Shopping HealthierPlanning a family picnic is the perfect activity for fun summer learning. With all the outside games and food, it’s easy to see why your kids will never know you have a secret curriculum up your sleeve! Here are 15 great tips to make your summer picnics full of learning – AND lots of fun:

  1. Races: Running races, the egg and spoon race, hopping-on-one-leg races – anything goes! Lots of exercise is linked to more learning – and better behavior. Have the kids run for at least an hour during your picnic to maximize this fun learning booster.
  2. Ball Games: Playing catch and kicking the ball helps with a kind of coordination called Motor Planning, which helps your children get from one place to another. The more confident  your children are with their bodies , the more likely  they are to take on other challenges in life.
  3. Daisy Chains: Dandelions or other common summer weeds are perfect for making daisy chains. Help your little one create the chain to help fine motor skills develop – and don’t forget to count the flowers.
  4. Leaf Adventures: When your children are  busy with something else, collect leaves from a few trees. Then ask them to find which trees they belong to. When they do, tell them about the trees they’ve discovered.
  5. Bubbles: Blowing bubbles helps little ones build the oral muscles needed to improve their speech. Count the bubbles for more fun and learning.
  6. Scavenger hunt: Create your hints ahead of time, and have one adult hide the items while another facilitates  games with the kids. Aim for 5 -6 items for younger children; older kiddos can stay focused for a longer list.
  7. Chalk it up: Bring chalk to draw pictures, letters, numbers, and shapes. Show your child how to play hopscotch and four square, too.
  8. Duck, Duck, Squirt (Gun): This variation on Duck, Duck, Goose goes like this:  Whoever is “it” goes around the circle, counting “duck, duck, duck” until he picks a player to squirt with the water gun. Race around the circle to see who can get back to the open position first, and try not to get too wet!
  9. Geocaching: This fun activity takes some preparation, but everyone in the family will enjoy it. Look up the location of treasures stashed nearby, and find them with the GPS on your phone.
  10. Cloud Watching: Lie on the grass together and watch the clouds go by. Have everyone say what shapes they see to encourage creativity. See what stories your little ones can make up about their cloud friends. Let the imagination flow!
  11. Freeze Tag: This classic game is a great way to challenge little ones to control themselves, be patient, and have fun. Make sure everyone has a chance to be “it!”
  12. Visit the Fire Department: Many parks are adjacent to a fire station. Teach the kids about fire safety by arranging a tour before your picnic. Most fire departments enjoy showing off their equipment to families.
  13. Healthy Food: Plan to pack simple, healthy snacks for your picnic. Choose foods with brain-building Omega 3 fatty acids such as chia seeds (fun and yummy to dip fruit in), edamame, salmon, and trail mix with walnuts. Your child’s brain – and behavior – will benefit.
  14. Fresh Fruit Ice Pops:  Before the picnic, have the kids help select and prep their favorite fresh fruits. Freeze fruit chunks and coconut water in popsicle molds to enjoy at the park. Yum!
  15. Don’t Forget the Sunscreen! Any outside adventure needs sun protection. This is the chance to teach little ones about the dangers of too much sun – and how to avoid it. Bring along the bug repellent, too.

Need more fun ideas? Contact Premier Academy Today!


Helping Children Make FriendsWhen it comes to child care, as a parent, there are a few things you should be looking out for when visiting daycare centers.  We all want to send our child to a high standard, and good working preschool. As parents, we should always want to give our kids the best head start in life, and by far the most effective way to start with this is to send your kids to a high quality child care center. Kids need to socialize with other children from a very young age, it allows them to become familiar to social interaction, sharing and good manners, this is what your child will gain from attending a preschool. Not only will they learn how to act and behave around others, they will learn valuable reading and writing skills.  Statistics show that kids who don’t attend preschools and head straight into schools have a much harder time learning than the children who did attend preschools. These statistics come in very handy when trying to give your kids the best head start in life, and it’s obvious which choice you should make.

When choosing a preschool for your child, you need to note everything you see when you are taken around the preschools:

  • How the teachers and teachers look after children
  • How do they react to children
  • How do they treat children

Another important thing to watch out for; the way teachers greet children, if they do, and see if teachers come down to kids’ eye levels to address them and talk with them. You can usually tell if a carer has a genuine love and passion for young toddlers when you first meet them, you’ll see their body language and the way they act around your kids, and then you will be able to tell if they are committed to their job or not. You want to find a preschool that shows a love for kids, their development, and one that has teachers who address kids in a grown up manner, but they take time to individually acknowledge each child, and help them with their needs, no matter how busy they are.

