Archive for April, 2019

Take the Screen-Free Challenge

Posted on: April 26th, 2019

Did you know April 29 – May 5, 2019 is Screen-Free Week? Sometimes telling kids it’s time to unplug just for a few hours will elicit groans and complaints of “I’m bored” or “There’s nothing to do!”  Imagine trying it as a family for a whole week! If you’re up for the challenge, this list of screen-free activities can help your family power through.

Ticket to Ride board game

1. Bring out the board games.  A few family-friendly favorites are: Codenames, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Pictionary, and Scrabble. Invite friends over for a board game night or afternoon.

2. Work on a puzzle.  Set out a puzzle and the family will naturally congregate around it to work on it. Local toy stores have great puzzles, and you can swap with other families when you’re done!

3. Read a book as a family. Have your kids take turns reading aloud. Ask your child to tell you their favorite part or something they learned.  Watch the movie afterward (after screen-free week of course!) and discuss the difference.

4. Design an obstacle course. Get creative and set up a challenging course in the backyard or in the basement. Then everyone gets to take a turn trying it out!

5. Family Fitness Fun. Set up a circuit training workout with a few stations and get healthy together.  

washing a car

6. Wash and clean the family vehicles. Put everyone to work cleaning under the seats, vacuuming the mats, washing the windows, and even cleaning the vents and crevices with a toothbrush and cotton swabs.  Use all the loose change you’ll find to buy some ice cream to celebrate a job well done! Break out the sidewalk chalk. Draw a hopscotch or foursquare on the driveway with chalk and have some fun. For the littles, draw out a race track for toy cars.

7. Wide Word of Sports. Grab a basketball and shoot hoops or kick a soccer ball around.  Set a goal of 10 free throws in a row, or dribbling a certain distance in 30 seconds. Have relay races. Play tee ball or kickball.

8. Perfect your frisbee toss or try frisbee golf.  Milwaukee County has several Disc Golf courses. You can find courses in New Berlin and Sussex, too.

9. Get organized. Organize a drawer or cabinet each day.  Teach your kids to fold like Mari Kondo and let them loose! Sort through your toys, books or clothes and find 5 items each family member could donate or sell.

10. Do a family walk or bike ride. Cruise through your neighborhood or on a local trail. You could pray for the people in the homes you pass, pick up litter, or play a game of “I Spy.”

girl coloring with sidewalk chalk outside

11. Break out the sidewalk chalk. Draw a hopscotch or foursquare on the driveway with chalk and have some fun. For the littles, draw out a race track for toy cars.

12. Make a recipe or meal together.  Check out the BCS Cookbook for lots of ideas! (On sale in the BCS office for $3 each!) Get adventurous and explore the cuisine of a different culture. Bake some cookies and share them with a neighbor.

13. Support your local team. Find a local sporting event like high school or college baseball, softball or soccer and go cheer on the local team.

14. Build an epic fort. Get over the mess, and go all out! You can encourage the kids to read in the fort with flashlights, have a picnic in it, and even have a family sleepover in it!

15. Clean up the yard. Head outside to your yard or help a neighbor. Pick up sticks, pull weeds, or plant some flowers or herbs if it’s warm enough.

children playing on playground equipment

16. Visit a different park or playground every day.  Have your kids rate their favorites.

17. Be a food critic.  Sample the different frozen custard stands in our area and vote on your family’s favorites.

18. Learn a new skill.  Learn to crochet, make a friendship bracelet, or try your hand at painting or drawing.

19. Write it down. Decorate cards and write notes of encouragement to friends and family. Take it a step further and find out if you could correspond with missionaries from your church, or send cards to a local long term care facility.

20. Make a summer bucket list. Have everyone brainstorm activities to do and places to visit and have the kids write them down.  Hang the list on the fridge and have fun checking things off the list together all summer long.

Baltimore Oriole on a bird feeder

21. Go bird watching.  Check out a book on local birds and study up. Set up some feeders in your yard or find a spot with lots of activity and record the birds you see.  See if you can identify different bird calls and songs.

22. Have a dance party.  Put on some family-friendly music and let loose together! Show them your best embarrassing parent dance moves or attempt to “floss.” That will get you some eye rolls, for sure.

