Category Archives: Family

Bowl For Free All Summer Long!

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You may already know about this unbelievable deal, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention it just in case!

KIDS CAN BOWL FREE ALL SUMMER LONG…

if you simply log on and follow the simple steps to sign them up at www.KidsBowlFree.com

The link will give you all the necessary information (obviously), but here’s the quick skinny…

You register your kids, pick a bowling alley (Cape Ann Lanes in Gloucester is a participating center!), and then every Sunday evening…all summer long…coupons will be emailed to you for the entire week.  The coupons are good for 2 free strings per child.  You do need to pay for shoe rentals, but the bowling is totally free…no gimmicks!   AND..if you want to bowl with the kiddos..you can pay a one time fee on-line of $28.95….and sign up 4 adults.  If you choose to do so, coupons will also be mailed to those 4 grown-ups each Sunday.  So, whether your kids are with mom, dad, a steady babysitter, a grandparent, etc. the adults can bowl free too!  And, TODAY ONLY, enter the code cinco5 and they’ll take $5 off that price too!  So, the kids always bowl free, and for a one time payment of $23.95 four adults can bowl free with them…all.summer.long.  Just pay for shoe rentals.

We’ve done this for the past couple of years and, in addition to the free bowling all summer, we usually get coupons and offers emailed to us during school vacations and holidays also!

Truly a NO BRAINER!!!

Assumptions

Dear Super Observant Man at the Pool,

Please allow me to begin by saying that I completely appreciate the fact that you took the time to let me know how much you enjoyed watching my husband frolic and play with our boys in the pool.  He certainly does have fun with them and they adore his attention.  He is indeed, as you so quickly noticed, a fantastic dad and I too get the warm fuzzies watching the boys climb all over him while giggling incessantly. Coincidently, I had just entertained some of those very same thoughts myself while watching them all play! It was very kind of you to stop me as I was walking by (with wet towels, 2 pair of flip flops, 1/2 of a sticky smoothie…made to order…dripping down my arm and off my elbow, a boogie board, a bag of pool toys, and the wad of gum that Child #1 accidentally left on his beach chair), to let me know that you found it incredibly refreshing to see a parent so completely engaged in unabashed fun with his children.  He sure is special and I’m so glad that you noticed.  It was so kind of you in fact, that I almost didn’t notice when you took a dig at me by adding, “You must feel very lucky that he entertained the boys for so long while you sat in your chair and relaxed.” I almost missed your raised eyebrow and the slight change in the tone of your voice.  I also almost missed your wife’s horrified, albeit subtle, cringe when you went just a little bit too far.

For the record,  I wouldn’t dare take a single word of your praise away from my husband because in that moment, and in many other moments, he is even more wonderful with our boys than even you described.  However, what you may not know, is that earlier that morning…and every other day of vacation…I took the boys for a long run/rollerblade as he enjoyed some peace and quiet.  You also may not know that, since my husband is out of the house and hard at work very early each morning, I have the pleasure of getting the boys ready for school, taking them there, seeing them throughout the day as I work my full-time (and then some) job as a teacher in the same school, picking them up, taking them to after-school activities, and then bringing them home late in the afternoon…every.single.day.  You also may not have deducted from your 30 minute observation of how we parent as a team, that until recently my husband was also hard at work on Saturdays so, that being the case, I have had the pleasure, for over 7 years, of taking them on countless excursions without him.  While he would have loved to have joined us, he simply wasn’t able. Likewise, as a teacher, I am incredibly fortunate to have the entire summer off with the boys.  It would be impossible to count all of the fun days that we’ve had…or even the quick overnight trips that we’ve taken…without him..during those long summer breaks.

I cannot emphasize enough how absolutely correct you were!  He was (and is…whenever given the opportunity) a fantastic, fun, and hands-on father to our two young sons.  I am beyond glad that you got to see him in his glory and that his awesomeness was not lost on you.  I do however wish, kind sir, that you had thought a wee bit deeper before evidently determining that I do not do the exact same 90% of the time.  While so quick to rightfully compliment him…you simultaneously insulted me with very little regard. Sadly, for his sake, my number of incredibly hands-on days with our children have had to outweigh his by a tremendously large number.  So, yes sir, when given the opportunity to allow him to relish in some of the simple quality time that is always so readily available to me, I sure did.  Selfishly, while relaxing as you put it, I was also admiring how adorable the three of them are together.