You’ll need to see how teachers answer your questions, if they do, this will tell you how interested they are in pleasing your needs, and how they pay attention to individual kids behaviors. You’ll also want to note the setting, is the area bright and pleasant? Or is it depressing and dull?  All these things will make a huge difference when it comes to your child actually enjoying the daycare center.

Another must is checking if the center is a licensed daycare or regulated, this will let you know what sort of center you are dealing with.

Overall, you need to get a general logistic feel of the daycare center. Does it make you happy, do you hear the sounds of laughter and fun, or the sound of silence? If the setting is good, the caregivers are exceptional and everything is legitimate, you will have found yourself the perfect childcare  center for your child.

The Importance of Free & Unstructured Outdoor Play for KidsThere are two words that can send your summer spirit soaring: “I’m bored!” Your child has suddenly gone from an action-packed school year to the carefree days of summer. As much as you are both happy to be done with homework for a while, all of this freedom can be problematic. You want to chill out with some lemonade yet your kids expect you to be the peppy cruise director. But it is possible for everyone to feel the joy of the season, make wonderful memories and be truly happy together. No more saying, “What can we do this summer?”

Provide Structure

Your child’s day needs a beginning, middle and end. This means more work for parents since they have to create the structure kids normally have in school. But it’s key to having a sane summer. First, kids thrive on structure and knowing what comes next. It keeps them feeling secure, avoids crankiness and gives their day purpose.

Second, maintaining some level of structure will help ease your kids back into the school year.

Create a Plan

An easy way to help provide structure is to make sure your kids know the daily plan. Talk briefly before bed about what’s in store the next day or lay it all out in the morning. Remind them (and yourself) that everyone needs to be flexible during the day and that there will also be downtime for the summer.

Make a summer calendar and write in special events, parties and trips so kids have a sense of an extended time-frame.

Set New Bedtimes

Or keep the same ones. Either way you need to have something firm in place. Summer allows you to be a bit flexible but kids still need 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Otherwise you have a cranky, moody kid who won’t even be able to smile on a trip to the amusement park. Yes, it’s ok to let the kids stay up late here and there for a special occasion.

Take a Class

The school year can be so jammed with after-school activities that your kids might have to miss out on a sport or class they really want to partake in. Take advantage of a less-scheduled summer to sign up for that special activity. The woodworking class that fills up so quickly in September probably has more room in July, anyway! Any class or even a morning camp program will provide daily structure, help give them a full experience of summer and expose them to new environments, says Dr. Bartell. Even better? You get some much-deserved time alone.

Go Outdoors

Take advantage of activities and events that are special to summertime. Go swimming, play tennis, enjoy an outdoor family concert or nature hike. Create a backyard obstacle course or treasure hunt. Have the kids help you pull out some overzealous ferns in the garden. Visit the farmers’ market and ask the kids help you choose local foods, then cook a meal together. Talk about the stars and constellations, then let them stay up late one night to study the beautiful night sky. Rainy days will mean more time inside watching movies. But it’s also the chance to go splash in muddy puddles (just go with it and do the laundry later) and hunt for worms.

Make it Memorable

The sun is shining. The breeze is refreshing and your daughter is not mercilessly teasing your son. Life is good. But while you might remember these small moments, the kids probably won’t. Incorporate a couple of memorable activities into your summer. That doesn’t mean you have to buy overpriced tickets to see the Fresh Beat Band or fly to Disneyland. Just think about your child’s specific interests and what would make her day. Sometimes the most impromptu plans makes the biggest impact.


We all know that reading books is important for kids. But the bond of reading together is what a summer lull can bring. Pull your child onto your lap, or get as physically close as they’ll let you — and read together, Dr. Ludwig suggests. Make the story come alive. Use funny voices. Act things out. Find hidden objects. And start a dialogue about the book. Set aside 20 minutes each day for reading time. Doing this will reinforce to your kids that reading is fun.

Get Creative

Kids depend too much on technology and they need to come up with their own ideas about what to do this summer. Ultimately, spending too much time with TV and the computer is just not satisfying and won’t create a memorable summer. Limit tech time to 3 hours daily. Turn off the technology and see what happens (after the whining stops). Let them use their imaginations to garden in the backyard, design their own t-shirts with fabric paint or plan a family art show.

