Call anytime, an adoption professional is here to help.
28
Jul

Post Adoption Depression – You’re Not Alone

By Ashleigh

Post Adoption DepressionJust as biological mothers can experience postpartum blues or depression, so too can adoptive moms (and dads).

There are so many emotions involved in becoming a parent, and for those who become parents nearly overnight, there can be the added stress of doing everything at the last minute. Coupled with sleep deprivation and complicated feelings of guilt associated with birth parents, it’s no wonder so many adoptive parents experience post adoption depression.

The good news is that you are not alone. There are thousands of adoptive parents out there coping with the same feelings you are. And even better, there is help available.

So, What is Post Adoption Depression?

Post Adoption Depression is characterized by feelings of overwhelming sadness or anxiety after bringing your baby home. These feelings can be brought on by a number of factors including:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • The stress of becoming parents overnight (literally)
  • Feelings of guilt associated with the child’s birth parents
  • Lack of a support system of other adoptive parents
  • Lack of socialization

Left untreated, post adoption depression can have negative impacts on a parent’s health and wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of the child.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of post adoption depression vary widely and not all new parents will experience all of these symptoms at any one time. Some parents may have only one or two of these symptoms, that does not mean he or she is not experiencing post adoption depression

  • Depressive mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with baby
  • Isolating yourself from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or binge eating
  • Insomnia
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Fear that you are not a good parent
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Inability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Some changes in mood and exhaustion are expected in new parents; however, should any of these symptoms last longer than 2-3 weeks you should seek help from your doctor or Adoptive Family Specialist.

Coping

When it comes to coping with post adoption depression there are a number of things you can do to help ease your feelings of despair.

Remember that you’re not alone. Research shows that approximately 18 to 26 percent of new adoptive mothers deal with depressive symptoms. Don’t think that you are the only one experiencing these feelings and know that you’re not a terrible person for feeling them. Parenting is hard, no matter how it came to you.

Bonding with your child can take time. Not every parent feels an instant bond with their child, even among biological parents. Don’t give up hope and know that your bond will continue to strengthen and grow in the days, months and years to come.

Get plenty of rest. I know, easier said than done right? Lack of sleep can be a major contributing factor of post adoption depression, so it’s important that you get as much rest as possible. Take your family and friends up on their offers to care for the baby so you can take a short nap. Split night time feedings and changes with your partner so you can both get some much needed z’s.

Have realistic expectations. After jumping through all of the adoption hoops it is common for adoptive parents to believe they have to be perfect parents. This title is nearly impossible to live up to and can contribute to your depressive symptoms. You’re doing the best you can and that is what is perfect for your family.

Seek help. Don’t hesitate to talk to your Adoptive Family Specialist about how you are feeling. They are there any time to answer questions and offer support during this time of transition. You might also consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor or a therapist who is familiar with this type of depression.

For more information on post adoption depression please visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

*Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by American Adoptions, and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

This article includes external links. American Adoptions is not responsible for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

27
Jul

5 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Birth Parents

By Ashleigh

Joni Mitchell

Joni MitchellIn 1964, a 21-year-old Joni Mitchell, then Joan Anderson, found herself pregnant, dirt poor and unable to take care of a child.  She gave birth to a daughter, Kelly Gale Anderson, in February 1965 and decided to place the baby for adoption.

Years later, though her adoption story remained a secret, Mitchell penned a song about her experience called “Little Green.” Mitchell sings, “Child with a child pretending/Weary of lies you are sending home/ So you sign all the papers in the family name/ You’re sad and you’re sorry, but you’re not ashamed./Little Green have a happy ending.”

Mitchell and her daughter, renamed Kilauren Gibb, reunited in the late ‘90s after she took her search for her daughter public. Little did she know, Kilauren was looking for her too. The two have since been reunited.

Read more of their story on Joni Mitchell’s website.

Kate Mulgrew

Kate MulgrewIn 1977, a time when pregnancies outside of marriage were considered taboo, Kate Mulgrew found herself unexpectedly pregnant by a man she did not wish to marry. The Orange is the New Black actress, whose acting career was just beginning to blossom, knew adoption was the best choice for her daughter.