You caught me.  Sitting there in the sun…relaxing for 30 minutes.  Guess what?  I did it the day before that for a nice little chunk of time…and maybe even the day that before too.  The horror.  You might, but probably not, be interested in knowing that when I later expressed how bothered I was by your obvious criticism of me, my husband immediately laughed and said, “If only he knew how often you are off entertaining them on your own!”  Proving once again, how great he is.  I’ll also have you know that another very kind man echoed many of your same words the very next day….and, believe it or not, was able to do so without a hint of sarcasm or ridicule in regards to my parenting in his voice.  Imagine that.

Sincerely,

A very relaxed mom…thanks to a great dad…who is now ready to tackle a slew of solo activities until the day that I get the opportunity to sit and relax again.  (and when that day comes…you can bet I will)

Join The Ned Nugent & Mark Pelosi Duo for Brunch Today @ Alchemy Gloucester…12-3pm 4.26.2015

ned nugent mark pelosi alchemy

http://www.alchemygloucester.com/

I’ve seen this duo recently and they are a pleasure to listen to.Plus the food, ambiance and service @ Alchemy Gloucester is so good….if they have that bubbly peach drink, I highly recommend it..

A Delightful Havdallah Evening at Temple Ahavat Achim – May 2nd

Temple Ahavat Achim

86 Middle St., Gloucester, MA

 

TAA presents a special event for members and guests:

A DELIGHTFUL
HAVDALLAH EVENING

 SATURDAY NIGHT, MAY 2

 

7:30 pm – Supper 

8:15 pm – Havdallah Service 

8:30 pm ’til closing –  A cabaret in three acts:

 

  • Danceable blues & rock with Bobby Kramer Trio & a special guest
  • Charlee Bianchini performing folk
  • Mark Arnold at jazz piano

Make your own sundaes to sweeten the evening!

$10 in advance or $12 at the door

WWW. TAAGLOUCESTER.ORG

RSVP is appreciated – it will allow us to know how much food to prepare!

Call Natalia at (978) 281-0739!

We look forward to seeing you for a night of frolicking and friendship!

Heath’s Tea Room … Re-opening Friday April 24th, 2015. Now accepting Mother’s Day Reservations for our 11:30 am, 1:30 pm & 3:30 pm seatings.

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Here’s a slide show of one of my visits. I highly recommend the cottage pie, quiche and the Roast Turkey with Stuffing  is to die for. https://www.flickr.com/photos/joey_grl/sets/72157626793853325/

visit their website> http://www.heathstearoom.com/Home.html 

Tourists from Washington D.C.

Grandfather, Father and Son 3 generations visit Gloucester from Washington D.C.  Father and son came up to watch the Red Sox play the Washington Nationals.

FYI – They were all Red Sox fans.  The young man also counted 537 Granit Blocks he walked on all the way out to the Beacon.

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A HUGE SUCCESS!!! COMMUNITY NIGHT IS A HIT AT PASSPORTS!

I am speechless, without words, and really full from the first Community Night at Passports held for the League of Women Voters! The portions were over-the-top, the flavors were fantastic, and the vibe was amazing. Every participant could not help but smile and toast to the folks around them that were having an equally great time. And above all, money was raised for local scholarships! Thank you again to Lyla, Eric, and the entire PASSPORTS staff for making this a wonderful night that bares repeating!! I look forward to the next big Community Night, and the good times and funds it will raise. See you there! ($15 for 3 courses?..Yep, it’s true)THE BOUILLABAISSE THE HAPPY FOLKS THE STEAK

 

Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 4/11 + 4/12

Despite the fact that it snowed AGAIN yesterday, we are well into spring and I am hoping to highlight mostly outdoor activities for quite a stretch now.  You may have to dress warmly, but we’re heading outdoors!

