A Few Dollars a Day Keeps the Boredom Away: Dollar Store Activities for the COVID-19 Quarantine


Last weekend it became clear we were going to end up stuck at our house for the foreseeable future. This pandemic has become serious and it is hitting too close to home.

I felt prepared with food, and household supplies, but after a little time processing the reality of what “quarantine” would mean for my family, I felt large levels of anxiety and panic creeping into my brain. How in the world would I keep my two kids occupied while my husband and I tried to work remotely? How much screen time is too much screen time during a pandemic? I did the only thing I could think of in that moment.

I washed my hands, packed hand sanitizer, and I went to the dollar store.

The dollar store is stocked with a variety of crafts, coloring options, small toys, and more. The dollar store is also budget friendly.

A few things to consider before you make the trip:


What is your budget? You may only have $10 to spend. With $10 you can buy ten activities! You may have more to spend. Either way, you can get some quality items for a small price at the dollar store. For me, I have two children and my hope was to get them 1-2 activities per day for a month. This meant I was looking for up to 120 activities. However, I didn’t want to spend more than $100 at the dollar store. I set my budget there.

Reusable Activities

Consider whether you want activities that can be reused or whether you are okay with “one and done” types of activities. I knew I could find some activities that could provide continued enjoyment. I also knew that crafts and coloring were likely a one-time use type of thing. I kept this in mind as I looked around the dollar store.

Toys vs. Non-Toys

Don’t just stick to the “kids” aisles at the dollar store. You can find activity ideas in every aisle at the dollar store. For example, a roll of tin foil can serve as the material for a sculpture contest between your kids. A box of elbow macaroni pasta can be used with some string from the hardware aisle to serve as a noodle necklace activity. Get creative and don’t limit yourself.

Here are some of my best finds at the dollar store last week:

Dollar store activities for COVID-19 quarantine


You can find a variety of character puzzles ranging from 24-100 pieces. I bought about 15 puzzles and my kids love them. They will play with a puzzle multiple times before getting bored with the theme.

Bonus tip: They also sell 500 piece puzzles. I purchased a few of those for myself, too!

Dollar store activities for COVID-19 quarantine

Crafts and Art Activities

The dollar store has a range of craft and art activities available. I found magic paint posters, wood crafts to paint, decorate your own sun-catcher kits, and a world map you can color.

Dollar store activities for COVID-19 quarantine

Educational Workbooks and Flashcards

I spotted some educational workbooks on the bottom shelf in the school supply aisle. They had workbooks for pre-k and up. Some are thicker and offer more pages than others but for a dollar they felt worth it. The flashcards are also fun. For littler ones you can do shapes and colors. For the older kids I found some math flashcards and a few packs of brain buster trivia questions with themes like “pets” and “ocean life.”

Dollar store activities for COVID-19 quarantine

Busy Activities

If you get creative you can come up with some activities that will keep your kids busy for longer periods of time. I snagged an ice cube tray, small tongs, and puff balls. For $4 I can ask my preschooler to sort all the puff balls into the ice cube tray by color. I can ask my second-grader to spell words using the puff balls.

The dollar store also has construction paper, clay, and glow sticks. Any of these items would be great ways to engage my kids — whether it be a glow stick party in a dark room with some popcorn and a movie, or giving my kids an item to mold out of clay. I also grabbed a couple of two-minute timers. I thought I might set the timers and ask my kids to run around the house finding as many things as they can that start with an “A” or a “B” or so on.

Dollar store activities for COVID-19 quarantine

Other Items

Finally, I found some bonus items that I thought might be useful.

  • Shrinky Dinks: Because who doesn’t love Shrinky Dinks?!
  • Potting soil, pots, and seeds: We can do our own at-home science class as we plant seeds and watch them grow.
  • Sticker Story Adventures: My kids love pretend play and these color forms give them an opportunity to re-use them as often as they’d like and also bring some of their own toys into the story.
  • Trinket Toys: I spotted some tiny dinosaurs and I thought my son might like to use those with the army guys he already has. I also found some ninjas have sticky hands. If you throw them against the wall they will “crawl down” the wall. We have a two-story entry and I decided I could be okay with my kids throwing ninjas at the wall from the second floor if it meant they were kept busy for a while.
  • Outdoor Activities: The dollar store also had some great outdoor options. Remember that “quarantine” doesn’t have to mean “inside.” This Styrofoam glider or these character kites will be great on a nice day.

Dollar store activities for COVID-19 quarantine

I stayed within my budget and walked out of the dollar store with an armful of activities that my kids can enjoy while I work from home and we stay healthy and keep others healthy. I bought two reusable grocery bags and put each of the kid’s activities inside of them. When it is activity time, they can grab something from their bag and enjoy!

I also vigorously washed my hands upon arrival at home. Because, germs.