About her adoption experience Mulgrew says, “Though I’m always going to feel the hurt, at least I know my child is alive and that she is happy somewhere growing up surrounded by love.” Mulgrew was reunited with her biological daughter in 2001.

Clark Gable

Clark GableWhile married to another woman, Clark Gable conceived a child with Loretta Young. In order to protect their acting careers and avoid scandal, Young hid her pregnancy by traveling to Europe for several months and later claiming to be ill. After giving birth in November of 1935, Young placed her baby girl, Judy Lewis, in an orphanage. Lewis spent nearly two years in various “hideaways and orphanages” until Young brought her home claiming to have “adopted” the girl.

Though she bore striking resemblance to Gable, it wasn’t until Lewis was 31 that she learned the true identity of her birth father. At this point, Gable had been dead for five years and Lewis had met him only once when she was 15 years old.

David Crosby

David CrosbyDavid Crosby had a son with a woman in 1962, but the two decided to place the baby for adoption. In 1994, while preparing for a liver transplant, Crosby learned that his son had been looking for him. The two have since reunited and have performed and recorded together many times, even releasing the album “Croz” together in 2014.

 

 

Roseanne Barr

Roseanne BarrAt the age of 17, shortly after being released from a mental institution, Roseanne Barr gave birth to a baby girl whom she placed for adoption. They have since reunited, and her daughter even worked on the set of Barr’s TV show, Roseanne.

 

 

Resources:

http://jonimitchell.com/library/view.cfm?id=91

http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-2015/celebrity-kate-mulgrew-adoption.html

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1998-06-13/features/1998164084_1_david-crosby-raymond-pevar

https://adoption.com/famous-birth-parents

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Lewis

25
Jul

The Facts About Formula Feeding

By Ashleigh

A baby being fed a bottleAdoptive parents have two main options when it comes to feeding their baby: formula or breastfeeding. Both methods are nutritious for your baby, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so the decision really comes down to what works best for you.

To help you make a decision, we have compiled some formula information that you may not know. Be sure to check out our post on breastfeeding an adopted child, as well!

What Exactly is Baby Formula?

Infant formula is a nutritional supplement that is usually milk-based. For infants who have lactose intolerances, soy-based formulas also exist.

What Should I Know about Formula Feeding?

When it comes to purchasing formula, you have many options. Formula can be purchased pre-mixed, powdered, or concentrated – all of which are equally good for the baby as long as you follow the instructions. When looking for a formula, make sure it contains iron, DHA, and ARA, all of which will help baby’s healthy growth.

After purchasing formula, one of the most common questions parents have is how to know when to feed their baby. In general, infants are usually fed every three or four hours and should be given two to three ounces of formula per pound of body weight.

Formula that is not pre-mixed should be prepared with cold water, and many parents choose to warm up the bottle before feeding the baby. Because microwaves cause uneven heating, you should not use the microwave for this step.  Make sure you throw away whatever your baby does not drink, as saving leftovers can cause a buildup of bacteria.

Just like with breastfeeding, formula feeding can also be a great time to bond with your baby. Eye contact, talking, and switching arms are just a few of the ways to make feeding a positive experience for you and your baby.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Formula Feeding?

Here are just a few of the benefits and drawbacks to choosing formula:

Pros:

  • Less physically demanding – There is no question that breastfeeding takes a physical toll on a mother, especially if you experience any difficulties with producing milk.
  • All family members can help feed – Bottle feeding offers the added bonus of allowing dad, grandma, or anyone else to feed and bond with the baby.

Cons:

  • Extra items needed – Buying bottles and formula can sometimes be costly, and it takes time to clean the bottles after feeding. However, adoptive breastfeeding also requires additional time and expenses.
  • Nutrition – Formula has come a long way in replicating human breastmilk; however, there are still some properties that have yet to be replicated using formula. That being said, formula fed babies grow into happy health adults just as breastfed babies do. Ultimately, though, the best method is the one that is healthiest for both of you.