Pick #1

We’re off to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, again, but this time on a Friday evening.  With our eyes on the prize, we’ll be hoping to catch some of the action as the wood frogs and salamanders make their mass migration to the vernal pools.  I’m sorry, but how cool is that?  Walks depart the barn, rain or shine, beginning at 6:00 and ending at 6:50.

Click here to register and learn more.

Each year on the first warm rainy night of spring, wood frogs and mole salamanders begin a mass migration to vernal pools where they breed. If you happen to be out on one of these evenings, the experience can be spectacular.

On Friday, April 10, a part of the sanctuary will be transformed into a Big Night scene. Participants will take a one-hour guided walk along the Vernal Pool Trail, where they will meet some interesting characters who will share facts and stories about themselves, vernal pools, and this special time of year. Some stops will feature live animals to see firsthand and learn about. The trail will lead to a real vernal pool where more animals and their eggs may be seen.

Refreshments and other surprises will await you in the Barn upon your return. Don’t miss this exciting educational night of family fun!

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Pick #2

Another awesome outdoor activity that screams SPRING!  I’m so loving this event also!

Kite Day at Cogswell’s Grant in Essex!

Saturday, April 11, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (rain date Sunday, April 12)
Cogswell’s Grant, 60 Spring Street, Essex, Mass.

$10 for kite-making workshop, free for flyers and spectators

Come fly a kite at Cogswell’s Grant! Bring your own kite or build one of your own, and watch professional kite flyers from Kites Over New England. Archie Stewart of Kite Education teaches a workshop with all materials included, where kids and adults can make their own kites and learn how to fly them. Sponsored by BankGloucester.

Registration is recommended for the workshop only. Please call 978-768-3632 for more information. Purchase tickets now

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Pick #3

I’ve never been here, but have been planning on it!  I’m super intrigued.  If you happen to go, please let me know how it was!

America’s Stonehenge  

Salem, New Hampshire.

Click here for their website and all necessary information. 

What is America’s Stonehenge?
Built by a Native American Culture or a migrant European population? No one knows for sure. A maze of man-made chambers, walls and ceremonial meeting places, America’s Stonehenge is most likely the oldest man-made construction in the United States (over 4000 years old).

 

 

Like Stonehenge in England, America’s Stonehenge was built by ancient people well versed in astronomy and stone construction. It has been determined that the site is an accurate astronomical calendar. It was, and still can be, used to determine specific solar and lunar events of the year.

Various inscriptions have been found throughout the site including Ogham, Phoenician and Iberian Punic Script. Dr. Barry Fell of Harvard University did extensive work on the inscriptions found at the site. They are detailed in his book America B.C.

I should mention that America’s Stonehenge is also home to eight super cute alpacas!  What a bonus.

Please always remember to visit our friends at North Shore Kid for a more comprehensive list of fantastic family activities!

Sorry, Hawk, Easter is Over!

It must be spring because the Schraffts left work/school yesterday and hit Richardson’s Dairy.

The boys got gift cards in their Easter baskets and, since it was a whopping 50ish degrees after school, they naturally wanted to go get the first official ice cream of the season.  With the Red Sox game on the radio (they won 8-0, by the way) and the windows down for a stretch of the ride…off we went….because, really, how do you say “no” to that?

A couple of years ago we were fortunate enough to see a calf being born this time of year.  It was pretty awesome for the boys to see.  Yesterday’s wildlife adventure on the farm was led by a hawk…who apparently thought that Easter was not over because he was clearly still out on an egg hunt.

Check your calendar, Hawk.  Easter is over….and, you can sit there looking all threatening all afternoon, but those birds aren’t going to give up their eggs.

Happy Easter

A day in Maine with the grandchildren, hope everyone enjoys their family time.

Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 4/4 and 4/5

We celebrated an early Easter with my extended family last weekend, so our plans for this weekend are kind of minimal…which is really nice!  I plan on clocking some time at the pool in the Aqua Room at Cape Ann Marina and Mile Marker One and hopefully taking some long walks in the woods and/or on the beach.  Never forget how great it is to walk out at Halibut Point, Ravenswood, around Goose Cove, etc.  Those destinations and more will be a future blog post when the weather gets just a tad bit better.