Related: Looking for more activities to do while at home? Check out our Mega List of Indoor, Home Activities for Kids (and Mom!).


The New Way to Shop Local During COVID-19

Stores nationwide are rolling out online sales to keep afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re looking to do some retail therapy while at home, start with locally owned shops.

Our local brick and mortar shops are quickly adapting by bulking up their online and social media presence. Although gift cards are a fabulous option to buy now and use later, I’m guessing these stores would also like to move some of their inventory.

Let’s show up and make it look like Small Business Saturday—on steroids.

An image of a credit card. How to support and shop local duirng COVID0-19

Here’s how you can shop local retail at a distance:

223 Vintage & Co

223 Vintage & Co, located in West Branch, just opened earlier in March. Shop online to help support local makers and this brand-new business.

Barre3 Iowa City

Check out our local barre studio’s Instagram stories for apparel for sale. Purchases will be dropped off at your front door.

Catherine’s Boutique – Iowa City

Shop online for free shipping and a discount code. Go to Instagram for featured pieces and even request a FaceTime appointment to see items.


Watch the Dulcinea Facebook page for items to purchase. The store will ship for free or deliver locally.

The Haunted Book Shop

This book shop is working on ways to take orders remotely and ship or deliver locally. Watch the Facebook page for updates.

Kae Apothecary

More items from this Mount Vernon store are being added to the website for purchase. Products can then be picked up, delivered, or shipped.

Prairie Lights Books

This downtown shop is now offering curbside pick-up. Call 319-337-2681 to arrange, or order online and add “curbside pickup” to the comments field when you check out.


Shop through the website and on social media. FaceTime is available for a more personalized experience. Free local delivery or curbside pickup (and discounted shipping!).

The Shop Iowa City

More inventory is being added online so check out this small business’ website.

Sidekick Coffee & Books

Sidekick can send books, puzzles, games, and toys directly to your home! Call 319-569-1010 to place an order over the phone.

Ten Thousand Villages Iowa City

This downtown shop is offering social isolation kits. $50 includes an assortment of hand selected items to brighten your experience. Curbside pick up or free delivery within Iowa City. Call 319-519-2104 to order or ask questions.

Velvet Coat

You can shop via FaceTimes, photos on Instagram, or staff selection. Free ground shipping is offered. Email [email protected] or [email protected] or DM. This shop is also selling quarantine care packages, great as gifts — or for yourself.

What other local shops have you seen that offer a delivery or curbside pickup special?

COVID-19 Community Resources for Our New Reality

Today is another day of my new reality: working from home . . . with my daughter at home . . . not going anywhere. My sewing table is now a temporary work station and my dog is now my coworker. My daughter’s spring break camp field trip to the trampoline park has been replaced with The Price is Right, and I haven’t put on real pants in days. Nearly everyone in my office is now working from home after Governor Reynolds’ emergency proclamation. My husband is also now working at home.

I am scared, but I am lucky

I freely admit that I am scared. Less scared of catching the virus and more scared of the unknown. I like structure, I like planning, and I like to be in control. I’ve never been a germaphobe, but the hands that are typing these words are raw and cracked from frequent washing. I have no idea how to be a teacher.

I also freely admit that I am lucky.

I work in an office where management truly cares about their staff. My family is healthy. We have plenty of food and a normal supply of toilet paper and medicine on hand. We have health insurance. We have a comfortable and safe home. I have several amazing support networks of friends, and I have access to technology that keeps me in touch with them. My family and I are going to be okay.

But not everyone is going to be okay during this pandemic.

I need to remember how lucky I am, because not everyone is. Those who live paycheck to paycheck can’t stock up on food and medicine. Not everyone can work from home, and so they either have to risk exposing themselves and others to the virus, or they have to go without pay. Those who still have to work, who have children, now have to find emergency childcare or they have to go without pay.

Not everyone has a safe home to stay in — for some, staying home is more dangerous than the threat of the virus ever will be. Others are living with or are caring for those with health conditions and compromised immune systems. Some people live alone, and as time wears on, I imagine the loneliness of isolation will weigh heavily on them.

I am going to allow myself to feel all the emotions — sadness, frustration, disappointment, fear, anxiety . . . But I am not going to lose myself to them. This is going to be hard, but it’s going to be much harder for others’ in our community.

Let’s commit ourselves to helping each other.

Local and National COVID-19 Community Resources

General Information

State of Iowa 211 hotline and website

The Iowa Department of Public Health: The IDPH website offers up-to-date information, as well as guidance for businesses, schools, healthcare, long-term care, general public, and travelers.

The Center for Disease Control: The CDC website has a dedicated summary of the virus, including symptoms, risk assessment, and preventative measures.


University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: The UIHC website provides information and resources for seeing a doctor. including information on how to schedule a video visit. 

