Four Little Monsters Blog
The adventures of a Mom and her monsters.
Four Little Monsters is your source for family friendly event, product  and travel reviews in Mid-Atlantic USA. We find fun wherever we go, even right here at home.
Philly, Baltimore, Wilmington, DC, In Between and beyond. 
Kids, Family, Family Events, Philadelphia Theater, Pennsylvania Events, Maryland Events, Delaware Events, Kids Events, Kids Have Fun, Kids Clothes, Kids Rooms

Dreadnoughtus Day at the Academy of Natural Sciences this weekend in Philly

by EJ on 09/18/14

Calling all dinosaur lovers! This Saturday, September 20th, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University celebrates the gigantic dinosaur Dreadnoughtus with Dreadnoughtus Day, a day devoted to this 65-ton supermassive plant-eating prehistoric dino and the scientists that discovered the fossils. Lead paleontologist Ken Locovara, PhD of Drexel University, will be on hand to answer questions and show the fossils. 

Auditorium lectures will include The Discovery of Dreadnoughtus with paleontologist Ken Locovara at 11 am and Life in the Field with Jason Poole, the Academy's Dinosaur Hall coordinator, artist and one of the discoverers of the Dreadnoughtus fossils at 2:30 pm.

Fossil specimens from Dreadnoughtus will be on display all day, ONLY for this event. Kids and families can talk to team members who were in Argentina when the fossils were discovered as well as the experts who prepared the fossils for display.

In North American Hall, visitors can learn about sauropods, titanosaurs and paleontology at a fossil discovery station. 

Check back later next week for the Four Little Monsters Review of Dreadnoughtus Day at the Academy!

Visit the Academy online to plan your visit and get more info about Dreadnoughtus Day.


Monster Jam Wells Fargo Center, 4 Pack Ticket Giveaway

by EJ on 09/05/14

Is your little one a fan of huge trucks and big wheels? If so, then you'll want to check out Advance Auto Parts MONSTER JAM coming to Wells Fargo center October 4-6th, 2014. The coolest Monster Trucks from all around the world including Grave Digger, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Captain's Curse, Spider Man, Team Hot Wheels, Black Stallion, Overkill Evolution and El Toro Loco will come together for this action-packed event. Monster Jam is an awesome blend of sports and entertainment showcasing amazing stunts using the world's coolest Monster Trucks. 

Unique to Monster Jam events, every fan attending the show gets the chance to meet the drivers and get autographs before and after the show. The stars of the show stay until every autograph is signed! 

Save on Tickets to Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center

Enter promo code "BLOG" to save $10 off $25 and $35 tickets for Friday night's performance using this link.

WIN a Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center for Friday, Oct. 4th

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below for chances to win a family 4 pack of tickets to Friday night's Monster Jam performance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Track Great White Sharks in Real Time Using OCEARCH.ORG #SHARKWEEK

by EJ on 08/13/14

My husband happened to be surfing for the first time in ten years when "Genie" the 14-foot Great White Shark decided to visit the coast of Assateague Island, Maryland last month. No, he didn't come face to face with Genie. In fact, we found her ping marker in an online map in our exact location and time we were there using OCEARCH.ORG. Of course, we happened upon this data the day after his surfing adventure. I'm not sure he would have gone in the water if he'd known ahead of time. When he did find out who he was swimming with, he was pretty impressed with himself.


Whether you want to check out who is or who is not in your area when you're taking a swim at the beach, OCEARCH Shark Tracker is an incredible tool to have at your fingertips. OCEARCH is an ambitious shark tagging project that provides you the ability to track over one hundred sharks, seventy of them Great Whites, along the Eastern seaboard in real time online. The OCEARCH mission is global conservation for these apex predators as well as public safety. For our family, OCEARCH makes shark education accessible to the kids, who love to track their favorite sharks up and down the coast. When a shark pings in near us, we all get so excited.

Sharks are infinitely amazing creatures, predating pretty much anything on this planet with a spine. OCEARCH makes these apex predators of the seas more accessible to us landlubbers while promoting their conservation as well as your protection.

Teach kids about conservation of Great White Sharks using OCEARCH.ORG.

Our kids need to know that Great White Sharks are particularly vulnerable since humans have over hunted them for years and years. Tracking sharks allows scientists to understand their lives and behaviors. Why continue to conserve and protect the Great White Shark? Apex predators are like the lions of the ocean, keeping the ecosystem in balance. To remove the king of the food chain would disrupt the entire system. Not to mention, a creature that's been around for as long as sharks deserves some serious respect.

