BEST AMUSEMENT PARK FOR YOUNG FAMILIES: DUTCH WONDERLANDLocated in Lancaster, PA, Dutch Wonderland is a family-friendly amusement park that caters to families with young children. There are over 30 rides (many of which my two-year-old was able to enjoy), Duke’s Lagoon water play area, and some impressive shows that you can attend throughout the day. Finish off the day with dinner at a local PA Dutch Dining Smorgasbord like Miller’s. Extend your trip and visit Hershey Park and Amish Country, both nearby. Tip: Check out the website during the summer season to find out if you can visit the park for a FREE preview the night before you visit the park for a full day.
BEST BOARD GAME: MONOPOLY JUNIORThis is basically a faster paced version of the classic Monopoly game, and a great way to get kids ages 5+ to work on their budding reading comprehension and math skills. It's also a good way to start teaching your little ones the value of a dollar (something you can remind them about the next time you’re in the toy store).
BEST BOOK FOR PRESCHOOLER: THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATHMo Willems’ books always bring smiles to my boys’ faces, and this one is no exception. And if you’re going to be asked to read something five times in a row before bedtime, it might as well be something that brings a smile to your face too.
BEST IPAD GAME: OSMOThe website says it’s geared to ages 6+ but my two-year-old and five-year-old both love playing these fun and educational games that promote the development of problem-solving skills and creative thinking. I would especially recommend it to parents whose children are in the early stages of reading.
BEST DESSERT: TATE’S COOKIESI used to think soft-baked chocolate chip cookies were the crème de la crème, but after sampling Tate’s Cookies it was love at first bite. Originating from a small shop in Long Island, the cookies can now be found in your local grocery store. Buttery, crispy, and not overly sweet, it’s really difficult to stop at just one. Other flavors include White Chocolate Macadamia, Oatmeal Raisin and Butterscotch Pecan.
It was nominated for an Academy Award, but I’m certain that Richard Linklater is even more excited to make it on to my list of favorite things. A film about the life of a boy from ages 6-18, Linklater reunited his stellar cast every year for twelve years, allowing the audience to watch his star grow up right in front of their eyes. For those of us who don’t have much spare time (aka ALL of us), keep in mind this movie is over 2 ½ hours long, so perhaps carve out a couple of nights in a row to watch it. While I think there are many wonderful lessons to be taken from this movie, its R rating makes this a recommendation for parents, not their kids.
It’s basically like eating a vegetable, right?! Well, maybe it’s not quite as healthy as eating homemade kale chips, but these are still a better alternative to potato chips and frankly I prefer them anyway.
BEST TOY: FOOTBALL GUYSMy five-year-old received this as a gift and it quickly became one of his favorite toys. While football captures my attention for all of 30 seconds, this seems to keep him occupied for a good chunk of time. And I appreciate any toy that comes with its own handy storage container. Choose from Football, Baseball, Soccer and Hockey Guys.
What makes it onto your favorites list?
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