Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Saving Grace Farm in Salisbury NC – Where the Horses Whisper Back!

Max - the Biggest Horse at Saving Grace Farm in Salisbury NC © Katrena
Saving Grace Farm, located at 565 Trexler Loop in Salisbury, NC, offers a wide range of horse-related opportunities for people in and around Rowan County. My two older kids have enjoyed a summer horse camp at the farm, and even my youngest has had the opportunity to learn a bit about horses (and dogs!) from the sidelines.
Connect With Animals © Katrena
Horse Farm in Rowan County © Katrena
We first heard about this camp after a friend, who has a son with autism, absolutely raved about the wonderful staff and how they interact with the participants. Her son has enjoyed many physical and emotional rewards from the equine-assisted horse activities at Saving Grace and loves to tell us about riding and working with Max.

Summer Horse Camp © Katrena
Those participating in the summer horse camp have a wide variety of learning opportunities. The kids learn safety issues, such as where to safely stand near a horse and how to read a horse's body language. The horses at this farm are not simply trained to walk around in a circle. The riders learn to steer and work with the horses according to the participant's physical and mental abilities.

Learn About Horses © Katrena
Horses have distinct personalities, and the beautiful animals at the farm range from slow, calm, and steady to a bit more spirited and spunky. Lots of staff and volunteers are available to help as the campers begin to interact with their chosen horse.

Horses & Kids Have Personalities at Saving Grace © Katrena
My oldest daughter discovered that a horse named Jubilee seemed to pick her out as she began to follow my child as she walked outside. My second oldest was immediately drawn to the spirited pony named Misty. Other kids in the camp began to develop one-on-one relationships with these beautiful animals.

Kids Learn How to Balance and Focus © Katrena
Before riding, the kids learn about balance and the importance of using muscles in order to avoid falling off. Practicing several exercises while standing on the ground also allowed the instructor to help the participants learn the importance of focus and listening.

How to Clean a Horse's Hoof © Katrena
Grooming techniques are taught, and the kids have the opportunity to groom their chosen horse or pony from head to foot. Staff and volunteers encourage the campers to become more self-sufficient as the week progresses.

Horse Tack at Saving Grace Farm © Katrena
They learn about various pieces of equipment placed on or used with the horses, such as a fly mask, bridle, lead, reins, blanket, stirrups, and saddle. The campers also learn about how to carry and store the items as well as how they are used on the horse and are given the opportunity to put this knowledge to practical use as they prepare to ride.

Horse Riding Trail in NC © Katrena
Campers are split into smaller groups during the riding portion. All riders are required to wear helmets. The nurse in me likes that safety rule! One group participates in craft activities and nature hikes while others ride in order to allow for more focused individual attention by the equine specialist, who checks each horse and rider personally to ensure that saddles and stirrups are properly adjusted as each child mounts.

Canada Geese at the Farm © Katrena
The location of Saving Grace farm is quite serene and offers a nice display of natural beauty as campers have the opportunity to see a wide variety of plants and animals. As the kids walk or ride the trails, they may see a family of geese, turtles, or fish at the pond. They also have the opportunity to learn about flora in the area.

Horsemanship at Saving Grace © Katrena
Riding Backwards on a Horse © Katrena
Early in the week, leads are used so that the campers can learn the art of balance while riding a horse. They may ride on a trail or in an arena. They might even ride backwards or with no hands! As they become more comfortable, they are offered the opportunity to steer and practice posting while trotting. They are given lots of feedback for ways in which they can position their bodies in order to connect better with the horse. Additional skills are taught as the children gain confidence.

Learn to Ride a Horse © Katrena
Horse Camp in Rowan County © Katrena
Just as all horses are different, each camper also has different strengths, weaknesses, and fear levels. A healthy respect of horses is always encouraged. Those who might feel uncomfortable may be encouraged to move back to an activity that feels more comfortable until ready to move to the next level.

Kids Gain Self-Confidence by Working With Horses © Katrena
Riding a Horse Without Using Hands © Katrena
I was surprised to see how quickly the campers progressed and learned various skills. A horse camp can do more than teach skills and knowledge. I could see all of the children grow more self-confident and self-sufficient throughout the week. Some people connect with horses by whispering, but those who connect best are the ones who learn to listen as the horse whispers back!

