Halloween can be so much fun with kids! I will never forget my son’s first Halloween. He went up to the doors in the neighborhood and was in total disbelief that everyone would give him candy. How could this possibly be? How lucky was he? Just walk up and you get pockets full of candy. The look on his face the entire evening [maybe an hour] was pure exhilaration!
My friend offered a suggestion of how to increase gratitude in our families. I love it so much I need to share with all you Boulder Families! I posted recently about a lecture I attended on the Friends’ School Year Long Gratitude Project, but here I am again coming back to the concept. Maybe it is just that it is November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But it could just be that I so need the reminder to have gratitude. With all the amazing things in my life I still get overwhelmed and feel like the world is a heavy burden instead of seeing the joy in my life. Here is a simple way to increase our gratitude on a regular basis: Create a Thankful Tree!
To create your Thankful/Grateful/Gratitude Tree you simply need to find a location in your home where you can put it up. This needs to be a sold vertical space. You need to find some brown paper [could be grocery bags, stuffing from a package, etc…], and twist it into a tree shape with branches and all. Then you cut out some leaves in whatever colors you like. My friend used the same colors, but varied the shapes. This is your creative process!
Then every evening the whole family can add something they are grateful for. In the beginning smaller children will have a tough time coming up with anything. Plan to do some role modeling until they get it. For small children they can draw instead of write or you can be their scribe. It does not matter how it gets on the leaves, it’s the gratitude that matters most.
Another friend took her kids [my son too] one morning to buy breakfast sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless people at the Boulder Public Library. It was a cool morning and at first the kids were nervous, but then they started in their own way to take part in sharing their bounty with others. They were able to see how a small act of kindness can go a long way. They were also able in the smallest way to see how much they have to be grateful for.
I would love to hear how your families offer gratitude and build it in as a value in your lives. It seems so important and yet at times tough to slow down enough to really feel gratitude deeply.
This simple, recycling project for kids can make a secure and fun fort. What a great project for kids of many ages. For more information on how to make this with your kids click here.
DIY: Felt Pocket Necklace
These are easy pocket necklaces to make with your kids. Super cute. Imagine making them and then going on a nature walk to pick up special treasures, keeping a journal in the pocket, or tooth fairy gifts. Use your imagination! Making them is easy and kid friendly. You only need 5 items and you can get them all at your local craft store.
To make these cute pocket necklaces head over to the wonderful Willowday’s blog.
I love making things myself that I would normally purchase. These are simple, fun to get the kids involved with, and your kids can literally eat what they produce–though I don’t recommend it. Use baby food jars or other recycled jars to hold your paints and play dough. Make sure to get the kids involved mixing and adding colors.
Younger kids: Just get in there and get messy. Paint outside so you can just rinse the kids off with the hose. Try making patterns with uncooked pasta, nature items such as sticks, rocks, etc. Paint rocks to put in the garden–these are super cute! Encourage your young kids to play with mixing colors. Have them guess what color they will create and then give it a try.
Older kids: Try making block prints [older kids can carve a piece of wood or get a block from Michael’s for carving] or veggie prints [experiment cutting veggies such as celery and use those veggies as blocks for printing]. Work with older kids on making their own color wheel by making a circle [or any other shape], breaking it into fractions. Color in 3 fractions with primary colors [blue, yellow, red], then work to blend these colors in the fractions between them. Create a color wheel.