A NEW Summer Camp For Preschoolers In The City

Germantown Friends School’s summer camp for little ones now has TWO locations to choose from Read more

summer camp for preschoolers

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Hey, preschool parents! If you’re still looking to fill out a few summer weeks for your little one (or simply want a break for yourself at some point this summer), you’re in luck! You can still register for Germantown Friends School’s Junior Explorers Camp (for children ages 3 to 6), which is now offered on Main Campus in Germantown and at a NEW Center City location.

GFS recently opened a second location for its Early Childhood Program — a newly renovated space in the Curtis Center on Washington Square. It’s set up especially for preschool-aged children, and so it’s no surprise that the summer camp they’re offering there is so nicely designed for that age group.

The Junior Explorers camp is planned around the theme of — yes — exploring, and each week’s focus is different: One week will zero in on the natural world, one will be a deep dive into arts and crafts, one will concentrate on movement, and so forth. The camp runs for 6 weeks, from June 11-July 20. Later in the summer, GFS also offers an end-of-summer camp (August 20-31) for that same 3-to-6 crowd.

According to Camp Director Elliot Coates, the aim of all GFS camps is to help campers engage in new activities, make new friends, and experience the community around them. “The kids get exposure to different people and experiences,” he says, “and they also have the chance to learn about their own passions, opinions, and strengths.” In Junior Explorers Camp, this plays out through a whole bunch of fun — arts and music; hands-on experiments and interactive projects; daily outdoor run-around time; snacks, lunch, and picnics; activity blocks centered around the week’s theme; plus a little built-in quiet time for napping and re-energizing. (They are still little ones after all!) Like all of the camps at GFS, Junior Explorers is designed with the school’s Quaker values in mind, specifically touching on the testimonies of Peace and Community. Campers will uncover how they can be responsible citizens, good stewards of the community, and how, through these acts of kindness, they can contribute to affecting positive change.

The GFS Junior Explorers Camp runs on both campuses — Washington Square and Germantown — and the programs are similar to one another. “The main difference,” Coates says, “is that in the new Center City location, the kids make use of the more urban spaces around them.” But both camps have instructors who are teachers at GFS (read: experts in early education), and both run five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with before- and after-care options. You can register for all six weeks as well as the end-of-summer camp or simply choose a single week that suits your schedule. (Note: There is a discount available for those who register for all six weeks of Junior Explorers.) You needn’t be a student or prospective student to join a GFS camp — they are open to everyone. In fact, there’s no real deadline for registration, so if you decide later in the summer that your kid (or you!) might benefit from a week at day camp, you still have the option to sign up.

One last perk to mention: There are a multitude of GFS camp options for older kids, too — and not only do they sound really awesome (there’s an “explorers” camp for bigger kids, as well, plus athletic camps, academic camps, camps for drama, robotics, and tons more), but a bunch of the children return year after year. Imagine how cool it could be to start the tradition of going to camp at the age of 3 or 4, and seeing the same friends every summer for the next decade!

Anyway, if you want to read more, you’ll find helpful info here, and registration info here!

Wee Bits: Video Games at the Franklin Institute, Royal Wedding Gossip, the Sunscreen List of Doom, and This Year’s Awesome Wawa Welcome America Fest

News, happenings, reads and other bits and pieces for Philly parents this week Read more

wee bits spring

Did you see the next part of the Inky’s series on Toxic City: Sick Schools?  Did you basically have to go lie in a darkened room after reading, as I did? Also, this, which is related.

This is so cool, via WHYY: “Philly are health providers eyeing Lyft to help get poor, pregnant patients to appointments.” 

This year’s Wawa Welcome America Schedule sounds amazing. (Philly Mag)

Wow, this Game Masters exhibit at the Franklin Institute is cool. I predict it will be EXTREMELY popular among parents who came up in the ’80s and ’90s (and their offspring).

Did you know MOM’s Organic Market recycles all sorts of crazy stuff? So helpful! (Batteries, corks, food squeeze pouches, cell phones, shoes and more.)

NPR covered the story of a man who decided to apologize to the two women he bullied as children 60 years prior. It’s actually heartbreaking.


Sorry, I’m a party in a bag today, eh, with all the doom/gloom/rage stories? One more! The U.S. is spending less on our kids than other developed countries are (and spending less than we used to). Via Fatherly.

On a lighter note: I enjoyed a little bit of gossip about the royal wedding, especially as it pertained to the kids acting like … kids. (The Cut)

The Atlantic writes about how every age group — except for “older moms” — is having fewer babies these days. (Everyone else is evidently too busy watching Netflix to get it on!?!)