Photo courtesy of OCEARCH.ORG

Since we were in such close proximity to her, Genie remains our favorite shark to track. She was originally the first shark tagged in the OCEARCH project. She was tagged in Cape Cod back in September of 2012. She measures 14 feet and 8 inches long and weighs in at 2292 pounds and has traveled nearly 5000 miles since she was tagged. She's not as coast-hugging as some other sharks but her travels are fascinating. In the past year, she's traveled up and down the East Coast, from Rhode Island down to the bottom of Georgia and back again. She last pinged in at sea off of Georgia and South Carolina in late July.

Remember, if you want a healthy ocean, you need sharks!

 

#SharkWeek Easy Shark Party Menu & Crafts for Kids & Family

by EJ on 08/11/14

In celebration of Discovery Channel's Shark Week kick-off the monsters partied like sharks last night, gobbling up fried fish, steamed shrimp and an ocean-blue cream cheese, pineapple-raspberry pie. Then we made our annual Shark Hat crafts to watch the premier in style.


The Shark Party Menu.

Fish sticks or homemade fried fish. Substitute mozzarella sticks if you're not a seafood family.
Steamed Shrimp.
Seaweed Salad (we just used all green veggies like cucumbers, green peppers and onions). Top it off with some Italian dressing.
Dessert can be as creative as you want. We chose cream cheese, crushed pineapples and whipped marshmallow for a pie. After mixing up all the ingredients, we added blue-raspberry
flavoring in our cheesecake-marshmallow pie, to turn the whole thing blue. Then we used whipped cream to shape some waves on top, and carved chocolate into shark fins, which popped out from the waves. 

 The Shark Party Crafts.

We make Shark Hats every year and wear them when we watch Shark Week. This year's hats were more creative than ever.

Grab some construction paper, scissors, glue and tape. Measure the bands first, then cut out your shark head shapes and attach the mouths, teeth and eyes. Attach the shark's head to the band using tape, for immediate wear.
 

4th Annual #SharkWeek Blog Event at Four Little Monsters, Commence!

by EJ on 08/10/14

This time of year gives us some super warm fuzzies here at Four Little Monsters Blog - why, it's Shark Week! Discovery Channel's Shark Week begins tonight, August 10th at 8 PM and runs through next Saturday, August 16th. Living along the Atlantic gives us a special appreciation for all things ocean-dwelling and sharks certainly top the list.

For our 4th annual Shark Week Blog Event, we'll be focusing on kid-friendly shark fun and hosting an awesome giveaway at the end of the week. So let's get our Shark Hats ready, (see here) bake up some Shark-friendly treats (see here) and get this week-long Shark Party started.

Here's a rundown of Shark Week's 2014 lineup:

Sunday, August 10. 8 PM: Air Jaws: Fins of Fury. 9 PM: Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine.

Monday, August 11. 8 PM: Great White Serial Killer. 9 PM: Jaws Strikes Back. 10 PM: Monster Hammerhead.

Tuesday, August 12. 9 PM: Alien Sharks: A Return to the Abyss. 10 PM: Lair of the Mega Sharks.

Wednesday, August 13. 9 PM: Zombie Sharks. 10 PM: Spawn of Jaws: The Birth.

Thursday, August 14th. 8 PM: I Escaped Jaws 2. 9 PM: Sharkageddon.

Friday, August 15th. 8 PM: Megalodon: The Extended Cut. 9 PM: Megaladon: New Evidence.

Saturday, August 16th: 9 PM: Great White Matrix.


School's Out! A Work from Home Mom's Summer of Madness

by EJ on 08/06/14

You know that time back in high school, when you didn't feel well, and the nurse let you lay down in the sick room for ten minutes before sending you back to class, and you looked up and saw that "BABY'S ARE EXPENSIVE" poster. Yeah, you know the one. While that is definitely true, more so now than then, I'm thinking they need to make another poster... PARENTING IS THE HARDEST THING YOU WILL EVER DO. Money aside, parenting is physical, mental and emotional. I do think a poster like that would deter more young people from having babies early. I mean, parenting is damn hard when you're an adult. SO HARD.

I'll just come right out and say that this summer has been the hardest summer for me so far as a parental unit - and my kids are still young. I just turned thirty. That didn't help my emotional state. I love my kids dearly, and they make me laugh with all their silliness; I beam with pride at their smarts and creativity, their care for one another and their love of exploring this world with me. Let's be honest, though, five kids are LOUD. They ARGUE. They MESS like they're getting paid to mess. Then while you're dealing with all the noise, bickering and messing, you have to conjure up whatever is left of your sanity and soul to raise these little monsters to be good people.

Since school let out in early June, it took me oh, an entire month and more, to wrap my brain around having all five kids in the same house all day long, every day for the entire summer. I'd really gotten spoiled having three kids in preschool all year, one in Kindergarten and a third grader. As a work from home mother since 2005, my routine has evolved so that I start working during the few hours my younger kids are in school, as that's when work actually gets done. Then the little guys nap and I work some more.

So far this summer I feel as though I've been walking around my house for fifty  odd days guzzling coffee and having panic attacks, attempting to talk to customers on my so-called business line while my five year old screams that she never wants to see me again at the top of her lungs because I won't meet her demands for juice during those two tiny minutes I'm talking to said customer, then shuttling kids to whatever day trip, activity or park, grocery store and all those places we go, with my brains completely and utterly scrambled. Whew. Not a sentence. Parenting around the clock while trying to run a company in the same house doesn't always work the way I want it to.

No, being a work at home parent is no walk in the park. Well, I guess it depends on what kind of park we're talking about. I imagine that a park filled with screaming, poop shooting vegetation that wrap their twisty little vines around your ankles, arms and neck while you're trying to make a phone call to a client might be similar. Under the stress, I do occasionally lose sight of why I started this work from home venture years ago in the first place. I had one kid when I started my business. HA. When I'm hiding in the dark, locked bathroom, holding the door knob tight with one fist and emailing a customer on my phone with the other hand, whilst a toddler or two attempts to jimmy the lock on the other side, I grit my teeth and think WHY ME!? Some days are a breeze. Yes, my kids can be absolutely perfect beings. But not every day. They're little humans, after all. They need, need, need and need all the time. They want, want, want and want all the time. It literally never ends. And... that's okay. In fact, I'm pretty lucky there are kids on the other side of that door and not some jerk-faced boss.

Five kids is a lot. It's not like three kids. It's not like ten kids or whatever the saying is. It's like five kids. Whether you've decided to have a big family or fell into it accidentally (we are the latter), you'll likely agree that it tests you daily. If I had a hundred bucks for every time a parent of one said to me, "Wow, five kids? I've only got one and I'm exhausted." Yes. Thank you. Five. I've got five. I am very proud. You've got one. I can't even remember having just one. Don't get me wrong. I totally get this. If your one kid is anything like my toddler then I totally get this. I have a toddler that thinks it's hilarious to run out in the front yard butt naked while I'm busy changing the baby's diaper, despite my repeated "you do not have permission to go outside right now." He waves his winky at all the neighbors and laughs menacingly as I chase him through the garden. Yes, there is kid safety junk all over that door! The boy is smart - and dexterous. This little gremlin vandalizes the walls daily and we've already repainted twice this year. The walls and furniture are his canvases for crayon squiggle art, Sharpie pens that I thought I'd hidden oh so well (we've got Sharpie in the carpets, too) and of course, poop. Good ol' poop. I just cleaned some out of a doll's eyeball and bleached the heck out of that brunette - who is now a blonde. Hey, she's lucky she didn't get thrown in the trashcan.

Go ahead. Tell me to put the crayons on top of the refrigerator. Don't worry, they won't find it there. I think the couch must be throwing up crayons because it does not matter how or where we hide them, toddlers are crayon magnets and they will find every single one. In fact, I think the couch just throws up everything. Specifically, it throws up whatever things I just cleaned up ten minutes ago. Toys. Laundry. Cereal. Actually, it took me a few weeks to realize that AJ had a secret stockpile of all the broken bits of crayons under his mattress. He's got to have other stockpiles, too.

I thought I was done but oh, wait! What about those lovely individuals who make comments like, "Five kids... you and your husband sure are busy." I never can decide if they mean busy chasing after kids or busy making them - maybe both. Shut up!

Anyway, things are finally starting to fall into a semi-routine. Work is on track. It just took me a while to figure out what the heck that new routine was. Now here we are, weeks away from another school year beginning. I actually do love working from home. We can stop what we're doing and check out a museum or visit the playground. I can take the kids out back and soak up some sun when I'm tired of staring at emails. I can build a Lego castle or become a Ninja Turtle stalking the hallways in search of The Foot Clan if called on to do so - at any moment. I can pick up a sick kid from school if the nurse calls. I am always with my children while I'm providing for them. This is one amazing thing that I've built here and something to be proud of. It's not perfect. It's usually a total mess and boy did it muddle my head this summer. But it's us. Maybe I felt like a crazy person last summer and forgot because all the love filled me up since then. Who knows.

As I write this, my oldest son - six - is rolling across the kitchen floor like a burrito in the thick, white comforter I've washed four times this month because he won't stop rolling across the floors in it. Sigh.

Queen with Adam Lambert Concert in Philly via ScoreBig.com, Review

by EJ on 08/05/14

This summer will go down in history as the summer I experienced the concert of a life time, Queen with Adam Lambert. I was able to find amazing seats using ScoreBig.com, a ticket website that can save you up to 60% on the concerts and events you want to see. We saved $40 off the retail price of each ticket, right alongside the stage, using ScoreBig.com.

Musical legends and original members of the British rock band, Brian May and Roger Taylor joined forces with Season 8 American Idol runner up Adam Lambert for this summer's tour. May said in his March 6th interview with Rolling Stone, "This is the closest that you'll ever get to see Queen as it was in our golden days, but it's not a reproduction. It's not an imitation. We're here live and real and we have a great singer. They'll be a lot of newness about this. I think that's very exciting. It'll be loud and dangerous and all the things that people used to look for in us."

I've been a Queen fan ever since I was seven, jamming in my Aunt's car in the parking lot of a local mall. She'd just purchased a Queen Greatest Hits album in honor of the passing of Freddie Mercury. Flash forward to this summer, I arrived at Wells Fargo Center this mid-July, with an unrelenting smile, mascara huge, glitter in my hair and totally ready to rock. Our seats were right along the side of the stage, within a stone's throw of the band's sound system. I spent the hour before the show giggling and admiring the dozen or more guitars just across the walkway being prepped for Brian May.

My husband pointed out the crazy range of ages throughout the audience. There were many old timers, completely decked out in Queen gear and every other age you could imagine right down to a ten year old who wore a sparkling Adam Lambert t-shirt. It seemed like everyone was there. The younger Adam Lambert fans were strewn throughout the stands, but I wondered how those who were not so familiar with the American Idol runner up, the original Queen fans, would take to his singing lead for their beloved band.


The performance did not disappoint - at all. In fact, it was everything and more than I hoped. Though I never had the chance to see Mercury live, there's really no reason to compare the two singers. As May stated, they're not trying to reproduce the original Queen. Lambert is his own thing, bringing a new voice - a powerful one - to Queen, while honoring and paying tribute to what once was. Of course, Lambert brings a theatrical element that is all his own and reminiscent of the flamboyant Mercury, walking the stage like a cat in crazy heeled shoes, studded and sparkling jackets, sunglasses, a shiny gold microphone and my personal favorite, the amazingly glittery diamond crown for the last song. When Adam hopped up on the balcony that hovered over our section and waved at me, I nearly fainted. Even in heels, he is drop dead gorgeous. When he hit those high notes, it felt like my head didn't have room to contain the sound and I had to shake my head to relieve the pressure. Judging from the reactions of the audience, he'd won over a ton of new fans.


Brian May and Roger Taylor gave amazing performances, too. They were total legends, owning the stage in their own right. May, with a camera strapped to the top of his guitar, showed the audience on the big screen, just how talented he still is at sixty-seven years old. May's interpretation of Mercury's "Love of My Life" was one of the most touching performances I've ever seen. His appreciation for the audience and of his former band mate was so genuine.

The memories made that night were many and ScoreBig.com made it happen. Rock on!

Further Reading: ScoreBig.com Website Review

Four Little Monsters Blog received a promotional code for use on ScoreBig.com in exchange for this review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

Summer Star Gazing Guide for Kids & Families

by EJ on 06/20/14


Photo Credit: www.fourlittlemonsters.com
Our most recent visit to The Franklin Institute got my monsters' curious brains whirling again, specifically, in the direction of the night sky. We had the opportunity to visit the museum's Planetarium, showing To Space & Back, which taught us how technology developed for use in space, has transformed the way we live on Earth. After the show, the kids came home with a renewed adoration for the night sky so we got busy putting together a plan for exploring the stars and the universe above. Here's our guide to summer star gazing from our family to yours:


Begin with eyes upward, right after sunset. 

After dinner is over and the wiggles are out, step outside after the sun goes down. Although it's darkest past midnight, there's still plenty to see in the summer night sky just after the sun sets. This is an opportune time to set up the camping chairs in the back yard and look up. Have the kids - and yourself - focus on breathing, relaxing and looking upward. Take turns pointing out what you see. Mercury is fading fast and should no longer be visibly by the 23rd of June, but Jupiter, Mars and Saturn should be highly visible for the entire month.

