Category Archives: Activities

Mindfulness for Kids and Families

Mindfulness can be a pretty big and confusing word, but if you break it down it is fairly simple to understand. According to Mindful.org:

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

We have a lot of anxiety in our household. It sometimes causes us to be unable to participate in things, it can also cause us to rush to anger, lash out, or yell when we feel anxious or afraid. I know that my kids get their anxieties from me, I too suffer a lot of anxiety. It can be hard to understand how to make them feel better about something that I too struggle with. I try to maintain physical activity, practice self-care like alone time, and take moments to assess how I am feeling when I feel anxious about things. It is a daily struggle to try and incorporate my coping mechanisms.

When it comes to my kids I try to listen, not rush, and give them a moment to find their way when they suffer anxiety. I have found ways that help them to cope with their emotions by allowing them to turn to physical activities to reduce anxiety. I recently found a great flow chart that we printed out and have used to remind ourselves how to stop and be more aware of what we are feeling and find ways to deal with it. If you have kids that you think would benefit from being more mindful of themselves and the world around them try some of these ideas at home, and if like me you cannot always remember them when you need them print the flow chart out and keep it out where you can find it in the moment.

Games That Teach: Go Fish!

Recently I planned a day of beauty and rest for myself. I was headed to get my hair done, and get a facial. No kids, no husband, an all day just fo me outing. The world seemed to be against me though. My husband also got a last minute side-job that required him to be gone and unable to watch the kids for part of the time I would be gone. Since my husband drives a company vehicle, and he could not use it on a side-job, he was in need of my vehicle. I was going to have to take the kids with me for an hour until my husband could show back up at the salon and play with them for the remainder of my appointment.

While my salon is family-friendly they don’t really want kids running around because of safety issues. This can limit the types of toys I can bring for distraction purposes. Toy cars, and blocks were my go-to, however, the kids lost interest in them very quickly. On this particular day we were also out running errands prior to the appointment. It became such a long day that all of the electronics died. I I was sitting waiting for my husband to come entertain the kids when I saw a deck of cards in the hairdressers station. I brought over both kiddos and quickly explained the game Go Fish. We dealt the cards and played a game while I had my hair done. The kids were hooked! Haha. My husband arrived and was immediately dealt in to the next hand. Both kids picked it up like it was second nature, even the 3 year-old was winning.

The hairdresser was so impressed with how nicely they played, and how good they were. We started to discuss how important it was for kids to continue to play old-fashioned games like these — how these games not only were simple fun that didn’t require a screen, but also how they taught important lessons like memory, matching, number recognition, listening skills, sharing, sportsmanship, and dexterity. Kids have to deal the cards, hold them properly so that they can see them but no one else can. They have to know their numbers, and properly pair them up with matches. They have to be able to count how many pairs they have collected. They have to practice honesty and good sportsmanship. The game cannot end unless all of the cards are played, and how can that happen if a player lies about the cards in their hand? The lessons that are taught during “old-fashioned” games like Go Fish, Old Maid, and other card games are more important than we realize. When we were kids we played these games often. Now they are archaic forms of killing-time that do not get the recognition they deserve.

I am not sure that my kids would have ever played the game if I hadn’t been in a situation that left the kids with little else to do. They sat nicely with their Dad playing Go Fish for another two hours. When we left for home the kids wanted to play Go Fish again. For days we played it every time they weren’t busy doing something else. We have since taken an out of town trip with my parents and most of our hotel stay involved Go Fish. Now we bring a pack of cards with us everywhere we go, and we no longer refer to “old-fashioned” games as just time killers. Check out the pack on Amazon we purchased so that we always have a deck with us!

Recycled Seed Starter

Spring has sprung and that means we can all get back outside for some much needed fun and sunshine. One of my favorite ways to get my kids active in the spring is to get them out in the sun helping me bring our yard back to life. We love to spend time outside and we love to enjoy our beautiful backyard while we do it. As you can imagine the winter tends to take a toll on the beautiful yard. Everything has gone dormant during this long cold Winter we had. On the bright side, we had such a wet Winter that the earth is ready for spring and some very beautiful flowers. That is why we are so excited to start planting.

We usually spend the first couple of weekends in Spring cleaning up the yards and preparing our spring planting. While we do plant a lot of things right in the ground there are some things we like to start as seedlings in a small pot and then transfer when they are larger. We love to do this with some of our herbs, and the flowers we are worried about planting before we are sure the cold weather has truly gone for the season.

We love to create our seedlings in water bottles. We simply make them in ot perfect little irrigation systems and they are easy to tote in and outside depending upon the light and temperature. An easy way to do this is with a recycled water bottle. Head on over to Glad for a great tutorial on how to do this. It not only is a great way to interact with your kids this Spring, it is also a fantastic way to teach them about recycling and why it is so important! The entire project is the epitome of Spring — finding something and giving it new purpose, a rebirth, and the blossoming of something great!