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Archive for July, 2018

Tips for a Child to Overcome Dental Phobia

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

If you are out of the house for more than 8 hours a day, it can be quite difficult for you to control your kids’ dental anxiety, fear or phobia. TV, YouTube and conversation with other kids can be prospective sources of such phobias. However, it is very important for you to remove such apprehensions of the child for their own good. There are many emergency dental specialists in Brisbane, who can cure oral health issues among kids with anxiety without causing them any additional pain.

Dental anxiety can happen for a variety of reasons. Some children are afraid of their first visit to the dentist mainly due to a fear of the unknown. For others, a past experience can be responsible for a child’s refusal to visit the dentist’s clinic. However, there are a few steps you can do that can help your child.

Recognize the Fear: Talk to your child and observe its behaviour. Note down the causes of phobia you see. Once you understand them, it will be easier to find ways to get out of them.

Find a Good Dentist: While looking for the right dentist focus your search on a person who is specialised in treating anxious patients. Call them first and try to understand whether the communicator on the other side is accommodating or dismissive. The moment you are assured of the doctor’s attitude, you can decide to pay a visit along with the child.

Discuss the Cause of Anxiety: If your doubts are not completely gone after calling the clinic, it is time for you to talk them over with the doctor. Try giving the dentist a direct call to clarify all your suspicions. Confirm an appointment, only if you are completely convinced that the treatment procedure is tailored for children. Pain is the reason most children are afraid of the dentist as cartoon and TV have shown the dentist as a person who is always drilling teeth which is only a small part of what a dentist does.

Accompany Your Child for The Visit: Never send an apprehensive child for a dental appointment alone. Always accompany them. If possible, get the appointment at a time favourable for you to be with them. The child will be more confident if a parent is around.

Resort to Relaxation Exercises: Controlled breathing and different other exercises can help the child remain calm during the treatment. You can find the relaxation exercises on different relevant websites. Distractions can also be helpful in keeping the children relaxed during the treatment. As an accompanying parent, you can try and distract the kid. Note that most experienced dentist will know how to distract the child and make them feel comfortable.

It is always a tough exercise for a working mother to juggle between work and understanding child psychology. Hope the tips offered in this post will be of much help to the parents.The dentist is one of those things that your child might never enjoy as people rarely do. This hygiene will allow them to have a great smile and avoid costly dental procedures later in life.

 

This article was written by Emily Green from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Ways to Head Off a Discipline Problem So It Won’t Derail Your Day

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Why making space for kids’ feelings can be a game-changer.

It’s that familiar scene. Child care pickup. Your child is thrilled to see you and then 20 minutes later, he melts down because you cooked chicken for dinner instead of pasta. As a working mother, tantrums can feel all the more painful because they’re ruining those precious few moments you get with your little ones.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In the past five years, I discovered dozens of new discipline ideas, while reporting my book The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What to Do About It. Here are just a few of the winning strategies I found for stopping a discipline problem in its tracks. The next time you’re at a loss, try one of these.

1. Pause

First of all, shed any guilt you may feel about not spending enough time with your kids, as compared to your mother or your mother-in-law. The truth is, modern parents spend more time with kids than at any time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping time use data. Even as women flooded into the workforce between 1965 and 2015, mothers’ time spent caring for children rose from 10 hours to 15 hours a week. Dad’s time on child care leaped from 2.5 to 7 hours in that same time period.

Take a breath. Or two. When we pause before responding, we’re giving our nervous systems a chance to regulate. Then, we can better access the part of our brains that is creative and solves problems. We can find better strategies than yelling or ordering a time out. We might even lead our children into a more regulated state themselves.

Use that pause to shift your perspective. Yes, the family’s priority is getting dinner on the table and moving into the bedtime routine. But your child’s interests and preferences also matter. It doesn’t cost you that much time to take a minute to empathize and say, “I know, you really love pasta!” before moving smoothly on with your evening. That moment of acknowledgement is more likely to ease your child out of a tantrum than saying, in an annoyed voice, “We had pasta three times this week already!”

2. Deploy Humor

Children are sometimes so … childish! They giggle at farts and still half-believe that possibly, monsters may inhabit the patch of woods down the street. Harness their love of humor! If you tickle their funny bone, you can distract them out of a power struggle before they dig in too deep.

For example, when our children were just learning table manners, my husband Brian made up an alternate family—the Bewis family—that was filled with badly behaved boys. We could invoke the Bewis boys when we saw a child eating with their hands, or leaving the table without picking up a plate. “I hear the Bewis boys never clear their plates,” we would say. They’d giggle and retrieve their plates while making up their own stories of terrible goings on in the Bewis household.

You can also use make believe to empathize with a child’s impractical yet deeply-held desire, rather than trying to force him or her to comply with yours. For example: “Oh, if I had a magic wand, I would wave it so we all could go to Disneyland tomorrow! That would be so much more fun than school.” Being understood defuses your child’s growing upset. You don’t need to be the one to rain on your child’s parade—life will do that soon enough.

3. Give Choices

This is such common parenting advice, it’s almost a cliché. Bear with me. Often, when we give a child a choice, we’re only offering two things that we want the child to do—neither of which they want. As they grow, they see right through that farce.

Instead, open your mind to what your child wants. Sure, it may be impractical. Consider whether it’s truly impossible. Be creative about whether you can accommodate their wishes. If there’s no harm done … say yes.

Who cares if they wear the same favorite pants three days in a row, as long as they’re not obviously dirty? And if French toast is a healthy meal for breakfast, why not have it occasionally for dinner? Does it really matter whether your child gets dressed before coming down for breakfast? Maybe it’s okay for him to pop back upstairs to change out of pajamas—or even sleep in the clean sweats he’s going to wear to school. A child who’s doing what he wants moves a whole lot faster than one who’s being forced by mom.

I’m not talking about becoming a short-order cook or a servant to your child’s whims. But as your children get older, they increasingly want to contribute ideas and influence what the family does. If your children always hate what’s for dinner, invite them to suggest some meals, or even go shopping with you. Create a rotating schedule of dinners that everyone has agreed to in advance. The more they’re involved in the process, the less they’ll object. Yes, this takes more time at first, but your hard work will pay off when you have an 11-year old who can plan and cook the family dinner.

 

The Good News About Bad Behavior

 

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is a Washington, D.C.–area journalist, mother of three and author of The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What to Do About It, *available from PublicAffairs, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Courtesy of PublicAffairs

4. Connect

There are so many opportunities to connect with our children. The drive to school or walk to the bus stop. The time after dinner when we’re all full and happy. An early morning snuggle before the rest of the family wakes.

But often we fail to take advantage of these fleeting moments. The to-do list or the window to check email seems more pressing. Resist this temptation. Work when you need to work; be with your family when you can. Don’t let the two contaminate each other unintentionally.

Every time you focus just on your child—playing Candyland or listening to a long story about a favorite YouTuber—you are depositing into the bank of your relationship. That undistracted time will serve as a reserve for you to draw on the next time there’s conflict in your relationship, or a power struggle starts to loom.

It doesn’t have to be a half hour or hour of your time. You’ll see the pay-off from even five minutes throwing the ball, or a sincere thank you for something they did to help you. Start keeping track of the times when you truly connect with each child, and see if you can boost that number over time—like a plank challenge or other goal you set for yourself.

5. Plan Ahead

Sometimes, all of our best efforts fail. A hungry or tired child simply cannot do what’s needed in a situation. Or something unexpected happens and your little one spirals out of control. Maybe everyone screams—or cries. That’s not a disaster. It’s an opportunity for you to learn.

Take stock of the experience at a later time when everyone is calm. If your kids are old enough, ask them what it was like for them. Brainstorm what might help in the future to prevent such problems. Routines are a huge boon to smooth family life, and keep discipline problems from erupting even before they begin.

An earlier bedtime can help with the morning routine. Reminder signs on the wall can spark a child’s memory without Mom nagging about backpack or teeth brushing. Small children can help make signs for the daily routines, either taking photos of each step or crayoning their own interpretation.

Don’t worry about having a consequence or a reaction for every instance of childish misbehavior. You can usually count on the same problem cropping up again, by which time you’ll be ready with your brainstormed solution.

 

This article was written by Katherine Reynolds Lewis from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The One Simple Thing That Finally Got My Kids to Stop Fighting

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Tired of sibling squabbles over toys, devices, and anything else they can think of? So was I—till I tried this mom-tested strategy that actually worked!

Remember when you thought your kids would be best friends, sharing toys and learning from each other in harmony every day of their lives? If so, I bet you also remember the first time they fought over a toy (or piece of cake, or stool at the kitchen island, or, or, or…).

The truth is, unless your kid is an only child, you’ve likely witnessed sibling squabbles every day of your parenting life. Older siblings will lose their cool when a younger sibling infringes on their territory. And that younger sibling knows just how to push the button that causes their older sib to lose it.

