RGV Pumpkin Patches 2019

It’s that time of the year again! Fall is here which means it’s time for those memorable pumpkin patch photos and  FALL FUN with the kiddos!  Time to get those fall photos.

Here is a list of the 2019  pumpkin patches open to the public Valley Wide and some are already OPEN!

pumpkins-1013tm-pic-1386

1) St. Mark United Methodist Church

301 W Pecan and 2nd St.
McAllen, TX
Opens Sept 29- October 31st  
Monday-Saturday: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM

 

2) First United Methodist  Church

 3707 W. University Dr. and Mon Mack
Edinburg, TX
Now Open–


Trunk-or-Treat will be on October 31st!!!

 

3) First United Methodist Church

 321 E. Harrison Ave.
Harlingen, TX
Opens October 10th- 31st
Hours are: Monday- Friday 8:00AM-12:00 PM  and  4:00PM-8:00PM
  Saturdays 8:00 AM-8:00PM and Sunday 12:00PM-8:00PM
 

4) First United Methodist Church

1225 Boca Chica Blvd.
Brownsville, TX
Opens October 13th- 31st
Hours: Everyday from 12:00pm-8:00pm
 
 
 
5)  Pumpkin Patch At Dean Porter
       501 E. RinggoldSt
      Brownsville, TX

Dates of Operation: October 25-29
October 25: 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.

October 26-29: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

6) The Pond at T-Ranch

 25492 N FM 2556
  La Feria, TX

Dates of Operation: October 4- November 3
Friday: 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM 
Saturday-Sunday: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00-8:00 PM

 

7) Maddies’ Pumpkin Patch Mcallen

    6712 N. Bentsen Rd.,McAllen, TX

Dates of Operation: September 14 – December 1
Monday-Friday: 3:00 PM  – Sunset
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – Sunset

 

8). Grace Heritage Ranch

27539 Old Alice Rd., Lyford, TX 

Dates of Operation: Saturdays, September 28 – October 26

Saturdays from 10am to 8pm

 

9). Maddies Pumpkin Patch and Mini Farmhouse Weslaco

1107 E. 12 1/2 Mile, Weslaco, TX

Dates of Operation: September 14 – December 1
Monday-Friday: 3:00 PM  – Sunset
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – Sunse
t

 

10) Maddies Pumpkin Patch and Little Red Barn,  Mission, TX

10310 N. Conway Ave., Mission, TX

Dates of Operation: September 14 – December 1
Monday-Friday: 3:00 PM  – Sunset
Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – Sunset

 

Know of any other pumpkin patches email us rgv@tots-tweens to add to the list !

 

 

happy-pumpkin-92313-488

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Austin Pogo Pass

Are you’re looking for fun & cheap kids activities in Austin , the POGO Pass is exactly what your family needs.

What’s a POGO pass…?

Imagine an activity pass that gave your family the ability to explore 23 family-friendly places in Austin , TX .

Go to Zoo, Texas Stars games , Wonder World  Park, UT home games, AND visit Hawaiian Falls (among other things) …all for less than $40 per person…for Over 20 activities at  23 destinations.

Fun & Cheap Kids Activities…Pogo Pass.

The Pogo Pass gives you access to many family friendly activities in San Antonio for one price – $39.98 per pass.

Pogo Pass Promo Code: RGVTOTS

With each activities pass, you get admission to 23  family-friendly venues and things to do in Austin/Waco . If you bought each thing to do separately – it would cost hundreds more.

This is a steal – cheap family fun!

Use our promo code to get the special, discounted price. The kids activities pass is usually $99.98 OR More!

23 Family-Friendly Destinations in Austin = $39.98

The Pogo Pass activity pass get you at least 1 FREE admission to each of these fun events or activities for kids.

One Pass. One Price. One Year of Family Fun

Find a full list of  Austin participants & Purchase a Pogo Pass with code: RGVTOTS to get the pass for only $39.98.

This Pogo Pass code can be used in San Antonio , Austin, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Kansas City, or Dallas to purchase their respective activities passes.

Watch to learn why the Pogo Pass is so awesome!

Pogo Pass Makes Family Fun Possible at a LOW cost!

