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10 Guaranteed Pick-Me-Up Movies

I don’t know about you, fellow mamas, but with everything going on in the world, I am enjoying escaping reality through movies more than ever. When I watch movies with my son, we usually go for something animated by Disney/Pixar, Dreamworks or similar (his current favorites are the Toy Story series). When I watch movies with my husband, we usually go for something tense (recent choices include The Shining, Uncut Gems and Captain Phillips).

movies

However, when I get a chance to watch alone, I want something funny or heartfelt (but not sad), and something that I probably wouldn’t watch with my 5-year-old. Here are some suggestions if you’re needing a good laugh or just a warm feeling in your heart. I’m also including where they are available for streaming or rental, which are accurate at the time of this writing.

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): This is my favorite movie of all time, and it’s not just for the holiday season! First off, the casting is brilliant. And the feeling of disappointment when, despite your best efforts, your life does not go quite as planned is universal. Then, there’s the ending, when George learns that his life has affected so many people in such positive ways… tears every time. Also, in my opinion, the scene with George and Mary sharing the phone is one of the greatest moments in all of cinema. It’s a Wonderful Life is available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play.
  2. Tommy Boy (1995): I’ve seen this more times than I count, and it never ceases to give me belly laughs. The pairing of Chris Farley and David Spade is comedy gold, and the absolutely silly plot does not in any way take away from how truly funny they are in this. As a bonus, a lot of it is set in Ohio, though in reality, you would never take a flight from Sandusky to Cuyahoga Falls. Tommy Boy is available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play.
  3. Uncle Buck (1989): If you’re around my age (38), you were probably a big fan of John Candy as a kid. This movie absolutely demonstrates the brilliance of that comedic force that we lost too soon. It’s another movie I’ve seen more times than I can count, but each time is like watching it for the first time. Also, you may see more than you wish of your teenage self in the character of Tia. Uncle Buck is available to stream on HBO Max, and available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
  4. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997): Again, if you’re around my age, you probably had a friend in junior high or high school that you would argue with over who’s the Mary and who’s the Rhoda. This movie is so light and fluffy, it’s like cotton candy. In addition, the 80s soundtrack is absolutely killer. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
  5. Wayne’s World (1992): Goodness, this is a classic. It’s endlessly quotable and endlessly hilarious. I don’t think there’s really anything else I need to say about it – to know it is to love it. Wayne’s World is available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play.
  6. Back to the Future (1985): Was Michael J. Fox among anyone’s first celebrity crushes? He definitely was for me! This movie has it all – comic relief, the underdog defeating the bully, stellar casting, a DeLorean… It’s also made everyone that has seen it dream that they could harness 1.21 gigawatts of electricity and travel through time. Fun fact to make you feel old – if this movie was made today, Marty would travel back in time to 1990. Back to the Future is available to stream on Netflix, and available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
  7. The Blues Brothers (1980): Here’s another movie that is not only funny beyond belief, but also has a great soundtrack (as a kid, my family had it on vinyl). The cast is made up of two original Saturday Night Live stars, a backing band of talented musicians and slew of amazing supporting characters (Aretha Franklin, Carrie Fisher and the aforementioned John Candy, for example). What more could you want? The Blues Brothers is available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
  8. A League of Their Own (1992): There’s no crying in baseball, other than the happy tears you’ll get from the comedy and the heartwarming ending of this movie. I think that we could definitely use more sports movies featuring women, especially if they’re as wonderful as this one. A League of Their Own is available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
  9. Dirty Dancing (1987): Weren’t we all crazy for Swayze in the late 80s/early 90s, and for good reason? Oh, this movie. The dancing, the music (I think everybody at the time had the soundtrack), the romance, the final scene – sheer perfection. Dirty Dancing is available to stream on Amazon Prime, and available to rent on Apple TV and Google Play.
  10. Clue (1985): This movie probably isn’t as well-known as the others on this list. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, you are truly missing out. The cast – outstanding. The connection to the board game – surprisingly strong. The mystery – silly, but hilarious. The multiple endings/solutions to the mystery – each is better than the one before. If you’ve ever seen the gif of a woman in black saying “Flame-flames on the side of my face,” this is where it’s from. Clue is available to stream on Amazon Prime, and available to rent on Apple TV and Google Play.

What did I miss (Hamilton! Of course!)? What are your go-to movies that are guaranteed to put you in a good mood? Truly, this list could’ve been 10 times as long for me, so I just went with personal favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Happy watching!

