5 Interactive Children’s Museums from Around the Country

Parents know the difficulty of keeping kids entertained in the summer. It’s hard enough to find a few activities to do, let alone provide them with exciting new opportunities to learn while school isn’t in session. Vacations are great for relaxing, having fun and introducing kids to fresh experiences, but as long as you’re in a certain part of the country, why not combine fun, fresh experiences with inspiring, interactive lessons? Here’s five of our favorite interactive children’s museums from around the country to keep kids learning while school’s out.

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Boston Children’s MuseumBoston
One of the oldest and largest children’s museums in the world, the Boston Children’s Museum is focused on providing hands-on exhibits to spark imaginations and inspire creativity. It focuses on a variety of areas, like science and the arts, but also places a heavy emphasis on the power of play and stimulating brains through the process of self-discovery. And it’s also located in one of America’s most historic academic communities.

Discovery Place, Charlotte
A trip down the Atlantic coastline leads us to Charlotte, North Carolina, where science and technology meet to form one of the best educational experiences in the country. The main facility isn’t as hands-on as others, but there is a Discovery Place KIDS for families looking to get their kids involved in fun, interactive activities. It also has a unique IMAX® Theatre that takes you into the heart of space journeys and earthly adventures.

Museum of Science and IndustryChicago
If you’re kid is getting a little old for some of the hands-on activities at children’s museums, it’s might be time to move them up to an adult museum. Some museums aren’t designed to capture the imagination of young kids, but the Museum of Science and Industry satisfies any age. It’s a great family destination, and with more than 400,000 square feet of exhibits, it’s bound to have something even the most stubborn kids will enjoy.

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Children’s Museum of DenverDenver
One of the top museums for kids when it comes to the interactive fun factor, it has come a long way since the early days sharing scientific mysteries from a simple bus. Now with a wide variety of permanent exhibits that combine state-of-the-art facilities and hands-on experiences, it helps children learn by allowing them to step into the shoes of physicists, agriculturalists, artists, physicians, dentists, chefs, zoologists and so much more.

Exploratorium, San Francisco
Much like the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Exploratorium’s mission is tailored to speak to people of all ages and from all walks of life. Branded as a “public learning laboratory,” the museum allows kids and adults to become explorers with hundreds of exhibits that encourage curiosity and inquiry. The hub for scientists and artists alike, it provides educational activities for kids on just about every topic imaginable.

Game-Watching Gear for Supportive Parents

Summer is the busiest season of the year for parents of little athletes. Baseball, soccer and football are just a few of the major sports that require a big time commitment for families. Managing schedules and driving kids to their games is difficult enough. When you finally get to the field, it’s important to be comfortable. Gather up some of our game-watching gear to relax on the sideline or the bleachers and protect yourself from the sun.

Best Seat in the House

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If you’re sitting in the bleachers, support your back the entire game with the 5-Position Reclining Seat. It has a sturdy steel frame that’s cushioned with high-density foam. Portable and lightweight, it has five adjustable positions for reclining. It folds flat for storage and has a shoulder strap for carrying. If you’re taking a seat on the sidelines, you can’t go wrong with the Zero Gravity Chair. Designed to cradle your body for a weightless feeling, it has a full range of motion that easily adjusts from an upright chair to a full reclining lounge. It boasts a heavy-duty steel pipe frame, has a removable headrest and folds flat when not in use. Another option for the sidelines is the easy-folding NFL Kickoff Chair. Lightweight and great for the constantly-traveling parent, it has a cup holder on the armrest and folds up into a carrying bag.

Surviving in the Sun

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Shield yourself from the sun and watch in comfort with Women’s Embellished Sunglasses with Case. The glamorous sunglasses feature a sturdy frame with rhinestones that’ll keep you stylish the entire day. They come with a hard, zippered case and includes a cleaning cloth. Keep refrigeration at your fingertips on the sidelines or in the bleachers with the Collapsible Rolling Cooler. Fully lined and insulated to keep food and beverages nice and cold, it has a full zip cover for easy access to all your goodies. The sliding handle and wheels allow you to easily transport it from the parking lot. You may be cool watching the game, but your car has been sitting in the sun just as long. The NFL Universal Auto Sunshade protects your interior, blocking 99% of all UVA and UVB rays to maintain a cooler temperature in your car all day. The accordion design folds for storage. Fits most cars, SUVs and trucks.

