Looking for Non-Candy Valentines Gifts for the Kids? #Ideas

Looking for fun Valentines Day toys and games for the kiddos? Since we are stuck indoors (too cold to be outside for long, and the pandemic is keeping us from being out and about), you’ll want to have boredom busters. Not to mention, no way you’d want to fill the kids up with candy when they can’t burn off all the sugar, haha. CHeck out these fun finds, you are sure to find something you will love.

ARTS & CRAFTS

iLY Pura Loom Bracelet Maker from WeCool Toys

Making beautiful friendship bracelets doesn’t have to be difficult! The new iLY Pura Loom Bracelet Maker by Activity Kings is the easiest way to make the most beautiful and trendy friendship bracelets! Learn different techniques to make a variety of textured and colorful bracelets for you and your friends! Create colorful twisted designs with beads, charms & more! It’s easy to create, wear, and share with your BFF! The combinations are endless, the only limit is your imagination! Ages 6+, MSRP $19.99.

STEM/SCREEN FREE EDUCATION

Smarty PAD™

The new Smarty PAD™ interactive LED tablet gives preschoolers and kindergarteners a new way to play and learn with 12 smart games and age-appropriate curriculum. Motion sensors give the lightweight tablet an innovative spin, encouraging unique sensory play. Smarty PAD™ speaks in both English and Spanish as kids play with colors, patterns, ABCs, and numbers up to 25. Smarty PAD™ teaches phonics, language, early math, and beginning coding, nurturing small motor development and critical thinking. Positive reinforcement, helpful encouragement, and over 100 different responses keep kids engaged every time they play. Ideal for kids 3 to 6 years old. MSRP: $34.99.

Smarty JOJO™

The Smarty JOJO™ is a super-charged interactive airplane that gets high-energy preschoolers learning on the go. Motion sensors encourage physical activity while JOJO teaches directions, shapes, colors and opposites. JOJO’s kidspeak conversation also nurtures emotional intelligence, calling out feelings and helping kids recognize their own emotions. Bi-lingual JOJO speaks in English or Spanish. The newest SMART technology enables JOJO to identify colors. “Can you find something blue?” “Yes, you can!” Over 150 random actions and reactions make the experience different every time a child plays!  Ideal for kids 2 to 4 years old and $24.99.

Smarty FLUTTER™

Flycatcher’s Smarty FLUTTER™ learning toy teaches preschoolers on-the-go as they fly through a room or a yard. Smart Technology identifies colors, and kidspeak conversation calls out feelings, helping kids recognize their own emotions. Fun missions teach right and left directions, shapes, and opposites. Motion sensors encourage active physical play. Over 150 random actions and reactions make the experience different every time a child plays. Smarty Flutter™ also speaks in both English and Spanish. Ideal for kids 2 to 4 years old and $24.99.

STRESS FREE TACTILE FUN

Insta Studio Hands-Free Video Station from WeCool Toys

The new Insta Studio by WeCool Toys has everything one needs to shoot their very own viral videos. Equipped with an adjustable base and rotating head to shoot at the best angle possible, this device allows kids of all ages to shoot viral videos hands free! Kids can use their Insta Studio to shoot all types of videos. From cooking, crafting, and sliming, children have the freedom to create fun videos. Includes fun and trendy backgrounds, mixing tools, various slimy compounds, and sparkly mix ins! The only limit is your imagination. $19.99, 4 and up.

Angry Putty from Crazy Aaron’s

Turn your frustration into fun! Angry Putty™ features a unique formula that builds resistance as you play. This amazing putty actually absorbs your tension— getting tenser and tenser with each stretch—to leave you feeling happy and relaxed. The line includes three skus’, Hot Head, Stress Ball, and Drama Queen.

scenty putty

Holiday SCENTsory from Crazy Aaron’s

Cozy up with these four delectable holiday scents featuring fun SCENTsory texture that will joy to anyone’s world. The line includes two skus’, 4” Jingle and 4” North Pole. MSRP $3.50

Vibes SCENTsory Putty from Crazy Aaron’s

Vibes SCENTsory® putty is great for gamers, all-night study sessions, and anyone who is craving a little more intensity from their SCENTsory® experience. This collection features bright colors and bold scents that are perfect for powering up. The line includes Jam Session, Flower Power, Crunch Time.

