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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

Tips for Middle Schoolers at Home

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Since schools are closed, our middle schoolers need learning opportunities and safe activities to keep them busy over the next few months. My top tip would be to get outside every day: to exercise, to have a picnic, or to read. If you venture out to a park or trail, make sure to follow social distancing guidelines.

Here are a few ideas easy activities:

1. New Chores: Give your middle schooler new responsibilities around the house such as being in charge of dinner once a week, mowing the yard, or washing clothes his/her clothes. Your middle schooler could also help a younger sibling learn something new each day or week. This is the perfect time to let them learn life skills and help out the family.

2. Hikes: As a family, you could enjoy hiking around our local parks and trails. There are so many places to walk around Richmond: The Tyler Potterfield Bridge, Belle Isle, Deep Run Park, The Capital Trail, Pony Pasture, Maymont, and Pocahontas State Park.

3. Bike Rides: Your family can rent bikes from local company River Side Cycling and cycle The Capital Trail. This trail is 51.7 miles of paved trail between Richmond and Williamsburg. Make sure to check out their IG or website for updates on the trail's conditions. 4. Geocaching: This is a real life treasure hunt that takes participants around their neighborhood, their city, and even historical landmarks. It's really easy: you create an account, find a geocache, and share your experience. Make sure to stay up to date on the geocaching blog. 5. The Libby App: This free app gives you access to audio books and ebooks. Once you download it, use your Henrico County Library Card or another local library card to log in. 6. Richmond Stories from Richmond Kids: The Valentine Museum launched this project as a platform for to share students' perspectives on this historic moment. Students in grages K-12 can submit audio, video, photographs, drawings and journal entries. The Valentine will share submissions on social media, and they may also be added to the Valentine’s collection and could be used in future exhibitions and programming.

A few local companies are also providing activities and learning opportunities that teenagers would enjoy.

1. River City Roll: River City Roll has DIY pizza kits and cupcake decorating. Making the pizzas have been really fun for our family - it's an activity and a meal! Bonus: if you share pictures on social media of your creations, you will be entered in a free bowling giveaway!

2. The Mixing Bowl: This local bakery offers DIY cookie and cupcake decorating kits.

3. Rise: Rise in Short Pump offers DIY donut decorating kits. Place your order ahead of time and an employee will bring them to your car.

4. AR Workshop: AR Workshop offers DIY to-go kits for all ages. You can pick from letter tiles, bags, wooden signs, blankets and more on the website. Kits are available for pickup or drop off. 5. Lindsey Martin Photography: Local photography Lindsey Martin offers photography classes and mentoring opportunities. These would perfect for students who are passionate about photography or want to learn a new skill.

6. 2021 YAVA Award Judge: Virginia teens between the ages of 12-18 can apply to be one of the seven teen judges for the 2021 YAVA Award. Judges will receive free books, an opportunity to meet the nominated authors, and an experience that will look great on resumes! Applications are due on June 12.

7. Flash Fiction Contest: Richmond City Library is hosting its first Flash Fiction Contest, and the contest begins on May 1. Teens can submit a story or poem, hang out with other writers, trade feedback and more. To participate, teens need to use Google Docs, Gmail, and Discord (all free). Stories should be no more than 1,500 words and poems should be no more than 500 words. Teens can only submit one piece, all work must be original (no plagiarism), and original work must be submitted to Nicole Byers. Submit to this email: .

So many nationwide professionals and companies are providing learning tools for tweens. Here are a few that look really fun.

1. Kahn Academy: Kahn Academy is a nonprofit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. There are free resources like schedules, games and lessons for children in Pre-K through high school. There are also two really interesting units on Disney's Imagineering and computer programming.

2. Hand Lettered Design: Lisa Funk's Hand Lettered Design has online courses in calligraphy, brush pens, and chalk. Lisa is offering 60% off with the code BRIGHTSIDE60.



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