Purchasing each fun kids activity separately would be costly. With the one-time cost of the Pogo Pass, you are saving a TON of money…hundreds of dollars!

Some even include more than one visit, so you can come back more than once.

Each person needs their own Pogo Pass to get into the activity with the card. Additional admissions can also be purchased separately for individual activities.

You can even use your mobile phone to show the Pogo Pass – it is that easy!

  • Pass is valid for 365 days.
  • Each pass is for 1 person – it includes their name & is non-transferable.
  • You can print the pass or show membership using your mobile phone.
  • Some activities include 2 admissions – check the website for updated details on activities.

Pogo Pass Austin Participants:

Each kids activities pass includes at least one visit the below Austin locations.

  1.  UT Athletics: One (1) general admission ticket to the 2019-2020 UT home games: Listed UT events can be attended by presenting your Pogo Pass at ticketing for a general admission ticket
    1. Men’s Basketball
    2. Women’s Basketball
    3. Baseball
    4. Softball
    5. Women’s Volleyball
    6. Women’s Soccer
  2. Cameron Park  Zoo: (2) Two visit to the Cameron Park  Zoo.
  3. Hawaiian Falls Waterparks :  One (1) general admission ticket to Hawaiian Falls Waterparks
  4. Wonder World Park: One (1) visit to Wonder World Park
  5. Austin Spurs: Two (2)  Austin Spurs games during the 2019-2020 NBA G league season.  Each Pogo Pass member receives One (1) ticket per game.
  6. Two (2) visits to Urban Air Trampoline Park Waco for a One (1) hour jump session. Re-usable Urban Air socks are required at select locations and can be purchased for $2.50
  7. Texas Stars: Two (2) Texas Stars games during the AHL regular season. Each member receives One (1) ticket per game
  8. Monster Golf & Laser Tag  (1 ) Visits to Monster Golf & Laser Tag. Members can choose from a round of Mini Golf, or a game of Laser Tag 
  9. Mt. Playmore: One (1) visit: One (1) visits to Mt. Playmore.
  10. Austin  Aquarium: (1) One visit to the Austin  Aquarium
  11. Pump It Up Austin Two (2) visits to Pump It Up. Visits can be used during open jump times .Ages 2 yrs (34″) and up. Each pass holder receives $50.00 OFF any birthday party booking Monday thru Thursday with their Pogo Pass.
  12. Dr. Pepper Museum: One (1) visit to the Dr. Pepper Museum
  13. The Mayborn Museum: One (1) visit General admission to  The Mayborn Museum.
  14. Playlive Nation: Two (2 ) visits  to Playlive NatioN Barton Creek location ONLY. 2 Hours of gaming per visit. Playlive Nation offers Pogo Pass members a 10% discount on Birthday party packages. Because of capacity limitations, admittance of Pogo Pass members may be restricted at any given time.
  15. Quest ATX Wakeboard Park : Two (2) vistits to Quest ATX Wakebaord.. Each visit is good for 2 hour session.  Equipment not included (wakeboard, life jacket and helmet rental available for $15) 
  16. Austin Park-n-Pizza: One (1) Game of Bowling /mo.( shoe rental Not included). One (1) “Climb, Tag N Play” Package / year which includes: UNLIMITED Laser Tag & Rockwall or 18 Holes of Mini-Golf
  17. Texas Sports Hall Of Fame:  One (1) visit to The Texas Sports Hall Of Fame
  18. Skate Country: Two (2) visits /mo to Skate Country Family Fun Center. Skate rental not included.
  19. Skate World:  Two (2) visits /mo to Skate World Family Fun Center. Skate rental not included
  20. Epix Lan Center:  Two (2) visits to Epix Lan Center.  Each visit includes 1 hour of gaming. Because of capacity limitations, admittance of Pogo Pass members may be restricted at any given time.
  21. Austin Rock Gym:  Two (2) visits of Bouldering at North Austin Rock Gym. A waiver is required for all participants.  ·  Shoe rental is required – $5 , Chalk is recommended – $2 .  Because of capacity limitations, admittance of Pogo Pass members may be restricted at any given time. 
  22.  Dart’ Em Up: Two (2) visits to Dart’ Em Up. 
  23. Move Sport Ninja Academy:  Two (2) visits for a 1 hour session during open gym.   Visits to be used on separate days.

