Wee Bits: Awesome Kiddie Pools, Raising Book-Lovers, Harry Potter 20 Years On, and Mocktails You Actually Want to Drink

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

wee bits philadelphia news

Cool story in Philly.com about two entrepreneur moms who founded the (wildly successful) Dreamland Fairy Kits. (The kits, by the way, are adorable.)

We’re old: It’s been 20 years since the first Harry Potter came out. Here are snippets from the first reviews, via the Independent.

Speaking of: You’ll be shocked at how hard this H.P. quiz from Quirk Books is.

Thanks, Strategist, for this look at the most most enthusiastically rated backyard pools on Amazon.  Read more →

Fun Stuff for Kids During Wawa Welcome America

It runs from June 29 to July 4. Read more

welcome america, philadelphia, fourth of july with kids

It’s that time of year again — six days of FREE events all over the city, culminating in the big parade and then the concert on the Parkway (this year featuring Mary J. Blige, plus Boyz II Men, Mandy Gonzalez and others) and, of course, fireworks. You can easily check out the whole schedule of happenings on the Welcome America site, but meantime, we thought we’d make it even easier on you and highlight some of our picks for the best bets for families  (Note: Okay, you might have to be a little flexible on bedtimes for some of these. But, hey … it’s a holiday!)

Museums and Culture.
We’re talking about a smorgasbord of free museums days.
— Free admission to the National Constitution Center on June 29
–I know this is basically a sacrilege in Philly, but I am not a big Mummers girl. Still, the chance to learn about the history, instruments and costumes still sounds intriguing enough to give it a go from 6 to 8 p.m. on June 29, at the free “Peco Go 4th & Learn” session at the Mummers Museum.
–Free admission to the Penn Museum on June 30
–Free admission to Eastern State Penitentiary on June 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. (NOTE: Not recommended for kids under the age of 7!)
–Free museum morning on July 1 from 8 to 11 a.m. at One Liberty Observation Deck
–Free admission on July 1 to the African American Museum
–There’s an afternoon “fiesta” in Fairhill Square on July 1, from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring dance performances and lessons, games, activities for kids, and more.
–Free admission at the Barnes on July 2
–Pay-what-you-wish at the PMA on July 2
–Free admission at the National Liberty Museum on July 3
–Free admission at the National Museum of American Jewish History on July 4
–Free admission at the Philadelphia History Museum on July 4

It’s outdoor movies a go-go for the week, and most of ‘em are appealing for families. To wit:
–June 29, 8 to 11 p.m., it’s Despicable Me 2 at the Piazza
–June 29, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m., it’s Despicable Me 1 in Manayunk
–June 30, 8 to 11 p.m., it’s The Lego Batman Movie in North Philly
July 3, from 9 to 11 p.m., it’s Sing at Franklin Square

Random Things to Take In or Swing By
From dance to sand sculptures to cupcakes
–Sand Sculpture Spectacular at Liberty Place, featuring historic icons and scenes, on June 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. … worth swinging by if you’re in the area. (Plus: Nice, cool A.C.!)
Betsy Ross’s Birthday Party on July 4th, from 1 to 3 p.m. … complete with FREE cupcakes
–A citywide storytime, which happens at ALL local Free Libraries on June 29, from 2 to 3 p.m.
Hip-hip dancers, jazz groups and the Penn Band are a few of the free public performances you can catch around the city over the course of these few days.

Beyond the big one on the Parkway (which isn’t exactly stroller-friendly), we have a few more festive options.
–Ah, those Mummers again. This time, it’s the string band (best part of the Mummers, IMO) playing under the stars on June 29, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Mummers Museum.
–The Philly Orchestra Neighborhood Concert series hits Penn’s Landing on June 30 from 8 to 9:30 p.m., with fireworks to follow
–On July 1, from 8 to 9:30 p.m., the U.S. Army Band will play “old standards, new hits and patriotic tunes” (with Jerry Blavat as emcee!), with fireworks to follow.
–On July 3, from 7 to 9 p.m., the Philly Pops take over Independence Mall, playing tunes even the kids will recognize (including, yes, “Let It Go” and “America the Beautiful).
Kidz Bop “Best Time Ever” Tour hits the Parkway on July 4, at the Main Stage at Eakins Oval at 1 p.m. 



Photo credit: Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia™


A NEW Spot For Drop-In Classes (PLUS, Summer Camp, Birthday Parties, Adult Classes and More) Just Opened Up in the City

Lume Creative Studios has music, art, movement, quirky storytimes and mom’s day out … for starters Read more

Lume Creative Studios

Y’all know by now how much we love to share any news of fresh places for kids’ classes. And you also probably know that the excitement grows exponentially if that place also offers, say, drop-ins … or drop-offs … or birthday parties … or summer camps. Well, the brand-new Lume Creative Learning Studios in East Passyunk has all of that. AND MORE. (Eeeee!)

