This is the season for gift giving, but we all actually could do with a lot less stuff!! The best present I think that families can give to each other is the gift of self.
For kids who are old enough to understand, give a certificate that promises a special activity that you might do some time in the future.
It is great for families to do outings all together, but one on one time is so important if you can manage it. Mix and match so that you make sure that everyone gets special time with one other family member. This includes one on one time for you parents as well.
The list below has some old and new ideas.
- Collect and decorate rocks with colorful paints and glitter for a rock garden.
- Make a collage. Old magazines and old photos are great for this activity.
- Make a musical instrument... Use your imagination: a shoe box with rubber bands can be a guitar; Glasses filled with different levels of water make different tones; Tapping different surfaces with chopsticks makes different sounds.
- Go on a 'use all your senses' walk. What do they see, smell, hear, and feel?
- Make a personalized place mats. Take some family photos, glue onto cardboard and cover with clear contact paper. Kids will love to use these with meals.
- Create a scavenger hunt walk. Plan a list ahead of time of thing to find...like a dog, an airplane, or even a girl with purple hair.
- Go on an ABC walk. Find things that start with all the different letters...or find the actual letters on signs and license plates. This is a great game in a supermarket.
- Download Free coloring pages from the internet. With a little searching, you can get a picture of just about anything.
- Draw with chalk. Make a hopscotch board.
- Make your own play dough. You can find the recipe on line
- Make a fort using the couch cushions,
- For a really special occasion, set up the tent and have a backyard camp out
- Write a story and illustrate it together.
- Decide on a recipe and bake or cook something. Kids will often try foods more eagerly if they helped with the cooking. Let them help sprinkle in different spices and be the taste-tester.
- Have a Tea party. Invite the dolls, and get out the good china that you never use.
- Trace your hands and feet and color them in.
- Have some down time while watching a video or a special TV program. There are some lovely educational TV programs and videos out there.
- Play a computer game. Don't be afraid of controlled use. Children that don't learn how to be comfortable on computers at a young age are at a distinct disadvantage in this high tech culture.
- Blow bubbles
- Playing board games with the family is the stuff that great memories are made of
- There is little out there that is as much fun as a giant box to get inside of . If you buy a new appliance or see a neighbor buying one, ask for the box.
- Wash the car!
- Play dress up. In my opinion, every house needs a good dress up box, (after Halloween is a great time to pick up costumes and things on sale)
- Take advantage of where we live, there are always fairs, festivals and museums that are so close. SFKIDS.ORG is a great resource for all of the happenings that are going on
- Make a scrap book with keepsakes and photos of all the fun activities