Honestly, it left me fed up and exhausted. There are plenty of toys in the house—so why must they fight over that tiny plastic duck that no one cared about yesterday?

Since my usual approach—lengthy lectures about the benefits of compromise—didn’t seem to be working, I asked my friend Cheryl Butler, aka Mighty Mommy, for advice.

To combat the warlike atmosphere in my home, Cheryl, a mother of eight who somehow finds time to write and podcast about her experiences, suggested putting up a set of household rules in a heavily-trafficked area. Each rule focuses on a particular behavior that is a barrier to peace. My list looked like this:

1. In a conflict, no hurting (hitting, kicking, pinching, spitting) is ever allowed. If this happens, the consequence is no screen time for a week.

2. No name-calling or personal insults about someone’s physical appearance. Consequence same as in Rule #1.

3. If anyone is fighting over a toy, that toy goes into time-out. No questions asked.

4. Any person who demands to be first, will go last.

5. Whatever is borrowed must be returned. If it isn’t, the consequence is that the borrower must choose an item from their sibling’s room to replace the missing one.*

*It’s a good idea to institute a borrowing protocol in which the child who borrows something from a sibling must put up collateral—a possession that will be returned only when the borrowed item is returned. (This is particularly effective once your kids have gadgets).

Amazingly, once these rules were written down, they were harder for my kids to ignore—and even harder to argue with. So the next time a toy became the cause of World War III, I simply took it away and wordlessly pointed to Rule #3. It’s not my rule, kids—it’s the house rule. And it’s helped restore peace and sanity to our home.

 

This article was written by Beata Santora from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

This Shockingly Simple Move Stopped My Kid From Constantly Interrupting Me

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If you’ve had enough of “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mooooom!” this little trick is for you.

We’ve all been there: You’re at the playground trying to chat with a fellow parent, when your kid unceremoniously interrupts the conversation because he wants to tell you something urgent about squirrels. Or superheroes. Or whatever else he’s thinking about. You discuss the rules of conversation, and he agrees to wait patiently for his turn to speak next time, but the excitement of his thoughts is overwhelming and he’s soon interrupting again.

I’ve been in this boat for years. No matter how much we discussed it, my seven-year-old son just couldn’t help himself. It was like Pavlov’s dogs—the moment I got on a phone call, he needed to talk to me. So I asked my friend Cheryl Butler, a mother of 8 (eight!!) well-behaved, polite children and host of the Mighty Mommy podcast, for her advice.

Cheryl suggested this simple trick: “Teach your child to place his hand on your wrist if he wants something while you’re busy talking to another adult. Then you put your hand over his to acknowledge him and continue your conversation without stopping to ask what he wants. After you finish, turn to your child and give him your full attention. This way you reinforce two critical life skills: good manners and patience.”

It’s a technique that avoids lengthy lectures and is based on cognitive behavioral therapy: After training your child to wait for you to finish what you’re doing, you’re rewarding him with your undivided attention.

It seemed almost too simple to work, but I decided to try: The first few times, my son chafed against having to wait, bouncing up and down excitedly saying “Mom, Mom, Mom, but Mom, I need to tell you something.” I did my best to ignore him, even taking a few steps away to put some distance between us. Then after I was done, I turned toward him, crouched down to his level, and gave him my undivided attention, making sure to commend his patience.

It took a few tries—Cheryl warned me that I’d have to stick with it—but within a few weeks there was almost no interruption. For the first time, I can actually finish an entire conversation with a friend before learning that fascinating fact about squirrels.

 

This article was written by Beata Santora from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Be A Guide, Not A Guard: How To Raise A Happy And Responsible Kid

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“Be a guide, not a guard” perfectly describes the kinds of parenting behaviors that create happy and responsible children. It’s a term I learned at a recent training session focused on reducing controlling parenting behaviors.

When I ask parents “what have you tried to help change your child’s behavior?” little breaks my heart more than hearing a long list of punishments. The story will go something like, “the rule is that he is to clean up his room but he never does it so we took away his tablet, then banned watching TV, we put him in time out all day, cancelled his play dates with his friends and then grounded him for a month. It doesn’t matter what we do, he doesn’t care.”

This is parenting like a guard. It is inflexible, rules-based parenting that requires punishment when a child doesn’t behave. The most anti-social children are often parented in this way. They don’t care about the meaning of the rules set; instead they decide whether to comply based on whether they will get hurt. Controlling parenting practices are also correlated to poor mental health in children and youth.

When we parent like a guard we are trying to stop behavior through control and dominance. In an attempt to get rid of the behaviors we don’t like, we use consequences. A guard expects trouble and treats people as such. A guard does not care whether you feel sad, confused or don’t feel like you belong. A guard only cares if you comply. As a guard we can’t be flexible and this means if a child doesn’t comply, regardless of the reason, our only option is to escalate the consequences until they do. Even if this means excluding them from the very systems we want them to belong to.

When we parent as a guide we work to encourage behaviors we want to see in our children. We help children belong in our world and all the systems that come with that. We use care and compassion in our parenting practices. When we see unwanted behavior that cannot work or is unacceptable in our systems, we look at what steps we can take to help that child learn to fit better in our world. We don’t use harsh consequences that will exclude the child from the system; instead we see their difficulty as a skill deficit. We don’t use escalating consequences; instead we look for ways for children to want to be part of the system and to want to please us.

As guides, we help children develop internal motivation to do what is right because it’s right, rather than to do what is right to avoid being punished. We want our children to comply because they want to be part of our community, they want to help us and because they understand the value of their chosen behavior.

How To Be A Guide

1. See your child’s perspective.

Being able to hold your child’s perspective is essential to being a guide. It helps parents understand how best to help their child. It helps us identify that difficult behaviors are often related to emotions or skills deficits. This doesn’t mean we accept all behaviors as okay, it means that we understand that there is a meaning to whatever behavior we are seeing.

2. Encourage behavior through praise and noticing.

Children love receiving genuine praise and being noticed. If they feel you genuinely care about them rather than that you are trying to control their behavior, they are more motivated to work for you. Children are less receptive to praise that functions to control behavior such as “aren’t you a good boy for sitting up straight today?” A genuine, “I can really see you are listening, and that makes me feel good,” is more effective.

3. Promote values-based living.

Show your child what matters through the way you live. If you want to raise a kind and responsible child, lead by modeling kind and responsible behavior. Notice when your child is kind and responsible and praise the behavior.

4. Be flexible where possible.

Give your child opportunities to choose. Avoid controlling choices unless there is a good reason not to offer a choice such as safety or legality. Guides raise kids who choose to be responsible. Guards raise kids who conform to avoid a consequence.

5. Promote intrinsic goals over extrinsic goals.

Encourage your child to do things for personal growth, for health, to create meaningful relationships and contribute to their community as opposed to doing things to achieve financial success, popularity, power or for their image. People with intrinsic goals are happier and engage in more pro-social behavior.

Next time you see your child doing something that you don’t like, whisper to yourself: “Be a guide, not a guard.”

Acknowledgement: Thanks and gratitude toDarin Cairnsfor introducing me to the helpful term “Be a guide, not a guard.”

 

This article was written by Motherly from Huffington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Signs You’re Suffering from Working Mommy Burnout—and What to Do About It

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

Chronic stress can lead to burnout, both in the workplace and in our homes. Here’s how to fight back.

In my psychology practice, I meet weekly with moms who work both inside and outside of the home. While their feelings are often the same—questioning their purpose in life, not sure if they should continue to do what they are doing and a constant feeling of exhaustion, the specific triggers for their burnout can differ based on their working situations.

The reality is most moms believe the other side of the “work” fence is better. If they are a stay-at-home mom they think they would feel better and less stifled if they were outside the home every day. Mothers who go to an office or a similar workspace might be overwhelmed and wonder if they should find a way to be home. When stressed, bored or frustrated, moms in either situation instantly begin looking for reasons to change their work status.

Whether you work at home or out, or even if you don’t work at all, it is a decision that is based on your particular family’s needs and values. But if you do work outside of the home, this can create a unique set of stressors that can add to your negative feelings. Chief among these stressors is guilt, and there is no guilt like mommy guilt. You feel guilty for leaving your kids in the morning, working late nights, not cooking homemade dinners more often, being on your computer even after a long day’s work, missing soccer games or play practice—the list goes on and on.

Many working moms have had their children ask them questions such as, “Are you ever going to stop working?” The feeling of being torn between two worlds, never having enough time and feeling as if we are not fully successful in either endeavor wears on us. But still we march on, trying to be in two places at once, trying to advance our careers while pretending our minds aren’t distracted by concerns for our kids and ignoring our own personal and health needs.

