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The little book with BIG resources!

Who’s Ready For An Autumn Giveaway?!

Autumn is in full swing here in the metro area and we’re so excited for all of the wonderful family fun in store for you in and around Kansas City this fall. To celebrate the season, we’ve got a FUN giveaway valued at OVER $150 RIGHT here on the iFamilyKC blog! Entering is simple, just click on the button in the middle of the page to get in on the action, it’s THAT easy. Want to know what’s in store for you if you win!?

giveaway

Big, Autumn Giveaway!

4-Tickets to Science City

Let curiosity be your guide as you explore this dynamic, hands-on science center! Kids of all ages will experience the amazing world of science first-hand through fun and engaging exhibits and programs. Start your lifelong love of science, learning and discovery at Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City!

Science City is a place of wonder, where kids and adults can find something new with each visit. Throw the don’t touch mindset out the window. There are no tests and no wrong or right answers, just a chance to explore with freedom and pure imagination.

Its magic starts with its location. An architectural and historic marvel, Union Station provides a venue unlike any other science center in the nation. From the moment you pass under the clock tower to your first step inside the cityscape of Science City, the experience sets the stage for making memories.

$25 Gift Card to Rock N’ Brews

While they welcome rockers of all ages, they are doing our part to help foster the next generation of rockers at Rock & Brews.  Their li’l rockers are in the spotlight and enjoy a special children’s menu featuring kid favorites such as Hamburgers, Pizza, Grilled Chicken Kabobs, and Grilled Cheese. They also get swag…in the form of rock-themed coloring templates and other fun activities.

4-Tickets to the Planetarium

Combining interactive astronomy education with spectacular public shows and night sky viewing opportunities, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium continues to be one of Kansas City’s greatest connections to the night sky.

Built as part of Union Station’s renovations in the late 1990s, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium’s 60-foot dome and recently upgraded state-of-the-art projection system makes it one of the largest and highest resolution planetariums in the Midwest.

$25 Gift Card to Scheels

Located off of 135th Street between Metcalf and Nall, Scheels is a sporting goods store that offers clothing, sports apparel and gear, home goods, pet goods, camping and fishing gear, and SO much more. Their expansive two story building features an aquarium, indoor ferris wheel, restaurant, mini-bowling alley, playground for the kids, and more.

We’ll wrap up our big Autumn giveaway just in time for the holidays – and we’re excited that one of you will enjoy a family gift from our team here at iFamilyKC!

From iFamily to Yours,

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The 30th Annual Holiday Mart is COMING – We’ve GOT a Giveaway AND a Coupon, Too!

Happy Thursday, Kansas City!

In case you missed it, we’re just ONE week out from the 30th Annual Holiday Mart, an incredible shopping opportunity put on by our friends at The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri. To help you celebrate, we’ve got a flash giveaway right here in this blog post! But first, let me tell you a little bit about what you can expect at the Mart this year. Take a look…

holiday mart

Nearly 200 Vendors

From accessories for men and women to art pieces for the home and fun things for the kiddos, there truly is something for everyone (and every style) when you visit this year’s Holiday Mart at Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City. With nearly two hundred vendors to visit during the event, the selection available to you will help you knock out even the hard-to-shop-for people on your gift list this Christmas and, BONUS, since the event is at the end of October, you can sit back and relax this holiday season knowing that your annual shopping is DONE. In addition to the wonderful gifts you’ll find as you peruse the aisles at the Mart, you’ll also find several vendors that offer a selection of dips and party treats for those upcoming seasonal parties you’ll be attending this year.

Pro Tip: Check out the complete vendor list online and plan ahead for your shopping weekend.

Fun Activities & Special Events

Attending Holiday Mart KC isn’t just about the shopping, it’s also about the fun and The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri works hard to come up with several opportunities during the long weekend to keep you entertained while you’re there. Here are the few special things available to you this year:

Preferential Shopping
Thursday, October 19, 2017
9 a.m. – noon
Ticket price:  $35

Experience the magic of Holiday Mart early! Start your holiday shopping at the largest fundraiser-shopping event in Kansas City and enjoy a continental breakfast buffet during our Holiday Mart Preferential Shopping Event. Browse Holiday Mart retailers that you know and love – or experience new retailers before the doors open to the public. The details:

  • Cost: $35
  • Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017
  • Time: 9:00 am-12:00 pm
  • Includes early admission on Thursday, access to all four days of Holiday Mart, breakfast (no voucher needed) and the first 500 people who arrive get a voucher for one drink.

30th Annual Holiday Mart Celebration
Thursday, October 19, 2017
5 – 8 p.m.
Ticket price:  $30

Cheers to 30 years! The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri is celebrating 30 years of hosting Holiday Mart. To celebrate, mix-and-mingle with the past, present and future Holiday Mart Chairs, enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and toast with a cocktail. The details:

  • Cost: $30
  • Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017
  • Time: 5:00 pm-8:00 pm
  • Your ticket gains you access to the Holiday Mart (one-day pass)
  • Your ticket includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres
  • You will receive one drink ticket

KC Needlepoint has designed a 30th Annual Holiday Mart Needlepoint Ornament – purchase yours!

Ladies Night Out (LNO)
Friday, October 20, 2017
5 – 9 p.m.
Ticket price:  $50

Gather your girlfriends and join us for an evening of shopping, sips and savory foods! Experience our exciting Ladies’ Night Out event that women from all over Kansas City look forward to year after year! Enjoy complimentary desserts, drinks and savory foods in our VIP lounge area. Plus, don’t miss live, enter-to-win giveaways including tickets from Southwest Airlines and a give-back at Kendra Scott, where the supporting brand sponsor will donate 20% of all sales to the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri!

  • Cost: $50
  • Date: Friday, October 20, 2017
  • Time: 5:00 pm-9:00 pm
  • Includes access to all four days of Holiday Mart, a swag bag, two cocktail tickets (provided at the event) and buffet voucher (provided at the event).

Pics with St. Nick
Sunday, October 22, 2017
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Free of Charge

Put on your festive holiday attire up and join us for pictures with St. Nick! Bring the entire family or your friends for a day of shopping, along with photo opportunities with Santa, cookies and festive holiday activities. Photos will be available for purchase online after the show.

The Chance to Give Back Here in KC

Funds raised at Holiday Mart go toward the League’s work in our community. In 2017, the JLKCMO is partnering with these community agencies, providing volunteers and funding to enhance programming:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs
  • Happy Bottoms
  • Jewish Family Services
  • Kansas City Hospice / Solace House
  • Lazarus Ministries
  • Rose Brooks Center
  • Urban Neighborhood Initiative
  • Wayside Waifs
  • Women’s Employment Network

The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri (JLKCMO) is a 501(c)(3) organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. Since 1914, the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri has been associated with more than 350 community agencies and organizations. Since the League’s inception, members have donated more than $16.5 million and over 2.3 million hours of volunteer time. League members research areas of need in the Kansas City area and educate the membership and the community about those issues. Currently, their focus area is Women and Children.

The Giveaway

We’re so EXCITED to have our hands on a few sets of tickets to give away for this year’s Holiday Mart! We’ll be randomly selecting THREE winners, each of which will get two single-day admission tickets to get into the Mart this year. Head on up to the top of this page and click on the “Enter to WIN Right HERE” button to enter, it’s THAT simple! This prize pack is valued at $24/each!

Can’t wait for tickets or want to go multiple days in a row?!

Save $2 per ticket using our exclusive code iFamilyKC  when you pre-order online!

Bonus- The kiddos (12 & under) get in FREE!

From iFamily to Yours,

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No-Toy Holiday Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Psssst! Look {Inside} for a FUN GIVEAWAY!

