Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Break Bucket List

"Busy hands are a great help to being cheerful." -- Ma Ingalls in These Happy Golden Years
Big Girl is out of school this week, so last Friday afternoon she got off the bus, ate a snack, and we made a list. The chalkboard was wiped clean and we brainstormed a bunch of things she needed to do as well as might want to do. We know we may not accomplish every single thing on the list, but it's nice to see everything in one visible place. It's nice to keep busy. And being busy can mean happy kids on vacation and that means a happy mom.

In boring moment over the 9-day vacation, we can glance at the wall, realize we haven't had "movie night" or worked on her sand art craft kit or opened the pottery wheel, visited the library or read more about our new frogs, and an activity is born. It's a fun way to keep busy and find something fun to do. Usually our chalkboard is a source of our week's activities, so those are on there too, marked by the day.

You know when the kids arrive back at school after a break, the first thing they do, or the teacher does, is ask "What did you do on vacation?" We don't usually go away on trips, except in the summer, so Big Girl doesn't have any major accomplishments to brag about when she returns to school, unlike peers returning from Disney or trips to warm weather locations. And I am not a "need to do some day trip every day" sort of person either -- there is room for down time for just playing and hanging out at home. I still have to work for my part-time job, chores still need to be done, toddlers still need naps, but the difference between this week and a school week is to find ways to squeeze in some fun. This week's big fun trip to a newly opened Titanic exhibit; Big Girl is fascinated by Titanic history, so I was able to get a work assignment to get us there for a mother-daughter day.

The list helps keep me on track for the week too. It sets goals to give Big Girl a good vacation as well as remind me of what we need to accomplish this week. For example, Big Girl is participating in the school's St. Jude Mathathon, and needs to finish her math booklet for that. Also, since the weather is warming up, Big Girl's closet needs a clothes clean-out, so we can make sure we have a warm weather wardrobe that fits her. It may be her vacation, but this is a necessity and it's easier to do it on a day off rather than squeeze it in a busy school week. We all have responsibilities in life, even on school vacation, and I think it's important to teach children that life is a balance, don't you?

The goal of the Spring Break Bucket List is like any list -- check off our accomplishments and have fun doing it. I'm hoping that by the time Sunday night rolls around that Big Girl will feel her week was not wasted, but was one full of accomplishments, big and small, both fun and needed, and that she will have a long list of conversation starters on Monday morning.

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