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Fun on a Snow Day

December 10, 2009 · Filed Under Parents' Corner · Comment 

Well, it’s nine degrees outside with blowing and drifting snow and every school district in our area is shut down. I’m well past the days of little children who need occupied, since mine are in college and the youngest is 17 and likely to sleep until noon, but I KNOW that youngsters get bored on these unexpected days. Here are some great (and not too parent-intensive) activities to suggest:

  • Put on a Play:
    Grab the favorite storybook and challenge the kids to turn it into a play. They’ll need to make props and costumes and if they’re literate enough, write out a script. You can suggest puppets, or dress up this activity by having them stage scenes from their story and photograph them to add voices to later.
  • Create a New Game:
    Sometimes creativity can be a real rush! Give the kids the tools they need to invent a new board game or card game. You can start from scratch or do a mash-up of family favorites. Borrow rules and even game pieces, boards, markers or dice from commercial and familiar games. If it’s fun, don’t forget to write down the rules so you can play again!
  • Try a Video Scavenger Hunt:
    It’s inevitable that the television will get turned on today, but if you can’t beat them, you might as well make it a learning time! Make a list of things to find in the video that you watch, or questions to answer about the content. See who can find the highest number of answers or make up a trivia game to play afterwards.

    Enrich Your Child’s Education

    July 30, 2008 · Filed Under Parents' Corner, Published Work · Comment 

    Check out my latest article at How To Do Things.com:  How to Enrich Your Child’s Education.  You’ll find tips and ideas about all of the easy things you can do during your everyday life to help your child get ahead in school.  There’s really nothing to it!  Check it out today!

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    Celebrate July 7

    July 7, 2008 · Filed Under Holidays, Math, Reading, Writing · Comment 

    Guess what?  It’s Chocolate Day!  Here is a wealth of ideas to try for fun and learning on this delicious holiday:

    Research the History of Chocolate

    Send the kids onto the internet, through the encyclopedia or over to the library to uncover exactly how and when this great treat was discovered.  Here’s a hint: check history records for the native Central and South Americas, and information about the Spanish explorers of the 1600s and 1700s.

    Cook Together

    Cook up some chocolate delight today.  Recipes abound!  Think of brownies, fudge, and cookies.  See if you can invent a new chocolate sensation together.  Cooking with children builds bonds, increases reading comprehension, develops the ability to follow written and oral directions, enhances science and math skills, and so much more.

    Make a Candy Survey

    Check in with family and friends to find out what their favorite chocolate candy is.  Keep records of their responses, then present the data in a graph.  Older students can also analyze the information: does age, gender or profession make any difference on candy preferences?  You have the makings of a science fair project for next year!

    Try Some Chocolate Science

    Get a few chocolate bars, some baking chips, and you’re all set for some science fun.  Place a chocolate bar on two supports, like a bridge.  How many pennies or other weights can it hold before it cracks?  What happens if the chocolate is warm and soft?  What if it’s been in the freezer?  Try putting chocolate in various shapes out in the sun.  Time how long it takes it to melt.  Use the chocolate chips to practice making arrays to demonstrate addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Got yummy leftovers?  Eat ‘em up!

    Write About Chocolate

    Individually or as a family, write a story with chocolate as the main character.  This can be oral or written, just make sure it’s full of imagination!  Try these variations: Write a story starter (a few sentences) on a page and post it on the ‘fridge.  Family members take turns adding to the story all day long.  Try sitting in a circle or around a table and each adding a sentence to the story.  Let everyone write or dictate their own story and get a non-biased judge to evaluate your writing contest.

    Happy Chocolate Day!

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    Celebrate July 2

    Guess what!  It’s I Forgot Day!  Make a list of the best excuses for forgetting things.  Write a story about a time that you forgot something important. 

    More importantly, it’s Freedom from Fear of Public Speaking Day.  That means it’s a perfect day to hold a talent show!  Gather up as many kids and adults as you can, and let everyone prepare a short act to do.  You might even want to have everyone share a spoken piece, whether it’s a short joke, a poem, or a long soliloquy.  Try some story-telling or reading out loud, too.

    Have fun, and keep on learning!

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    © 2008 Sandy Fleming

    Celebrate July 1!

    Looking for a reason to celebrate today?  It’s more than just frivolity; it’s EDUCATION!  You can use international, little-known, and absolutely bizarre holidays to teach all sorts of things. 

    And today is a great day to start-it’s Second Half of the Year Day!  Try these activities to have fun and promote learning:  Put the year in perspective.  Write a summary of what you’ve been doing the past six months.  What’s been good and what’s been not-so-good?  How are you doing on those New Year’s Resolutions?  Maybe it’s time for some renewed vigor in that direction, or even a time to make a few new mid-year resolutions.

    It’s also Canada Day.  Do a little research to find out what our neighbors to the north are celebrating today.  How is the holiday celebrated?  Uncover facts and info about Canada.

    Try this one for some cool fun today: July 1 is Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day.  What unique and delightful flavor can your child come up with?  You can actually try this one out, or try for the most bizarre suggestion on paper.  Turn it into an experiment, a survey (with graphing), or a writing exercise.

    And it’s Build a Scarecrow Day.  Try it out, either by building a real scarecrow with old clothes, broomsticks and straw, or with an art project.  How about a Scarecrow Contest?

    Finally, July 1st is Zip Code Day.  What can you do with Zip Codes?  Try checking your junk mail and making math problems out of them.  Which are larger or smaller and by how much?  How many pieces of mail did you get from the same Zip Code?  If you multiply that Zip code by the number of pieces of mail that you got containing it, what’s the answer?  Try this one, too: tell or write a story where the Zip code is actually a secret code for something besides moving mail efficiently.  What’s the code for and who is using it?  What happens?

    Whatever you choose to do, have a wonderful July 1.  And don’t forget to visit http://sandyfleming.info again for more holiday fun!

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