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Every kid should sleep away at camp at least once in childhood. To rest under the stars and hear nothing but crickets. To spend the day swimming, canoeing and hiking. To make s’mores over a real campfire instead of in the microwave. They’re memories that accompany children well into adulthood, building their appreciation for the great outdoors along the way.

It wouldn’t be summer in St. Louis without our favorite local farmers markets. From meeting the men and women who grow and raise our food to sampling some of the tastiest culinary confections St. Louis vendors have to offer, these 17 local markets all make a perfect – and delicious – place for St. Louis families to spend a summer morning or afternoon. 

1. Historic Soulard Farmers Market (Wednesday-Saturday, year-round)

A trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of my kids’ favorite adventures. (And who am I kidding? It’s one of my favorites too). From climbing and exploring our way through the Children’s Garden to sitting under the stars at the Whitaker Music Festival, my family is always up for an excuse to visit this popular St. Louis destination.  
 
And the Garden’s newest exhibit – which opens just in time for summer vacation – is one that local kids (my own included) won’t want to miss. Why? One word: LEGOS.

When I was in sixth grade, my biggest worries were wearing out my Warrant cassette tape and what I should write in my daily fan letter to Fred Savage.

Maybe it was a sign of the times. Or maybe it was because I was naive in a Saved by the Bell-colored world, but yesterday’s anxieties seem to pale in comparison to those girls face today. We didn’t have to worry about sexting and social media – we were more concerned about what Hypercolor shirt to wear on the first day of school.

A parent’s cancer diagnosis can rock a child’s world. It’s confusing and frightening and upsetting. Yet, she puts on a brave face and bottles up her distress to stay strong for her family and to take on the day-to-day struggles of growing up too fast.

However, when there’s a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on, a child feels free to release her frustration and fear in a healthy way.

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