5 Fun Family Ideas for Labor Day Weekend

open road labor day

On the first Monday of every September, Americans celebrate the accomplishments of workers with a day off from work and school. This time off can be a great opportunity to bring the family together. Whether your family craves outdoor adventure or sees home as their happy place, there are plenty of activities everyone can do. Here are some ideas for quality time over Labor Day weekend. 

Road Trip

For family bonding, there’s nothing quite like spending several hours on the road together. When planning your adventure, pick a place that would be fun for everyone, or reach out to a relative you haven’t seen in a while. Find roadside attractions along the way. Prepare for several stops, especially if you have young children. You’ll also need ample breaks to stretch your legs and fuel up. Pack plenty of snacks and forms of entertainment. Plan out who is driving when, and book overnight accommodations ahead of time so you don’t end up sleeping in the car.

Backyard Camping

Camping in the woods with no electricity or running water is an option, but it may be intense for some, especially children who don’t yet understand the romantic notion of getting away from it all. Backyard camping has some elements of camping without the difficult parts. To begin your “camping trip,” pitch a tent in the backyard with plenty of towels, pillows and blankets. Start a campfire for cooking s’mores, hot dogs, or other camping treats. Don’t forget to bring stories to tell around the campfire. Just make sure to fully extinguish the fire at the end of the night. 

drive in movie

Drive-in Movie

Give your child a blast to the past by going to a drive-in movie theater. In one of these nostalgic venues, your family can enjoy sodas, snacks and big silver screens without ever having to leave the comfort of your car. Find a theater that’s showing child-appropriate movies, and get the family together for a short road trip. If the nearest drive-in theater is too far away, and the weather’s nice, consider a movie in the park as an alternative. 

Find Local Events

If all this planning sounds like a headache, hop onto someone else’s event. Labor Day parades, outdoor markets and other fun activities could be happening right around the corner. Check Facebook events or the calendars on local newspaper and radio station websites to see what’s going on around town. Make sure the event you choose is child-friendly and something your child will enjoy just as much as you do. 

decorate for fall

Decorate for Fall

Decorating for every season can be tiring when you’re doing it alone. See if you can make this ritual into a family activity. Create crafts as a family to place on the table, hang on the walls and display on the porch. If your family isn’t crafty, go on a family shopping trip where each person picks out their favorite fall items. Decorate the house together in sections over the course of the weekend so everything will be done in time to ring in the fall season.

Three-day weekends (or in the case of St. Charles, a four day weekend!) create perfect opportunities for family bonding, which is crucial for child development. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Show Educators Love on Teacher Appreciation Week

desk with books apple and pencils

Teaching requires passion and dedication to creating compassionate leaders, especially at Orlando private schools. Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 3-7 this year, has honored the men and women who educate our children since the National PTA established it in 1984. While apples are an iconic gift for teachers, we have a few other ideas for virtual and physical teacher appreciation gifts.

Send a Nice Message

One fun way for your child to show they appreciate their teacher is by sending a thoughtful message. Consider playing videographer for your child, and have them record a video for their teacher. If your child is camera shy, have them write a nice letter or email. To keep them on topic, let them choose from the following prompts, or come up with one of your own:

  • The best thing about your class was…
  • My favorite thing about you is…
  • I will always remember 5th grade because…
  • My favorite lesson you taught me was…

child in yellow shirt drawing a picture

Draw the Teacher

Doodling in class is generally frowned upon, but if you have a child who loves to draw, encourage them to express themselves by drawing their teacher. If you’re the more artistic one, draw it yourself. This type of personalized gift shows that your child cares. No matter who drew the picture, have your child sign it so your teacher will remember your child when they see it. If your child draws the portrait, make sure to look at it before they bring it to their teacher— sometimes well-meaning children create art that requires further explanation.

