Story time is an essential and recommended part of family life, and now with the new Story Bug App by Cricket Media, kids and grownups can read a book or magazine together, even when they're apart. This is perfect for traveling or deployed parents or those with long distance relatives. The app combines video chat with an interactive reader and is now available for iPad and iPhones.
Story Bug users can choose from a customizable library of digital books geared towards concepts for children aged 0-6. Titles at launch include "Favorite Mother Goose Rhymes," a collection of favorite children's rhymes such as Little Miss Muffet, Jack and Jill, Old Kind Cole, Pop Goes the Weasel and more; "The One with the Freckle," a story about a little boy who learns to have fun without his twin brother on his first day of kindergarten; and "Big Sister's Goodnight," a story about a big sister who helps her baby sister get ready for bed.
"We are thrilled to introduce the new Story Bug app for iOS," said Katya Andresen, CEO, Cricket Media. "Family members and friends have long turned to Cricket Media and our award winning library to entertain, enlighten and inspire children. Now with Story Bug, kids and their loved ones have a wonderful way to connect and come together to share the experience of reading our content whether they are in different rooms, different towns or different countries."
The Story Bug App is available for free from the App Store on the iPhone or iPad or at http://bit.ly/1whBUU3. Users receive two books for free when downloading the app, and can subscribe to access dozens of other books, with more added each month, for $4.99 per month, $14.99 per six months, or $24.99 per year. Individual titles are also available for purchase at $2.99 each.
By Claudine Kurp
If you find yourself with some time this weekend, I highly recommend the Ekster Antiques Barn Sale. Caroline does a wonderful job of bringing eclectic finds from near and far. Her trips to Europe yield a bounty for locals in the mood to shop or just browse for furniture, lighting and one-of-kind outdoor elements.
By Heather Lataille
Imagine a circus that is easy to get to, ample free parking, and everyone has the same ringside view. The Flying Circus Aerodrome and Air Show in Bealton, VA is just such a place. It offers a wonderful day of family fun every Sunday from May through October. It’s a relaxing 90 minute car ride away going west on 66 from the District line (use “5114 Ritchie Road” in the GPS). The show starts at 2:20pm, lasts about 90 minutes, and you won’t want miss any part of it.
On our arrival just after the start of the show, we were greeted by a boy offering to guide us to the appropriate ticket window. Tickets cost $15/adult, $7.00 /child aged 5-12, and children 5 & under are free. As we rolled down the window, the car was filled with the smell of pasture. We were quickly distracted by the first plane to take off. We - mom, dad, big brother (4) and little brother (1 ½) - hurried to gather our things for the short walk to the airfield: the stroller; plenty of water; hats; sunglasses; sunscreen; camera; phones; chairs; and snacks. Bring cash for Fifi’s Cafe if you want to re-live the Hawaiian honeymoon with shave ice.
We moved quickly to the main event. The spectators lined chairs along the wooden cow fence that divided them from the airfield. The experienced ones had umbrellas to shade them from the summer sun. Others occupied the wooden bleachers provided by the Circus. Several biplanes parked on the field about the size of two football fields. Others had their engines on and propellers spinning.
The master of ceremonies fit the part. At times I felt that I was living in the Midwest in the 1950s watching pilots that were my neighbors. This show was authentic, and unlike other circuses I’ve been to, I didn’t feel like I ever needed to cover my children’s eyes or ears. The depth of information made the show feel like a visit to a museum but was as enjoyable as a day at a theme park
With each act, there was something new. A parachutist opened the show as we all sang the national anthem. My children loved watching the biplanes compete to see which of them could pop more balloons with their propellers. Acrobatic flying was my favorite part of the show and Scott Francis is definitely as good or better on the stick than the “Blue Angels.”
On the day we went, it was also the first day of a hot air balloon festival, which was an added bonus. It was completely awesome to watch the individual balloon teams inflate their balloons and take off. The scene was out of the “Wizard of Oz” and made me feel like a kid again. During the show, the M.C. passed off the mic to one of the captains of the teams and we learned the history of hot air ballooning and how it works.
Don’t miss the chance to meet all of the pilots after the show. Ask them questions they have probably heard a million times because you don’t know the answers. It feels so much better than asking Google, and think of the example you are giving your kids.
The miniature plane ride (picture a tractor pulling child-sized bi-planes) only costs $1.00 and is great for younger children. Before you leave, make sure to climb on the gigantic mound of turned earth on the south side of the airfield. We didn’t purchase tickets for the individual plane rides ($50-$140) before or after the show, but we definitely will plan to take the kids to do that when they are older.
