Detroit and Ann Arbor Metro Parent Parenting advice, Detroit and Ann Arbor family fun and more Sun, 12 Jul 2020 13:11:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s Happening at Cedar Point in 2020? Sat, 11 Jul 2020 00:07:00 +0000 Cedar Point’s 2020 opening day was set to be May 9, but that day came and went without the sound of midway music, the sweet scent of elephant ears or the rush of a single coaster. In addition, all of the park’s 150th anniversary celebrations have been put on hold until 2021.

We can thank coronavirus for all of that.

But not all is lost this coaster season. America’s rockin’ roller coast has set some ground rules to make this season as safe as they can for guests and park employees alike. Take a peak at some of these plans and get details on visiting the park, which officially opens to the public on July 11, 2020.

Not familiar with Cedar Point? This amusement park has a 150-year history since opening in 1870 – and has been dishing up screams since its first coaster, The Switchback Railway, in 1892.

Today, it boasts 72 rides for thrill seekers of all ages, including 18 of the world’s best record-breaking coasters; plus tons of live shows, beachfront fun on the shores of Lake Erie, a water park, food, games and much more.

Cedar Point hours and ticket costs for summer 2020

This year, Cedar point will be opened 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily from July 11-Sept. 7, 2020. Regular one-day admission tickets are $73 at the gate for those ages 3-61 who are 48 inches or taller in shoes. For juniors and seniors (ages 3-61 and under 48 inches tall in shoes or those ages 62-plus), it’s $45.

Kids ages 3-5 enjoy free admission for the entire 2020 operating season. Discounted tickets for adults are available on the park’s website or at your local Meijer and Discount Drug Mart. AAA members and select credit union customers enjoy discounts, too.

Driving and parking

Cedar Point is located at 1 Cedar Point Drive in Sandusky, Ohio. It’s accessible to Michiganders via the Ohio Turnpike or Route 2. If you hop on the turnpike in Toledo and exit in Sandusky, the toll is around $4 per vehicle. Route 2 is free.

Parking at Cedar Point is $20 per vehicle, or $30 for preferred parking.

COVID Protocols

Cedar Point is dedicated to the health and safety of both guests and park employees, which is why they have created their 2020 Welcome’s Back Guide.

This guide breaks down all of the safety protocols in place. Guests should note that advance reservations and advance ticket purchases are required before visiting the park in 2020. Both can be done on the park’s website or in the mobile app.

The mobile app is required to be on the phone of at least one member in your group. Face coverings are required in the park, unless you’re in a designated “relaxation area,” as are health screenings and a temperature check at the park’s main gate.

There will be hand sanitizing stations set up throughout the park. Guests can also expect touch-less turnstiles and cashless payments, and all guests are expected to maintain proper social distance (at least six feet apart) throughout the day.

In addition, some rides, rows on rides and areas of the park may be closed down so that social distancing can be maintained.

Lockers, pets and food

All-day lockers are available for rent near the main gate, starting at $15, based on the locker size.

Other lockers are available outside of certain rides. The rate for these lockers is $1 an hour for up to three hours or $10 a day. You have the option of moving these lockers from location to location if you rent it out for the day.

Need a place to keep your pet? Cedar Point also offers a pet check available for $15/animal near Bay Harbor Restaurant before you enter the park — check ahead to see if kennels are available in 2020. No overnight guests allowed.

And when your tummy gets rumbly, there are also tons of spots to find food in the park, including BackBeatQue, Chickie & Pete’s, Coasters Drive-In, Dragon’s Inn, Red Garter Saloon and more.

The park also has a list of where to find food for special-need diets online so that you know where to find gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly and allergy-safe options. If you don’t find anything for you on that list, you can always speak to a food and beverage manager or bring your own food.

Public picnic centers are located outside of the park for guests that opt to eat outside food. You can also keep a cooler in-vehicle. That said, outside food is not permitted inside the park.

Cedar Point Shores

Cedar Point Shores (formerly known as Cedar Point Soak City), will not be open for the 2020 season.

