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Get Smart in March!

4 Bright Ways to Spend the Last Few Weeks of Winter

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
The paint brush icon represents creativity. For content about raising a creative child, look for this icon.
The holding hands icon represents caring. For content about raising a caring child, look for this icon.
The thumbs up icon represents confidence. For content about raising a confident child, look for this icon.
Read together. Bone up on facts. Eat pie. Set a goal and achieve it!
Get Smart in March!
Try an activity each week for the next few weeks to keep your curious kids engaged.
1. For the bookworm in the family

March 2 is Read Across America Day, a great excuse for word-obsessed families to commit to reading

If your kid loves fiction, share a novel of her choice once a month for 12 months. Let your kid select the stories, and for fun encourage her to read them alphabetically by author or title, the heaviest to lightest, or longest to shortest.

Got a fact freak? A fan of nonfiction? Look for books on sports stars, current events, world history, or American heroes. Start slowly and try a book or two in each area just in case the ones you choose are difficult or above his grade level. If your child gets hooked on a topic, sample a similar book by another author. Notice how one event or personality can be viewed from different perspectives.

For more ideas, check out this list of great reads and go with those suggestions—or create your own list of random books about kids from around the world and learn about their cultures.

2. For kids who love nature

March 11 is National Johnny Appleseed Day (it is also celebrated on September 26), and if you don’t recall who Johnny Appleseed was, what he did, or why you should care about him, check him out again: he’ the guy, so the legend goes, who walked across America randomly dropping apple seeds everywhere.

The facts? He was a kindhearted, tree-loving, Massachusetts-born environmental superstar who lived in the late 1700s. His dad was a minuteman in the Continental Army. And Appleseed, it turns out, traveled throughout Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia planting trees and starting nurseries! Who knew?

Here, a few more facts to toss around at dinnertime: His real name was John Chapman, he learned to farm from his father, and you can still visit an authentic Johnny Appleseed tree in Nova, Ohio. It’s over 150  years old and still growing. Wrap up your Appleseed adventure by learning the words to the song about him here, and then belt out a verse or two with your kids to celebrate his amazing contributions and gentle nature.

3. For your pint-size mathematician

March 14 is National Pi Day, thanks to a nonbinding resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Technically, National Pi Day (also known as 3.14) is not a legal holiday. But frankly, no one cares because 3.14 is a very cool day and pi, written mathematically as 3.14, is a very cool number.

You may recall pi from middle school. It’s designated by the Greek symbol π, and it represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, a ratio that remains constant. So, if you draw a circle on a scrap of paper, no matter how big or small you make it, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter remains the same. Grab a piece of string to help you measure and check it out.

There are tons of fun ways to celebrate Pi Day. For instance, you can:

  • Bake a tasty apple pie for the family
  • Eat a slice of pie
  • Eat a slice of pizza pie while you memorize π
  • Memorize π to the 5th digit
  • Memorize π to the 10th digit
4. For your dramatic little actor

Give your kids a treat and celebrate the Ides of March on Monday, March 15. The Ides of March was a big deal in ancient times; it was a date on the Roman calendar that was the deadline for clearing debts. It’s also the date of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 B.C., which your kids will hear about again and again if they study Shakespeare in high school.

To commemorate the day, give your school-age kids a taste of the works of William Shakespeare, who wrote one of the best-known plays about Caesar. For fun, share some classic Shakespeare quotes, and read Shakespeare’s plays written in story form for children. Watch this animated version of Shakespeare’s life story, or demonstrate how many of the bard’s best lines are still relevant today. For instance, when your child:

  • Tells a lie, call him out with this line from Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night: “An improbable fiction!”
  • Scribbles on her homework, toss out this line from Hamlet: “More matter, with less art.”  
  • Won’t listen, go with “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!” from Julius Caesar.
  • Ends a playdate early, offer up a sober “We have seen better days” from As You Like It.