Top Tips for Creating a Smooth Christmas Day

It's finally here--the day of magic, and presents, and wonderment about whether the stories from the North Pole are true. Parents have been planning for months or hurriedly putting it all together and adjusting it daily based on their kids' fantastical stories of what Santa is going to bring them. Everyone has great expectations for Christmas Day. You may be setting yourself for some breakdowns if you're not prepared. We put so much energy and high hopes into this holiday, it&#...

Posted on December 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM by Katherine McHenry

Cabin Fever Busters: Shaving Cream

For this week’s “Beating Cabin Fever” blog I have two words for you: SHAVING CREAM. Yes, that’s right, good ‘ol white, foamy shaving cream. I’m talking the cheap stuff. I was reminded of it’s simplicity and perfection when cruising Pinterest when I saw someone’s pin about Sand Foam (which is a mix of sand and shaving cream). Personally, I have issues with anything as messy as sand in my house (even when I was teaching in preschools, I dreaded...

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Beth Cohen Dorfman

Top 5 Chicago Museum Memberships for Kids

We hear it as early as Halloween....the grandparents already asking what your kids want for the holidays when all you can think about is gaggle of toys that has already taken over your house (and the amount of toys headed your way from aunts and uncles). Yeah, in my experience there's no way to really go toy-free, nor would you want to but there are some other GREAT gifts that grandparents can purchase that don't take up anymore space on your living room floor. As a self-admitted m...

Posted on December 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM by Christa Reed

Play-Based Preschool: A Farmer's Market Case Study

When the grass is green and flowers are blooming in the spring at Mary Meyer School, we celebrate by hosting a farmer’s market.  Our purposeful play curriculum has led us to this special day. In early spring and before the trees are budding, our Farmer-in-Residence works with our students to discuss worms and seeds and soil and planting.

How does play fit into farming and how did we learn?

·       We read books about farming, worms, f...

Posted on December 15, 2014 at 9:00 AM by Mary Meyer School

Top 4 Gifts for Teachers this Holiday Season

We’re so busy during the holiday season, it’s sometime hard to brainstorm thoughtful gifts for the wonderful people that care for you child(ren) on a daily basis. We scoured the forums and interviewed teacher friends of our own and asked them what their favorite holiday gifts from students have been. Here's our list of the top most commonly mentioned gifts.

1. Cash. Collaborate with other families if you can. I know it sounds a little tacky and you may even think there&...

Posted on December 15, 2014 at 7:00 AM by Christa Reed

Cabin Fever Busters: Water Beads

Hi all! I’m back with another amazing, do-it-yourself indoors project to do with your kids. Now, this one has a lot of steps and it is likely that you’ll need to get the main “ingredient” but I can tell you first hand that the result is totally worthwhile.

Check out this post by Blog Me Mom on how to make these super cool Water Beads.  My kids, who are nearly eight and five and a half, LOVE these. They have a really fascinating texture, are fun to play with...

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Beth Cohen Dorfman

Discounts for you, from your friends at Neighborhood Parents Network!

Whether at home or at work, cozy up to these exclusive discounts brought to you by our wonderful NPN Discount Partners. Please login to your NPN account to gain full access to your NPN Member promo codes. 

Sarah Feezor, Realtor with Dream Town serves North Chicago neighborhoods and the North Shore. NPN Members receive $20 gift card from Building Blocks, Flirty Cupcakes, Gift Bar, or Little Beans Cafe during your complimentary 45-minute in-home consultation...

Posted on December 09, 2014 at 6:32 AM by Ellie Ander

Top 4 Holiday Safety Tips from Chicago CPR!

The holidays bring friends and family together in a magical way.  But the holidays also come with increased safety hazards, such as poisoning and choking. A little extra attention can go a long way in preventing emergencies.  Chicago CPR offers 4 simple steps to keep kids safe this holiday season: 


1.  Choose your holiday decorations wisely. Small ornaments and tinsel are choking hazards for young children and pets. Anything that you can fit through the o...

Posted on December 08, 2014 at 8:00 AM by kim wilschek

Finding the Right Child Care Center

As a parent/guardian your number one goal is to protect and enrich your child. We’re constantly tasked with ways of enhancing that experience, and for those of us with the Internet at our fingertips – we know there is endless amounts of contradictory information.

Let’s get one thing straight, there’s no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to any part of your parenting experience. You always have to make decisions about what’s best for your family...

Posted on December 05, 2014 at 7:30 AM by Jackie Kardesh

Top 5 Stocking Stuffers/Hanukkah gifts of 2014!

The holidays are upon us and we know you probably haven't even begun to think about those smaller gifts for Hanukkah or for your kiddo's stocking. No worries, we've done all the reserach and have five amazing gifts that'll cost you next to nothing. 


1. Don't deny it. Your kids aren't over Frozen yet. Check out these Frozen Bling Necklaces. 

2. Have yourself a Nano Christmas with this Holiday HEXBUG Nano. This limited edition Nano...

Posted on December 04, 2014 at 6:26 PM by Katherine McHenry