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The Golden Oldies of Outdoor Play for Kids

While things have certainly changed over the past several decades, classic outdoor games for children remain the same. If your child needs to burn off some energy, send them outside to play one of these “Golden Oldies” of outdoor play. You can even join in the fun too!

Hide and Seek

The game of Hide and Seek originated in ancient Greece in the 2nd century and is a kid-favorite to this day. Set ground rules for where kids can hide on your property and enjoy the shrieks that will ensue once the hiders are found. Hide and Seek can also be played by hiding objects or in reverse, as in the game of Sardines.

Capture the Flag

For slightly older kids, Capture the Flag offers a battlefield-like game that can keep them entertained for hours. This game is best played in areas with lots of hiding spots and barriers to allow children to move stealthily to steal the other team’s flag.


When you’ve got a group of kids together, it’s inevitable that someone will initiate a game of tag. There are countless variations on the game of tag: freeze tag, flashlight tag, shadow tag, statues, and so many more. Challenge your kids to create their own version of tag and see what they come up with.


Hopscotch is a great solo game that kids can play just about anywhere. Add a piece of chalk and a flat rock to your backpack or purse and you can set up hopscotch on a sidewalk or driveway. You can change the game by adding time limits, varying the size and shape of the squares, or marking each square with a different category.

Obstacle Course

Just about anything can be turned into an obstacle course for kids; simply devise a course and then time them as they navigate it. In the backyard, use hula hoops, cones, pool noodles, steppingstones to create a course. If you’re on a playground, map out a path that leads kids through all the equipment to a finish line.

Summer Camp 2023 — Highway to Heaven — Ends September 1st

Every year the leaders at  Apple Tree Learning Center plan a specially-themed summer camp that is sure to entertain, educate and elevate every camper to a new level of confidence!

This year we are celebrating with the theme – “Highway to Heaven!”  Our teachers have planned weekly themed events to take the campers on a journey of discovery with fun activities while learning about God’s creation and stories of the Bible.  We have field trips for our 4yr and School age groups, water play, cooking projects, science projects, in house events and crafts. This daily adventure will included fun, learning, and timeless Bible stories.

The greatest benefit of our annual summer camp program is that it prepares your child to walk into the school year with even more knowledge, confidence and motivation to succeed in the classroom.

If you are searching for the perfect SUMMER CAMP HOME for your child in 2023,  please contact our Suffolk, Executive, Mt Pleasant, and Hickory location to sign up. 

We are here to answer your questions so that you can learn more about all of the plans that we have for your child to have fun with their friends exploring, dreaming, thinking, creating, and most importantly … a summer filled with learning and fun!

Home Safety Checklist for Preschoolers

A parent’s top priority is keeping his or her children safe. Toddlers and preschool age children spend much of their time in the house, so it’s essential that parents safeguard the home to prevent injuries and accidents. Follow this room-by-room checklist to keep small children out of harm’s way.


  • Set your hot water heater to 125 degrees. Most hot water heaters are pre-set at 140 degrees, which could burn a child in less than three seconds.
  • Keep all medications and vitamins out of sight and out of reach of small children.


  • To prevent falls, position beds and dressers away from windows. Lock windows or use window guards to limit how far the window will open.
  • Ensure that cords for window blinds are out of reach, as this can pose a strangulation threat.
  • Mount heavy furniture to the wall so that it won’t tip over should a child climb on it.
  • Make sure there is a working smoke alarm in or near children’s bedrooms.

Living Room

  • Place breakable items on high shelves.
  • Only allow your child to play with age-appropriate toys. Check toys for small or loose parts that are a choking hazard.
  • Install anti-tipping devices on televisions and bookcases.
  • Use table guards to cover sharp corners.
  • Block access to the fireplace with a gate or barrier. Keep fireplace tools and accessories out of reach.


  • Keep hot food and liquids pushed back on the counter and out of reach from children.
  • When cooking on the stove, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove or use the back burners.
  • Place knives, scissors, and other sharp objects out of reach of children.
  • Remove small magnets from the refrigerator.

Laundry Room

  • Keep laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies out of sight and reach. Store them in original containers to easily access ingredients if accidentally ingested.
  • Store the iron out of reach, especially immediately after use.


In addition to these room-specific tips, outlet covers, doorknob covers, baby gates, and cabinet locks should be used throughout the house as needed. Stay safe!

It’s Time For A Change: Setting Goals for the Whole Family


With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy for family members to focus on their individual goals, like a big project at work or making the soccer team. If you’re looking to bring your loved ones closer together, try setting a family goal! Working together to achieve a goal will allow you to spend more time together and have something to look forward to completing. What’s more, parents can model behaviors that will allow their children to successfully achieve their own goals later in life.


