Tag Archives: activities

Family Fun Grows in the Garden

Gardening is an activity that families can enjoy doing together. It serves as a good way to bond, exercise, and learn about different kinds of plants. Not only that, it’s increasingly important to get kids to experience as much of the outdoors as they can, and one fantastic way to do that is to get them interested in gardening. Introducing them to growing their own flowers, herbs, and vegetables can help instill curiosity, empathy, and a nurturing instinct that is essential for a person to have.

However, it is difficult to find the time or the space to garden in an urban environment. The common lack of a garden, for starters, poses a basic problem that can seem hard to get around for this particular outdoor activity. However, there are plenty of ways to still get children interested in growing plants!

A great place to start is a potted plant inside the apartment. This can be an herb or a small flowering plant, or even sprouts! A child’s wonder at seeing their plant grow isn’t affected by the size of the plant or the scale of their gardens, but by the mere fact that they made this plant grow and change. Herbs and sprouts make wonderful potted plants, because they tend to be fast-growing and easy to take care of.

The natural progression from this may seem to be hoarding a ton of potted plants, but it doesn’t have to be. Try finding a community garden in the area! These are becoming popular in urban spaces, and can be a great way to expand your “garden”. It could even be the beginning of your child’s very own vegetable patch!

Personal Creations has put together a detailed guide that features what you can (and should) plant, and what to avoid when gardening with children. It even includes a list of kids’ gardening tools, and how to go about maintaining your garden. So grab those gloves, get a watering can, and get started!

Peronsal-Creations-garden

Special thanks to Katie Santos and Personal Creations for writing and partnering with us for this post!

Finding Harmony With Your Child

We recently got the chance to partner with Emily Chamberlin and Christopher Diaz, co-founders of Heart to Harmony, an organization centered around connecting parents and caregivers to their children through various techniques. Learn about their teachings through our Q&A below, and by stopping by their space on the Upper West Side!

Q: What is the mission behind Heart To Harmony? What kinds of things do you hope your members takeaway from your classes? 

 A: Our mission is to create a harmonious atmosphere, where families and their babies can find a deeper bond within themselves and with their child. Our participants leave class feeling uplifted and encouraged emotionally, physically and spiritually. Parents and caregivers will acquire knowledge of children’s songs, baby and me exercises and breathing techniques to do at home. These tools can be used in or out of the class to calm the mind, relieve stress and connect on a deeper level with their child.  

 Q: What types of classes do you offer? Can people of all ages register to take a class? 

 A: We offer a Baby and Me exercise and mindfulness class for ages 4 weeks to new walkers that focuses on connecting with your child through the breathe, guided imagery, singing and simple fun baby and me exercises.

 Q: Where did your passion/inspiration come from to start up Heart of Harmony? 

 A: Our inspiration came from our shared desire to create a unique program for families with little ones to meet, bond, have fun and find community. Our love of teaching, working with kids and connecting on a deeper humanistic level with others is the spark that ignited Heart to Harmony. 

Q: How can prospective members sign-up for a class? Are the class schedules flexible? 

A: Those interested in joining our Heart to Harmony family can e-mail us (chrisandemily@hearttoharmony.com) to schedule a 10 minute meet and greet prior to joining class. This meet and greet is required so that we can get to know each family on a more personal level. 

Families can sign up for a class through the “Register for class” section on our website. Payments online are made through PayPal. Cash and VENMO are also accepted prior to class.

Special discount offer for Bell Family Company families: Receive a 25% discount on your first class with Heart to Harmony! Just mention this blog and your BFC member info when signing up. 

For a great promo video to learn more about Heart to Harmony, click here!

HearttoHarmony copy

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Get Crafty with the Kids for Spring

It may be hard to believe for northeasters, but it is actually springtime. A time where you normally wear a light jacket, smell fresh flowers blossoming on the trees, and spend more quality time outside. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?

If you find yourself inside because all of those things are not yet achievable, then spend some time with the kiddos being crafty with fun Easter and Spring-themed activities!

Easter morning is almost as exciting as Christmas morning, so why not prepare for the Easter Bunny just like you prepare for Santa? Have the kiddos write letters to the Easter Bunny, and prepare snacks for him to give him energy to hide the eggs! These printable letters and poems will welcome him and keep your kids entertained.

Once Easter morning arrives, wake up early and place bunny footprints around the house with the bunny footprint template from Personal Creations. They come in three sizes, and all you have to do is print them out, cut on the dotted line, and sift flour on top of them to show what path the Easter Bunny took through your house or around your yard.