Understanding Health Insurance and Medical Expenses

Mental Healthcare

The American Psychological Association: The APA has a great list of resources.

CDC Managing Anxiety and Stress

New England Center for Anxiety: Lots of great resources and information on COVID-19 and coping through difficult times, including help for kids.

Domestic Violence Help

Domestic Violence Intervention Program: 800-373-1043

National Domestic Violence Hotline: In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)


The Iowa City Community School District: FAQ page

Clear Creek Amana Community School District

University of Iowa Resources and Updates

Community Services

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties: Local support information and disaster relief fund.

City of North Liberty: COVID-19 Service and Program Changes

North Liberty Library: Call the library at 319-626-5701 with questions and requests or email [email protected]

City of Iowa City: Coronavirus Information and Resources

Iowa City Public Library: Still offering numerous digital services

Iowa City Senior Center

City of Coralville: Coronavirus Information and Resources

Coralville Public Library: Many services are still available while the building is closed.


Iowa Childcare Resource & Referral

Food Pantries/Food Services

ICCSD Meal Pick-Up Site Information

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

Coralville Community Food Pantry

North Liberty Community Pantry: Currently offering pre-bagged groceries.

Solon Community Food Pantry

Worker Rights

Center for Worker Justice


How to Support Local Businesses in the Iowa City Area Despite COVID-19

Ten days ago I was sitting in a full auditorium with six other family members watching my 7-year-old in his first grade musical. We celebrated with ice cream afterwards at Jon’s Ice Cream, our favorite local ice cream shop right in Tiffin. Oh, how quickly the world changed.

Now I find myself asking, “how can I support local businesses in the Iowa City area during this crisis?”

One of my favorite things about the corridor area is the presence of so many locally owned businesses. It’s so much of what defines our community. What makes us unique. What makes us, us.

As social distancing and isolation picked up, so did my anxiety about the financial health of the Iowa City area businesses that I love so much. These businesses belong to our neighbors, friends, and family members — and they need our support more now than ever. We can help.

An image of shopping small. How you can support small businesses in the Iowa City area during COVID-19.

How to Support Local Businesses in the Iowa City Area:

Order Take Out From Local Restaurants

Many of your favorite locally owned restaurants are currently offering special menus as part of their take-out, curbside pick-up, or delivery models. Many are also delivering themselves or utilizing Iowa City’s own local delivery service, detailed below. Give your favorite business a call or check their website and social media to see if they are operating and order from them.

Use CHOMP for Restaurant Delivery

Avoid the national delivery services. If you want delivery, use CHOMP Delivery, Iowa City’s own locally owned delivery service. It is operated by 20 local restaurant owners, and features more than 120 local restaurants. Try to tip your driver a little extra if you can.

Shop Groceries, Clothing, and Supplies Locally

Many local retailers are offering sales through their websites and social media. Before heading to a big box store, try to support local businesses that offer the same services, first.

The Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) is offering a special incentive for downtown Iowa City businesses. For every $100 spent online or over the phone at participating downtown businesses, the ICDD will provide another $25 as a gift card. For every $500 spent, you’ll receive a $150 gift card. Start shopping! Fill out this form to participate.

Purchase Gift Cards

Support your favorite businesses now and use the gift card once they re-open. By purchasing now, you are giving your favorite mom and pop shop, hair salon, gym, and more, much needed cash flow to help them survive right now.

Write a Review

We all know how important this is for our small businesses. Write a Yelp or Google review to help during this time.

Share, Share, Share

Share social media posts from businesses that are still offering service. Also, share business owners social media updates to help spread the word. Tag your favorite businesses in your own social media posts to help advertise them to your own network of local friends and neighbors.

Gyms and Fitness

Many local fitness facilities are offering online workouts. Be sure to check the social media pages of local gyms and recreation centers and share videos and graphics of workouts with your networks on social media. If you need supplements or protein powder, also call or email your local gyms to see if you can buy from them directly.


Contact a local florist and send flowers to a friend to help brighten their day. If delivery is not available, see if you can arrange touchless pick-up and deliver the flowers to your friend’s door step.

Finding ways to support our local Iowa City area businesses may require some creativity and thinking outside-the-box, but it can be done safely and successfully during this uncertain time.

What are you doing to support your favorite local business?

Pantry Staple Blender Muffins: So Easy Your Kids Can Make Them

I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking for ways to stretch our groceries a little further, use what we have in the pantry, and keep our kids entertained as we navigate the unknowns of COVID-19 and get used to social distancing.

This super-simple muffin recipe can help with all three of those goals and more!

A photo of a child cooking blender muffinsTake a breather and sip your coffee while your kids whip up these blender muffins using eight common pantry items.

