new year

Forset Trail, by: Adam McFadyen

10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Children: #1-Outside

The  more fun a resolution, the easier it is to keep and what could be more fun for kids than 15 minutes of adventure? A cool place for an adventure is outside, especially at this time of the year!

new year's resolution play outsideI just discovered the book, Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids, by Rebecca Cohen. I can hardly wait to read it all. She writes that the average child only gets 4-7 minutes of outside play time a day and more than 4 hours a day for screen time. Spending 15 minutes outside every day could be a great new year’s resolution and Rebecca gives practical ideas and suggestions. One of the obvious ones is to go for a walk.

Going for a walk sounds simple, but that’s before trying to get preschoolers dressed in winter clothes. Rebecca advises that it helps to have a basket or other container of the clothes needed for a walk in your area. Having the mittens, hats, boots, sweaters, and coats in one place makes getting ready for the walk much easier, as does remembering to have a potty break before getting on the outdoor clothes.

new year's resolution outside play timeSome other activities could be a picnic outside, even in the winter, or playing a game like I Spy or Follow the Leader. Kicking a ball in the snow is much different from kicking one in the grass. Have your kids ever tried snow painting with colored water and squirt bottles? That’s for days that aren’t too cold. There are often nature treasures, like sticks, pine cones, and rocks on the ground just waiting for little hands to collect them. In some places, there is also snow, although it’s value as treasure is highly debatable. Kids enjoy shoveling snow more than grownups do, at least for a little while, and they love to play in it.

Fifteen minutes of outside time could be a new year’s resolution for any family. How about yours?

Capture 2015 for Your Child with a Joy and Happy Jar

Have you seen the idea of capturing special moments of the year by writing a few words on a slip of paper, then keeping the papers in a jar for next new year’s? These are called Happy and Joy Jars, or maybe Smile or Gratitude, and what a wonderful idea to do with kids. These jars will encourage finding joy and happy moments. The memories will strengthen family bonds and other relationships. Kids will practice a skill that they will need all their lives, that of being able to find happiness and joy in the little things, especially when the big things seem bad.

happy smile jar for kidsTo create a jar, you don’t even need to start with a jar. It could be a small basket, box, tin, bottle, small bucket, or other container. Once you have shared the idea with the kids, they can help decorate whatever it is with pictures, color, stickers, glitter, or other items. For years, our family had has a jar for found nature treasures on a shelf in the kitchen. It has a picture of a rainbow and says Goodies. We found a different spot for the shells and rocks and have our jar right handy in the kitchen. Speaking of kitchens, mom and author, Jaden Hair, from Steamy Kitchen says that her family included some little trinkets and charms in the jar that family members could take with them in a pocket when needed. (Maybe those are called bad Hair days?) We’ll skip those items for the health of our washing machine but it’s another idea.

child's drawing catYoung children will need our help to write things down, but they can draw a picture, or color a smile or happy face on the paper beside the words. These jars are a sort of reverse bucket list. Instead of one long list of things we want to do, it’s a lot of small lists of things we have done, like learned to ride a bike, got a kitty-cat, or had a play-date with a friend–moments of joy and happiness. Adults include their moments too. Then, in a year we get to remember them together. Does your family have a happy jar?

P.S. These jars can start anytime, like a birthday, or move to new place, first day of the season, or any other day.

New Year’s Wishing Star Wands for Kids

The New Year has started and this year, instead of only resolutions, how about adding in some wishes for kids that encourages them to hope and dream?

new year's eve wishing star wandsOn several blogs, I’ve seen this wonderful idea for wishing wands made with stars. Big Sister, who is 6, and Little Sister, who is 3, each made some wishing star wands. We used sparkly pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks. Bending a pipe cleaner into a star shape is tricky. It’s easier if adult hands bend the pipe cleaner in half and use that as the top point of the star. Form each side with another arm going straight out, then a second pointing down. Join the 2 ends of the pipe cleaner in the middle at the bottom. These were easy to tape on the stick. Big Sister colored on the stick and glued on some sprinkles. Little Sister did too in a few spots but her hands cover them up.

new year's resolutions with kidsWhile we worked we talked about it being a new year. Sometimes we think of things we want to remember to do. Big Sister had the idea right away and later wrote on her chalkboard what she wanted to do for having a good morning. Little Sister is not yet at this point in her development but “evey day” she gets ready too. We also talked about wishes and things we hope for in the New Year. Big Sister wishes she could do gymnastics. Little Sister immediately showed us how she could jump and twirl. Good thing we had finished doing the star wands because that started some indoor gymnastics. We’ll save the wands for going outside at supper time and seeing if there are any stars for wishing.

Do you remember saying the poem for wishing on a star? Star light, star bright. First star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight. Since it’s dark so early, we’ll take our wands outside and wish upon a star. What are your wishes for the new year?