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Kerri's Korner

The Best Form of Play is … Being in a Play!

Theatre-for-the-Very-Young-Out-of-the-Box

 

 

By Kara Martinez Bachman

 

There is a reason theatrical productions are referred to as “plays.” Surely, it is because in addition to being hard work, theater can also be a great form of play. Even one small moment in the limelight can serve to permanently fire the imagination and creative spirit of a child.

 

Although many kids prefer to spend their time in organized sports, there are many others who have never been able to grab onto sports as a pastime they can enjoy and excel at. If your child “doesn’t get into” sports, you may want to consider introducing him or her to another form of play: theater.

 

We all remember playing dress-up as children. We recall how much fun it was to pretend to be a princess, or a cowboy, or an alien from outer space. Participating in organized theater activities captures this playful element. What’s more, with every successive performance, our children are not only “playing,” but are perfecting a craft that may lead to a lifetime of enjoyment. Just as sports can teach kids how to follow directions, how to work as a “team” and how to perfect a skill set, so, too, can drama. Even more important, when a child receives the cheers and applause of an audience, it is every bit as satisfying as the cheers of spectators at a ballgame.

 

According to James Catterall, UCLA Professor, participation in drama aids in educational and social success. His book-with-a-very-long-title, Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art: The Effects of Education in the Visual and Performing Arts on the Achievements and Values of Young Adults (2009), shares the results of studies that trace how involvement in performing and visual art influences children. He says in the book: “Our analyses found substantial and significant differences in achievement and in important attitudes and behaviors between youth highly involved in the arts and those with little or no arts engagement.”  His study, which was a focal point of the book, showed that kids involved in theater, band, orchestra, chorus, dance, and other artistic pursuits had higher school achievement, lower rates of dropping out of school, and “better attitudes about school and community.” If this is true, then theater is definitely play with a purpose!

 

Theater is a year-round activity that can involve the entire family, from the oldest member to the very youngest. Many theaters and playhouses provide opportunities for youngsters to get involved. For those who are outgoing, taking a role onstage may be a possibility. When starting out, a child with little experience will need to begin with roles as an "extra" in the ensemble, or with small bit parts until he or she builds up enough maturity and acting chops to carry a more serious role. But with time, your child could develop dramatic skills that will delight audiences.

 

Perhaps you child is shy about being in the spotlight and would prefer to help behind-the-scenes by getting stage sets and props ready, helping with costumes, or assisting those who work in sound and lights. There really is an option for every personality and age. Community theater is a great activity for families, as it is something they can enjoy together for many, many years.

 

Many children begin their involvement in plays by enrolling in a summer or afterschool camp. Others choose to participate, beginning at the middle-school level, in drama classes or musical productions staged at school. By participating in school plays and theater camps, your child can become familiar with the rudiments of a stage show; this can help him/her transition more easily to involvement with community theater.

 

Pick up the phone and call a local theater and ask about how you can become involved. Just as “soccer moms” love to see their kids kick an impossible goal, you will enjoy seeing your “superstar” on a stage, delivering a line perfectly or posing as the perfect princess, clown, superhero, or dainty yellow flower.

 

Kara Martinez Bachman is a "theater mom" to a passionate 14-year-old who is obsessed with musical theater. She's an entertainment journalist, editor, and author of the humorous essay collection about the zanier sides of parenting and marriage, "Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women, and Careening into Middle Age." Find out more at KaraMartinezBachman.com.

 

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10 Tips for Hiking with Kids

 

Hiking with my boys is my favorite past time. It is a time where we can disconnect and be free of distractions. We can explore and investigate. They find working together benefits the individual as well as the group. And most importantly to me it's where they tend to open up and communicate with each other and with me the most. 
 
A lot of parents ask me for advice about family hiking. Many have said their children whine or complain along the way. They're hot, they're tired, they're hungry or thirsty, etc. I have learned some tips that help make the most of our outings and keep hiking fun for all.
 
