As spring break approaches, it is important to strike a balance between keeping education moving and letting our children relax. As a mother of a Pre-K four-year-old, I know that my son needs rest, but he also gets restless without planned activities.
While my son is in Pre-K, this is a list for children of all ages:
- Plan a library day and plan to read. Indianapolis Public Library has multiple branches throughout town and a large selection of free learning events. Kick off Spring break by teaching your child the “Science of the Fidget Spinner” on March 25th from 1-2 PM at the Eagle branch or from 5-6PM at the Glendale branch. Beyond the fidget spinner class which teaches “the physics of energy, friction and forces” for children seven and older, the library offers dance, cooking, art, storytime and more. Check out the complete list here. If events aren’t your thing, just go and grab some books. Keeping your child reading (or reading to your child) over break is so important and one of the best ways to keep them learning. Plan to read every single day, even if only for 20 minutes.
- All children are born curious. Conducting an at home science experiment that uses household items to complete is a great idea to keep your children learning and having fun over break. This online list has ideas that range from growing rock candy in a jar to making slime. A quick google search will turn up thousands of ideas with products you already have laying around.
- Ask your teacher to send home additional work over break. Having additional worksheets and homework that is relevant to the curriculum your child is currently learning can help your child stay on track over break. If it is too late to ask your teacher for this, dollar stores and online sites often have free or cheap options for workbooks. I buy my son $1 workbooks from Target or the dollar store. This site offers free worksheets for k-5.
- There is always an app for that, and educational content stands by this rule. While screen time is limited in my house, my son loves his Fire tablet. By downloading educational apps and setting time limits, I can ensure he is learning when he’s using his screen time for the day.
- Plan for those rainy days by checking out a free documentary from the library or streaming one on Netflix. My son loves the baby animals’ documentary on Netflix. There are documentaries for every age and it’s a great way to spend a rainy day. Don’t forget the popcorn and candy!
- Add flashcards to your bedtime routine. Every kid wants just 5-more minutes before the day is over. Because my 4-year-old also fights sleep, I’ve learned he’s more tuned-in and willing to use flashcards if it means avoiding bed. Flashcards can be made at home with things you already have in your house or found at many stores for under a few bucks.
- Visit a local museum or monument. Indianapolis is home to some great options for staycation-style learning. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Eiteljorg Museum, The Indiana State Museum, and The Indianapolis Museum of Art are just some of the main options in a city filled with museums, monuments and parks with learning baked right in!
- Visit the zoo. While most of us have taken our kids to the zoo, consider making an adventure of the zoo your next trip. Go to the zoo prepared to ask your child relevant and age-appropriate questions about animals (TIP: The signs in front of each animal have great tips and facts). Write down a few things you noted and quiz your child when you’ve made it home. Just in time for spring break, the Indianapolis Zoo’s brand-new festival, xZOOberance, begins March 21 and continues every Thursday through Sunday until April 7.
- Visit a nature center, such as Cool Creek Park & Nature Center, White River State Park, or Fort Harrison State Park. Check out their websites for planned activities or just plan to go and learn about nature on a spur-of-the-moment beautiful day. If you can’t make it to a park, consider planting a garden in your window (or backyard if you have one) as a way to teach your kids about nature.
- Teach your child your own family history. Where we come from is important and spring break is a great time to gather with family. Make sure you get grandma or an auntie or uncle on the phone and share pictures of your family tree. When we learn about our own family histories, we also learn about the history of those times.