Are Your Kids Driving You Insane? {Check These Five Things}

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Are your kids driving you INSANE, no matter what you do, say, or give them? I’ve found that there are usually five main things to blame on days like this, so I’m going to break them down in list format for you.

insane

The next time you’re having one of those days, go down this list (in order) to try and get everyone to chill out! 

  1. Blood Sugar: When’s the last time you ate? When’s the last time your KIDS ate? This is always the first thing I check because it’s the easiest problem to solve. Maybe the root cause of all the crazy is that everyone is just hangry! 
  2. Your Caffeine Levels: How much caffeine have you had? If you’re like me, you need caffeine to survive, but sometimes too much caffeine can be doing you a disservice. I know if I’ve had too much because I feel panicky and on edge. Almost manic. When my body is too hopped on caffeine, my fuse becomes really short with my kids. So maybe cut back a little and see if your mood (and patience) improves!
  3. Energy Levels: It might be time for everyone to head outside and blow off some steam. Not even joking, when my f5-year-old is being extra insane, I make her run laps around the house to chill out (#noshame). Sometimes kids just need to get it out, so let them! And if you can find a few minutes, get your own endorphins pumping; it’ll help improve your mood! Maybe you need to join in on the around-the-house laps 😉 
  4. Your To-Do List: How many things are you trying to juggle while your kids are driving you nuts? I’ve found that when I’m focused on too many other things, my kids start becoming extra annoying. Why? Because I’m annoyed that they keep interrupting me and I can’t finish the task(s) at hand! So if you can stop what you’re doing, stop. Just focus on what your kids need from you in that moment and come back to the other stuff. When our brain is scattered across too many things, we tend to become stressed and usually, the kids get the brunt of that. 
  5. Full Moon: When’s the next full moon? No seriously, Google it. If I have gone through #1-4 above and my kids are STILL driving me insane, it’s usually because there’s a full moon that week. Go ahead and laugh, but I’m telling you – the full moon screws my kids up once a month and it is NOT FUN.

What other things would you add to this list? How do you turn the insane days around?

Some More S’more Recipes for National S’mores Day {Aug. 10}

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Want s’more?

It’s August 10, meaning its National S’mores Day!

Tired of the classic s’more recipe we all know and love? You know, the graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate? Well, I have some ideas for you!

s'more

Here are some new s’mores recipes to try:

  1. S’more Nachos – Classic s’more ingredients with a twist. Super cute idea for a campout or even a movie night in! They look ooey, gooey and delicious.
  2. S’more Bites – Want a neater way to enjoy the classic treat? This is it. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers that are on the messier side.
  3. S’more Bars An all-in-one pan alternative! Easy cleanup, too. I used to love Golden Grahams as a child, so these are super yummy looking to me. It’s like a glam-up from the typical Rice Krispie Treats.
  4. Campfire Cone S’mores – This one even comes with a nifty video (I love a good cooking video)! I love this because this makes the usual hard-to-hold s’mores a little more manageable.
  5. Frozen S’mores – These seem perfect for a hot summer day! Made with chocolate pudding, graham crackers and marshmallow fluff, these are the perfect frozen treats.
  6. S’mores Pizza – I want to make this today! It looks so good and like one of those cookie cakes you get from the mall.
  7. S’mores Dip – Why haven’t I thought of this? Delicious!
  8. S’mores Poke CakeI could totally see myself enjoying this with an ice-cold glass of milk. Looks absolutely scrumptious.

Don’t like milk chocolate in your s’mores? You could always use:

  • Peanut butter cups
  • Peppermint patties
  • Any favorite candy bar
  • Add some fruit (bananas, strawberries, etc.)

Do you have any s’more recipes/hacks? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

How to Help an Overwhelmed Child

Many children at some time or another begin to feel overwhelmed. Whether this is one day a week, once a month, or a few times a year. This is completely normal.

As a parent, you often feel overwhelmed at times yourself. Too much to do and too little time to do it, as the saying goes.

However, more recently, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, more and more children across the United States are beginning to feel overwhelmed.

overwhelmed

This could be a result of many things, including not seeing friends, falling out of routine, worrying about school or exams, or generally being in a rut. You’ve likely experienced a few of these consequences yourself, too.

This article will provide actionable advice on how to help an overwhelmed child, from ensuring they get enough sleep to sharing your own feelings, here’s what you need to know.

Create a sleep schedule.

Too little sleep affects our physical and mental state. Once the pandemic struck, schools were forced to close. For many children, this derailed their current routines. There is no longer a set time to get up or go to bed, for that matter.

Frequently getting too little sleep, or waking and sleeping at irregular times may contribute to feelings of overwhelming-ness.

