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Family Time/Activities for Kids

Donating Blood - Giving the Gift of Life

Jun-03, 2020

woman with heart symbol Give Blood

“Be nice to me. I gave blood today!” You may have seen this phrase on stickers provided by the American Red Cross and other organizations and worn by adults in your local community. And while we strive to be nice to everyone, blood donation is a powerful gift, and individuals who donate their blood do deserve a little extra care and consideration!

But why is blood donation necessary? Every day, every hour, medical procedures occur in hospitals around the world, and many of them require patients to be given extra blood to make up for any that they are losing. That blood has to come from somewhere! As human beings, we are constantly producing fresh blood to keep our bodies strong and healthy. But did you know that your body can survive with a little less? It’s true! Because of our bodies’ amazing ability to make and replace blood, individuals are able to donate some of their blood to be used in hospitals. Now, this can make you feel a little weak on the day of your donation, but your body gets right back to work and within a day or two, you’re back at full strength. Plus, you’ve made a life-saving donation to someone in need.

So, how do you donate blood? First, you have to be at least 17 years old, but 16-year-olds are allowed to give blood as long as they have parental/guardian consent. This is for your own safety. Then, you find a blood donation drive or center who takes donations. Once you make an appointment with them, you are assessed. Certain individuals are not allowed to donate blood due to illness or potential complications, so a friendly technician will talk to you to make sure you are eligible. You also need to know your blood type. Do you know your blood type? There are four main blood groups: A, B, AB, and O, and each group can be positive or negative, which means there are a total of eight blood types. Some blood types can only accept certain types of blood, so it’s important to know what type of blood you are. One group, O negative, is known as the Universal Blood Type. But why is that? Well, because any human can accept type O negative blood, so people with that blood type are highly encouraged to donate!

In order to donate your blood, a technician will need to put a needle into a vein to get the blood out. While this procedure is safe, sterile, and almost painless, it can make many people uncomfortable. But facing your fears, when done in a kind environment, can help you grow and overcome anxieties. Many people have overcome their fear of needles by donating blood, since they know that they’re doing something good for the world. After you donate blood, it is important to relax. Many centers encourage donors to stay in the center after they finish, and provide sugary snacks like juice and cookies. Think of them both as rewards for a job well done, and fuel for your body as it replaces your blood. Wear your sticker proudly, don’t pick up anything heavy, and get plenty of sleep the night after you donate.

In the US alone, we use 31,000 pints of blood every day to help keep people alive. And it wouldn’t be possible without donations from kind and caring people. Do you know someone who donates blood? Do you plan on becoming a donor when you’re old enough? It would certainly be a very nice thing to do!

My First Planter Box

Apr-16, 2020

mother and daughter

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Whether you call them a planter box, window box, or raised garden bed, these small, self-contained patches of earth are perfect for a younger gardener to develop their green thumb. A planter’s box can be an ideal tool to teach basic life science, responsibility, and an appreciation for nature. When designing your planter’s box, here are some of our recommendations.

What should I plant?

Choose plants that will grow strong without crowding one another. Mint and chives are excellent indoor herbs, as are bay laurel and thyme. Other plants ideal for indoor gardening include Chinese money plants, jade plants, echeveria, and peperomia. Looking for a splash of color? Anthurium, kalanchoe, oxalis, polka dot plants, and peace lilies all have visual appeal.


Plan out your box with a variety of different plants, just try to match their moisture and sunlight needs. Place your sun-loving plants near a window and your shade-loving plants in an interior room. Tending different plants at once can be a challenge, but gives valuable experience in less time, plus puts your design skills to the test.

Take notes

Plants are living creatures, and no two are totally alike. With the convenience of a planter’s box, a young gardener can observe their charges all at once, make notes on their progress, and test the effects of a new method all at once. How much water is too much or two little? Do my plants prefer direct sunlight all the time or a rotation around the house? Which prefer fertilizer or compost over dirt? Learning which plants thrive under different conditions gives your young gardener a baseline for growing their skills and comfort to tackle more difficult plants in the future!

Do you feel inspired to being your own indoor gardening journey? Show us the plants you’ve been nuturing on social media a

It’s a Dinosaur Masquerade!

Apr-08, 2020

child dressed as a dinosaur

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Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Get prehistoric and tap into your wild side! Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t party. Here’s some ideas to make your Dino Day Jurrasstic!

  • Cook up a dino-feast: Will you be a carnivore or an herbivore? Mix up a mouthwatering salad or grill up a rack of ribs or steaks. We prefer a little of each. Create a fossil cake from dark fudge or brownie batter, and layer in hidden fossils make of pretzel sticks or sugar cookies. You can also suspend eggs or little dino toys in Jell-O, coat pretzels or cookie pieces in white chocolate to create snackable dino bones, or add a few pop rocks to fruit punch and cream soda for a fizzy volcano drink!
  • Party Games: One of the best features of a dino party is the games! Go on a dino-egg hunt around the house and backyard. Try your luck at pin the tooth on the T-Rex. Get the whole family together for a dino-egg-and-spoon relay race. Or come up with your own games like Dinosaur Trivia or cookie decorating.
  • Make a dinosaur mask: These can be as simple or as complex as you like. Cut up and color paper plates, double-glue felt, or even build with papier-Mache. Just make sure each family member get a dinosaur of their own. Our favorites are stegosaurs, triceratops, T-rex, or pterodactyl.

Does your family like to party like it’s 99 million BCE? You can show us pictures of your Dino-Bash on social media at!

