Can My Kids Stay in the Same School if we Become Homeless? What Educational Rights do my Children Have if we Become Homeless?

If your family becomes homeless your child have the right to remain in their same school district even if you move to another town.
The McKinney-Vento Act was passed by congress in 1987.  The law gives homeless children the right to:
  1. Remain in the same school district if they become homeless as long as it is in the child’s best interest.  If the family moves over 50 miles away it may not be in that child’s best interest to travel that far to go to school.
  2. Get immediate enrollment in a new school without required documents such as proof of residency, immunizations or prior school records or a parent or guardian present.
  3. Get transportation – The school district must provide transportation for the child to get back and forth to school.  If a child is living in a shelter the local Social Services Department may provide transportation.
  4. Get all school services they need example special education services.
Who is considered a homeless child?
A child who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.
Fixed: A fix residence is one that is stationary, permanent, not subject to change attached to the  ground
Regular:  A regular residence is one which is used on a predictable or routine basis. – Can I go there every night?  Do I have keys?  Do I have a legal right to be there?
Adequate: An adequate residence is one that is sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in a home enviroment Does it have running water?  Is it over crowed?  Do you have your own bed?
To be considered homeless you just have to be lacking one.  A permanently housed individual has a fixed, regular and adequate place to live.
Below are all examples of children who can be considered homeless:
  1. This includes children who are sharing a home with a friend or family member due to loss of housing or economic hardship
  2. children living in motels, trailer parks or camping grounds because they have nowhere else to go
  3. migratory child
  4. A child living in places not usually used for sleeping such as  a car, public place or abandoned buildings
  5.  A child abandoned in a hospital,
  6.  A child awaiting a foster care placement
  7. A child living in a shelter
What if I am a Youth living on my own am I covered under the law?
Yes, the law covers homeless youth who are not living with a parent or guardian.  These children are called unaccompanied youth.
An unaccompanied youth include youth who:
  1. Youth who were asked to leave their home by a parent or guardian
  2. Youth who left home with parental consent
  3. Youth who ran away from home
  4. Youth who have no formal custody arrangements when their parent is in the hospital, rehabilitation center or jail.
  5. Do not have a Fixed, Regular or Adequate place to live.
Choice of District
Children who are homeless may have some options when attending school.
  1. They can stay in their current district – The school district they are currently attending.
  2. Their district of origin – The school district they were in before becoming homeless
  3. The  district where they are currently residing The school district that is where they are currently homeless in.
Who at the school district can help me?
Under the law every school district is required to have a Homeless Liaison or Coordinator.  This person is required to help homeless children enroll and succeed in school and set up transportation and  free lunch and if available in the school district free breakfast. To find out who the Liaison is in your district contact the school districts cental office.
What else can my school’s liaison or  coordinator do for me?
Liaisons or Coordinators can provide helpful information.   Each school district has Title 1 or Set-Aside funds that may help with the following help with school supplies, supplies needed for after school activities, setting up transportation or after school or special activities, many will pay for you to attend class trips and special events, tutoring or mentoring services.  Make sure you ask what your school can do for you.
School Districts must provide transportation to and from school if the family becomes homeless however the law does not say what kind of transportation.  Often times the school district will set up a regular school bus other times they may pay for public bus, train or subway, or a taxi, van or other type of car.  The transportation provided must  be safe for the child.
Signs a Student May be Homeless
  1. A child who has attended may different schools
  2. A child has poor attendance
  3. A child who if often tired or sleeping in class
  4. A child who has poor hygiene
  5. A child who is not prepared for school ie. does not have a backpack, books, pencils, homework not completed.
  6. A child who has a change in behavior i.e withdraws, shyness, nervousness, aggression or anger.

What Should I leave Under the Pillow? Fun Tooth Fairy Ideas for Kids

Getting a visit from the tooth fairy is fun and exciting for a child.  Here are a few fun ideas for tooth fairy visits.

