Houseful of Hollingsworths

More Kids? More Fun!

It’s A Girly Birthday Tea Extravaganza!

September is a month of celebrations for our family.  Both of our sweet girls celebrate their birthday within a week of each other. It isn’t often that they are both interested in the same thing and the same time but we lucked out when both of the girls wanted a fancy tea party with a few friends.  Dual celebration for the win.  Much easier for this Mom!

We have two girls and two boys so most of the time our house is fairly gender neutral to provide the most fun for the most people at once…every now and again it is so nice to dive into some super girly fun though! Pretty things were everywhere. I LOVED it.

Decorating is my favorite part of a party. It can expensive quickly though if I’m not careful. We found lots of goodies for this party in the clearance area of Hobby Lobby.  I heart that place! Everything looked wonderfully girly and fun on the cheap.

You can’t have a fancy tea party without offering LOTS of opportunities to dress up! We set out boas, hats, dresses, photo booth props(I couldn’t help myself), and tons of accessories so the kids could go wild.

We were going to go the traditional cake route for food but my wonderful husband suggested a fondue fountain. BEST.IDEA.EVER.  I was skeptical at first, it seemed like a lot of work and I thought it would end in a big mess but it was the highlight of the party. They had the best time with that thing.  I’m so glad we tried it.

They spent most of their time enjoying chocolate a little too much.  We didn’t need to get out the craft I’d planned or any other activities to keep things moving.  It was a simple time of fun with good friends instead of a big bash meant for everyone under the sun.  I’m starting to realize that I prefer it that way. Less stress, more fun!


Pixels Family Movie Night

Our oldest has been asking to watch Pixels for awhile.  David and I watched it beforehand to make sure it wasn’t awfully inappropriate. We decided that the kids could watch it if we skipped through a few parts.  It’s actually not bad as far as Adam Sandler films go. I thought the movie was fun, the plot wasn’t exactly complicated, but the idea of alien video games was an amusing take on the done to death concept of invasion movies. We don’t often allow  the kids to watch war or invasion movies so I can see why this one was so fun for them.  I laughed a lot myself!

Because Abby was so eager to watch it I decided to arrange several family night activities around the 80’s arcade theme.  We downloaded Pac-Mac,  Galaga, and Donkey Kong through our Wii and loaded the girls tablet with games like QBert, Pong, and Frogger.  After that it was just a matter of battling for high score.

Our living room filled with shouts  of “I’ll take you down to China Town!” “Eat that Blinky!”  and “It’s on like Donkey Kong!” 


It was interesting to see how an 80’s arcade game was SO DIFFERENT than what they know.  Our kids don’t get a ton of screen time for video games but they have spent their fair share of time playing things like Just Dance, Mario Kart, and Smash Bros…it’s not unknown to them…yet beating level 1 of Donkey Kong took serious effort. They were frustrated at first and had to give it a few tries before they got the hang of things.  Abby was super proud when she made it past that first level! ๐Ÿ™‚ Donkey Kong and Pac-Man were fun but the clear favorite has been Galaga. A week later they still ask if they can play.  Look at me doing my part to bring my history to their present and stuff! Woot Woot!


After High Score Champions had been established we settled in to watch the movie with homemade banana splits in honor of Donkey Kong.  Gorillas like bananas right? Sounds like a good excuse for ice cream if you ask me!


Family Fun in the Ozarks

Here it is,  the BIG list of family fun for your summer!  Try a few,  try them all, just get out and have some fun this summer!  Find ideas for hiking and outdoorsy fun HERE and local water fun HERE.  Now you can’t say that you have nothing to do this summer huh? ๐Ÿ™‚  Well, what are you waiting for?  Get to it! 

**NOTE- all prices and times are accurate as of 6/14/16.

America’s Incredible Pizza Company

Enjoy the pizza buffet or buy a $10 or more game card to enter the building.   Play options include: Bumper Cars, Go-Karts, Laser Tag, Mini-Bowling, Spring Town,  Lost in Space ride,  Tiny Town,  XD Theater, and Plenty of games to play and pizza to eat.  Check out their deals HERE.  2850 S. Campbell Ave. Springfield. (417)887-3030.

Chuck E. Cheese

Enjoy the buffet or just go to play. Be sure to check their website HERE for a current 100 tokens for $20 coupon when you visit! 3500A S. Glenstone Ave.  Springfield (417)886-2511.

Starlite Lanes

Located in Lebanon, Starlite Lanes offers open bowling on Monday-Friday 12pm-6pm for $2.50 per game,  Monday-Thursday 6pm-close( I THINK that close is 12am?) for $3.25 per game, Friday 6pm-close for $3.75 per game, Saturday and Sunday and holidays all day games for $3.75 per game. Shoe rental is $2.00. They also offer bumper bowling and glow bowling during certain times, visit their website HERE for more information.  They also have batting cages on site. Starlite Lanes participates in the Kids Bowl Free program during the summer. 1331 Rte 66, Lebanon. (417) 532-4262.

Enterprise Park Lanes

Bowling hours vary here seasonally but in the summer months(June-August) the hours are Monday-Thursday 10am-1am, Friday and Saturday 10am-1:30am(really? Staying open 30 minutes later is a big deal??? Made me laugh), and Sunday 11am-12am.  I’d share the cost with you too but honestly it’s darn complicated and I don’t feel like typing it all out. Count on between $3-4 per person per game.  You can check out all of the complexities of it for yourself HERE. Shoe rental is $2.50 per person.  They also have nightly specials during the week that you’ll want to check out but again the information isn’t concise and would take forever to write out here….bust out your best Google moves and look it up yourself. You can do it, I know you can!  Enterprise Park Lanes participates in the Kids Bowl Free program as well. If you haven’t taken advantage of that little bit of summer fun yet I highly recommend that you sign up and get your snazzy bowling shoes on this summer! 1625 S Enterprise Ave, Springfield. (417) 883-0511.

Lighthouse Lanes

Another local bowling alley.  Monday-Thursday 10am-10pm, Friday 10am-12am, Saturday 12pm-12am, Sunday 2pm-10pm.  Weekdays $3 per person per game. Saturday before 5pm $3.50 per person per game, Sunday before 5pm $4 per person per game, Weekend evenings(Friday,Saturday, Sunday) after 5pm $4 per person per game, Holidays $4 per person per game.  Shoe rentals are $2.50.  Daily specials can be found HERE.  Lighthouse Lanes also participates in the Kids Bowl Free Summer Program. 350 S Glenstone Ave, Springfield. (417) 864-6777.

Sunshine Lanes

Yet another local bowling alley. Whew! Lots of bowling going on around here. Ok then.  Hours vary seasonally here as well but during the summer months(June-August) they are open Monday-Thursday 9am-12am, Friday 9am-1am, Saturday 11am-1am, and Sunday 12pm-12am.  Their rates are just as complicated and obnoxious as Enterprise Lanes so again I’ll let you look them up HERE yourself but again that standard $2.50 shoe rental stays consistent and you can once again count on paying between $3-4 per person per game.  Sunshine Lanes offers rock-n-bowl, college/military night, and a family Sunday program throughout the week. They also participate in the Kids Bowl Free program. 1500 W Sunshine St, Springfield. (417) 866-7246.