How do I Decide?

Some mothers know from the beginning that formula will work better for them and their baby. Others may try breastfeeding and switch to formula later. By weighing the pros and cons listed here and possibly trying for yourself, you will be able to figure out the best solution for you and your baby.

20
Jul

Long Story, Short – A Birth Mother’s Journey

By Ashleigh

Loving young mother holding her newborn baby boy

Long story short, I was a mother for six months. I was excellent at it. I breastfed, paid attention to his vaccination schedule, and practiced attachment parenting. I also worked full-time one hour away, had almost no money left after paying an amazing nanny, and did not get more than four hours of sleep per night.

Overjoyed, Yet All Alone

I will never forget waddling into one of my last courses as undergraduate seven months pregnant. I had to bring a pillow with me to sit on because the chairs were so uncomfortable at that stage in my pregnancy. I can’t believe I aced my coursework.  School was my life, and I have always excelled at it.

I was so in love with my son’s biological father. He had deep brown eyes, a smile that would make you melt, he was tall and he was 10 years older than me. I also remember paying for all of my own medical bills, fighting with him all the time, and him using drugs. I will never forget the text messages he used to send me after I stopped seeing him. And how excited he was to have another son, then how badly he left me alone while we were talking.

My pregnancy was so difficult and I could barely make it into work every day. I was on government assistance and could barely afford to pay the medical bills. But I was going to graduate college with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. I was going to be a mother. I had friends and family gathered around me.  Everything was going to be okay.

Labor was amazing. I labored alone for hours, and had my son 20 minutes after arriving at the nearest hospital. My son latched onto my breast within 30 minutes of being born and slept with me in our hospital bed. Two people came to visit us. He barely slept. I barely slept. There was so much crying from both of us. I was all alone.

A Devine Miracle

You see, with the good comes the bad. Unfortunately in my situation, the hard times were just too hard. I had been made promises of support that went unfulfilled upon the time of collection. I couldn’t survive financially even though I was working full-time. I realize now that my son must have had some allergies or colic, because he cried so often at night and we barely slept. I was beyond exhausted, and all alone.

I decided to put my son up for adoption when I was pregnant; I just didn’t realize it until he was six months old and I consciously made the choice to follow through with the plan. My family was beside themselves. My friends didn’t know what to say to me. Yet, no one would listen to me when I told them how much I was struggling. They would just shrug it off, or not respond.

I was 22 years old when I put my son up for adoption. I had a Bachelor’s degree. I was am amazing mother.

My son’s parents weren’t actually registered and accepted into my adoption agency until my son was two months old. If I had made the decision when I was pregnant and put him up at birth, he would have never found his way home. Everything happens with purpose, and God works out for the good all things for those who love Him.  I was so angry for so long, yet a divine miracle took place regardless.

Meant to Be

I am now 29 years old. I have a Master of Art’s in Organizational Management. I’m working on publishing my first book titled, “How a Birth Mom Healed.” I got married two years ago. I see my son and speak to him as I am involved in an open adoption. I have the opportunity to help other birth mothers and birth parents heal through my writing. I have recovered from severe bouts of depression and hopelessness. I have sought counseling, stress relieving tools, coping skills, and various other methods of healing which I still use to this day and share with others. I have an incredible life. My son is healthy, happy, and loved. He is home with his parents where he belongs. I believe they were always meant to be his parents, and I was the vessel God used to get him there. I’m always here for my son and I always will be. He has an incredible life.

Adoption is beautiful no matter what circumstances you come from or how amazing your life may seem. To all adoptive parents out there: don’t give up. There is a birth mother out there for you. I’m so grateful that my son’s parents never gave up, or he and I would have never found the amazing lives that we have now. Thank you to my son’s parents for making our lives what they were always meant to be.

– Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

19
Jul

5 Things Your Social Worker Wants You to Know

By Ashleigh

Adoption Social WorkerEmotions run high in any adoption situation and adoptive families don’t always know how to act or react to certain circumstances. The best thing for families to do in these situations is to turn to their adoption social worker for advice.

Here are the top 5 things your social worker wants you to know going into an adoption:

  1. Adoption can be overwhelming, frustrating, and tiresome. But it is oh so worth it. The stack of adoption paperwork is daunting, but every single piece is important to the overall success of your adoption. We will ask personal, and sometimes painful, questions. We expect you to be open and honest in your answers. We will do everything in our power to make this process easier for you, but we can’t promise that there won’t be hiccups.
  1. We cannot control what expectant parents reveal to us. We can never guarantee that an expectant mother is being totally honest with us, but we will give you every bit of information we can about her situation.
  1. If an expectant mother doesn’t tell the 100% truth, don’t take it personally. These women are going through an emotional decision that we can’t ever imagine. It’s not always easy for them to disclose everything. They fear judgement, persecution and rejection from adoptive families. Put yourself in their shoes as much as possible!
  1. Birth mothers love to hear that you’re thinking about them. As social workers we see many raw emotions from both the adoptive family side and the birth parent side. It is a truly bittersweet situation; you watch pure joy and happiness on one end, and heartbreak on the other. Sometimes all a birth mother needs to get her through the day is to know that you care.
  1. Adoption does not end with finalization. Adoption is a lifelong journey. You and your child will be forever connected to their birth parents, and they to you. Keep your promises to birth parents and don’t completely cut off contact. This can cause unimaginable pain and suffering on both sides. This relationship is one to cherish and build upon for years to come.
14
Jul

Fun Indoor Activities for the Hottest Summer Days

By Ashleigh

My husband and I just returned from a week in British Columbia, Canada.  The daily temperature barely hit 70 degrees.  I lived in jeans.  Imagine our shock when we stepped off the plane and into a wall of 90% humidity, at 11:30pm!  I had to confiscate my husband’s credit card, to keep him from booking a flight right back to Canada. But really, it’s summer in Kansas City…this is to be expected.

My parents watched our kids and did as many outdoor activities as the heat would allow – the zoo, Deanna Rose, the pool.  But they did find themselves needing something to entertain the kids when it was too hot (or rainy) to be outside.  Thankfully, new coloring books, board games, and science kits did the trick.  If you are looking for ways to entertain your kids indoors (that doesn’t involve a screen of any kind), here are some ideas now that the dog days of summer are truly here.

  • YummyHomemade ice cream – July 17 is National Ice Cream Day. If that isn’t cause for celebration, I don’t know what is!  Make ice cream in a plastic bag with the kids.  Here’s a simple recipe for this fun activity.  And since July 17 is the day to “officially” celebrate this fantastic frozen treat, tour your town to take advantage of these opportunities to get FREE ice cream.  Truly…eat it for every meal.
  • Putt-putt golf – When I was a kid, we had an actual putt-putt set made by Nerf. Oh, how I wish my mom kept it!  Anyway, if you have a golfer in the family, grab their putter and some practice (plastic) balls.  Set up plastic cups around the house and make your own 18-hole course.
  • Cup stacking – And speaking of plastic cups (those good ol’ Solo cups), have a contest to see who can make the tallest structure. Then throw balls of yarn to knock it down.  Check out this list of more fun ways to use for plastic cups.
  • Have a dance party – this is my family’s specialty. We have a subscription to Apple Music, so we just search for the song we want, and turn up the volume.  They have a large selection of Kidz Bop albums, so you can listen to hit music without exposing the kids to questionable lyrics.  Did I mention we also have a disco ball?  Anyway…
  • Get them moving indoors – In my classroom, we call these “brain breaks.” I use a website called Go Noodle that has hundreds of videos to get the kids up and moving.  You can decide if you want to dance to silly songs, follow choreographed dances and workouts, or even do guided meditation.  It is very easy to search by category or by channel (each performer has their own channel).  My kids’ favorite is Pop-See-Ko, on the Koo Koo Kangaroo channel.  Trust me on this – it will stick in your head all day, but it is hilarious.
  • Last, but certainly not least, build a fort. Don’t be surprised if your kids volunteer to take their sheets off their beds if you give them the go-ahead to make a fort.  Let them go for it!  If you can contain them to one room, they will be entertained for hours.  Here is a great infographic, showing all you need to make an awesome fort.  Maybe they’ll help you wash the sheets afterwards!