Make Something

Craft projects are essential for early education. Teacher appreciation week gives your child the opportunity to explore their creativity outside of school. Choose a project that would make a great gift, and help your child make it. Teachers are always looking for storage solutions, so a decorated plastic box or pencil holder could be a perfect present. You can make a tin can pencil holder by adorning a clean soup can with colorful beads and popsicle sticks like the one you see here. Or, as a twist on giving your teacher flowers, have your child paint a plain ceramic flower pot with fun designs, and give the decorated pot to the teacher with a flower or succulent planted inside. 

brown gift box with red ribbon

Give Them a Gift

Not all children love doing arts and crafts in their spare time, and that’s OK. You can still figure out a fun gift for your child’s teacher. A gift card in a nice box can be a great way to show appreciation. To give two gifts in one, consider placing gifts into a reusable water bottle or a mason jar. You can fill either of these useful items with pens and pencils or with candy and mints. Depending on the size, you can even hide a gift card among the items so the gift keeps on giving. These are just a few ways your child can show appreciation for their hard working teachers.

At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

The Days of Holy Week

holy-week-cross

To mark the end of Lent, Christians celebrate Holy Week to commemorate the final days of Jesus’ life and His resurrection. Each day has its own significance and is celebrated differently. Take time with your child to help him understand the meaning of each of these days. Here is a guide to Holy Week from an Orlando Catholic school:

Palm Sunday

The sixth and final Sunday in Lent is known as Palm Sunday. This commemorates Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. To celebrate, churchgoers wave palm branches like the crowds of the time. Showing humility and fulfilling a prophecy, Jesus rode in on a donkey. On this Sunday, crowds observing Passover in Jerusalem proclaimed Jesus the messianic king. In some churches, worshippers wear crosses made of palm fronds. Palm Sunday is also referred to as “Passion Sunday,” because “passion” comes from a Latin word meaning “to suffer.”

Holy Thursday

The first day of the shortest liturgical season, the Easter Triduum, is Holy Thursday. This day commemorates the last day before Jesus was arrested. To represent the Last Supper, churches celebrate the Last Supper Mass and the last Communion before Easter. Other events include the betrayal of Judas and Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Certain sects refer to this day as “Maundy Thursday,” with “maundy” meaning “to give,” “to entrust,” or “to order.” Aside from giving Communion, churches celebrate with the ceremonial washing of feet, just as Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles this night. After Mass, the tabernacle empties out, and the hosts move to another location for adoration. The church is truly empty during these days of remembrance leading up to the Easter Vigil. 

Good Friday

On this day of Holy Week, Christians do not celebrate but take time for reflection, honoring the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made. Good Friday commemorates the arrest, trial, crucifixion, suffering, death and burial of Jesus Christ. No one hosts a Mass celebration on this day anywhere in the world, rather a musicless, dimly lit gathering and sometimes a Communion service. There are a couple ways this day is observed. Eat church will have a Veneration of the Cross, where worshippers bow before or kiss a large cross. This is also a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means we eat smaller meals for breakfast and lunch with a normal sized dinner and not eating between meals. Abstinence means we avoid meat on this day. 

Easter Vigil and Easter

On Saturday, day 7 of Holy Week, Christians practice quiet meditation while remembering the faithful and honoring martyrs. Catholic churches host a candlelight vigil after sundown that begins outside the church with a fire and the blessing of the Easter Candle. All at once during Mass the lights in the Church will come on and we will sing Alleluia as Jesus has risen from the dead and conquered death! Then, all day Sunday, worshippers celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. The music, communion, and celebratory nature return. After church, families get together for brunch, Easter egg hunts, and dinner, traditionally serving lamb to mark the end of Lent. At our Orlando Catholic school, we believe Holy Week is important for children to observe and understand.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Give Up Waste for Lent

online shopping

Over the next 40 days of Lent, Christians around the world will take time to focus on their relationships with God. One step that many take is giving something up for Lent. In the past, we have recommended sacrificing soda, negativity and screen time. This year, we recommend giving up waste. The environmental impact of discarded products, such as single-use plastics, cannot be overstated, and now is the perfect time to consider what you can go without. Here are our recommendations:

