Wee Bits: Throwing Your Kid’s Art Away, the Gift of Philly Crossing Guards, the Best Kids’ Bikes and Free Fall Fun

News, happenings and reads for parents this week Read more

I am a believer in framing some of the greatest kid art, and then throwing away the rest of it. Thanks, Atlantic, for assuaging the pangs of guilt I sometimes feel for doing this.

From KYW: Philadelphia City Hall hosts pop-up statue addressing gun violence in schools. 

Hey! The Phield House now has family memberships!

Could not love this very insightful Inky op-ed about crossing guards from Dena Ferrara Driscoll (hey, we know her!) more. Crossing guards are an undervalued, wildly important asset in this city.

I also really love the Strategist shopping guides, as everyone who reads this website knows. And this week, they’ve given us a guide to the best kids’ bikes and ALSO the best toy-organizer ideas from professional organizers.

Heads up, parents! This year’s fall CityKids Consignment Sale — that biannual source of gently used, wildly inexpensive kid gear — is a bit early: Mark your calendars for September 29 and 30th. We’ll give a reminder and a preview leading up to the event, but if you’re in the market for, well, anything kid-related, you won’t want to miss this sale, which benefits Lilypad, the family center in South Philly.

Speaking of calendars: The lineup of free (or very cheap), kid-friendly events at Franklin Square beginning in October is impressive — from spooky mini-golf to pumpkin decorating to a trick-or-treat event. Y’all might consider planning a weekend jaunt sometime next month.

There’s also the Friends of Wissahickon’s Whispers Along the Wissahickon event on October 12 (from 5 to 8 p.m.): There’ll be hayrides, face-painting, jugglers, live music, beer and bluegrass. (Costumes are encouraged!) Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis to FOW members and include food, beverages, beer and wine, and access to all the fun fall activities. Tickets: $45/adult, $20/child, or $110/family (including two adults and two children). Not a member? Tickets are now available to non-FOW members and prices include a one-year FOW membership (with all the benefits) -$60/adult and $130/family (including two adults and two children), $20 for each additional child. 

Very helpful Philly recycling rules and wisdom from Philly Voice!

Wee Love: Lillypost

A subscription box that’s worth the cash Read more

lillypost

I realize, of course, that there are any number of subscription boxes specializing in children’s books out there — and I’m actually super interested in everyone’s experiences with them. (Please! Share!) But a few months back, we received Lillypost as a gift for both my kids, and I’m obsessed. We get three books once a month — one for the baby, two for the five-year-old — and they are charming, thoughtful, funny, age-appropriate, great books. The kids are obsessed, too (okay, the older one — but the baby is always happy with a book with fresh flaps to open!)

Here’s how it works:  The company offers board books for babies to 3-year-olds and picture books for kids 4 to 7, as well as mixed book boxes for a combo of those two. A subscription box of books(you get either 3 or 4, depending on what mix you choose) is $20 a month plus $5 for shipping  — though the longer the subscription, the lower the per-box price. (Bonus: they donate one book to literacy-focused charities for every box shipped!)

Anyway — we are fans of the library, and also, I am a book buyer/hoarder of sort of insane degrees. But even so, nothing beats the combo of a special box, addressed to the kids, appearing like magic on the stoop once a month, and containing fresh, new, fun books to read before bed. Two thumbs up for Lillypost — definitely a new favorite gift idea.

 

Photo courtesy of Lillypost. 

Wee Bits: The Importance of Libraries, Fed Up Teachers, The Best Car Seats, and Paddling at Schools

News, happenings and reads for parents this week Read more

wee bits philadelphia news

It’s such a sad week for America, this 9/11 anniversary week. I appreciated several people posting the link to this foundation that aims to help the first responders who are still very much suffering the consequences of being heroes.

This NYT magazine special education issue is spectacular, but if you read one thing, read the story about the Arizona teachers’ movement. You’ll rage.

Also from the NYT: This op-ed filled me with love/pride for our wonderful Philly libraries.

The Strategist offers us the best infant car seats and boosters. 

Which reminds me: It’s car seat trade-in time at Target! 

Hell yes: There’s a growing demand for equity in air conditioning in Philly schools, reports the Notebook.

Fun event alert for this weekend: Sunday, September 16 from 10 to noon, you can enjoy a family tea party at the Clay Studio to celebrate the exhibition “Just Right: Kids Sized Cups and Bowls.” Each child will make a ceramic ‘tea cookie’ ornament — and there are snacks and drinks to be consumed from beautiful handmade, kid appropriate pottery. (Attendants will receive 15 percent off any purchase from the exhibition.)

Wait, whaaaaaa? (The Cut)

Also from the Cut: I liked the take about Serena Williams fighting the fight of a mom who knows her daughter will one day consider her mother. 

Sweet piece from WHYY about repaired instruments going to Philly students. 

Just typing the headline of this Atlantic story gives me severe anxiety: Why IS American college so expensive? 