23. Commit a random act of kindness each day.  Plan out what you’re going to do and then execute it together as a family.  Reflect on how it made you feel and talk about why why kindness is cool.

24. Let your voice be heard. Have your kids research an issue they’re passionate about and help them write a letter to their local representative or a company you’d like to see make a change.

25. Build something.  Make a planter for your patio or a window box for an herb garden.  Find a fun project, plan it, shop for the materials, and complete it together.

If you’d like to learn more about Brookfield Christian School, contact us. We’d love to meet you and learn more about you!  Campus visits are available by appointment. 

Finish Strong: 3 Ways to Finish the School Year Well

Posted on: April 22nd, 2019

Summer is just around the corner, but we’ve got a few weeks of school left! Getting back into the groove after Spring Break can be a challenge, but we have a few tips for finishing the school year strong.

boy running on a track

1. Pray for perseverance. Hebrews declares, “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (v1b-2a). Ask Jesus to fill your child and the school teachers with His perseverance and strength, determination and will. Encourage your child to finish every task to the best of their ability, as onto the Lord — including school!  Pray this for yourself as well. Use His wisdom to display perseverance in your home. Be mindful to every task you start — from sweeping the floor or folding the laundry, to carrying out a conversation (or consequence). Vocalize when the task you take on is difficult. Use the moment to pray aloud for Holy Spirit help and make sure your child hears and understands God wants us to finish what we start and gives us the strength to do so. 

planner open on a desk with a vase of flowers

2. Keep your schedule regardless of warm weather. It’s easy to slip into a loosened routine when the weather gets nice. Homework time is moved to dinner time. Dinner time is moved to bed time, and so on. And while we all desire flexibility in our home, keeping with your daily schedule will show your child the importance of prioritizing school over other activities.  

students in a classroom writing in notebooks

3. Keep kids focused on school. Keep asking your kids about their school day, their homework, their teachers, their friends, their projects. Show you are interested and they will be, too. Resist overlapping summertime classes and activities with the end of the year, and avoid talking too much about summertime vacations and plans. These distractions could quickly change their focus from end-of-the-year tests to Disney World daydreams.  While warmer weather and the countdown to summer is enticing to anyone, remind your child (and yourselves) to finish strong what you start. Because, after all, isn’t it at the end of the race where you run the fastest?

If you’d like to learn more about Brookfield Christian School, contact us. We’d love to meet you and learn more about you!  Campus visits are available by appointment. 

Caring for Creation: Earth Day Activities For Families

Posted on: April 19th, 2019

One of the BCS throughlines (ways we incorporate our faith into everyday learning) is “Stewardship: Developing and Caring for God’s World.”  At BCS, we are always having conversations about how we can do better as a school in this regard. Students are encouraged to use reusable lunch bags and bring their own refillable water bottles to school. We have recycling containers in each classroom, and have shifted from paper copies of many forms, newsletters and our school directory to online versions. Our students pick up litter from the school grounds and the surrounding property. There is always more we can do.

Are you consciously caring for creation at home? Talk it through as a family, and brainstorm ways you can do better, too. Here are a few suggestions for ways to get your family on board with being good stewards of creation:

farmer's market scene with fresh herbs for sale

1. Shop local.  Visit your local farmer’s market, purchase from a local farmer, and try sourcing a product locally instead of ordering online.

2. Eliminate styrofoam and reduce single-use plastics. You can do this at home and at work. Use a reusable water bottle and a ditch the paper bags for lunch for a reusable lunch box or bag instead. Try beeswax wraps and reusable containers instead of plastic wrap and storage bags. Avoid buying individually-wrapped convenience foods when possible.

3. Conserve water.  Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth, shorten your showers, etc.

photo of a compost bin in a yard

4. Create a compost pile or set up a compost bin.  Learn what can be composted and what can’t. Give your kids the task of tending the compost, and then use the “black gold” to fertilize your plants when it’s ready.

5. Set up a home recycling station. You can do it in the kitchen, the mudroom or garage.  Kids can help crush cans or break down boxes to reduce the amount of space recycled items take up.

