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Fun Ideas For Play Dates With Children

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New York City is more than a place for adults to play. It’s also a great place to explore with kids as there’s seemingly no end of things to do that are of interest or designed for the younger crowd. Make a play date for a group of kids and turn the day into an adventure that they’re going to talk about for weeks. Remember that you need to keep safety as your number one priority when leading a group of youngsters around the city, especially during wet weather. You don’t want someone to slip and fall only to get seriously hurt. Use a buddy system, keep a headcount, but most of all, enjoy yourselves on your day out.

The Playroom NYC

The Playroom NYC is a 3,000 square foot facility designed for children five years and younger and offers a free-for-all creative play experience. Children get to play on a climbing structure, shop in a bodega, dress up in fancy clothes, ride on cars and climb around a playground made from vinyl-covered foam shapes and blocks. Hours are limited to the day time during the week and in the morning on the weekends so plan your visit accordingly.

Modern Pinball NYC Interactive Museum and Party Place

Modern Pinball NYC is great for older kids who are seeking more engagement in their playtime but still have short attention spans. Each admission fee includes no time limit on play and all games are free. No tokens or coins needed for kids to play to their heart’s delight. There’s also an interactive pinball exhibit that shows the mechanics and electronics of a pinball machine. The museum features two multi arcade machines that have over 250 games for those who get tired of pinball. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Ed Center

The Ed Center, as it’s called, is a great place for kids to experience the flora and fauna of the East River in an intimate setting. The center features a 250-gallon aquarium full of creatures that were recent residents of the East River. A small rock pool in front of the aquarium is also a touch tank featuring starfish, rocks, plants, and shells that children can touch and hold. Kids can look through a microscope to view water samples and the tiny organisms that live within. The Ed Center has limited hours during the week, but it is free to visit and the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park offers more kid-friendly activities when everyone’s tired of the center.

Belvedere Castle

This folly found in Central Park by 79th Street has been fully restored and is a great place for kids to go exploring. It’s located on the second-highest point in Central Park which gives it an amazing vantage point to see the surrounding land and cityscape. Kids are allowed to play on the castle steps with abandon. Make sure to take them up the tower and let their imaginations go where they will go. Be forewarned: there are no public restrooms at the castle, so plan accordingly.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, or CMOM, is a playground that’s disguised as a museum. It’s a place where kids from 0 to 10 are welcome and has plenty of interactive exhibits that are designed to engage kids no matter what their age. The museum also seeks to stimulate children’s interest in the arts and sciences by showing them how every day things work, how the body functions, and go on adventures with famous cartoon characters. Opening hours and days at CMOM vary throughout the year so make sure to check before putting together a play date. 

Good Day Play Café

Good Day Play Café is located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and is representative of a trend that’s springing up around NYC. Adults can sit back and drink coffee while their kids play together in the indoor playground. Good Day Play Café’ offers a climbing wall, ball pit with slide, a matted area with toys for the younger set, a wood cube pit (think indoor sandpit but cubes instead of sand) and more. There’s an hourly charge per child, but parents and babies under 8 months are free with a purchase from the drink menu. 

The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is a wonderful destination for a play date. It’s got exotic animals living in their native habitats in an urban setting, a butterfly garden, a carousel, and even a monorail. The zoo allows visitors to bring their own food and has picnic areas so everyone can sit down, relax, and eat before heading off to the next exhibit. You can also bring a stroller, but be mindful that some buildings require that the stroller be left in a designated area before entering. The zoo does have an entry fee for visitors except for Wednesdays when it’s free. Save some money by planning a play date on a Wednesday, but consider donating something to help support the zoo with its ongoing costs.

Queens County Farm Museum

Show kids what life was once like in New York City at the Queens County Farm Museum. The farm traces its existence as far back as 1697 and has been continuously farmed up until the present day. The 47-acre property features historic farm buildings, livestock, farm vehicles, fields for crops, an orchard, and more. Children can visit with the livestock and learn about the jobs they perform in and around the farm. The farm museum focuses on sustainable agriculture techniques and demonstrates that it’s capable of being historical and modern at the same time. 

These ideas are merely scratching the surface of things to do in New York City for playdates. The city is full of museums, points of interest, parks, and even hiking trails that are great for kids of all ages. You’ll never run out of interesting things to do. In fact, the only problem you’ll have is finding enough time to get to these destinations before the kids grow up. 

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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Stretch marks: Why they appear and how to get rid of them

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What are stretch marks?

Basically, stretch marks are scars or disfiguring lesions. There are multiple names for these types of marks: striae, striae atrophicans, striae gravidarum, and striae distensae.

Although the names may sound intimidating, stretch marks are not really physically dangerous. But, developing them may negatively affect self-esteem and self-image issues. In today’s world of photoshop, these marks can become a cosmetic concern for many women.

