Monday, December 5, 2016

Crazy-Fun Birthday Party Ideas

Kids look forward to their birthdays all year long, and it is easy to understand why. On top of turning one more year older, they get to enjoy being the center of attention with their family and friends. For parents, however, birthday planning can get complicated when it seems as if everyone has done the usual bounce house and cartoon character parties. This year, give your kid a true surprise by using these crazy-fun birthday party ideas as inspiration for adding some excitement to the special occasion.

Have a Blast With Laser Tag

Kids love futuristic play, and laser tag is one activity that just gets better when kids can play with a huge crowd. As kids divide into teams and devise their strategies, the parents will get a kick out of watching to see who emerges as the leaders. Your guests will also love the adrenaline rush that comes from stepping into a world where every move could make them a target. After running, leaping and rolling to dodge the blasts, your guests will be blissfully tired by the time you are ready for the cake to be served.

Encourage Them to Climb the Walls

Forget throwing a birthday party where your whole goal as the host is to stop the kids from climbing the walls. With a rock climbing party, your guests can be as wild as they please. Since you know that they will be safely harnessed and guided by trained professionals, you can relax as the party literally hits full swing. The best part is that even kids who have climbed before will feel like it is a new experience, since there is always a new challenge to conquer such as scaling to a new height.

Host a Battle of the Boats

Pin-the-tail on the donkey may have kept your kid entertained when they were two, but older kids need a bigger competition than the classic birthday fare. This year, put a new twist on a nautical theme by arranging for your party attendees to go on a boating adventure. If they’ve never left dry land before, then is no need for worries. Bumper boats are safe and easy enough for young kids to operate with supervision. Just make sure to grab your waterproof camera to capture all those bumps and laughter in action.

Put on a Dramatic Production

Over the years, your kid has become quite the character and their birthday is the perfect place to highlight their creativity. Give your child a birthday that they will always remember by encouraging them and their friends to put on a play. Whether they recreate an old favorite or improvise a completely new production, having an array of props and costumes will set the stage for a memorable dramatic event.
Birthday parties are the one time of the year when you get to show your kid how special they are to your family. Yet, coming up with an awesome theme and activities gets more difficult as your kid gets older. By choosing activities that challenge your guests to use their bodies and minds in new ways, you will keep them interested and ensure that your next celebration leaves a long-lasting impression.

Let your kids experience the a fun birthday celebration at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site at to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

5 Important Reasons Why Parents Should Introduce Gymnastics to Kids

Gymnastics offers kids an opportunity to stretch outside of their comfort zone and learn new skills. At first, it can be scary to watch your child leap and flip using gymnastic equipment. However, every new lesson is carefully designed to build upon a child’s existing skills as they use floor mats and other safety equipment under the guidance of a professional instructor. Introducing gymnastics to your child at an early age will provide these benefits in addition to giving your child an opportunity to just have fun.

Safe Risks Build Confidence
It is always exciting to watch the expressions on a beginner gymnast’s face as they watch their peers with advanced skills perform tricks such as a back handspring. Gymnastics gives kids the chance to turn what seems like an impossible feat into an accomplishment. Since gymnastic lessons break complicated tricks down into simple steps, kids gain confidence with each new skill they master.

Exercise Eases Challenging Behavior
Kids today are often forced to sit for hours in their academic classrooms, which sometimes leads to behavior problems. In gymnastics class, kids get to burn off their energy while learning how to harness their ability to focus on completing a routine. They learn to respect their coaches, and looking forward to gymnastics after school gives kids motivation to stay on their best behavior.

Flexibility and Balance Decrease the Risk of Injury
Stretching is a primary component of every gymnastics class since limber muscles help a child maneuver through complicated elements as they perform their routines. Children also learn balance as they work on equipment such as the balance beam, and they build core muscle skills that give them control over their movements. Flexibility and balance are two important parts of physical fitness, and they make kids less likely to sustain injuries such as sprained ankles during other sports activities.

