Friday, December 25, 2015

The best Present is your presence

I saw a bumper sticker a while ago that said:

Good parenting requires Twice as much time and half as much money.
So true!

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 ( 
otherwise known as time and attention)

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.

Nurse Judy's Inexpensive and creative activities

Collect and decorate rocks with colorful paints and glitter for a rock garden.
This is a great one to use as a reward for good behavior. When they see the pretty rocks, they will remember that they earned them.

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 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.

let’s be optimistic: Make a rain gauge!

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)

If you can manage to make it work, try hard to have at least one meal of the day sitting down with the entire family. Have everyone say a little about their day.

Take advantage of where we live, there are always fairs, festivals and museums that are so close. SFKIDS.ORG   and Parenthoods are great resources for all of the happenings that are going on  

Make a scrapbook with keepsakes and photos of all the fun activities
Unless you are using the phone or tablet as part of the activity make sure you put them down and be fully engaged in what you are doing  
(emails can wait)

For Those lucky enough to live in or near the Bay Area, here is my list of quirky, only in SF things to do.
Fort Funston: Bring some dog treats and take a walk. You are pretty much guaranteed to see lots of fuzzy friends to pet.  If you are lucky you will see hang gliders. (Free)

Turrell Sky dome: For this you need an admission to the De Young museum. Many folks have no idea that this magical place exists. Go out to the garden by the cafe and follow the path and signs down to the sky dome. Once you are in there, make sure you sing and listen to the acoustics

The camera below the cliff house: Lots of folks don’t bother stepping in there, but it is worth it. The Camera Obscura gives a real time 360 view of the surrounding. It is only open when the weather is clear. It isn’t free, but it is reasonably inexpensive
The Wave Organ: This is an old exploratorium exhibit that remains out at the end of a jetty behind the St Francis Yacht club. When the tide is right (good luck, I have rarely been there are the right time) pipes will play music. It is an enchanting place regardless, especially if you are there when no one else is out there.  It is free

The Gingerbread house in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel is worth a trip. It is only there until the New Year. This is free unless you opt to splurge on the very expensive tea.

I love the Stairway walks of SF book. If you child is old enough that they don't start asking to be carried half way through the walk, these are a great family activity.

Happy Holidays...go out and make some wonderful memories!

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