How do stretch marks form?

Stretch marks are scar types that develop when our skin shrinks or stretches in a short span of time. The sudden change causes the underlying collagen and elastin that act as a support to our skin to rupture. These marks appear after the skin starts to heal.

The reasons which lead to stretch marks include pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, and so on. The skin cannot return back to its normal state after this period of intense growth. Even sudden growth spurts during puberty can cause stretch marks.

The most commonly affected areas are the abdomen, hips, buttocks, breasts, flanks, and thighs.

How can you get rid of stretch marks?

Before we list the different ways in which you can try to get rid of stretch marks, we like to point out that a single treatment may not work for everyone while some products may not work at all.

So, it’s mostly a trial and error game. Again, using these treatments does not guarantee 100% stretch mark removal but, you may see a reduction in the overall appearance.

Using stretch mark creams, gels, and lotions

Initially, there were concerns that using stretch mark creams and lotions were not really that helpful for stretch mark removal. Researchers then studied these topicals and concluded that applying the products diligently does have the potential to fade stretch marks.

Also, we would like to point out that stretch mark creams can be of two types: preventative and curative. These are two separate formulas that have to be used at two different times.

You should use the preventative stretch mark cream formula to prevent the appearance of stretch marks. You have to apply the cream before the stretch marks have even appeared. In the case of the curative formula, your stretch marks have already formed and you can use the cream to reduce its appearance.

Remember, these treatments take time but they most certainly do work to improve the texture of your skin.

Applying prescription medication

Research studies have proved that using prescription medication like hyaluronic acid and tretinoin can be really helpful to make the stretch marks less noticeable. These prescription medications can be brought over the counter and are very easily available in most pharmacies.

A type of retinoid, tretinoin is a prescription cream that needs to be directly massaged onto the stretch marks. You can also opt for retinol which is another type of retinoid to facilitate the fading of your stretch marks.

Using effective natural remedies

We are already aware of how helpful natural remedies can be. There are just so many home remedies that can be created using natural ingredients like coconut oil, almond oil, vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, and so on.

The idea here is to create a simple DIY that you have to make sure to follow regularly. For example, you can make a sugar and coconut oil mixture. Take one cup of sugar along with 1/4 cup of coconut oil and add a few drops of lemon juice to it. The overall consistency of this mixture has to resemble that of wet sand.

Massage this mixture on the stretch marks for about 10 to 15 minutes in a circular motion. It should be interesting to note that rubbing sugar on stretch marks is actually a common microdermabrasion method that has been used for many years.

Rubbing aloe vera gel is another home remedy that can be really effective to make your stretch marks less noticeable. Aloe vera has been used for skincare for many years now. Not only does this ingredient replenishes and nourishes the skin, but it also helps to improve the skin texture. In short,  it is exactly what your skin needs in case of stretch marks.

We put personally suggest you use aloe vera gel that is 100% natural. For this purpose, you can buy an aloe vera plant and use the fresh gel every day. If you decide to go for store-bought aloe vera gel, make a careful note of the ingredients used to create it. The product should not contain any harmful chemicals that can cause allergic reactions to your skin.

Opting for procedures carried out by dermatologists

A dermatologist can perform different procedures to help reduce your stretch marks but none of them actually guarantee complete removal. These procedures include the following:

  • Laser therapy
  • Radiofrequency
  • Chemical peel
  • Ultrasound
  • Microdermabrasion

Choosing to go for laser therapy or light therapy, for example, can be one of the best ways of removing stretch marks quickly and efficiently. In fact, even the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery recognizes this method as one of the most effective ways for stretch marks removal.

Under this procedure, a dermatologist will use a beam of light to break down your stretch marks gently. As you might have realized, laser therapy is actually a non-surgical procedure. This process lasts for about 30 minutes and can tremendously help to enhance the natural texture of your skin. In addition to this, the results are almost instantaneous.

Each of these procedures has its own set of plus points. There might even be times when your dermatologist will employ the use of more than one procedure for effective results. Having said this, some of these procedures may have possible side-effects. It’ll be best that you talk to your dermatologist to select a method that would work best for you. Try to schedule an appointment with the dermatologist that is board-certified and experienced.

Resources— American Academy of Dermatology, Very Well Family

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10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

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The best things in the world—traveling and your kids. While these might be two of your favorite things, mixing them can seem like a daunting challenge.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. Traveling with kids can be a great experience for everyone if you plan it right. Here’s how!

1. Bring comfort items

Traveling to a new place is a fun experience, but it can be overwhelming at times for your little ones. Bringing a comfort item, like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, can help ease their anxiety about being in a new place.

