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Pasco kids enjoy winter break, Florida-style

Myrah Almestica, 4, (left) and Alexandra Evelyn, 4, (right) make miniature snowmen out of a mixture of baking soda and hair conditioner during a special winter activity held over winter break at the Fox Hollow Elementary PLACE program.
Myrah Almestica, 4, (left) and Alexandra Evelyn, 4, (right) make miniature snowmen out of a mixture of baking soda and hair conditioner during a special winter activity held over winter break at the Fox Hollow Elementary PLACE program. [ MICHELE MILLER | Times ]
Published Jan. 2, 2020

PORT RICHEY — It’s the last winter break of the 2010s, and that Frosty the Snowman of olden days has given way to Olof, an animated character of Frozen fame.

In the cafeteria at Fox Hollow Elementary, that’s evidenced by 4-year-old Maisyn Strowbridge, who rolls white matter into a ball while singing Olof’s song from the Disney movie.

Elsa?

Do you want to build a snowman?

Come on, let’s go and play!

Maisyn Strowbridge, 4, (right) sings while building a snowman Florida-style during a special winter activity held at the Pasco Learning and Activity Center of Enrichment at Fox Hollow Elementary School in Port Richey. Also pictured are Myrah Almestica, 4, (left) and Alexandra Evelyn, 4, (center).
Maisyn Strowbridge, 4, (right) sings while building a snowman Florida-style during a special winter activity held at the Pasco Learning and Activity Center of Enrichment at Fox Hollow Elementary School in Port Richey. Also pictured are Myrah Almestica, 4, (left) and Alexandra Evelyn, 4, (center). [ MICHELE MILLER | Times ]

Winter play has been the focus for Maisyn and other youngsters enrolled in the PLACE (Pasco Learning and Activity Centers of Enrichment) program at Fox Hollow Elementary.

PLACE provides before- and after-school enrichment care for students at Pasco County elementary schools. During school holidays it’s often a day-long affair.

At Fox Hollow, the kids typically keep busy doing activities at educational centers located throughout the cafeteria that focus on diversity, language/arts, math, science and dramatic play. There’s also outdoor play time, and arts and crafts,

But during winter break, PLACE manager Valerie Chausse spiced it up to give students a taste of northern winter fun done Florida-style.

Fox Hollow Elementary PLACE manager Valerie Chausse, shows Giavanna Apostolu, 8, (left) and Jeremy Barrios, 5, (right) how to make snowmen Florida-style, using a mixture of baking soda and white hair conditioner. The snowman activity was one of several winter activities students enjoyed at the before- and after-school enrichment center during the holiday break.
Fox Hollow Elementary PLACE manager Valerie Chausse, shows Giavanna Apostolu, 8, (left) and Jeremy Barrios, 5, (right) how to make snowmen Florida-style, using a mixture of baking soda and white hair conditioner. The snowman activity was one of several winter activities students enjoyed at the before- and after-school enrichment center during the holiday break. [ MICHELE MILLER | Times ]

“We painted pine cones, did experiments with water temperature with pine cones and then we did edible pine cones,” she said.

And they made miniature snowmen, or whatever else their imaginations came up with, using a concoction of a of white hair conditioner and baking soda.

“It’s really so simple,” said Chausse, as she whipped up a batch with Johanna Burns, 9.

“We’ll leave this out all afternoon so the kids can come back to it if they want,” she said. "Some of these kids will be at it for hours.”