Visualization Positively Impacts Academics
Often, while watching a gymnastics competition, you will see competitors take a moment before they begin to visualize the routine in their mind. Children are encouraged to practice mentally working through their skills during times when they are not in class since that impacts their ability to achieve a perfect score. Memorizing routines and strengthening body memory also help kids stay focused in school. Children who struggle with paying attention in class learn to apply these same visualization skills toward accomplishing both academic and athletic goals.

Foster Desirable Character Traits
Every parent wants their child to learn the value of teamwork, independence and perseverance. Gymnastics stands out from other types of sports because it allows kids to compete individually while also working as a team. Mastering a new skill, such as a dismount on the vault, takes multiple efforts that teach children how to overcome failure to reach their fullest potential.

In a gymnastics gym, it may look like chaos as children are flipping on bars and jumping on trampolines. Yet, every lesson in gymnastics class is strategically planned to give kids the support they need to become advanced gymnasts who can compete with confidence. While learning how to support their peers celebrating a perfect dismount, setting their eyes on a goal and making it happen influences every part of a child’s life.

Let your kids experience gymnastics at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site at to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.

Monday, October 24, 2016

How to Get Kids to Do Their Homework

Trying to get kids to do their homework can become a nightly battle that fills your evenings with dread. Yet, you know that practicing the skills they are learning at school will reinforce new concepts while teaching your child the importance of education. Teachers today must keep their classes moving at a fast pace to keep up with their school’s standards, which means that skipping homework can leave your son or daughter falling behind. While you cannot wish homework away, you can make it easier for them to stay motivated for completing their assignments by implementing these simple strategies.

Establish a Set Time for Doing Homework

Kids do best with a routine and setting a specific time for doing homework will eliminate those last-minute rushes to complete an assignment. Talk to your child about the times when they are best able to think. Usually, this time will be in between after school and dinner when they are not yet tired out from the day’s events. Once you agree upon a time, stick to it. Your child can use an alarm or other type of reminder to let them know when it is time to get started.

Set Up a Study Space

A defined study space gives your child a place to store supplies so that they can avoid time wasters such as searching for a pen and paper. It also ensures that they will not be distracted by other activities that are going on in your home such as a television blaring in the background. Find a quiet space in your house where your child can focus without such distractions. Then add a desk, chair and shelves that they can use to complete their work.

Sign Them Up for an After-School Program

For many kids, homework battles occur because they do not understand the assignments. In these cases, having homework assistance from a professional tutor will help your child learn critical skills without getting frustrated. After school programs make it a point to provide a special place and time for kids to study so they are prepared to get straight to work. Knowing that they will also have time afterward to participate in their favorite activities such as sports also motivates kids to get those assignments completed.

Support Your Child’s Changing Needs

As your child begins to respond to your strategies, it is important to acknowledge their progress. Let your child know that you are proud of them for completing their homework, and ask if there are ways that you could provide extra support. For example, your child may ask for one-on-one tutoring if they are struggling in a tough subject such as mathematics or writing. Enrichment courses in science and the arts can also help reinforce skills that will make doing homework easier.

Homework may seem arbitrary to kids, but teachers truly do hand out those assignments with the best intentions in mind. Although you know that doing their homework will lead to success in the future, your child may need some convincing. By setting them up with a defined space and time to study, along with homework assistance, your son or daughter can finally look forward to the feeling of satisfaction that comes with showing up to school with their assignments complete.

Let your kids experience academic tutoring at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site at to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Best Ways to Improve Your Child's Vocabulary

Helping your child develop an extensive vocabulary will ensure they succeed academically and socially. Not only will a large vocabulary help them sail through standardized tests, but it also enables them to speak to their peers and authority figures with confidence. However, this is one skill that is best taught by surrounding your child with multiple types of support. As you plan ways to improve your child’s vocabulary, use these strategies to give them the best chances for success.

