Studio 5 Contributor Stephanie Petersen introduces a new monthly concept; a complete guide for the entire month of activities and ideas to help you connect with your kids.
Take a half hour to sit down with your calendar and plan what will work with your schedule. Try doing this a week before the month so you can gather books and other supplies you might need. You don’t have to do it all, but pick things that you think your family will enjoy.
Week of April 1st- 4th
April 1st April Fool’s Day
What a fun day to pull a practical joke on your family and be able to get away with it!
Dipped Chocolates: melt a bar of chocolate in a pan over the stove. Use several cotton balls to make some special chocolate dipped candies for the family. Have them prepared and waiting on the kitchen counter for your hungry children as they return from school. Watch the looks on their faces as the delicious chocolate emlts in their mouths and their smiles of joy turn to looks of horror as they discover “fur-balls” on their tongues!
(Taken From Great Kids are Homemade by Shelley Wille)
For the little ones at home go on a hunt for a Loof Lirpa – a mysterious creature who can only be seen one day a year. The only way to find one is to act as silly as possible by walking like a duck, growling like a bear and turning around on your tip-toes to make three big circles. Then shout Loof Lirpa! If you’re lucky, you just might spot one!
Read April Fools Books
April Fool! by by Harriet Ziefert and Chris Demarest, April Foolishness by Teresa Bateman, Arthur’s April Fool by Marc Brown, and Look Out, It’s April Fool’s Day! by Frank Modell
Rainy Day Boxes
April is tricking in that the weather plays a practical joke on us. Put together a rainy day box with or without your kids. So when the rain comes they’ll have something to look forward to. Grab a shoe box and let your little ones decorate it with scrap pieces of paper, fabric or stickers. Items to include in the box can be puzzles, stickers, craft items, maybe a new car or doll all of which can be purchased at the dollar store.
Week of April 5th- 11th
Easter Window Silhouettes
You will need a roll of clear contact paper, paint brushes, paint (we used acrylic), fine sandpaper and masking tape. First cut a piece of contact paper from the roll. Cut squares about 5″ x 5″. Take a fine piece of sandpaper and lightly sand the shiny surface of the contact paper where you will be painting. Wipe off any dust. This step helps the paint adhere to the slick contact paper. Tape a piece of wax paper to the table to catch the mess. Tape the piece of contact paper shiny(sanded) side up onto the wax paper. Paint onto the contact paper square. Allow the painting to dry completely. Once the paint is completely dry take another square of contact paper the same size as your painting and peel off the paper backing. Cover your painting with the clear contact paper. Smooth out any bubbles. Trace around any shape of your choosing. Cut out the shape. Carefully remove the paper backing. This takes some time —-make sure you are only removing the paper (the back of your painting should be sticky). If you use acrylic paint it is plastic enough that it has a tendency to peel away from the contact paper, so peel carefully! If it does peel away and it won’t stick back down just put a little glue stick between the layers. Once you are finished stick your silhouettes to your window. (taken from www.kidcraftweekly.com)
Decorate Easter Eggs
There are so many ways to decorate Easter Eggs. If you are looking to try something new try one of the ideas below.
Marbelized Easter Eggs
Gather together mixing bowls, measuring cups, meansuring spoons, whit evinegar, food coloring, eggs, olive oil, a fork, and paper towels.
Prepare a dye bath in a small heatproof mixing bowl; Mix 1 tsp. of vinegar and 20 drops food coloring (use more to intensify) with 1 cup of hot water. Add an egg, and submerge it until it turns the desired hue. Remove eggs;let dry, about 15 minutes. In a shallow, wide bowl, prepare another batch of dye in a darker or different shade; this will provide the swirls. The liquid should be ½ inch deep. Add about 1 tbs olive oil (you may need more depending on the size of the container). Run a fork through this mixture, creating swirls of oil on the surface. Place the dyed egg in the marbleizing mixture, and roll it once around the bowl to pick up the oil streaks; remove, and blot gently with a paper towel. Let dry, 30 minutes.
Sugar Coated Eggs
Kids love sprinkles, so let them use corn syrup or icing as “glue” and get creative.
Rubber Band Eggs
After hard boiling the eggs, wrap rubber bands around them in a pattern, then dip in a container of dye. When the eggs dry, remove the bands. For additional colors, rewrap and repeat.
Have an Easter Picnic and Read books
Decide what food items you would like to have for a fun lunch. I suggest Panini’s, chips, fruit and peanut butter chocolate chewies.
The Golden Egg by A.J Wood, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and The Bunny Who Found Easter by Charlotte Zolotow, Easter Bugs: A Springtime Pop-up by David A. Carter, Bunny Trouble by Hans Wilhelm
Bread: thick sliced bread (Italian, sourdough, rye, ciabatta rolls)
Meat: grilled chicken, turkey, ham
Cheese: provolone, mozzarella
Condiments: olive oil, pesto, roasted red peppers, tomatoes
Before pressing Panini, spread both sides with olive oil.
A George Foreman grill can be used as a Panini press.
Peanut Butter-chocolate chewies
1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
Combine in large pot and heat until just beginning to boil.(really, just as you detect a simmer. Cooking too long makes them hard and way too chewy.) Remove from heat and add:
1 c. peanut butter
4-5 cups rice krispies cereal (I like about 4 ½ cups)
Stir gently to combine. Spread into 9×13 pan.
Melt and Stir:
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
Spread over Rice Krispies mixture. Cool at room temp or in refrigerator. Cut into squares and serve.
Week of April 12th- 18th
National Poetry Month
To celebrate this holiday log on to Scholastic teacher.scholastic.com/poetry for a list of books and fun games to play. You could also try having one person in your family start off by saying a sentence, and then have the person sitting next to him say another sentence that rhymes with it. Go around in a circle until your family poem is complete.
Game of the Month: Bunny, Bunny, Chick
Any version of duck, duck, goose will do no matter what your age. Gather the family together or invite some neighbors over for a fun game of bunny, bunny, chick. Our games always turns into a wrestling match.
Week of April 19th- 25th
April 20th- 25th Turn off Your TV Week
This is one of my favorite times of the year. A chance for your kids to reconnect with their imaginations. If it’s difficult to find something for your child to do and you need to get some things done try audiobooks. They can be rented from the library, or downloaded from a couple wonderful sites. Story Nory storynory.com and Kids Audible http://kids.audible.com/adkd/site/k/homepageGuest.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes are great resources. You could also play games, put on a magic show, read a family book together, or volunteer.
Read Earth Day Books
Because it is Turn off your TV Week and Earth day, sit down and read these great books The Garbage Monster by Joni Sensel, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, and Let’s Celebrate Earth Day by Peter Roop
April 22nd Earth Day
Service Project: As a family pick up empty bottles or garbage you see in your neighborhood.
Part of Earth Day is using what we already have or finding a new use for those things. Use your body and walk or bike to school — not only is it good for the body, it’s good for the environment too!
Make crafts out of recycled things. Collect as many plastic bottles, yogurt containers, boxes, and cans that can be turned into something else. Ideas include robots out of cans or boats using plastic bottles and milk cartons.
Week of April 26th- 30th
National Garden Month
Get Gardening! Springtime is a perfect time to let your kids dig in dirt, plant seeds and watch the outcome. Try a pizza garden (tomatoes, peppers and basil). Or grow some nearly fail-proof items: sunflowers and mini-pumpkins. Even if space is limited, you can have a container garden on your back porch or grow herbs in a sunny spot near your kitchen window.
Journaling for the Month
Grab your kid’s journal, a piece of paper, or computer and ask your kids these questions. It will be fun to look back and see what your kid’s answers were.
A good time to do this is at dinner.
• Ask your child what he can do now that he couldn’t do when he was little.
• Make a list of your child’s favorite treats and ways to act crazy.
• Who in your family does your child remind you of, and why?
Burn Some Energy
Put on some music (High School Musical is a favorite) either inside or out and have a dance off. You’re sure to burn some of your kid’s energy and be completely exhausted yourself.
Mama’s Helpful Tip
Has the thought of spring cleaning been looming over you? Or are you like me and can see cobwebs in every corner of your home. Schedule out a day or two with no distractions and get to work. Below is a list to help in this huge endeavor.
___ CLEAN OUT AND ORGANIZE REFRIGERATOR
___ CLEAN INSIDE OF AND UNDER STOVE
___ CLEAN MICROWAVE
___ CLEAN TOASTER OVEN
___ CLEAN AND ORGANIZE PANTRY
___ CLEAN AND ORGANIZE FREEZER
___ WIPE DOWN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF KITCHEN CUPBOARDS
___ WASH OR DRYCLEAN BEDSPREADS
___ ORGANIZE/PURGE MASTER BEDROOM CLOSET
___ ORGANIZE/PURGE CHILDREN’S CLOSETS
___ ORGANIZE/PURGE CHILDREN’S TOYS
___ WIPE DOWN ALL DOORS; CLEAN DOOR HANDLES & MOLDINGS
___ WIPE OFF WINDOW SILLS
___ CLEAN INSIDE OF WINDOWS
___ WASH OR DRYCLEAN CURTAINS
___ DUST MINI-BLINDS
___ CLEAN SLIDING GLASS DOORS INSIDE AND OUT
___ REMOVE MARKS FROM WALLS; APPLY TOUCH UP PAINT
___ CLEAN WALL MOLDINGS
___ DUST CEILING FANS
___ DUST PICTURE FRAMES
___ DUST LAMP SHADES
___ STEAM CLEAN CARPETS
___ STEAM CLEAN FURNITURE
___ WASH OUT WASTEBASKETS
___ DUST ARTIFICIAL PLANTS
___ CHANGE BATTERIES IN SMOKE DETECTORS
___ ORGANIZE LINEN CLOSET
___ WIPE DOWN AND CLEAN UNDER WASHING MACHINE AND DRYER
For more ideas, watch for the Utah Mama’s Handbook at bookstores and visit www.todaysmama.com