Productive kids are happy kids

Published June 9, 2018, 12:05 AM


By Paulyne L. Fermin

Hotcake Art Precious bonding moment with my daughter.
Hotcake Art Precious bonding moment with my daughter.

Vacation starts now for me and my children. It’s time for them to have fun and be free from all the pressures of school. As a mom, I welcome this time when I can suggest things for them to do and to bond with them at the same time. I make it a point to keep them away from gadgets so I’ve lined up activities that will keep their hands busy and their minds focused.

The Maya Kitchen, Music and Math

First on our list: cooking class. Gone are the days when cooking was just for girls. At The Maya Kitchen, my teener and seven year old daughter had major fun as they whipped up dishes from scratch. I was so pleased to see my son forging new friendships with his predominantly all boys crew as they sliced, diced, cooked and ate their culinary masterpieces. His instructor Chef  Mercedes Peterson made this observation, “Miguel is a polite, inquisitive and participative student who loves food but has learned how to love to cook and bake!” At the end of the teen cooking camp, he was able to make Korean, Thai, Japanese and Filipino dishes and his team even won in the surprise Pancake Warrior challenge!

Brother and Sister Act Confident Little Chefs
Brother and Sister Act Confident Little Chefs

My daughter, on the other hand, could not wait to get her little hands dirty as she made rice krispies, chicken nugget burgers and pork tenderloin rice bowl. The kids class is so much noisier and I appreciate how the class instructors handled the eager young ones. I even got to bond with her when we made colorful hotcake art.

Music has always been a part of our household. I cannot carry a tune so the kids’ musical genes must come from their Dad. As in anything, they know that they must put in the hours and practice daily to hone their skills. Both play the piano while my girl has decided to take singing lessons. She ably showed her vocal stylings during her 7th birthday party.

Fun under the Summer Sun!
Fun under the Summer Sun!

Kids must be encouraged to enrich their vocabulary and play outdoors. When they try to reach for their gadgets, I tell them to read or go swim in our pool. The flipside of this is they should see their parents doing these activities, too. Visits to the local bookstore is a weekly activity and swimming together while we play word games and trivia in the pool are things we enjoy doing together as a family.

As much as possible, I let my children decide how they want to spend their free time. But there are things that are non-negotiable–like doing math.  Some may frown at that idea. Math during summertime? Definitely! Math is a skill-building subject that needs a strong foundation. Half an hour a day of solving equations will produce a confident student come school time.

As I write this, we are hours from the theme parks of Orlando. The family is taking a much needed break to enjoy the tail end of summer. Here’s hoping you are making the most of yours!