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Posted by: thepinetree on 03/26/2010 07:57 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 03/26/2010 12:06 PM
Expires: 01/01/2015 12:00 AM

The Kid Connection....."Spring Break Sanity Savers"~by Stefanie Pechan

We are proud to present, "The Kid Connection". A new column featured by Stefanie Pechan. Stefanie is a go getter......An elementary school teacher (currently teaching Kindergarten at Hazel Fischer) and has three children (ages 4, 2, and 6 months). She is also a children's book author (her first 2 books are currently in the editing/publishing stage), and runs a business, "Made By Moms" (handmade products by mothers). Thanks so much Stephanie for contributing to! "Are you ready parents? Spring break is here! Winter is on its way out and warmer weather is in our sights. For most, it’s the time to squeeze in a much needed vacation! For some parents, however, it can be quite the opposite. If you’ve a house full of kids for the week and no plans to travel, look here for some fun ideas to keep the kiddos busy and to make your life a bit easier.....

You can visit her business at!

The Great Outdoors: We’re pretty fortunate to live in such an area where local parks, hiking trails, and ski resorts abound. Why not pack a picnic and head outside? Big Trees Park has many trails that are easily traversed in an hour or so. The local city parks are a great place for the kids to burn off some of that energy. Even something as simple as going on a nature walk around the neighborhood can be great fun as well! Create a scavenger hunt for the kids and let ‘em loose! It will keep them occupied while you put your feet up for awhile (or maybe tackle that pile of laundry). Teacher tip: Play the game “I-Spy”. This game has endless educational opportunities such as identifying various colors, shapes, locating sight words (or letters/numbers for the little ones), decoding and reading comprehension skills, etc.
Play dates: “More kids in my house, are you crazy?” Believe it or not, it’s not such a crazy idea after all. I have found that when my own children have friends over, they’re actually less work! Why, you ask? They keep themselves entertained! So, earn some brownie points with a friend and offer to watch their child for a few hours. Hey, if anything, it will be their turn to host the next play date and you’ll have a few hours to yourself in the future! Win-win!

Teacher tip: Ask the kids to put on a play. They’ll have a blast, give you a laugh, and most of all, they’ll be working on the following skills: problem solving, creative thinking and writing.
Something fun everyday: Make everyday a different theme, using the things that your kids are interested in. Designate one day a “Backwards Day” where you have dinner food for breakfast and so forth. Be creative and have fun with it!

Hands on: Of all the subjects I teach, Science has to be one of my favorites. Here’s a fun and inexpensive activity that all ages will enjoy.

Spring Parachutes (by Amy McMahon)
Some parent supervision may be necessary.
Materials needed:
Paper cup
Handkerchief, square piece of cloth, or plastic grocery bag
4 pieces of string (approximately 8 inches long)
Paper punch
Pennies or plastic figurines

What to do:
Step One: Punch four evenly spaced holes around the top of the paper cup. Tie one end of a piece of string to each hole.

Step Two: Tie each loose end of string to one of the four corners on the cloth (or make four corners from the grocery bag).

Step Three: Add pennies or plastic figurines to the bottom of the paper cup for balance. This will make your parachute glide longer.

Step Four: Throw your parachute from a hill, steep driveway, or staircase where it can be easily retrieved. Try adding more pennies or figurines for different glide lengths.
Teacher tip: Make a graph! Determine how many pennies or figurines it takes for the parachute to glide the shortest/farthest length! Skills used: prediction, estimation, graphing, and writing.

A few other useful resources:
Technology: Have a child that loves computer games? They’ll have fun while working on their academic skills!

Reading: This book is one of my favorites and I refer to it often for fun teaching ideas.
Puddles and Wings and Grapevine Swings, Imogene Forte and Marjorie Frank

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