Mixed by Me kits from Crazy Aaron’s

Mix up your very own custom-colored Thinking Putty! Each kit includes 5 tins of clear putty, 3 color concentrates, 3 special effects, and an instructional mat—everything you’ll need to make cool colors that are all your own! You can even use the included colored pencils to decorate your tins to match. Two sets to choose from, Holographic and Glow in the Dark.

SUSTAINABILITY

shore buddies

Shore Buddies Plush Line

Shore Buddies stuffed animals collection are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The bottles are collected and sorted by recyclable collectors before cleaned and shredded into plastic flakes. Some of these flakes are used for the Shore Buddies’ stuffing, others get melted and turned into polyester yarn for the soft outside. It takes six plastic bottles to make one 12″ stuffed animal and the line features a fun array of characters including Sammy the Seal, Stephen Seagull, Shelly the Sea Turtle, Emma the Whale and Finn the Dolphin. Each of the five Shore Buddies also has its own unique authentic sound when pressed. All ages MSRP 19.95

Cargo Plane from Green Toys

All systems go! The Green Toys™ Cargo Plane is filled with freight and ready to take flight! This bright yellow and blue flier features a three-wheel design and handle on the body, so little pilots can easily go from taxiing on the ground to soaring in the sky on an eco-friendly adventure. Access the spacious cargo hold through a flip-down door that doubles as a ramp, perfect for loading up the included Green Toys™ Mini Car or anything else imaginations want to stow away. Great for indoor and outdoor play, the super-safe design has no metal axels or exterior paints or coatings. Made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic with no BPA, phthalates, or PVC. Packaged with recycled and recyclable materials printed with eco-friendly inks. For ages 3 and up. MSRP $19.99.

Green Toys™ Disney Baby® Mickey Mouse Stacker

The Green Toys™ Disney Baby® Mickey Mouse Stacker takes a classic toy and makes it safer and more playful, with no sharp edges, small parts, or interlocking pieces that can pinch fingers and an adorable Mickey Mouse-themed topper and base. The seven brightly colored red, blue, and yellow nesting pieces stack easily from large to small, while also allowing children to use their imagination and stack in any order. This eliminates frustration when they’re little, and leaves room for learning and improvement as they grow. The set is designed with no center post, making it a perfect first stacking toy for babies. With this toy, babies and toddlers can gain practice in important developmental areas, including but not limited to motor skills, coordination, categorization and sorting, problem solving, spatial reasoning, and color identification. Like all Green Toys™ Disney Baby® products, the Mickey Mouse Stacker meets FDA standards for food contact and is dishwasher safe, making it safe for teething babies to put in their mouths. It’s made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic and free from external coatings, eliminating the fear of toxins and lead paint. No BPA, phthalates, or PVC. Packaged using only recycled and recyclable materials printed with environmentally responsible inks. Recommended for ages 6 months and up.

ACTIVE PLAY

Mobo Explorer Balance Bike

With the Mobo Explorer Balance Bike kids can experience the thrill of riding California freestyle with the security of having two feet on the ground. As your child masters the use of the explorer you will see them go from small steps to riding with ease. With its multiple safety pads and extended frame your child will be extra safe while learning. The cushioned premium seat accommodates children 2-6 years old. The included two seat posts accommodate most kid sizes! As your child builds strength, balance and confidence they’ll have a blast using the integrated footrest to roll in style. With never-flat tires your child will have many years of maintenance free fun. The sturdy frame and optimized geometry makes it stable and easy to handle. A child’s first bike encourages their sense of freedom, curiosity and wonder. Let them experience that feeling in style and safety with the Mobo Explorer Balance Bike. MSRP $89.00.

