You should still be able to enjoy family outings and restaurants and vacations.
What I’ve learned, however, is that you sometimes might have to adjust your lifestyle a bit, depending on your child. In my case, my son has Down Syndrome.
Not all children are alike, and not all Down Syndrome children are alike. But sometimes there are similar traits or conditions that will present themselves in a child.
For instance, when my son was a little younger, he had a dangerous habit of throwing objects across the room. One Easter, my loving and very patient extended family got to witness Easter eggs thrown through the air in my niece’s living room. Thankfully, some even joined in, making it more fun than a distraction.
This throwing habit took a lot of work to correct, and I’m happy to say, it is much safer in our houses now.
He also has never liked loud sounds. We still can’t take him to a movie or he will start crying. He also doesn’t like dark places. So, we can’t yet go to movie theaters as a family. However, what we have done is take turns. Or, this weekend, we saw a movie on the RedHawks Field in Bricktown during a family movie night.
Eating out is also sometimes a challenge. He used to want to knock everything — drinks, food, utensils – off the table. It was as if it were an impulse he had. Now, we make sure to clear all those fancy salt and pepper racks, menus and candles from his area, so he’s not tempted.
Families with children always have to make choices, whether one activity is suitable for their circumstances. But it was important to me to at least try to continue introducing new and regular experiences.
What I’ve also realized is that, due to our family’s special circumstances, we have been able to grow and experience new situations we might have missed otherwise.
– Linda Lynn
Tomorrow and Saturday (March 11-12), Verizon Wireless will celebrate the opening of a new store at Quail Springs Mall with events for kids and adults alike.
According to a news release, the fun will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday, during which the company will present a $1,000 check to YWCA of Oklahoma City. And for all us techie parents, at 5 p.m., the store will unveil the new iPad 2.
Festivities will continue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the store’s Kids’ Day, with FREE family activities, such as face-painting, a moon bounce, complimentary tacos from Big Truck Tacos (YUM!!) and prize giveaways.
“The focus is around family and getting the children involved,” said Michael Perry, Quail Springs store manager.
It may not be fair weekend yet (just another week to go!) but there are some fun things to fill up your weekend with the kiddos.
- When: Sept. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Where: Governor’s Mansion and Oklahoma History Center (Click here for map)
- What: A free, fun, family-friendly, and hands-on event. Visitors get free admission to the museum all day long. The governor and first lady will read stories to children. There also will be dancing, entertainment, puppet shows, inflatables, clowns, face painting and much, much more.
- For a full description and schedule of events, click here.
Pass it on Kids
- When: Sept. 10 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 11 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Where: Church of the Harvest, located between 33rd and 15th streets off Western Avenue in Edmond.
- What: A consignment sale for fall and winter’s kids’ clothing. Half-price on select items on Sept. 11.
- For more information, go to www.passitonkids.com
34th annual Western Days
- When: Sept. 10-11
- Where: Downtown Mustang
- What: A festival including a carnival, rodeo, parade, magic show, music, car show and more.
- For more information, click here or call 376-2758.
103rd annual Cleveland County Free Fair
- When: Now through Sept. 11
- Where: Cleveland County Fairgrounds, E Robinson St., Norman
- What: A fair that has animals, a petting zoo, carnival rides, a midway, celebrity cow milking and much more.
- For more information, click here.
- When: Now through Sept. 11
- Where: Choctaw’s Creek Park
- What: German food and goods, live entertainment for all ages, dancing, crafts and activities for kids. Admission is $3 for age 12 and older. Kids younger than 12 are free.
- For more information, go to www.choctawfestival.org or call 390-8647.
If you know of any other great family-friendly events this weekend or coming up, please post them below or e-mail me.
Have a great weekend!
Thomas the Tank Engine is chugging into Oklahoma City and tickets are on sale for this very fun event. According to the event website, Day Out with Thomas is in its 15th year, and as always, the Oklahoma Railway Museum will be hosting Thomas’ arrival.
Besides getting a train ride with Thomas, children can enjoy other activities such as arts and crafts, storytelling, playing with toy trains, meeting characters and getting a look at the history of Thomas, who is turning 65 this year.
Get tickets soon, as this tends to sell out. Dates of the event are Sept. 24-26 and Oct. 1-3. Tickets cost $14 to $18 each. When you order tickets online, you can choose which train you’d like to sit in. Pay extra attention to which train car you choose. Some are air conditioned, some only have sliding windows, and others are completely open. Also, I suggest picking an early morning ride to avoid high temperatures.
