Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Vermont Kids Can Learn to Ski for $49

Posted By on Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 1:28 PM

Young snowboarders - SKI VERMONT
  • Ski Vermont
  • Young snowboarders
Vermont parents who act fast can get a cool deal for their kids this winter. Thanks to the Vermont Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, 125 Vermonters under age 18 can take advantage of Ski Vermont's Take 3 Beginner Package — three beginner ski or snowboard lessons, lift tickets and rentals — for just $49.

The subsidized package, which normally costs $129, is designed to encourage youth to get outdoors this winter and experience the mountains in their backyard while adopting a healthy and active lifestyle for years to come.

Young skiers and snowboarders can choose to use all three days at the same resort, or travel around the state to some of the 11 participating mountains. The Take 3 package is valid all winter, with the exception of some holiday blackout dates and age restrictions. Find participating resorts and age requirements here.

To receive the deal, parents must fill out an online application form. Once the form is submitted, an email will be sent within 48 hours with the discount code and instructions to purchase the package.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Families Engage in Citizen Science During Christmas Bird Count

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 4:55 PM

  • Camilla Cerea/National Audubon Society
  • Christmas Bird Count
Kids get a chance to practice more than just math skills during the National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count, taking place across Vermont between December 14 and January 5. The information they collect will help ornithologists and conservation biologists track the health of bird populations. 

Vermonters will join more than 70,000 bird counters at more than 2,400 sites across the Western Hemisphere as part of the 118th annual event. The practice started in 1900 on Christmas Day, as an alternative to the traditional Christmas “side hunt,” in which hunters would divide into teams to see which one could kill the most birds and animals. Ornithologist and Audubon Society officer Frank M. Chapman proposed a "Christmas Bird Census" to count birds instead of hunting them. The census is now the nation’s longest running citizen science bird project. Citizen science, says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is when “volunteers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions."

Each bird count is conducted in a circle with a diameter of 15 miles. At least 10 volunteers break into small groups and count every bird they see along an assigned route or at a bird feeder.

Interested families can find contact information for Vermont's 23 bird count sites here. In mid-February, the Great Backyard Bird Count gives avian enthusiasts another opportunity to count birds, this time on their own property.

Learn more about Audubon Vermont at

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Friday, December 8, 2017

New Store in Shelburne Offers One-Stop Shopping for Families

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 10:58 AM

Relish Threads
  • Relish Threads
Need a kids' winter jacket? A baby shower gift? A birthday present? A fashion-forward pair of earrings? Relish Threads, a new store in Shelburne that opened in late November, offers these items and more.

Jamie Wilhite, who runs her Relish gourmet hot dog cart during the warmer months, says she envisions the new store as a warm and welcoming place where parents can bring their kids, without worrying about someone asking them not to touch things. It's located in the Tennybrook Square Plaza on Shelburne Rd., next to La Villa Bistro and Gymstar Gymnastics.

At the front of the store, a pair of velvety couches, small area with books and toys, and chalkboard wall provide spots for parents to relax and kids to play. Wilhite's sons, 8-year-old Jameson and 6-year-old Clayton, often hang out at the store after school.

Owner Jamie Wilhite's sons, Jameson and Clayton, in the store - ALISON NOVAK
  • Alison Novak
  • Owner Jamie Wilhite's sons, Jameson and Clayton, in the store
Relish Threads stocks both new and gently used clothing, size newborn to 14. In addition, Wilhite carries an eclectic assortment of kids' items, from wooden toys to baby blankets. Goods from independent female designers are also featured — including leather bags and tassle earrings from Hinesburg-based Ma & Pembum, upcycled pants for toddlers from Pineapple Designs VT and girls' cotton dresses from Petit Peony. For the shopper looking to grab a last-minute present, the store even sells gift bags and wrapping paper.

Relish Threads (3762 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne) hosts an open house on Friday, December 8, 4-7 p.m, with a wine tasting and snacks.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Bernie Sanders Asks High School Students to Weigh in on State of the Union

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 12:39 PM

Senator Bernie Sanders at last year's round table discussion for contest finalists
  • Senator Bernie Sanders at last year's round table discussion for contest finalists
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is asking local high schoolers to opine on the major issues facing our country in his annual State of the Union essay contest.

Since Sanders launched the contest eight years ago, more than 3,000 students have submitted essays on topics ranging from climate change to the rising cost of college education. “We need our students to be engaged, to help find solutions for the problems that face our country," said Sanders, who sits on the Senate education committee. "That’s what democracy is all about.”

In 250 to 500 words,  students should describe what they believe are the most pressing issues facing the United States and what solutions they'd propose. Essays can be submitted through an online form on Senator Sanders' website. The deadline to enter is Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Senator Bernie Sanders with last year's second place winner Musa Muyange of Winooski High School
  • Senator Bernie Sanders with last year's second place winner Musa Muyange of Winooski High School
A panel of local educators will choose a winner, based on the students' ideas and arguments, not their political views. Twenty finalists will be invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Senator Sanders at the Vermont Statehouse in February and have their essays entered into the Congressional Record, the official archive of the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

In August, Senator Sanders released Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution, a young-adult counterpart to his book Our Revolution. In it, he characterizes America's young people as "the smartest, most idealistic and least prejudiced generation in the modern history of the United States."

