Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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August 22, 2017

Smarty Back to School Giveaway # 1: Oliver’s Labels

Happy Back to School season, Smarties! Homework, early alarms, and making lunches aside, who else is ready for school?! I am sooooo excited to kick off a Smarty Back to School Giveaway series – for three day this week we’ll give away a fun item that will make the Back to School transition much easier. Day #1 is to get you a little more organized; Day #2 is for the Smarty students; and Day #3 is for the Smarty moms (because don’t we deserve a treat for making it through summer?!). :-) Keep checking in today through Wednesday for some cool Back to School swag!orig_1

First up is my family’s absolute school (and summer camp!) necessity – Oliver’s Labels. We started using these forever-hold gems several years ago and now literally couldn’t live without them. I label everything – from t-shirts to sweatshirts, water bottles to lunch boxes, flip flops, tennis shoes, and more. Oliver’s Labels are so durable that we STILL have labels on clothes that have been handed down from boy #1 to boy #3. No Sharpies for us (although my Sharpies are labeled with Oliver’s Labels!). Read More →

August 21, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Preparing for the first day of Kindergarten

By Smarty Guest Blogger Holly G. Smith, MD FAAP, Signature Pediatrics

Ready or not – here it comes, the first day of school! No need to worry about what your kindergartener knows or doesn’t know. Kindergarten is the great equalizer for bringing children with different backgrounds up to speed and ready for first grade. But let’s talk about getting your child ready for the first few days of kindergarten.Kindergarten ready

Some simple preparation can help smooth the transition to school. First of all, discuss kindergarten with your child. Talk positively about what will happen at school, the fun things she will do, and about meeting new friends. If you can, explain briefly what the daily schedule will be like. Don’t overdo it – if your child seems uninterested or anxious when talking about school back off a bit and do not force the conversation. The goal is for kindergarten to sound like something to look forward to rather than fear. If possible, visit the school and meet the teacher prior to the start of school so your child will be a little bit familiar with the surroundings on the first day.

Self-reliance for daily tasks is important. For instance, a child should be able to manage his or her own clothing when using the bathroom. If you are packing lunch, make sure your child can open food containers and packages. Prepare your child for transportation to and from school. Let them know who will be picking them up or meeting them at the bus.
One of the biggest concerns for parents is handling drop-off. In general, it is best to make drop-off a brief, positive, reassuring experience. A quick hug and a light “see you later” often works best. Children may cry, and prolonging drop-off by staying with your child often only makes this worse. Do follow the teacher’s lead however, and be prepared to stay for a few minutes if the teacher feels this will be helpful. Some children like to have a token from home to help them feel secure, such as a familiar small toy, sticker or other item. We used a small glass heart that my daughter could keep in her pocket and hold if she needed reassurance. Read More →

August 15, 2017

Head to Camp Thunderbird this Sunday and check out Y Guides!

charlotte smarty pants Y guides 610 x 272

Our Smarty friends at YMCA Camp Thunderbird are hosting an afternoon of fun this Sunday and for a good reason – for you to learn about their AMAZING program called Y Guides. If you’re not familiar with this program, you are missing out. It is hands down our favorite daddy/child activity that builds memories of a lifetime. The Y Guides Open House this Sunday will be packed with F-U-N for your entire family – so load up your Smarty minivans and head to Lake Wylie! Read on!

Camp Thunderbird is hosting the Y Guides Open House to showcase the Y Guides program for dads. Y Guides is unique because it is designed just for dads so they can build bonds with their kids (ages 5 and up) through meetings, traditions, volunteer work and special events together. You’ll also have a chance to meet the creative directors and sample the camp’s popular activities like field games, canoeing, paddle boarding and more. Read More →

August 9, 2017

FINAL LAST CALL!! YMCA Camp Harrison End of Summer Session 9 NEXT WEEK!

This is the last reminder for your very last chance at the most amazing summer camp in our state! Our Smarty friends at YMCA Camp Harrison saved the BEST for LAST! And at a Super Smarty Steal – $350 for Aug 13-16 and FREE activities!

Session 9 is perfect for a first-time camper or just for fun to extend summer a little bit longer. We LOVE Camp Harrison – best summer tradition ever!

Camp Harrison Session 9
Read More →

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: your most valuable school supply

Back to school image
By our friends at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Is someone in your home heading back to school? Don’t forget the most valuable back-to-school tool – Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

First, let’s talk library cards.

Library cards are FREE for all students attending any school in Mecklenburg County, and they offer so much value! If you don’t have one, apply right now to access resources to help with school and so much more.

If you have a child in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, your child also has a ONE Access account – so one number (a CMS student ID number) is all your child needs! Find out more about how ONE Access is providing CMS students with the resources they need to succeed!

A library card unlocks a world of possibilities.

