Tag Archives: Kids

Fall Happenings Around NYC

Festivals, markets, and all of the pumpkin-themed fun possible. We searched around for some fall events in and around NYC that would be great for a family-fun day! Browse through our list, plan your adventure and tag us in your photos on Facebook, so we can get in on the fun too!

Harvest Homecoming
When: October 20, 2019 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Where: Brooklyn Botanical Garden
About: Discover an old-school fall foliage festival in the heart of Brooklyn—complete with hay rides, carnival games, music, and more! Local cider makers and kombucha brewers offer tastings, a farmers’ market features heritage apples from local orchards, and kids can debut their Halloween costumes in a high-energy drum parade.

Scary Bazaar
When: October 27, 2019 (10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
Where: Grand Bazaar NYC
About: Grand Bazaar NYC transforms for Halloween into a “Scary Bazaar”. Expect to be greeted by creepy crawly and ghostly decorations, and explore the 140+ spooky vendors – many in costume – indoors and outdoors. There will be a fantastic selection of scary sweet treats from artisanal food vendors. Get your scare on and come out for a fun day for the whole family and maybe uncover unearthly finds!

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
When: October 3-31, 2019 and every weekend in November
Where: Croton-On-Hudson, NY
About: Witness an army of more than 7,000 glowing pumpkins in the tristate area’s most spirited Halloween happening, It’s also one of the best and easiest day trips from NYC!

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla
When: October 30, 2019 (4 p.m.-7 p.m.)
Where: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues)
About: Celebrate the Halloween season in Central Park. Listen to ghost stories, check out a costume parade and get creative by carving a pumpkin. After the festivities, the Central Park Conservancy will partake in a traditional Pumpkin Flotilla, where 50 gourds (possibly your creation) will take a sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight.

Written by Taylor Bell, Social Media & Marketing

Revamp of the Packed Lunch

Packing lunches can become mundane. As I’m the one packing it, I want to make it more fun for both my sons and me!

There is a wide variety of lunch box options today. We use two different types: a cooler fold up one and a Tupperware one with separate sections to save on plastic bags and make it easy to eat.

There are so many allergies to consider when packing – our schools provide a list of what is not permitted – so I keep that top of mind when grocery shopping and packing.

I try to mix it up daily. I make sure it is balanced; a meat, veggie or fruit, a healthy carbohydrate and then a special treat. I’ll throw in a love note that my son can’t read yet too.

Easy protein options: Chicken apple sausage (I make it the night before), beef jerky packs (I found at Costco) organic pepperoni, and humus with crackers is a hit, too.

Fruits: I’ll cut up anything and put it in Tupperware, or buy the Dole mandarin oranges or dried fruits (mango, raisins, etc.). If I’m in a hurry I’ll pack a fruit or veggie pouch.

Veggies: I’ll make broccoli, carrots or peas the night before and pack in Tupperware, or cut up cucumbers.

Dairy: Cheese or yogurt are my go-to’s. Don’t forget the spoon!

Special treat: We’ll make cookies the night before, or get a variety of fruit snacks. My boys also like Lara bars.

My 18mo-old enjoying the hummus life.

Written by Lindsay Bell, Founder & Owner

Simple Summer Fun!

Now that burnout is an official medical diagnosis, I think it’s a good time to bring some simplicity back into our lives this summer.

There is always the temptation of the zillion great summer camp options available. I’ll admit I signed up for a week long one, one for each of my kids with the school they will be attending in the fall. The intention was to practice getting used to that school so drop off in the fall would be a breeze for both kid and me… mostly me.

This simple summer phenomena is not genius. It was how I was raised and probably how most of you and your parents were raised. With how complicated life seems to be today, here is what we will be doing to bring simplicity back. Beware, your kids may be bored at times, but I think that’s good! That’s when creativity is born!

