Category Archives: Getting Our Kids Outside!

Parenting Challenges: Taking Care of Yourself

 

Register Today!        November 2, 2016 – 6:30 pm

PCLG is sponsoring a free workshop for parents and caregivers this fall.   Join us for light refreshments and a chance to meet other parents while learning about how to take care of yourself! 

Parenting a child with emotional, behavioral, or developmental disabilities can be challenging.  Parents and caregivers often report exhaustion, financial strain, and feelings of isolation. The perception of stigma can increase the sense of burden and isolation that our families feel as well.

Dr. Elizabeth Reeve will share her unique insight into the effects that stress caElizabeth 2n have on parents and ways that we can learn to reduce its impact on us. Participants will learn:

  • What is stress?
  • The effects of chronic stress
  • Unique stressors for parents
  • Ways to reduce stress

 

  • Woodlake Nature Center
  • 6710 Lake Shore Drive
  • Richfield, MN

This event is FREE, but please register!

Summer Camps? Already??

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I know, I know.  It seems WAY too early, but it’s really not. And it just might be possible to find a camp that suits your kid. Here are a few ideas to help you start exploring some options for your child now:

True Friends Camp – (Annandale, MN)

This camp has different programs which you might find are suited to your child’s specific needs and interests, with programs designed for kids with shorter attention spans, a literacy camp, a sensory friendly camp, equine therapy, and even a camp for struggling readers.  They accept waivered funds and have financial assistance for others who qualify. Five camps make up this group: Camp Courage, Camp Friendship, Camp Eden Wood, Camp Courage North and Camp New Hope.

Camp Noah (St. Paul, MN) The camp curriculum is specifically designed to help children process their experience with disaster and grief in a safe, supportive, and caring atmosphere that also offers fun and recreation at a time of intense stress. Lutheran Social Services runs this camp.

Camp Character (Park Rapids, MN) works to develop life and social skills for children with special needs ages 7-18. It is an overnight camp that will build confidence and behavioral skills.

And for those who prefer to stay in town… Three Rivers Parks District and local parks and Y’s are often good options.

DID YOU KNOW? Reach for Resources  (Twin Cities Metro Areaoffers adaptive recreational opportunities and partners with programs to support all kinds of kids in inclusive settings. 

Cabin Fever? Some Free Activities for Families

 

Lake Harriet Kite Festival

And just for fun on a winter day… the Lake Harriet Kite Festival       Saturday, January 16, Noon to 4 pm

Let’s face it.  Kids need to get out of the house and explore their world, but it isn’t always easy to navigate an activity when you have a child who struggles with behavior or sensory issues.  I know I didn’t have the money to plunk down admission to a “family friendly” activity, only to find 15 minutes later that it was too overstimulating for my son and we had to leave because he was on the verge of a meltdown.

As a survival mechanism, I kept lists of free and “my family friendly” activities.  Below, I’ve listed some great opportunities here in Hennepin County that range from interactive Library storytimes to informal, kid friendly free classical music family concerts.  And even though this is January in Minnesota, there are plenty of great outdoor activities at the parks, many of which have great indoor nature centers where you can warm up, check out a salamander and touch some rabbit fur. You never know what might spark your child’s interest.

Hennepin County Libraries will be offering some “Act Out” interactive theater classes for kids and teens with Guthrie artists.

  • Tuesday, Jan 12, 4 – 5:30 pm, Storytelling
  • Webber Park Library, 4400 Dupont Ave N
  • Saturday, Jan 16, 2 – 3:30 pm, Playmaking
  • North Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Ave N
  • Saturday, Jan 23, 1 – 2:30 Creative Movement
  • Minnetonka Library, 17524 Excelsior Blvd
  • Saturday, Jan 23, 2 – 3:30 pm Storytelling
  • Roosevelt Library, 4026 28th Ave S
  • Monday, Jan 25, 6 -7:30 pm Storytelling
  • Edina Library, 5280 Grandview Square
  • Tuesday, Jan 26, 4-5:30 pm
  • Act Out for Teens: Costume Design Basics
  • Hosmer Library
  • Saturday, Jan 30, 10:30 – Noon
  • Act Out for Kids: Storytelling
  • Ridgedale Library
  • Saturday, Jan 30, 1 – 2:30 pm
  • Act Out for Teens: Intro to Physical Comedy
  • Excelsior Library

 Family Music ConcertsCheck out these free kid-friendly classical music concerts in informal settings.

 Free Days at Area Museums

  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts (always free
  • Bell Museum of Natural History (free on Sundays) dioramas and hands on activities
  • Minnesota Children’s Museum (free on 3rd Sunday of each month)

Parks and Nature Centers around Town:

 

Outside the Box: Summer Activities for All Kinds of Kids and Teens

Summer can be a great time for kids to take a break from the pressures of school, explore their strengths and interests, or just have fun with friends.  Finding things for kids to do over the summer is a challenge for every family, but it is Summer Fall 2011 Etc 322particularly difficult for our families.  Sensory issues, anxiety, attention problems, fine and gross motor problems, or the potential for outbursts can be barriers for our children’s participation in many activities.