And here’s your annual sunscreen list of doom. (From Parents.com.) Here’s the whole big 2018 sunscreen guide from the Environmental Working Group.

The Cut talks to 10 moms about postpartum sex. (Excerpt quote: “Hahahahahahahahahahaha.”)


The Big List: Art Classes for Toddlers, Preschoolers and Pre-K Kids in Philly

Places (not in your house!) where your kids can learn to paint, draw, sculpt, craft, sew, dye and more. Read more

art classes for kids in philadelphia

Looking to help your little artist tap into his creative spirit? There are SO many excellent places for toddlers, preschoolers and pre-K kids to take an art class in this city — and we’re not just talking about doing craft projects. You can find anything from illustration to sewing to ceramics and more around here, if you know where to look. Here’s a good place to start — our round-up of places in (and near) the city for artsy extracurriculars. (PS. Got bigger kids? Most of these spots have classes for older kids, too.) (PPS. Almost all of these places also do camps and parties … not to mention other types of classes beyond visual arts.)

The spot: Philly Art Center — Fairmount, Queen Village and Cherry Hill
Some art classes to know about: Starting as young as 20 months (with a parent-kid “art start” course), classes at this this beloved Philly staple offer a ton of options for little kids, including intros to drawing, painting, sculpting, printing, fibers, clay work, sewing, ceramics, building and more … as well as deep dives into specific media, as well.

The spot: Sue’s Art Class & Create Studio — Rittenhouse
Some art classes to know about: There’s such a neat range of classes here for everyone, but for the very little ones (3- to 5-year-olds), there’s mom-and-me classes as well as the occasional one-session “workshops” aimed at kids 3 and up and their caregivers. (Some of the workshops aimed at kids 6 and up — often planned on days when school is out — are open to younger ones, too, with parents in attendance.)

The spot: Lume Creative Learning Studios — East Passyunk
Some art classes to know about: Drop-in toddler paint time and “free-range art” for kids 18 months to 4 years; after-school art (with pickup) for kids 5 and up;  family painting workshops; and currently, a “black magic illustration studio”, which celebrates artists of color for kids 5 to 9. And that’s just for starters. This place offers new and intriguing, artsy classes on the regular, for kids of all ages and interests.    Read more →

Don’t Read!

10 types of parenting stories I refuse to click on Read more

I don’t know about you guys, but I read a lot — a lot!!! — of parenting stuff. (And hey — you’re reading this, so … hi!) This is in part because I’m a mom (duh) and thus I’m interested, and in part because my phone knows everything about me, down to the brand of diapers I buy, and it throws story after story about children and motherhood in front of my face every day. And I am a reader, so I read.  

But I’ll be honest: The more I’ve read, the more selective I’ve had to get.  For as many wonderful, thought-provoking, helpful and inspiring pieces there are out there about moms and raising kids, there are also vast swaths of parenting stories make me mental. What sorts of stories, you ask? Well, here’s a sampling of genres I simply cannot click on anymore, in the interest of preserving my own sanity:

Story genre 1: Please read about this very tragic — and also extremely rare and random — accident that happened to a child, then weep, and then just let the already full Rolodex of worries in your head grow to include every seemingly harmless toy/piece of furniture in your home PLUS every seemingly normal activity involved in childhood. Everything is dangerous!

I’ve got to worry about WHAT?

Story genre 2: The airline outrage of the day.
It’s getting to be like Mad Libs now, isn’t it? I don’t read these anymore because I don’t need to: the narrative is always the same. Some airline hostess/employee/passenger shames/yells at/kicks off a mom/child/family for breastfeeding/crying/carrying milk/bringing stroller and someone films it/writes a post/calls the news, and it goes viral, and then everybody rage posts for a week. Wash, rinse, repeat. (Sidebar: Get it together, airlines!)

Story genre 3: Celebrity mom is so cool and smart and awesome at parenting that she is #parentinggoals. (Yes, I’ve written about this particular pet peeve before!)
[Two exceptions to this: I will always read about the royals, because I would actually like parenting tips/secrets from them (those kids! So well-behaved!), and also, I will always read anything written by Chrissy Teigen, because she is funny.]

Story genre 4: Celebrity mom looking great in bikini three weeks after giving birth!
Hard pass.  


Story genre 5: Any horrific true-crime story involving children where the headline functions as click-bait.
People.com is especially fond of throwing up a headline about some depraved act of violence against a child right there between lighthearted stories about JLo and some woman from The Bachelor, and I find that treatment incredibly exploitative and gross. No, no, nope. 

Story genre 6: Kardashian baby fashion.
I can’t.