Andy B’s
Bowling, Laser Tag, Arcade, Dining…Andy B’s offers a little bit of everything.  Our kids especially love playing laser tag with Dad here! Open Monday-Thursday 10am-12am, Friday and Saturday 10am-1:30am, Sunday 11am-12am. With the wide variety of activities they offer you’ll want to check out the website HERE to find the rates for your experience.  Btw, Andy B’s also participates in the Kids Bowl Free summer program! 1127 E. Battlefield Rd. Springfield. (417)883-1234.
Discovery Center
 The Discovery Center is truly a wonderful place to spend time with your child!  We like it so much that we are annual season pass holders.  All four of our kids love it despite the difference in their ages.  The Discovery Center offers several floors of themed exhibits and changes the exhibits frequently keeping our kids engaged each visit.   DCS also offers quite a few  “special” events throughout the year, giving children an opportunity to explore various aspects of science in a fun way.  We’ve enjoyed bubble fest, a Halloween-themed night of activities, and David and I have also participated in adults only nights…who says you can’t play together on date night right? They also offer camps for children during spring break and summer. It’s pretty obvious that I’m a loyal supporter but seriously if you haven’t taken your kids here, you’re truly missing out! The Discovery Center is open Tuesday-Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday-Saturday 9am-6pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Adults $12,  Children(3-15) $8, Senior Citizens $10 and children under 3 are free.  *Military families receive free admission at DCS.  Because I don’t want you to miss out on all that the Discovery Center has to offer, I’ll clue you in to this awesome coupon available via Springfield Missouri Travel and Tourism. They are my favorite resource for fun things to do in the Ozarks, check them out! 438 E St Louis St, Springfield.  (417)862-9910.
Clue Pursuit
Clue Pursuit is Missouri’s first live escape room! These rooms are created for groups of 3 or more people and designed in such a way that you have to work together to find clues and solve the problem to get out of the room in 60 minutes or less. Clue Pursuit offers several rooms of varying difficulty for ages 9 and up.  No scares or physical limitations make these a friendly event for pregnant women and senior citizens as well. Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled game time.  Browse the rooms and reserve your time online HERE.  Prices depend on how many people are in your party. Groups of 3-4 per room are $25/player, 5-6 players are $22 each, and 7 or more players per room are $20 each. Note that Clue Pursuit is a live event and refunds and not given. 1701 S Campbell Ave, Springfield. (417)268-9668


Located in Ozark, Questledge is a hunt of sorts to gather clues and solve the challenge in whatever quest you decide to try. They offer various scenarios for all ages.  This sounds awesome for families and groups! I’m looking forward to giving it a go with our crew this summer. Visit their website HERE for information on quests and pricing. 5571 N. 21st Street Ozark  (417)582-0779.

Pythian Castle

The Pythian Castle offers history tours, ghost tours, murder mystery dinners, and a variety of holiday events making it one of the areas best venues for history buffs and thrill seekers. History tours share some of the history of this site. Ghost tours claim that the castle is haunted and offer the chance to explore the spooky grounds and hear some of the scary stories thus far. A murder mystery dinner just sounds fun! This one offers a 3 course meal and interactive show.  Holiday events include a huge New Years Eve bash, Valentine’s Cabaret show, and a fancy pants Valentine’s dinner/dance.  For more information on scheduling any one of these events please visit the website HERE. We haven’t been able to go yet but I have high hopes to talk David into a Ghost tour this October. (Did you catch that David? I really want to do this!)  It sounds so fun!  1451 E Pythian St, Springfield. (417)865-1464.

Jumpin’ Joey’s

Jumpin’ Joey’s is an indoor bounce center that offers open play times.  Open jump Tuesday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 12pm-6pm.  Weekday open jump cost $5.99 for children(2-12 years) and $8.99 for 13 years or older. Weekend jump $8.99 ANY AGE beginning 4pm of Friday and all day Sat/Sun.  Socks are required for all participants.  2550 S. Campbell Springfield. (417) 889-5639.

Jump Mania

Jump Mania is another indoor jumping option in Springfield. Open jump Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday 12pm-9pm and Sunday 12pm-7pm.  Weekdays $6.50/child, Weekends(including Friday after 4pm) $9.75/child.  All jumpers must wear socks.  **NOTE- I feel like I should share that this business does NOT have very good reviews. From what I understand cleanliness, well-maintained equipment, and employee service/supervision are areas of  concern. By all means go out and get your own feel of this local business but be forewarned from the experiences of others what you might encounter!


Skyzone is an indoor trampoline park FILLED with trampolines for bouncy fun. They offer several special programs such as toddler time, a teen program, and a workout class in addition to offering open jump which you can buy in 30 minute increments.  Be sure to check out the promos page HERE for current specials.  Jumpers are separated by age so you CANNOT jump with your young child unless you attend toddler time. You need special socks to jump that you buy on-site for $2/person.  These socks are yours to keep and can be used again for future visits.  **It is strongly recommended to buy tickets online before arriving to ensure your timeslot**  2765 S. Kansas Expressway Springfield. (417)771-3883.


Relive pinball and video gaming ’80s-style at this pay at the door arcade.  $7.50 admission is good all night. No additional charge for games. Wednesday-Saturday 4pm-11pm. Kids under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. 400 South Jefferson Avenue Springfield. (417) 831-3665.

Mediacom Ice Park

Located in Springfield, Mediacom Ice Park is the place to go for open ice skating, figure skating, or hockey. They offer a little bit of everything at a reasonable rate. The ice park is also available for birthday parties and special events.  Open skating is available in various sessions depending on the month, check their website HERE to see when open skate is available this month.  635 E. Trafficway Springfield.  (417)866-7444.

Springfield Skateland

Open Tuesday-Thursday 1-3pm($6/skater, free skate rentals), Friday 7pm-11pm($7/skater), and Saturday 2pm-4pm($6 /skater). They also offer a family discount on Wednesday nights from 7pm-9pm($3/skater, free skate rentals, and 5 and under skate free with a paid adult). 5163 S Campbell Ave, Springfield. (417) 881-8011.

Springfield Skate Park

Did you know Springfield has a skate park?  The skate park offers 13,500 square-foot of indoor park space and an additional 25,00 square-foot outdoor concrete park set up for all kind of epic stunts.  The facility is closed on Monday, open Tuesday-Thursday 3-9pm, Fridays from 3-6:30pm and then again from 7-11pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm(skate only) 2:30-6:30pm and again 7-11pm and Sunday 12pm-4:30pm and again 5-9pm.  It is important to note that the facility is closed in the brief breaks between sessions and everyone must leave the skate area.  I’m not sure what the deal is with that but rules are rules, deal with it. Members pay $5/session. Non-members pay $10.  Helmet rentals $1. Skateboard rentals $5. You can learn more about a membership HERE.  945 W. Meadowmere Street Springfield. (417)868-8758.

NOTE  On 6/21/16 the skate park will be hosting a Go Skateboarding Day event from 3-9pm with skating competitions and other stuff to do and see. I’m not talented with a skateboard(or anything on wheels really) but this sounds like a fun time.  You gotta respect people that can flip around on those things without getting a concussion. It takes skill.  If you are looking for something new or different to see in the area, check it out!

Glow Golf

54 holes of glow in the dark indoor putt putt offers a new spin on an old favorite.  This facility also offers a laser maze challenge and 3Kick for an additional fee.  Open Monday-Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm.  Adults $9 , children(5-12 years old) $7, children(4 and under) $5, Seniors $5, Military $7. Group pass(5 or more) $8/person.  4121 S. Cox Road  Springfield.  (417)882-6200.           

Fun Acre Mini Golf

Located in Springfield, Fun Acre Mini Golf is pretty self-explanatory…it’s a fun little mini golf course. Not exactly what I’d call spectacular or grand but fun, affordable family entertainment.  I like that. 18 holes of mini golf  and batting cages. Golf cost $2.50 for adults, $1.75 for children 5-11 years old, and children 4 and under play free with an adult.  For the batting cages, one quarter gets 5 pitches and you can get change on site if needed.  Hours are 10am-11pm daily during the summer months.  Please note that Fun Acre is a CASH ONLY attraction.  2500 S Campbell Ave, Springfield  (417)889-1872.

160 Grand Prix

Located in Nixa, 160 Grand Prix has single and double seat go-karts as well as two 18 hole mini golf courses. Riders must be 52″ tall to drive a single kart and 60″ tall to drive a double kart.  Single seat karts cost $5. Double cost $6. You can save a little moolah if you bundle 1 single seat and 1 double seat ticket together for $10.  Golf costs: Adults and children 10 and up cost $5,   6-9 years cost $3,   and ages 1-5 are free with a paid adult. Discounted ticket prices are available when buying for a large group, visit their website HERE for more information.   521 West Guin Rd. Nixa  (417)724-8300.

Springfield Cardinals Baseball

The Springfield Cardinals are the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Home games take place at Hammons Field.  Tickets can be purchased online at their website HERE, over the phone, or at the ticket office at Hammons Field. Tick prices range depending on location by are usually under $25/person. Season tickets are also available. 955 E Trafficway St. Springfield. (417)863-0395.

Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is great for families because it celebrates past athletic achievements and encourages future athletes as well.  The 2-story building houses over 4,000 pieces of sports memorabilia as well as several interactive exhibits where visitors can race in a NASCAR simulator, toss a football around, shoot some hoops, and bat against a Major League pitcher.  Open Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm.  Adults $5, Children (6-15) $3, Children under 5 are free, Seniors (55+) $4, Students $3, Family of 4: $14, Groups of 10+ $2/person.  3861 East Stan Musial Drive Springfield. (417)889-3100.

Lake Springfield Park, Boathouse and Marina

Lake Springfield offers fishing, hiking trails, picnic pavilions and playgrounds, canoe and kayak rentals, a community room and a small shop for bait and the like.  If you opt to rent a kayak or canoe for the day you can borrow a life jacket and paddle the James River Linear Park Water Trail(about 4.5 miles long).  Renters must be over 18 years old and minors must be accompanied by an adult.  The park is open Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm from October-May and Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm and Sunday 11am-6pm from June-September. 5324 S. Kissick Ave. Springfield (417)891-1550.

Dynamic Gymnastics

In addition to offering some of the best dance and gymnastics classes available in the Ozarks, Dynamic Gymnastics opens up their facility to preschoolers for an open play time every Monday and Friday from 11am-noon.  Cost is $5/child. Open gym is not available during the months of June and July.  Dynamic Gymnastics also has a new Ninja Zone class that combines tumbling, obstacles, and the ninja-like actions you’d expect from such a class.  They’ve recently added a mini Ninja class for 3-4 year olds as well.  During the summer months be sure to check out their dance workshops and summer clinics! 2100 East Pythian Street Springfield OR 3624 West Republic Road Springfield. (417)890-0846. 

Valley Mills Park Equestrian Center

This public equestrian facility offers horsemanship classes, summer and day camps for children, a literacy program for first graders, birthday packages and facility rentals to the average joe.  IF you happen to be a horse lover, they have even more to offer in the way of the indoor and outdoor arenas, and a 10 acre obstacle course available for your use during open riding times.  Open riding times and lessons vary depending upon the seasons, if you are interested in more information about this facility please call their offices. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5pm.  4007 N. Farm Road 171 Springfield. (417)833-3291.

Sac River Stables

Sac River Stables offers horse boarding, riding lessons, horse training, birthday parties, summer day camps and scout badge programs to the Springfield area as well as seasonal Night Out at the Stables events and homeschooling riding lessons.  If you have a horse lover at home I urge you to check out lessons here! 5798 North Farm Road 125
Springfield. (417) 742-4200.

Davis House Archery Center

The Davis House Archery Center offers both recreational and competitive archery for all ages. They offer indoor and outdoor ranges including a wooded walking course.  Open to the public Monday-Friday 12pm-7pm and Saturdays 10am-1pm. $5/hour or with a $15 monthly membership.  You must have prior experience to use the ranges during open practice times. However, they do offer occasional “try archery” sessions open to all ages for a small fee and they offer classes for beginners ages 8 and up.  Check their website HERE for more information on those programs.  5780 South Farm Road 141 Springfield. (417)874-2910.

Bailey’s Battlefield

Located in Niangua, Bailey’s Battlefield hosts private paintball and Airsoft groups. They  also have a big Airsoft game once a month.  For more information email or call the phone number provided. 1300 Kilburn Bridge Rd, Niangua. (417) 839-9299.

Warrior Sports

Warrior Sports is an indoor obstacle course gym setup in Springfield.  If you’re looking for a new workout or even a fun place to burn some energy with the kids Warrior Sports has you covered. Open gym times are from 2pm-9pm Monday-Firday and 12pm-9pm Saturday and Sunday. Drop-ins $10, 5 visit punch card $40, 10 visit punch card $80 and they provide monthly memberships that start at $40. They also offer a variety of classes you can learn more about by visiting their website HERE. 425 W. Plainview Rd. Springfield. (417)894-7319

NRO Zipline

This zipline, located in Lebanon, offers an adreline rush for local thrillseekers. Open 7 days a week, 10 am -8 pm, hours can vary in early spring and fall so it’s not a bad idea to give them a call before heading out. Reservations are recommended.  The zipline costs $40/person. Groups of 8 or more receive a $5 discount per person.  Visit their website HERE for more information on tips and restrictions when booking your tour. 4 NRO Road Lebanon. (417)532-0041.

Rutledge Wilson Farm Park

This community park, located in Springfield, celebrates the agricultural history in the area by offering a selection of educational and recreational opportunities for guests to enjoy such as: demonstration crops and gardens, visitor’s center/gift shop,  animal barns, hiking trail, playground and fishing pond.  Hours vary with the season but during the summer months they are open daily from 9am-5pm.  Download the visitors guide HERE.  Rutledge Wilson Farm Park often offers special activities throughout the year, especially in the fall and summer months. Currently, they are hosting family fishing nights once a month. Find more information about the fun family fishing nights HERE.  3825 W. Farm Road 146
Springfield. (417)837-5949.

Wild Animal Safari

Located in Strafford, Wild Animal Safari offers animal tours(either in your own vehicle or on a provided shuttle led by a tour guide) that showcase 70 various species.  You can also stroll through the walk-about to see some of the smaller animals.  While you are there you can visit the Cafรฉ, Gift Shop, and Safari Kid’s Adventure Zone that features rides for the youngest adventures. June-mid August they are open daily 10am-7pm.  When school resumes the weekday hours change to 10am-6pm and they stay open until 7pm on weekends only.  When you order tickets HERE you can get a small discount—Adults $18.45 / Seniors and Children $15.45 and they offer a Missouri Family Pack( 2 adults/2 children 3-12 years) for $63.95.  124 Jungle Dr. Strafford. (417)859-5300.

National Tiger Sanctuary

The National Tiger Sanctuary is located off Hwy BB in Saddlebrooke.  The NTS is an awesome non-for-profit organization that provides a permanent home for these big cats. The NTS is dedicated to protecting these animals and sharing their love and knowledge with the rest of us by providing various educational opportunities at their facility. The NTS offers several guided tour options, from your basic tour up to an entire day with the Director behind the scenes! Read about the tour options HERE.  518 State Highway BB Saddlebrooke.  (417) 587-3633.

Dickerson Park Zoo

I love this little zoo! We’ve been going here for years, even before we lived in Missouri.  I just like it.  Probably because of the giraffes. My husband has a thing for giraffes and we have enjoyed taking all of our children to the viewing deck to feed them when we visit. Some of my favorite memories! ๐Ÿ™‚ The zoo offers a variety of animal exhibits to explore, a very nice playground to relax at, the aforementioned giraffe feedings, a train ride for children, a small splash pad during warm weather, and an impressive array of seasonal events geared towards family fun.  Our family especially enjoys participating in the summer classes, member events, and zoo boo(definitely better suited for our younger children but still fun).  1401 W Norton Rd, Springfield. (417) 833-1570.

Missouri Institute of Natural Science

The Missouri Institute of Natural Science Museum features hundreds of fossil specimens to explore including animals, plants, and minerals. My daughter is especially interested in dinosaur fossils, making this one of her favorites! Riverbluff cave is also on site and usually is open for tours but right now it is closed to visitors. You can follow the museum on Facebook to be notified of when it will be open again.  Open Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm and Saturday(March-October) 9am-4pm/ Saturday (November-February) 10am-2pm. Closed on Sunday.  Hours can chance when short-staffed.   It is recommended to call ahead of your visit. The museum is free to the public , donations are accepted and of course appreciated! 2327 W. Farm Road 190 Springfield. (417) 883-0594.

Fantastic Caverns

America’s only ride-thru cave is located in Springfield. That’s kinda cool. It’s said that the cave was discovered in 1862 by an Ozark farmer’s dog actually. I think that’s a fun bit of knowledge. Fantastic Caverns is open daily(except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day) from 8am- “dusk”. Tours run every 20-30 mintues and last about an hour.   Adults $23.50 /Children(6-12) $16.50/ 5 and under are FREE with a parent. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more.  Season passes are also available.  4872 North Farm Road 125 Springfield.  (417)833-2010.

First Friday Art Walk

On the first Friday of the month Springfield host an art walk in downtown Springfield from 6-10pm. Art varies each month but area artists come out to display and discuss their amazing talents! Visit their website HERE or their Facebook page HERE for more details on this months highlights. (417)862-2787 Ext 25.


Artivities, located in downtown Springfield, is a wonderful spot for the artistically inclined. Artivities offers  art for all ages and abilities with many wonderful programs including several geared for children at a reasonable rate. Your child can participate in art camps(with many options on both class type and price), art classes, art lessons, and birthday parties, Artivities also offers Littles Classes for young artists in training and a wide variety of classes for adults. Find more information on programs of interest to you by visiting their website HERE.  209 W. Commercial Street Springfield.  (417)399-4580.


RSVPaint is geared more for adults but they do offer a few family painting sessions as well suited for children(accompanied by an adult).  Daytime sessions on Saturdays and Walk-in Wednesday sessions are for the whole family.  View their calendar HERE to find your favorite upcoming session.  It is strongly encouraged that you rsvp online for your session to guarantee your spot!  440 S Campbell Ave Springfield. 417-413-4331.

Firehouse Pottery

At Firehouse Pottery ceramic art is made easy.  Pick your piece, find a seat and an employee will share a quick overview of the process for you so you can set to work on your masterpiece.  Choose from mugs, dinnerware, plates, figurines, ornaments, and holiday dรฉcor. The studio provides hundreds of paints, stamps, stencils and other resources to help you add the special  touches to your piece that make it unique to you. When you finish your piece take it to the counter, pay, get your pick-up date and be on your way.  No need to even clean up your mess! Your piece will be ready in about a week.  Prices vary but mugs start at $8, figurines at $11, plates at $12 Mugs start at $8, animal figures at $11, and plates at $12. Please note that there is a studio fee of $6/painter as well. 4150 S Lone Pine Ave, Springfield. (417) 881-8381.

Springfield Art Museum

The art museum in Springfield offers traveling exhibitions as well as their own collection.  Current exhibitions include Watercolor U.S.A, Warhol Uncanned, and String Theory.  While browsing the art with your kiddos(because kids are totally welcomed and encouraged at the museum!) be sure to stop by the family art lab and book nook.  The museum also offers family art days that feature activities and demonstrations pertaining to their theme that month where kids can explore art concepts with a hands on approach.  I recommend taking along sketch books for kids(take one for you too)when you go, you never know when inspiration will strike! The museum also offers art camps and classes. Visit the website HERE for more information.  Visiting the museum is free but donations are welcome. Springfield Art Museum is open Sunday 1pm-5pm/ Closed on Monday/ Tuesday-Wednesday 9am-5pm/Thursday 9am-8pm/ Friday-Saturday 9am-5pm. 1111 East Brookside Drive Springfield.  (417)837-5700.

Route 66 Car Museum

A new Route 66 Car Museum is set to open of the 15th of this month in Springfield.  The museum will feature 67 unique classic cars. Admission is $15 for adults. Discounts will be available for veterans and children but not many details on hours/admission have been released yet.  1624 W. College St. Springfield.

Railroad Historical Museum

This non-profit museum is located at Grant Beach Park in Springfield and operated entirely by volunteers to preserve railroad history.  The museum is made up of 4 antique train cars with photos, artifacts, paintings and equipment as well as hands-on activities for kids and adults alike. Private tours, birthday parties, and field trips are available at this unique site upon request. The museum is open seasonally on Saturdays(May-October) from 2-4pm.  Admission is free. Being located within Grant Beach Park makes the museum a great addition to a picnic or pool day! 1300 N. Grant St. Springfield.  (417)833-0994.

History Museum on the Square

The History Museum on the Square is currently undergoing some exciting renovations. During this time the current exhibit, 200 Years at the Center of Everything, is still on display inside the Fox theatre.  Museum hours are from Monday to Saturday 10:30am-4:30pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children and 2 and under are free. This Museum houses 100,000 artifacts that preserve and showcase Springfield’s history.  The renovations hope to add over 55,000 square feet of exhibit space, high tech displays, traveling exhibitions from around the nation, and walking tours through the downtown district. 157 Park Central Square Springfield. (417)831-1976.

**NOTE- the current exhibit will only remain on display until the 18th of this month, check it out while you can!

Baker Observatory

Did you know that Marshfield is home to MSU’s Baker Observatory?  Baker Observatory maintains two large telescopes and many smaller telescopes for astronomical studies. The observatory is used for labwork by beginning and intermediate students and for research purposes by advanced students and faculty. Currently 3 astronomers work within this department at MSU and occasionally they allow the public to come out and learn a bit as well. I think this is cool! Finally something fun about Marshfield and it’s a surprisingly well-kept secret. Boo on you Marshfield for not doing more to promote these events, especially for a town  so proud of your space-related history…seems kinda like something you’d want to put out there! The observatory typically hosts these events 2-3 times a year with the next one tentatively planned for late September. Go like their Facebook page though because they hope to add more frequent public observing nights in the future. Please bear in mind that this facility is an academic resource and should be treated with RESPECT at all times. Don’t bug these people while they are studying. Not cool.   When headed out to the public events, take the time to read and learn about the facility and event expectations.  You can find that helpful information HERE.

Askinosie Chocolate Factory

Love chocolate? Me too! Springfield is home to the Askinosie Chocolate Factory.  For a bit of fun check out their factory tours on Tuesdays at 3:30pm. Tours last about 45 minutes and go over the history and practices of the tour and include a few yummy samples along the way. Tour guests receive a 10% discount on the day of their tour as well, pretty sweet! Tickets cost $5/adult and $4 for children and students. 100% of the profits from tours support Chocolate University. Children 5 and under are not recommended since it is a factory setting but they are allowed as long as they are held or secured in a stroller for the entire tour. Open toe shoes are not allowed on the tour and it is important to know that the large magnets used in the factory can affect pacemakers and the like.  Touring a Chocolate factory kinda makes me think  Willy Wonka…I’m there! YUM.

Sequiota Bike Shop

David and I visited this shop just a couple of weeks ago. I loved it! We enjoyed our meal to go because they were PACKED on a Sunday afternoon(yay for them!) but here’s the basic deal: They have a little itty bitty restaurant where the small staff run around like crazy trying to get awesome(and kinda pricey for a sandwich) food out to their customers while said customers hopefully find a comfy seat outside under their covered patio or in the backyard seating in a pretty shaded space under the beautiful summer sky.  I noticed that they had a couple of yard games to enjoy and a bar outdoors as well.   Of course they also have  bikes to rent! That’s what we did. We hopped on a tandem and took off to the park.  Ok…so maybe “hopped on” doesn’t fully do justice to just how tricky or alarming riding tandem was but it was a great experience to have.  I’d do it again. I may or may not have nearly ran us into a tree in a panic the first time around though…be warned.  Standard men’s and women’s bikes are $15 for the first hour and $7.50 for each additional hour. Tandem bikes are $25 for the first hour and $12.50 for each additional hour.  3521 S. Lone Pine Springfield. (417) 881-4488.

Rosewood Farms(Home of Grandpa Joe’s Chocolates)

We love Rosewood Farms! Granny showed us this hidden treasure last spring and I’m oh so glad she did! I LOVE their salted caramel truffles…I haven’t had a bad chocolate there yet and doubt I ever will but I big fat puffy <3 those truffles!  Located just past Hartville, this business is quite literally out in the middle of nowhere…driving along  Hwy 5 you begin to see signage for coffee, chocolates, gifts…it seems so out of place and bizarre to have a retail business out in the countyside  but I’m really glad that they are there! It’s a quaint little place with adorable jewelry and clothes that I wish I could fit myself into amid pretty dรฉcor and gift items. Walk in the door and your nose is assaulted with the delicious smells of chocolate and COFFEE.  Be still my heart, I love a good latte.  We’ve gotten to know the owners a bit during our visits and I have to say that they are some of the kindest and most personable people I’ve met in the area, super sweethearts.  I loved hearing their story of ending up in Missouri and the details of how they make their chocolates. Fun Fact: they make the chocolate in a bunker underground to keep the chocolate at idea temperatures during the process.  I think that’s neat. It’s fun to imagine where the bunker may be located while wandering the gardens around the shop.  7345 Highway 5 Hartville. (417) 741-6915.

