25 Inexpensive Ways To Keep Your Kids Entertained This Summer | Libby Donovan

25 Inexpensive Ways To Keep Your Kids Entertained This Summer |  by 

Summer is here, and you know what that means. Your kids are BORED! At least, that’s what they tell you, repeatedly. As astounding as it may seem to adults who never have enough time; when kids have nothing to do, it’s a problem.

Resist the urge to laugh, shake your head, or point out the mountain of toys, books, and games in their rooms. Instead, come up with a game plan.

Create a Summer List

Your summer list is simply a list of specific things for your kids to do throughout the summer. The list should be large and placed in a spot where they’ll see it every day, such as the kitchen. Use lots of colors, and be sure to cross off activities as you do them. The goal of a summer list is to accomplish as many activities as you can.

The best part about a summer list is that it gives you and your kids something to look forward to all summer long.

If you already have big plans for your summer, such as a family vacation, include those on your list. For the most part, though, come up with small, achievable activities, such as a rainy day movie marathon. Include both outdoor and indoor activities, as well as numerous wet ways to cool off. Keep in mind that most of these are meant to be inexpensive but fun.

1. Backyard Water Park

Break out any water toys you have, such as a Slip-n-Slide, water guns, water balloons, sprinkler, and kiddie pool. Use pool noodles, beach balls, and buckets to create games and other water fun. Use your imagination!

2. Frog-catching

Bring some nets to a frog pond and see who can catch the biggest jumper! Be sure to release them right away, though.

3. Go for a Rain Walk

Put on your rain gear and go on a rainy, puddle-splashing adventure.

4. Make Recycled Art

Let the kids raid your recyclables, arm them with a glue gun, and see who can build the best city, robot, or whatever they can think of.

5. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Make a list of items for your kids to find at the location of your choosing. Outside, choose things such as acorns, a rock that looks like an ear, specific flowers and leaves, etc. If it’s raining, have a scavenger hunt at the library by listing items, such as an author with the middle initial Z, a book about pterodactyls, etc.

6. See a Movie Under the Stars

During the summer, you can find movies shown at outdoor parks. Pack a picnic dinner and movie snacks to enjoy. Bring chairs for the grown-ups and let the kids snuggle in sleeping bags on the grass.

7. Find a Sprinkler Park

Sprinkler parks are popping up all over, and they’re a great way for kids to stay cool.

8. See Fireworks

Between the 4th of July, Old Home Days, and other local celebrations, it’s easy to catch a free fireworks show.

9. Pool Time

Public pools are a great place for your kids to have some fun and make some new friends (or meet up with some old ones). The best part is that they’re usually free for residents.

10. Go to Five Playgrounds

Instead of going to the same old one, find some new fun. Your kids will love the change.

11. Catch Fireflies

Break out the frog nets and catch some fireflies. Put them in a jar with holes punched in the top, and watch this natural lantern glow. Be sure to release them when you’re done.

12. Check Out the Library

Libraries have summer reading programs so kids can keep their reading skills sharp over the summer months. Many also have various activities and fun things for kids and families to do over the summer, all usually free.

13. Make Blanket Forts

The classic fort is always a rainy-day favorite.

14. Chalk Art

A big box of sidewalk chalk can entertain your kids for hours. Have your child lie on the driveway (on a not-too-hot day), and outline him or her in chalk. Then, have the child draw in the clothing and other features.

15. Visit a Museum

Museums are fully air-conditioned and ready for summer visitors. Check your local library for free or discounted passes before you head out.

16. Go to a Free Movie

Many movie theaters have summer programs that offer free or discounted movies for kids before the start of normal business hours. Some will even allow you to bring your own movie snacks or offer inexpensive ones.

17. Take a Hike

This can be anything from climbing a mountain (bring appropriate hiking gear) to a trek to the nearest ice cream stand for a hot-fudge sundae.

18. Plant a Garden

Kids love seeing something they planted grow, especially when they can eat it! If you don’t have room to plant a vegetable garden, put a few containers of soil on the deck for the kids to plant.

19. Make Icebox Cakes

Line a bread pan with plastic wrap, and then layer ice cream sandwiches, fruit, cookies, rainbow sprinkles, or other treats between layers of your favorite whipped topping. Freeze overnight, turn out onto a plate, slice, and enjoy.

20. Backyard Camping

Backyard camping is fun for all. Pitch a tent, and if you have a fire pit, let the kids cook up some tasty hot dogs and s’mores.

