Tag: free printables

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier

Hooray, the holidays are here! Having our children home from school (whether it’s fall break, winter break, spring break, or summer break) is a wonderful gift of time and family togetherness. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to go on fun adventures and learn through play. However, school holidays often fall during the time of year when we are inundated with extra activities and a longer-than-usual to-do list.

How do we enjoy the break while still getting things done and keeping our kids learning and happy?

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier | activities for kids, family activities, holidays, raising children, fall, winter, design your day, free printables

Take a Break

It’s important that we build in time for kids (and ourselves!) to relax during school holidays. Getting up early, following a schedule, and doing things we don’t really enjoy can take its toll. Before your kids get out of school, block off a day or a few hours to do absolutely nothing. (YOU TOO!) Snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie, do a puzzle, or take a nap. If you know you’ll have a busy afternoon, take a slow morning. If you have a busy travel schedule, build in a “recovery day” for the entire family.

Offer Choices

Being a student is hard work. Children are told where and how to sit, when to go to the bathroom, when to eat lunch, and more. There are a lot of benefits that come from being part of a larger learning community, but our children also need to learn to self-regulate. Offering our children choices during school holidays can lead to more confidence and cooperation.

When your children are younger, offer them two choices that you like. (Would you like apple slices or applesauce with your lunch?) As they mature, you can give them a more open-ended opportunity to plan their entire lunch–or outfit or schedule, etc.

Designate a Line Leader

Several years ago, I grew tired of listening to my two children bicker constantly. I decided to use one of my tools from the classroom to make things easier on all of us: the line leader. On odd days of the month, my older daughter gets to go first in the shower, up and down the stairs, getting in and of the car, you name it. Our younger daughter gets to be line leader on even days of the month.

It sounds silly, but it can negate one hundred arguments each day. The line leader chooses the vegetable for dinner, who gets to push the cart at the grocery store, who gets dropped off first at AWANA, you name it! And of course, Mom and Dad always get a veto.


FREE School Holiday Survival Guide from Rolling Prairie Readers! Get yours at FlourishWithYourFamily.com

School Holidays Survival Guide

Over the years, I have created a handful of printables that make our home life a bit easier. I have bundled them up into a FREE downloadable guide to help your family flourish during the school holidays.

Here’s what’s included:

  • a weekly calendar template with tips for creating a flexible family schedule
  • a “menu” of more than 20 low-prep activities to keep your children happily engaged
  • lists of recommended seasonal books to grab at the library
  • a family reading log
  • our favorite resources for learning at home
  • AND 30 winter boredom busters!
3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier | activities for kids, family activities, holidays, raising children, fall, winter, design your day, free printables
FREE (or nearly-free) pumpkin activity ideas

FREE (or nearly-free) pumpkin activity ideas

Fall is officially here! Pumpkins are everywhere, which is the perfect opportunity to learn about the life cycle of plants with your little ones. I want to share some of our favorite FREE (or almost-free) pumpkin activity ideas with all of you today. I’d love to see/hear about your pumpkin fun, too–tag me on Instagram (@rollingprairiereaders) so I can see what your little ones are learning!

Pumpkin Activity Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers | free pumpkin learning for kids, recommended pumpkin picture books, pumpkin printables, crafts

Please keep in mind that this blog uses affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission if you purchase anything recommended here, at no additional cost to you!

Hands-On Science Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

We bought a pie pumpkin from our grocery store (almost free!) and planted the seeds in cups with a little bit of soil, lots of sunlight, and some water. In just a few days, our seeds have sprouted, giving the girls a front-row seat at real-life, hands-on science! We’ll roast our leftover seeds and bake up a tasty treat this weekend, too.

Printable Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

We use printables from TeachersPayTeachers.com for many of our seasonal lessons, and we found some of the cutest activities that are absolutely FREE! You will need to set up an account at TpT, but I promise you’ll be back frequently.

Pumpkin Investigation Sheet
I See a Pumpkin Emergent Reader (counting & colors)

These activities are no longer free, but are really affordable!
Life Cycle of a Pumpkin CROWNS for boys and girls
Life Cycle of a Pumpkin cut & paste

Pumpkin Book Ideas:

We checked out books about pumpkins from our local library (also FREE!). Our favorites are:

STEM and Sign Language Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

Finally, we are watching the Rachel and the Treeschoolers Plants & Flowers episode, which covers how a seed grows, what it needs to thrive, and the process of photosynthesis–all while singing and learning American Sign Lnaugage! Learn more about the episode here and download the FREE Activity Guide here.

Join us for 31 days of FREE pumpkin activity ideas!
Click here:

Create a Flexible Family Schedule

Create a Flexible Family Schedule

Summer is a time of transition, especially if you have older kids who will be home from school for a few months!

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

(I remember those years with younger children, when our daily routine didn’t change all that much, but all of our favorite places to spend time–like the library, park, and nature trails–were suddenly filled with lots of bigger kids. If you are a mom of little kids, don’t worry–the break will go by faster than you can imagine!)

The benefit of a flexible family schedule is that you can adjust your routines any time, regardless of the season. Some families prefer to have a full calendar, with lots of extracurricular activities…while some families prefer a more relaxed, spontaneous approach.

And then some families–or MOST families, I would imagine–are a mixture of both when it comes to their weekly schedule: some crazy busy and some that are totally light!

For that reason, I found that using a blank calendar template is best for our family. It allows me to see, at a glance, those open pockets of time where I can be a more intentional mother.

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Here are some of my favorite tips for creating a flexible family schedule:

  • Print off the printable calendar template for several weeks at a time. That way, nothing will stand in the way getting your week down on paper!
  • Fill in all the “out of the house” commitments for the week and all your regular family activities (meal times, nap/rest, etc.).
  • Check the weather and write it down. It’s silly, but it may help you make the right clothing and activity choices–a must for a busy mom!
  • Consider your personality and those of your family members. Do you need to pencil in some at-home time for the introverts? Or maybe you need to plan a social activity, like a playdate, for the extroverts.
  • Write down some activity ideas and family goals for the week–and remember, positive changes happen one small step at a time!

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Grab your family schedule template (its FREE and printable!) right here: