It hasn’t been that long since I couldn’t leave the house alone. Now that my kids are a little older I can run errands and Christmas shop without curious and active helpers. This week we wanted to give that chance to some of the women in our neighborhood who have young children at home and could use a day out.
I feel that this type of education is important. I am hoping to teach my boys to be sensitive to the needs of others and to serve and honor women. I also want them to learn to cherish, respect and take care of children.
So, Tuesday was spent with my kids looking through activity books and writing down ideas for how we could make the time special for the children we would be watching. We assigned out the activities and made preparations. Ollie folded and decorated many paper airplanes, Burton printed pictures and gathered supplies for a Santa craft and Max readied some gingerbread cookie dough. Simon prepared for a snack in the bear cave (under the piano bench) and Jack helped by playing and participating with the kids.
We played Red Light-Green Light, Hide and Seek, and a parents personal favorite, Dead Dog. If you haven’t heard of dead dog, it is the game you introduce when things are getting a little loud and overly rambunctious. The object of the game is for each child to be as still as possible, like a dead dog. If they laugh, even when tickled, they are out. When I was growing up I used to love this game. It wasn’t until I became a parent that I learned why the adults at Grandma’s house loved this game so much. It’s a win-win!
We used our cookie cutters and talked to the children about how mischievous the gingerbread men can be and that we would have to keep an eye on them. We carefully got them onto the cookie sheet and into the oven. While reading the story of the Gingerbread man “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man,” we sat on a blanket and kept our eye on the cookies to make sure they didn’t get away. When the cookies were ready to come out, each of the little ones put on an oven mitt to catch the gingerbread men in case they made a run for it… and they did. I quickly flipped some off the pan and while they were busy looking for them, the older kids hurried to place some by the doors and stairs. Luckily only a few escaped and we got to eat the rest.
Making reindeer sandwiches and zoos out of blocks is just the beginning of learning to grow up kind and respectful. The fact that they found joy and struggle in it can’t hurt either.