Posts tagged with "families"

Circus Circus Las Vegas illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Midwayland × Circus Circus

MIDWAYLAND DEBUTS THURSDAY AT CIRCUS CIRCUS LAS VEGAS WITH AN EXPANSION THAT INCUDES THE INDUSTRY’S NEWEST VIRTUAL REALITY AND CRANE MACHINE GAMES

Fun for All Ages, Midwayland Offers 30 of the Hottest Games in the Industry Along with a Variety of Food Options

Circus Circus Las Vegas debuts its newest entertaining attraction, Midwayland – 4,742 square feet of fun that includes the market’s latest and most in-demand crane machines and virtual reality games debuting Thursday, May 27.

Midwayland, fun for kids and adults of all ages, offers 30 of the hottest games in the industry including Beat Saber, a virtual reality game that is played to the rhythm of adrenaline-pumping music.

This latest attraction offers guests extended entertainment from the iconic and beloved Midway which has captivated guests for years with its classic arcade games, state-of-the-art video games and prizes.

Midwayland will offer dynamic food options guaranteed to keep kids and adults asking for more. 

Known as the Strip’s most family-friendly resort for more than 50 years, Circus Circus Las Vegas features iconic circus acts, the only coin-operation slot machines on the Las Vegas Strip and The Steak House, a multiple award-winning restaurant.

About Circus Circus Las Vegas

Circus Circus Las Vegas is a privately owned hotel and casino that offers dining, shopping, entertainment and more than 101,000 square feet of gaming space. A family favorite Las Vegas resort since its inception, Circus Circus provides affordable rates for its nearly 4,000 guest rooms in its lodge, tower rooms, suites and RV Park, and family-fun activities ranging from the thrills of The Adventuredome theme park to live circus acts right on the casino floor.

For information visit Circus Circus, or follow the property on social media: Facebook, Twitter and  Instagram.

Mad River illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mad River Boat Trips

MAD RIVER BOAT TRIPS OPENS FOR THE 2021 SEASON ON JUNE 15, WILL OFFER PRIVATE BOOKING OPTIONS

Top-rated river outfitter Mad River Boat Trips opens for the 2021 season on June 15. Offering first class scenic float trips and whitewater rafting excursions on the Wild and Scenic Snake River, Mad River Boat Trips will offer private bookings this season to accommodate COVID restrictions and ensure the health and safety of guests and team members.

On Mad River’s scenic float trips, everyone—including family members as young as four years old—can enjoy a leisurely rafting excursion on a 13-mile-long, smooth-water section of the Snake River. Perfect for shutterbugs looking to capture photos of wildlife and the majestic scenery, these float trips are relaxing and spectacular for capturing wildlife—especially the numerous bird species that call the area home.

Meanwhile, Mad River’s whitewater raft trips take place on the portion of the Snake River surrounded by steep granite canyon walls, tall trees and picturesque alpine meadows abounding with wildlife. Professional, experienced river trip guides navigate rafters through the twists and turns of Snake River Canyon while pointing out all the distinctive flora, fauna, geology and aspects of the region’s history that make the area unique. Mad River Boat Trips offer runs through class II and III rapids, making them appropriate for guests ages six and older. Guests will grab their paddle and shoot the rapids with Mad River’s experienced and professional guides.

Back at the boat house, guests who opt for the early river run still have time to rent one of sister company Scenic Safaris’ street-legal, four-seater side-by-sides. These vehicles may be booked in advance or reserved on the spot, based on availability. Side-by-sides are perfect for exploring the trail heads that begin just minutes away from the boat house.  Guests can take a scenic drive through Grand Teton National Park or explore the back roads in Gros Ventre Mountains or Greys River Range. Rentals are available for two hours, four hours, eight hours and multi-day.

Private tours available from Mad River Boat Trips include:

Classic Boat 8-Mile Whitewater Rafting on Snake River
Audience: Great for families, first-time rafters or guests traveling with small children, ages 6+.
Departure Time: 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.
Highlights: The Snake River has been classified as a Class I-III river with exciting whitewater rapids.
WOW! Moment: Incredible views, wildlife including otters, osprey and bald eagles and guides point out features that make the canyon unique.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Price: $92 per person, adults and children; $700 private boat, up to 16 passengers
Private tours: Available for up to eight guests. Additional passengers are $92 per person.

Small Boat Snake River Whitewater Rafting
Audience: Great for families with children aged 6+, adventure enthusiasts and small to medium-sized groups.
Departure Time: 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.
Highlights: Eight sets of rapids including Station Creek, Double Draw, Blind Canyon, Big Kahuna, Lunchcounter, Ropes, Champagne and Cottonwoods.
WOW! Moment: Catch a glimpse of a mountain goat, a mule deer, an elk, or even a grizzly or black bear.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Price: $105 per person, adults and children; $700 private boat, up to eight passengers

Jackson Hole Snake River Float Trip
Audience: Great for families with children aged 4+, mature travelers, wildlife enthusiasts or birders, large groups and multi-generational travelers.
Departure Time: 8:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Highlights: The magnificent Teton Range sets the stage for the 13-mile Jackson Hole float trip.
WOW! Moment: Spotting wildlife including beaver, cutthroat trout, cliff swallows, pelicans, osprey and bald eagles.
Menu: Lunch is included.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Price: $92 per person, adults and children; $700 private boat, up to ten passengers, $92 per person for additional passengers

To find out more about Mad River Boat Trips white water and scenic float trips on the Wild and Scenic Snake River, go to Mad River or call (800) 458-7238.For more information about Scenic Safaris, visit Scenic Safaris or call (888) 734-8898.

ABOUT MAD RIVER BOAT TRIPS
Mad River Boat Trips is a river outfitter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and consistent recipient of TripAdvisor’s “Excellent” rating by its customers. Offering whitewater trips and scenic floats daily during summer since 1977, Mad River offers guests extraordinary recreation on the recently designated Wild and Scenic Snake River. The Snake River begins its journey in the rugged backcountry of Yellowstone National Park and gathers water as it heads south toward Jackson Hole through Grand Teton National Park. The river exits the south end of Jackson Hole through the winding Snake River Canyon, lined with trees and steep granite walls, small alpine meadows and abundant wildlife. It’s on this section of the Snake River where guests travel down a wild and scenic river, which is a rarity in the Rocky Mountains—it’s an experience not to be missed. For more information, visit Mad River or Facebook. Mad River is a permittee of the Bridger-Teton National Forest/Equal Opportunity Provider.

ABOUT FOREVER RESORTS
Forever Resorts is an exceptional collection of destinations providing hospitality services throughout the world.  The company focuses on properties with access to nature and one-of-a-kind surroundings for vacations. For more information, go to Forever Resorts or Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Cruise illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mother’s Day Cruise

CELEBRATE MOTHER’S DAY ON THE WATER WITH A PREMIER BRUNCH CRUISE ABOARD CITY CRUISES  

Book an unforgettable experience aboard a City Cruises vessel this year, featuring signature cocktails, specialty food offerings, and spectacular city views 

Mom figures of every kind deserve only the best, especially given this past year. City Cruises announced today its Chicago port will be offering specialty cruises celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 9. Mom, grandmother, aunt, or any Mom figure you hold near and dear to you, will be swept off their feet this upcoming holiday with an exclusive brunch or dinner cruise aboard one of the spectacular City Cruises vessels, paired with a selection of specialty cocktails and city views to make them swoon. 

Families of every kind are invited on board to enjoy a delicious Sunday meal, all while taking in unmatched views of the city skyline from the Chicago River or Lake Michigan and create unforgettable memories together. 

