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Winter seems to be lagging along across the US, but soon schools everywhere will close down and students will exit to Spring Break. Teachers find this time refreshing as they can spend a few moments focusing on themselves and their own families. Kids relish the time off to get outside and begin the pre-rumblings of summer fun. Parents look for solutions to make the days go faster until school is back in session.
Spring Break should be a fun time for relaxation and (I hope) a fun time for outside adventure. It is the perfect opportunity for parents to take some time off and enjoy being a kid. Here are some ideas to do just that and sneak in a little learning in while keeping your kids busy throughout the week.
1. Encourage Journaling--Journaling is a great way for student to explore learning and practice writing. Encourage your child to journal using prompts. Buy a special book to decorate and keep track of the daily things they do over Spring Break. Find a new place outside to sit and write down everything you can see or hear. Or, start a child and parent journal. Encourage your child to write about what they are reading. Then, write back to your child, asking him or her to elaborate or telling them about some of your favorite books or childhood memories.
2. Turn Off the Tech—Our world is full of technology and it seems it has found its way into every aspect of our lives. Try something different by putting it all away. Make mud puddles, play cars, toss a ball, play a board game, or sit and ask each other silly questions. Play some of your favorite childhood games. Check out this list if you need a reminder of the rules and make memories with your kids.
3. Become a Virtual Pen Pal-- While social media tools like Facebook and twitter may be off-limits for your younger students, parents can encourage students to stay in touch with classmates via private blogs or email. Here is an article with suggestions for safe sites for elementary students. You can also look into pen pal programs online. This allows kids to practice and see the importance of good reading and writing skills. Communicating clearly is a learned skill.
4. Create Learning Experiences through Play—Learning is everywhere in the house. The kitchen is full of mixing and chemistry. Bake a new recipe together. See what happens when you mix different liquids together. Go outside and find science in the world. Set up an experiment with rocks. Look for living thing in the yard. Too cold, create a "Mini med-school" with your kid's stuffed animals. Ramp your cars and see which one rolls the farthest. Ask kids why the think things happen and have fun getting messy.
5. Get Your Groove On--Music can be a great way to encourage vocabulary growth and mathematical comprehension. So, pick up some favorite CD's and listen with your kids. Try a new genre of music or find some oldies from when you were a kid. While you are at it, dance and be silly. Not only are you helping with brain development, you are moving and shaking to add some physical activity into your day.
6. Find a new Genre—when I read I find myself searching for similar books in similar genres. Kids tend to have favorites as well. Take a trip to your local library, book store, or thrift shop and find two books you would not normally pick out. Think outside the box with magazines, comic books, animate, and nonfiction. Find your favorite book from childhood and read it with your child. You may just find a new author or series you can’t put down.
7. List it All-- Challenge your kids to keep lists this break. Have them list all the things in their closet, make a grocery list for you, start on that Christmas list, make a list of the things they want to know more about, and list all the people they admire. Keep a record of what your family is doing during the break. Keep track of the special things and events as well as the silly everyday things you do. Interview people in your family or neighborhood and compare their experiences to your own. Writing is not always paragraphs and stories and essays. Use lists to practice writing skills.
8. Go on a Treasure Hunt—Put math to play around the house. Measure things from anywhere in the house or yard for length, volume, or weight (who can find the longest, biggest, heaviest); find patterns and shapes around the yard (who can find the most unusual), look for numbers in every room of your house (who can find all digits 1-10)? Be as creative as you can with your treasure hunt challenge to seek out math.
9. Get Out and Go—There are so many things in your local area to do. Be sure to visit museums, zoos, or just head outdoors. Look for living and non-living things, solids and liquids and gases, or plants and animals. Find a spot and observe all you can and then after five minutes look for something you have not noticed yet. Go for a nature walk and collect items along your journey. Enjoy the beginning of spring and the freshness of outdoors after this cold winter.
We spend so much time looking at the calendar and wishing for the next event to come. As Spring Break approaches and we look forward to it with anticipation, think about stopping time for a moment or a day and doing something with your kids. Pick something on the list. Go out. Have fun. Put a little spring in your break and be a kid again![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]