Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fun on the Fourth! 10 ways to Celebrate America in the Lehigh Valley

Allentown's Fouth of July Festival and Fireworks
July 4th at J. Birney Crum Stadium

Fish for Free in PA on July 4th!
July 4th all PA residents fish for free, no license required.

Military service members Free at Dorney Park
July 3-5, all weekend military service members are admitted for free to the park!  

Music, family fun and Fireworks at Coca-Cola Park!

July 4th in Allentown

July 4th in Bethlehm

July 3rd in Breinigsville

Free Outdoor Concerts July 2nd, 3rd and 4th! 

Celebrate on the South Side!

Hear how it all got started at the George Taylor House

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lehigh Valley Summer Fun Guide

Summer is on the horizon! Each spring I get all of these awesome ideas for things we can do while the kids are out of school. My mind spins with day trips, local attractions, things to check out, pic-nic spots, and general awesomeness that would cement my place in history as the best mom ever.  Then the whirlwind of spring performances begin, end of the year picnics, closing programs,

recitals, teacher gifts begins, school end and BAM its July 30th and we have done NOTHING!

I'm hell bent on stopping the pattern this year and making a real plan to get out of the house and really enjoy the incredible region we live in. In the meantime I hope to write about each of our adventures and encourage other local families to take on some adventures of their own!  I'm sharing my summer planning process here on the blog to keep myself accountable and help other families enjoy some real fun this summer.

We have one long vacation planned and then will be hunkering down for the rest of the summer to explore, chill at the pool and enjoy ourselves.

I've prepared these awesome summer calendar sheets with incredible activities to do throughout the summer. Each month is customized with regional events and programs that happen throughout the summer and just fun stuff you can enjoy with your kids at home!

There are blank and pre-filled calendars in the link! 

I'm setting a goal to do one to two things per week these could be a day trip special activity or just a playdate.  We have a full list or reviews, links and even activities you can try at home on rainy days to plan out a full summer of fun!

This post contains affiliate links, read full disclosure at end of article
To kick of your summer check out some of these awesome day trip ideas and our reviews of each spot. 

          Turkey Hill Experience: Check out our full review here

Legoland Discovery Center: An awesome indoor adventure! 

Imagi Nation: A world just for kids! 

Mauch Chunk Lake: A beach within reach! 

Knoebels: Ten things to know!

Outdoor movies are a TON of fun. There's plenty of options to choose from many of which are free! Also don't forget to see the schedules for the two local drive in theaters in our area as well! 

Additionally a number of theaters are offering affordable summer movies for children and their parents this summer each week. For just a few dollars you can cool off for the morning and enjoy a family friendly movie with the kids.

Time is running out to pick out a great camp for this summer! The kids will be out of school before you know it so don't get caught without a great camp program to keep them active! We're highlighting some of the Lehigh Valley's best camps!

The JCC of the Lehigh Valley just can't wait for camp to start.

Summer Camps at the JCC of the Lehigh Valley offer children and teens of all ages the opportunity to supplement their summer with a variety of activities ranging from sports and swimming to art and theater. Their Center Valley day camp program make surviving summer as a working parent a total breeze. Their speciality camps allow children to perfect their skills in a sport, or even travel the country in one of these incredible camps! 

Learn more about local summer camp options at the JCC at lvjcc.org/camp.

Creek splashes, views through animal eyes, all that is wild and in disguise. The magic of summer memory making comes alive with Wildlands! These half and full day programs feature themes to fit just about every interest. 

Children as young as 3 can sign up for camp! Extended day hours offer programming from 7:30am through 5:30 pm for working families. 

At Active Learning Centers, they do summer camp the way it used to be! Children spend most of their day outside playing. They have the opportunity to go to the swimming pool twice a week and they go on field trips once per week. Every child enrolled in camp will also have the opportunity to take a martial arts class each day at no extra charge. The only things you won’t find at this summer camp are TV’s and video games… this is Active Learning Centers!

Each week features a different theme and these themes are based upon leadership qualities. The activities of the week are designed to teach, encourage, and develop those traits in the children. From listening skills to problem solving, and courage to communication, this will be the most beneficial and fun camp you’ll ever find for your child. Contact them to inquire about signing up.

3-5 year olds will love having their own summer program for 6 weeks at Bright Beginnings Montessori in their exclusive pilot program. Space is limited to 10 families, so contact them soon to schedule a tour. BBMA is a brand new educational program specializing in educating children ages 3-5 utilizing Montessori principles. By doing a pilot program they are making the Montessori experience affordable while allowing Bright Beginnings to gain valuable information that will help their program grow. Click here to read more about the program and its requirements.

The camps will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for all days of the session. Baseball related activities will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. with lunch taking place from 12-12:30 p.m. Boys and girls of all skill levels will have the chance to learn baseball and fundamentals from the future stars of the Philadelphia Phillies. Past camp instructors have included Rhys Hoskins, Cameron Perkins, Scott Kingery and others! Each day, members of the IronPigs coaching staff and select IronPigs players will teach the basics of the game and help all campers become better ballplayers!

