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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Every kid deserves a vacation, but sometimes those vacations are a little too long. If you have found that your little ones begin to go stir crazy after a few days on break, get creative.

Create a Mini Garden

Fill an extra-large plant pot or a deep plastic storage tote with potting soil. Choose a few seeds of any type. Easy to grow vegetables such as green beans are a fast growing choice but you can use anything you have around the house.

After the seeds are planted, they can paint small stones to mimic garden stepping stones and use modeling clay to make tiny flowers, frogs or anything you would use in a full-sized garden. Set in a sunny spot and remind the children to tend frequently.

Become a Scientist

Purchase a microscope like one found at http://www.microscope.com/compound-microscopes/. Gather small items to study. Give everyone a notebook and have child study the items and describe, in writing and with illustrations, what they see. When everyone has looked at each, discuss your findings and compare notes.

Stage a Puppet Show

You can make finger puppets from felt or stick puppets from craft sticks and construction paper. Your background can be made easily by using large white sheets and painting scenes with craft paint.

There are free printable plays for children available to download on the internet. Choose one that is as simple or as complex as your children’s ages will allow. Give them a couple of days to rehearse and then put on a show. You can create invitations or playbills for the show and pass them out to neighbors, friends and family.

Make Crayons

Any house with children in also has a bucket with broken crayons. Have the children shred or crush crayons into candy molds or a muffin tin. Melt crayons in a warm oven until all the pieces have thoroughly combined. Let cool, pop out of the molds and color away.

Make Hand-print Ornaments

Mix 4-cups of flour, 1-1/2 cups water and 1 cup of salt. Knead for 15 minutes. Roll out and trim into desired design. Have one kid press one hand in the center of each and bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees. Let cool completely and paint or decorate however they would like.


Teach children about the important activity of volunteering. Find a food bank, offer your skills at the local library, clean out cages and walk dogs for the nearest animal shelter. Spend a few hours one day with everyone contributing their time to help others.

Breaks should be about more than just getting away from school. They should be a time to enjoy each other and learn and create. Encourage your children to make their free time about something more than computers and TVs.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids to be engaged, not bored.

April Labarron, the author of this articleApril Labarron is a native of Southern California. She has her BA in English/Literature from MSJC in Menifee, Ca. She views her freelance writing, not only as a career, but as her passion. Other areas of interest include; movies, food, singing, soccer, traveling, shopping and a continuous desire for learning.   She lives on her own and is accompanied by her Pomeranian named, Elvis. She currently resides in Temecula, CA.