1. Hooray for Screen Free Week!

    Hooray for Screen Free Week!

    Did you know that the week of April 30-May 6 is Screen-Free Week? Yep, it's time to unplug (except for work and studying), and give our tired brains a rest.

    As wonderful as most technology is these days, the distraction screens cause in us and, especially, in our kids, needs to be shelved every once in a while. For this one glorious week, all families, schools, and communities are encouraged to unplug and remember what is was like before we carried mini-computers in our pockets.

    As a society, it almost feels as if without our devices, we would be totally lost. According to Time magazine, adults check their phones an average of 47 times a day...for kids ages 12 and over, it's almost double. It's time to unplug, time to explore, time to reconnect with each other.

    You are not alone if the panic of trying to find a family activity that kids will enjoy doing without a screen sends you into a tailspin. Here are a few suggestions for all ages to get out and play, brought to you by Charleston's own Magic Makers!

    Building Sets - Creating a structure out of a pile of bricks or shapes is satisfying for any age. The sense of accomplishment and self-confidence kids feel after completing this sort of task is immeasurable. There is a certain excitement when a sealed box of Magna-Tiles, LEGOS, or just plain wooden blocks, is opened. That proverbial light bulb in all of us illuminates those growing brains, and creativity is unleashed. With no screens, imagination kicks in. Entire families have the opportunity to ask themselves, "What will we build today?"

     

    Plus-Plus Basic Tube

     

    Board Games - It's pure pleasure watching little ones learn good sportsmanship, strategy, and team building through games. But at some point, kids start losing interest. Out come those pesky devices, again. Don't they know the noise of a cat video (no matter how cute) can never compare to the laughter and groans of a family sitting together to play a board game? A weekly family game night, absolutely no screens allowed, is the perfect way to reconnect with our kids. Remember how much fun charades was when we were growing up? It's time to force our offspring to make fools of themselves in front of family, just like we did. Maybe they'll learn a little something, too.

     

    Tenzi Dice Game

     

    Go Outside - Those of us lucky enough to live in the lowcountry know the magic of Magnolia trees, biting bugs, sandy beaches, and so much more! When the natural view is as breathtaking as it is in South Carolina, screens can just be downright ugly. Leave the devices in the car, go outside, and play. It sounds so simple, but over-scheduled families can have a tough time enjoying nature. Make outdoor time family time. As Mary Poppins once said, "Let's go fly a kite!" Pick your fav local beach or county park, grab the kids and go! Having a beach as a backyard opens up so many opportunities for families to spend time together, sans technology. Take advantage of it, and enjoy that gorgeous coastline!

     

    Kidz Slider

     

    All of us at Wonder Works are tickled pink about Screen Free Week! Good old fashioned play time was the cornerstone of Christine Osborne's mission when she and Dan started this company, and it remains our guiding principle to this day. When Wonder Works was founded in 1990, the world wide web was in its infancy and none of us could have dreamed of the major role it would play in our families' lives. Screen Free Week is a great opportunity to show our kids what life was like when we were little, when we had to be coaxed inside and away from swings, sprinklers, and bike rides. Let's take this week to appreciate our families and friends, without searching for an outlet or a charger.

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  2. Silhouette Artist Clay Rice

    Silhouette Artist Clay Rice

    Our favorite son of the South, Clay Rice, will be in our Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley stores this weekend!

    This world-renowned artist and children's book author is a favorite visitor of ours, a true gentleman that hails from three generations of extraordinary silhouette artists. Having Clay in our stores always causes a flurry of excitement, for customers and staff alike.

    His gentle nature and impish grin immediately put everyone at ease, especially the subject of the silhouette at hand. Even the most restless child suddenly sits still, watching in awe as Clay swiftly trims a piece of plain black paper into a perfect likeness of him or her.

    A few minutes and a flurry of scissors is all it takes for Clay to create an original masterpiece to hang in the family home. Taught this unique art form by his grandfather, Carew Rice, Clay Rice is a master 21st century folk artist who still travels the South creating his art.

