Each month, we send new ideas and activities to the Children’s Program Coordinators at each of the Visitor Centers. These activities address the unique needs of children impacted by incarceration and aim to give children ways to process emotions.
Preschoolers: Exploring My Pyramid for Kids
Purpose: To expose children to healthy habits, including a balanced diet and exercise
- My Pyramid sheet
- Butcher or Construction Paper in various colors
- Create a wall sized My Pyramid. Be sure to proportion and label each section
- Converse with children about My Pyramid. Ask them what they see!
- What types of food go with each group?
- What are your favorite foods?
- What do the stairs represent?
- Why are some portions of My Pyramid larger than others? (MATH CONCEPT!)
- Give magazines to children to cut out food items and types of exercise (on-going project…does not have to be completed in one day)
- Give children their own My Pyramid to take with them
***Note: if a wall sized My Pyramid is not possible, refer to empty My Pyramid sheet
Preschoolers love bright colors and group participation. With an on-going project, they can see what their peers before them have charted. They gain an understanding about healthy body habits such as a balanced diet and exercise.
Aside from the nutrition aspect, this is an opportunity for math skills. They will analyze information presented on a chart, conceptualize a complex item as a whole and then as parts, understand symbols, and use thinking skills to categorize.
Teens: Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic
Purpose: To create an Emergency Plan in case of Zombie Apocalypse (or a hurricane, earthquake, etc)
- Refer teens to the Zombie Pandemic Comic
- Ask teens what their household’s Emergency Plan is
- If they have one, help them analyze it against the FEMA Checklist
- Give them an Emergency Preparedness Checklist sheet
The CDC created this campaign to raise awareness through a popular concept. The point is that ANY sort of emergency situation could arise and each household should have a plan on hand (just as each VC does). The goal is for a family to create and practice the plan together.
All Ages: Listening to Communicate and Barriers to Communication
Purpose: To discuss active listening techniques such as Open vs Closed Ended Questions and Paraphrasing
- Ask children:
- How do you know someone is listening to you?
- How does it make you feel when you feel listened to?
- How do you know when someone isn’t listening to you?
- How does it make you feel when you aren’t listened to?
- For younger children, try:
- Put on Your Listening Ears – Say dramatically “I have something important to tell you. Can anyone tell me what type of ears we need to wear in the museum?” When the preschooler says “Listening ears” say “OK, let’s put on our listening ears. I think that mine are in my shoe (or some other funny place).” Then dramatically pretend to pull them out of your shoe and put them on. Have the preschooler find their listening ears and pretend to put them on. You can also do this with walking feet or inside voice. The trick is to be as silly and dramatic as possible. If your child forgets their manners during the situation whisper to them “You must have put your listening ears back in your belly button when I wasn’t looking. Let’s find them again and put them back on.”
Children will recognize active listening skills, which will improve communication skills with others.