If you’re looking for something to do that screams “Easter” please don’t forget about last weekend’s pick about Appleton Farm’s Egg-cellent Easter Adventure! It is happening again this Saturday from 10-12 and sounds like a great time!

Pick #1

Easter Cruise on the Beauport Princess

Sunday, April 5
Easter Brunch Cruise!

Join us for live jazz, a gourmet buffet brunch, a cruise around our lovely harbor and even an appearance from the Easter Bunny himself! It’s a perfect way to enjoy Easter with your family! 1:00-4:00pm. $58 adults/ $26 children. Call early for reservations, this cruise always sells out!

978-865-3210

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Pick #2  

Easter Brunch at Tupper Hall!

My disclaimer is that I can’t promise that this event is not sold out!

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Pick #3

The Seacoast Science Center

I love this place!  While summer weekend visits are a no brainer…weekends such as this one are nice too because all the inside activities are open, but the weather is getting nice enough to walk around Odiorne Point State Park to explore and take in the gorgeous view too!

 

For a more comprehensive list of great family activities please visit our friends at North Shore Kid!

 

Closing Time

This is one blog post that I don’t consider myself worthy to write for a couple of different reasons.  First of all, with only 15 years of residency in the amazing town of Rockport, I’m still a bit of a newcomer.  Secondly, my behind has never had the privilege of sitting in one of the well-worn leather seats that could tell almost 60 years worth of tales. Let alone the iconic horse saddle seat.  If scissors could speak.  What in the world am I talking about?   Well, THE hub of Rockport, of course.  Walt Julian’s barber shop.

As new parents, my husband and I made lots of decisions together…and some apart.  We agreed together on finding out the sex of our children before they were born.  We agreed together on names.  I, for example, decided on what the nursery would look like. And my husband, without consultation, decided that naturally their first haircuts would be done by the one-and-only Walt.  As if I would have argued.

Even prior to my own children, I can remember MANY an early morning that my husband would creep out of bed at a somewhat insane hour to get a jump on the line at Walt’s.  I still laugh about the day that he left at the crack of dawn as I slept on in disbelief.  I grew even more incredulous when the phone rang and it was one of his good friends….who had recently moved to Beverly…calling to see if he had already left the house.  When I said that he had already been gone for about 15 minutes all I got in return was, “Oh crap.  I’m never going to beat that line. Click.”

So, I’m sure most of you know by now, that Walt Julian has closed his barber shop. With almost 60 years of story telling, listening, laughing, trimming, buzzing, shaving, and lollipop giving….he leaves an enormous scrapbook of memories in his wake.

While I’ve only met Walt a handful of times myself…and I am not as rooted in history here in Rockport as many others are…I am thrilled and honored to have photos of Thatcher and Finn in Walt’s care.

Congratulations, Walt, on a respected and iconic career, for creating memories for generations of Cape Ann residents, and, now, on your retirement.

I wonder just how many family scrapbooks contain photos of you!  You will be missed!

Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 3/28 + 3/29

So, we’re not exactly headed to the beach yet….but, maybe soon.

Pick #1

The Sound of Music at the Rockport Middle School

 

sound of music

Rockport Middle School presents :
The Sound of Music
Opening:Mar 26, 2015
Closing:Mar 29, 2015
Number of performances: 4
Organization: Rockport Middle School
Address: 26 Jerdens Lane
City: Rockport
State: MA
Country: United States
Website: rpk12.org

 

Pick #2

The Whodunnit Scavenger Hunt

Join Watson Adventures at the Museum of Fine Arts and try to solve the murder mystery.  1:00 on Saturday for ages 10 and up.

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A crazed killer is on the loose!

And it’s up to you to stop him! The killer has created a scavenger hunt that, when completed, reveals his name, the weapon he used, and where he hid the body in the museum. He sent the hunt to the police and dared them to try to solve it. The police need your help. You’ll get a list of suspects, weapons, and hiding places that are all items in the museum.