Jupiter, cream- colored and the brightest dot in the whole sky at this time, will appear in the western sky, while Saturn and Mars will appear in the Southern end. Saturn shines the least bright of the two, a gold color, while Mars, more reddish-brown, shines brightest.

Photo Credit: www.fourlittlemonsters.com

Excite the kids with super cool star-gazing gear.

Any dedicated star gazer will appreciate the gift of magnification. If your child has a summer birthday, that's the perfect excuse to invest in a kid-friendly telescope or a great pair of binoculars.

Locate constellations for great story telling sessions.

Kids love a good story and there's no better time to brush up on your mythology than under a summer night sky. Mythological legends often tie together heroes, enemies, enchanted animals and terrible monsters. Sounds like a Disney movie, right? Pull up a mythology story website on the tablet and start reading out loud! There are hundreds of stories in the stars. The kids can find specific constellations in the sky that go along with the story you choose.

Grab a constellation guide and a space-themed reading list at Scholastic.com/Summer.

Encourage a love of astronomy outside your back yard. Visit a State Park or star gazing program.

Photo Credit: www.fourlittlemonsters.com
Here in Delaware, several State Parks offer star gazing programs and meteor shower viewings throughout the seasons, appropriate for beginners and advanced star gazers. You can also visit an observatory, like the one at Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation, for more star gazing programs and opportunities that are kid-friendly.

If you've got news or info about a great family-friendly star gazing event or program in the Mid-Atlantic area, please share by leaving a comment below!

 

Krispy Kreme Grand Opening in New Castle, DE, WIN free doughnuts for a year!

by EJ on 06/19/14

Come celebrate the grand opening of Krispy Kreme’s New Castle, Delaware location at 114 N. DuPont Highway on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 starting at 6:00 AM. Located directly in front of the New Castle Farmers Market, the location will offer more than 15 varieties of Krispy Kreme’s beloved doughnuts, including the signature hot Original Glazed®, 6 varieties of fresh baked bagels, as well as a complete selection of Krispy Kreme Chillers®, espresso beverages and Krispy Kreme Signature Coffee Blends. The new location will also feature a full-service 24 hour drive thru, outdoor seating and free Wi-Fi.


"It’s a sweet kick off to the long holiday weekend, “ said Keith Morgan, CEO, “The residents of New Castle have been incredibly enthusiastic throughout the process, and we can’t wait to bring the joy of Krispy Kreme back to Delaware!

All are welcome to participate in the grand opening festivities and if you get in line early, you could win free doughnuts for an entire year! Prizes will include:
  • One free dozen Original Glazed® doughnuts every week for a year to the first customer in line.
  • One free dozen Original Glazed® doughnuts every month for a year to the next 99 customers in line.
(Prizes for the first 100 people in line are available only to fans 10 years of age and older.)
  • Additional prizes will be given out at random throughout the day. Prizes will include t-shirts and other Krispy Kreme merchandise.

Summer Happenings and Discounted Admission at Penn Museum, Philly

by EJ on 06/19/14


Penn Museum of Philly, PA is offering discounted general admission this summer. All July and August, save 1/3 off general admission and pay only $10. As always, kids under 6 are free. Through Labor Day, active military families are also free. "Summer is an ideal time to visit a great museum, and discover something new about the world," said Julian Siggers, Ph.D., the Museum's Williams Director. "Penn Museum has the world renowned collection to do just that - and some great summer programming, in the gardens and inside, to appeal to all ages."

  • Summer Nights Wednesday evening concert series. A diverse line up of music, a laid back outdoor vibe, as the Museum stays open. Optional gallery tours between sets! 5:00 to 8:00 pm, through September 3.
  • Summer Wonder Family Programs. International, interactive, and fun. Wednesdays at 11:00 am in July. (air-conditioned)
  • Unearthed in the Archives. Fridays at 2 pm. Join archivist Alessandro Pezzati and staff as they pull out a gem from the Museum’s archives—and bring Museum stories to life (air-conditioned)
  • Award-winning outdoor gardens. Penn Museum’s lush urban gardens feature sculptures and fountains by Alexander Stirling Calder, places to sit or eat, even a reflective koi pool.
  • In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies. Conservators at work open their windows twice a day to chat with visitors (air-conditioned gallery and workspace)
  • Free bottled water at the admission desks, while supplies last
  • Take a break with ice cold, fresh squeezed lemonade, just $2, or free with $7 lunch entrée, every day in the Pepper Mill Café.
When you go, keep in mind that while some galleries are air-conditioned, some are not. "We like to have a sense of humor and we hope our visitors do, too. That's why, in those un-air-conditioned spaces, we invite you to join our fans," said Dr. Siggers.