We’re now *officially* less than 75 days away from Christmas 2017 (not that we’re counting or anything!) and our team here at iFamilyKC is excited to share some wonderful ideas, tips, and tricks for your family over the next few months. To kick things off, we’ve got some no-toy holiday gift ideas to keep the magic of the holidays alive even after the New Year. And, BONUS, we’ve got a giveaway RIGHT in this post! Take a look…


holiday gift ideas

No-Toy Holiday Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

There was a time in my life when I thought my family might want to explore living in a larger house. Why?! Simply put, we thought we needed more space. Life was feeling a little crowded and it wasn’t until we realized we just have too much stuff that we made the decision that more square footage wasn’t going to solve the problem in the long run – it would just make it worse with time. So we went on a mission (a long road that we’re still on, to be honest) to simplify life and get rid of all the excess stuff. Now that the holidays are approaching, we’re exploring new ideas for holiday gift giving that don’t involve toys.

We’ve got a few go-to ideas that we typically fall back on but were ready for some fresh concepts for Christmas 2017. So, we took to our brand new Community Group on Facebook (shameless plug– have you joined the iFamilyKC Kansas City parent group yet?!) to ask you for your ideas on no-toy gifts you can give the kiddos (or adults!) in your life this year. Here are some of our favorites:

#1 Books

It’s always a good time for learning and I am a huge fan of gifting books for special occasions (and normally give them for kid’s birthdays, too). Reading provides children with the opportunity to use their imagination and dive deep into other worlds.

“A reader lives a thousand lifetimes…” -George R.R. Martin 

With hundreds of thousands of different titles to select from, the possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to gifting stories for the holidays. If the special person in your life has a Kindle, tablet, or other e-reader, you could give them a gift card to purchase books onto their device. Depending on the age and reading level of your recipient, a book series can provide hours and hours of entertainment.

Some of my suggestions include:

  • Classic Children’s Books (all ages)
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama Books (toddler)
  • Pete The Cat Books (preschool)
  • Ivy & Bean Books (school aged)
  • Judy Moody Books (school aged)
  • Harry Potter Series (preteen)

#2 Experience Gifts {We’ve Got a GIVEAWAY!}

Over the last few years, my family has become really big into giving experiences as gifts (mostly to each other) and, in addition to being incredibly fun for both the giver and the receiver, they also help to bring your family closer together in ways that you might not expect (#FamilyBonding).

Each year for my daughter’s birthday, we gift her a membership to somewhere in the Kansas City area and, because KC is so full of amazing options for families, it’s awarded us with the chance to check out some fun spots across the metro over the years. We’ve done memberships to the zoo, the local botanical gardens, and to Union Station in the past and each has given us the chance to spend time together as a family – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Many places that you can get memberships to here in the greater KC area offer tax deductions along with your purchase so you can consider that a little gift to yourself, too.

{Bonus!} Giveaway! 

We want to give YOU a head start on your gift giving this year and have a family four pack of tickets to the newly remodeled Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium ($28 Value!) AND a family four pack of tickets to Science City ($32 Value!) both at Union Station in downtown Kansas City.

Want to get in on the action?!

We’ll randomly select TWO winners (one getting Science City tickets and the other getting Planetarium tickets) on Wednesday, October 25th!

#3 Gift Cards

I’ll admit, until recently, I’d never been big into gift cards for the holidays but, now that my daughter is getting older, I am starting to see the value in all that they provide. Charlotte, who is six, absolutely LOVES shopping at the little boutique jewelry (and hair accessory, hat, makeup, toy, etc) shop in the mall. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the one I’m talking about, it’s been around since most of us were kids. Ever since I took Charlotte to get her ears pierced over the summer, she’s been obsessed with going into the store. I can understand why, it’s every little girl’s dream to have fun costume jewelry and adorable accessories all in one place.

The joy she gets in shopping for earrings, “makeup” (relax, it’s just lip gloss…we’re not there yet), and other little things that the kids enjoy these days is really special. When you give a child a gift card, you’re giving them the freedom to explore, to discover what they really enjoy, and the entertainment of shopping.

Here are a few places I suggest for gift cards:

  • Claires (they often have ‘Buy 3 Get 3 FREE’ sales so your gift card can go further.)
  • Five Below (with everything in the store UNDER $5, a little bit can go a long way.)
  • The bookstore (See #1 for more details)

#4 Subscriptions

One of the moms on our Community Group offered up a suggestion that I hadn’t thought of before. As adults, many of us enjoy subscription boxes that come once a month or once a quarter. Why not give that as a gift for the kids?! There are several great options for subscription services specifically designed with children in mind and many of them give you the flexibility of deciding how frequently you want to send the boxes (read: how much you’re willing to budget for).

We found some options that you might be interested in exploring as gift for this year (please note that we have not used these ourselves and, as such, do not provide our endorsement for any of the following) online:

  • Little Passports
  • Kiwi Crate
  • Doodle Crate
  • SproutKin

#5 A “Yes” Day

I recently read an article that discussed how utterly exhausted (and beyond happy) actress Jennifer Garner was after successfully completing a “yes day” with her kids. It’s a concept I’ve never heard of but is apparently based on the book with the same name by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

The idea is simple, spend a day with your kids and let them take the reins in planning what they want to do. You set limits (budget, time, etc) and rules for the day and then allow your kids to call the shots. If it sounds as exciting to you as it does to me, check out the book from your local Mid-Continent Public Library branch and consider giving it to your child this Christmas.

We’ll have an in depth listing of resources available to your family this season in our Annual Holiday Guide. You can pick a copy up starting November 1st in any of our 1,000 drop spots across the metro area or access it online. Also, be sure to join the discussion on the iFamilyKC Kansas City Parent Community Group on Facebook!

From iFamily to Yours,

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My Little Pony: The Movie-A Movie the Whole Family Can Enjoy!

The much anticipated My Little Pony movie is finally out nationwide. Are your kids excited?! We sent Ruth, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team to catch an early screening last weekend. She shares her thoughts with you today on the blog. Take a look…

My Little Pony: The Movie-A Movie the Whole Family Can Enjoy!

This weekend I got to experience the world of Equestria. Five little ponies and their friend Spike took on an epic adventure to save their land from a new villain. The ponies left their home to seek help after their city was imposed upon. During the movie, the ponies learned to lean on each other in a time of need. Visiting new lands in search of the Hippo Queen led them down an interesting road of ups and downs while still being pursued by The Storm King’s crew and their leader Tempest.

Along the way, they helped a band of swashbuckling pirates that had lost their free will and were now forced to carry villain merchandise for sale. This act of bravery landed them some new friends and bought them a little time when they needed a quick escape. The movie had a few twists additional twists and turns, happy moments and more acts of friendship until finally ending on a sweet emotional note. Friendship truly is magic.

My Little Pony: The Movie rose above my expectations of the animated television show that I knew and loved as a child. The new adventure not only caught my attention but delighted my girls as well. I found lots of humor in this movie with discreet references to other movies and shows from my childhood through quick one-liners that mostly 80’s and 90’s kids would recognize. Be sure to listen closely when you go see the movie!

I was impressed with the way things took a turn and became a slightly darker film with more action and villains that I bet would intrigue little boys. I even heard a few laughs from my husband. The film added a bunch of new characters but still carried the same important message of friendship. Director Jayson Thiessen took some creative liberties with this film and invented a new and fascinating story line. Overall, I was impressed by the wit in this film and I would definitely watch it again! Be sure to check out this film. It officially opens in theaters on October 6th.

I want to give a big shout out to the Cinemark 20 Theater in Merriam for hosting the screening, providing quality seating but also had a selection of pony kiddie combos and stuffed toys for purchase. This completed our movie going experience.

From iFamily to Yours,

emailsignupforblog3


Kingsman: The Golden Circle” In Review!

Happy Friday, Kansas City! It’s looking like it’s going to be a hot weekend here in the metro area and, like many of you, I’m looking for a few ways to escape the heat during date night with my husband. What better way to relax than inside the air-conditioned theater taking in a brand new box office hit. “Kingsman” was an unexpected blast the first time around but does the sequel live up to its predecessor? We sent Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, to catch an early screening of the film and she shares her thoughts with you today on the blog. Take a look…

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

I was really looking forward to seeing this sequel which stars the original cast Taron Egerton (“Sing”),b Mark Strong (“Imitation Game”), and Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) and new characters featuring Channing Tatum (“21 Jump Street”) and Halle Berry (“X-Men”). “Kingsmen” is a modern day James Bond style film with tons of action, plot twists and secret agents.

