Tag Archives: kids

V4K’s Favorite Travel Apps

19 May

As of today, here are our favorite travel apps:

1. Kayak – easily compare multiple travel sites at once and also save favorite searches.  We love the calendar that tells you the history of fares for your destination.

2.  TripIt – the PRO version is heaven for business and vacation travel alike.  TripIt will scan your email for travel confirmations and automatically add them to your itinerary.  TripIt keeps you informed of flight delays, directions…it’s fantastic!

3.  It Happened Here – a VERY cool app that brings a city’s past to life by providing descriptions of the most interesting events that have taken place at or near your location.

4.  Open Table – the easiest way to make restaurant reservations…period.

5.  InnTouch – looking for the quaint inn or bed & breakfast?  This is the app for you.

6.  Virginia is for Lovers – the official travel guide for Virginia.  Customize your travel based on your present or future location.  You can also subscribe to special offers via text message.

7.  Virginia Wine in My Pocket – THE guide for traveling Virginia’s wine country.  Great “Best of” recommendations – including those that might not be so kid-friendly!

8.  Virginia Map – yep, that’s what it is…and more.  This is a new (and free) app from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency’s Virginia Geographic Information Network.  Not only do you get the roads throughout Virginia, but also aerial photography, parks, rivers and lakes.

9.  My Little Suitcase – a kids travel app where they get to pick where to go and pack for their family vacation.  Developed by parents, this app is colorful and fun and will keep the little ones occupied!

10.  Postman – forget the hassle of buying postcards, writing them out, stamping and mailing via snail mail!  Send an instant postcard, designed by you (or your kids) in the forms of an SMS or email message.  Grandma will be so excited to hear how the vacation is going!


11 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Online Reputation

7 Mar

We all know that the way our children communicate now and will communicate in the future differs greatly from how most of us communicated growing up. Many children today have never picked up a traditional, land line telephone and said, “Hello?”. They learn about what is happening in the world around them from the internet instead of a newspaper or magazine.

Along these lines, it is a parent’s responsibility to teach their children the proper use of technology and monitor their child’s online activity. The excuse of, “I don’t understand all of this technology” is irresponsible and careless. Protecting your child’s online reputation should be just as important as washing their clothes and making sure they eat their vegetables. Here are a few tips to help:

1. Register the domain of your child’s name and renew it every year.

2. Set up a Google alert for your child’s name as well as any common misspellings of the name.

3. Google your child’s name on a regular basis and monitor what comes up in the search engines.

4. Teach your child how to use their technology tools and take the role of a leader. Sit down at their computer every couple of weeks and clean it up, keep it updated, etc. Same thing with their cell phone.

5. Teach your child how to avoid getting a virus on their computer.

6. Require access to all of your child’s online accounts. Explain to them that having online access is a privilege and you trust them to make good decisions; however, it is also your responsibility as a parent to fix something if they (or one of their friends) make a mistake.

7. Show your child examples of the proper and improper use of social networking sites. Explain to them how what they post is permanent and could hurt themselves (or others) if they aren’t careful.

8. Don’t prevent them from using technology. Today’s children will need to be proficient in technology and communication in order to succeed in school and their chosen career. Because of how fast technology grows, many careers that will be available in 10 years don’t even exist today.

9. Have your child use a screen name other than their own when online. Help them choose an online id that is generic, unassuming and unspecific. Avoid using their name, location and anything that could be used to identify them or their age. For example:
No: ashleybaker123, dallasgirlashley, ashlovesjustinbeiber
Yes: summer321, riverdesert, greengrass3

10. On sites that require a “real” name, (such as Facebook), consider using a modified version of your child’s name (such as an abbreviated name or a middle name).

11. Do not use your child’s name online either. Use a nickname instead when mentioning something about them or posting a picture.

A “What If” Wish List from Virginia is for Kids….

9 Aug

What if……………..

1.  A restaurant would go further than just having a kids menu and crayons to call themselves “kid friendly”?

2.  Public schools would have gardens and/or orchards to teach kids about healthy eating?

3.  There were town/city councils for kids so they could have input on the future of their communities?

4.  Schools or communities had “hand me down” sales twice a year so families could find affordable clothes, toys, etc. with funds raised going back into the community/school?

