Best Museums for Families | Cute Beltz

I am a lover of museums and I am always eager to share my love of museums with my children.  When visiting various cities for vacation or business I always do a little research to find out if there is a “must visit” museum in the area.  As I plan my summer, I have started researching and found that USA Today recently released a list of 20 Best Museums for Families Across the USA that I have bookmarked for reference.

Being a NY’er, I have had the pleasure of visiting the American Museum of Natural History of NY several times and has become one of my favorite museums.  This is a large museum, so you should get there early so you can take your time and enjoy.  The museum is fascinating and filled with many historical artifacts.

American Natural History Museum – Dinosaur Display

I have also had the opportunity to visit the Henry Ford Museum in my hometown, Detroit, MI on several occasions.  Many times as a child and now as an adult with my children.  It is so cool to see the evolution of the car, the historical Presidential motorcades, trains and so much more.  This is a fascinating museum and a definite “must see!”

Henry Ford Museum – McDonalds Display

 

I am looking forward to visiting many of the museums on the USA Today list.  If you had to name your all time favorite museum, which would it be?

 

Cute Beltz - Belts for Kids
Toddler Belts – Baby Belts – Kids Belts

5 Unique Birthday Party Ideas | Cute Beltz

kids-birthday-party-ideas-2

Your child’s birthday is coming up, and you’re fresh out of savvy ideas. Sure, you could just invite over a bunch of children to run around in the backyard like every other parent does, but you want something cool and unique to make your little one feel special.

It’s your lucky day! We’re sharing some extremely fun, chic children’s birthday party ideas that will make your kid’s b-day bash legendary among his or her friends.

Dinosaur Hunter

Does your child freak out over fossils? Make your budding paleontologist’s birthday wishes come true by organizing a dinosaur hunt for him and his friends! Send kids on a mini excavation in the backyard. Simply fill plastic Easter eggs with small dino toys or wrapped candy, and hide them in a large sandbox. Give your boy and his party guests plastic beach shovels, buckets and whatever else you think they’ll need for their archaeological excursion, and just let them dig.

You might not assume that kids would enjoy sifting through a sandbox, but when dinosaurs are involved, they’ll tear into the task with T-rex-sized enthusiasm. Stick with a dino-themed cake and decorations to keep the excitement going, and let guests take home the unearthed toys and candy as party favors. Your kid will likely remember this afternoon as the best birthday bash of the era.

Pet Party

If your kid is wild about animals, let her woof it up with a pet party! Send out animal-themed invites to her friends and their pets, then wait for the fun and fur to fly. If your little animal lover is inviting her entire class, you can set stricter regulations on the beasts of honor, such as dogs only, and plan to have the party in a large, animal-friendly environment like a dog park or, if you’ve got the space, your own backyard.

Is your child is inviting a smaller, more manageable group? In that case, you’ve got some wiggle room to invite anything that mews, barks or blows bubbles. Allow creatures of all types to attend, from fish and ferrets to felines. Section off an area of your home, but beware of guests with long-standing instinctual feuds. You’d be surprised how much chaos a few fleeing cats and one determined dog can cause, so make sure all furry party attendees undergo a temperament test before they’re admitted. Mandating that everyone’s up to date with vaccinations isn’t a bad idea, either, and be sure all parents understand the party’s theme so children with pet allergies will know to decline the invite.

Cupcake Party

If there are two things girls love, they’re sweets and sleepovers. Why not combine the two into a decadent, all-night birthday bash your daughter will remember for years to come? Yes, you’re going to have a huge mess to clean up afterward, but throwing her a cupcake party will be easy.

Instead of spending money on props and a party space, blow it all on candy and confections! Purchase lots of different flavorings, sugars, toppings, icings and, of course, eggs, butter and flour. If you really want to go all out, you can pick up personalized aprons for party favors. Your daughter and her baking crew will remember this event long after their sugar highs are over.

Spa Party Theme

Ask the girls to bring their bathrobes and slippers to set the scene for this party.   Set out different facial masks and peel masks and don’t forget the cucumber slices!  Set up different stations for manicures, pedicures, facials and hairstyling.  Let the girls rotate to each station every 10-15 minutes.  Have a different color nail polish for each guest and let them try them all. Give them colorful emery boards and toe separators along with their nail polish for a birthday party favor.