Pineapple Whip

Pineapple Whip!!!! Any good summer roundup for Springfield MUST include Pineapple Whip.  I don’t know why I love it so, I just do. Lovely, perfect, super smooth pineapple whip…ahhhhh.  Pineapple Whip is open summers Monday-Thursday 12pm-10pm and Friday and Saturday 12pm-10:30pm. Visit their website HERE for information on what flavors can be found where. Get some! Now. Why are you still reading this? GO.  3 locations: 1517 W Battlefield, 3850 South Campbell,1310 S Glenstone Ave. Springfield.  


Make a Summer Binder! (with free printables!)

This week was kinda crazy with lots of life stuff.  Our little boys had a joint birthday celebration this weekend that I spent all of my free time preparing for and our older girls began summer break on the 13th  so all 4 are home making “free time”  an incredibly fluid concept.  The week before any kind of big celebration usually finds me running around like a maniac and this time is no exception…lots of effort and lots of fun!

In the midst of that chaos I  was asked to provide links for our summer reading binders and I am oh so happy to tell you about the resources I used to make these for our kiddos.  Bear with me though, I’m in recovery mode right now.  I have to warn you in advance that I didn’t  get fancy with pictures and all that for this post…everything is straight off of my camera phone,  glare and all.  Sorry  ’bout that!


Anywho…summer binders! I love these things!  Our binders contain a calendar of the activities or special plans we have the month, screen time limits and chore expectations, our reading challenges, a bit of fun for the library, and a handful of quick entertainment ideas for whenever boredom strikes. 

Here’s what that looks like in our house.

Neither girlie can have screen time(no tablets, tv,  or computers) until chores are completed each day.  Their chores include cleaning up their bedroom, making sure their dirty clothes from the previous day hit the hamper, and 3 separate tasks appropriate for their ages(9 and 6).  While they work on that I do my own chores for the day and get the littlest Hollingsworth down for his morning nap.  We get these things done first thing in the morning, no questions asked. When we put first things first we can dedicate the rest of the day to fun knowing that the house is still somewhat operational.


Our calendars list any upcoming playdates, visiting guests, specific day trips, birthdays, special family nights and  notable local events we want to attend.  Anticipation is half the fun afterall!  I don’t follow any specific daily schedule during the summer months but I do try to keep Mondays as home days.  Weekends are full and active times.  Most Sundays we head to Branson after church to play around and I’m WIPED OUT  afterwards.  I need a lazy Monday to catch up around the house and regain some of the sanity lost from chasing children around Silver Dollar City all day.   Summer Mondays were created for lazying around.  ๐Ÿ™‚ I use a fantastic calendar set that I buy each year from Jessica over at Life as Mom for my family notebook.  I use her calendars for SO MANY THINGS.  If you’re looking for a great calendar pack to use around your house, she’s your girl!

Reading Challenges

Alright.  So, our oldest daughter Abby is a total bookworm, she could happily read all day. Her challenge each summer is to read 100 books. I don’t restrict this, I’m okay with chapter books, non-fiction, comic books, picture books(as long as she reads these aloud to a willing younger sibling), how-to books…whatever she’s currently interested in.  Reading is meant to be a limitless pastime, I want reading to open her mind to new things.  I feel that happens best when I let her read about whatever she is into at the moment. 

I have Abby record the books she’s reading on logs that are broken down into sets of 10 and she earns a small reward for each set that she completes( screen time or a later bedtime). I’ve noticed over the years that breaking it down into sets of 10 and offering a small incentive makes it seem less huge to her.  I also assign a book report where she chooses 1 book from each set of 10 to write a short report on.  When I say book report I don’t mean something overly long and complex, she doesn’t have to present a perfectly typed document to me for approval or anything like that.  I simply want her to spend some time in thought over the material she’s reading. Think about the plot, think about the characters, think about what you enjoyed and what challenged you…just think!  She gives these to me when she finishes a set and we sit down over a snack to discuss the book together.  Between you and me, I really enjoy this time with her.  I love seeing her thought processes change as she grows!    I used some fabulous online resources for our reading log and “book reports” (found HERE and HERE), I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. The books report templates are pretty amazing!



Our youngest daughter is a reader now as well and is right in the middle of learning this important skill.  She does a great job but is not as fond of reading independently as her sister is so my challenge for her is to simply take time to read each day.  We read together LOTS but she definitely prefers being read to than reading on her own.  Reading something each day challenges her and shows her that she CAN read those words without help. ๐Ÿ™‚ I made her reading log in Microsoft Word with a basic grid and some clipart to make a  sticker chart.  For every day that she reads she gets to put a sticker on her chart.  Pretty simple.  She loves tracking her progress in this way.   Additionally, each week I have her pick one of the books she’s recently read and we sit down together to do some story mapping  where she  writes down a short summary of the book or we play this reading comprehension game and she tells me about her book that way.  She earns the same small reward for completing these tasks each week that Abby does.

Addia's Reading Log

A good reading challenge will meet your child ON THEIR LEVEL and help them met and often exceed their current reading goals.  If you have a bookworm, encourage them to spend significant time with their nose planted in a book this summer.  If you have a hesitant reader, the focus switches to getting into books, at least a little bit, daily to help build routine and confidence in their growing skills.  We’re two weeks into our reading challenges so far and both girls are LOVING it.  Make it fun for your child so reading isn’t another “to-do” but rather a joy.

We also use our summer binders to store the paperwork for all of the reading challenges that the girls participate in over the summer.  We keep the login info/passwords for the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, printouts for the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Challenge, and this year we added the Chuck E. Cheese Reading Reward to the lineup as well.

A Bit O Fun

Summer can’t just be about daily to-do’s and goals…no way!  I guess I’ve been on a bingo kick lately because I made an abundance of bingo-related activities for the girls to do this summer.  First, I saw READO  on Pinterest and loved it.  It seemed a little more geared for the classroom so I tweeked the idea to create a new template for the girls using things like “Read a book that has been made into a movie”, “Read a book with a great opening line”  or “Read a book featured on the New York Times Bestsellers List” just to encourage them to dive into new reads at home over break as well.  They don’t have to do these things but if they do I’ll acknowledge their effort with a special treat.  If they bingo in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line I’ll do the chore of their choice for the day.  If they bingo in a H pattern I’ll take them out for a special ice cream treat.  If they bingo with a blackout I’ll buy them the new book of their choice.  I made several boards to get them through the summer.  It’s been a hit.

Download my version of these  boards for younger children HERE.

Download my version of these board for older children HERE.


READO got me thinking.  I like how the teacher who came up with READO made the bingo concept apply across several areas by creating not only READO but MATHO and WRITO as well. Clever!  If she can do that in the classroom surely it can apply at home as well right? That spurred me to create BORED Bingo for the girls.  You can read about that here if you’d like but basically I threw together several simple summer activities and printed them out on a bingo board for the kids to use when they are looking for a new play idea.  A trip through our household toys turned up a ton of simple ideas.  Like in READO, efforts get rewarded. If they bingo in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line they can have 1 hour of screen time.  If they bingo in an H pattern they can stay up a bit later than usual.  If they bingo with a blackout I have a couple of special prizes handy(this could mean a new game, outside toy, those awesome water balloon hose attachments, coloring or doodle books…you get the idea) It doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun.

You can download some of my boards HERE or visit to whip up some of your own!

To wrap it up I added some fun challenges for our trips to the library.  I found a really cute library scavenger hunt(picture book and chapter book versions) HERE and a Read Everything Under the Sun Punchcard HERE.  I also wrote down some book recommendations for each of my girls because it never fails that we get to the library and they suddenly can’t remember who that author was or what book series they started a month ago and want to continue.  I can’t keep up with the littlest Hollingsworths and try to remember what R. L Stine book Abby is ready for next as well so keeping a list handy in their binders has been super duper helpful.  If you’d like ideas on the types of books I used for these lists be sure to check out my list of book recommendations for 4th Grade HERE and recommendations for Kindergarteners HERE.