Trail Riding at Saving Grace © Katrena
Saving Grace Farm offers a wide variety of activities in addition to their summer camps, some of which include:
  • Riding lessons (private or group)
  • Programs for veterans who have experienced illness, injuries, or wounds after September 11, 2001
  • Equine assisted activities for children and adults with special needs
  • Growing and Living Lives of Purpose (G.A.L.L.O.P.)
  • Community workshops such as survivors or grief, abuse, parenting challenges, etc.
  • Connection and leadership skills for horse owners
  • "Sunshine Seekers" Hospice grief camps
Find Healing by Working With Horses © Katrena
Find more of my articles at the Wildflower Bouquets site map. Those interested in equestrian camping might also like to read my article on South Mountains State Park.
Find Joy in Equestrian Activities © Katrena

Friday, June 22, 2012

Katrena's Indoor Scavenger Hunt #3 – Free Clues and Prizes

Free Scavenger Hunt by Katrena
Indoor scavenger hunts can be a great way to encourage the kids to work toward a goal. Summertime gets mighty hot where I live, and having some fun indoor activities can be a great way to beat the heat, be prepared for rainy days, and beat boredom. If you have several children, encourage them to alternate finding clues or have them to work together as a team. For example, if you have a younger child who cannot read, pair him or her with an older child who can read.

This scavenger hunt has ten rhyming clues and will send the kids to various rooms inside the house. I have included clues and answers within the article and clues, answers, and three printable prizes as screen shots. If you wish to print the screen shots, click on the image and select "file" and then choose "print."

  1. Print clues #1-10 and prizes and cut on lines.
  2. Keep clue #1.
  3. Hide clue #2 at the answer for clue #1.
  4. Hide clue #3 at the answer for clue #2.
  5. Hide clue #4 at the answer for clue #3.
  6. Hide clue #5 at the answer for clue #4.
  7. Hide clue #6 at the answer for clue #5.
  8. Hide clue #7 at the answer for clue #6.
  9. Hide clue #8 at the answer for clue #7.
  10. Hide clue #9 at the answer for clue #8.
  11. Hide clue #10 at the answer for clue #9.
  12. Place prize at the answer for clue #10.
  13. Give clue #1 to the person(s) doing the scavenger hunt. 

Katrena's Indoor Scavenger Hunt #3 Free Clues
Got a stuffy or runny nose?
Or maybe dust on your shoes?
No need to cry...
Simply hunt for a box of ____.
One hand is longer than the other,
But you don’t need a doc.
It has numbers 1 through 12....
I think it's time to look near the ____.
Getting a little hungry?
Perhaps you have a date?
Search for this round item…
A meal fits nicely on a ______.
Need to wash your hands without water...
Oh my, what a miser!
Maybe you need a bottle
of cleansing ______ _________.
These always have a good view,
But they won't send you a bill.
Look right under a window
The next clue is resting on a _______ _______.
The sun is so very bright today,
Even through your eyelashes?
Perhaps you should protect your delicate eyes...
Look near a pair of ________!
This thing can help you learn lots,
Even the definition of scooter.
It has keys and a mouse....
Why don't you look around the __________?
Are you covered in slime?
Do you need a good scrub?
Grab some soap and water
And head for the handy dandy _______.
These things can be very sharp,
They aren’t for beginners.
If you need to cut out a shape,
Just look for some ________.
CLUE #10
Is this the last clue?
And you haven’t gone bonkers?
Perhaps you should color a certificate
Using crayons or colored _____!
Katrena's Indoor Scavenger Hunt #3 Answers




Hand sanitizer

Window Sill






Free Printable Prizes for Scavenger Hunt

I hope the kids enjoy this scavenger hunt! Find more scavenger hunts, printables, and articles at my Wildflower Bouquets site map.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

2012 Free or Discounted Summer Movies in Rowan and Davie County

2012 Summer Movies in Rowan and Davie County
Several libraries and movie theaters are offering free or discounted movies for younger kids during summer break months in 2012. After the first week, I decided to create a chart showing the movies offered at three locations in the Piedmont of North Carolina because there are so many great choices!

