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Sandy Journal

Families bond over activities, service through Alta View’s Family Fun app

Apr 26, 2021 10:59AM ● By Julie Slama

Alta View third-grader Mikayla Brun is joined by first-grader Liam Johnson painting festive pinecones as part of a family activity suggested by the school’s Family Fun app. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Brun)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

This spring break, Alta View Elementary students and their families won’t be sitting idle.

Thanks to their school PTA, there will be activities to do, service projects to take part in and recipes to create, all available on their Family Fun app.

Alta View PTA president-elect Heather Huish designed the Family Fun app using the free Glide app that can be downloaded on devices. It comes with an instruction tab and different activities for families to participate.

“The overall concept was to create activities for families to do every school break,” Huish said. “When they do them, they can take and submit pictures to enter to win a prize.”

She said each photo of an activity counts as one submission. From all of the submissions, three families are randomly chosen to receive family games as prizes.

“Families bond and can grow closer as we play games,” she said about the prizes.

Already, families had the opportunity to take part in the Family Fun app during fall break, Thanksgiving break and winter break. The PTA creates a Google sheet to brainstorm and vote on the activities.

“We just find ideas and they inspire more,” she said. “The whole idea is for families to connect and build their relationships. It’s an outlet, a way they can connect and be able to do creative things together during COVID-19.”

For example, in the fall, families could choose to go on a family hike or walk, have a dance party, carve pumpkins or make haunted gingerbread houses. At Thanksgiving, there were pom-pom pumpkins to make, a chance to play turkey bowling or go on a scavenger hunt. 

She said that through building strong family relationships, students learn to become leaders and exemplify traits in their own homes.

“We may talk about how important kindness is, but by doing kind acts with our families, we’re empowering students to make good choices and we show how they can impact their community,” she said.

For example, during the fall, students and their families could have chosen “You’ve Been Boo’d” service project where they take a purchased treat or fun surprise and secretly drop it off at a neighbor’s home or in the winter, when they could have taken someone a surprise.

That’s what third-grader Mikayla Brun and her blended family did.

“We made Christmas cards and bought fun little things at the dollar store, then delivered them to neighbors and friends,” said her mother, Natalie Brun. “It was fun to make people smile and the kids had as much fun picking out superhero figurines, slime, suduko and other fun activities and wrapping them themselves.”

Brun said that they also drove the area looking at Christmas lights, played glow stick tag for New Year’s and made a fort out of blankets, pillows and couch cushions next to their Christmas tree to watch movies.

“We watched movies and stayed two nights in it,” Mikayla said.

While those activities were free, and therefore within their budget, Brun said it meant more.

“We had fun, we interacted and got to spend time together. We came together as a family,” she said, adding that the whole family unit—from first-grader Liam Johnson, and his dad, Trak, and her son, Cadence, who is a high school senior—took part in making their own ornaments. “Each of the kids were involved, making the ornament about themselves, their personality in it.”

She said that Liam constructed a paper game controller to place in his acrylic ball, Mikayla’s was filled of ribbons, unicorns and mermaids and Cadence’s had little jingle bells and scrolls of paper with messages he wrote.

Brun said the kids picked the activities from painting pinecones red and green to making indoor s’mores.

“The kids were excited to pick the activities and then, compared with their peers at school,” she said. “It’s a great way for them to get families to become a team and for all the families at school to be involved, doing things at home and in their community.”