Roller coasters and thrill rides

Cedar Point offers 18 record-breaking and high-flying rides including Valravn, GateKeeper, Maverick, the 420-foot Top Thrill Dragster, and the world’s first ever giga-coaster, Millennium Force.

Or, if you’re really looking for a thrill, tackle the park’s newest coaster attraction, Steel Vengeance. This award-winning hyper-hybrid coaster is built on the skeleton of Mean Streak in Frontier Town and takes riders up 205-feet and then drops them straight down 200-feet at 74 miles an hour. From there, riders scream through a 2-minute and 30-second twist of wood and steel, around tight turns, over hills and and through four inversions before arriving back into the station.

If that’s too much for you or your child, there are also plenty of great transition coasters, like Blue Streak, Iron Dragon and Corkscrew, for younger coaster lovers above 48-inches tall but below the 52-54 inches required for bigger rides.

You’ll also find thrill rides like Windseeker, Power Tower, MaXair and, for an additional fee, SlingShot and Professor Delbert’s Frontier Fling (formerly known as the RipCord), along with family rides including the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad, Giant Wheel, carousels and two water rides: Snake River Falls and Thunder Canyon.

“There is something for everyone at Cedar Point,” Kristy Bacni, the parks digital communications manager says. “Not only do we offer the best white-knuckle thrills anywhere, but we also have four kids’ areas, a beautiful mile-long beach, shopping, dining and award-winning live entertainment. Cedar Point is a vacation destination that’s close enough for Michigan families to drive to, but far enough away to be a real vacation.”

Best of all, you can capture your vacation with a FunPix photo plan. Photographers roam the park all day grabbing shots of all of the family moments.

With this plan, you can open these professional photos on your mobile device and share them on social media. Add the program to your daily ticket for $29.99 or season pass for $64.99.

Stage shows and other ways to chill

The park also offers tons of live musical and acrobatic performances throughout the season, along with an animal petting farm, glassblowing and candle-making demonstrations, meet-and-greets with your favorite Peanuts characters, gemstone mining and more.

Kids can also help the crew of the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad ring the bell and earn their Peanuts Road Rally Driver’s License free of charge.

Make sure you check ahead, as some of these experiences may be closed in 2020.

Family and special needs offerings

With so much to do, you’re going to want to bring the entire family. For parents with smaller kids, who want to take advantage of the thrills, the park offers several programs to make it easy for everyone to enjoy everything.

The first is the free Parent Swap program, which, Bacni says, works like this: One parent waits in line for the bigger coasters, or another height-restricted ride, while the other takes the kids to one of the four kids areas: Camp Snoopy, Planet Snoopy, Kiddy Kingdom and the Gemini Midway Area.

Parent No. 1 rides their ride, hands off the pass to a ride attendant at the exit, and finds parent No. 2. Parent No. 2 goes up the exit and hops on the ride while parent No. 1 watches the kids. Once parent No. 2 is off the ride, the family continues their day.

The park also offers two family care centers for nursing moms or dads with dirty diapers to change. And there’s a “KidTrack” program to reunite lost kids with their parents.

They also have a “Boarding Pass Program,” which is designed for visitors with disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. This program allows for these guests to get a boarding time for specific rides, instead of waiting in the long lines. In addition, guests with special needs or limited mobility can take advantage of wheelchair rentals and accessibility options for certain stage shows.

Parents also have the option to get their child officially measured at guest services to find out which rides they can enjoy and which lines to bypass until next year.

All of these programs and services are available at guest services.

Safety tidbits

For those in need of medical care, there are two first aid locations in Planet Snoopy and near Mine Ride. Anyone with safety or security concerns can text CPSAFE with their location to 69050 to reach security.

Guests who are pregnant, have certain medical conditions and those with prosthetics or limb injuries should also be aware of ride restrictions. Most ride restrictions are posted at each ride entrance, but guests are welcome to check online or with guest services for more information.

Cedar Point hotels

If you’re looking to do it all and need a place to stay, try one of Cedar Point’s hotels:

Guests that choose to stay in one of the park’s lodging options enjoy added bonuses including early entry to the park and discounted tickets into the park.