Reduce Your Consumption

During this time of preparation for Easter, stop shopping. Rather than buying whatever makes you happy in the moment, narrow down your list to items that you need. Depending on your current habits, this could mean making food at home or avoiding the allure of online shopping. This also means not buying your beloved child the toy he picks out at every store. Be mindful with your spending, and you’ll be amazed by how much you can save. Once Easter comes around, consider donating some of the money you would have otherwise spent. 

bamboo utensil set in cloth

Switch to Reusable Products

Plastic has been a convenient material for years, and it’s especially popular because it doesn’t break down. Unfortunately, this is also a major downside to plastic, especially single-use plastics that end up in landfills and oceans. Consider purchasing items that can be used multiple times, like metal or bamboo straws, bamboo or thermoplastic utensils, and metal or BPA-free reusable water bottles. Buying these items for the whole family and making sure everyone uses them will remove more waste than you may realize.

full clothes closet

Recycle What You Don’t Need

Unless you have already taken serious time to declutter, chances are, you have items you don’t need. Each day, go into a different area of the house, and look for items you can donate or, if no longer usable, throw away. We recommend donating as a way to give back to others, but there will be items that you’ve held onto that have seen better days. Think about how long it has been since you used each item, not how quickly you may use it again. Encourage your child to do the same, and help him choose items that another child might love.

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, we believe every person can make a difference and that Lent is the perfect time to create better habits. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Ringing in the New Year with Your Child

Dress up

Celebrating the New Year as an adult looks a little different from celebrating as a child. First of all, New Year’s Day becomes more significant with every passing year. Secondly, like with any party, children and adults just celebrate differently. Get together with your child this year, and ring in 2021 in a way you will both remember for years to come. 

Get Fancy

When attending a major celebration, dressing up is always part of the fun. Trying on your new favorite heels or dusting off your best suit is basically the adult version of playing dress up. Find fun items like costume bow ties and pearls to dress up with your child. Seeing what they think of as fancy will be fun, and you will have the opportunity to take great pictures for family photo albums. Add in a photo booth, and get creative with paper masks, speech bubbles, and other fun props. 

chocolate fountain

Kid-Friendly Refreshments

While adults immediately associate New Year’s Eve with champagne and black-eyed peas, there are options that are more palatable for children. For mock champagne, use sparkling grape juice, or add Sprite to another flavor of juice. Instead of a drink bar, set up an ice cream or hot cocoa bar, depending on what the weather in Florida decides to do. Consider a chocolate fountain, but only if you are ready to monitor it throughout the night. Crockpot foods and dips are also a great option, as they can stay heated up, but they also tend to get a little messy. 

photo album

Create Lasting Memories

With the year drawing to a close, now is the last chance to make lasting memories of 2020. Put together a scrapbook of memories for the year or look through old photo albums together. Let your child reminisce on their favorite games and toys from the year. If you have a white board, let everyone write their memories down for the rest of the family to see. Taking time to look at the positive aspects of 2020 will help your family prepare for a great year in 2021. We encourage students to always look at the bright side, and we believe a positive mentality starts at home.

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, we encourage families to spend time together to continue faith-based education at home. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Who was the Real Saint Nicholas?

Saint Nicholas painting

While we celebrate Advent, we should reflect on why we celebrate the way we do. Our first priority is celebrating the birth of Jesus and watching and waiting for His second coming. Most families also recognize the tradition of Santa Claus, a jolly round man with interesting origins. We wanted to take a deeper look into Saint Nicholas, the saint who brought us so many traditions for Christmas that we still celebrate today.

Early Life

Saint Nicholas, also known as Nicholas of Myra, grew up not wanting for anything. His wealthy parents raised him as a devout Christian. Unfortunately, they both died in an epidemic when he was young. Young Nicholas used his inheritance to assist the needy, sick and suffering. He became well-known as a friend and protector to everyone in need. He would go on to become one of the most popular saints in the East and the West.

Saint Nicholas Candy

Facts 

In Saint Nicholas’s life, the line between fact and legend is blurred. Saint Nicholas protected anyone in need, especially orphans, poor families, sailors and prisoners. During the persecution of Christians in the Roman empire, Saint Nicholas was imprisoned for defending religious doctrine, later to be released under Constantine the Great. The reputation that followed Saint Nicholas gave way to legends that he performed miracles, a popular subject of medieval art and liturgical plays. 

Legends

One of the most popular legends of Saint Nicholas involves a family in need. In this story, he anonymously gave dowries to three young women whose father could not afford to marry them off, which would have led to a life of destitution. Another legend is that, during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he prayed during a storm that would have capsized the ship, causing the storm to let up and allowing the voyage to continue. This story helped secure his place as the patron saint of sailors. 

Santa Claus

Becoming Santa Claus

The first step to seeing how Saint Nicholas became Santa Claus is looking to the legends. Much of Europe celebrated Saint Nicholas as a benevolent gift giver. However, the legend that led to our Christmas traditions is the one of the poor man’s daughters. When Saint Nicholas threw gold into the house, it is said to have landed in stockings or shoes, which is the origin of the Christmas stocking. 

During the Reformation, the Netherlands began to celebrate St. Nicholas, calling him Sinterklass. They later brought this tradition to the U.S. The English-speaking country adapted “Sinterklass” to “Santa Claus.” In the 19th century, Saint Nicholas fully transformed into Santa Claus through written works and fables. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, we consider learning about all of the saints to be an essential part of a faith-based education. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Fun Ways to Spend Thanksgiving Break as a Family

girl cooking

family at camp fire

Soon, your child will have a full week off from our Orlando private school to celebrate Thanksgiving. You may be tempted to allow your child to spend the entire break relaxing on their own. While some alone time is necessary, this week is the perfect opportunity to get together as a family. Travel and large gatherings may be out of the question, so we have gathered some ideas for spending quality time at home:

advent Christmas tree

Get Ready for Advent

Allow your child to participate in holiday preparation. Let them help put up decorations or shop for a tree. Have them take time to make lists of what they want for Christmas. As a family, get together to get a head start on writing cards. Depending on their creativity level, let your child create their own cards or write their own messages to friends and relatives. Advent will be here soon, and now is the best time to prepare. 

Unleash Creativity

During this inspiring holiday season, get creative with your child. Think of ways they can help with cooking and baking. Create themed DIY crafts with your child, whether it be handprint turkeys or gratitude jars. If you’re not worried about the quality, put your child in charge of taking family photos. Having pictures from a new perspective will be a great way to look back on the times you shared.

girl cooking

Spend Time as a Family

The best holiday memories are shared holiday memories. If you have a big backyard, play some football with your child or set up a backyard campout. The weather may be perfect for a bonfire, complete with s’mores. Staying indoors can be just as fun! Throw a family game night, dance party, or just a tech time out where you talk without devices in hand. Your child will appreciate the time you spend together.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

National Clean Your Room Day


It might feel like a battle getting your child to clean his room, and you’re often viewed as the bad guy. With National Clean Your Room Day coming up on May 10th, we encourage you to use this opportunity to teach your child how to stay tidy! St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic School in the Diocese of Orlando, has compiled a list of tips to help get your child motivated to clean his room!

Communicate Expectations
Clearly define what a clean room looks like, and explain that everything has its own place. To stay organized, purchase bins and baskets, then label them to show him what goes where. Be reasonable with your expectations by considering his health and age. Show him images of how it should look, then include a checklist that goes over each step:

  1. Make your bed.
  2. Put your toys away.
  3. Place your dirty clothes in the hamper.
  4. Fold and hang up clean laundry.
  5. Vacuum or sweep your floors. 
  6. Organize your desk.

Set an Example
Children are often known for messy rooms, but adults should set a better standard. Your child looks up to you, and if you are preaching cleanliness, you need to practice what you preach. In doing so, he will be more responsive to cleaning up. You can even clean each other’s rooms together to enforce routine! Once he’s mastered how to do his chores, you no longer need to step in, and he will feel confident on his own.