    It's no wonder he was described by author Pat Conroy as a "great talent who combines soul and passion."

    As I'm sure y'all know, we Southerners are sticklers for tradition, and taking children to have a hand-cut silhouette is certainly a low country tradition. Walking into a room, seeing a past generation of a family's young children hung alongside the current generation, you know you are in a true southerner's house.

    Made popular in the early 1800s, these "shadow portraits" were all the rage, long before the invention of photography. In this digital age, silhouettes have become a lovely reminder of simpler days, as well as a unique heirloom for families to cherish.

     

    As well as his awesome talent as a silhouette artist, Clay Rice is also an accomplished children's book author. His award-winning books combine simple, heartfelt text with absolutely stunning silhouette scenes. Each book hearkens the reader back to the joys of childhood...the mysteries of the moon in the sky, or the inner workings of a child's imagination.

     

    Clay is always happy to sign his books as well, so feel free to bring your favorite to our stores this weekend. If your child hasn't experienced a bedtime story by Clay Rice yet, we always have his titles in stock.

     

    Visit our Event page to reserve a spot today! We'll see y'all this weekend!

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  3. 7 Magical Gifts for Merry Mermaids

    7 Magical Gifts for Merry Mermaids

    I truly believe that Charleston is the best place in the world to live; just ask any travel magazine or any of the new residents migrating here in droves. Seriously, there is a reason why people from all over the world choose to either vacation or settle down here, and I believe I know the main reason. This lovely city of ours has mermaids. Yep, real live mermaids!

     

    The Weeki Wachee Mermaids grace us with their shimmery presence once a year, for a few short days, at the SC Aquarium downtown. I take my kids every year, and they love watching those beauties swim gracefully through the Great Tank. The magic of believing in mermaids fills our heads as we plan our aquarium excursion this weekend.

     

    We know the myths and the legends, but what if they really do exist? Imagine the possibilities, and the undersea life mermaids and mermen lead...if only for a few hours, on an ordinary family visit, right here in our hometown. Wonder Works Magic Makers believe in magic, so we will see you there.

     

    Did I mention that SC Aquarium members receive 10% off in all four of our stores? Just show your membership card at the register when shopping our magical mermaid selection - so much to choose from for every mermaid-loving believer in your family!

     

    Encourage the magic of mermaids long after the Weeki Wachee mermaids have gone back to their grottoes with these fabulous finds:

     

    Blankie Tails Mermaid Blankets

     

    Blankie Tails Mermaid Blankets - Adults and kids alike can snuggle up in these super soft mermaid blankets that give the illusion that legs are now fins. Crawl inside and experience the coziness of these "blankies" that never lose their softness, no matter how many times they get tossed in the washing machine!

     

    Rainbow Mermaid Tail

     

    Speaking of imaginative play, why not fulfill those mermaid dreams with a quick-dry lycra mermaid tail? Gliding just under the water's surface at the neighborhood pool, flapping a realistic, multi-colored Fin Fun Mermaid Tail? It's an aquatic fantasy come true, and yes, these fabulous fins are available in adult sizes as well as kids' sizes!

     

    Little Mermaid Dive Wands
    Little Mermaid Dive Characters

     

    Younger mermaids in the family can practice diving, with or without their tails, by swimming to the bottom in search of The Little Mermaid Dive Wands and Dive Characters. These weighted, water-proof toys are brand new this summer, and feature everyone's fave mermaid, Ariel!

     

    Mermaid Hair Kit

     

    Whether wearing your new tail, or headed to a party, this Mermaid Hair Kit is certain to turn heads! Inspired by our oceanic sisters, this kit includes green/blue temporary hair color mists (perfect underwater camouflage), mermaid scale stencils and makeup, and stick-on gems for a flawless mermaid effect!

     

    Sequin Mermaid Lunch Tote

     

    Want to freshen up while swimming or hanging out with fishy friends? The Sequin Mermaid Lunch Tote is a perfect carrying case for all of your mermaid accessories (and snacks)! With a simple swipe of a hand (or fin, your choice), the mesmerizing greenish-turquoise sequins change to black! A great looking bag for a mermaid on the go!