This sequel starts off in the UK, but when their headquarters are destroyed, the Kingsmen find themselves traveling halfway across the the world to the good ol’ USA. They meet up with their “cousin” allied agency and set out to save the world… again.

As a spy movie, you expect several things, handsome men, beautiful women, bad guys and nice suits. Julianne Moore (“The Big Lebowski”) plays the evil genius that causes havoc on the world in a surprisingly entertaining way.  But one thing about this series that makes me love it is the endless one liners, puns and hilarious jokes. “Kingsman” really is a perfect mix between action and comedy.

While I did feel The Golden Circle was lacking a tad in action scenes compared to the first installment, there are plenty of perfectly choreographed fight segments. I did, however, feel that one scene which contained adult situations, without giving too much info, was totally unnecessary. But they were able to quickly draw away from that with light-hearted jokes and more action.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and I would definitely watch it again. This is definitely not a family movie, but would be a great movie for you and friends to catch. I would rate this installment a 7.5 out of 10.

From iFamily to Yours,

 

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54 Incredible Resources You Need to Know About

Happy September , Kansas City! Now that school is in full swing and you’ve had the chance to settled into your new 2017-2018 routine, it’s time to start thinking about activities for the upcoming school year. Whether you’re a member of your child’s PTA/PTO, an educator (thank you for all you do!) looking for fun activities for your students, or a parent searching for inspiration on awesome things to do with the family, we’ve got a list of 54 amazing resources right here in the metro area that you just have to check out. Take a look…

54 Incredible Resources You Need to Know About


54 Incredible Resources You Need to Know About

#1 Burr Oak Woods          

Blue Springs, MO

Discover nature with the Missouri Dept of Conservation at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs. The Nature Center offers free programs for schools and groups in the fall and winter and frequently hosts activities, classes, and events for families and individuals. Additionally, groups and families are welcome to come out and explore the open savannas, prairies, and woodland areas on the property on their own during visiting hours. For more information, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website and be sure to check out their “Nature & You” publication to stay up to date on all of their programs and offerings happening year round.

 #2 Carolyn’s Country Cousins Pumpkin Patch

Liberty, MO 

Carolyn’s Country Cousins Pumpkin Patch is a working farm, only 2 miles south of Liberty, Missouri, with easy access from all parts of Greater Kansas City. The farm offers Missouri Science Grade Level Curriculum Standards. The Pumpkin Patch Tour is a hands-on educational field trip to help students enjoying learning about the farm, how plants grow, and process by which food ends up on their table. The educational experience centers around the pumpkins, of course, and will help students understand pollination, soil, varieties of Cucurbits (pumpkin cousins), diversity in farming and how food is grown from farm to table. Students will also enjoy a tractor-drawn wagon ride and each student receives a pie pumpkin and their award winning coloring book (available in 8 languages). Also offered at the Patch are Uncle Earl’s Mining Educational School Tours, options for home school groups and families, as well as special needs opportunities. Visit them online for further details about all of their offerings during pumpkin season.

#3 Ceramic Café       

Leawood, KS

Ceramic Cafe is a paint-your-own-pottery and glass fusing studio serving the Kansas City area. Their helpful staff will guide you through the creative process with techniques and supplies to help even the artistically challenged create a masterpiece they are proud to call their own. Paint your pottery piece or create a beautiful work of glass in their vibrant Leawood, Kansas, studio. The process to paint, glaze and fire your masterpiece takes about a week. If you’re looking for the place to host your next group outing, Ceramic Cafe is the place for you. They also donate to charitable groups and can help your school or organization with a fundraising project.

#4 Champion Gymnastics Academy 

Raytown, MO

Built in 2016, this fully renovated, brand new state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of Raytown, MO is home to some of the best gymnastics equipment and coaches in the Kansas City Area. Champions Gymnastics Academy offers group rates to rent out their entire facility. In addition to their group events, birthday parties, and classes, they also offer fundraisers where a percentage of the proceeds go to your group! Discover your options by conacting them online or by phone today! (816) 360-9879.

#5 Create2Day  

Bonner Springs, KS 

Creative Reuse (also known as up-cycling or re-purposing), is adding a creative element to an already manufactured item, resulting in a new function. A CD case can become a bird feeder, corks turned into a cork board, a t-shirt transformed into a rug (as defined by The Resource Alliance). Create2Day collects discarded materials from the public that can be reused and given new life. Create2Day is part retail store, part DIY space, filled with resuable materials for your creative projects.

#6 CW Parker Carousel Museum

Leavenworth, KS 

Open February through December, the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum is a museum that has nearly a thousand items, nearly a dozen interesting collections, plus exhibits that will take you back in history. While you’re there, you can learn more about entrepreneur Fred Harvey and his significant impact on business. Leavenworth, Kansas is a small river town with a big, proud past. There’s so much for you to see while you’re visiting. So check your calendar and make plans to visit with your group today.

#7 Discovery Center    

Kansas City


Just a 10-minute walk from the Plaza shopping area, the Discovery Center is a unique, hands-on, urban conservation education center located on eight acres in the heart of Kansas City. The Discovery Center offers free educational field trips that follow curriculum standards. Additionally, families and groups are welcome to attend any of the demonstrations, activities, and self-guided hiking that are available to you on the property. The Discovery Center offers a butterfly garden, bird feeding garden, and Grow Native demonstrations including prairie wildflowers, wetland, water garden, and manicured upland and lowland forests.

The Discovery Center offers a variety of hands-on learning experiences and workshops. There are also tours of the building and grounds showing environmentally friendly ways to build an urban environment in harmony with nature. The Discovery Center has a 0.25 mile disabled accessible winding Wild Sidewalk that takes visitors through the Grow Native Gardens on the site.

#8 Dole Institute for Politics 

Lawrence, KS

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics celebrates public service and promotes civil discourse and the legacy of Senator Bob Dole by providing public programming, research and educational opportunities, a museum gallery, and other offerings. Museum gallery features include the world’s largest stained-glass American flag, Kansas veterans WWII memory wall and World Trade Center beams. It is home to the Robert J. Dole Archive & Special Collections, which includes over 35 years of congressional papers, as well as objects and materials from the Senator’s entire life.

#9 Elite Gymnastics & Aquatics 

Lenexa, KS

Elite Gymnastics and Aquatics, founded over 40 years ago, was built on the tradition of excellence using a positive and healthy influence.  Conveniently located at 13600 w.  108th (near Pflumm and College Boulevard) on the edge of Lenexa, Elite offers recreational and competitive gymnastics, swim lessons, birthday parties, parents night out and open gym.

Gerald Carley opened Elite in May of 1973 in Merriam, Kansas.  Elite was the first privately owned gymnastics facility in Kansas.  In 1978, Elite moved to it’s current location at 108th and Pflumm in Lenexa.   Gerald went on to open two additional locations in Overland Park and Lawrence providing boys and girls competitive and recreational gymnastics, dance and cheer programs.   In 1992, these facilities were consolidated to the Lenexa location.  Elite continued to pioneer unique ways to share its passion for gymnastics offering a tumble bus, the first of it’s kind, that traveled to day care centers and preschools in the area to teach tumbling classes.

#10 Engineering for Kids  

South Kansas City 

Engineering For Kids of Kansas City is very excited to be able to inspire the next generation of engineers by bringing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), to children ages 4 to 14 in a fun and challenging way through classes, summer camps, clubs and parties.  They offer hands on learning programs in LEGO Robotics, Electronic Game Design and in Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Environmental, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering. Many of their classes are taught by experienced Engineers.  Their programs meet national standards in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology. Engineering for Kids builds upon the math and science that is being taught in the schools and apply those skills to hands on, real world engineering challenges.