  

NEW Exhibits at The Franklin Institute: Your Brain, Circus! Science Under the Big Top & More, Review

by EJ on 06/11/14

This Saturday, June 14th, The Franklin Institute unveils the largest expansion in the kid-friendly science museum's history, the 53,000-square-foot Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion and four new exhibits: Your Brain, Circus! Science Under the Big Top, 101 Inventions That Changed the World, and National Geographic's Ocean Soul. Like the museum's expansion, the party is going to be huge. "This is the beginning of a new era in the history of The Franklin Institute," said Troy M. Collins, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Programs and Business Development, "The goal of this day is to host a fun-filled, high-energy, highly visible public celebration... Our hope is to create long-lasting experiences that greatly outline opening day."

All visitors paying regular admission will have access to all four new exhibits and even better, the first five hundred guests will receive FREE admission. In celebration of all things new, further festivities include an "explosive" ribbon cutting ceremony, a public display of over eighty rarely viewed artifacts normally held in the TFI vault, commemorative giveaways, live music, magic and mentalist performances, jugglers and stilt walkers, tight rope walking, face painting and food carts featuring classic circus fare like hot dogs, cotton candy, lemonade and caramel corn.

A Preview of Your Brain, with kids in tow.

Earlier this week, the monsters and I met with Jayatri Das, (a fellow Penn Stater!) Chief Bio-scientist and Lead Developer of the Your Brain exhibit. With her guidance, the kids and I explored, climbed and interacted with the entire exhibit prior to this weekend's grand opening. Right from the start, we were taken by surprise by the super innovative and exciting interactive experiences offered by Your Brain.

Upon entering Your Brain, our silhouettes were captured on a huge video screen where scaled images of our brains and nervous systems were superimposed over our "shadows". As the kids moved and danced, their brains and nervous systems moved along with those shadows. Then we were confronted with a real human brain to view from every angle - in a case, don't worry! Then, we got to feel a pretend brain, to get a sense of what a real brain might feel like.


Photo Courtesy of The Franklin Institute
We could have spent hours in the Neural Climb, a brilliant and towering playroom for the kids - and adults who care to brave the height of the 18-foot-tall structure. The kids climbed the neural network maze while lights and sounds were triggered from below as we stepped on floor panels. Bursts of light and real sounds of neurons firing represented electrical and chemical signals in the brain. When a neuron fired, my middle daughter screamed from somewhere in the maze, followed by a ton of laughter, of course.


The Neural Climb isn't your ordinary playroom.

The maze itself consists of forty-five climbing discs and 45,000 feet of cable. Standing at eighteen feet tall, the all-glass maze features 112 light fixtures and sixteen speakers. It's the people's movement and energy throughout this room that triggers sounds and lights - representing the inner workings of the brain.

Further sections of the Your Brain exhibit included the Build a Network table, where my oldest son immersed himself in the touch-screen tabletop, manipulating and rotating different images of neurons to build connections in the brain. On the other side of that particular room, two of my kids busied themselves spinning and firing off a model neuron, blasting out ping pong ball neurotransmitters. Much of the exhibit is super kid-friendly - as in, just plain fun - while demonstrating important information about the brain, how it works and how we perceive the world using our brains.

Photo courtesy of The Franklin Institute
The kids learned how the brain can "construct" faces pretty much out of anything. They practiced building faces out of totally random inanimate objects on a Velcro wall, tested their level of fear, engaged in experiences that confused their vision - prepare to get a little dizzy if you dare - confused their touch and their sensitivity. I played a game of virtual tennis, drove a virtual car, both experiences demonstrating facets of attention. The activities available literally went on and on. Despite our more personal preview prior to the grand opening of this exhibit, I felt like there was still so much more we could have experienced if we'd just had more time - and maybe some naps - naps were definitely needed for certain little monsters.

Circus! Science Under the Big Top was a whirlwind of color, sights, sounds and fun. The monsters ran off in all different directions, drawn too by the authentic scent of cotton candy and popcorn at a make-believe (but very convincing) circus food cart. My daughter practiced balancing on a wire while holding a real high wire balancing pole. My son roared back at a painted lion. We examined all kinds of circus animal feces and took turns guessing what animal each pile belonged to. Nice, right?