Don’t Miss Out on Fun Things to Do for Cheap

If your family does even a few of these activities, the Pogo Pass pays for itself! Less than $40 is a steal for some family fun in San Antonio.

Pogo Passes are also available in

Phoenix , AZ

Las Vegas, NV

Kansas City, MO

Dallas/Ft. Worth TX

Austin/Waco, TX

Chicago, ILL

When you purchase the activity pass, to any  locations be sure to use Pogo Pass code: RGVTOTS  to get the 60% OFF discount.

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Pogo Pass San Antonio is HERE!

Pogo Pass San Antonio: 21 Fun & Family Friendly Activities for Kids = $39.98 per yr

If you’re looking for fun & cheap kids activities in San Antonio , the POGO Pass is exactly what your family needs.

What’s a POGO pass…?

Imagine an activity pass that gave your family the ability to explore 15  family-friendly places in San Antonio , TX .

Go to The San Antonio  Zoo, Rampage games , Wonder World  Park, UTSA home games, AND visit Splashtown (among other things) …all for less than $40 per person…for ALL  21 activities at  15 destinations.

Fun & Cheap Kids Activities…Pogo Pass.

Activities for kids include:

The San Antonio Zoo, Urban Air, University UTSA home games, Rampage hockey games. You even get 2 admissions at some locations with the activity pass !

The Pogo Pass gives you access to many family friendly activities in San Antonio for one price – $39.98 per pass.

Pogo Pass Promo Code: RGVTOTS

With each activities pass, you get admission to 15  family-friendly venues and things to do in San Antonio . If you bought each thing to do separately – it would cost hundreds more.

This is a steal – cheap family fun!

Use our promo code to get the special, discounted price. The kids activities pass is usually $99.98.

15 Family-Friendly Destinations in San Antonio = $39.98

The Pogo Pass activity pass get you at least 1 FREE admission to each of these fun events or activities for kid

One Pass. One Price. One Year of Family Fun

Find a full list of  San Antonio participants & Purchase a Pogo Pass with code: RGVTOTS to get the pass for only $39.98.

This Pogo Pass code can be used in San Antonio , Austin, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Kansas City,  Dalla ro Chicago s to purchase their respective activities passes.

Watch to learn why the Pogo Pass is so awesome!

 

Pogo Pass Makes Family Fun Possible at a LOW cost!

Purchasing each fun kids activity separately would be costly. With the one-time cost of the Pogo Pass, you are saving a TON of money…hundreds of dollars!

Some even include more than one visit, so you can come back more than once.

Each person needs their own Pogo Pass to get into the activity with the card. Additional admissions can also be purchased separately for individual activities.

You can even use your mobile phone to show the Pogo Pass – it is that easy!

  • Pass is valid for 365 days.
  • Each pass is for 1 person – it includes their name & is non-transferable.
  • You can print the pass or show membership using your mobile phone.
  • Some activities include 2 admissions – check the website for updated details on activities.

Pogo Pass San Antonio Participants:

Each kids activities pass includes at least one visit the the below San Antonio locations.