Stumped on where to begin? Consider these family goals to get started:


  • Plan a “Family Fun Day” every month. Set aside a day each month for your family to spend quality time together. Set a budget, brainstorm ideas, and decide on an activity as a family unit. As tempting as it may be to invite along friends, keep this activity family-only to make it more special.
  • Participate in a community service project. Choose a cause your family is passionate about and research ways you can volunteer. Giving back to the community sets a great example for kids, provides help to those in need, and makes you feel good!
  • Start a new family hobby. Spend time together as a family by doing something you all enjoy. Whether it’s doing a nightly crossword puzzle, baking sweet treats, or going on a bike ride, as long as your family is together and having fun, you’ve succeeded!
  • Set up a family savings fund. If your family has big plans, like going on a vacation or purchasing the latest video game system, encourage everyone to contribute to the cause. Place a piggy bank in your kitchen and have family members add money to help reach the goal more quickly.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle. The foundation for a healthy lifestyle starts at home. Create family goals to eat more fruits and veggies, increase your physical activity and get enough sleep. Rely on family members to hold each other accountable.

Set Yourself Up For Success With A Healthy Breakfast

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but not all breakfasts are created equal. In order to reap the benefits from your morning meal all day long, aim to eat a balanced breakfast that includes whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and fruits or vegetables. Eating all of these foods together in the morning can help set you up for success throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can:

• Aid in weight loss. By eating the recommended combination of food groups in the morning, you’ll fuel up your body for the day ahead. When you skip breakfast, you are more likely to make poor food choices later in the day and overeat. Eating breakfast also boosts your metabolism and gives you more energy, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day.

• Increase your focus. When you “break the fast” each morning with a balanced meal, your blood sugar levels stay in check, making it easier to focus on tasks at hand. Studies have shown that eating breakfast increases productivity, creativeness and memory, one of the reasons why breakfast is so important for school-aged children.

• Keep your heart healthy. Research shows that people who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke. Skipping breakfast has been linked to obesity, insulin-sensitivity and high cholesterol, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

• Ensure you get your daily amount of vitamins and minerals. Eating a balanced breakfast puts you well on your way to getting the recommended vitamins and minerals each day. Breakfast foods typically contain high amounts of calcium, vitamin B, iron, protein and fiber. Those who eat breakfast are more likely to meet their daily recommendations for vitamins and minerals than those who don’t.

No matter how you eat it—rushing out the door in the morning or while leisurely reading the daily paper—be sure to treat your body right by having a healthy breakfast to start the day.

The Screen Time Balancing Act

The appropriate amount of screen time for children has been a hot topic of conversation for years. Now, with so much of children’s socializing, learning and entertainment accessed online, parents are adjusting their screen time rules to adapt to the new normal.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding screen time for those under 24 months, with the exception of video chatting, and allowing no more than one hour a day for children ages two through five. For all other ages, the AAP guidelines focus on healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Even though your children may be spending more time in front of a screen, the basics from the AAP remain the same.

Guide your children to appropriate content. Whether it’s an app, website or television show, know what your child is viewing. Sit down together and create a list of approved screen time activities. Even better, watch or play with your child to share your experiences and answer any questions.

Set screen time limits. While the right amount of screen time may vary among children, a schedule is helpful for all. Set aside a specific time of day or certain amount of time for your children to watch the latest YouTube unboxing or play games. Avoid screen time before bed so it doesn’t interfere with sleep.

Understand that not all screen time is equal. Participating in distance learning or connecting with friends and family by video chat is more productive than zoning out while watching a television show. In today’s world where opportunities to socialize are limited, the benefits of face-to-face interaction are a positive result of screen time.

Educate your children about online dangers. As children spend more time online, it’s extremely important to talk to them about the dangers of the internet. Children should be aware of online bullying and the potential for internet predators, including how to spot these behaviors and what to do when they see them. For teens in particular, parents should emphasize the importance of protecting their privacy while online.

Sign up for the Gold Rush … Summer Camp 2022 here!

Every year the leaders at  Apple Tree Learning Center plan a specially-themed summer camp that is sure to entertain, educate and elevate every camper to a new level of confidence!

This year our teachers have a whole summer filled with excitement as we lead you on a journey of discovery with fun activities.  We have field trips for our 4yr and School age groups, water play, cooking projects, science projects, in house events and crafts. This daily adventure will include fun, learning, and timeless Bible stories .

Saddle up for a summer filled with gold nuggets of truth about our Rock of Ages!

The greatest benefit of our annual summer camp program is that it prepares your child to walk into the school year with even more knowledge, confidence and motivation to succeed in the classroom.

If you are searching for the perfect SUMMER CAMP HOME for your child, please contact our: Suffolk —(757) 539-9000, Greenbrier Academy (757) 547-9530, Mt Pleasant (757) 410-8532, and Hickory (757) 410-7722 locations for enrollment. 

We are here to answer your questions so that you can learn more about all of the plans that we have for your child to have fun with their friends exploring, dreaming, thinking, creating, and most importantly … a summer filled with learning and fun!


