Kids Need Spring Break, Too!

For most of us the term Spring Break stirs up images of college-age young adults frolicking in the sunshine, hitting the beaches and kicking back to recharge their batteries.

Rest and relaxation (R & R) is vital to these students as they reach the mid-way point in a long, and often grueling, semester. Most often they return to their classes energized and with a renewed sense of purpose.

During my years as an elementary school secretary, I discovered a truth- little kids need Spring Break, too!

By the time March and April roll around the enthusiasm with which the new school year started has begun to dull. Those shiny new school supplies have become dog-eared and a bit lackluster.

The busy-ness of school becomes routine and often turns humdrum and uninspiring. From experience, I know that kids are engaged in activities from the moment they arrive at school in the morning until they leave at dismissal time.

Whether it’s playground activity or classroom activity they are little beings in motion.

The combination of physical energy and mental energy being poured out during the day can lead a child to be tired, cranky, unenthused and non-productive- especially after several months of the same predictable routine.

Thus, enter the need for R & R. Spring Break can be the needed interval for your child to rejuvenate and re-energize for the march to the final bell of the school year.

But what if your child’s school doesn’t have Spring Break built in to the school calendar? Or what if it does, but your work schedule won’t allow you to break away at the same time? Or perhaps your family simply can’t afford to take off and get away from it all.

Never fear! Here are a couple of Miss Cathie’s suggestions for building that much needed R & R into your family’s schedule.

Have a Camp Out

The whole point of this activity is to break the routine and forget those pesky rules about bedtime. If the weather permits, have a camp out in the backyard. In the yard you can either set up a tent or plan to sleep under the stars. And if the weather isn’t cooperating, your family can camp out in the front room!

Either way, be sure to have these items near at hand:

  • Warm sleeping bags and pillows
  • Blow-up air mattresses or foam pads
  • Ingredients for making s’mores because snacks are essential!
  • A sealed tub packed chock-full of munchies-I repeat, snacks are essential!
  • Water bottles, juice, lemonade or even hot cocoa with marshmallows
  • A flashlight or two
  • Playing cards
  • Camera to record the fun
  • A treasure-trove of stories to tell around the campfire (real or artificial)
  • A list of camp songs to sing
  • Camp chairs or something to sit on
  • Insect repellent if you are outdoors

Hopefully, this list will get you started on a fun-filled camping stay-cation.  Bottom line- have fun and spend time laughing with your kids. You can’t get any more relaxed than that!

Visit a Public Library or Local Museum

Take a look around your town. Chances are there are numerous opportunities to visit public places with your child for little or no cost.

Try a local Children’s Museum or the children’s section of your public library. Activities usually abound in these places and before you know it you’ve spent some good quality time with your child, having fun and learning new things.

Check the listings in your local newspaper or on your Chamber of Commerce site for other activities that are suited to your child.  This can be a week when you both expand your horizons and have fun doing it.

Craft your way through the week

Most kids love the creativity involved with making crafts. Not to mention the messy fun that goes along with it. Having a week or so to complete a project makes crafting a good choice for a Spring Break activity.

If possible, find an out-of-the-way place to set up your crafting center. That way you can leave things out for the next day. Just cap the markers, cover the paint and close the glue. Tomorrow things are all set for the next project.

Be sure to keep crafting time to a manageable length of time to avoid burn out. And don’t forget to make sure the kids know they are embarking on a crafting adventure. Turn up the music and bring on the fun!

Click here to find some awesome Spring Break crafting ideas from Jessica’s Coupons.

Set Aside Time for Quiet Play

When’s the last time your child had a nice block of time to just play? During the school year things can become quite hectic and each block of time becomes scheduled. This is the week to weave quiet time into each day.

Allow your child to experience free time- time to lay on the grass and look at the clouds, time to look through the book shelf and read old favorites, time to build a castle out of blocks or time to watch an ant cross the patio.

Quiet play can recharge a child’s batteries in an amazing way. Don’t allow any day this week to slip by without giving your child the gift of unstructured playtime.

And there you have it- a few suggestions that can make experiencing Spring Break at home a worthwhile experience. You’ll notice that each of these activities can be squeezed into evenings and weekends if your job responsibilities keep you at work or your child’s school doesn’t have Spring Break.

So make the most of whatever time you have and spend it making Spring Break memories with your child. You’ll both feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the school year.

Happy Spring Break!

Cathie

 

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