Therefore, we recommend setting a sleep schedule and actually sticking to it. This does not have to be as strict as a school schedule, but should still have your child up at least before noon.

It’s not all about work; you must relax, too.

For many kids, they are now working at home, outside of their usual learning environment. This is not only disruptive but may also contribute to feelings of overwhelmingness also.

It’s important to let them know it’s not all about work, you must relax, too. Letting your hair down once in a while is essential to maintaining a positive mental state. Whether that’s an hour or two on the Xbox, playing football in the garden, or watching their favorite TV show.

Alongside setting a sleep schedule, you should set a work schedule (that is if they are working from home).

Make this schedule as similar to their school one as possible, although perhaps a little shorter. This will allow them to return to a somewhat familiar schedule, allowing them to get back on track and out of the gutter, so to say.

Surprise them!

We all love surprises, right? Yes! Often, it’s the little things that keep us going, especially during such tough and unprecedented times.

Do they have a favorite game, comic, or sport? It doesn’t have to be big but the thought counts, lighting a smile on their face during such tough times.

Share how you deal with being overwhelmed.

As a parent, it’s no secret that you likely feel overwhelmed from time to time. Probably at least once a week, if we’re being honest.

We recommend sharing with your child how you deal with these feelings; whilst this may be difficult to talk about, sharing this with your child lets them know they’re not in this alone. A little guiding light here and there is the secret sauce to a positive mental state and reduced feelings of overwhelmingness.

You don’t just have to tell them either, you could perhaps do it with them. Whether that’s a light bit of gardening, pampering your nails, or watching your favorite comedy, let them in on your de-stress routine – they’ll definitely appreciate it!

Don’t over-analyze the situation.

As a parent, it’s easy to over-analyze a situation, including that of your child feeling overwhelmed.

However, sometimes it’s important not to over-analyze, to take a step back and let it take its natural course. Remember, kids, especially teenagers are prone to mood swings, that might be exactly what they’re going through.

Give it some time, check-in every now and then but-in a non-invasive manner. Ask them how they are, not why they’re feeling down. This keeps the conversation positive without it being intrusive, allowing you to gain further insight whilst giving your child room, which is likely all they need.

Let them know that help is available.

Although your child may know deep down that help is available, often they are too embarrassed or shy to ask for it. They think they can conquer the world themselves but the truth is they can’t. None of us can.

Let your child know that help is available, whenever they need it. Whether it’s just someone to speak to, vent to or an escape from the daily stress, it’s reassuring and comforting to know.

Besides, one day they might return the favor. Perhaps when you’re old and grey and in a home, but the same applies…

Do a brain dump.

Your child is likely already familiar with brain dumps, doing these at school. However, performing a brain dump for yourself is a great way to get everything off your mind, reducing these overwhelming feelings.

You can do a brain dump with them, you write down everything on your mind, and they write down everything on theirs. You don’t have to share ideas if they don’t want to; however, performing this task with someone else lets them know they are not alone.

We all feel overwhelmed at times, it’s important to remember that.

The bottom line.

As a result of the recent coronavirus pandemic, it’s normal to feel slightly overwhelmed. Our regular routines have been derailed, we’re unable to leave the house regularly, and we’re all forced under one roof, all day.

This is irregular.

However, if your child is currently feeling overwhelmed, or you think they are, it’s important to speak to them, letting them know help is available if they need it. Whilst they may tell you to “bog off,” deep down, they’ll appreciate it.

Likewise, be sure to implement the tips highlighted in this article, helping to maintain a somewhat normal schedule while reducing stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelmingness in your child.


Kelly Hater has over 15 years of coaching experience along with a B.S. in Health Promotion specialized in Exercise Science. She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout, providing a clear, decisive plan that leads her clients on a path of success. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming struggles herself. Get the accountability needed to take action. As a mom of two, she gets it!

Babywearing {My Black History}

Babywearing has always been an integral part of motherhood for me. It started with this innate need to keep my firstborn close. So I researched. I started with a Moby, moved to a Ring Sling, then a Bjorn, and finally an Ergo Baby.

I didn’t know much about the cultural context of babywearing until I was pregnant with my second born.

babywearing

Desperate for a community with moms who looked like me, I started scouring Facebook for groups. “Black Women Do Babywear” was the first mom group I joined. They opened my eyes to a whole world of babywearing options!

That group also taught me the ramifications of cultural appropriation and the colonization of babywearing. I decided on using a traditional African wrap called a kanga when my second oldest child was born, in an attempt to reconnect to something I didn’t even know was stolen from me.