1. Know their limits. You may need to keep it short initially especially if they are young. You can increase the distance each time you get out there or as they get older.
2. Dress properly and comfortably. Be sure to dress for the weather. Don't wear nice clothes – let them get dirty! I choose bright, matching colors so they are easier to spot! And make sure they are wearing good comfy shoes.
3. Give them a responsibility. And this could vary for age. You can give them a job such as guide or lookout, Let them be the leader. If they are older let them carry a hiking tool such as a compass or multi tool. You can let them bring a camera to be the photographer or reporter.
4. Let them choose the path. Give them a little freedom in choosing whether to turn left, or right, or go straight. This may take some planning ahead of time if it's a trail you are unfamiliar with, but it is worth it! For an added bonus let them carry a trail map.
5. Have them carry their own water. Our boys have their own hydration pack, They each have an Orange Mud Hydraquiver Single Barrel pack. It's great because they can carry their own hydration and it has pockets as well. They carry bandaids, tissues, their own hiking tools, a whistle, etc. 
6. Take breaks. Take time to stop and smell the roses. Take it all in. Listen to their cues. If they are tired find a great place for a break or even cut it short if you need to. You want to nurture a love for hiking and being outdoors.
7. Have a picnic. We almost always bring food and stop halfway thru to eat. It provides them the opportunity to rest and refuel. And we always let them pick the spot which gives them freedom and helps them feel like they are contributing. Plus it makes them work together to agree on a spot.
8. Go on a leaf hunt. See how many different color leaves you can find. Collect leaves for leaf rubbing. Match which leaf goes with which tree. Identify types of leaves/trees.  
9. Geo Caching – At geocaching.com or using the geocaching app you can learn everything you need to know about geocaching. It 's a fun treasure hunt and you'll find hidden treasures all over the place. You use coordinates to navigate to its location. You can find the treasure and leave it or take it and replace it with one of your own treasures for the next person to find. This can be a lot of fun! 
10. Keep it simple! Teach a love and respect for nature. 
 

 

A great app I've found that we use is All Trails. You can explore trails near you or enter a city, park, or trail name for maps. Users also post pics and reviews which I find helpful. 
 
You can find National Parks at www.nps.gov. Your state also has a website for state parks. Chances are your county does as well. 
 
Here is a list of local trails we enjoy:
 
Spring Creek Greenway 
 
Dennis Johnston Park
 
Pundt Park
 
Mercer Arboretum 
 
Jesse Jones Park
 
WG Jones State Forest
 
Burroughs Park
 
George Mitchell Preserve
 
Meyer Park 
 
Huntsville State Park
 
Sam Houston National Forest
 
 

Source –

Iron Will Iron Jill

www.ironwillironjill.com

 

 

 

Masters of Mystery and Magic to Star at The Woodlands Children’s Museum

The Woodlands Children's Museum
4775 W. Panther Creek Drive, Suite 280
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
woodlandschildrensmuseum.org
281-465-0955

 

Masters of Mystery and Magic to Star at The Woodlands Children’s Museum
Magic Day showcases local talent and more, Friday, June 16 

 

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – May 5, 2017 – Enter a world of illusion at The Woodlands Children’s Museum for its annual Magic Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 16, when local magicians will take the stage and perform feats of wonder and illusion.

 

Scott Hollingsworth, who has delighted and amazed audiences around the world, will perform at 10:30, 11:15 and 11:45 a.m.

 

Professor Hughdini, a local magician who has been performing magical entertainment for more than 30 years, will present shows at 12:30, 1 and 1:30 p.m.

 

David G. Wonders, “Texas’ Magic Ambassador,” will combine comedy, magic and balloon art on stage at 2:45, 3:15 and 3:45 p.m.

 

As part of the festivities, children will be able to make their own magic hats.

 

“At the museum, we’re always trying to create an environment that fosters wonder and creativity,” executive director, Angela Colton, said. “We’re ready to take that to another level during this day dedicated to celebrating magic.”

 

The Woodlands Children's Museum is located at 4775 W. Panther Creek Drive, Suite 280. The cost to attend is included in daily admission of $6 per for adults and children 1 year and older. The museum is recommended for ages 7 and under.

 

To learn more about The Woodlands Children’s Museum, its hours of operation and ways to support the nonprofit, visit woodlandschildrensmuseum.org or call 281-465-0955. The museum is always looking for sponsors or partners for events. Follow the museum’s Twitter handle @thewoodlandscm.

 

About The Woodlands Children’s Museum

The Woodlands Children’s Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, empowering and exciting children and their families in lifelong learning and discovery. The Museum also provides multi-ethnic and multicultural experiences encouraging children to celebrate and embrace cultural and global differences and strengthen common bonds. Year-round, hands-on activities – from reading and art to science and magic – are all intended to make a positive difference in the life of a child. The museum also offers free admission to military personnel and their families and is a proud member of the Blue Star Museums Program. woodlandschildrensmuseum.org.

 

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Attached photo courtesy of The Woodlands Children's Museum.

