Whether it's summer, a vacation from school or just a weekend, finding things to do at home with the children is a great way to bond. Celebrate family by doing activities that create memories and bring everyone closer together. Think about projects that will help your extended family stay in touch, record the present and preserve the past.
Create Family Placemats with Photos
Composing photo place mats is a way for children to stay in touch with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents via pictures. They can also be used as gifts. Go though a collection of photographs and then arrange favorite photos on a sheet of 11 by 17-inch paper. The children can decorate with crayons and stickers around the pictures. Take these to a copy store and photocopy as many as you need. Make sure they are color copies. Have them laminated at the store or use clear self-adhesive paper at home. This makes them easy to clean and durable.
Compose a Family Cookbook
A family cookbook is special and a powerful reminder of people, places and good times. The basic idea is to create a culinary history of your family that can be passed down through generations. Take a scrapbook or ring binder with paper and invite the children to copy recipes on blank paper. On the previous or next page, add photographs that depict where this recipe was eaten or have the kids draw pictures of what this food means to them. When completed, children will enjoy thumbing through the pages and choosing a favorite for today's meal.
Record a "Day-in-the-Life" Video
Bring out the video camera and produce a diary of a typical day at home. Either parent or child can run the camera and start with a photo shoot at breakfast and trail the family through activities like riding bikes, showing off new clothes or toys, taping a ballet or gymnastics class and just going through the business of the day. Making periodic videos helps to watch the children grow and a hilarious movie for the kids. These make great gifts for grandparents too.
Trace Roots with a Family Tree
Invite the children to draw a large tree trunk out of butcher paper and paint it. Tape this to a wall in the kitchen or family room. Make a list together of the family members for the tree and which order they belong. Bring out the boxes of photos and encourage the children to find the family members that are on the list. Together, place the pictures on the tree with tape. The children will learn about their roots making this a good lesson in Genealogy.
- Family Fun Magazine; Celebrate Your Family; August 2002
- "Parents & Kids Together Everyday"; Lisa Lyons Durkin; 1991
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