At our home we seem to have the perpetual problem of unplayed with toys or unread books. But as soon as we go to a friend's home, all their toys are the newest and greatest things ever. Anyone else have this "problem"? Well, I decided to have a toy swap with some of my friends. Step2 generously donated a couple Little Helper Shopping Carts for the kids to collect their new toys in, everyone brought toys, books and games that were in good shape, with no pieces missing and for about 2 hours our kids swapped their toys away. Curious how we did it? Here are my tips on how to have a successful toy swap and what to do with all those leftover toys!
Send out your invites:
First decide how many people you want to invite. Do you want to just invite your friends or open it up to all the kids in your neighborhood. Just remember, the bigger it is, the more varitey of books and toys there will be to swap- plus the more you have to share/donate at the end.
Pick your place:
Small swaps can be easily done in a home. Or if you have a local church or community room to use they are great way to guarantee enough space for everyone and everything. I hosted our toy swap in our basement and cleared out any items we wanted to keep so that there was no confusion about what toys they kids were allowed to take and which ones were off limits.
Set some rules:
You can use a ticket system and give each child a ticket per toy. Although most parents are happy to get rid of old toys and not take as many back home. We didn't hand out tickets and with a dozen kids running around swapping toys we had no problems. Step2 sponsored our event with Little Helper Shopping Carts so the kids went around the room and put their favorite items their cart. The Little Helper shopping carts were pefect for the kids, they were able to grab stuff and keep looking without getting loaded down with whatever treasures they may have already found.
You don't have to supply snacks. But what kids doesn't like snacks? Food AND toys.. my boys are in heaven. Plus it apparently takes a lot of energy to look around a room and get new toys, because those kids made quick work of the snacks. We just had "Toy Swap" bottles of water, Twizzlers, cookies, gumballs and M&M's for everyone.
With all the leftover toys, you can donate them to a local charity. We donated our toys to Hannah's Treasure Chest in Centerville. We were able to donate 2 boxes and 2 large trash bags of toys, books and games when our event was over. There are several great local charities in the Dayton area; Goodwill, Salvation Army, AmVets and several others, but I felt drawn to donate the items from our swap to Hannah's Treasure Chest. First, the items at the swap were all in good shape, no pieces missing and nothing broken. So I didn't feel bad donating our swap items to them. Hannah's Treasure Chest is a non-profit organization that exists to enrich the lives of children in need by providing clothing, books, infant/toddler equipment and toys. Their main warehouse is located at 124 Westpark Road in Centerville. They use their donated items to help children in poverty by supplying them with things that they need. Their list of clients include social service workers, family advocates, school counselors and church pastors. Whenever my boys outgrow an item I sometimes hate to just "get rid of it," I would rather give it to someone that I know can use it. The problem is that there isn't always a friend or family member in need of what we have when we are looking to give our stuff away. Hannah's Treasure Chest is the perfect way to donate stuff that you no longer need or use, but you want to go to someone that can really use it.
Our toy swap was so much fun. The kids had a great time getting new toys and all the parents had a good time just being able to hang out. Toy swaps are a great way to clean out your closets and empty out some toy baskets plus it is a great way to teach your children about sharing with others. We all have things that we no longer use and this is a great way to teach our children about helping others out by donating items they no longer play with to someone that will appreciate it more. So next time you feel like the books and toys are taking over your home maybe grab a few friends and have a toy swap.
Disclosure: Step2 provided me with the Little Helper Shopping Carts. But this post and opinions are my own and not paid for or influenced by the item provided.
The great thing about summer is that it brings the fun of outdoor Farmers Markets to the Dayton area. You can find locally grown produce, organic meat, bakery items and much more! They always have a great selection of food and other items. It's a great way to help support local farmers and businesses in the Dayton area. Plus if you ask any farmer's market die-hard shopper they will quickly tell you that what you can buy there is unlike anything you can ever hope to find at a grocery store. So now thanks to some of our amazing readers we have a list of several local farmer's markets. If you know of any others please feel free to leave us a comment and we will add it to the list.