Hire Help

Don’t feel guilty that you need a break. Summer can makes parents feel like they are on overload with an extra sense of responsibility. Hiring a sitter to come in at least once a week will provide kids with a new energy level and variety to their day. They will seriously look forward to it! Then you get to recharge or just get the shopping done without someone sneaking lots of sugary cereal into the cart. As if you wouldn’t notice…eventually.

Keep Summer Memories

Give your child a camera and let her take photos all school break of things that she feels are super cool. Maybe a Lego tower, a rose bush in full bloom or the neighbor’s dog. Hold back on directing and you’ll be able to see summer through your child’s eyes. Review the photos weekly and talk about all the adventures you had together. Help her create a memory book or online album when the season ends.

Slow Down

Parents don’t feel pressure to start the day in the summer. Begin later and go slower. When there’s no school bus to catch or traffic to beat you don’t need to be dressed and out by 7:45. Stop chasing your son around with his jeans and teach him to put them on himself — in his own time. Cook up pancakes for breakfast instead of grabbing a slice of wheat bread. Savor your coffee, don’t slurp it hurriedly. Unless you have an a.m. activity planned, use the morning to relax. Summer goes by so fast!

We want to hear from you. Set up an appointment today and find out how much your children will love Premier Academy!

Premier Academy Child Enrichment Center, offers childcare in Omaha, Nebraska for infantstoddlers, preschool, and pre-k children.

Finding the Right Parenting StyleFamily vacations are great for bonding with loved ones as you get away from your normal routines. But a family vacation can sometimes feel like no vacation at all for parents chasing after kids. Parents need time to themselves, and not just for romance, but to relax, reconnect and revisit what brought them together.

The kids, too, often need a break — time without the watchful worrying eyes of parents, time to be kids and time to be with other kids. Even if it’s for just a few hours while you and your partner go out dinner, you’ll all appreciate the time apart and keeping summer fun for kids.

1) Choose a Hotel with Babysitting Services
Lots of hotels and resorts offer access to babysitters, day care and kids clubs. When you’re traveling with little ones research the babysitting services offered through the resort. The extra time it gives you as a couple will more than make up for the extra time you spend researching.

Even if you’re only leaving your kids for an hour or two, keep safety in mind. Ask the hotel where they find the sitters, how they interview them and if they run background and reference checks. Do they watch the kids in your room, a child care facility or other spot in the hotel? Interview the actual babysitter yourself and take a look at the facilities to confirm they are clean and safe.

2) Take a Kid-Friendly Cruise
Like hotels, most cruise ships offer child care or supervised activities for children. With the kids safe and nearby, parents can get some worry-free alone time. Mulholland is a fan of the Disney Cruise Line, which offers lots of options for young kids, teens and tweens. Since some cruises have minimum traveling ages, make sure your little ones are old enough to hop aboard with extra summer fun for kids.

3) Use a daycare service
If your hotel doesn’t offer a service or you prefer to do the vetting yourself, find a daycare provider like Premier Academy.

4) Reserve a Room with a View — and a Veranda
Not all families can afford a resort, however, and not all parents can afford or are comfortable turning over responsibility to strangers. Book a hotel room with a balcony, so you and your spouse can take a bottle of wine out to the ‘veranda’ once the kids are asleep. This is an inexpensive and easy option for getting at least a little alone time while vacationing with children.

5) Book a Suite, Adjoining Rooms, a Condo or a House
When the kids are old enough to be in their own room, book a suite, condo or house swap — anything that keeps you in the same space, but gives the parents a separate room (with a door that locks) and gives the kids their own space (with a TV to keep them engaged). You’ll be able to watch over your kids, but still enjoy some privacy all the while providing summer fun for kids.

6) Plan a Multigenerational Vacation 
Make this a real family vacation and bring grandma and grandpa along. 40 percent of families have gone on a multigenerational vacation. In an era where many grandparents live in different cities, states or time zones than their grandchildren, a trip can forge bonds far stronger than a simple holiday visit to grandma’s house. Plus, grandparents make great babysitters.

7) Look for the “All-Inclusive” Option
Family camps have gone beyond cabins in the Catskills or dude ranches of the sort often made fun of on sitcoms. Many theme parks and camps have baby care centers and babysitting services. They also offer lots of options for family fun — including kids-only activities and entertainment.

With these tips, you can have the perfect vacation, complete with ample family time and just enough “alone time” with your partner to remind you both how much you enjoy one another’s company.

