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Top 5 Favorite Things About The HappiFamli Camp Fair

HAPPIFAMLI

Top 5 Favorite Things About The HapppiFamli Camp Fair

Rebecca Cole, Senior Camp Fair Correspondent

February 3rd, 2020

Yes, it’s early February, but believe it or not, it’s time to start planning your kids summer. A great way to do this is to attend HappiFamli’s Camp Fair on February 16th from 1-4 pm at the Norris Conference Center.

Here are my top 5 favorite things about the HappiFamli Camp Fair:

  1. ITS FREE – Free admission, free parking, free activities, free giveaways. Get Tickets Here.
  2. IT’S FUN – Each camp has activities at their booth, and there will be a pony out front and a free LEGO event inside. The event is a great way to entertain the kids on a February afternoon.
  3. IT’S INTERACTIVE – As a mom, I love to see which activities my kids gravitate to at the Camp Fair. Sometimes I am surprised by what they are interested in, and I feel their interests change year to year. With so many different types of camps represented at the fair, there is something for everyone (ages 4-18).
  4. IT’S INFORMATIVE – I like the fact that representatives and owners from the camps are at the event so I can ask questions about the schedule, activities, staff education, ratios, etc.
  5. IT’S GIVING AWAY FREE WEEKS of CAMP – Many of the vendors will have a drawing at their booths for free weeks of camp and other prizes. HappiFamli will also have some great giveaways from local businesses. Come WIN something!

See HappiFamli’s New Predictive Matching Tool!

If the video rings true, then While you’re at the fair, please stop by the HappiFamli booth to get a demonstration of our new predictive matching tool that can plan your summer for you in about 10 minutes. Enter your family information and preferences, and then the tool does all of the work. Parents get a complete plan that includes detailed program information, maps, costs, reviews, and much more.

I can’t wait to see you on Sunday, February 16th!

Using Your Local Austin Library for Summer Fun

HAPPIFAMLI

Using Your Local Austin Library for Summer Fun

Cecily Sailer, Guest Blogger

June 24, 2019

Summer presents a daunting childcare puzzle for parents: How do you keep kids engaged, learning, and having fun (for the whole summer!) without blowing the family budget?! For parents of toddlers and teens, the puzzle gets more puzzling, since many youth programs cater to the K-5 crowd. Look no further than the Austin Public Library, a fantastic resource for families seeking quality learning programs in various disciplines—for youth of all ages.

It’s worth noting that the Austin Public Library hosts a robust Summer Reading Program for children, teens, and adults—one that ventures light years beyond reading to encompass astronomy, theater, opera, film, nature, gaming, pop culture, and more. Anyone can attend Austin Public Library programs for free, though popular programs require advanced ticketing. You do not have to be an Austin Public Library card-holder to attend a program. (But if you live within the city limits, there’s truly no good reason not to have a library card.)

Library Programs for Toddlers

Kick off the summer with a parent-toddler dance party! Latin Grammy winners 123 Andrés will perform at the Central Branch on Sunday, June 9, at 1pm in the special events center. Enjoy beats and rhythms from all over Latin America!

https://www.123andres.com and http://library.austintexas.gov/event/123-andr-s-590417

The library’s Toddler Storytime series includes performative readings of favorite children’s books and early readers, but also songs, finger plays, and games for ages 18 months to 2 years. These programs can fill up, so it’s best to arrive early. Storytimes happen regularly at branches across Austin. Here’s the full schedule: http://library.austintexas.gov/event-tags/toddler-storytime Also check out Books and Babies, which meets June 4 and July 2 at 2pm at Milwood Branch.

