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Local musician, Jay Warren JYWRRN, is spreading the word for a good cause. Check out his video and learn all about where sales for his new single, Hold Me are going!
We all want to have a great time with our kids during the summer but also keep them actively engaged and ready for the following school year. That always seems tough to do with the crazy rush of summer.
Did you know statistics show that:
- The average child loses 2 months of reading skills, math computation and reading & spelling abilities over the summer.
- Regular physical activity can lead to increased concentration and improved mathematics and test scores.
- Teachers spend 4-6 weeks re-teaching material that kids have lost over the summer.
- On average, children who work on their educational skills through the summer months, preferably with parent involvement are more likely to test higher in school, choose higher education and have higher incomes as adults.
It seems that as parents we always start the summer with great intentions and then just slowly forget to set aside time for reading and education. We’ve come up with a daily weekday packet to help parents and kids stay actively engaged in learning and physical activity.
Make it, read it, explore it, taste it & watch it! (Printable packet details below.)
Make it: Helps kids be creative by making a craft or meal together. Kids can write about what they made after, what worked, what didn’t, what they want to try next time.
Read it: Spend 30 minutes ALL TOGETHER reading books. This is a great time for parents to read to younger kids or sit with older kids as they read to themselves. It gives parents some great quiet time as well 😉 Also spend time in libraries across your state, reading and taking all the FREE classes and activities they offer kids and youth. See your local library for a calendar of events. Use the printable punch card for kids when they complete their reading and think of a great reward once it’s all filled up.
Explore it: Pick a fun place to visit, explore nature, make a scavenger hunt, see the historical sites in your city, visit the zoo. Whatever it is, get out and play. At the end of the day, kids come home to write about their experiences or draw a picture about their day.
Taste it: Once a week take kids to a new local place that you haven’t tried before. Get a treat or a meal and experience something new. For example, if you go have Indian food, they can come home and write their own little review on the restaurant and look up fun facts about the country of India. Help kids learn to remember what they experienced and write it all down or draw a picture.
Watch it: There are so many movie theaters and local playhouses that have deals for kids during the week. Help kids make a list of movies, plays or shows they’d like to see. Go out or just curl up together with a blanket and popcorn for a fun family movie at home.
CLICK HERE for printable packets so kids can make binders about all their summer experiences. They will not only enjoy quality family time but learn along the way and stay mentally and physically active!
When I think about bucket lists, I think of skydiving, world travel, and college degrees. However impressive, most long term bucket lists are, I think people forget to do the small things. Life shouldn’t be waiting for the next big thing, it should be the active search for small and meaningful experiences. Doing things that bring you joy. So if you’re in an adventurous/self-improving mood, I have made a list of activities that could turn any ordinary day, into one that is bound to be remembered. So put on some comfy shoes and a positive attitude and document every step.
- Plan your dream trip. Look up flights, activities, restaurants and events at your dream location, and write it all down. Set a goal date on that list. It doesn’t have to be this year, maybe you write July 2030, just try your hardest to get to that place by that date.
- Take one hour to teach yourself something you’ve always wanted to do. Practice singing, slacklining, skateboarding, whatever you want! Just be safe.
- Go to a restaurant you’ve never been to before with a close friend (bonus point, you can only talk to each other in a Yoda voice)
- Paint a self-portrait. You’ll either find out you have a hidden skill or you’ll have something to laugh at.
- Write a letter to yourself and open it in 5 years. See how you’ve changed.
- Strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never met. If that person ends up being your new best friend, you’re welcome!
- Wear something that’s completely out of your style or comfort zone, but you’ve always secretly wanted to wear.
- Ditch your phone for a day. In this day and age, everyone is too busy looking at their phones to have an actual life. Break the mold! Remember who you were before Instagram.
- Write down in your journal 5 things you love about yourself and 5 qualities you wish you had. The first step towards being the person you want to be, is admitting you aren’t that person yet.
- Go to the bookstore and find your favorite book. Put a note in there for a future reader to find.
- Make your own recipe out of whatever you have in your kitchen. If you cook like me then it will probably turn out terrible but hey, at least you tried!
- Learn about a religion you know little about. Visit a cathedral or a mosque, find out what makes that religion unique and help yourself appreciate a different culture.
- Find a pretty view of the city and write down all of the things that mean the most to you in this life. If you’re genuine, I doubt you’ll find one material thing on that list.
There are a million other things you can do. I encourage you to expand this list. Add some bullet points, this list is just to get you started!
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Let us paint a picture for you.
You’re young, you’re ambitious, and the only thing you want right now is to see and experience the world. Everyone tells you now is the time. The time to take the leap, to cross the ocean, to try exciting foods, and to meet interesting individuals. However, you work a near minimum wage job with zero benefits and you’ll be paying off student loans till the end of time.
Despite the fact you check last minute airline prices every Wednesday, because statistics say it’s the cheapest day of the week to fly, your feet are destined to stay firmly planted on the ground until further notice.
For a young, travel restless thing like you and me, we’ve come up with a temporary fix. We decided if we can’t jet off to Japan, we would do the best we could to bring Japan to us. We held a giant date night and filled our space with lanterns, brightly colored crepe paper, and Asian pop culture posters. We decorated the room with miniature Buddhas, oriental place settings, and Japanese candies.
The evening involved making our own sushi and even substituting sushi rollers with tin foil and taped together chopsticks. Of course Just Dance and watching Japanese game shows was a must. If you’re feeling really adventurous we recommend even trying to reenact a few game shows.
The whole evening was a hit. So it wasn’t a completely accurate depiction of Japan. So you probably wouldn’t see Godzilla or Bruce Lee in Japan. Even so, it was incredibly fun to plan and even more fun to be a part of. And the fun doesn’t stop there. This experience opened the door to many themed parties and dates to come.
So stay tuned and Arigatō for reading.
Finding Asian decorations on a budget is so much easier than you think. To pull of the Asian look all you need is colorful paper and lanterns. We went to Zurcher’s party store and got rolls of crete paper for less than $3.00. Party stores also supply the lanterns, chopsticks, flags, cups, plates and costumes. If you’re on a budget I’d recommend passing on the life size cut out of Bruce Lee and the custom Japanese pop culture posters (we went a little overboard). In the days leading up to the date night we’d make origami birds while watching TV or listening to music to liven up areas of the house that weren’t as decorated. Now don’t worry if you don’t know how to make origami birds, the internet has a million tutorials.
As for food, sushi was so easy to make but consider the possibility that it doesn’t always fill people up. We also had an Asian salad and a dessert. If you go to an Asian market they have large bags of Japanese candy for $4.00 a bag that are fun to snack on throughout the night.
Don’t overthink it! We had a fun night because we didn’t stress over the little things. With a little effort you can travel anywhere in the world in your own home. Turn a regular group date into an experience. Good luck!
XOXO Eliza and Maura