Well, that’s it. I hope it helps!

20 Fabulous Reads for Your Fourth Grader

Our oldest daughter is going into 4th grade this year. She’s a huge bookworm and reads well past her grade level.  That gets a little tricky because she’s 9 and I don’t think her heart is ready for some of the material you’d typically find in an 8th grade book. While she’s young enough to believe that Peter Pan will fly into  her bedroom window if we leave it unlatched I need to carefully censor the things that have the power to creep in and mess all of that whimsical awesomeness up, you know what I’m sayin’?

  These are some of our recent favorites for her.  Some might be a little advanced for the typical 4th grader, some might be a little young….they blend together in just the right way for our daughter though!

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume


The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks


The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson


Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar


The BFG by Roald Dahl


Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan


Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell


Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities by Jason Shiga


The 39 Clues by Rick Riordan


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine A. Applegate


The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeane Birdsall


The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger


Wonder by R. J. Palacio

It Came From Ohio! My Life as a Writer by R. L. Stine

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum




35 Great Reads for Kindergarteners

Reading to your child is critical.  We all know that right?   I’m going to say it again though because kiddos develop a ton at this stage., “growing like weeds” doesn’t only apply to how quickly they outgrow their shoes afterall!  Sure, you could drill a million flashcards and do worksheets all day long but reading  gets the job done in a fun way .  Taking time to read with your child teaches them so much more than that b says /b/.  Open a book and open your child’s mind. Corny but TRUE.

Having 4 of my own, I understand how busy life can be.  I wish that I had the same amount of time to read with my 4th as I did with my firstborn but I simply don’t.  However, carving out even that 20 minutes a day to read will make a big difference! I think that reading with our children gets less tedious for us adults when we aren’t reading the same book repeatedly.  Sure, my kids have their favorites that we read alot(Hello Pete the Cat and Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs!) but this is a great time to introduce new characters and genres as well.

Here’s a list of some of our favorites to get you started!

The Bears' Picnic (Berenstain Bears)(Audio Cassette)

The Bears Picnic by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business

Caps For Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina


Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (Check out the entire series HERE!)

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (Check out the early chapter book series by Herman Parish HERE!)

My Many Colored Days

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel (Check out the picture books and chapter book series HERE!)

Duck Rabbit by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

Interrupting Chicken Book Cover

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Nighttime Ninja

Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta

Scaredy Squirrel

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (Check out the entire series HERE!)

We Are in a Book by Mo Williams (Check out the entire series HERE!)

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins

Bears in the Night by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The Giving Tree.jpg

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein


Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard (Check out the entire series HERE!)

Twenty-Six Princesses by Dave Horowitz

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywelt

The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak

Twenty-Six Pirates by Dave Horowitz

The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Williams (Check out the entire series HERE!)

Skippy Jon Jones by Judy Schachner

Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Williams

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin (Check out the entire series HERE!)

There’s a Nightmare in my Closet by Mercer Mayer

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Williams (Check out the entire series HERE!)

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch



Happy reading!




Pools, Splashgrounds, and Water Fun Near Marshfield

Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around why Marshfield doesn’t have a swimming pool.  I’ve heard all of the arguments and the logic isn’t there.  I could rant for days about it but for  the time being let’s accept that we’ll have to look elsewhere for poolside shenanigans ok? Ok!

Well, again, I’ve got you covered! Luckily surrounding communities don’t appear to have the same difficulties that Marshfield seems to experience in this area.  If you’re up for a trip they are up for some water play!  Woo-hoo!

**NOTE- All hours and prices are accurate as of 5/5/16.


Jordan Valley Park – Located in Springfield this park features a huge fountain that runs daily during the summer from approximately 10am-8pm.  Children are welcome to splash in the entire water feature which was designed to look like an Ozark stream.  They will get soaked and love every second of it. Trust me, you want to come prepared in swimsuits and with plenty of towels. I made the mistake of not dressing anyone for serious water play during our last visit…Oops.  SOAKED.  Parents please be cautioned that the water is deep enough for accidents and slips could result in injury.  Parent supervision is a MUST.

McGee-McGregor Wading Pool – Located across from Phelps Grove Park on the corner of Bennett and Holland Avenue,  McGee-McGregor wading pool is for children 6 years old and under.  There must be at least one adult for every 4 children in your party. Admission to the wading pool is free.

Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

Sunday: 1pm-4pm

Closed Mondays

Howard Smith Water Park – Located  in the Howard Smith Community Park on Bumgarner Blvd, between Red Bud Ave. and Sunmeadow Drive in Strafford this free splash pad is open daily from 10am-8pm from the end of May to the beginning of September.  If you get there right at 10am and it’s not running yet be patient for a few moments, turning on the features takes a little while.  **NOTE** the splash pad DOES NOT open when the area experiences significant rainfall.  The splash pad can not open if there is standing water in the splash area.  If you want to be sure that it is on before heading that way call 417-736-2154 for confirmation. The park address is 410 E. Bumgarner Blvd for anyone not familiar with the area.


Ozark Community Center- for a community center Ozark nailed water fun! This indoor aquatic center has several of the features that we love in a pool- zero depth entry, a kiddo play structure, resistance walk, a couple of slides, and spray features.  Adults $7  / Children 4-17 years $5  /  3 and under free.  *Price includes access to the facility for the day.

Monday-Friday 5am-7:30pm
Saturday 7am-7:30pm
Sunday 12pm-5:30pm
Monday-Thur 7:30PM-8:00PM (Lap swimming only)

Chesterfield Indoor Aquatic Center – Like  Ozark, Springfield provides indoor pool play at the community centers.  Chesterfield offers a water slide, spray features, tumbling buckets, and a resistance walk.  Adults $8 / Children 2-18 years $6. *Price includes access to the facility for the day.

Sunday: 12pm-5pm

Monday-Friday: 4pm-9pm


 Doling Indoor Aquatic Center – This indoor pool, located in Springfield, offers a water slide, a resistance walk, several spray features, and a water basketball hoop.  Adults $8 / Children 2-18 years $6.  *Price includes access to the facility for the day.

Sunday: 12pm-5pm

Monday- Friday: 4pm-9pm

Saturday: 12pm-7:30pm


In the case of inclement weather and for daily updates on Springfield outdoor pools, please call the Aquatics Hotline

Fassnight Pool – This is the largest pool in Springfield. It is located in the middle of town, off Campbell in Fassnight Park.  Fassnight Pool has a kiddie pool area with splash features for children 6 and under and a large pool going from 2’6″ to 12′.  They offer a slide and diving boards in the large pool.   Adults $3  / Seniors $2.50  /Children 3-17 years $2.50  / 2 and under are free with a paid adult.

Open swim 1:00-6:30 p.m.
Closed Mondays

Grant Beach Pool – Recently renovated in North Springfield, off of Grant Avenue in Grant Beach Park. Grant Beach Pool has two slides, a drop slide, a spring board and a large spray feature for children 8 and under.   Adults $3  / Seniors $2.50  / Children 3-17 years $2.50  /2 and under are free with a paid adult.

Open swim 1:00-6:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays

Meador Pool – Located on the south side of Springfield at the intersection of Sunset and Fremont.  Meador pool has a separate kiddie pool and diving boards in the larger pool.  Adults $3  / Seniors $2.50  /Children 3-17 years $2.50/ 2 and under are free with a paid adult.


Open swim 1-6:30pm

Closed Mondays

Silver Springs Pool – Located on the north side of Springfield at the intersection of Scott and Hampton Avenue in Silver Springs Park. Great pool for young children. Silver Springs Pool offers zero-depth entry with spray features, a drop slide, and springboard. The depth in the main part of the pool stops at 3 feet and has a wall separating it from the deep end of the pool.  Adults $3  /Seniors $2.50  /Children 3-17 years $2.50  /2 and under are free with a paid adult.