  1. Set up a safety town outside in the driveway. Grandma sent kid size street signs that are easy to set up and take down.
  2. Host a lemonade stand and have your child make flyers to drop off at the neighbor’s house (this is the entrepreneur in me).
  3. Swim, swim, swim! At home or a local pool (invite friends over, play pool games, etc.).
  4. Play in the back yard. Sit toys or objects out and let the kids use their imagination to build and play.
  5. Set up different areas in the house with different activities (e.g., front yard is sidewalk chalk, media room is trains, office is reading).
  6. Go on a walk.
  7. Go to a splash pad.
  8. Pick vegetables at your garden or a local garden.
  9. Water plants and teach your child about taking care of the environment.
  10. Help clean up and make it a game.
  11. Help mom cook! Teach your child about measuring cups, measuring spoons and practice the names of the ingredients.
  12. Visit Grandma and Grandpa for bonding time.
  13. Take a nap or have downtime/rest.

Written by our Founder & Owner, Lindsay Bell

Smooth Sailing Into Summertime

The transition to summertime can feel a little precarious for children and grown-ups alike. Schedules and routines may change. Caregivers and environments may be different. Familiarity may be less available. What to do?
The first step is get yourself comfortable with what’s to come. Solidify a plan, ask questions of new caregivers, reflect upon successful transitions from the past. Then support your child. I often recommend that parents, depending on their child’s age and need, use one (or a few) of the following:

  • Write a social story. This can be 4-6 pages (or so) and describes, in child-friendly language, what is ending and what is beginning. Talk about the emotions a child may be experiencing and mention the “tools” that child has for managing those emotions. Use photographs if you can to show the child in each step. For younger children, I write the story. For older children, I try to engage them in the story telling, or include fill-in-the-blank sections for them to add. There are many social stories available online as well.
  • Use a calendar. Some children love to have a calendar at their eye level that they can check from time to time. One week may show a small picture (photo or drawing) that depicts them and friends from school. The next might show the logo from the camp they are attending. You could also include photos of grandma and grandpa, or friends you may be visiting. Try to strike a balance between giving a general sense of where they are going to be and when, with giving too many details that can inhibit flexibility.
  • Write out the sequence. For many children, simply writing down what is going to happen on a piece of paper can be incredibly supportive. Recently, I used this strategy with a client who seemed to be showing some increased anxiety. Though no one was quite sure what it was about. It turned out, he had been feeling sad about leaving his current teachers but was also concerned that he would be on a bus to camp without any grown-ups. Writing down the sequence of events opened a discussion during which I explained what a counselor was and the fact that they would be on the bus.

I find that supporting transitions is helpful for all children (and most grownups too). Even when we don’t see external signs of anxiety related to transitions, children may be wondering what’s to come. Let me know how it goes!
As always, a friendly reminder that you don’t have to do it alone! Whether you have concerns about developmental delays or you’re going through some bumps you’d like to smooth out. If I can help you accomplish the goals you have for yourself and your family, please reach out. You deserve to feel competent, joyful, and EMPOWERED, when you are with your children. They should feel self-confident and have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. I can help you do that!
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This blog has been repurposed from the Dana’s Kids website. To learn more about the writer, Dana Rosenbloom M.S. Ed., click here.

The Winter Olympic Games for Kids

Sitting and watching the Olympic games is great, but wouldn’t it be even greater to be involved in the winter game action yourself?

After tuning into the various games on television, and teaching your children about the sport(s), turn your living room into a mini PyeongChang, and create some winter Olympic games of your own!

Of course, these games aren’t nearly as rigorous as freestyle skiing or speed skating, but they are guaranteed to be just as fun! Maybe more along the lines of curling, if you will.

1. Snowball toss: For this game, grab some plastic cups, markers, and cotton balls, and then try your luck at getting the cotton balls into the cups.

2. Snowman slam: You’ll need white foam cups, construction paper or markers, and some white socks for this one.  Then see if you can toss the balled up socks and knock down all the snowmen. This could be fun for bowling, too!

