Children of all ages look forward to this time of year. It's spring break! Even if the weather doesn't quite match the date on the calendar, the idea of the arrival of springtime gives us a positive boost. It is a break from winter.
While families and teachers enjoy the break away from the routines of school, this little vacation can be stressful for working parents. Sometimes finding childcare for the kids during these days is difficult.
Grandparents, close friends and parents who do not work away from home sometimes need new ideas to help these days stay fun and positive.
SABIN, DAVIS, HETRICK, ANDEREGG, MACALADY, WALKER, DARLING and KATERS
Enjoy the more relaxed schedule with low stress meals. Let the kids plan and help you make a special breakfast or picnic lunch to take outside. Cooking together presents a good opportunity for quality time together.
Take a trip to the library to find books about springtime and seasons. If you can, visit a greenhouse to find out how growers are preparing for the coming of warm weather. What do plants need to grow?
Plant seeds indoors
At the store, look over the seed displays. Choose a few varieties to take home. Help children set up a few pots and plant some of the seeds to grow inside until they are big enough to transplant. How are the seeds different? How do we get seeds? Read the instructions out loud before you start. This helps to show that reading is a very useful skill.
It would be a good time to read "The Carrot Seed" (Krauss) or one of the" Little Red Hen" versions.
Outside, look around your yard or neighborhood for signs of spring. Did you plant any bulbs last fall? What early plants are showing up in the garden? Are there any buds growing on the trees and bushes? What's happening to the snow? Clip a little branch from the forsythia or other bushes and put it in a vase inside.
Check it every day to see changes. Plan a scavenger hunt either inside or outside. Run.
Spring clean together
Do a little spring cleaning. Even very young children can help sweep the deck, dust furniture with a damp cloth, or wipe baseboards with a sock. Make it fun by adding some fast moving dance music. Take a walk and pick up any paper and trash that has accumulated over the winter. Collect bottles and cans for recycling. Go out in the sunshine and collect some vitamin D.
Plan an outing during the week to do something special - hike, movie, or bowling.
Although it may be hard, limit computer/TV screen time so that kids have plenty of outside exercise and opportunities for unprogrammed safe play.
For more ideas see "Learning through the Seasons" at the children's museum, pod casts at wnmufm.org, videos on YouTube and grandparentsteachtoo.org.
Editor's note: Grandparents Teach ,Too is a non profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. Writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers.Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan (PAM), Upper Peninsula Association for the Education of Young Children (UPAEYC), Northern Michigan School of Education, U.P. Children's Museum, and NMU Center for Economic Education.