February 2016

Nutrition Accomplished!

This month, we have not one, but two stories devoted to the importance of what we put into our bodies. First up — and a crucial read for any parent with children who worry about their athletic performance and/or physical appearance — is an in-depth look at how to approach the issue of dietary supplements and their use by teens.

We also learn about the proliferation of area camps devoted to teaching our kids how to cook everything from cupcakes to healthy, multi-course meals. It’s a great way to get you thinking about the fact that now is really the time to start investigating and deciding on what your child’s camp plans will be this summer — a process that should be made easier by the inclusion of our Day Camp and Summer Programs Directory, which offers a sampling of what is available both locally and in neighboring states.

If you want to put off thinking about that commitment, we’ve got you covered there as well: Whether you’re looking for a weekend diversion in our expanded calendar listings, looking to draw solace and inspiration from a first-person account of learning how to give teens a taste of independence or looking to learn about new movement techniques for special needs children, we’ve got you covered!

Valentine's Day Crafts

We found crafts for every level and time budget!

By Kay Wicker

Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity for the DIY-lover and the DIY-lover-in-training. Between cards for classmates, gifts for friends and yummy heartfelt treats, there’s a plethora of crafts to create. We’ve rounded up the cutest crafts we could find that could be great if your little crafter wants to bring unique cards to a party or just something fun to do at home during the day of love.

Quick and Easy

For the busy and short-attention-spanned, a complex craft may be too ambitious. Crafts don’t have to be complicated to be fun or appealing. Take this Cupid Arrowcraft. Send the little ones out in the afternoon to find sticks then simply attach pastel pieces of felt to the ends, (a heart shaped piece at the top and an arrowhead-shaped piece at the bottom) and voilà! You’ll have little cupids. Too cold to go out? Treeless or otherwise? Try making heart-shaped animals. These paper pals don’t scream Valentine’s Day the way a hot pink heart-shaped anything else would, so you can leave them up on the fridge for months to come. A tutorial can be found here.

Crafty Cards

It’s Friday night, the Valentine’s Day party is tomorrow afternoon and all of the ready-made cards are sold out. After a quick search on Pinterest, that horror story can end. Short on time and creative energy? We found east crafts like this paint swatch book mark. If you have more time on your hands and don’t mind springing for a bag of chocolate, you can make something like these cute candy huggers.

In lieu of wanting to keep things simple, but still clever check out this felt fortune cookie card tutorial.

Sweet Treats

Any holiday is the perfect excuse to feed the sweet tooth, but perhaps none quite like Valentine’s Day (and well, Halloween). For a super easy, but really beautiful, treat check out chocolate-covered pretzel sticks. You just need four ingredients: chocolate, milk, sprinkles and pretzel rods. Red velvet cupcakes are a total given on Valentine’s Day, but you can up the ante with red velvet milkshake. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, sweeten up Sunday brunch with some red strawberry waffles.

Sunday Funday

With weather reports coming in about a record-breaking cold all weekend long, maybe you’re opting to stay in, nice and snuggly all weekend. Here a few more crafts that may take some time and effort but are perfect for those snuggled up indoors. Pull out the yarn box for these hardly monstrous Pom-Pom Monsters. Catch some of that sun, hopefully to warm you up, with this hands-on painting craft, heart-shaped sun catchers. Recycled toilet paper rolls, with paint, pipe cleaners and construction paper, can become punny, bee-utiful Valentine’s.

Frederick Douglass Week Starts Sunday

Brush up on some Frederick Douglass facts to prepare

by Hannah Johnson

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey), the celebrated writer, speaker and abolitionist, was born into slavery in Talbot County in 1818. Historians have debated the when and where of his birth, but it is known that Douglass started celebrating his birthday on Feb. 14. So, it feels appropriate to start the week commemorating him on his chosen birthday. Despite his adverse beginnings, Douglass led an amazing life. After moving among several families as a slave, Douglass found himself in Baltimore serving the Auld family. It was there that Sophia Auld, the wife of Hugh Auld, taught him how to read and write, the catalyst for Douglass’ eventual liberation. He went on to escape slavery, after two prior attempts, and made it all the way to New York where he married Anna Murray, a free black woman from Baltimore, and had five children.