3. Pin the carrot: Think of this as the winterized version of pin the tail on the donkey. A large roll of white paper will work best, along with some colored construction paper, and a blind fold.

4. FREEZE: Number four on the linked list brings a musical game where all you’ll need is something to play music and an open space for the kiddies to dance. When the the music stops, the kids have to freeze!

5. Snowman draw game: Grab some paper plates and markers, and you’ll be all set. The child will hold the paper plate on their head with one hand and try to draw a snowman holding a marker with the other.

If you try out the games, we want to see it! Post your photos to Facebook and tag @BellFamilyCompany in your post!

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

What Are Your Kids up to While You're Away?

Have you ever wanted to know what your kids are up to while you are away? Daily Nanny helps to give a comprehensive view of just that in their app!
We recently had the opportunity to team up with the creators of the Daily Nanny app, to learn more about how it works, and why parents everywhere should add this to their download list. Read below for our Q&A!
Q: How can a user download the app? Is there a fee associated with it?
Daily Nanny is a one time charge of $4.99 to get access to all app features. Visit the iOS app store or Google Play to download.
Q: What does a user do once the app is downloaded/opened?
For parents, when you first open the app you’ll sign up, enter some basic information, enter your kids information, and then invite your nanny. Then you are brought right into the app and you can start using it right away! Not only can nannies use Daily Nanny to keep parents informed, but parents can also use it to keep spouses informed, or just use it as a way to store meaningful information about your kids early years. Parents can keep track of naps, meals, medicine etc, and store photos as well.
For nannies, you sign up, and if you were invited by a parent, you’ll see the kids you care for right away. If not, you can enter the kids you care for and invite their parents to use the app. Nannies can keep track of hours and overtime as well, so parents and nannies are always on the same page.
Q: How do I navigate the app? What information and tools are available to me within the app?
The app is very simple to use. There are four tabs. For parents, the first tab gives you a timeline of everything that has happened today, including meals, naps, photos and more. The second tab is a photo gallery of all the photos you or your nanny has uploaded of your kids. You can comment on photos, save them to your device, and share them with friends. The third tab is a group messaging thread between you, your nanny, and anyone else added to receive notifications about your kids. And the fourth tab lists your kids, detailed information about them, and allows you to go back in time and see what was entered in the past!
For nannies, everything is the same except for the first tab. You can clock in for the day and track your hours, see how much money is owed for the week, as well as manage all your shifts in the past. You can mark shifts as paid and enter/edit shifts in the past.
For a  video walkthrough of the app and additional information, check out the Daily Nanny website!
Daily Nanny copy
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

KidPass – One Pass to Amazing Activities

We recently teamed up with KidPass to learn more about the thousands of activities they offer to kids throughout the New York area. Read our Q&A below to see how one pass can unlock a new world of fun for your little one(s). A special discount offer for Bell Family may even be in store, too!
Q: What are some examples of the variety of activities offered by KidPass? Are the activities for children of all ages? 
A: Have you ever found yourself with a restless child and lots of time to fill? KidPass to the rescue!  KidPass can get your child into 5,000 places to play in New York City like Kidville, Gymboree, NY Kids Club, 92Y, lots of swimming pools, all kinds of classes, and tons of open play spaces throughout NYC. If you can dream it, KidPass can take your kids there, and we have activities for newborns, toddlers, and kids up to age 17.
Q: What are the different plans you offer those looking to join, and how do the plans work?
A: Most of our parents choose the KidPass Basic Plan. For $49 a month, you get 10 credits to use on activities of your choice. Search by date and neighborhood, find an activity you like, and book it on our site. Your spot will be waiting for you when you arrive. If you ever want more credits, we’ve got a Family plan and a Power plan too.
Q: Many families have busy schedules and require flexibility. How flexible are the memberships and class schedules? Is there a fee for cancellations?
A: Oh we know how it is! We are all parents at KidPass and we know that plans can change quickly. If you make a reservation with KidPass and need to cancel it, your safest bet is to cancel it 24 hours in advance. And if you ever want to cancel your KidPass membership, there are no penalties for pausing or cancelling your account.
Q: How does a family or childcare provider get started?
A: We’re inviting all our friends from Bell Family to try KidPass for free for one month! Use this link and the discount will be applied at checkout. Come play with us soon!
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Upcoming Event: The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival

Will you be strolling the streets of NYC this weekend looking for something to do? Head on over to Westfield World Trade Center on August 26th-27th, for a weekend full of flavor and fun with The Creative Kitchen!
The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices to help create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents. The weekend-long event offers a host of family-friendly activities including food demonstrations, live entertainment, food sampling, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, giveaways, and more! The event is free and open to the public for General Admission.
And for those enthusiastic eaters and little epicures alike, you can attend hands-on cooking classes at the James Beard Foundation Future Pavilion, where renowned chefs pass on their recipes, skills, and love for all things culinary to a new generation of learners!
Visit the website, on the Kids Food Festival Facebook page, and on Twitter at @KidsFoodFestFun to stay up-to-date on all things about the event.
Kids Food Festival 2017 Digitial Poster
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Eating Bogies, Not the Worst Thing

How many times have you pushed your child’s hand away from his or her nose when they go to stick their finger up it? It’s become a daily habit of moms everywhere, but what if we told you that you can waste the energy pushing their hand away on something else?
You heard it here folks, scientists conclude that eating bogies is good for teeth and overall health!
What everyone thought to be a gross and bad habit for their child, is now a habit that Harvard scientists say is  ‘a rich reservoir of good bacteria.’ Furthermore, the study suggests that snot could defend against respiratory infections, stomach ulcers, and even HIV.
To read more about the study and quotes from the scientists, click here. And in the meantime, stay tuned for the latest trending hashtag, #eatingbogies.
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

A Country Birthday in a City Apartment

My son’s first birthday party got the label of “Brooks’ Barnyard Bonanza!”
Based on his expressions it looked like he had a great time, but he’s only one, so it’s a little hard to tell. What I know for sure is that I had fun planning it, and the day off wasn’t too bad either.
My goals were to enjoy the moment and not get stressed, to not spend a lot of money, and to keep it focused on the type of birthdays I had growing up back home in Ohio.
My first task was to think of a theme. Farm and country got my vote.
Second, compile an invite list and create a design for the invitation. I outsourced adding all the e-mails to the evite I designed. Both of these were free!
Third, what to eat? I wanted to keep with the tradition of the birthday parties I remember, so I made my mom’s sloppy joes. Only one person at the party knew what a sloppy joe was (maybe these are a Midwest thing), but once people tried them they ended up being a crowd favorite. I also got an easy recipe for potato salad, which I would have bought, but no one sold it nearby. The potato salad took under 45 minutes and it turned out awesome!
Next, the cake. My husband wanted to help, so I gave this to him, but somehow I ended up executing on the matter. He ordered a cake from a grocery store on Long Island for $35, and let me tell you people, it was the most delicious cake I ever had. I ended up buying decorative icing to draw a cow and a barn on it, because my husband didn’t want to ask. It all worked out.
Forth, what to drink? My husband helped with this, too. I made the list and he bought beer, champagne, and orange juice.
Fifth (my favorite), the decorations. I am the product of two teachers and the oldest of five girls, so I grew up crafty. I made a homemade cow out of our dinner table by ordering a cow table cloth from Amazon, drawing a cow head, cutting out hooves for the table legs, and making a tail out of belts. Then, I cut out a barn along with some sun and clouds to make a farm on our family room wall. I bought a dozen cowboy hats to be placed on the back of chairs and around the apartment. The final thing was a ‘Yee Haw’ sign on the wall.
The attire for the party of course involved wearing flannels and jeans. My son also had a farmer bib to eat his cake.
I think the entire party cost me $300.00, which in NYC is about the cost for a custom cake.
If you need help with your next party let me know!
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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell