Make Christmas Memories With Your Kids in an Hour {or less} a Day

Here is a great list of ideas to make Christmas memories with your kids in an hour {or less} a day.  These ideas are to help you all enjoy the season, remember what it is all about, teach them to be grateful for what they already have and teach them how to be thoughtful in their own gift giving.

  • Go see Christmas lights- make hot chocolate and put it in hot cups with lids and head out to a neighborhood known for doing Christmas lights well.  Play Christmas music, enjoy your hot chocolate and ooh and aah over the lights together.
  • Act out the Christmas story- use sheets to dress up as Mary, Joseph, shepherds,  wise men, sheep, etc.. (or have the kids play multiple rolls). Read the Christmas story in the Bible and have the kids act it out.
  • Do a live nativity scene with the kids in your neighborhood.
  • Make Christmas cookies together with your kids {here’s an easy recipe to get you started}
  • Take cookies to those who serve you in your neighborhood {firemen, policemen, etc…}
  • Random Acts of Kindness to strangers- Pay for the people behind you in a drive through. Hand out gift cards for $5 to Starbucks. Feed meters with change downtown.  Go to the library and pay off over due fines.  Reach out to a single mom and offer to help her out with babysitting, extra groceries, or even gift money. Include your kids and have fun spending time together blessing others.
  • Make old fashioned decorations for the Christmas tree- string popcorn for the tree or a garland using a needle and thread, make cinnamon spice ornaments {they smell amazing}, or let the kids paint new ornaments.
  • Spend time talking about ways to give to others- Get your kids thinking about ways they can serve others this Christmas. Have them decide what they can give to those who don’t have as much as they do.
  • Have your kids make a gift list- This is not a list of what they want but rather what they already have that are gifts in their lives.  Teach them to be grateful for what they have.
  • Help them think of creative ways to give thoughtful gifts to the ones they need gifts for- Don’t’ simply buy gifts for your kids to give but spend time with them teaching them to be thoughtful about what they give to others such as teachers, friends, cousins, daddy, etc… Give your kids opportunities to earn the money {by doing chores} to buy gifts for others.


10 Fun Ways to Make Memories with Your Kids this Thanksgiving

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week?!  I don’t know about you but I am thrilled that my kids will have the week off and I am busy planning out some fun activities for all of us to do. I thought I would share some ideas with you.  Here are 10 Fun ways to make memories with your kids this Thanksgiving:

1. Create a Grateful Journal

Use a journal they already have, buy a notebook and use construction paper to decorate the cover, or make your own journal by folding several sheets of paper in half and stapling them in the middle

Use the journals every night before bed to record what you are grateful for that day.

{Source: via Dawn on Pinterest}

2. A Thankful Tree

Find a branch outside {boys especially will enjoy the hunt for the perfect branch}, then create tags {free printable from Jones Design Company here} or cut leaf shapes out of construction paper,have each child write {or draw} what they are thankful for on each leaf and use a string to hang it on the branch.  Emily’s looks beautiful but yours doesn’t have to be perfect.  The kids will have fond memories of the tradition regardless of how great it looks.

3. Decorate with Leaves

Have kids create animals, shapes, cars, or whatever they can think of with different shaped leaves you find outside. Glue them to paper and display them proudly as art.

{Source: via Kristin on Pinterest}

4. Include them in the baking & cooking and enjoy the time

Give yourself extra time when planning your cooking and baking for Thanksgiving to allow time for your kids to help out.  Play some fun music, give them an apron {or towel} and let them create.  Perhaps even let them pick an item to make and simply oversee their creation {this one could be the start of a happy life of your kid doing more cooking and you doing less. wink. wink.}

5. Play a Family Game of Football Outside

Again this doesn’t have to be perfect and little ones can be included.  Make the rules age appropriate and just have fun getting active.

6. Light a Fire and Roast Marshmallows

You can do this indoors or out.  Kids LOVE this and it is a great memory maker.

7. Make Hot Chocolate & Share Favorite Memories

Take a break from the busy days of preparation and make some hot chocolate to share with your kids.  Ask them what their favorite memories of the holidays are and take note.  This could be a great way to make note of traditions they love and that you want to continue in your family.

8. Head Outside for a Photo Shoot

Pile up the leaves, put on the cute scarves and clothes and snap away at your kids having fun.  Take lots of pictures that aren’t posed but just of them having fun.  I bet you’ll have some amazing pictures at the end of the time and you may even have them posing with perfect smiles and asking you to take pictures of them.

9. Read About Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims Together

Perhaps while sipping hot chocolate share some exciting history together by reading aloud the stories of how it all started and why we even celebrate Thanksgiving today.  For older kids try the book  Of Plymouth Plantation and for younger ones try Thanksgiving, What Makes It Special? or for the whole family try Thanksgiving (A FamilyLife Book): A Time to Remember.  If your kids are not crazy about the idea of reading then make sure to include them in it. Ask them questions, have them help read, read it yourself first so that you can read it in an exciting way.

10. Relax

Give yourself and your kids the gift of a relaxed and refreshed mom this holiday season.  Purposefully schedule time in your busy schedule to relax, have fun and rest.  It is an opportunity for you to be an example to your kids of the importance of taking care of themselves. Teach them that it’s important to take breaks and have fun in life.  They’re watching you and will do what you do.  I’m pretty sure you’ll be really glad you made time to enjoy the holidays!