21. Make a Movie

Most computers and cell phones have some kind of editing software that you can use to make a movie. Help your kids come up with the script, and then help with the filming. This can be a simple afternoon project or a summer-long one, including lots of scenes, location shots, and special effects.

22. Have a Watermelon Seed-spitting Contest

Draw a line with sidewalk chalk in your driveway and see who can spit a seed the farthest. Or, draw large and small circles and have them go for accuracy.

23. Go on Picnics

Picnics are cheap and easy, and you don’t need a fancy picnic basket. Pack up their regular lunch and a blanket and find a spot at a local park where your kids can burn off some energy afterward.

24. Make Fairy Houses

Use only things from nature, such as acorns, bark, leaves, stones, etc. to create a house fit for a fairy king.

25. Play in a Stream

Find a small stream or creek and let the kids splash around. Make boats out of leaves and sticks and see whose sails down the stream the fastest. Have your kids wear water shoes or an old pair of sneakers.

A summer list means there’s always something fun to do, and they’ll look forward to checking off all the fun activities. Instead of coming up with “boredom busters,” a summer list is a positive game plan for a fun and exciting summer, even on a budget. Of course, if your kids are a little older consider helping them find a summer job and not only will they stay entertained but they’ll make money too!

Beat the Heat: 8 Ways to Save and Stay Cool in Summer | Libby Donovan

Beat The Heat: 8 Ways To Save And Stay Cool In Summer
July 4, 2019 by Libby Donovan

Summer’s coming and you know what that means: days so hot that chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs and cows giving evaporated milk. Maybe the fire ants are actually on fire.

Whatever the case, looking for ways to stay cool is a way of life during the dog days of summer. Temperatures can get dangerously high and it’s important to take steps to fight the heat and stay cool. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated, but stay away from alcohol or caffeinated drinks, which actually cause dehydration. Stay out of the sun as much as possible, but when you do have to go out, wear light clothing and a hat, and always slather on some sunscreen. During a heat wave, be sure to check on elderly friends or family to make sure they’re staying cool during the sweltering heat.

Keeping cool in the summer can be fun too, and best of all, you don’t need to break the bank to beat the heat.

1. Pool time!
If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, you don’t have to look far to cool off. The problem with having your own pool is that it can get a little repetitive by the end of the summer, so look for games to play in the water. You don’t have to buy expensive games. Make up your own games using beach balls and pool noodles. Don’t forget to share in the fun. Invite friends and family over for a picnic or backyard barbecue. Picnic and barbecue foods are generally inexpensive and, if you’re offering up a refreshing dip in the pool, your guests will be happy to join in on a potluck meal.

2. Make a Backyard Water Park
You don’t need a pool to have fun with water. With a little imagination, you can turn your backyard into a fun water park for the kids. Kids love running through the sprinkler with their friends. Kiddie pools are inexpensive, and young kids can play in them for hours with nothing more than some cups and balls. At the big box stores, you can usually find cheap water toys such as packs of water guns or water balloons. Toddlers can have a blast with a few plastic bowls of water and paintbrushes in the driveway.

3. Hit the Beach
No matter where you live, you’re probably not too far from a day trip to the ocean or a lake. Pack a cooler full of snacks, drinks (don’t forget water!), and your favorite sandwiches and head for the beach for the day. Bring a beach umbrella for shade and don’t forget to bring lots of sunscreen and a beach ball!

4. Visit a Museum
Museums are usually cool in the summer months, and most communities have them so you don’t necessarily have to drive into the city to visit one. A good place to start is your local library. They often offer passes or discounted admission to area museums. Universities often have museums, so if you live near one, check them out. Make an afternoon of it by packing a picnic lunch to have at an area park.

5. Go to a Movie
Movies don’t have to be expensive, as matinees are cheaper than evening shows. Many movie theaters offer summer movie specials where they show not-first-run movies for kids, usually in the morning or early afternoon when they’re not showing new movies. These movies are usually free or cost a dollar or two, and they may have discounted snacks or let you bring in your own from home. Check with area theaters to see if they offer this kind of program.

If you check area restaurants, you may be able to find meal deals and make a nice outing for the entire family.

6. Visit the Library
Your local library is a treasure trove of entertainment that goes well beyond reading books (although that’s entertainment enough!). Many libraries offer summer reading programs for children where they can earn prizes for reading books so they can keep up their reading skills over the summer. They also offer family nights, movie nights, crafts, author events, Lego clubs, and some even have play areas for the younger kids.