Douglass is one of the most influential characters in history, advising presidents and even becoming the first black man to get a bid for Vice President of the United States. In addition to Maryland and New York, the civil rights activist has connections in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He published four books, moved hundreds of audiences with his impeccably-crafted speeches, and even added women’s rights to the long list of things on his mission.

Learn more about Douglass his time in Maryland during BBH Tours’ upcoming Frederick Douglass week historic tours.

A Whale of a Deal

Get kids reading on porpoise

by Hannah Johnson

There is something fishy going on at the Enoch Pratt Free Library System. It’s a new partnership with the National Aquarium to launch the Read to Reef Book Club. The reading program offers free admission to the National Aquarium for any child up to fifth grade with a Pratt Library card who participates.

To participate, a child just needs to visit the local Pratt Library branch to receive a Read to Reef bookmark, which offers suggestions for aquatic/conservation-themed books to read. Once a child has read five books, he or she presents the bookmark to the librarian for a voucher to the National Aquarium, good for the child and up to three guests. The voucher can be redeemed at the will call office of the Aquarium on the day of their visit.

The Aquarium is making 2,500 vouchers available for area children and their families. All bookmarks must be validated by April 30 and vouchers must be used by June 19. Blackout dates for the visits include March 25-26 and May 27-30. For more information about the Read to Reef Book Club, visit www.aqua.org/youraquarium.

New Blend Brews in Baltimore

Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance opens a kid-friendly clubhouse.

By Kay Wicker

Despite moving to the city with her family the same week of the Freddie Gray unrest, Elizabeth Mount’s desires to be a part of Baltimore, if anything, increased. “I didn’t like what the media was broadcasting. It wasn’t the truth,” says the Ohio native.

“We moved in on May 2, and the protests that got violent were on April 27,” Mount say. “We were scheduled to move in April 29, but by coincidence our construction got delayed and we had a few days to be involved in the ‘community unity’ efforts happening in Ridgely’s Delight before we had the chaos of moving in!”[...whole story]

2016 Camp and Summer Programs Directory

Compiled by Joyce Heid

Yes, it’s only February, but you can bet local camps and summer programs are already making their plans for summer 2016—and you should be, too!

Below is a listing of scores of area programs that are looking forward to keeping your children happily engaged and occupied during the summer of 2016. We’ve made this listing as comprehensive as possible, but space does not permit us to include every program in the area. To find some of the programs we couldn’t fit into these pages, you can check out our online Camp and Summer Programs Directory, on our website, at www.BaltimoresChild.com. And remember that your local recreation and parks program, neighborhood groups, and religious organizations may be offering programs this summer as well.

Learning to Fly

Local schools are getting creative with accommodations and programs to help students thrive.


Bill and Suzanne Mannion watched their older daughter, Emma, struggle during first grade. Other students made fun of her for having trouble with simple addition, and the Mannions could see their daughter's self-esteem drop. They feared she might get held back a grade and worried that might further lower her confidence.

After Emma was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyscalculia—difficulty in compre-hending numbers and arithmetic—the Mannions moved their two kids (Emma is 10, Anna 9) to St. Clement Mary Hof-bauer School in Baltimore, where Emma is part of a program that gives her the ac-ademic support she needs. Called PRIDE (for Pupils Receiving Inclusive Diversified Education), the K-8 program run by the Archdiocese of Baltimore focuses on helping students with low- to high-average intelligence and mild to moderate learning disabilities.

[Read More]

Ask a Doctor

Instead of turning to Google, we asked a professional about flu prevention.

By Kay Wicker

Flu prevention can be as simple as washing our hands. “The flu spreads through our hands. We cough and sneeze into our hands. We wipe our noses with our hands,” says Dr. Charles Schubin, a pediatrician at Mercy Hospital. “We teach our children to share, and they share their toys and their germs.”

[Read More]


Product Reviews and New Stuff

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Camp Bravo

Summer starts here