By Cindy Nurik, Ed.D.
This column, produced in partnership with Mommy & Me, provides parents and young children with fun and simple ways to make the most of their time together. Use the activities, tips and resources featured here to help you connect with your young ones.
A Gift from the Heart, Not the Mall
’Tis the season to be jolly! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, your child will undoubtedly be caught up in the excitement of the season – even if he or she is still too young to understand the meaning behind each holiday.
Young children love rituals, though, and it's never too early to start your own traditions. Whether you drive around the neighborhood to look at all the sparkling lights, light Hanukkah or Kwanzaa candles, or sing holiday songs, rituals and tradition provide a sense of security in a world that often moves too fast. Focusing on family – as opposed to shopping – will provide your child with emotional stability and memories that will last far longer than material goodies.
Consider making handmade presents another family tradition. Spending the time to create a special gift for a loved one is a great way to keep the holidays focused on heartfelt giving rather than consumerism. One day, when your children are grown, they’ll be able to pass down the secrets of "handmade love" – and you’ll be the adoring recipient of your grandchildren’s treasures!
Holiday Photo & Traditions Album
|Your child will learn:
• fine motor skill
• the concept of giving
• how to follow directions
• about creative expression
• holiday traditions
• Pictures of family members or pets
• Favorite artwork your child has created
• Favorite quotations from your child
• Favorite holiday recipes and family traditions
• Construction paper in holiday colors
• Non-toxic glue
Creating Your Album
1. Stack several sheets of construction paper and fold them in half.
2. Glue the following on the pages in any order you choose:
• photos or drawings of family members
• favorite holiday recipes
• your child’s quotes about his or her favorite part of the holidays
3. Decorate the borders with holiday stickers, crayons and markers or paint.
4. Make color photocopies of your holiday album for everyone on your gift list.
5. Laminate the covers.
6. Open the book and punch two holes (one a third of the way down from the top; one a third of the way up from the bottom) along the spine. Thread yarn through holes, tie on the outside, and crease again.
More Mommy & Me Fun
Stained Glass Cookies –Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe, then cut out the center of your cookies with a holiday cutter. Fill in the center with crushed hard candy. Bake as called for in the recipe. The crushed candy will melt and fill in the cut-out shape.
Mommy & Me author Cindy Nurik, Ed.D., is a family therapist, a specialist in early childhood education, a playgroup pioneer, a mom and the author of Fun with Mommy & Me (Dutton, 2001).