You may be thinking all these feelings are just part and parcel of being a mother. No one ever said it was going to be easy, right? With a little wine and some humor, you’ll be okay, right? And while stress is a part of all our daily lives, chronic stress wreaks havoc on our minds, bodies and our perception of being smart and competent mothers. Chronic stress can lead to burnout—both in the workplace and in our homes.

Read on to see if you may be suffering from working mommy burnout:

1. You constantly question why you do what you do, and no longer take joy in work you once loved.

2. You think what you do (paid work or staying home your kids) may not be worth the stress it causes or the money you earn.

3. You still wonder who you will be when you “grow up” because, even at this age, you don’t feel like you are able to achieve what you want in life—whether it is financial success, recognition, or enjoyment.

4. You feel time is running out to achieve your dreams, and you don’t know the next steps to take to accomplish them, in your profession or your personal life.

5. You feel like you should be working if you are at home with your kids and vice versa.

6. You wonder about the purpose of life in general and constantly question if doing something different will bring you closer to clarity.

7. You secretly have something you want to do in life—start a business, write a novel, go back for your graduate degree, run a marathon—but it feels too big to even attempt.

If two or more of the above symptoms sound familiar, you may be experiencing what I refer to as the working mom’s dilemma, which can lead directly to mommy burnout. The great thing is moms don’t have to accept these feelings as their normal. There are some easy-to-implement changes that can be done to cope with working mom stress.

Learn to ask for and receive help. You don’t have to do everything on your own to be a good mom, or a good employee!

Be protective and intentional about your time. Say yes to the most important things at home and work and no to the things you don’t have to or want to do.

Teach your kids independence while they are toddlers. These important life skills like clearing a plate, getting dressed or brushing teeth on their own will make a working mother’s life much better in the long run. If your child is already older, it is never too late to drill the independence lesson. Start today.

Set one achievable goal a day. Do your best to accomplish that goal, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to it. It’s a goal, not a life or death situation!

Being a working mom can be a challenge whether you love your job or have to work to make ends meet. It is also an opportunity to be a wonderful role model for our children and to do their best to achieve their dreams. Finding and making peace with our purpose as a working mom is essential to being able to enjoy life every day. It helps us to be present, to gain focus on what is most important and to integrate the challenges we all experience as part of our journey.


Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, MD, is a doctor of psychology and licensed professional counselor. She is the author of Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process

 

This article was written by Dr. Sheryl Ziegler from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Healthy Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat (That Aren’t PB&J)

Truth: Your kids are just as sick of eating the same old turkey-and-cucumber sandwich as you are of making it. Win the Best Mom Ever award and pack some of these exciting but totally practical (read: neat, portable and edible at room temp) lunch-box goodies instead. BLT pasta salad FTW.

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

Finally, a sandwich you can make ahead (because it won’t get soggy).

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

BLT Pasta Salad

It’s impossible to resist this crunchy-and-creamy combo.

Get the recipe

 

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches

Anything but a sad lunch wrap.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers

Your kiddo will devour these healthy, colorful boats.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Mini Chicken Shawarma

Tip: Wrap these guys up in waxed paper to keep them extra fresh.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Lunch Kebabs with Mortadella, Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Psst: Your little ones can totally help assemble these the night before.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Vegetarian Sushi Cups

Finger food is the best food.

Get the recipe

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

What to Do If Your Child Chips, Loosens or Loses a Tooth

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Don’t panic if your child chips, loosens or loses a tooth. But do allow a dentist to assess and repair the damage without delay, says pediatric dentist Trista Onesti, DDS.

“A quick response can mean the difference between preserving and losing the tooth. And early tooth trauma can cause problems with adult teeth as your child grows,” Dr. Onesti says.

Common tooth scenarios: chipped, loose or lost

If your child fractures or chips a tooth, call your dentist instead of the emergency department. Most dentists have an emergency hotline you can call when an accident occurs outside of operating hours. Acting quickly is important.

When an adult tooth is knocked loose, a dentist will need to secure it quickly. He or she may need to secure the tooth with stabilizing wires or dental material as soon as possible. Contrary to popular belief, there are also important things to consider if a baby tooth is knocked loose.

If your child loses an adult tooth, someone must re-insert it as soon as possible. Whoever is nearby — a parent or coach, for instance — should gently, but quickly clean the tooth and push it back into the socket. Many people don’t know that you have less than an hour to do this before the likelihood of saving the tooth long-term is jeopardized.

How tooth trauma can affect kids later

Early tooth trauma can have long-term effects. Down the road, a child may have nerve damage that relates to early tooth trauma.

“Sometimes the damage is immediately apparent, but other times it may develop over months or even years,” Dr. Onesti says.

Trauma can provoke inflammation, which may damage the tooth’s root or nerve over time. If this continues, a root canal may be needed down the road; in some cases, it may even be necessary to extract the tooth. Therefore, it is important to inform your dentist of all previous traumatic incidents so he or she can evaluate with the necessary X-rays.

The bottom line: The best way to protect your child’s teeth — now and in the future — is to get him or her to the dentist as quickly as possible when tooth trauma occurs.

 

 

This article was written by Children’s Health Team from Cleveland Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 Super Quick, Super Healthy Kid-Friendly Dinners

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Easy recipes to get your whole family eating well.

Eating well should not be an unattainable fantasy for you and your family. These recipes from the Trim Healthy Table cookbook take the traditional meals you and your family already love, and make them healthier. They will help you reach your goal of staying fit as well as improve the overall well-being of your family. Never assume you are too busy to make health a priority. The tips and tricks in these meals make it simple, and help you take baby steps to living a healthier lifestyle.

Deconstructed Fajitas

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

This is such a quick no-brainer for busy nights when you need dinner on the table in ten minutes. We enjoy this on dinner plates over a bunch of cut lettuce, but if you prefer you can stuff into low-carb tortillas.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter 1 large onion and 2 to 3 green or red peppers, sliced
4 to 6 cups sliced precooked chicken breast
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat lovers)

1 teaspoon Mineral Salt
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked or regular)
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced, or 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced, re-roasted tomatoes, drained Lots of cut lettuce (e.g., a couple hearts of romaine at least) 
Greek yogurt Sour cream
 Sliced avocado Grated cheese Brown rice or quinoa

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Add the peppers and onions, tossing frequently for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the chicken, sprinkle on the chili powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne (if using), salt, and paprika, and toss with the veggies for a couple more minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.

  2. Serve on generous beds of lettuce and add toppings according to which fuel you decide on.

Black Pepper Chicken

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Who wouldn’t love healthy Chinese takeout?

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

Think Chinese takeout, but ultra-healthy and made in a jiffy! Here’s a time-saving tip—the night before, or the morning of, you can put the chicken in the marinade in a gallon-size baggie and refrigerate so it is all ready to go right before dinnertime. While you are at it, you may want to make double the amount of chicken and marinade. Put one of the bags in the freezer for a no-think, no-fuss dinner another night.

Ingredients

2 1⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, thawed if frozen, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (easily done with kitchen scissors)
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder
21⁄2 teaspoons black pepper, or
 3 teaspoons if you like more heat
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, sliced
 6 celery stalks, finely sliced

1⁄2 large head cabbage, finely sliced, or 1 (16-ounce) bag pre-sliced cabbage or coleslaw

Directions

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and add 1⁄4 cup of the soy sauce, the ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and vinegar. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes or so while you chop the vegetables (or do as described above and start marinating the night before or in the morning).

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a large skillet over high heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken. Allow the chicken to cook for a couple minutes on one side, then toss periodically in the hot oil for 3 to 4 more minutes or until just done. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil and all the veggies to the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and toss the veggies for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly wilted but still a bit crispy. Return the chicken to the pan, toss through and serve.

World’s Laziest Lasagna Skillet

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Any recipe with ‘lazy’ in the title is bound to be perfect for busy weeknights.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half)

We gave you Lazy Lasagna, one of the most popular recipes in Trim Healthy Mama cookbook, but now we have an even lazier version. No baking time—just throw it all in your skillet, then scoop into your mouth. Kids love this, too, and it makes sure they get a good dose of healthy greens in their dinner!

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef, turkey, or venison, thawed if frozen
20 ounces no-sugar-added pizza or spaghetti sauce
11⁄2 tablespoons dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon Mineral Salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 to 2 doonks Pure Stevia Extract Powder
16 ounces fresh spinach

1 (8-ounce) package 1⁄3 less fat cream cheese

1 (14-ounce) container 1% cottage cheese

8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then drain off any excess fat.

  2. Add the pizza sauce, oregano, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and stevia powder (if using). Add the spinach (you may need to add half the spinach, stir until it wilts a little, then add the rest). Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer.

  3. Place the cream cheese and cottage cheese in a food processor and process until smooth. Add to the skillet. Allow all the ingredients to simmer a few more minutes, then you’re done.