     

    Sequin Mermaid Tail Pillow
    Mermaid Pillow

     

    Mermaid Pillows - There are two styles available, both favorites of the merteen and mermom crowds! The absolutely stunning Sequin Mermaid Tail Pillow is lovely to look at, delighting all senses when "magic" sequins are gently rubbed causing a shimmering, color-changing effect! The Mermaid Pillow features a classic mermaid beauty mid-swim, with delicate beaded accents on her tail! This pillow looks fabulous on a summer porch swing, or as an accent pillow on a bed or favorite chair.

     

    Really Mermaid PopSocket

     

    Really Mermaid PopSocket - I'd like to think that merfolk have evolved and adapted just like us humans. I just can't envision mermaids hanging out on rocks to get the attention of passing ships, not in this day and age. Rumor has it they use cell phones to communicate with each other, as well as land dwelling mammals and the random sailor every now and then. PopSockets help keep phones steady and easier to grip while taking pictures, answering a call, or watching a video...especially handy for those with a little webbing between the fingers!

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  4. THIS FRIDAY: Bridge Run Kids Run & Wonderfest

    THIS FRIDAY: Bridge Run Kids Run & Wonderfest

    Gear up for the Cooper River Bridge Run Kids Run & Wonderfest, the largest FREE Family Festival in Charleston!

     

    Join us in Hampton Park in Downtown Charleston on Friday, April 6th from 11:00am-6:00pm for FREE activities, free food, and a FREE TOY for every child!

     

    Kids of all ages can participate in the Kids Run - just register by Wednesday, April 4th! No registration required for other activities.

     

     

    11AM: Festivities Begin!

    Face painting

    Jump Castles

    Musical performances by Southbound 17 and The Lauren Hall Band

    Arts & Crafts with Art Buzz Kids

    Petting Zoo

    Pony Rides

    Climbing Wall

     

    Food:

    Free options (While supplies last.) – hotdogs, Krispy Kreme Donuts

    For purchase – Domino’s Pizza & MORE!

     

    4PM: Race warm-up

     

    5PM: Race Time!

    Races Follow Order Below:

    Toddler Waddler

    ¼ mile

    1 mile

     

    Bring your running shoes and your biggest smiles! We can't wait to see you there!

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  5. 5 Must-Have Outdoor Toys for Spring

    5 Must-Have Outdoor Toys for Spring

    The flowers are blooming, the beach is beckoning, and Spring is definitely in the air! After we all survived the great snowfall of '18 here in Charleston, it's time to get outside and play!

     

    If climbing, swinging, riding, and jumping are on your family's warm weather to-do list, then you can't go wrong with these must-have active toys for Spring and Summer!

     

    With nothing but sunshine on the horizon, it's time to get the whole family outside and moving! Turn your backyard into the ultimate personalized playground with these best-selling outdoor toys for kids of all ages:

     

    Swurfer - Made locally on John's Island, this solid maple swing is the talk of the lowcountry! Its unique shape and wooden contoured handles give users a sensation of flying! Just like kite-boarding without the water! But no need to worry, the little ones can have just as much fun as big kids on this swing! Children as young as 4 years of age enjoy sitting in the super comfy curvature of the Swurfer, gently swinging in the summer sun. The perfect outdoor swing for all ages!

     

    Swurfer Swing

     

    EDIT: BRAND NEW to the Swurfer family! The Swurfer Kick is the lightweight, affordable, perfectly proportioned swing alternative for younger kids and families on the go:

     

    Swurfer Kick Swing

     

    Dreamcatcher Swing - This colorful, handwoven swing by B4Adventures is big enough for everyone to get a turn on the swing! Up to four kids can swing together, and the steel frame holds up to 400lbs., ensuring a fun time for all!

