Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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November 24, 2017

From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: Volunteering with the Library

Volunteer Blog Top Image

It’s that time of year again – for family gatherings, being thankful and giving back. While the Library may not be the first place you think of when choosing an organization to support through volunteerism, it is because of our many dedicated volunteers that Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is able to expand our capacity to serve and do more for the community.

In the last year, more than 1,400 volunteers donated 61,000 hours of their time to support the Library – valued at more than $1.8 million in donated services. Thank you to those who have given of their time so generously to help the Library improve lives and build a stronger community.

Here are a few ways you can get involved too!

Become a library volunteer

With 20 locations across Mecklenburg County, opportunities to get involved aren’t hard to find. Are you looking for a way to help children improve their reading skills? Do you have a green thumb and can help maintain library greenery? Or, do you have a knack for organization and want to help by shelving books? Check out the Library’s website for these volunteer opportunities and more. Read More →

November 22, 2017

One of my favorite holiday performances of the year…Jami Masters School of Dance presents Happy Holidays!


OK, I’m a little biased, my daughter is in it this year, and yes, I’m beaming with pride, as always:-) BUT, JMSD Happy Holidays has always been one of my favorite holiday shows for years. Before my girls were into dance, we made it our tradition to see all of the Nutcracker and holiday performances during the holiday season. We make it a Girls Night Out with dinner and a show every weekend in December. My girls live for this tradition now and we’re thrilled that it’s a JMSD Happy Holidays year!

Every other year, Jami Masters School of Dance puts on an AMAZING production called Happy Holidays. This is a beautiful, fun and sweet performance with dancers ranging from age 3 all the way up to seniors in high school and performing a variety of dances. Happy Holidays is produced and choreographed by professionals – this is NOT your typical recital performance, this is the real deal perfect for the season. You will leave in tears of joy!

On Happy Holidays from JMSD:

Happy Holidays is an original dance production that delights and captures the hearts of audiences of all ages. Set to your favorite holiday music and featuring classical ballet, tap, jazz, and modern dance, Happy Holidays offers family-friendly holiday entertainment.

Come and be a part of Angel’s earthly journey as she is sent to find the true meaning of the holiday. Travel with her through the Winter Wonderland, a Sweet Bakeshop, and the Magical Toyshop, as she discovers the gifts of hope, love, peace, faith, forgiveness and joy. Share the gift of dance with your family and friends and rediscover the true meaning of the holidays at Happy Holidays. Read More →

Smarty Scoop On Weekend Events November 24-26

14523 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte, NC
November 24 – December 10, See website for schedule, All ages, $25+
Summary: WinterFest is packed with all the sights, sounds, food and experiences of the holiday season. The state line will shine bright with over 5 million shimmering lights, a 70-foot tree and lavish displays. Live shows and strolling performers will be delighting guests and spreading Christmas cheer for all to hear. Festive fun and hands-on holiday activities will be located throughout the park, and sweet aromas from special holiday dishes and desserts will fill the midways. Plus, there will be up to 16 rides open to complete your night of memory making.

The Sound Of Music
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC
November 24-26, See website for schedule, $25 and up
Summary: The Hills Are Alive! A brand new production of The Sound of Music is coming to Charlotte. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy Award® winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song. Read More →

November 21, 2017

Register now for Carolina Flipz’s Flip Flop While You Shop

Carolina Flipz Girls

Our friends at Carolina Flipz are offering stressed out parents and energetic kids an amazing gift. On December 1, they are hosting their super popular Kids Night Out. That means, for four hours the kids can jump, tumble, and swing while YOU can shop, eat, play, and relax. Happy Holidays to Y-O-U!

Here are the details:

Carolina Flipz Flip Flop While You Shop

December 1, 2017
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy Suite B
Pineville, NC 28134

Member – $25
Nonmember – $35
Pizza dinner included

Sign up now by calling 704-544-4511. Space is limited! Read More →

Smarty Toddler Activity: The Little Gym of Charlotte

Recently life awarded me the opportunity to be home full-time with my 2 year old twin girls for about 6 weeks. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about what was in store for me as the last time that I was their sole caregiver during the week was a year prior and they definitely weren’t as quick on their feet or opinionated back then. So, I began researching and planning activities that I felt would be fun, educational and easy for one person to execute successfully with two toddlers. So, I revisited The Little Gym of Charlotte which we had looked into a few months prior and boy am I glad I did!IMG_2924

First and foremost, the fact that it is an enclosed space covered in soft surfaces was glorious to me; I didn’t feel that if I ran after one or helped her learn to do a somersault that I would lose the other one or risk her being seriously injured. THAT was peace of mind from the second we walked through the doors.

Second, within the first 45 minutes of the very first class, I saw my kids grow in how they interacted with others and loved seeing their pride as they realized they could do all these cool new things. The classes and teachers are really amazing at helping build language skills, confidence, fine motor skills and cooperation. Read More →

Smarty Holiday Gift Guide: Ages 0-2


The 2017 Smarty Holiday Toy Gift Guide is sponsored by our favorite local toy store, Toys & Co in Cotswold. Find everything on your child’s wish list and then some at Toys & Co! And guess what? They will wrap every gift BEAUTIFULLY and oh-so-expertly – so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter on Christmas Eve! Check out Toys & Co’s 2017 100 Best Toys List – you’ll have everyone covered on your list!


Gender Neutral:

Spin Again Stacking Toy:
Drop the vibrant discs onto the threaded corkscrew pole and go ooooh as they spin fast and smooth to settle onto the reversible base. Choosing how to set the base is half the fun for your toddler. Pick either the wobble base or turn it over for a solid seat.


