Chose a place to serve together as a family this month, you can do so much more TOGETHER. Make sure it’s something you can all cooperate and do together. Check out The Children’s Hunger Fund toy wrap or food backing days, volunteer to sort toys for Toy’s For Tots, help serve food at a soup kitchen, sort can goods at a food pantry, or partner with a ministry at your church that’s already serving in your community. Whatever you do, do it all together because no matter how big or small the family member is, you can all do more together than you can alone.
The holiday season is around the corner and instead of making a list of all the things we want, let’s find things we can give away. It’s time to clear out those closets and pull out the things that you no longer use or don’t need anymore. Make sure parents are clearing out stuff too!
As a family take the toys, clothes and maybe even canned goods to a local shelter, group home, soup kitchen or local charity. Make time to serve together there as well. Serve a meal, help sort clothes/toys in a foster care closet, offer to stock shelves at a food bank or help in any way you can there together
Dress in dark clothes, and head out to the backyard after dark. Give each family member a flash light. Play hide and go seek with one family member being “it” and the others hiding. Instead of tagging someone when you find them, you turn on the flash light and “tag” them. As players run away to dodge the light continue to try to tag them with the beam of light. Take turns being “it” and enjoy hours of laughter and fun as your family takes the initiative to make new strategies on how to dodge the light and stay in the game. This would be even more fun if you invited another family over to play. The more the merrier!
Check out the Stars. Wisemen have followed the stars for thousands of years. Buy a star chart to get started. Then choose one spot in your yard that affords a clear view of the heavens, and venture out after dinner to watch how the night sky changes hour to hour. A little fresh air before bedtime can really help your kids sleep later too.
Head to the party store and get a dozen balloons filled with helium. Have each family member write a word that builds confidence in a person on each balloon. Head to a park and pass out the balloons to kids and make someone’s day!
Joyful, kind, helpful, spirited, tenacity, loving, smart, caring, giving, etc.
Build confidence with giving your kids responsibility. Head out to your favorite gardening center and let your kids pick out vegetables or herbs they want to grow. Spend the day outside planting a garden, they will learn confidence when their hard work reaps real food! Make a responsibility chart with a list of things to do to care for the plants ie: water, pull weeds, remove dead leaves and steams etc. Remember to celebrate each step of the way, when you see new growth, a flower bloom, the first sign of real vegetable. Then enjoy using your garden fresh veggies and what your kid’s confidence grow.
Instead of going out, let’s stay IN. Make a special family movie night and watch the classic Disney movie Pinocchio. Pop popcorn and get everyone’s favorite candy. Make sure to put all those phones away and enjoy family time unplugged. After the movie, talk about honesty, why was it hard for Pinocchio to tell the truth, how the movie would had been different if Pinocchio had chosen honesty from the beginning, and how we can be more honest in our lives.
Waiting is hard, especially if you’re waiting to go someplace fun. As a family choose a place you want to go: A theme park, beach pier, fair, arcade, latest movie, or bounce gym. Make a jar that family members can add loose change, money and allowance to. Set an amount you’ll need to be able to go on this family outing. Wait patiently as a family as you save for the outing, talk about how close you are getting and how exciting it will be to finally get to go. Once you’ve reached your goal use the money from the jar to pay for the day. While out enjoying what you’ve waited for, talk about how it was worth the wait and the hard work it took to get to where you wanted to go.
Set aside a day to find peaceful places in your community. Everyone’s idea of peaceful is a little different, talk about what brings you peace and where you might like to go to feel peaceful. Then pick one of the places to visit together as a family. Some people feel peaceful at the beach, in the mountains, at a park, near a river/stream, listening to music or visiting an art museum. Decide together what would be the most peaceful place to go and spend the day. On your way home talk about how being there made you feel, try to set aside more time to find peace places as a family.
It’s time to be kind as a family. Look up a local, animal shelter and find out if they need volunteers for a day, have fun walking/playing with dogs who need some extra love. Or find out if they need food, blankets or toys for the animals in the shelter, collect those things from friends, hit a thrift store to get blankets etc. Spend time as a family giving back to those who can’t give you anything in return. And you never know, maybe you’ll end up with a new four legged family member!
Eat Out…Way Out. As a family make a plan to try something new. Pull out a globe, map or google and pick a nations cuisine you haven’t tried before: Thai, Indian, African, French, Polish etc. Read about that culture and find a restaurant near you that serves that cuisine. Go to the restaurant early, before the evening rush begins, so your family can really take in the atmosphere. Ask questions to the staff and be willing to go outside your comfort-zone. Make this a fun family tradition to try new things in the New Year, the kids will look forward to picking another country and trying new things.
The holidays can be stressful for anyone, and especially on a family with a new little one. Trying to make the holidays special with a baby isn’t easy. As a family be generous with your time and offer to babysit for a family with little kids. Because of your generosity they can have a night out together or maybe get some last minute gift shopping done without babies in tow. Make sure you take care of everything for them, offer to babysit at your home so they don’t have to worry about their house being clean. Make sure to take care of dinner for the kids so they don’t have to think about feeding them before they leave. Offer to wrap presents for them or help in any other way you can. Giving a new family a night off will be HUGE in their lives, and with your whole family pitching in the evening shouldn’t be too hard! (you’ll probably be thankful for your big kids!)