Pantry Staple Blender Muffins


3 ripe bananas
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk or almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chocolate chips (allergen free if needed)


  1. Wash Hands.
  2. Throw all ingredients in the blender. Blend it up.
  3. Distribute into 12 muffin tins (use non-stick spray or silicon liners). I like to put a couple extra chocolate chips on top of each one so my kids don’t realize they are healthy, ha!
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Enjoy a small victory in a world seemingly full of chaos.

A photo of the ingredients needed for blender muffinsStore in a sealed container for up to 5 days… but good luck keeping these tasty blender muffins around that long!

What are some of your social isolation recipes?

Choose Connecting Instead of Controlling Amid COVID-19


With the reality of being confined for an extended period of time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), I have seen many, many resources being shared with ways to keep our children engaged and learning.

Check out our mega list of indoor, home activities or Google search “online resources COVID-19” to get a great list of ideas if you are still looking. Here is what came up for me. I appreciate these tips and tricks. It is good to have ideas for when our children utter that familiar phrase, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”

However, I don’t believe that phrase truly means what we hear.

I think it means they’ve lost the energy to think creatively. Maybe they don’t feel supported to pursue their own ideas. Maybe they don’t have the tools and supplies they need to make their ideas real. Maybe they want you to spend time together and to re-connect. Maybe they are worried about what is happening in the world.

What if, instead of scheduling out each day we are isolated due to COVID-19, we allowed our children to reach this state of boredom? What’s the worst that could happen?

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

It’s true. Some children have special needs where they must have extra support. Some children don’t have access to resources that meet their basic needs. Some children will fall behind on the educational journey that our society has determined to be what they need when they become adults.

Children do still need these supports.

I also understand that some families don’t have the ability to stop working so they can spend their time at home. Or parents can work from home, but they need to work and not entertain their children all day.

This is an unprecedented time in our world. We truly have no idea what the next day, week, month, or even years to come will bring.

I think we might all be experiencing some level of grief and anxiety over the unknown. That makes sense. The unknown is scary. And scary things cause us to do anything we can to control our surroundings. Including our children.

Maybe these resources and schedules are our way of doing whatever we can to not be afraid and worried.

Maybe our children are scared and nervous, too. Maybe what they need most is for us to be with them. To sit and talk about these feelings.

What if we discussed our feelings and discovered a plan together? What if the children created a plan for their days instead of the adults deciding what they should do? I know my children are considerably more invested in their own ideas than anything I can think up for them.

We can’t let our children absorb our fears, but we can share that we have them, too.

Age-appropriate discussions create the best kinds of connections. Children can feel alone or confused when adults seem so different from them. Yes, adults are dealing with much bigger decisions and fears, but we can relate to the feelings children may be experiencing.

Focus on what you can do together instead of what you can’t control in a way that allows children to have some of that control we all crave as humans in times of the unknown.

Maybe, we can all practice letting go of some of the rules we so often strive to perfect.

  • Let’s have fun meals instead of making sure they meet all the dietary guidelines.
  • Let’s have video game and movie marathons instead of limiting screen time to the recommended amounts.
  • Let’s stay up late and sleep in without alarm clocks instead of maintaining a rigid daily schedule.
  • Let’s not worry about what we can get done and instead focus on how much we can connect with one another inside our homes and in creative ways.

We can write letters, draw pictures, talk on the phone and video chat with loved ones. We can play board games, create paper dolls or rock gardens, use those craft supplies and don’t worry about the mess.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, give yourself permission to not know the answers, to not be in control right now, to not feel guilty about how you can’t make everything perfect.

If you need to hear it from someone else, I give you permission to take it one moment at a time. And, if you are having one of those moments we all experience, reach out to us. We are here to listen and support you.

How will you will choose to connect instead of control?

Our Mega List of Indoor, Home Activities for Kids (and Mom!)

It’s all we are hearing about. COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has wreaked-havoc on travel plans, is closing schools, and is changing work patterns in many communities — forcing us to find indoor and home activities.

You and your families may be looking for some activities to do at home to keep your children busy (and you sane) for the foreseeable future.

We’ve compiled a list of indoor and home activities for you to peruse as you plan your days at home.

Home Activity Ideas for Kids (+ Mom, too!)

Activities and Crafts

Keep those hands busy! From fort building and hide-and-seek, to crafts and dance parties, here’s a list of rainy day activities that feel relevant in this metaphoric rain. Additionally, try some of these craft ideas, including some with recycled toilet paper rolls (too soon?). Check out these ideas for creating sensory play at home, too. Get creative with your own spring themes.


As parents we want to do our best to limit screen time, but if some of you are working from home with children at home, that might be easier said than done. There are many apps available for educational purposes — so we can feel better about using those. Check out these app recommendations. Bonus: there are some ideas for mom to enjoy, too.


