MAD (Mindie, Adam, Alex, David) Family Fun is the result of friends and family asking "How do you find so much fun stuff to do?" So, I decided to share with everyone! There are no BIG secrets involved, I promise. I just have a knack for finding fun and now I want to share it with you!

MAD Family Fun is a place to find activities, events and ideas to have more fun with your family. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Be a Tourist in your own town

It is that time of year again, actually this weekend, when the city of Lansing holds it's "Be a tourist in your own town" event. We went last year and had so much fun.

For only $1 you can purchase a "Be A Tourist Passport" which grants you FREE admission to more than 60 area attractions, local businesses and special activities on June 2, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
**Ages 3 and under do not require a passport. Tell me that isn't some bang for your buck!

Also if you don't feel like driving around town hunting for parking, for only 50 cents you will receive a stamp from CATA (the public bus) which will allow you to ride the Be A Tourist routes for the rest of the day with no extra charge. Think of the gas money you will save.

Personal notes: If you do head out make sure you hit Impressions 5 first thing in the morning as it gets packed. And don't miss the instrument petting zoo at Elderly Instruments! Have fun my Mid-Michigan Fun Friends.

*** Not from Mid-Michigan? See if there is a "be a tourist" event in your area!

National Donut Day 2012 is Tomarrow!!!

What is better then a donut? A FREE Donut!!!! That's right, in honor of National Donut Days places like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts are giving away FREE Donuts.

Dunkin Donuts - Get a free donut with drink purchase on National Donut Day, Friday, June 1. Find a location near you.

Krispy Kreme – Get one free doughnut of any variety per customer on Friday, June 1 only. Find a location near you.

LaMar’s – Get a free doughnut on June 1st at participating shops. Find a location near you.

Tim Hortons – Get a free doughnut with purchase. You must like them on Facebook to print the coupon. Find a location near you.

**Be sure to call ahead to make sure they are participating

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hug your cat day!

Yes, today is Hug Your Cat Day! They have a day for everything, don't they! After giving a furry friend a squeeze, why not send your human friends an e-card for Hug Your Cat Day!

Make your own stamps!

We all know that kids LOVE to use stamps. We also know that store bought stamps can get pricey. What is a parent to do? Have your kids make their own!

All you need are foam stickers (you can get a pack for $1 at Dollar Tree) and various size bottle caps (milk and juice jug caps work best.) Hand over the caps and stickers and not only will your children entertain themselves making the stamps, but then you have hours of entertainment as well using them!

You can also get various colored ink pads at Dollar Tree too!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Magnetic fun

This “craft” (toy) is so easy to make and kids love to spend lots of time playing with it when it is done. I don’t even know what to call this, but we have all played with something similar when we were kids. Do you remember the man you could put a beard on by using a magnet to move the shavings around? This works on the same idea.

What you need:

  1. Small magnet (we picked up ours at the craft store, get the strong ones)
  2. Popsicle stick
  3. Pipe Cleaners
  4. A bottle
  5. Scissors

First, Glue the magnet to the popsicle stick and set to the side to dry. This will be your “wand.”

Next, cut up the pipe cleaners into small pieces.

Last, PLAY!!!! You can put them in the bottle and move them around with the wand. Our Fun Tester preferred to use the bottle as storage. We left the pieces out and he has used the wand like a crane. We have had contests to see who can pick up the most with one try. He got a bunch on the magnet and pretend to pluck a chicken pulling the pieces off one by one! Your imagination is the only thing that limits what you can do with this idea.

Camping (outdoor) BINGO

Check out this totally awesome game of BINGO from the NWF! Even if you don't like camping (I know some of you hate bugs) you can still have a fun time with these on a nature walk! So warm up your printer and make a set for your family. Now, turn off that TV this summer and get outside for some good old fashion unplugged fun!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Remember Memorial Day for what it is.....

The Ultimate Sacrifice:
A Memorial Day Poem

We set aside Memorial Day
Each and every year
To honor those who gave their lives
Defending what we hold dear.

In all the dark and deadly wars,
Their graves prove and remind us,
... Our brave Americans gave their all
To put danger far behind us.

They made the ultimate sacrifice
Fighting for the American way;
We admire them and respect them
On every Memorial Day.

By Joanna Fuchs

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Puzzle Can

Here is a craft that not only is fun to do but will be fun to use AND recycles things you already have at home! The puzzle can is just a can (we used an oatmeal container) a picture (we used a page from an old calender) and some tape and scissors.

The picture we used was about and inch to short to go around the can so we just taped some printer paper to it. I think it actually made the picture easier to turn in the end.

Next we cut the picture into one inch strips and taped them around (not to) the can. They were snug but still movable.

