North Shore Kid Stories

Sparhawk School: Big Art for Little Humans PreK Classes
Join us for this special parent & child art class series on Wednesday mornings at the Sparhawk School with Catherine Kulik, the Sparhawk Elementary & Middle School art teacher. Your child will explore diverse ways of creating art and experiment with new, engaging materials while learning about line, color, texture and notable works of art. This class is sure to engage their sensory skills as well as their innate curiosity about the visual world around them.  Each class is limited to ten children and runs for 5 week sessions.  This class is absolutely free!
Holiday Travel tips for families
How did it become mid November?  Wasn’t I just chasing my children around the beach and cleaning up melted ice cream?  Thanksgiving is just days away and Christmas and Hanukkah are a few weeks later.  It’s almost time to break out the Christmas Tree and the Menorah.  Whoo hoo!  Who doesn’t love the holiday season?  Parties, family gatherings, travel…so much fun, but it can be a bit overwhelming for little ones.  I come from a family of 9, yes 9 (it is a combined his, hers, and theirs family, but none the less 9)!  And my husband’s family lives a 4-hour flight away.  While the holidays are a blast for us, and our kids, they certainly pose a challenge to our sleep routines.  So how do I handle it without seeming like our green friend the Grinch?  Here are my top tips to protect your child’s great sleep habits, or at least salvage them post holidays. Be it Over the River and Through the Woods or Right Next-Door, Schedules are Key: Rule #1 is always A Rested Child is a Happy Child:  Whether you are flying across the country or just spending the day with cousins – try to keep your baby’s schedule intact. Bring along a travel crib and set it up in a location as dark and quiet as possible.  Keeping their nap times and bedtimes consistent will help them to better assimilate and will make sure they stay a happy baby rather than an overtired cranky one. If Your Plans Include Several Hours of Travel:  In order to make sure naps aren’t missed, plan your travel times around nap times.  If driving, allow your baby to take their nap on the go but at the usual time.  A few minutes before naptime do a modified version of your regular soothing routine so your little one understands it time to go to sleep.  If flying during naptime, most little ones sleep great on the plane (it must be that constant humming sound ;).  Wearing your baby in an Ergo-like carrier is a great option as they are secure, yet comfortable.  If taking a long flight or a red eye, call your airline in advance and request a sky cot (a small travel bed which is installed in front of your seat – most airlines provide these for free).   Schedule Naps into Your Daily Plan:  Once at your Holiday destination, attempt to have as many naps as possible in your guest or hotel room in a stationary bed or crib.  This will help your baby become more familiar with their new sleeping environment as well as provide them with more restorative sleep.  One day of naps on the go (car, plane) will not disrupt your baby’s excellent sleep habits, but many in a row could wreak more havoc than the turkey’s tryptophan can counter act ;).  If hanging around the house or hotel is not in the plans, make sure you have your baby in their car seat, stroller, or carrier in plenty of time to catch their nap on the go.  While sleeping in a stationary crib or bed is best, a nap on the go is better than going without. Need to Miss a Nap:  If despite your best efforts you are up to your eyeballs in wrapping paper and a nap just isn’t possible, don’t sweat it.  Instead opt for a super early bedtime to make up for that missed sleep.  It will help to make sure your little one stays on track and doesn’t become overtired.    Manage Expectations:  While your nieces and nephews may be left to party along with their parents late into the night, that doesn’t mean your kids have to.  A few eyes may roll when you mention that bedtime is 6:30, but at least everyone will know in advance and your little one will not be fussing through dinner and keeping everyone from enjoying their ‘rare who roast beast’.   Slumber Party? Be Sure To Recreate Your Child’s Environment: Home Away From Home:  Bring along all your baby’s usual sleep time props – sleep sack, lovey, pacifier, white noise etc.  This will help them feel as comfortable as possible while away from their crib. Make Your Phone Do Double Duty:  If your white noise isn’t portable, download a white noise app on your smart phone and select a sounds option that is similar to your one from home.  This will not only help your baby’s environment similar to home, but it will also help drowned out any post Eggnog caroling.     Darker is Better:  Many hotel rooms (or even Aunt Gertrude’s guest room) lack adequate black out blinds.  As your child will get their best sleep in a very dark room, you will want to come prepared for an unexpected bright streetlight or a window facing the rising sun.  For a quick, easy and inexpensive fix, try these temporary black out blinds from Redi Shade.  They block out light like it’s no body’s business and are compact enough to fit in your suitcase or are easily shipped ahead of time to your destination.  Best of all – at $6.49 each, they are a no brainer.     A Comfy Crib is Easier Than You Think:  Call ahead and request a crib for your room.  Most hotels do have quality full size cribs on hand – you just have to ask!  Bring along your baby’s own mattress pad and sheet for piece of mind.  If you prefer to bring your own travel crib and have not yet made the big purchase, I love the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib.  Or if you already own a pack and play – invest in a mattress topper so your baby can sleep more comfortably on the go. When You Get Home It’s Back to Business as Usual: The Best Laid Plans:  No matter how well you plan ahead, the holidays bring the unexpected.  The key to getting back on track as quickly as possible is easier than you think – just resume your old routine!  A few days consistently back to the norm and you will have your great sleeper once again. Early Bedtime Saves All:  A great tool to help expedite this process is an early bedtime.  An overtired child has a much harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.  If you opt for an early bedtime the first few nights home, it will be beneficial in helping your child catch up on any missed sleep and get back to their typical sleep habits. Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant.  She is founder of Well Rested Baby (  She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule.  Please email her at with any questions.  Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook too more great sleep tips!
