Spring Break Vacation Activity Books: Dino Supersaurus

BY  |  Friday, Mar 28, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

uk-2000stickers-1 In just a short while, families around Baristaville will be getting ready to take some holiday time both afar or as stay-cations for spring break. And with the changeable weather we’ve had, chances are at least a day or two will need some assistance to keep fun and peace in the family. Stomping onto the amusement scene is a set of activity books from Parragon Books called New Dino City called Dino Supersaurus.

Three books, each with elements of graphic stories, sticker games, and activity workbooks, are sure to keep the kids happy during a trip or on a rainy day. Officially recommended for ages 6 – 12, Barista Kids believes that children on the higher end of the age scale will find it a bit simple, but still enjoyable. Parents should know that as fun and silly as the stories and drawings are, they are not babyish. The drawings have a sense of cartoonish dino-violence and even some potty humor, all greatly appreciated by children of a certain age.

The best part of these books is the combination of activities in each.

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Montclair in Miniature at the Montclair Art Museum

BY  |  Monday, Mar 10, 2014 4:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

build montclair in LEGO

Families and friends from all over Baristaville came to the Montclair Art Museum on Sunday afternoon to create a miniature Montclair using just LEGO and their ingenuity. Given photographs of historical buildings around town, teams of up to four people built Montclair from the tabletop up.

Designed by Livingston architect Stephen W. Schwartz, and co-sponsored with the Montclair Historical Society and Building Blocks Workshops, the annual Build Montclair in LEGO event was sold out. The full house created a bustling room of participants digging through over 60,000 LEGO building blocks looking for just the right size and color pieces. Sometimes creative license was called in to assist, and the results were fantastic and fun.

Check out the creativity in our slideshow of the event!:

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Winter Storm Survival with Books for Young Children

BY  |  Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

NoTwoAlike Are you as excited as I am about another snow storm? Yeah, I thought so. At least it’s March already, right?

Parents with very young children especially need some additional distractions during winter weather, and happily, there is no shortage of beautiful books that allow children and parents to get through cold, snowy days and nights. Two new children’s books are perfect for helping us appreciate the joys of winter and snuggling with family.

No Two Alike, by Keith Baker, follows two happy red birds through a detailed winter landscape as they explore their wintry world. Small children love repetition, and the text provides many opportunities for them to anticipate words and surprises. In addition, as the title No Two Alike implies, the birds discover many items — nests, leaves, roads, trees — that are almost, almost alike, but not quite.

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Tom Chapin’s The Incredible Flexible You: Emphasizing Social Cues with Music

BY  |  Wednesday, Nov 06, 2013 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Incredible Flexible YouTraveling in and around the world, we constantly interact with others with varying degrees of success. From a baby’s first grin at a great hovering face to being able to sense that someone wants to be left alone based on her facial cues, humans make decisions based on social cues we learn to both read and perform. However, some children and adults with various social learning challenges may find it difficult to exercise these types of signals.

The Incredible Flexible You by Tom Chapin is a quirky new CD, created as an accompaniment to a Social Thinking curriculum, which can serve as a fun and pressure-free tool for children frustrated by social expectations. Social Thinking is a curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner which “targets improving individual social thinking abilities, regardless of diagnostic label.” The CD is a catchy and fun collection of melodies that kids will love to sing-a-long to.

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Day Trip: Stony Hill Farms Corn Maze

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Stony Hill Farms

Before you enter the corn maze at Stony Hill Farms, the ticket-taker recommends that you use the bathroom first, and then points out the emergency phone number to call. You know, in case you get lost and they have to come find you.

They’re not kidding, either. The main maze at this farm in Chester, NJ, is 10 full acres of corn, with wrong turns, switchbacks and stalks so high it’s easy to imagine getting too turned around to find the exit. But it’s even easier to have a lot of fun at Stony Hill, because they really went the extra acre…errr, mile. The maze has stations strewn throughout with trivia for Kernel B. Cobb’s Word Game and iconic images for Cornelius Quest’s Picture Find—each kid gets a worksheet and crayon for the games, just in case they need a little extra motivation to navigate through the maze.

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Master Classes for Serious Young Musicians

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Modern Music AcademyIt’s not a parenting secret that getting kids involved in music is good for them. But what about when your kid is really interested in music and wants to know more about being a musician? The Modern Music Academy is giving local singers and players of all ages opportunities to engage with seasoned musical pros in a pair of master classes on June 8 and 17.

First up is Juan Mendoza, a Perth Amboy native and professional drummer who won the 2012 Guitar Center Drum-Off competition. He’ll be at Just Jake’s on Saturday, June 8, 11 am, for a Percussion Master Class. The event will begin with MMA students showing their drumming chops, and will be followed by Mendoza performing and teaching. “You can hear what Juan has to say and what Juan has to play,” says Jarrett Zellea, who started the Modern Music Academy with his wife Jenny. “He’ll share some of the awesome stuff he can play, and talk about how he got to where he is.”

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Teens: Get Free Yoga for One Year with a Scholarship from Garden State Yoga

BY  |  Thursday, Dec 27, 2012 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, I like to do better than yoga. (Okay, maybe one thing, but this is a family site!) I am happiest in upward dog. For me, joy is falling face first out of a handstand.