And speaking of anxiety (and the Atlantic): Does public speaking requirements produce too much anxiety for students? (I mean. I have opinions. But … well. Here’s the story.)

Fall Preview: Shows To See With The Kids

One of the best parts of fall — a fresh theater season! Read more

fall preview theater for kids philadelphia

What: Matilda the Musical — the award-winning theatrical adaptation of one of the best kids’ books ever written.
Where: Walnut Street Theater
When: November 6 to January 6
The Rest of the Season: Between the main-stage and children’s seasons, WST always has a bunch of excellent choices for families: This year, in addition to Matilda and Aladdin Junior (see below) this fall, y’all can also see Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium (The Musical!!), Pinkalicious: The Musical;  and Fly Guy: The Musical.

What: Aladdin Junior — the musical based on the movie and hit Broadway show.
Where: Walnut Street Theater
When: September 22 – September 30
The Rest of the Season: See above!

What: Charlotte’s Web — the theatrical adaptation of one of the other best children’s books in the entire world. (I’m crying just thinking about it.) 
Where: The Arden
When: November 28 – January 27
The Rest of the Season: The Arden always does a couple of amazing performances for its children’s theatre season — this year, the spring show is Treasure Island. 

What: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (So much Roald Dahl! And the score comes from the songwriters from Hairspray…)
Where: The Kimmel
When: November 6 – November 18
The Rest of the Season: The Broadway season also includes Fiddler on the Roof in October, which isn’t necessarily a perfect fit for very little ones, but an amazing family show for older kids. There’s also How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Anastasia (for slightly older kids) .. and head up: Hamilton is here next fall. (And Rent and Miss Saigon, in the spring, FYI.)

And also! We’re right in the middle of the Fringe Festival, y’all — and plenty of the shows are family-friendly. (There’s acrobats! Movement-based comedic theater! Music! And more …)


Photo credit:
Matilda poster courtesy of the Walnut Street Theater.

NEW! Fall family music and toddler guitar classes

It’s a fresh season of fun classes for littles Read more

We Kids Rock Philadelphia music classes

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There’s a good chance some of you know We Kids Rock — for years now, the guitar classes for little ones and bigger kids as well as family music sessions have been a favorite with little musicians (and their parents) — and instructor Bill Currier, a professional musician and songwriter, has popped up at various spots in and around the city (from South Philly to Kennet Square) to teach ‘em. The latest news here is that Bill just announced a new series of classes — this time at the Northern Liberties Community Center.

The new classes run from September 20 until November 15 (with no class on September 27), and they include a toddler guitar class for 3- to 5-year-olds (4:45 to 5:15) AND a birth-to-5-year-old family music class (5:30 to 6:10). Both classes are fun and interactive, with music that gets the kids interested (and doesn’t drive the parents insane) and serves as a lively, happy introduction to singing, playing and enjoying music. You can read more about the class (and the great things people have to say about WKR) here; you can register here (for family classes) and here (for guitar)!  

 

Wee Bits: Cold Offices, Hot Schools, Yelling Mom Guilt and A Bug Story That Will Keep You Up Nights

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

wee bits, new and news, wee wander

Happy return to school, all! Here’s a Wash Po story about how (some) schools are failing working parents … and how some are helping.

The New York Times said that offices were too cold because of the patriarchy. I HAVE SAID THIS FOR YEARS, while freezing under two blankets in an office in July.

So many fun events this month at Little Moon + Arrow, y’all: music classes, geography classes, a pop-up Mason Dixon (you know, as in Mason Dixon booties!) events and more good stuff.

Two things from the Inky about this absurd heat and school starting and early dismissals: 1) In a city where many (many!) schools are not properly air-conditioned, maybe we shouldn’t start school before Labor Day and 2) It’s inexcusable that we ask students and teachers to deal with sweltering heat in buildings that don’t have and can’t support air conditioning. 

Interesting from the Cut: Becoming a Woman Who Yells At Her Children. (Sometimes, I read things like this and think maybe we’re too hard on ourselves, you know?)

Welp, as one friend said, “time to burn the city to the ground.” Via CNN.

Another bug nightmare. What’s even happening? (Via Philly Mag)

Yesterday, the mayor announced another 250 more seats in the city’s pre-K program since the litigation against the soda tax that funds our pre-K is kaput (resolved in the city’s favor). The program will expand to 2,250 seats this school year.

Also, here’s another great fall class alert! Philly Power Yoga and Thrive Pilates is launching a yoga and creative movement class for 3- to 5-year-olds — and it starts 9/19! The 12-week series focuses on kid-friendly yoga poses, as well as the practice of stillness and breathing. Bonus: It’s a drop-off class!!

Speaking of fall: It’s almost time for Morris Arboretum’s annual scarecrow decorating contest. What a fun change of pace for an afternoon family activity, no? Registration deadline is September 26.