2nd Street Market
Location: 600 E 2nd Street, Dayton
Hours: Thursday & Friday 11am-3pm
Closed on Christmas and New Years
Centerville Farmer's Market
Location: 892 S. Main Street, Centerville
North of the intersection of State Route 48 & Spring Valley Road
Dates: May 26- Oct 27
Hours: Thursday 2:30-6:30pm
Greene County Farmers Market
Location: North Allison Avenue in Xenia, next to Aldi’s
Dates: Tuesday during the summer
Hours: Tuesday 9am-1:30pm
Location: Five Points Shopping Center parking lot
2239 Tarbox Cemetery Road
Dates: Thursday during the summer
Hours: Thursday 2-6pm
Location: Beavercreek Kmart shopping center on Dorothy Lane
Dates: Saturday during the summer
Hours: Saturday 8am-12:30pm
Sugarcreek Township Farmer's Market
Location: 4333 Feedwire Road, Kettering
Dates: May 20 - October 28
Hours: Friday 3-7pm
Tippecanoe Farmer's Market
Location: 3rd and Main Street, Tipp City
Dates: June 11- Sept 17
Hours: Saturday 9am-12pm
Wegerzyn Market at Moose Lodge
Location: 2110 E. Central Ave, Miamisburg
Dates: July 5 - Oct. 25
Hours: Wednesday 1-6pm
Location: 5300 N Main St, Dayton
Dates: May 7- Oct 15
Hours: Saturday 7am-12pm
Thanks Lizzie, Brandi, Melissa, Veronica, Amber, Rebecca and Cindy!!
Need some help encouraging your kids to read? Or maybe you have a few bookworms in your house like me and would love to "reward" their love of reading. Seriously have you ever seen a cuter bookworm?! Well, now that summer is here there are several summer reading clubs/programs going on in the area. Here are a few of the ones that I know about that are currently going on. Be sure to sign up early so that your kids can take full advantage of the programs. Libraries want to encourage EVERYONE to read and have programs for teens and adults also.
Barnes and Noble
Dates: May 24- Sept 6
Summer Reading Club
Books & Co
Date: While supplies last
Junie B. Jones Backpack Summer Reading Club
Chuck E. Cheese
Dates: Year Round
Reading Rewards (Food purchase required)
Dayton Metro Libraries
Dates: June 1- Aug 1
Summer Reading Programs
Sign up at your local branch
Half Price Bookstore
Dates: June 1- July 31
Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Club
Washington Centerville Libraries
Dates: June 6- Aug 1
Baby/Toddler Program- 0-24 months
Children's Program- Preschool- 5th Grade
Teen Program- 6-12 Grade
Adult Program- 18 yrs and up
Summer Reading Club
Sign up at your local branch
Did you know that one of the most important things that you can do to help your child's education is read to them daily? I'm kinda bummed that the Half Price Bookstore changed their Summer Reading Program, but it's still a fun deal. The Half Price Book Store is helping you get your kids to read this summer. We LOVE their summer reading "Feed Your Brain" program. Starting June 1 through July 31 kids ages 14 and under can earn a $5 Shopping card if they read at least 15 minutes per day all summer. Here's how it works:
Get a Feed Your Brain Reading Log PDF and set a goal to read each day for at least 15 minutes or more throughout June and July. Grown-ups may read aloud for kids who are still learning.
Join them for the Feed Your Brain kick off on Sunday, June 5 at 2pm for the Biggest Storytime of the Summer at your local Half Price Books.
Add up your minutes and have your parent or guardian initial at the end of each week.
If your child reads 600 minutes or more they can turn in the completed reading log at Half Price Books July 25 – August 7 to receive a $5 Back-to-School Bucks summer reading reward!
Does your kid think they’re a Top Reader this summer? They will award one top reader per age group with a TOP READER prize, a $20 HPB Gift Card!
Don't forget this doesn't start until June 1, 2010. I'm getting so excited for summer. Is it warm outside yet?!
Here is a great chance for all you parents with children who like to bowl – in fact it's 2 free games of bowling everyday for your child all summer long!
There are several locations that are participating. Just register on the bowling center page. After you register, you will have the opportunity to purchase a family pass. The Family Pass is for adult members of the family to enjoy bowling throughout the summer as well. The family pass covers up to 4 adult family members.The program start and end dates are listed on the bowling center page that you register with. Once the program has begun, they will send you an email every Sunday morning that contains a link to your coupons and family passes for that week. Simply login to your account at anytime once the program has started to print your coupons and family passes. There are SO many great summer freebies!
We’re working to compile a list of Vacation Bible School (VBS) Programs being offered in the Dayton area. We will be adding to the list as the information is released for each church. If you have information about a VBS Program at your church, please feel free to leave a comment on this post below and we’ll make sure to add it!
*Note: Programs are listed in date order. Click the name of each church to be linked to their website for more information.
Week of June 13-17
Apex Community Church
If you go to this one... you might see me... ;)
Ages: 4yrs through 4th grade
Dates: June 13-17 (6-9pm)
Program: Inside Out & Upside Down on Main Street
Dayton Living Word Church
Ages: Kindergarten through 6th grade
Dates: June 13-17 (9am-12:30pm)
Cost: Possibly free
Far Hills Community Church
Ages: 3yrs through 5th grade
Dates: June 13-17 (6:30-9pm)
Program: Time Travelers
Cost: $20 (use coupon code TTNAZ11 for $5 discount)
Online Registration - use coupon code TTNAZ11 for $5 discount
Ages: 3yr through 5th grade
Dates: June 12-16 (6:15-8:55pm)
Program: Big Apple Adventure
Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church
Ages: 4yrs through 5th grade
Dates: June 13-17
Program: Shake It Up Cafe
Cost: $7 per child
Week of June 20-24
South Park United Methodist Church
Ages: 3yrs through 4th grade
Dates: June 27-30 (1-4pm)
Program: Shake It Up Cafe
Cost: $10 per child if they come from 1pm-4pm and then if they come for lunch at noon, it is an additional $5
Zion Lutheran Church
Dates: June 20-24
Ages: Pre K-5th grade
Week of June 27- July 1
Week of July 11-15
Week of July 18-22
Mighty Fortress Lutheran Church
Ages: 3-12 years
Dates: July 17 - 21 (6- 8:30pm)
Program: Panda Mania
Week of July 24-29
Week of July 31- August 5
(Photo credit: Cumming Local)
Kettering is reopening several of their parks. Celebrate with them in May as several of their neighborhood parks reopen. Festivities include ribbon cutting, light refreshments and other fun activities. Now here is the part I'm REALLY EXCITED about... bring your swimsuit to J.F. Kennedy Park and get ready to see Kettering's FIRST sprayground!
10am-12pm: Oak Park, 2055 Malcom Ave
1-3pm: Wenzler Park, 3535 Sharewood Ct
10am-12pm: J.F. Kennedy Park, 5073 Bigger Road
1-3pm: Van Buren Park, 1450 Scottsdale Ave
These parks will open late Fall 2011/ Winter 2012
Southern Hills Park
Oak Creek Park
You can check out a full list of all the Kettering Parks and their locations.
CLOSED: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to our winner Abby.
YOU CAN VIEW OUR LIST OF GIVEAWAY WINNERS HERE.
I know it's early but I'm already thinking about what I'm going to be doing for the boy's birthday. And with birthdays come friends and family, gifts and thank you cards. So when I got my set of custom designed thanks you cards from Paperreka I could not have been more excited! Now, I've bought and received my fair share of cards over the years, but I've never seen any that were as beautiful as these. Her slogan of "you need custom (+) I breathe design (=) together, we are paperific" is so fun too!
I had asked Paperreka to match the card to my website, and I cannot believe how incredibly close they are! Now, if I had been REALLY smart I would have made them match the theme of our birthday party, but I'm not THAT on top of it. First the box had all the card nestled inside a clear plastic case and tied sweetly with a ribbon. Then each card has the look and feel of wood, it's amazing! Her website and all of the products that are on it look just as breathtaking. I love how each product has a catchy spice or herb name too, and with fun names like Juniper Berry, Cocoa Nibs and Fenugreek it's hard to not want everything on the site! The site if full of beautiful products; and wouldn't you know it, their options not only beautiful, but are custom designed for your specific needs. The sophisticated Red Pepper monogrammed cards are classy and classic. So are the Vanilla baby birth announcement cards, which would be sweet for a thank you card from the baby.
Here is the super fun part! Not only can you admire the skill and creativity at Paperreka, but you also have a chance to win something too. We will select one lucky winner to win a custom created set of items or choose a set of item from their online products
How To Enter:
Main entry: Check out Paperreka and tell us what you like would want to win or what you wish they would make. (Be sure to leave your comment on this post so that it gets counted)
Well, here are some more ways you can enter, just be sure to leave a additional comment for each additional entry requirement that you fulfill.
- Follow Deals For Dayton on Facebook, if you already do- tell us in your comment.
- Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter, if you already do- tell us in your comment.
This contest ends Thursday, May 19, at midnight EST. We will use Random.org to pick our winner.