July Pinteresting Picks

Our Pinterest followers are taking care of business! Even as the summer starts to wind down, our followers are ramping up their home improvements. Whether they’re gardening or going on a road trip, the common theme among their favorite pins is organization.  Here are the July Pinteresting Picks.Laundry-room-Wall-Hangings

Home Organization Lighten the load on laundry day with a funny yet functional Laundry Room Wall Hanging. Each wooden sign features a visual accent that can also come in handy as you work. The Laundry sign (15-3/4″H x 7-7/8″W x 1-1/2″D) has 3 knobs to hang small articles of clothing as you fold or sort. Keep the Change (10″H x 8″W x 3-3/4″D) has a glass mason jar attached with a raffia tie that you can use to hold coins found in pockets, buttons that have come loose and other small objects left in the hamper. Lost Socks (15-7/8″H x 9″W x 1″D) has 3 clothespins to hold separated socks while you look for their mates. Each comes ready to hang.

 

solar-garden-postLight Up the Garden Put an elegant finishing touch on your home with a Solar Garden Post. This classic accent features a teardrop shape enhanced with scrollwork. The lantern at the top is solar-powered, so it needs no time-consuming installation. Glows with constant white light for up to 8 hours on a full charge. On/off switch. A metal ring near the bottom of the Solar Post with Planter holds a 6″ pot. Some assembly required; assembly hardware included. 29″ x 13-3/4″. Metal and polypropylene.folding-deck-tables

Outdoor Convenience Folding Deck Table sets up in seconds and folds down flat when not in use. This attractive wood table comes with metal clamps and brackets that easily secure it to a porch or deck railing. Great for outdoor entertaining, the folding table is also ideal for decks or balconies with limited space. Fits railings up to 6″ wide and can hold up to 50 lbs. 23-3/8″ x 19-3/8″ x 16-1/4″.

extension-cord-sealSafe Connections Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals. The case snaps around the point where the cords come together, and a rubber seal keeps out rain, snow and mud. An internal locking safety mechanism holds cords securely together. These cases are a simple solution that will prevent shorting out and eliminate the chore of reconnecting cords that have been accidentally pulled apart. 3″ dia. x 8’L. Plastic.quilted-auto-organizer

Convenient Compartments Keep everything a driver needs at hand with a 2-Pc. Quilted Auto Organizer Set. The 7-pocket car seat organizer holds maps, magazines, paperwork, snacks and more. Hang it on the front passenger seat–just slip its strap under the headrest. The dashboard organizer features 2 pockets for storing such items as a cell phone, sunglasses, pens and more. Comes with a clip for attaching it to a dashboard vent. Cotton. Imported.

 

Watermelon Day: 5 Unique Watermelon Recipes

watermelonAugust 3 is National Watermelon Day — it makes sense because it’s in season and taking a bite is taking a break from the heat (but we’re not complaining — we haven’t forgotten last winter!). In honor of the day we’ve picked a few watermelon recipes that are so unusual you probably haven’t tried them. Here are 5 unique watermelon recipes to celebrate National Watermelon Day.

watermelon-steakSteak The Ravenous Couple brought us this one: Watermelon Steak. It’s sweet, savory and surprisingly pretty easy to put together. The hardest part might be cutting it thick enough to stay together while it roasts. For those who aren’t into fresh, raw watermelon but want to take advantage of summer’s bounty, this might be the watermelon recipe for you.

watermelon-leatherLeather If you have kids, this one may be a good afternoon project to get ready for the school year: Watermelon Leather. It comes from Baked By Rachel — a bit of a throwback to her childhood when fruit roll-ups were a lunchtime staple. Many of us had the same experience and were probably equally curious about how it was possible to turn fruit into leather. Check out her blog, and you’ll have your answer!

watermelon-picklePickle This one might be for more adventurous eaters, but if you eat a lot of watermelon, you’ll have a lot of rinds to experiment with to make Pickled Watermelon Rind from Foodista. There isn’t a lot of work involved — mostly boiling — but it takes a day or two to get it together for the finished product. If you’re into making the most of your scraps, this is definitely worth a try.

watermelon-jerkyJerky This one is not unlike fruit leather, but it’s not like it, either. Dash of Butter brings us Watermelon Jerky. This recipe is awesome because there’s one ingredient: watermelon. What’s even more awesome are the directions: slice it and stick it in the dehydrator. If you have a dehydrator, perhaps you’d like to get an abundance of watermelon while you can so you can make fruit snacks for the kids that will last them through Halloween!

watermelon-jamJam For those afraid to stretch beyond their comfort zone, a good jam can be whipped up from your citrullus lanatus. This recipe is from Global Table Adventure. She was inspired to make this by Melon Day in Turkmenistan where they eat watermelon jam with toast and tea. If “boil and go” is all it takes, this recipe is definitely worth trying in the waning days of summer!

