MAD (Mindie, Adam, Alex, David) Family Fun is the result of friends and family asking "How do you find so much fun stuff to do?" So, I decided to share with everyone! There are no BIG secrets involved, I promise. I just have a knack for finding fun and now I want to share it with you!

MAD Family Fun is a place to find activities, events and ideas to have more fun with your family. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Farmers are our friends

Has you child ever been to a farm? They are wonderful places to visit. We have been lucky enough to have local farms that LOVE to open their doors to families. We have toured a dairy and most recently visited a sheep farm for lambing season. They even let us bottle feed the lambs. It was a wonderful and educational adventure. Our events were listed in newspapers, but I will tell you a secret, farmers love to share. They like that children know where their food comes from. And I bet, if you were brave and called a local farm or orchard, they would be more then willing, even excited to have your family out for a visit. So be brave and visit a farm today!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nature Centers

I love to get out and enjoy nature. It is something I am passing on to my son. I love sharing the world around us and sometimes you can find the most wonderful FREE programs. Like today we drove less then 30 minutes to attend at FREE hour and a half “Nature Tot” program. My 4yr old had a wonderful time taking a hike, making crafts and enjoying the many activities the program provided.

So why not look and see if a nature center around you offers some free/low cost fun! Just type in your city and state along with “nature center” into Google and it will list local areas near you. My search (and I live in a very, very, very small town) brought up 6 area (with in an hour drive) centers that I will be checking for more MAD Family Fun!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pirates! Arrrghhh!!!

Yes another snow day, that makes two in a row. What is a mama to do!?!? Declare it Pirate Day! We had a wonderful day full of crafts and imagination and so can you!

Now every pirate needs a boat (aka the couch). So get out that Jolly Roger Flag and build an anchor. For the anchor chain we just mad a chain out of paper strips.

We also made spotting scopes out of paper towel tubes and construction paper. We decorated ours with stickers.

Ever good pirate needs a hook hand, which was very easy to make. I rolled constriction paper and taped a Popsicle stick coming out of the end. I then wrapped with end with tin foil and bent to shape!

Every pirate needs a pal so we make parrots out of toilet paper tubes. We covered the tubes with construction paper. Taped bent pipe cleaners for feet. The beak and wings were just construction paper. Slap on wiggly eyes and you have got a right nice bird!

We had fun on the couch playing pirate and “sailing” to skull island. I had also set up a treasure hunt with clues and a prize. My son loved it so much he put the prize back and asked if we could do it again!! LOL So, we did! It doesn’t take a lot of money(or in this case any as I had all the stuff), just some imagination, to turn a snow day into a pirate adventure!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blooming science

Here is a fun little science project for the family. The Day after Valentine's Day a local store discounted their flowers and I picked up these white blooms. We then added food color to water and let them set.

A week later we checked them to see if the flowers had "drank" any of the color and we has success!

Total cost of the project was $2.50 for the flowers, the use of 6 glasses for a week and lots of patience. The reward? Spending time together, the fun of checking and rechecking the flowers and the chance to educate my child about how flowers "drink."

Friday, February 18, 2011

3 letters can lead to fun in ANY state

Today’s tip is the DNR, Department of Natural Resources. “But I’m not a hunter” you say! You don’t have to be! Most state DNRs also cover state parks, historical sites and programs. Just go online and type in your state and the letters DNR. That should bring up your state site.

Now some sites are set up better then others. I am sad to say, Michigan’s is not as user friends as Minnesota’s (who had a kids page of cool stuff anyone can use) but I did find in the first few seconds, that this weekend is a free fishing weekend. Kind of cool. And with a little more work (2 extra minutes) I found a list of events from maple sugar festivals to fun runs, and even Easter egg hunts!

Also a Internet search of “DNR kids” brought up lots of wonderful stuff just for children. So poke your nose around and see what your state is doing with your tax dollars and use those resources to have some fun!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quick Nature Fun

From a local nature center....enjoy!

A Sappy Adventure

So we decided that this year, we were going to try and make some maple syrup. Okay, now I know what your thinking, are they nuts, LOL, umm maybe! I figured I would share our little adventure with you, not necessarily encouraging you to go tap a tree, but to realize you can have fun doing just about anything! Maybe a family garden this summer or putting together a fish aquarium. You can learn and have fun as a family doing just about anything.

So here is the start of our adventure.....

Soft but firm pipe cut to make taps, pop bottles and milk jugs hung with coat hanger wire to collect, and a 5 gallon bucket to dump it all in. That is all it took to get started! In 1 day we got over 2 gallons of sap! And this morning before 8am we had another gallon!!!! Once we get enough to start bowling, I will update you again. Enjoy these photos and I hope they inspire your family to take on a family project.

FREE Bowling??? YES!!!

My 4 year old loves, I mean LOVES to bowl. He has been doing it since he was 2 and just got his first ball for Christmas this year. He does a winter bowling "league" but then what to do in the summer? Well here it is,

Right now they are taking sign up for the 2011 season and you will be notified when the program starts so you can get in on the fun. I might even buy the family pass, since I have to take him anyway, I might as well brush up on my game (because right now he beats me even with bumpers!)