Get help with homework, when you need it. Math homework stressing you out? With your library card, you get free access to professional tutors that can help with homework, studying, projects, essay writing and test prep in every subject, including algebra, statistics, chemistry, physics, social studies and English. All sessions are online and one-to-one with a live tutor, and Spanish-speaking tutors are also available. Learn more about the Library’s tutoring resource,

Access tons of resources, wherever you are. Below are some of the most commonly used by students. Find many more here.

Elementary School
Lands and People: information on countries, cultures and current events
– PowerKnowledge: Earth & Space Science, Life Science and Physical Science
ProQuest Central: General reference database for more than 175 subjects

Middle School
US Newstream: content from national and international newspapers
Science in Context: reference content plus magazines, journals and more
SIRS Knowledge Source: articles, primary sources, websites and graphics
Teen Health & Wellness: written for middle and high school students
World Book Online: interactive online encyclopedia

High School and beyond
Learning Express Library: interactive practice tests and skill-building courses
Literature Resource Center: author bios, bibliographies and critical analyses
NoveList Plus: thousands of reading recommendations

Get a little help with learning a new language. Pronunciator covers 80 languages offering a range of language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. It’s easy for any age, from toddlers to adults. And you can access it from your computer or mobile device. Find out how to learn a new language with the Library.

Access resources in the classroom. Are you a teacher in Mecklenburg County? Did you know the Library offers Teacher Loan Cards by request? These card enable educators to borrow items for extended periods for classroom use. Find out how to apply at

And, if you are a teacher or staff member in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, you have access to a ONE Access account to help you stock your classroom with even more educational resources.

Build your at-home library. All Charlotte Mecklenburg Library locations have ongoing book sales in which gently-used books are sold at bargain prices to make room for newer materials. This is a great opportunity for teachers to find titles to add to classroom libraries, or families to stock their bookshelves at home. Visit your nearest branch and ask about the ongoing book sale.

And don’t forget to log your reading and activities for Summer Break!

Summer is flying by, but there is still plenty of time left to read, learn and explore with Summer Break. Prizes are drawn weekly, so be sure to log your reading and activities!

August 3, 2017

LAST CALL for Summer Camp: YMCA Camp Harrison Hosting End of Summer Session 9 Aug 13-16!

Our Smarty friends at YMCA Camp Harrison saved the BEST for LAST! And at a Super Smarty Steal – $350 for Aug 13-16 and FREE activities! Sign.Me.Up.

Session 9 is perfect for a first-time camper or just for fun to extend summer a little bit longer. We LOVE Camp Harrison – best summer tradition ever!

Camp Harrison Session 9
Read More →

July 27, 2017

Get a jump start on what your kids are doing this fall, so you can relax for the rest of summer. The YMCA’s got you covered.


So, it’s that time of summer when us parents start to stress out about fall. Even if we’re sitting at the pool enjoying our weekend and feeling the warm sun on our faces, nagging questions are starting to creep in and plague us, like, “What are my kids going to be doing after school?” And, “Should I try to line up a tutor for math soon?”

Well, the YMCA wants you to enjoy the rest of your summer worry free by signing up now for their Fall Sports and Afterschool programs. The Y really is more than a gym. It’s committed to offering programs like these that help develop and nurture the whole child, from the inside out.

Kick confidence into over drive with Fall Sports

Kids who play sports discover so much more than their athletic abilities. Sure, they get stronger and learn skills that make them a better player. But they also discover the delight of being a part of a team, what working together accomplishes and what it feels like to gain confidence with each new practice.2014-06-24_AOF_8804_RGB

Soccer is huge at the Y every fall for kids ages 5 to 18. Trained volunteer coaches introduce young players to the fundamentals of the game like passing, possession and defending through drills and exercises. And there is competitive league play for more experienced athletes. Read More →

July 25, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner and Palisades Episcopal School: Social Media Options for Kids

by Melissa Puno, Middle School Director, Palisades Episcopal School

Online communication, especially via social media, is becoming an increasingly necessary skill for children to acquire. But, exposing our children to social media can be a daunting thought for most parents, especially when many of the most commonly-used social media platforms provide little to no filtering of adult content, offer only minimal identity protection, and are rarely monitored. However, as much as it is a parent’s job to protect their children from the dangers of social media, we also have a responsibility to help our children learn to engage with peers online in appropriate and healthy ways.

Photo source:

Photo source:

Thankfully, there is hope in the growing number of safer, regulated social media options available for kids, as well as in the availability of websites such as that enable parents to read critical reviews on apps and websites prior to their children’s use. thoroughly reviews apps and websites for kids in order to identify the strengths and pitfalls parents should consider.

Below is a list of several safer apps and websites for kids organized by age and interest.