  4. Top each plate with grated mozzarella.

Sesame Lo Mein

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Carbs you can feel good about.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, but do not freeze, as Konjac noodles don’t freeze well.)

Load your plate high with scrumptious noodles and slim down! Bet nobody has told you that before. Before you even have time to make a phone call for Chinese takeout, you can have this deliciousness ready for your table within 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll save time and you’ll save your waistline! We use two kinds of noodles in this dish for double the slimming power. It has konjac-based noodles, which are so fat-blasting and wonderful, and zucchini or yellow squash noodles, which we call “Troodles.” If you are not yet a fan of konjac-based noodles, you can use all Troodles, just double up on the zucchini.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons butter or coconut oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups of any chopped veggies you have lying around such as onion, red bell peppers, zucchini, radishes, and carrots; you can also include a few tablespoons frozen peas
3 single-serve bags konjac noodles, such as our Trim Healthy Noodles or Not Naughty Noodles, well rinsed and drained
1 to 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (optional)
1⁄4 cup soy sauce, or a few good squirts Bragg liquid aminos or coconut aminos
Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste
2 to 4 medium zucchini or yellow squash, spiralized into Troodles (zucchini noodles)
4 large eggs
2 to 3 cups precooked or canned meat, such as diced chicken breast, salmon, or ground meat
3 to 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 to 4 green onions (optional), diced

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and toss in the butter for about a minute. Add the seasoning blend or chopped veggies and toss for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. If using frozen veggies, toss on high.

  2. Add the Trim Healthy Noodles or Not Naughty Noodles to the pan, increase the heat to high, and stir with a fork as they cook. While they are cooking, add the nutritional yeast (if using), soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Toss them over high heat for a couple minutes, then add the Troodles and allow to cook for few minutes, tossing well. At first you think there are too many Troodles … have faith, they will wilt.

  3. Push the noodles and veggies to one side of your skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and crack the eggs into the skillet. Stir and cut the eggs with your spatula, flip a few times while they cook, then toss them with all the other ingredients in the skillet. Add your precooked protein, continuing to heat the ingredients until the meat is warmed through. Top with the sesame oil and green onions (if using). Stir and lift the noodles so that they get coated with the sesame oil. Taste, then add more soy sauce, pepper, or other favorite Asian seasoning until it makes you say “Yeah Baby!”

Chicken, Broccoli, Mushroom Stir-Fry

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Make your life easier by preparing the sauce in advance.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

Your house will smell as wondrous as a Japanese restaurant when you make this. Watch your family wolf it down, never knowing there is a healthy secret ingredient in the sauce (so long as you don’t tell!).

Ingredients

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup frozen diced okra

1⁄3 cup soy sauce, or several generous squirts Bragg liquid aminos

21⁄2 teaspoons Pure Stevia Extract Powder
1⁄2 teaspoon Gluccie
2 tablespoons coconut oil or sesame oil

21⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed if frozen), cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (quickest with kitchen scissors)
Mineral Salt and black pepper

3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

1 generous teaspoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger

2 (12-ounce) bags frozen broccoli, or fresh broccoli florets from a large head

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  1. Prepare the sauce in advance. Put the chicken broth, okra, soy sauce, sweetener, and Gluccie in a blender and blend on high until completely broken down … we mean blend the daylights out of it so no bits of okra are left.

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet, and cook for 4 minutes, turning once. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic and ginger. Toss in the oil for about 30 seconds, then stir in the frozen broccoli. Increase the heat to medium-high, cover, and cook for about 2 1⁄2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, cover, and cook for another 21⁄2 minutes (if using fresh broccoli, add later with the mushrooms and cook without covering for several minutes, tossing often).

  4. Uncover, pour in the sauce, and cook on high for 5 to 6 more minutes, returning the chicken for the last 3 minutes and adding the pepper flakes (if using).

Save My Sanity Chili

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

It’s all in the title of the recipe.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

When life gets chaotic, this meal can come to your rescue. Throw it in the crockpot in the morning and you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that supper is taken care of (or make it in a jiffy in your pressure cooker). This tasty chili is a no-brainer since it saves you a whole prep step. Most chili recipes that call for ground meat ask you to brown the meat and onions first, but we know life can be crazy busy and sometimes that just might be the 10 to 15 minutes you don’t have! We don’t want you giving in and considering picking up drive-thru food because you don’t have time to cook. So no more excuses—extra steps are outta here! Throw all the ingredients in your trusty crockpot and come back in the evening to deliciousness! Now, let’s say your life is extra crazy and you forget to prepare your crockpot meal in the morning but you don’t have an electric pressure cooker. No worries—this can be made in a pot on the stove in about 30 minutes—just brown your meat and onions, add all the other ingredients, and let it bubble away.

Ingredients

2 pounds ultra-lean (96%) ground turkey or venison, thawed if frozen
2 (10- to 12-ounce) bags frozen small-cut vegetables, such as green and red bell peppers
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel-style diced tomatoes and green chilies (hot, medium, or mild)

2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, rinsed and drained

1 quart chicken broth

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

11⁄2 teaspoons Mineral Salt

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, depending on your heat preference)

Directions

  1. Place the meat in the bottom of a crockpot and break up with a fork to spread around the bottom of the crock. Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

  2. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. Once the chili is ready, break up any larger chunks of meat.

ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER DIRECTIONS: Cook the meat on sauté mode, then add all the other ingredients. Seal and cook at low pressure for 10 minutes. Use the quick pressure release.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Original Frank’s hot sauce tastes delicious on anything and everything.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

This is flavorful, hearty and so versatile! Please don’t be scared if you are not a spice lover. Just be sure to buy the original Frank’s hot sauce, not the “hot” kind. And if you’re still timid, pull back the amount of sauce to 1 or even 1⁄2 cup. That will give you a very mild heat level but still lots of flavor.

Ingredients

21⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, thawed if frozen
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) butter

11⁄4 cups Frank’s original hot sauce (reduce if you don’t like heat)
1 (10- to 12-ounce) bag frozen small-cut veggies
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

1⁄2 teaspoon Mineral Salt

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

1⁄2 cup sour cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Put the seasoning blend at the bottom of a slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients except for the sour cream. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Shred the chicken with 2 forks (it will fall apart easily). If using sour cream, stir it in well.

ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients except the sour cream to a pressure cooker. Seal and cook at high pressure for 12 minutes. Use natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes, followed by quick pressure release. Stir in the sour cream and shred the chicken.

NOTE: When wrapping or stuffing this into lettuce or tortillas, use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the chicken from the slow cooker and try not to get too much of the broth so it won’t be too messy.

Succulent Barbacoa Beef

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Bring Chipotle-style bowls to your kitchen table.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

We love Chipotle restaurants—so easy to stay on plan there using their bowl option. We love ordering their barbacoa beef or chicken, including the sautéed veggies, and putting it all over lettuce and salsa, then topping with lots of guac and a sprinkle of cheese. Mmmm … Amazing! Or sometimes we add some brown rice and beans. You can make something similar to their succulent beef (our very favorite menu item there) at home. Here is our version.

Ingredients

2 1⁄2 to 3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into thirds
1 onion, cut into chunks

1 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from a can (using 3 is lovely and spicy, but if you don’t like a whole lot of spice, pull back to 1 or 2 and rinse the sauce off a little)
4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh or bottled)

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3⁄4 cup water or beef broth

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

11⁄2 teaspoons Mineral Salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Place the beef in the bottom of a slow cooker. Put all the other ingredients in a blender and blend well. Pour the contents of the blender over the beef. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Break the beef apart once cooked … you don’t have to completely shred, but pulling most of it apart allows it to drink up all the delicious juices.

ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER DIRECTIONS: Coat the pressure cooker pot with coconut oil spray and place all the ingredients in the pot, including the blended sauce. Seal and cook at high pressure for 50 minutes. Use natural pressure release.

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Cheesy noodles without the fat.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 to 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, but do not freeze, as Konjac noodles don’t freeze well.)

This is ooey-gooey, noodley, cheesy goodness. Regular white noodles when mixed with cheese are one of the most fattening and health-destroying foods on this planet. Konjac noodles, such as our Trim Healthy or Not Naughty noodles, allow you to enjoy that oh-so-magnificent combination of cheese and noodles without widening your waistline.

Ingredients

4 single-serve bags of konjac noddles, such as out Trim Healthy Noodles or Not Naughty Noodles, well rinsed and drained
5 cups diced cooked chicken breast, or diced rotisserie chicken
1 (10-ounce can) Rotel-style diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
11⁄2 (8-ounce) packages 1⁄3 less fat cream cheese
1⁄2 cup chicken broth

11⁄2 teaspoons Mineral Salt

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 cups (12 ounces) grated cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Snip the noodles a bit smaller with kitchen scissors so they are not too terribly long. Put the diced chicken, noodles, and diced tomatoes and chilies in a 9 × 13-inch baking dish.