 

14
Jul

Coping with an Adoption Disruption

By Ashleigh

Couple Holding HandsAt American Adoptions, we do everything we can to prevent and protect you from disrupted adoptions. However, there are still occasions when a prospective birth mother decides not to move forward with an adoption plan.

For hopeful adoptive families, an adoption disruption is devastating, disheartening, and emotionally draining. If you are in this situation, there are some important things you can do before you determine your next steps.

Don’t Assign Blame

Many adoption disruptions occur when a prospective birth mother decides to parent her child. However, there are all kinds of reasons that you or a pregnant mother might have to change an adoption plan. If you are dealing with an adoption disruption, it can be easy to feel angry at someone else or yourself. You might find yourself asking: What could I have done differently? What did I do wrong?

The truth is that in most cases, an adoption disruption is nobody’s fault. Do not let blame and anger dictate your next actions, but do not try to swallow negative feelings, either.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Although your adoption was not completed, your love is real and powerful, and it is normal to feel a sense of loss. Everyone grieves differently, and it may or may not take you a while to know what to do next. During this time, consider some of the following:

  • Seek support from loved ones – Friends and family can be a crucial source of emotional comfort.
  • Consult a professional – Grief is complicated in nearly all situations, and sometimes it is better to talk to someone with professional experience.
  • Let your partner grieve in his or her own way – You and your partner may not respond in the same way or heal at the same pace, but that is okay.

There is no right or wrong way to feel in the aftermath of an adoption disruption. What matters is that you address your feelings as they come so you can start looking forward when you are ready.

Decide How to Move Forward

After an adoption disruption, some families are immediately ready to begin looking for a new opportunity. Others may need to take a break and reevaluate their goals. You may also need to decide what you are going to do with items that you had purchased for adoption purposes. While some families may choose to simply put these items in storage, others might find it more therapeutic to give it away. Just as there is no wrong way to grieve, there is no wrong way to cope and move on.

If you have faced an adoption disruption and are seeking support, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-ADOPTION to talk to one of our Adoptive Family Specialists.

14
Jul

Family Friendly Movies to Get You Through the Dog Days of Summer

By Ashleigh

Family Movie NightWhen the temperatures climb above 90, and the kids have gone through every book they have, it’s time to hit the movie theaters (or Netflix).  Each summer, the motion picture industry takes advantage of the captive audience of children on break from school.  In addition to seeing the new movies in the theater, I find it fun to introduce my kids to classics movies from my childhood.  My husband has been willing our son and daughter to grow up faster, so they could watch the “original” Star Wars trilogy.  Both finally watched them over the past few months…and my husband hasn’t been happier.  Here are my recommendations for summer movies, both new and old:

In the theaters

  • Finding Dory – make it a double-header by watching (or re-watching) Finding Nemo
  • The BFG – read the book by Roald Dahl together first
  • The Secret Life of Pets

From my youth – check Netflix, Amazon Prime, Redbox, Itunes, your local library or video store

  • The Goonies
  • Any Disney/Pixar movie
  • The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • The Never Ending Story
  • Ghostbusters
  • Back to the Future trilogy
  • E.T.
  • The Indiana Jones movies
  • Superman
  • The Sandlot

If you are staying home for a movie, move the couches and spread out blankets for a comfy viewing.  The great thing about watching at home, is you can eat whatever you like for a third of the cost!  We usually have popcorn (of course), but my kids also like to have a picnic dinner on the floor while watching.  They also like to make ice cream sundaes.  Whatever movies you don’t get to this summer, keep them in mind for those bitter-cold winter days.  They’ll be here before we know it.