We make the most of every season at LTD Commodities! From kitchen tools to make your favorite watermelon recipes to decor to make your Thanksgiving celebration special, shop LTD for great products at reasonable prices.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Christmas in July

We’re just five months away from Christmas! It seems early, but it’s never too early to get a jump on your Christmas shopping!! There are so many people to shop for (including ourselves!), it makes sense to take advantage of summer sales for our holiday gifts. We have a few products to get you started! Here are this week’s Product Picks for the Week for Christmas in July.manicure-lapdesk

Nail It Get professional nail care at home with the Manicure Lapdesk. It includes everything you need for a do-it-yourself manicure or to give one to a girlfriend. The airflow nail dryer dries wet nails quickly and has nonslip silicone-padded feet. The ergonomic sculpting tool comes with 5 interchangeable attachments for filing, buffing and shaping nails, plus a plastic storage case. The lapdesk itself gives you a hard surface to work on, with polyfoam bead padding underneath for comfort wherever you use it. It has a built-in zippered storage area to hold accessories and a cutout handle for easy carrying.Tipsy-Tower

Garden Variety Gifts Create a vertical garden with a hint of illusion with Tipsy Tower Plant Stands. Simply slide your own planter pots down the bar at an angle. Each pot will rest slightly on the one below it, creating a fun, gravity-defying look. 4-Ft. tower can be used in 4 different configurations as the upright tower rod is actually 2 pieces. It’s designed to accommodate 4 or more pots. 2-Ft. tower can be used in 2 different configurations and is designed to accommodate 3 to 5 pots.tart-warmer

Good Scents Fill your home with wonderful aromas with a 2-In-1 Ceramic Tart Warmer. It works with scented tarts or jar candles. Just plug it into any standard outlet and use the in-line toggle switch to activate it. The pretty porcelain design adds to its appeal. Butterfly’s original artwork by Lemme Studio. Willow Tree’s artwork by Teresa Kogut.photo-wall-mural

Mural Memories Customize your decor with a Photo Frame Wall Mural. Easy to apply, this imaginative mural includes several cardboard frames for adding your own photos to the piece. The adorable Owl Family includes 8 heart-shaped cardboard frames that hold photos. Show off your branch of the Family Tree with the 7 cardboard frames in this classic design. Oversized decal can be removed and repositioned without damaging walls.disney-socks

Fancy Feet Let her feet do the talking with the adorable 7-Pair Girls’ Disney Sock Set. A great stocking stuffer, this value set brings her favorite character to her feet for comfy, everyday wear.

Get ready for every holiday with LTD Commodities! From ideas to get your Christmas shopping started to products to make your Thanksgiving dinner memorable, shop LTD for great products priced for fun.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Back to School

It seems like summer just arrived, but it’s already time to start thinking about the new school year! There are so many things we have to get prepared for, but if we get the shopping out of the way, we’ll have plenty of time for all the activity the waning days of summer have in store for us. We have a few products to get you started! Here are this week’s Product Picks for the Week for Back to School.Galaxy-print-leggings

First Impressions Eye-catching and trendy, this 2-Pc. Girls’ Galaxy Print Legging Set is a fashionable addition to her wardrobe. The cap-sleeved top features a galaxy-printed shape embellished with sparkling blue and silver rhinestones. The top’s uneven hem and contrast trim give it a futuristic look. The vibrant leggings feature a coordinating all-over print. An elastic waistband provides the perfect fit. Cotton and polyester, with a touch of spandex in the leggings for stretch.

Collegiate-Duffel

College Bound Show off your team spirit with a Collegiate Duffel Bag. It comes in your school’s colors with its logo on the front and its name on the top. Durable and spacious, it has a comfortably padded shoulder strap (27″L) that is adjustable and removable. It also has double carry handles with a 9″ drop that can be joined together with fabric magic. Plenty of pockets help with organization. Full zippered closure. Scented-Markers

Aroma Art Tools Make your pictures look and smell great with 12-Ct. Scentos Scented Markers. The chisel-tip markers are perfect for creating fun drawings with their own sweet scents. Each marker is decorated with a silly face on the front.

Learning-pad

Study Tools This Educational Learning Pad is a multimedia device that’s full of buttons, color and sound. It talks and features letter, word and number buttons that teach children how to spell and count. Includes functions such as word learning, letter learning, spelling, quizzes, songs and repeat. The repeat function with the talking feature makes it easy for children to interact and learn. Lightweight and portable, it has a volume control, making it perfect for use at home, on the road, or in a waiting room. portable-hamper

Hassle-Free Housework Make laundry day less of a hassle with this Portable Rolling Hamper. Its adjustable handle and 2 wheels make taking clothing to the laundromat or even to the next room much easier. The lid of the hamper secures with a zipper. A zippered pocket on the front and two mesh pockets on the side let you bring along supplies such as detergent, softener or dryer sheets.

