October Surprises!

What a month! It was so jammed packed with fun that it took me an extra nine days just to write this post! Okay, not really, but October was a good month for candy, costumes, and more! Check out my October 2020 wrap-up below.

We kicked off October with #inktober2020. Abby, Alex, and I each did 31 different illustrations through-out the month of October using prompts provided by Inktober. It was a lot of fun sitting with the kids and doing our drawings each night. There were lots of fun and interesting ideas brought to the table by each of us. Check out my Instagram at dadSTL and Abby’s Instagram at AbbyDoodlesArt to see all of our awesome work!

One of the sadder days of October had us spending the day packing up and moving some of my mom’s stuff. My mom was a wonderful person and had so many ideas and projects, unfortunately she teetered on the line of hoarding. So this move was definitely a big project, one that is far from finished, but we made a big dent. There were a lot of memories packed away. We will eventually make our way through all of the boxes, it will just take some time.

In other crazy October news, a marina that I do web design work for caught on fire. That was a very interesting day.

Union Station had their Halloween Experience, so we had to check that out. It was a lot of fun and the kids had an absolute blast. Union Station has some of the coolest events during the various holidays. We are super excited for the new Polar Express setup this year. It looks so fun and unique compared to previous years!

Pumpkin painting, pumpkin patches, and trunk-or-treats filled up a few weekends for us. Halloween is always a great time of year to get together with family and start celebrating the end of the year! I think this year we did three different trunk-or-treats, one at a car dealership, one at a car show, and one at a church! We went to the Eagle Fork pumpkin patch this year as well, and to top it all off the kids even got to go trick-or-treating this year!

The night before Halloween was even a fun one for the kids. Mischief night as it is known to some, Devil’s night as known by others. The kids stayed with their mischievous aunt and uncle and decided to go out and cause mayhem as they toilet papered our house and sped off into the night!

This year the kids decided to dress up as Negan from The Walking Dead and Harley Quinn. I decided to dress up as the great and all powerful sorcerer. It was a lot of fun, I even read some tarot cards and predicted a few futures!

Finally, as Halloween came to a close, so did Daylight Savings and the time decided to fall back. So on the day after Halloween, we decided to smash our pumpkins for what will become a yearly tradition! Using a baseball bat, golf clubs, and a few other creative ideas the kids and I spent a couple hours smashing some pumpkins and then tossing the bits and pieces into our compost.

And there you have it! St. Louis Dad’s October! I am sure there is more, but I am getting old and tired, and it’s about time for my nap.

Mad Science Virtual STL Summer Camps!!!

It’s that time of year again, when schools are out and summer starts peeking it’s head out from behind the Arch. With school ending this year in a dramatic fashion all across the region, I have started to see exciting new opportunities pop up for kids to still have fun and participate in fun and engaging programs from the safety of their living rooms.

This summer your children can participate in some very exciting virtual summer camps provided by Mad Science STL!

During the month of June Mad Science STL is offering 4 different virtual summer camps. The camps run 3 hours each day for 5 days. A total of 1-1.5 hours is spent on an active Zoom call, but that time is not consecutive.

The time on zoom call will be spent watching experiments, learning about different science concepts, listening to instructions, and discussing what your children think and what they’ve learned.

The time off the zoom call is spent doing the activities and experiments. The majority of materials are provided by Mad Science, parents can choose to either pick up materials from our office or have them delivered/mailed for $7.50! A bargain if you ask me!!!

Other materials parents will need to provide are fairly commonplace materials such as a cup, a book, or a piece of paper. While campers are working on their activities, the Mad Scientist will be available to chat and provide clarification as needed.

Mad Science STL is offering 4 different Virtual Camps for the Month of June. Space Alien Traveler, Rocketry, and Secret Agent Lab are open to rising K-5th graders. Our 4th camp is Mad Inventors and is open to rising 2nd-5th grades.

For most campers, they should be able to participate independently, but for Rocketry, Kindergarteners and 1st graders will need help from a parent or older sibling. 

