To help limit the spread of Coronavirus and to support public health efforts, many family attractions have closed temporarily. In the meantime, we invite our readers to enjoy virtual events highlighted in our Things To Do calendar. When you do go out, follow public health guidelines: wear masks, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. To learn why social distancing is important and effective in lessening the spread of COVID-19, hear from Dr. Alexis Elward, Chief Medical Officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Baby Talk Goes Mobile

With an eight-month-old at home, I’ve dreamed of a guidebook that would help me navigate that tricky first year.

Now there is! And it’s delivered straight to my cell phone!

Expectant and new parents can now sign up for text4baby, a free mobile service that promotes better health for both mom and baby. Text4baby is a program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, supported by a public-private partnership of the government and of organizations nationwide, including the National Center for Parents as Teachers right here in St. Louis. 

Said Julie Mainer, marketing communications manager for Parents as Teachers, “The National Center for Parents as Teachers became involved with the text4baby program because its purpose of reaching new and expecting moms aligns very nicely with our own mission to provide information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life. Parents as Teachers has a broad national network of families with young children and we're excited about this new text messaging technology as a means to distribute parenting information.”

Text4baby messages are timed to a due date or a baby’s date of birth, guiding mom through her pregnancy and baby’s first year. In addition to topics like birth defect prevention, safe sleep and immunizations, mom also gets tips for staying healthy both physically and mentally through that joyous, yet confusing, first 12 months.

According to Mainer, because more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before age one, providing moms with critical health information is essential. But why use cell phones? “Mobile phones are the most personal technology device; they are almost always with us, making them a great tool for improving an individual's health by reaching and engaging the broadest possible cross section of the population.”

Receiving your free texts is simple. Just text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411. That’s it. Within days, you’ll start receiving the hits and tips you need to make your life – and that of your little one – happier and healthier.

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle blogger for SmartParenting

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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Things to Do

Magic At Home with The Magic House

The Magic House is bringing innovative, hands-on learning to you at home with its #MagicAtHome series of interactive, instructional online presentations. The Magic At Home series of activities includes lots of fun projects that you can make at home with common materials. The easy-to-follow directions mean your kids can make paper sculpture, do shaving cream marble painting, create make-your-own flowers, go "fishin," make TP roll animals, make salad spin art and more.

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Science @ Home with the Saint Louis Science Center

The Science Louis Science Center is continuing to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning through its online Science @ Home series! Visit the Science Center's web site or social media channels for DIY science experiments that can be done at home, Amazing Science Demonstrations from the Science Center's Energy Stage team, connections to local scientists, astronomy updates from the McDonnell Planetarium, live chats and more. Content is designed for all ages. 

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Explore Purina Farms: Trainer Tips
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Purina Farms is bringing the best of the farm to your home every week! You can virtually explore Purina Farms through videos featuring the animals, dog trainers and others who work there, as well as the pets who work and play at Purina Farms every day. Each day of the week features videos on a variety of topics including animal connections, training tips and responsible pet care advice for kids. 

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