6. Use reusable shopping bags. Make sure you have reusable shopping bags in the car and remember to use them!  You can buy nice bags that fold up and can be stored in or snapped onto a purse or backpack. Talk with your kids about ways you can reduce packaging when you’re shopping.

7. Work together on an earth-friendly craft.  Make a seed ball from recycled paper – these would make fun gifts!  Make a bug hotel for creepy crawly creatures. Make a butterfly feeder and put it near a window so you can watch for winged friends to stop by.

purple coneflowers with a yellow and black butterfly perched on one of them, and bumble bees on one flower and buzzing near another one

8. Plant a garden. Use native plants, and plants that attract bees and butterflies. Plant some herbs or vegetables you can use in your kitchen to avoid going to the store to purchase. There’s nothing better than adding homegrown herbs to finish a dish!

9. Set up a rain barrel or create a rain garden.  Learn more here or visit the Retzer Nature Center where you can learn about water conservation and purchase a rain barrel.

10. Clean up! Do a trash pick-up in your local park or around your neighborhood. Observe what you’re seeing, and talk about ways you can reduce waste.

These are just a few ways to get started. Research local conservation efforts around you, and find ways you can make a difference!

If you’d like to learn more about Brookfield Christian School, contact us. We’d love to meet you and learn more about you!  Campus visits are available by appointment. 

Spring Break “Staycation” Inspiration

Posted on: April 7th, 2019

Sticking around for Spring Break this year?  We’ve got a few suggestions for things you can do in the Milwaukee area.  Bonus points for wearing your BCS spirit wear while you explore our great city!

A view of the front of the Milwaukee Public Market.

Go ride The Hop street car!  Park by the Milwaukee Public Market, and then board the street car at the stop right across the street on St. Paul.  Get off and explore the area, or stay on and take the round trip back. Then enjoy lunch or a treat at the market or at one of the many restaurants in the Third Ward.  If the weather is cooperating, you can take a stroll down the RiverWalk (if you’re willing to walk a little bit, you can find the Bronze Fonz and Gertie the Duck for photo ops!).

A photo of the Milwaukee Art Museum with the "wings" open.

Visit one of our awesome museums. Check out the Domes, the Harley Davidson Museum, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Discovery World, the Milwaukee Art Museum, or the Milwaukee Public Museum. You can talk with your kids about our through line of “Creativity: Exploring and Creating Beauty.” You might even want to work on creating a gallery of their artwork at home!

Take a tour. You can take a free or low cost tour of the Jelly Belly Factory in Pleasant Prairie (and maybe do some outlet shopping), visit the 88.9 Radio Station and enjoy some Stone Creek Coffee afterward, check out the Clock Shadow Creamery, the Harley Davidson Powertrain Operations tour, or explore the city’s Skywalk system with the walking tour.

A man and a girl hiking in the woods at Lion's Den Gorge in Wisconsin.

Take a hike!  Check out the Seven Bridges Trail, Lion’s Den Gorge, Lapham Peak, or take a day trip to Devil’s Lake. A simple Google search for family-friendly hikes in Milwaukee will provide lots of great options. Enjoy God’s creation and ask your kids about how we can be good stewards of it.

Photo of the green, yellow and orange terrace chairs at the MemorialUnion Terrace in Madison, WI.

Get in the car and go!  Take a day trip to Madison and check out the Bucky statues around town, enjoy Babcock Hall ice cream at Babcock Hall or the Memorial Union Terrace (bonus: giant iconic terrace chair photo op in BCS spirit wear), visit the Children’s Museum, and enjoy some Stella’s cheesy bread at the Dane County Farmer’s Market. Visit Green Bay and take a stadium tour and explore the developing area nearby. Go to the Dells and enjoy a water park. Visit the Bean in Chicago for your spirit wear pic, then explore the amazing Maggie Daly Park.  You might even be able to talk the kids into some shopping on the Magnificent Mile.

There are literally hundreds of other great ideas if you do a Google search of “Milwaukee staycations.”  Enjoy the opportunities we have for family fun all around us!

If you’d like to learn more about Brookfield Christian School, contact us. We’d love to meet you and learn more about you!  Campus visits are available by appointment.

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