A little more about the different camps…

Space Alien Travelers June 1st-5th: Take on the role of a space alien visiting earth for the first time. Find out about how earth’s sports work. Explore the animals and nature on earth. Learn how humans communicate with secret messages. Discover how earthlings can protect their planet. Finally, it’s time to take off into space to return home as we explore space!

In this camp, campers will explore nature, physics, space, and secret messages. All of the experiments and activities will relate back to the campers being Aliens, exploring the mysteries of Earth.

A young mad scientist waiting to see what happens!

Rocketry Camp: June 8th-12th Your child’s in for an action-packed week focused entirely on rockets and the physics of rocket flight! After learning the model rocket safety code, campers will build different types of rockets and watch exciting rocket launches. We recommend this camp for children entering 2nd – 5th grade; however, children entering kindergarten and 1st grade will enjoy it as well with a little more help from a grownup at home. Note: If you wish to for your child to launch their own rockets (with adult supervision), you will need to purchase a launch kit from an online source or hobby shop. All fueled launches during camp will be virtual.

Campers will learn about different parts of rockets. They’ll also learn about NASA and how launched rockets are recovered. (K-1 campers will need help from a parent or older sibling)

Secret Agent Lab June 15th-19th: Ever dream of becoming a secret agent? We’ll start with the basics: Campers will get their very own spy glasses! Step into the shoes of a detective as you uncover the science involved in evidence gathering and analysis! Figure out the science of forensics in a hands-on look at crime scenes! Become a super spy and learn clever ways of performing tasks as we take a hands-on investigation of the science that spies use!

Campers will create secret message, find clues, gather evidence, and learn all about spy technology.

Mad Inventors June 22nd-26th: Creative Contraption Warning! This is a camp designed by you–the Inventor! Each day you’ll be given a series of challenges which must be overcome using basic materials, simple machines, tips from the world of famous inventors, and the most important thing of all–your mind. With a little bit of ingenuity, you’ll construct catapults and forts and then lay siege, fabricate a winning design and assemble a working light saber. While Thomas Edison said invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, this camp is 100% fun!

Campers will create duct tape castles to defend, explore hovercrafts, and learn about all different types of flight. This camp is full of creativity!

Be sure to sign up today with Mad Science STL as spaces are filling up quickly! Check out their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere for more info and to see some amazing photos, projects, and interviews!

5 Fun Family Outings for Free in Your Community

Raising children is undeniably expensive. The worst bit about this is that, after paying the bills, there is hardly enough money left for taking part in some family fun. Nevertheless, there are numerous awesome, yet free community resources out there, which you can take advantage of with your children or family. From free puppet shows to local festivals, all can entertain you at little or no cost.

Since locating such events can be challenging unless you know where to search, you may want to start by checking various places like the library, city hall, and local newspaper to see whether you can spot some free community resources that you and your family can enjoy. Here are some five options to get you started on your journey to fun family outings as follows:

  1. The Local Library

City libraries or even your nearby local community college library can be a source of fun for you and your kids. In fact, you could enjoy various activities including story time, puppet shows and many others.   Most libraries often boast kids’ areas and offer information and flyers relating to more fun events around that area.

Quick tip: Ensure that all kids have a library card. The best way to make kids feel excited about reading is to make them feel all grown up about it. In this case, you can allow them to pick out their own books and check them out once they are done without your help. Doing so plays a role in teaching them how to be responsible people.

  1. Community Recycling

If you want your kids to get involved in your local community and teach them about caring for the environment, the ideal way you to do so is by taking them to the local recycling center. It will give you a good feeling when you see them sorting and organizing various things. Aside from cleaning and recycling, most recycling centers offer exciting information and advice, particularly to kids, to ensure that the entire process is not only educative but also enjoyable for them.