I remember the first time I carried him on my back in public… to the children’s museum in Memphis, Tennessee, where we lived at the time. There was a family there from West Africa, and after asking me where I was from, they complimented how I was carrying my son.

“That is exactly how we do it at home!”

Home. My heart soared! I texted my mama and my husband to tell them about my stamp of approval. I was so self-conscious to wear him outside this way because while my white counterparts were wearing expensive handwoven wraps with intricate twists and knots, I had this simple piece of cloth and a little baby nestled to my back.

This cloth is deceivingly strong and resilient (it can still hold my almost 4-year-old) much like my people. I can’t wait to pass this reclaimed tradition down to all my children (because dads babywear, too!).

This is my black history.

I’m Not Ready for Quarantine to Be Over

As the world begins to open back up after the stay at home order, and we begin to venture forth from our safe haven, I have a lot of mixed feelings. Once I grow accustomed to a situation, I generally don’t adapt quickly to change, especially since becoming a mom. And although, there were plenty of challenges involved with staying at home with two very young children, the truth is, I’m not quite ready for quarantine to be over.

I admit it is nice to be somewhere other than home or even our backyard and neighborhood. We went to the Play Cafe today, and it was refreshing to be able to play and not worry about the mess it was making. Although now, it seems much harder to actually get up and out the door, there was a bit of excitement that got us moving, too.

My 1-year-old and 3-year-old couldn’t wait to get back to the Play Cafe. We enjoyed the simple pleasure of walking through the door into a building; something we haven’t experienced together in nearly three months! The simplicity of a tidy space. Room to breathe, to move, to take our first, toddling steps into our new post-quarantine normal. The baby enjoyed climbing the playground equipment and ample space for walking practice, opportunities he had missed out on since the stay-at-home order prevented us from attending Tumblebees at Kids First like we did with his older brother. It was enjoyable to relax with my beloved iced coffee and to spend some time with other adults and other children other than my own.

But I get home and am hit with an intense, all too familiar, wave of anxiety. The pressure to do all the activities. Swimming, berry picking, professional photo sessions, playdates, all while trying to keep up with virtual camps. Not to mention a vacation coming up in less than two weeks!

During the quarantine, my overall anxiety level was decreased.

quarantine

There was nowhere to go, no commitments to keep, no activities to miss, no choices to make about which events to attend. No guilt about not making it to church or obligation to socialize with family and friends. It was okay, even applauded, to stay home and do nothing. Granted, I did feel some pressure to fill my sons’ days with enrichment and make sure I was “doing quarantine right”– doing all of the virtual story times, Cincinnati Zoo home safaris, sensory bins, structured play, and as much free play outside as possible, but overall, I felt more comfortable with doing less. Learning to be more present with my children, removing the distractions, fully engaging and spending quality time with them.

My husband was working from home and able to provide help in a pinch if I needed to run an errand or put the baby down for a nap, or if I needed an extra set of hands to keep the toddler entertained and out of trouble. He was there to help shoulder the burden and share in the joy of being parents of young children during quarantine. 

Now, with quarantine over, things are changing once again, and starting to go back to normal. And some of the changes brought about by COVID-19, like my husband working from home, have just become a part of our new normal. But just because the stay at home order has been lifted and quarantine is over, it doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that everything has to change. Social distancing is still vital. Sometimes “no” is still the better choice. I hope and pray that I am able to take things I have learned during this time into our next chapter. It is okay not to do everything. The kids are still happy and healthy with less. And I am, too.

Cincinnati & NKY Guide to Kids Activities

This guide is presented in partnership with the businesses featured below.
We are grateful for their support in helping us provide this resource for local families.

Local Mom Tips to Consider when Choosing the Best Kids Activities

  • What time commitment are you seeking and/or able to accommodate? Extra-curriculars are often worth the investment, but you do need to be realistic about what makes the most sense for your life and your child. Many kids activities meet weekly, some have flexibility, while some require a greater time commitment.
  • Location and budget. Like it or not, logistics DO matter, especially if your little one falls in love with what they are doing and wants to keep going!
  • What are your goals? Are you hoping to expose your child to the arts, encourage their creative interests, get them moving? When they are smaller and don’t know what to ask for, the activities chosen will reflect our goals as parents. (i.e. swim lessons for swim safety!)
  • Consider limiting activities to keep it reasonable for both them and you. As your child grows, you may consider an approach where your child can pick one athletic and one non-athletic extra-curricular.
  • Follow their lead! After all – it’s their activity and should reflect their interests!