 

13
Jul

Books to Keep Your Kids Entertained this Summer

By Ashleigh

Summer BooksOh, how I love the non-schedule of summer days!  Kids (and kids at heart) delight in the time allowed to explore, head out on adventures, and create memories.  However…with summer comes the hot temperatures, and if you are living in the Midwest, you know what I mean.  June gives way to July, which can be downright hot and sticky.  When it’s too hot to even go to the pool, it’s time to curl up with a good book. You can’t go wrong with recommendations from Scholastic Books (broken down by age group), and these lists of Newberry and Caldecott winners.  In addition to these trusted sources, here are a few suggestions of my own:

Ages 0-2

  • Press Here by Herve Tullet
  • Maisy Learns to Swim by Lucy Cousins
  • Good Night Beach (from the Good Night Our World series, which is fantastic!) by Adam Gamble
  • The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  • The Bedtime Book by Sandra Boynton (or any books by her!)

Ages 3-5

  • Pete the Cat by James Dean – all books with this character are wonderful!
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney – again, another fun character in many books
  • The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak – your kids will beg you to read this a million times!
  • Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
  • The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing
  • The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt

Ages 6-9 (read-alouds for younger readers, independent for older readers)

  • The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown
  • Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold
  • Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems
  • The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements
  • I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis (these are more age appropriate for 9-10 year-olds)

Middle School

  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  • The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law
  • The Lemoncello series by Chris Grabenstein

Young Adult – here is a great infographic with Y.A. book recommendations

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
12
Jul

Avoid the ‘Summer Slide’ with These Fun Tips

By Ashleigh

Projects for KidsAs a teacher, I always give parents ways to avoid the “summer slide” with their kids.  What exactly is the summer slide?  It is the temporary setback some children experience in their learning over the summer.  Now, summer is absolutely a time for kids to enjoy life, relax, and take a break from the daily routine of school!  I’m a firm believer in this.  However, it can only help your child’s education to encourage them to learn something new over the summer.

Here are some fun, educational things you can do with your kids this summer…and they may not even realize they’re learning something at the same time!

Science, science, science

My go-to website for ALL ideas is Pinterest.  Type “science experiments for kids” in the search bar, and you will immediately have hundreds of ideas of fun, messy, science-y things to do with your kids, such as this list.  Favorites at our house are making a tornado in a jar, making ooblek, and doing nature walk scavenger hunts.  If your family has a garden, there is your science!  Kids can learn how a seed becomes a plant, which plants go in your climate, etc.  Your possibilities are endless!

Read, read, read

Again, Pinterest is loaded with ideas to keep kids reading over the summer.  Our school posted a “reading bingo” game for students to use.  It has different places to read, different genres to try, different audiences to read to (i.e. your dog).  Here’s an example.  As the kids complete a task, they mark off a square.  They can turn in the completed bingo card for a reward.  Brilliant!  Our local library has a summer reading program for kids to do.  Again, a completed list of books earns them a free book pick from the used book store.  Check your local library for similar programs.  My kids and I are going to take advantage of the Free Little Libraries that are popping up around town.  See if there are some in your neighborhood.  If your child isn’t reading extensively yet, read to them or find books on CD (also available for checkout at the library).

STEM, STEM, STEM

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.  Essentially, STEM curriculum integrates all of these disciplines into all lessons.  Again, the internet is packed with ideas for STEM challenges for kids.  My son particularly loves this challenge with Legos.

Go, go, go

My husband jokes that his family spent their summers visiting all places that end with –ums: museums, planetariums, aquariums, etc. (Disney World didn’t end with –ums!).  They also spent time reading and discussing the description of each exhibit.  Each family member had to pick one exhibit to “teach” to the others.  Brilliant!  Check out the local –ums in your city.  Often, they’ll have a free- or half-price-admission days.  Be sure to look at the website for pricing and planning before you go.  Print off the map and have each person pick a “must see” exhibit.  That way, you aren’t wandering and wasting time.

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