#11 Ernie Miller Nature Center 

Olathe, KS 

Ernie Miller Nature Center was the first Nature Center In Johnson County. The Center provides an opportunity for learning, understanding, and admiring nature’s ever-changing ways. It is the focal point of cultural historical, and environmental education programming offered to all ages by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. The Center contains displays, live animals, and Nature’s Corner Gift Shop, along with a friendly, knowledgeable staff eager to share their knowledge of nature.

#12 Fahrmeier’s U-Pick Produce Market 

Lexington, MO

The Fahrmeier farming operation began in 1947 as a traditional diversified crop and livestock farm. In 2004, they began growing fresh fruits and vegetables for markets and today, they grow about 40 acres of farm fresh fruits and vegetables. Fahrmeier Farms sells at farmers markets in the KC area, to area restaurants, schools and offers CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriptions. The Fahrmeier family welcomes and hosts many agri-tourism experiences, weddings and children’s farm tours to educate others about agriculture and how food is grown.

As a family, the Fahrmeiers understand the importance of eating more fresh vegetables and fruit. Their goal is to share healthy eating habits with your loved ones and expose them to a variety of produce and agricultural experiences. By supporting their farm, you’re investing in a family that takes care of their land by growing food in ways that take care of the soil. Another benefit is that you cut down on the number of miles your food travels from the farm to your plate.

#13 Folly Theater  

Kansas City

In 1900, by the glow of gas street lamps, men in top hats and women in high-button shoes arrive in horse-drawn carriages for the grand opening of Kansas City’s newest theater, the Standard.  The theater was as breathtakingly beautiful as she is today. Now, the Folly is filled with the sounds of children’s giggles, thunderous applause for world-class performers, and the clink of toasting glasses.  We invite you to share in the history and magic of the Folly Theater.

#14 Fort Osage    

Sibly, MO

Step back in time, back to when Missouri was way out West in the wilderness, and experience the lives of the men and women who secured the American frontier. Built in 1808, under the direction of William Clark, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Fort served a dual role. It was both a military garrison and trade center.
Overlooking the Missouri River, this historic site has been reconstructed to portray Fort Osage as it was in 1812. Authentically attired interpreters provide living-history insights into the daily life of both the military and civilian populations.

#15 Historic Mt. Gilead School 

Kearney, MO

Mt. Gilead School located just west of Kearney, Missouri, operated for over 100 years until it closed its doors in 1946. The present two story school was built in 1879. Historians believe that Mt. Gilead was the only school in the area to continuously hold classes during the Civil War.

Clay County Historic Sites offers a unique field trip opportunity to experience history in a one-room school. A teacher in period costume instructs the class in late 1880s style with McGuffey readers. Pupils practice penmanship and perform arithmetic problems using slates. The four-hour program accommodates up to 30 students and complements required school curriculum. This popular field trip requires advance reservations. Contact Clay County Historic Sites at (816)736-8500 to schedule your group.

#16 Johnson Farms Plants & Pumpkins  

Kansas City 

2017 will mark Johnson Farm’s fifteenth year of offering fun, educational school tours for children preschool age to 3rd grade! Monday through Friday from 9am until 11:45am, students are invited to spend an hour touring the beautiful farm and a half hour picnicking on the property. An additional hour of self-guided exploration is also optional. Open September 22nd through October 31st in the fall. Inquire about Springtime options by calling or visiting the farm online.

#17 Kansas City Young Audiences    

Kansas City 

KCYA’s School and Community Programs works with a roster of nearly 200 artists to provide dynamic and educational arts programs to children in schools, libraries, community centers, and hospitals throughout the greater Kansas City area.

With performances, residencies, workshops, and after-school programs in nearly every artistic discipline and covering numerous academic subjects KCYA’s School and Community Programs reinforce core curriculum as well as cultivates artistic expression; unleashing ideas, creativity, and individual problem solving skills.

#18 Kansas Museum of History 

Topeka, KS

This award-winning museum tells the story of the people of Kansas. See the Santa Fe’s oldest surviving locomotive, No. 132, from 1880. A. K. Longren’s 1914 version of the plane in which he made the first successful flight of a Kansas-built plane in 1911. The museum was named one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History. While you’re there, be sure to shop the Museum Store for Kansas gifts.

#19 KC Pumpkin Patch  

Olathe

KC Pumpkin Patch provides education through entertainment. Bring your students to the Patch for a highly interactive field trip experience filled with learning opportunities. Students will learn an anti-bullying message from Spookley the Square Pumpkin, gain a greater understanding of agriculture and an appreciation for Kansas heritage by exploring their pumpkin field and visiting their Critter area.

#20 KC Watersports  

Paola

KC Watersports is the best wakeboarding destination in the Midwest.  For beginners, they offer day camps and lessons to perfect your skills.  Experts won’t find a more challenging set of rails, ramps, and sliders anywhere in the region. For the family and groups, they have a shaded beach, where you can relax and watch the kids ride or play. Their Surf Shop is well stocked with the best gear in the industry, with rental equipment available. All skill levels are encouraged, so plan your visit to KCW in the summer and enjoy some fun in the sun!

#21 Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art  

Kansas City

A variety of free programming for children and families is offered throughout the year. The objective of Kemper Museum educational programs is to engage children and adults in a discussion about contemporary art and how it relates to their lives. Groups of ten or more may schedule free docent-led guided tours of Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection and special exhibitions, to see more information visit the Museum’s Tours page.

#22 Kemper Outdoor Education Center  

Blue Springs

Inside the Nature Center you’ll find rock and fossil exhibits, a natural resource library, mounted examples of native wildlife. The grounds feature nature trails, butterfly and water gardens, wildlife viewing areas, an arboretum, a shelter house, large pond and a day camp site. The Outdoor Classroom offers a valuable resource for hands-on environmental education. Hikers on the Habitat Trail can explore a variety of ecology: wetland, prairie, woodland and cactus glade. Self-guided tours are free of charge.
The Kemper Outdoor Education Center staff offers guided interpretive programs for classrooms, youth groups and organizations. In April, May and September, the X-Stream Green field trip program offers multi-station outdoor education for 1st to 6th grade classrooms. The interpretive staff conducts programs on Snakes, Bats, Skins and Skulls, Butterflies, Birds and Binoculars, Fishing, Recycling, Nature Hikes and much more.

#23 Kona Ice  

Serving KC Metro & Surrounding Areas 

Treat your taste buds to the most amazingly fine, flavored shaved ice this side of the islands. The Kona Ice experience will amplify any event! From our steel drum music to the signature Flavorwave(TM) where guests can flavor their own shaved ice, we guarantee to bring the fun and laughter. Whether indoors or outdoors, we handle a whole variety of events including schools, corporations, daycares, summer programs, youth sports, picnics, weddings, and major sporting events and festivals.

They also specialize in fundraising so just show us where to park and who to make the check out to! Plus, they’ll come to you. It doesn’t get much easier than that. No event is too big or too small. They can serve hundreds of people per hour. Contact Kona Ice today!

#24 Landmark2Skate  

Lee’s Summit, MO 

Landmark 2 Skate is just that, a Lee’s Summit landmark for fun activities. Charlie Johnson has been opening the same doors to kids (of all ages!) for the over 18 years. Generations of residents from Lee’s Summit and surrounding Jackson County cities have skated at Landmark 2 Skate since the Spring of 1974, and the tradition continues today. People from as far away as Belton make the regular trip to enjoy the fun activities available here. Tradition doesn’t have to mean old and stale!

With a spankin’-new 10,500 square foot floor and all updated electronics, Landmark 2 Skate is ready for your modern skate/dance party. Beginners who need a different environment can join them for Learn to Skate Classes, sessions for you to learn and gain confidence. From fundraisers and private parties to kid’s birthday parties; there is no end to the “fun things” list. Skaters with all musical tastes will enjoy our song lineup. Skating is great fun, great exercise and a great time for the whole family! Make sure to say “Hi” to Charlie when you visit!

#25 Lanesfield Historic Site  

Edgerton

Johnson County offers field trip experiences at their two sites, the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center in Overland Park and Lanesfield Historic Site in Edgerton. To make a reservation for your group, please fill out either the form for Lanesfield or the Arts & Heritage Center, or contact the Museum’s Education Department at 913-715-2570 or email.