Costume Party

Have the kids come in costume, no matter what time of the year it is.  It can be a sports uniform, an old Halloween costume, a dance recital costume, or their parents’ old vintage clothes. When they arrive have each one state exactly who they are impersonating and for the remainder of the party have them talk, act, and do what their character would do at all time. The other kids must call them by their characters name from that point on.

Cute Beltz - Belts for Kids
Girls Belts & Boys Belts
Toddler & Kids Belts

Traveling With Kids Simplified

Bahamas-Family-Vacation1

Whether you’re taking your first big trip with a newborn or you’re a seasoned traveler with a disaffected teen, these tips and tools can help make family vacations more fun and way less stressful for everyone. Check out how you can make traveling with kids a breeze!

Packing

Depending on the age of the kids, have each child bring a small backpack filled with their toys and goodies for the flight.  When possible, load their bags with some of the other things that you need, such as bottles, diapers and wipes. Even very young kids can carry a small backpack filled with their own diapers. This saves you space in your bag and makes the child feel like a “big” boy or girl.

To avoid lugging a heavy stroller, buy a lightweight or “umbrella” stroller for your trip. They are generally inexpensive (under $50) and easy to roll down the ramp and gate check.  If you bring a cumbersome stroller, the airline might have you check it as luggage. You also run the risk of an expensive stroller getting damaged in transit. Whichever you bring, wait to check it at the gate, right before boarding. It will be waiting for you when you land and you’ll be able to wheel junior to the baggage claim.

With a baby under age 2, bring an FAA approved car seat onto the plane with you. If there is an extra seat you will be given the extra seat for the baby. If not, then they will take it from you and put it underneath. This is a great option if you need a car seat where you are going. If not, it is probably not worth it.

Booking and Checking In

When selecting a flight, try to book nonstop flights during off-peak hours, either early or late, when kids are likely to sleep through more of the trip.

Check in for your flight online as early as possible (24 hours before).  If you are traveling with an infant consider asking for a seat in the back of the plane. If there are any empty seats left on the flight, chances are they will be there, and you might have extra room to stretch out. In addition, you are closer to the bathrooms, will have extra standing space and will have flight attendants close at hand, if you need them. Bulkhead seats have a little extra leg room, and remember that you’ll need to avoid exit-row seats with kids.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

How early you need to arrive depends upon a variety of factors, including your airline, airport, plans for parking, flight time and whether or not you are checking baggage. If you’re traveling during school vacations, chances are good the airport will be crowded with other families doing the same. We recommend arriving at least ninety minutes ahead of your scheduled departure. Keep in mind that some destinations (such as international flights and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have earlier check-in times than others and if you miss the plane, it can be very difficult for you to find enough seats or seats together on a later flight.  Because of the new security regulations, make sure you and the children are in shoes that are easy to get on and off. Before taking off the children’s shoes, double check with security if it is necessary, since depending on the type of shoe, often it is not

Keep Kids Entertained

Try to pack a few surprises for the kids in your carry-on. Go to a discount store, and pick up a couple of small inexpensive items like stickers, small toys or action figures for younger kids and music, books or handheld games for older kids.   Pack toys that do not have pieces and do not require numerous things to work. Better even than a coloring book and crayons is a doodle pad with the coloring stick attached that can erase and start over.

During takeoff and landing, make sure to have kids drink or chew gum. Make sure the baby is either nursing or drinking a bottle. Explain to them what is happening, and if they are too small to see out the window, play a game where they have to tell you when you are finally in the air or when you have finally touched ground.

Have fun! –Cute Beltz

Cute Beltz - Belts for Kids
Toddler Belts & Kids Belts

5 Easy and Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas

It’s the thought behind the gift that counts, but when that gift arrives in a beautifully hand wrapped package it’s a bit more special. Receiving a fabulously wrapped gift doesn’t just build up anticipation for the gift inside, it adds to the gift as a whole.  You can do something simple, like wrapping your gift in kraft paper and decorating it with washi tape, or get your hands dirty and make some yarn pom-poms. However you decide to decorate your gift, you can always find something lying around the house to use.  If you’re looking for some easy and creative gift wrapping ideas for your next birthday party or holiday, take a look at our roundup of DIY gift wrap ideas.