We want to hear from you. Set up an appointment today and see how much your children will love Premier Academy!

Premier Academy Child Enrichment Center, offers childcare in Omaha, Nebraska for infantstoddlers, preschool, and pre-k children.

Helping Children Make FriendsDid you know that most camp planning takes place in early winter and spring? Just when you were getting over the holiday stress and still bundled in your Snuggie, you need to find the place for your child to get out of the house — um, we mean thrive — this summer.

If the thought of finding a camp just occurred to you, or you have just been putting off the research because you don’t know how to start, you’re not alone. Premier Academy has helpful tips to finding the best summer camp in Omaha, Nebraska.

The best time to visit camps is before the summer. You get to see what they’re all about and the community of kids who go,a youth and summer expert/consultant and founder of Everything Summer. So if you didn’t spend last summer touring, you’ll need to rely heavily on websites, camp reviews and discussions with camp staff and alumnae. Which means you need to know how to navigate sites, narrow down your options and ask the right questions for finding the best summer camp. And we’re here to help.

  1. Make it a Family Affair
    Before you surf the Web, think about your child’s favorite activities and interests and start a discussion at an informal family dinner. Talk with him about what new things he has always wanted to learn and what kinds of things get him stressed. He might not answer you then and there but check back in a few days and he’ll probably have an answer that will help start research for the best summer camp.
  2. Talk to Other Parents
    Ask friends and family where their kids had wonderful camp experiences. But ask the right questions to weed through all the glowing reviews. “Pose specific situations and parents will be honest,” says Tipograph.Talk about circumstances that concern you. Has your child ever been bullied and how did the camp handle it? If my daughter is shy or overweight, how will he be treated by other kids? What if my son is not the greatest athlete — will he have fun at the camp?
  3. Search Online
    Make a date to sit down at the computer with your child and research camps together. Keep a positive attitude and be enthusiastic about the process. With encouragement, even a reluctant child will channel your excitement. If you’re nervous, your child will be, too.
  4. Consider the Summer Goals
    Just because your niece flourished at an adventure camp doesn’t mean your daughter will do the same.Camps’ websites often have videos that allow you to get a sense of the relationships campers form and the flow of the days. Does it look like your child will fit in? Does the camp appear to be rustic or more pampered? Ask your daughter about her goals for camp. Maybe she wants to develop her sense of leadership and explore nature or maybe she wants to be able to draw and paint all day without breaking a sweat about finding the best summer camp.
  1. Talk to the Director
    The director is the person who should have all your camp answers. And you should be loaded with questions. A few things you want to know: Where most campers are from/go to school; dynamics of the kids in each age group; the kind of child who is most successful in that camp environment; the return rate. You don’t want to send your child to an environment that just replicates her school, states Tipograph. A good sign: If campers flock back year after year, it says something positive about how the camp is run.
  2. Make a Short List
    When you look at too many camps, it’s overwhelming and it’s easy to get frazzled. Tipograph suggests narrowing down your list to three distinctly-different camps. If your son’s goal is to stay local and work on his backhand, consider: a day camp with a traditional setting that offers tennis as an elective; a day camp that focuses on multiple sports and not just tennis so he won’t burn out; and a tennis-only camp. Once you have everything narrowed down, you need to meet as a family once again and review the choices.

We want to hear from you. Set up an appointment today and see how much your children will love Premier Academy!

Premier Academy Child Enrichment Center offers childcare in Omaha, Nebraska for infantstoddlers, preschool, and pre-k children.

Family Fun Time: Things to Do With KidsRemember when you were a kid and summer seemed endless — in a good way?

Funny how things change. Now it’s just a matter of time before your kids start saying, “I’m bored,” to you. This summer, get ready to banish that phrase from their vocabulary with this list of free or low-cost summer activity ideas. Your children will no longer ask, “What can we do this summer?”