Open swim 1:00-6:30 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays

Westport Pool – Recently renovated on the west side of Springfield near Golden and Mount Vernon Streets.  Westport pool  has an in-water rock climbing wall, floating and spray features, a splash area, zero-depth entry, a drop slide, and spring board.   Adults $3  /Seniors $2.50  /Children 3-17 years $2.50  /2 and under are free with a paid adult.

Open swim 1:00-6:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays

Boswell Aquatic Center – Located in Lebanon, this pool has a spring board, slides, an in-water rock climbing wall, kids pools and free wi-fi.  Adults $3  /children 5-13 $2.50  /4 and under are free.  Frequent Swimmer’s Cards can be purchased at a discounted rate of 10 visits for $25.00 or 25 visits for $50.00.

Wednesday-Saturday: 6:30am-8:30pm

Sunday: 5:30pm-7:30pm

Republic Aquatic Center – Personally I don’t understand why this is considered such a superior pool in the area but then again I’m a KC girl and just about every pool that I can think of has these same amenities…I guess I’m used to it.  However, a few summers in Marshfield without any water fun have made it to the point that none of my crew even care about lazy rivers and the like anymore, they just want water to play in! For me, the “extra’s” aren’t worth the drive to Republic but if you are looking for the best pool around, look no further.  Republic has it all, including the Huna surf-simulator.  This is a sure bet to entertain the kiddos for a day of water play this summer!

Admission is $5 per person for non-residents. Residents pay $4/person. The Huna is an add-on all day wristband for $2.

Monday-Saturday: 12pm-7pm

Sunday: 12pm-6pm

If you’re feeling extra adventurous visit White Water or any of the numerous indoor mega-aquatic resorts in Branson(if you keep your eyes open Grand Country Inn offers $5 local day passes from time to time and YES Marshfield is considered local, I asked. ) or head out to Rolla to visit Fugitive Beach!  I feel like I should encourage any parents with small ones to use extreme caution in making the decision to go to fugitive beach with kids or not….it doesn’t seem like the safest place for tots to me. Sure, it’s fun, but it will still be around as they grow and might be more enjoyable, and MUCH safer, for older children and adults.

Hiking, Creek Stomping, and Other Outdoor Adventures for Your Family in the Ozarks

Gathering ideas for family fun in the Ozark area this summer has been quite the undertaking.  It’s a long list, like WOAH.  I want to cover everything I can so I think we’ll need to break it down into smaller sections instead of lumping all that information into one massive post.

Where to start though? 

I may not be Missouri’s biggest fan, but even I have to admit that Missouri is home to some astounding state parks and hiking trails.  Let’s start there!!!  Spring/early summer months are the perfect time to get out there and explore the beauty all around us. There is plenty of natural beauty to enjoy in the Ozarks!  I even reached out to a few awesome born and raised Marshfieldians(is that politically correct?  I dunno, I call residents of Marshfield “Marshies”) and they hooked me up with some little known areas here in town as well!

**NOTE- All hours, times, and contact information is accurate as of 5/2/16.

In Marshfield

Bell Ford Swimming Hole – Go five miles south on highway A, turn right on Bell Ford Rd.  It is a little over two miles out. Watch out for potholes on the first low water bride. They can come as a surprise sometimes. Park along the road and be sure to pick up any trash that you bring!

East Fork Niangua River–  On the other end of town, locals can go out on Brinkley to Sparkle Brook road and play in the river right there.  Again, park along the road and be sure to pick up any trash that you bring!

Since Marshfield is without a local pool (GRR) these areas can provide a bit of relief from the summer heat but please be smart about going out to such places.  It’s wise to go with a friend just in case so you have extra helping hands. Also, PARENT SUPERVISION IS  A MUST.  Please please please use your head and be safe.

Hidden Waters ParkHidden Waters is a quaint little nature park tucked away in Marshfield. It’s fun for a picnic and exploring. There are creeks here to stomp in during wet weather as well. 

Marshfield City Park(near the fairgrounds)- While small this park also has a creek running through it for the kids to play in and provides a good amount of open ground for ball games and the like.  It’s a nice space to gather with friends on a summer evening for a picnic dinner and outdoor games such as Freeze Tag or Sardines. 

If you want to get out of Marshfield I’ve got ya covered there too!


Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden– oh how I love this garden!!! It’s gorgeous.  There is a tiny admission fee to take note of. $3 for adults. Children 12 and under are free. You can purchase food for the Koi for $1.  Open seasonally Thursday-Monday from 9am-7:30pm.

Nathanael Greene Park and Botanical Gardens– There are so many things to do at this beautiful park!  Guests can enjoy the gardens, butterfly house, and Gray-Campbell Farmstead.  Gardens and grounds can be enjoyed seasonally from sunrise to sunset.  The botanical center is open Monday- Saturday 8am-8pm and Sunday 11am-6pm.  The farmstead has several fun features including a schoolhouse and a 2 room house(fun fyi this is the oldest house in Springfield, built in 1856!), the house is open for tours some Saturdays and most Sundays from April to October 1:30-4:30pm.  The butterfly house is open daily from 10am-6pm from the first of June until the end of September.  The butterfly house is free to the public but donations are encouraged. You can catch a tram to this exhibit from the botanical center from 1-4:30pm on the weekends. 

Busiek State Forest – Great area for hiking! Camping is available with a permit only and they also have an unstaffed shooting range(closed on Mondays).

Wilson’s Creek Battlefield – Lots of information about the civil war plus great hiking in the area.  There is poison ivy in the area so be aware of what that looks like and keep a lookout to avoid it. It’s fun to find the cannons that were used in the war while exploring. Junior Ranger booklets are available at the visitor center for children and can be returned once completed for a special prize.

Ha Ha Tonka– located in Camdenton, Ha Ha Tonka offers lots to see.  Hiking, interpretive programs(Saturdays June-August), fishing, visiting the Ha Ha Tonka Spring,  picnicking at any of the 20 shelters in the area, visiting the ruins,  boating, and playground areas make for a fun day in the Ozarks.

Springfield Conservation Nature Center – this is a great way to enjoy 79 acres of the beauty that Missouri provides.  There are hiking trails to explore, animals to spot, creeks to stomp in, and the nature center building is undergoing 3 phases of enhancements to their interior exhibits as well to be completed over the course of a couple of years.  Be sure to stop by the building and see these new changes!  They offer a variety of seasonal activities for children and families including story time, geocaching, Little Acorns, Babes in the Woods, and more.  Check out their site here for more information on programs.

Sequiota Park – great greenways for hiking, running, or biking, two small caves to explore, playground for the kiddos, small creek to stomp around in…a great place for a summer picnic!

Bennett Spring State Park – Located near Lebanon, Bennett Spring state park is a well-known trout fishing spot.  This park offers camping grounds, cabins, hiking, on-site dining, float trips, a swimming pool, interpretive programs and a playground.

Smallin Civil War Cave -This is a cool little family friendly cave to explore! Smallin Cave offers guided tours and off-trail wild tours as well as lantern tours in the month of October.  Guided tours are great for families and are even stroller friendly. These tours are about a half mile walk and last about an hour. Tickets for adults are $16.95, children 4-12 are $8.95 and 3 and under are free.  Off-trail tours are for the more adventurous ones 12 years old and up and venture into the formations in at least knee-deep water with only a headlamp as your light source.  Sounds kinda creepy! ๐Ÿ™‚ Minimum of 2 people- $75/person and includes equipment rental.  Take a larger group and the price per person decreases a bit.

Missouri offers a ton of other fun outdoor adventures if you are willing to drive a bit farther. These places make a great day trip!

Dogwood Canyon

Lake of the Ozarks

Meremac State Park

Meremac Caves  – currently closed to protect local wildlife but continue to check back with them for updates on reopening because this is one COOL cave!

courtois creek

roaring river state park

Alley Spring and Mill

Round Spring

Big spring state park

Onondaga Cave State Park

Elephant rock state park

Castlewood state park

Johnson’s Shut Ins

Hodgson Mill

Grand Falls

If you feel especially awesome I think this waterfall road trip looks like a great way to spend a Saturday! Let me know if you do it!


“I’m BORED!” Bingo (and 100 Simple Ways to have Fun this Summer!)