Of course, no visit to The Franklin Institute would be complete without charging through The Giant Heart a few dozen times. We totally did that. The best moment of all, however, was when my six year old, who loves all things space and astronomy, declared in the opening moments of his very first Planetarium visit, "This is better than Cosmos!" Sorry, Neil deGrasse Tyson, we do love you. In fact, he walked around most of the astronomy and space exhibit with his mouth agape. "It's beautiful!" he cried adoringly to the USA space suit. The Franklin Institute makes science accessible at the kid level and beyond. Jam packed with interactive exhibits, live science demonstrations, an IMAX theater, a Planetarium and so much more, The Franklin Institute is an amazingly fun immersion in science of all kinds and absolutely can't be missed.

Disclosure: Four Little Monsters Blog received an exclusive preview of The Franklin Institute's new exhibit Your Brain and Circus! Science Under the Big Top in exchange for this review. All opinions belong to the blogger.


 

ScoreBig, 60% Savings on concert, sports tickets and more, no fees, REVIEW

by EJ on 05/12/14

Ever since the Queen and Adam Lambert summer tour was announced, I've been hot on the trail of a pair of tickets for this show. I'm desperate to be at this show. Desperate, I tell you! The stars seemed to align in my favor when the folks over at ScoreBig reached out to me regarding their website, which provides affordable tickets to all kinds of venues and events like concerts, sports games, plays and live theater, attractions, Broadway and more. Sure enough, they've got tickets to the show that I want, at several venues. Of course, I have been on pins and needles waiting for them to add the Philadelphia date that I so desperately want, which is the closest to home. I've waited it out for two weeks and with no Philly date yet listed, it looks like I might be headed to Atlantic City instead... which could end up being more incredible than I'd originally planned so what the heck - I'm going for it. Adam Lambert and Queen, people! It's going to be epic.

In my hunt for the best seats at the best prices, I've found that ScoreBig is incredibly easy to use. The site allows you to search easily, listing the events closest to your location first. You can search by event type, date or location. ScoreBig guarantees that you save on each and every ticket without ever paying a single transaction fee and they offer free delivery, something that other tickets sites don't always offer.

When choosing tickets, you can narrow down your seating area but not your exact seats. ScoreBig promises that your seats will be together and in the area that you choose, rated in stars (Ex: 4 star seating area vs. 1 star seating area). This allows the ticket providers some flexibility to provide great deals on seats. In fact, 40% of tickets go unsold for many events each year, even events that are supposedly "sold out". That's were BigScore comes in, grabbing up those tickets for you to score.

There are two ways to buy at BigScore. One way is to purchase tickets at their fixed listed price. Second, buyers can actually make offers that are lower than the listed price and receive instant feedback as to whether or not their offer was accepted. I've been rejected a few times so far on the seats I want but I'll be trying again this week with a different offer.

Head-quarted in Los Angeles, CA, ScoreBig was founded in 2009 and was recently named by Forbes as one of America's Most Promising Companies and by Billboard as one of the ten best start-ups of 2012.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received a super awesome ScoreBig promotion code for the purpose of this review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

 

Crayola's Creativity Design-A-Charm Contest Accepting Entries Until May 21st, 2014, Charm It! Jewelry for Girls, Review & Giveaway

by EJ on 05/06/14

Is your child artistic, creative and a designer in the making? CHARM IT! by IntenCity and Crayola are on the hunt for a guest designer and kids up to age fourteen are eligible to enter. Through May 21st, kids can submit their original artwork for the chance to see it become the newest charm in the CHARM IT! collection. The winning charm design will be sold in specialty stores as well as GAP Kids and Nordstrom, where the CHARM IT! collections are already available.

Wait - there's more! In addition to a guest designer, the twelve top submissions will win $100 gift certificates for use at the CHARM IT! website, as well as a donation made in their names to the Art Start organization. 

For official rules and to download the entry form, head over to www.shopcharm-it.com/contest

Is Your Daughter a CHARM IT! Girl? Accessorize with CHARM IT! Jewelry!

CHARM IT! bracelets and necklaces are fun, colorful and creative. They're the perfect accessory for girls who want to show off their personality, favorite hobbies, activities and interests. It can grow with them as they change and add or trade out new charms. There are an assortment of bracelet and necklace styles available.


We had a blast choosing charms for our nine year old, who was totally surprised to receive a bracelet that reflected her uniqueness. She's a paleontologist in the making, so of course we chose a dinosaur. The microphone charm was perfect for her love of the stage and performance. Her passion for all things art and
creating is reflected in the art easel and paint charms. She's an avid reader so we also included the book worm charm. Since she's consistently on the honor roll and impressing us with her smarts, we also chose the A + charm. She loved the collection we put together and she immediately set out showing off her bracelet to all her friends. 