Have a WONDERFUL & Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tons of Ideas to Make Summer Fun for Kids!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to need ideas to make Summer fun for my kids.  I can get lost in my To Do lists if I don’t plan ahead.  So, every Summer I grab a calendar and start planning in some simple and fun ways to spend time with my kids.  I like to ask my kids for their ideas and a “wishlist” of activities they would like to include.

With my calendar in hand I schedule the necessary things first (like doctors appointments) and I block off our vacation days if we are taking one. Next I go to work on adding the fun things we have thought of.  I like to include one fun thing each day.  For days when you have a lot of other stuff going on, pick something quick and easy. Here are some of the things on our Summer Fun list this year:

  • Water Day (water balloon fights, sprinkler and slip n slide play)
  • Go to the Library. Then have a contest to see who can read the most pages in a day (the younger ones can do picture books or have books read to them)
  • Visiting the local Farmer’s Market and try some new fruits and veggies
  • What makes me special Day (highlighting each child and what are the things you love about them. Everyone can join in.)
  • Write and perform a (short) skit
  • Decorate your room Day (use items you already have, make something or splurge on something new)
  • Go to a field or park and have a family soccer game
  • Make Homemade ice cream
  • Have a shaving cream fight in the backyard and then run through the sprinklers
  • Write and illustrate your own book
  • Make a homemade version of your favorite candy bar
  • Art Day. Paint, draw, color, and then send your kids creations to their adoring fans (a.k.a. grandma and grandpa)
  • Baking/cooking class (making a favorite treat or simple meal)
  • A Visit to a local art museum
  • Have a reading hour everyday at the same time
  • Have a Lego building contest
  • Buy solid t-shirts and decorate them with fabric paint or tie dye
  • Picnic at a favorite park (or try a new one)
  • Taking those who serve you often (mailman, firemen, local police dept, etc…) a “Thank you” treat (cookies or brownies)
  • Pajama Day
  • Kids in charge Day (this one takes a brave mom!)
  • Play board games
  • Plant your own flowers or herbs Day
  • Make homemade play dough
  • Have a book or clothing swap with your kids friends.  Make it into a party
  • Explore local places that you have always wanted to go to (museums, parks, stores, etc…)
 There are many more ideas but you get the picture.  Next I put on the calendar things that I want to spend time working with my children on.  Some of these repeat in my calendar.  Even though these things take work I am trying my best to make these things fun too. Here are some of those ideas:
  • Tying shoes
  • Name writing and handwriting practice
  • Spelling
  • Grammar rules practice
  • Learning Bible Verses
  • Learning the Books of the Bible
  • Manners
  • Etiquette

For even MORE ideas follow my Summertime Fun board on Pinterest.  I’ll be adding ideas throughout the Summer.  Have an idea I should add? Leave me a link in the comments to add it.

What are your ideas for a fun Summertime with your kids? I’d love to hear!

Next, I’ll share with you some ideas for lunch and snack plans.  I hope you have a wonderful Summer with your kids that is full of wonderful memories!!

Ideas to Make Your Spring Break with Kids a BLAST!

Spring Break time is coming up quick! So what’s a mom to do to fill her Spring Break days?  Here’s  a great list of ideas for you to use when you plan your week:

  • Pick a craft to do, shop for materials and make it.  Letting them pick will probably win you brownie points!
  • Pajama Day combined with popcorn and renting movies
  • Make cookies and take them to local heroes (firemen, police men, hand them to the mail man, etc…)
  • Picnic at the park and play on the playground (assuming it’s warm enough)
  • Visit a local art museum (check their website because many of them offer Spring Break discounts and free days)
  • Make or buy snow cones
  • Go see a movie
  • Make paintings/drawings or cards for grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles and mail them
  • Ice Skating or roller skating
  • Spend a little time talking about how each one would like their room decorated and go get an item or two towards that goal.
  • Go to local Farmers Market and pick some new fruits and veggies to try
  • Plant your own flowers or herbs Day
  • Have a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood, back yard or even in your house
  • Baking/cooking class (making a favorite treat or simple meal)
  • Write and illustrate your own book
  • Go to the Library. Then have a contest to see who can read the most pages in a day (the younger ones can do picture books or have books read to them)
  • Kids in charge Day (this one takes a brave mom!)
  • Art time: drawing, painting, clay or play dough. For the little ones, making letters or shapes with their fingers on a plate of rice or shaving cream.
  • pick your favorite candy bar, find a recipe online and make a replica of it yourself (this is a great way to make it a bit healthier too
  • Rent or buy a DVD that teaches them how to be better at their favorite sport and follow it with them
  • Have a Lego building contest.
  • Have a spa day for girls and paint nails, do hair and dress up. Then take pictures!
  • Have a tea party with girls
  • Have a food science party with boys (look online for recipes that are also science experiments)
  • Go to a craft store and buy cardboard letters to make their name and then decorate them according to their likes (for example glue Legos,  crayons, or feathers to them or paint or color them) then hang them up in their playroom or bedroom.

Not all of these activities are suitable for all ages but you can pick the ones that work for your kids ages.

I hope you have a wonderful Spring Break when your turn comes!  I would LOVE to hear any other ideas you have to fill the days!!