Looking for more amusement park fun this summer? Check out our roundup of the best family-friendly parks in the country and our guide to tackling Michigan’s Adventure.

This post is updated annually. 

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How to Properly Wear a Face Mask Fri, 10 Jul 2020 22:23:00 +0000 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised individuals to cover their mouth and nose in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19. On July 10, 2020, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released an executive order that requires residents to wear face masks in all indoor public spaces and in some outdoor public spaces when people can’t maintain six feet apart.

Businesses are to refuse service to anyone not wearing a face mask and anyone that won’t wear a face mask is subject to a $500 fine. The only exceptions are kids under 5 and those with medical conditions.

When wearing a face mask, it’s important to wear it properly to make sure you are protecting yourself and others in your community. Here are the CDC guidelines on how to properly wear a face mask.  

How should I wear a face mask?

When wearing a face mask, make sure you’re following these recommendations from the CDC:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with the mask.
  • Make sure the mask is snug, check for gaps on the sides.
  • Keep the mask on while out of your house.
  • Avoid touching the front of the mask without gloves.
  • When removing the mask, make sure it doesn’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. 
  • Wash your hands after you remove your mask.

Should I wash my face mask?

Yes, be sure to wash a cloth mask or dispose of a disposable mask after every use. You don’t have to follow a sanitizing procedure — a washing machine should be enough to properly clean your face covering. 

Where can I find a face mask?

According to the CDC, cloth face coverings are recommended. Surgical masks and N-95 respirators should continue to be saved for health care workers and other medical first responders.

Many businesses are selling these essentials while giving back. If you want to support small and local, there are Detroit-area designers selling face masks. You can also look into bigger corporations such as Disney and Old Navy or check out our roundup of places to find a face mask for more.

How can I make my own face mask?

Try these directions from the CDC for making sew or no-sew masks. Or, use this tutorial from the Stitching Scientist for kid-sized masks or this one from Cricut for a no-sew version. 

How do I explain wearing a face mask to my child?

Though face masks aren’t required for kids under the age of 2, they can still be intimidating to young kids. If you need information on face masks and kids, check out our post here.

This post was originally published in May 2020 and is updated regularly.

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Study Says Pregnancy Stereotypes Can Lead to Workplace Injury Fri, 10 Jul 2020 18:53:13 +0000 Stereotypes are so wrong. Placing people into bubbles based on who they are, what they look like or conditions they have is unfair — and in the case pregnant women can risk both their and their baby’s safety. 

A study out of Washington State University found that stereotypes surrounding pregnant workers — including assumptions that they are weak, incompetent or somehow less committed to their jobs — can drive pregnant workers to work harder and risk injury. 

The study, published in the journal of Work & Stress, surveyed a group of about 400 pregnant workers from manufacturing, healthcare, retail and other industries at three separate points over a two-month period.

It found that about 63% of pregnant workers feared these stereotypes and that many workers would hide their pregnancies, overperform their job duties and even take risky actions, such as standing for long periods or lifting heavy objects, in order to prove their worth. 

“The pregnancy stereotype is a silent stressor. It is not always visible, but it really impacts women in the workplace,” Lindsey Lavaysse, the lead author on the paper, said in a news release. “Most organizations have policies for pregnancy accommodation in place, and it’s a legal right, but if the organization’s culture suggests there will be retaliation or that workers will be looked upon differently, then women will shy away from using accommodations that are better for their health and their safety.”

This is the first study to establish a connection between pregnancy stereotypes and workplace accidents. While the study’s authors suggest more research is needed, they said they hope the study’s findings will help to create better social support and accommodations for pregnant workers.  

You can read more about the study here

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Are You Teaching Your Kids to Wipe Their Butts Properly? Thu, 09 Jul 2020 20:20:00 +0000 One day, while talking about toilet training with my niece — who was 3 at the time — she informed me, “You have to wipe front to back. You should know that, because you’re a girl.”

While you might be thinking that this pro tip is common knowledge, Dr. Jacqueline Metz of Southfield Pediatrics says, “The importance of wiping front to back should be emphasized early and often.”