BOOKS

Guion the Lion

Guion The Lion is a new children’s book that celebrates the differences in all children through a colorful and exciting journey. The book, which follows the adventures of an imaginative little lion who sees things a little differently from his friends, was penned by mother, entrepreneur and author Rebecca Wilson Macsovits and inspired by her three children including Guion, her oldest son who also has Down syndrome. Full of whimsical delights, discoveries and beautiful watercolor illustrations, this book teaches children that appreciating individual differences and embracing others’ ideas can lead to unimaginable adventures and endless fun. Guion The Lion is available now via Amazon and online at www.Guionthelion.com. MSRP $17.99.

diverse dolls

DOLLS

I’M A GIRLY

I’M A GIRLY fashion dolls encourage children to play creatively and help them find their very own style. All dolls are co-designed by the brand’s own kid design team, KIDS4KIDS. The design panel, made up of 8 to 14-year-old boys and girls, tells the brand exactly how the products should look. Kids can customize a doll just for them with more than 150 accessories, interchangeable wigs in many colors, and dolls with different skin tones. I’M A GIRLY fashion dolls are made of 100% high-quality vinyl. The hair can be styled and combed in various ways, thanks to the procurement of first-class Kanekalon. Kanekalon is a material used for the production of adult wigs. For the first time, one can even cut the doll’s hair and simply exchange the wig afterwards. The packaging is made of recyclable materials and can be used as well to store the fashion doll or for crafting.

RELATIONSHIP GAMES

Fog of Love – from Hush Hush Projects

Learn How To Play Here

Playing Fog of Love is like starring in a romantic comedy, it’s a rollercoaster ride of awkward situations, laugh out loud moments and difficult compromises you have to make. Two players will create and play two vivid characters who meet, fall in love and face the challenge of making an unusual relationship work. Just like in a real relationship, you each might want different things. Do you stay true to yourself, or do what your partner wants for the good of the relationship? You can even decide to break their heart. There’s no guarantee it will end happily ever after, but you will always get a story full of surprises that will make you smile. Available at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Barnes & Noble. Learn how to play Here. Suitable for players ages 18 and up, MSRP: $50.

INTERGENERATIONAL GAMES/RELATIONSHIP GAMES

What’s Wrong with Grown-Ups? – from Authentic Agility Games

Learn How To Play Here

How often have you wished that your teen would stop playing video games, sending friends videos you can only hope are appropriate, and going out, and instead, share what they’re thinking… with you? What’s Wrong with Grown-Ups?, a new intergenerational card game from Authentic Agility Games, can help. A fun way to engage kids of all ages, the 500-question card game creates an open two-way dialog that allows you to make new connections and deepen your bond. They may think you’re cool — for a few minutes. Authentic Agility Games donates a portion of proceeds from your purchase to organizations advancing education and entrepreneurship. Available now on Amazon. MSRP: $24.99, all ages.

STRATEGY GAMES

Sagrada – from Floodgate Games

Click Here

Learn How To Play Here

As a skilled artisan, you will use tools-of-the-trade and careful planning to construct a stained glass window masterpiece in the Sagrada Familia. Players will take turns drafting glass pieces, represented by dice; carefully choosing where to place each one in their window. Windows have unique color and shade requirements, and similar dice may never be adjacent so placing each die is more challenging than the last. Fortunately, you’ll have just the right tools to help you through. Gain prestige by adapting to the preferences of your fickle admirers, and of course, by adding your own artistic flair while completing your glass masterpiece in Sagrada. Available now at Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, Hobby Game Stores. Suitable for players ages 6 and up, MSRP $39.95

Holi: Festival of Colors – from Floodgate Games

Every spring, celebrants gather to spread color and cheer during one of India’s most vibrant festivals. Move around the festival grounds throwing colored “gulaal” powder onto your friends and the crowd. Aim higher and let your color fall from above on as many people as you can. For Holi is a time for playful mischief and a little friendly rivalry is just what the festival calls for… Playing Holi In Holi [hoh-lee], players gain joy by throwing color on the boards (higher levels are worth more points), getting color on others, and from collecting sweets. Play your color cards cleverly, climb up at the right time, and spread the most joy! Available, November 10, 2020 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Hobby Game Stores. Suitable for players ages 13 and up. MSRP $39.95