There’s something comforting about the kitchen. Invite your kids to join you for an afternoon of baking. Try some of our favorite cookie recipes, including the “most perfect” chocolate chip cookies. If you are looking for something simple, try these cake mix cookies.

Board Games

While this was originally written as a gift guide, consider it a gift to yourself as you look for new family games to play while stuck at home.

Cleaning and Organization

With extra time at home, you may find yourself looking for some ways to stay busy. Check out these mom hacks for cleaning and organizing, closet specific organizing, and spring cleaning tips. Consider putting these methods into play at your house. Better yet, enlist some of your kids to help execute.


Looking for something to listen to? Here are seven podcasts by moms to add to your playlist, along with another list of a local mom’s ten favorite podcasts.


Books are a great way to pass the time for both you and your family. While you may be hesitant to visit your local library, or favorite book story there are many reading apps available to bring your favorite books or must-reads right to your finger tips, including a free digital catalog available to Johnson County residents.

In addition to apps, we have many reading recommendations from our writers — Iowa City is a UNESCO City of Literature after all.

And for mom, here are some resources and lists to find your next read, in addition to recommended parenting books and cook books.

TV and Streaming

These kids programs come highly recommended from a mom who’s been at it for 17 years (and counting!). If you have older kids at home, these live-action recommendations are for you.

If you haven’t taken the plunge on Disney+, here are some reasons why one local mom did. Plus, Frozen II is available. Now may be the time to consider it . . .

And of course, we won’t leave you hanging, mom. Here are some shows worth-revisiting and some YouTube recommendations for you (best part they are free!).

Did we miss anything? Share your indoor and home activities in the comments below!



Tips for Working from Home Amid Self Isolation


With so many closures and directives to self-isolate as our community grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, many more parents are working from home, many for the first time.

Welcome to the work-from-home-parent choas workforce! I’ve been working from home, full-time for all 12 years that I’ve been a mom. As a remote work veteran, I have a few tips that I hope might make your time working from home a little easier.

My best advice is, of course, to have childcare. But, since that’s not likely in these days of self-isolation and quarantine, here are my tips to help keep you sane and productive while doing both your full-time jobs of parenting and working at the same time.

Tips for Working From Home

Stick to Your Regular Office Hours and Focus on Work during Them

Do you work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the office? If so, make that your schedule at home, too. This will help you have a normal routine and stay productive. It will also help you avoid feeling like work is consuming your whole life since you never get to leave. Also, while you are already trying to work and do parenting all at the same time, don’t add in the expectation that you can take care of the house, work on hobbies, help the kids with creative projects, or whatever else. Even if it seems like you should be able to juggle all the things, the truth is you probably can’t.

Save the non-work stuff for the hours when you are off the clock. Your focus is already going to be split enough between work and caring for your kids. Don’t make it harder for yourself by trying to add other things into the mix.

Give Yourself a Dedicated Workspace

Whether you have the luxury of a home office, can hide out in your bedroom, or you can work from the dining room table, having a space that is just for you and just for work makes a big difference. If your kids are old enough to understand, let them know that when you are in that space, to the greatest degree possible, you are working, not mom-ing.

Accept that Your Kids are Going to be Counterproductive to Your Workday and Take Steps to Address It

For older kids, I honestly have no trouble parking them in front of the TV or telling them they are responsible for making their own fun while I am working. When my first grader was home for a week with the flu last month, I think she watched two full seasons of She-Ra in just two days and I’m not sorry. She enjoyed it and I was able to meet deadlines.

When you have younger kids, this is a lot harder. In an ideal world, babysitters are what make your work-from-home workday possible when you have little ones. In today’s COVID-19 world, that might not be possible. If you’ve got to supervise the baby, toddler, or preschooler, try to plan your workday to capitalize on their nap time or quiet time. Plan calls or video chats during those times and save the hardest projects that require your focus for those times.

Get Outside When You Can

Unless you are quarantined or the weather is miserable, take a little time to get outside. On your lunch break, take your kids for a walk or go sit or play with them in the backyard. When you’re in your house all the time, it feels really good and energizing to go outside.

Talk to People

Make sure you are staying connected to your coworkers. Pick up the phone. Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime when you can. Staying connected beyond typed words on a screen is actually really important to both your productivity and your state of mind.

Expect the Unexpected and Roll with It!

Do you remember that dad doing whose baby and toddler broke into the bedroom while he was doing an interview on live TV? That’s your life now. In my case, I’ve conference called while potty training, held crying babies while talking to my staff and boss, and had a million other difficult moments while working from home and parenting.

The good news is, a lot of people are in the same boat, with the same struggles as you. They get it. You’ll give them a little grace and they’ll do the same for you as we all muddle through this together.

