Whatever your creed or custom, it’s hard to ignore the Holiday spirit that is present between the middle of November and the end of December. I use the word Holiday, not to be politically correct, but rather to acknowledge the plethora of celebrations contained during this time.
As parents, we want to help foster the excitement leading up to whatever big day is headed our way. There are some great ideas for some fun family activities that will not only provide some great bonding time and Holiday cheer but also have some great educational experiences under the surface.
Take the time to learn how other cultures celebrate this time of year.
As previously mentioned, there are several religious and non-religious holidays that fall around this time of year. Take some time to research and learn about these other cultures. Be sure to approach each one with an open mind and an open heart. Children love and learn by the example we set. Taking time to learn about other cultures will help them to appreciate diversity and appreciate the beauty and differences within our world.
Baking and Cooking as a Family
The holidays are a great time to test the structural integrity of our waistbands as we partake in the culinary delicacies of the season. Baking is a great way to spend some quality time as a family. Baking is a hands-on activity with an opportunity to teach everything from math, measurements, and the science of chemical reactions to the responsibility of cleaning up the mess you made. There are built in lessons on the importance of following directions and the joy of creativity when it comes to decorating. Plus…a delicious treat for everyone..
Purchasing Toys for the less fortunate
This time of year is the time when needs and wants are felt most. There is a “magic” element to most holiday celebrations, many of which revolve around gift giving. But what about those families who are struggling financially where gift giving becomes especially tough? What about the children spending their holidays in hospitals as they battle severe medical conditions?
Teaching your children the importance of charity and giving is an important life lesson. It teaches compassion, empathy, and kindness. Providing your children with a set amount to pick out gifts for the less fortunate can provide an opportunity to discuss budgeting. It is also a great time to discuss the importance of privilege and to be appreciative of their own circumstances.
Creating greeting cards for nursing homes.
The global pandemic has been especially hard on nursing homes. Covid has hit these places especially hard and often forces these places into quarantine making it especially lonely for seniors. Taking the time to create some greeting cards for these places not only teaches empathy and respect for others but also provides an opportunity for creativity. Using crayons, markers, scissors, stickers encourages the development of small motor skills. Whether it’s a “Happy Holidays” card or just a “Thinking of You” card, the love will be felt by those who receive them.
Setting New Year’s Resolutions
The ringing in of the New Year is a great opportunity to create resolutions for the family. The idea is for each family member to come up with a personal goal they’d like to achieve that year and then as a family create a resolution that you’ll work towards together. After the resolutions are made, work together to map out the steps it is going to take to be successful in their achievement. This is an important lesson in the importance of setting realistic goals as well as thinking through the steps to meeting those goals. Set times when you’ll come together to discuss the progress you’ve made toward achieving those goals and adjust them as needed to ensure their success.
These are activities that don’t necessarily need to be confined to this time of year. They can be tweaked and adjusted to fall within your family’s own set of values and belief system. The important thing is the time you spend together and what you all take away from that time.