#26 Language and Music House 

Kansas City

The best time to expose children to music and language is while they are young; as by high school many people have lost the ability to hear specific accents or tones. That is the mission of Language and Music House, to grow minds through language and music. This includes Dyslexic minds as well, which are powerful but need to be taught reading and languages in a different way. At Language and Music House each class is tailored to each individual child or adult.
They want to offer the best to their students and customize each class. From Toddler language and music classes to adult classes, they want to grow your mind to its’ full potential. They also want to make learning a language or music educational and FUN!Their approach is Kinesthetic, meaning that even within their language classes you’ll move a lot.

#27 Learning2Fly   

Mission

Learning2Fly is super excited to announce our K-12 School Field Trips! If you are an educator, teacher, or administrator and would like to tour their studio to see what they offer, call 913-262-2600 or email Sumya@iAMLearning2Fly.com. Their passion is health – They teach kids 7 habits of health through creative activities and play!

#28 Lecompton Historical Society   

Lecompton

Lecompton was founded in 1854 and platted on a bluff on the south bank of the Kansas River. It was originally called “Bald Eagle,” but then later changed to Lecompton in honor of Samuel D. Lecompte, the chief justice of the territorial supreme court. In 1855, the town became the permanent and only official capital of the Kansas Territory. President James Buchanan appointed a governor and officials to establish government offices in Lecompton, and construction began on an elegant capitol building, Lane University / Territorial Capitol Museum.

In the fall of 1857 a convention met in Constitution Hall and drafted the famous Lecompton Constitution, which would have admitted Kansas as a slave state. The constitution was rejected after intense national debate and was one of the prime topics of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The controversy contributed to the growing dispute soon to erupt in civil war. The Lecompton Constitution failed, in part, because the antislavery party won control of the territorial legislature in the election of 1857. The new legislature met at Constitution Hall and immediately began to abolish the pro-slavery laws. The victorious free-state leaders chose Topeka as capital when Kansas became a state in 1861. They would like to extend an open invitation to you, to take a step back in time, to look at the rich heritage that led to the formation of their town and the State of Kansas.

#29 Lee’s Summit Physicians Group 

3 Locations in Lee’s Summit & Blue Springs 

Pediatricians are specialists in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. They currently accept new patients under the age of 18. Their training consists of three years of residency, limited to pediatrics, after completion of medical school. They are members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and are American Board of Pediatrics certified or eligible. Lee’s Summit Physicians Group Pediatrics Section offers Personalized, Preventive, and Primary Care for infants, children and adolescents.

#30 Legoland Discovery Center    

Kansas City at Crown Center

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centers and LEGO® Education work in partnership to deliver high quality educational experiences will prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world. Now educators can discover the learning philosophy of LEGO Education in the thrilling atmosphere of LEGOLAND Discovery Centers, offering a wonderful balance of learning and fun. They offer teachers well-designed, age appropriate school trips that support educational curriculum standards. All LEGOLAND Discovery Center workshops integrate hands-on materials and activities designed by LEGO Education in collaboration with real-world educators, meet current education standards bringing math, science, engineering, and language arts to life, and develop 21st century learning skills of communication, collaboration, critical-thinking, and problem solving

#31 Legler Barn Museum     

Lenexa

Welcome to the Lenexa Historical Society. They are a member based 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 1974. Their mission: To encourage community involvement the appreciation, preservation, and promotion of Lenexa’s Historical Heritage. How they do this: They host educational meetings, participate in community events and festivals, and bring local history to Lenexa’s schools through the City’s “Learning About Lenexa” program. They also partner with the City regarding Lenexa’s history museum: The Legler Barn Museum and Lenexa Frisco Train Depot, which displays local area history and artifacts, engaging exhibits, and includes a local historical research library.

#32 Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm  

Olathe  

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop offers students an opportunity to discover history where it happened. Activities with animals, wagons, and the stagecoach make visiting Mahaffie fun for children and a valuable tool for educators! Fall Home School Days are Thurs., Sept. 7 & Fri. Sept. 8. -Registration full for all sessions! We will not be able to accept walk up registrations, thank you for your understanding. Please mark your calendar for Spring Home School Days Thurs. Apr. 26 & Fri. Apr. 27.

#33 Mesner Puppet Theater     

Kansas City 

Bring Your Class to MPT! Make your next field trip a visit to Mesner Puppet Theater! Students K-12 will enjoy performances that stir the imagination and tickle the funny bone! Their theater creates shows based on contemporary children’s literature. The books, folktales and fairytales are chosen for their ability to be successfully translated into puppetry, colorful characters and plots that invite interpretation, and characters that lend themselves to the nature of puppet productions.

The puppet exhibition room is free, and a great way to introduce students to a variety of different puppets from different cultures. Make-A-Puppet kits will enhance your student’s visit and allow an opportunity for discussion in the classroom after the show. A paper puppet is designed for each show. Mesner Puppet Theater is a proud member of Kansas City Arts Partners, a sequential arts-in-education program for grades K-12, integrating our community’s arts resources into the curriculum of Greater Kansas City area schools districts.

#34 Midland Railway   

Baldwin City, KS 

The Midland Railway operates excursion trains on a line originally constructed in 1867 by the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Railroad.   The Leavenworth, Lawrence and Fort Gibson Railroad Company (LL&G RR Co.) was originally chartered in 1858 to build a railroad from Leavenworth to the south Kansas boarder.  Construction began in late 1867 and on New Years day of 1868 track had been laid to Ottawa. Construction resumed in the spring of 1869 and reached Coffeyville, KS in 1871. Making a total distance of 143.83 miles for the railroad line.

The Midland Railway now offers train rides, featuring an over-20-mile round trip from Baldwin City via “Norwood, Kansas” to Ottawa Junction, Kansas, traveling through the scenic Eastern Kansas farmlands and woods via vintage railway equipment just like the original LL&G RR Co.

#35 Missouri Town 1855    

Lee’s Summit 

See what a progressive farming community, spread across some 30 sloping acres, looked like in the mid-1800s.
Missouri Town 1855 is composed of more than 25 buildings dating from 1820 – 1860. This living history museum uses original structures, furnishings and equipment. Also depicting the 19th Century lifestyles are interpreters in period attire, authentic field and garden crops, and rare livestock breeds. Visit with professional living history interpreters on this self-guided tour.

#36 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum 

Kansas City

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990 in Kansas City, Missouri. It is a privately funded museum dedicated to preserving the history of Negro league baseball in America. The museum is part of the historic 18th & Vine district, which also includes the American Jazz Museum. The museum chronologically charts the progress of the Negro leagues with informative placards and interactive exhibits. Its walls are lined with pictures of players, owners, and officials of Negro league baseball from the Negro National League of 1920 through the Negro American League, which lasted until 1960. As one progresses through the exhibit, one moves forward through the history of Black baseball. In one area of the museum, there are lockers set up for some of the legends of the Negro leagues. One can see game-worn uniforms, cleats, gloves, and other artifacts from stars such as Josh Gibson.

#37 Oxford School House   

Leawood

The Historic One-Room Oxford Schoolhouse built in 1877, located at Ironwoods Park (147th & Mission) in Leawood, Kansas, will be open to the public every Saturday and Sundays in September, October and November. Saturday hours are 11:00am – 2:00pm and Sunday hours are 1:00 – 4:00 pm, weather permitting. Visit the school and talk with a costumed docent about the history of the Oxford School and the surrounding rural area.

The Oxford Schoolhouse is also available for programs year-round to groups of all ages by appointment any day or time, except during open house hours, for a small fee. Scout programs can meet badge requirements. Educational field trips are offered weekdays to elementary classrooms throughout the school year. The Historic Oxford Schoolhouse hosts events for children and adults throughout the year. For more information please call (913) 663-9157 weekdays.