Tips for Working From Home Amid COVID-19

Disney Did the Right Thing By Closing: But I’m Still Sad


As you may have heard, Disney announced Thursday it would be closing Disneyland and Walt Disney World for the rest of March. The announcement joined a growing list of cancellations ranging from South by Southwest (SXSW) to the NCAA championships.

Disney’s phone lines have been jammed with heartbroken spring breakers fumbling to reschedule and plan ahead for an uncertain future.

My family is among those who thought we would be hanging with Mickey next week. As I write this, our suitcase is still packed and ready to go. It represents months of planning and careful review of every recommendation from Disney fan pages.

Matching Etsy shirts? Check. Dollar store glow sticks? You betcha. Stroller accessories, autograph books and trading pins, all lovingly ordered and tucked into place for my kids’ first trip.

All that anticipation withered over the last week as the news grew dimmer. Now, I’m just sad.

I’m going to pause for a moment and say: I know this pandemic is bigger than my vacation plans.

This week I learned about flattening the curve and expanded my vocabulary to include “social distancing.” I am prepared with toilet paper and a wide variety of songs to hum for 20 seconds. I’ve read the heartbreaking and terrifying reports from around the world. I’m thankful for the cancellations and how they will help to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

I’m also aware that even before hand sanitizer was hunted down like a Beanie Baby in 1994, there was pain in our world. While refugees flee violence daily, I can hunker down and stream Schitt’s Creek. I get that.  I know how lucky I am.

I’m a firm believer that multiple truths can exist at the same time. I can understand the bigger picture of this global pandemic and support the hard but necessary decisions being made. I can also be super bummed out about my trip. Both of these things can exist together.

While we take precautions and share advisories, give yourself permission to feel all the feelings. There is fear, there is hope, and along the way there will be disappointment over opportunities lost.

Couples have cancelled wedding celebrations. Students prematurely ended once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experiences. It is hard, and we can acknowledge that.

When you are ready, refocus that energy on building community and sharing compassion in new and different ways. Send your virtual love to our medical professionals. Have patience when your Zoom meeting has an unexpected child guest. There is so much goodness out there, and we are at our best when the going gets tough.

I may not be spending next week at Walt Disney World, but I’ll know magic when I see it. The greatest of our humanity is ready to shine.

If your Disney trip was also cancelled, here is the information released on March 13, 2020 regarding the closure:

Park Tickets

Unused park tickets for March 12-31 will automatically be extended to use any date through December 15. If you are unable to use the ticket by December 15, you can apply the value toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.


Guests who have not checked in for stays between March 16 and March 31 may modify or cancel their reservation. If no action is taken, Disney will automatically process a refund to the original form of payment.


Dining reservations during the closure will not be charged a cancellation or no-show fee. Pre-paid dining experiences will be automatically refunded.


FastPass+ reservations during this time period will be automatically cancelled.

Did you have to cancel your spring break travel plans?

Iowa City Area Summer Camp Guide 2020

Welcome to Iowa City Moms’ guide to summer camps in the Iowa City area! When school is out for the summer, parents need a safe place for their kids to learn, explore, make memories, and try new things. Of course, kids just want to have fun! Luckily, everyone can get what they need when you find that perfect summer camp for your child. This guide features premier summer camp options and was brought to you by The Bails Team – Urban Acres Real Estate. (If you are interested in promoting your camp programs please email us. We’d love to talk to you!)

Discover some of the unique, challenging, and delightful summer camps that Iowa City has to offer. We hope you find just what you’re looking for!



Kindergarten Readiness, Advanced Reading, Study Skills, Math, STEM and more! Camps begin 6/8 and run through 8/14. Check out our website for details on all our offerings and register today!

Age Range

Kindergarten through High School

If you’re looking for summer camps, you already know that learning and fun go together. They don’t have to end when school is out! With Sylvan Learning’s summertime programs, you can keep your child engaged, entertained and motivated throughout the season.

Whether you want the focus to be on math, writing or reading — or even STEM-related areas like coding, robotics and engineering — we’ve tailored our activities to help children make new friends, gain new skills and prepare to make the upcoming school year a real success. Availability is limited, so don’t delay: find out more about our summer camps today.



JUNE 1st – AUGUST 7th

All Day: 8:30am – 5:30pm

Morning Sessions: 8:30am – 11:30am Supervised Lunch and Activities: 11:30am – 1:30pm (Bring your own lunch, snacks) Afternoon Sessions: 1:30pm – 4:00pm After School Supervision and Activities: 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Age Range


StairWay5 STEM Academy transforms kids into Creators of Technology! Get your child excited and confident about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and set them on a path to build critical skills for success in their ever-accelerating technological future.

Our programs are like no other because every student builds an individual Digital Portfolio of projects reflecting and recording their unique and creative application of coding, digital media, art and engineering skills they learn in each course. We build confidence in all our students in through creative, project-based learning, small class sizes (3-8 students) and year-around programs for continued learning through practice.