  1. Go to the Library
    Most libraries around the country offer free summer reading programs that encourage kids of all ages to read, and they often host other activities like, parties, music and puppet shows. Check out libraries in neighboring towns too — they might offer something your regular branch doesn’t. Visit to find local libraries for things to do this summer in Omaha.
  2. Tour a Local Business
    You may not have to look further than your favorite pizzeria to find an afternoon activity. Local restaurants are often open to giving kids a behind-the-scenes look at a working kitchen during slow times if you stay for lunch. Or, do you have an interesting factory (candy? toys?) in your area? Many factories offer tours, which can come with freebies to take home.
  3. Seek Out Free Art and Culture
    Some museums and cultural institutions, like botanical gardens, children’s museums, zoos, aquariums and observatories, are always free. Those we love! But even the ones that charge admission often offer free or reduced-rate days or hours weekly or monthly. Grab a calendar and map out those times so you’ll know instantly on a rainy Tuesday where to find refuge.  While you’re at it, check their calendars for special summer activities — many offer classes, concerts and tours just for kids.
  4. Check Out Chain Stores
    Scores of national retailers are now offering free or inexpensive children’s activities or classes. (Note: We love this trend, but be careful not to overspend at the store while you’re waiting for the kids to finish.)

    • IKEA has supervised playrooms for potty-trained kids. Just drop and shop. Sounds dreamy.
    • Home Depot and Lowe’s run free weekend project workshops for kids (ages 5-12 for Home Depot). You needed new bookshelves, right?
    • Crafts stores, such as Michaels, hold free project demos t that will keep creative kids happy, ages are craft-specific but can start at 3.
    • For the budding tech-engineer, Apple stores run free 3-day Apple Camps where kids ages 8-12 learn how to make films.
    • And the list goes on. Whole Foods and other grocery stores offer cooking classes, bookstores like Barnes & Noble offer free storytime. Check with stores in your area to see what they have planned.
  5. Visit a Farm
    Whether they’re petting animals or picking fruit, kids love farms. Check with farms in your area to see if they offer tours, activities or are open to a few hours of help with real farm chores from your pint-size volunteers. This is a fun for all asking what to do this summer in Omaha.
  6. Volunteer to Help
    While the kids are in the volunteering mood, look for places in your community that could use their help. Whether it’s cleaning up a local park, walking dogs at an animal shelter or visiting residents at a nursing home, summer is a great time to introduce children to the joys of giving back. Search for opportunities in your area at Volunteer Match, 1800Volunteer or
  7. Catch a Movie
    During the dog days of summer, sometimes you just need to escape to somewhere — anywhere — with great air-conditioning. Luckily, several movie theater chains open their screens to little ones for little prices during summer months. Regal Cinemas’ Summer Movie Express is offering $1 movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings this summer, and Cinemark is showing kids’ flicks for as little as 50 cents as part of their Summer Movie Clubhouse. Check theaters in your area for similar deals.
  8. Take a Hike
    The great outdoors is always open and waiting for little explorers. Make hikes at nature reserves and parks in your area even more fun with REI’s free Kids’ Adventure Journal, where young hikers (ages 6-12) can log notes and draw pictures about their experiences.

We want to hear from you. Set up an appointment today and see how much your children will love Premier Academy!

Premier Academy Child Enrichment Center offers childcare in Omaha, Nebraska for infantstoddlers, preschool, and pre-k children.

How to Find the Right Bike for Your ChildThere are many reasons kids should play outside, from expressing creativity to running freely to making messes without worrying about dirtying the house. In addition to these fun reasons, there are also many health benefits that make outdoor play great for children.

  1. Improves Vision
    Children who spend time outside have better distance vision than those who primarily play indoors.
  2. Promotes Social Skills
    Getting kids outside and having unstructured play promotes a wide range of skills. On a playground not everyone gets to go down the slide first. Going to a playground with your kids is not just about running around and being active, but it’s also about learning social skills, executive functions and behavioral skills as well through play.
  3. Increases Attention Span
    All children have a different attention span. Green outdoor settings appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children. Exposure to natural settings through after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children.
  4. Reduces Stress
    When it comes to stress, spending time outside playing is such a huge outlet for stress. It’s relaxing; it is healing. There is even research showing that seeing green spaces can help decrease kids’ stress levels.
  5. Provides Vitamin D 
    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, lots of kids are suffering from vitamin D deficiencies. This vitamin has several health benefits, including preventing kids from future bone problems, diabetes and even heart disease.Vitamin D can be received by supplement, but you can also get it through its free and natural version: sunlight. Have your kids play outside for a few minutes without sun screen (which blocks cancer-causing rays, but also vitamin D). Then slather on the lotion. Of course, if your child burns easily, use the sunscreen and increase the vitamin D-heavy foods and supplements.

We want to hear from you. Set up an appointment today and see how much your children will love Premier Academy!

Premier Academy Child Enrichment Center offers childcare in Omaha, Nebraska for infantstoddlers, preschool, and pre-k children.