Children 5 and up will love this show. If you want to make this trip even more memorable, check out a few aviation-themed books from the library a couple weeks before you plan to go. Both of these books: “Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic” and “To Fly: The Story of the Wright Brothers” fit the theme. You could also download Little Mammoth Media’s “The Big Air Show” to get a preview of what lies ahead. The Flying Circus in Bealton, Virginia allows you to get closer to the action than many of the larger shows, and is an outing you and your family are not going to forget.
The Flying Circus Aerodrome and Air Show
Every Sunday from May- October
About the Author: Heather Lataille is training to be a Montessori Guide for children from birth to 3. She runs Planes Child Care from her home in Falls Church
by Claudine Kurp
It has been a hectic summer with a busy 9-year-old and an active toddler. With my husband’s work schedule and a young child that seems to be allergic to travel, I threw my hands up at the idea of an extended vacation. Still, this was my 10-year wedding anniversary and I wanted to do something special for this milestone occasion.
When I secured a sitter for an overnight trip, I started looking into local options for a quick getaway. I considered Annapolis, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and the beautiful Virginia countryside. Through some friends, I discovered a gorgeous destination, Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, VA. After doing some research on the resort, I was a little surprised that this jewel wasn’t more widely known.
With my due diligence complete on hotel options, I booked a room and planned for a dreamy, albeit quick, visit to Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia.
by Micaela Williamson
This past spring, my children and I went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg to check out the new London Rocks show and spend the day going on some of our favorite rides. My 4 1/2 year old was so excited, but when it was time to get measured, he received the dreaded striped bracelet. Yes, he was 41 inches...just one inch under the 42 inches requirement to go on a lot of the "big kid" rides. I was alone with my kids so there was no way to "divide and conquer" with my spouse. Luckily, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has some great ride options for the whole family to enjoy together. There's no need for older siblings to be bored!
Here are our top five favorite ones:
Located in Festa Italia, this ride is actually pretty fast and fun. Note, it changes names to "Reindeer Run" during Christmas Town. Everyone will be laughing out loud!
Rider Requirements: Must be 38" to ride alone; Walking to 38" must be accompanied by a supervising adult. Hand-held infants are not permitted to ride.
This classic log flume ride is thrilling with a couple of big drops but still safe and fun for younger children seeking a little more adventure. Insider tip: the front of the boat gets wetter than the back! This ride is only open in during the spring and summer seasons.
Rider requirements: Walking to 46" can ride with a supervising adult.
Grover's Alpine Express
When we were there, we saw teenagers riding this! Even though it's located in the Sesame Street area, this is a great beginner roller coaster that still picks up enough speed for older children to enjoy. My kids wanted to go on it multiple times in a row!
Rider requirements: Children 38" and taller may ride with a supervising companion ages 14 and older, and children 41" and taller may ride alone.
Soar above the park and reach some serious height! Der Wirbelwind boasts special double swings where a parent and smaller child can sit together. The smaller child is secure with an extra harness, similar to a child's car seat. If you are not afraid of heights, this is a great one to try.
Rider requirements: Children 40"-48" must be accompanied by a supervising companion and ride in the double swing; 48" or taller can ride alone.
Looking like you may crash into the wall is part of the fun! Riders are jolted around on this take on an amusement park classic. Definitely expect a lot of giggles!
Rider requirements: Children walking to 46" must be accompanied by a supervising adult. Those 48" or taller can ride alone.
There are many more rides, attractions, and shows at Busch Gardens Williamsburg for those not tall enough for or those not interested in the thrill rides. This list is just a sampling of rides older and younger kids may enjoy experiencing together. For more information, please visit the official Busch Gardens Williamsburg website.
Disclosure: I am an official blogger and ambassador with Busch Gardens Williamsburg. My family receives free admission and special perks for sharing our experiences. All opinions are my own.
Back to School means back to activities, and Great Play of Fairfax offers award winning programs for ages 6 months to 5th grade this fall. See the schedule and details with lots of convenient times and exciting offerings.
Right now there are two great specials going on:
1. If you sign up by August 30 and start class by Sept 8, the family fee, regularly $40 will be waived.
2. Plus, Great Play of Fairfax is offering a 30% sibling discount
Be sure to attend the Open House days on August 26-28, 2014 to try it out for free! Call Great Play of Fairfax at 703-246-9550 to schedule your spot and see what all the fun is about!
Get a glimpse into the interactive fun by watching their promotional video below:
Great Play of Fairfax is a sponsor of this site. All opinions are our own.
by Micaela Williamson
My Gym is the number one ranked place for fun children's fitness classes! Personally, my youngest child, a preschooler, has been enrolled in My Gym classes for over a year. I have enjoyed watching how much he has grown socially and developed his gross motor skills. My child looks forward to his My Gym class every week, and as a parent and former early childhood educator, I love their interactive, positive fitness programs!