Find books for children north of Boston. Fundraisers, parties and storytime with
Jana Harris is currently scheduling Barefoot Book Parties, Storytime and Fundraisering events for Fall and Winter 2014/2015. Share stories, connect families, inspire children and earn amazing host rewards. Free books!  Find and enjoy books, games, puppets and puzzles that will stay with your family for years to come. Jana Harris - 978-304-9028.
Tom Ellis and Collin Keegean at the helm of Schooner Thomas E. Lannon
Take a moment and explore this unique kickstarter campaign featuring a young boy named Collin Keegan, his love of science and an extraordinary drive to share what he learns with other kids. "Science All Around Us" is a concept for an educational series that explores how things work and why from the perspective of a kid who wants to reach other kids on a global scale.  Twenty minute episodes will start start with Collin focusing on an every-day problem that can be solved using scientific methods and ideas. The founding idea for the entire project is that kids can and should teach other kids.
Birthday party at Laser Quest Danvers MA
Perfect for kids, teenagers and adults; celebrate at Laser Quest in Danvers where all your friends and family can join in the excitement! Planning a birthday party is easy at Laser Quest. Call to learn more. 978-762-8778
Visit Plymouth Rock and the Plimoth Plantation this Thanksgiving Holiday
We are so close to Plymouth that it's worth a visit over the next few weeks so the kids can see and experience the history that they learn in school.  Check out Pilgrim Memorial State Park , home to the Mayflower II and the Plymouth Rock, then head down the road to Plimoth Plantation to experience pilgrim life as it was back in the 17th century. Plymouth is easy to get to from the North Shore, take 93 South to Route 3 South, you can't miss it!
Anybody can enter the 7th Annual Wenham Museum Gingerbread Contest!
All are invited to enter the 8th Annual Gingerbread Building Contest at the Wenham Museum! Individuals or groups of any experience level and any age are welcome to submit their creation as part of this years contest for display at this year's Gingerbread Express.
Annika McKenna gorgeous jewelry best holiday gift for women
In time for the upcoming holiday season, I’m happy to find Annika McKenna, SeaSalt Design, handmade jewelry. A talented, local artist with a studio here on the north shore, Annika creates unique collections of handmade Sterling and Fine Silver jewelry inspired by nature.
Sleep tips for children from pediatric sleep experts
Well Rested Baby Sleep Tip: Who’s afraid of the dark? A newborn?  Nope.  A 13 month old?  Not likely.  A 2 year old?  Could be.  When a child wakes up in the middle of the night and is very upset, as a caring parent you of course worry about what is causing this behavior.  Could your child be afraid?  If so, what could be causing this fear?  If your child is under 2 years old, their behavior is most certainly not due to the darkness in their room as they just are not capable of fearing the dark yet.  If your two year old has suddenly started asking for a light to be left on and seems genuinely scared to be in the dark – then they likely are.  So how do you know if your child is afraid and what can you do to ease that fear?  And why wouldn’t we just turn on the light?
A Safe Halloween is a Happy Halloween!
Dressing up in a costume to go ask for free candy from anybody with a porch light on is a kids dream!  With these easy to follow tips and guidelines, having Halloween turn into a nightmare will be the farthest thing from everybody's mind. Talk to your kids about safety before they go out Trick or Treating and remind them that the best way to stay out of danger is to be aware of their surroundings!