Family Thanksgiving Activity

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November 1st is just two days away, so today I’m prepping our family’s thankfulness activity. Every night of November, we will each write one thing we’re grateful for on a cut-out leaf and pin it to our bulletin board. There are lots of ways to practice thankfulness as a family, but we choose this way for a few reasons:⁣

🍁 We like to use a daily practice rather than a weekly one, as it seems to sink in more with the kids. Using November to truly dwell on gratefulness is a sweet annual practice and also a wonderful way to start the holiday season.⁣

🍁 There are lots of us, and lots of nights in November, which leads to LOTS of leaves. The bulletin board allows us to add as many leaves as we want!⁣

🍁 This format allows us to read the leaves easily, which I do many times throughout the month. We label each with the first initial of the person who said it, and I get so much joy from reliving some of the responses! We also keep the leaves in an envelope with the year on it at the end of the month.⁣

🍁 This gratitude practice is budget friendly! I had to replace the board this year (this one was $22 at Target), but the leaves are just construction paper and the pushpins can be used year after year. Once you have your board and pins, you’re set for years to come!⁣

I know I have shared this activity in the past, but it is so dear to our family (and so easy) that I can’t help but encourage others to adopt a similar practice. The moments around the dinner table sharing our gratitude are seriously some of the highlights of my year. From the funny (one year my 2-year-old said the same thing every night) to the surprisingly poignant, I love hearing what springs to my kids’ minds when they think of gratefulness.

Does your family have an annual gratefulness activity? If not, try one this year and see how it positively affects your family’s overall mood!

Olympics Time!

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Are your kids loving the Olympics as much as mine? We’ve been watching new sports each day, which has been a great opportunity to talk about trying new things, practicing, and finding activities you love. The Olympics are also a great time to learn about other countries!

Below are a few free activities to get your kids in the Olympic spirit:

  • Olympic Torch: As seen in the photo above, you can easily make your own Olympic torch with a toilet paper or paper towel roll and some wrapping tissue. My kids are loving these, even putting on their own torch relays!
  • Olympic Word Search: This is great for elementary kids.
  • Olympic Design Coloring Book: You can use this printable to design your own mascot, medal, uniform and more!
  • Winter Olympics Matching Game: Here you match the word to the picture, so it’s great for young readers.
  • Mazes: We found a torch maze and a speed skater maze, both of which are perfect for the winter games!

615 rocks!

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With rain settling in for the long weekend, we wanted to share one of our favorite activities that includes both indoor and outdoor fun–rock painting! You have likely heard of “kindness rocks” or “615 rocks!” or some of the other names these little creations go by, but no matter what you call them, the overall gist is that you paint rocks, seal them, then leave them somewhere in your city to bring someone a smile down the road.

If your family has not done this yet, we HIGHLY recommend it for all ages (or we recommend doing it again!). There are so many reasons we love this activity. It incorporates fine motor skills, planning, creativity and art. Depending on where you want to hide your rocks, you can sneak in some hiking and outdoor exploration. And, potentially best of all, at the end of the activity you leave the rocks somewhere else–no additional art projects lying around your house!

This really takes very little preparation, though a short trip to the craft store may be in order depending on your current supplies. Here’s what you do:

  1. Get some rocks. You can find them outside or buy them. We chose to buy them at the craft store so that they would have a smooth surface and be easier for young kids to paint.
  2. Use acrylic paints to decorate your rocks. We got a giant box of mixed colors for less than $10, but we also got some medium point paint pens. The paints with brushes were fun, but the paint pens allowed for a little more precision.
  3. Decide whether you want your rocks to be part of a bigger group. We did ours as part of “615 rocks!”, a Facebook group where people often post pictures after they find a rock. To be part of a group like this, you just request to join and post pictures if you are lucky enough to find one! Also, you write the Facebook symbol and “615 rocks!” on the back of your rocks in the hopes that someone will one day post yours. About a week after hiding, one of ours was posted on the group page, which was incredibly fun to see!
  4. Seal your rocks. We used Aleene’s Acrylic Sealer Gloss Finish, and it dried very quickly and seemed to protect our creations.
  5. Go explore and hide your rocks! Don’t make them too hard to find (the whole point is to bring a smile to someone’s face when they find it), but do use this as an excuse to explore a new area or walk around one of your favorite parks!