Here in Northern VA all the gyms are offering a special Enrollment Week from August 25-30, 2014. During this week only, new families can get a free, lifetime membership and $25 off the first month of classes. Returning members (not currently enrolled in classes) will also receive $25 off your first month of classes when you re-enroll! If you're currently enrolled in classes, you'll get $25 off your next 4 weeks of classes for every friend you refer who enrolls (just have them mention you when they sign up!)
Fall is a great time to get back to routines, including active and healthy programs to balance out children’s lives. What better time than Back to School to reintroduce fitness to your family?
Check out the great programs at one of the 4 Northern Virginia My Gym locations:
Disclosure: The My Gym Northern VA locations are a sponsor of this blog. All opinions are our own.
Come out and see your favorite Marvel characters at the Verizon Center and Patriot Center in the new show Marvel Universe LIVE!
Marvel Universe LIVE! is a fun, entertainment experience for the entire family boasting favorite favorite Marvel Super Heroes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine and many more! Enjoy special effects and stunts as the heroes and villains come to life in this live action adventure. The fate of the universe depends on it!
Marvel Universe LIVE! is the newest and largest show ever produced by Feld Entertainment. See Marvel Universe Live! September 4-7 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC and at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia September 12-14 and 19-21. Please note that this will be the only performances of Marvel Universe Live! in the D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia area.
PERFORMANCE INFORMATION :
· Thursday, September 4 at 7:30 PM
· Friday, September 5 at 7:30 PM
· Saturday, September 6 at 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM
· Sunday, September 7 at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM
· Friday, September 12 at 7:00 PM
· Saturday, September 13 at 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM
· Sunday, September 14 at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM
· Friday, September 19 at 7:00 PM
· Saturday, September 20 at 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM
· Sunday, September 21 at 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM
Ticket Information: All seats are reserved. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, via www.ticketmaster.com, and at the Verizon Center and Patriot Center box offices.
All Ticket prices start at $35.00. Ticket pricing is subject to change based on market demand.
Stay current on the latest from Marvel Universe LIVE! through social media on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MarvelOnTour) Twitter (@MarvelOnTour/@Juliette Feld) and Instagram (@MarvelOnTour), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/MarvelOnTable).
WANT TO WIN A FAMILY 4 PACK TO OPENING NIGHT, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12TH AT THE PATRIOT CENTER?
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW. WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014
I am a Feld Family Ambassador and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows.
Language Stars, the national leader in early childhood foreign language education with locations throughout the Chicago and Washington DC metropolitan areas, will host the first annual Language Stars Family Foreign Language Film Festival this summer at the Mosaic District in Fairfax, Virginia to expose children and their families to movies in other languages. The movies, The LEGO® Movie and Despicable Me 2 will be played in Spanish with English subtitles. Details below:
The Lego Movie
August 24, 2014
Despicable Me 2
September 14, 2014
The movies will be played on the open air movie screen at Mosaic District, 2910 District Avenue Fairfax, VA 22031at Lee Highway & Gallows Road. The event is FREE and open to the general public.
About Language Stars
Language Stars, the national leader in early childhood foreign language education, teaches foreign language classes for kids between the ages of 1 and 10 years old focusing on the window of opportunity between birth and 10 years of age when a child’s brain is hardwired to learn any language naturally and easily. Their mission is to change how and when children learn a foreign language to foster a new generation of multi-lingual Americans. Language Stars has 18 locations in the Chicago and Washington D.C. metro areas and is in over 150 public, private and parochial schools, including preschools, elementary schools and middle schools. Language Stars currently reaches over 10,000 toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary students each week, helping them move toward proficiency in a foreign language, build cognitive skills and become sensitive to new cultures. For more information, visit http://www.languagestars.com.
For information on the Foreign Language Film festival, http://www.languagestars.com/filmfestdc
by Micaela Williamson
When I was a little girl, I had the cassette tape of Dirty Dancing, and along with my friends, memorized and danced to all the songs years before we were allowed to see the movie. Fast forward nearly 30 years, I am excited to find out that this iconic story is coming to the stage in Washington DC at the National Theatre from August 26-September 14, 2014.
"Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives" (official press release.)
Plus, the show has all the hit songs fans know and love such as “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” London’s Sunday Express says “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!” Don’t miss your chance to see this record-breaking live theatre sensation. You’ll have the time of your life!
We have a special code to save on tickets. Use code MELON for discounts on select performances and prices. Offer valid at all points of purchase, limit 8 tickets per order. For discounts, please visit the National Theatre ticket link here.
For more information on Dirty Dancing on Tour, go to http://thenationaldc.org/events/dirty-dancing-2/
and check out the video featuring the show below. And remember...nobody puts Baby in a corner!
I received 2 complimentary tickets to attend the show opening night for sharing this information. All opinions are our own.
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