CityDance is offering many options for in-person as well as virtual dance classes this fall for all ages.
This post comes to you from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center. We’ve had the opportunity to visit their space and participate in various workshops they offered prior to the pandemic and can’t recommend their family programing enough. We look forward to being able to go back one day and hope you will too!
When Covid closed our museums and our city, the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) had to develop a new plan for its weekend family workshops. It was imperative to keep the essence of programs the same: forming relationships, connecting with Smithsonian objects, and learning through play.
Fostering relationships is at the core of our work at SEEC. Young children learn better in a social context with trusted adults and peers. Moving to a digital platform makes this challenging, but not impossible. SEEC’s family workshops are limited to six families so that everyone has a chance to get to know each other and participate fully. Families will sign up for a four-week session on a topic, which allows for the deepening of relationships over time. In addition to the virtual classes, families will receive a video with activities in between each session to help continue discoveries.
While families are unable to physically visit the objects and artwork of the Smithsonian, SEEC’s virtual classes allow children to experience these objects in closer detail and at their own pace while at home. SEEC believes objects are powerful learning tools as they often bridge the gap between the familiar and the unfamiliar, opening up windows to new worlds. The virtual weekend classes will use objects to share stories and help children practice critical thinking skills.
Learning happens through action and SEEC’s virtual classes will be action packed and fun! The classes will encourage all types of active learning including dramatic play, movement games, singing, storytelling, sensory experiences, and more. Children will be laughing, playing, and exploring as they learn about all the Smithsonian has to offer.
SEEC has missed its family workshop participants over the last six months and are so excited to reconnect in this fashion! To learn more, please visit our website.
Ready or not, most of our kids will be starting the school year in some kind of virtual or hybrid model. That means a lot of time will be spent at home in a space designated for at-home learning. An organizational system should be in place so your child has a place they can access supplies easily and on their own which will help their productivity. You can set them up for success by having a system in place– it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Below are a few items to get you started on this next adventure. Not listed but important is a good supportive chair and a table or desk where your child can sit and have their own space.
Complete with a sliding drawer, double tray and 5 upright sections. I like this one because kids can store things in multiple areas without it being too cluttered. If you don’t have room on a desk look at the next choice.
5 vertical pockets wall mounted file organizer with small label to classify your documents, the 1 bottom flat tray is great for stationary and desk accessories.
Rolling cart with 3 tiers
We have this for our art supplies and love it. We can roll it out of the office and into another room if we are working someplace else. Or you can put supplies in organizers inside of this cart so you can easily grab a container out.
Expanding file folder
Great for several uses but perhaps a middle schooler who needs an organizational system or an elementary student who can sort each class by a color. Includes 12 individual pockets.
These vertical bins can store books, notebooks, binders, papers and more to stay organized.
Storage for supplies
If space is an issue, this is the smallest version and allows a child to carry it from room to room.
Storage for supplies
Much larger version than the above mentioned one. Stick the magnetic storage bins and magnetic storage pockets on whiteboards and refrigerators to hold additional supplies. Includes 12” circular tray with 8 containers, 4 magnetic storage bins, 4 magnetic storage pockets, write & wipe labels.
Both portable and adjustable, this was great for us last year with distance learning, allowing our kids to move from room to room that may not have had a desk for them to work at. A device sits on it nicely and you can also do paper/pencil work on the hard surface.
Never lose the headphones again!
White board and cork board
I am a visual person and need this to keep notes on or important deadlines and ideas. Magnetic surface of the erasable white board part is easy for writing, drawing and erasing. Natural cork surface of the cork tack board part is great for pinning notes, messages, pictures, memos, calendars, menus and more.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Since being in quarantine, podcasts have been a popular way for children to get their fill of information and entertainment while being in the car headed someplace for an extended stay or in the comfort of their homes. The good part about podcasts is that they are easily accessed through a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Prepare for hours of entertainment and even some learning opportunities.
This month PJ Library has two new episodes of the PJ Library Have I Got a Story for You podcast. You can find them here. Every episode of Have I Got a Story For You takes a classic Jewish folk tale and gives it a modern twist. You can explore episodes here and if you find one you really like, be sure to click on the episode page to find activities, book lists, and keep the fun going.
The podcast is just one element of the always-free and open PJ Library Listen hub where you will find all things audio from stories, songs, Spotify playlists and the podcast.
Keep an eye out for PJ Library’s downloadable “fall guide,” coming next month.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and PJ Library are partnering with local organizations to bring families together for stories and hands-on activities around Jewish values through August 20 for a series called Summer Sweetness. For each event, a “guest reader” will read a PJ bedtime story with the night’s theme, and your family can create and learn something to put those values into action. Join us in your pajamas to spread more kindness, gratitude, and friendship in the world. Best for ages 3-7.