The Indoor Relay Race

Apr-08, 2020

family having fun inside

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Got two or more kids at home that need physical activity? Put them to the test with a fun relay race! Activities can take place in different rooms or all in one big, open area. We recommend going barefoot on non-carpeted surfaces to prevent slipping for this one. Kid Contestants complete several timed activities in a specific order. Whoever has the fastest time is the winner! Remember to adjust the length and duration of activities for the ability of your Kid Contestants. Here’s a list of suggested activities, or “legs,” for your race, but definitely come up with your own based on your child’s talents or what supplies you have in the house:

  • Strings and Things: Line up a row of shoes, ribbons and/or strings. Tie them into bows. The first Contestant to finish all the ties can move on!
  • The Obstacle Crawl – Contestants most walk on their hands and feet on a straight line over a series of obstacles (disposable cups, toilet paper rolls, etc). Contestants must make three trips forward and back across this line: forward they go straight over, and back they weave in between. Find a way to mark each pass, either by ringing a bell, stacking a block, or putting an object in a box. The first contestant to make all three laps without knocking over their obstacles can move on!
  • Over and In – Contestants lie on their backs. At their heads, place a receptacle like a plastic tub or a toy chest. And their feet, sit ready with several soft and relatively large objects, like stuffed animals or toilet paper rolls. Contestants must grip an item with their feet, and lift it over and in with their legs, depositing the item in the receptacle. Contestants will need help getting the items in their feet, so make sure you have enough helpers for this one. Once all items are in the receptacle, the Contestant can move on!
  • Fill R Up! - Due to the likelihood of spilled water, we suggest this leg for carpeted surfaces only! Set up a cup filled close to the top with water and one end of a room and a bowl of water and a spoon at the other end. Contestants most carry a spoonful of water to the other end and deposit it into the glass. The first Contestant whose glass overflows can move on!
  • Quick Peel – Contestants must sit at a table, and then peel and section several citrus fruits. Clementines or tangerines work best for this one, but older Contestants can peel oranges or even grapefruit. Be careful if using a peeler! Set out a bowl or plate for peels and another for the fruit sections. The first Contestant to peel and section all their fruits can move on!

Make sure you have a special treat for the winner! Whether it’s a trophy, medal, or ribbon, or even a special treat like an extra hour of screen time, a pizza dinner, or choice of film for your next movie night.

So, are you having an indoor relay race at your house? Who ended up the winner? Share with us on social media at!

Stuck Inside? Get the Family Together for Some Fun and Excitement

Apr-07, 2020

family playing together in bedroom

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When you’re cooped up at home, it’s easy for our energy to get pent up. Even routine activities like playing outside or regular arts and crafts can become more like work than fun. That’s when you need to shake things up! Here are six safety-first ideas for you and your family that take planning, creativity, and participation from everyone in the household.

From the smallest child up to teenagers can somehow contribute to each of these activities. Take the time to share a new skill, a new responsibility, or a secret from the rest of the household! In these extraordinary times, it’s tempting to carry on with life as normal. But this can lead to confusion and friction in the household. Find opportunities to acknowledge and even celebrate the unusual!

So, which of these ideas are you going to try first? How is your family managing the stress of staying home? Let us know below!

Keeping the Winter Blues (and Colds) at Bay…

Jan-07, 2019

Ice Skaters

Photo Credit: Henry Hemming from Flickr

Winter can be a trying time for school-age children and parents alike. The weather is colder and there just doesn’t seem to be as many fun options for time or energy to be spent. We often find ourselves stuck in the same routines, and to be honest, they are boring. The winter blues are knocking on the door and so is cold and flu season. But don’t despair. There are ways to keep both away with these fun and healthy tips for your home and family besides just remembering to wash your hands.

Healthy breakfast

Breakfast has long been known as the most important meal of the day. And for kids in school, it's even more essential. However, just as important as eating is what they are eating. Sugar filled pop-tarts and cocoa puffs will not sustain them until lunchtime and are sure to create the wrong kind of energy need for their demanding day.

Instead, whip up some eggs or, for days when you are running a little late, make sure to have some hardboiled ones in the fridge already. Yogurt topped with fruit, or on the side, is another great source of vitamins and proteins. Add some whole grains or cottage cheese and they are good to go for a full day of learning.


Just because its colder outside doesn’t mean your child has an excuse to sit in front of a screen for long hours. Exercise is still a crucial part of their health and well-being. Not only does it keep them physically healthy but, according to many studies, has a very positive outlook on their emotional well-being and brain development.

Don’t be afraid to let your little ones enjoy the cold air outdoors. Spending time in nature, as long as they are bundled up, helps to prevent sleep deprivation, allows them to de-stress, and keeps up their immune system. A quick pre-dinner walk, ice skating, sledding, or a short trip to the park are all fun and safe outdoor activities for kiddos who need a little natural daylight and exercise.

Change up the lunches

School Children Lunch Box

Photo Credit: Melissa from Flickr

At this point in the school year, it's common to find that your child is only eating about half of their lunches each day at school. This is most likely just because they are bored with their choices. If this is the case in your home, it may be time to switch some things up a bit. Instead of the normal PB&J, try some crackers with ham and cheese. Add in some healthy fruits and veggies and maybe a small treat for a well-rounded meal.

Kids also seem to love compartmentalized meals. This allows them to create their own sandwiches from choices you send or instead of being overwhelmed by one or two large objects, they are presented with five or six smaller items such as carrots, celery, yogurt, and even a cookie.