Click Here

Prisma Arena – from Hub Games

Begin your training as a Guardian of Hope in this fun, tactical, all-ages game of over-the-top arena combat. Spar alongside Mo’kon – friendly creatures that embody emotions. As you train, customize your hero with unique powers and costumes that reflect YOUR unique personality and play-style. Suitable for players ages 10 and up. MSRP: $40.00

MEMORY GAMES

Flip Over Frog – from Hub Games

Help your brightly colored frogs take control of your tiny corner of the rainforest. Pay attention and cleverly place your frog tiles, causing those around you to flip face down OR face up. When all squares are occupied, the game ends and the player with the most face-up frogs is the winner. Suitable for all ages, Flip Over Frog packs a surprisingly tactical area control game into a small portable box. Suitable for players ages 6 and up. MSRP: $15.00 alentin

Sports Drinks For Kids/ Hydrate Without Chemicals

Looking for an alternative to Pedialyte that is more natural but has all the benefits? Look no further. Kinderlyte gives you multiple options for your child (and several flavors to choose from) that they will enjoy. No syrup-y aftertaste, these are flavors your kids will enjoy. There is also individual powder packs that make it easy to keep them on the go in case you need them.

After the founder made a 2am trip to the store for his sick daughter only to find that the Oral Electrolyte Solution he had purchased was full of artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors that are known to influence behavioral and health issues, he decided to create Kinderfarms. This is a company dedicated to values-driven alternatives that better serve the needs and values of today’s healthy families.

At Kinderfarms, it all starts on a farm, where healthy hydration begins with real, natural ingredients! Kinderlyte is the first 100% natural and Non-GMO oral electrolyte solution (OES). NO artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors or preservatives. Kinderlyte is Non-GMO Project Verified, Vegan, Gluten Free and Kosher. With Kinderlyte, you get more electrolytes with no artificial ingredients like Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Yellow 6, Blue 1 or Red 40.

 Kinderlyte is different. Doctors & Dieticians worked to formulate a true OES with more electrolytes, potassium & zinc than the leading brand. Unlike Sports drinks, OES’s use dextrose exclusively to carry electrolytes directly to the bloodstream for rapid absorption. Any product containing juice, coconut water or honey will be absorbed more slowly and is not a true OES. Kinderlyte hydration drinks work quickly when you or your loved ones need it most.

Kinderlyte is a 100% natural oral electrolyte solution. We use non-gmo dextrose instead of fructose so it’s delivered direct to the bloodstream for rapid hydration. This helps to rehydrate and replenish key nutrients due to dehydration resulting from illnesses and colds in both children and adults alike.

Kinderlyte can be used for rapid rehydration & rehydration therapy for people of any age! More than 90% of people are dehydrated, keep your eye out for symptoms of dehydration in adults, the elderly and kids. These include dry skin, dry mouth and muscle cramps. Kinderlyte’s direct rehydration to the bloodstream makes it effective, it works fast to address dehydration for any reason including sports, hangover, travel, stomach virus, infant diarrhea, toddler vomiting and more!

Liquid and powder electrolyte solutions  – Kinderlyte liquids and hydration powders offer natural and effective rehydration, without artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. We recommend keeping at least two bottles of electrolyte solution at home and two boxes of the electrolyte powder in your (or your kids’) favorite flavors on hand for instant hydration on the go.

Drinks and powders with high levels of electrolytes like Kinderlyte meet the World Health Organization’s requirements and can help relieve symptoms associated with virus-related mild to moderate dehydration in both adults and kids. Kinderlyte’s oral electrolyte solutions are designed specifically for rehydration with the optimal balance of glucose and electrolytes. Kinderlyte products are available at Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens and other retailers nationwide.

PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism

“PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism,” premieres on October 9. The half-hour program will feature candid and authentic conversations between kids and their parents about race and racial justice-related topics in an age-appropriate way and offer viewers ideas to build on as they continue these important conversations at home. The special will be hosted by Amanda Gorman, the writer, activist and first-ever Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S. 

As Gorman shares in the show, when something is confusing or uncomfortable, she likes to talk about it. Growing up, she would participate in daily family meetings, where the kids got to pick any topic they wanted to discuss, whatever was on their minds. It is that same spirit that moved Gorman, whose poetry often discusses race, to become involved in the timely production.

