We can see the end in sight—at least the school year’s end. We have no idea what the summer (or fall) will look like, but mandatory homeschooling is almost done. And, we want to finish strong! Think about all of the resiliency we are modeling (and seeing in our own kids). And the new skill sets we have acquired (is everyone a Zoom expert at this point?). We are life-long learners!
It feels really great to know that we did this—it has been really, really difficult. As the end of the year approaches, let’s keep the momentum going. We’ve got this! Grab the kids and head outside for some fresh air and a fun activity. Take a moment to really savor in a job well done—pat yourself on the back, remind your kids how hard they have been working, and celebrate together.
- Create your own colorful bubbles. On a bright, sunny day mix up some containers of colored bubbles and head outside. Try catching the bubbles on a spoon. Or, get the family involved in a game of hide-and-seek, but this time, the person who is “it” tags people by the bubbles that they blow!
- Sand art is another favorite in our homes. This is definitely and outside project. Splat mats come in handy for these messy projects!
- Are your kids tired of going on walks or bike rides? Outdoor educator Lucas Kelly suggests giving these outings a purpose and sense of adventure to renew everyone’s enthusiasm. Pick a great destination—hike or bike to a place with a great view or the perfect spot for a picnic. Or go out and see who can catalog the most song birds or find five different kinds of trees. Take a magnifying glass and search for insects or other small things that often get overlooked.
- It’s still the season for planting in the DMV. If your child likes playing in the dirt or watching things grow, try starting a small themed garden together. Sharon Lovejoy, author of Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots, suggests a pizza garden. It can include all the ingredients you’d want on your pizza—tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, spinach, onions, basil, and oregano. Or maybe your child has a favorite story that could inspire the colors, shapes, and specimens in the garden. Salad gardens, a butterfly gardens, and alphabet gardens are just a few other ideas that might spark your child’s imagination.
- Time to pull out the baby pool or sprinkler! With the fate of neighborhood pools up in the air this summer, make sure you have an option for cooling off at home for those 90° days!
- Speaking of water…young children love playing in mud—remember mud pies? The rich, engaging sensory play with mud activates the imagination and encourages motor skill development. Give your child old spatulas, cups, and containers to move the mud around, build with it, or even paint a picture.
- Have you noticed the wind kicking up? Learn to fly a kite! If you don’t own a kite, you can find many online tutorials for making one with materials you can find around your house. A kite feel too complicated for your young child? Try making pinwheels—you don't even need wind to make them spin—just blow and go!
- Have something to celebrate? Organize a bike parade (observing the rules of social distancing, of course)! Kids can decorate their bikes and drive through the neighborhood or put on a show at a local park.
- Head outside with a notebook and a pencil and draw what you see. Make rubbings of natural objects your family collects or textures found in nature or the urban landscape. Be inspired by the environment around you. Here is a series of leaf rubbing activities for your preschooler. Have older children see what else they can find—the cover of a manhole, coins, tree bark, the bottom of a sneaker. Afterwards, they combine all the textures they find into a brand new image.
- Family Fitness Challenge! Set goals and make a plan. Try it for a week and rotate who leads the exercises. Since you are outside, you could include running, jumping, jump rope, calisthenics, tree climbing, hula hooping, and whatever else your imagination can dream up. Make it fun and get fit at the same time!
More ideas coming next week!