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Congratulations to our November Coloring Contest Winners!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 10:15 AM

Seven-year-old Arabella’s “Happy Ducks” embodies the sparkling spirit of this month’s spectacular art submissions. Her feathered friends are decorated with rainbow wings, bright gold bodies, and glossy red and blue stars. Hayden, 10, created a yellow bird with a rainbow-colored baby, against a wide, blue lake and starry sky. Five-year-old Patty decked out her duck in a top hat and bright orange and red plumage. Keep up the creative coloring, kids, and mail us your imaginative masterpieces in December and January.

The winners of an annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

“Land of the Giant Birds”
Ella Daly, 5, Essex Junction
"Land of the Giant Birds"
  • "Land of the Giant Birds"

“Creative Critters”
Elise Cournoyer, 8, Richmond
"Creative Critters"
  • "Creative Critters"

“Always Together”
Ellie Samora, 9, Lunenburg

"Always Together"
  • "Always Together"

Find our latest coloring contest in the "Just for Kids" section of our November issue! Deadline to enter is January 15.

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Congratulations to our November Writing Contest Winners!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 10:06 AM

In last month’s issue, we asked kids to write about their perfect Thanksgiving meal. Below, find the winning entries. Max and Eliana each receive a $25 gift certificate to Crow Bookshop in Burlington.

Max Clegg, 8, Bolton
Thank You Thanksgiving
I smell the sweet smell of Thanksgiving turkey, potato, cranberries, stuffing and apple pie with whipped cream. I wait in line, getting hungrier and hungrier. Finally, it’s my turn so I stuff my plate with turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and Craisins with apple pie. Then I sit down and eat. I savor every delicious bite. After that, I decided that I LOVE THANKSGIVING.

Eliana Mina, 3, Burlington
The table would have lots of treats so that I can eat them after. Dumplings, cauliflower, some eggplants, juice, lemonade, milk, strawberries and turkey. Doda and Sharp Tooth* are going to be there. They’ll be there in three minutes because they live far awat from us.
*Note from Eliana’s mama: Doda and Sharp Tooth are Eliana’s imaginary friends.

Find our latest writing prompt in the "Just for Kids" section of our November issue! Deadline to enter is January 15.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

The Hills Are Alive: Exploring Trapp Family Lodge on Mountain Bike

Posted By on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 8:46 AM

Dillon (left) and Harper play on parallel bars in the woods of Trapp Family Lodge - COURTESY OF SARAH TUFF DUNN
  • Courtesy of Sarah Tuff Dunn
  • Dillon (left) and Harper play on parallel bars in the woods of Trapp Family Lodge

After 15 years in Vermont, my husband, Carlton, and I are moving to Colorado this fall, just in time for Thanksgiving. (And yes, we’ve decided to take the children — Dillon, 10, and Harper, 9 — with us.) On a recent Saturday evening, moving boxes strewn about the house, we realized that we had one more chance for a daylong family adventure in the Green Mountain State.

Would we ride the Burlington bike path? Canoe Lake Champlain? Hike Camel’s Hump? It had to be outdoors, we told the kids, and we all put our ideas in a hat at the dinner table. Tada! Trapp Family Lodge was the winner. We’d go mountain biking, Carlton told the kids, then eat lunch at the new Bierhall.

Sunday morning dawned bright and balmy, and our spirits were high as we drove to Trapps’, stopping at Cold Hollow Cider Mill for a paper sack of donuts, then winding up through the hamlet of Moscow to the Tyrolean property. We bought a family trail pass for $30 and wheeled along Sugar Road into the kaleidoscope of trees, stopping for a photo op.

As I, the caboose, tucked my phone back into my pocket, Harper stopped suddenly in the middle of the trail, triggering me to hit my front brake in panic and then head hiney-over-teakeattle across the handlebars. Shaken, I scanned my body. Nothing broken, but a scrape on my right knee and a couple of bumps. Humbled, I resolved to focus only on the mountain biking and not the potential Instagramming. We had one more distraction — the kids playing on a set of parallel bars in the woods — before we were rolling again. Carlton had decided we would go all the way to Slayton Pasture Cabin, with the promise of donuts when we arrived.

We wheeled through the trees happily, listening to the crunch of leaves, until the sounds turned to whining. And more whining, as Dillon’s legs grew tired on the uphill parts. Harper joined in, as did I, internally, as we began walking our steeds up the steep hills. A sign told us we had 1.5 kilometers to go. We pressed on, and I reached the cabin first, watching the sparrows in silence until Harper showed up, followed by Dillon and Carlton. We gobbled up the cider donuts contentedly, then biked back down toward the Bierhall, where we'd fuel up with burgers, bratwurst and Brussels sprouts.

But first, there were the delights of the Trapp trails on a quiet Sunday — the hushed secret cemetery, the handful of hikers lost momentarily, and the magic of cementing this day in our memories after 15 remarkable years in Vermont.