Grippies Builder:

Combines tactile and sensory exploration, early engineering, and science and discovery. The soft textured rods and balls, subtle colors, and unique magnetic construction system provide multiple STEM-oriented principles in an early-learning construction toy system.


Tree Top Adventure:

This wooden activity center is packed full of exciting features! Includes 4 quadrants with a variety of activities: 6 tracks with animal-themed gliders, 6 bead runs with colorful wooden beads, a spring flower and more.

treetoptoysco Read More →

Smarty Holiday Gift Guide: Ages 3-5


The 2017 Smarty Holiday Toy Gift Guide is sponsored by our favorite local toy store, Toys & Co in Cotswold. Find everything on your child’s wish list and then some at Toys & Co! And guess what? They will wrap every gift BEAUTIFULLY and oh-so-expertly – so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter on Christmas Eve! Check out Toys & Co’s 2017 100 Best Toys List – you’ll have everyone covered on your list!


Ages 3-5

Gender Neutral

Suction construction! Silicone-rubber suction cup connectors make this creative construction set’s pieces as much fun to pull apart as to put together (great incentive to keep going)! This one will keep boys and girls busy for hours!


Magna Tiles
This super popular magnetic tiles teach spatial relationships, math, logic, and problem-solving through creative building. Can’t go wrong with this one, Smarties.


It’s a Match Memory Game:
Chunky cards for little hands. This is a great game to build vocabulary and the memory muscle.

Latches Barn:
Young kids can work on their pincher grasp and fine motor skills opening and closing each barn door.

Range Rover Ride-on:


How cool is this?! Hop in this AMAZING Range Rover ride-on that will definitely turn heads! Featuring a fully functional steering wheel that gives your child full control of the car, and a fun car horn, your little toddler is going to love cruising around in this luxury ride-on. Sporty and safe, little ones can enjoy hours of fun. Read More →

Smarty Holiday Gift Guide: Ages 6-10


The 2017 Smarty Holiday Toy Gift Guide is sponsored by our favorite local toy store, Toys & Co in Cotswold. Find everything on your child’s wish list and then some at Toys & Co! And guess what? They will wrap every gift BEAUTIFULLY and oh-so-expertly – so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter on Christmas Eve! Check out Toys & Co’s 2017 100 Best Toys List as well as their lists for Ages 6-7, 8-9 and 10-11 – you’ll have everyone covered on your list!


Playmobil or Legos:
Playmobil or Legos are the PERFECT gift for this age. Endless hours of playing – no batteries needed!



Hatchimals Glittering Garden
Hatchimals live inside of eggs. Who’s inside? It’s a surprise! Hold them to hear their heartbeats, flip them for fun, tap and they’ll tap back! Hatchimals can’t hatch without you!
91syZtuHS-L._SL1500_ Read More →

Please Remove Technology from Your Preschooler’s Holiday Gift List

By April Whitlock of Fundanoodle

Fundanoodle no tech 2

As the holiday gift giving season approaches, I am begging parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of preschool age children to strike any touchscreen based gifts off the shopping list.

And I’m not asking you to do this because I own a non-tech, hands-on learning products company. Though, interestingly, I think the founder of all things “i”, Steve Jobs, would have agreed with me since he didn’t allow his own children to use the iPad.

This request comes from years of observing young children in the classroom, meeting with teachers and discussing motor-skill development with occupational therapists. The steady decline in children’s motor skill development is intense, especially over the last 10 years with the prevalence of touchscreen technology being made available to children at younger and younger ages.

“As a pediatric Occupational Therapist, I now get referrals because typically developing, bright children are unable to unzip their lunch boxes or open containers, “said Michelle Yoder an occupational therapists and Center Manager for Carolinas Rehabilitation Pediatric Therapy in Pineville. She continued, “Children often lack the visual motor skills and endurance to color a picture. Their fine motor skills and hand strength are so weak that they are unable to use scissors to snip paper. They can’t put their coats on for recess, button their shirts or manage their clothing at potty time. Many of them are not ready for Kindergarten.” Read More →

November 20, 2017

From the Fletcher School: The Orton-Gillingham Approach to Teaching: How It’s Implemented & How It Benefits A Child’s Learning

An interview with 3 Associate-Level Certified AOGPE Lower School Teachers at The Fletcher School

About our interviewees:

This spring, three Fletcher teachers will be presenting at the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) conference. Held in Charlotte, the conference will be focused on “Unraveling the Mystery of Dyslexia”. In their presentation proposals, Christi Kubeck (M.Ed, A/AOGPE, 3rd grade teacher), Stephanie Sanders (MS, A/AOGPE, 4th Grade teacher) and January Reed (M.Ed, A/AOGPE, 3rd Grade teacher) demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in assistive technology and how it compliments the Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach, resulting in tremendous positive impacts on student learning. Working in teams, they submitted two presentation proposals, both of which were accepted for this conference.

(Photo/Mike McCarn)

(Photo/Mike McCarn)

What’s New in Assistive Technology?, presented by Christi Kubeck and Stephanie Sanders, will focus on specific built-in iPad features, including apps and strategies that support reading comprehension, speech/oral expression, written expression, executive functioning, and data collection using digital portfolios. The session will explore the rich set of accessibility features Apple devices offer and how you can customize them to help diverse learners succeed.

“Appy Hour: Innovation with iPads”, presented by Christi Kubeck and January Reed, will empower educators with innovative lessons to remediate struggling readers, improve spelling, and increase attention using the iPad. During the presentation, a variety of apps will be presented that educators can use to enhance the Orton-Gillingham lesson. The activities will keep students on-task and engaged while sharpening essential reading and spelling skills. Read More →

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