Bundled up for school

Look for new opportunities to buy discounted uniforms as back-to-school sales roll out in the next few weeks.

Last year, a couple of grocery store chains bundled polo shirts, sweatshirts and shorts or skirts, then tagged them with bargain prices.

Although many parents prefer to purchase items individually, you can’t beat the lower cost or convenience of the bundles.

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Celebrate summer

The simple memories of shucking corn and making s’mores for a backyard picnic have been transformed into labor intensive food prep.

Kids might not appreciate the extra effort that goes into grilled corn, home-made hummus, mango salsa and fruited beverages, but fancy, clean and fresh has replaced simple this summer.

But will children eat the shrimp and ribs that have replaced hot dogs and burgers?

You are what you drink

I remember feeling surprised the first time I walked into a classroom in which not only the teacher, but the students, had water bottles.

Of course, carrying a beverage has become not only socially acceptable almost everywhere, but our choices have become a means of self-expression. If you stop at Starbuck’s after dropping off the kids at school each morning, in some areas, you’re obviously a cool mom (with expendable income.)

I’ve been relieved to see youth coaches recognize the need for hydration during practices and games, especially as summer temperatures hit ballparks and fields. Our little guys often need reminders to hydrate – they simply don’t remember to take a drink. Those of us in the stands need to drink up, too.

Not your average snack

Have you seen the “Kashi by Kids” line-up on the cereal shelf?

Three cereals were created and launched last summer with input from a group of kids. Now, they’re introducing a new snack.

That’s a granola bar with an encouraging back story for kidpreneurs!

Realness

Swimsuit season is a good time to judge whether or not the Dove campaign has made a healthy shift in our cultural definition of physical attractiveness.

The commercials, which launched years ago, focused on “real beauty.” Since then, females with “real bodies” have appeared more regularly in advertisements from many companies.

But has the definition of physical attractiveness become so inclusive that girls who are growing up today feel comfortable at the pool this summer?

Or is the authenticity message still not “real” enough?

Photos allowed

If visiting a museum is on your family vacation list this summer, get ready to smile for the camera.

Although some museums still limit the size of backpacks and loud talking, an increased number are not only allowing visitors to take photos, but encouraging picture taking. Selfies and Instagram have changed museum-going forever.

Some museum conservators are still concerned that cell phone flashes cause artwork to fade. Other museum educators worry that selfie-focused visitors might accidentally bump into a relic or back into a priceless artifact.

But although some museum goers might spend more time setting up the perfect selfie than looking at an artifact, experience-driven visitors are arriving now at even the stuffiest site.

“Doing good” this summer

It’s a familiar seasonal challenge: helping tweens and teens find avenues for serving others.

Kids want to make this world a better place, but aren’t sure how to go about it. After all, they don’t have the money to drop a bill in a donation jar or donate online like we can.

Yet motivated by the need to fulfill service hours required by schools, this summer, more younger kids are actively seeking causes that match their interests. Plus, they’ve discovered the power of hashtags. Actually, this might be one of the strongest ways to have an impact as they grow up.

That’s not surprising: they did grow up as digi-kids.