 books to your child to reach your first goal. Do that, and your child gets a really nice award ribbon, and coupons for free food at area restaurants.
For each goal met (8 books, 8 hours or 800 pages read) , your child is entered in drawings for really cool prizes. There isn’t a list of books, and you don’t have to just read books checked out of the library (although kids do love getting new books to read).
So sign up today at your local Metro Library branch or go to www.metrolibrary.org for more information.
~Erica Smith, copy editor
My oldest child just graduated eighth grade. Yes. I said graduated.
Had there been caps and gowns, my high school graduation would have been dwarfed by the fanfare at Katie’s last day in middle school.
Don’t get me wrong. This was an important achievement in her school career, but after sitting through two hours of musical performances, speeches, awards, name announcements and a slideshow that followed the kids from babyhood to their teen years, I was a little tired.
I didn’t cry. I did enjoy the moment. I filmed it, took pictures, everything you do at a graduation. But I fear high school graduation.
A friend of mine suggested the attention the students were already getting might detract from upcoming ceremonies. I’m not sure. I just thought it might be a little “over the top” for this age.
Or is it simply a celebration? We should celebrate the little accomplishments, the medium accomplishments and the big accomplishments in our children’s lives.
After the ceremony, Katie and her friends wandered the halls, seeking out teachers, saying goodbye. Then, mothers and daughters enjoyed lunch together …. Then, the girls went to their elementary school to reminisce with grade school teachers. Later … a party, a sleepover.
I’m sure they were all exhausted.
Now comes high school.
– Linda Lynn