How the program works:

  1. All of the participating bowling centers are listed at
  2. Select a bowling center near you.
  3. Register directly on the bowling center page (The registration is valid only at the bowling center where you register and cannot be used at any other bowling center unless otherwise noted.)
  4. Once you register, you will have the opportunity to purchase the family pass.  The Family Pass was created to allow for adult family members to enjoy bowling throughout the summer as well. The Family Pass starts from $24.95 and includes 2 GAMES PER PERSON PER DAY. The Family Pass covers up to 4 adult family members. You may have 1, 2, 3, or 4 adults on the family pass.
This low one-time payment covers up to 4 adults for the entire summer.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Show nature a little love for Valentine's day

Want to do something fun with your family and show them how to share love everywhere? Then visit the NWF! These kid friendly nature crafts are a wonderful way to teach little ones to love nature. The mouse is too cute, but I think we are going to go for the bird suet feeder here! So share some love for nature while you share some time with your family!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fly on over to the Audubon!

Today’s fun find was the Audubon Society. They have a very nice website with lots of resources. Their education section has a nice section just for kids with games, coloring pages and video like a time lapse of baby hummingbirds which says it is live, but it’s not. The live barn owl came is LIVE and very neat. She is nesting and we have seen her stand up and glimpsed the eggs!

There are many resources on this site, including an Online guide to North American Birds. So take a second and drop by the Audubon site. Check out the owl, play a game, and explore it more to see what else you can find.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cruise Directing 101 - Keep your eyes open

One of the ways I find fun stuff to do is by simply keeping my eyes open. What I mean by that is being aware of what’s around me. An example: I was at a pet store and at the check out they had a stack of free Equine Times publications. Now I don’t have a horse, but I picked one up anyway. Why? Because it listed shows and expos. I figured there might be something interesting to check out.

Often I find out about events through free publications like these, signs on windows, and even billboards! I once saw a billboard for a “Dino Dash.“ I went to the web site and checked it out. My son age 4 participated in a run at a local university for very cheap. Not only did he get a medal and a shirt, but they had kid activities and we got to visit the museum there to see dinos!

So keep your eyes open!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nature Notebooks

Good old Ranger Rick from the NWF has a really neat page for making your own Nature Notebook! You can print off these FREE pages and start discovering nature right away. This month is all about heart shapes in nature (well it is coming up on Valentine’s Day!) I checked out some of the older pages and they look just as fun. We are going to have so much fun with this. So get your printer warmed up and get out there and enjoy nature!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Have you been checking your newspapers?

Remember a long time ago (about 2 weeks ago) I told you to get your calender and start checking your local paper for fun stuff to do? Well have you? I did and scored with a wonderful event that cost $1 for parking. Now I will admit, I did drive 45 minutes to get there but for a dollar it was wonderful.

It was a Baby and Family Expo. They had a bounce house, children's gym equipment, crafts, magicians, music, story time and so much more. My son walked out with 2 new stuffed animals, enough crayons to keep him busy a few days, and more stickers, tattoos, candy and trinkets then you could shake a stick at. All for the $1 it cost me to park! Not to mention mommy got a free message....aahhh I was so relaxed. I also got a lot of info on up coming summer camps and fun places to visit.

And this is the most awesome part (at least for me). My baby broke a board at the martial arts booth! Tell me that wasn't worth the dollar to park! LOL So grab those local news papers and start looking for those fun things to do in your area.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Get bit by a LOVE BUG

Today, the boy (4) and I made these cute little love bugs and they were very simple.

We cute paper to wrap around a toilet paper tube. We then used various supplies from our craft box to decorate them.

For the antenna, we used a hole punch but you could just use scissors. No two bugs have to be the same. Get creative. And just thing, now you have something to do with those empty toilet paper tubes!  (and yes they can stand up!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine's day crafts

Just a few quick links for you if your looking for some Valentine's Day crafts!

Family Fun
Making Friends

You can also search the Internet on your own! Just type in "valentine's day crafts" in your browser and see  what else you can find!

Dog show!?!!?

Today my son and I found the cutest game on Facebook called Dog Show Friends. It is too cute. Well of course after playing for a while we started talking about dog shows and my son asked if we could go to one. What a great idea! So I looked on the Internet and found some resources and wanted to share. The American Kennel Club has a by state list and I found another site that lists show too. Looks like we will be having more MAD Family Fun at a dog show soon!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sign up NOW for Valentine's Day Build and Grow

For Valentine's Day the kids are making heart shaped music boxes at Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic. Now I know it says recommended for 1st-5th grade age kids, but my son started last Mother's Day at age 3! You need to sign up on line for the Feb. 12th clinic as they have made a few changes. The first 50 kids are guaranteed a kit IF they are signed up online. You must be there by 10:15am or the kit will be given to another child. So get signed up today!

Besides the fact it is FREE, why should you take your kid to Build and Grow? Well there are a few reasons 1.) They learn how to follow instructions 2.) Read a "blue print" 3.) Use a hammer (yes as you hold the nail they WILL hit your fingers LOL) but the most important of all 4.) They gain confidence and joy from making something themselves!!!