In addition to the frank, up-to-the-minute conversations on the subject, “PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism” will include relevant content from the popular PBS KIDS series Daniel Tiger’s NeighborhoodArthur and Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. Just following the special will be the premiere of a brand-new episode of the animated PBS KIDS series, Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum, featuring Harriet Tubman as well as an Arthur short created “in memory of civil rights legend John Lewis,” as noted on-screen.

PBS KIDS announced a new special, “PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism,” premiering October 9. The half-hour program will feature authentic conversations between real children and their parents, and will include content from PBS KIDS series DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOODARTHUR and XAVIER RIDDLE AND THE SECRET MUSEUM. The show will feature kids and their parents talking about race and racial justice-related topics in an age-appropriate way, such as noticing differences in race, understanding what racism can look like, and embracing the role we all have to play in standing up for ourselves and each other — offering viewers ideas to build on as they continue these important conversations at home.

The special will debut as part of PBS KIDS Family Night on the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, and will also be available on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings), and streaming on pbskids.org, the PBS KIDS Video app and on PBS KIDS’ FacebookYouTube, and Instagram.

“PBS KIDS believes kids are capable of understanding and talking through tough, but important issues with the adults in their lives – something that has been core to our mission for the last 50 years,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS. “Through the PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism special, our goal is to support parents in talking with their children about race, anti-Black racism in our country, and how to be actively anti-racist. Parents have increasingly asked us for these resources, and we hope that this special will provide a helpful starting point in whatever way they choose to have these conversations with their children.”

PBS KIDS Talk About,” previously an online-only video series, models authentic and practical parent-child conversations that reflect PBS KIDS’ core values of kindness and curiosity, and has included real families addressing topics such as feelings and emotions, relationships and family, curiosity and wonder, bravery and courage, and self-confidence and determination.

To support this new offering, PBS KIDS provides a variety of resources to help parents talk to young children about race and racism. This resource hub on PBS KIDS for Parents includes articles, a webinar, booklists, links to programming, and more tips and resources to help parents have meaningful conversations with young children about race, racism, and being anti-racist.

Produced by Crossroads Productions for PBS, the special was developed in consultation with Dr. Aisha White (Director, The P.R.I.D.E Program (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education)), Dr. Renée Wilson-Simmons (Executive Director, ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Awareness Foundation), and Dr. Dana Winters (Director of Simple Interactions and Academic Programs; Assistant Professor of Child and Family Studies, Fred Rogers Center). The “PBS KIDS Talk About” series and the “PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism” special were created with major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Avoid the “Covid Slide”- Keep Your Kids Learning While Having Fun!

If you are like me, you are willing to try ANYTHING to keep your kids active and learning over the summer- not to mention, really, since Covid became part of our existence. It’s hard when they aren’t in school, and many of us don’t know what to do to keep them from losing knowledge (or from wanting to be in front of the TV and video games all day, ugh). Here are a few DIY kits we’ve really loved.

Solar-Powered Rovers

Click Here for more info and to buy for your kids!

Want to build fun solar-powered vehicles and devices that move using electricity generated directly from sunlight? With this kit, you can construct five motorized models. Build three types of solar cars, a solar fan, and a solar robot model. Conduct science experiments with each model to learn about gear ratios, solar cells, and more. The ultralight materials, including strong bamboo rods, make your models speedy and durable. A modular gearing system lets you test out three different gear ratios. Experiment with a solar cell, electric motor, gears, and ultralight materials. Build five different solar-powered models. Learn about how solar cells work and  about the energy from the sun. Ages 8+ MSRP: $19.95.

Creatto

Click Here for more info and to buy for your kids!

With CREATTO, you can design and construct illuminated, three-dimensional creations that literally light up your life! The kit includes flexible yet durable interlocking plastic tiles and a string of LED lights that you can piece together to make animals, decorations, or your own custom creations. Each set includes an illustrated manual with easy, step-by-step instructions for multiple designs, but the building possibilities are nearly limitless using your imagination. Creatto is available in 3 fun sizes: mini, medi, and maxi. Kids can choose to build: Moonlight Elephant Safari: Ages 6+ MSRP: $9.95; Magical Moose & Forest Friends: Ages 6+ MSRP: $9.95; Starlight Kitty & Cutie Crew: Ages 8+ MSRP: $19.95; Shimmer Shark & Ocean Pals: Ages 9+ MSRP: $29.95; Sparkle Unicorn & Friends: Ages 9+ MSRP: $29.95.