It’s one of the key things to teach kids about how to wipe their butts properly. But there are also other tips and pointers to keep in mind – whether your child is in the throes of potty training or has been wiping for years – to ensure your child’s health.

After all, Metz has seen her young patients suffer the consequences of not wiping correctly. Here, she offers advice on how to teach your kids the right way to come clean.

Common mistakes many wipers make

Wiping after pooping may not be something you think about often, but making sure you do it properly is important for your health.

“It’s especially important because certain bacteria are present in the bowels, such as E. coli. They are helpful and healthy for your GI tract,” Metz explains, “but if you wipe back to front, you’re introducing those to the urinary tract, which causes infections.”

As my niece pointed out, it’s something that makes logical sense for girls, given the anatomy layout. However, it still applies to boys, because they’re also at risk for irritation, missed spots or other complications.

Metz says not wiping front to back is common in children just starting out with toilet training. However, there are other mistakes to consider, as well.

For example, people can use too much toilet paper, the wrong products – weak toilet paper and wet wipes in particular – or, in some cases, be too vigilant about wiping. All of these mistakes can lead to health issues such as infections and even contribute to your plumbing bill.

“A small amount of toilet paper gives better control than a large amount, and too much toilet paper can clog drains,” Metz explains. “The recommended amount is to measure from the wrist to the elbow, then fold it over to cover the hand.”

So listen to the Charmin commercials when they say less is more: They’re actually right.

The question of wet wiping

In addition to cutting down on your toilet paper use, Metz and other professionals urge you to ditch the “flushable” wet wipes. First off, they’re terrible for the environment. A study conducted in the UK after an enormous “fatberg” – i.e., a “revolting sewer maintain made of wet wipes, grease and other gunk,” as Friends of the Earth reports – was found in the sewers. It revealed that over 90 percent of sewer blockage on the continent was due to wet wipes.

In addition to polluting our oceans, it turns out that these toilet paper alternatives are actually bad for our bums.

“Wet wipes are not necessary,” Metz says. “They often contain fragrances and chemicals that can cause irritation and predecessors to infections in and around the genital area.”

She does say that in early toilet training, wipes can be used to clean up some big messes. That said, don’t let children get used to them or use them every time they go to the bathroom.

If kids are still experiencing irritated rears after ditching the wet wipes and using the right amount of toilet paper, it could be they’re being too hard on themselves – literally. Teach kids to be gentle when wiping and limit how much they wipe.

Over-wiping and rough wiping can cause dry skin or small abrasions that may bleed and be painful, Mental Floss notes.

However, this same article, which cites Delaware dermatologist Curtis Asbury, notes that a bit of wetness can be helpful in cleaning up. If you aren’t up to exploring the world of bidet attachments, though, “lightly moistening a wad of durable toilet paper should do the job,” it notes.

Wiping lessons made easier

“Learning how to wipe will be the last step of toilet training, and (kids) should already be pros at the other steps,” says Metz. So, once your child has mastered sitting on the toilet, flushing, washing hands, etc., you can encourage him to wipe on his own.

Just like the other steps, there are ways to make this new process easier. First of all, Metz advises investing in a proper training toilet (or even a training urinal for boys) and a strong, absorbent toilet paper. Having the proper tools for the job makes it easier to accomplish.

Next, make sure you are talking your child through what she’s doing the same way you did with the other steps.

“Verbally express the process and routine,” says Metz. “Say, ‘OK, if you’re done, then take the paper and measure it from your elbow to wrist. Now fold it, wipe front to back and check it.’ It’s important to teach kids to check the paper,” she adds, to ensure that it comes back totally clean.

Keep repeating the steps until they’re confident they have wiping down.

It is usually easier for children to reach their bottoms when standing up, she adds. While teaching them to wipe, you can explain that people can wipe sitting down or standing up, depending on what is easiest for them.

So, to review: Lighten up on the toilet paper, ditch the wet wipes, be gentle, equip yourself to teach and be sure to verbally walk kids through the nitty-gritty process of getting their bottoms clean.

