Tag Archives: family fun

Celebrate Youth Art Month

childrenApril is Youth Art Month and you might be surprised to hear that art education helps children develop socially, physically, emotionally, cognitively, and foster creativity and imagination.

Unfortunately, due to school budget cuts in many parts of the United States, art and music education is disappearing from the curriculum.

It’s important that we advocate for these programs in schools because we know their value. Students with access to arts education outperform those who do not on standardized tests (which are, apparently, the only way some “experts” can analyze educational success) and are more likely to attend college.

At the same time, we should encourage our children to see art as an integral part of their lives by introducing it at home. Working on projects together is a great family activity. And the beauty of doing arts and crafts projects at home is that there’s no critic to evaluate your work!

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the gallery on the International Child Art Foundation‘s website. This organization uses art to help children in conflict areas process and express their feelings. They’re doing fantastic work to help children whose physical needs might have been met but who are still emotionally needy.

It’s a great lesson for us in our own lives. With all the financial, social, political, and personal unrest many of us are facing, it’s important to have a creative outlet to help us manage the stress. And it’s also a great example to set for our own children on how to deal with upheaval in their lives.

So go ahead and tackle an art project with your kids and see if it doesn’t provide a stress relief for you, too.

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Purim Cookie: Haman’s Ears

They go by many names – and many spellings – but the Jewish festival of Purim has one standout sweet treat in this cookie.

Hamantaschen are triange-shaped cookies that can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as poppy seeds, prunes, dates, apricots, or even chocolate.

They get their name from the villain of the Purim story, Haman, who convinced the king of Persian to allow the murder of all the Jewish people in his kingdom. The Jewish people were saved by Esther, the king’s wife, who was also Jewish, although the king did not know this until she bravely came forward.

Here’s a recipe from JewishRecipes.org that you might like to try.

There are so many ways to make these cookies that the possibilities for filling, folding, and displaying them are nearly endless. Here are some ideas to get you started.

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I also found a great article in the New York Times about one woman’s history with Hamantaschen, and her quest to make the “perfect” Purim cookie. You might enjoy reading it here.

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Have an Aussie New Year!

Weather permitting, consider celebrating the new year the way they do in Australia: with picnics, camping, and lots of fresh air.

Even if your climate isn’t conducive to a December camp-out, try moving the outdoors inside by ushering in the new year with an indoor picnic.

Set up a blanket on the living room floor, hand out flashlights and turn out the lights.

Take turns sharing your favorite thing about 2010 and what you’re looking forward to in 2011.

You can also recreate your favorite picnic foods inside for added fun.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a Wii or other video game system, maybe play some sporty games as a family to remind each other that the winter – which seems interminable – will end.

And if you’re the kind of family that just loves winter sports, get out there and enjoy them together as a great way to start the new year in a happy and healthy way.

 

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