Friday, December 9, 2011

Guest Post: Cozy Winter Afternoons with the Kids!

Cozy Winter Afternoons with the Kids!

There is very little more exciting to a child than the arrival of Christmas, and with it, those precious days away from school. What could be more worthy of anticipation than long days spent at home in pajamas, watching cartoons, eating cookies and shaking presents? But, for mom, those long days can provide some sources of anxiety when it comes to planning activities for the kids and finding things to do to keep them busy and not sucked into the TV for the majority of the day. If you’re looking for some fun holiday activities you can do with your kids this season, here are a few of my favorites to share with you!

Make an Advent Calendar
You don’t have to do this in advance, you can use it this year and just start off where you are in the month, or you can save it completely for next year. Either way, crafting an advent together is a wonderful way to while away chilly winter afternoons and get in the holiday spirit too! Get out some felt, some buttons, some boxes, you name it! You can even make one with just paper, whatever you happen to have on hand. Let the kids draw and craft and help you think up ideas for a theme. One of my favorites is a calendar of one thing to do every day, ie: “make a snow angel,” “do something helpful for a neighbor” or “bake cookies.” Once you’ve got a theme, let the kids come up with 25 things!

Have a Baking Day!
Baking was my ultimate favorite holiday activity. Create a list of different cookies and treats that the kids can get involved with for starters, make sure you have all the ingredients on hand and then bring them in for a day of fun in the kitchen! For little, little ones consider things like pretzels dipped in white chocolate and covered in sprinkles. For the older ones, let them cut out sugar cookies with cookie cutters and get carried away decorating gingerbread men!

Gift Your Treats
If you make some extra treats on your baking day (which I highly suggest you do!) take an afternoon to wrap up goodie plates or place a yummy variety in a holiday tin. These make wonderful holiday gifts, especially for those who are unlikely to be able to make their own. Send them to the kids’ cousins in college, friends who might not have any nearby family this year or maybe even grandma and grandpa.

Visit the Elderly
Consider taking some of your treats to your local assisted living center as well (just make sure to get approval from the resident manager first) and you can make an afternoon of visiting the elderly and perhaps even playing card games or singing them carols. You’ll make their day and your kids will get a chance to experience Christmas giving in a new way.

Create a Skit to Share
In this new age of technology, there’s absolutely no limit to how carried away you can get with sending out some holiday e-cards to your family and friends! This is an activity you can stretch out over numerous days if you’d like, depending on how in-depth you want to go. The first step is to find a skit online or create your own (or even singing Christmas carols works!). Come up with some fun accessories (reindeer antlers, Santa Clause hats, etc.), even props if you’re feeling ambitious, and then let the kids have fun in front of your camera! (Even your phone camera will work, there’s no need for anything fancy if you don’t have one!) Upload to your computer and you’ve got an instant hit that the extended family will adore!

All it Comes Down to
In the end, the main thing that your kids are going to remember are the things you all did together. So whether your activities consist of baking cookies, taking strolls through the snowy neighborhood or driving around together at night and scouting out the best Christmas light displays, it’s really just the time together that matters. There’s simply no need to stress about what to come up with, just have fun together and cherish those extra days with your extra time with them!

Freelancer Jocelyn writes for an online heating/cooling site and is focused on writing their winter content for electric floor heaters at the moment but branches out to write family related content whenever she gets a chance!

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