My, how time flies! Tomorrow marks the start of May, and we have a new issue of Columbus Parent full of great stories and activities for the whole family.
The school year is drawing to a close, and those older kids are about to graduate high school We’ve got tips and hints on how to throw a fun party to celebrate your graduate and their accomplishments.
Need a mini vacation right here in Columbus? Check out our neighborhood spotlight on Easton Town Center. You’ll find plenty of information on family-friendly stores and restaurants. (We hear from our Eating Out with Kids review that the new Flip Side burger joint has great French fries!)
Finally, the Out & About calendar has nearly 200 things to do this month, and we’ve got some neat Best Bet events: WildZFest, anyone? The free festival features animals from the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium and kicks off the summer season at The Wilds in Cumberland.
Visit our website to find a copy of Columbus Parent nearest you: http://www.columbusparent.com/content/pages/locations.html. Enjoy!
Just because most of the trees have shed their spring blossoms doesn't mean they don't hold beauty.
Dawes Arboretum plans to celebrate that beauty this Saturday during their Arbor Day Festival. Dawes hosts the event each year as a way to welcome spring and summer, the Arboretum's busiest time.
There'll be educational activities as well as kids' crafts. You won't want to miss the towering six-foot tall tree frog featured in“Flumpa and Friends Live!” And bring shoes that got some grip - tree climbing is encouraged!
Event: Arbor Day Festival
Date: April 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Place: Dawes Arboretum, 7770 Jacksontown Road SE, Newark
If you need some new spring clothes for the kids, don’t miss the clothing and equipment sale this Saturday, April 28 at Veterans Memorial. Hosted by the Columbus Mothers of Twins Club, the consignment sale will feature gently-used clothing, toys, maternity clothes and more.
The sale runs 9 a.m. to 12 noon, but eager shoppers can arrive at 8 a.m. for $2. The early entry admission fees will be donated to the March of Dimes.
And don’t forget these helpful reminders: Parking is available for $7, and acceptable forms of payment include cash or check only.
Opening today in Central Ohio is an intriguing new grocery store — Earth Fare. They bill themselves as “The Healthy Supermarket” and, on their website www.earthfare.com, they’ve actually a nine-page list of ingredients http://www.earthfare.com/What-You-Eat/Food-Philosophy.aspx they don’t allow in any foods they sell there.
The Earth Fare has 21 stores in six states and a new one is opening today up in the Polaris district http://www.earthfare.com/OurStores/Columbus.aspx. We’re also intrigued by their Family Dinner Night http://www.earthfare.com/FamilyDinnerNight.aspx when kids eat free on Thursdays from 4-8 p.m.
Check it out, Columbus parents!
During April’s Autism Awareness Month, Panera Bread is helping to support the cause. And with sweet treats, nonetheless!
Visit any central Ohio Panera location during April 23-29, and purchase a shortbread cookie in the shape of a puzzle piece. Proceeds from the cookie sales will benefit Autism Speaks, an organization that works to raise funds and awareness for autism.
Help Panera to donate even more than last year to the cause — the 2011 fundraiser garnered more than $15,000 for Autism Speaks. Enjoy the cookies!
Even if you didn't participate in the Earth Day volunteer effort, come root on those who did!
Columbus Commons and Green Columbus are hosting a citywide celebration this Saturday in honor of all those who planted trees, cleaned riverbanks, and bagged trash in central Ohio over the Earth Day weekend.
This is the fifth year for the party and guests will enjoy live music, good food, kids' activities, even a “green” art show. For more details visit earthdaycolumbus.org
Event: Earth Day Columbus Celebration
Date: April 21, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Place: Columbus Commons, 160 South High Street
Parents and kids can pick up some safety tips at the Bexley Public Library April 21.
The library is hosting “Safety Starts Early,” a workshop presented by LifeCare Alliance’s Impact Safety program.
The program, geared to adults and children, will cover information about dealing with strangers and how to handle peers and adults who cause children to feel uncomfortable.
The free event is from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Bexley library, 2411 E. Main St. For more information, call 614-231-2793 or visit www.bexleylibrary.org.
—Melissa Kossler Dutton
Looking for books that will liven up history for kids? The Columbus Dispatch’s Nancy Gilson has these great suggestions….
A few liberties taken with history liven up a trio of new picture-book biographies for young readers.