  3. Put the cream cheese, broth, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder in a blender and blend until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the baking dish using a spatula. Mix in 2 cups of the cheddar. Top with the remaining cheddar and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Broil for just a couple minutes at the end to make sure all the cheese is golden brown and bubbling, but watch it doesn’t burn.

Flaky Parmesan Tilapia

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

An inexpensive way to try something new with your family.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller)

This is a quick and easy way to include more fish in your life. There is only so much chicken and red meat you can eat, so please make room for fish! It is a wonderful, slimming part of a balanced-protein approach. This recipe is incredibly flaky and full of flavor, and it’s a great way to get your children to start liking fish. It need not be expensive, either. You can buy 2 pounds of frozen tilapia fillets from any landlocked grocery store inexpensively and thaw them before cooking. If you don’t like the idea of using tilapia, use any other thin white fish of your liking.

Ingredients

2 pounds tilapia or other thin white fish fillets, thawed if frozen
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) butter, melted
Black pepper

Red pepper flakes (optional)

3⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise

2 heaping tablespoons Greek yogurt

3⁄4 teaspoon dried dill

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to a high broil.

  2. Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Place it in a single layer (no overlap) in an extra-large baking dish or 2 medium baking dishes. Pour the melted butter over the top and turn each fillet in the butter to coat well on both sides. Sprinkle lightly with black pepper and pepper flakes (if using).

  3. Combine the Parmesan, mayo, yogurt, and dill in a bowl and stir until a paste forms. Set aside.

  4. Put the fish on the second rack from the top of the oven and broil for 3 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven, turn each piece over, and smear with some Parmesan paste to cover the top of the fish (easily done with a fork). Broil for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s bubbling and golden brown on the top and flaky in the middle.

 

This article was written by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The Best Summer Activities for Kids in Every Single State

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School is on hiatus ‘til fall, which means you’ve got approximately 10 weeks to keep the youngest members of your household happily entertained. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back with this epic list of the coolest activities for kids of all ages in every single state.

Alligator Alley

Alabama: Alligator Alley

Um, this might be the only place in the U.S. where your kids can safely hold an alligator. (There are 450 on site at this alligator rescue farm in Summerdale and guided and self-guided tours are available.)

Plan Your Visit

Alabama: Gulf State Park

Your kids will love having ample opportunities to unplug as they bike, swim, fish and camp in this gorgeous park on the Gulf of Mexico, complete with two miles of pristine beach. (Just be sure you make campground or cabin reservations in advance.)

Plan Your Visit

Alabama: U.S. Space and Rocket Center

This museum in Huntsville has the largest collection of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the world. It also has super-cool simulators like the space shot (kids can rocket 140 feet straight up in less than 2.5 seconds) and the G-force accelerator (so kids can experience three times the force of gravity).

Plan Your Visit

The Reindeer Farm

Alaska: The Reindeer Farm

Sure, it’s not Christmas yet, but just picture the joy on your kids’ faces when they get to pet, feed and ask hard-hitting Santa questions of actual reindeer at this farm, located about 45 minutes northwest of Anchorage. (There are also picnic tables so you can pack a lunch and hang out all day.)

Plan Your Visit

Alaska: Byron Glacier

Come on, where else in the U.S. can your kids get up close and personal with an actual glacier? OK, so it’s a mile-long hike, but once you arrive at this spot on the Prince Island Sound, it’s quite breathtaking. (And thanks to global warming might not be there that much longer, so go now!)

Plan Your Visit

Alaska: Thunderbird Falls

This stroller-accessible hike in Anchorage is just one mile in length and—barring a few steep spots—is very family-friendly. Plus, the pay-off is huge: At the end of the trail is a dramatic, 200-foot waterfall that will leave your kids in complete awe of a different mom: Mother Nature.

Plan Your Visit

We Who Roam

Arizona: Salt River Tubing

For kids ages eight and up, the Tonto National Forest (dubbed a “mini Grand Canyon”) is a sight to be seen, especially from the water. Pack a lunch and relax as you float down the refreshing mountain water stream.

Plan Your Visit

Arizona: Museum of Natural History

In addition to an indoor, three-story Dinosaur mountain with a simulated flash flood, there’s air conditioning at this Mesa museum—a win-win for the dino-lover in your fam.

Plan Your Visit

Arizona: Wet ‘n Wild Phoenix

Did we mention Arizona is hot during the summertime? Wet ‘n Wild is the ultimate cool-off zone, complete with epic water slides, a lazy river and more.

Plan Your Visit

MILB

Arkansas: Arvest Ballpark

Home to minor league baseball team the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, this Springdale ballpark brings over 70 home games—not to mention festivals, fairs and family fun days—for kids to enjoy all season long.

Plan Your Visit

Arkansas: Blanchard Springs Caverns

Some parts of these caves, located in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, took shape over 350 million years ago. Your kids will love peeping the rock formations (and tiny cave creatures like salamanders) as they tour the area. Bonus: The underground temp stays at a cool 58 degrees, perfect for summer.

Plan Your Visit

Arkansas: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

This 450+ acre park in Eureka Springs is home to over 100 abused, neglected and abandoned big cats—bobcats, ligers, cougars and leopards included.

Plan Your Visit

Disneyland

California: Disneyland

Steep entry fee aside, you really can’t go wrong planning a day (or week) long trip to the OG home of Mickey Mouse. (PSA: Don’t forget you’ve got California Adventure across the way.)

Plan Your Visit

California: Safari Park

This 1,800-acre wildlife refuge operates next to and in partnership with the San Diego Zoo (another places worth visiting if you have time), but it’s the only spot where you can see animals ranging from cheetahs to lions to zebras roam free, from a safari tour.

Plan Your Visit

California: Yosemite National Park

A national landmark since 1864, there’s no end to the kid adventures—including getting sworn in as junior rangers—that can be had within the park’s 1,200 square miles of valleys, meadows, wilderness and more. Just be sure to plan your visit (and book a campsite) in advance.

Plan Your Visit

Garden of the Gods

Colorado: Garden of the Gods

This popular park in Colorado Springs features breathtaking geological formations, plus rock climbing and nature trails. Just keep in mind that for summer, there’s not a ton of shade.

Plan Your Visit

Colorado: Santa’s Workshop

Visiting Santa in July feels like a misnomer, but it’s actually the perfect time of year for a Christmas-centric theme park filled with a range of outdoor rides. And, hey, if you happen to get a pic with Santa at this Cascade hotspot (located 20 minutes from Colorado Springs), you can nail down your holiday card four months in advance.

Plan Your Visit

Colorado: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

Located in Estes Park, this campground—named after cartoon character Yogi Bear—is right in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. And while your kids can get their fill of nature, there’s also lots of other activities on site including a heated pool, mini golf, a game room and more.

Plan Your Visit

Mystic Aquarium

Connecticut: Mystic Aquarium

In addition to beluga whales, African penguins and sharks, a special exhibit on dinosaurs—featuring 12 animatronic creatures—just recently opened.

Plan Your Visit

Connecticut: Lake Compounce Theme Park

It’s a summer throwback—take your kids to the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States. (Complete with its own kiddie coaster and antique carousel.)

Plan Your Visit

Connecticut: Southington Drive-In Movie Theater

Speaking of throwbacks, your kids will love the thrill of seeing a movie outdoors from the comfort of your car. The summer lineup was just released with films ranging from The Sandlot to The Princess Bride.

Plan Your Visit

Air Mobility Compound Museum

Delaware: Air Mobility Compound Museum

This free museum at Dover Air Force Base showcases some of the U.S. Air Force’s largest (and no-longer-in-use) aircrafts. Watch your kids lose their minds as they get to the know the ins and outs of aerodynamics while walking all around these massive planes.

Plan Your Visit

Delaware: Gardens at Winterthur

This museum/library/garden is home to one of the biggest collections of Americana in the U.S. It also features 1,000 kid-friendly acres of outdoor space including an area called the “Enchanted Woods,” which gives kids an opportunity to explore the world of fairies with attractions like the Troll’s Bridge.

Plan Your Visit

Delaware: Rehoboth Beach

Known as one of the top beaches in the country, this shoreline features more than just sun and sand. Along the boardwalk, there’s bumper boats, a water slide, lazy river and more.

Plan Your Visit

Disney World

Florida: Disney World

Ten bucks says your kids will be more thrilled by the Monorail than the actual rides.

Plan Your Visit

Florida: Captiva Island

You’ll love the pristine beaches, but your kids will love the one-of-a-kind beachcombing. (This island off the coast near Fort Myers is ranked one of the best for in the country for finding pretty shells.)

Plan Your Visit

Florida: The Kennedy Space Center

It’s the launch center of human spaceflight. And, if you’re kids are lucky, they might be able to catch an actual rocket lift off. (There’s currently one scheduled for July, FYI.)