By following the trail of clues and answering tricky questions, you’ll narrow the list of suspects, weapons, and places and provide the police with the evidence they need to catch and convict the killer. Can you figure out whodunnit?

No knowledge of the museum or art is necessary, but good reading skills are helpful. Contact us to learn more and find more fun!

Learn all about Watson Adventures and this scavenger hunt here!

 

Pick #3

Egg-cellent Easter Adventure at Appleton Farms

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Say goodbye to the cold and celebrate the arrival of warmer weather here on the Farm! While we often associate eggs with the Easter Bunny, in many cultures eggs symbolize new life and are tied with the coming of spring. At this event, we celebrate spring, new life on the farm, and the bounty of fresh eggs produced by our hens.

Go on the “Egg-cellent” Quest around the farm and learn about the journey from egg to chicken, collecting Easter eggs at each station to complete the Quest! Enjoy homemade refreshments in our Carriage Barn, visit with the calves, and play games in the stone paddock!

Stop by anytime between 10am -12pm to start your Quest. Please bring a basket of your own to collect the Quest eggs. Note: It is only necessary to register for one ticket per family.

 

For a more comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid!

 

Learning to Fly

If you’ve ever thought about wanting to sky dive….if only it weren’t for that whole jumping out of a plane thing, then do I have the perfect place for you!

We made the short trek to Nashua, NH over the weekend and the boys were psyched to give “indoor sky diving” a try.

After a short instructional class to learn correct posture and some important hand signals they suited up with jumpsuits, earplugs, googles, elbow and knee pads, and a helmet.  It was right about then that I started to think, “Hmmm.  Maybe we should have waited a couple of years.”  But….”Fearless” and “Fear Not”….also known as Thatcher and Finn, were good to go.

Their first round in the tube was to try to get the hang out of flying with minimal help from the expert.  The second go round was quite a trip…with both boys soaring WAY UP HIGH…tandem style.

Sky Venture also has a pretty awesome wave and surf pool, a rock climbing wall, and a massive spinning fish pipe water slide.  I highly recommend the day trip and we’ll be going back for sure!

Skyventure.com

Cousin Joe Marcantonio Hosted Tommy & Peter from the Isle of Mauritius After The Boston International Seafood Show

Tommy & Peter from the Isle of Mauritius came to Sister Felicias after Joe invited them.  Joe works for Stavis Seafoods as a director of buying and they source a good amount of fish from The Isle Of Mauratius.

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Where is The Isle Of Mauratius You Ask?

Check It-

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I’m pretty sure they ate pretty good at Felicia’s Smile

It is OK

Dear Future Teachers, Instructors, and Coaches of my Sons,

I’d like to take a minute now to thank you for the hours, energy, and love that you will undoubtedly be giving to my children in the future.  I know that it is not always an easy job that you have, but it is one that you accepted, however long ago, because you have the best interest of children, and now my children, at heart.   Many of you have simply volunteered…and don’t even get paid…and all of you spend a large portion of your personal time thinking about, worrying about, or being excited about things that have to do with the classes you teach, the lessons you give, or the practices that you run.

I know, no matter how much you love what you do, the down side is that your job will sometimes require that you make difficult decisions.  I know that those decisions will sometimes even cause you sleepless nights, a heavy heart, and worry, and pain.

I’d like to tell you now…that it is OK.  It is OK to not pick my son.

It is OK to not call on him when his hand in raised as high as possible in class, because you have 20 students and they all want to make you happy by knowing the right answer or sharing their thoughts.

I know that even that one silly decision….who to call on?….can be excruciating…each and every time.  I know that you make a mental note…and try to call on them all the same amount each week, but it is still so hard to watch their hands fall disappointedly back into their laps.

It is OK, if my son ends up not being able to carry a tune, that he does not receive a solo in the Spring Concert…no matter how much he wants one. You know what? Even if he can sing, but isn’t one of the best, it is still ok.  I know that you’ll find other ways to encourage him and make him feel proud. I know that you’ll let him know how important his role in the chorus is.