#38 Paradise Park   

Lee’s Summit

Let Paradise Park be your classroom outside of your classroom. More than 10,000 students are served annually with these fun instructional field trips. During a Paradise Park field trip, students participate in four educational activities and also receive one hour of creative play time in our Discovery Play area, foam factory and mini golf. They can tailor your educational field trip to fit your learning objectives by combining activities from different topics.

#39 Potter’s Haven 

Lee’s Summit

Bring your next field trip, scouting event, or birthday party to Potter’s Haven! They have a large selection of pieces appropriate for parties of all ages. The cost ranges from $11-16 total per child to paint a figurine with acrylic paints that go home the same day. Pick your maximum price point and they’ll let the kids know what they can choose from based on your decision. A separate room is available with a $30 deposit, which is applied to your party total the day of. You are more than welcome to bring in your own food and drinks.

#40 Premier Bowling & Rec  

Raytown

At Premier Bowl, guests of all ages will enjoy good old fashioned bowling fun in a clean and safe environment. In addition to their group rates for field trips, outings, and birthdays, they also offer weekly specials for families to come out and enjoy an afternoon or evening together.

#41 Sea Life Aquarium       

Kansas City at Crown Center

With thousands creatures on display, a visit to SEA LIFE Kansas City will engage your student’s senses. In addition to the spectacular view from the underwater tunnel, children can get involved at the interactive rock pool by holding a crab or even touching a starfish. With so much to see and experience you will take learning beyond the classroom and into a new underwater world.

Field Trips are self-guided through the aquarium, giving all school groups the freedom to explore at their own pace! The aquarium walk-through experience typically takes 60-90 minutes for large groups. However, all school groups are free to spend as long as they would like inside.  Workshops are offered in 30 minute sessions. Each workshop can accommodate 32 students maximum. For larger groups, students can rotate between time spent inside the aquarium and time spent in a guided workshop led by a SEA LIFE Educator.

All workshops are open to students only (Adults are welcome to wait inside the aquarium!) and are entirely optional. Groups are not required to purchase a workshop for their visit. Each workshop entails a different hands-on activity led by a SEA LIFE Educator in our Education Room. Please note, if Field Trip groups are participating in multiple workshops, they will need to be separated by 15 minute increments to allow for material set-up.

#42 Sky Zone Trampoline Park Lee’s Summit 

Lee’s Summit

They’re the originators of wall-to-wall aerial action, and they never stand still. They’re always working to invent epic new ways to play, gather, and compete. The only way to understand it is to come experience it. So rally your crew and let’s go! Sky Zone is the original indoor trampoline park, and Sky Zone Fort Myers is proud to bring the unmatched, out-of-this-world, and high-flyin’ FUN of the world’s first all-trampoline, walled playing court to the Lees Summit area.

#43 Sky Zone KC Trampoline Park (Shawnee)

Shawnee

Welcome to the original home of wall-to-wall aerial action- Where they never stop searching for new ways to play. Community is important to Sky Zone Kansas City. In addition to their own charitable efforts, they’re eager to support your efforts to do good. Rent their space for your next fundraising event. They’ll do more than provide the space, they’ll help with flyers, helpful staff, meeting rooms, and more.

#44 Summit Lanes 

Lee’s Summit 

Young and old alike will enjoy knocking down pins at Summit Lanes. They have many things to offer you for your bowling experience. First, let’s start by saying that they have been a family owned business for over 40 years and strive to keep up with all the changes within the bowling industry. Their business is to make you happy and make sure that you have a great time every time you visit. Summit Lanes it the premier bowling center in the area, with a new remodel with synthetic lanes and new seating areas that glow in the dark. Their affordable rates on group outings and field trips make Summit Lanes an obvious choice for teachers and families alike.

#45 Sunset Trails Stables 

Lee’s Summit

Sunset Trails Stables offers field trips opportunities for any number of organizations including day care facilities, elementary and home schools, girl scouts & boy scouts, church youth groups and many others. Field trips are available all days of the week and include two hours of instruction from our staff. Access to the picnic area is available before and after the field trip. Visitors are encouraged to bring lunch and/or snacks. The cost is $10 per person for two-hour field trips that include horseback riding. Two-hour field trips that do not include horseback riding are $7 per person. Prices are for children and adults regardless of age.

An indoor facility is available; field trips will be held rain or shine. All field trip participants are required to have a release form signed by their parent or guardian prior to the day of the field trip. Release forms can be picked up at the Sunset Trails Stables office or printed online. Safety is always a top priority. Riding helmets will be provided. Closed toed shoes are required. Everyone is encouraged to bring a water bottle and apply sunscreen.

#46 TasteBuds Kitchen  

Leawood, KS

Taste Buds Kitchen’s mission is to be the top culinary entertainment experience for kids, families and adults by engaging and delighting our budding chefs in the kitchen. They support kids, families and food and strive to create a lifestyle around connecting, learning and growing in the culinary playground of the kitchen. Learn, laugh, cook.

What began as a few holiday baking classes and cupcake birthday parties, under the name Cupcake Kids!, quickly evolved into much more. Their culinary events now include an ever-growing variety of culinary classes, parties, camps and special events that combine a mix of hands-on engaging recipes, both savory and sweet, for kids and adults. They make the kitchen exciting and we create it all from scratch – from pasta to sushi and everyone’s favorite cupcakes!

#47 The Coterie Theatre  

Kansas City 

The Coterie is a non-profit organization, established in 1979, with the mission of providing professional classic and contemporary theatre which challenges audience and artist and provides educational, dramatic outreach programs in the community.

#48 The Farmer’s House   

Weston, MO 

The Farmer’s House is the combined dream of Peaches and David Cunningham for their son John David, and Suzanne and Alan Zimmerman for their daughter Julianna (Anna). The two families met at preschool for children with developmental disabilities when John David and Anna were 3 and 4 years old, today they are young adults. Like most parents who have children with a developmental disability, one of their biggest concerns was for their future. Every parent hopes that the future includes a safe environment for their child’s individual needs and a fulfilling and valued lifestyle. In 2006 out of these hopes and dreams The Farmer’s House, Inc., a not for profit 501(c)(3), was born. The idea of a working farm where children, youth and young adults could live, work, play and grow took shape and the process of learning as much as possible about existing farm or ranch communities for individuals with developmental disabilities was undertaken.

#49 The Storybook Forest  

They come to you!  

The Storybook Forest is an event entertainment company geared towards the creation of realistic, honest character interactions with children. They strive to make their costumes film quality, and have actors that represent the characters both visually and in performance. They design programs that fit each event specifically to your child. They perform anything from elementary schools, to tea parties for birthdays, and everything in-between. The Storybook Forest team is dedicated to engaging the pure imagination that is so powerful in all children.

#50 TimberRidge Adventure Center 

Olathe

TimberRidge Adventure Center (TRAC), one of Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s premier facilities for teamwork and team building, offers a wide range of opportunities for families, friends and work groups to challenge themselves, learn to communicate better, solve problems and work together.

Groups ranging from boy scouts to executive boards can experience fun and excitement in a noncompetitive, safe and supportive atmosphere. The main venue for these activities is the Center’s professionally certified challenge and ropes course featuring 28 low elements, a 300-foot zip line and a climbing tower with 3 other high elements. With firsthand experience and group discussion, TimberRidge participants explore and create problem-solving methods that are readily adaptable to the challenges of day-to-day life. In addition to the Challenge Course, TimberRidge offers other outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, archery, canoes, and paddleboats.

#51 Union Station & Science City  

Downtown Kansas City 

Let curiosity be your guide as you explore this dynamic, hands-on science center! Kids of all ages will experience the amazing world of science first-hand through fun and engaging exhibits and programs. Start your lifelong love of science, learning and discovery at Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City!

#52 Urban Air Trampoline 

Overland Park 

Urban Air Trampoline Park is the nation’s premier indoor trampoline and adventure parks. Urban Air Trampoline Park offers a variety of trampoline activities on its wall-to-wall trampolines, Foam Pit, trampoline Dodgeball, trampoline Runway, Slam Dunk Track and trampoline Bowl.

