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The Learning Zone

The endless free time of summer seems fun at first, but often after several weeks of sitting around the house, kids get restless.   Parents get tired of kids constantly watching TV or playing video games.  We want to help them avoid the summer backslide that often occurs between June and September, but there are only so many answers to the question, “What can I do?”.    As a parent, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas each day.  So to help you get through the rest of the summer, I will be posting three activities each week that you can do with your kids around the 'burg.  They will be fun and educational but will not break the bank.  I hope they help you to make it through the rest of the summer with your sanity intact.

crafts, kids, fun, summer

Michaels Craft Classes

Did you know that Michaels has a craft class for kids 3 and up on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00 am?   They offer a variety of crafts that appear to be mostly geared toward the elementary age group and each week has a theme.    It is five dollars to register for the class and you can register in-store or online.  Quite a good value, if you ask me, as it included two crafts, all necessary supplies, instruction by a teacher, a backpack and face painting (only on Friday).  Michaels has a separate room in the back of the store that is set up for these craft workshops.  Eight other kids attended our workshop with their parents.  Kids got to complete two full, very detailed crafts.  The theme of the week was “Castles and Princesses”.  For the first craft,the kids made a finger puppet (either a queen, king, dragon, or knight) out of felt, and for the second craft they made a puff ball dragon.  These two activities took about an hour and a half.  Following the lesson, the kids got a backpack to take home and an opportunity to have their face painted.  A really fun time and a great value for any kid that loves crafts, but do check out the craft of the day before registering to make sure it is a good fit for your child’s age and skill-level!



Barnes and Noble

My daughter brought home a small green pamphlet from her school for the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Triathlon.  This is a summer reading program for elementary students in grades 1-5.  Forms can be found at your local Barnes and Noble store, in the kids section.  The only requirement is that the student fill out the answers to three out of four reading-related questions.  Then they get to select a FREE new book from a list of titles arranged by grade level.  

I sat with my daughter for about fifteen minutes before we headed out to Barnes and Noble.  She read the questions loud, filling in her own answers.  Then we went to Barnes and Noble to pick out her brand new book.  She chose a chapter book about dogs.  Beaming with excitement, she brought it to the register and “paid” with her log full of answered questions, excited to go home and start reading!


Wilderness Presidential Resort Mini Golf

Occasionally, we enjoy going to Wilderness Presidential Resort to play a round of mini golf.  A value at only $2 per guest, it is an affordable excursion even for larger families and groups  and a fun way to practice hand-eye coordination, patience, colors, and counting for younger kids.  It is also a good activity, because of the score-keeping, to practice number formation and addition skills for slightly older children.  Affordable and rarely crowded, a round of  mini golf at Wilderness Presidential Resorts is sure to be great family fun!

I would love to hear any ideas that you have.  What educational activities do you like to do with your kids around the 'burg?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.



-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.


Parrish Learning Zone, LLC  
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About Nina

nina parrish

Nina Parrish graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Following graduation from the University of Mary Washington, she received the Project PISCES scholarship to attend North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where she completed her certification in Special Education for K-12 students with learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance. After obtaining her license, Nina earned a Master's Degree in Education for School Counseling in grades Pre K-12 from Virginia Commonwealth University. Nina taught in the public schools in North Carolina and Virginia for 7 years. Nina currently owns, Parrish Learning Zone, a K-12 local tutoring service with her husband Jay, who is also a teacher. They live in Spotsylvania with their daughter.


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Cooking Autism

Cooking Autism, Inc. is driven to help children with neurological disorders (including autism) learn how to cook. Participants are encouraged to pick up critical communication skills, learn how to work as a team and be more independent. They can build skills in math, reading, and science, and learn about cooking-related topics such as health and nutrition. 



The opinions and/or views expressed on this blog represent the thoughts of individual blogger and not necessarily those of Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine or any of its employees or staff.