Get the full schedule online here.
Fun for the whole family, admission is free to “You Be the Detective: A Family Tour of Jerusalem,” a unique webinar, which runs from 1:30pm-2:30pm ET on Monday, July 13, 2020.
Though the coronavirus has upended summer travel plans for many, this July, PJ Library wants to send families to the holy city of Jerusalem for a unique and interactive trip. On Monday join engaging tour guide Jonty Blackman for the LIVE hour-long webinar “You Be the Detective: A Family Tour of Jerusalem.” Though bags don’t need to be packed and admission is free, space is limited and registration is required here. With Israel also suffering from coronavirus fall-out, tourism in the land of milk & honey has all but stopped. But that’s not stopping PJ Library from inviting interested “tourists” to unlock the mysteries of Jerusalem with a unique, interactive webinar.
Along with veteran Israel tour guide Blackman, families are invited to explore both the old and new city including stops at Jaffa Gate, the Knesset, the City of David and the world-famous Machane Yehudah outdoor market. And, along the way, PJ Library tourists will be invited to uncover the mysteries of Jerusalem, find the yummiest food in the market and discover ancient secrets hidden in archaeological discoveries. Don’t miss out on the most exciting trip of the summer – without leaving your home – with “You Be the Detective: A Family Tour of Jerusalem.”
We understand the endless emails you receive with classes and camps which is why we condense our picks into just sporadic posts. This group of camps we are super excited for and the best part is that most are free and come from unexpected sources that are sure to having you fill up some more of your Bambinos day.
This summer, Apple Camp gives kids ages 8–12 FREE, fun, digital programs that they can experience from home. Choose from three creative projects to explore: video, art & design, and coding. Apple Camp projects include a self-guided Activity Book that Campers can complete at their own pace, and live, virtual Orientation sessions for guidance and Q&A sessions in case they need a little help. If you find that all sessions are full, we’ll be adding new sessions each week. Check back regularly for availability. In the meantime, Campers can download the Activity Book and work on their own
Camp TFK (Time for Kids) starts July 6! Join us for a whole new way to experience summer camp during a decidedly different sort of summer. Throughout July, the TFK team will create and curate daily roundups of FREE, kid-safe content that parents can trust and kids can enjoy on their own, or with minimal oversight. Campers will explore arts and crafts, sports and games, performance skills, scientific concepts, and the elements of storytelling—all in the safety of your base camp: home. Sign up to learn more!
Each day of Camp Kiwi Co is centered around a super fun theme. We’ve pulled together DIY activities, videos, printables, and more. Sign up for Camp and they’ll send more information about camp and other KiwiCo offerings! Purchase optional crates if you’d like. Note: all the content (videos, printables, DIY activities) for Camp KiwiCo are FREE and available to anyone! If you’d like to add more to your camper’s day, you can order the crates they have handpicked to go with each day’s theme. The content will be available all summer long, so you can access the sessions at any time that works best for you!
Camp Tinkergarten is 8 weeks of expert-designed activities that are easy on you and delightful for kids and are FREE. Releasing one new week of activities each Friday. The Camp Tinkergarten Map allows you and kids to get excited about our 8 themes and track your child’s progress throughout the summer. They’ll discover how to keep cool, enjoy a Silly Summer Olympics, and more. Sign up above to get your Trail Map by email today! With versions for baby, toddler, preschool and elementary ages, all kids can enjoy and develop our 8 core skills as they play.
DreamWorks Animation project presents #CampDreamWorks which is FREE. #CampDreamWorks is a seven week program that DreamWorks Animation has created to help families staying at home this summer due to COVID-19 by providing weekly show-inspired activities and livestreams, including arts and crafts, sing-alongs and more.
The Story Pirates Creator Camp $$
For the month of July, best-selling children’s book authors and illustrators will connect directly with hundreds of young people via the Story Pirates Creator Camp. Participating Random House Children’s Books authors and illustrators include Mary Pope Osborne (The Magic Tree House series), Nic Stone (Dear Martin, Clean Getaway), Danica McKellar (Goodnight, Numbers), Lincoln Peirce (Max & the Midknights, Big Nate), Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Grandma’s Purse, Just Like Me), and Judd Winick (Hilo). During four week-long sessions, kids will also enjoy hours of interactive live-streamed activities hosted by Story Pirates teaching artists.
- July 6 – July 10: Illustration Vacation, featuring award-winning authors and illustrators Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Oge Mora, and Lauren Castillo talking about how they blend words and pictures in their books Just Like Me, Our Friend Hedgehog. and The Oldest Student
- July 13 – July 17: Camp Cartoonist, featuring graphic novelist Judd Winnick sharing how he created the world of Hilo, his beloved middle-grade series. Artists Lincoln Peirce and Lucy Knisley will also discuss their recent works, Max & the Midknights and Stepping Stones.
