Budget-Friendly Summer Camps in Central Florida

2020 Ultimate Summer Camp Guide

COVID UPDATE! Most of the camps in this guide were submitted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with each listing to see if they have made alterations or cancellations to their Summer Camp schedule.


It is almost summer again, and for many families that means summer camp!

Just because the kids will be out of school doesn’t mean they have to stop learning, growing, and playing! We are lucky to have many different camps available for our kids in Orlando that focus on everything from art, dance, science, sports, academics and more. Here are some of the BEST summer camps in our area.

What’s your favorite? Let us know at [email protected]

Virtual Summer Camp with The Wiggles and Rascal + Friends

Beginning the week of July 14th, The Wiggles will be partnering with Rascal + Friends to present a two-week virtual summer camp for toddlers and their parents, simply called, “Virtual Summer Camp with The Wiggles and Rascal + Friends.” The program will be hosted by Emma Wiggle and Captain Feathersword, and promises to keep little ones entertained with arts, crafts, singing, dancing, and some special pirate-worthy prizes.

The Virtual Summer Camp is FREE and will take place LIVE for 20-minute sessions July 14, 16, 21 and 23 from Noon-12:20 pm ET. All sessions will be available to families throughout North America on both The Wiggles and Rascal + Friends Facebook pages. After airing live, all the Virtual Summer Camp sessions will then be available on both The Wiggles and Rascal + Friends Facebook sites for the duration of Summer.

Camp J at the Rosen JCC

Campers make lifelong memories at Camp J at the Rosen JCC.

SUMMER CAMPS at the Rosen JCC, 11184 S. Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando, 407-387-5330, campjorlando.org. Camp J at the Rosen JCC in Dr. Phillips is the place to be! It offers a full selection of summer programs, open to all, including a general camp, sports camp and a variety of specialty camps. This summer, Rosen JCC is proud to host the Orlando Repertory Theatre Camp (The REP), Orlando Magic Basketball Camp, and My Gym Camp as part of its growing program. Extended care from 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. is available.

Orlando Shakes

Orlando Shakes invites students to expand their imagination, while experimenting, taking risks, and challenging expectations! The young performer in your life will take center stage and learn from professional teaching artists during our performing arts summer camps.

With options to fit every student Age 4 through Grade 12, our education experiences are uniquely designed to use theater to build critical life skills in each participant. Our techniques encourage creativity, collaboration, problem solving, concentration, public speaking, and a strong work ethic. These are the life skills your child will learn that will help them move forward to a better future, while having fun at the same time!

iD Tech Camps

Virtual Tech Camps are the perfect, home-based option for students ages 7-19 seeking the collaborative spirit of our on-campus programs. Structured, weeklong sessions with 2 hours of live instruction per day + 2 hours of self-paced project development. Curriculum in Python, Java, Minecraft, Roblox, AI, Unreal Engine, Adobe, 3D modeling, and more. 5 students max per instructor, blending personalized learning and team interaction. Save $100 with code TOGETHER as long as social distancing is in effect.

More Summer Camps

Anchor Academy Preschool, Apopka, FL

Growing Tree Learning Center, Casselberry, FL

Kids In The Country, St Cloud, FL

Want to be a part of our 2020 Summer Camp Guide?

We want to show our readers all the great camps available right here in the Orlando area. Partnering with us allows your business greater visibility with a large targeted market of local families. Join us and help enrich the lives of Orlando Moms! Email [email protected]

Related Blog Posts

Preparing for camp is more than just packing a bag. What do parents need to do to prepare? What should a parent do if their child is afraid of camp? And how do you ease those fears? Here are our tips for a successful summer camp experience!

I used to spend the month of May dreading the upcoming summer “holidays”. I treated summer as if I was going into battle…entering survival mode, but this year I am making a plan for Camp SAHM and am hoping to enjoy myself more!

All of you moms who have your stuff together with camps, activities, crafts, field trips, vacations, and “quiet time”…I tip my cocktail glass to you. I will be entering Summer Survival Mode and counting down until “meet the teacher” by the end of the first weekend.

Summers are stressful. We can circumvent stress by focusing on… us. That’s right! Give yourself permission to pamper yourself with some self-care on a daily basis.

In an effort to keep the kiddos happy and you smiling, OMC has sought out some Budget Friendly Orlando Summer Activities, free or minimal fee, and compiled them for you in one go-to boredom buster list!

Orlando is chock full of great parks and I’m not talking about theme parks! We polled some of our readers and asked them to give details on some of their favorite parks in Central Florida.

Magic Lollipop Flowers

Here is an easy and fun craft, which I am sure you will agree is truly magical – Magic Lollipop Flowers! 

Magic Lollipop Flowers

  • Small package of jelly beans (any flavor/colors)
  • Handful of lollipops (any flavor/colors)
  • Wilton Lollipop Sticks (available at most craft stores)

Gather a few of your favorite jelly beans and head out to the yard just before dark (optimal picture time, *wink*). Let your child sprinkle the jelly beans in the grass. Tell them they are seeds for the Easter Bunny to grow magic lollipops for when he comes to visit that night.

Plant the "seeds"
Plant the “seeds”

After your child is asleep, head back outside and “plant” the lollipops in the yard, making sure the jelly beans are no longer visible. In the morning they’ll be amazed to see the “sprouted” lollipops.

best Easter craft ever...
best Easter craft ever…

Tape lollipops around one end of each Lollipop Stick to create colorful “flowers” that will stand up tall even amid flower beds, decorative grasses or shrubbery. I like the look of bundling three smaller lollipops onto each stick, but you can use more or less for variety – or even use different kinds of lollipops!

Feel free to get creative and have fun with it! My favorite moments are the little gasps the kiddos make when they first see what magic has occurred overnight, and the look of wonder on their faces. Truly priceless!

best Easter craft ever...
best Easter craft ever…

Covid-19 Means No Cafes. How To Brew Amazing Coffee At Home

 

The pandemic is forcing people to stay at home so that the virus does not spread further. Many businesses had to close, and many are starting to work at home. Despite what is happening outside, there are still plenty of things you can do at home. To become productive, you should start your day with a cup of coffee to keep your spirits up. Even if most cafes are currently closed, you can still make your fantastic coffee at home. With good quality coffee beans and the right equipment, you can enjoy a freshly brewed cup in the morning.