Encourage Them to Read Challenging Books
From the moment you open that very first book with your child, you are exposing them to a world full of words. In the early years, many parents offer books that are simple to read so that their new reader does not become frustrated. However, it is also important to provide reading challenges that inspire your child to look up new words. Talk to your child’s teacher and academic tutor about your child’s current reading level. This way, they can guide you to a selection of books that will challenge your child without being overly frustrating.

Use Rich Vocabulary Around Your Child
As a parent, it is important to model desired behaviors, and using rich vocabulary around your child helps them learn how to use new words in their appropriate contexts. Avoid using baby talk or simplifying your language. Instead, speak carefully, and be willing to provide explanations for the meaning of new words when your child asks.

Enroll in Academic Tutoring
Individualized learning experiences are important for helping your child learn new words and how to use them correctly. Academic tutoring provides targeted instruction that is tailored to your child’s abilities. Whether they play a word game with their teacher or practice speaking with a group of their peers, each tutoring lesson will focus on implementing strategies that makes learning new vocabulary words fun and effective for your child.

Create Opportunities to Practice
Simply memorizing a list of vocabulary words will not help your child remember them in casual conversation. For this reason, social opportunities are critical while your child is strengthening their oral language skills. After school programs, such as tutoring and sports, are great ways to extend your child’s language learning beyond the school day. It is also important to stretch their vocabulary through enrichment opportunities such as science clubs and fine arts lessons.

Provide Supportive Feedback
When a child makes attempts to use new words, it is important to acknowledge their successes while providing supportive correction for mistakes. Make it a point to notice when your child uses a word that is new to their vocabulary. If they use a word incorrectly, give them the correct word or help them see how to make it fit the sentence. This helps to reinforce their learning while also building their confidence to take a risk in casual conversations.

Building your child’s vocabulary is a process that begins early in their academic years. Yet, nurturing a love for learning new words pays off as your child begins searching for the meaning of new words they hear. By implementing multiple strategies that support word acquisition into your child’s daily routine, you will be seeing noticeable results in their conversations and knowledge every time you talk about their day.

Let your kids experience academic tutoring at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site at to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Preschool Crafts to Enhance Motor Skills

The picture of a young child covered in paint sums up the joys of childhood perfectly. Yet, children are doing more than just having fun when they participate in arts and crafts activities. Crafts allow children to express their creativity while also building essential motor skills that will impact their entire learning experience. When adults know how to maximize crafting experiences to their full potential every child can benefit from building their motor skills while enjoying creative play.

How Crafting Builds Motor Skills
Preschool crafts are best known for helping to strengthen a child’s fine motor skills. Pinching clay, tearing paper and holding a paintbrush all help a child to develop their pincher grasp, which is necessary for writing. Crafts can also help a child develop their gross motor skills when parents and educators are willing to turn art into a whole body experience. For example, feet painting on long strips of butcher paper helps children develop their walking skills and painting on an easel stimulates a child’s back and shoulder muscles so that they will be better able to throw and catch a ball.

Preschool Crafts for Fine Motor Skills
When adults look back on their favorite summer camp and school experiences, they often recount the art projects they made as a young child. Many of these craft projects are still popular today such as making sculptures out of play dough. Preschoolers also love making jewelry. Pipe cleaners and pony beads make simple bracelets and lacing each bead onto the pipe cleaner is perfect for strengthening fine motor skills and eye hand coordination. Weaving construction paper placemats, painting with a small brush and cutting out shapes with scissors for a collage are a few more crafts that are excellent for building fine motor abilities.

Gross Motor Craft Ideas
In preschool, crafts do not have to be sit-down projects. In fact, making art bigger is the ideal way to develop a young child’s ability to run, jump and throw. For example, splatter painting outside encourages a child to use their arms while walking around the canvas. Preschoolers can also make musical instruments, such as paper plate maracas and hold a parade for their friends and family. Murals are another fun project for kids that get them moving. Simply hang a large piece of paper up on a wall, and let the kids use a short step stool to practice their climbing skills while reaching their paintbrush to the top of the mural.