I started doing yoga to stay in shape–and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my life–but I keep at it because it makes me calm, joyous and sane. Before every class, we take a moment to reflect on what’s important in life, and we learn to be happy about what we have right now. I don’t want to get all crunchy. The actual yoga moves are cool, too. I feel like I’m dancing. But thankfully, for everyone involved, I’m not dancing because I look ridiculous doing the pop and lock. Instead, I do yoga. Everyone can do yoga.

My favorite studio, Garden State Yoga, is offering a free one-year yoga scholarship to four enthusiastic local teenagers. GSY is the perfect place for young people: it’s athletic, it’s smells minty, and they use awesome playlists. The teachers motivate and inspire–and they literally stand on their heads for their students. One of my instructors, GSY director Erin Barry, knows a few special teens will get the awards.

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Dino-Store: Montclair Parents Give Us an Interactive Storybook filled with Silliness and Surprises

BY  |  Thursday, Dec 20, 2012 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

UPDATE: You can now purchase Dino-Store on your iPhone!

Usually it’s the kids who create homemade gifts for their parents, but when it comes to the creative folks over at New Jersey’s own Bluemarker, it’s the other way around.

Earlier in the year, Barista Kids told you about Janette Afsharian and her company’s award-winning on-line activities for young children. Well, she’s back with a brand new  interactive iPad Book App that is a true family affair – with dinosaurs! Janette and her husband, prize-winning poet Roger Sedarat, bring us Dino-Store, a silly and fun story about what might happen the next time you choose the EXTRA large eggs at the grocery store.

Rounding out the talent for this interactive story are Brooklyn illustrator Trade Loeffler and narrator Rachael Egan, also a Montclair parent. The App has been tested by the “neighborhood kids,” and now it’s ready for its public debut. Just released yesterday, Dino-Store is already garnering positive reviews! Parents can keep up with the App on its Facebook page, as well as the Bluemarker Dino-Store page.

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Where to Get Kids’ Manicures and Pedicures in Montclair—and How Much It’ll Cost

BY  |  Monday, Dec 10, 2012 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

How do you take your girls for manicures and pedicures without spoiling them? I love to drag them to the nail salon with me, but I don’t want their heads to get full of nonsense like pampering, privilege and social inequality. I can take a pure feminist anti-pedicure stand, or I can just accept that I really love getting my feet massaged and my toenails painted perfectly without smudges. I tip well to justify my behavior.

This is an inner struggle I’m passing down to my girls, age 7. It was bound to happen–there are more than 10 nail salons in Montclair alone, and they’re all popular with females ages 4 to 74. My kids started out by tagging along with me and my iPad to keep them entertained. Of course, they started asking to get their own nails done with sparkly flowers and dotted ladybugs. One thing led to another, and now their getting manis and pedis is a regular reward when they accomplish special goals.

This week, all of my kids’ teachers gave them accolades at the parent conferences. They’re rocking the first grade and kindergarten, and we intend to celebrate a smooth and excellent year. My husband will take my son to play football at the park, and I will take the girls to the nail salon. I’ll take them all ice skating, too. Everyone will bond and have fun. We’ll still be feminists, just well-groomed.

So where should you go for kids’ salon services, and how much should you pay? I found a wide range of prices—girls’ manis and pedis run anywhere from $19 to $30. And even a kids pedicure includes a soak, scrub, cut, file and polish–often with designs. You need an appointment at the packed places (i.e. Pinky and Jeeyune). But you can easily walk in to other spots. Here’s all the info on your favorite local salons below: Continue Reading

Barista Kids Ice Skating Guide

BY  |  Tuesday, Dec 04, 2012 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

When I asked my friend (that would be Georgette) if she liked to ice skate, she said, “I suck. I tried with my daughter when she was 4, and it was torture.”

To Georgette and anyone else who feels that way, I beg you to ice skate again. I am the worst kind of skater because I think I’m great, and I’m terrible. I was really into roller skating in the ’80s, so this is my modern outlet. And it’s complete with loads of bangs and crashes to humble myself in front of my kids. My children can barely stand up on their rented thin blades, but they love to ice skate with me at Clary Anderson in Montclair. We go to the crazy open skate on Saturdays, and we glide as we sing along to Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Ke$ha songs. We hold hands; we fall down; we laugh; we repeat. Some of my best bonding time with my 7-year-old daughters and 5-year-old son has been on the ice. Every time we go, someone cries and someone learns to keep trying. We always wind up at the grimy concession stand where we drink hot chocolate and eat churros.

Maybe you already love ice skating, but if you don’t, go back. Ice skating is one of the greatest winter experiences for families. You don’t want to miss the hockey-player smell, the crowd (you’ll know everybody there) and the Zamboni.

And please note: If your child is 5 and under or has never skated, arrive early and rent the walker (they always run out of them). This is just what it sounds like: A red walker that glides on ice that allows even the most uncoordinated kid to rock it out. The walker is the secret to true ice skating happiness for anyone who goes with a beginner.

Where do you like to ice skate? There are tons of places to go locally and beyond. Click below for our ice skating guide that includes arenas, public skate times and costs.

See you on the ice!

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