Show your children how special they are by planning a sibling-appreciation night. We got this idea from the Christensen family, who surprised their son Guy with an evening that was all about him. Guy's sisters spent an afternoon drawing pictures of their brother and making a list of all the things they like about him. That night, Guy was showered with love, hugs — and even a little candy!
Do you know that sibling relationships have a big impact on self-esteem? The ongoing Penn State Family Relationships Project, funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, shows that siblings who spend more constructive time together experience higher self-esteem and less depression and have better social skills.
Raid the linen closet for stacks of blankets and sheets and get everyone involved in building a big, cozy family fort. Make sure the fort faces the TV, then snuggle up with a movie and a big bowl of popcorn. Let the kids slumber in their cozy lair, or do like the Denbow family and tuck the kids in bed so Mom and Dad can enjoy it!
In the warmer months, after-dinner fun can be found right in your own backyard. Toss around a football like the Solar family or grab a baseball and bat, start a game of kickball or hold a Hula-Hoop contest. The idea is to enjoy a breath of fresh air and some good old-fashioned, unplugged family time. Plus, it's never a bad idea to wear out the kids before bedtime!
When the evenings get too cold to play outside after dinner, you might want to think about planning a family shadow-puppet show. Involve the kids in planning, puppet creation and staging the production. When the cast and crew are ready, you might even want to invite Grandma and Grandpa over for dinner and a show. Get all the details on how to host your own shadow-puppet show at The Homeschool Classroom blog.
Family game night is always a fun way to spend a cold winter's evening indoors. If the kids (or Mom and Dad) tire of board games, mix things up with an indoor scavenger hunt. Lori Falcon of A Cowboy's Wife created an ABC scavenger hunt for her son Truett, giving him a sheet of paper to write down an item in the house starting with each letter of the alphabet. When he collected all 26 items, she gave him a grand-prize treasure box filled with his favorite treats and trinkets.
After the table is cleared, spread out a plastic tablecloth, plop down some play dough and let family craft time begin. Sitting around the table rolling, cutting and sculpting isn't just an enjoyable creative outlet — it's also a time for kids and parents to unwind and continue the dinner conversation.
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