Two years ago, I mistakenly chose the 2 p.m. time slot and the car with only the sliding windows. Since some of the cars are so old, some windows won’t open. That was our window. September was especially hot that year, and my then-2-year-old son was completely decked out in his Thomas overalls, Thomas polo shirt, Thomas conductor hat, socks and shoes. We couldn’t bring our drinks on board, but it’s a 30-minute ride. No big deal.
About two minutes after we pull out of the station, my son starts screaming and crying. He’s sweating, he’s red in the face, he’s hot as can be. I didn’t know what to do and we couldn’t get off the train. We were starting to get some mean looks from other paying passengers. He cried the entire ride. People were upset with us, asking employees for their money back and just generally being more than annoyed.
About a year later, I was talking to some parents at my son’s day care about how Thomas the Train was back in town. All of a sudden, one parent starts talking about this screaming child on her train car last year … decked out in Thomas overalls, polo and conductor cap. She described my son to a T - an entire year later. She was on that car. She was one of the parents demanding a refund. Yikes.
Me: ”Oh, we didn’t get to go last year … how awful … why would his mom dress him in such hot clothes in the middle of summer? … “
So please take my advice. Choose the air conditioned car. Get an early time and don’t dress your child like a conductor. After all, it’s September in Oklahoma.
For a schedule and tickets, click here.
If so, you’ll want to stop using it immediately and go to www.mcdonalds.com/glasses to get refund information. About 12 million of these collectible glasses have been sold since May for about $2 each.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of these “Shrek Forever After 3D” glasses after cadmium was found in the designs printed on them.
For the full recall report, click here.
If you’re like me, you may be trying to find somewhere to put your preschooler this summer if their day care is closed for a week or you have a sitter going on summer vacation. Believe it or not, there are actually some pretty interesting camp options for the 3- to 4-year-old set.
Here are some of the camps being offered this summer (costs vary-click on websites or call for more information):
Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 1 – Aug. 13
Preschoolers travel through time and learn performing arts basics. Camps conclude with a performance. Other camps available for up to age 12.
Casady School Summer by the Lake, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 7 – Aug. 13
Over 100 programs are available from pre-K to high school.
Fine Arts Institute of Edmond
Dates: June 7-Aug. 13
All types of artistic camp classes for age 2 through 8th grade.
Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 7-Aug. 6
43 themed camps offered for ages 4 to 15.
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman
Dates: June 7 – Aug. 6
Summer Explorers program is for ages 4 to 14.
Ginger’s Kindermusik, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 21-25 or July 19-23
Themed camps for children from birth to age 7 and piano keyboard camps for ages 7-8.
Mad Science of Central Oklahoma, various locations
Dates: June 21 – Aug. 6
Camps for kids age 4 to 12 include Secret Agent Lab, Science AdventureQuest and Little Agents Academy.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Dates: June 1 – Aug. 6
Themed camps for ages 4 to 16 focus on permanent exhibits and special exhibits.
Heritage Hall Day Camp, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 1-July 23
Camps for ages 3 and older include enrichment, creativity, technology and sports options.
Victory School of the Arts, Warr Acres
Dates: June 21 – Aug. 7
Classes offered for age 3 and older in all types of dance, tumbling and guitar.
Unpluggits Playstudio, Edmond
Dates: June and July
Camp sessions have a superhero or dinosaur theme.
If you know of any other fun summer camps available for preschoolers, comment here or email me.
There are some interesting and informative kid-related posts on NewsOK.com. Here’s a sample:
Keep your kids of out danger on busy streets:
An outdoorsy opportunity for young people this summer:
An interesting column about the interaction between smokers and babies:
A story about summer meals for children on school lunch programs:
A look at the Edmond Fire Department’s Safety Village, built just for children:
A story about charter schools as a “smart alternative”:
And a review of the family movie “Furry Vengeance” :
In the world of applications, there’s also a niche for young children.
In my weekly column today, Get App-y, I mentioned a few targeted at kindergartner-age and younger children. Here I’m repeating some of the column and sharing a few more.
Yes, I realize there is research that says to limit the amount of screen time that a young child gets. While it’s great to be aware of how much media your toddler is being exposed to, it’s also nice to have something for that child to do when he or she is getting fidgety, such as those times when you’re waiting for dinner in a restaurant, talking to a doctor during an appointment or watching older siblings play ball.
My children are a little old for these, but they enjoy it when I let them use my iPod Touch to play.