Make a Routine Together
Cleaning is a great way to bond with your child. Incorporate chores into your everyday schedule, and make it something he will look forward to. At the end of the day, he needs to make sure his room is clean. Put on some music or chit chat the day away! And remember that research shows that when you make your bed every morning, you will have a positive day! By having a positive attitude about cleaning, your child will feel the same way.

Let Him Have Pride
A child’s room is their special space that they get to call their own. Think about the pride you have in your home. He should have control over his own room and feel that same pride. That way, he will more than likely keep it nice and clean. Give him that pride by letting him switch it up everyone so often. It’ll make cleaning his room a more exciting chore. He can rearrange furniture, use a different organizational system, add posters, change the theme, add decorative items, paint the walls, and so forth.

Reward System
To help motivate your child, include an incentive. Every time he is done cleaning his room, celebrate! We all get busy, and things get messy, so he should be acknowledged for his hard work and dedication. Treat him to his favorite toy, ice cream, or extra playtime as soon he’s done with all of his chores!

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Origins of the Crowning of Mary

The May Crowning of Mary is a long-standing Catholic tradition that honors the Virgin Mary. Families typically hold a “May Crowning,” where Mary is presented with a floral crown and other handmade items. We hope that this information will help teach your child about the origins of this beautiful Catholic tradition.

The Traditions
Catholics have long honored the Blessed Virgin Mary in May. Most Catholic churches create a dedicated area that includes a picture or statue of Mary, surrounded by flowers and candles. This remains throughout the entire month of May to memorialize the importance of our Mother Mary in Church and in our personal lives. During “May Crowning,” we honor Mary as Mother of God and Queen of the Universe.

Why May
Throughout history, May has brought special observances, traditions, and devotions to Mary, which led her to be known as the “Queen of May.” In the medieval times, winter ended at the start of May because it was considered a time of new growth and beginnings. It was during this time that the “Tricesimum” (“30-Day Devotion to Mary” or “Lady Month”) period began. That’s when special devotions to the Mother of God started in May — spreading from Italy all around the world. Parishes traditionally have daily recitation of the Rosary in May. The final devotion on the last day of May is typically followed by a procession, where the structure or image of Mary is taken back into church. 

Mother, not Goddess
It’s important to note that we do not view Mary as a goddess, nor do we worship Mary; she is honored or venerated as the mother of Christ and Mother of God, the most important woman in our Catholic faith. She is the first to hold God within her and was conceived without the stain of original sin so as to be the perfect tabernacle of our Lord. She also holds a special place with her son and can intercede for us in a special way as shown in scripture. This is why we say “to Jesus through Mary.”

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

National Student Athlete Day

National Student Athlete Day is on April 6th, which is a great reminder of the importance of being active. Playing sports is beneficial to a child’s upbringing, and we encourage you to support them. From soccer to basketball, St. Charles Borromeo, a top private school in Orlando, has a rigorous athletics program that builds a mature, confident, and well-rounded individual through sportsmanship and teamwork. To celebrate this day, here are some athletic-related activities you can do with your child!

Watch a Game
Whether it’s a school game, a local game, or even the big leagues, expose your child to sports games. If they’re unsure what sport they want to participate in, watching a game will help them make a decision. In the future, our online calendar will list all of the school events that St. Charles coordinates. 

Go Shopping
Showing support for your child can be done by going shopping! Browse the internet for sports shop to get some new gear. From new sneakers to the shiny baseball bat they have had their eye on, the options are endless. They will appreciate you for nurturing their talents and recognizing all of the hard work they put in.

Get Involved
St. Charles believes that sportsmanship and teamwork are valuable attributes for your child. Therefore, we participate in and support Catholic Youth Sports, or CYS. Since 1991, CYS has been “dedicated to the development of youth athletics for the Diocese of Orlando.” Their vision is to help develop student-athletes through the exploration of their interests and help them grow both spiritually and physically. In fact, we understand that there is a spiritual component to sports because God can be found through fitness. Exercise reminds us that our bodies belong to God and that by being healthy we can serve others. Students who are interested in participating must meet certain requirements, so we encourage your child to get involved!

St. Charles Borromeo, a top private school in Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.