How about a library scavenger hunt? Many search lists can be found online, or you can make up your own. All you need is paper and pencil, or if your kids have cell phones or iPods, they can take pictures of the objects when they find them. Clues can be things such as:

Find a book by an author whose initials are C and B
Find a picture of a cow
Find a book about a car
Locate the section on world history
Find an author with the same first name as you
A library scavenger hunt is fun for everyone. Better yet, it’ll help your child learn more about the local library without realizing he or she is learning!

7. Take a Trip to the Mall
Going to the mall doesn’t have to be expensive. Walking around the mall window-shopping can be good exercise when it’s too hot to walk outside. By the time summer rolls around, stores are already stocking their fall fashions so you can get an idea of what’s going to be “in” when you start your back-to-school shopping.

Mall food can be on the expensive side for what you’re getting. Instead of a full meal, end your mall visit with some ice cream or frozen yogurt.

8. Find a Creek
Whether you call it a creek, a stream, or a brook, an area where there’s running water can provide lots of cooling entertainment for younger kids. They can splash around and use their imaginations. It’s a great place for finding little critters and learning more about their habitats. Show them how to make boats out of sticks, leaves, acorns, and pieces of bark, and have boat races down the stream. Water shoes or an old pair of sneakers will make splashing around in the water easier. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.

Everyone looks forward to some summertime fun, and too-hot temperatures outside don’t mean you have to stay cooped up in your house to save money. With a little thought, you can find fun things to do this summer without cutting into your savings.

A Message About Consent from our Friends at Wellspring

Are you the parent of a student who is entering college this Fall? Do  you work with college-bound youth?

If you’ve got 60 minutes to spare, Wellspring can help you understand the importance of and find the words to talk to college-bound  youth about relationships and consent.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We at Wellspring want to send our warm regards to all the parents and guardians of graduating seniors. This is an exciting time for your family. As you begin the post-graduation transition, we wanted to reach out let you know we are here to support you in any way we can. We know this is a busy time and there is so much you want to talk to your students about. We hope that also includes the topic of consent.

Consent is very simple and is something we use every day. Consent is a dialogue and conversation with another person asking that individual if it is okay to do something. This could be taking money, borrowing a car, or offering them something to eat.

Consent is necessary for all these things, just like with sexual activity.

We know that the process of ending sexual assault, specifically on college campuses, starts at home. When students reach college, they are set in their social norms and behaviors. This means that we need to teach them about consent BEFORE they step foot on campus their first year. They will bring with them positive behaviors and values regarding consent and help change campus cultures to be safer for all. As parents and family members, you have great power in shaping the conversation and instilling values your student can take with them for the rest of their life.

Consent is not an easy topic to discuss with anyone, especially our children, due to the connection to sexual activity and sexual assault. We at Wellspring are dedicated to help you bridge this discussion with your students. We have many resources available to you, either attached to this letter or through our website, including videos and handouts. We will be hosting an hour long workshop July 16th from 6pm-7pm at the Wellspring conference room, 480 Broadway, LL24. This workshop will cover what consent is, you will be able to hear from our advocates on best practices to talk to your students about consent, and we will give you a chance to explore new ways to talk about consent with your students and hear from other parents. This is a great opportunity to learn and have more support in tackling this discussion.

 

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out at: ce1@wellspringcares.org or calling our office: 518-583-0280.

 

Best,
Kacey Griffin
Community Engagement Specialist
Wellspring

Men & Mental Health

The following info is brought to you courtesy of MVP Health Care and the Saratoga County Chamber. It is not an endorsement, but rather, a sharing of very important information that needs to be shared and talked about. 

 

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Men’s Health Week is June 10-16, 2019 – Raise your awareness … know what resources are out there … 

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When we talk about mental health, typically we talk in general terms—how to recognize signs of depression, and what to do if you or a family member needs help. But when we start talking about who deals with depression—namely, men—generalities aren’t enough.

The silent crisis

In an article in Psychology Today, Rob Whitley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, discusses how men and women experience many of the same mental disorders, but their willingness to talk about their feelings may be very different.

“This is one of the reasons that their symptoms may be very different. For example, some men with depression or an anxiety disorder hide their emotions and may appear to be angry or aggressive, while many women will express sadness. Some men may turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with their emotional issues. Sometimes mental health symptoms appear to be physical issues. For example, a racing heart, tightening chest, ongoing headaches, and digestive issues can be a sign of an emotional problem.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, warning signs for depression and other mental illnesses in men include:

  • Anger, irritability or aggressiveness.
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge.
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed.
  • A need for alcohol or drugs.
  • Sadness or hopelessness.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions.
  • Engaging in high-risk activities.
  • Ongoing headaches, digestive issues, or pain.
  • Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior.
  • Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life.

Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people.

Higher risk for suicide

 

 

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We know that one in four Americans experiences a mental health issue in their lifetime. What’s less commonly known is that of the 121 Americans who die by suicide every day, 93 of them are men, and many of them between the ages of 45 and 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High rates have been observed in veterans, young American Indians, and gay men.

 

Know the warning signs:

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts (like “I wish I wasn’t here”) but can become more overt and dangerous.
  • Increased alcohol and drug use.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family, and the community.
  • Dramatic mood swings.
  • Talking, writing, or thinking about death.
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior.

While women make more suicide attempts, using less lethal methods such as overdosing on medication, men are more likely to use a deadly firearm.

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And they’re less likely to tell anyone that they are struggling before taking actions that are often seen as sudden and unexpected.

Suffering in silence

Evidence suggests that men are significantly less likely to use mental health services in response to a mental health issue in comparison with women, says Whitley. “Men who are suicidal or have substance abuse problems are much more likely to suffer in silence, especially minority men. This is often attributed to stubbornness in men, rooted in traditional American notions of masculinity that emphasize ‘true grit’ doggedness. However, another explanation is that formal mental health services are not finely attuned to men’s needs, especially minority men. Indeed, these services tend to emphasize medication or talk therapy. But some research suggests that men prefer action over words in the face of stressful situations.”

More and more men are creating “man caves” and “men’s sheds,” which are physical spaces where isolated and lonely men can gather together for practical activities such as woodwork and repairs, while receiving valuable peer-support in the process.

Stop the stigma

As a culture, we must get past the notion that mental illness, and talking about depression, implies weakness. “When we show vulnerability, we are actually showing strength,” says Dennis Gillen in an essay for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Gillen lost two brothers to suicide.

“Men need to focus on forming some really tight connections with each other. Once those are in place, we need to get comfortable sharing real life situations, knowing full well that two (or more) brains are better than one.” Gillen has gotten involved in a faith-based, men’s-only group that meets every Friday. “We in the group have grown together to a place where we are quite comfortable admitting to each other when we’re screw ups, or when we’re worried about something.”

He also suggests keeping things light. “One thing I’m thinking about doing is hosting a men’s only comedy night with a mental health theme. Laughter helps people feel relaxed. Maybe if we guys can sit around, talk about feelings–I know, a lot of us hate that word—in a light way, it can help us become more comfortable opening up.”

Resources

 

  1. If you think you or a loved-one may be experiencing signs of a mental illness, visit mhascreening.orgto take a free, quick, and confidential screen for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, and/or alcohol or substance use problems.

 

  1. Mental health tools designed specifically for men are becoming more common, such as ManTherapy.org, which uses humor and science to reach men and help prevent suicide. Read more about the project here.

 

3.    If you or someone you know needs help now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911

 

 

 

The Blessing of the Hot Dogs!

It never gets old when people think of us. We are tremendously blessed to be a part of a caring and supportive community in which our friends, neighbors, and even strangers lend a hand to ensure the success and vitality of our programming. Check out this great story in the Post Star about one of our latest blessings!

 

https://poststar.com/news/local/contest-hobbyist-wins-hot-dogs-for-kids/article_a6ea5b60-152e-5523-ae47-2de8c5be199c.html

Guest Article by Jim McKinley

Financial Planning As A Veteran: Tips For Seniors Who Have Served

by Jim McKinley

Photo via Unsplash

Financial planning is an important aspect of getting older, and for veterans, it can be complicated. There are so many things to consider, such as living arrangements and healthcare, and being a veteran can affect everything you do. As a senior, you want to think about planning ahead so your family won’t have any financial burdens after you’re gone, and while this can be a difficult step, it’s a necessary one for most older adults. Things like a will, health or life insurance policies, and burial insurance are all extremely beneficial for veterans who are making plans for end-of-life arrangements.

Talking to your family about these plans can be hard; no one likes to think about leaving the people they love. However, it’s crucial to have a conversation about your wishes and about how they can maintain good financial health after you’re gone, especially if you have veteran’s benefits or want to be laid to rest in a particular spot as a result of your military service.

