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FAST FUN COLUMN

Column averages 250-500 words. Discount available on purchases of four or more articles, paid on acceptance.

NEW! Digital Camera Fun
The ease of digital cameras and the option to delete unwanted shots make them a great source of traveling fun. Whether yours is adults only or an inexpensive kiddie camera, these tips are great for involving the entire family in snapping good vacation photos.

NEW! Picnic Play
With warm weather around the corner, outdoor performances and festivals in the park will be bringing families to the picnic blanket. Keep the kids from getting antsy while they wait for the main attraction with some games on the green.

Get Your Game On
“Take me out to the ballgame” sounds like fun when you’re singing it. When you’re living it several times a week, it can get old fast – especially for younger siblings on the sidelines. These activities can make the waiting game as much fun as the main event.

Outdoor Artistry
Capture your child’s love of mixing, squishing, sorting and stacking with some easy to do art projects that are best done outside.

Stock up the Dress Up Box:
Encourage your child’s desire to try on new personas with a well-stocked dress up box and get ready – the show’s about to begin!

String Things
Stringing and lacing is a favorite activity for preschoolers, and while they see it as simply fun, it may lead to creating patterns and counting, both early math skills.

Road Trip!
If your vacation starts with hours of car travel, ditch the hurry up and get there attitude and make getting there half the fun.

Order Up!
Restaurant meals may give you a break from the kitchen, but not from hungry bellies. Keep famished kids occupied with these fun activities while you wait.

Kids on Deck
Adult-swim time at the local pool leaves kids counting the minutes until they can make a splash. Don’t be left high and dry – try these ideas for poolside play.

Theme Park Smarts
While amusement parks get a thumbs up from families as a summer destination, the lines can be, well, less than amusing. Entertain the kids with some pre-ride activities while they wait for the official fun to begin.

Scrub-a-Dub Tub
Whether your child squabbles over bath time or dives right in, these activities make for some good, clean fun.

Raking it in
Crisp autumn weather brings falling leaves and a last ditch opportunity to spend some time out of doors. Invite the junior members of your family to join you for some fun as you tackle some fall chores.

Blowing Bubbles – Making The Most Of Your Suds

Faux Fish For Fun – Make a maintenance-free fish tank in a bottle

Soap Bubble Prints – Mix bubble blowing fun with paint for some cool prints
Sidebar and photo available

Saying Thanks - Tips for making fast work of thank you notes

Goodbye Games – End of party activities

End of Day Play - Summer evening fun

Keep your Cool - Summertime beat the heat

Play on the Way - Waiting for the school bus

Sunday Paper Capers - Extra! Extra! Newspaper fun

Good Time Gatherings – Thanksgiving activities

Baking Buddies - baking fun

PARENTING ISSUES

The Queen of Screams:

One brave mom – me – takes her fears for a ride. A humorous look at facing frightful roller coasters. (900 word essay)

The Intercontinental Tooth Fairy:

Frustrated with some of the overzealous tooth fairies who leave large amounts of cash, I discovered an alternative for my family. (975 word essay)

Sunday Night Council (Counsel?):

A humorous look at sibling rivalry and the process of coming up with a workable solution. Part family meeting, part judicial system, our weekly Sunday Night Council has reduced bickering and encouraged communication between family members. (1,200 word essay)

The Problem with Praise:
The casual use of praise in our culture has the potential to create a nation of praise junkies. A look at why praise isn’t the best answer. (1,000 word essay)

A Balancing Act:

Stay-at-home parents walk a tightrope daily, trying to balance the needs of their children with the demands of keeping house. (900 word essay)

EDUCATION, ACTIVITIES AND HOMESCHOOLING

Go Global:
Games to take you around the world in your own living room. From India to Chile to our island state of Hawaii, kids will have fun playing traditional games from far-flung places. Each game comes with complete instructions for playing and most are accompanied by a “more fun” sidebar featuring a product to expand the cultural experience.

Ready, Set, Play!:
5 energy-burning after-school games to entice kids to get outside, get active, and get their game on!

Play On!:

Multi-Generational Games Even Grandma Will Love

Squish! Squash! Squirt!:

Babies and toddlers are famous for making messes: squishing food between their fingers, stomping in puddles, and smearing art supplies in places they were never meant to go. Rather than cramp that tactile, anything goes style, take advantages of your little one’s natural impulses, and feed her innate curiosity by introducing her to some deliberately messy fun. (2,000 words)

The Joy of Mud:

Looks at the benefits of allowing our children to freely explore the properties of sand and mud. Encouraging messy play is sometimes a difficult step for parents; helping them to understand the validity of such projects may make them more willing to sacrifice their laundry. (875 words)

Reading and Perpetual Motion:
Takes a look at how one highly spirited child (mine) overcomes the confines of normally quiet – family read aloud time. (1,200 words)

Terrific Techniques:

Looks at age appropriate art projects and encouraging creativity in children. Several experts in the field are quoted and projects are included. (1,600 words)

Prints Charming:
The ancient art of printmaking with a modern twist. With this article, kids can learn to make soap bubble prints, pantyhose prints and floral foam prints. (1,800 words)

Detectives, Spies & Sleuths:
As an aged Nancy Drew wanna-be, I understood all too well my son’s sudden interest in finding a mystery to solve. Projects for exploring forensic science (2,000 words ~ or 1,200 words)

A Fabulous Flower Party:
Not your garden-variety birthday party, this celebration is a bloomin’ good time. (2,200 words with all activities)
Images available

The Great Soda Bottle Safari:
Boldly striped zebras, long-necked giraffes and thundering elephants, crafted from recycled plastic bottles. (1,000 words) Images available

TRAVEL AND FOOD

A Day in Sebastopol
A first person tour of a small and funky town in Sonoma County, California. The piece runs roughly 1350 words and was originally published in FamilyFun magazine.

Back to Nature, Hawaiian Style
Ten awesome adventures introduce visitors to the islands with little environmental impact, from Kauai to the Big Island. (1,850 words)

Coconut Bay Resort & Spa – Family Friendly Fun
Add a little sunshine to your publication with a review of the all-inclusive Coconut Bay Resort & Spa in St. Lucia. I discovered that an all-inclusive stay is a great way to cut costs – especially if you’ve got growing teens and tweens.

Summer in Sonoma County
Wineries and pricey spas make northern California’s Sonoma County famous for grown-up indulgences, but my family discovered that there’s much more to the area than wining and dining. (1,200 words)

Eight Suitcases (essay)
Three years ago my family and I packed our crucial belongings into eight suitcases and headed for Hawaii. Yes, eight. (900 words)

SEASONAL

Costume Capers:
Superman? Batman? My boy will have none of that. For Halloween, his costume of choice is an inanimate object like, say, a bulldozer. Or the space shuttle. (850 word essay)

Chow Chow Days:
A nostalgic look at my family’s tradition of turning green tomatoes into a spicy relish with the funny name, Chow Chow.