  1.  UTSA Athletics: One (1) general admission ticket to the 2018-19 UTSA home games: Listed UTSA events can be attended by presenting your Pogo Pass at ticketing for a general admission ticket
    1. Men’s Basketball
    2. Women’s Basketball
    3. Baseball
    4. Softball
  2. San Antonio Zoo: (1) One visit to the San Antonio Zoo.
  3. Splashtown San Antonio:  One (1) general admission ticket to Splashtown San Antonio.
  4. Wonder World Park: One (1) visit to Wonder World Park
  5. San Antonio Rampage: Two (2) San Antonio Rampage games during the 2018-19 AHL hockey season.  Each Pogo Pass member receives One (1) ticket per game.
  6. Two (2) visits to the San Antonio Urban Air Trampoline Park NE for a One (1) hour Bronze package jump session. Re-usable Urban Air socks are required at select locations and can be purchased for $2.50
  7. Monster Golf & Laser Tag  (2) Visits to Monster Golf & Laser Tag. Members can choose from a round of Mini Golf, or a game of Laser Tag each visit.
  8. San Antonio Aquarium: (1) One visit to the San Antonio Aquarium.
  9. Two (2) visits to Incredible Pizza for a free buffet: Each visit is good for One (1) free buffet
  10. University Bowl: One (1) game of bowling per visit. Subject to available space/lane availability. Shoe rental not included
  11. Pump It Up San Antonio: Two (2) visits to Pump It Up. Visits can be used during open jump times at the Pump It Up Northwest, or Pump It Up Northeast locations.  Ages 2 yrs (34″) and up. Each pass holder receives $50.00 OFF any birthday party booking Monday thru Thursday with their Pogo Pass.
  12. Battle For Texas: One (1) visit to the Battle For Texas Museum.
  13. The Witte Museum: One (1) visit to The Witte Museum.
  14. The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum: One (1) visit to The Buckhorn and Texas Ranger Museum.
  15.  UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures: One (1) visit to the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures.

 

Don’t Miss Out on Fun Things to Do for Cheap

If your family does even a few of these activities, the Pogo Pass pays for itself! Less than $40 is a steal for some family fun in San Antonio.

Pogo Passes are also available in

Phoenix , AZ

Las Vegas, NV

Kansas City, MO

Dallas/Ft. Worth TX

Austin/Waco, TX

Chicago, IL

When you purchase the activity pass, to any  locations be sure to use Pogo Pass code: RGVTOTS  to get the 60% OFF discount.

 

 

h

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Father’s Day Around The World

Originally seen at Personal Creations
June is here, which means Father’s Day is just around the corner! From teaching you to ride a bike to walking you down the aisle, fathers have a special place in all of our hearts, so be sure to show them how special they are this June 18th. If you are still trying to nail down the perfect plan, we have a few ideas for you! We put together a visual of ten different Father’s Day traditions around the world, so you can be inspired by how others show gratitude to the men that raised them.

Attribution to PersonalCreations.com with this graphic

Now that you are up to date on Father’s Day traditions from South Africa to Japan, we hope you can plan an extra special day for your main man. Are there any new traditions you want to try with your dad this year? We are sure he would appreciate being celebrated with handmade beer glasses like the fathers in Japan.

Regardless of which activity you choose, the most important thing about Father’s Day is to make sure your dad feels appreciated. If you are still looking for something personal, check out our favorite gifts and make something unique just for him.


Originally seen at Personal Creations

Also seen in Savings.com


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Best Holiday Season

How to Create a Good Morning Routine
to Make for the Best Holiday Season

A good morning routine is essential for setting you and your family up for a successful and enjoyable day. However,during the holidays, it’s easy to let your family routine fall by the way side amid the school breaks, dinners, seasonal activities, and other special events.Alas, this can make for a stressful season. Fortunately, there are ways to fully embrace the holidays while maintaining structure and keeping the stress to a minimum:

Maintain a clean home

The first part of establishing a holiday morning routine is maintaining the cleanliness of your home. A clean and clutter-free living space is critical to keeping stress levels down. And no matter how busy your schedule may get during this time, you can still keep your home in tip-top shape. Start by de cluttering your home before you decorate, and keep your decorations to a minimum. Try to keep all your items in their designated place, keep all surfaces clear (i.e. tabletops,counters, shelves, etc.), spend 10 minutes a day getting rid of clutter, and make sure everyone in the home participates in these tasks.

 If your budget allows for it, consider hiring a cleaning service to come in during the holidays. A little extra help cleaning can save you major time while ensuring your home stays in pristine condition and ready for guests. Right now  the costs for a one-time cleaning service runs from $110-$227 — a worthy investment for your holiday sanity.

Keep a decent bedtime.

 Another thing you want to do is establish a realistic bedtime for your kids. School may be on a hiatus, but you don’t want their sleep habits to go completely haywire.Even if it looks a little different for the holidays, it’s important  for your children to go to bed at the same time each night. This helps ensure they get enough sleep, as well as make it easier to transition when school starts back up. Furthermore, it’s critical that parents get enough sleep; otherwise, stress will quickly overtake your holidays.