Davie County Public Library (DCPL) in Mocksville offers free movies for kids and their families each Wednesday at 12:00 noon for younger kids and 2:00 for older kids except for the week of July 4. Families are welcome to bring a blanket and snacks while enjoying the show.

Tinseltown in Salisbury has two different price deals for summer movies they are showing at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You may purchase a $5.00 ticket good for all ten movies during the summer or purchase individual tickets at their ticket booth for $1.00 each.

Gem Theatre (Gem) in Kannapolis is offering $1.00 movies on Tuesdays mornings at 10:00 and Tuesday afternoons at 12:30.

June 19
Puss in Boots (10, 12:30 Gem)
Rio (10 Tinseltown)
June 20
Rio (10 Tinseltown)
Rio (12 DCPL)
We Bought a Zoo (2 DCPL)
June 26
Hop (10, 12:30 Gem)
Kung Fu Panda 2 (10 Tinseltown)
June 27
Kung Fu Panda 2 (10 Tinseltown)
Alvin and the Chipmonks: Chipwrecked (12 DCPL)
Big Miracle (2 DCPL)
July 3
Rio (10, 12:30 Gem)
Despicable Me (10 Tinseltown)
July 4
Despicable Me (10 Tinseltown)
July 10
Shrek Forever After (10, 12:30 Gem)
Diary of a Whimpy Kid 2 (10 Tinseltown)
July 11
Diary of a Whimpy Kid 2 (10 Tinseltown)
Hop (12 DCPL)
Mars Needs Moms (2 DCPL)
July 17
Yogi Bear (10, 12:30 Gem)
Dolphin Tale (10 Tinseltown)
July 18
Dolphin Tale (10 Tinseltown)
Cars 2 (12 DCPL)
Hugo (2 DCPL)
July 24
Despicable Me (10, 12:30 Gem)
Puss in Boots (10 Tinseltown)
July 25
Puss in Boots (10 Tinseltown)
A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures (12 DCPL)
The Adventures of Tintin (2 DCPL)
July 31
Cats & Dogs" Kittys Galore (10, 12:30 Gem)
Winnie the Pooh (10 Tinseltown)
August 1
Winnie the Pooh (10 Tinseltown)
The Muppets (12 DCPL)
Captain America (2 DCPL)
August 7
Kung Fu Panda 2 (10, 12:30 Gem)
Yogi Bear (10 Tinseltown)
August 8
Yogi Bear (10 Tinseltown)
August 14
Rango (10, 12:30 Gem)
Charlotte's Web (10 Tinseltown)
August 15
Charlotte's Web (10 Tinseltown)
August 21
Dolphin Tale (10, 12:30 Gem)

This can be a great, inexpensive way to go out and have fun with the kids this summer!

For more of my articles, visit the Wildflower Bouquets site map.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adding Colors Indoor Scavenger Hunt – Free Clues and Answers

Scavenger Hunt and Graphing Activity
Taking the three primary colors of yellow, red, and blue can produce an amazing array of new hues! I thought it would be fun to combine the mystery of a scavenger hunt with the "math facts" of adding colors and graphing.

How to Use the Adding Colors Scavenger Hunt
While the kids are in another room...
  • Print the clues (picture/rhyming) and cut them out (click on each image to enlarge and then select "file" and "print" and then click the back arrow to return to this article).
  • Print the graphing chart (easy/advanced).
  • Print the hidden message clues page, cut out each and hide in the area represented by the graph.
  1. Have the child(ren) pick a clue to solve.
  2. Tell them to graph the color combination (challenge the older ones by having them graph in both directions).
  3. Verify the answer and have the kid(s) look in the area determined by the graph until they have found all six clues.
  4. Tell the kids to determine the hidden message by arranging the colorful clues into a sentence.

Easy Clues for Adding Colors Scavenger Hunt
Rhyming Clues for Adding Colors Scavenger Hunt
This indoor scavenger hunt includes both simple picture clues for the visually oriented children and rhyming clues for those who respond well to reading. You might want to hide the hidden message clues in a challenging way for older kids or make them much easier to find if you are playing with preschoolers.