No matter if you are looking for a kids birthday party venue or to have some family fun, Urban Air Trampoline Park is the place to go.

#53 Waldo Gymnastics 

Kansas City 

Waldo Gymnastics is a beginner gymnastics club for girls and boys ages 18 and under. Beginner classes offer a great start to gymnastics & tumbling. Basic fitness and gymnastics skills are taught in an instructional 60 minute class. Each class ends with free time. Small classes with experienced teachers allow for ample individual attention. Ratio students/teacher 8:1. Parent Participation classes are a part of the ABC GYM program, ages 3 years and younger. ABC GYM classes are 45 minutes.

#54 Wings of Love Educational Bird Shows 

They come to you!
Yvonne Patterson-Burbach (the ‘Bird Lady’) had her first ‘pawakeet’ (parakeet) at the age of two. She has always loved nature more than anything. This passion led Yvonne to embark on an incredible journey during college. Working as a horticulturist she kept ‘Snowball’, a wild-caught Moluccan cockatoo she still has, a macaw, and an Amazon parrot who sang opera, amongst the acres of flowers. It didn’t take long to realize the public’s fascination with her birds, which led to the creation of Wings of Love.

Imagine experiencing the graceful silent flight of an eagle-owl’s 5 ½ ft. wingspan as ‘Swoop’ silently glides over the audience; the uncanny imitations of parrots who talk or sing; and the unbelievable trained routines the bird have learned ~ like riding a bicycle across a high wire. Our riveting bird shows bring the incredible avian world to audiences in a fun yet educational way to remind us of the natural gifts we share in the animal world. With our dedicated board of a CSI policeman, school educator and professional trainer, we are able to create routines to fit specific themes, or tie-ins with curriculum.

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We’re so blessed to be living in a town with so many incredible opportunities and resources for your young learners. We invite you to use this guide to help you along with your year. Whether you have a chance to visit one, or all, we’d love to hear from you! Stay connected with us here on the iFamilyKC blog, on social media, and all around town throughout the year!

From iFamily to Yours,

Holli & The iFamilyKC Team


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Tips For Flying With An Infant

Flying with an infant can be stressful, but with a little planning ahead you can make sure your trip runs smoothly.  Check out these 8 tips from Liz, from our iFamily Mom Squad on how to make flying with an infant easy!

Tips For Flying With An Infant This Summer

With summer vacation in full swing right now, it’s important to know what to expect when heading to the airport with your little babe. I recently traveled with my 10 week old infant on a  non-stop flight on Southwest.  These are my biggest take-aways that I learned!

1. When flying with your baby (2 and under), make sure to have a copy of their birth certificate.

2. The stroller and car seat do not count against your 2 free bags! Yay!

3. The baby can  ride in the stroller all the way to the gate.

4. When going through security, an adult carries the  baby while the stroller and car seat go through the X Ray machine or patted down manually.

5. If bringing breast milk and formula through security, allow time for extra screening.

6. Any ice pack that is used to keep your milk cold MUST be frozen while going through security.

7. Stroller and car seats are not allowed on the plane, (unless you have purchased a seat for your baby, then a car seat is allowed). Before actually boarding the plane, leave the stroller and car seat at the end of the jetway.  It will be safety loaded under the plane.  When de-planing, the stroller and car seat will be on the jetway for you to pick up.

8. During take off and descending, ease your baby’s ear pressure by nursing or giving a bottle (swallowing helps relieve the pressure).

When flying an airline other than Southwest, make sure to check your airlines website and the TSA guides regarding traveling with a baby.

Don’t stress at all about the thought of flying with an infant. You can maintain your sanity just by being prepared.  Honestly, flying with a young baby is super easy given you don’t have the extra baggage of toys and snacks yet.  Give your baby a good feeding during take off and enjoy the snuggles flying high.

From iFamily to Yours,

6 Things to Expect On Your First Day at Gymnastics

Autumn is right around the corner here in the metro area and, like you, many parents are looking for fun activities to enroll their kids in for the upcoming school year. If gymnastics is your child’s preferred sport for the upcoming school year, you’re in for a treat today. We have a guest post submitted by our friend at Champions Gymnastics Academy on six things you should expect to see and experience on your first day at gymnastics. Take a look…

 

Things To Expect On Your First Day at Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a fun, dynamic sport that lets kids feed their dreams to let their inner circus performer, daredevil or Olympian shine. Pro Tips highlights 6 key things to know when beginning gymnastics.

How do they do that? Watching gymnasts hurl their bodies through the air while twisting and spinning, all the while under complete control, is an awe-inspiring thing. Being able to do it is another. While spunky students may, indeed, try to launch themselves in the air during that first class, the goal of the coach or instructor is to teach kids the fundamentals and have fun, so they will fall in love with the sport and therefore further develop their skills.

Don’t expect any Yurchenkos or full-in back-outs on day one. Use this guide to prepare your child, find out what to expect and pick up a few tips on making this a rewarding experience for all of you. Let’s get tumbling!

#1 Sights, Sounds, & Smells!

When you first walk into a gymnastics facility, it can be overwhelming and exciting. Something you may notice right away is a lot more equipment than when you watch a gymnastics competition on TV.  Do not be surprised to see mats shaped like over-sized building blocks — wedges, cylinders, bridges, rectangles — or even a “pit” filled with foam blocks.

Sound

The overall murmur of a gym filled with multiple classes taking place, punctuated by athletes punching off of beatboards, may feel like chaos. However, there is order to the rotations of gymnasts moving from event to event, activity to activity. If your child is easily overwhelmed, it may be helpful to have them watch a class or two before signing up to ensure they are excited about the opportunity and are able to deal with the environment.

Smell

Another thing you may notice is the somewhat “locker room” smell. Gymnasts at all levels work hard and a facility training athlete will often remind you of this the moment you enter.  Kids usually are not fazed, and for former gymnasts, that smell is the smell of “home.” So, whether you personally thrive on that aroma or not, just don’t be taken aback.

Sight

If the classes you have decided to enroll in take place at a community center or school gym, you may encounter a slightly different set up. For example, folding mats might replace a full floor exercise.

Equipment may need to be set up and broke down for each class or might be a bit sparser due to sharing the space with other activities. Generally, fewer classes take place simultaneously at any given time, and your class may be the only one happening in that window. This does not mean the instruction you receive will be better or worse than that of a dedicated gymnastics facility. The coach’s style and philosophy, how many students are enrolled and what works best for your own child’s temperament are what should drive your choice when you are just starting out.

#2 Down to the Basics

Much of an introductory-level class session will focus on developing strength and flexibility, as well as good listening skills. It will also help youngsters become comfortable with the gym equipment — and the often-discombobulating sensation of being upside down!

The types of skills taught can vary based on the age of the children in the class. For example, older students are able to understand complex instruction better than 2-4-year old’s. An experienced coach will tailor the instruction to the age group.

Generally, the class will start with a warm-up that often includes stretches and other exercises. Gymnastics for both men and women requires flexibility, and this is something that even elite competitors work on constantly. Many programs will make warm-ups a set routine so that eventually students can take turns leading the warm-up. After, the class typically moves on to instruction and practice.

You can expect skills such as rolls, handstands, bridges, cartwheels, as well as leaps and jumps, to be covered. If your child desperately wants to learn how to “flip,” let them know that the skills they are learning now are the foundation to build up to that skill. Before you can land a back tuck, you need to learn a backwards tuck roll. Before you go for an aerial, you must master the cartwheel. Each skill is a building block towards a more advanced skill. They should not try advanced skills on their own until their coach lets them know they are ready

#3 Come Prepared

This sounds a bit like stating the obvious, however coaches will tell you it is worth repeating: it starts with arriving on time. Being late may mean the athlete will not have had the time to warm up properly, not to mention the disruption to the other students when someone joins in late.

