Don’t Let Spring Showers Slow Your Kids Down: Our Top Rainy Day Activities in the Twin Cities

Girl looking through the window on a rainy day

As Minnesotans, we know that the calendar arrival of spring certainly does not guarantee sunshine and short-sleeve temperatures. March, April, and even May can be filled with cold, rainy days (and let’s not count out one or two early spring snow storms!) that make us crave the warmth of summer even more. A few months ago, we came up with some ideas to keep the kids active during winter, but let’s explore a few rainy day activities in the Twin Cities to count on this spring!

Kids looking at dolphins at an aquarium

Learn

Rainy days are the perfect opportunity for encouraging learning, and luckily, educational activities in the Twin Cities are plentiful. Here are a few educational activities we’d recommend checking out:

  • Como Zoo – If you’ve been there before, you know that the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory makes a perfect day trip any time of the year. Escape the rain and cold and wander around the garden domes filled with palm trees and exotic plants, and then head over to the Tropical Encounter which features free-flying birds, a sloth, and plenty of humidity. You and the kids will be able to learn about a variety of plants and animals while enjoying a tropical climate.
  • Sea Life at Mall of America – This is another adventure perfect for any animal-loving kid. Though a little more expensive than a day at Como, the Sea Life exhibit at the Mall of America (MoA) still offers rich hands-on learning experiences that will keep your children engaged and excited to learn more. From sharks to jellyfish, there are hundreds of species to learn about in this expansive exhibit.
  • Children’s Museum St. Paul – Kids of all ages will love the highly interactive environment that the Minnesota Children’s Museum provides. Let kids develop a scientific understanding of their surroundings, gain hands-on workshop experience, and stimulate creativity with a multitude of expertly designed exhibits.

Kids staying active indoors

Play

Rainy days spent inside can induce some serious cabin fever in kids. If yours need to burn off some energy in a new environment, check out these active indoor activities in the Twin Cities that will tire your kids out in no time.

  • Edinborough Park – As the largest indoor play facility in Minnesota, you really can’t go wrong with Edinborough Park. With play areas designated for kids of all ages and even an indoor track and pool for those older than 16, this facility is a perfect place for the whole family to burn off energy on rainy spring days!
  • Your local gym – Be on the lookout for special events hosted at your local gym. YMCAs will often have open gym and family swim hours perfect for little ones.
  • Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America – Another local no-brainer, but always a trusted option for a rainy day. In addition to the seven acres of pure fun, the Mall of America also offers “Toddler Tuesday” where toddlers can play, meet their favorite movie characters, and do crafts for free or discounted rates. Many restaurants in the mall participate and let kids eat free during these limited hours!

Kids doing arts and crafts at home

Stay at Home

There are hundreds of more places around the metro region we could list, but maybe one of the best ways to make the best of a rainy spring day is to simply stay at home! You can keep kids busy at home by blending learning and play all while saving time and money required by visiting some of the previously listed activities. Here’s a quick list of ideas to try:

  • Build a fort
  • Sit down for story time
  • Throw a dance party
  • Bake cookies
  • Write and illustrate a children’s book
  • Play dress-up

Whether you’re at home or in a museum, there’s lots of fun to be had on those cold, rainy spring days we know so well. At Grow Pediatrics, we understand that balancing learning and play is critical to your child’s development. If you have any questions or concerns about your child, don’t hesitate and contact us!

Natural Treatment for Scrapes That Will Get the Kids Back to Playing Faster

A child with a scraped knee

The sun is shining longer, the temperatures are (slowly) climbing, and kids across the Twin Cities are itching to get back to playing outdoors. After a long winter, you might be getting ready to brush the dust off the first aid kit in preparation for knee and elbow scrapes from falls off bikes or trips over sidewalk cracks. Given the upcoming spring and summer seasons, we’d like to provide a few tips on how to treat the minor cuts and scrapes your little ones might get from playing outside with natural remedies.

First, let’s go over some of the more traditional methods parents have used as treatment for scrapes. The first step of scrape treatment should be to stop any bleeding by gently applying pressure, and then cleaning away dirt and debris with water and non-scented soap. This will help prevent infection from developing.

Once the scraped area is clean, think twice if you’re about to dig through the cabinet for hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. These solutions may not be as effective as we once thought and can actually slow the healing process.

For those of you wondering how to heal a scrape fast — and naturally — we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to put to work this spring and summer!