Plan Your Visit

Lanier Islands Water Park

Georgia: Lanier Islands Water Park

This Paradise Beach theme park puts water activities at the forefront. But it’s not just for the older kids: The Family Fun Zone includes a wave pool with “wiggle waves” and mini water slides.

Plan Your Visit

Georgia: Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Located on Jekyll Island, this education center is focused on the rehabilitation of sea turtles in the wild. Oh, and there are also alligators.

Plan Your Visit

Georgia: The Georgia Aquarium

It’s the world’s largest aquarium (located in Atlanta) with over ten million gallons of water and one hundred thousand animals on site—whales, jellyfish and puffins galore.

Plan Your Visit

Honolulu Zoo

Hawaii: Honolulu Zoo

This 42-acre zoo features tons of species indigenous to Hawaii, like the short-eared owl and the Hawaiian goose. It also features twilight tours (perfect for older kids).

Plan Your Visit

Hawaii: Dole Pineapple Plantation

Come to this Honolulu homage to the pineapple for the Dole Whip (a part of every tour) but stay to get lost in the botanical pineapple maze. (Seriously, it’s huge!)

Plan Your Visit

Hawaii: Lydgate Beach Park

This Kauai-based beach in the city of Kapaa is a local favorite and features two enclosed swimming areas, both protected by boulders, so it’s easy for your kids to safely splash about. It’s also right across the street from the Kamalani Playground, should they need to blow off a little steam.

Plan Your Visit

Silverwood Theme Park

Idaho: Silverwood Theme Park

This amusement park in Athol is home to the first-ever inverting roller coaster (FYI, kids need to be 48 inches tall to ride), but it’s also got a lazy river, carousel and ferris wheel.

Plan Your Visit

Idaho: Bruneau Dunes State Park

As long as the temps aren’t too hot, let your kids run—and surf—the sand dunes at this state park and campground, located just 45 minutes outside of Boise.

Plan Your Visit

Idaho: Discovery Center of Idaho

For an afternoon where you need A/C, head to this STEM-focused hands-on science center in Boise, complete with a summer exhibition that’s all about H2O. (Kids may or may not leave soaking wet.)

Plan Your Visit

MLB

Illinois: Wrigley Field

It’s home to the 2018 World Series-winning Chicago Cubs. What better time than summer to take your kiddos to a game?

Plan Your Visit

Illinois: Super Museum

Fun fact: Superman’s hometown is Metropolis, Illinois. That’s why your comic book-loving little one will relish a visit to this museum featuring over 20,000 items tied to the Man of Steel’s history and fictional life.

Plan Your Visit

Illinois: The Museum of Science and Industry

It’s one of the largest science museums in the world. Even though school is out for summer, take your kid to this Chicago institution where they can learn all about Planet Earth, robots and more.

Plan Your Visit

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Indiana: Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

It’s the world’s largest kids’ museum and it also has a pretty cool selection of summer exhibits on display, from the Fireworks of Glass to a look at American Pop.

Plan Your Visit

Indiana: Conner Prairie

This interactive history park in Fishers (about 30 minutes north of Indianapolis) is all about exploring science, history and nature in a hands-on way.

Plan Your Visit

Indiana: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park

With over 100 acres of outdoor sculptures built around nature, this Indianapolis park features art you can climb on. (How could your kids resist?)

Plan Your Visit

Iowa State Fair/Facebook

Iowa: State Fair

Not only is this one of the world’s largest livestock shows and food fairs, there’s also a cow sculpted entirely of butter—something your kids will have to see to believe. (FYI, it takes place for 11 days in August in Des Moines.)

Plan Your Visit

Iowa: Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor

This throwback parlor is an activity all in itself thanks to the rooms stocked to the brim with memorabilia. Also, your kids haven’t lived until they’ve tried a classic ice cream soda.

Plan Your Visit

Iowa: National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

This museum-meets aquarium-meets science center in Dubuque is a place where your kids can learn and touch. There’s also a 4D theater with plenty of child-friendly special effects (think: wind, mist and seat movement).

Plan Your Visit

Oz Museum

Kansas: Oz Museum

Introduce your kids to the movie, then plan a day trip to the museum—located about 45 minutes east of Topeka—which features artifacts, history, folk art and collectibles.

Plan Your Visit

Kansas: Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

Teach your kids where their food comes from with a tour around this farm in Overland Park, complete with lesons in growing veggies, bottle-feeding baby goats and milking cows.

Plan Your Visit

Kansas: Underground Salt Museum

Your kids will love the chance to tunnel 650 feet below the Earth’s surface and touch actual remnants of the inland ocean. Then, when they’re done, they can ride the Salt Mine Express underground railroad at this Hutchinson spot, just outside of Topeka. 

Plan Your Visit

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

Kentucky: Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

The official spot where MLB bats get made, this museum also boasts a 120-foot to-scale replica of the actual bat swung by Babe Ruth. Oh, and there’s a tribute to the 25th anniversary of The Sandlot currently on display.

Plan Your Visit

Kentucky: Mammoth Cave National Park

It’s the world’s longest known cave system with over 400 miles waiting for kids to explore. Beyond touring the complex labyrinths, you can go for a family canoe ride, picnic, horseback ride and more.

Plan Your Visit

Kentucky: The Great American Dollhouse Museum

A fascinating place for kids (and weird grown-ups), this Danville-based museum features over 200 dollhouses, all depicting different parts of American social history. (There’s also air conditioning.)

Plan Your Visit

Shreveport-Bossier/Flickr

Louisiana: Gators and Friends Alligator Park and Exotic Zoo

Not only can kids hold and feed gators at this Greenwood zoo, located 20 minutes from Shreveport, they can zip line over many of the residents—camels, kangaroos and miniature horses.

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Louisiana: Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World

They may be too young to really laissez les bons temps rouler, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get in on the action. At this enormous NOLA warehouse, kids can tour the masks, floats and other Mardi Gras ephemera, and even play dress-up in the big costume closet. 

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Louisiana: Creole Nature Trail

Help your kids tackle some next-level beachcombing as they traverse this trail in Lake Charles, filled with driftwood pieces, moon snails and sea beans, all kosher for bringing home. (It’s also adjacent to 26 miles of beach paradise where they can pick up actual shells.)

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MILB

Maine: Portland Sea Dogs Game

It’s hard to beat a minor league baseball game in the heart of Portland. Take your kids to a double-header (and make sure they get a pic with the mascot Slugger).

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Maine: Acadia National Park

Sign your kids up for the summer-only Junior Ranger Program, where they earn a badges for scouting things like seals, porpoises and birds.

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Maine: Sugarloaf Mountain

Sure, during winter, this place is ski central, but during summer your kids can participate in guided moose tours, go mountain biking, zip lining and more.

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Chesapeake Pirates/Instagram

Maryland: Pirate Adventure on the Chesapeake

Ahoy! On this Annapolis-based ship, aspiring mateys paint their faces, don their pirate garb and set sail for a 75 minute treasure-finding adventure. (Hint: they always find the treasure.)

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Maryland: Larriland Farm

One of the best spots in the state (it’s located in Woodbine) to pick your own cherries or blueberries—an easy summertime kid activity, plus a built-in snack.

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Maryland: Billy Goat Trail

Perfect for littles that like the outdoors, this rocky hike goes along the cliffs of the Potomac Gorge. (Just be sure your kids are old enough to have their footing.)

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MLB

Massachusetts: Fenway Park

It’s not summer in New England without taking in a Red Sox game. Plan ahead and schedule a 50-minute tour of the ballpark—a historic landmark—before the first pitch is thrown.

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Massachusetts: Edgartown

This sandy Martha’s Vineyard destination is accessible by ferry and makes for a great family beach day thanks to the variety of shorelines to choose from, the lack of crowds and the proximity to restrooms—a must for kids. (Plus, fun fact: It’s also the main shooting location for Jaws.)

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Massachusetts: The Frog Pond

In the winter, it’s an ice rink, but come summer, this man-made “pond” in the middle of Boston Common becomes a popular wading pool for tots looking to cool off.

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Henry Ford Museum/Facebook

Michigan: The Henry Ford Museum

It’s been over 100 years since the Ford Motor Company introduced the Model T. Take your kids to the Dearborn museum where they can learn all about the innovation and spirit of it’s creator, Henry Ford—oh, and actually ride in a restored car.

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Michigan: Air Zoo

Experience the science of flight at this aviation museum in Portage (near Kalamazoo) that combines rare aircraft with flight simulators and bi-planes (what the Wright Brothers flew) which your kids can actually steer.

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Michigan: National Cherry Festival

It takes place every July in Traverse City. Sign your kids up for the cherry pie eating contest, then stay for the evening fireworks display.