  1. Free Concerts

If you live in a city in the United States, you are lucky since most of the nation’s big cities offer numerous venues with free concerts where you and your beloved family can hang out instead of staying bored at home. Houston, for instance, has several outdoor venues where you can go to listen and watch the Houston Symphony or even cover bands playing pop music. Since such events are often held regularly around the city, it would be wise to keep yourself informed about such gatherings by checking out your city news website in a bid to spot listings.

  1. Free Parades and Festivals

Festivals and parades mostly keep a town lively and are mostly held at the town center. In case you want to find out whether such events take place in your local area or town, you can begin by looking for listings from your local community newspaper. You can find this useful information tool on your community’s Facebook page or even your mailbox

The beauty of attending parades or festivals is that most of them are not only free to attend but also boast awesome live music. What ’s more, these events can mainly last a single day to an entire weekend, which makes them an ideal weekend plan for fun bonding with your family. Aside from being affordable and close to your home, they offer a wide array of games, drinks, and drinks, not forgetting a wonderful opportunity to interact with other community members.

  1. Local Parks

More often than not, your mind and body may be so confined to your home and work that you tend to forget the beauty that surrounds you including the amazing parks. However, just by walking or moving around your neighborhood, you can spot several spots such as neighborhood parks, hiking trails and many other resources that make up potential outdoor venues for having fun with your loved ones. 

Parks can serve as memorable destinations for you, as you can play there with your kids, hold a picnic with your spouse or even just sit there and relax after a long day at work. They serve as wonderful relaxation zones. To spot such locations near you, all you have to do is either check the maps and guides in your local library or even search online.

Instead of waiting till you get time and money to take your kids out for expensive outings, for instance, at huge water parks, you can opt for the above cheap or free and fun options. Simply check out several places such as the library and city hall for various events and resources in your local town.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Here’s How To Make The Most Of The Summer Vacation With The Kids

For working moms and dads the summer vacation is a precious time as it the one part of the year we get to spend with the kids. However, no matter how excited you are to spend some fun family time together the summer can get a tad stressful, especially if you aren’t prepared for it. Happily, you can get ready for summer with the little ones by following the advice in my post below.

Dress the part.

In the summer vacation, we want the weather to be as good as possible, as it means ice cream in the park, long hikes, and water fight in the backyard. However, it’s pretty important that we dress not just the kids right for the increase in heat, but ourselves as well.

Luckily, it’s not too tough for us dads to stay stylish and cool at the same time, as all we need to do is go to online stores like John Henric that stock summer clothes including those all-important swim shorts. Perfect for when you need to show the kids how it’s done when it comes to epic water fights!

Always have an emergency pack.

Summer often means a lot of time outdoors and away from home, and while this is exciting for the whole family, it can also increase the risk of accidents, emergencies, and being caught without the essentials you need.

Although, it is possible to avoid this is you pack an emergency bag to keep with you at all times. Such a kit should include drinks for the kids as well as sealed snacks that don’t need refrigeration.

It’s also a good idea to include some high factor sun cream and a small first aid kit with plasters and antiseptic cream in case of fall or grazes. Then even if the kids do end up taking a tumble, you will be able to treat them there and then and continue with your family fun.

Make the stay at home days fun.

While it is essential to go out and about with the kid in the summer, you will probably find that you still have plenty of time to enjoy at home as well. Of course, at home tend to be where the boredom sets in, so ensure they have lots of activities to keep them amused.

With this in mind,  be sure to stock up on coloring books and pencils, as well as outdoor toys like baseball and basketball sets. Paddling pools and water soakers are a good bet as well, as not in only are they lot of fun, but they also allow the kids to cool down in hot weather.

Plan some fun days.

Lastly, if you genuinely wish to enjoy your summer with the kids as well as survive it is essential to plan in lots of fun days. For a good mix, schedule in some adventures that are closer to home like the St Louis Arch is for us, as well as local farms, parks, and museums.

Then, on a few occasions in the summer vacation plan some more elaborate trips perhaps with a night or two away. Something that will provide a change of scene for the whole family and make sure that everyone will enjoy the summer as much as possible.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.