Camp 1 (Ages 7-8): June 12-14. Camp Group Night, June 13.
Camp 2 (Ages 9-10): June 26-28. Camp Group Night, June 27
Camp 3 (Ages 11-13): July 24, 26-27. Camp Group Night, July 26

Camp is $165 per camper and includes the following:
Instruction on baseball fundamentals from Lehigh Valley IronPigs players and coaches
Two (2) tickets to a selected IronPigs game during your camp.
A daily lunch during each day of camp
On-field recognition prior to IronPigs game on your camp group night
Official 2018 Camp T-Shirt

Rising middle and high schoolers will be immersed in scientific investigation through these unique and educational camps. Their "Pathogens: Connecting the Microorganism Dots" camp provide rich experiences for students interested in health, medicine and biology. Students will obtain a unique perspective into Natural weather hazards through "Natural Disasters: A Geologist's View into the Hazards of our planet". Camps are scheduled to take place at the Lehigh Carbon Community College Schnecksville Campus. Click here to learn more or to register.

KIDS CO-OP’s No Bummer Summer Campis 12 weeks filled with tons of fun for children ages 3 through 12. No Bummer Summer Camp is perfect for the active child looking to have a summer they won’t forget. Their air-conditioned facility allows children to participate in different activities set up throughout the gym including crafts, healthy snacks (provided by KIDS CO-OP), tumbling, obstacle course, foam pit & fitness castle, trampolines, fun dance games, and much more! Kids also will enjoy slip-n-slides and water games outside as often as possible! On two afternoons each week campers head over to the Hanover Pool on their own Starbound Express Bus! Exciting theme-based field trips throughout the summer are also included. KIDS CO-OP offers a wide-range of day-to- day options and payment plans. Click here to learn more or to register!

Many local municipalities offer free or low cost summer playground or park programs that create a camp like atmosphere at your local park and supervised play for kids ages 6 + (ages vary by area)

Getting immersed in nature isn't too hard in the Lehigh Valley. There are a ton of places to explore! Here are a few highlights. To see even more outdoor adventure ideas click here

There are going to be those days where the weather doesn't work for outdoor activities or everyone just needs a chill day at home away from the heat.  I can put money down on how quickly my kid is going to be begging for "something FUN!".  I like to stock up (and hide) on a few things the kids love to do at home but are special treats - not our normal arts + crafts or toys we usually pull out. Here are some of our favorites.  ALL of these products are items we use and love. We would never share, post or write about something we wouldn't purchase or use in our own home!

 Mad Mattr is similar to kinetic sand but with a finer, more dense texture. The "Mattr" forms into bricks with this little kit and you can build with them. I promise your kids will be obsessed with this stuff.  It is much easier to manage than Play Doh and a lot more fun.

Go analog with a set of walkie talkies! MY kids LOVE these, they play hide and seek and give each other clues to find their hiding spaces.  The "talk' to each other while they are in the same room, which is hilarious. The range on these is pretty great and could even work with neighbors close by. Additionally these are a great more durable alternative for keeping in touch while on vacation at the beach if you are trying to unplug you can use these to radio down to family for a drink or snack from the beach house!

Depending on how old your kids are Pools and slip and slides might be a bit out of reach just yet but water tables are one of my favorite go to summer toys for kids under 3. Plus if you are brave enough a vinyl table cloth (for water proofing) and a few towels make these easy to use inside!  We have the one pictured above and my kids have played with it for years.

These Melissa and doug travel books  are wonderful for both at home and traveling. They are mess free and offer hours of entertainment for the car while traveling, in hotels, at the pool or just while having a quite day at home. The water wow versions are like small aquadoodle pads that can be used over and over just by filling the small pen with water.  Aqaudoodles are awesome too especially for at home. 

I'm that mom who buys those giant school activity books to keep up with skills over the summer. If you are also that mom you can grab these at the Dollar Tree! They also have flash cards there and you can easily stock up to successfully annoy your children all somer long for under $20.  They seemed to have more books geared towards younger children at the location I visited. We have these ones which I grabbed last summer for my older kiddo.

Waterbeads are a blast and quite the sensory experience! Fill a bin or water table with these and the kids will entertain themselves! We absolutely LOVE these and they're great fun indoors or out.

I love buying some small storage bins and stocking them up with random materials - recyclables like toilet paper tubes, beads, pipe cleaners, glue, tape, rubber bands and more. My kids call ours "the boxes of fun". They use them to "build projects" glue, tape, color and combine materials to make whatever they want. Its kind of an open ended kid of craft kit that kids can use however they like.  

Bracelet making is one of those timeless things every kids should spend time doing in the summer! Beading, weaving, or using rubber bands. Grab some materials and spend an afternoon teaching them all the tricks you learned when you were in summer camp back in 1993!

The Spark Kitchen Sink and Just Like Home Kitchen Sink run on 2 AA batteries and pumps water through the back of sink like a champ. It recycles the water over and over and kids can easily turn it on and off using the little faucet handle.

I believe it to be the only toy sink/kitchen item that actually has working water that does not require hand pumping to make it flow. The Little Tykes Splish & Splash Sink which also seems super cute is similar but the child or parent needs to pump the water by hand to get it to flow.

These things are now coming back into stock regularly so keep an eye on Walmart.com or click here for a direct link to try and grab one! They also are available a few other places including Amazon.

We have a whole board of awesome activities from bloggers who specialize in crafts and fun stuff to do with kids including a few featured by a fellow local blogger - Inner Child Fun. Create your own board or just follow ours and fun something your kids will love. 

Still searching for something!? There is always something going on to be found on the event calendar! You can stop by anytime you like to look for something to do and we are always new and exciting things going on throughout the summer!

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