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Weekend Spotlight: St. Patrick's Day Parade, Maple Syrup, Lambs & More

Spring is just around the corner, and the Go West Calendar is heating up with lots of fun events. Here are some of the highlights over the next few days. As always, consult the Go West Calendar for more events that might better fit your family's budget, interests or schedule.

PADDY GO SWIMMING: Goldfish Swim School in St. Charles (a Go West sponsor) is hosting a St. Patrick's Day Family Swim on Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There will be snacks, craft and fun - plus swimming in the 90-degree water, of course! Cost is $5 per person, or $15 per family, and free to all currently enrolled families. 
GO GREEN: The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in St. Charles steps off in downtown at 2 p.m. and travels along Main Street/Route 64 between 7th Street on the west side of the river and 5th Avenue (Illinois Route 25) on the east. It will feature Irish dancers, Irish music, floats and more. Starting at 10 a.m., several local dance studios will be performing at the Arcada Theatre.

SWEET TIMES: Red Oak Nature Center in North Aurora is hosting its annual Maple Fest on Saturday morning. The event is free to the public. Tours will run every hour beginning at 9 a.m. (final tour at 1 p.m.), with naturalists from Red Oak leading visitors to various stations in the woods to view demonstrations of how maple sap is harvested and turned into delicious maple syrup. Each group will tap a maple tree, then witness the process of how sap is boiled and converted into syrup. Maple-themed treats and beverages will be available for a small fee.
FREE MOVIES: Goodrich Quality Theaters offers "Free Spring Movies" on weekends every year. This weekend, "How to Train Your Dragon" will be shown 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at the Randall 15 IMAX in Batavia and the Kendall 10 in Oswego. More info here.
BABY LIVESTOCK: Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago invites your family to visit for its "Lambing" program this weekend. You'll be able to see the season's new lambs, some as they're being born, and learn about the role livestock played on an 1890s farm. Admission to the farm is free; it's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Outbuildings, including the sheepfold, close at 4:30 p.m. 

Summer Guide 2014: Xcelerate Summer Camps at Waubonsee Community College

Editor's Note: Waubonsee Community College is a sponsor of Go West Young Mom. I'm proud to partner with an institution that offers so much to residents and families in the Fox Valley and surrounding areas.

The snow is melting … must be time to make plans for summer!

Photo by iStockphoto.com OK. It’s kind of ridiculous that a temperature of 50 degrees made me think of swimsuits, picnics and summer vacation, but it did!

If you are having the same thought this week, you'll want to check out the Xcelerate Summer Camps offered by Waubonsee Community College.

Waubonsee offers camps for kids ages 7 through 14 , as well as preschoolers, on topics including science and biology; gaming and digital arts; robotics and engineering; computers and the web; art and music.

For instance, during “Website Builders,” children ages 7 to 10 will learn HTML codes to create a basic website. If they follow up with the “WebTastic” camp, they’ll learn how to add animation, graphics, sound, video and automation.

If your child is more on the artsy side, there is “Camp Ukulele” and “Camp Harmonica,” where kids will learn to play melodies, get a new instrument to take home and even perform a short recital on the last day for parents and fellow campers.

Focusing on science and biology, Waubonsee has a “Bugology” camp for kids ages 7 to 10 where they’ll study the basics of insects’ anatomy and physiology, collect specimens and even try one or two edible bugs.

There are also camps just for preschoolers, such as “Ahoy, Matey!” “Nature Quest”  and “Kitchen Science,”

Click to read more ...


Spring Guide 2014: Children's Clothing, Toy & Equipment Resales

Are you ready to stock up on some spring and summer clothes for your children and nab some great deals on toys and equipment, too? Well, then you're going to love this guide to the upcoming spring resale season!

Please follow the links provided to learn more about each resale's individual policies. Some are free to enter, others charge a small admission. Some of the events ban children, strollers, wagons or laundry baskets. Most sell items for half-price later in the day. And some are still looking for volunteers to help out -- volunteers get to shop the presale, usually held a day before the event is open to the general public. 

Before you head out, especially if you're a resale novice, you'll want to read our guest columnist Edith Tarter's tips for making the most of these types of events.

Know of a resale we don't have listed here? Add it in the comments section. Happy shopping!


St. Pius X School Children's Clothing, Equipment and Toy Resale: Friday, May 7, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to noon at the school's Social Center/Gym, located at 601 S. Westmore (Corenr of Madison Street/ Westmore-Meyers Road) in Lombard. 

Western Avenue School Semi-Annual Clothing Sale: Friday, March 7, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 8, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the school, located at 1500 Western Avenue in Geneva. 

Step by Step Childhood Enrichment PTA Spring ResaleSaturday, March 8, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then half-price from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the DuPage County Fairgrounds Building 4, 2015 W. Manchester Road in Wheaton.

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Early Literacy Activities Calendar for March 2014

Thanks to the wonderful folks in the Youth Services Department of the West Chicago Public Library for sharing their Early Literacy Activities Calendar with us each month. Here's a bunch of easy, creative ideas for how during the month of March you can encourage an early love of reading in your child. 

Photo by Enokson on Flickr.

March 1: Draw a simple shape on paper and have your child copy it.

March 2: Point out the first letter of your child's name. See how many you can spot today. 

March 3: See how many words you can think of that rhyme with cat.

March 4: Play "I Spy" and see how many circles you can find today.

March 5: Throw a blanket over a table and read together underneath.

March 6: Bring out the pots and pans and have a kitchen "band."

March 7: Count the houses on your block. See how high you can go.

March 8: Play a game of peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek.

Click to read more ...


Weekend Spotlight: Free Movies, a Kids Workshop, a Little Princess and More

Here are some of the event highlights over the next few days. As always, consult the Go West Calendar for more events that might better fit your family's budget, interests or schedule.

MUSICAL THEATER: Spotlight Youth Theater's Aurora branch just had a big win with "Peter Pan." Now the Kane branch is performing "A Little Princess" this weekend at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre. Performances are tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for children ages 2 through 17. Find more info here. Meanwhile, the DuPage Branch is performng "Seussical Jr." at the Compass Auditorium in Naperville. Find more info on that show here

FREE MOVIES: Goodrich Quality Theaters offers "Free Spring Movies" on weekends every year. The series kicks off this weekend with a showing of "Barnyard" and continues with movies including "How to Train Your Dragon," "Madagascar" and "Shrek." Showings are at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday through April 28 at the Randall 15 IMAX in Batavia and the Kendall 10 in Oswego. More info here.

$2 MOVIES Marcus Theatres continues its Kids Dream $2 Winter Film Series this weekend with a showing of "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. More info here

KIDS WORKSHOP: The monthly Home Depot Kids Workshop is this Saturday at stores in locations including Geneva, Aurora, Bartlett, Naperville and South Elgin. This is a free, hands-on workshop, designed for kids ages 5 through 12, offered from 9 a.m. to noon. In addition to the newly constructed project kid, each child receives an orange apron, a commemorative pin and certificate of achievement. This month, the project is "Trojan Horse Bank," inspired by the upcoming movie "Mr. Peabody & Sherman."

CAVE HIKE: Red Oak Nature Center in North Aurora will be hosting a free "Cave Hike" on Saturday at 2 p.m. You will hike down the Fox River Bike Trail to Devil's Cave, where you'll hear the legend of how it got its haunting name. Make sure to dress for the weather.