Crafting Tips for Preschoolers
Making art with preschoolers is always fun, yet it is important to carefully choose your projects. Since you never want to ruin the fun by worrying about messes, make sure that you plan your project to take place in a kid-friendly zone. Open-ended craft projects work best so provide a variety of materials from which kids can choose to express their creativity. Finally, have fun. The actual product is never as important as just letting the kids enjoy the process.

Kids and crafts just go together and making beautiful works of art is a great way to encourage preschoolers to move their growing bodies. Whether the child in your life needs to work on their ability to hold a pencil or develop their balance, there is a craft project available to help them build their skills. By taking the time to enjoy a crafting moment with your child, you can simultaneously build motor skills while letting them express their creativity.

Let your kids experience preschool learning fun at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site at  to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.


Monday, August 1, 2016

6 Things About Academic Tutoring You Should Know

There comes a time in many children’s school careers when they are simply struggling with a particular subject or concept. Should you notice your youngster falling behind in math or worried about not reading as well as classmates, it may be time to seek out a tutoring program whether through the school, at a community center or at a specialized summer camp. Timely addition of tutoring can make a huge difference in your youngster’s school success.

Individualized Learning Experience

There’s nothing like individual attention to help youngsters grasp hard-to-learn concepts and work through stumbling blocks. Today’s classrooms are often crowded and busy. Quiet, struggling children are easily lost in the crowd, and individual tutoring or small group instruction allows these youngsters to better reach their potential. Kids are also more comfortable in the non-threatening atmosphere of tutoring, where they can work at their own speed without worrying about the performance or opinion of other students. With less pressure, students are more at ease and better able to overcome with academic problem areas.

Becoming a Better Learner

A good tutoring program can give young students the chance to become better learners, to think independently and to develop improved problem solving skills. A good tutor can help a child hone study habits and learning strategies that can stand him in good stead in a variety of subjects throughout his academic career. It’s also helpful for kids to see that they aren’t alone in their struggles with math or reading, and success can also breed success. When kids see others with similar academic problems begin to succeed, they realize that they can too.

Value of Hard Work

Tutors aren’t intended to do your child’s home work for him. Rather, a good tutor can develop a child’s appreciation of the rewards of hard work. Much as a coach can’t hit a home run for a young baseball player, a tutor can’t perform a student’s school work but can show him how to maximize his efforts. For a child, knowing that better school performance and better grades are earned by their own hard work is an invaluable lesson and a great character builder.

Immediate Feedback

Unlike homework and class assignments, individual or small group tutoring means your child will get immediate feedback on work done. Although this can seem like criticism to your child if he’s not used to tutoring, it’s a great way to speed along the learning process. Also, one-on-one attention means your student can ask as many questions as he wants without worrying about whether class might think the question is “stupid”. Immediate answers to questions means concepts can be grasped more quickly.

Super Parent Resource

Because a tutor is spending one-on-one time with your youngster, it means the tutor can be a valuable resource for you as a parent. Stay updated on the progress of current and upcoming sessions and ask the tutor about his own experiences with studying and taking tests and how they may help your child in their home studies.

Improving Academic Performance and Stopping the Summer Slide

High quality tutoring, based on the child’s needs as identified by parents, teachers and the child herself, leads to improved performance with school work, homework and tests. However, even when one particular goal has been achieved, a youngster may need occasional remediation in problem areas. A good tutoring program is geared to helping kids with needs that may change throughout their academic career. Additionally, many kids lose ground during summer when they’ve stopped using their academic skills. Depending on the student, this may mean the loss of several months of learning. Tutoring during the warm weather months can help your child start school in the fall right at or above grade level.
Let your kids experience academic tutoring fun at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why Summer Camp is the Best Vacation Option for Kids

Summer break is the ideal time for kids to explore new interests and camp provides a safe environment where they can have the freedom they need to reach their full potential. While other vacation options may seem more family-friendly, they often lack the same full range of amenities that a quality summer camp provides. As you explore potential vacation ideas this summer, keep these benefits of summer camp in mind so that you can give your kid an adventure full of experiences that will last a lifetime.

