Fireworks, a Parade & More: 4th of July Family Activities

I love the 4th of July, most of all I love fireworks. As a child, growing up in Detroit we always had the best shows and to date they are still awesome! As a New Yorker for the last 14 years, I look forward to the Macy’s Fireworks and all the festivities in NYC. Here are some of the holiday happenings via Red Tricycle. Enjoy!

Red Tricycle

Independence Day in NYC focuses on one major event, the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. And there’s good news for Brooklyn this year – the show is moving back to the East River with entertainment at the Brooklyn Bridge. But there are other ways to celebrate July 4th in the city. Keep reading to get details on the only parade in the 5 boroughs, how to survive the fireworks with kids in tow and other family-friendly Independence Day events.

The Macy’s Fireworks

While seeing the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks live is at the top of many kids’ bucket lists, it’s not exactly an easy event for families to navigate. Your kids will be staying up way past their bedtimes and unless you get invited to view the show at someone’s apartment with a sweet city view, they’ll have to spend a long time sitting or standing around waiting.

Simply put, seeing the fireworks in person…

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Free or Baragin Summer Movies For Kids | Cute Beltz

My summer is coming together and I am happy to add free summer children’s movies to my agenda.  If you are lucky enough to have one of these movie theaters in your area, add them to the list of activities you have planned for the kids.  It will be a great way to spend the day at a bargain.

Bow Tie Cinemas – Free kids summer movies on Tuesday & Wednesday

Regal Summer Movie Express – $1.00 Movie every Tuesday & Wednesday

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse – $1.00 per person, Kids & adults.  Check the link for date and times.  sponsored by Bad Kitty Book Club

Carmike Cinemas Summer Kids Series – Tuesday, all seats are $4.00, includes small popcorn and small drink

Intrepid Summer Movie Series – This one is for my New Yorkers or anyone visiting this summer.  Doors open at 7:30pm and the film begins at sunset, weather permitting. Space is limited. Seating is on a first come, first served basis, and there is no admission after 8:30pm.

These are just a few awesome summer movie deals.  Checkout your local area for other participating theaters.

Here’s to summer deals and steals! – Cute Beltz

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Fun and Healthy Ways to Keep Your Toddler Busy This Summer | Cute Beltz

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Whether they’re tearing through the house giggling madly or scaling a Mount Everest of sofa cushions, toddlers are an active bunch. One of a kid’s main jobs in the transition between infancy and childhood is to learn the foundations of movement. When your toddler is throwing building blocks as hard as he can across the room, he’s not just testing your limits. He’s also practicing his motor skills. Toddlers learn by playing. And when you give them a wide variety of games and different settings in which to play, you help them to learn more.

Above and beyond the minimum of 60 minutes and up to several hours of unstructured free play toddlers require daily, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that toddlers get at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity each day. Here are some healthy ways to harness your toddler’s boundless energy.

Brain Games

From the moment they wake up until the time they drop off to sleep, toddlers are developing intellectually at an amazing rate. Here are some fun things you can do to boost your toddler’s brain power:

  • Dress Up: Adorn your daughter with a top hat and baton so she can “lead the band” while you both march around the living room. Comb through thrift stores for gently-used Halloween costumes, fancy hats, boas and ties for a low-cost way to build a stockpile of dress-up supplies. Keep in mind that a toddler’s attention span is very limited. He or she may like the silly hat more than the pretend game, but dress-up is a great way to stimulate creativity.
  • It’s A Bug’s Life: Head outside and hunt for bugs. She’ll learn the names and characteristics of all kinds of creatures, from ants to worms, and squatting and standing will help her practice balance.
  • Head and Stomach, Knees and Toes: Ask your son to point to his head, pat his ears, rub his tummy and touch his toes. This time-honored game not only teaches your toddler to recognize and identify parts of his body, it also helps him learn new action verbs like rub, touch, pat and point that he can use in many other games.
  • Story Time: Pick a time that you can read every day such as during snack, bath time, before a nap or at bedtime. Stories are very calming to a child as well as stimulating. The pictures visually stimulate the brain while your voice teaches vocabulary. Books with textures are will develop tactile awareness as well! Have fun and make animal sounds or give characters “voices”. Toddlers love to make sounds and the more sounds they make; the more they talk and will want to talk about what they see in the books.
  • Look and Listen: This you can do anywhere; sitting on your front porch, pushing the toddler in the stroller, waiting at the airport. Point out sounds – identify what it is and show the child where the sound is coming from. This activity teaches a child to follow where you are directing his attention. Encourage him to make up the sounds himself. This will also develop his listening skills.

Have a Ball

Since the wheel was invented, humans have been steadily improving upon things that roll. Today, toddlers and their parents can enjoy playing with balls in all sizes and shapes — from simple soccer balls to fancy spheres that light up and make noise when they move. Ball games can help teach everything from impulse control to motor skills. Here are a couple ball activities you can try:

  • Kick Ball: Set up simple targets (a sofa cushion, a stick or a pile of leaves) and take turns with your toddler kicking a ball toward the goal. The kicking will develop her motor skills and balance; taking turns will help her develop impulse control. This game works inside as well as outside.
  • Track Ball: Use a roll of wide masking tape to mark off a simple “track.” Encourage your toddler to try to kick or roll a ball along the track. Extend this game by setting up two or three stopping points along the way. When the ball reaches a station, perform a simple exercise like jumping, turning around or touching toes.

Swim like the Fishes

Most toddlers love the water, whether it’s bath time, running through a sprinkler or playing in the pool. While swim aficionados maintain that the earlier a child learns to swim, the safer that child will be in the water, parents often worry that pools bring a risk of accidental drowning, sunburn and chemical exposure. While pools do pose risks, with proper safety precautions, swimming can be a healthy and enjoyable activity for the whole family, including your toddler.

Use adequate sunblock or visit an indoor pool to reduce the risk of sunburn. The chlorine used in pools actually kills off disease-causing bacteria, and when applied within proper guidelines by safe, qualified pool operators, it doesn’t put people at risk.

A great way to introduce your toddler to swimming is by enrolling him or her in a qualified swim program. A good program will offer a clean, safe environment, warm water and experienced, trained teachers. Since parents are usually required to join their child in the water for lessons, both of you will benefit from the training. Soon your toddler may be a stronger swimmer than you are!

Move It!

The healthiest activity for toddlers requires no props, no instruction and no special venue. It simply requires that you and your toddler get moving. Young children aren’t meant to be sedentary. They need to practice balance and a variety of basic movements to develop the motor skills that form the building blocks for the more complex movements they’ll perform in later life.

Something as simple as ditching the stroller and having your toddler accompany you on a walk around the block will provide him or her with tons of opportunities to get moving in novel ways. He’ll have to navigate curbs, watch out for trip hazards and adjust his balance to accommodate variable surfaces. Turn your daily walk into a learning game by identifying and describing familiar sites along the route. Ask him: Is the neighbor’s dog with black spots snoring? Is the stop light red, green or yellow? Is the door to the bank open or closed?

To practice moving indoors, have your toddler crawl under, climb through, jump over and twist around a simple obstacle course you’ve made out of couch cushions, pillows and blankets. Even asking her to help you pick up toys will provide her with many different opportunities to squat, stand, walk and reach. It’ll also teach her to be helpful, which is a valuable lesson. Whether you’re tickling, wiggling, rolling, jumping  or chasing, the sky’s the limit on ways you and your toddler can get moving together.

How will you keep your toddler busy this summer? – Cute Beltz

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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?

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Winter Fun Crafting Blogs For Kids | Cute Beltz

Courtesy of babble.com

During the winter months, it’s imperative to come up with fun activities for kids, especially if you live in a cold climate, you never know if you will get stuck in the house, so it’s always great to have a few fun resources on hand for the kids.

Here are a few of my go to craft blogs for kids:

One Pretty Thing – Offers tutorials on everything from crafty how-to’s to baking instructions.  They are the, “DIY craft tutorials for a handmade life.”

Built by Kids – A fabulous DIY website.  They “empower families through building and bonding and encourage the next generation of makers to tackle the do-it-yourself projects of their dreams.”

Tip Junkie – You can find everything here, it’s like DIY heaven.  Looking for printables, food ideas, how-to’s, this is a smorgasbord of ideas.

Mess For Less – The founder, Vicky, a former teacher, uses her educational background to create activities that foster learning and fun for kids.  Anything to do with learning, is my kind of website!

Enjoy the winter and creating fun projects with your kids! – Cute Beltz

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