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Routines help manage time, and they build character and confidence in children and young adults. Daily routines help your child understand the importance of time management. Children function best when routines are consistent, but not too regimented and rigid. Here are some ways to introduce some routines into every part of the day.

Morning Routines
Mornings have a tendency to be hectic and frantic if not well organized. We have all been there - one hundred things to do, with an ever-shrinking window of time in which to do them. During the weekdays, children should wake up at a predetermined time. This time should allow for all the things that need to be done before heading off to school, such as getting dressed, eating breakfast, packing lunches and gathering school supplies.

After School

When children get home from school and their other extracurricular activities, this is the perfect time to relax, have a snack and perhaps squeeze in some play-time before homework and dinnertime. After-school time should be structured in a way that gives children some time to decompress and get some fun in before hitting the books. Your child has been hard at work at school all day and could use some freedom. The amount of homework your child has should determine the length of time he or she has for relaxing. If your child is in Kumon, make sure to include Kumon assignments in the evening schedule. After your child has had a chance to unwind, study time should be scheduled for the same period each night.

Dinnertime
It is widely understood that dinner should be held at the same time each night. Children who eat evening meals with the family regularly show improvement in many areas. Dinner conversation improves vocabulary and social skills in young children and gives the whole family a chance to share the news of the day. The act of coming together as a family each night also fosters a healthy respect for the family unit that your children will carry on for years to come.

Bedtime
Getting ready for the next day before bed can help calm the occasional panic-filled mornings. Setting out outfits to wear and packing up school supplies the night before can help shave valuable minutes off the morning rush. If possible, deciding on what to pack for lunch the next day will also help manageability.

Consistent routines will increase performance in school, ease anxiety and set limits and boundaries for children and young teens. A little planning will go a long way. Building successful routines will help create a foundation for success every day.

 
 
We know it is cold outside for most of us so the team at A Dream Education wanted to provide families with a list of themed based activities,  lessons plans and crafts you can do over the weekend.  We plan to have a list posted early each Saturday morning for your weekend enjoyment.  This week we have:
Polar Bear Plate Craft
Layered Salt Artwork  
Snowflake Garland
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The Bear says Grr, the people say Brr..
Activity: Polar Bear Plate Craft. This art project is fun, fuzzy and fantastic. You can add a tongue depressor or popsicle stick and the children can use their plate as a mask or in creative play . While doing this activity discuss hibernation,  why, where and when animals hibernate and when the craft is complete the children can reenact a skit about hibernating bears. Make learning fun!! 

Age:  Pre-k - 3rd grade / 4 - 8 years 

Area: Art, Creative Play

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Close your eye's you are on a sandy beach in January.

Activity: Layered Salt Artwork - Make science fun with this art display.  This is a very easy activity and with younger children you can teach color recognition, primary and secondary colors.

Age: preschool - 6th grade / 3 - 11 years

Area: Science 

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Let it Snow!!
Activity:  Snowflake Garland  - You can incorporate Math and Art in this fun activity that most ages will enjoy. Get creative with your older children and tell them what types of shapes to include: rhombus, trapezoid, hexagon, ect. Ask your younger ones how many sides does an triangle have as your make these unique decorations.  You can also use coffee filters and food coloring to decorate your snowflakes.
Age: preschool - 6th grade / 3 - 11 years
Area: Math, Art

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2011 Gingerbread House and Friends
Below are a couple recipes for making gingerbread ornaments. This is a great activity to do with your children when they are out of school.  These ornaments are also great gift ideas. There are recipes for the novelist to the experienced baker. Once baked, these simply shaped ornaments can be decorated and hung on the tree, a Christmas wreath, and more!

EASY GINGERBREAD MEN
(Makes 6 ornaments)
  1/2c Applesauce
  1/2c Cinnamon
  2T Household glue

Mix all ingredients together and roll on wax paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the shapes of the intended ornaments. Poke a small hole in the top of the ornament using the end of a straw, knife, chopstick, small dowel, pencil, or similar object. Allow ornaments to air dry for 1-3 days. When ornaments are ready to be decorated they will be completely dry and very hard.

SLOW BAKE GINGERBREAD ORNAMENTS
(Makes 15 ornaments)
  16oz. Applesauce
  1c Cinnamon
  2T Allspice

Preheat oven to 150-degrees.
Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Roll dough on wax paper. Cut out ornaments with appropriately shaped cookie cutters. Poke a hole in the top of each ornament using a straw, knife, chopstick, pencil, or similar object.

Bake in 150-degree oven for 90 minutes. Turn ornaments over. Bake for an additional 90-minutes. Allow ornaments to cool and continue drying for 1-3 hours after baking.

HEAVY DUTY GINGERBREAD ORNAMENTS
(Makes 30 ornaments)
  1c Sugar
  6T Shortening
  2t Baking soda
  2t Cloves, ground
  2t Ginger
  2t Cinnamon
  7c Flour
  1-1/2c Water

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
Mix shortening and 1 cup of sugar together in a large bowl. Add baking soda, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, flour, and 1-1/2 cups of water. When mixed completely, refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

Roll gingerbread out to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured surface or on wax paper. Poke a hole in the top of each ornament using a straw, knife, chopstick, pencil, or similar object.

Put cutouts on cookie sheet and bake 20-minutes in 325-degree oven. After 20-minutes, turn oven off, leaving cookies inside oven to continue the drying process. After 1-hour, move cookies to a rack and allow to sit untouched for 1-3 days or until completely dry and hard.

When cookies are dry, spray with clear acrylic paint or brush with clear varnish and allow cookie coating to dry completely.

BROWN GINGERBREAD MEN
(Makes 30 ornaments)
  1c Sugar
  6T Shortening
  2t Baking soda
  2t Cloves, ground
  2t Ginger
  2t Cinnamon
  7c Flour
  1c Water
  1/2c Molasses
  2T Cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Mix shortening and 1 cup of sugar together in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for 4-hours.

Roll dough out on floured surface of wax paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Poke a hole in the top of each cookie with a straw, knife, chopstick, pencil, or similar object.

Put cutouts on cookie sheet and bake 20-minutes in 325-degree oven. After 20-minutes, turn oven off, leaving cookies inside oven to continue the drying process. After 1-hour, move cookies to a rack and allow to sit untouched for 1-3 days or until completely dry and hard.

When cookies are dry, spray with clear acrylic paint or brush with clear varnish and allow cookie coating to dry completely.