Mountain biking trails at Trapp Family Lodge close in early November, but the property offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Visit for more information.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Congratulations to our November Coloring Contest Winners!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 8:08 AM

Magic and mystery inspired this month’s marvelous, Halloween-themed artwork. A laughing witch whizzed through the air on a broomstick over a sea of pumpkins in 9-year-old Gwendolyn’s masterpiece. Colin, 4, jazzed up his kitty with a sparkly gold and green robot costume. Six-year-old Alexander surrounded his feline with an airborne coterie of ghosts and bats, and stuffed his jack-o-lantern bucket with tasty treats. Great job, junior artists. Mail us your masterpieces again this month!

The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

“No Halloween Costume”
Olivia Storm Challenger, 5, Stowe
"No Halloween Costume"
  • "No Halloween Costume"

“Halloween Hullabaloo”
Otis Taylor, 7, Montpelier
"Halloween Hullabaloo"
  • "Halloween Hullabaloo"

“Trick or Treating”
Aidia Hunter, 9, Bolton
"Trick or Treating"
  • "Trick or Treating"

Find our latest coloring contest in the "Just for Kids" section of our November issue! Deadline to enter is November 15.

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Congratulations to our November Writing Contest Winners!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 8:07 AM

In our October issue, we asked kids to write about their favorite Halloween costume. Below, find the winning entries. Cassidy and Riley each receive a $25 gift certificate to Crow Bookshop in Burlington.

Cassidy S. Bouchard, 11
Last year for Halloween, I was Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton from the Broadway musical Hamilton. I remember talking to my friends about my costume in August. It wasn’t my best costume just because it was pretty. It was more about the experience. Between matching with my friends, costume fittings and all that sass, that was my favorite costume.

Riley Barrett, 6


When I was 3 years old, I was a skeleton for Halloween. I liked to dance to Skeleton Bones. I love Halloween.

Find our latest writing prompt in the "Just for Kids" section of our November issue! Deadline to enter is November 15.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Children in the Corn: An Outing to Fort Ticonderoga's Heroic Maze

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 2:40 PM

An aerial view of Fort Ticonderoga's corn maze - CARL HEILMAN, II COPYRIGHT FORT TICONDEROGA.
  • Carl Heilman, II Copyright Fort Ticonderoga.
  • An aerial view of Fort Ticonderoga's corn maze
Late last October, a lazy fall Sunday awaited my family. But who wanted to laze when we could do something truly autumnal, like get lost in a corn maze?

I’d heard good things about Fort Ticonderoga, and their Heroic Maze that challenges visitors to find sets of clues in order to unlock a puzzle — and find their way out of the corn. So we piled Dillon and Harper, then ages 9 and 8, into the 4Runner and drove an hour and 20 minutes from our home in Shelburne to the historic New York site that was captured by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys on May 10, 1775.

During our trip, however, what captured our attention were the tall stalks of corn, just north of the King’s Garden and an apple’s throw from the southern end of Lake Champlain, rustling slightly in the breeze. We heard laughter and shouts from somewhere inside as we received our Quest Cards from a small shack near the entrance (the fee is covered by general Fort admission — $21 for adults, $9 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for kids 4 and under) and looked at the rules. The main one? Stay on the paths; no cutting through the corn. We were game.

Dillon, Harper, my husband, Carlton, and I entered the maze with optimism. How hard could it be to find our way through? Lunchtime was approaching, but, no problem — we’d be done in 30 minutes or so. But reality crept in as we turned corner after corner, becoming increasingly lost in the corn. Still, the Quest Cards kept the kids occupied as they gleefully stamped a box each time they found a station with a stamp showing a component of an 18th century fort.

“Do we really have to get all eight stamps?” I asked, my stomach starting to grumble.

“Yes!” said Harper defiantly, stamping his foot on a trampled corncob. “I want to see what we'll win!” His sister agreed. So we forged forward through the maze, and then backward, until we were lost again. Lunch? We’d be lucky if we got out of there by dinnertime.

Then there was hope, as I spied the roof of the entrance shack. Surely we were near the end. One or two more turns and... Whoops! Back into the thick of the corn. Forget it. I defiantly turned my back on my family and cut through the corn to find myself facing the parking lot, relieved to be back in civilization. Ten minutes later, the other, much more honest, three quarters of my family found me, and chastised Mommy for breaking the rules. We didn’t get all eight stamps on our Quest Card. Later, though, as we laughed at our silly escapades, we all felt like winners.

Fort Ticonderoga's Heroic Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure! is open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., through Sunday, October 15. There is a kiddie maze for young visitors in addition to the larger maze. On Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28, a Maze by Moonlight event gives visitors the opportunity to explore the maze after dark. Visit Fort Ticonderoga's website for more information.

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Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

Burlington, VT

Over 30 summer camps for creative kids and teens in acting, singing, dance, radio, film, comedy, puppetry, improv, jazz music, musical theater, and more! Camp themes include Monty Python, Wizards, Pirates, Ninjas, Aliens, and many other favorite stories and characters. 10-19-year-olds ready to perform can audition for three summer musicals:…(more)

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