Monday, November 25

A TO Z holiday giving for kids

With so many messages bombarding us to hit the stores and buy, buy, buy, it can be hard to re-focus on a deeper meaning of the holiday season.  One way to tune out the noise of consumerism is to get involved in giving back to others through community service or philanthropy. 

The holiday season is the perfect time to "shop" for a worthwhile cause that suits your family. Whether it's adopting an animal at your local zoo or aquarium, sponsoring a child in a developing country, rounding up canned goods for charity or visiting a senior center, you don't have to look far to find meaningful ways to show genuine charity. 

The holidays can be a stressful time for children as well as parents.  There's so much going on. The expectations are high.  And Santa is making his list and checking it twice!  Slowing down and connecting with others in the community is a great way to bring some normalcy to the season.  

As surprising as it may seem to parents who are keeping track of their kids' ever-expanding holiday wish lists, children get a huge kick out of giving--they just need to be introduced to the habit by an adult who has experienced the joy of giving and wants to pass it along. It's contagious!

There are so many benefits for children who are socially conscious. KidsHealth lists these perks:
  • A sense of responsibility. By volunteering, kids learn what it means to make and keep a commitment. They learn how to be on time for a job, do their best, and be proud of the results. But they also learn that, ultimately, we're all responsible for the well-being of our communities.
  • That one person can make a difference. A wonderful, empowering message for kids is that they're important enough to have an impact on someone or something else.
  • The benefit of sacrifice. By giving up a toy to a less fortunate child, a child learns that sometimes it's good to sacrifice. Cutting back on recreation time to help clean up a beach tells kids that there are important things besides ourselves and our immediate needs.
  • Tolerance. Working in community service can bring kids and teens in touch with people of different backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, ages, and education and income levels. They'll learn that even the most diverse individuals can be united by common values.
  • Job skills. Community service can help young people decide on their future careers. Are they interested in the medical field? Hospitals and clinics often have teenage volunteer programs. Do they love politics? Kids can work on the real campaigns of local political candidates. Learning to work as a team member, taking on leadership roles, setting project goals — these are all skills that can be gained by volunteering and will serve kids well in any future career.
  • How to fill idle time wisely. If kids aren't involved in traditional after-school activities, community service can be a wonderful alternative.
You can feel confident about being generous when you research charities in advance through Charity Navigator.  The site ranks non-profits on a variety of things including how much of your donation goes to provide goods or services and how much is spent on overhead.  To get ideas for family friendly volunteering, check out this e-book from Volunteer Spot.

This time next year that must-have gift of the season will be long forgotten but the values and memories made by getting involved in giving back will last a lifetime.

Image credit:
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Wednesday, November 20

FAIRMONT FIVE holiday photo cards

It's that time of year again...time to start thinking about your annual holiday card mailing! The majority of families with precious little children to show off opt for personalized photo cards, and can you blame us!  Photo cards are a great way to reconnect with friends and family near and far.  If you're not already planning a professional family portrait, Thanksgiving holiday is a great time to snap a quick shot of your family looking your best.  Here are five options for sourcing your cards this year:

  1. Largest selection--Tiny Prints
  2. Best quality--Minted
  3. Emailable--Paperless Post
  4. Budget conscious--Snapfish
  5. Print at home--Etsy (lots of options)

Image from frankandfrida via Etsy
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, November 18

ARTS + CRAFTS leaf finger puppets

Fall is such a great time for an outdoor craft with your kids. The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp, and you may even get some mud puddles to stomp in when you go on your fall leaf hunt!  We love this simple craft from iVillage to share with your kids on a beautiful autumn day. It's easy, in-expensive, and makes for some fun dramatic play when your nature walk is over.

Image: iVillage
Contributed by Darcy, Fairmont Private Schools

Wednesday, November 13

FAIRMONT FIVE frameworthy kid art

We are super excited about creating a new Pinterest board dedicated to the fine and performing arts! Fairmont has an amazing arts program--from drama and music to drawing and painting. To kick things off, here are a few pins dedicated to art you and your child can create at home that you will be proud to show off. Follow Fairmont Private Schools on Pinterest to see more pins from Fairmont's art, music and drama teachers throughout the school year.

Abstract art made with black paint, cardboard/plastic and crayons

Another cool abstract art idea made with paint and cardboard paper towel rolls

Read What Snowmen Do At Night and create this oil pastel drawing on black paper

Love the whimsy of this "Catching Snowflakes" art project and your kids will too!

Get your artistic juices flowing by creating backgrounds to famous works of art.

Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, November 11

SHORT STORY 2013 halloween parades

It seems like everyone has moved on to turkeys and tinsel, but we still haven't had our fill of cute students in Halloween costumes.  We think you will agree after you watch the 2013 Halloween parades!

Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Wednesday, November 6

BOOK REPORT milly and the macy's parade

Milly and the Macy's Parade
by Shana Corey
Illustrated by Brett Helquist

Treat your child to a festive story of how one small person makes a big difference. It's Thanksgiving, and spirited Milly sees that the whole town is in need of some cheer, so she comes up with a way to blend her family's old country traditions with their new American heritage, and thus the Macy's Day Parade is born. Inspired by the true story behind the first Macy's Parade in 1924, bright paintings and easy-to-follow text will captivate your child. Milly's story provides a glimpse into immigrant life in America in the 1920s and shows the value of a child's ideas and dreams.
Review provided by Scholastic

Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, November 4

FAIRMONT FIVE rainy day playdates

I think everyone loves fall. You pull out all of the warm sweaters and boots.  You cuddle up under cozy blankets.  And EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored!  It also means being a little more creative for playdates because fall can also mean rain. But don't worry, plenty of fun can be had indoors! Here are 5 playdate ideas when rain is threatening:
  1. Build a blanket fort. Whether you're 4 or 14 fort building is always fun. Give kids full access to all blankets, chairs, tables, etc. that will be needed for their forts. Building is most of the fun but snack time in the fort is great too.
  2. Balloon swatting. For those of us with young boys who have lots of energy, balloon swatting is the perfect solution. Blow up a handful of balloons or let the kids do it themselves. Give them some boundaries and then just let them get all of that energy out keeping the balloons off the floor!
  3. Bake cookies. Baking a sweet treat on a cool, rainy day fills the house with wonderful smells and keeps little ones busy. Let the kids help out with measuring, mixing and licking the spoon!
  4. Walking in the rain. Put on your rain gear and grab an umbrella because kids love walking and splashing in the rain. Go on a walk down the street or just let the kids play in the backyard with their rain gear on. 
  5. Go to the library. If the kids are getting stir crazy then just head to the library. Check your local library's calendar and you can find different story times and fun activities geared for different age groups. Or just let the kids choose a few books and get cozy in a chair.
Image credit:
Contributed by: Darcy, Fairmont Private Schools