Have Spare Tissue?

original_essimar-Esther-Ramirez-tissue-paper-strips-wrapped-gift_s4x3_lg

Do you ever find yourself with packs of tissue paper but not gift bags? Here’s a way to use all of that spare tissue paper in a fun, creative, DIY way.  Try layering different colors of tissue paper for a simple yet eye-catching look.

Boxed Treasures

original_autumn-clemons-design-dump-box-gift-wrapping-close-up_s4x3_lg

For an assortment of smaller gifts, keep them all together in a wooden box like this one.  These cases are usually only a few dollars from a craft store. Fill it up with filler grass and organize the individual gifts for a completely aesthetic presentation.

Make It a Piece of Art

original_essimar-esther-ramirez-masking-tape-gift-decor_s4x3_lg

If you’re ithe creative type, share something special by designing original art and showcasing it on top of the wrapped gift like this one. It’ll be a present to remember, and hopefully the person receiving the gift will want to keep it as a way to remember that special day.

Rolls of Fun

original_denise-sharp-studio-cloth-gift-wrapping_s4x3_lg

For odd-shaped or tubular presents, try the Tootsie Roll twist. Depending on the fabric you choose, you can make this gift fit any occasion and stand out, too. Then, with two short strings, you can tie simple bows around the ends and voila!

Thinking Outside the Box (or Bag)

entertain-basket_300

You can find many interesting alternatives to the traditional wrapped gift or gift tote at any  container Store – just use your creativity! Look for a container that goes with the theme of your gift, add a ribbon and bow, and presto! You’ve created a one of a kind gift presentation, and a gift within a gift!

Do you have a gift wrapping idea? Share it with us! – Cute Beltz

Cute Beltz - Belts for Kids
Toddler Belts & Kids Belts

Fun Spring Activities Kid Approved

As much as it still does not feel like spring, it’s finally here! After spending most of the winter inside, children can’t wait to get outdoors and play outside.  So, why not come up with a few spring activities the whole family can enjoy.   Here are a few ideas for getting everyone to enjoy the warm weather.

Go On Nature Walks

If your child still rides in a stroller, go for a lot of nice long walks. Or, invest in a jogging stroller, so you can jog while pushing. If your child is able to ride a bike or scooter, have them ride while you jog alongside. Look for various flowers, insects, and animals that can be found during the spring season. Take a few photos or make a list of what you see. When you get home, talk about what you have seen. See if your child has any questions and even do a little research on what they want to know. This will teach children about nature and the world around them!pg-spring-activity-kids-bikes

Garden

There are many people who love to work in the garden when the spring season arrives. Kids love using their hands to create things. So why not let your children work in the garden with you?  It can be as simple as one plant in a single pot or a full designated garden onsite. Either way, kids will enjoy seeing the “fruits” of their labor. Make healthy foods and nutrition fun for kids to learn about.

Have a Picnic

Having an outdoor picnic is a great way to spend time as a family and enjoy the spring weather.  Pack a few sandwiches, juices, and treats into a picnic basket or lunch bag. Grab one or two blankets and head to the yard or local park.  As you and your little ones eat, you can just enjoy the company of one another. Talk about your day, tell jokes, take pictures, color, or read a book together.picnic

Build a Birdfeeder

Your feathered friends are on their way back from their winter trip south. Make a simple bird feeder with your kids and enjoy watching the birds come to it throughout the spring and summer. Using a plastic cup, poke a small hole on two opposite sides and run heavy twine through them (for hanging). Cover the outside of the cup with Elmer’s Glue and then let your child gently sprinkle birdseed over it. Once that’s dry, fill the cup with birdseed and hang it on a branch near a window. Encourage your kids to draw pictures of the birds that visit.

What are your favorite spring activities?

Cute Beltz - Belts for Kids
Toddler Belts & Kids Belts