At LTD, we’re excited about each season! As we say goodbye to summer with a blowout, we welcome fall with equally spectacular products and celebrations. Look to LTD for products and inspiration for every season.

 

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for a Staycation

loungerIt is time to enjoy summer! It’s a busy travel time, but you don’t have to leave town to enjoy the sunshine and relax. Sometimes staying at home is vacation enough so we’ve selected a few items we think you’d like to enjoy the weather in town. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for a Staycation.

Kick Back Portable Folding Lounger provides comfort on all your outdoor adventures. Perfect for relaxing by the pool, at the beach, on a camping trip and more. Setup takes seconds: just unfold, and stretch out on the durable lounger with breathable mesh inserts. Includes a carrying bag with shoulder strap for easy portability. animal-print-cover-up

Go with the Flow Make a statement at the pool or beach with a Women’s Animal Print Cover-Up. Stylish beach accessory has a curved hem for a flattering, loose fit, 2 front pockets and a racerback. Lightweight construction makes it easy to slip over your suit. cozy-car-water-canopy

Splish Splash Designed to look like a car, the Cozy Car Float Seat with Canopy has a pocket-type seat with leg holes and a built-in canopy that protects your child from the sun. With this rider, your toddler can splash and have fun in the pool with the others. take-it-anywhere-tables

Food at Your Fingertips From the backyard to the beach, the Take It Anywhere Outdoor Table lets you kick back in style. Steel table keeps cocktails, sodas, snacks, BBQ servings and more nearby as you relax on a lawn chair, beach lounger or other outdoor furniture. Just stake it firmly in the ground or sand and you’re ready to enjoy your food or beverage. You can also use it as a spot for sunglasses, tanning lotion, books and more. Top handle makes it easy to transport and to pull out when you leave. butterfly-blanket

Outdoor Delights Take a 50″ x 60″ Outdoor Blanket in a Bag along on all your summer adventures. This 2-in-1 blanket and bag is just what you need for picnics, the beach, sporting events and more. Quilted print microfiber face has a solid-color, water-resistant back to keep the damp away.

Take advantage of every minute of summer with LTD Commodities! From outdoor toys to keep the kids entertained to recipe ideas for your next cookout, shop LTD to make the most of your favorite season.

 

Summer Fun: Pool Games

swimming-poolMaking it to the pool every day is one of the best parts of summer! But after a few weeks, even swimming under the sun can get a little stale. To mix things up, try weaving a few fun games into your pool routine to refresh your kids’ love of water. Here are 4 pool games to try.

Greased Watermelon This one is good for older kids who can easily pick up a watermelon. What you do is take a scoop of petroleum jelly and rub it all over a medium-sized watermelon — be careful! It’s meant to be slippery. When it’s grease and ready to go, toss it in the pool. Then, on a count of three, everyone jumps in the pool to go after the watermelon. The person who can put it on dry land is the winner. (Quick note: this one should be done in a private pool — you don’t want to get petroleum jelly and watermelon in your neighborhood pool)

swimming-poolBobbing Heads This game is similar to whack-a-mole — only the moles are swimmers bobbing in and out of the water and instead of whacking them with a soft mallet, the “it” person tries to bounce a beach ball off their heads before they go back under water. Once a person has been tagged by a beach ball, he is out. The last one tagged can choose the next “it” person.

Under the Radar For this one, you’ll need several clear, plastic water bottles with lids. Fill each bottle with water making sure there are no air bubbles. Divide players into teams, leaving one person to be the submarine to shoot off the torpedoes (the plastic water bottles). Have all the players on the edge of the pool turn away while the submarine tosses the torpedoes into the water. After the last bottle goes under water, blow a whistle to signal the other players to get in the water to collect as many bottles as they can for their team. The team with the most bottles wins.

swimming-poolSubmarine Races This one is for more experienced swimmers. Divide the swimmers into two groups — one half goes to one end of the pool and the other half goes to the other side. Select an “it” person to stand in the middle of the pool. Select another person to be the referee. The referee signals the swimmers from one side of the pool to swim across — but they have to do it without being tagged by the “it” person. If a person is tagged he joins the “it” person in the middle of the pool. Repeat this until there’s only one free swimmer left — that person is it for the next round.

