HeARTful Days: Family is #1!

Guest Blogger  //  Apr 13, 2020

HeARTful Days: Family is #1!

Guest post by Sandra Magsamen, author of I Love You, Honey Bunny.

I’ve been spending a LOT of time with my family these past few weeks! We’re your typical family and not immune to the average quick spat or grumpy huff and puff, particularly when it comes to who ate the last of the (now precious and rationed) bag of chocolate chip cookies.

As staying home and sheltering in place together looks like it is a practice that is here to stay (at least for a few weeks longer), I’ve started to think of ways my family can make the most of this time by getting to know one another even better, and maybe learning something about each other we never knew before!

1. Getting to know you (even better!)

Prompt your family to create a deeper conversation by asking, answering and discussing questions about who they are and what they love. Using the printout available here, cut each question square to create a deck of question cards that your family can use over and over again. Ask each family member a different question around the dinner table. Each night, shuffle the deck and ask a new question!

Listen to the responses and ask questions, or have one person in the family be the “story keeper” and write down the responses to questions to keep as a memory.

2. Create a memory jar of this historic time together with your family

Work with your family to make a time capsule and a wonderful piece of art as a reminder of this very unique time we are living through. Using a mason jar, or any empty canister like a cookie tin, shoe box, or coffee can, fill the jar with keepsakes and memories from this time of social distancing. Put all of these treasures into the time capsule in the way you think is beautiful. You can even decorate the container!

Create a label that will go on the front of the time capsule with the date that you began social distancing and the date you ended. Looking back at this time capsule, your family will always have a precious keepsake of the time spent caring for each other at home together.

3. You are a work of art!

Use a flashlight or a bright lamp to project the head profile of your little one(s) on a blank wall. Carefully hold (or use easily removable tape) white paper against the wall and trace the silhouette to capture as many details as you and your children can.

Cut the silhouette out and trace it onto colored paper or even old newspaper or wrapping paper you have lying around for a modern twist. Glue the silhouette on a contrasting sheet of paper and then frame it! You could also turn it into a card, or simply hang on the fridge!

4. The bonds that hold us together!

Using colored construction paper, cut long even strips. For each day your family has been social distancing, create a link to the chain by bending the paper and taping, stapling or gluing it closed creating a circle through the previous days link. Each evening when you add another link to the chain, ask your family members “what are we most grateful for today?” or “what are we most thankful for today?” (If your family has already been social distancing for a while, catch up by writing down a bunch of reasons why you are grateful/thankful and get your chain up to date!) Hang the chain somewhere where you all can admire it and be reminded of what is most important in your family! As we continue to social distance, your garland of gratitude will grow!

5. It’s our individuality that makes us strong!

Work with your little one(s) to create a “family book” filled with questions and answers about what each one of your loves at this moment in time. Using scraps of blank paper or construction paper, create a page for each family member with their name and age.

Choose questions that you’d all like to answer like:

  • My favorite color is:
  • My best friend outside of the family is:
  • My favorite book is:
  • When I grow up I want to be (adults can totally answer this one too!):

Have each family member fill in their page and sign their name. Bind your family book by stapling or sewing the pages together, or simply keep each page in a 3 ring binder.

Each year, add a new page for each family member and track how tastes, ideas, thoughts, and views evolve and grow!

6. Just “roll” with it! A new kind of family portrait!

Using empty toilet paper rolls, work with your little ones to create a very unique family portrait! For each member of the family, grab an empty toilet paper roll (I know you’ve got a bunch!)… and don’t forget your pets! Using paints, markers, colored pencils or craft paper, work to create a portrait of each member of the family, outfits included! Find a great spot in your home to display your masterpiece!

Share your artful activity masterpieces using the hashtag #HeARTfulDays and #Scholastic.