Ways To Brew Coffee At Home

With the proper equipment, there are several ways to brew fantastic coffee in your home. Below are the three most common ways you can do in your kitchen:

 

Pour Over Method

The pour over method does not require you to have a coffee maker. All you need to make a good quality cup of coffee are hot water, coffee beans, and a good quality coffee filter. The process of making brewed coffee with this method is simple.

 

The method involves pouring hot water through the coffee grounds, which are placed in a filter. The water passes through the filter, and this makes sure that you don’t get grains in your cup. The pour over method is also called hand brewing because you do not need any machinery to perform this method.

 

French Press

If you are used to dense and heavy coffee, you should have a French press. Brewing coffee using the French press is relatively easy as it only takes about four minutes to make a cup. You should make sure that when using a French press to make coffee, coffee beans should be ground coarser compared to the one used for the pour over method. The consistency of the ground beans should be similar to breadcrumbs to achieve that rich flavor.

 

 

Drip Method

Your simple coffee maker can help you create that perfect cup of coffee that you crave in the morning. Depending on the capacity of your coffee maker, you can create several batches for you and your family to use. To achieve good quality coffee with your simple coffee maker, make sure that you use good quality beans and ground them with the consistency that is similar to table salt.

Tips To Brew Amazing Coffee At Home

Brewing your coffee at home is a sustainable morning ritual you can do even after the quarantine period. Using your coffee beans and equipment lessens your carbon footprint. You don’t need to go to a café to get your daily dose of caffeine and produce waste with the coffee cups they use. You can enjoy your coffee with your cup at home without needing to get out of the house every morning.

To make sure that you produce the same coffee as home quality as the ones served in the café, here are some tips that you should follow:

 

Use Good Quality Coffee Beans

Your coffee is only as excellent as the quality of the beans you use for brewing. To have that rich and fulfilling taste, do not use pre-ground coffee. It is best to start with fresh, whole coffee beans because coffee reaches peak flavor days after is has been roasted. However, take note that when you buy fresh coffee beans, you should consume them within a month of its roast date.

 

 

Store Coffee Beans Properly

To keep your coffee beans fresh, you need to store them in the proper place. It is recommended to place the coffee beans inside a vacuum-sealed container to maintain that roasted flavor. If you don’t have a vacuum container, a regular mason jar will suffice.

 

 

How And When You Grind Is Important

It is not recommended to grind your coffee beans and then storing them. Experts believe that coffee tends to lose its flavor within 30 minutes after being ground. This is why you should immediately brew your coffee beans after grinding to keep that flavor intact.

 

The size and consistency after grinding coffee beans are essential as well. However, grinding will also depend on your taste. Grinding too coarse will not give you that much flavor, and grinding too fine will make the coffee too bitter.

 

Be Mindful Of Your Temperatures

Brewing at the right temperature is essential in making the most out of your coffee beans. When you use the pour method or French press, make sure that the water is between 195°F and 205°F after you take the pot away from the heat. If you are using a drip coffee machine, make sure that it reaches its optimal temperature.

 

To make sure that your coffee maker reaches the right temperatures, run it without coffee in the hopper then use a thermometer to measure the temperature. You can also try to measure the temperature while it is brewing. Remember not to exceed the maximum of 205°F because it will burn the coffee beans.

 

Be Mindful Of Your Measurements

Remember to measure the coffee by weight and not by volume and always use the same amount of coffee per unit of water every time you brew. The ideal ratio is one-part coffee and 20 parts water. This is about 7.5 grams of coffee for every 150 mL of water. Use a digital scale and measuring cup to make sure that your measurements are accurate.

 

 

Use The Right Water

The quality of the water you will use for brewing dramatically affects the taste of your coffee. Hard water contains minerals that doesn’t bond well with the coffee particulates. This will give you a bland and weak coffee. Hard water is also harmful to your coffee maker as minerals can build up inside.

 

Heavily filtered water is also harmful to the equipment as well since the lack of minerals will force the water to seep the minerals out of its metal components. This will degrade the machine’s performance over time. In terms of coffee quality, distilled water lead to over-extraction. Choose water that has the right mineral balance to protect your coffee maker and having that rich taste.

Summary

Coffee brewing is an art that many people should learn. Brewing your coffee at home could be part of your quarantine 30-day challenge. Staying at home and learning the art of brewing quality coffee will keep you busy while you are at home. During these trying times, it is recommended that people stay at home to reduce the spreading of the deadly virus. Take the tips into consideration and keep your mind and body healthy to avoid contracting the disease.

 

Educational Resources for Upper Elementary Kids

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With the kids home ALL THE TIME thanks to the current pandemic and schools being closed (at least through May 1st in Florida), if you are like me, then you’re desperately looking for educational resources to keep the kids learning and occupied so that your house doesn’t turn into a web on anarchy.

I’m a teacher and a mom of three. Here are some of my favorite (mostly) educational resources that you may not know about especially for upper elementary children.

McCarthy Math Academy

Sarah McCarthy of McCarthy Math Academy has invaluable math videos on her website and YouTube with accompanying worksheets for students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. With her two programs – How to Pass the Math FSA and McCarthy Math 1-5-5 she makes learning fun and exciting with her songs and catchy phrases to help students remember math strategies. She starts every lesson with the Mathematical Mindset Creed which is empowering and encouraging to even the most resistant learner. Thanks to her, my students became Rounding Heroes!

Epic!

Epic is a site where children can listen to stories, watch videos, and read independently. Their library is broken down in every way you could want – subject matter, type of book, reading level. If your child’s teacher hasn’t created an account for his/her class parents are able to access the site for a free 30 day trial. Bonus, they have also started doing 20 minute video lessons on Facebook called Epic Live! Featuring guest teachers. “Guest teachers include best-selling authors and illustrators, a Tony award winner, celebrity chefs, scientists, Epic master teachers, a Broadway choreographer and many more!”

