6 April 2009 10:15 AM

Spring Break Time

by Dr. Rick

It’s Spring Break time.  A reporter recently asked me for some “Easter activity tips” for kids.  I expanded her request to include activities for kids of all (or no) faiths and cultures.  Here’s what I suggested.


  1. Learn about Easter, Passover, and spring celebrations in other countries.  Concentrate on your ancestors’ countries to start.  This is a good way to begin lifelong interests in family history, world geography, and personal research.

  2. Learn about spring/”rebirth” rituals and beliefs of various religions and cultures, including your own.  Why is the service at your house of worship conducted as it is?  What’s the symbolism of the various rituals?  If you don’t have a favored house of worship, ask a friend about hers.  (See my blog of December 9, 2008, “Kids and Religion,” for expanded ideas and opinion.)

  3. Go to church.  Talk about the Easter story, one of the most famous and compelling stories in the world.  If you’re not Christian, visit your house of worship and learn about its rituals, history, beliefs, and stories.  Share these stories with friends.  These stories make up a core of common knowledge that we should know, whatever our religious beliefs.

  4. Take a walk.  Spring is a time for plants and trees to come alive again after a long winter.  Take a long walk with your kids and identify newly-blooming flowers, trees, plants.  Draw them, take pictures of them, write about them, make up songs about them, talk about your favorites, and then make charts that reflect the favorites of everyone in the family.  Which ones are the most popular?

  5. Visit a museum and view spring pictures.  Kids like the “flower” pictures of Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Georgia O’Keeffe, and the Dutch masters.  Look them up.  Talk about them.  Which are your favorites?  Why?  For an artist truly unique, look up the 16th century Italian Guiseppe Arcimboldo, who painted portraits of people with fruit, flower, and vegetable faces!  Kids love his pictures.  Can’t get to a museum?  Visit the website of any major museum in the world.  Some of my favorites are Washington’s Smithsonian Institute (www.si.edu), the Art Institute of Chicago (www.artic.edu), and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (www.metmuseum.org).  Visit their kids’, children’s, or families’ sections.  Also, check out children’s museums websites, which are full of ideas.  Some of my favorites are the Children’s Museum of Boston (www.BostonKids.org), Port Discovery in Baltimore (www.portdiscovery.org), and the Children’s Museum of San Jose (www.cdm.org).

  6. Go to the local library and find books about spring.  As the children’s librarian for the most popular ones.  Read some of them as a family.  Take turns reading aloud.  (See my blog of March 6, 2009, “Family Reading Activities” for some good ideas.)  Check out www.bookadventure.com for ideas, too.

  7. Get out of the house!  Play sports.  Softball, baseball, T-ball, swimming, soccer, track, bicycling, hiking, gymnastics, lacrosse.  The list is endless.  The purpose, of course, is to have fun with your kids, to spend “quality time” with them, to show them that you’re serious about staying healthy, too.  As the weather turns pleasant and warm, turn off the TV, unplug the video games, and go outside, even if it’s just for Hula-Hooping, hide-and-seeking, or hopscotching in the sun.

  8. Be a researcher.  “Interview” older relatives about the Easter/spring break customs of their youth.  Listen to their memories, write them down or video/audio tape them.  Ask them to talk about relatives who have gone before but whose memories still influence the family.  Ask to see photos.  Start a family scrapbook of memories.

  9. Relax.  Spring break is a time for relief from the structure and obligations of the school year.  That’s the beauty of a break – routines become a little less, well, routine.  Make the most of your kids’ time off by finding ways to give them some of yourself, some of your time, some of your interest.  This shouldn’t be expensive or a big deal, just slightly different from the regular days your family usually has.

  10. Get back to “normal.”  Toward the end of spring break, ease your kids back to their normal homework, bedtime, wake-up, studying, and chore routines.  These routines are important for kids, but so are the breaks from them.  The breaks make the routines all the more important.

Let us know what your family does for special activities during Spring Break.  We’d love to hear about your favorites.  Click on “comment” and share!





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