Big Kid Activities  &  Sports

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    There are two checkered balls rolling around in the passenger seat floorboard of my SUV. The storage area contains two folding chairs: one adult-sized, one child-sized. The backseat is littered with granola bar wrappers, one seatbelt is still moist from a spilled water bottle, and the entire vehicle holds the faint odor of sweaty shinguards. In the rearview mirror I can see my reflection: wispy pieces of hair forming a halo around my ponytail, my makeup long worn away, my mouth slightly agape as I visibly struggle to remember the practice schedule I glanced at just two seconds ago.

    Somewhere along the line, I became a full-fledged soccer mom. Not only is this a lifestyle that is almost painfully glamorous, I find that it's a great opportunity to continually experience a series of intensely awkward moments every single week as I rush to and from my children's activities.

    Tell me, do you share my soccer mom pain?

     

    Image via Montgomery County Planning Commission/Flickr

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    There's a push-up competition between a little girl and a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) cadet. Who are you putting your money on?

    Do we even have to ask?

    Um, yes. Yes, we do ... after seeing Kaylyn Mintz, a gymnast and US Junior Olympic Team hopeful, crush a cadet in a push-up challenge in front of a cheering crowd. As a part of a "Stand at Attention" fundraiser at a mall in Wilmington, North Carolina, young cadets went up against shoppers in fitness challenges including planks and sit-ups ... but Kaylyn's push-ups stole the show. Hands down. 

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    It's no surprise that kids love bubbles -- and kids love making arts and crafts. So why not make your own bubbles? Better yet, why not make your own incredibly GIANT bubbles? Nothing better than a DIY activity that keeps the kids happy, busy, and away from electronics!

    So, what are you waiting for?

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    At first glance, playgrounds may look like idyllic places where everyone is smiling, happy, and having fun... parents, however, know better. Every grabbed shovel at the sandbox, every child breathing down another one's neck for a turn on the swing has the potential to turn ugly -- and parents are just as prone as their kids to end up in tense altercations or tussles.

    To help you navigate this treacherous terrain and not get sucked into petty playground battles left and right, here's a little advice on what NOT to do at the local park.

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    You know those cute little battery-powered ATVs that mimic mommy and daddy's car but travel at like one mile per hour and can barely make it past the driveway? Yeah, well, you may want to sell your Honda now, save some money, and consider one of those babies because, apparently, your kid can take his anywhere -- even as far as a busy highway.

    An autistic 6-year-old boy in New York did just that when he managed to escape his family while they were at a park and take a joy ride on the Bronx River Parkway.

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    I just went to a fair with my kids, where all four of them participated in a hula-hoop contest. My children are not world-class hula-hoopers. They are mediocre at best and didn't outlast the winner. It was just something fun for them to do.

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    Baseball is America's pastime, and attending games with family and kids is one of the best summer activities. But seeing your face on the Jumbotron? Well, that just beats everything. Take one young Miami Marlins fan, for instance, who noticed he was being broadcast on the stadium's televisions and immediately broke out into dance.

    But not just any dance. What may seem normal and even silly at first turns downright ridiculous. See for yourself:

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    When we think of summer, we think of lots of outdoor fun. Sprinklers, pool parties, nature walks -- we all love being in the great outdoors. But there are some days when the heat just gets to be too much and we have to stay inside. Especially when it comes to little kids -- no one needs to be overheating. There are plenty of exciting indoor activities, too, that involve more than just plopping the little ones in front of the television. 

    Prepare for some indoor fun for the hottest summer days. These activities are not only exciting, but yield some incredible keepsakes and memories.

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    Remember the day you mastered the skill of riding a bike? The thrill on your bike coach's face when you finally pedaled and steered on your own without hitting a wall? The even bigger grin on your bike coach's face when your mom handed him $100 for a private lesson?

    Yeah, don't feel bad -- that wasn't my experience either. But these days, it's totally possible for parents to dodge the often arduous task of teaching their little ones how to ride a bike by actually hiring a bicycle coach to do the dirty work for them.

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    For any parents planning a backyard birthday this summer: beware! Two boys were seriously injured yesterday after the bouncy house they were playing in was swept away 50 feet in the air!

    Three kids, ages 5, 6, and 10, were in the inflatable castle when a sudden gust of wind picked up and began to carry the house away. One child made it out with just scrapes and bruises. Another boy fell 15 feet and landed on a car, while the third child fell on asphalt.

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