Yes, that's the sound of the school bell again, but don't despair--you and your family can still build in a fun variation of the family vacation on the weekend or their next day off. Mini-vacations offer the same spirit-renewing benefits as their longer counterparts. The LaClairs of upstate New York said that one-day trips are a good match because "they fit into our time schedule and budget." And there are plenty of fun things to do right in your own backyard. The trick often is in finding them and getting everyone behind the idea. Give each family member the task of suggesting his or her favorite place to eat and something he or she would like to do.
It was 10:40 on a school night, the end of the last shift of the day, which had seemed more difficult than usual: homework and bath time had been laborious and fraught with resistance, bedtime was now forty five minutes late. And so I cannot tell you why I and my sons, Ariel, 11 and Ben, nine, were all in Ben's bed when I opened The Secret Garden and began reading aloud. One of my early fantasies of motherhood had been to share this childhood favorite with my own children. But now it was 2000 and I had two boys who were competent though not avid readers, well entrenched in the popular cultures of television and computers.
Hi! This is the space where we'll present projects to vitalize family ties. We'll show you imaginative ways to explore family and community history, stay connected to family far and wide and infuse a spirit of play into your daily routine. Enjoy your family fun! Shari For the past fifteen years Shari Davis has been developing multi-cultural art programs, exhibits and educational resources that explore family and community history and cultural identity. As co-founder of Creative Ways she has brought these programs to dozens of schools and museums.
One of the most highly anticipated events of the year is the big family vacation. And then there are those much-needed weekend getaways. How these family outings play out often has a lot to do with the planning that goes into them (and the gear you pack). What follows is a guide to some of the Web sites and portable gizmos that can make your life on the road much easier and your vacation a much-needed recharge instead of an energy drain. Essential Web Sites: * When planning a trip, stop by Rough Guide's site. Publishers of the hugely popular travel books, the site reproduces much of their print content as well as more up-to-date info.
The sky is full of stories waiting to be discovered. For centuries, people have seen these same points of light in the night sky. Stories borne out of the many constellations that eyes around the world have spent hours gazing up at, have been passed on from generation to generation. We can see these same images and share these same stories today. All you need is a clear night, a little patience, and some imagination. A family in Los Angeles suggests adding the perfect background music. "Starwatching," by The Happy Crowd provides lyrics that are right on target: "What a beautiful sight.
Harry Potter--nothing's hotter. If you're reading these books by J. K. Rowlings aloud to your children, you know about Harry's adventures at the Hogwarts School, World Quidditch matches, and all the magic in the stoires. Bring some of the magic into your own home with a Harry Potter party--a perfect way to bring the books to life. A Potter Party is great for birthdays or other special occasions. A Connecticut family also thought it was the perfect way to spend time during a very rainy day. Peggy L. of upstate New York said, "Our Harry Potter Party fit into a surprise early birthday party for Ryan (11), which made it easier for me (Mom).
The crack of the bat says it all--baseball and softball seasons are in full swing. And who doesn't dream of hitting the winning run in the bottom of the ninth? With the stands full of tense parents and a win-at-any-cost coach on the sidelines, kids can let the fear of making a mistake keep them from developing skills and enjoying the game. But for kids to have a chance to learn the essence of team play, good sportsmanship, and a love of the game, an informal all-family pick-up game might be just the right ticket. When one of our charter families from New York State reported having so much fun at a pick-up game, we decided to take their idea and go with it.
If you're looking for fun that receives perfect 10s from the judges, hold your own backyard Olympics. The scale will be smaller than the Summer 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, scheduled for September 15 through October 1, but the excitement will be epic. This family activity is based on the original festival atmosphere. When Olympians are asked to take an oath before competing, the emphasis is on sportsmanship and doing one's personal best. In Backyard Olympics, this is also true, but fun takes the front seat! The most important thing is not to win, but to take part. Games Each game has a different individual or team format.
Do you experience a subtle thrill of anticipation every time you walk into a darkened theater, groping for your seat, trying not to spill the popcorn and drink in your hand? Movie theaters (note: they are called "theaters"!) still embody a touch of mystery for most people. This feeling is ageless.
Once I camped for a week on a beach in Greece. A sleeping bag on the sand. One dress, one skirt and three shirts...that was all of my gear. My food: all served at the cafe. Turkish coffee. Fresh goat yogurt with a sprinkle of sugar for lunch. Grilled fish. My company: Gents with accents. My activity: Topless bathing. As much sun as I could stand. I was single. Reading seemed taxing. It was only natural that when I had kids, I thought my family would enjoy camping.