Formative periods in the lives of Charles Dickens, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington are re-imagined in these lively, handsome books:
* A Boy Called Dickens (Schwartz & Wade, 32 pages, $17.99, ages 4 to 9) by Deborah Hopkinson and John Hendrix
In the bicentennial year of his birth, Charles Dickens is the subject of a picture book that draws parallels between his childhood and the heroes of some of his best-known novels — David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Pip and Tiny Tim.
When he was 12, while his father was in a debtors' prison, Charles was sent to work in a factory. His experiences helped establish the prevailing themes of social reform in his fiction.
The story by Hopkinson imagines a lonely boy named Dickens occupying himself with invented stories as he works in the factory and wanders the grimy streets of London. The illustrations by Hendrix mix realistic scenes with the boy's daydreams.
* The Camping Trip That Changed America (Dial, 32 pages, $16.99, ages 6 to 8) by Barb Rosenstock and Mordicai Gerstein
In another imagined version of a historical event, Rosenstock depicts the 1903 Yosemite National Park camping trip of President Theodore Roosevelt and preservationist John Muir.
The men rode horses, slept under the stars, swapped tales, experienced a spring snowfall and marveled at giant sequoias — painted by Gerstein in a scene that spreads over a double page, and that the reader turns sideways, to capture the trees' grandeur.
The book is exciting and impressive.
* George Washington's Birthday (Schwartz & Wade, 32 pages, $17.99, ages 4 to 8) by Margaret McNamara and Barry Blitt
On his 280th birthday, Washington is imagined as he was at age 7 — an inquisitive, impetuous youngster who admits he chopped down the cherry tree because “I cannot tell a lie.”
That and other escapades are envisioned in Blitt's humorous watercolor paintings and McNamara's anachronistic dialogue.
To keep young readers grounded, small graphics state the facts about each incident.
If you homeschool your children, you won’t want to miss this informational and fun convention. Great Homeschool Conventions is hosting its Midwest gathering in Cincinnati, April 19-21, at the Duke Energy Convention Center.
This three-day annual convention features speakers, workshops, entertainment and more. There will also be a Children’s Conference, so feel free to bring the kids along. There will be a comedian performance on Friday evening, and the convention kicks off on Thursday with a keynote speech by Governor Mike Huckabee.
Individual registration is $40, and family registration (which includes spouses and children) is $55. Learn more at cincinnatihomeschoolconvention.com.
Children can get a jumpstart on their Earth Day celebrations at The Ohio State University’s Urban Art Space, located at 50 W. Town Street in the historic Lazarus Building.
Artists are conducting a free workshop April 14 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. for kids aged 4 to 8. Participants will work on a variety of “green” projects, including bird feeders and chia pets.
Registration is required. Call to 614-292-8861 to sign up. Parking is available at the Columbus Commons Parking Garage.
–Melissa Kossler Dutton
Time is running out so hurry to enter the most deserving mom you know in our Queen for a Day contest: www.columbusparent.com/queenforaday. We’re taking entries until noon on Monday, April 16. One winner’s name will be drawn at random and announced in our May issue. What will she get? How about $500 toward the closet makeover of her dreams from California Closets!
So, go! What are you waiting for?
There is an easy way to rid yourself of that hard drive, monitor, keyboard and more you have in the corner collecting dust. To kick off Earth Week 2012, Easton Town Center is hosting a two day drop-off for all electronics you would like to kick to the curb.
This is your chance to get rid of items like cell phones, TVs, cameras, copiers, even Christmas lights. Broken electronics with be recycled and/or refurbished depending on the condition. There is a $15 charge for tube TVs. And remember, they can't take an item that contains freon like a refrigerator or freezer. Worried about personal information on your computer? There is guaranteed data destruction on all hard drives.
Easton is partnering with Big Green Head in the effort. To see a list of all acceptable items visit www.biggreenhead.com and click on E-Waste Drop-off.
Event: Electronics Recycling Drive
Date: April 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and April 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Place: Easton Town Center in the parking lot behind the Coach store
In honor of Autism Awareness Month in April, don’t forget about the opportunity to apply for the Autism Scholarship Program. If you have a child age 3 to 22 with autism, they are eligible for up to $20,000 in scholarships through the Ohio Autism Scholarship.