 But don’t give up!  It’s so important for our kids to be involved in their community. We are listing below lots of ideas to help you get started.  In this issue, we have low cost activities for families, fun and affordable ideas for kids, special swim lessons, and opportunities for teens.

A few fun and affordable ideas for kids:

IDEAS FOR TEENS

Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Minneapolis Parks & Recreation

Programs for Teens

  •  Youthline Outreach Mentorship
  • Youthline engages youth ages 12-16 in positive leadership experiences and recreational activities while connecting them to adult mentors in the parks.
  • Teen Teamworks
  • Teen Teamworks is a summer employment and educational program for youth ages 14-18.
  • Nite Owlz
  • Nite Owlz provides extended teen programming at various recreation centers from 8-11 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Activities may include open gym, cooking, computer labs and more. Contact a neighborhood recreation center for details.
  • IDEAWERKS
  • IDEAWERKS is for youth ages 12-18 to learn multimedia production; record audio and video information on a digital media workstation; study music basics and computer software to create music tracks and videos; and produce and record individual multimedia projects.
Link

Free Summer Fun for 2014!

Trying to think of activitiesMisc 2012 download 009 to do with your kids this summer?  Check out this link from one of our parent catalysts:

Free Summer Fun for 2014!

 

Summer Can Be Fun

We all struggle with finding ways to get our kids outside and moving in the summer.  When kids have mental health issues or disabilities, it’s even harder to find fun activities for them that match their interests.  I’ve gathered a list of some different kinds of activities in and around Hennepin County and also places you can contact to get even more information.

Three Rivers Parks District – Lots of different types of activities for families, from fishing and farming events to day camps for kids.  Please contact 763.559.9000 if you have any questions about special needs accommodations.

Get Out, Get Active!  Hennepin County and area cities have teamed up to offer a great brochure  with listings of fun activities and recreation resources as well as a participation card, that gives you a chance to win a free pass to Three Rivers Parks District (a $150 value).  The contest starts now, so check it out!

Hoofbeats and Heartbeats (763-441-2274) is an equestrian learning center dedicated to providing therapeutic riding and teaching proper horse care and management to individuals with emotional and physical disabilities, elderly and youth. Located in Otsego, MN

Mall of America – Nickelodeon Universe Parents of Kids with Special Needs children can stop by customer service within Nickelodeon Universe for your Park Handbook. A Manager will sign off on rides appropriate for your child and an adult can ride all the rides free of charge with the special kid as a chaperon. The book will also enable up to four people in the party to enter the rides from the exit so there is little to no wait time.

Pump It Up – Sensory Play Night – Come play on the giant, soft, fun-filled interactive inflatables 2nd Monday of each month from 6:00 to 7:30.  During this evening event the area is reserved exclusively for special needs children and their families.

Sensory Friendly Films at AMC Theaters For families affected by autism and other disabilities, these are special opportunities to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The movie auditoriums will have their lights brought up and the sound turned down, families will be able to bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks, and no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie.

More Resources and Ideas:

Reach for Resources (952-988-4177) provides therapeutic recreational services to Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Maple Grove, Golden Valley, Plymouth, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Chaska and Chanhassen.

  • YMCAs – summer and after school camps, lots of other activities
  • YWCAs – summer and after school camps, lots of other activities

City Parks and Recreation Departments – Classes, camps, sports,

Summer Camp Is Not Off the Table

I was curious to see what options families have for sending their children to summer camp this year, even if the child has special needs or mental health issues. ImageHere’s what I found out:

Camp Buckskin (Ely, Minnesota) – has been helping young people with ADD/ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Aspergers or those who have been adopted learn and grow for over 50 years.

Camp Hand in Hand (Autism Society of Minnesota) AuSM-trained camp counselors and experienced program staff carefully plan and maintain a very well-run, relaxed and rewarding camp experience at Camp Knutson in Crosslake, Minnesota.

Camp Noah (Lutheran Social Services) The camp curriculum is specifically designed to help children process their experience with disaster and grief in a safe, supportive, and caring atmosphere that also offers fun and recreation at a time of intense stress.

Camp Character works to develop life and social skills for children with special needs ages 7-18. It is an overnight camp that will build confidence and behavioral skills.

Friendship Ventures – has several resident camps, including:Camp Adventure for children 6-15 with ADD/ADHD and other academic and/or social skill difficulties and their siblings; and Asperger’s Camp for children and young adults with Aspergers.

Need Financial Help? Many of the camps offer scholarships or financial aid for your child to be able to afford camp.  In addition, you might investigate some of these other options:

  • Churches and synagogues sometimes offer partial scholarships
  • Check your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of local civic organizations, such as Rotary, Elks or Lions Clubs that could offer funding.
  • Adoptive parents can sometimes get funding from state adoption agencies.
  • Metro Friendship Foundation offers scholarships for children with ASD to attend social skills camps, like Camp Hand in Hand.

Next, I’ll try to look at options for day camps and other recreational activities closer to home.