BOOKMARKS THAT MAKE MEMORIES
When my children were little, I was always trying to find stolen moments to read. My girls knew reading was (and still is) one of my most favorite and cherished activities. They also knew I was always misplacing bookmarks. One day they presented me with a handful of delightfully colorful bookmarks they had painstakingly created themselves with old paper samples and crayons. Needless to say, I've never lost any of these bookmarks. I consider them treasured heirlooms.
The point of this bit of sentimentality is that bookmarks make thoughtful gifts your children can make for family members, Godparents, teachers or anyone. Put clear packing tape or clear contact paper on both sides of the art, and the bookmarks are instantly laminated. Punch a hole in the lamination and add ribbons or tassels for a fancier look. You can even make them into ornaments or key rings.
PLACE CARDS WITH THAT PERSONAL TOUCH
Whenever my mother had the entire family over for special dinners, she had a great way of keeping the little ones out from underfoot during the preparations. She would hand them cards, crayons and stickers and ask them to decorate one for everyone in the family. These would be used as seating place cards at the dinner table. The kids enjoyed being such an integral part of the event, and everyone loved the personalized creations.
ON THE ROAD
Our friend Gavin had an idea that was truly inspired for the family beach vacation. He brought canvases, paintbrushes and paint for every member of the family. He asked everyone to paint anything they wanted by the end of the vacation. Even the smallest member of the family got to participate. Mom created a special beach scene just right for the baby's tiny footprints. Everyone painted, and everyone had a great time. Best of all, when they got home, Gavin hung all the canvases together on one wall, creating a work of art to inspire and preserve great memories.
OUT ON THE TOWN
We all know it can be difficult to keep children contented in a restaurant or other quiet situation. Here are some hints that can help.
-Before going to the restaurant, spend a half hour with your child making up a story about a little girl or boy going to a very special restaurant where magical things happen. What makes it really special is that the child is the only one who can see these magical things. Make it very visual, and tell your child you'd like him to draw pictures from the story while the adults are talking in the restaurant. As a reward for drawing quietly, promise your child the opportunity to quietly share the picture story with the adults at the table after dinner.
AROUND THE HOUSE
Stuck at home with bored kids? Sit them down at the drawing table for a round of Kitchen Kreatives! Give them plastic measuring cups, spoons and other unbreakable items with interesting shapes. Make sure they have lots of paper, colors and pencils. Show them some paintings by Picasso, Miro and other masters of the abstract, and ask them to create something wild using the kitchen utensil shapes.