This post was originally published in 2019 and is updated regularly.

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How to Avoid Tick Bites and Keep Your Kids Safe Thu, 09 Jul 2020 20:14:00 +0000 Do you ever hear a word that automatically makes you itch? Tick is probably one of those words. They’re nasty little buggers that want nothing more than to embed their heads in your skin and suck up as much of your blood as they can – ick!

They can also carry diseases that can be fatal, which can make them an overlooked summertime danger. So how can you keep them off of your kids, and what should you do if they do latch on?

Dr. Leonard Pollack, the division head of inpatient pediatrics at Henry Ford Health System, reveals all the dirty details on these suckers and how you can protect your family.

Cover up

Ticks like to hide in tall grass and wooded areas awaiting their prey.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ticks recognize their hosts by scent, vibrations and, in some cases, shadow. They hold onto the end of plants and, when the victim walks by, they climb aboard.

If you’re headed to an area that might be a tick’s happy home, like an outdoor nature center or bike trail, the doc recommends covering yourself.

“Clothing should cover as much as possible,” the father of six says. “Ticks can get at the other skin, but are much less likely if the skin is not exposed.”

You can also use insect repellent with DEET to help keep them off of you and shower once you’re inside to wash off any that did latch on.

The CDC recommends showering within two hours of being outdoors. It also says that you should check all areas of the body, including the armpits, groin, ears, hair and belly button.

Putting your clothes in the dryer on high for 10 minutes to kill any ticks that have ridden home is also a good idea.

Catch them early

If a tick does make itself at home in your blood vessels, it is imperative that you remove the tick as soon as possible.

“The longer the exposure to the tick, the more likely the tick is to infect you,” Pollack says. “Grab it as close to the skin as possible and remove it that way.”

The CDC recommends using fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick and pull upwards without twisting or jerking, as these motions can cause the tick’s “head” to detach and remain embedded.

Do not use nail polish, petroleum jelly, essential oils and other methods.

“Wives tales about smothering it with petroleum jelly or a hot match may be effective in removing the tick – but not the disease,” Pollack explains.

After removal, wash your hands and apply rubbing alcohol, iodine or soap and water to the area. Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or in a sealed container, wrapping it in tape or flushing it down the toilet. Don’t crush the tick with your fingers, and don’t drop it back on the ground for someone else to pick up.

Recognize infection

According to the doc, there are two types of tick-borne diseases that Michiganders should know about: Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Both of these diseases, according to both Pollack and the CDC, cause a rash and a fever.

Lyme disease is also identified by a headache, the CDC explains, and can travel to the joints, heart and nervous system.

Those with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is carried by the common dog tick, suffer from headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. This disease can have a mortality rate of 20 percent, Pollack says.

“The general recommendation is, if you know your child has been bitten by a tick and, within the next few weeks, they develop a rash or a fever, then the child should be checked out,” he says. And if you do need to seek medical attention, make it clear that a tick has bitten your child.

This post was originally published in 2017 and is updated regularly. 

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8 Learning Activities to Help Discuss Race with Kids Thu, 09 Jul 2020 20:04:33 +0000 As we continue to talk about race at home, many parents are focused on anti-racism resources and books that discuss racism to dive into the subject. You can also easily get creative and start talking about race early with your kids. Try these hands-on learning activities and crafts focused on diversity and anti-racism.

M&M Experiment 

Photo by Crayon Freckles

Sometimes visual examples allow children to understand important lessons. In this activity by Crayon Freckles, M&Ms are used in a sweet way to discuss different races with kids and how people look differently. While the candy comes in different colors, they all look the same on the inside. 

Shades of People Handprint Wreath

Photo by Make It Fun Mom

This wreath by Make It Fun Mom features handprints cut out with multi-cultural construction paper. You can hang up the craft on your front door for everyone to see the powerful message or even pair it with a Black Lives Matter sign. 

Multicultural Paper Dolls

Photo by Kid World Citizen

You might remember making paper doll chains as a kid. Here is a great way to use this classic craft by Kid World Citizen as you talk about race with kids. We suggest purchasing People Colors® Crayon Pack when coloring your diverse set of paper dolls.   