The place just opened a few weeks ago — and technically, the entire month of June is serving as Lume’s grand opening, says owner Lauren Parker. Lauren, a South Philly resident and mom of two, is an experienced art teacher and teaching artist, as well as a former gallery owner. She saw the opportunity to start up a creative, arts-focused studio as a way to combine her entrepreneurial mindset with her love of teaching — and since its opening, Lume’s been in full swing with everything from movement classes (like, say, mom-and-me ballet) to visual arts classes (free range toddler art; rainbow window art) to music-and-art hybrids (family art-and-music jams) to various and sundry workshops (a mermaid or rainbow-fish tail-sewing session; a “frankentoy” workshop for making toys). And that’s just in the first month. (She’s also collaborating with a few other noted favorites, like Zoom Dance and Songbird Music, who offer classes at Lume.) Read more →

Wee Bits: Pool Openings, Ken’s New Man Bun, a Construction Carnival and the Cost of the ER

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

wee bits spring

The pools are opening! The pools are opening! And Parks and Rec has this helpful list of all the pools and their opening dates. 

Hey, cool: There’s a construction-themed carnival in Ardmore on June 24, from 9 a.m. to noon. Philly Voice reports that it’s free, but you have to RSVP.

Welp, Ken has a man bun now. 

I know all y’all have already seen this piece from Philly.com about lead in the soil in the river ward ‘hoods. But Good Lord.

The SRC has approved a teachers’ contract. As always, everything is a bit fraught, via The Notebook.

The Free Library is so on it when it comes to summer programming and activities for kids. 

19 kids are shot every single day in the U.S. (Via Philly.com.)

A good one from Tankini Files about the age-old question: To ER or not ER? (You know in the end, it’s always ER.) (But what, exactly, will it cost?)

Intriguing list from Parents.com about apps and tech tools that make parenting easier. 

NYT reports that Common Sense Media is adding gender considerations to its rating system, so parents can be aware of gender stereotyping (or a push against gender stereotyping).

Speaking of which: Fast Company reports on an all-girl team of teenage engineers developed a solar-powered tent for homeless people. It’s cool.

Gear Up: Summer Survival Kit

Literally? Read more

summer buys

This was going to be a post about a few great buys I’ve made this summer, but I just realized that several of these “summer survival tools” were sort of literal — like, I made them entirely because of alarming things I’ve read on the Internet, and almost killed the post because … well, who wants to look like (or, um, be) that guy? But then, I thought, you are probably reading all the same things on the Internet, and also looking to make some anxiety-driven purchases, too, right? (Right??) So here, my the must-have, I-spend-too-much-time-on-social-media purchases so far of the year. Or we can put a sunnier spin on these things, and call this the “can’t hurt to be prepared” summer checklist. Your call.

Tick Key
A couple weeks back my (city-dwelling) neighbor found a tick on her daughter’s neck– this, after playing outside on their front porch. (Not even the Wissahickon or Smith Playground!) She mentioned to me that she used a tick key to remove it (a tick key is this contraption, meant to be more effective than just plain old tweezers at removing a whole tick, body and head), and within three minutes of hearing her story, I ordered a three-pack of them … you know, just in case. (Shudder.) Read more →

Wee Idea: Rock Star

A fun way to kill two hours on any given summer afternoon Read more

rock art project

I’m not really a very crafty person (which may be the reason my kid has the attention span of a goldfish when it comes to arty things) — BUT after exhausting every what felt like every go-to activity in 48 hours — playgrounds, spraygrounds, scooter trips, porch pools, movies, library, two CVS trips, board games, friend visits, etc, etc — I was a bit desperate. “Why don’t you find some rocks to paint?” suggested my mother, who is very much a crafty person (but who knows that painting a rock is about as much as I can handle).

And so: Luke climbed on the big wheel and we went on a rock hunt around the neighborhood, which he was really, really into. The hunt alone took 45 minute or an hour, and we collected good paintin’ rocks in the back of the bike. At home, we gave the rocks a bath to get the dirt off (also thrilling for him), then grabbed acrylic paints, which I squeezed out into the top of an egg carton. I just put some cardboard down on our front porch, got the paints set up, grabbed a little bucket of water, and then voila — about an hour of mixing paints, painting rocks, experimenting with water on the painted rock, and so on and so forth. Then came the fun of placing them in the front garden (or, as my mom suggested, scattering them back around the neighborhood to give people a fun little surprise). All in all, a total win. Easy, only moderately messy (acrylic washes off hands, not so much off clothes), and a nice fresh boredom killer. (And hey, I enjoyed it, too.)