Having your kids home for the summer is great, but sometimes keeping them entertained all day can be challenging. The “mom publishers” behind hit website Macaroni Kid want to help. Their parenting newsletters and online hub offer a window to fun and affordable events happening in the community, to help parents and caregivers plan enriching activities for kiddos.
Macaroni Kid is a national organization with over 500 regional editions, offering community-specific events and activities. The southeast metro edition covers family-friendly events in Woodbury, Oakdale, Cottage Grove and Stillwater. Every week, publisher Emily Bowman—who lives in Woodbury with her own family—puts together the southeast Metro newsletter, sending a variety of fun ideas to subscribers’ inboxes.
The national edition of Macaroni Kid offers articles including parenting advice, craft ideas, safety tips, travel inspiration and product reviews. The regional newsletters highlight local events like camps, shows and exhibits. Often, ticket giveaways are included for exclusive events like Disney on Ice or special exhibits at museums. The southeast metro site includes an events calendar where users can click on a date to see a comprehensive list of things to do. The calendar focuses on free and low-cost activities that are accessible to families of all kinds.
Publisher Bowman connects with local businesses, churches, libraries, nature centers, museums and performing arts centers to find events to feature on the calendar. She also encourages users to reach out to her directly with ideas.
Bowman began as a subscriber herself, using Macaroni Kid to find outings in Woodbury to experience with her two sons. When the previous southeast metro publisher mom decided to step down in 2013, Bowman offered to take on the position. “It’s also my creative outlet,” Bowman says.
Nationally, Macaroni Kid organizes initiatives and events that local chapters participate in. For example, a national day of service takes place in September, and Macaroni Kid local editions, like southeast metro, put on food drives, diaper drives and other charity-driven events that work to enrich the community. “In July, we have a national day of play, where we encourage readers to take time to hang out as a family and make it really special,” Bowman says.
Macaroni Kid also seeks to empower parents, especially moms. “Working as a publisher mom gives you freedom with hours and also the opportunity to create partnerships in the community, which is really empowering,” Bowman says. “It’s a great creative and social outlet for moms.”
Macaroni Kid is also a place where parents can meet other families in the community. Subscribers and publishers are active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and encourage parents to engage on social media. Many parents share events and communicate with each other about parenting advice there.
So what are some of Emily Bowman’s favorite picks for summer activities in Woodbury? She says they all include the outdoors. “My boys are really active, so we like to do anything outside that lets us enjoy the weather,” she says. Some perennial favorites for her family include Madison’s Place Playground, Lake Elmo Park Reserve and Colby Lake, where she and her sons walk, bike and play.