Easy Chart for Adding Colors Scavenger Hunt
Advanced Chart for Adding Colors Scavenger Hunt
This game also incorporates reading graphs! I created two versions of the chart. The easier version includes shading hints while the harder version requires the kids to read to determine the correct cells. I have included an answer key for anyone who wishes to verify the answers.

Hidden Message Clues for Adding Colors Scavenger Hunt
Answer Key for Adding Colors Scavenger Hunt

Adding Colors Scavenger Hunt and Graphing Practice

I hope the kids enjoy the color and math challenge of this adding colors scavenger hunt! My kids also love to color online. One of their favorites for combining colors is the Curious George Mix and Paint game. Find more of my free indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts, printables, boredom busters, and articles at the Wildflower Bouquets site map.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Find Money-Saving Tips for Fun Summer Children's Activities

Summer Fun with the Kids © Katrena
As the kids look forward to summer vacation, many parents look for a variety of summer activities to keep the kids engaged, learning, and having fun. Many summer camps and programs may be quite pricey and out of range for families who are struggling financially, but there are also many summer activities that may be free or low-cost in your area.

Free Summer Meal Programs

The Health and Human Services Departments in many states offer free summer food programs through Nutrition Services for children ages 18 and younger. For example, many school cafeterias are open on weekdays during summer months to provide a free breakfast and lunch. These programs may be open to those who qualify for free or reduced meals during the school year or for anyone meeting the age requirements. This can be a great opportunity to ensure that the kids get nutritious meals and may help you to stretch the budget just a little farther.

Unplugged Quality Family Time

Don't underestimate the value of quality time together as a family. Turn off the television, computer, cell phone, and all the other distractions of modern life and simply enjoy some time together talking, walking, cooking, working puzzles, playing games or sports, and more. These times might seem rather ordinary at the time but may be those most treasured in later years. It is a great idea to have a variety of fun indoor and outdoor activities available.

Parks and Playgrounds

Many parks and playgrounds are available free of charge and can encourage kids to remain physically active throughout summer months. Many may be a short distance from home, or you might decide to try some playgrounds that the kids have noticed on road trips.

You might check with other parents in the area and arrange to meet on certain dates and times to enjoy the fellowship with other adults while the kids play. Pack a picnic lunch and/or plan to add a walk and make some great family memories together.

If you get together with other families, you might plan to customize your own sort of "camps" with the kids. For example, you might try playing sports, teaching crafts, giving info on quick and simple home or car maintenance, or other ideas that would fit with the skills and supplies already readily available with the group.

Fun and Free Summer Activities at the Library © Katrena
Summer Reading Programs

Public libraries typically offer a summer reading program in which kids are encouraged to read and learn throughout the summer. Kids are often given the opportunity to keep track of their reading and may be offered incentives for reaching certain milestones. Children who are too young to read may be rewarded for listening to stories read by others.

Libraries may also offer fun summer activities such as story times, guest speakers, storytellers, puppet shows, drama presentations, movies, music programs, crafts, and more. Many of these special programs are absolutely free, and you and the kids may enjoy browsing through the books, magazines, music, computer resources, and more that the library has to offer for check-out so that you can continue the fun at home. Some libraries offer traveling services for those who have no way to travel to the site.

Readers may also wish to read Free Books and So Much More at the Local Library.

Volunteer Activities

Children and their families who wish to make a difference in their community and even beyond may wish to look at volunteer opportunities within the community. Picking up trash regularly at an area playground, visiting folks at a nursing home, becoming a pen pal to someone who is lonely, helping a neighbor with odd jobs, working at a soup kitchen, fostering a dog or cat from the local Humane Society, sending care packages to the troops, or helping to tend to a community garden can all encourage one to be a part of something larger than oneself.

Summer Vacation Bible School © Katrena

Vacation Bible Schools

Many area churches offer VBS (Vacation Bible School) and other summer programs at little or no charge. The kids have the opportunity to learn scripture, sing songs, play games, make crafts, and meet new friends. Different churches offer a variety of programs, so feel free to contact the church if you have questions regarding what to expect with the VBS programs in your area.