Virtual Summer Camp Purpose-Built for Special Needs Kids

BuddEConnect Summer Camp offers kids with special needs an opportunity to enjoy some summer fun!
July 15th, 2020 (Chester, NJ) – Camp BuddEConnect (BuddEConnect.org) launched late last month to provide a safe and healthy way for children to engage with one another. The pandemic had shut down and constrained many of the in-person programs upon which these communities depend. Camp BuddEConnect offers kids with special needs the opportunity for social interaction, physical activity, personal connection and fun directly from their homes.

Camp BuddEConnect offers:

  • 5 one-week sessions; campers can apply for participation in any number of weeks
  • July 20th – July 31st
  • 5 days/week (Monday-Friday)
  • 2 to 3 hours/day starting at 2 pm EDT
  • About 40 campers/week, pre-school and older
  • Counselor/Staff to Camper ratio is approximately 3:4
  • Campers from around the world are encouraged to apply*

Camp BuddEConnect activities span a wide range of interests each day including arts and crafts, science experiments, physical activities, music, story time and entertainment “assemblies” complete with allergy-friendly camp snacks. To maximize each camper’s experience, a special Camp BuddEConnect Support Package, which includes allergy-friendly snacks, art supplies and other surprises, is provided each week a camper participates in the program. These Support Packages can be picked up locally in northern NJ or shipped free-of-charge to non-local participants.

Camp BuddEConnect costs $25 per camper, per week. Full scholarships for up to 5 weeks are available to campers upon request. Inability to pay will not be an impediment to participation. Camp applications are available here.

Founding Donors are encouraged to help support BuddEConnect, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations can be made via PayPal by clicking here.

BuddEConnect was formed by the student leaders of the West Morris Soccer Club TOPSoccer Program using Zoom to recreate the sense of community and engagement that was lost when the one to one in person TOPSoccer sessions were shut down due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home and social distancing mandates. The weekly TOPSoccer sessions became TOPZoom sessions starting on April 11, 2020, and enabled the student volunteers to continue to connect with the large group of special needs children that were now missing the activities and interactions that were central to happy, fun interactions in everyday life.

With the end of the school year approaching and uncertainty about camps and other in-person activities reopening, student leaders recognized that the summer might not look that sunny for the TOPSoccer/TOPZoom athletes and other special needs children outside of our geographic reach. They were emboldened to use the experience gained from TOPZoom to extend the program into a full-blown special needs summer camp over Zoom, with fun, connection and joy as the main purposes.  A team of student leaders, camp directors, and pro-bono adult advisors collaborated to create Camp BuddEConnect.

Doon Wintz, Camp BuddEConnect’s founding advisor and owner of three natural food companies based in New Jersey, was more than impressed by the quality of the students’ work and level of commitment, noting, “What these kids have built would make any entrepreneur or not-for-profit professional simultaneously proud, envious and humble. They are living Booker T. Washington’s sage advice: ‘If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.’”

“COVID-19 has resulted in schools and sport teams shutting down around the world. I would like to congratulate West Morris SC TOPSoccer / Camp BuddEConnect for extending the ability of our athletes to learn and stay engaged in their sporting activities during the summer months,” said Tom Condone, US Youth Soccer Director of Grassroots & Player Development.

About BuddEConnect
BuddEConnect is a project of West Morris Soccer Club, a 501(c)(3) community organization out of Mendham/Chester, NJ.  BuddEConnect is dedicated to providing an inclusive, engaging and positive environment for children with special needs. This concept originates from TOPZoom, a virtual alternative to special needs activity-based programs. TOPZoom was established to replicate the social interaction, physical activity, and personal connection provided by TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), which was interrupted by COVID-19 social distancing mandates. The creation of TOPZoom has exceeded expectations and proved that necessity is the mother of invention. BuddEConnect has shown that fun and community need not be limited by circumstance or geography and that building a new, broader and lasting community of special needs children is achievable.