The program began in 2003, and more than 2,000 students in the state are using the scholarship to attend private schools and work with service providers.
Those interested in learning more can visit the School Choice Ohio website, scohio.org. The site has links to the application and a list of providers who accept the application.
Just as your child may have outgrown some of his or her warm-weather clothes, he or she may have gotten too big for his or her bike helmet.
A properly fitting helmet is key to keeping your child safe, according to Safe Kids USA, a network of organizations dedicated to helping kids avoid injuries.
The network suggests using the Eyes, Ears and Mouth Test to see if a child’s helmet is the appropriate size.
Eyes check: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
Ears check: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a "V" under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.
Mouth check: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.
To ensure the best fit, Safe Kids USA suggests taking your child with you when shopping for a helmet.
—Melissa Kossler Dutton
Be sure to enter the most deserving mom you know in our Queen for a Day contest www.columbusparent.com/queenforaday. We’re taking entries until noon on Monday, April 16. One winner’s name will be drawn at random and announced in our May issue. What will she get? How about $500 toward the closet makeover of her dreams from California Closets!
And if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, the Ohio Railway Museum has reopened for the 2012 season. (It’s not in the first part of our Go-To Guide on smaller museums, but it will be in the next one.) In the meantime, though, you can visit the museum because it’s now open on Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Train rides (along their very own mile-plus-long stretch of track) take place every hour on the half hour. Admission is $6 per person (kids under 3 years old are admitted free).
The Museum is located at 990 Proprietors Rd., Worthington 43085 (north from East Dublin-Granville Road, between Rt. 23 and I-71). Call 614-885-7345 for more information or visit their website at www.ohiorailwaymuseum.org.
Celebrate Easter weekend at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! This two-day event at the zoo is full of activities and fun for the whole family.
Youngsters can explore the zoo and collect treats from various stations, and search for eggs during one of many scheduled Easter egg hunts. Other things to do and see include meet and greets with beloved characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, along with up close and personal animal experiences. And don’t forget to have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny himself!
Eggs, Paws and Claws runs Friday, April 6 from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $14.99 for guests 10-59, $9.99 for those 60 and up, $9.99 for kids 2-9 and free for children under 2. Learn more or purchase zoo tickets at ColumbusZoo.org.
If your third through eighth grader loves technology, science or math, one of Tech Corps’ TECHie Camp programs is a great option for some summer fun. This year the camps, which run June through August at various Columbus locations, are being supported by Time Warner Cable Mid-Ohio. Time Warner is sponsoring scholarships so that kids can explore STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.
This year, camp offerings include robotics, programming and web development. To download a scholarship application or to learn more about the program, visit register.techcorps.org.
Fido doesn’t have to be left out of the family Easter celebrations this weekend, thanks to Acme Canine! Tomorrow this local business is holding a Doggy Easter Egg Hunt from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at their location in Lewis Center.
Bring your furry friends and let them search for eggs filled with dog treats. The cost is $10 per pup, and they will even have a photo opportunity with the Easter Dog!
Reserve a spot for your pet by calling 740-548-1717. Visit www.acmecanine.com for more information or to learn about Acme’s dog training programs.
The April issue of Columbus Parent is here and both the print edition and our website are packed with things to do, contests to enter and stories to read and watch.
First, be sure to check out “Circle of Hope,” http://www.columbusparent.com/content/topic/2012/04/hot-kingsley.html a multi-media piece that goes with our special-needs coverage. It’s the story of the Kingsley family (dad Scott and son Brett are on our cover) and they generously have shared their family’s story with us. We hope you’ll find their story to be as inspiring as we did.
And then voting has begun in the 2012 Best of Columbus contest http://www.columbusparent.com/content/topic/2012/04/best-of-columbus.html and continues until noon on Monday, April 23rd (that’s three weeks of voting, to be exact). We’re really have some fun coming up with categories this year (Best Moms’ Night Out Destination, Best Gluten-Free Menu, Best Chicken Fingers and more!), so be sure to click in and log your votes! The winners will be unveiled in our June issue.
And finally, nominate the most deserving mom you know to win a “Queen for a Day” closet makeover from California Closets http://www.columbusparent.com/content/topic/2012/04/queen-for-a-day.html. We’ll be accepting nominations until noon on Monday, April 16th. One winner’s name will be drawn at random and announced in our May issue!