Six Tips To Avoid Seasonal Allergies

Spring is full of sunshine, blooming flowers, and, unfortunately, pollen. Pollen is a very fine powdery substance that is carried from plant to plant by the wind, insects, and other pollinators. As trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers begin to grow in the spring, the amount of pollen in the air increases dramatically, triggering seasonal allergies in millions of people. If seasonal allergies have you sniffling, itching your eyes, and feeling rundown, take these steps to keep your symptoms at bay:


  1. Take allergy medications before symptoms start. It takes a few weeks for antihistamines and corticosteroids to become fully effective. If you typically suffer from seasonal allergies, begin taking these medications regularly well before spring gets underway.


  1. Avoid the allergen. When possible, stay inside on days that have a high pollen count and on dry, windy days when pollen will be swirling around. If you’re lucky, maybe you can convince someone to do your yardwork and mow your lawn for you!


  1. Shower before bed. If you spend any amount of time outdoors, shower off before you go to sleep each night. This will remove pollen particles from your hair and body and will ensure you’re not bringing the pollen to your bedsheets where you could be breathing it in all night long.


  1. Keep doors and windows closed. Since pollen particles are miniscule, they can easily make their way through a window screen into your home. Bedroom windows should remain closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from dusting your bed and clothing.


  1. Use allergy filters in your HVAC unit. Choose high-quality air filters designed to trap allergens. Inspect the filter regularly and change it when it is visibly dirty, especially during the pollen-filled spring months.
  2. Wear a mask. These days, wearing a mask doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. If you do have to be outdoors on a high pollen count day, consider covering your nose and mouth with a mask so you don’t inhale pollen.

Celebrate Pi Day on March 14!

March 14 marks the annual celebration of Pi Day. Embraced by math lovers everywhere, this unique day recognizes the irrational number Pi (or ℼ). Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, which is always 3.14. Hence, we celebrate Pi Day on March 14. Around the world, people commemorate advances in math on Pi Day, and you can take part too with these fun activities.


Create a DIY pizza pie bar.

Set up a pizza making station at home to celebrate Pi Day. Give each person a pre-made crust and allow them to customize their pizza with toppings of their choice. Encourage pizza makers to incorporate the ℼ symbol or other mathematical designs (think fractions or addition problems) with their toppings.


Watch a math-themed movie.

Movies about math cover many topics, making it easy to find one to enjoy! For older viewers, watch Good Will Hunting, 21, Moneyball or A Brilliant Young Mind. Great family-friendly math-inspired films include Life of Pi, Hidden Figures, and Queen of Katwe.


Have a pie eating contest.

Gather your friends and family for an old-fashioned pie eating contest. Make mini pies of your choice or go all out with regular sized pies. While the first person to finish their pie is the ultimate winner, be sure to have an award on hand for the messiest eater as well!



You don’t have to eat or watch a movie to commemorate Pi Day. Find a 3.14-mile route in your neighborhood and go for a run, walk, or jog in honor of the world’s great mathematicians. If you prefer interval training, use 3.14 to guide your sets.


Play Pi games.

Pi-themed games can be played by people of all ages! Since Pi is related to circles, find as many perfectly round circles as possible throughout the day. If words are more your thing, have a contest to see who can come up with the most words that begin with “pi-” in a set amount of time.

Create Your Own Cozy Book Nook

What could be better than a dedicated space to dive into a book and escape from the world for a bit? Whether you have a corner, a closet or even just an empty wall space available, you can create a cozy area for snuggling up with a good book. With a few key elements, you can create a book nook you’ll never want to leave.


Ensure adequate lighting. Proper lighting is especially important when reading. If possible, set your reading area by a window to utilize natural light. Floor lamps or wall-mounted lights are great choices to provide task lighting for a book nook. Want a fun vibe for your space? Add white or colored string lights to draw you to the reading nook.

Set up a comfortable seating area. To encourage spending lots of time in your reading nook, a comfy place to curl up with a book is key. Consider an oversized chair, chaise lounge, bench seat, indoor swing chair or a bean bag chair. Place an end table near your seat to hold a drink, snack, or your phone. And don’t forget to add pillows and plush blankets to make your book nook extra cozy.

Personalize with accessories and décor. Decorate your book nook to match the mood you want. If the reading space is for kids, entice them with bright colors and bold patterns. Design your space to mimic the feel of your favorite books or go classic by hanging reading-themed pictures or famous book quotes on the wall. To separate your space from the rest of the room, hang a canopy to provide ambiance and privacy.


Add books! What’s a reading nook without books? While you don’t have to create a full library, plan for a traditional bookshelf, wall shelves, a rolling cart or even a small basket to house your books. If you prefer to read your books on an e-reader, keep your charging wire and a USB wall charger in your reading nook.


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