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National Eagle Center

Minnesota: National Eagle Center

Give your kids the chance to catch a rare sighting of an American Bald Eagle up close, but also in the wild at this nonprofit located in Wabasha.

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Minnesota: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Canoe between the cliffs, crags and canyons of this epic route, located in the northern third of the Superior National Forest.

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Minnesota: Mall of America

Forget about shopping — this indoor amusement park at America’s largest mall (in Bloomington) features games, water rides, an aquarium, and an adventure course.

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Tupelo Automobile Museum/Facebook

Mississippi: Tupelo Automobile Museum

Enough with Lightening McQueen. Take your little guy to see over 100 antique automobiles, all displayed and laid out to illustrate the history of car design and engineering.

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Mississippi: The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

Dolphin encounters abound at this research institution in Gulfport near Mississippi City, the perfect spot for your kids to learn about the humane animal treatment and conservation efforts of this aquatic creature.

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Mississippi: Infinity Science Center

Your kids will relish the chance to see first-hand what an international space station set-up looks like at this Pearlington-based site. The motion and cockpit simulators are another crowd pleaser. And for older ones, so is the bus tour of a NASA rocket-testing facility.

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Legoland Discovery Center North America/Instagram

Missouri: Legoland Discovery Center

The Lego-lover in your household will go nuts at this Lego “experience” in Kansas City, complete with a Lego master builder academy and Lego ideas studio.

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Missouri: Big Surf Waterpark

This water park in Linn Creek is the place to cool off come summer with food, rides and slides—not to mention a lazy river for younger kids who just want to float and chill.

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Missouri: Johnson Shut-Ins State Park

Pitch a tent or rent a cabin at this park in Middle Brook (90 minutes south of St. Louis), which is filled with natural swimming areas, hiking trails and spots to roast s’mores, away from it all.

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Visit Montana

Montana: Flathead Lake

It’s the largest natural freshwater lake in the U.S. (with an entry point in Lakeside), which means there’s plenty of room for tubing, canoeing and swimming.

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Montana: Big Dipper

Prepare your kids ahead of time: There will almost definitely be a line wrapping around the block just to get a scoop (or two) of ice cream at this Missoula spot, famous for their homemade flavors like cardamom and huckleberry.

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Montana: Museum of the Rockies

Home to the largest collection of dinosaur fossils, this museum in Bozeman will pique your kid’s curiosity in the prehistoric creatures and give them a chance to play paleontologist for the day.

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Mark Reinstein/Getty Images

Nebraska: Hutchinson Buffalo Ranch

Make your kids turn off their tech and travel back in time at this ranch just a few hours west of Omaha in Rose—a “last frontier” of sorts where you can see actual bison as you tour the area on conestoga wagons. (Canoeing, tubing, sailing and paddleboats are also available to guests who stay on site.)

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Nebraska: Fossil Freeway

Over 30 million years ago, a river actually flowed through this area in the Panhandle now filled with remnants in the form of bulky sandstone blocks. Send your kids on a scavenger hunt for imprints left behind by now-extinct animals including saber-toothed cats and rhinos.

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Nebraska: Get Tanked Tubing

Pack lunch for the family and float down the scenic Cedar River in an apparatus designed for water-lovers: An eight-foot plastic stock tank with a picnic table built in.

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Valley of Fire/Facebook

Nevada: Valley of Fire

Quite seriously, this state park in Overton might be one of the coolest campgrounds your kids have ever seen. It features over 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec Sandstone, perfect for daytime hikes.

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Nevada: Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada

There’s a rotating climbing wall, train simulation and airplane teeter totter, all at this popular museum in Carson City.

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Nevada: Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

You don’t have to stay at the Mirage hotel to book tickets to this unique Vegas experience: A chance for kids to come face-to-face with dolphins, white tigers, white lions and leopards.

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Wildcat Mountain

New Hampshire: Wildcat Mountain

As long as your little ones don’t mind heights, take them on a scenic gondola ride where they can check out sweeping views—or simply plan a nature hike instead. (Thompson Falls is just a 45-minute climb.)

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New Hampshire: Clark’s Trading Post

Come summer, this Lincoln theme park’s main focus is family fun—take your kids to the black bear show (with actual bears), ride a steam train or cool off on the water blaster boats.

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New Hampshire: Hampton Beach

Even if all you do is grab an ice cream cone at Stillwell’s Surfside Scoop and walk the boardwalk, your kids will be happily entertained.

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Jersey Shore Pirates

New Jersey: Jersey Shore Pirates

Get this: At this North Jersey spot, Your kids get to dress up as pirates and learn pirate lingo before setting sail on an action-packed, hour and 15-minute adventure that has them following a treasure map to their booty.

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New Jersey: Cape May Point Historic Park

Go for the beachcombing, stay for the mini golf. Located on the southern tip of New Jersey, it’s a go-to spot for families looking to escape the heat without the Jersey shore riff-raff.

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New Jersey: Fosterfields Living Historical Farm

Expose your kids to farming as it was done 100 years ago and enlist them to help with daily tasks like collecting eggs, grinding corn, feeding chickens and cleaning a horse’s harness at this working farm in Morristown.

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

New Mexico: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Sign up for a slew of activities including ranger-guided stargazing and a bat flight program. (Basically, a guided narration of bats’ nocturnal activities.)

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New Mexico: Four Corners Monument

A chance for your kids to stand in four states (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado) all at once. (They’ll think it’s the coolest…or the lamest, but who cares as long as you have a photo.)

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New Mexico: Roswell UFO Festival

Every July, this festival draws kids and adults from all over the country for live entertainment, a costume contest, parade—and *fingers crossed* an alien sighting.

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American Museum of Natural History

New York: American Museum of Natural History

Get ready for a massive collection of dinosaur fossils, to-scale whales and a hall of American mammals (all stuffed) at this famed Manhattan museum. Just don’t forget a stop at the planetarium before you depart.

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New York: Fire Island National Seashore

The fact that no cars are allowed on this island makes it an incredibly kid-friendly place where you can bike to the beach, dinner or for a post-dinner ice cream cone. (Just take a ferry to get there.)

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New York: State Fair

This 13-day showcase—featuring food, music, carnival rides and oh-so-many butter sculptures—takes place in Syracuse between August 22 and September 3. Hello, summer send-off.

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The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

North Carolina: The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

The planetarium here in Chapel Hill was once used to train real live NASA astronauts, a fact worth dropping on your kids right as a show like the Solar System Odyssey (a crowd favorite) is about to begin.

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North Carolina: Lazy Five Ranch

Home to over 750 animals from six different continents, this “farm” in Mooresville showcases everything from wild mustangs to antelope.

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North Carolina: Pirate Invasion

Save the date for this annual Beaufort event—held this year on August 10 and 11—where people come from all over to reenact the pirate heritage of the area. Your kids will love the treasure hunting, sword fighting and cannon firing, all a spectacle worth seeing.

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Enchanted Highway

North Dakota: Enchanted Highway

Instead of playing the alphabet game, pile the kids into the car and drive this 32-mile stretch of roadway enlisting them to help spot the fancy (and whimsical) metal sculptures dotting the landscape.

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North Dakota: Graham’s Island State Park

Fishing is a beloved pastime for anyone here. Introduce your kids to it where they’re certain to catch something—at Devil’s Lake, the largest natural water body in the state.

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North Dakota: Pitchfork Steak Fondue

A summertime tradition, this outdoor cowboy cookout combines all the thrills of the wild west. After dinner, stay for the Medora Musical, a western-style variety show set against the backdrop of the Dakota Badlands.

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Columbus Zoo

Ohio: Columbus Zoo

In addition to the usual suspects—lions, tigers and bears—your kids will get to see the likes of the American bison and African Gray parrot while on a Congo expedition (aka a super-cool guided tour).

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Ohio: Mid Ohio Sports Car Course

The ideal spot to take the car-lover in your fam, this race track offers plenty of spectator experiences (in addition to actual races) featuring vintage automobiles, rugged trucks, motorcyles and more.

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Ohio: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Teens will love combing through this Cleveland museum for relics of a distant past. (You know…one where people played guitars.)

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Beavers Bend State Park/Facebook

Oklahoma: Beavers Bend State Park

One of the best places in McCurtain County to hike, bike, swim and fish. (Speaking of which, there are two well-stocked catch and release trout streams, the perfect place for your kids to learn the sport.)

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Oklahoma: Orr Family Farm

In addition to riding the vintage carousel and replica transcontinental locomotive, kids can zipline across this farm in Oklahoma City to take in the views from above.

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Oklahoma: Tiger Safari

Your kids will never forget the summer they got to hold (and feed) baby tigers at this “zoo” in Tuttle, complete with actual safari tours.