Planet Dance Cincinnati

They’re not your corner dance studio. No dance moms. No toddlers and tiaras. No sparkle motion. You get the idea. Planet Dance Cincinnati has been around for 15 years and is located in the ‘Arts’ District along Gilbert Avenue in Walnut Hills near Downtown. Whatever your child’s dance interests, Planet Dance has a class for that. The newest program, Planet Dance Kids Club, is a 15-week course for either Fall or Spring with January and June shows! Kids Club is recommended for children 7-12. Registration is open now through August 15th, so enroll today!

Besides Kids Club and general classes for every genre, students looking to pursue a career in dancing can join the Pre-Professional/Apprenticeship program. This one is recommended for youth and young adults between the ages of 12-19 that have at least 3 years of prior dance experience. There is no long-term commitment. Get just a single class, a class card, or a Monthly Unlimited card, which is good for any class on their schedule. Even better, you don’t have to schedule ahead of time – drop in on any class, any time!

Planet Dance uses a professional staff with a focus on education. What truly sets them apart is their extraordinary Resident and Guest Faculty, like Andy Blankenbuehler, Tony Award winning choreographer of Hamilton, Beyonce’s Original “Single Ladies”, Ebony Williams, and Emmy Award winning choreographer, Travis Wall, from So You Think You Can Dance and Shaping Sound.

“I have known Missy and Andrew for most of my career. Our paths may have been different, but our passion and creativity in our craft was always very similar. Their voice and work as choreographers and teachers continue to inspire me and is the kind of work that is important and needed in our industry and most of all in the world. I am honored to call them my friends.” – Mia Michaels

Broadway choreographer of Finding Neverland, If These Shoes Could Talk and Fort Chaffee, Celine Dion’s “A New Day” (Vegas), and Popular choreographer: choreographer for “So You Think You Can Dance”. She has choreographed for Madonna’s “Drowned World Tour”, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Prince, DK 96, Jon Secada, PYT, and Jimmy Ray.

2230 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45206
513.505.6340

[email protected]

CCM Prep

CMB_CCM_KA_Platinum_2019 (1)

Music! Dance! Theatre Arts!

CCM programs educate students as young as three, so whether you have a beginner or a student that might be preparing for a career in the arts, CCM is a terrific partner.

Classes are offered weekly including evening and weekend opportunities.

Instruction and educational supplies are included in the cost of classes, students are required to supply their own instruments, etc…

“CCM has prepared me by helping me grow and perfect my gift. In classes such as choir, I was able to be ahead of the class. CCM has also taught me to be prepared, practice and study. This valuable lesson had the biggest impact on me.” – Student

3860 Corbett Center
Cincinnati, OH 45221
(513) 556-2595

[email protected]

IGKnight Music and Movement

Ignite your baby’s body and mind while experiencing music and movement together! You and your child will strengthen your everlasting bond while exploring age-appropriate instruments, songs, stories, movement, and dance. Activities are designed to stimulate children from birth to 24 months and can be replicated at home.

The 45-minute class meets weekly on Monday or Wednesday mornings over three sessions (fall, winter, & spring) and are ideal for grandparents and caregivers.

Check out this video to see the fun in action!

“Ms. Donna delights children with her high-energy approach to music education. She greets parents and students by name in a warm and genuine manner. She expertly modifies instruction to fit the needs of the energetic and busy toddlers in her classroom. Curriculum is rich and purposeful, and the children demonstrate understanding in unique ways. Thank you, Ms. Donna!” – S. McGuffey

2161 Grandin Road
Cincinnati, OH 45208
[email protected]
(513) 871-4700

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

2950 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 452121

Do you have a creative kiddo on your hands? You know the type we are talking about… the ones who collect the toilet paper rolls and trinkets they find around the house in order to create their next masterpiece. If you have a kiddo who is continually seeking that creative outlet… then these classes are for you.

World of Spanish

Locations Vary

Art Workshop

Hyde Park

Cincinnati Museum Center

Downtown

Cincinnati Art Museum

Mt. Adams

Brazee Street Studios

Oakley

These classes are for those kids who are constantly twirling, shaking their booty, tapping their toes, & who love a good beat. No matter if your child is a born performer, loves the art of dance or enjoys being part of a peer group… dance can be a wonderful experience!

Perfection Gymnastics

West Chester

Cincinnati Ballet

Downtown

Emerge Dance Academy

White Oak

Gotta Dance

Anderson

Prestige Dance Center

Anderson

Erickson Academy Irish Dance

Mt. Lookout

DanceKids

Liberty Township

Cincy Dance Studio

Madeira

SDA Studios

Liberty Township

There are a ton of kids activities that are not only fun and engaging, but they help teach some important life skills as well. This category is devoted to those “hands-on” opportunities around town!