Summer Movie Programs

Many movie theaters offer a special summer pass for children's movies during the summer. These are usually shown on a particular day(s) during the week during afternoon hours. Prices for these shows can be much lower than their typical rates. Local libraries and towns may also offer special movie showings for the kids and/or families.

Readers may also wish to read How to Find Free Movies.

Fun Family Summer Activities © Katrena
Pools and Splash Pads

Many people associate water with summer. Whether you are sitting by a kiddie pool in the yard, swimming in the local pool, cooling off at a splash pad, or skiing on the lake, water seems to beckon to people! Some of these may be free or low cost or included with a membership. Adults and children may learn swimming skills to open a whole new world of water recreation activities as well as providing some great exercise opportunities. It is important to follow basic water safety rules to ensure the safety of all.


Clubs may offer a nice variety of opportunities for kids to interact with others, increase their knowledge, and learn new skills. They typically offer camps and special activities throughout the summer for children as well as club meetings. Several clubs that may be in your area include:
  • Boy Scouts
  • Girl Scouts
  • 4-H
  • Junior Civitans
Recreational and Artistic Summer Programs

Many local areas offer summer programs for children who have all sorts of different interests. They usually offer sports but also may offer non-competitive activities such as dancing, art, drama, or animal programs. Some may be free or have a nominal price. You might also check to see if they offer a sliding scale, scholarships, opportunities for bartering services, or any other discounts.

Examples of places that may offer summer programming for kids or that may be able to direct you to specific programs in the area include:
  • Parks and Recreation Department
  • Gyms and Exercise Facilities
  • Arts Council
  • Farms and Riding Stables
  • Sports Programs

How to Find Discounts and Coupons for Amusement Parks © Katrena
Discount Tickets and Coupons

Just a little investment of time can have significant returns for those who wish to visit amusement parks or theme parks. They may offer a special price for those who purchase online or before a certain date. Save money by getting a group together to visit on the same day in order to qualify for group rates. Discounts may also be available if you wish to visit late in the afternoon or enjoy the park two or more days.

Some employers and banks may provide discount pricing on tickets that are purchased at that location. You might also find coupons at gyms, check-outs at various stores, college campuses, etc. Some credit card companies and even insurance agencies may offer points that can be used toward purchasing gift cards or tickets for popular vacation destinations in return for using their credit card or for participating in wellness activities.

Season Passes and Memberships

Although purchasing a season pass for a children's museum, science museum, aquarium, or other fun destination may seem rather expensive initially, it can be well worth the investment if you and the kids plan to return to the place several times during the year.

Some of these businesses may offer special prices for summer-only season passes. Season passes may be available for a family price, which can really help those with several children. Perks are often included with season passes, such as free or reduced parking, discounts at their shops, extended hours, and members-only pricing on special events.

How to Save Money at Summer Programs © Katrena
Reciprocal Programs

Those who purchase season passes or memberships often find that reciprocal programs are available. This means that you can enjoy discounted or free admission to those businesses that have agreed to a reciprocal program. This can be a great money-saving opportunity for a family who wishes to visit several different recreational opportunities on the list. Many of these reciprocal programs are listed online with the membership perks.

Summer Fun for Less

Involve the kids in the planning process for the summer. They will often have great ideas to share as well. You might want to make a summer calendar and plug in scheduled activities and then write down a variety of quick and easy activities that the kids can draw out of the summer activity bowl during down times. I hope this will be a fun and exciting time for you and your family!

Find scavenger hunt clues, printables, and more articles about enjoying simple pleasures at my Wildflower Bouquets site map.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Free Printable Congratulations Notes for the Last Day of School

Last Day of School Notes of Congratulations
The last day of school brings with it a wealth of excitement for teachers, parents, and kids as each turn the page on another chapter in life. Start summer vacation on a happy and colorful vibe with a note of congratulations for the child to enjoy and perhaps even keep and treasure. Feel free to add your own personal note to the back.

How to Print
  1. Click on the graphic below to increase the size.
  2. Select file-print near the top left corner of the screen.
Printable Notes for Last Day of School
I hope you enjoy these free printables! Find more printables, scavenger hunt clues, and articles about the simple joys in life at my Wildflower Bouquets site map.