PBS Kids have made the apps that I’ve tried out the most for this age group (ages 4-8, and possibly younger). But it looks like Nick Jr. and Disney, which also have extensive television programming for young children, have their own apps, too.
Of the PBS Kids group, my favorite is free: PBS Kids Photo Factory, a photo editing app for little ones. Choose your show, then choose your photo and decorate it with characters from the show and frames. It’s a cute idea that’s sure to hold their attention for a minute, at least.
Others from PBS Kids include:
Super Why! ($2.99), an early reading game that offers players four animated games that lets them recognize letters, sound out words and insert words into sentences.
Martha Speaks Dog Party ($2.99, PBS Kids) is for even younger kids, with three games including a “Simon Says”-like game and one that lets you dress your pet.
Mister Rogers Make a Journal for Preschoolers ($1.99) is one recently added to the iTunes store that I haven’t tried but according to its description, lets children identify feelings with representational pictures.
Another group, Once Upon a Time, has created its own series of apps for little ones:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit Illustrated Story With Music (99 cents) reads the “Peter Rabbit” story aloud while asking children to find hidden images in the illustrations. To me, it seems like it is too hard or slow to keep a young child’s attention and too young for older children. The hide-and-seek images were too hard to find and interrupted the flow of the story being read aloud.
Learning Colors With Fruits and Learning Colors With Vegetables (99 cents each, Once Upon an App) are two others that their creators asked me to try. They show drawings of figures with the shape of a vegetable or fruit in a color. The child hears a poem about the color and food item and then is asked to identify it. The illustrations, based on Elizabeth Gordon’s “Mother Earth’s” children’s book are charming and classic (from the early 20th century), and the poems are soothing but old-fashioned.
The app has a different feel from many of the other high action games and intense colors that surround kids these days. If you take a look, let me know what you think. I didn’t test it out on younger children, and I’m not sure the apps would have caught on with mine at that age.
And today, I received an e-mail telling me about two dads who took the “if you can’t beat them, join them” with technology approach and created StoryChimes, a way to share books with your child on the device. You can read the stories like “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Frog Prince” aloud and “turn” pages to the next screen, or select an audio option that lets your child listen and move to the next page when he or she hears the chime. Some are free, and the rest are 99 cents apiece. Search “StoryChimes” in the iTunes store to pull up all of them.
Here’s one more quote I found interesting to add to the debate about how much media a child should consume. It’s from the Center on Media and Child Health (Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, www.cmch.tv): “What we feed children’s minds is as important as what we feed their bodies. Teach children to develop a healthy media diet, and engage them in the process of thinking about the media they use, rather than passively consuming it.”
Do you let your children play with your phone? Why or why not? What are your favorite apps that make your job as a parent easier?
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman (e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more apps you’d like me to try.)
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.
We’ve been patiently waiting for more than two years. We’ve seen the signs change … “Children’s Zoo coming in Fall of 2009.” “Children’s Zoo coming in Spring of 2010.”
Friday, March 12, that day finally came. The Oklahoma City Zoo opened their new Children’s Zoo, located on the zoo grounds.
First tip: Do not try to find an entrance near the Canopy Food Court. You will have to come all the way back to the main entrance to take the route to the right down to that area.
Second tip: When you find yourself just inside the Children’s Zoo, be sure to duck down before entering the tunnels. They are made for the kiddos, so don’t hit your head. There are some neat things to check out in the tunnels. Bugs, scorpions, other creepy-crawlies, so don’t miss them. When you come out on the other side, there is a big slide for the kids and a path to come up to everything else.
The best part: the Barnyard. Although you only get to really pet the donkeys the zoo staff brings out, seeing the other animals up close is fun for the kids. Children get to brush the donkeys outside of the barn and go inside to see the bunnies, goats, sheep and hogs. If your children are really small, you may have to lift them up to get a good look at the animals.
A really neat exhibit is Explorikeet Adventure. You enter in a little area where lorikeets are flying around, landing on your arm, your head, everywhere. My son, who is 3, was a little scared but thought it was hilarious when I bent down to talk to him and all of sudden I had a bird on my head and one on my back.
Third tip: Don’t stand directly under the lorikeet tree. They tend to poop … a lot. And they’re not looking at where it’s going to land.
All in all, the new Children’s Zoo is a lot of fun, especially for younger kids. They’ll have a blast, guaranteed.
And while you’re at the zoo, be sure to check out the very cute, 2-month-old baby giraffe.
For more information, go to www.okczoo.com.