 

 

 

Celebrate the wonder of magic at The Woodlands Children’s Museum on June 16, a day filled with magicians, illusions, lots of fun and an opportunity for children to design and construct their own magic hat.

 

Blow out the Birthday Candles with Donald Duck

 

The Woodlands Children's Museum
4775 W. Panther Creek Drive, Suite 280
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
woodlandschildrensmuseum.org
281-465-0955

 

Blow out the Birthday Candles with Donald Duck
Celebrate the famous character’s special day at The Woodlands Children’s Museum
Friday, June 9

 

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – May 31, 2017 – Everyone is invited to celebrate the birthday of one of the world’s most famous ducks at The Woodlands Children's Museum.

 

Children will be able to meet Donald Duck and sing “Happy Birthday” to him on Friday, June 9. Families are invited to bring their cameras to capture the special moment.

 

“Seeing this Disney character come to life is guaranteed to be a magical experience for children,” Angela Colton, executive director of the museum, said. “Donald Duck’s Birthday Party is always a fun event – we look forward to singing to him every year.”

 

The birthday party is included in the cost of admission, which is $6 for adults and children 1 year and older. Museum activities are designed for ages 7 and under. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The museum is located at 4775 W. Panther Creek Drive, Suite 280.

 

To learn more about The Woodlands Children’s Museum, its hours of operation and ways to support the nonprofit, visit woodlandschildrensmuseum.org or call 281-465-0955. The museum is always looking for sponsors or partners for events. Follow the museum’s Twitter handle @thewoodlandscm. 

 

About The Woodlands Children’s Museum
The Woodlands Children’s Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, empowering and exciting children and their families in lifelong learning and discovery. The Museum also provides multi-ethnic and multicultural experiences encouraging children to celebrate and embrace cultural and global differences and strengthen common bonds. Year-round, hands-on activities – from reading and art to science and magic – are all intended to make a positive difference in the life of a child. The museum also offers free admission to military personnel and their families and is a proud member of the Blue Star Museums program. woodlandschildrensmuseum.org.

 

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Attached photo courtesy of The Woodlands Children’s Museum.

 

 

Join The Woodlands Children’s Museum on Friday, June 9, to meet Donald Duck and celebrate his birthday with games and stories.

 

The Woodlands Family YMCA Awards Local Man Highest Volunteer Honor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                            

April 2017                                                                         

 

The Woodlands Family YMCA Awards Local Man Highest Volunteer Honor

Valor Cooper honored for his commitment to helping the community succeed.

 

The Woodlands – Every year The Woodlands Family YMCA recognizes an outstanding volunteer for his or her generosity of spirit, hard work and compassion for others. We are pleased to announce that Valor Cooper has been named this year’s YMCA Volunteer of the Year.

 

Valor was presented with his award at the YMCA of Greater Houston’s Annual Celebration on Saturday, April 29. He joined 30 others, each representing an individual YMCA center.

Valor is a strong believer in investing in the maturation of humanity.  He has been coaching and training basketball for over 20 years and has been involved in ministry for over 28 years.  He started volunteering at The Woodlands Family YMCA four years ago when he was asked to be an assistant coach.  Since this time, he has coached two to four teams each basketball season.  Valor prides himself on having a diverse team that demonstrates respect for others and teamwork. He has been positively impacted by those he works with and in turn feels the need to make a difference in the youth and families he coaches.

 

“As most of you know, at the YMCA, strengthening communities is our cause,” said Christine Chapman, district executive director of The Woodlands Family YMCA. “Valor has been an active part of our cause by giving his time and talents to those who need it most. In fact, none of the work we do would be possible without the dedication and passion of our volunteers who put in so much effort in making our cause their own.”

 

YMCA volunteers work tirelessly to help children, families and individuals overcome barriers and achieve more in areas of education, chronic disease prevention, swim safety and family relationships. They also focus on ensuring that the YMCA’s written mission statement becomes a reality in the lives of thousands of people who walk through the centers’ doors each day.

 

For more information about volunteer opportunities at the YMCA, visit www.ymcahouston.org.

 

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About the Y

First organized in 1886, the YMCA of Greater Houston is one of the city’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  The YMCA, a United Way of Greater Houston agency, seeks to serve all – regardless of age, income, faith or background and we welcome everyone. In the greater Houston area, 30 YMCA facilities, one residence camp and hundreds of program sites nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the city’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in the Houston community, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. To learn more, call 713-659-5566 or visit us on the web at www.ymcahouston.org.