Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Having a Fun and Inexpensive Spring Break for Kids

by Kristie Smith-Armand, M.Ed, CTVI

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s Party”
-Robin Williams

I am an educator for children who are blind and visually impaired, and even though I truly look forward to every day with my students we have been counting the days before spring break.

“What are you doing for spring break?” my student asked me the other day. I answered that I was going to a cabin over the weekend and enjoy nature.

“Oh,” was his response. “What are you going to do?” I asked him. “Hmmm. Probably ride my bike with all my cousins.” Now since he does not have more than a quarter’s worth of vision, I gave him other options for having inexpensive fun without breaking his parents’ bankroll.

He listened while I named off many ‘safe’ things for him to do over spring break. “I like those ideas, Ms. Kristie,” he said and then followed with, “I’ll do some of these things after I go bike riding.”

It is my hope in writing this blog post that I can persuade others to have a fun and inexpensive spring break. The old cliché appear to ring true, “The best things in life are free”, and how true that statement is. It is not the material things in life that children will remember but the long lasting memories of fun times spent with their family and friends.

When you look back on your own childhood think about how many memories were spent making mud pies, playing with friends in the back yard, laughing all hours while playing cards and knowing that the fun did not have anything to do with how much money was spent.

The following are activities that can fill your pot of gold without breaking the bank.

Inexpensive Activities for Children During Spring Break

  • Have a “Chocolate and Crayons Day”: I have done this activity for students over several years. I also do trainings for adults on this activity. Brain research shows when children are relaxed and having fun while endorphins move quickly through the body and create long lasting skills. Simply lay out crayons, (Ahhh, I still love the smell) paper, scissors, construction and Manila paper and let the children create while you allow them to have a few pieces of their favorite chocolate. Afterward, show the kids the movie, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. You can also find a large box and have the children create a private clubhouse.
  • Have a Movie Day: Select favorite movies and pop popcorn. Children can string the popcorn and make an eatable necklace.
  • Host a St. Patrick’s Day party: When your children wake up serve them green milk or cereal. Tell them that the leprechaun has been in the house and must be caught. Hand your children crafty materials to make a trap and catch the leprechaun. The kids will leave their traps around the house and try to catch the sly little leprechaun, but when they find their traps, he has left them a silly note with a piece of candy.
  • Invite neighbors and go on a picnic: Children can make their own kite and fly them after everyone has enjoyed their lunch.
  • Take your children to a bookstore or a library: Read favorite books to them. Allow each child to choose one book to take home and read. Once the kids have chosen and read their books, give them a shoebox, crafty materials and let them create a house for one of the characters.
  • Make a nice trip to the zoo: Once again pack a lunch, ride a train and visit all the animals. When you are back at home, hand the children sidewalk chalk and ask them to illustrate what they saw while on their visit to the zoo.
  • Go on a nature hike: Collect the following: rocks, leaves, flowers, sticks, paper, acorns, etc. Come home and make a collage from all of nature’s treasures.
  • Talk to the Trees: My students love this activity! Every spring we go outside and do tree dialogue. The students have so much fun creating personalities for the trees.
  • Wet a paper towel and place a bean inside. Place the paper towel inside of a clear cup near a window. Ask your child to predict what will happen. Read the following books: The Hungry Caterpillar, The Carrot Seed, Beatrix Potter Books, and The Giving Tree. Ask your child to write a book entitled, “The Selfish Tree and illustrate.”

Spring reminds us of rebirth and to get outside and enjoy the beauty that God has provided for us. It is also a reminder that good times will always follow the winter months, so let’s celebrate, create memories for our children and start new traditions that will be carried over from generation-to-generation.

I found a scrapbook quote that sums up what not only spring break should be about, but what every day should be like.

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”

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