Programs include: DIGITAL MEDIA: (Introduction) Graphic Art/Design, Movie Production/Editing (Intermediate) Graphic Art/Design for Marketing, Animated Storytelling with Adobe Cloud Suite, CAD/3D Printing, Movie Production/Editing (Advanced) Video Game Design, Product Design, Real-world Service Projects PROGRAMMING: Intro to Computers/Internet/HTML/CSS, Intro to JavaScript, Intro to Databases/SQL, Advanced Programming (Java Full Stack, Mobile, Machine Learning, Cyber Security), Programming Certification Prep & Test, Real-world projects ROBOTICS/ENGINEERING: Junior Robotics-Web, Robotics, Electronics MATH/CRITICAL THINKING: Applied Math Group, Scholastic Chess

Contact us today for a visit or more information on our programs.



Camps are half day 9am-12pm : entering K-2nd grade 1-4pm: entering 3rd – 8th grade

Session 1 – Ceramics, 6/1 -6/5

Session 2 – Painting, 6/8-6/12

Session 3 – Collage and Mixed Media, 6/15-6/19

Session 4 – Drawing and Printmaking, 6/22-6/26

Session 5 – 3D and Found Object Art 7/6-7/10

Session 6 – Ceramics, 7/13-7/17

Session 7 – Painting, 7/20-7/24

Session 8 – Collage and Mixed Media, 7/27-7/31

Session 9 – Drawing and Printmaking, 8/3-8/7

Session 10 – 3D and Found Object Art, 8/10-8/14

Session 11 – Ceramics, 8/17-8/21

Age Range

Entering Kindergarten – Entering 8th Grade

We are offering 11 media based art camps this summer. Each camp is a week long. Students entering K-2nd grade attend morning sessions from 9am -1pm and students entering 3rd-8th grade attend afternoon sessions from 1-4pm. We can be flexible with age ranges to accommodate families with multiple children attending camps or other scheduling issues. Each camp is packed with project- based art education programming!



5-day camps from 9-Noon and/or 1-4PM

6/8-6/12: Grossest Camp Ever

6/15-6/19: Curious Cooking*

6/22-6/26: Spy Training Camp

7/6-7/10: Cardboard Creators

7/13-7/17: Show Choir Camp

7/20-7/24: Play it Forward

7/27-7/31: Wondrous Wizarding World

8/3-8/7: Splish Splash*

8/10-8/14: Future Trailblazers

* Indicates Kinder Camps for 4 & 5 year olds

Age Range

Kids who have completed Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Kinder Camps are for 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds.

Kids learn best when they can interact and play, and there’s no better place to do that than The Iowa Children’s Museum!

Summer Camp at The ICM means hands-on opportunities to learn about music, science, art and so much more. Our PLAYologists are experts in creating silly and engaging activities for children of all ages. This year, elementary-aged campers can “choose their own adventure” and select from a range of camp themes, including the science of grossology, spy training, and the wizarding world. Kinder Camps are designed just for four- and five-year-olds, and this summer we will explore cooking and the wonders of water.

Morning (9 am to noon) and afternoon sessions (1 – 4 pm) are available each day, and school-aged children can sign up for a full day of fun! Extended care is also available before and after our school-age camps. Museum members receive a 10% discount. Come play in our one-of-a-kind space and experience how fun active learning can be!



Seven sessions offered ( Morning sessions /Afternoon sessions )

Session 1: June 22-26(9am- 12pm): Drawing & Manga/Cartoon

Session 2: July 6-10 (1:30pm- 4:30pm):Portrait (age 11+)

Session 3: June 29-July 3 (9am-12pm):Painting & Mix media

Session 4: July 13-17 (9am- 12pm):Figure Sculpture & Abstract Sculpture

Session 5: July 20-24 (9am- 12pm):Figure sculpture & making molds (age11+)

Session 6: July 27-31 (9am- 12pm):drawing & Manga/Cartoon

Session 7: Aug 3-7 (1:30-4:30pm):Painting & Mix media August 7 “Students Art Exhibition”

Age Range

Professional art instruction for children, teens and adults.

Join artist and teacher SunHee Cho Oberfoell for art camps that will offer drawing, painting, sculptures, Manga and cartoons. SunHee offers unique learning opportunities and technical tools to help students learn. Students with beginning to advanced skills are welcome. SunHee can also do individual sessions and topics based on student needs. Classes are generally structured according to age, with some flexibility for students with special needs or advanced skills. See sunheechoart.com for more information.



June 29-July 2; July 6-10; July 13-17; July 20-24

Age Range

Ages 3-6

Preucil Preschool will be offering 4 weeks of Summer Camps for Young Children. Each camp will have a different focus. Join us as we dive deep into these project-oriented themes. As always at Preucil School, music will be offered daily and woven into our projects.