Enjoy State-of-the-Art Facilities

Most vacation venues offer one or two exciting things for kids to do. However, summer camp is equipped with facilities that encourage kids to try new things. From dance studios and indoor rock climbing walls to an outdoor miniature golf course and a lake, kids at summer camp wake up each day to a wide-open playground just waiting to be explored. While they think they are just having fun, you as a parent can know there are always fully trained staff members available who can keep them safe while challenging them to improve their skills.

Build Lifelong Friendships

Kids at summer camp form an instant bond that is just different from the kinds of friends they make at school. Sharing a cabin, eating in the dining hall and spending all day together fosters a community that emphasizes showing kindness to everyone. Often, kids communicate with their bunk buddies throughout the year, and they cannot wait to meet back up with their friends when summer begins again.

Encourage New Interests

At summer camp, kids can strengthen their current skills in a favorite sport or hobby such as soccer and drama, or they can choose to explore something completely new. In fact, many kids have never had the opportunity to do things such as kayaking or swimming across a lake until they attend summer camp. Dance, drama, pottery and archery are just a few more interesting activities kids can enjoy at summer camp.

Develop Leadership Skills

Kid’s vacation options are often filled with rules about what a kid cannot do; yet summer camp promotes independence for kids within a safe environment. At camp, kids take on greater responsibilities as they return each year. For example, an experienced camper may act as a Big Brother or Big Sister to a new camper and guide them through the first week of camp. Often, these same kids return to become Counselors in Training, and many camp staff members are alumni who love returning each summer.

Participate in Special Events

Summer camp is never boring. In fact, special events are constantly being planned that add an extra element of excitement to an already fun-filled schedule. Whether kids are digging for gold or tie-dying t-shirts, they love having the opportunity to do something new. For many campers, family days are one of the most treasured events since that gives them an opportunity to show their families exactly how much they have learned and enjoyed at summer camp.

Deciding where to send your son or daughter for their summer vacation is not something to be taken lightly. After all, the experiences your child has during the summer can also affect their academic success. This year, allow your child to enjoy greater independence while participating in kid-friendly activities that only a full summer camp program can provide.

Let your kids experience summer camp fun at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site at to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Attributes of a Great Summer Camp Counselor

Life as a summer camp counselor is exciting since you never know what each new day will bring. Whether you are leading campers on a hiking trail in the wilderness or comforting a homesick child, you will constantly be challenged to develop your leadership skills while enjoying the perks that come with working outdoors. It is important, however, to recognize that it takes a special person to become a summer camp counselor. Following are the top attributes summer camps look for in their counselor candidates that point toward someone who can rise to any challenge while maintaining a friendly demeanor.

Excellent Communication Skills

Team meetings, parent conferences and bunk-side chats all require a summer camp counselor to adjust their communication strategies to fit the situation. For this reason, camp counselors should be just as comfortable talking to a parent about health concerns as they are telling stories around the campfire. Ideal candidates will have empathy, compassion and be able to direct children without losing their temper. In fact, summer camp counselors are also called upon to teach kids positive ways to manage their conflicts, which means that must have excellent problem-solving skills.

Ability to Lead Recreational Activities

Leadership skills are essential for summer camp counselors who are in charge of teaching kids how to safely enjoy their camp activities. During the course of the day, they may instruct students in activities ranging from pottery to archery. As they do so, they will keep an eye out for kids who are struggling and find ways to include them in the group. They can also quickly adapt to changing circumstances such as bringing an outdoor game of basketball into the gym instead of letting the rain ruin the fun.

