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Five Great Summer Family Hikes in St. Louis

In honor of Summer Fun Week at St. Louis Kids Magazine's SmartParenting blog, I am going to overcome my fear of snakes and disgust of mosquitoes (I obviously need to stop watching Animal Planet) and start hiking with my family. Maybe I’ll ease into nature with a "Gentle Hike" at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area.

Each second Saturday of June, July and August, a naturalist will take hikers on a flat, paved and short walk to a different part of the Conservation. June’s adventure will travel to the prairie demonstration area in front of the Visitor Center.

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Kicking off a Healthy St. Louis Summer

The weather seems to be having a tough time making up its mind just what season it should be, but we SmartParenting bloggers have no doubts: Next weekend is the start of summer!

This week we’re focusing most of our attention on ideas for summer – things to do, recipes to cook, books to read, and (my topic for today) ways to stay healthy.

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Seven Reasons to Plan a Kid-Free Getaway

This past week, Mr. P and I spent a few glorious, gin-soaked days in Savannah, Georgia.

We truly loved Savannah. I loved the way the jasmine and honeysuckle smelled when we walked through the city’s 22 park-like squares. The way the locals stopped us on the street to offer us help and suggestions when we were lost, their accents like, as Andy on The Office says, “molasses just sort of spillin’ out of their mouths.”

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How to Prepare Your Child for Sleep Away Camp

When Jenny Wolkowitz’ youngest daughter went to a two-week sleepover camp for the first time, the girl decided she didn’t need her favorite stuffed animal and left it at home. Days later, Wolkowitz had to put the toy in a box and send it to her homesick daughter by overnight delivery.

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Ending the School Year on a Full Stomach Thanks to Operation Backpack

It’s no surprise our kids aren’t as healthy as they should be.

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My Son Is Going to Prom. Why Am I in Tears?

Ah, the wonderfulness that is prom season is upon us. This is the time of year that the malls are filled with teen girls preparing for their big day buying gowns and accessories and getting their hair curled and primped. 

Mothers like me are also bustling around to make sure that each and every detail is taken care of for this monumental night of teenage-hood. But this is also a time of year for sadness for some of us as we notice that our children are growing up and will soon be adults. What is supposed to be a glorious time can be a melancholy event for parents who recognize that their children will soon be out of the family nest.
A few weeks ago when my son announced he was going to prom, I was quite cool. I went to prom both my junior and senior year in high school and considered it a big deal. But as the event creeps closer, it has been a time of reflection for me. This little boy who used to poop in diapers and follow me around like my shadow is now 17 years old, attending prom, and will be graduating next year and going off to college. How can this be?

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Finding Solace in the Prom Scene

Pull out your iridescent taffeta and matching dyed pumps from Payless. Prom season is in full effect!

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7 Ways to Celebrate Children's Book Week in St. Louis

This week marks the beginning of our country’s longest-running literacy program, Children’s Book Week. It is an annual celebration with a simple and powerful message: Books change lives, so let’s share them with our kids. Started in 1919 by the librarian of the Boy Scouts, who sought to improve the standards of children’s books, Children's Book Week is now administered by Every Child a Reader.

Children’s books hold a particularly special place in our culture. In fact, I probably enjoy them more than most of the adult books I read. They are deceptively simple, and the memorable ones tickle our imagination. They are full of the play and discovery characteristic not just of being a child but, well, of being human. And the element of illustration adds a whole other dimension to storytelling.

Here are some activities you can do with your child to celebrate this week.

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Talking to Your Kids About Natural Disasters

All these tornadoes lately!  Not to mention floods, earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns and blizzards (had to throw that in for my family up in North Dakota). The end-of-the-world folks have to be buzzing.

Usually I try to shield my kids from disaster stories. But on Friday our family happened to dine within sight of the TVs above a restaurant bar, and my 7-year-old spent the meal avidly reading news headlines about the horrible storms and tornadoes in the South. At that point the death toll was in the 200s; now it’s at 345.

He had a million and one questions. The trickiest for me to answer was why people didn’t go somewhere safe when they heard the sirens? 

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Money-Saving Tips for Expectant Moms

Babies are expensive! Nursery furniture, bedding, clothes, toys, bottles and formula, and diapers, diapers, and more diapers … sometimes newly pregnant moms are surprised by just how much money they’ll be spending on their little bundle of joy.

Savvy shoppers have always been able to save money, but thanks to the Internet and online rewards programs, it’s becoming easier for busy expectant moms to take advantage of special offers even before their baby is born.

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3 Simple Rules to Make Parenting Easier

Parenting is hard enough when both parents are in the same home. But when you are divorced or no longer with your significant other, it can make parenting that much more difficult.

Children often like to play both sides, sometimes pitting one parent against the other to try to get their own way, which can create havoc in an already delicate relationship. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Things to Do

Water Waddlers Indoor Drop-In Swim

Stop in and have some fun in the indoor pool at the Lodge of Des Peres with your little one at this drop-in swim time for kids up to age 6. No pre-registration is needed; Water Waddlers is open to residents and non-residents of Des Peres.

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Family Bingo Night
Friday, February 23, 2024
Friday, March 22, 2024

Get your family together and play some themed bingo! Bring your own food and drinks. Light refreshments will be provided. Prizes will be awarded to bingo winners.

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Music & Movement

Explore songs, finger plays, music and more during this Music & Movement class for ages 2-6. Some sessions are held in person at various branches of the St. Louis County Library. Some sessions are virtual. 



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COCA Ignites Creativity and Sparks Fun for Kids of All Ages, All Summer Long

Stroll along the Walk of Fame in the Delmar Loop, and you’ll spot the playwrights, actors, and artists who got their start in St. Louis, from Tennessee Williams and Katherine Dunham, to Tina Turner and John Goodman. Just a few steps away and around the corner, a new generation of Gateway City superstars will discover their love for the visual and performing arts this summer.

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Life Lessons Learned at Overnight Camp

With the perfect blend of adventure and responsibility, camp life teaches kids valuable lessons they can use for the rest of their lives. If you send your child to overnight camp, here are some life lessons they are likely to learn.

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10 Reasons Your Teen Might Love to be a Camp Counselor

Day or sleepaway summer camp is the perfect place for teens to transition to the world of the employed. The paycheck is nice, but being a summer camp counselor has other rewards, too.

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Parenting the Video Game Fanatic: How to Encourage Other Interests

Every now and then I wonder if it is worth investing money and time into classes or sports my son doesn’t want to participate in. But if I hold off on signing him up for things, he does nothing except play video games until we try something new again. It’s a never-ending cycle.

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7 Valentine's Traditions to Start with Your Kids

Valentine’s Day is traditionally a time for couples to express their love for one another, but it is also a great chance to show your children how much you love them too. While children typically exchange cards and small gifts on Valentine's Day, this year try starting some fun new traditions for your family. 

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