 

Woman choosing essential oil in Japan

Essential Oils

If you’ve got essential oils on hand, you’re in luck! Two amazing oils you can use to speed up recovery are lavender and tea tree oil. Lavender is antibacterial and can help promote fast healing while tea tree oil is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.

When applying onto your child’s scrape, it’s a good idea to use a carrier such as coconut oil, aloe vera, or a very mild lotion. Mix 2-3 drops of the oil into a bit of your carrier of choice, and apply directly onto the scrape. Then, wrap up the scrape with a bandage. Make sure to re-apply this treatment a few times a day to keep the scrape moist.

 

A few bulbs of garlic

Garlic

Garlic is a miracle worker — whether it’s used for cooking or scrape-healing. Be warned that garlic is a more aggressive treatment and might actually burn a little when applied directly. However, it has powerful antibiotic properties and is a staple of herbal medicine.

To apply garlic, mash 10-20 cloves depending on the size of the scrape and mix with water until it has the consistency of a paste. Cover the area with a bandage, and the garlic will work to destroy bacteria and reduce pain. You won’t need to re-apply as frequently, but do change the bandage and apply fresh garlic once a day until the scrape shows signs of healing.

 

A spoonful of honey ready to treat scrapes

Honey

Much more than just a delicious treat, honey is another extremely powerful healing tool you can use on scrapes. Honey has been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of wounds. Much like garlic, it is a potent antibacterial that can kill off bacteria and prevent infection. It also helps stimulate cell production and keeps the surrounding tissues healthy during repair.

It’s important to note that only raw honey, especially a variety called Manuka honey, will work for this, as it possesses the healing enzymes that cooked honey lacks. To apply, you can either spread a little bit of honey over the scrape or mix with aloe vera. Re-apply 2-3 times a day, and be sure to keep the scrape moist to promote fast healing.

A variety of healthy foods that can help promote scrape healing

Diet

Scrape treatment shouldn’t be limited to just topical treatments. You can also help heal your child’s wounds by promoting a healthy diet that will surely speed up recovery. A few staples to incorporate are leafy greens, lean protein, and vitamin C.

Vegetables packed with vitamin K can speed up blood clotting, and protein is necessary for building new tissue. Spinach, lean meats (or nuts and soy products for vegetarians/vegans) and citrus fruits are all specific foods you can be on the lookout for.

Of course, hearty and nutritious meals should be encouraged every day. For advice on properly balancing your child’s meals, check out this blog!

Please keep in mind that if a cut or scrape is deep (over ¼ inch deep) or is still bleeding badly after 20 minutes, you should contact us, or another healthcare professional. It’s also important to keep an eye out for signs of wound infection. Some of these signs include excess swelling or tenderness, yellow-green pus, and fever. If your child exhibits these signs, please call your doctor.

5 Best Holiday Volunteer Opportunities in Minnesota for Families

Family volunteers at local soup kitchen

For many of us, the holidays are a busy time of year, especially when it comes to gift giving. As you check off presents on your shopping list, make time to volunteer with your family, and give a gift that impacts those around you. It’s a great way to teach your children about the spirit of giving, as well as encourage a more empathetic mindset. Here’s where to find holiday volunteer opportunities in Minnesota.

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5 Simple DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids for Under $25

October is coming to a close, which means Halloween is upon us. For some people, the scariest part of this spooky holiday is coming up with a good costume idea.

You want something fun and original, but you don’t want to break the bank doing it. You also shudder at the thought of buying a $50 costume for one night. This is why many people opt for a homemade costume.

The idea of a homemade costume can be daunting to many, but it doesn’t have to be a scary task. DIY costumes can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Need some inspiration? Here are 5 simple homemade Halloween costume ideas for kids that you can pull off for under $25.

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10 Candy Alternatives for Halloween That Won’t Give Kids Cavities

Four trick-or-treaters leaving a house with non-candy options for HalloweenOctober is in full swing, which means we’re on a countdown to the spookiest night of the year. And while Halloween is still a few weeks away, people are already starting to prepare: Decorations are coming out, costumes are getting bought, and candy can be found in every store.

If you’re a homeowner, you’re probably expecting an influx of kids ringing your doorbell with their pillowcases opened up. Halloween is definitely fun, but it can be a little sickening to think about the amount of candy kids will be receiving. If you want to hand out something that won’t make a dentist shudder, you do have other options. Read on for 10 of the best non-candy alternatives for Halloween.

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Fall Family Craft Ideas That Everyone Will Love

With the crisp fall weather approaching, there are guaranteed to be some days with less than ideal weather. If you find yourself at home with the kiddos on a cold, rainy fall day, there are plenty of fun fall craft ideas that are easy to make and perfect as decorations around the house!

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Fun Fall Activities in Minnesota for the Whole Family!

Apples floating in water

The seasons are a’changing! While many people mourn the warmer summer days, plenty are wrapping up in their cozy scarves and hiking boots to start fall off right. From football games to apple picking, pumpkin patches and the beautiful fall colors, there are plenty of fall activities in Minnesota for the whole family to enjoy!

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What to Know about OTC Medicine for Kids

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When you’re searching for a medication for your child, you might wonder how to choose from the many over-the-counter options. The drug aisle can feel overwhelming, with shelf after shelf filled with brightly colored packaging claiming to work wonders. It is important that parents understand the drugs they give their children so that they can recover from an illness as quickly, painlessly and safely as possible. When it comes to medicine you can buy without a visit to a provider, here are some things to look out for:
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How to Protect Your Baby From Whooping Cough

Whooping cough, or Pertussis, is a potentially deadly respiratory tract infection. Though there is a vaccine to protect against this infection, it is only fully effective when three shots have been administered, one a two months, one at four months, and one at six months. This means that infants under six months are most likely to contract the disease – though young adults who miss their booster shots are also at a higher risk.

How To Protect Your Child

During the third trimester of pregnancy, it is extremely important that mothers receive a dose of the vaccine. By doing so, you not only give your infant some short-term protection, but it also ensures that the mother will not pass Pertussis to her child after birth. Because Pertussis is spread by the cough or sneeze of an infected person, this is also true for anyone who will be in close contact with the baby – the father, grandparents, other relatives, siblings, etc. – anyone who will be around the child need to ensure that they are up to date on their vaccines. If they are not, they need to wait two weeks after getting an updated vaccine for it to take full effect.

As an infant and young child, it is recommended that your baby receives a total of five Pertussis vaccines at the following times:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15-18 months
  • 4-6 years

This is due to the fact that the vaccine decreases in strength overtime. It is also recommended that your child receive booster shots when they are between 11 and 18 years of age, as well as one when they are 19 or older.*

When To Head To The Doctor

Whooping cough mimics the symptoms of the common cold at first, but will continue for weeks. If your child has experienced sneezing, a running or stuffy nose, and a mild fever with coughing that has increased after a week or two, it’s time to consider a visit to your provider.

This disease differs from the common cold in that after the first few weeks, it can develop into severe coughing fits that are violent and rapid, causing the loud “whooping” sound as one inhales quickly. With that said, it is extremely important to note that in many cases of whooping cough, infants do not cough at all. Instead, the disease causes them to have difficulty, or stop breathing all together.

If you are concerned that your child may have whooping cough, don’t hesitate to visit your provider right away.

* http://www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis/

My Child Has An Earache – What Should I Do?

One of the most common reasons children are brought in for medical appointments is to deal with an ear infection. The most common form of ear infection is “acute otitis media,” a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear. The discomfort your child might feel from a middle ear infection is the result of fluid build up behind the eardrum.

Earache

How Did My Child Get an Ear Infection?

Children are more likely to get an ear infection than adults for a variety of reasons. The most common cause is because children’s middle ears are a different size and shape than adults. In fact, the National Institute of Health states that five out of six children will have at least one ear infection before they turn three years old. Ear infections don’t always manifest by themselves, either. They often appear with the common cold, the flu, strep throat, and sinus infections.

What Kinds of Symptoms Should I Look For?

If your child is old enough, he or she will probably let you know his or her ear hurts. If your child doesn’t tell you his or her symptoms, or isn’t able to communicate that information yet, you may notice a fever or drainage of fluid from the ear. You might also see the child tugging at his or her ears or notice that your child is more irritable, sleeping less easily, acting less balanced, or crying more than usual. You can help your child feel a bit better in the mean time by placing a warm, moist washcloth over the ear – or ears – that hurt.

When Should I See A Provider?

If the symptoms and discomfort continue for more than 24-hours, you should bring your child in for an exam. Your pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics or recommend OTC medicines like acetaminophen or eardrops – but these treatments vary with the age of your child.

The best action to take when you suspect your child has an ear infection is by keeping an eye on his or her symptoms and to make an appointment with your provider if the discomfort persists.