Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spring Break at Home

To You:

I know many moms are anxious to get the kids back in school after a break.  In fact, one of our beloved Christmas carols has memorialized the phrase "And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again!"  However, I love having the kiddos home!  Perhaps it's the lazy side of me that doesn't want to get up and out the door every morning.  :)  Truly though, I do enjoy getting to plan and spend my days with these youngsters.  I think it's also important to note that a successful break does not have to include travel or expensive outings.  Part of the great joy of these breaks is the opportunity to help the kids enjoy the little things in life.  Here's a small glimpse of the fun that was our Spring Break.

To kick-off our Spring Break at Home, we sat down and made a list of the things we would each like to do.  The list looked something like this...
  • Paint Easter Eggs
  • Go to a museum
  • Go to the big park downtown
  • Doorbell ditch someone with cookies
  • Go to the library
  • Put together 72-Hour Kits
  • Learn how to be nice to each other!!!!!!!
  • Sew something
  • Play outside
  • Do crafts
  • Spring cleaning (with list of Helper Jobs)
  • Have a playdate with friends
  • Go on a hike
  • Have a movie night

Salvaged the list from the recycle bin...apparently someone thought we had already accomplished "Learn how to be nice to each other!!!!!!!"  :)
I had previously checked the local library for events as they are great about scheduling a variety of activities for times when kids are out of school.  We ended up going to a craft event and a Dinosaur Dig.  The dinosaur experience was awesome as we got to meet two paleontologists, see pictures from their dig site, and hold dinosaur bones!  I also checked the local museums and city parks for free-days or low-budget events.

Holding a fossilized dinosaur bone at the library.

After making our list, we got out the calendar and plugged the activities into the different days, taking into account the weather and anything that was previously scheduled.  We aimed for one planned thing each day and left plenty of time for "just playing" as well.  Some fun spontaneous happenings included building a fort and sleeping in it and having Dad make villains and hide them around the yard for Spider Man 1 and 2 to web with silly string!

Something else we love doing during a break is choosing a chapter book to read together and then making an event out of watching the movie adaptation together.  This time we chose Mr. Popper's Penguins.  Other good reads include The Secret Garden, The Indian in the Cupboard, Pippi Longstocking, Stuart Little, Matilda, and Charlotte's Web.  (As a sidenote, if you are wondering if a book or movie is appropriate for your kids, is a great resource!  It does give age suggestions for books and movies, but I appreciate the specifics about language, sex, drugs, positive messages, etc. so we can decide for ourselves if we think it is a good pick.)

For one of our craft activities, I pulled out some old magazines and the kids made a collage.  We hadn't done this for a long time and the kids loved chopping and gluing!  You can choose a theme such as things that remind you of spring or Easter or just let them go.  We made ours around Easter and the kids picked pictures that help remind them to follow Jesus.  It was a simple, fun craft.

A definite highlight was our little hike.  We packed up a lunch and headed to a nearby trail.  What a treat to see a woodpecker and six deer before we'd been walking ten minutes!  Our oldest brought a little notebook to write or draw about what she found interesting.  We investigated different tracks, examined the new spring plants, and at the end of the hike, definitely enjoyed all the mud!  :)  There is so much beauty and intrigue in nature no matter where you live...guarantee the kids will love it more than the iPad!

While there wasn't anything too glamorous in our plans, we had a wonderful time being together and doing a variety of activities.  There were smiles, looks of amazement, laughs, feelings of accomplishment, and a little bit of whining too I'm sure.  :)  These are the times I know will go by way too fast.  I am so grateful to be able to soak them up!!!

I hope you and your little ones get to enjoy lots of time together.  What are some of your favorite ways to spend breaks from school?  What are some of your favorite memories from breaks?

Love, Marielle