You kids’ faces are sure to light up when they wake up and see that the Easter Bunny paid a visit!

For all of the fun creations and activities, click here!

Personal-Creations-Easter

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest contributor Katie Santos from Personal Creations

Experience Farm Life in the City!

Being stuck indoors during the cold, winter months with children can take its toll on any parent. It can become even more challenging when living in the not so spacious quarters of a city apartment. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to linger away from the city life and head for a life surrounded by what nature has to offer? Imagine getting that experience and not having to travel a hundred miles outside the city for a farm spotting. 

The Art Farm in the City is a children’s education center that is home to New York City’s only indoor petting zoo! Art Farm is a unique space to meet and interact with animals from bearded dragons, to chinchillas and chickens. Their philosophy encourages a childhood relationship with the natural world, while engaging children in care and compassion of all living creatures.

Children can enjoy a various amount of activities including art, music, and cooking-themed classes, playtime, drop-ins, birthday parties, and camps.

Bell Family’s Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell, took her toddler son there after the holiday season and he loved every minute of it! Growing up on a small farm in Ohio, it’s important for Lindsay to share a piece of her upbringing in nature with her son. Her son loved the turtles the most! So much that he said it over and over for the rest of the day – a new word! He also spent time looking at the fish, birds, and he got inside the fence area with the rabbits. Mom and son practiced the names of the pets and the sounds they make. It was a playtime activity mixed with some learning. 

The place was packed as it was a frigid winter day, but all guests were in good spirits and there were plenty of activities for all the kids.  For more information on The Art Farm in the City, check out their website here.

Fishtank

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Holiday Memories in Your Own Photo Booth!

To continue Bell Family’s week of spreading holiday cheer, we rounded up a great activity for everyone in the family. A DIY photo booth!

The holidays are the perfect time to capture memories with your little ones, whether it’s gathering around the Christmas tree, or sitting down for a delicious meal. A DIY photo booth can be a fun way to not only snap some photos, but have some fun while doing it! Simply hang a backdrop or some festive decor, and set up a camera to snap the pics.

These photo booth props from Shutterfly are perfect for such an occasion. There are so many to choose from, from antler ears to hot cocoa. Pick your favorite, print them out, and get ready for hours of fun.

Children will love playing pretend with elf ears, top hats, and reindeer antlers! They can make believe they’re in a winter wonderland with festive hot cocoa or gingerbread houses. The pictures you’ll get of your little ones having a ball will be priceless!

Christmas-BeardsFlannel 1 goodies

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest partner Karli Jaenike at Siege Media.

Treats for Santa and Fun for Kids

This week, Bell Family is spreading holiday cheer to families near and far by featuring some great, festive craft activities for the kiddies. Not only are they fun, but they pose as a great way to keep the kids busy while they are out of school for the holidays.

On the night before Christmas, Santa and his team of 8 reindeer deliver gifts and goodies to kids around the world. Many families leave cookies and milk out for Santa, but don’t forget about the reindeer! Help Rudolf and his team journey to your home this Christmas Eve with Personal Creations’ yummy reindeer food and adorable poem printables.

With a few ingredients you likely have in your cupboards (mix oats, sprinkles, and a pinch of sugar), create a special treat the kids can leave out the night before Christmas. This is the ultimate way to say “thank you” to all of Santa’s hard-working helpers. Once you have created your reindeer food mixture, sprinkle onto your yard and await the morning for a special surprise: presents under the tree!

Printable-reindeer

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest partner Sherry Chen at Personal Creations.

 

Benefits of Playing Guitar Are Greater Than You Think

Guitar and music lessons can be much more than just another hobby. Playing an instrument provides a great break away from the busy every day life, and cannot only benefit those as an individual, but those with families as well. So, why not bring a care-free, mind-relaxing activity into the daily routine?

Guitar by Anthony Music School will help with just that, by teaching how music works, specifically guitar. We had the chance to team up with Anthony to learn more about his teachings through the Q&A below.

Q: Many sitters, nannies, moms, and dads can use a break from the day-to-day grind. Why is learning or playing the guitar such a great way to break away from the busy city life?

Playing any instrument is a great way to maintain a quality of life. The guitar is portable which is a plus, and it’s a great healthy way to escape the grind of the day-to-day life. The benefits are many. Stimulating your brain and spirit just to name a couple. It also can be quite grounding as well. It teaches you to be in the moment as it increases your focus, which can benefit you in other aspects of your life.

All this in turn can help in adding fun for nannies and adults playing with kids to keep them engaged in songs and music. Perhaps creating a game-like atmosphere, which can make your job easier, while practicing your guitar skills. The possibilities are endless to how this can positively impact a child.