  1. Fairy Dust Money- This is something that is easy to do that your child will love.  Just buy some glitter hair spray or body sprays with glitter in it (sold at Bath and Body Works) and spray the money you are going to leave under the pillow with it. This can also be done with coins. Encourage your child to save all their fairy dust money.  As an extra project make with your child a tooth fairy money bank to save all tooth fairy money.
  2. Fairy Dust – Leave some Fairy Dust (glitter) near your child’s pillow or bed.
  3. Tooth Fairy Prints- Stick a Barbie Doll or a doll will small feet in glitter or flour.  Make small footprints near your child’s bed or on night stand. You can also stick doll hands in glitter or flour and make handprints on the wall next to your child’s bed.
  4. Fairy Trail – Leave a trail of glitter or fairy foot prints from your child’s bed to the window.  The footprints can be time consuming so if you have a light sleeper just leave a trail of glitter. Feel like doing a little extra?  Stick a tiny dolls hands in flour or glitter and leave handprints on the window.
  5. Fairy Shadow- Leave a shadow of the tooth fairy on the wall next to your child’s bed.  Google fairy images, print out a picture of a fairy, color it in black, cut it out and tape it to your child’s wall next to their bed.
  6. Tooth Receipt- Type or write up a receipt from the tooth fairy. The receipt can say the date the tooth fairy received the tooth, what time she came and the condition of the tooth.  You can add sorry no returns at the bottom.
  7. Don’t want to leave the tooth under your child’s pillow?  Put the tooth in a cup next to your child’s bed with a little bit of water.  When the tooth fairy comes she will take the tooth an leave a little bit of fairy dust (glitter)in the water.

Fun Things the Tooth Fairy May Leave

  1. Sliver Dollar or Half Dollar
  2. $2.00 Bill
  3. Typed note from the tooth fairy or a tooth receipt
  4. Fairy Dust Money (directions listed above)
  5. Money rolled up and wrapped with dental floss
  6. For a girl you can buy a fairy wand or wings
  7. A small jar with a lid (baby food jars work well) filled with fairy dust (glitter)
  8. A new toothbrush and toothpaste

How to prepare your child for Kindergarten, Fun activities to prepare your child for Kindergarten

You are your child’s first and most important teacher they will ever have.  As a parent we want our children to be successful in school.  Try these activities below to help your child be prepared to Kindergarten.


1. Sing the ABC’s over and over again.

2. When reading with your child ask them “which letter is this?”

3. Practice writing letters in upper case and lower case form.

Your Name:

1. Write your child’s name on a piece of paper.  Go through a magazine, book or newspaper with them and point out the letters of their name, then have them try it.

2. You and your child can make letters of your child’s name using play dough or you can make your own clay.

3.  Take a shoe box lid and fill it  half way with sand ( you could also use salt). Using your finger write the first letter of your child’s name then have them repeat it.

4. Using finger paints have your children practice writing the letters of their name.

Scissor Safety and Cutting:

It’s important to teach your child about scissor safety before teaching them how to cut.  First get child safe scissors.  Make sure that if your child is left handed you get left handed scissors. Teach them the proper way to carry or give someone scissors: hold them by the blade while it is closed and facing downward toward the floor.  Then make some rules such as cutting is only for paper and don’t never run with scissors. Teach your child the proper way to hold the scissors.  The thumb should be facing upward.

Practice Cutting:

1. Draw lines across a whole piece of construction paper.  You cut across one of line lines then help your child  cut.  When they have mastered cutting across the lines have them cut easy shapes such as a square then move on to harder shapes like a circle.

2. Once your child has mastered basic cutting go through a magazine and have them cut out pictures of things they like.  Children do a lot of cutting in Kindergarten.  If your child has not mastered the skill before the start of kindergarten don’t worry his/her teacher will work with them.


1. Kids love using glue but often use way to much. Have them practice using small amounts of glue. Cut out pictures and letters from newspapers and magazines.  Have them practice using small amounts of glue to glue them to the paper.

2. Collect some small objects from outside with your child such as flowers, sticks, leaves or you can use other items found in a house such as buttons.  Have your child glue them to a piece of construction paper.

3. Write your child’s name on a piece of construction paper.  Using elbow shaped pasta have them glue it on the letters of their name.


