Sunday, December 18, 2011

Keeping your Family Active during the Holidays

I am excited to share a post from my friend, Kathleen Thomas on behalf of Primrose Schools, leader in educational day care through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum. Kathleen has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.

In the weeks leading up to the holidays, children eagerly anticipate a vacation from school. They compare gift wish lists with friends and obsess over celebration plans. Unfortunately, children often grow bored during the break from school. They miss their friends, watch too much television and over indulge on seasonal sweets. This year, keep your children physically active, prevent boredom and make memoires by incorporating several holiday activities into your family’s holiday schedule.

Include your children as you shop for presents. Solicit their help in writing a gift-giving list. Include family, friends, teachers, extracurricular instructors and other influential associates. During the shopping process, pack nutritious snacks and take the stairs rather than the elevator. Purposely park far away from the store or carry packages to the car after each purchase at the mall.

Tour holiday displays in the neighborhood. Private homes and businesses often celebrate the holidays with elaborate displays of lights. Extravagant displays utilize props to create entire villages or seasonal scenes. Increase physical activity by walking around your neighborhood after dark to enjoy the variety of lights.

Bake and cook seasonal treats together. Share Grandma’s recipes for sugar cookies or try new variations of family favorites. Design a gingerbread house or string popcorn and cranberries to hang outside for the birds. Delegate cooking or baking tasks to every family member. Young children help decorate cookies with sprinkles while older children stir and measure ingredients. Play music and dance between baking batches of cookies, while washing dishes or during the clean up process.

Sew or knit blankets, scarves, hats, mittens and ornaments for local children in need. Visit a hospital or homeless shelter to meet the recipients of your homemade generosity. Remind your children to give thanks and share their talents with others all year long.

Visit a local library and read books about holiday traditions in the past or from around the world. Discuss how you can incorporate different traditions into your celebrations. Serve ethnic dishes, dress up or role-play unique stories from other lands. As you read about the holidays, write your own book. Interviews family members and include traditions, recipes, favorite gifts, wish lists, and photos.

Donate gently used clothing and toys to a shelter or charity thrift store. Enlist your children to clean out closets and toy bins in search of outgrown items. For every new gift they receive, expect them to donate two used items. Build gratitude while housecleaning.

Wrap presents and write cards together. Under adult supervision, children exercise fine motor skills and math skills when they cut paper and tape the presents. Wrap presents in brown craft paper for children to decorate. Help children write their own thank you notes or apply stamps and address labels to the envelopes. Chart each holiday card address on a map and mail cards to soldiers serving overseas as a geography lesson.

Walk through the neighborhood singing carols or invite neighbors to a holiday play. Adapt a favorite holiday book into a performance or write an original play. Dress in costume, design props and share seasonal treats together afterwards.

Visit shut-in family members, friends or a retirement home. Sing seasonal songs, share cookies, play instruments, and ask about their holiday memories. Encourage your children to participate in the conversation and ask relevant questions. Share holiday spirit with people who may have been forgotten.

Participate in community holiday celebrations. Cities and towns often sponsor tree lighting or holiday parties for community residents. Visit with neighbors, drink hot chocolate and support local businesses in your town. Walk to the celebrations if possible for extra exercise and fresh air.

Stay active as you celebrate the holidays this year. With a few creative ideas, your family maintains traditions and creates new ways to spend time together. Reach out to family members, friends and strangers as you stay active, fight boredom and make memories this holiday season.

1 comment:

Lil' Woman said...

Such great ideas....thanks girls! :)