Activities for boys ~

They’re not just for boys.. the girls would like these too!

During any vacation, children enjoy their time away from school, but home routines remain important.  Always practice the violin every day.  And vacation gives you more opportunity to practice even more often.  One example for a young child:  10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening.  Be creative about when and where during the holiday break.

Vacation is also a great time “to waste time with your children.” A great time to enjoy  your children.  But you know eventually, they are going to tell you they are bored!

Renee of Great Peace Academy has a wonderful resource index for activities for boys!

Here are a few hands-on activities I selected from her page:

Who doesn’t have duct tape!  Make a light saber (how appropriate for the new Star Wars movie) or a make more challenging wallet (age 8+ with help).

What child wouldn’t like to watch dissolving rocks only to find a little surprise inside.

Or build a boat from a large cardboard box?  And then practice your violin while standing in your boat!


“The ‘Law of Ability’ will develop each and every child.” Shinichi Suzuki

Calming down Suzuki Pretwinklers this week!

Keep your household schedule during the holidays.

One good way to keep a Suzuki child, or any overstimulated child, calmed down is having a regular schedule in your household during vacation.  Even without school, children can have a good routine to follow every day–something that they can count on and look forward to.

Suzuki Kid!

For example, in planning for play, chores, outside adventures, and travel, set up a simple calendar on the refrigerator that shows what you will do each day.

When they begin to say,”I’m bored,” you can look at the calendar together and see what activity you will do soon that day and help them think about what to do until then.

AND include practice time on that calendar!

Practice can be so much fun, so include it on their daily schedule.  As a matter of fact, there is even more time to practice over the vacation.  Here is a place to be creative.

1. Practice in the kitchen.

2. Practice in the garage.

3.  Practice at grandparents’ house.

4.  Practice as “entertaining” family before lunch or dinner.

5.  Practice in the bathroom.

6.  Practice behind the living room chair.

7.  Practice in pajamas.

8.  Practice in the morning.

9.  Practice for a neighbor.

10.  Practice for a younger or older sibling.

And for another idea to CALM down those excited children….

Katie at suggests a Calm Down Jar or as she calls them, Sparkle Bottles.

“She says they provide healthy and effective ways for little ones to help soothe themselves, calm down, take deep breaths, and work through their emotions. I also use them as an addition in our play kitchen or in our quiet area or library area. Overall, they are just beautiful.”

She likes to use a plastic Smart Water bottle (although her affiliate link is for a Voss bottle).  The biggest issues are having a big enough opening to pour in the ingredients and deciding if you want to use glass or plastic.  I would opt for plastic. And maybe tape the lid shut for those especially precocious children–good at twisting off lids.

See the other links on Katie’s page for Lego Jars, Bedtime Glow Bottle, Alphabet Discovery Bottle and more.

“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” Yoda


Vacation travel & sensory processing challenges~

You may be traveling to visit family or for a vacation away from it all!  Planning ahead for your child with sensory processing issues can help the child feel safe and confident as well as give your family an opportunity to make fond memories on a great vacation together. is an excellent resource for children with learning and attention issues. A timely article is 10 Tips to Help Kids with Sensory Processing Issues Avoid Travel Meltdowns. These are good, common sense ideas for any child but particularly useful when you want to help your child.

1. Pack a backpack with the familiar things that you know help him calm down.  If you have it near the child, it is easier for him to reach the things himself.  Some believe that the heaviness of the backpack is good for him also.

2. Pack the shampoo, soap, and even towels she is used to using at home.

3. Practice the trip.  For an older child with sensory processing issues, this might mean merely looking at the map and discussing the trip. For younger children, this might include listening to the sounds of an airplane engine, watching a video of an airplane both inside and taking off.  The TSA experience also may be a source of distress.  Talking him through it and practicing what will happen can be important.

4.  On a car trip, stop for frequent breaks.  Some children may need a rest, others may need to get out and kick a soccer ball.

5.  Plan for extra time.  If you are frazzled, your child will sense it.

6.  In an airport, look for a quiet corner to wait for your flight.  Too much activity and noise may overwhelm your child.

7.  Plan for your airplane boarding options. Some children may do well to board early, others later.  Perhaps the seating assignment you get will help–bulkhead or aisle seats.

8. Give your child the opportunity to try on any new clothes he may have to wear on the trip.  For example, if you are going to a warmer climate, make sure he knows about the different clothing he will be wearing.  You may allow him to select his own clothes to take if that helps.

9. Bring along familiar foods.  Or shop for your own when you arrive.  Even if you are a house guest, you can purchase foods you know your child will want.

10. Follow the same bedtime routine as at home.  If your child is cranky at night, stop travel early.  If she is cranky in the morning, don’t get on the road too early.

**11.  Take his or her violin along!

“While we try to teach our children all about life, they teach us what life is all about.” Angela Schwindt (homeschooling mom)

It’s not about what happens to you…

It’s what you do about it.

The show must go on!  Showing students this video would give them a sense that it’s not what happens to them that matters, it’s how they handle it.

Slipped Disc reports that the pages flew right off music stands during a performance. It’s an “Oh, No!” moment.   It happened to both performers, and twice, within a minute!

Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt kept playing. Watch violinist Anna Reszniak, who was pageturning for Lars Vogt when the situation began.  She calmly gets up and fixes the music.  Violinist Christian Tetzlaff keeps his cool as well.  While we are at it, so does pianist Lars Vogt.

The frequent performances our studio holds give our students a lot of opportunity to learn what to do when they perform.  Lots of confidence builders here! We performed in public in October at both Sunrise at Reston Town Center and at Bow Tie Cinema at Reston Town Center where we held our Halloween Play-in.  The show must go on!

“Music…it is the favorite passion of my soul.”  Thomas Jefferson