It is OK, if my son has trouble finding his inner actor, to not pick him for a leading role.  He may be crushed for a minute, but I know that you need to do what is right for the other children and the school play.  He’ll understand, because he knows  that everyone has strengths.  We will encourage him to find another way to shine and tell him how important it is to play that small supporting role.  The play couldn’t go on if all characters weren’t cast…no matter how big or small.  After all.

I image that my son will enjoy working on science fair projects each spring.  But, you know what, when it comes time to pick just 5 projects to send to regionals, it is OK to pick others…and not his.  His hard work and the pride that he feels when he presents his experiment should be enough for him.  And, it will motivate him all that much more the following year.  And, trust me, I know how hard it will be for you to pick just 5.  I know that you wish someone else could make those decisions.

I want you to know now that it is OK if his essay is not submitted to the writing contest.  Even though I’m sure he’ll try so hard to be chosen and want so desperately to impress you, sometimes you have to just pick one…and inevitably the other children will feel sad.  I know, without a second of doubt, however, that you’ll pull him aside and tell him how much you enjoyed his story.  You’ll make him want to write again….because writing is fun…even if your story isn’t picked.

It will always be OK if, when some children’s art work gets selected for the art show, his is not.  We will shower him with praise, encourage him to create more, and teach him to congratulate his friends for their creativity and their submissions.  His art will always have a special place in our home.

It is also OK, no matter how much he tries, to sometimes make the decision to leave him on the bench.   I know that you will take time during the season to help him improve, make him feel valuable, and motivate him to dig deeper.  And, because you’ve done such a great job, I know that if the team wins, he will know he has won and played a monumental role in the victory.  Even if his role wasn’t as obvious in the final minutes of a game.

I want to thank you again, because I know that it sometimes feels impossible.  I know that you became a teacher, an instructor, or a coach for so many wonderful reasons.  I know that you had giant aspirations to always be “fair.”  I’m also guessing that you never imagined how many times each year, session, or season you would feel burdened by decisions that have no “fair” answer.

I hope that you know you have our support and gratitude and the love and respect of my child.  Even if you didn’t pick him.  Because…even if you didn’t pick him….you chose him.  You chose to teach him, encourage him, support him, love him, challenge him, push him, excite him, and inspire him.  Your success, loyalty, or impact can not be judged by one, or even several of those difficult decisions.  It is based on the many moments, outside of those decisions, that you made sure to make him know that you are there for him.

I think it is important to tell you….not that you don’t already know….that I don’t expect all parents will feel the same way.  And…that I am by no means speaking for them.  I am simply telling you how I feel.

Thank you in advance for all that you will surely do….and for those difficult decisions you are forced to make.

Sincerely,

Nichole

Nichole’s Picks of the Weekend 3/21 + 3/22

SPRING!

Not that it feels that way ;(

Pick #1

Thanks to Paul Morrison you may have already heard about this…but it is totally worth repeating!

Paul did a post about it just yesterday!

Alice in Wonderland3

We have always loved the school plays at O’Maley and I’m confident that this will be no exception!

Pick #2  

Sugar Shack Saturdays @ Appleton Farms

Spring is coming and the sap is running! Experience the time-honored tradition of maple sugaring with Sugar Shack Saturdays at Appleton Farms. Spend the morning or afternoon with us and see how we turn sap into sweet syrup. Start by getting creative with some maple themed crafts in the Appleton Old House. Then get outside and explore our very own sugar shack! Learn how we tap our trees every spring, see the evaporator in action, and even taste some of our syrup! We will end back inside with some delicious snacks, including Appleton Farms cheese and a maple treat, while we read a sugaring story!

Morning Session: 10:30AM-12PM
Afternoon Session: 1:30-3PM

Recommended for ages 8 and under but everyone is welcome! Space is limited. Please contact crouillard@ttor.org or 978.356.5728 x18 for registration.

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Pick #3

This is a little less traditional, but I’ve been meaning to let you know about it for quite some time.

A fantastic on-line computer coding site for kids brought to you by MIT

Check out SCRATCH here!

Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. Scratch is designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab.

For more listings check out our friends at North Shore Kid

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