Healthy Hands Cooking

Mason

Most kids can’t resist shaking their booty or singing along to their favorite tunes, but did you know that music is also a great way to encourage developmental growth? Music classes can be a great way to stimulate your little one’s mind, but lessons can also be the perfect creative and challenging outlet for your older kids as well!

Miss Nancy's Musikgarten

Clifton

Eric Blume, Drum Instruction

Loveland

Baldwin Music Education Center

Cincinnati

Peanut Butter & Jam

OTR

Kindermusik

Locations Vary

Coding, technology, STEAM, 4H, and more… the possibilities are endless in this arena and honestly, the things these kids can learn and create are incredible. We are big fans of the ever-growing opportunities for our kids in the world of science and tech.

The Cincinnati Zoo

Clifton

The Highfield Discovery Garden

Woodlawn

Boy Scouts of America

Various Troops Around Town

Girl Scouts of America

Various Troops Around Town

Cincy Arts Wave + STEM

Downtown

Classroom Antics

Locations Vary

Girls Who Code

Locations Vary

Destination Imagination

Various School Affiliations

Sports are amazing ways to encourage exercise, teamwork, personal drive, and so much more! And the options are endless as well. No matter if you have a little one tumbling on mats or an older one involved in team games or competitions, one this is for certain. They will learn all kinds of life lessons they don’t even realize they are learning and we love that.

Kid Strong

Mason

Perfection Gymnastics

West Chester

Gym Skills

Blue Ash

Cincy lil' Kickers

Cincinnati

Pro Martial Arts

Kenwood & Loveland

Cincinnati Tae Kwon Do Academy

Silverton

Top Flight Gymnastics

Crestview Hills, KY

Mercy Anderson HealthPlex - KidTown

Anderson

Music, movement, motor skill development, and social skills! Toddler enrichment classes can be a great way to help enhance your little one’s natural development. And best of all… they are fun for grownups to attend as well!

For more information on local toddler enrichment opportunities, check this post out too!

Kid Strong

Mason

Gym Skills

Blue Ash

Go 2 Grow Gymnastics

Montgomery

Cincy lil' Kickers

Cincinnati

World of Spanish

Locations Vary

Learning Through Play Cafe

West Chester

The Little Gym

Mason

Blue Manatee Literacy Project

Oakley

ArtSpark

Symmes Township

Cincinnati & NKY Guide to Toddler Enrichment

This guide is brought to you by our wonderful sponsors featured here!

If you are a mama, then you know there is so much truth to the saying, “The years are short, but the days are long”. And if you are a mama to one of those pint-sized littles, you know how important it can be to get them (and you!) out of the house when those days are feeling extra long. The answer, for many, is enrichment classes.

Whether it be music, gymnastics, art, or more – it is nice to give those toddlers some social interaction with other kids their age and for mama to have interaction with other adults and a fun break in the daily routine.

There is something for every little one on this list!

And if you have bigger kids… check out our Kids Activities Guide for more options.

IGKnight Music and Movement

Ignite your baby’s body and mind while experiencing music and movement together! You and your child will strengthen your everlasting bond while exploring age-appropriate instruments, songs, stories, movement, and dance. Activities are designed to stimulate children from birth to 24 months and can be replicated at home.

The 45-minute class meets weekly on Monday or Wednesday mornings over three sessions (fall, winter, & spring) and are ideal for grandparents and caregivers.

Check out this video to see the fun in action!

“Ms. Donna delights children with her high-energy approach to music education. She greets parents and students by name in a warm and genuine manner. She expertly modifies instruction to fit the needs of the energetic and busy toddlers in her classroom. Curriculum is rich and purposeful, and the children demonstrate understanding in unique ways. Thank you, Ms. Donna!” – S. McGuffey

2161 Grandin Road
Cincinnati, OH 45208
[email protected]
(513) 871-4700

Early Childhood Centers

The Cincinnati Museum Center – Check out Story Tree Time on Wednesdays at 11am and the Super Sprouts program.

Mayerson JCC – A variety of classes and events offered throughout the year.

Art

Cincinnati Art Museum – Offers several family programs for the little ones. From Baby Tours to Wee Wednesdays, Mad Cap Productions & more!

Behringer-Crawford Museum – Tot Tuesdays every third Tuesday of the month from 10:30-11:30am.

The Art Spark – Creative Tot Mornings hosted every Monday-Thursday between 10-10:45am; Fridays offer Creative Play and Snack from 9-11am. 