In or out of the pool, we’re celebrating summer here at LTD! From outdoor parties to water toys, we have what you need to make this summer a blast.

Midsummer Boredom Fixes

summerIt’s midsummer — we’re at a point where kids need a break from the pool even if we don’t want them to take one. They’re still still young enough that they need a little prompting to do something other than watch TV and play Minecraft. We can’t always be there to entertain them, but we can help them entertain themselves. Here are a few ideas to put in the “I’m bored jar.”

Creative Cardboard This idea takes a lot of creativity — it can keep your kids’ minds and bodies moving for hours. Give them each a cardboard box with one instruction: what can you do with a cardboard box? They can make forts, a cat house, a doll bed, small castle, play musical instruments — list goes on and on. Let them really use their imaginations to create something original or let them use the internet for inspiration — either way, they won’t get bored.

Summer Memories  Have them make a summer scrap book. You may have to get some of your vacation or 4th of July photos printed, but if you set them up with some glitter and glue, they can put it together in an afternoon. Have them add to it every day — use flowers they picked on a nature walk, an interesting shell they picked up at the beach or a ticket stub from the baseball game dad took them to. It’s an activity to keep them thinking purposefully until the first day of school.

scrapbookBaubles & Beads Homemade jewelry of any kind is fun for kids to make. There’s something about making something wearable that it very satisfying for kids. It can be as simple as beading safety pins to decorate their sneakers or as complicated as making beads out of paper and then stringing them together to wear as part of their fall wardrobe.

Start a Band You don’t have to be a piano prodigy or a guitar guru to be able to make music! Use water glasses filled at different levels to tap and make tunes. Or they can fill plastic containers with dried beans or rice to make a rattle. If you have a few paper plates, add some bells to create a tambourine. If your kids are really serious about making an instrument to play again and again, they can always make a cigar box guitar to strum until you break down and buy them a real one.

summerSeek Science Try simple science activities to open your kids’ minds and wow them with how we stumble across science in everything we do. Fill a jar with green water and stick a white carnation in it. The kids can watch as the flower drinks the water to turn its petals green. For something a little more active, make carbon dioxide by mixing baking soda and vinegar — they can turn it into a rocket-launching project. Or for a fun and functional activity, have them make geodes — the Feels Like Home Blog has a great tutorial for the all-day project.

LTD Commodities is all about making the most of every moment! We have products and ideas that makes every day fun for you and your family no matter what season it is.

4th if July: Fireworks Safety Tips

fireworksThe 4th of July is here! Across the country, friends and family are gathering to celebrate our independence with food, fun and fireworks. That’s exactly what our Founding Fathers wanted us to do on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. But with all the fun and fireworks comes a bit of danger. Here are 5 fireworks safety tips to keep in mind while you’re celebrating our nation’s birthday.

Be Aware of the Law The laws around fireworks are different in each state. There are reasons for that — some have to do with safety, others have to do with land preservation but both are there for protection. Before you flick your lighter or strike a match, make sure you’re complying with local laws. It keeps the community peaceful and you won’t have to worry about police crashing your party.

fireworksDress Appropriately If you’re working with fire, you have to work defensively. Make sure you’re not wearing loose clothing that can catch fire if the wind changes direction. Keep your skin and feet covered to avoid any close encounters with a flame or hot coal. The damage from burns largely depends on how much exposure you had to a flame or coal and having a layer between you and the flame may reduce your exposure time.  What you choose to wear could be the difference between a superficial burn and a blistering burn.

Water Within Reach Make sure you have a fire extinguisher (and know how to use it) available before you start setting off fireworks. Keep a bucket of water nearby with a supply close enough that you can refill easily and quickly.

Use Common Sense You have to keep your eye on live fireworks at all times. This means give each explosive your undivided attention by lighting fireworks one at a time. Because you are the keeper of the fireworks, use protective eye wear to shield your eyes from rogue sparks. While your eyes are on the fireworks, make sure children don’t get their hands on any flammable items. Fireworks are dangerous by themselves, in the wrong hands they can be deadly.

fireworksBe an Observer The best way to prevent injury is to stay away from the fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks caused more than 17,000 fires in 2011 that resulted in $32 million in damages. In 2013, fireworks caused more than 11,000 injuries — some from what we think of as “safe” fireworks like sparklers. There are hundreds of thousands of fireworks shows that are put on by professionals across the country. It’s much less dangerous for you to let the professionals do what they do best and enjoy the sparkling sky from a distance.

LTD Commodities wants you to have a fun and safe 4th of July! Put safety first for your celebrations and everyone will have a memorable holiday.