Story genre 7: Dry drowning.
Weird that I’ve read more viral stories about “dry” drowning now than actual drowning. (This isn’t to say that I don’t still worry about it: I do! See #1’s Rolodex of worries.)

Story genre 8: Some moms are shaming other moms about something. (And usually someone “claps back.”)
Yawn. It’s like Mean Girls, but boring. And yet these stories are incredibly pervasive, and usually contain A TON MORE MOM-SHAMING in the comments. 

Mom-shaming is so 2005.

Story genre 9: “Innovative” gender-reveal parties.
Pink, blue or meh.

Story genre 10: Comments.
The comments on roughly 85 percent of parenting stories are like all of these story genres rolled into one, but with more spelling errors. 

A New Photography Studio in the City

A Philly family photog has a new spot for newborn shoots Read more

elanna d photography

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As y’all might remember, we’ve written before about Elanna Sesink-Clee of Elanna D Photography — she’s known for her beautiful work with newborns, expecting mamas, life milestones (like birthdays!), and young families. She’s also a professional nanny with a gift for working with little ones, which translates to sweet smiles and natural-looking photos.

The latest good news here is that Elanna is moving her University City studio to Roxborough, and the new space is perfect for newborn shoots. She’s a practiced pro at shooting teeny babes, and she makes it as easy and comfortable for the baby (and for the parents) as possible — the new studio is warm and cozy and all set up and ready to go upon your arrival. And as always, Elanna also offers on-location shoots for families and little ones, too — you can see from her photos (above, below and on Instagram) her range.  

The Elanna D Photography sessions come in several different package options, which you can see here. (They all include downloadable digital images with printing rights, which is a nice perk.) You can check out more details about the packages (and Elanna!) here, or head over to her Insta account or blog












Wee Bits: The New Philly Zipline, Beach Smoking, the Best Shoes for Traveling, and Dangerous Childbirth

News, happenings, reads and other tidbits for Philly parents this week Read more

wee bits philadelphia news

The new zipline in Fairmount Park is OPEN wheee! (And it sounds awesome, and there’s a course just for littles. All via BeWellPhilly.)

You probably read a looooot of Mother’s Day stories this last week, about being a mom (or not), having a mom (or not), wanting to be a mom (or not). One of the pieces that stood out to me was this one, about being a “near-mom”, from the Times.

The CDC reminds us how to remove ticks, because it’s that time of year. (SHUDDER.) (Also, I bought these things.)

Speaking of the great outdoors, Philly’s long-awaited rail park opens in June. (Well, part of the long-awaited rail park.) Via WHYY.

Tickets for the famed Upper Darby Summer Stage shows go on sale on May 21, y’all. What a fun way to introduce your little ones to theater.

This report from NPR and ProPublica about how many moms die in childbirth — and how many moms almost die — is shocking, particularly when you read the individual stories of the women who are featured. I feel like we should all be talking about this much more than we are.  (Related: America’s black moms are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts, via the NYT.) All sorts of insanity here.

Truth. (Via the Cut.)

Please, PLEASE ban smoking on public beaches, New Jersey! (From WHYY.)

The Strategist gives us the best shoes for traveling. Helpful!

Another Cut piece — a wonderful, really smartly written piece on pelvic floor pain and why often women are just expected to (or expect to) live with it after childbirth.

And sorry, Cut overload here, but I love Sharon Horgan’s Catastrophe SO MUCH and this interview about her new show Motherland is fascinating. Sounds like a good one.

Heads up: You can register now for a very cool-sounding STEM enrichment program at offered by the Franklin Institute and Glaxo Smith Kline and held at a handful of local libraries. The FREE classes, aimed at second- through sixth graders, will focus this year on the Science of Space via “fun hands-on activities that teach the basic concepts behind spectroscopy, micrometeroids, rocketry and more.” Sounds cool, no? Pre-registration required!

OMG, it’s the new black-and-blue/gold-and-white dress: Yanny or Laurel? (From Vox.)

Has your family ever realized that you’re raising a bear you (wrongly) believed to be a dog? No? Well then you’re doing better than some folks. (People.com.)

Here’s a really fun one for the calendar: On June 9, from noon to 5 p.m. along the South Concourse Drive of West Fairmount Park, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Mural Arts Philadelphia and West Park Cultural Center are hosting the 11th annual FREE West Park Arts Festival, complete with dancers, musicians, singers (West Philadelphia Orchestra, for one; Patrice and The Show for another — plus way more), plus guided historical trolley tours, art-making, food and craft vendors and a showcase of the Franklin Institute’s new exhibition “Game Masters.”

And now, please indulge us in a moment of bragging: We were very honored to be included in Feedspot’s top 25 Philadelphia blogs. Yay us (and y’all, for reading!).