Bring your child to class clean, dressed and ready to participate.  Wear fitted clothes. Kids will be going upside down. You do not want them trying to hold their shirt down when they should be focused on their form and the safe execution of the skill at hand. For girls, a leotard and compression shorts are recommended. Avoid tights as the footing can be slippery. Leggings and footless tights are generally fine. For boys, a compression shirt or t-shirt which can tuck in and athletic shorts or compression shorts should work. Gymnasts may wear socks; if they find them slippery, they can be easily removed. At the beginner stage, special accessories such as grips or beam shoes are not necessary unless specifically directed by your coach.

  • No Jewelry

    If ears are newly pierced and earrings cannot be taken out, they must be low-profile studs. Rings, necklaces, bracelets (excluding medical) and dangling earrings should be left at home.

  • Pull Hair Back

    Since kids will be rolling, they may find a bun to be an obstacle on their head. Some kids prefer a braid so that on twisting moves their hair does not whip them in the face. Your child will quickly find what styles work best for them, but most kids will be fine with a simple pony tail or pig tails. The key is to keep it out of the face so it is not a distraction or something they need to swipe aside when they finish a skill. Elastic headbands can be another help here, so long as they have enough grip to not fly off when practicing.

  • Eat Long Before Class

    As stated before, kids will be going upside down. Upset tummies lead to a mess for the instructor, so ensure your child has had proper time to digest their meal before class starts.

  • Bring Water

    Even if the class is only 30-45 minutes, it sets a good habit for your child on the importance of hydration as an athlete.

  • Bathroom Before Class

    Finally, have them use the bathroom before class. Especially with the youngest students, when one kid has to go during class, suddenly they all need to go!

#4 On Spotting

Gymnastics is a sport that requires a great deal of hands-on help from the coach. And this is a literal hands-on. Spotting can range from nudging the gymnast to completely carrying the gymnast through the motion. Most of the time, in order to best support a child and be there in case they bobble or fall, the coach will guide the athlete at their midsection — sides, stomach, back and shoulders. The arms and legs are also spotted to help move a gymnast through a new skill. This not only helps the athlete feel the proper form and technique, it also helps provide a safer experience as new skills are being developed.

#5 What Parents Can Expect 

Many gymnastics facilities will have an area set aside for parents to hang out while class is in session. It is important to stay within these designated areas.

For some little ones, an audience is a big distraction. If they are constantly looking over to see if mom or dad are watching, instead of focusing on what the instructor is saying or what skills they are doing, you may want to consider using class time to run an errand or two.

At any age, avoid gesturing to the child to pay attention, or stepping in when the child is nervous about a skill. Well-meaning parents can quickly become a distraction for the coach, as well as the kids. If the coach does need your assistance, they will reach out and ask.

Generally, programs without viewing areas will offer specific days in the session to observe, typically the first, middle and final class. This way, parents can see progress and gymnasts can show-off what they have learned.

The rules and philosophies vary by gym, so ask questions if you are unsure of proper protocols.

#6 Be Prepared for Fun

Gymnastics should be fun from the beginning, filled with new friends and new experiences. And while there may be challenging moments as the gymnast progresses and the skills become more difficult, it’s hard to top that feeling when you learn — then master — something new!

Fair warning: the fun usually does not end at the gym. Many a parent has been dismayed to find the arm of a couch being used as a vault, the bed a perfect crash pad and walls filled with feet marks from “spotting” handstands. The whirling dervish of arms and legs going every which way is just a tell-tale sign that your son or daughter has fallen for gymnastics!

For more information on Champions Gymnastics’ incredible programs, camps, and classes, visit them online at cgakc.com or call (816) 360-9879. 

 


Planning Fun Family Outings With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps

Is planning a fun family outing a chore in your household?  Today Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, shares some tips on how you can eliminate the chaos and put the FUN back into planning those FUN family outings!  Take a look…

Family Outings

Planning An Outing With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps:

 

The splash pads of Kansas City are some of the easiest and fun places to take your kiddos this summer! Here are 7 tips I have found that help make this summer outing a success.

1- Avoid morning chaos by packing the night before. That seems so easy but that one extra step saves much time and frustration in the morning when everything is ready to go out the door.

2- Beat the heat! A great time To head out is around 9 am before the mid- summer sun hits its peak. Also, it’s not as crowded giving you the option to choose your bench or table in the shade. The same goes for the later in the afternoon when the sun starts to fade.

3- Timing is everything! Allow enough time to play & splash before you head home for lunch and the littles need their naps.

4- The best news, splash pads are free! Just in case things don’t go as planned you will not feel guilty spending any money.

5- Give a good pep talk. I have found with my toddler, getting her to jump up out of bed in the morning is easy when I tell her we are headed to the splash pad! She is so much more cooperative In the process of heading out the door.  She also enjoys knowing what’s going on ahead of time. I let her know where we are going, how long we will stay, what I’m bringing for snacks and what else she can expect from the morning there. In turn I let her know what I expect from her.

6- What to pack.  Snacks and more snacks. I swear my daughter is only hungry when she sees other little people around her eating.  In our bag is her swimsuit, water shoes, swim diapers, hat, towel, sunscreen, water, snacks or lunch in a small cooler & an extra change of clothes for the ride home. If you don’t want to carry an exhausted child to the car after the fun than make sure you bring the stroller.

7- What does mom wear? Be comfy, it’s hot out! You can find me in a tank, shorts and flip flops and often taking my turn to cool off in the water.  If you want to wear a suit and jump in with your kiddos, go for it mama!

There are a few great splash pads around the Kansas City area! Find one that’s convenient for your family, cool off and have fun!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


What You Need to Know About Back To School Shopping

It’s hard to believe that the end of July is sneaking up (quickly, like a tiger) upon us and it’s time to seriously start thinking about back to school shopping for clothes, shoes, supplies, and everything else that the kids need to get through another year. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t! Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad is here to help with some fantastic tips to make your shopping experience a little bit easier this year. Take a look…

 What You Need to Know About Back To School Shopping

What You Need to Know About Back To School Shopping

Yes, we are really talking about back to school shopping! Even though we started in the beginning of July (we home school), seeing all these sales really makes the “Back to School” season feel real! All those awesome backpacks, locker decor, and crayons really seem to say summer is over.

So this year as you get ready to pick up all your school essentials, Check out these local places for insane deals and all the things you and your kids will love!

Office Depot

Office Depot has one of the best deals. And by deals, I mean .01 deals! During certain times, they will offer items for only .01! You just have to keep track of the ad. But most of their school supplies is under $5 and backpacks are only $10. You can pick up the paper ad or even see you current stores deals by checking them out online.

Staples

Staples is another great place for cheap Items. Currently, Staples has all of their writing and coloring supplies for .97. They even have Crayola (my family’s fave) Marked down. Compared to 2.50- 4.00, that’s a huge score!

Target

Target was one of my first stops last year! They had almost everything you need for on .50! Notebooks, glue, index cards… you name it! We were able to stock up well into this year with the awesome deals they had. Not to mention, they have a wide variety of colors and package sizes as well.

Dollar Tree

Over the past few years, Dollar Tree has really stepped up their merchandise! Before, I would be hesitant to buy certain things from there because of the quality and also the style as well. But the other day when I was perusing around my local Dollar Tree, I found some of the trendiest notebooks, folders and journals! Perfect for kids of all ages along with more traditional composition notebooks.  Not to mention they have an outstanding teacher corner as well! Plus, you can never really break the bank there because everything is a dollar!

Walmart

Walmart tends to be a lot of people’s go- to store. When I was there last week, they had everything for every grade. Especially some really cool printed notebooks for your trendy teen. I even bought several to have for myself! I mean rose gold foil prints?!?! I’m sold! Not to mention they have a lot of 1.00 or less items as well. Once major steal was a Scotchtape pack of 2 for only $1. That is a pretty good bargain! Plus tons of glue sticks for .25-.50 and folders for only .97!

So, as you get ready to venture out, into the crazy world of back to school shopping, keep these places and deals in mind!  Happy shopping!

Pro-Tip: Check several ads throughout the metro area. Not all cities and counties have the same deals. Last year, I found small price differences that not only saved me money, but saved me time from driving all around!

From iFamily to Yours,

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