Whether your child is just entering her senior year of college or is getting ready to move into her dorm room in just a few days, you’ve probably run through the full gamete of my-kid’s-going-to-college emotions. On the one hand, you don’t want to see her go, you know you’ll worry, and you wish she would consider community college. On the other hand, having a quieter, cleaner house doesn’t seem so bad. No matter how you feel about junior hitting the road, one thing is for certain, you need to start making preparations now so you don’t end up taking care of your able-bodied college student’s stuff when your able-bodied college student isn’t around! The following are three things you can do to prepare for your child’s leaving the nest.
1. Tell your soon-to-be student to clean his room, and set a deadline!
Now that your kid is headed to college, it’s probably true that he doesn’t need everything in his room or closet. In fact, it’s likely that when he cleans it out, he’ll find more than a few Legos or Batman figures. Have him box up what he doesn’t need or want. As far as the rest of the room goes, tell your child that it has to be spotless, with clothes, electronics, and other items he won’t need during breaks boxed in storage boxes. This way you can put his things in a storage facility, de-clutter your home, and use his room as a guest room when he’s not off on break.
2. Have your child choose and take her own things to the storage facility.
Your kid is not a kid anymore. If she’s going to college, she’s probably a legal adult, so she needs to start acting like it. Teach her what life is like in the adult world by having her help you pick a storage facility online with http://www.extraspace.com/Storage/Facilities/US/Alabama/Auburn/900136/Facility.aspx being particularly useful, with storage facilities listed in places like Phoenix AZ storage. Help her select a good facility and calculate how much it will cost you to store her things. Finally, have her take her own items to the facility and ensure they are stored correctly.
3. Have a rummage sale, or donate unwanted items to charity.
Again, because these are your child’s things, and your child is all grown up, have him decide whether he wants to have a rummage sale or donate. However, tell him that he needs to decide by a deadline a few weeks before he leaves, or you will decide for him. If he chooses the rummage sale, let him keep the money, but insist he plan and organize the sale by himself or with his friends.
No matter what type of child you have, there are three outdoor skills he should learn to stay safe and be resourceful. All kids should know how to build a fire, how to administer first aid and how to identify plants.
Making a Fire
This is a perfect opportunity to teach the basics of fire safety, while teaching your kids the value of knowing how to build a fire in an emergency when out in the wild. First, make sure your child knows never to build a fire near trees or shrubbery. Then, place rocks in a circle for a makeshift fire pit. There are a few different techniques to choose from when making a fire, such as the teepee or the log cabin. For the teepee fire, arrange twigs, paper and bits of rope in the center of kindling placed vertically in a teepee position. Use matches if you have them, supervising the whole time of course; if not, use two sticks and friction motion to create a spark.
Teach your child the basics when it comes to first aid. To stem bleeding, apply pressure with a towel until it stops, then apply hydrogen peroxide (in the case of cuts and scrapes), antibiotic ointment and a bandage. For minor burns, use cold water or a compress to treat. For pain relief, spray antiseptic on the burn. For bee stings, apply a cold compress, pull out the stinger, put on some antihistamine cream, and elevate the affected area. This is also a good time to teach safety with outdoors tools such as butterfly knives and matches.
It’s important that kids know which plants to avoid in the wild and which ones are OK. Observation is key. Tell your child to take a look at the leaves. Many things can indicate what type of plant it is, such as the number of petals, the shape of the flower, the structure and the texture. Even the smell can come in handy sometimes to determine onion plants, for instance. Poison ivy and poison oak both contain urushiol oil, which many people are allergic to. This can cause a severe rash that may spread with contact. Teach your kids to stay away from plants that feature three leaves at the end of a long, thin stem. Look at photos online and in books together to point out the many types of plants that are poisonous, especially if your area is prone to them.
Teaching these three outdoor skills to your kid can be a valuable life lesson.
Science is a great way to get kids excited about learning. Science projects will allow kids to look at the world in a whole new way. The following five unique science projects will help get your kids thinking.
Put 4 raisins into an empty, plastic water bottle. Fill the bottle with carbonated water. Watch as the carbon dioxide makes the raisins “dance” up and down the bottle. The raisins will continue to move around until all of the carbonation is gone.
Place 1/2 of a cup of rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup of a cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt into a shallow container. Mix the ingredients together. Put a dollar bill into the mixture and let it get thoroughly saturated in it. Remove the dollar bill with metal tongs. While holding the dollar bill far away from the solution with the tongs, light the dollar bill on fire. The fire will change colors and eventually die out on its own. For the child’s safety, make sure that the adult is the one that sets the dollar bill on fire and that the child is several feet away from it.
Dip the tip of a toothpick into lemon juice. Use the toothpick to write a message on a black piece of paper. After the lemon juice is thoroughly dry, hold a flashlight 1-2 inches over the paper. Once the paper starts to warm up from the flashlight, the message will be able to be read.
Balloon Blow Up
Put 1/4 of a cup of warm water into a clean, empty soda bottle. Pour one yeast packet into the bottle and gently swirl it around until the yeast is dissolved. Pour one teaspoon of sugar into the bottle and swirl it around until it’s dissolved as well. Gently stretch out a balloon and place the neck of it over the top of the bottle. Within about 20 minutes the carbon dioxide that is in the bottle will cause the balloon to inflate.
Microscopic Mushroom Spores
Cut off the stem of a mushroom and place the cut-side face down on the student microscopes slide. Put a cup over it and let it sit overnight. Remove the stem the next morning so that the spores are left behind. Place the slide under the microscope to view the spores. Change the microscope’s settings to view the spore’s noticeable difference at both the low power and the high power.