Done!! Just that simple. Mix it up and hand it to your child and you now have an entertained kid!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Library Programs

Not all libraries have summer programs, but many do. Now is a great time to look into those upcoming events and get them on your calendar. Maybe your town library doesn't do anything, so check the surrounding communities. We are lucky to live near a community with a WONDERFUL Library in the Park program. Each week at the park we read stories, have fun activities, and have a chance to play with new friends.

Our program rocks with everything from a pirate day and free movies at the local theater to alligator visits and a patriotic parade! So if you live in Mid-Michigan check out the Library in the Park program in Charlotte. If you live else where, get on the phone and find a program in your neck of the woods!

Build and Grow for the summer

I know, I know, I have said it before but I am saying it again! Sign up for the FREE Build and Grow clinics at Lowe's! Kids get to make some really neat toys like the upcoming ice cream truck and the super cool Madagascar plane! Hurry and sign up!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

World Turtle Day

May 23 is World Turtle Day!

World Turtle Day was founded in 1990 by the American Tortoise Rescue. World Turtle Day is an annual observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats. You can find lots of interesting and educational information (as well as giveaways in honor of the day) on the World Turtle Day facebook page.

What can you do to help?

Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.
Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.
• If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.
• Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
• Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches. This is illegal throughout the U.S.

Every year during Reptile Weekend at our local zoo visitors get a chance to get up close with Al. It is an amazing chance for children to fall in love and we all know you save what you love.

Want to help you children fall in love with turtles? Here are some fun activities you can do today, or any day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spring Fling on the Farm

I want to start off by saying thank you to Tirrell Farmstead for hosting the Spring Fling on the Farm!! If you live in Mid-Michigan and missed it, you missed out on a great (FREE) time.

Hair cut time
At Tirrell Farmstead they raise sheep, milk them, and make their own cheese right on site! At Spring Fling you were invited to visit the different areas of the farm and enjoy the fun, demonstrations and food (all of which were FREE.)

We had been to Tirrell Farmstead the previous year for Spring Fling. So our oldest felt right at home. Since he already knew the milking and cheese making process he spent most of his time playing in the barn and visiting with the animals.

Even our new little guy got to have some fun hanging out with the animals. He and this donkey spent quit a bit of time in a stare off. I don't know which one of them was more interested in the other.

There is nothing like kids on a farm. Not only is it education but I am sorry most important it is just down right fun! So keep your eyes open in your community for a farm open house. Or better yet, reach out to a farm and ask if you can arrange to stop by some time. Trust me, farmers WANT kids to know where their food comes from!

And you never know, you might make some new friends too. We have also been out to the Tirrell family farms for lambing season and our son got to bottle feed lambs. Now tell  me that not a memory he will have for a long time!

Free comic book for kids on economics

Economics for kids? YES!! This comic book (from the Federal Reserve) helps children understand through a simple story the power of supply and demand and the fair way to handle things. Order your children a copy today. When I got ours, they had included a teacher guide too!

How do plants drink?

For his 6th birthday, my son got a science kit and one of the experiments was about how plants get their liquids. We had so much fun I thought I would share with you so you can do it too!
First you need celery (preferably with leaves.) Cut off the bottoms and place a few in water with food color. We used red because that is my son’s favorite color but feel free to use which ever color your kid loves. Leave them sit over night (or longer if you get busy.)

When we had time, we pulled out the celery and “dissected” it. Yes, I know my son has a utility blade in his hand and YES we discussed how to use it before I let him do the experiment. If you do not feel safe letting your children do this step, then DON’T let them. As a parent you need to use your judgment and step in if they need help. The last thing any of us need are stitches!

So what did we find after cutting up the celery? The canals in the plant that carry the water had been turned red!! At this point my son stated “that’s why the leave have a red tint mom!” Yup, he got it!!

And I must admit, I had no clue that the canals were only on the back side of the celery stalk. I guess we all learned something with this experiment!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

National Kids to Parks Day, May 19 (TODAY)

Buddy Bison and the National Park Trust want you and your family to get outside! Join in the National Kids to Parks Day and either find an event to join or just get out there on your own! Check out these wonderful resources from Buddy Bison to make your outdoor fun more enjoyable and educational. Don't miss out on Buddy Bison's Adventure Book full of great ideas and activities!

Why are you still sitting here? Get outside and have some fun!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Aboriginal Dot Art

Here at the MAD house we love art. We decided to explore some world art through aboriginal dot art from Australia. This is so easy and fun. First we googled aboriginal dot art to see examples. Then we printed off some animal templates.

All you need is your animal outline, a pile of Qui-tips, and a paper plate with some paint and your ready to start creating dot art.

