POSTED: FRIDAY, FEB 28TH 2014

Make Museums Even More Fun With These Museum Games

Sometimes, kids don’t realize how fun museums can be. If they don’t understand the historical importance of Ancient Greek pottery, or haven’t been around long enough to know what makes a Van Gogh so special, they might want to spend their entire visit looking at dinosaur bones. But, even though kids can learn a lot from colossal skeletons, we know there are lots of other things to see at museums.

That’s why, when taking  kids to a museum, it’s important to keep them engaged. And just like Mary Poppins taught us with cleaning, the easiest way to accomplish that is to make it a game.

museum

Museum games can help you add some structure to museum visits, to make sure kids get as much as possible out of the experience. So here’s a list of some ideas to help make museums more fun for the whole family. If you have some tricks of your own, share them with us on Twitter!

Scavenger Hunt: This one takes a little planning ahead on your part, but it’s worth it. Simply make a scavenger hunt based on items throughout whatever museum you’re visiting, and incorporate  educational trivia into the clues.

20 Questions: Take turns choosing an item in a room, or within one painting, and play 20 questions. (Is it a painting? Is it a watercolor? Are there flowers?) This one can be easily adapted for different ages.

Find a Rainbow: This idea comes from No Time for Flashcards, and is a great game for younger children. ”In each gallery see if you and your kids can find every color of the rainbow. To make it more challenging you can add a rule that you can only find one color per painting. So that painting with the rainbow … yeah not going to cut it!”

Postcards: Many museum gift shops sell postcards of their most memorable pieces. Buy a few before you enter the exhibits, and let kids try to find the corresponding works as you mosey through each room. It’s like a museum equivalent of hide-and-go-seek.

Storytime: For the little ones who are creatively-inclined, this game is easy. Pick a painting, and have them tell you a story about it. Why is “The Scream” screaming? What did Degas’ ballerinas do on their way to the studio? This not only lets kids exercise their imagination, it also inspires them to observe and focus on a painting.

[Image vis Flickr/Paphio]




POSTED: WEDNESDAY, FEB 19TH 2014

How to Unplug and Be Present With Your Kids

We’re all at least a little guilty of spending too much time on the grid, glued to our phones or obsessively checking our email. It’s understandable. For most of us, our jobs and social lives are intimately connected to technology. Plus, there are a lot of really great sites and apps that are addictive simply because they’re awesome (like this one :) ). So one of the biggest questions for modern parents is how to be present, how to completely unplug and devote all your focus to your family.

There’s no easy answer. But there are some tricks you can use to wean yourself off your favorite gadgets, either temporarily or permanently, to ensure your time is better spent. Here are some of our favorite, simple ways to unplug.

how to be present

-Delete addictive apps: Going cold turkey isn’t easy, but let’s be real. You don’t need Candy Crush in your life. If you find you can’t control your use of certain apps or games, delete them and the temptation will soon become trashed as well.

-Use airplane mode: When you’re out with kids, consider turning your phone off. Or, if like so many of us, you use your phone as your clock these days, simply go to “Settings” and switch it to “Airplane Mode.” That way you won’t be distracted by texts from your BFF or pesky push notifications.

-Actually turn the computer off: When you’re at home, trying to spend an afternoon with the kids, it can be tempting to go check your email or Twitter feed “just for a second.” If you turn off your computer during these hours, though, the mild inconvenience of having to power up will prevent you from taking so many mini-breaks, and you can truly focus on play.

-Sync family tech time: You’re not the only one who needs their tech fix. Whether it’s a game, app, or favorite television program, your kids partake in technology as well. Set aside time for tech, and more time where everyone in the house has to unplug.

-Leave the house: Use RedRover to find something fun to do with the family: like an exhibit, a concert, or a class. Having an active offline activity planned will ease temptation and hopefully be so fun, you won’t even think about what you’re missing online.

If none of these work, and you still feel the need to scratch your technology itch, sit back for a moment and try to figure out exactly why you so frantically want to stay “connected.”  Remember: you’re probably not missing anything crucial. Everyone else is trying to spend more time with their family, too.

[Image via Flickr/Graela]




POSTED: MONDAY, NOV 4TH 2013

‘Thankful’ Garland Craft

We’re approaching that time of year where normally sane women elbow each other on Black Friday to get reindeer sweaters at 60% off and my mailbox is stuffed with catalogs featuring every toy that lights up and makes noise.

“Wowwwww what is thaaaaat?” my five year old pointed to a toy Katniss-Everdeen-style bow + arrow set that came in a Target catalog in the mail. Her eyes started to gloss over, I could see the wheels in her head turning… “Do you think you could get that for me for Christmas?” (turns page) “This, too?”

Here’s a nice, quiet, no-batteries-required craft that gives a nod to some of things we want to cherish during the holiday season - giving and gratitude.

1) Gather some construction paper, draw a leaf shape, and cut. I used a hole-punch to make small holes at the end of each leaf. If your children are old enough, they can draw and cut the leaves themselves.

thankful-garland-1

2) Have your kiddo(s) write down what they’re thankful for. If they’re too young to write, they can either draw a picture or you can write it for them. :) Ours ranged from apples to kittens to favorite stuffed animals.

thankful-garland-2

3) String them up (we used yarn, but twine or ribbon works just fine), and hang them somewhere to admire. A mantel, a doorway, or in our case, a mirror.

thankful-garland-3

For a happy sensory bonus, I set some water to boil on the stove, tossed in some rosemary sprigs, lemon slices, and vanilla extract and played some soft instrumental music on Pandora. The girls quietly colored and wrote their leaves, and it was just *such* a nice, soothing afternoon activity.

You’ll need a couple of those if you’re going to go elbow to elbow with Marge on Black Friday. ;)




POSTED: MONDAY, OCT 28TH 2013

Fall Style Picks for Busy Moms

We love pretty, easy updates. What do we define as an “easy” fall pick for busy moms? It has to be 1) attractive, obviously ;) and 2) fuss-free. That means no ‘dry-clean only’ labels which means no pile of dry-clean only clothing taunting us as it languishes in a bag, waiting for us to bring it to the dry cleaners’. Our picks for fall even include a cute backpack for the days that we like arms-free living.

fall-picks-for-busy-moms

J.Crew Crinkle Boy Black Shirt ($89.50)

Target Mossimo Supply Co. Flannel Aztec Print Backpack ($29.99)

Anthropologie Izabel Mini-Wedges ($188.00)

Old Navy Fair Isle Sweater Scarf ($18.94)

Madewell Softest Ribbed Beanie ($38.00)

 




POSTED: TUESDAY, OCT 22ND 2013

Wellspring Living + RedRover

Hey!  Hi!  So if you are reading this, THANK YOU.  You’ve taken the first, super easy, and free step to contribute to Wellspring Living.

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What’s Wellspring Living?  Well, it’s an amazing organization that offers restoration programs for survivors of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse ages 12-40.  Wellspring Living confronts the issues of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation through awareness (it unfortunately DOES happen, every day, right here in Atlanta), training, and treatment programs for women and girls.

We at RedRover can’t think of a better cause to donate to, and would like to contribute $1,000 to Wellspring Living to further the important and much-needed work they are doing for our community.

How can you help?  

Simple.

Sign up for RedRover.

sign up

sign up 2

sign up 3

or,

Download our FREE app (for iPhone/iPad click here, for Android, click hereand REGISTER via your mobile device.

As a thank you for doing this, we will donate $1 for every new Atlanta user.

***P.S. We have a super easy widget that will allow you do to the above tasks in a few taps…take a look:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s RedRover and why should you invite us into your lives?  We are the easy button for planning the best day ever with your family.  Learn more about us here.

THANK YOU again for your support of Wellspring Living!

Special thanks to Cindy from Star 94 for being an amazing advocate for girls and women everywhere.  You should follow her blog here and on Twitter here.

 




POSTED: MONDAY, OCT 21ST 2013

5 Must-Have Halloween Apps for Kids

Fall is definitely here, and it brings with it pumpkins, cooler weather, and bags of candy that we can’t stop eating. We’re kind of app-crazy here at RedRover, so with Halloween just around the corner, we thought we’d share some of our favorite apps for kids. They’re all perfect for pre-dinner screen time or for keeping them occupied in the waiting room.

pinterest-halloween

1) First Words Halloween

Even toddlers can match play this word game illustrated with cute Halloween-themed photos. It’s a fun way to introduce letter recognition!

2) Mickey’s Spooky Night Puzzle

The “spooky” level on this is pretty low, and comes mostly in the form of an interactive jigsaw puzzle – fitting ghosts to shapes, for example, in the middle of this cute interactive book.

3) Carve-a-Pumpkin

Your kiddo may be too young to wield a knife, but he can still design his own jack-o-lantern with this cute app by the smart people at Parents Magazine. Plenty of mouths, noses, and eyes to choose from (or draw them yourself!), so it’s totally customizable.

carve-a-pumpkin-1

4) The Berenstain Bears Go on a Ghost Walk

This interactive book provides a little nostalgia for parents as well as offers a fun story that caters to all reading levels. Kiddos can tap individual words and pictures and even record their own narration to share with others.

5) Go Away, Big Green Monster!

This adorable e-book is perfect for kids who feel a little apprehensive about all of the scary decorations donning storefronts and houses.

go-away-big-green-monster

Enjoy! We’ll just be sitting here, eating all of the candy corn.




POSTED: THURSDAY, OCT 17TH 2013

The RedRover Q&A: Roo of NeonFresh.com

This is the first in a series called “The RedRover Q&A”, where we reach out to an awesome parent to give us real, hilarious, and insightful glimpses into their world.  This week, we welcome Roo Ciambriello of NeonFresh.com.  Roo rocks it as a talented blogger, copywriter, and mom of three.  

Roo Ciambriello and kids

Her answers are fabulous; take a look:

What’s the most embarrassing thing your child has done in public?

Asked a larger woman wearing purple if she was Barney the dinosaur. :/

What new tradition have you established for your family?

We are super Christmasy at Christmas. Neither my husband nor I grew up in homes that were really into celebrating the holidays (some years we didn’t put up trees), so we overcompensate for that a little bit. We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving, bake cookies, and make hot chocolate with cocoa powder and coconut milk (my kids have food allergies). Jack does a gingerbread house with the girls right before Christmas, and then after spending time with family on Christmas Day, we throw a party later that night. Friends come by after seeing their families and we just eat and hang out and sometimes people end up passing out on our couches. We love it!

Coffee or tea?

Tea

Favorite kids toy:

LEGOS all day, as long as I never step on them.

Favorite kids book:

The Bear Snores On. I love reading this to my girls… the rhythm/pattern is so fun.

One word that describes you as parent:

Hungry. :)

Did you understand how hard it was going to be?

Absolutely not. I was completely blindsided after having my first baby. Now I’m definitely more easygoing. :)

Pencil, pen, or marker?

Pen

Beach or mountains?

Beach

What is your favorite restaurant to go to with your kids?

Our girls have extensive food allergies (womp womp) so this is kind of a hard question. Any restaurant that is super amazing and understanding about food allergies is okay in my book.

Mac or PC?

Mac

What kids’ music do you listen to when your kids aren’t around?

Rap/hip-hop. Always with my earbuds in or in the car solo. Waiting for the day that rappers sing about innocuous things like picking up their dry cleaning or finding a movie at Redbox.

iPhone or Android?

iPhone

What quality do you wish you had more of as a parent?

*breeeeeaaathe iiiiiin* patience *breeeaaathe ouuuuutttt huuuug a treeeeee*

Night owl or early riser?  (Or both!)

Early riser (but it’s always a struggle)

How many hours of tv/game console/iPad do you allow?

We went an entire month without any sort of television this past summer. It went great. I’d totally do it again, but at the same time, I don’t get down on myself if we’re having a particularly crazy week and I turn on a movie to gain a little sanity. Maybe we average an hour? IDK, man. Ask me something easy. :)

East coast or west coast?

East

What is the most annoying thing other parents brag about?

Honestly, I don’t know. I try to tune that out as much as possible because 1) comparison is the thief of joy and 2) I don’t have time in my day to be irritated with other parents. SO I usually just hide their status updates on Facebook. ;P

Favorite place in the U.S.?

Home, with take-out fajitas.