Highly Aware and Detail-Oriented

As anyone who has ever watched more than two kids at a time can tell you, managing a group of children requires constant vigilance. In addition to leading the fun, camp counselors are responsible for making sure each camper is dressed appropriately for the weather, eating well and getting adequate rest. Camp counselors also stay alert for signs of health problems such as allergies that need to be addressed by the camp’s medical team and they keep a head count of the children during transitions to ensure that no one gets lost in the crowd.

Energetic Personality

Waking up at dawn, leading activities and keeping up with all of the details requires a lot of energy. Therefore, summer camp counselors should possess a high-energy personality that bubbles over with friendliness. Young campers look up to their older leaders and a strong counselor can set a positive tone for the day. Summer camp counselors should also be able to work as a team with other counselors to coordinate large group activities such as competitions and overnight camping trips.

Summer camp counselors gain valuable experience that can transfer to any career field. Yet, it is their dynamic personalities and commitment to excellence that makes them most desirable to potential employers. While many summer camp counselors are alumni of the camps where they work, others are drawn in by the opportunity to work with kids in a fun, outdoor environment. Either way, those who possess the attributes of a quality summer camp counselor are in the right position to enjoy long-term success.

Let your kids experience fun at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site at to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Imagination Runs Free at Summer Camp

Summer camp brings to mind long days spent running wild and free in an outdoor environment. While it is true that kids spend a lot of their time engaged in physical activity, it is also important to know that summer camp programs are designed to spark a child’s imagination. In addition to the traditional camp crafts, kids are encouraged to develop their creative abilities through activities that fit a variety of interests.

Importance of Imaginative Play

Today’s kids are inundated with experiences that limit their ability to use their imaginations. For example, schools are often so focused on teaching academics that they cut programs such as drama and art. Unfortunately, this puts kids at a disadvantage because an imagination is essential for developing the creative skills that lead to success in adulthood. Imaginative play opens up doors for them to learn valuable lessons that build upon critical skills such as problem solving and it also serves as an outlet for relieving stress that frees kids’ minds so that they can focus on developing their talents.

How Camp Supports Creativity

Summer camp programs tend to use a fairly strict schedule to keep kids busy every minute of the day. However, there are blocks of time built into that schedule where kids are able to let their imaginations run wild. Special programs, such as dance and drama, are provided as options for children to fill certain blocks of time. Camp counselors and other staff members use these programs to encourage kids to stretch their imaginations as they participate in creative play. During camp activities, counselors and other members of the staff reinforce the development of imagination by offering kids positive encouragement for their successes. Performing for other campers and their families on special days reaffirms the importance of developing a kid’s imagination. Free periods are also built into camp schedules that allow them a chance to try out new activities in the interest of building their imagination.

Imagination-Building Activities

While at camp, kids still enjoy traditional summer camp activities such as macramé and jewelry-making. Yet, there are some new activities that have been added to the mix. For example, Lego robotics mixes science with creativity so that kids can make moving sculptures using their own imaginations. Puppetry and balloon animal classes give kids with an interest in volunteering a way to put their imaginations to good use by performing for others. Open-ended art, such as pottery and painting, also allows kids the chance to create a physical piece that reflects their creativity. It is also important to note that many of the best chances for kids to build their imaginations are spontaneous. Telling stories around the campfire, cloud watching and stargazing all have the potential to spark a kid’s imagination.

When a kid is encouraged to let their imagination run free, the world opens up with tremendous possibilities. Not only will imaginative play offer immediate enjoyment but it also helps kids build skills with long-lasting benefits. Whether they’re making up camp songs with friends or focusing on creating a beautiful piece of art for mom and dad, summer camp is the place to fully unleash their imagination.

Let your kids experience the art and creativity activities at Maplewood Summer Day Camp. Experienced staff will keep your child both safe and busy with arts and crafts, games, water sports, gymnastics and more. Visit the site at    to see the fun your child will have at Maplewood Summer Day Camp.