Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Practical Tips for Surviving the Afternoon Crunch!

While you prepare dinner, keep the kids close by with these fun family activities for all ages, and be prepared to enjoy some quality conversations. You can rotate these ideas for a regular weekly or bi-weekly schedule.

Make A Mural. Take a piece of butcher block paper and spread it across the kitchen table or on the kitchen floor. Write a Bible verse across the top of the mural that will dictate the theme: “Jesus went about doing good,” “Give thanks,” or “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If you choose to make this a weekly activity, mix it up a little by varying your art media. Choose from stickers, stamps, markers, crayons, colored pencils, and glitter pens. Encourage little ones to take turns and share the art supplies. Ask your older ones to enjoy this activity with their younger sibs. Hang the finished mural for everyone to enjoy, or leave it on the table to serve as the evening's tablecloth.

Letters and cards. Your children can invest some time in writing letters to long-distance loved ones and making cards for homebound church members who could use a lift. Younger children can draw pictures and older kids can work on their communication skills. This is a great way to cultivate the lost art of the handwritten note.

Tents. Set aside an afternoon for little ones to play with makeshift tents. It seems like a big mess, but it just takes a few minutes to clean up. Give your crew the blankets and sheets they need to drape over some chairs, and let them play with books, flashlights, and card games inside. Once you’ve got dinner in the oven, join them for some play time.

Bowling. Set up an indoor bowling alley. Use empty soda cans, chip cans, paper or plastic cups, and a nerf ball for safe indoor play.

Play with your food. With world hunger at an all-time high, I don’t recommend any kind of food crafts unless you are actually going to eat the food once you’ve finished playing with it. That said, threading circle-shaped cereal on a piece of yarn for a necklace is a quiet tabletop activity. Building houses out of graham crackers and peanut butter is edible fun. Using prepared sugar cookie dough and a set of cookie cutters puts the kids to work making dessert.

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