Do you volunteer at your school?

I homeschool my kindergartner, but my middle daughter goes to a great preschool. I volunteer to buy stuff, but never bake stuff. Ha!

Earbuds or bluetooth?

Earbuds

Are you strict about bed time?

Yeaaa boyyyyy! 7pm on the nose, Mommy loves you, and good night, little boos.

Roo Ciambriello

 




POSTED: FRIDAY, SEP 13TH 2013

Because Some People Are Already Into Halloween

It’s only the middle of September, but we hear you, Type-A moms of Pinterest, and get it:  Halloween is right around the corner.  Even though some of us are still dipping our toes in the pool, fall is indeed in the air, pumpkin flavored everything is back in season, and the leaves are piling up on our lawns.

halloween costume

(Adorable photo credit here)

Therefore, we have compiled a list of our favorite fall ideas that you can DIY, if you are good at that sort of thing.

1. Jacinda Boneau of Prudent Baby put together a fabulous list of 25 fall DIYs for the home over at babble.  Check it out here.

2. CountryLiving offers 43 DIY Halloween costumes, pumpkins, decor, and more here.

3. Rachelle Francey of Kenziepoo compiled a list of  9 DIY last minute Halloween costumes and crafts which you should bookmark on babble because you know (at least some of you) will be there the day before Halloween.  Click here to see her ideas.

4. Being the arbiters of everything cool, you just know CoolMomPicks has an amazing Pinterest board waiting for you to peruse.  Check out all the Halloween fabulousness here.

5.  Are you a sucker for dressed-up newborns?  Well you can thank the lovely Nadia Carriere of ChildMode for compiling Halloween costume ideas for newborns using accessories alone.  Swoon!  Click here to view them.

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(Photo credit)

Do you know of any spectacular websites, blogs, or Pinterest boards full of great fall/Halloween ideas?  Tell us in the comments below!




POSTED: THURSDAY, AUG 29TH 2013

Atlanta Moms (And One Dad!) Share Their Best Day Ever

Atlanta RedRover partners and parents talk about why they love and what they love about RedRover during the launch of RedRover: Atlanta Edition hosted by Whole Foods Buckhead. Check it out here:

My Best Day: Atlanta Edition from RedRover on Vimeo.




POSTED: TUESDAY, AUG 20TH 2013

New York’s Guggenheim Hones Family Time Into an Art

Guggenheim Museum

New York’s Guggenheim Museum of Art is an easy sell for art aficionados. But for an antsy four-year-old, the appeal of Edward Hopper or Camille Pissarro can dim pretty fast. Luckily, the museum’s staff have become masters at offering programs that let families explore in creative, hands-on ways. We spoke to Emily Rivlin-Nadler, the museum’s Education Associate in Family Programs, about how  to make this art haven part of your routine.

The key, Rivlin-Nadler says, is to know your options. Right now, families have three activity choices:

1) Choose Your Own Path: A self-guided tour complete with family activity guides and packs for each major rotunda show and ramp exhibition. “It’s a little like a scavenger hunt,” Emily explains. “You can find the work on the front of the card, and on other side is information about the work, conversation points, and activities like drawing or movement.” (Be sure to check out the family guide to the new James Turrell exhibition, which encourages your kids to experiment with light, color, and space.

Guggenheim Family Activity Station

2) Drop-In Path: For those looking for a chance to get off their feet and spend an afternoon, there are two designated areas of the museum where you can park the stroller and stay as long as you want. “We have activities your kids can do right in front of the artwork, where they explore it through interactive activities like puzzles, games, and drawing challenges.” Ask for a Guggenheim sketchbook at the Family Activity Kiosk near the museum entrance. And for those with little ones, try a stroller tour on designated weekdays, led by museum educator and mom Jackie Delamatre.

Guggenheim Family Drop In Program

3) Open Studio for Families: For those with older kids looking to get a little messier, there’s the Studio Art Lab, located in the Sackler gallery. The whole family can draw, paint, sculpt, and more, all using techniques and materials that the artists use. To see more photos from recent studios, click here.

Guggenheim Family Open Studio

 

For more information about the Guggenheim’s family programs, check them out on RedRover