M-F 8:30-3:30 with BSP available beginning at 7:30 and ASP available until 6pm. PreK program is full day. Half or full day options available for K-8.

Age Range

3 years to rising grade 8

Willowwind is committed to offering an exciting variety of professionally run and highly rewarding classes for PreK-8th grade students. Our 2020 season features a wide range of options including many old favorites as well as brand new classes. Students age three through rising grade eight can choose from an array of unique and captivating themes linked to the arts, athletics, academics, and of course adventure! Unique learning experiences, small multi-age classrooms, experienced educators, and a culture of caring are characteristics that set Willowwind apart. Our summer classes engage students in exciting, hands-on, experiential learning. Classes are organized into five multi-age groups: preschool (ages 3-5), kindergarten, 1-2nd grade, 3-6th, and 6-8th. Small class sizes ensure students receive individual attention and can take an active role in learning. Willowwind’s summer faculty are highly qualified educators, artists, and specialists in their field. We are delighted by the excellence of our summer faculty and their commitment to your child’s education. Finally, Willowwind’s safe, caring environment provide students with the opportunity to grow and learn socially, emotionally, and academically. We look forward to seeing you and your child in the coming months as you “Choose Your Own Adventure” at Willowwind this summer!



June 8th-July 3rd (3rd-4th Graders) July 27th-August 21st (5th-7th Graders) Each week-long session runs Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm.

Age Range

3rd-7th Graders

Summer campers at Scattergood will explore outdoor spaces including prairie, woods, and pond. They will spend time on our organic farm and sample fresh produce throughout camp. All camps will include nature exploration, hands-on learning, activities to inspire creativity, games, and plenty of summer fun! Each camp will run from Monday through Friday, 9am-3pm. You are welcome to sign your child up for multiple camp sessions for their age group. Camp sessions will be limited to a maximum of 12 campers (no more than a 6:1 camper-adult ratio). Transportation from Iowa City is available. Please visit our website for more details!



June 1st – Aug 21st

Age Range


Morning Camps and Afternoon camps, with options for early drop off and late pickup. If your camper signs up for both camps per week, it becomes an all-day camp! Each week has a different focus, including Minecraft, Pirates, Superheroes, Zombies, Adulting, Space exploration, and more! Our camps start the Monday after school ends, and run right up until the Friday before school begins in the fall!



Weekly June through August, 8:30-3:30

Age Range


FilmScene campers will work in teams to produce, direct, and edit their own animations, totally from scratch! Each day campers will learn about different animation styles (GIFs, claymation, light & shadow puppets, hand-drawn cartooning, video games and more) and make mini-movies that will provide understanding of what is possible in animation. Campers will watch the work of other animators to study styles and methods. For the closing ceremonies, campers premiere their finish project for family and friends on the big screen! This week-long camp includes hands-on learning with iPads, multi-directional lighting and a wide range of materials from paper to clay, all provided. Campers watch the work of other animators to study styles and methods.



Every week of the summer beginning June 1st and running through August 21st.

Full day camps: 8:30AM – 3:30PM. Early drop off begins at 7:30AM. Late pick up at 4:30PM. 1/2 Day Camps: 8:30AM – 11:30AM or 12:30PM – 3:30PM

Age Range

3 years (must be potty trained) – 12 years old

12 weeks of amazing full day or half day camps for kids ages 3-12. Every week is a different adventure at IGN this summer. From Superheroes & Jedi Ninjas to Animal Adventures and everything in between, we have the camps that will get your kids active, learning, socializing and having fun! Plus – great gymnastics, tumbling, and trampoline instruction. We have Early Bird, Sibling, Multiple Week, Active Military, and University of Iowa discounts. Registration is open now! Call 319-341-2229 to reserve your spot. You don’t want to miss out!

Want to be a part of our Summer Camp Guide?

We want to show our readers all the great camps available right here in the Iowa City area. Partnering with us allows your business greater visibility with a large targeted market of local families. Join us and help enrich the lives of Iowa City kids!


Hiring The Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate means you’ll have access to the real estate expertise you need anytime, anywhere. This real estate team includes Mike Bails, Phil O’Brien, Marcy Willier, Chelsey Riggan and Briley McAtee. Together, they have over 50 years of combined experience and a deep understanding of the entire residential and commercial real estate picture in the Iowa City area – it’s what they like to call a panoramic view of real estate.
If you are ready to buy or sell, give them a call today and tell them ICMB sent you!
Mike Bails | 319.321.5500
Phil O’Brien | 319.331.1701
Marcy Willier | 319.936.5899
Chelsey Riggan-Kuepker | 319.631.1434
Briley McAtee | 319.330.5078



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