Podcasts

I have been a longtime fan (and creator) of podcasts, but over the last year or so have discovered how much fun they can be with kids. Our personal favorite is called Six Minutes a six minute long adventure show with twists, turns, and excitement. If you are looking to up the educational factor with this show check out Teachers Pay Teachers for accompanying activities. If Six Minutes doesn’t sound up your kiddos alley check out Kids Listen, an app that has curated kid friendly podcast content from all genres.

Authors & Illustrators

One of the coolest things about the pandemic (that sounds wrong, but you get me) is that SO MANY authors and illustrators have been putting out more and more content for FREE. Mo Willams and Dav Pilkey are sharing drawing lessons, celebrities and authors are reading books, and author/illustrators like Jarrett Lerner are posting activities to encourage children to think creatively by writing stories and completing comics.

Honorable Mention

  • The public library – By having a library card you have access to thousands more e-books and audiobooks and ALL Orange County Public Schools students automatically have a digital library card to Orange County Library System on their Launchpad account.
  • Teachers Pay Teachers – I promise there is more than just worksheet and powerpoints on this website. There are also a lot of fun and homeschooling resources.
  • Khan Academy – This website has everything from Pre-K math – college admissions assistance! These guided modules and mini quizzes could be just the boost to help your child get ahead.
  • Prodigy – This website combines math with video games…what could go wrong?!

What are some of your favorite (mostly) educational activities that you have been utilizing or wanting to check out this spring?

Tips for Organizing an Easter Egg Hunt in Your Backyard

Let the Easter Egg Hunt Begin!
Let the Easter Egg Hunt Begin!

Here are some tips to help simplify your backyard Easter Egg Hunt!

Have the kids decorate their own baskets for the Easter Egg Hunt. 

Paper Bag Easter Basket
Paper Bag Easter Basket

Don’t feel like this has to be a Pinterest worthy craft unless that’s something you would enjoy. Personally, I find the simpler the better, especially for the little ones. Turn paper grocery bags inside out, cut out handles, and put Easter grass, markers, crayons, and stickers out for the kids to use to decorate their “baskets.”

Color code the plastic eggs – either by child or by age group.  

Color Coded Plastic Eggs
Color Coded Plastic Eggs

When my girls were three, we had an egg hunt on Easter Sunday with just the two of them. E was an egg finding machine. G would find an egg, stare at it, point to it, but for whatever reason, not pick it up. Eventually E would pick it up and G would cry. After that year, we used only two colors of plastic eggs – blue for E and green for G.  That way G could linger forever over “her” green eggs knowing that they were safe. This system also works well if you have a larger mixed age group. Use one color for each age group. Before the hunt, explain to each child which is his or her group’s color. That way the little ones have a fighting chance to find their fair share of the eggs and everyone has fun!

Don’t hide real dyed eggs unless you make note of where you hid them.

As the weather gets warmer, it won’t be fun to stumble across the eggs that the kids didn’t find. ‘Nuff said.

We live in Florida, the Sunshine State, where chocolate melts even in the shade.

Chocolate!!!!
Chocolate – melts in your mouth, in your hands, and inside plastic eggs hidden in the shade!

I remember the disaster Easter Egg Hunt of 2009. We filled and hid plastic eggs containing chocolate candy. Even though the hunt was finished well before noon, the chocolate was a squishy liquidy mess, and the kids (and parents) were none too happy.

If you decide to hide chocolate candy, consider freezing it the night before, so that it has a chance to withstand the Florida heat!

Fill plastic eggs with small toys.

The kids will love finding containers of mini play doh, rubber duckies, or just about any other Easter toy inside their eggs. Check out the Dollar Store, Oriental Trading, or Party City for inexpensive treasures.

Fill plastic eggs with coins or dollar bills.

Money Eggs
Money Eggs!

The older kids will really love finding those eggs!

Hide a few golden eggs that can be traded for prizes at the end of the hunt.

E on the hunt!
E on the hunt!
G on the hunt!
G on the hunt!

 

Let the trading begin!
Let the trading begin!

Let those finding golden eggs trade them for bubbles, sidewalk chalk, Easter coloring books, packs of crayons, plush toys, or small games.  It’s best to have a golden egg for each child and instruct the “hunters” that they can only redeem one.

Happy Easter!

Broccoli Isn’t Punishment: Easy Ways We Get Our Kids To Eat Vegetables

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I don’t just want my kids to eat vegetables; I want them to love eating vegetables. It’s a high bar, I know, but food is a permanent, daily part of their lives, so it seems like a battle worth fighting.

Like many (many, many) people, I had a lot of issues with food growing up. Even after trying to change my perspective, and being mostly successful, it is almost impossible to completely wipe away those years of emotions tied to eating. I want more for my kids, a better relationship with food, so I have made it a priority to implement gentle, empowering habits—for all of us.

Of course, and I cannot stress this enough, all of these tips won’t work for everyone. Every kid is different, every parent is different, and that is totally okay. This is simply our journey to building a better relationship with food, and I wanted to share it with other parents who might find even a dollop of helpful information.

First, Find Some Inspiration

kids eating vegetables orlando moms blog

My Instagram feed is changing a lot recently: fewer celebrity animals and more useful posts, like the always joyful Jennifer from Kids Eat In Color. Her mentality of firm yet thoughtful introduction to veggies mixed with a huge dose of reality is a refreshing way to look at how my kids eat vegetables (and what kind of changes I can expect). Find who speaks to you and feels like a good fit for your family.

No Tricking

This might be controversial, but I do not trick my kids by withholding ingredients or sneaking vegetables into food. Part of having a positive relationship with food is seeing it as that: just food. Not good healthy food, not bad sugary food, but food that fulfills different purposes. Ditching the labels means they take on less emotional meaning, so nothing is put on a pedestal or seen as punishment. I add vegetables to almost everything I make (mac and cheese with roasted carrots, peas, and broccoli is better than without, just saying) but I don’t hide anything.

Establish An Adventurous Eaters Club

Our chapter of the Adventurous Eaters Club is going on three years, and this slightly secretive organization conveniently meets at dinnertime right at our house. Its mission is to help everyone have more fun and try new things, with our unofficial motto being, “You can’t know you love it unless you try it,” and we follow up with the one-bite rule (usually a Golden Bite, a delicious combination of multiple foods on your fork). Sometimes we send out scouts in the grocery store to find new fruits and vegetables for us to to try. We even have a secret handshake so, yeah, we’re pretty cool.

Pull Back On The Snacks

I’ll admit, I’m a snacker. When my daughter became obsessed with having elevenses like an adorable Winnie the Pooh character, I was secretly so happy to have a kid to blame for snacking before lunch. But then you snack a little too much on some less-nutritious things and there isn’t any room for something with value. So, I pulled way back on the snacks and started only offering fruit, vegetables, or nuts between meals. No it didn’t happen magically with zero whining, but gradually they accepted it and we are all better for it. Of course we sometimes do have elevenses with adorable English muffins and honey, but now we get to appreciate it for the treat it is.

Take Away The Competition

kids eating vegetables orlando moms blog

This tip piggybacks on the last one, but it has been such a great change for our family that it deserves its own headline. When kids see veggies on their dinner plates next to potatoes, the potato wins almost every time. Food researchers have noticed the trend in kids’ eating habits for years, and it makes sense. So, take away the competition and serve an appetizer of vegetables before dinner.

For my kids to eat vegetables, the best method was to simply prepare a big heap of veggies on a colorful platter and add a dip. Without any announcement, I put it on the table while I was cooking. My daughter asked about it, I told her she was free to have some, and she did. She ate tons of vegetables before I even had dinner ready. Success. On another night she did ask if she could have chips and salsa instead as a pre-dinner snack, and I let her know that it wasn’t on the menu. She moaned and groaned, and then she took a handful of carrots.

I will admit that I don’t have all the answers, but these strategies have helped me and my family fill up on a little more color every day while giving our kids a sense of control over what they eat. We also use all of those tried-and-true methods, like modeling good eating habits and letting them help in the kitchen, so that they will hopefully grow up with wonderful memories of the food we ate together as a family.

Journaling: My Love-Hate Relationship

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Journaling. I have a love-hate relationship with it. It’s the thing I know I should be doing every day, but don’t. That’s why I’m taking a 30-Day Quarantine Challenge to journal every day of April!

You may wonder why I’m committing to doing something I sometimes hate doing.

Well, if I’m being honest, journaling is what has stopped me from ending some of the relationships in my life in a fiery burst of (my) emotions.

Let me explain. Ever write out a really long, emotionally-draining text that really tells a person off? The kind of masterful text you compose when you’re just up to here with a person in your life and you are ready to explode with words that you know are irrevocable.

And then delete it. Because suddenly your anger has dissipated. In fact, all of your emotions are less intense. You start to think about the fallout from the riot act that you were about to send out. Your rational mind reemerges from the throngs of your impassioned words.

You delete the text because simply writing out the text had been cathartic. And you feel better.

Now imagine that same sort of catharsis, but without the worry of accidentally hitting send.

That’s journaling.

I journal to get the emotions out. Because we all have emotions. There is, of course, no shame in that. But sometimes after I get those words out on a piece of paper, my mind is able to see the situation from a different, possibly more rational perspective. I might still choose to discuss tough feelings with someone in my life, but it’ll be a much more constructive conversation than it would have been pre-journaling.

I started reading books and listening to podcasts that discussed journaling and all its benefits. Podcasts like Laura Tremaine’s 10 Things to Tell You and books like one by Jen Sincero with a somewhat vulgar title opened up a whole new world for me when it came to journaling.

Here’s what I’ve learned: there is more than one type of journaling. In fact, there are many! If you are interested in seeing what the practice of journaling can do for you, take a look at all the ways you can journal and choose the one that speaks to you. Or, if you’re like me and need to switch it up sometimes, do whatever style speaks to you on any given day.

journal

Journal Style #1: Classic

Yup, this is the style of writing that you might have done once when you were a little girl writing to your diary (as you would have called it back then) about your crush in the sixth grade. This is a story-style way of journaling and can be very cathartic (just like that long, emotional text I talked about earlier). Of course, the subject matter would be totally different than when you were eleven, but the feeling of “getting it all out” is still there.

Journal Style #2: Lists

List out your goals, your frustrations, the things that are making you happy/sad/angry in your life. A list gives you the ability to take all those thoughts floating around your mind and organize them so that you can actually process the situation – good or bad.

Journal Style #3: Mantras

Mantra journaling literally consists of writing the same phrases or thoughts at least once a day. The phrases should be simple and set your day up for positivity and inner strength. When I was actively doing this style of journaling, I chose phrases like, “I am calm,” or “I can only do what I can do.” Mantra journaling is simple, no-nonsense, and surprisingly effective at having a positive impact on my day-to-day mindset.

I’m sure there are more styles out there, but these are the ones that work for me, and I hope they might work for you too. Just remember that there is no “one way” to journal – which is such a relief for this reluctant journaler!

So, here I go. Thirty days of journaling. Thirty days of putting myself emotionally out there (on paper). Thirty days of writing the ups and downs of this quarantine experience. Thirty days of trying to make this love-hate relationship a little bit more loving.

If you’re interested in joining me on this journaling journey, follow me on Instagram @laurcrockerwrites. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this challenge. I hope you join me and share yours too!

Quarantine 30-Day Challenge!

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In the midst of a statewide Stay At Home order for (at least) the next 30 days, some of the OMC team has decided to commit to a Quarantine 30-Day Challenge! We’ll check in periodically via Instagram & Facebook Stories to update you on our progress, and again after the 30 days are complete!

How about you? Would you like to join in our 30-day challenge? Send us a DM on social media, or comment below with your personal challenge!