 Plan for the next day.

 helps to wake up to some sort of plan in the morning. Whether it’s preparing breakfast, delegating chores, or packing things up in the car for a trip,consider planning the night before. Also, be sure to schedule adequate time for things like personal hygiene, getting dressed, and eating breakfast. Not having to rush is key to avoiding the stress of a chaotic morning. If you really want to start off on the right foot, wake up before the kids to do something relaxing, such as reading with a cup of coffee or meditating.

 Be flexible.

 Having some level of flexibility is always helpful in life. But during the holidays, you can’t really survive without it. Your family’s schedules are likely to be more different and demanding than ever, and you will need to work hard at maintaining order while staying open to the changes. For         instance, try to be consistent with bedtimes, but don’t let that keep you from going to see The Nutcracker with your kids one evening. Or if your morning doesn’t go as planned and it gets stressful, don’t let the rest of the season turn upside-down by giving up on your routine. Take it a day at a time.

When you have a routine for the family, it reduces stress and allows you to fully embrace the holidays. Remember to keep your home clean by spending a little time on it each day. Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep, and start planning for your morning the night before.Finally, remain flexible as you adhere to your routine. Keeping a solid routine will make for a better holiday season for the whole family.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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5 Tips to Throw a Fun & Easy Party

blog july 10

 

5 Tips to Throw a Fun and Easy At-Home Birthday Party on a Budget

 

One of the challenges of parenting in the digital age is the worry about making everything “Pinterest perfect.” Kids’ birthday parties are no exception, but the reality is that our children just want a fun time to celebrate with their friends. When you get back to the basics with an easy at-home party, it’s not only budget-friendly, but it’s also less stress and more fun for everyone.

 

Start with a Theme
Planning around a theme gives you a focal point and serves as a springboard for other ideas. For younger children, loose themes that are gender neutral work well, such as fairytale characters or bugs and butterflies. Older children may already know what theme they’d like, or you can brainstorm possibilities together based on their interests. If you’re still looking for inspiration, we like these theme ideas that are broken down for different age groups.

 

Another option is to have an activity-based party, so you have the theme, activity, and sometimes even the food all rolled into one, making party planning even easier. Two activity themes we love from HuffPost are chocolate-making and scavenger hunt parties.

 

Make Low or No-Cost Invitations

Printing invitations can really bust your budget, but digital options are free or inexpensive and are more eco-friendly too. Going digital can give you the option to manage RSVPs online with services like Evite. If you’re tech-savvy (or have a design-savvy child), sites like Canva give you plenty of creative freedom to make your own special invitation.

 

If you decide to go the paper route, let your child help make homemade invitations. Use craft supplies you already have lying around, or grab some blank cards from a dollar store and let your child decorate them to their heart’s content.

 

Set the Scene

 

Decorations transform your home from the everyday into a world of wonder, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on them. One budget-friendly way to decorate is to keep store-bought decorations general and spruce them up yourself. A couple of DIY decorating ideas we like from Babble are confetti balloons and using printed washi tape to decorate plain cups. Try to get the best bang for your buck with inexpensive decorations that really pack a punch. Decorating with string lights is a great way to spice up your party, both indoors and outdoors, without spending much since they are inexpensive and kids usually love them. And when you’re finished with your party, you can use the string lights to add comfort and warmth to a space in your home!

 

Focus Refreshments on What Kids Want Most

 

Instead of setting out an expensive spread of food, focus on what kids really want, such as fun snacks like popcorn and, of course, the best part: cake and ice cream. You can get away with this by timing your party to start mid-morning or mid-afternoon when no one expects a meal. Most children would agree that the cake is pretty important, so consider making it yourself and starting a tradition by letting the birthday child help.

 

Play Classic Games and DIY New Ones

 

Planning a few activities is an absolute must because downtime leads to boredom and kids running wild. Classic games are just as fun as ever, so pick a few like freeze dance, hot potato, or red rover to keep kids entertained at no cost.