The high school and college student leaders working on Camp BuddEConnect and TOPZoom are supported by pro-bono adult advisers with expertise in a wide range of disciplines and are creating a lasting legacy of service and excellence.

Beyond TOPZoom and Camp BuddEConnect, BuddEConnect and West Morris Soccer Club are committed to helping other organizations adopt and implement the types of programs and techniques utilizing the training resources they have developed.  US Youth Soccer intends to make these tools available to TOPSoccer programs throughout the nation later this year.

*Camp BuddEConnect Support Packages can only be shipped to participants in the Continental United States. Participants outside the Continental United States will be required to provide their own camp supplies. The supplies list will be published in advance of the camp week.

LEARN TO DRAW THE MIGHTY T-REX AT FREE ONLINE CLASS WITH PALEOARTIST

This Wed., March 25th at 4 p.m., log onto Field Station: Dinosaurs’ Facebook page @Jerseysaurus for a free online lesson on how to draw The T-Rex with Paleoartist Chris DiPiazza.  Parents can supplement their children’s science and art assignments live or anytime later in March to supplement their children’s science and art assignments.

All children in the NYC-metro area who participate in the live or replay lesson can post a drawing in the comments of the video to be entered in a drawing for a family four pack of tickets valid on July 11th where you can meet the artist in person at the Field Station: Dinosaurs outdoor science expedition.  All children in the Derby, KS area will be entered to win a family four-pack of one-day passes to the Derby, KS location.

WHO: 

Chris DiPiazza, Paleoartist, Science Teacher, ZooKeeper, and creator of Prehistoric Beast of the Week will be hosting a live art class on how to draw The Mighty T-Rex.

All children who take the class can upload their T-Rex artwork into the video comments for a chance to win a family four pack of tickets to Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia for July 11th.

For those who enter the contest who live in Kansas, you can win a family four-pack of one-day pass admission to the Derby, KS location.

Deadline to enter is Sun. March 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

WHERE:

Sign up for the free class on Field Station: Dinosaurs’ Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/s/live-video-learn-to-draw-the-m/1090155828019577/

WHEN:

Chris DiPiazza’s virtual art class will begin at 4 p.m. on Wed., March 25th.

WHAT ELSE:           

Chris DiPiazza will be kicking off Field Station: Dinosaurs’ Super Stars of Science series at the park in Leonia, NJ on Sun. July 11th.  He was recently chosen by the Academy of Natural Sciences to produce a life-sized reconstruction of the Hadrosaurus foulkii, the New Jersey state dinosaur, to accompany their mounted skeleton.

How to Teach Your Kids About Money

When it comes to raising your kids, the biggest goal of yours as a parent is to make sure that they are set up for success later in life. One thing that you have to do as a parent to help get them ready for life is to teach them about money. Money can be a complex topic to introduce to your child as there are a lot of things that they need to know that will go over their heads as children. 

Of course, you, as a parent, may wonder, “Will the Iraqi dinar revalue,” if you have foreign currency investments, but kids will not understand all that goes into this right now, so just teach them the basics.

Teaching your kids about money, whether your currency is the United States dollar or the Iraqi dinar, does not have to be a difficult task. It can be fun and interesting for them. Below are some easy ways, that are also fun for your kids, that can teach them all they need to know about money starting out.

Get a traditional piggy bank

Kids love to have their own piggy bank that they can put their money into. This is an easy way for them to start learning how to save money and put it away so it does not get spent on unnecessary things. You can give them a weekly allowance so they learn to put it away, and when they finally get to open their bank and see all the money they were able to save, they will be excited to continue doing it.

Use board games to learn about money

Break out the old traditional games that have fake money as part of the game. Games like Monopoly or Life cause you to think through investments and make sure you save money so you can win the game, and really not even realize that you are doing it. These games even go beyond just learning how to save money or wise investments. They can teache your kids about important life skills like buying houses or property, renting out a property for a profit, and putting aside money to get ready for retirement.

