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Parenting notes: Hit up the Great American Backyard Campout

Saturday marks the eighth annual Great American Backyard Campout, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation

Make it a date night

Hit the multiplex Thursday at 7:30 for "Parent's Night Out with The Happiest Baby and Happiest Toddler, starring Dr. Harvey Karp." You'll catch on-screen demos, watch a parenting Q&A and walk away with solutions for some of the trickiest problems today's parents face. Find tickets and theater locations at www.fathomevents.com.

Hit the great outdoors this weekend

Saturday marks the eighth annual Great American Backyard Campout, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. Register your camping plans at www.nwf.org for campfire recipes, a guide to nighttime wildlife, songs and games, plus outdoor activities. You can also fundraise for the organization's conservation efforts and win prizes.

Skin cancer surprise

Melanoma isn't just for grown-ups. Children can get it too; about 500 in the U.S. are diagnosed every year. Kids with dark skin, especially those of Hispanic descent, are at extra risk. Dr. Dennis Hughes, an oncologist specializing in melanoma at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital in Texas, says that childhood melanoma may not present itself the way adult melanoma does -- in more than half of the cases, the dangerous spot looks like a wart and has no pigment. Dr. Hughes also advises keeping an eye out for spots that grow slowly over time, are larger than the size of a pencil eraser and itch, bleed or have an irregular surface.

Free lice screenings

It's not the most glamorous of events, but it might make your summer a little less itchy: Licenders, which makes 100 percent natural lice removal products, is offering free lice screenings all this week, just in time for the start of summer camp. Drop by with your child anytime this week from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (no appointment necessary) at 939 Eighth Ave., Suite 302.

'Potter' programs

"Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Potter Experience" is helping fans get a little closer to the magic. After this Sunday's 5 p.m. performance, audience members are invited to take part in a free Quidditch workshop, leading up to an indoor Quidditch tournament.

After tomorrow's and next Wednesday's 7 p.m. shows, stars Jefferson Turner and Daniel Clarkson will host talkback sessions, where attendees can learn more about how the show -- which is making its American debut -- came together.

Get on the ball

If your kid would love to share the summer with some of tennis' best, encourage him or her to try out for a spot as a U.S. Open ballperson this Thursday. Eighty kids will be chosen by U.S. Open officials based on their running, throwing and catching skills. Registration begins at 3 p.m. at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing.

 
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