The bracelet itself is chunky and fun, with a ton of color and a ton of space to easily fit more charms. The charms fit along the bracelet with little key chain hooks, which are holding up very well as she wears it around. The charms are solid, well made and many of them have crystals and glitter accents. We're going to have so much fun adding to this collection as she grows.

High IntenCity was founded to inspire girls to express their individuality through creativity. SInce 1993, IntenCity has been creating fun fashion jewelry for girls worldwide. The CHARM IT! brand debuted in 2000, with the original, detachable charm jewelry line.

Discount Code for CHARM IT! Jewelry

Through May 21st, save 25% on your online purchase, using promo code CHARMLOVE25.

WIN A CHARM IT! Gift Set at Four Little Monsters Blog

One lucky reader will win a CHARM IT! Design-A-Charm gift set including five past winning charms of their choice.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received a Charm It! Bracelet and charm set for the purpose of this review. All opinions belong to the blogger.


Delaware Brain Tumor Walk 2014: Funding Research, Raising Awareness, Sharing Memories and Celebrating Survivors

by EJ on 04/24/14

National Brain Tumor Society, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to finding better treatments and a cure for people living with brain tumors, hosts the Delaware Brain Tumor Walk on April 26th at the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware. The Brain Tumor Walk, which aims to connect brain tumor survivors, patients, family, friends and caregivers, uses proceeds to fund brain tumor research and raise awareness. Participants can walk as individuals, create a team or join an already existing team. Last year, the walk raised almost $200,000.

At this moment, nearly 700,000 people in the United States are living with a brain tumor. 69,000 more are expected to be diagnosed this year and over 4,000 of those will be children. “Only one out of three adults diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor today will be alive in five years. More so than any other cancer, brain tumors can have life-altering psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and physical effects. And yet, despite these facts, brain tumor research remains grossly underfunded,” says N. Paul TonThat, chief executive officer of the National Brain Tumor Society. “Every dollar pledged from the Delaware Brain Tumor Walk allows us to continue funding vital research to accelerate the discovery of new scientific breakthroughs and the availability of more treatments for this disease.” 

Karen O'Brien, mother of three and wife of Chris O'Brien who was diagnosed with an Astrocytoma grade II brain tumor in 2008, has been involved in the Delaware Brain Tumor Walk since 2009 to support her family and others affected by this disease. Her husband, whose brain tumor was removed, was subsequently diagnosed with a GBM IV and passed away eleven months later. This year Karen is again walking with Team Irish, in memory of her husband. Describing her family's journey from diagnosis to treatment, to loss several years later, Karen explains that, "The cancer diagnosis really made us closer and made us realize how short our time here is. My kids were not sure how things were going to end and how soon but they spent time with their Dad and always let him know how much they loved him. Since he passed we have had some rough times and some good times... We are all growing and changing but never forgetting." The Delaware Brain Tumor Walk has become an important and inspiring event for the O'Brien family and friends. Karen says, "As we walk many of us will tell some stories about him and others will share good memories. It really makes me feel a sense of belonging knowing others know how I feel."

The Delaware Brain Tumor Walk is this Saturday, April 26th at Dravo Plaza in Wilmington, DE at 10 am. For more information on the Delaware Brain Tumor Walk, please visit http://events.braintumor.org/delaware-brain-tumor-walk/. If you can't make the walk, you can still donate to a participant or team.

Family Fun Day Toy Drive at Delaware Children's Museum

by EJ on 04/21/14


On April 26th, Kohls Associates Volunteers from Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, participating in their fifth annual National Go Green initiative, will partner with Second Chance Toys to gather at the Delaware Children's Museum for a huge toy drive to benefit underprivileged children. In an effort to both keep toys out of landfills and to help children in need, nearly 5000 toys will be gathered and displayed in front of the museum.

The Delaware community is invited to share in the family fun and bring their gently used toys for further donation. The toys will be moved in 1800 GOT JUNK trucks to their various drop off locations. In addition to the toy display, families can enjoy outdoor face painting, a DJ, coloring activities and explore the museum indoors. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
 

Are you a brand, company, venue or family friendly attraction looking for advertising, promotional opportunities and to increase your online presence? Four Little Monsters can help. 

The Four Little Monsters community of readers includes over three thousand five hundred families across our social media sites and email subscriptions. The majority of our readers are Mid-Atlantic based.

Please see our media kit and contact us to learn about our sponsorship opportunities that range from paid to trade. 
BlogPR & InfoGiveawaysMedia KitContact

More Giveaways Coming Soon!
Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_popocorn'>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_popocorn'>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_popocorn'>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>