If you have bilingual dreams for your little one, check out the library’s Dual Language Storytime in Spanish and English. This program isn’t specifically for toddlers, but caters to the 5 and under crowd. Storytellers speak in Spanish and English, and these events happen throughout the summer in branches across Austin. Here’s the full schedule: http://library.austintexas.gov/event-tags/spanish-dual-language-storytime

APL Studios helps teens learn how to write a screenplay, produce, film, edit, and market a movie. Led by Austin Film Society experts and guest instructors.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/apl-studios-594250

The Super Smash Bros. Wii U Tournament invites gamers to throw down in a summer-long seeded tournament that culminates with championship finals at the Central Library on August 14. Definitely pay attention to sign-up instructions if your teen wants to compete.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/super-smash-bros-wii-u-tournament-591520

K-Pop fans will go bonkers for the library’s K-Pop Idol Parties this summer. Learn dance moves, make K-Pop inspired crafts, and enjoy Korean snacks.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/k-pop-idol-party-594260

Cooking for the Cosmos allows teens to learn a simple dish and taste-test their creations.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/cooking-cosmos-594269

Problem-solvers and puzzle-lovers should grab tickets early to Library Escape Room: Return of the Demogorgon. Players must stop the Upside Down from spreading in pressurized game inspired by Stranger Things!

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/library-escape-room-594279

At the library’s Silent Rave, teens can slip on headphones and transform the quietest space in town into their own unique dance party—and switch between multiple DJs to create the perfect, personalized musical vibe.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/silent-rave-594283

Teens can also begin prepping for their future as a Twitch-streaming celebrity! (Look out, moms and dads!) Twitch Lab helps teens think about their online persona, build an audience, and develop a personal style.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/twitch-lab-594285

And don’t forget: Your Austin Public Library hosts an incredible number of programs that serve all of us in so many ways—whether we’re small business owners, kiddos seeking the perfect book, or parents wanting to expand our child’s experience of the world. If you want to learn it, the library probably can show you how!

Cecily Sailer is the programs and events director for The Library Foundation, which supports the Austin Public Library by raising money and awareness, and by offering unique programs within the library. The Library Foundation also hosts the Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp, which serves rising 3rd through 12th-graders.

APL Studios helps teens learn how to write a screenplay, produce, film, edit, and market a movie. Led by Austin Film Society experts and guest instructors.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/apl-studios-594250

The Super Smash Bros. Wii U Tournament invites gamers to throw down in a summer-long seeded tournament that culminates with championship finals at the Central Library on August 14. Definitely pay attention to sign-up instructions if your teen wants to compete.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/super-smash-bros-wii-u-tournament-591520

K-Pop fans will go bonkers for the library’s K-Pop Idol Parties this summer. Learn dance moves, make K-Pop inspired crafts, and enjoy Korean snacks.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/k-pop-idol-party-594260

Cooking for the Cosmos allows teens to learn a simple dish and taste-test their creations.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/cooking-cosmos-594269

Problem-solvers and puzzle-lovers should grab tickets early to Library Escape Room: Return of the Demogorgon. Players must stop the Upside Down from spreading in pressurized game inspired by Stranger Things!

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/library-escape-room-594279

At the library’s Silent Rave, teens can slip on headphones and transform the quietest space in town into their own unique dance party—and switch between multiple DJs to create the perfect, personalized musical vibe.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/silent-rave-594283

Teens can also begin prepping for their future as a Twitch-streaming celebrity! (Look out, moms and dads!) Twitch Lab helps teens think about their online persona, build an audience, and develop a personal style.

http://library.austintexas.gov/event/twitch-lab-594285

And don’t forget: Your Austin Public Library hosts an incredible number of programs that serve all of us in so many ways—whether we’re small business owners, kiddos seeking the perfect book, or parents wanting to expand our child’s experience of the world. If you want to learn it, the library probably can show you how!

Cecily Sailer is the programs and events director for The Library Foundation, which supports the Austin Public Library by raising money and awareness, and by offering unique programs within the library. The Library Foundation also hosts the Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp, which serves rising 3rd through 12th-graders.

 

How to Pack for Overnight Camps

HAPPICAMPR

How to Pack for Overnight Camps

HappiFamli, Senior Camp Correspondent

June 17, 2019

It’s summer, which, for many of you, means it’s time to send your kids to camp. If this is your first time sending your child to overnight camp, I’m sure you’re feeling nervous and overwhelmed. Heck, even if they’re going for the tenth time, these feelings are completely understandable and normal for parents. Here are some tips to help your child pack and, hopefully, relieve a little bit of the stress that comes with preparing for overnight camp. 