 

For something more current, one of the more popular party activities these days is to set up a photo booth. Scour the internet for photo prop templates that fit your theme, and print them yourself on heavy paper. To up the fun even more, use large cardboard boxes to make an actual “booth,” and let your children get involved by decorating it themselves.

 

The reality of modern party planning is that when you get back to basics, it’s easier to let go of stress and focus on what matters most. Children won’t remember (or even know) how much you spent on their party, but they will remember how much fun they had. Use these tips and your own creativity to pull off a memorable, fabulous shindig at home without breaking the bank.

 

Photo credit: Unsplash

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Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

 

St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally associated with green beers and an ever-elusive pot of gold. But your Irish heritage celebration doesn’t have to be boozy to be interesting and fun for the entire family.

Here are ways to enjoy the luck of the Irish with your littlest lad or lass.

 

Dinner party

Few meals conjure up images of hungry Irishmen after a day of hard labor more than a traditional dinner of bangers and mash. By plating plump sausages with creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, you have yourself an Irish meal that most everyone will agree is delicious. Here’s an interesting fact: Bangers – the sausage – get their nickname from linked sausages that tend to pop when exposed to heat. Bang! Of course, if you don’t have time to cook or aren’t handy in the kitchen, you can always make it a breakfast night and let the kids enjoy a bowl of Lucky Charms.

 

Brush up on your Celtic

There are few people in the U.S. who actually understand many of the most popular old Irish sayings. You and your family can research Celtic language and idioms and compare similarities to English. Business Insider’s list of 15 Irish expressions is a great place to start. Also, Google’s translate feature is a really fun way to share the language with your entire family. Bain sult as féin!

 

House hop

You don’t have to stop with just your house to enjoy a Celtic dinner. Talk to the neighbors and get everyone involved. One house can provide appetizers, another the main course and another still an enjoyable Irish dessert.

 

A family vacation

If you would like to really immerse yourself in Irish culture, a trip to the Emerald Isle is an excellent way to celebrate the holiday. Ireland is not only known for its looming castles and grandest estates, it also has some of the best beaches you’ll ever have the honor of relaxing on. If you don’t have an extra $10,000 lying around for an international vacation, you can also find family-friendly activities in Irish heritage-rich areas such as St. Louis, Missouri, and Charlotte, North Carolina, on FamilyLivingToday.com.

 

 

Movie marathon

If the weather’s bad or you simply don’t want to leave the house to celebrate, there are plenty of Irish films that will satisfy your cinematic senses this St. Patrick’s Day. The youngest in your crew may enjoy the animated classic The Secret of Kells or Disney’s Luck of the Irish, which chronicles the life of an everyday American teenager who finds out he’s actually not ordinary at all but half leprechaun.

 

Understand the holiday

St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional holiday that celebrates life of the eponymous Saint Patrick. As the Patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick is celebrated each March 17 and has been since the 17th century. What first started as a religious feast has evolved into a secular day of fun featuring festivals, parades, and special events in most major cities in the US and UK. The History Channel offers more information about St. Patrick’s Day.

Another great way to learn about this Irish day of honor is to visit your local cathedral and partake in a Catholic mass. Most parishes are happy to host guests but be sure to talk to children about Catholic traditions before attending as they may be wildly different than your own place of worship’s weekly service

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to honor good St. Paddy as well as your Irish heritage without a hangover on March 18. And by forgoing the libations, you and your family can enjoy the day – or week – together making memories that you’ll cherish for years to come and relive each St. Patrick’s Day.

 

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Top Summer Toys for Kids with Special Needs

Some of the biggest challenges of summertime for parents are keeping children entertained and developmentally stimulated. You probably want to add fun activities, exciting adventures and a couple of new toys to the mix to keep things interesting. Below are a few hot toy ideas that are fun and focused on your child with special needs–and just may give you an edge on the summertime blues!

Fidget Spinners, Puzzles & Tangles

If you’ve witnessed the latest toy craze, fidget spinners, then you know these tactile-type products are a hot item for kids of all ages and stages; however, they can be quite beneficial for children with sensory issues. They provide a pleasing, hands-on sensory experience that requires concentration from your child, making them a perfect stress-, anxiety- and boredom-buster for those restless moments on summer days!