1. Practice counting every day. Count up to 10 then when your child has mastered 10 move up to 20 etc…

2. Have your child practice identify numbers.  Ask your child which number is that when you see them on signs, in books, or out running your daily errands.

Once your child has mastered counting and identifying numbers  teach them important numbers such as their phone number, house number and when to dial 911 for emergencies.

Phone number and House number

1. Go over phone or house number with your child.  Draw squares on a piece of paper.  Write one number in each square.  Cut out the squares.  Put the numbered squares in the correct order to make their phone or house number. Mix up the numbers then have your child put them in the correct order.  In a phone number try the first  three numbers first then add on.  Two many numbers at once your child may get frustrated.


Get involved with play groups and activities in your neighborhood.  Have a picnic at your local park or take a trip to your local library.  Often libraries offer free or low cost activities for children of all ages.  Children learn a lot of skills such as sharing, learning how to cooperate and problem solving by just playing with other children.


1.  When in the grocery store go over the colors of the fruits and vegetables. If your child has already mastered colors play a game of  I Spy.  I spy something red and have your child try to figure out what you are spying, take turns. While looking at the fruits and vegetables try taking home a different fruit or vegetable once in a while to try.

2. Sort by color.  Use colorful cereal or M&Ms and separate them into groups based on color.  Once they have mastered grouping, try making patterns.

3. Give your child coloring books or print out coloring pages online.  Have your child practice coloring neatly and in the line.  Encourage your child to take their time while coloring.


Remember to read with your child everyday.  While reading ask your child questions about the characters, what they think will happen next, have them point out colors or pictures on the pages.



How to Keep Kids Busy at the Beach Fun Beach Activities for Kids

It’s summer and that means trips to the beach!  Here are a list of ideas to keep kids entertained while spending the day at the beach.
Beach Activities
  1. Beach Relay- This is a fun activity to do with 2 or more children. Materials: 2 large beach buckets and 2 cups.

Place the beach buckets a distance away from the water.  Split children up into even teams and have them stand a couple feet away from the beach buckets. Give the first two children on line a cup.  The children run to the water and fill up their cup then run back to the bucket and pour the water in.  Have them give the next child on line the cup and repeat.  The first team with their bucket filled is the winner.

2Plaster of Paris Beach Casting Project.  This is a fun activity to do with children of all ages.

3. Fly  a kite.

  4. Play catch.

5.  Search for shells and rocks. Take your shells and rocks home to paint.  They make great outdoor decorations.  You can also add a magnet to small shells and rocks and put them on your refrigerator.  You can also glue shells together to make sculptures.

6.  Take a walk and explore the beach.

7. Take turns burying each other.  This is a fun activity if you don’t mind getting a little sandy.  Just make sure you keep sand away from the face.

8.  Make sand angels. Everyone’s heard of snow angels but what about sand angels.  Just lay in the sand and move your arms and legs back and forth.  Sand up and you will see a wonderful sand angel.  Add shells and rocks to make a face on your angel and to decorate.

9.  Build sandcastles.  This is a classic and great beach activity and will keep kids busy for a while.  Just don’t forget to bring the beach buckets and shovels.

10.  Dig a deep hole.  This is a fun activity that will take a while.  Give each child a shovel and tell them to dig as deep and they can. If your hole is not too far from the water you may be able to dig until you reach water!

11.  Have a dance party- Bring an ipod or battery operated radio to the beach and have the kids dance to their favorite songs.  You can also play freeze dance.

   12.  Search for sticks and have kids write their names or phrases in the sand.

  13.  Go on a scavenger hunt.  Make a list of items kids must find on the beach (i.e different types of shells and rocks, sticks, beach glass, seaweed, etc…).  Give each child a bag or bucket and send them to look for the items.


