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Posts Tagged ‘Family Activities’

Five Benefits of Taking a Staycation

StaycationTaking a vacation with your family can be challenging, so try taking a staycation instead. Here are five benefits of enjoying time off at home.

  1. Give your wallet a break. The beauty of a staycation is that you don’t have to spend money on gas, air travel or hotels. An added bonus is that you can use some of that cash on day trips or activities, instead.
  2. Get to know your town. Taking a staycation gives you the chance to explore your community. Take your child to a local restaurant you haven’t tried yet, visit a nearby park or simply go for a stroll through your neighborhood.
  3. Reduce your stress. Staying at home means you and your child don’t have to sit in traffic, wait in line at the airport or adjust to different lodgings. You can simply relax.
  4. Enjoy the comfort of your own home. You and your child can sleep in your own beds, lounge on your own couch and cook up some treats in your own kitchen. The comforts of home are what make it “home, sweet home,” after all.
  5. Maximize your vacation time. Staycations reduce the amount of time spent traveling, checking into and out of hotels and planning an itinerary. The minute you’re home, you’re on vacation.

Make Your Own Ice Cream Sandwiches

July is National Ice Cream Month, so what better way to celebrate than with a treat you can make with your children at home?

Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

If your children love ice cream sandwiches, they can help you make them at home. Break a graham cracker into two squares. One cracker, broken in half, makes one sandwich.  Scoop their favorite flavor of slightly softened ice cream onto one square, and then top it with the other.  Gently push the sandwich together until the ice cream just reaches each edge.  Then, you can dip the edges of the sandwich in sprinkles or chopped-up pieces of candy.  Enjoy them now, or freeze them for a fun summer treat later!

*If you don’t want to use graham crackers, you can make your own sandwich cake. 

Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Pick your child’s favorite kind of cookie. Chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles work well, but you can use any kind you like. Either bake them or buy them pre-made. If you use homemade cookies, make sure they have cooled completely before making them into ice cream sandwiches.

You can use either store-bought or homemade ice cream.  Pick your favorite flavor and scoop some ice cream onto one cookie, then top it with the other cookie and gently press the halves of the sandwich together.

Enjoy these sweet treats as they are or roll the edges in sprinkles or chopped-up pieces of candy first!

These are a great birthday party treats, or you can freeze them and save them for a day at the pool or the beach.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages. 

Keeping in Touch: Family Newsletters

Nowadays it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with family and friends. Email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and such allow us to keep our loved ones (and the world) apprised of our every action. But in the age of 140-character limits, sometimes it’s difficult to get the whole story across.

Most commonly used at holiday time, family newsletters are a great way to keep family and friends both near and far up to date on all of your family’s happenings throughout the year as well. Set aside some time every few months (or every month, if possible) to jot down the latest news, with details—trips, activities, milestones, birthdays, promotions, etc. You can send a mass email or post it to your blog, but consider sending “snail mail” versions on decorative paper (preferably decorated by the children) to very special family members like grandma and grandpa. It’ll be a nice surprise in their mailbox and they’ll anxiously await each new newsletter!

If you’d like to take your newsletter to the next level, take a family vote on a name for your newsletter like the “Griffin Gazette” or the “Thompson Times.” Add sections for jokes and riddles, upcoming events and a family photo or two. Working together as a family to compile your newsletter is a great way to foster collaboration and communication while having fun!

It’s Apple Time!

‘Tis the season to enjoy a good-for-you fall fruit that the whole family loves – apples! Apples are child-friendly, healthy snacks.  They are fat, sodium and cholesterol free!  Apples are grown in all 50 states and orchards across the country offer apple picking, hay rides and hot apple cider at this time of year – a day of family fun and good memories.

Apples can be more than just good to eat. Check out the fun ‘apple’ activity below.

Apple Printing

You can use apples as stamps to create fun pictures, wrapping paper or to decorate t-shirts and other wearables!

Materials:

Apples

Paint (Use washable poster paint for paper prints and fabric paints for clothes.)

Paper Plates

Printable Surface

Newspaper (to protect work surface)

Art Smocks or Old T-shirts

Knife to Cut the Apple(s) – Adults only*

How To:

1. Cover your work surface with newspaper and make sure everyone is wearing old clothes or a smock!

2. Pour paint on the paper plates (one color per plate).

3. Cut the apples in half (adults only). Create an apple silhouette by cutting the apple from top to bottom, or create a circle with a “star” by cutting the apple horizontally. Ask your child to guess what the shape will look like before you cut the apple, or brainstorm various ways to create different shapes with the apple.

4. Encourage your child to dip the flat side of the apple in the paint (trying to thoroughly cover the flat surface) and then place the apple – paint side down -on the printing surface.

5. Enjoy creating fun designs and pictures with your homemade stamps!

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages. (Activity from kidsdomain.com)