Skin Tone Play Dough

Photo by Little Stars Learning

For kids who enjoy sensory activities, work together to make skin tone play dough. Use ingredients like Kool-Aid, food coloring and cocoa powder to recreate different skin tones. When done, you can store the homemade dough in an airtight container in the fridge to play again later. Get the tutorial at Little Stars Learning

The Colors of Me

Photo by Teaching with Haley

The Colors of Us should be on every child’s reading list. Pair the book with this activity by Teaching with Haley as you mix paint colors to different skin tones. If you’re trying this at home, we suggest looking through the book to match the skin colors described like “cinnamon” and “chocolate frosting.”

Wooden Rainbow People

Photo by Mama.Papa.Bubba

If you want to add more diversity to your child’s toy collection, use wooden pegs to DIY your own. These minimalist wooden people showcase our diverse world. Have your kids help with this craft to truly understand why these toys are painted with a variety of colors and shades. Get the tutorial at Mama.Papa.Bubba.

Matching Hearts

Photo by Happily Ever Mom

This simple activity from Happily Ever Mom introduces race with kids as they match skin-toned mini hearts with big ones using multicultural markers. Kids can color in the hearts or you can color them in advance. Don’t hesitate to mix and match the colored-hearts to show that we all belong together. 

Diversity Princess Activity 

Photo by Ashton’s Laughing Place

Your Disney fans will love this activity, which explores race and diversity with their favorite princesses. Ask them to color in the boxes based on the best shade for each character’s hair, skin and dress. You can easily expand this learning exercise to include other diverse toys you have at home, too. Get the tutorial at Ashton’s Laughing Place

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Watch This, Do That: Frozen II Thu, 09 Jul 2020 19:08:02 +0000 In the return to Arendelle, we learn how and why Elsa has the power to control cold and ice. Queen Elsa, her sister Anna and her friends Kristoff, Olaf and Sven take an adventure trip into an enchanted forest to learn that Elsa’s magical powers aren’t the only ones out there. Along the way, Elsa and Anna learn about their family’s past and how it affects their future. 

Frozen II is about family, friendship and fate. After you’ve seen the movie, here’s what you can discuss with kids: 

  • Things change. Anna was so happy at the beginning of the movie with the open gates, her relationships with her friends and family and her life in the kingdom that she never wanted it to change. Then everything changed. Most of it for the better, so it’s OK for kids to know that even when they’re comfortable with their lives, things will always change, but that change won’t always be bad. 
  • Do the (next) right thing. Anna’s trip through the adventure of the movie wasn’t an easy one. She had to accept her family’s past first and destroy the dam to save her kingdom. The right choices in life aren’t always the easy ones. 
  • Accept help. The Northuldra people had help from the elements in the forest, and they weren’t afraid to use the help. Elsa needed help to save Arendelle, and she was hesitant to accept it from Anna, Kristoff and Olaf. It’s OK to ask for and accept help from friends and family when we need it.

Movie-inspired activities

Photo by Eating on a Dime

Now that you’ve seen Frozen II, try these screen-free activities inspired by the five elements in the movie. 

  • Wind. Let Gale help you soar and go fly a kite! Learn to make your own kite here, or find one with Elsa on it here
  • Water. Make your own wave bottle with the help of baby oil, vinegar and this craft from A Girl and a Glue Gun.
  • Earth. Head outdoors and start your own rock collection. What can you find – and learn – about the earth? Grab a magnifying glass to see if you can distinguish the features of each rock. 
  • Fire. This one might be tricky with littler kids, so make a tissue paper campfire (using a battery tea light as your light source) and talk about fire safety. For older kids, now is the time to unpack the gear for S’mores.
  • Ice. Perfect for summer fun, add water, ice and Kool-aid mix to a blender for a tasty slushie treat.

Have a Watch This, Do That idea you want to share with our readers? Send your idea to with your suggestion for a movie. We’d love to share your idea on

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Family Fun Things to Do This Weekend in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor Thu, 09 Jul 2020 18:47:00 +0000 The stay-at-home order in Michigan has been lifted and our mitten state is looking pretty good as far as new coronavirus cases go — and that means some in-person events for families are returning. 