Music & Movement

Peanut Butter & Jam – Mini-concerts introducing classical music to kids 2-6 years of age.  

toddler enrichment cincinnati

Reading & Storytime

The Cincinnati Public Library – Several FREE and great children’s programs for all ages.

Blue Manatee Literacy Project – Several story time events throughout the week.

Joseph Beth Book Sellers – Kids story times every day at 11am

Science

The Cincinnati Zoo – Offers Zoo Troop for toddlers. The series runs weekly for 4 weeks.

The Highfield Discovery Garden – Part of Glenwood Gardens and offers a weekly educational program for all ages, included with admission.

The Cincinnati Nature Center – Variety of sessions offered, pre-registration is required.

Sports

Soccer Shots – Offers a mini session specifically designed for 2-3 year olds.

Kids First Sports Center – Ofers gymnastics programs for infants and up!

The Little Gym – Parent child gymnastics and music classes for infants – 36 months.

Go 2 Grow Gymnastics – Offering activities for the preschool child 1 to 6 six years of age, focused on Body Basics for the preschool child in gymnastics, movement, and sports skills.

Cincinnati & NKY Guide to Local Photographers

This guide is brought to you in partnership with the businesses featured in this guide. We are grateful to them for their partnership in providing this resource for local moms.

Looking for a photographer that’s recommended by other local moms?

You’ve found them!

Check out our favorite locations for local photos:

George Rogers Clark Park in Covington, KY
The Cincinnati Nature Center at Rowe Woods
Washington Park, Downtown Cincinnati
Smale Park, Downtown Cincinnati
Eden Park in Mt. Adams
The Nature Playscape in Devou Park
Spring Grove Cemetery in St. Bernard

Ali Wolfe Photography

“People, amazing light, and life inspire me to do what I love.”

For Ali Wolfe, photographing families isn’t some mundane routine; it’s something that excites her. It drives her to provide clients with economical, yet stylish images that they will treasure for years. Click HERE to read what one local mom has to say about how amazing their family photo session was with Ali behind the lens.

Family ♦ Newborns ♦ Non-Wedding Special Events ♦ Real Estate ♦ Senior Portraits ♦ Professional Portraits ♦ Commercial Marketing

CMC Team Photographer
As our team photographer for several years now, we can vouch for the fact that she is not only an amazing photographer, but an incredible human!

“Ali is a true professional. She is organized, reliable, and fun, which makes her the perfect photographer for family photo, as well as any business photography, needs you may have. I have worked with her on a variety of photo projects and would recommend her for all of your personal AND commercial needs.” ~Sarah B.

Serves Cincinnati & Dayton, Ohio + NKY

Courtney Jayne Snow Photography

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“Photography done your way.”

Courtney Jayne Snow Photography is women-owned and helps capture your vision for anything creative that can be caught on camera or designed digitally.

Family ♦ Professional Portraits ♦ Commercial Marketing ♦ Theater Photography ♦ Multimedia Production ♦ Landscape and Nature Photography ♦ Logo Design ♦ Head Shots

“CJS Photography does an amazing job, and I highly recommend her.” ~Derek S.

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio + NKY

T Ralston Photography

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Reader Recommended

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

Reader Recommended

Mikki Schaffner Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio + NKY

Cin Day Photo

Serves Cincinnati & Dayton, Ohio

Happy Daisy Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio
Contact via Facebook

Sherri Barber Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio
Contact via Form

Jen Moore Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

Sarah Lewis Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

Amber Dawson Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

When you find a photographer who stops working for a minute to catch crickets with your kiddo... hang onto them.

Byron Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

Ashley Rose Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio + NKY

Amanda Reed Photo

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

Avner Road Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

Images by Sadie

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

Leah Robins Photography

Serves Cincinnati, Ohio

Sweet Summer Memories

We're grateful to our sponsor, Hudsonville Ice Cream, and their focus on making moments sweeter. We love sharing our favorites with our community of moms!

We’re spending more time than ever at home lately, so I’ve been getting creative on ideas to make sweet summer memories for my family.

Sweet summer memories with Hudsonville ice creamWhen I think back on my childhood, what stands out most are the many family meals we ate together at home. I come from a big family with a variety of personalities, but one thing we all have in common—we love food. More specifically, we love dessert.