- July 20 – July 24: Story Pirates in Space! featuring author Danica McKellar talking about her new book, The Times Machine! Additional special guests this week are The Magnificent Makers series author Theanne Griffith, a brain scientist by day, as well as Dean of the Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences, astrophysicist,and author of Child of the Universe Ray Jayawardhana discussing “Our Cosmic Selves.”
- July 27 – July 31: Time Travel Adventure is the topic of week 4, featuring author Nic Stone talking about her New York Times bestselling middle-grade novel Clean Getaway. Mary Pope Osborne, renowned for her internationally bestselling Magic Tree House series, will be discussing her William Shakespeare focused story Stage Fright on a Summer Night. Finally, fiction and nonfiction author Kate Messner will talk about her new series, History Smashers.
This post is written by Jen Dryer who is a mother to two children and has previously written an informative piece for Beltway Bambinos which helps parents navigate early intervention resources. She will be co-leading a class again called Raising Orchids: Practical Strategies for Parents With Higher Needs Children beginning July 8. She will lead the class along-side speech therapist, Gabriele Nicolet in addition to some guest speakers.
As my mother always said, parenting is not for the faint of heart, nor the short of patience. Parenting a higher needs child, those children with developmental differences, learning and/or behavioral challenges, special needs and/or all the anxiety that often co-presents with other issues, can take those “regular” challenges up to a whole new level, especially in the era of Coronavirus! Besides all the usual challenges, like bedtimes, schedules, potty training, discipline, tantrums, homework, and school, to name a few, parents of “neurodiverse” children (those whose brains are wired differently than those who are typically developing) have a whole other list of concerns: Why is my child so sensitive and hard to parent? What can I do to change challenging behaviors? What therapies does my child need? How do I take care of myself and my other family members when my needy child takes up so much time and energy? How do I nurture my child and understand their differences, while also pushing them to be their best selves? How can I manage being in charge of their learning and development at home in this social distancing situation?
As the parent of a rising third grader with autism and ADHD and a rising fifth grader with ADHD, I know firsthand how hard it is and how much energy it can take just to get simple things done. The tremendously helpful strategies that my family has found and developed are an amalgam of ideas and structures I’ve gathered from myriad sources, including, most importantly, many of my younger son’s many incredible therapists. In order to share these practical strategies that have greatly improved my family’s quality of life and my sons’ feelings of confidence and competence, I teamed up with Gabriele Nicolet, a long-time Speech and Language Pathologist/Family Communication Specialist and owner and founder of SpeechKids Therapy, to help other parents address the questions listed above and generate practical solutions tailored to their family’s and child(ren)’s needs.
We’re offering a 6-session online class, called “Raising Orchids: Practical Strategies for Parents of Higher Needs Children,” on Wednesday evenings from 8:30-9:30pm on Zoom, starting Wednesday, July 8. Participants will work together with other parents of children aged 3-12, and with Gabriele and me, to create practical solutions to everyday challenges that arise when raising high needs children, and to the particular challenges of this new normal. The goal is for participants to come away from the class with concrete ideas and strategies adapted to their own child’s profile that they will plan and try out, in order to make their life easier and to help their child increase their confidence and competence in daily tasks, which will reduce anxiety and help them experience success at home and beyond. The other side bonus, of course, is finding community with a group of parents who have similar challenges and a place to share ideas and resources.
For more information, contact Jen or to register, click here.
Here’s what recent participants had to say about Raising Orchids:
“I want to thank you both for the Raising Orchids class. I found the class to be extremely helpful. One of the things I have found most difficult about having an orchid child is feeling like I am alone in my journey. Sure, there are teachers and therapists who provide support, but even though I know it is not the case, when I look around, it seems like other families have it so easy. The opportunity to meet and hear from other parents of orchid children was really valuable.
I am happy to hear you are planning to offer the class again. I would definitely recommend it to other parents. Both of you offered such great feedback and helped everyone think through things.
I really appreciate all the support you both provided!” – Rachel S.
“Thanks again for this class. I felt truly heard and supported through this caring and thoughtful group. I was choked up at the end of last night’s session as I realized I’ll be on my own again!
I think it’s hard to address the challenges of parents with kids of very different ages, and facing so many different physical, emotional, and developmental challenges. You guys did a great job of giving everyone a chance to be heard and facilitate some personalized problem solving from your various professional perches.
This group was perfect for me in that the leaders had such diverse professional frameworks, the participants were so supportive, and it was convenient, affordable, and small enough to feel comfortable.” – Amy H.