Mother’s Day experiences offered in Chicago include:

DATES: Sunday, May 9, 2021
CRUISING TIME: Early Brunch: 10:00am – 12:00pm (9:30am boarding) or 
Afternoon Brunch: 2:00pm – 4:00pm (1:30pm boarding)
Tickets Available HERE

RATE: Early Brunch: $101.90 (Adult/Window Table); $81.90 (Adult)
            Afternoon Brunch: $109.90(Adult/Window Table); $89.90 (Adult)

INCLUDES:              

  • Two-hour premier brunch cruise on Lake Michigan
  • Delicious plated brunch with freshly prepared entrees, salads and desserts
  • Unlimited coffee, hot tea, iced tea and water
  • Bottomless mimosas for guests 21+

Spectacular views of the city skyline and local landmarks

Guaranteed table for your party size

Onboard entertainment

Flower for mom and two souvenir champagne flutes

EXTRAS AND UPGRADES:

  • Creative cocktails, wine and beer from our well-stocked cash bar
  • Window table reservations for the best views
  • Additional upgrades to customize your experience

This cruise departs from Navy Pier. For more information or to purchase tickets, please City Experiences or call (888) 957-2634.

MOTHER’S DAY PREMIER DINNER CRUISE ON THE CHICAGO RIVER

DATES:                     Sunday, May 9, 2021

CRUISING TIME:   7:00-9:00pm (6:30pm boarding) Tickets Available HERE

RATE: $151.90 (Adult/Window Table); $126.90 (Adult)

INCLUDES:  

  • Two-hour dinner cruise on the Chicago River
  • Delicious plated dinner with freshly prepared entrees, salads and desserts
  • Unlimited coffee, hot tea, iced tea and water
  • Spectacular views of the city skyline and local landmarks
  • Guaranteed table for your party size
  • Onboard entertainment
  • Flower for mom and two souvenir champagne flutes

EXTRAS & UPGRADES: 

  • Creative cocktails, wine and beer from our well-stocked cash bar
  • Window table reservations for the best views
  • Additional upgrades to customize your experience

This cruise departs from Chicago River Esplanade, right in front of the NBC Tower on the River (north side) or 455 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit City Experiences or call (888) 957-2634.

To provide reassurance in the current pandemic environment, City Experiences has expanded its industry defining SafeCruise by City Cruises program, building on already stringent sanitation processes, to incorporate further health-driven measures to guard against the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Supporting local regulatory initiatives against the spread of COVID-19
  • Mandatory daily crew member health screening and wearing of appropriate PPE.
  • Revised boarding and ticketing procedures to allow for social distancing and touchless entry.
  • Requiring guests to wear face masks while cruising, except while eating and drinking.
  • Reducing the number of guests on board, as supported by local government, and adapting all seating and table spacing to allow for a minimum 6-foot distance between guests.
  • Implementing enhanced sanitation and disinfection procedures, with hand sanitizing stations available throughout the vessel. 

Hornblower Cruises and Events Chicago Port Information 

  • Anyone who self-reports any of the noted COVID-19 symptoms or has completed travel in any of the restricted Travel Order states over the past 14 days, will not be able to join the cruise. 
  • All Crew and all Guests ages 2 and older are always required to wear face coverings while on board our vessels, except while dining or exempted by the local health authority. 
  • To reflect current requirements some of the usual elements dining cruises may not be permitted or offered. 
  • Chicago cruises will operate indoor dining at 40% capacity with a maximum of 50 guests per deck. 
  • All prices quoted are per person, subject to availability and exclude fees and taxes. 
  • Cruises depart Chicago River Esplanade, right in front of the NBC Tower on the River (north side) 455 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive Chicago, IL 60611
  • If looking to organize a private festive celebration in Chicago, City Cruises’ luxurious fleet is ideally suited family events or corporate outings alike and can easily accommodate a range of group sizes in accordance with current limitations. 
  • Visit City Experiences for more information on experiences available or call (888) 957-2634. 

About City Experiences

City Experiences represents Hornblower Group’s expansive portfolio of water- and land-based experience companies and includes two sub-brands: City Cruises and City Ferry.  City Cruises companies operate dining, sightseeing and private events across 22 destinations in the U.S., Canada and the UK.  City Cruises companies also operate cruises on behalf of the National Park Service and the Niagara Parks Commission and currently hold service contracts to provide ferry service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, Alcatraz Island and Niagara Falls.  City Ferry companies offer specialized knowledge and expertise required to transport passengers, vehicles and other cargo safely across inland and coastal waterways, serving as operator of NYC Ferry and Puerto Rico ferry system, among others.  City Experiences’ portfolio of companies also offers a range of land-based experiences including shore excursions, partner-offered experiences, multi-port packages, with companies including Cruising Excursions, ShoreTrips and Walks products.  For more information visit City Experiences.

About Hornblower Group

Hornblower Group is a global leader in world-class experiences.  The corporate entity of Hornblower Group is comprised of American Queen Steamboat Company and City Experiences.  Seaward Services, Inc., a marine services company specializing in the operation, maintenance and repair of government and privately owned vessels, is also a subsidiary of Hornblower Group, operating and maintaining U.S. Navy Ranges and port facilities, including local oil spill response.  Today, Hornblower’s footprint spans 111 countries and territories, and 125 U.S. cities, with offerings including water-based experiences, land-based experiences, overnight cruise experiences, and ferry and transportation services.   Hornblower Group is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with additional corporate offices in Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; London, United Kingdom; New Albany, Indiana; New York, New York; and across Ontario, Canada. 

About SafeCruise by City Cruises

Established over 25 years ago, SafeCruise by City Cruises delivers industry-defining standards for health, safety and security across all of our City Cruises operations. Continuously improving, the program follows the most up to date government and industry guidelines and applies decades-long operational expertise to ensure a safe environment for guests and crew members, while maintaining City Experiences’ excellent record of safety. For more information visit SafeCruise.

Toys for Tots illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Toys for Tots × Good360

Toys for Tots teams up with Good360 (again!), to Distribute One Million Toys, Games and Books to Families-in-Need

Toys for Tots announces the expansion of their year-round efforts to support those less fortunate by distributing one million toys, books, and games to families in need NOW.  While Toys for Tots is primarily known as a Christmastime charity, the organization recognizes there is still great need to provide emotional support and doesn’t want to wait until the holiday season to deliver hope to children in need.

As a Nation we’ve all been hopeful that the Coronavirus pandemic would be in our rearview mirrors by now, but the sad reality is that COVID-19 has had a long-term impact on just about every sector of our society.  Less fortunate children likely suffered the greatest learning loss by not being able to attend in-person classroom instruction, and in order to help combat that Toys for Tots has decided to distribute one million toys this spring and summer with a focus on toys that teach providing STEM-related toys.

We realize the importance of reminding children that there is still joy to be found in simple gifts every day, no matter how difficult things may be right now. That is why we are once again partnering with Good360, the global leader in product philanthropy and purposeful giving, and providing them with one million toys to distribute via their network of nonprofit organizations across the United States to DoGoodNOW.

“Toys for Tots is more than a Christmas charity—that is why we want to DoGoodNOW and expand our partnership with Good360,” said Lieutenant General Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.  “Without the assistance of Good360 and their vast network of non-profits throughout the country, Toys for Tots would not be able to distribute the one million toys we’re providing to families who are struggling outside of the holiday season.”

“With so many families struggling during the pandemic, Good360 is proud to continue the great work of our Marine Toys for Tots partnership,” said Matt Connelly, CEO of Good360.  “We’ve seen firsthand how toys, books and games bring joy to children and their loved ones served by our nonprofit partners and expanding our efforts will significantly increase the impact of our program.”

Toys for Tots and Good360 have complementary strengths, and this partnership will generate greater impact. Together we are more than just the sum of our parts—together we can DoGoodNOW.  The two organizations launched their collaboration in April of 2020 and since that time have distributed 1.8 million toys, games, and books.

If you’d like, you can donate to Marine Toys for Tots here

Bike Ride illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Bike4Tourism × Cycle the World

Bike4Tourism Invites Would-Be Travelers to Cycle the World, Virtually

Seeking a Global Community to Bike Together While Apart and Share Images of Each Other’s Routes

Missing international travel?   Wishing you could host some out-of-town friends to show them your most beautiful locations? Then Bike4Tourism has an inspiring global event tailor-made for you this Memorial Day weekend, on Sunday, May 30th.

Bike4Tourism aims to promote healthy living and sustainable tourism. The goal of the event is to have as many participants as possible, in every country, riding bikes and sharing photographs to the global community of the most beautiful places near their homes.

In sharing each other’s images, cyclists will virtually visit cities, countries and continents, without need for a passport — just a helmet and the will to discover or rediscover the places that surround us and show them to others.

Organizers are hoping for more than 115,000 participants around the world to break the current record.  Proceeds will support environmental conservation charities and aid tourism businesses in financial need following Covid-19 travel restrictions.

It’s hoped that participants are left with even more desire to travel, sustainably, with a huge selection of photos of beautiful places from which to choose their next journey.

All are welcome to participate, and free tickets will be made available for children to encourage family bike rides.   Early bird tickets are available from April 20th.  For more information, visit Bike 4 Tourism, and Facebook.

Anniversary Celebration illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

WonderWorks Celebration

10 for 10! WonderWorks Myrtle Beach Celebrates its 10-Year Anniversary with 10 Specials & Giveaways

On April 2, 2021, WonderWorks Myrtle Beach is celebrating its 10-year anniversary.  As a thank you to those who have supported them over the last decade, they will be having specials all day long. The hours for the anniversary celebration will be 10:30 am to 10:00 pm.

“We are grateful for the last 10 years and look forward to the next 10,” explains Robert Stinnett, general manager at WonderWorks Myrtle Beach. “We are honored to celebrate such an important anniversary and are excited to share the festivities with our guests.”

The day-long celebratory specials and giveaways include:

  • $10 ziplines all day long.
  • $10 pizzas all day long.
  • The first 10 families will get a free keepsake photo.
  • The first 10 families will receive a free casebook.
  • T-shirts will be on sale for only $10.

WonderWorks mascot, Professor Wonder, will be making appearances throughout the day. Guests are encouraged to create and post “Happy birthday” videos for a chance to win a free swag bag. The interactive attraction will also be giving away other prizes, including a free birthday party and a WonderWorks annual pass on Instagram.

“Guests will have opportunities throughout the day to win some great prizes,” added Stinnett. “We thank the community for their support over the last 10 years.”

WonderWorks Myrtle Beach programs include a variety of STEM activities including the WonderKids student achievement event, virtual learning labs, ART-OLINA Young Artist’s Gallery of the Carolinas, science fair partnerships, online science programs, sensory days, and a variety of interactive exhibits. WonderWorks also offers group rates, birthday parties and homeschool programs. To learn more, please visit their website.

WonderWorks Myrtle Beach has COVID-19 safety measures in place. They include reduced hours, enhanced cleaning, spatial distancing protocols, employee health screenings and employee personal protective equipment (PPE). 

About WonderWorks

WonderWorks, a science-focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, there is something unique and challenging for guests of all ages. Feel the power of 84-mph hurricane-force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life-sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death-defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is open 365 days a year and hosts birthday parties and special events

Healthy Eating illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Food Insecurity

Michelle Obama‘s New Show Addresses Food Insecurity,

Recent Survey Findings Validate the Crisis Behind it

Six in 10 Americans have faced “food insecurity” at some point in their lives, and of those, 73% experienced it for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to this new research. The ongoing issue of food insecuritycontinues to receive more attention from celebrities and programming, like Michelle Obama’s new Waffles and Mochi show, which is directed at children to learn how to eat and prepare healthy meals. 

To understand the true impact and severity of the food insecurity crisis, recent findings from a new study launched yesterday from Feed the Children, a nonprofit dedicated to ending child hunger around the world, and Herbalife Nutrition, not only validate the crisis that’s happening today, but also shows how the U.S. compares to the rest of the world

The global survey of 9,000 respondents in 21 countries touches on families experiencing food insecurity for the first time, how they are managing to keep their families fed, along with some of their biggest concerns.


Below are a few of the U.S. stats that have come out of the survey: 

  • 73% of Americans surveyed experience food insecurity for the first time during the pandemic.
  • 31% of which have said their family has had to skip meals
  • 59% of parents are concerned their children will have lasting health effects as a result of food insecurity
  • 78% of parents rely on their child’s school meals to ensure their kids receive healthy meals
  • 63% of parents feel the government should promote flexible working hours to parents, so they can ensure their kids are eating balanced meals
E-Learning Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Creative Ways of Learning

How the Pandemic Opened Doors for Creative New Ways of Learning

When the pandemic shut down schools in 2020, parents were forced to pay closer attention to what their children were – or were not – learning, and to take a more active role in their students’ education. It made for an unwelcome disruption in everyone’s lives. But within this homelife upheaval, the disruption of school also provided an opportunity to re-evaluate how learning takes place, and what families can do to make things better, says Emily Greene, the author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World.

We’ve gained a new perspective, and this is our chance to update our outdated education system for something better, to shift our mindsets, and to rekindle our children’s joy in learning from the inside out,” says Greene, who herself is a working mother of three children. “I think many of us are beginning to recognize and appreciate new ways of learning that do not necessarily conform to the traditional format of school. Outside of the school building, we’re seeing learning happen anytime, anywhere, with anyone, in formal and informal ways.”

But a question arises: If it’s time to rethink education in America, what is the way forward? For Greene, part of the answer involves simply setting aside outdated ideas about learning and embracing a new way of thinking about what school should be.

Parents don’t need to wait for the school board, teachers, or others to act. She says some steps they can take themselves include:

  • Unlearn outdated beliefs about school. The traditional model of education is over 100 years old, which means people need to unlearn it, Greene says. Among other things, school is viewed as a daytime activity in a brick-and-mortar building where children the same age learn the same things, and tests measure how well they’re doing. “Maybe we flip that,” Greene says, “so that we view learning as an anytime activity where kids of all ages have learning options, creative thinking is expected, and success is measured by curiosity rather than test scores,” Greene says unlearning has three steps. “First, we let go of status-quo beliefs that are no longer valid,” she says. “Second, we replace outdated thinking with a new mindset that could work better. Finally, we rebuild day-to-day life around a new way of thinking about school.”
  • Nurture curiosity. Children are naturally curious, but structured education doesn’t always allow them to follow their innate desires to know or learn something, Greene says. Parents can help nurture curiosity by asking children questions about what interests them, she says. Parents should also be sure to listen to their children and elicit questions from them rather than jump in with advice, opinions, and answers. “I remind parents that curiosity is innate. All children are naturally drawn to things they find interesting,” Greene says. “With practice, kids can learn to activate their curiosity to transform everyday learning into a more joyful experience.”
  • Encourage creativity. Schools don’t kill creativity, but the conformity required at school does smother it, “leaving it gasping for air,” Greene says. “Creativity is stifled by standardization, evaluation, and pressure to conform to the structure of the school system,” she says. Interestingly enough, the pandemic helped show children the importance of creativity and innovation, she says. “They saw stores and restaurants adapt to changing conditions by offering curbside pickup and social distancing,” Greene says. “Many kids watched their parents adapt to a new way of remote working. These things make an impression, showing children that creativity enables us to adapt and solve real problems.”

Through this pandemic, we have all suffered, but we also have learned so much,” Greene says. “The disruption of school gives us the perspective needed to make a lasting difference in the way our children learn. What a waste it would be to just settle back into our old ways.”

About Emily Greene

Emily Greene is the author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students. She also is co-founder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital experiences. When the pandemic shut down the event industry, Greene co-led VIVA in rethinking how to bring people together in a global pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year® award recognizing innovation during adversity.

Parenting Tips During COVID-19

While this summer may look different than you and your family imagined, it can still be a happy, healthy time for growth and positive development. The Children and Screens network of experts is here to help you have the best summer possible with tips for managing summertime with your children and tweens on- and off-screens.

Read on for details, and be sure to tune in to the next “Ask The Experts” interactive webinar series brought to you by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development this coming Friday, June 5th, at noon EDT, when an esteemed panel of experts will talk about how to navigate this unique summer with your school-aged children and teens and answer your questions via Zoom. RSVP here.

The workshop will be moderated by Dr. David Hill, a national authority on Child Development, Hospital Pediatrician at Goldsboro Pediatrics, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UNC School of Medicine, and the author of the new book Co-parenting Through Separation and Divorce.

  • FIND A BALANCE
    Kids thrive in environments that help regulate their sensory systems—sight, sound, touch, hearing, taste, smell, vestibular, and proprioceptive, among others—because it makes them feel calm and ready to learn. Understand that kids may be using media devices to help regulate sensation when ordinary supports like playgrounds and resource rooms are unavailable. Instead of viewing media use as inherently problematic, work with your child to explore other environments, inside and out, that support their sensory regulation so that media use is just one of many options available to them.         

 -Kristen Harrison, Professor of Communication and Media, University of Michigan

  • KIDS PITCH IN
    Parents need help around the house, and children need variety, so take this summer as an opportunity to show your kids how to pitch in. Cooking, cleaning the car, watering the plants – these all give your child a sense of purpose and new skills they’ll need as they grow up. Plus, it provides a welcome hand for overburdened parents and guardians!                                                                                                           

-Susan Tapert, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Director, Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, UC San Diego.

  • KEEP IN TOUCH
    As your child progresses from early to middle childhood, peer interactions become even more important. Peer relationships help children develop important skills like cooperation, conflict resolution, emotional management, perspective taking, creativity, and identity presentation. Even if your family is social distancing, encourage your child to engage with other kids. This can be through video chat (e.g., Zoom, FaceTime, Skype), online games (e.g., Minecraft, Roblox), walkie-talkies, or even talking across fences or through windows. Children need social interactions, and peers are important social partners. Even if parks and camps are limited or closed, social interactions should still be encouraged, and the thoughtful use of technology can help facilitate them.                       

 -Stephanie M. Reich, Associate Professor of Education, University of California, Irvine.

  • GO OUTSIDE
    Strangely enough, stay-at-home orders seem to have reminded people how important it is to get outdoors. Being outside is generally regarded as safe, so long as basic public health guidelines are still observed. Playing in nature promotes curiosity, initiative, and creativity, and it’s a great way to take a break from the screen. The Children in Nature Network (CINN) provides resources for parents and guardians who want to promote exploration and unstructured play in backyards, parks, and other wild spaces during the pandemic. With many local and state parks starting to open back up, families can take advantage of this opportunity to instill a lifelong interest in nature.           

-Jayson Seaman, Associate Professor of Outdoor Leadership and Management, University of
New Hampshire.

  • ENCOURAGE EXPLORATION
    It is important to remember that learning happens through interaction with our environment. We learn through what we do. Letting children come up with ideas important to them, avoiding prescribed activities, taking time, and being patient provides space for creativity to emerge. Whatever the activity – whether a walk in the woods, drawing a picture, experimenting with a recipe or what might seem like just fooling around- letting kids, particularly young ones explore in unstructured ways helps them understand their world and cultivate deeper interest.                 

-Stephen Uzzo, Chief Scientist, New York Hall of Science and Adjunct Professor, Teaching and Learning, New York Institute of Technology Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

  • EXPECT AN ADJUSTMENT PERIOD
    Your child has been using screens to fend off boredom, but that’s not all. Screens are an easy way to distract ourselves from all those uncomfortable feelings during a pandemic: Disappointment. Sadness. Anxiety. Fear. Annoyance. Anger. So be sure to build in antidotes, like daily roughhousing, to help kids work through emotions. And you can expect a certain amount of volatility from your child as they begin spending less time with screens, so ratchet up your patience level. But after this transitional time period, you’ll see your child becoming less irritable and aggressive. You’ll notice more initiative, self-discipline and focus when they play. And best of all, you’ll see your child developing their inner life and discovering who they are by playing, learning and engaging with the world, instead of losing themselves to a screen.             

-Laura Markham, Editor of Ahaparenting.com, Author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start  Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life

  • USE YOUR TOOLS
    Families can find a great tool to help them have a screen-use discussion with their kids by checking out the interactive Family Media Use Plan
    at HealthyChildren.org. Not sure how much time your kids really have? Would it help to have some visuals? It’s all there!   

-David L Hill, Hospital Pediatrician at Goldsboro Pediatrics, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UNC School of Medicine, and the author of the new book Co-parenting Through Separation and Divorce.

  • DETOX FROM SCREENS
    Consider setting aside a full day (perhaps Saturday or Sunday) as screen-free time. If you can’t commit to a day, at least try a designated evening. This regular break allows children to do a “screen detox” and creates a void to be filled with other activities. Not a bad routine for the whole family to do together.   