It took our Fun Tester a few second to get the hang of using the Qui-tip to make individual dots but he was quickly on his way. He loved the activity so much we had to print a few different outlines. Here are his finished products.

This art project was a hit here at the MAD house and I am sure it will be at your house too!!!!

Endangered Spieces Day is MAY 18th

Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for people to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions that people can take to help protect our nation’s disappearing wildlife. Started by the United States Senate, Endangered Species Day is the third Friday in May. Every year, thousands of people throughout the country celebrate Endangered Species Day at parks, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, libraries, schools and community centers. 

See if you can find an event near you to participate in. If you don't have one near you, you can still participate by using these educational resources they provide.

This is such a large concept for children to understand, so here are a few "tools" to help bring it home. Check out who is endangered in YOUR backyard. And here are some endangered species coloring pages you can print off.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Camping with Kids (Part 3 Packing for fun)

There are a million and one websites out there that will give you equipment lists for what to pack when camping. This is no such list. I am here to tell you how to pack for children when camping. This is just my take on the whole idea. For me when the kids are happy, mom and dad have more fun too! So here we go…..

1.) When packing your child’s clothing always pack at least two times as much as you think you need. Camping is about getting out in nature and if your child does it right they will get wet and dirty and make more clothing changes then a pop star at a concert. Also bring a trash bag to put wet and dirty clothing in because I promise you, they smell!

2.) Never forget your child’s favorite friend, be it blanket or stuffed animal. Nothing ruins a good time faster then a younger child’s need for their best friend when it is missing. First time campers might be nervous and it is great to have that lovie there to go on adventures with and snuggle down with at night. Forget your child’s friend and it could be a long night (or worse, long drive home in the middle of the night.)

3.) A child friendly medical kit is a must. Yes they make big medical kits full of thing that no one will ever need (because if stitches are needed we are going to the ER.) What you need to keep your kids healthy on a camping trip are surprisingly simple. Sun block, bug spray, calamine lotion, sting stick, triple antibiotic cream and cute, fun band-aids. If you can’t prevent or cure it with these items it is time for the professionals.

4.) Child friendly food is a parent’s best friend on camping trips. You may want to cook in that cast iron pot and be an outdoor chef, your child is just HUNGRY. Make sure you take a variety of quick and healthy snacks that kids can grab. They will need more energy running through the woods and you will have less whining about how long till dinner. Fruit, cracker packs, and individually packed items. Individually packed items are great because they can be put in backpacks and if your child does grab one and forget it at least all the snacks aren’t discovered by ants or worse Mr. raccoon! And honestly who wants to reach for a chip only to find a child has been there and they are covered with dirt.

5.) Most important for the parental mental health is activities. No, do not bring a mini DVD player….your camping!!! But do bring lots of little indoor and outdoor activities. Bring things they can take out and use in nature like kid binoculars and magnifying glass. Bring thinks for those rainy periods like a picture frame to glue found nature objects on or some cards. Make sure the children do not have access to this stuff, it is your sanity stash! Things to pull out and surprise them with. Use your imagination and your child’s interests.

This was by no means all inclusive and I am sure I have missed a thing or two. But I just wanted to help make your camping trip a little more fun for everyone based on our past experience. So get your stuff together and go camping!!

Learn all about the states (coloring pages)

I just want to say thank you to Crayola for their new website. I found these awesome state coloring pages full of information about each state. I can guarantee, the MAD house will be doing all of them this summer. I love fun things that are educational!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Make your own puzzles

Are you tired of buying puzzles only to have pieces lost? Why not make your own, inexpensive puzzles! Here is what you need......

  1. Your own home made mod podge glue
  2. Some popsicle (craft) sticks
  3. An image (I printed mine off the computer)
  4. A Qui-tip (so you don't ruin a paint brush)

Spread glue over the back of the image and place it on the popsicle sticks. Next spread glue over the top of the image. Set the puzzle some where to dry. It should take about an hour to dry. Kids can help with this step.

The final step is an adult one. Once dry, use an exacto knife to cut the popsicles apart. Ta dummmm! A puzzle! You can use bigger craft sticks for smaller children and simpler images. I just picked this one because our son LOVES cats.

Make you own "mod podge"

I have been finding a few neat crafts to do and they call for "mod podge" which is a name brand for a type of glue. I checked my craft store only to be hit with sticker shock at the price of this glue. What to do? Make my own!! And so can you! You most likely have everything you need to make it right now, so lets get started.....

First you need a jar to mix it in. I use a baby food jar. Next, and this is the hardest step..... Put 50/50 water and glue (like Elmer's) in the jar. Put the lid on your jar and shake. Your done! That was so easy I almost died laughing at what people at the store were paying for the same thing with a name brand.