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Busy, busy, busy! I know your every week is busy but do not let that stop you from having a busy weekend. Luckily for you, you can include your family and make it more agreeably busy than the rest of your week. Read below and find the ways you can make it your task to mix pleasure with pleasure every weekend.
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Explore the nature
Even though it may sound obvious, it is not actually. The way you spend time in nature greatly depends on your child’s or children’s age. If you have more than one child, you have to learn to balance their interests and needs. A camping trip is a great idea if you have children age 5+. I am not saying that it is not doable with younger children but it may be less enjoyable for all of you. Rent a mountain cottage somewhere locally and you will have the comfort of a home if you need it.
Another important thing is to have all the necessary facilities and not worry whether your child is cold or wet. Toddlers explore the world in their own manner by touching, digging, tasting and feeling things. Find a nice patch of grass and lay a blanket on it. Your toddler will sit on the very edge picking grass, trying to eat it and rub against their face. Lift them up and help them pluck the leaves above your head, rip them apart and smear them between their fingers. Try to draw their focus to birds or any other animals you come across. Help them learn to pay attention. They naturally ignore certain things around them.
An older child can help you set up a tent and collect firewood. Find suitable recipes for making nibbles outdoors and ask them to assist. Help them climb smaller trees and be there to assist. This activity, however, requires a lot of supervision. Go hunting for bugs and teach them about those species you know of. Ask them to take a notebook along and draw a journal. They can draw the things they saw at the end of a day.
Once you are back home, they can draw everything they did throughout the weekend. You can pick flowers, look for four-leaf clovers, and hike to the local mountaintop. Make sure that every activity amounts to something and they get a sense of accomplishment from it.
Take them to the zoo
Make it your goal to visit all of the zoos in your area or wherever you go. They will understand it is a tradition. I would reserve this activity for children 18 months and over. Give them some time to take a proper interest in animals and wildlife. In the meantime, teach them about animals and the sounds they make by reading books and playing with animal figurines. Once they reach the right age, they will be able to recognize the animals and focus on them without getting scared if they become moody. They, being your children. A nice extra feature would be to take them to a zoo which has a petting zoo area so they can interact with animals.
Not every child has had a chance of seeing even domestic animals in real life. Believe it or not, there are one-year-olds who haven’t even seen a cat, let alone a cow. Again, whenever you approach an area with a certain animal, ask your children if they know what it is and help them remember what they know about it. Take time and tell short stories about animals, if you have to, make them up. Once you are back home, evaluate your day and ask your children to update their journal.
Family art weekend
Different art activities are something you can do at any given time. You can make it an hour-long activity or you can make it into a weekend activity. They are perfect because they boost creativity and you can do them regardless of the weather conditions. Make an introduction for the weekend throughout the week and make your children aware that there will be an art colony in your home.
Invite another family with children about the same age. Make sure that your family is truly comfortable and used to having them around. This is important because you want your children to be able to express themselves and not get in funny moods. Come up with a different theme for every room in your home, and if the weather is nice, you can also do something in your backyard. As you will have to eat something, make it creative, for this day, and involve them in pie-baking and cookie-making.
Use the props you have collected on your previous weekend while exploring the nature: leaves, flowers, pinecones, and chestnuts. Finalize your weekend by setting up and exhibition of all the pieces you have painted and created. If there is a holiday season approaching, use that as a theme. Set up an empty tree in your living room.
Use the play area to make random tree ornaments. Bake cookies for Santa in your kitchen and build a gingerbread house in your dining room. Use your study to make and write Christmas cards. If you are lucky to have snow, build a snowman family and snow sculptures of different animals. Once all that is done, go back in to decorate the tree and the rest of the house.
Do a backyard project
Consider the season you are in and come up with the most appropriate backyard project to turn it into a family activity. Your children should learn that beautiful things take effort. In order to have a nice garden, someone has to plant the flowers and tend to them. The children will love any project you present them with as they see everything as an opportunity for an adventure.
Rake the leaves and trim the trees and the shrubs together to prepare your garden for the winter. Build a playground. Prepare for the summer by setting up a pool area. Hoselink advises that there are more and more people coming in to get parts for their DIY garden and pool projects so you can do it as well. It is quite simple when you have a lot of eager hands employed! Don’t forget to include a little storage area to store all of their outdoor toys. They can paint it themselves.
Help them become a part of the community
Take your children on a tour around the town and help them get to know its institutions and what they do. Visit the museums, the library and if you can have access to it, take them to see what the fireman and policeman do when they are at their stations. Depending on availability and opening hours, these activities may take a bit more planning. Visit your local council and see whether there are age-appropriate volunteering opportunities. Make it your family’s quest to clean a local piece of greenery and ask some family friends to join in. Hold a meeting and make a plan to create a feeling of a true project. Depending on your neighborhood, bake a pile of cookies, scones or muffins and hand them out to your neighbors and passers-by.
The focus of every family activity is on the little ones. They are what made you grow from a couple into a real family. Help them grow and become good and happy people by spending quality time with them. And when it comes to you, I am sure that when they are happy, you are happy. They take us all back to that strange place we used to enjoy when we were their age.