Kindergarten Through Early School Age

Of the many options available for younger children, most websites offer opportunities to explore digital “communities” largely centered around games and toys. In many cases, these websites are designed to stoke a child’s interest in the toy or game for marketing purposes. Because young children have not yet acquired the communication and interpersonal skills for chatting and “friending,” the focus of these websites is on communal game-playing and earning points to buy virtual accessories, rather than socializing. There’s some messaging between friends, but most sites allow young kids to post messages using only prewritten, generic phrases or words from a tightly restricted dictionary. Kids can’t share personal information like a home address. Some of the most popular include: Read More →

July 18, 2017

From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: Get Set for Kindergarten

July Blog Post Image - Get Set 4 K

By our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

You are either reading this article thinking, how dare they bring up going back to school – we are having too much fun this summer to think about school! Or, you are now day dreaming about the not-so-distant future when your children will finally be back in the care of their amazing teachers.

Either way, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library can be your partner in enjoying the summer with your children while preparing them to enter kindergarten. Whether your child is starting school in the fall, or the following year or two, we’ve got you covered.

Break in that new back pack by checking out some books

Kindergarten is a time when your child will begin developing the skills they need to read on their own. Check out this suggested reading list for rising kindergarteners developed by early literacy experts at the Library. This list is sure to keep your child reading for the fun of it all summer long. And check out Tumblebooks, Story Place and the Autism Reference Collection for even more titles and interactive literacy tools.

Remember, reading doesn’t have to be a solo activity – shared reading experiences with a family member are a great bonding and learning activity. And, don’t forget to log your reading for Summer Break! Read More →

June 22, 2017

Need some more kid activities now that summer is in full swing? We gotcha covered with the Smarty Camp Guide!


Rain, rain go away, our kids are driving us CRAY-CRAY!! We have a feeling you haven’t signed your kids up for enough activities to fill the long summer days! So we’re revisiting our Smarty Camp Guide – tried and true by Smarty Charlotte!

Smarty Education Partners

Charlotte Christian School

2017 Charlotte Christian Summer Camp Logo - 300x250Established in 1950, Charlotte Christian School is a Christ-centered, college preparatory, independent, non-denominational school serving students in grades JK-12. Our vision for students includes the integration of a Biblical worldview into a curriculum where character, values and essential life skills are emphasized and modeled by a professional and dedicated faculty. A rigorous academic program is offered including strong co-curricular offerings with successful athletic and fine arts programs. For more information, schedule a tour of campus, attend an open house or visit, please visit our website.

Charlotte Christian Summer Camps are available beginning June 5. Learn more about Charlotte Christian’s camps for academics, arts, sports and technology.

Charlotte Christian LogoCharlotte Christian School
7301 Sardis Road
Charlotte, NC 28270
(704) 366-5657
Twitter: @charchristiannc
Instagram: @charlottechristianschool

Charlotte Country Day School

Charlotte Country Day School Summer Programs offers a wide variety of enrichment, sports, and academic camps to meet the needs of students ages 3-18. Weekly camps run from June 5 to August 11, with prices and times varying by camp. Some of the enrichment offerings include art, drama, cooking, video game development, robotics, science, and more. Athletic offerings include lacrosse, tennis, basketball, soccer, running, football, golf, and field hockey. We’re excited to introduce the Summer Institute, which offers high school students a variety of unique, weeklong academic enrichment experiences in support of specific skill development and student curiosity. Visit the website for more details on the more than 200 camps offered or contact Michael Rinehart (704) 943-4648.

NOTE: NEW LOCATION FOR 2017 – Bissell Campus, 5936 Green Rea Road (located four miles from main Cannon Campus off Carmel Road).

Click here for more info on CCDS Summer Programs.

CCDS Logo Color Exploration Round 03 BOLDER 2

Charlotte Country Day School
1440 Carmel Road
Charlotte, NC 28226

Charlotte Latin School

Charlotte Latin Logo
Looking for a great place to send your kids this summer? Check out Charlotte Latin Summer Programs! We offer half-day and full-day camps for children ages 3- to 18-years-old. Seven weekly sessions are available with options for 9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free-of-charge, supervised lunch hour for full day campers is provided. We also offer extended care service from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at $100 per week ($50 each).

Join us for another fun summer of CAMP VICTOR. Camp Victor is a traditional day camp run on the campus of Charlotte Latin. Our themed weeks for 2017 are: Curious Carolina Kids, Glow for it!, Moovin’ & Groovin’ Fitness, Party in the USA, Camp Victor’s Got Talent, Tie-Dye Disco, and Bugs & Botanicals. Each week, students will field journal in our on-campus woods; splash and play on inflatable water slides; experience science hands-on and engage in cooperative team-building games! Camp Victor tuition includes a full day of activities, a daily boxed lunch, and before- and after-camp care.

Interested in engineering and technology? We have one of the only MIT certified FabLabs (Fabrication Lab) in the country. Students come home at the end of the week with one-of-a-kind engineered masterpieces. Young Engineers of Today camps are designed and taught by STEM educators with more than 20 years of experience in engineering and programming. Charlotte Latin’s hands-on approach to technology education transforms campers into technology creators. We offer a variety of engineering programs involving dinosaurs, fashion design, underwater robots, to drones and Star Wars.

Charlotte Latin School
9502 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC 28277a
twitter: @charlottelatin Read More →

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