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Lincoln City Summer Kite Festival/Facebook

Oregon: Lincoln City Kite Festival

This annual kite festival held every June is not to be missed—but if you pop by the beaches in the area on, say, a random Tuesday, the chances are still good that you’ll see plenty of families testing the wind with their own kite, bought at local favorite Catch the Wind Kite Shop.

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Oregon: Oregon Zoo

This 64-acre zoo in Portland will entertain your kids all afternoon. Then, if you can swing it, stick around for the evening concert series—a summer-only event.

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Oregon: Silver Falls State Park

Depending on how ambitious your family is feeling, there’s an eight-mile hike that allows you to see 10 waterfalls in a single day. (There’s also a much shorter loop you can take with younger kids.)

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Sesame Place

Pennsylvania: Sesame Place

Bring on the Elmo freaks: This theme park an hour outside of Philadelphia includes rides, water attractions and live entertainment and is a great bet for littler guys who might get overwhelmed by bigger amusement parks.

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Pennsylvania: Crayola Experience

Kids see first-hand how crayons get made at this Easton warehouse, just an hour and a half north of Philly. Then, when they’re done, they can take home a souvenir set named after themselves.

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Pennsylvania: Hershey Park

There are 14 roller coasters and a zoo at this epic amusement park that also offers ample opportunities to taste-test chocolate.

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Sky Zone

Rhode Island: Sky Zone

Summer is the best time to nab a good deal at this indoor trampoline park located in East Providence.

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Rhode Island: Pawtucket Red Socks

Another minor league team worth checking out. Keep in mind, if you go on a Saturday night, there will be be post-game fireworks, win or lose.

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Rhode Island: Roger Williams Park Zoo

This time of year, Food Truck Fridays are all the rage at this popular 40-acre zoo in Providence, one of the oldest in the country.

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Frankie’s Fun Park

South Carolina: Frankie’s Fun Park

There are locations all over the state for this amusement park, known for its arcade games, rides and—soon to be your kid’s favorite—a go-kart race track.

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South Carolina: Alligator Adventure

Located in North Myrtle Beach, it’s one of the largest facilities for reptile life in the U.S. After watching a live feeding, your kids can pose alligator-related questions to the staff veterinarian, aptly nicknamed “the croc doc”.

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South Carolina: Myrtle Beach

Let’s just say there are over 50 miniature golf courses to choose from in the area. (And Myrtle Waves Water Park is just a stone’s throw from the beach.)

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1880 Train

South Dakota: 1880 Train

This working vintage steam train in Hill City will captivate your child—and you—as you take it on a historic route through the state’s most famed gold-panning spots.

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South Dakota: Custer State Park

Your kids will love keeping their eyes peeled for cool animals—think deer, sheep, elk, even burros—as you take a scenic drive through the park. (Bring a picnic lunch for a pit stop.)

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South Dakota: Mammoth Site & Museum

Get this: An actual sink hole in Hot Springs uncovered a treasure trove of fossils—including woolly mammoths—from the ice age. Your kids will go berserk.

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Discovery Park of America

Tennessee: Discovery Park of America

Impress your kids with this 50-acre complex in Union City, complete with a 20,000-gallon aquarium, an actual earthquake simulator and train station.

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Tennessee: Tennessee Aquarium

There’s a shark touch pool at this Chattanooga spot, not to mention three living forests, a 3D IMAX theater and more.

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Tennessee: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

This “moving” museum in Chattanooga offers experiences (most under an hour in length) that will give your kids the chance to understand railroad travel as it was in the past.

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Enchanted Springs Ranch

Texas: Enchanted Springs Ranch

A throwback to the old west, your kids can enjoy horseback rides, eat out of a chuckwagon and learn all about cowboy culture when they visit this theme park in Boerne.

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Texas: Dallas World Aquarium

This Dallas-based aquarium has a rainforest vibe, but also plenty of endangered species like Orinoco crocodiles. There’s even an underwater tunnel where sharks swim over your head.

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Texas: Dinosaur Valley State Park

Arm your kids with the tools they need (binoculars, a magnifying glass, an animal tracking key—all available on site), then embark on a family mission to locate prehistoric dino tracks, at this state park in Glen Rose.

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Utah Olympic Park/Facebook

Utah: Olympic Park

The former site of the 2002 Winter Games, this Park City spot has tons of summer-themed activities, like zip lining, extreme tubing and water polo.

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Utah: Arches National Park

With over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, this national park located just north of Moab is great for your natural-born climber.

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Utah: George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park

There are over 100 life-like dinosaur sculptures at this eight-acre outdoor park in Ogden—go on a scheduled tour or roam free (like the dinos did).

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Ben& Jerry’s

Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour

This Waterbury spot is where the famous pints (Cherry Garcia, anyone?) get made. Take your kids on a 30-minute tour and treat them to a scoop—or two—at the end.

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Vermont: Shelburne Farms

The best place to help your kids learn about a more sustainable future, this farm in Shelburne (a suburb of Burlington) offers hands-on educational experiences like brushing sheep and milking goats.

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Vermont: Smuggler’s Notch

Plan ahead for lunch at Smugglers’ Notch Picnic Area (located in a narrow pass through the Green Mountains) then stroll along the wetlands boardwalk all afternoon.

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Natural Bridge Caverns

Virginia: Natural Bridge Caverns

A tour at these caverns, located west of Richmond, takes just 45 minutes, but on it, you and your family can descend more than 34 stories deep within the earth.

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Virginia: Go Ape Freedom Park

Kids have to be 10 or older, but once they are, they’ll absolutely love traversing this treetop obstacle course in Williamsburg that offers Tarzan swings and a ropes course.

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Virginia: TwinCreeks Llamas

Hiking is cool and all, but what if you could bring a llama along for company and to carry your gear? Your kids will get a kick out of spending a day with the creature, domesticated 6,000 years ago at this animal reserve outside of Washington D.C. in Bentonville. (Reservations required.)

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Washington: Bryant Blueberries

It’s pick your own blueberries at this well-known farm in New Salisbury, which also has a petting zoo and playground.

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Wolf Haven International

Washington: Wolf Haven International

Home to about 250 displaced wolves, this spot in Tenino, just south of Olympia, is designed with kids in mind: There’s a 50-minute tour designed to remove the storybook stigma and a chance to glimpse these beautiful creatures up close.

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Washington: Museum of Flight

It’s the largest air and space museum in the world (located in Seattle)—and also your kid’s chance to hop in a flight simulator and play pilot for the day.

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MILB

West Virginia: West Virginia Black Bears

It’s not summer without a trip to the ballpark—this minor league team (which plays its games in Granville) is all kinds of nostalgic.

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West Virginia: Mystery Hole

Give your kids the chance to question the laws of gravity with a visit to this roadside attraction (it’s found in Ansted, which is 15 minutes north of Fayetteville) where the gravitational pull seems to be a bit off. (No one can explain it!)

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West Virginia: River Riders

The ultimate way to cool off in the summer is a guided (and family-friendly) white water rafting tour, which takes off from Harper’s Ferry.

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Bookworm Gardens

Wisconsin: Bookworm Gardens

This Sheboygan botanic garden (located midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay) is inspired by your kid’s favorite children’s books and uses imaginative landscaping skills to bring classics like Harold and the Purple Crayon and Goldilocks and the Three Bears to life.

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Wisconsin: Cranberry Discovery Center

Total day trip material, this experiential center in Warrens (outside of Madison) will teach your kids everything they need to know about the cranberry industry…and the history of the state fruit.

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Wisconsin: Madison Children’s Museum

While there’s no limit to the range of activities your kids can enjoy at this museum, we’re partial to the inventive city of Possible-opolis which is filled with interactive puzzles, games and a giant gerbil wheel.

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7D Ranch

Wyoming: 7D Ranch

This Cody-based ranch is the perfect place for your kids to experience cowboy life and learn all about the Yellowstone ecosystem. The kids program (aimed at children six and older) even offers the chance to saddle up.

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Wyoming: Continental Divide Dogsled Adventures

It’s one of the largest dog sled kennels in North America (and located in Dubois). Sign up the family for a one hour tour.

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Wyoming: Hot Springs State Park

Plan to BYO lunch and picnic by the all-natural mineral hot springs while actual bison roam nearby. There’s even a free bath house if your kids want to dip their toe in the water.

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International Spy Museum

Washington, D.C.: International Spy Museum

As soon as you enter, each family member will be given a secret identity and your kids will have to work hard to assume their undercover persona. (Not kidding, there’s a test at the end.)

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Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Your kids will flip walking around this working facility on the National Mall where actual U.S. dollars get printed. There’s a film and gallery tour, but you can also head straight to the production floor for a clear view of all the cash.

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Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian National Zoo

There are more than 2,000 animals to spot at this free zoo, but after your little ones are done keeping a distance from the gorillas and lions and bears, they’ll love visiting the kid’s farm for a chance to meet and greet cows, alpacas and donkeys.

Plan Your Visit

 

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