Kristi Corley

Quarantine Challenge: 
run 2 miles, 5x/week

Angelica

Angelica

Quarantine Challenge: 
giving up alcohol and soda

IMG_6990

Anne Marie

Quarantine Challenge: 
home organization

Chenoa

Chenoa

Quarantine Challenge: 
C25K (Couch to 5K)

Coppelia_branding portraits (10)

Coppelia

Quarantine Challenge: 
budget challenge

Dana

Dana

Quarantine Challenge: 
get out and walk everyday with the boys & to get oldest child in a bed routine again so hubby and I can spend time together

ERYN

Eryn

Quarantine Challenge: 
bikini body challenge

Jennie

Jennie

Quarantine Challenge: 
physically active

Processed with MOLDIV

Kristy

Quarantine Challenge: 
run/walk once a day

Laurie sq

Laurie

Quarantine Challenge: 
journal every day

Lulu

Lulu

Quarantine Challenge: 
30 minute yoga practice every day

Sylvia2

Sylvia

Quarantine Challenge: 
personal health & reading

How about YOU?
JOIN US!

How about you? Would you like to join in our 30-day challenge? Send us a DM on social media, or comment below with your personal challenge!

Orlando Mom Collective Neighborhood Egg Hunt

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Orlando area families may not be able to attend some of our favorite Egg Hunts and spring events this year, but with a little help from our neighbors, we can still go on an egg hunt while practicing social distancing! Not to mention an egg hunt is the perfect way to get outside!

Similar to the “bear hunts” you may have seen popping up, the Egg Hunt works best if lots of neighbors get in on the fun. So, spread the word to your friends and neighbors and get ready to go on an Egg Hunt! 

To make this extra fun for YOU, Mama, we’ve partnered with Camp Gladiator, and we’re giving away a $25 Target Gift Card to ONE lucky participant!!

We are thrilled to have our Egg Hunt sponsored by Camp Gladiator, who loves to “Take It Outside”! Owner Kristi’s husband Andy leads the Camp Gladiator locations in Lake Mary and Sanford 5x a week, but right now during #socialdistancing, his workouts are all online!

How It Works

1.Download and print the Easter Egg coloring page.

2. Decorate!

3. Display your egg(s) in your windows by Wednesday, April 8th.

4. Encourage your neighborhood to participate!

5. Go on an egg hunt with your family to see how many eggs you can find! *Don’t forget* to take a picture of the beautiful eggs you find and share to the Orlando Mom Collective FB thread and tag @orlandomomcollective on social media! Let’s see how many neighborhoods get represented! 

Egg Hunt April 9th – 12th

To WIN the $25 Target Gift Card from Camp Gladiator you MUST post your pictures in the Facebook Thread and LIKE the post to be entered!  The winner will be chosen at random April 13th – good luck!

Want extra entries? Post your photos on Instagram using the hashtag #orlandomomegghunt – be sure your pictures are public!

Take it OUTSIDE! – Thank you to Camp Gladiator,
especially Andy Corley for sponsoring the Target gift card
and encouraging Orlando families to Take it Outside, all while #socialdistancing!

Tag @orlandomomcollective and follow us on Instagram for a chance to be featured!

I’m Excited to (Un) Homeschool

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I am so excited to homeschool during this quarantine. I know, I may be very much in the minority here but hear me out before you start throwing stuff at me. I think this is such a unique opportunity for kids and parents. Trust me, I have quite a few friends who are true homeschoolers and I know that we are walking into isn’t true homeschooling. Nothing we are doing now is traditional anything. But we can make the best of it. I hope to do a combination of traditional schooling-meets-homeschooling-meets-unschooling. That last one is a real thing, no joke!

I’m Not a Teacher

I’ve been a substitute teacher since October but I’m not a teacher. Even when I sub a class, I’m not the teacher. Trying to pretend to be the actual teacher doesn’t work when you are a substitute. You’ll never do it the way “Mr./Ms. Enter-Name-Here” does it and the kids will let you know that quick! I don’t intend on trying to replace the role of Teacher with my kids either. And this is the beauty of it. Teachers are actually confined to a number rules and schedules. They are confined by the number of students they have, the varying levels and learning speeds of each individual student. I’m not! I only have 2 kids in this homeschool “classroom”. I have the freedom to move at my kids’ pace. As fast or as slow as they need.

This Isn’t a Classroom

I have no intention on making our house a classroom. Quarantine is weird. There isn’t any previous situation where we’ve been confined to our homes/neighborhoods for an extended period of time. It can be stressful and of course a big change. Kids feel this too. Maybe even more because they aren’t able to understand what’s going on and many young kids thrive on schedule and routine which is now completely upended. Kids need a new routine and they need home to feel like home. We will have an area carved out so work can be done or maybe it will switch day to day. Flexibility is key and maybe some days will homeschool in our rooms or the kitchen, whatever feels right that day.

Make It Fun

Brain breaks whenever we want, PE in the sprinkler, pajama day every Monday, reading time in bed…the sky’s the limit! Again, teachers are confined by rules handed down by the county and administration, but parents don’t have these limitations. Incorporating spelling while doing soccer drills or math while building Legos, you can attach a learning moment to your kids’ favorite things so they don’t see it as work. If they want to sit outside while doing language arts, let it happen.

Time for Extras

When you don’t have a class filled to the brim with 20+ students, things just won’t take as long. It’s not going to take from 8-3pm to get school work done. There will be time for extras that student’s don’t normally get during their day. They can read more, draw more, ride bikes, swim, play in the sprinklers, be kids!

We can’t change what we are going through at the moment but we can try and make this a time of memories for our kids. A time to let them progress with learning but bring the fun back into learning something new. If you are working from home while “teaching” make sure to schedule homeschool time and down time into your work calendar. Try to give your kids blocked out time the way you block time in your calendar. Consider queuing up educational videos or brain break times when you have busy meetings. This will give the kids breaks and give you peace of mind that they won’t interrupt important meetings or work time.

Alaska Getaway for the Whole Family

 

Alaska is one of the most unique states in the whole of the US, with its own wildlife and ecosystem and a different way of life that’s very different to the rest of America. You really have to see it to believe it, and going on vacation to Alaska is a great way to do just that.

But if you do plan to visit Alaska, you also have to bear in mind that it’s very different to other vacation spots, so you’ll need to spend some time in advance making sure that you’ve planned it all out and that you know exactly what you’re doing. It’ll help to keep you safe, but it’ll also help you to make the most of your time there.

And so with all of that in mind, here’s what you need to know before you head off on vacation.

Alaska Getaway for the Whole Family

1.       Take a cruise

There are a few different ways to get to Alaska, but one of our favorites is to go Seattle cruising and to head from one state to another in style on a cruise ship. There are plenty of different cruise operators for you to choose from, and they each tend to specialize in something different. For example, you can choose between foodie cruises to those designed for the elderly or cruises which aim to take in the unique wildlife along the way.

2.       Visit the National Parks

One of the highlights of visiting Alaska for both parents and for kids is the National Park system, which offers a wide variety of activities for children. This includes the Junior Ranger Program, which aims to cater to kids between the ages of 5 and 12 and which includes a sew-on patch and certificate as a reward for completing it.

3.       Remember to pack lightly

If you’re travelling to Alaska then the chances are that you’re going to have to fly somewhere, which means it’s all the more important to pack as lightly as possible. One solution here is to use compression packing cubes to help to fit as much as you can into as small a space as possible. Just make sure that you don’t go over the weight limit!

4.       Visit Husky Homestead

If the kids love dogs then you have to take them to Husky Homestead. Huskies are an Alaskan icon, and this Homestead at the Danali National Park and Preserve will teach you all you could hope to know about them while also showing off the dying art of dog sledding. You can tell that the staff truly loves the animals that they care for, and by paying the Homestead a visit, you also help to contribute much-needed funds that go towards the animals.

Conclusion

Now that you know just a few of the tips that we have to share for your Alaskan getaway, it’s over to you so that you can start planning your trip. Remember that visiting Alaska is a little different to visiting any other location, and so planning is absolutely vital if you want to have a fun vacation. The earlier you start planning, the better, so get started today. Happy travels!

12 Healthy Habits for a Work From Home Mom

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When I began writing this post, it was intended to inspire women who work from home on a regular basis with their little one(s) present. What I didn’t realize was by the time I finished writing it, the number of women working from home with their kids would be increased significantly. (If you’re reading this in the future, this post is being published during the COVID-19 outbreak which has changed our everyday lives as we know it.) Suddenly, more of us are working from home with our little one(s) running around in an effort to slow the spread of a virus we never even heard of until a couple months ago.

As I prepare to hit “publish”, my hope now is that this not only inspires the “typical” work from home mom, but also the mom who has suddenly found herself in a work environment she hasn’t had to navigate before. Being a work from home mom has many challenges, especially when it comes to finding a healthy balance between professional life and mom life. It can feel like a never-ending battle with no happy medium. However, I am here to share that working from home and doing it with kids can be achieved as long as you develop healthy habits that foster productivity at work and quality time with your kid(s) and making those habits a part of your daily routine.

12 Healthy Habits for a Work From Home Mom

1. Mindful Morning Routine

If you’re going to get anything done during the day, starting off on the right foot is essential. The key to getting off on the right foot is creating a proactive routine full of mindful activities. Take a good look at your morning routine and determine if your activities are proactive or reactive. Are you waking up each day to your little one’s cries (reactive) or are you setting your alarm early enough to rise and get yourself together before he or she wakes (proactive)? Are you checking your social media notifications as soon as you wake (reactive) or are you setting dedicated times to log in, respond to messages and post to your feed or stories (proactive)?

Once you’ve identified your actions, for every reactive action you are taking each morning, replace it with a mindful routine, and you will notice positive changes almost immediately. Beginning your days with your mind in a positive place will set you up for success the rest of your day.

Types of Practices to Implement into Your Mindful Morning Routine

  • Stretch
  • Exercise
  • Drink Water
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Read
  • Write
  • Listen to Music/Podcast/Audio Book
  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Shower
  • Get Ready
  • Make Bed
  • Record Daily Gratitude
  • Eat Breakfast

Want to know what my mindful morning routine looks like? Head to this post where I share exactly how I’ve restructured my mornings to create my most productive days.

2. Eat, Play, Sleep Routine

We’ve shared a few times our love for the Moms On Call method. If you’re not familiar with the MOC method, be sure to check it out! In a nutshell, Moms On Call is a resource that teaches you how to structure your days with growing children based on their developmental age. MOC helps you develop healthy eating, playing and sleeping routines for your little one which in turn helps you better structure how you spend your days. All in all, your days become more predictable so you know when you can dedicate undivided attention to not only your little one but also your work. For example, based on my baby’s age right now, he takes (2) four hour naps each day, so I know I can give my business four hours of undivided attention during those times. This ultimately brings me to my next healthy habit.

3. Work When Little One Sleeps

Being a work at home mom certainly comes with its challenges and dividing your attention between your little one(s) and work might be the most challenging. The reality is, if you’re trying to complete anything work related while they are awake, you’re probably not getting much done. Instead of trying to work all day long through diaper changes and play time, plan to work while they sleep. You will be surprised just how productive you are in those smaller windows of time. This may also mean you’ll have to complete some work in the evenings after your little one(s) goes to bed, but just remember time with them will be more valuable when it’s undivided. In return, the quality of your work will be that much better when you aren’t tending to someone else’s needs.

4. Get Outside

You will never understand how important it is to get outside until you start doing it often. It not only allows you to take mental breaks but also allows for you and your little one(s) to get some fresh air and stretch your muscles. Getting outdoors has many scientific benefits, but here are a few worth noting when it comes to working at home with kids. Getting outside helps boost your energy as well as your immune system, enhances creativity and helps restore your focus. Being healthier, more creative and better able to focus helps you to not only be a more attentive mom but also more productive in your work.

5. Get Social

While it can feel overwhelming to add one more thing to the calendar, it is imperative to carve out social time for you and your little one(s). Getting social improves mental and emotional well-being. Some of our favorite social activities include educational opportunities like story time at the library and music time at the local recreation center where we can invite others to join us and meet new friends. Pick at least one activity a week and make it a part of your routine. Schedule it for when your little one(s) are normally awake, and it shouldn’t disrupt your daily routine.

6. Use Phone During Designated Times

This habit has been a game changer when it comes to maintaining a healthy work from home lifestyle. Having designated times to use your phone not only frees up more productivity time for work, but also provides additional quality time with your little(s). Strive to only use your phone when they are asleep and only when necessary (i.e. client calls). Designate time for when you will respond to family and friends’ messages, rather than answering them all day long. Set specific days and/or times for client calls to ensure your time is focused and productive. Whether you use social media apps to manage a business account or to keep up socially, schedule specific times during the day to log in and always set a time limit!