Use Ziplock Bags to Pack Outfits for Each Day

An organized suitcase or trunk can drastically help children feel less overwhelmed when they first arrive to a new place or an overnight camp. Filling plastic Ziplock bags with a complete outfit and labeling it with the day of the week can help your child keep their trunk or suitcase organized. Bundling outfits in these bags allows clothes stay folded and compact, leaving room for other essentials. In addition, this will help your child to not stress over what they will wear that day and they are less likely to get confused about which clothes are clean or dirty. Which brings us to our next suggestion…

Include a Laundry Bag and Hangers

If you include a laundry bag for your child to put their dirty clothes in, you decrease the chances of having a smelly suitcase or a smelly kid. It’s not a huge deal since summer camp usually involved a certain level of smelliness, but laundry bags can help your child stay a little more organized and prepared. Plus, including a hanger or two can provide a place for wet clothes to dry instead of being shoved back into the suitcase or laundry bag and creating that all-encompassing mustiness that will be almost impossible to get rid of.

Pack Proper Footwear

Recently, on a family adventure, I learned my lesson regarding shoes. My son fell into a koi pond and his fabric shoes were soaked and stinky for the remainder of our trip. From now on, I will always pack athletic shoes AND shoes that can get wet without much consequence, such as water shoes, Crocs, or Natives. These can also be worn in while in the shower to maintain better hygiene and prevent athlete’s foot!

“An organized suitcase or trunk can drastically help children feel less overwhelmed when they first arrive to a new place or an overnight camp.”

Label Everything

I don’t know about you, but I buy my son clothes from the big box stores. Their outfits are cute and affordable, but this also means that several of his friends have the exact same t-shirts, shorts, and bathing suits. Labeling items with a fabric or laundry marker that can be found here can help you make sure that your kiddo’s clothes don’t get lost…or that they don’t end up wearing someone else’s skivvies for the entire trip. 

Pack Extra Socks and Underwear 

Shirts, shorts, and bathingsuits can often be reworn a few times, but socks and underwear….not so much. Packing twice the amount of socks and underwear needed for overnight trips can help your child stay fresh and comfortable for the rest of their adventure.

Make a Shower Lanyard

When I saw examples of these on Pinterest, I immediately wished I had thought of this in college. To make a shower lanyard, you simply add labeled clip on bottles filled with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, etc., then add a loofah, hairbrush, and, if possible, a toothbrush container. Then, all they need is their clothes, towel, and shower shoes. This will make it incredibly easy for your child to grab all of their toiletries and use the bathroom/shower quickly before the warm water runs out.

Include Something that Reminds Them of Home

Since your essentials are packed in an organized and compact fashion, this leaves room for you to include something that reminds them of home. A blanket, stuffed animal, pictures, or their favorite pillow. You can also include notes in their daily outfit bags to help remind them that you’re thinking of them every day.

Fantastic Magic Camp

HappiCampr 

Fantastic Magic Camp

HappiFamli
April 15, 2019
If you are not sure if your little one can handle the summer camp experience with all the older kids yet, we have found a solution for you.
Fantastic Magic Camp is running three NEW sessions especially created for 5 to 6-year-old campers this summer. All of the magic and fun of the regular two-week Fantastic Magic Camp compressed into bite-sized one week camps specially tailored for younger campers. They will teach Magic but also have a juggling class, a puppet class, snack and game breaks. In addition there will be a professional Magic Shows each day. 

This new program will make Fantastic Magic Camp even more fun for 5 and 6 year old’s, and will be located just down the street from where older siblings can attend the regular program for 7 to 12-year-old’s. From 9:00 am to 4.00 pm with an optional “Rehearsal Time” from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM for an additional fee.
 
When:
Jr. Session 1 
June 3 – 7 (One week) 
Jr. Session 2 
June 10 – 14 (One week) 
Jr. Session 3 
June 16 – 21 (One week)

Register today by clicking here! 

When Should I Register My Kids for Summer Camp?

HAPPICAMPR

When Should I Register My Kids for Summer Camp?

Chad Bookidis, Cofounder, Dad

October 19, 2018

I know for many of you it seems so strange to start talking about summer when we are barely starting the holidays, but with some summer camps already opening their camp registration, it pays to start planning now. For many families summer brings about a change in your child care needs.