Q: What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced from teaching and playing guitar yourself? 

Some of the benefits for me personally would include reaching goals and growing constantly. Always striving for more. The guitar can be an outlet as well.

Teaching guitar is also rewarding. To witness growth in someone else is always a thrill. Lessons can also parallel life lessons (at least in my classes), and teaching reminds me of lessons learned too.

Performance is another reward. When there’s an exchange of energy between the audience and myself it is truly transcendent – making all the efforts worth it. I too, have developed good habits in time management and multitasking as a result.

Q: How does an adult playing guitar in front of a child benefit them?

An adult playing in front of a child will help to inspire them if they witness the joy in the adult playing. They will want to take part in the fun. The benefits of that will lead the child to learn and grow in multitasking and time management. Of course, we all know how it can benefit their studies as well, due to focus and some of the previously mentioned benefits.

Just think, all of this just by the mere fact that they wanted to have fun! Which is what it’s all about.

On another note, which may be a bit off topic, I’ve witnessed very shy and introverted kids grow into very outgoing, brave, and strong individuals just because they found refuge in music. To think this could have started by watching an adult play is extraordinary.

Anthony-guitar2

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Family Style Halloween in NYC

It’s the time of the year where you can dress as your favorite superhero, movie icon, or role model, and fit right in with everyone else. What can be even more fun than planning your own costume? Dressing up the little ones as their favorite character, too!

This Halloween, jazz up the kids, and take them to a special Halloween photoshoot offered by Classic Kids Photography. You know your child looks adorable in their costume, but nobody else does! Get great, high-quality photos to share with family and friends, and also for yourself. Make an appointment for the October 31st photoshoot by e-mailing (upperwest@classickids.com), or calling (212.799.3730) Classic Kids. Pets are also welcome!

Looking for another Halloween activity for the family around NYC? Mommy Nearest provides a great list of fun things to check out!

If you want to bust a move: head to the Broadway Dance Center on October 25th for a Halloween themed dance class and party (for children and teens).

If jack-o-lanterns are your favorite: go to Governors Island  to see more than 1,000 jack-o-lanterns lit along a windy night time trail.

If you’re feeling playful: take a stroll in your costume to Asphalt Green (in Battery Park or Upper East Side) on October 27th for fun games and prizes. The first 500 kids get a free goodie bag!

If you want to show off your costume: the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is the place to be! Take part in the afternoon costume parade, while enjoying giant stilt walkers and musicians.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Halloween

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Bell Family Teams Up with FDNY

To continue with CPR awareness from last week’s blog on CPR parties, we wanted to share Bell Family’s CPR training partnership with the FDNY team.

On September 6th, Bell Family hosted the FDNY to conduct their quarterly CPR training seminar to our sitters and nannies. The FDNY has been working with Bell Family for over six years, and we always appreciate them taking time out to help us be the best caregivers we can be.

FDNY went over Adult CPR, and had the caregivers practice on dummies. They learned all steps to performing CPR, and practiced chest compressions while humming along to “stayin alive”.

Our Nanny Services Manager, Lauren, then taught Infant and Child CPR, also while reviewing what to do if a child is ever choking, and basic first aid care.

It was a great night for all, and always a great refresher to know what to do in all situations while caring for infants and children.

Bell Family thanks everyone for coming, and we look forward to the next training! For any further information on what was learned, please contact us directly!

CPR-training

Written by  our Nanny Services Manager, Lauren Kruk

A Party with a Purpose

Drownings are the leading cause of death for children under four. What can help reduce this stat? Learning CPR.

Learning CPR is an easy activity that moms everywhere should partake in. There are a number of ways and locations where you can sign-up to learn CPR. Here are a few:

1. Online: if there is no location near you, become CPR certified through an online class.

2. American Red Cross: choose a location, select a class category, and then search for classes near you. They even have a class called Babysitting and Childcare.

3. Local Fire Department: for those living in NYC, FDNY offers free compressions-only CPR classes as part of its ongoing Free CPR Initiative.

What if there was one more way to learn CPR, and it was by having a party. Would you sign-up to learn?

CPR parties have been growing in apartments and homes everywhere. Imagine inviting other moms and friends to your home, along with a certified CPR trainer, and learning CPR right in your living room. That’s the exact idea of CPR parties – learning the life-saving skills of CPR and water safety education in a fast, fun and free environment.

To learn more about CPRParty™, visit their website and checkout their feature from Good Morning America!

CPR Party

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell