With Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day just past and Spring Break rapidly approaching, it is time to find ways to keep children occupied and engaged at home. Breaks from school used to mean a lazy day or weeks spent lounging around the house until boredom hit. Instead, parents can easily transform the “I’m bored” blues into excitement by sharing novel ways for children to exercise their minds and their bodies. Moreover, it is good for parents, too!
Keep on reading and writing: Breaks from school are a fantastic time to activate the imagination. Nothing beats the comfort and excitement of snuggling up to a great book. Alternatively, create a memory book or journal. Writing is an excellent way to preserve family memories and get kids to explore with their imaginations. Even tiny kids can benefit from journaling. Research shows that young children enjoy exploring writing and that their scribbles and scrawls have meaning. No matter how old the child is, reading and writing is a great way to engage the brain in a creative and inspiring way.
Try a camp: Many recreational centers offer special day camps for days off from school. In addition, there are a plethora of seasonal camps, such as winter or summer camps, which are designed to offer a balance of fun, learning, and physical activity. Camps are an easy solution for families to may need to work or are simply catching up on holiday shopping and errands.
Many kids offer different programs for school-age kids, tweens, teens, and even preschoolers. Some even have a focus on math or science in a fun, inviting way. One science camp offers sessions about the magic of flight and a number of ‘hands-on’ them activities like; “Volcano Blast,” “Helicopter Propellers,” and even “Balloon Rockets.” No matter what the focus, most camps integrate physical activity with all core-learning areas such as literacy, science, math, and creative expression.
Turn chores into family fun: Most people forget how simple it is to turn everyday tasks, like cooking, cleaning, and repairing things around the house into a shared, fun time. Come up with ways that you can make household responsibilities kid-friendly and fun. It is a way of spending quality time together while also checking off items on your to-do list. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. When you cook together with children, you are exposing them to measurements, mixing, and properties of solids and liquids. All of these help kids learn about math and science. For example, you can have your child measure out flour or show him or her how oil and water separate in a bowl.
2. Cleaning a room – any room – can be fun when you are racing against the clock. Kids love the challenge of a timed activity. If they beat the clock and do a thorough job, you can reward them by allowing them to stay up an extra 10 or 15 minutes past their bedtime or with a simple treat like having a friend come over.
With a little imagination, even the most mundane daily activities can become a time to bond and make family memories. No matter what you choose to do with the break time, keep an eye out for ways to expose your children to the multitude of age-appropriate activities, which allow them to use their imaginations, explore, and have fun learning – all at the same time.