Put on your coats, grab a basket and head outside to enjoy the crisp autumn air. As you enjoy a walk together as a family, collect leaves. Try to find the largest flattest leaves you can. Find enough for each member of your family to have a least ten. Have fun trying to find all different color and shaped leaves. Once home sit down together and write who you are grateful for on each of the leaves. Go around the table and explain why you are grateful for each person you wrote down. (save leaves for craft project)
As a family take some time to think of a specific need locally or globally and brain storm a way to use YOUR resources (what God has given you) to help meet that need. Then as a family choose what would be the best way to help, then begin working together to meet the need. Suggestions: Go through clothing to donate to homeless shelter, clear out pantry and donate can goods to a soup kitchen, bake cookies and visit a retirement home, make a meal and bring it to someone who’s experiencing a hardship, have a bake sale/lemonade stand and donate the money to Hurricane Relief in TX/FL. It’s important that you work together as a family to choose what you will do and to use YOUR resources to meet a need to make someone’s life better.
As a family choose a friend to surprise. Find a time when your friend will not be home and decide to decorate their front door with some love. Using left over birthday party/holiday decorations, poster board, balloons and confetti, decorate their front door. Write words of love and encouragement on poster board and tape to front door, hang decorations and add some balloons. This “Just Because” surprise will make your friends day!
Put on your walking shoes, bring a trash bag and gloves, then head into your neighborhood. As you walk look for ways to show respect to your community and neighbors. One of the biggest ways to show respect to your neighborhood is to keep it clean. It might seem like a little thing to clean up trash, however it’s a big deal, small acts of respect make a big difference. It’s important to respect where you live and have pride in your community. Talk about how we should always leave a place better than how you found it.
Pick a day for your Difference Making Outing, jump in the car as a family and start driving. You can’t come home until you complete three random acts of kindness, to make a unique difference in your community.
Random Acts Of Kindness Ideas: Giving quarters to people at laundry mats, bringing all the carts in a parking lot to the store, pick up trash at a park, bring a meal to a fire station, pay for someone’s coffee or meal behind you at a drive through, give a postal worker a cold drink, bring flowers to a retirement home, bring in someone you know trash cans, donate clothes, deliver donuts/cupcakes to a friend who needs a pick me up, leave a generous tip, bring dog/cat food to a local shelter, and anything else you and your family can think of.
It’s time to get creative with your typical family night/day out. Shake it up and start with dessert! Go out and get ice cream, a Slurpee or get a treat at a bakery first thing. Talk about how fun it is to start your outing off with dessert instead of ending with one. Then go to the movies or play at a park for a while and finish off your outing with a meal out. Maybe try ordering breakfast for dinner! Just shake it up and do things differently from how you usually do. Talk about how everyone felt about getting creative with the order of how you did things as a family today, maybe the kids will suggest always starting out the day with dessert!
Kids love helping and working on tough tasks together, is a great way to build determination. There is such satisfaction associated with creating something with your own two hands. Find a family project to work together on outside. Maybe build that long awaited tree house, hang that tire swing in the front yard, paint the back fence, fix the gate, organize the garage, plant that garden… this list can go on and on. Be determined as a family to finish whatever task you’ve chosen. Encourage each other when it get hard and when others want to quit. Make sure to celebrate when you’re done! Maybe ice cream from the Ice Cream truck, Slurpees or head out for frozen yogurt. You did it!
Being humble is putting someone else first, which isn’t always easy. Plan a day with a friend or family member (that does NOT live in your house) and make the day all about them and what THEY want to do. Sometimes this could be hard because they may want to go to places you wouldn’t pick or eat food that may not be your favorite. However at the end of the day the person you have chosen to put first that day will feel so happy and loved by you and your family and that’s the best way to spend a day!
Head to the park or your driveway for a game of basketball, or Horse. Enjoy a game without keeping score (this may be harder for the parents). Afterward talk about how fun it was to not keep score and just enjoy playing. Also talk about when you forgive someone else, you are deciding to not keep score of who’s right and who’s wrong. When you forgive someone you are both winners, because you wipe the slate clean and start new. Let’s try to remember in life we aren’t supposed to keep score.
As a family choose a neighbor or family friend who you could surprise with some extra love. Mow their lawn, take out their trash, walk their dog, help with a house project, paint a fence, deliver a meal, choose something that you would want someone to do for you! Live out this months life app as a family but surprising someone with LOVE.
It’s time to explore your community and learn something new! Wether you live in a big city or a small town, the place where you live has history, and it’s time to find it. Spend an afternoon at your local public library, get library cards! Check out new books you’ve never read and spend time reading together. You can also go to a local museum or historical sight, don’t drive too far! Stay as local as possible. Spend a day building new KNOWLEDGE of where you live. As a family talk about about what you learned today and how learning something knew made you feel.
Find the JOY in family time! Grab the family, some blankets, hot cocoa and jump into the car. Head out for a night of looking at Christmas Lights with a twist! Find or create a list of things to look for while out, and you can’t go home until everything on the list has been found. The kids will be on the look out the entire drive trying to cross everything on their list.
You can go online to Google or Pinterest to easily find Christmas Scavenger Hunt list and print one out for free. Or make your own before leaving the house, here’s some ideas to get you stated:
Make your favorite cookie recipe (Amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe below) and bring them to your local Fire Department. These men and women work hard to protect our homes and communities, and most of them are volunteer Fire Fighters. What a great way to honor those around us, than to make and then deliver treats?!
(Feel free to honor who you’d like, other ideas: Police Station, Garbageman, Mailman, neighbor ect.)