Still, some families may not be comfortable getting out and about just yet, so we’ve tweaked our roundup of things to do this weekend to include some virtual activities, at-home options and a few in-person events (when we can find them) to keep all families covered all weekend long. 

Remember, if you choose to head out to an in-person event you should still be practicing social distancing, washing your hands often and wearing a mask whenever possible. 


Detroit Kite Festival 

  • Ages: All 
  • Time: Sunday, July 12, 2020 

The Detroit Kite Festival is on, but looks a little different. Instead of flying on Belle Isle, the people behind the fest are encouraging families to fly their kites at a local park near them. 

Christmas in July 

  • Ages: All 
  • Time: 2-8 p.m. Friday, July 10 and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, July 11 

Kids can enjoy sweet treats, crafts and stories with Santa. Stick around for the drive-in event, too.

Virtual options 

Belle Isle Conservancy Virtual Koi Festival 

  • Ages: All 
  • Time: Noon-4 p.m. Sunday, July 12, 2020 

Learn about Japanese heritage and the koi fish at the conservancy during this annual event, which has gone online for 2020. 

Educational Activities with Huron-Clinton Metroparks

  • Ages: All 
  • Time: Now-July 30, 2020

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks are offering online resources about hibernation, animal songs, leaves, plant life cycles, animal tracks and more. 

Metro Parent’s Virtual Science Camp

  • Ages: All
  • Time: Any

How’s that homeschooling going? If you’re looking for some other ideas on how to teach your kiddos while also entertaining them, let us help. Conduct some super cool science experiments from last summer’s Virtual Science Camp. The experiments are easy to do and only require a few items you probably already have at home.

Summer in the Village Virtual Art Fair 

  • Ages: Any
  • Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 27-29 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. July 3 

Visit this annual art fair in virtual form. Pictures and video of the artwork will be up on Facebook. Comment on the work you want to purchase and pick it up later at Lathrup Village City Hall. 

Virtual Staycation with Pure Michigan

  • Ages: All
  • Time: Now-July 30, 2020

Explore the Mitten State without ever leaving home! Check out live web cams of our beaches, virtual tours of statewide exhibits and more.

At-home activities 

Looking for event more fun activities to do at home? Try some of these ideas… 

Watch this, Do that

Image from Harry Potter pointing to a drink
First photo via Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets. Second photo via Homemade Hooplah.

Pair some of your favorite flicks with activities based on the movies. 

Virtual races for families 

A group of people running a race

Get your run on this summer with some virtual race options. 

Play on TikTok

A mom and daughter dancing together

Not sure what this popular app is? Read our breakdown and have some at-home fun with your kids. 

Have a backyard campout

A camping tent

Pitch a tent, have a bonfire and campout in your backyard with the kids.

Go to a u-pick farm

A woman and child holding a basket of strawberries while sitting in a strawberry field

Berry-picking is great fun and good for social distancing. Find some sweet options at these u-pick berry farms in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Have a picnic

Man and woman with a picnic basket and umbrella in a grassy field

Grab your picnic basket of snacks and head out to one of the best picnic areas in metro Detroit including Belle Isle, Addison Oaks and more.

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Best Children’s Hospitals in Michigan Sun, 05 Jul 2020 16:11:00 +0000 When it comes to the care of our kids, we’ll take nothing but the best and a recent release from U.S. News & World Report gives parents a definitive list of the best hospitals in Michigan and beyond. 

To rank hospitals for this list, U.S. News and World Report gathered key clinical data from more than 200 hospitals. Hospitals are then measured based on patient safety, infection prevention, adequacy of nursing staff and where pediatric specialists would send their sickest patients. 

The 2020-21 edition of the Best Children’s Hospitals list, which does not include data from the coronavirus pandemic, places Boston Children’s Hospital in the number one spot for the seventh year in a row. 