     

    Dreamcatcher Swing

    For all in one backyard fun, try the Ninja Line Intro kit for your little ninjas! This sturdy kit is easy to install and provides hours of exercise, strength training, and of course FUN! Seven hanging obstacles are included, with more obstacles available for purchase to keep the course fresh for kids of all ages! Add the hanging climbing rope and the rope ladder for an extra fun, challenging playtime!

     

    Ninja Line

     

    Even toddlers can get in on the fun of going for a bike ride! Whether it's a ride around the neighborhood, or an adventure on a bike path at a beautiful county park, the whole family can ride together. The Mini2Go Scooter is an ingenious scooter for even the youngest in your brood...with the turn of the included tool, this scooter goes from a sit-on trike to a stand-up 3 wheel scooter! The Mini2Go grows with your child, providing years of riding fun!

     

    Mini2Go Scooter

     

    Lastly, for indoor/outdoor fun, grab an inflatable Farm Hopper. These farm animals are ready to give toddlers a ride, even on rainy days! Choose from a dog, pig, rabbit, or a cow! Kids love to hop to it on these sturdy cuties!

     

    Farm Hopper

     

    Happy Spring y'all!

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  6. 5 Gifts to Celebrate Women's History

    5 Gifts to Celebrate Women's History

    In the 1980s, a Presidential Proclamation was issued declaring March to be National Women's History Month. Finally, history-making women would be brought to the forefront and nationally recognized for their achievements in making our world a better place.

    The importance of educating our children about these amazing females cannot be stressed enough...they are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters.

    So it's time to celebrate those brave wonderful women who came before us, to teach our growing girls to never stop dreaming, and to know that they can make a difference in any field they choose to study.

    Every single day of National Women's History Month is an opportunity for teachable moments. We can encourage our daughters and grand-daughters, from toddlers to teens, by our own example. There are board games, books, and other items we can give to encourage and educate the future generation of female thinkers, movers, and makers. Here are a few gift ideas to help prove that girls do indeed rock.

     
    Books Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls Vol. 1 & 2. Beautifully illustrated, each volume highlights the lives of 100 extraordinary women in a fairy tale format. For younger girls, Amelia Who Could Fly is a visually stunning storybook about the life and adventures of a young Amelia Earhart. And women of every age can appreciate Strong Is the New Pretty, a celebration of the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves These books prove that dreams can come true and inspire girls to believe in themselves!
     

    Shop Rebel Girls

     
    Board Games - Growing up, girls are often told to play "nice." But strategy, tactile maneuvers, cooperation, and critical thinking are crucial in the real world, and board games are a great way to teach those skills. Games like Pandemic, Evolution, and Outfoxed depend on teammates working together, solving puzzles, and maybe even finding the cure for an out of control virus! Let your voice be heard, and take your team to victory.
     

    Shop Pandemic

     
    STEM Toys - In 2017, women made up only 15-25% of the STEM workforce worldwide. Some research suggests that gender role stereotyping is to blame, and we can help those numbers by sparking interest in our girls with STEM toys and activities. Build a Green Rocket with recycled objects, collect and study backyard bugs with a Bug Vacuum, or learn how circuits work with a Snap Circuits 3D set! Girls of all ages can be future forces in the ever growing STEM field; all they need is encouragement and the right tools.
     

    Shop Snap Circuits

     
    Role Play Costumes - When little girls play dress up, they are actually role playing, emulating those grown-ups they see around them. How about introducing a fire fighter costume into that dress up trunk? Or a police officer? Male dominated fields are soon becoming a thing of the past, with women finally finding the courage to go after their dream jobs like never before. Jobs our Grandmothers didn't know women could do, because they were told they couldn't.
     

    Shop Doctor Costume

     
    Express Yourself - In the past decade, more accomplishments from women have been uncovered and brought to light like never before. Our history is one to be proud of, and fearless girls can express  that inner spunk with something so simple as a trendy FIERCE clutch that announces her arrival in a room, or a pair of socks that matches her thoughts without ever having to say a word!
     

    Shop Socks

     
    When women support each other with love and self awareness, along with education and information about the women who came before us...that is the key to changing Women's History Month into a year round celebration for us all. We owe it to our daughters.
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