5.  Instead of taking a bus, kids could “opt out” and walk to school with an assigned volunteer chaperone each day?  In return for choosing to walk, Nike gave them a free pair of shoes at the end of the school year?

6.  Kids were taught the importance of smart financial decisions, saving money and budgeting as part of the school’s curriculum and sponsored by a local bank…EVERY year?

7.  Kids said “good morning” to their teacher each day when they arrived at school and “thank you for teaching me” before they left for the day?

8.  Before graduating from high school, students were required to take a class teaching them the basics of home maintenance?

9.  Home Economics became a required class…for all kids?

10.  Kids in Virginia really knew how fortunate they are to live in this beautiful Commonwealth?

11.  Grocery stores put fresh fruit at the checkout aisle instead of candy?

12.  The Virginia Lottery funded “learn to swim” classes for all Virginia kids?

What about you?  What is on your “What if” wish list for Virginia’s kids?

FREE Admission for Virginia Kids to Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

16 Jul

Are you a resident of the beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia?

Are you between the ages of 3 and 9?

Do you know a grown-up who will buy a full-price adult ticket to Busch Gardens Williamsburg online?

Congratulations!  You qualify for a FREE child’s ticket!

For a limited time, Virginia residents receive one free child single-day admission to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg with the purchase of a full-price single-day adult admission. Child ticket is valid for children 3 to 9 years old.

This offer is for Virginia residents only, and is only valid and must be used at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg from June 21, 2010 through August 31, 2010. This online offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.”

Click HERE to purchase this online-only offer.

Help a Virginia Community Get a New Playground

21 May

Families in a Blacksburg neighborhood are looking for your vote. They are one of ten national finalists for the KaBOOM! Promote Your Project Design Contest, a national competition hosted by the non-profit playground builder KaBOOM!.

Over 800,000 communities submitted playground designs for the contest, and now the Mt. Tabor Meadows Commons project is in the finals for up to $5,000 in playground equipment grants! Now the first-, second-, and third-place winners are being determined by a public vote.

Neighborhood resident Beth Lohman said the project started when the homeowners’ association got together to figure out what to do with the common space in their neighborhood.

“We wanted a place in our neighborhood for parents and kids to gather, share daily experiences and grow a sense of community,” Lohman said. “The mission for Mt. Tabor Meadows Commons is to create a place for unstructured play, socialization and environmental stewardship. These opportunities don’t currently exist, but by working together we can create an innovative and inspiring space that may motivate other communities to do the same.”

Since there are no public parks near the neighborhood, the residents decided that Mt. Tabor Meadows Commons should include a playground that neighborhood children could safely walk to and integrated natural elements with conventional playground equipment. Other plans include a community meeting space, an urban forest to serve as stormwater management and a community garden.

The residents worked with the Virginia Tech Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC) to secure a grant with the Virginia Department of Forestry to help offset about 40% of the design costs. CDAC will use the grant to create the conceptual master plan for the site.

Justin Boyle, builder and developer for Mt. Tabor Meadows and also a current resident, said the whole process of planning the common space and working on the contest has brought the neighborhood together in a special way.

“With everyone’s busy schedule, it’s often difficult to get to know your neighbors,” Boyle said. “Because we have had to express our opinions, likes/dislikes and come to a consensus, we’ve been given an opportunity to get to acquainted with one another.”

To win an equipment grant of up to $5,000 from a top national vendor, Mt. Tabor Meadows Commons needs to gather as many online votes as possible. To cast your vote, go online click here, sign up, and vote by May 31.


Free Fishing Tournament for Kids!

5 Apr

You are invited to the

27th Annual Mudbass Classic Tournament

Saturday, April 17, 2010
9:00 AM – 12:00 noon

At the Duck Pond – Virginia Tech Campus, Blacksburg, VA

mudbass images

The College of Natural Resources cordially invites all alumni, family, and friends to join us for our 27th Annual Mudbass Classic Tournament. This is a FREE fishing tournament for all ages, sponsored by the Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Virginia Tech Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

For more information, contact Lane Guilliams at laneg@vt.edu or 540/231-2512.