Growing up, my mom always let us pick any meal we wanted for our birthdays, graduations, or other milestones. My brother, whose birthday is two weeks before Thanksgiving, always chose turkey dinner for his meal, which we all complained ruined the excitement of Thanksgiving. I always chose a pasta salad with chicken and peppers that my brother said was “too slimy.” My other brother always picked wontons that took my mom forever to make and took us zero time to eat. However, what really mattered to each of us was the dessert. Some of us picked cake, some pie, some cookies, but we all always had ice cream.

Our family is even bigger now with nine grandchildren running around, and they each love dessert just as much as the rest of us. We always joke that the house is quietest when we are all eating dessert. Unfortunately, with the pandemic this year, we haven’t all been able to get together as one big group and we are missing our big, loud, dessert-loving family.

Lucky for us, though, even in the midst of worldwide upheaval, we can focus on small joys – like the fun we have at home with the people closest to us and the things we love most, like ice cream.

Sweet summer memories with Hudsonville ice creamThis past week, I had a shipment of Hudsonville Ice Cream sent to our house as a surprise and it sparked a week full of sweet memories for us. Hudsonville Ice Cream’s roots are in Michigan, but this delicious ice cream is available right here in Cincinnati. You can find Hudsonville at a store nearest you by using their Scoop Locator. Make sure to grab a variety, because you will definitely want to try them all. Our theme this week was ice cream and I’m so glad we now have this to look back on. Here are just a few ways to make sweet summer memories of your own at home.

Idea #1: Free-for-all Ice Cream Party with close friends and family

If there is one thing I’ve learned as a mom, it’s that sometimes you just have to embrace the chaos. I had a perfect Pinterest ice cream party/movie night in my head for my kids and a few of their cousins, but a pop-up thunderstorm put an end to that dream. We ended up throwing in the towel and gave the kids free reign over all the ice cream, sprinkles, whipped cream, and popcorn they could get their hands on. They were in heaven. Despite the rain, there were a ton of giggles, sticky hands and smiling faces. They had a blast sampling the different flavors. Their favorites were Cookie Overload and Raspberry Chocolate Chunk, while the adults enjoyed the rich and creamy Mackinac Island Fudge.

Idea #2: Impromptu Family Fun Night full of sweet summer memories

Sweet summer memories with Hudsonville ice creamMy daughter loves to bake, and we happened to have some fresh blueberries from my uncle’s farm. She asked if we could make a cobbler together, and I remembered we had Hudsonville’s Limited Edition Blueberry Cobbler ice cream in the freezer. This was the perfect opportunity for a little mid-week pick-me-up, and a chance for us to create the ultimate Blueberry Cobbler experience. We whipped up a cobbler and let it bake while we ate dinner. After dinner, we pretended we were going to an ice cream shop and headed outside for warm cobbler with a scoop of Hudsonville Ice Cream on top. Truly delicious. I think the smiles speak for themselves.

Idea #3: Kid-inspired Milkshakes and Movies

I love getting my daughter involved any way I can and milkshakes are such an easy way to let kids create in the kitchen. No measuring necessary and it is ALWAYS delicious. Since our original movie night got rained out, we decided to do one ourselves. It was such a hit! I loved watching my daughter’s sweet little face as she watched the movie and sipped the milkshake that she made for herself. These are the things sweet summer memories for kiddos are made of. Her milkshake recipe:

  • Two scoops of Raspberry Chocolate Chunk
  • One scoop of Blueberry Cobbler
  • Splash of Milk
  • Whipped Cream and Rainbow Sprinkles to top it all off

Idea #4: Post-bedtime ‘Grown-ups get their own pint’ Date Night

You’ve probably heard people mention the five love languages and how important it is to give love in the way your partner receives it. Well, I am so lucky to have found a partner with the same love language as me—food. Since the beginning of our relationship, we have made a habit of surprising each other with treats. (My little secret: I’m embarrassed to admit that when he was getting ready to propose, I thought he was going back to the car to get something sweet for us to eat.) Anyway, don’t tell anyone, but I stashed two pints in the freezer for us to have a date night on the couch. I picked Crunchy Peanut Butter for my husband because peanut butter is one of his favorite things of all time. I chose Cookie Overload for myself because I knew the kids would eat all of the other one, and I was right. I love ending our crazy days with each other, catching up over a delicious treat.


Sweet summer memories with Hudsonville ice creamThanks, Hudsonville, for being such a big part of our memory making this summer!

Now it’s your turn! Grab a coupon here to try Hudsonville Ice Cream and make your summer the sweetest one ever.

Hudsonville Ice Cream

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Cincinnati & NKY Guide to Kids Activities

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Local Mom Tips to Consider when Choosing the Best Kids Activities What time commitment are you seeking and/or able to accommodate? Extra-curriculars are often worth...