Fat Brain Toys Squigz

Another hands-on toy – the visually unique and sense-stimulating Squigz by Fat Brain Toys – is described as “fun little suckers” according to the packaging. By the use of suction, they can connect to each other and any solid, nonporous surface, encouraging creativity, fine motor skills and playful experimentation – a fun addition to any toy collection!

Hedstrom Sensory Products

Hedstrom offers exceptional, quality products for kids, most notably their Sensory Stepperz that kids can balance, hop and step on. Features include different patterns and textures that help develop balance, coordination and gross motor skills. These can go outside or inside of your home, making them a great summer toy option!

Sand and Water Discovery Tables

Let’s not forget the classics! Sand and water tables – like this one – have been around for many years, but there’s a reason for that! A favorite for many, they not only provide hours of entertainment, but give your child a multisensory experience. And instead of using just sand and water, consider adding dry beans, shaving cream and other items of different textures, stimulating different sensory input.

SkyCurve Platform Swing

And finally, when you think of summer, long afternoons of swinging in the sunshine always cross the mind. Parent’s Choice and Creative Child Award winner, the SkyCurve Platform Swing by Hearthsong is a longer swing that allows your child to comfortably lay down if necessary, or it can hold multiple children sitting up. Nothing beats the great outdoors for stimulating all of the senses, and relaxing on a swing can be icing on the cake after a full day of play!

Summer certainly doesn’t have to be a bore! With a few new items in the repertoire, you’re sure to keep your child entertained, while giving them developmental tools to grow and have fun all at the same time!

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Pool Noodles: Cheap Crafts for Kids

Crafts comprise a good portion of many parties for kids these days. Whether the activity is decorating cupcakes, making tissue paper flowers, or simply gluing macaroni to construction paper in fun or random patterns, crafts keep kids engaged and entertained during get-togethers.

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While it’s a bit easier to keep children entertained at a pool party, a related craft can certainly add to the fun. If you’re on a budget, a trip to the craft store may not be in the cards. Instead, think about buying a bunch of inexpensive pool noodles, which can be transformed into a variety of unique craft projects with ease. Here are a few ways you can use pool noodles for inexpensive, pool party crafts.

Pool Noodle Sail Boats

Pool noodles are a cheap toy with many uses. They can be a great asset as floaties, safe weapons for pool jousting, or you can turn them into something else. By cutting the noodles into sections then splitting them in half, you have created a base for foam sailboats.

Flip the noodle half so that the rounded side faces up. Use the end of a pair of scissors to poke a hole through and thread a straw, popsicle stick, or any straight, sturdy item into it. Then take a foam sheet (also very cheap) and use the scissors to create two holes on each side of the sheet. By weaving the straw or popsicle stick through the holes, you create a sail for your pool noodle sail boat.

Pool Noodle Steed

Plenty of kids enjoy riding pool noodles like floating horses, possibly smacking friends with a second noodle. But what if you helped them turn the noodle into a real horse for extra pool fun? You will need string, foam sheets, and googly eyes.

First, you need to fold about a foot of the end of the noodle flat against the “body” of the noodle and secure it with a string. This will become the horse’s face. From there, you will need to cut enough ears and manes for each child to have a noodle horse. These are best secured with hot glue. Give them just a bit of time to dry, and they are ready to ride in a short time.

Pool Noodle Ring Toss

For this craft, you allow the kids to create their own game. Have each child tape a pool noodle in a circle. Allow kids to decorate their noodles with markers or other supplies if you choose (or if you simply need to kill a little more time). Then supply the kids with a bucket of ping pong balls, toss the rings in the water and you have a game.

Ring toss can lead into a competition to see which child is able to get the ball in their ring first. Or, have the kids try to dive through the center of their hoops. Once you have the supplies, the possibilities for games become endless.

Coming up with activities and crafts for kids to do at a pool party is not hard once you put your mind to it. While fancy inflatables or commercial pool games can offer tons of fun, you may not always have the budget to invest in these supplies. Instead, you can use pool noodles, a cheap, multi-use tool for endless craft ideas. If you are on a budget and feel you can’t afford to have a pool party, remember there is always an inexpensive option, even when you are entertaining a group of rambunctious children.

Aimee Lyons, a native to colorful Austin, Texas, is a creative Jack of All Trades. It makes sense that a young creator from a city like Austin would want to form a supportive community for other innovative minds. That is why Aimee started DIYDarlin.com, a place for artists, crafters, and the like to share ideas and inspiration. A painter and vintage stylist, her work is her life, and Aimee continues spread that same passion.

Image via Pixabay by stevepb

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Ritzy Resale Shop and Lunch Veranda

My children closely inspect the outside of the Ritzy Resale Shop.

My children closely inspect the outside of the Ritzy Resale Shop.

I love when my children surprise me for the better.  I also enjoy finding hidden, local gems.  It was not in my original plan to write a story this week on the Ritzy Resale Shop and Lunch Veranda in Brownsville, but I am so thankful I had the privilege of visiting.

It had been years since I had last made its acquaintance, when my mother-in-law treated me to a lovely birthday brunch.  Curious to know if it was still there, I decided to treat my children to a small lunch.

This was the dining room my son chose.  He and his sister enjoyed looking around at the different items and parts of the shop.

This was the dining room my son chose. He and his sister enjoyed looking around at the different items and parts of the shop.

As soon as I walked in, my initial thought was, “What was I thinking?”  An antique store, consignment shop and lunch veranda in one, it holds many of my favorite things.  With my four-year old on one side of me, and my 22-month old on the other, I glanced around at fragile items that stood at their eye level.  “Please be careful and don’t touch anything,” I gently reminded them.

We were warmly greeted by one of the co-owners, Amy Garces, and told to choose a room to dine in.  My children were happy to pick one.

Cindy Gulley poses with a couple of nutcrackers.

Cindy Gulley poses with a couple of nutcrackers.

A couple vacationing on South Padre Island from Illinois perused the room.  Jerry and Cindy Gulley were on their way to the zoo when they googled resale shops and found Ritzy Resale.  “It was on our way, so we thought we’d stop and check it out.  It’s definitely a different shop.  I like the way they’ve got their rooms laid out for dining,” remarked Jerry.

Cindy was on a mission to find a nutcracker for her son, who collects them.  She picked a good time to visit, as all of Ritzy’s Christmas items are currently 75% off.

My favorite part of the visit, outside of eating my delicious meal, was talking with Amy and her co-owner and mother, Diana Masso.  Ritzy Resale has been in existence for five years, with loyal, committed customers and newbies that did not know they existed until stumbling across them.

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Diana Masso, one of the co-owners of the Ritzy Resale Shop.

Located at 814 Boca Chica Blvd, the warm shop was originally a home built by the Barnard family.  With larger rooms, windows and hardwood floors, it has all the charms to make a person feel nostalgic.  “People tell us [coming here] is like walking into [their] aunt’s house or grandma’s house,” added Masso.

A lifelong lover of antiques, cooking and baking, Masso wanted to find a way to combine them all.  “I was turning 50, and decided if I don’t do it now [open a shop], I’m not gonna do it.  I decided to go out on a limb,”  remembered Masso.

The littles play with safe, unbreakable beads.  It was good to talk antique shop and tea time etiquette with them.

The littles play with safe, unbreakable beads. It was good to talk antique shop and tea time etiquette with them.

While I was having a conversation with Amy and Diana, my children found some safe beads I agreed they could look at.  Every now and then, they would each chime in, “Look at this, mama!” like it was the coolest thing they had ever seen.

With a variety of menu items, Ritzy Resale offers everything from Mediterranean foods to sweets.  “We try and cook healthy.  We have a different special everyday,” added Masso.  As I sat there enjoying my lunch and the company of my children, I couldn’t help but envision future mother-daughter tea dates and celebrations.  “This is a good mom retreat place,” said Masso.  I couldn’t agree more.

I highly recommend their famous chicken salad and house salad.  This was my delicious lunch.

I highly recommend their famous chicken salad and house salad. This was my delicious lunch.

For more information on the Ritzy Resale Shop and Lunch Veranda, please visit their Facebook page.  If you decide to check it out, take me with you.

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