New Year’s Eve is for Kids!

20 Dec

Thanks to the wonderful folks over at Virginia.org for putting together this fabulous list of family-friendly events for New Year’s Eve in Virginia!

First Nights and New Year’s Eve – Virginia Is For Lovers

Posted using ShareThis

Why Parents Need a Kindle

18 Dec

First, let me start by saying I do not make any money off the sale of Kindles.  I am writing this post because I truly believe that this is a great tool for all parents.

I originally wanted a Kindle for purely selfish reasons.  I had visions of myself curling up on the couch and ordering a great book and reading it instantly.  But, things changed when I pulled the Kindle out in a restaurant while waiting to have dinner with my family.

My son had gotten bored waiting and like most children, was starting to get antsy.  Just to entertain him, I pulled out the Kindle and we started searching the store for children’s books.  He picked out a book from the Junie B. 1st Grader series and well, the rest is history.  In the morning, he brings me the Kindle when he wakes up and asks me to read to him.  I keep it in my purse all the time now and whenever we are waiting or have the time, we pull out the Kindle and can just pick up where we left off.  Best of all, when we finish one book, it takes (literally) 30 seconds to get another loaded onto the Kindle.  He actually has stopped bringing his DS and/or portable DVD player when we travel since we have the Kindle.

The Kindle is very thin and lightweight.  It features Whispernet to connect directly to the Amazon store and does not have a monthly fee.  The children’s books are about $2-$4 each and do not expire once you load them.  My son is easily able to follow along as I read to him and he loves pushing the “next page” button.  The children’s books we have loaded have a few illustrations as well which are very clear on the device.

Something I thought was all about me has turned into a great bonding experience for parent and child.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Why Mom’s Need a Kindle“, posted with vodpod

Free Planetarium Shows!

10 Nov

radford university planetariumThe Radford University Planetarium offers FREE shows to the general public on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:30pm and on Saturday mornings at 10:30am.  The shows vary by the season, time etc. so be sure to check their website for the shows currently running.  The Saturday morning shows are usually specifically for children.

Current shows include:

  • The newly-acquired show “The Planets” which takes audiences on a tour of our solar system, explaining how our solar system and its planets formed, why things rotate around the sun in the ways they do, and eventually looks at the planets that have been discovered around other stars.  This show was produced by the Southeastern Planetarium Association and is narrated by Kate Mulgrew (aka Captain Katherine Janeway of “Star Trek: Voyager”) .
  • The three shows in the “Explorers” series.  These were produced by the Bishop Museum Planetarium in Hawaii and address many of the national and Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) for K-12 students.
  • The children’s show “In My Backyard”, produced by the Calgary Science Center.  This show takes younger audiences (from 3 years old to second graders) on a tour of many of the objects that can be seen in the night sky without a telescope.
  • “Dinosaur Prophecy”:  The audience joins paleontologists at the scene of the crime, excavating bones and wondering what killed the mighty dinosaurs.  Be amazed as your favorite giants come to life, roam across the dome, and meet their catastrophic deaths.  Find out how NASA scientists monitor the Earth and solar system for potential disasters!
  • And the always-popular Christmas show ” ‘Tis the Season” chronicles many of the legends and traditions of the Christmas holiday season, including the story of a certain star.

Tina’s take:  I brought my son and a couple of his friends here for an evening show.  They loved it and can’t wait to go back!  Curie Hall, where the Planetarium is located on the Radford campus, is easy to find and free parking is available right behind the building.  The young lady leading the show we attended seemed to be very passionate about her work and took extra time to answer all the kid’s questions.  Shows last anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes.

Share Your Virginia Memory!

14 Oct

My Virginia MemoryFor a limited time, the Virginia tourism website is offering to mail your “Virginia Memory” postcard for FREE!  All you have to do is visit the website:  MyVirginiaMemory, upload the photo of your “memory” (or choose one of their stock vintage postcards).  After choosing your image, customize your card by choosing a border and handwriting style.  Then, just type a message to the recipient, add their address information and send.  You can choose to send by email or by post mail…both are free.  What a great activity to do with the kids and send some happiness to the grandparents!

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