If you decide you need a summer camp for your children, whether it is just a week or two to fill in some gaps or the camps for the entire summer, now is the time to start looking at what options are available for your children. Here is a month by month breakdown of how to plan for your summer:

January: While some camps open registration extra early in December & January, that is not the norm. In January you should be starting to think about what your summer needs will be and doing some general planning. Make some time to sit down as a family and talk about:

  • What days/hours do I need care during the summer?
  • Will we be taking any vacations? For how long?
  • Do I want my children at home doing activities, playing with friends?
  • Do I want them to be in a camp setting with a variety of planned activities?
  • What is our budget for child care over the summer?

February: Several camps open registration February 1st, so February is a great time to start narrowing your camp choices down and really looking at what might interest your kids. Attending a summer camp fair is a great way to see what your child may be interested in and meet the camp’s director and staff and find out more about their programs.

  • Do you want a variety of camps and activities or just have your child attend one location all summer?
  • What types of camps are your children interested in? Dance, STEM, Horses, Art, Music: the options are limitless these days.
  • If you have multiple children that need camps, do they need to go to the same camp or are you OK with having them in different ones? When my kids were younger it worked great to have them at the same place, and certainly made my life easier! Now that they are older, their interests are different and they want to do different things.

Attention Summer! This year we’ll be prepared.

March: Many families see the end of Spring Break as their signal to register for camps, so camps see a higher volume of families signing up during March. Camps can be expensive ($150-$300 per week), so make sure you have thought through your budget and have planned accordingly. Most camps require you to pay the entire fee upfront when you register.

April & May: If you haven’t registered your children for a camp yet, don’t panic! There will still be openings in many programs, but make sure to register as soon as you can to ensure you get the program and weeks you want. If you will be needing a summer nanny, it is a good idea to start your search in mid-April so you have enough time to do all of the interviews and reference checks.

Whether you need full-time summer camp, part-time camp, a full-time summer nanny, or anything in between, now is the time to start making those decisions. Let us know if you have any questions or need help with your search!

Summer Learning Loss

HAPPIFAMLI

Summer Learning Loss

HappiFamli, Senior Reading Correspondent

July 10, 2018

While summer is a great time to relax and have the kids enjoy some time off,  it is still important to make sure your kids don’t have any summer learning loss.

Every summer I start off having a ‘grand plan’ about what our summer will look like – long, relaxing days by the pool, lots of fun, and of course educational outings for the kids with time each day for reading books and doing some problem solving to keep those math skills sharp. 
 
I don’t even know why I kid myself.  Summer turns into a juggle of getting kids to camps, having friends over, sports activities, washing soggy towels from the pool, trying to limit screen time, all while I am trying to work from home.  Fun, but yet, not so much.
 
But here’s the thing – while summer is a great time to relax and have the kids enjoy some time off (who doesn’t remember great times at the pool all summer lazing the days away while eating as much junk food as possible), it is still important to make sure your kids don’t have any summer learning loss.
 
Yep – that’s an actual thing.  
 
It has been well-documented that students lose between 1-2 month’s worth of academic knowledge each summer.  And while that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, the problem is that it becomes cumulative.  A 2007 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found the achievement gap at ninth grade mainly traces to differences in summer learning during the elementary school years. And a 2004 study found that all achievement gaps among students tend to be exacerbated by summer breaks.
 
Not good.  And yes, this adds on a little more momma guilt, but it also makes me stop and think about how important it is to keep my children’s skills moving in the right direction over the summer.   The challenge is how to make it part of our everyday routine and fun at the same time.
 
Here are some ideas to keep the “summer slide” at bay:
  • Do word searches and cross word puzzles together (you can find them for all ages)
  • Do puzzles, build Legos, solve sudokus and other brain teasers 
  • Read a variety of material – magazines, books, newspapers, cartoons
  • Have your kids read directions and do fun creative projects together
  • Find a great free, library program
  • Have the kids play some games at http://www.coolmath4kids.com/
  • Take outings to local museums
  • Enroll in summer camps – HINT: A great place to find camps is at www.happicampr.com
  • You can find even more fun summer activities that promote learning here