7. Everything Has a Place

In your home, everything should have a place. This includes your household items and your workspace items. If you don’t have room for something, that is the perfect indicator to go through your belongings and purge. Once you have purged down to your most essential and loved items, give each item a place in your space. After everything has a designated place, know nothing else goes there, not even temporarily. After a while, it will become second nature to place your items where they belong which will ultimately eliminate clutter. When your spaces are free of clutter, your mind will feel less cluttered, helping you to become more productive and attentive.

8. Take the Two Extra Seconds

This habit goes along with the “everything has a place” notion. As daunting as it may seem at the time, take the two extra seconds it takes to put something away and put it away. That outfit you tried on this morning but don’t plan to wear? Put it away. That toy in the middle of the floor you keep walking past? Put it away. That clean basket of folded laundry sitting at the edge of your bed? Put it away! Again, the less clutter in your physical space will help eliminate clutter in your mental space.

9. Use Your Creativity

Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, try and make it a habit to get creative at least once a day. Whether it’s a craft with your little(s) or a new recipe in the kitchen, creativity can improve your overall health. Creativity helps you focus your mindset and calm your nerves. It reduces anxiety, depression and stress while increasing happiness and boosting your immune system. Furthermore, creativity develops your problem-solving skills and makes you better able to handle uncertain situations.

10. Put Little One to Bed Early

When I first had my baby, I assumed if we put him to bed later, he would sleep later. It turns out, that is not how sleep works. Instead, sleep begets sleep. With that, we implemented an early bedtime that allowed for him to get plenty of rest (turns out kids need LOTS of it!) and to sleep to a normal and regular hour. In turn, this freed up more time in my evenings to complete any unfinished work for the day, indulge in some self-care or sit on the couch and veg out. Basically, it’s the perfect time to unwind and relax which helps prepare your mind and body for the next day.

11. Consistent Evening Routine

Just as important as it is for our little ones to have a consistent evening routine, it’s also important for us to implement one for ourselves. First and foremost, set a time to stop working every single day. Say goodbye to the days of working odd hours into the night. Instead, cease working at your designated time and plan to complete any unfinished work the next day or on a later date. Fill the rest of your evening with relaxing activities such as reading, listening to music, journaling, meditating, praying, etc. Make those activities as part of a consistent evening routine for a more restful night which will set you up for success the following day.

12. Take a Day of Rest

This habit may just be the most important of all. When we work from home, boundaries can become more obscure. However, it is imperative to set boundaries when it comes to your time. Commit to taking at least one day of rest each week, free of work-related tasks and personal responsibilities. Taking time away from your work will give you time to connect with your little(s) on a deeper level. It will also help reduce your stress level, restore mental energy and improve short-term memory. As a result, it will ensure you will be more productive on the days you do work.

Have any additional healthy habits for a work at home mom you’d like to share? Please leave them in the comments below!

Orlando Mom Collective Mission

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Hi there!

Kristi Corley - MissionI’m Kristi, the owner of Orlando Mom Collective, and I’m so glad you’re here!

Since 2013, Orlando Mom Collective (formerly Orlando Moms Blog) has provided a positive voice for motherhood by connecting moms to resources and parenting perspectives unique to their communities.

The Orlando Mom Collective mission is (and always has been) to bring moms together, both in-person and online, striving to cement ourselves as the go-to brand for motherhood. In 2019, we (alongside our parent company, City Mom Collective) made the exciting decision to refresh our brand.

You will notice that our look has changed, but our core purpose has not. Orlando Mom Collective will continue to provide fresh new written content, local resources, and a community for moms in the Orlando area.

We’ve had the privilege of working with trusted businesses. For example:

Orlando Mom Collective Mission

…just to name a few!

Connect with us!

We’d love for you to stay connected with us! You can by subscribing (for free) to our weekly emails and interact with us on Facebook and Instagram. You can read more about our team of writers. And if you’ve always wanted to share your story, you can check out our Guest Post Submission Form!

If you’re a business looking to work with us, visit our sponsorship page. There are SO many ways we can partner together!

And thanks for reading. We’re HAPPY you’re here.

Kristi Corley
owner
[email protected]

When is the right time to sleep train?

You are tired! You’re not getting the sleep you need and neither is your child.  You want to sleep train, but wonder; “When is the right time to sleep train?”

5 years ago, I was in this place.  I had a 5 month old who was waking every two hours in the night.  He was only taking two 30 minute naps in the day.  He would only fall asleep nursing and would only stay asleep if I laid next to him and didn’t move an inch. Ugh!

I spent my days and nights working to help him sleep only to not succeed, at least for any lasting time.  I would get him to sleep, only for him to wake shortly thereafter.  I would then start the cycle of working to help him sleep again.  In all of this neither of us were really sleeping and exhausted. I was lost on what to do.

In our case, I had reached my breaking point. We hired a Certified Sleep Consultant.  I was frankly too tired to go it alone. She helped us to create the right plan for our son that I was comfortable implementing and supported us through the process. In a week’s time, he was sleeping through the night.  In two week’s time, he was taking 4-5 hours worth of naps in the day. We were all getting sleep!

So, you’re tired and you are looking to sleep train, either on your own or with support and a plan from a Certified Sleep Consultant – but when is the right time? Here are a few things to consider:

Have you reached a breaking point?

For every family, a breaking point may look a little bit different.  Perhaps no one is sleeping well at night.  Maybe a sleep crutch like a pacifier is starting to not work as well as it did before. Or the days are incredibly long without naps and your child is overtired and having a hard time making it through the day.  Perhaps you are headed back to work and the sleepless nights won’t cut it any longer.

Whatever the situation may be, when you reach your breaking point, this is a good time to start considering working with your child on sleep.

Are YOU ready?

If your child is not getting the sleep that they need, they are ready!  That is where, they are always ready for better sleep (after considering their age). It is never too late.  They will be grateful for healthier sleep!