Disclosure: Paperreka provided me with two sets of custom designed thank you cards. But this post and opinions are my own and not paid for or influenced by the item provided.
Where would we be without Mothers in this world? There are women that are mothers by blood, those that we blessed with through marriage and call them mother, or even those amazing women that have taken someone under their wings and treated them as if they were their own. To all of you that are mothers, have been, or one day hope to be Happy Mother's Day to you all!
Thank you so much to each and every one of you that nominated and voted for all of the amazing women for our giveaway. I was so blessed to read about the wonderfully loving and caring women that are here in Dayton and hope that each and every one of you know how much you are loved today.
So here is the news you have all been waiting for:
Grand prize winner: Lora Brunner
$50 Gift Certificate from Michael's Salon and Spa
Custom Designed Handbag from Jenna Claire Handbag Studio: Custom designed Brooklyn style bag
Dinner for two at The Melting Pot:Featuring Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue- Fontina and Butterkase cheeses, spinach, artichoke hearts and garlic AND Flaming Turtle Chocolate Fondue- Milk chocolate, caramel and pecans flambeed tableside
Two runner-ups: Sue Bell and Erin Hammerstrom.
$25 Gift Certificate from Joli Boutique.
Thank you again to all that nominated and voted and especially to our generous sponsors, we could not have done this without you!
I recently recevied a request from a reader:
Hey! Just curious...which zoo pass/museum pass do you guys have? I'm trying to figure out the best one to get!- Melissa C
So, for any other readers out there wondering the same thing here is what I've found in my research of the "Best Museum Pass" topic.
First let me say that it really depends on your family. What worked for my family as the best deal might not be for you and your family. When deciding which museum we wanted to get a pass to I went through the reciprocal program lists and based it off of what museums we would visit the most. The Boonshoft is a great deal because it allows you to visit science centers, zoos and aquariums, and children's museums (if you get the Adventurer pass). Cincinnati Museum will allow card holders from Boonshoft free admission, but it is limited to the Museum of Natural History & Science. If you purchase the Adventurer pass ($100) you can also visit the Duke Energy Children's Museum wing at Cincinnati Museum. Our family really loves Cincinnati Museum and so we decided that it was worth the extra money to get a pass to Cincinnati Museum so that we could visit all three museums at Cincinnati. Plus the pass we got allows for a guest or caregiver to take our kids to the museum even.
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery: Boonshoft is located on DeWeese Parkway in Dayton. There are daily events, special events, traveling exhibits and every day fun that includes hands-on science experiments, planetarium shows, visiting with live animals, story times and more. Membership to Boonshoft also entitles card holders to free unlimited admission to SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, Fort Ancient, an Ohio Historical Society facility in Warren County, and Planetarium Shows and discounts on Laser Shows at the Boonshoft Museum. You can use your Membership card to gain free admission or reduced rates to over 300 science museums, zoos and aquariums worldwide through their reciprocal program.
Military- $69, Family- $79, Grandparent- $79: Reciprocal benefits: Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
Adventurer- $100, Explorer- $250, Discoverer- $500: Reciprocal benefits: Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
Cincinnati Union Terminal: Cincy Museum is located on Western Avenue in Cincinnati in the old Union Terminal station. There is an Omnimax Theater, Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science and traveling exhibits. Each museum is in a separate wing of the museum and is a museum in itself. Membership to Cincinnati Museum entitles card holders to unlimited admission to all museums and discounts on traveling exhibits. You can use your membership card to gain free admission or reduced rates to over 300 science museums worldwide through their reciprocal program.
Individual- $55, Dual- $95, Family- $130: Reciprocal benefits: Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and Time Travelers history network
Family Premium- $160, Concourse- $325, Whispering Foundation- $575: Reciprocal benefits: Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), Time Travelers history network and Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
The reciprocal program doesn’t apply to centers within a 90-mile radius of home. But Cincinnati Museum and Boonshoft do accept card holders from each others museum for the reciprocal program. In addition, the free general admission does not include tickets to theaters, planetarium shows or simulators. Be sure you bring your membership card from your science center or museum to get free admission to any out-of-town science center or museum.
*Cincinnati Museum and Boonshoft participate in several reciprocal networks. Reciprocity is a mutual exchange of privileges between two institutions, allowing free or reduced admission to one science and technology center, zoo or children's museum to members of another science and technology center, zoo or children's museum. Member admission and discounts vary, so it is advised to contact the destination location before visiting for full details about their participation in the network. Reciprocal network participation can be subject to change without notice.