Does your child constantly bother you while you're preparing food in the kitchen? Are you tired of hearing your child complain about the food you make? Here's my suggestion: Involve your child in the cooking process! I love cooking with children. I know, I know -- sometimes kids make a mess in the kitchen. Everything takes longer to do and what if the kids ruin the recipe? Any or all of the above may be true, but the potential for fun and learning outweigh the risks! And you may discover that you love it, too! Kids love being involved with preparing food.
Do you want to try cooking with your kids, but you don't know what recipes to choose? OR Do you already love cooking with your kids and are looking for a new fun way to do it? Try printing out these fun and simple recipes to use with your children. Over ten years ago, when I first became a pre-school teacher, I by chance purchased a slim soft-cover cookbook. This cookbook, Kinder-Krunchies - healthy snack recipes for children, by Karen S. Jenkins, became the basis for hours and hours of fun and educational experiences for my students and later on for my own children.
I love reading with my son. I love sitting with my arms around him, holding him close and watching the smile on his face when I get to his favorite part of a book. I love to hear the feeling of accomplishment in his voice as he fills in the next word or see the expression on his face as he points to his favorite picture. WHAT, YOU ASK IS THE BEST REASON TO READ TO YOUR CHILD? I could quote to you research proving that the younger you start reading to your child, the better he will do in school.
A word about book recommendations: The age at which a child can benefit from a book varies. Some children have the patience to listen to actual stories by age two, while others do not develop this ability until later. In addition, a child's understanding and ability to learn from different kinds of material grows as he does. In giving age recommendations, I tried to consider when it is worthwhile to start reading a book to your child.
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? By: Dr. Seuss Random House, Incorporated, 1970 Ages: Two and up This book encourages young children to practice a variety of sounds in a fun way. In a People's House By: Theo Le Sieg Random House, 1972 Ages: Two and up A great book to help improve your child's basic vocabulary.
Whether an upcoming holiday, a birthday or just for a special surprise, it seems part of our year is spent choosing gifts for our children. In today's age of constant advertising - the Internet, television, magazines and newspapers - it's easy to be overwhelmed by our choices and not know where to start. While nobody but you can know what presents will most excite your child, here are some important points to consider as you start on that yearly dilemma: WHAT PRESENTS SHOULD I BUY FOR THE KIDS?
I remember the first big vacation we took together with my son in Israel. On a beautiful summer day, we drove for an hour up a steep cliff to see one of the most beautiful sites in the area, the valley in which David slew Goliath. As we stood looking at the breathtaking view, I held up my three-year-old and said to him, "Mordechai, isn't it beautiful?" He looked at me and said "Mommy, now can we go home and watch Barney?" Sometimes the key with young kids is to "Do Less and Enjoy More." While to adults vacation fun usually includes new, exciting and different activities, what young children often want most is what they are used to.
Looking for a way to keep your pre-schooler busy during those long summer days? Here are some suggestions for easy summer activities. 1. Make homemade ices. (You can buy very cheap ice molds or use small cups and old Popsicle sticks.) Juice or Hawaiian Punch both work great. 2. Take ice cubes out of your freezer and put the bowl outside in the sun. Have your child check it regularly and keep you informed on "what happens." Then show your child how you can re-freeze the water.
I suggest making two of these at a time so that you can compare the two sounds. You can of course, start with only one and then add others later on. Appropriate for ages: Two and Up Time needed: 15 minutes WHAT YOU'LL NEED: * Paper towel or toilet paper roll insert. * Masking tape * Plain piece of paper * Scissors (child scissors if you want your child to cut) * Colored construction paper * Aluminum foil * A small amount of rice and beans. Don't mix the two - you only need one of these if you are making one maraca.
Appropriate for ages: Two and Up Time needed: 10 minutes and up WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1. Set up a child-friendly collage tray. * I suggest purchasing a plastic tray divided into a few sections with a circle in the middle. * If you don't have a chance to buy a tray, you can take a regular tray and place three or four non-breakable bowls on it in a circle, with a space in the middle. (If you have disposable plates and bowls, you can glue the bowls onto the tray.) Put a small glue container in the middle.
This recipe and the question for discussion are taken from the book Kinder-Krunchies: Healthy Snack Recipes For Kids, by Karen S. Jenkins. The book is distributed exclusively by Discovery Toys.