-Daniel G. Shapiro, M.D., Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

  • FAMILY FUN WITH MEDIA
    When you do watch media, make it a family affair. We know from research that when children and caregivers watch screens together, children are more likely to learn from what they are viewing. So, bring out the popcorn and have a special movie night, or designate some time during the day when you can sit down and watch educational media together to help make it a positive experience for kids. Children are more likely to learn from what they are viewing if you direct them to specific content (“Elmo is red”) and make it relatable (“that car is blue, we have a blue car too!”).  For older children, you can get them talking or thinking about what’s on the screen by asking engaging, open ended questions (“The dragon seems upset, why do you think that is?”). When family screen time is over, try to engage children in offline activities that get them playing or moving, to help keep their brains and bodies healthy.             

-Sheri Madigan, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Child Development, Associate Professor, University of Calgary and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute

“Just as resources have been recently prioritized to the transition from work to home,” says Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, “for the foreseeable future, parents need to explore new avenues and adapt their child-rearing techniques to best serve their children’s needs in an uncertain and challenging milieu. It is a lot of ask, especially with fewer outside resources, less time, near constant change, circumscribed opportunities and, on top of it, the constant allure of screen time for everyone, but the payoff is worth the extra effort. We are here to support parents in coping with the new reality.”

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, sara sandman, illustration

GameTruck Virtual Gaming Parties

Video Game Party Company Goes Virtual Helping Mom and Dad Save Birthday Parties

Arizona based, GameTruck, is adding Virtual Gaming Parties as part of their suite of video game party experiences guiding mom and dad to provide a virtual party experience.

GameTruck, the industry leader in mobile video game parties, is proud to announce a new offering to its video game party options: Virtual Gaming Parties.

Over the past 15 years, GameTruck, who invented the mobile video game party, has entertained and connected more than ten million children and their families across the country. Due to the extraordinary circumstances the world is facing, GameTruck is constantly looking for ways to get people connected. As a way to support communities, GameTruck officially launched Virtual Gaming Parties to provide entertainment and relief during this difficult time.

Virtual gaming parties offer customers a way to play and experience the joy of a video game party while practicing social distancing. A virtual gaming party will let up to 24 players connect with each other remotely through voice and text chat to communicate and join each other in the online games they share.

The goal of virtual gaming parties is to create a product that allows people to connect virtually while in-person parties are impossible. Moreover, GameTruck will insert the best parts of their in-person gaming parties and to create a virtual offering that is safe, easy, and tons of fun.

Here is how a virtual gaming party works:

GameTruck creates a private virtual party space for customers to join together, remotely.

Customers will play from their homes, and join the fun, remotely.

The GameCoach connects everyone, helps share friend codes, presents special challenges, and monitors the fun.

Customers will provide their own gaming equipment and games.

GameTruck will manage the setup, gameplay and will moderate the entire event.

“At its core, GameTruck is a human connection company. In-person social interaction has been the heart of our business. The current public health crisis gives us an opportunity to reimagine how to entertain communities without physically being together. We are excited to launch our Virtual Gaming Parties,” Founder Scott Novis said.

GameTruck virtual gaming parties are a turn-key solution to connecting people through video games. Scott Novis, GameTruck Founder, believes this offering could be a game-changer in the video game entertainment and esports market.

“With so many people staying home from school and work, our team came together and came up with a solution to connect people,” Novis said. “I am very proud to stand behind our virtual gaming party experience, and I believe we can continue our mission: to connect people through gaming.”

Virtual gaming parties will be available across the United States starting Monday, March 23, 2020. For more information, please visit: www.gametruckparty.com

About GameTruck™ and Global Youth Enterprises, LLC

Global Youth Enterprises, LLC is a human connection company that creates transformational video game experiences through excellence in entertainment, sports and learning. The company operates GameTruck™, and Gameplex™, franchises across the U.S. to deliver high-quality entertainment for private parties and corporate events. In addition, Bravous® Esports, serves the competitive and recreational Esports players of all ages. For more information, please visit www.globalyouthenterprises.com.