Burial insurance

Burial insurance is one of the best ways to ensure that your loved ones won’t have to make any sacrifices after you’re gone. Not only does it help cover the cost of your final arrangements, it can also help pay for medical bills and other outstanding debts. Just make sure when you’re purchasing a policy that you know how much you’ll need and have an estimate of your final wishes on hand. Keep in mind that you’ll need someone you trust to handle the arrangements, and that they’ll need access to any important paperwork.

Have a talk

It can be extremely difficult to think about our own mortality and to share it with the people we love; it can bring about feelings of grief or sadness for both of you. However, it’s important to have a conversation with the ones you care about when it comes to your last wishes and how you want them to be carried out. Not only will this give you both peace of mind, it will help to ensure there are no issues within the family in regards to how your estate is divided up or where you are laid to rest.

Understand your military benefits

Retirement and disability benefits are extremely helpful for seniors, but they can be a bit complicated to understand when it comes to the military. Talk to someone who can help you figure out how to make the most of your government benefits, especially if you are about to retire and will be changing over to a different healthcare plan with out-of-pocket expenses. Knowing what to plan for and how much to save will help to avoid any nasty surprises down the road.

Think about long-term care

Long-term care or nursing homes can be expensive, and many healthcare plans don’t cover hospital stays over a certain amount of days. When you’re planning for the future, it’s important to think about all the possibilities, not just the positive ones. Many seniors need care toward the end of their life that a family member just can’t provide, so it’s important to start a savings account that will help you pay for those needs.

Financial planning as a veteran can be challenging, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Talk to an adviser who can assist you in making the right decisions for your needs so you’ll be well prepared for the coming years. With a good plan, you can ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of.

 

Jim is a retired banker who started Money with Jim to help folks “make the most of their hard-earned money.” 

Contact Jim at: 
moneywithjim.org
jim_mckinley@moneywithjim.org

 

A May Day Relfection

Lace umbrellas, wreaths and floral arrangements, baskets and poles with colorful ribbons, dancing and ritualistic fires, marches, strikes and riots – how do these all come together as a single holiday in the Northern Hemisphere?

As May Day, of course!

There’s no point in regurgitating the same information that the below posted articles explain – you can read all about the history of this storied holiday.

There is, however, a point in seeking some sort of reconciliation of the beautiful ancient celebration and the sometimes-violent industrial protests. Especially if we want to gain anything from the observation of this holiday.

Respect. Honor. Dignity. Gratitude.

Like the ancient Celts we can choose to recognize and honor the longer days of Summer. We can choose to show respect and admiration for the natural forces of the planet. We can choose to look forward, with eager and open hearts, to the hope of a fruitful planting season that provides us with sustenance and strength. In our modern society, we can choose to show respect and reverence for our shared home by educating ourselves and our children about the importance of taking care of the planet, preserving forests, and cleaning the air and waterways that sustain life.

We can celebrate May Day by also recognizing the sacrifices made by strikers, marchers, and protesters who literally put their lives on the line to demand a standard of safety and dignity for all workers. We can be thankful that, even if we don’t love our jobs, we are protected from abuse and degradation because of the work done by those who came before us. We can educate ourselves about the practices and human rights records of the companies we support, and maybe, if necessary, make switches to other brands if we don’t find ourselves agreeing with employee treatment – or ecological treatment for that matter.

It’s one day with two storied, and in their own rights, beautiful traditions. From both origin stories we can glean a lesson about respect for our planet and each other; honor of the fragility and sacred nature of Earth, and of those who fought the fight for us; dignity that is inherent in all the natural world, including human beings; and gratitude for the ways we benefit and thrive off the fruits of the planet and the fruits of others’ labor.

Read about May Day’s History:
CNN
READER’S DIGEST
HISTORY

 

 

ZPL 4/29/19

 

 

 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is almost upon us, and it’s the nationally recognized
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (#SAAM) …

Too often we try to avoid discussing topics like this because they’re too painful, too inappropriate, etc., but we’re only hurting ourselves and future generations in doing so. So, let’s talk. Let’s have an honest, maybe awkward and uncomfortable, but sincere dialogue about #consent, #power, #respect, #dignity, and a way to end rape culture and replace it with a #cultureofconsent. We’re going to be sharing some info and events about what our friends at Planned Parenthood are doing to raise awareness.

 

Check out this handout for great info and talking points: Consent Handout_508_0

Click here for the history of SAAM! 

Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson:
Facebook
Glens Falls/QBY Website