Engaged Learners

We’ve all been there. We’re excited for our children to get a break from school, but then, what do we do all day? We soon miss the schedule and expectancy of the school day. So we’ve pulled together a few tips and local activities to keep your children engaged and learning throughout spring break!
1. Plan a stay-cation, or better yet, a play-cation. Choose new-to-you places around your community to experience or plan a few hours of ultimate play creating pirate ships out of cardboard boxes or turning your basement into a cave. Who said you can’t have fun at home? Opening your child’s eyes to the endless opportunities around them is a skill that will carry them far in life!
2. Get moving! Exercise is good for your body and your mind! The community center at the Ames City Hall is hosting free drop-in fitness classes on March 16 from 5:15 - 6:30 pm and 18 from 4:45 - 6:30pm. The municipal pool at Ames High is also offering open swim every week day over spring break from 1:30-4:00 pm and the ice rink is open to the public from 11am – 2pm that week as well!
3. Head to camp! Day camp that is. If your kids are in kindergarten through 9th grade, they can attend one of Campfire Iowa’s day camps! Join for a day or go all week. Campfire provides a fun filled week of activities including snacks and a hot lunch! Transportation to Camp Hantesa in Boone is provided from Camp Canwita in Ames or McHose Park in Boone, drop off time is from 7-8:30am and pick up is 4:30-5:30 pm. The cost is $37 per day. Check their website at campfireiowa.org for more information or to register.
4. Looking to really dive in? Story County Extension is offering plenty of longer activities for elementary students. On March 16, the Extension office in Nevada is presenting Artful Day; exploring color, art materials, and making creations! March 17 is 4-H learning day. 4-H stands for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. The Roland Public Library will host activities around STEM, health living, arts, and civic engagement! March 18 is Garden Time! Head to Nevada to learn how to get a garden ready for growing season. Got older students? Thursday is for them! March 19, Babysitting Basics will be held in Ames at the Elks Lodge for students in 5th grade and up. Students will learn CPR, first aid, and basic on how to care for small children. Friday will be a short class for young minds who love animals. Take your K-3rd grader to learn facts about all sorts of animals, how to care for them and more. 
Most classes are $25 per child and $15 for each additional sibling. Times vary for all Extension activities so check their website at extension.iastate.edu to see what will work for your family’s schedule. Short STEM programs for young ones are also offered throughout the week.
5. READ. Whether your family is traveling to visit friends or staying home all week, this one is something everyone can do. Reading engages the mind, spurs creativity, and encourages family bonding. Check out a few new books at the library or read some old favorites. Try re-reading a book with your child and coming up with a new ending! Did you know that there are 11 public libraries in Story County? One is bound to be close to where you live. Reading can bridge the week long gap that spring break brings, keeping your child motivated to finish out the school year strong. 
Out of school learning can but just as powerful as sitting in the classroom. A ‘classroom’ can be anywhere you want it to be! The grocery store is a great place to teach the letters of the alphabet or simple math equations. Sharing toys at a gym is a lesson every child can grow from. Turning the world into teachable moments for your young ones is easy if you look for the opportunity.  Here’s to a week full of new adventures, no matter where you go!