Happy Monday! It’s gray and dreary here, a perfect day to stay home and cozy up with a book or a toddler (or both!). I hope you’re warm and have an abundant supply of books, toddlers, chocolate or whatever you would like to cozy up with today. ;)
On to today’s list!
10 Ways to Make Today Magical….
1. Ask the kids to help make a spring wreath for the front door from found materials. The base can be an old wreath, a wire coat hanger bent into a circle, bound branches or even a cardboard O cut from a pizza box. They can wrap, glue, wire or otherwise attach whatever they like– strips of rags, ribbons, bits of nature, toys, artificial flowers, ornaments, you name it. If it is too fragile to hang outside, display it somewhere inside. Stress that it doesn’t matter how it looks! The fun is in creating it (though I’m sure it will look fabulous because it’s made by them!). You don’t have to help if they don’t need it, but be present. It’s often our contributions (in terms of commoditities like laughter and company) that make the difference between a magical memory and "just a craft."
2. Get out paint pens or permanent markers and let them decorate an old pair of shoes.
3. Start a "mom and me" (or dad or grandma and me!) scrapbook. Find or make a blank book (you can use printer paper in a binder or folder, hole punch some paper and a cardstock cover and tie it with ribbon or make a more elaborate book with instructions like these). Do some pages every week together about the two of you. For instance, write notes to each other (be sure to date them!) or find a picture of yourself at your child’s age and make side by side pages comparing yourselves. At age 8, what were each of your favorite books, hobbies, colors, friends, wishes?
4. Tell the kids that for dessert today, they’re not allowed to use their hands! Have a camera handy.
5. Set a big goal to do something together that your child loves. One day my girls and I decided to see if we could read 30 picture books. You could also challenge yourselves to finish a puzzle with a whole lot of pieces, hike to the top of a really high hill or even make 20 pictures to cheer up loved ones.
6. Find a park you’ve never been to and go play together.
7. Find something junky in the house and let your child alter it. One of the advantages of having old, unloveable furniture or belongings is that you have nothing to lose with this sort of project! :) Let her use paint pens on the old wooden chair in the basement or permanent markers on the inside of a beat up dresser (make sure they don’t come off on clothes though!). I once took a gold paint pen to a really boring computer monitor and covered it with swirls and polka dots. You can even designate an old T-shirt for altering.
8. Start garden dreaming together. Grab some seed catalogs or garden books (or just your imaginations) and make a list of all the things you’d love to plant this year. If you can’t have an outside garden, maybe you can plan a windowsill herb garden or some patio tomatoes. If not, you can still have fun dreaming. What size garden would your child’s dream garden be? What would he plant? If you can have a garden (or even a pot!) outside, commit to planting at least one whimsical, wonderful thing with the kiddos. Sunflowers are easy and magical. Nasturtiums grow well from seed and make colorful, spicy flowers that you can eat in your salads. Cherry tomatoes are a must here for snacking all summer. Or you can dream big and make a bean teepee hideout or other really wonderful garden element.
9. Put the kids in charge of "dressing" the table for dinner. When I was in college, I was a banquet server and we had an entire room of props to use for this sort of thing, from lanterns to leis to mirror rounds to bandanas. Ask the kids to get as fancy as they like (tablecloth, beautiful centerpiece, folded napkins, candles…) or as original as they like (frisbees for chargers under plates, wacky centerpiece, chopsticks for eating and soup bowls for drinks…). If you have multiple kids, you might want to alternate days and even assign themes sometimes (beach, Japanese, hoedown, space…).
10. Hide a dozen little notes that say "Mama loves you" in unexpected places.