Three Michigan hospitals have also made the top-50 cut in pediatric specialty areas like cancer treatment, diabetes and endocrinology, neonatology and more. Here’s a breakdown of how Michigan’s top performing children’s hospitals scored. 

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Ann Arbor 

  • Cancer, #26
  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery, #24
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology, #16
  • Neonatology, #44 
  • Nephrology, #17
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery, #20 
  • Orthopedics, #22
  • Pulmonology & Lung Surgery, #18
  • Urology, #22

Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Grand Rapids 

  • Cancer #47
  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery, #34
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology, #50
  • Nephrology, #36
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery, #42
  • Orthopedics, #41
  • Pulmonology & Lung Surgery, #45
  • Urology, #40

Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit 

  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery, #47
  • Nephrology, #45
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery, #43
  • Orthopedics, #42
  • Urology, #32

See the full breakdown of findings by U.S. News & World Report here.

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Saving for College During the Pandemic Sat, 04 Jul 2020 17:29:49 +0000 Saving for college is the last thing on the minds of many parents during these unprecedented, uncertain times, but tuition rates are not decreasing. 

The number of those prepping to save, on the other hand, definitely is. 

In fact, Robin Lott, the executive director of the Michigan Education Trust, says the organization saw a decline in new college-specific savings accounts at the beginning of the pandemic.

“I think people are very stressed about basic survival— they’re asking ‘Do I have enough money to feed my family if I’m laid off? Can I pay rent?’” Lott says. “Those are very critical questions for families.” 

“Not having a job in some cases is obviously going to put college savings on the back burner,” she adds. 

Why families should prioritize college savings

The Michigan Education Trust operates one of the state’s several 529 college savings programs — a prepaid plan that allows for the pre-purchase of tuition based on current rates. Other states offer their own plans. 

In Illinois, for example, there are two 529 plans available as well as a prepaid tuition option. Families typically invest in 529 plans due to tax and financial aid incentives.

“Many states have 529 [plans] and they offer a tax incentive to save,” she says. “529 [plans] from that perspective has been a great motivational tool to get families to save for college.” 

“Our primary target audience for 529 plans is moderate income families,” she adds. “A lot of [these families] have been stressing out, but I’m starting to see more people joining webinars [for savings plans].”

The most impactful thing that families can do to prepare for the eventual burden of college tuition is simply to start right away, says Lott. 

“When you bring a newborn home, saving for college is usually the last thing on your mind, but even if you only put in $25 a month, it’s still going to be more than if you start saving when the child is in middle school or high school.” 

Starting a savings plan for infants and young children is also an opportunity to ask for contributions to the account in lieu of other presents, Lott says. While she says it is helpful for parents and other family members to contribute to college savings, it can also present a problem if the student does not contribute to the savings as well.

“If they don’t have a buy in, they don’t value it as much,” she says. “If you save the full amount for them, some students could take it for granted.” 

Saving during COVID 

One tip she has for students and parents, especially during the pandemic when families may feel more stressed about saving, is to sit down and identify where and how income is spent. 

 “Identify the parts of income and basically budget so you really have a good handle on what expenses you have,” she says. “Once you have that put down, try to massage it and find pockets of money.” 

“I try to get folks to activate their survival skills and their ability to sacrifice for something they really value,” she adds. “Once you’ve put that budget together, review it and see where you’re going to cut back.” 

She especially recommends reevaluating spending at different stages of development. If a child stops formula, try to identify the amount of money spent on formula every week and put it into savings. The same steps can apply to things like diapers and daycare. 

As for students, Lott says they can also benefit from taking a deeper look at their spending. Ask teens to sit down and budget where they spent “fun money,” like eating out instead of bringing a lunch. Then, have them total how much they could put into their savings from that spending. 

For younger children, Lott says parents can start to train them to be thoughtful with money with a “four bucket system.” 

“Give kids a little job and a little money as a reward for doing the job, then you start training them to split it into four buckets,” she says. “Then, 25 percent goes to savings, 25 percent is to spend, 25 percent is to invest and 25 percent is to donate.”  

She says it can be amazing for families to watch how quickly the savings add up. 

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