However, when you sleep train, you want to make sure that YOU are ready.  Yes, you may have hit your breaking point, but are you prepared to face the challenge of helping your child to sleep a bit better? I’ve been down the road on this and it is not easy in the beginning.

The tough part about sleep training is that it is usually the first time that we need to give our children the space to learn a new skill on their own.  It gets easier on us as our kids get older and we as parents have more practice on letting go.  This first time is tough, but you can get through it.  If you need some support to get through it, that is totally ok.  I certainly needed it!

Independent sleep is a new skill that they will eventually need to learn.  If they are of the right age (see below), then know and be confident that they are fully capable of achieving this skill. But YOU need to be ready to let go a little (with a great plan) and allow them to learn it. You will then be giving them a gift that will last the rest of their lives.

Is your child ready?

I’ve already said that it is never too late to sleep train, but is it ever too early. The answer is: YES! We want to ensure that your child is developmentally ready for doing what we are asking of them – consolidated sleep in both day and night.  I suggest waiting until your child is 4-4.5 months from due date.

After this time, we can be sure that their internal biological clocks have developed.  This means that they are ready for a sleep schedule. In fact, their body needs a sleep schedule.  We also want to ensure that they have the ability to self soothe.  Both of these milestones have been met by 4-4.5 months.

I am often asked: “Can you work on sleep if your child is teething or during a sleep regression?” The answer is: YES! Our young babies go through so much change in such a short time. Teeth keep coming into the 2nd year, if you wait for teething to stop, you’ll be waiting until they are 2-3 to work on sleep.  Also, sleep regressions are often tied to new skills. New skills can get in the way of sleep. However, a child who has a healthy relationship with sleep will roll through these sleep regressions more easily than an overtired child.

Is it the right timing?

It is always best if when you choose to start working on sleep you can dedicate two weeks to being very consistent with the new sleep plan. This is so that your child can catch up on sleep and adjust to the new way of being.

This does not mean that you need to take time off of work. It does not mean that your child needs to be home from daycare. Real life is real life. However for two weeks it is best to stick to the sleep schedule and to not make exceptions.

After the two weeks, exceptions to the rules are absolutely possible. In fact, I encourage them – in moderation.

We happen to be in a time right now that allows for a beautiful space to sleep train. There’s a bright side to everything right? We have the blessing of being able to spend more time with our families and focus on what really matters most. The list of what matters most is likely a bit different for all, but I think we can all agree that love and health are included in that list. Sleep is a critical part of your child’s health and a skill that they will appreciate.

You’ve got this!

My Anxiety Is Through the Roof

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My anxiety is through the roof.

The schools are closed. Socially distancing from people. The theme parks are closed. No gatherings of more than 10 people. The state parks are closed. You can’t go out to eat. Self-quarantine. Symptoms don’t appear for 14 days.

Things are scary right now. Covid-19 (or coronavirus) has flung the world into unknown territory and let me tell you that my anxiety is through the roof.

Here are a few small things that I am doing to keep myself from spiraling into a bad mental place.

Keep taking your meds.

This is not the time to see if you can “handle” things on your own. If your doctor prescribed you something to help you KEEP TAKING IT.

Get some sun on your face.

Whether you believe the stories that this novel virus is killed with heat or not sunshine is good for the soul. So walk your dog. Have your coffee on the front porch. Play outside with your kids and sidewalk chalk.

Keep regular hours.

I’m not saying that you have to wake up at 5am or anything, but don’t sleep the day away (not that your kids will let you!). Wake up and get dressed. Similarly, don’t stay up until 2am every day.

Talk to people!

Whether you are calling, FaceTiming, Zoom meeting, or yelling across the street keep in contact with other humans. We are all in this together so don’t forget your fellow woman.

Give yourself grace.

Give yourself a break. Don’t be hard on yourself. Whatever you want to call it, that is what you need to do. It’s okay if you haven’t reorganized your linen closet or junk drawer. It’s okay if you have binged Little Fires Everywhere while drinking some wine. It’s okay to rebuild your Sims 4 world and spend time playing Animal Crossing.

Mamas, we are going to get through this. I promise.

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My anxiety is through the roof. . . The schools are closed. Socially distancing from people. The theme parks are closed. No gatherings of more than 10 people. The state parks are closed. You can’t go out to eat. Self-quarantine. Symptoms don’t appear for 14 days. . . Things are scary right now. Covid-19 (or coronavirus) has flung the world into unknown territory and let me tell you that my anxiety is through the roof. . . Here are a few small things that I am doing to keep myself from spiraling into a bad mental place. . . 1 – Keep taking your meds. This is not the time to see if you can “handle” things on your own. If your doctor prescribed you something to help you KEEP TAKING IT. . . 2 – Get some sun on your face. Whether you believe the stories that this novel virus is killed with heat or not sunshine is good for the soul. So walk your dog. Have your coffee on the front porch. Play outside with your kids and sidewalk chalk. . . 3 – Keep regular hours. I’m not saying that you have to wake up at 5am or anything, but don’t sleep the day away (not that your kids will let you!). Wake up and get dressed. Similarly, don’t stay up until 2am every day. . . 4 – Talk to people!! Whether you are calling, FaceTiming, Zoom meeting, or yelling across the street keep in contact with other humans. We are all in this together so don’t forget your fellow woman. . . 5 – Give yourself grace. Give yourself a break. Don’t be hard on yourself. Whatever you want to call it, that is what you need to do. It’s okay if you haven’t reorganized your linen closet or junk drawer. It’s okay if you have binged Little Fires Everywhere while drinking some wine. It’s okay to rebuild your Sims 4 world and spend time playing Animal Crossing. . . Mamas, we are going to get through this. I promise. . . xoxo, . Anne Marie, OMC contributor . . @ubannemarie . . #orlandomomcollective #orlandomomsblog #orlandomom #orlandomoms #orlandoblogger #orlandoinfluencer #coronavirus #stayhome #anxiety #depression #cabinfever

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Guide To Orlando

Budget-Friendly Summer Camps in Central Florida

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COVID UPDATE! Most of the camps in this guide were submitted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with each listing to see if...

Orlando Theme Park Guide