Summer is almost here!  I’m super excited!!! I truly love having all four kids home together.  Summer brings lots of playtime,  ice cream, and laughter.  However,  not all days can be perfect.   Summer also bring whining, arguments, and my least favorite words “I’m BORED”.  This year we’ve made plenty of plans for summer fun but I want to be ready with backup when I need it.  That’s where Bored Bingo comes in to play.

Each year I make up a summer reading challenge for my school-agers during the summer months.   While  browsing ideas for that on Pinterest I came across something called READ-O which is essentially bingo with a reading focus. That is so awesome!! They had some for math and writing as well.   That awesomeness inspired me to create another variation –  BORED Bingo.   I browsed the internet for the simplest summer play ideas I could find and went through our toys and games here at the house to gather a bunch of creative play ideas for the kids when those moments of boredom come along this summer. 

I purposefully focused on EASY activities.  I want this to be a  resource for them this summer that doesn’t involve a ton of prep from me  and encourages them to entertain themselves. I could make up cute little carnival games for them to play or teach them a bunch of magic tricks but encouraging them to come up with their own games and put on their own magic shows gets them more involved and will likely keep them entertained much longer.  I like that.  A LOT.

I didn’t just use play ideas. Our bingo cards  incorporate all kinds of areas I would like to see them focus on this summer.

  • Chores
  • Reading (ex. Read outdoors, Read to a sibling)
  • Writing (ex. Write a letter and mail it, Write a haiku)
  • Active challenges (ex. Do some yoga, 100 jumping jacks)
  • Play ideas to use with their younger brothers (ex. Take the boys for a wagon ride, Build a fort with the boys)
  • Ways to bless someone else in the house (ex. Do something nice for Daddy,  Find 3 ways to secretly bless someone)
  • At least one board game/card game to play
  • Cooking (ex. Make a healthy snack with fresh produce, Try a new recipe)
  • Art ideas (ex. Paint outdoors, Learn to draw something new)
  • STEM play (ex. Mystery bag, foam block engineering challenge)
  • Something Math or Literacy related (ex. Multiplication Battleship, Sight word practice games)
  • Ways to spend time with each sibling individually(ex. Play blocks with Lex, Play superheroes with Andrew)

Gentle nudges people, gentle nudges.

Finally, I made the middle spot of every single card their least favorite activity- the DREADED “Play with your sister- her choice!”  spot.  I don’t know about you but the biggest disagreements between my girls happen because one of them agrees to do something that the other wants to do and then backs out of it.   Nobody is happy when that happens.  Each card will give them an opportunity to agree to do something they might not pick otherwise and actually follow through with it.  Maybe they’ll learn a little something about getting along in the process?  I’m mean like that.  No freebies in this house!  If you want the prize you will have to earn it. ๐Ÿ˜€

Speaking of prizes, I have a plan for that!  I’m giving them the bingo cards, one at a time, without any real expectations. They can do it or not, whatever, but if I hear “I’m bored” I want to be able to send them to their current card for inspiration.  My only rule is 1 bingo per card and then they have to turn it in to redeem their prize.  I like to give the kids choices whenever I can so there are lots of ways to bingo with different prizes for each based on difficulty just like there are when playing actual bingo. 

  •   Regular bingo- horizontal, vertical or diagonal is worth an hour of screen time.
  •  H pattern is worth getting to stay up later than normal. ( Dad is not thrilled about this one.  Sorry Dad!!!)
  • Blackout Bingo is worth a special prize.  I have several things in mind for this that they’ll love, just for fun- maybe a new dress up outfit, art kit, math workbook(my 4th grader actually likes to do homework for fun sometimes), smaller Lego set…stuff I know my kids will really enjoy and use.  Nothing overly pricey though. It doesn’t have to be huge to be something they’d enjoy.


I used to make up several different bingo cards with various activities.  If you aren’t familiar with this site, let me tell you, it’s great.  You can use it to create all kinds of theme based bingo games for kids.  I set mine to print just 1 card without a word list and added my activities.  I was able to  make a dozen different cards with the activities I gathered! The great thing is that you can make your cards to fit your child specifically and include the activities and toys that you already have at home.

I’ve included some of my activities here and links to any that I found online to help get the creative ball rolling.  You can also download the list HERE.

Bye, bye boredom!

Color Study -BLUE!

Andrew and I begin my adaptation of ‘Tot School’ this year.  I use the term tot school loosely because I like to do things my own way, but as a former teacher I know how vital it is to spend time teaching our children.  My favorite way to do this is to incorporate opportunities for learning through play into our time together.  This month we’ve been focusing on the color blue so I built our sensory tub,  tot trays,  and art experiences around blue things.  Andrew seems to enjoy it so far.


Our blue tot trays were:

-Peg stackers

-Snowflake size discrimination and pattern matching

-Pete the Cat button counting

-Little blue truckload number recognition

Snowflake matching and filling the truck up with blocks were Andrew’s very favorites!


Sensory Tub

Our sensory tub for the month was filled with blue water beads and ocean animal figurines.  To read more about how to use water beads in the sensory tub check out my post here.

Wave Discovery Bottle

Oh how I love wave bottles! They (kindof) bring a little bit of the ocean into our landlocked existence  here in Missouri.  Not exactly the same as the lovely feeling of dipping your toes into the vast ocean  but I’ll take what I can get until our next beautiful beach visit.  Find my post on how to make one of your own here.


Our son is something of bookworm so I figured that was a great place to draw inspiration from for many of our art and play ideas.  Lots of our activities center around Pete the Cat and Little Blue Truck this month- two of our favorite book characters! 

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat is my personal favorite book character. I know, I’m an adult and technically not allowed to have favorite book characters any more…even so, they are easily my favorite books to read aloud to our kids.  Pete the Cat books are funny,  sweet, and FULL of good vibes! They have a way of making kids feel good.  I love that.  We used several of his books for our blue theme because he is a blue cat but some favorites that talk about the color blue specifically are Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes and Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses.

Pete the Cat Button Counting

After reading Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, we spent some time practicing number recognition and counting using these printable counting mats and some of our own groovy buttons.

Pete the Cat Feelings Faces

Because Andrew is pretty young we didn’t go into as much depth on this as we will in the future but we re-read the book together taking time to note the emotions  and discuss them as we went along.  His favorite part was showing me the emotion on his face and then getting to put on his own magic blue sunglasses to see things in a whole new way. He loves those glasses!

Where Is Pete?

My friend Laura told me about this fun companion game to go along with Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.  I immediately knew we needed one of our own!  Instead of paying for a copy online I made my own with clipart images and a Pete graphic that I made(yeah yeah, I know  I’m not a great artist but it doesn’t seem to matter much to my little guy!) We used our pocket chart but you could easily play this game laid flat on the table as well. I hid Pete behind a shoe and then we hunted for him saying

“_____ shoe, _____ shoe is Pete hiding behind you?” .   Andrew loved this game and really enjoyed hiding Pete for me to find as well!  We still go back and play this game together.  It’s one of his favorite toys now, thanks Laura!


Little Blue Truck

Little Blue Truck is written by Alice Schertle. The book is about a little blue country truck and the animal friends that help out in a messy situation.  The cute illustrations and sweet story make it one of our top picks!

 Chocolate Pudding Finger Painting

We used chocolate pudding to paint “mud” onto a picture of the Little Blue Truck characters that I scanned from our book.  You could also Google a coloring page for your little one to color before painting if you aren’t lazy like I am. 


Blue Car Tracks

We  pulled out our own little blue truck  to make blue paint tracks with.  Andrew loved this activity! All you have to do is dip your truck in paint and drive it all over the paper to see your tracks. 

We went through several sheets of paper before he was ready to be done.  Totally fine by me, kiddo paintings make beautiful homemade cards!  I gave him a few pieces of cardstock and let him have at it.  Once it’s dry it’s simply a matter of folding it in half and you’re all set to send a little love to friends or family.  Doesn’t get any easier than that!

Fill up the Truck

We did this activity two ways- first as a tot tray with blue blocks and then again after reading Little Blue Truck using farm animal finger puppets. It was a hit both times!


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