Things to bring with you to have a great day at the beach
  1. Sunscreen – we don’t want anyone to get a sunburn!
  2. Beach Blanket– I always bring one for me and one for the kids.  I try to keep mine sand free!
  3. Radio– Music always makes the day better.
  4. Snacks, drinks and lunch– The worst thing is to hear kids complain that their hungry and thirsty.  Food at the beach can be very expensive.  Try brining lunch.
  5. Cooler with ice– Need to keep those snacks, drinks and lunch cool.
  6. Towels and a couple of extra towels– Kids get sandy and so do their towels.  I always bring 1-2 extra towels that I keep in the beach bag until we leave.  It’s best to have a nice clean towel to clean the kids off when we are ready to leave.
  7. Beach buckets and toys-  You want to keep those kids busy.


Enjoy your day at the beach!


100th Day of School Projects for Kids

It’s that time of year again, the 100th day of school!  With the 100th day of school comes 100th day of school projects and homework assignments.  Are you racking your brain to find a creative but easy project to do with your child?  Don’t worry at Kids Play and Create we’ve got you covered.  Check out the list below of simple and creative 100th day of school projects.


Fill in Projects:

Most school assignments want kids to take a piece of oaktag or other large paper write 100 on the paper and outline it with 100 items.  If this is the assignment your child needs to do here is a list of items that can be used to fill up their 100. 

Cheerios or any other cereal that is circular

Stickers               Mini Marshmallows         Small Erasers             Craft Gems                  (available at craft stores)

Paper Clips          Skittles                                Candy Hearts                Googey Eyes        Different color tissue paper

Gummy Bears        Buttons                              Beads                              Tooth Picks         Jellybeans             Sunflower seeds              Craft Sticks/popsicle sticks

  M&Ms                           Pennies                           Cotton Balls               Cotton Swabs        Bottle caps                   Shells

Goldfish                     Marbles                         Pretzels                        Hershey Kisses      Matchbox Cars     Small figurines             Small Sticky Notes  Feathers

Sugar Packets (Domino sells a 100 pack box)



Creative Projects:

Need to do a little more than fill in a 100 on a piece of paper?  Check out these ideas below

100 Fingerprints

A stamp pad is required

Have your child draw a 100 in pencil on their paper. Using the stamp pad have you child make 100  fingerprints and thumbprints around the 100 they drew on their paper.  Don’t want to write 100 on your paper no problem just make 100 fingerprints and thumbprints anywhere on your paper.



Cotton Balls are required.

On a big piece of paper or oaktag have your child draw a big snowman.  Have them fill in the snowman with 100 cotton balls.


Candy Jar

Gum Balls or buttons optional jar

This project can be done two ways.

1. on a large piece of paper or oaktag have your child draw a large jar.  Have them fill in the jar with colorful buttons to represent gum balls or glue on real gum balls.

2. You can use a real jar and fill it with 100 gum balls or buttons.


100 Snowflakes

White paint or white paper and scissors required

This project can be done two ways

Have your child draw a winter scene on their paper example snowman, polar bear, forest etc…

Here are your two options:  1. Paint 100 snowflakes on their paper or if you want a challenge 2. Have your child make 100 small snowflakes using scissors and white paper then glue them on the paper.  This will take a little time but comes out really nice. You can also add a little glitter to make them sparkle.


Teachers Apple

Red M&Ms required

Have your child draw large apple on their paper or oak tag.  Fill in the apple with red M&Ms.


Math Facts 

100 small pieces of paper or small sticky notes required.

In this project kids with not only complete their 100th day of school assignment they will also practice their Math facts!

Have your child draw 100 in bubble letter form on their large paper or oaktag.  On each of the smaller pieces of paper have your children write math facts with sums that equal 100 (example  50 +50=100, 110-10=100 etc…)


Teddy Bear

Gummy Bears required

Have your child draw a large teddy bear on their paper or oaktag.  Have your child fill in the bear with 100 gummy bears.


Skittles Rainbow

Skittles required

Have your child draw a large rainbow on their paper. Have your child fill in the colors of the rainbow using 100 skittles.  Example if you make the first color  red the first line of your rainbow should be filled in with all red skittles.


Pizza Topping 

For this project have your child draw a large piece of pizza on their paper or oaktag.  Easiest way to have them make it to draw a large triangle then turn it upside down.  On the pizza have them draw 100 toppings such as pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers etc…