What Do You Think? 1. How do pumpkins grow? 2. Taste a sliver of raw pumpkin. How does baking change it? 3. What else is made from pumpkin? 4. Which ingredients are solid? Which are liquid? 5. Which ingredients are spices? Try This! 1. Make pumpkin bread: double the recipe, and bake in a loaf pan for 50 minutes. 2. Add a cup of your favorite nuts.
So you just read why it's great to cook with kids. Now, here's a step-by step program describing how to cook with your child, teach her all kinds of great skills and have fun, all at the same time. GET READY: 1. Set up a convenient workspace for you and your child. (Or children -- I currently do cooking projects with at least two, if not all three of my children and, yes, we have to work hard on taking turns.) If you have limited counter space, it may make sense to do the preparation on the kitchen table.
As anyone with kids knows, the kitchen serves as Home Headquarters. It's a place that continually churns out one, two, or three different menus at once, depending on the fussiness of taste buds in the home. But more than that, the kitchen is where planning takes place, important phone calls are made (ie: ordering pizza), and even where kids prefer to play (a couple of pots and a wooden spoon still have an edge over the latest toys around). The following wired guide won't make kitchen living any less busy, but it will help tame the culinary chaos.
Let's make Sally Lunn bread and then turn it into a memorable sandwich dripping with juice from fresh tomatoes! As the story goes, a young girl in eighteenth century Bath, England, sold buns that were dark on top and light underneath, likened to the sun and moon (Sel et Lune). Keep saying it fast and you'll get "Sally Lunn." Because the bread takes 1 hour to rise and then another rise of 1 hour before baking for 45 minutes, this can become a morning or afternoon project punctuated with trips for the kids to clean up their rooms or read something from their summer lists.
The Ice Cream Sandwich, a variation of the Earl of Sandwich's namesake, can be a two-stage affair, either eaten immediately or frozen for snacks later. The cookies are an easy mixing job, although with younger the children the less simple it is. Ice cream scooping may be a great way to get the older siblings to show their dexterity and strength, while the younger ones can place the ice cream scoops and wrap the sandwiches."These ice cream sandwiches that we made are the best," exclaimed the Krabacher kids. The Hannans echoed their sentiments: "What a great cookie recipe!!! It was tough saving enough cookies to make the ice cream sandwiches!!!"
* Five or more brown grocery bags * Scissors * Ribbon, about 2 feet for each scrapbook * Yarn in your hair color * 9-inch uncoated paper plate * Markers * White glue An upstate New York Mom reported, "When I was at the store all I had to do was ask, and I got a big pile of brown paper bags.
It seems like every week, a new study touts bad news about the quality and quantity of time devoted to family activities in America. One of the best ways to break out of the couch-potato rut is through family crafts projects. Any family can find a good match to the age and interests of their children -- often without busting the bank. Here are a few online places to start researching your next family project.
These little dinosaurs are easy to make and lots of fun to play with, especially when you plant them a grassy, green environment of their very own. At the Bockler house, Mom Tracy says she "will probably have herds of dinosaurs very soon" based on the level of enthusiasm shown by her son, Christian (7 1/2). The LaClair family reported planting grass on a Saturday and having it sprout by Wednesday. All three children agreed the "the dinosaurs look really cool in the grass."
Here's a craft even the very youngest children can get involved in and end up bursting with pride to give away. "My husband just started a new job so we gave the paperweights to him for his new office. The kids really felt as though they were making his new job a better place to work." (a Connecticut mom)
This unique idea is not only fun but also will result in sprucing up your refrigerator door with one-of-a-kind magnets. The Bockler family reported this project "turned out to be one of our favorites." On the scale of difficulty and time involved to gather materials and actually make the craft, this one gets high marks for being fast and simple while appealing to a wide age range.
Optional: Colored plastic sheet or cellophane that can be cut into shapes (can be purchased in a craft store)
What is an Epiphany? It's a moment of insight , of sudden clarity. Like a light bulb going off in your head. An "Aha!" You step out of the stream of life moving quicker than you can paddle and suddenly it's there: a truth gleaming like gold ore in an ordinary rock. Epiphanies tend to hit at unpredictable times-- in the middle of the night, during an early-morning shower, in a dream, on the highway. Because they are insights that involve the whole person and often take years to ripen, epiphanies tend to produce changes in behavior or attitude. They are a gift. We believe one person's epiphanies may trigger another's. Please share yours with other parents here.
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