2. Plan your travel time strategically

Kids can’t help it—they’re a bundle of energy! Being cooped up in a car or on a plane in the middle of the day can make them antsy or fidgety, especially if they’re used to being active. Planning your travel time at night or when they’re usually napping can make life easier for everyone.

3. Let your kids help with the luggage

If your kids are old enough, let them help out with carrying smaller bags or suitcases. Not only does this make your life easier, but it also makes them feel more involved in the traveling process. Not to mention, it keeps them preoccupied!

4. Keep them occupied

Kids need to stay busy or engaged. Bringing along books or a tablet for them to play games on can help keep them busy during slower portions of the trip, like travel time.

5. Always bring a spare outfit

No matter the age or how well-behaved your kids are, accidents happen. Bringing along a spare outfit can save you a trip back to the hotel.

6. Bring basic medicines

There’s nothing worse than traveling with a sick child. Be prepared to bring along basic medicines for upset stomachs or headaches to make them feel better as quickly as possible.

7. Take advantage of child discounts

Children can be expensive so take advantage of child discounts! A lot of times, restaurants or parks will offer discounts for children, saving you some money.

8. Plan for extra time

It’s a fact of life that everything takes longer with children. Whether it’s a layover or travel time to a park, planning extra time to get things done will make everyone’s lives less stressful.

9. Bring snacks and drinks

A hungry child is a cranky child. Bringing along their favorite snacks and drinks will keep them content and even ease travel anxiety.

10. Roll with the punches

No matter how well you plan a trip, chances are that something will go wrong. Whether it’s your child losing their phone or getting lost in Paris with a crying baby, the best thing you can do is roll with the punches and make the best of it.

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An amazing holiday experience while traveling with kids

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Traveling with kids is never an easy task. It requires a lot of planning and it often involves parents giving up on their own fun in order for their kids to enjoy themselves. Thankfully, the tourism industry has been aware of this issue and new alternatives have been developing to suit each family member.

Traveling together

Traditionally, there are a lot of things you sacrifice when you become a parent, one of them  was often the summer holidays. Parents would pick a kid friendly place for their holidays and spend their stay taking care of their children, forgetting about having fun or relaxing themselves. After all, our beloved kids always come first. 

But there are alternatives now that will allow our kids to enjoy themselves at the same time parents relax. There are resorts designed keeping the needs of the whole family in mind, and the best all inclusive family resorts are located in Cancun. 

Estudio Playa Mujeres is a 5 star luxury resort located in Cancun, Mexico. It is placed right on the Caribbean shore, which is the ideal spot when you think about summer vacations. What makes this resort such a wonderful spot for families is the wide range of activities it offers within its installations. Your age does not matter, there is the perfect activity ready and waiting for you in this resort. Estudio Playa Mujeres is also pet friendly, so your pets can tag along just like any other member of the family without fear. 

The perfect plan for our children

Kids are king on Estudio Playa Mujeres. The studio offers an innovative program called Doodle Land® especially designed for the little ones of the family

The Doodle Land® program is divided within three different categories which vary regarding of the age: doodle baby, doodle kids and doodle teens. This ensures us that our kids attend activities especially adapted for their age and get to make friends within the same age gap. 

The main objective of the Doodle Land® program is to incentivise the creativity in our children by the use of a series of interactive and fun activities. On the multiple workshops available kids will have fun while learning and toying around with contemporary Mexican art or gastronomy stations among others. 

With the Doodle Explorers program kids will interact with the nature in the resort and learn about it. Professional instructors will guide them around the resort, with activities that keep them in contact with nature and sports near the beach and pool in order to incentivise healthy habits on our younger ones.

Estudio Playa Mujeres also offers the exclusive Doodle Camp, where fun meets technology. In this program kids can interact with technology while learning on the process. There is an exclusive laboratory fully equipped where kids will get the chance to play with robotic features and 3D printing activities. The studio also includes an amazing planetarium for kids to learn about the universe surrounding them. 

Doodle Land® includes the Chef program, where autonomy in the children is promoted by teaching them to prepare their own meals. 

On Doodle-Arts, kids are supplied with a lot of materials so they can have fun creating their own artistic masterpieces.

A pleasant experience for parents

Parents also get their fair share of fun at Estudio Playa Mujeres. You get everything you may need for relaxing and having a great time within the reach of your hand

The Resort includes luxurious suites with all sort of comforts, like a bed especially designed to ensure the best resting experience possible or 24 hours room service. 

The installations of the resort offer all sort of activities for you to enjoy your summer. There is a 18 hole golf course, a relaxing spa center to take the stress from the daily routine away from you, five different restaurants with cuisine from all across the world and three different bars for you to have fun and enjoy yourself. 

Your age does not matter, Estudio Playa Mujeres has the best alternatives for your next holidays.


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