by Joyce Wilson
With the ongoing pandemic, school break this year might be different than usual, with greater time spent indoors. But don’t let that stop you from having a fun-filled vacation with your family. In this article, the Hegeler Carus Foundation lists several amazing activities for the whole family and also how these can help in the mental and physical development of your child.
Reading Time With Family
With online education becoming the norm through the pandemic, kids spend most of their time in front of screens. Excessive screen time can have negative impacts on their eyes and brain.
The Hegeler and Carus children were encouraged to read, and they did so with great enthusiasm. They read adventure books and history books and books of poetry. They read folktales and fables, biographies, and occasionally, even a romance novel or two! While a great number of the books in the Mansion are written in German, the children could also read books in English, French, Latin, Russian, and Castilian.
During this school break dedicate an hour daily towards family reading time. Gather in a room, play soothing music, pick up a book and start reading. At the start, you can read a book with your child, till they develop the habit. Soon, you could be spending numerous hours a day reading together and away from harmful blue-light screens.
Additionally, regular reading will improve your child’s vocabulary, increase creativity, and aid in overall cognitive development.
Get Busy in the Kitchen
Make your child a trusted sous chef this school break. Kids have a natural tendency to help, hence letting them assist you in the kitchen can be a fun, educational family experience.
While your child might have learned about nutrition and the importance of a balanced diet in school, cooking the food themselves will lead to a deeper understanding of these concepts.
You could also have a cooking face-off. As parents, alternate between cooking a meal with your kid(s) and have a Masterchef style taste test to determine the winner.
Learning to cook will have long-term benefits for your child. Research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that children who cook, eat healthier, avoid processed snacks, and have high self-confidence.
Play Board Games
Consider making board games your go-to family activity this school break. Why? Because there are endless options to choose from, it helps create stronger family bonds and will make family members engage with each other rather than being absorbed in their personal electronic devices.
The beauty of board games is that you have a new experience each time you play. For example, Catan, the popular strategy board game, has a playtime of just an hour, however, each game brings a new set of challenges and strategies.
Talking about strategies, board games can help develop your child’s decision-making and critical thinking skills according to Scholastic. Additionally, sometimes games can mimic real-life scenarios as well. Your child may have played the game well, but ultimately lost. Naturally, they will be upset, but learning how to cope with a loss is a valuable skill that will help them in their endeavors ahead.
Victorian children like those of the Hegeler and Carus families spent their days playing outdoors. But if there was inclement weather, they were charged with entertaining themselves with indoor activities. Many of these activities included games like dominoes, jacks, and pick-up sticks. They put together jigsaw puzzles (which were once cut from wood by a jig-saw) and played with wooden toys and blocks. They also enjoyed board games. Two popular games at the beginning of the 20th century were Schimmel and Round the World with Nellie Bly.
Plan DIY Projects
The Hegeler and Carus children were skilled crafters; the girls, in particular, were excellent artisans of embroidery, lace tatting, decoupaging, and drawing/painting. Much of their handicraft still survives in the Mansion.
There will be several Do It Yourself (DIY) projects that interest your family as a whole, make a list of projects you want to tackle this school break. While DIY projects can take just a few hours, others could span a few days. Additionally, take into consideration the tools, materials, and safety equipment needed for each project.
Some popular DIY projects to consider include:
- Making a Bird Feeder
- Constructing benches and chairs for your garden
- Installing floating bookshelves or a bookcase
- Dyeing Clothes
- Creating a garden fort
While you are busy with your DIY projects you could also focus on conducting repairs around your home. If your fence is old or deteriorating, consider finding an affordable fence company near you to replace it. Good quality fences cost more than $4,000, hence look for accredited companies with a good reputation. Hiring a local service could prove to be fruitful as they would be aware of the network of utility lines that run beneath your home.
Get Out and About
There’s always the option to travel as well. New moms can benefit from staying as comfortable as possible while on the road or in the air, and if nursing it’s essential to pack functional clothing like maternity dresses. Kindred Bravely offers a range of comfy, fashionable clothes that are designed to be worn before, during and after pregnancy.
If you do plan to travel this vacation period, look for great destinations beyond major cities to avoid crowds and enjoy a safer experience. Some options include:
- Atlantic City, NJ
- Sarasota, FL
- Troy, AI
- Toledo, OH
- Springfield, MO
- And don’t forget about the historic Hegeler Carus Mansion in LaSalle, IL!
Furthermore, if you do not want to travel far you can plan a one-day trip to a nearby destination such as:
- National Parks
- Trekking Trails
- Amusement Parks
Wherever you plan to travel, you’ll undoubtedly be reliant on your smartphone to communicate and help guide you to your destination using your phone’s GPS. Be sure you have a quality screen protector to safeguard your device in case of drops and spills, as well as against the elements if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.
By making spending quality time the focus of this school break, you develop stronger family bonds and create numerous memorable experiences.
The Hegeler Carus Foundation preserves and uses the Hegeler Carus Mansion and its many stories to inspire excitement and appreciation locally and globally for its heritage, architecture, and design. Contact and visit us today! www.hegelercarus.org to preregister for tours. (815) 224-5892