Connect with Your Children This Holiday Season

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Many of us are looking for new ways to connect with our children during the holidays. If you would like to create some holiday rituals, especially for kids, here are some suggestions:

Help kids put on a holiday play, talent show, or puppet show.

Pick a well-known play or movie and assign roles in unconventional ways.

Take them caroling.

This community-building activity is particularly enjoyable when friends and relatives are visiting so that the group of children is large. Make multiple copies of song sheets!

Make kolaches, chocolates, a gingerbread house, or other treats.

Help your children prepare gift boxes for the homeless or local shelter (filled with items like food, treats, and personal care items). This can be done jointly with a few families and is a gentle way to teach kids to appreciate their own good fortune and instill the values of community service and kindness to others.

Bake easy dough ornaments, either freeform or using cookie cutters.

Basic recipe: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water. Visit a local farm, artisan bakery, or craft shop to teach kids how food and handicrafts are made. Stamp recycled paper with a cut potato dipped in paint. This can be used as gift wrap.

Get out in nature.

Plant a tree, pick up trash by a stream, or go on a hike, go sledding, bring a nature book to identify plants and birds.

Give a present to the birds.

Make a birdfeeder out of a plastic bottle, milk carton, jug, or coffee can. Together you can look up the bird species that visit and learn to recognize them. Source: Center for a New American Dream (www.newdream.org)

Leanne Manning, Extension Educator | The Learning Child

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