Spring Break is almost upon us. Does your childcare center have plans for the week? Many facilities, including school districts offering childcare, offer additional or different programming during the week of Spring Break, partly to set it off from the rest of the season and partly to accommodate added children.
If you play your cards right, you may be able to entice a few new clients with your fun ideas.
Play Old-Fashioned Games
How many kids play Kick the Can anymore? Or Red Rover or Duck Duck Goose?
So much time is taken up with digital devices that getting kids to try a physical game can be a challenge or it may be a great adventure for them. Maybe by now, they are getting tired of screens, too.
Introduce them to some of the games kids have played over the last century or more, and encourage them to adapt the games to their own experience or make up a new game to teach the entire class. It’s possible someone has a game their family plays at home that they can offer up as a diversion.
- Kick the Can - a variation on hide and seek.
- Capture the Flag - a little more involved than Kick the Can. Hide and Seek - a perennial favorite
- Sack races
- Farmer in the Dell
- Duck Duck Goose
Be sure to plan for possible rain. Some of these can be played indoors. In any case, get everyone moving!
It’s Spring and time to get outdoors. Most kids love the outdoors and are happy to play anything, but if you want to have a theme for the week, pick an outdoor activity everyone can engage in.
Gardening is always fun. What kid doesn’t like digging in the dirt? If you can plant something now, some of those kids will get to see plants grow. For older kids, explaining what is needed for a plant to grow and produce is an excellent lesson in science and agriculture.
There is no end of nature experiments you can perform. Maybe you can gather up some bugs or plants to identify. Get a prism to create a rainbow or use a water hose in the sun. You can explain why those colors appear and how to find rainbows after a storm. Pair up the lessons with a field trip to a farm, zoo, or botanical garden.
Look for signs of spring in the playground from the budding trees to the singing birds. Ask the children what they see at home that lets them know it’s spring.
Forget the Boys of Summer. It’s time for the Kids of Spring. Swimming, soccer, baseball, softball, and gymnastics are all sports that may be played in the early summer, spring, or late winter. Swimming may need to be indoors at a natatorium if you live in the north.
Baseball and softball both promote teamwork, movement and hand-eye coordination. Whether hitting a T-ball or a ball that is pitched, connecting with the bat and catching it as it comes down are all challenging yet immediately rewarding activities for young bodies.
Spring Break is the perfect week to plan a different creative endeavor each day. One day you can throw pots or mold clay. The next, bring out the paints. On another day, perform an interpretive dance. Hand out inexpensive digital cameras and invite everyone to take pictures. Have a cooking class. Close out the week with a dramatic play.
Expose the children to a different way to be creative. Someone who thinks they can’t paint may find they are an inspired dancer or storyteller. Encourage everyone to bring their creative genius to class and let them know ahead of time what you will do the next day, so they have time to think about it.
So many kids never get to go to the various attractions in your town while others have been to the usual but nothing else.
The zoo tops the list for a lot of schools, but you can do more than walk through and look at the animals. Most zoos have educational activities, especially for classes and childcare groups. Another type of "zoo" is the botanical garden. Instead of animals, the children learn all about different kinds of plants and can see the ways we can create landscaping, from creative planting of various flowers to topiaries.
Going back to the gardening theme, a field trip to a working farm can introduce children to large scale gardening (farming) and animal husbandry. Watching little ones see where milk comes from and having a chance to meet up with goats and chickens is always fun for everyone.
Is there a live theater in your town? Maybe you can take the children there to learn more about the dramatic arts. The theater manager and team can show how makeup is used to create different characters, talk about costuming, and how talking on stage is different from talking to someone right next to you.
Movie theaters often create special weeks of movies for spring break. They are ready to cater to classes of small children with prepared food and drink items and a souvenir of the show. If you are lucky enough to live in a town with a small entertainment space with old-fashioned carousels and rides, or a “discovery center” with educational opportunities inside, you can plan that into your week of fun.
A Different Springtime Topic Every Day
Maybe you would like to plan something from each of these areas each day or plan a theme for the week. One day could be painting day, the next gardening, and finish up the week with swimming. Or have gardening the entire week, starting with learning about beneficial bugs, how seeds germinate, preparing the soil, and planting. Take a field trip to a farm or botanical garden to see practical ways these activities are put to use.
Spring Break is a time-honored tradition for ushering in warmer weather and giving the kids a break from the usual day-to-day. Treat it as a time to do things a little differently and welcome the warmer weather and longer days.