Use technology to your advantage

In this day and age, the younger generation is all about technology and being in front of a screen every chance that they get. The good news for you as a parent is that you can use this to your advantage. There are several YouTube channels that have been created specifically to teach your child about money. If your kid is watching TV or getting on YouTube anyway, why not make it an educational time so they get entertainment while learning at the same time. It is a win for everybody!

Start playing bank or store with them

Kids learn best when they are able to play, have fun, and use their imagination. A great way to teach your kids about money is to get them a cash register with fake money and start playing store with them or bank with them. Playing something like this will exercise their imagination, it will teach them how to add up their money, and how to manage their money when they are shopping so they do not go over budget and have money left over.

Kids are competitive—start using competition

If you have multiple kids, a great way to encourage them to save their money up is by enticing them with a little bit of competition. One competition you can do is a saving competition. Set a time frame like a month or two and see who can save the most money at the end of the time. You as the parent can even get in on the fun and save a little bit along with them. Whoever saves the most money at the end of that time gets some type of prize or present as a reward. This shows your kids just how fun saving money really can be and that you can get a big payout for your efforts in the end.

The most important thing to teach your kids about money is that though it is important to save money and spend or invest it wisely, money is not everything. Money is merely a tool to get you where you want to be in life, but it should not be everything you work for.

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Activities for You and Your Kids

Looking after your kids is a full-time job that doesn’t end until you see them walking out the door for college. And, while they are time-consuming and the worst enemies of your budget, we know you love them more than anything else in this world. Although we know your children will love a room full of toys and visits to Disneyland, not all activities should be dictated by big money. 

There are plenty of ways to enjoy an entire day outdoors even when you’re on a limited budget. All you have to do is dress season-appropriate and get inspired by some of the activities we chose that will put a smile on all the family members’ faces. 

 

Outdoor painting

Who said kids can’t have fun without leaving the house? Painting is one of the most therapeutic activities for children and adults alike and has proven extremely beneficial in fighting depression, anxiety, and mild forms of autism. 

The key behind turning this simple activity into a fun day outdoors or indoors is to let your kids have full control of what they paint and where they paint. Hand them the colors and brushes and allow them to fully express their personality. 

Although the walls of your living room or their room are more appropriate, if you don’t want to display your kids’ mural art for everyone to see, you can choose other surfaces to paint. The barn, the garage or the attic are full of walls in desperate need of a childish makeover. And, if everything else fails, you can ask your offspring to paint on a wood board, an old door or a window frame, a sheet or an old piece of canvas. 

 

Gardening

Growing plants is a rewarding activity for the entire family. First, you’ll have all the help you want to plant and look after your seeds. Secondly, you’ll give your children the chance to become more responsible by looking after the plants, as well as spend some quality time outside, away from their phones and tablets.

But, what’s really amazing is that you will get to watch the entire growing process from seeds to fruits and provide organic fruits, veggies, and herbs for your family. You don’t even have to own a big backyard as you can plant in portable greenhouses, window boxes or small pots. 

If space is a problem, you can start by growing cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs like oregano, basil, parsley or rosemary. Chili peppers and flowers can also be easily grown indoors, in small pots. 

 

Shooting a crossbow

If you want your children to develop more tactical skills, you can start with fishing and learning to shoot a crossbow. At https://www.fisherpants.com/best-crossbow-target/ you will find a wide array of targets specifically designed for children and beginners, made of strong and reliable materials that won’t break easily. 

You can practice on these soft targets before trying out trees and, ultimately, switching crossbows for hunting guns. 

 

Visit a farm 

Most of the kids from the big cities don’t even know what they’re missing when it comes to the simple pleasures of life. Instead of having them binge-watching their favorite cartoons or spending hours on the Internet playing online games, why not take them for a real fun day outdoors?

Most small children love animals but won’t have a lot of opportunities to see real cows, kids, goats, bulls or llamas when they spend most of their lives between four walls. Plan a trip to the closest animal farm and watch them as they discover how to milk a cow, feed the chickens or simply play with bunnies. 

Animals also have a therapeutic effect on children and can teach them compassion, empathy, and even cure depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.