a family playing board games together to keep young minds sharp in the summer time

Keep Young Minds Sharp—Play Games!

Keep Young Minds Sharp—Play Games!

Summertime is funtime for kids and adults of all ages.  It is time off school for most children, but you can help their brains to be sharp when school starts again.  I can think of no better way to boost the brain than playing games.  Games are a way of teaching children social skills, strategy, math, problem-solving, and language.  The kids are having so much fun that they don’t notice they’re learning.  Kids today are probably going to find a way to get screen time through television and/or video games, so what we’re focusing on is games away from the screen.

First important tip is: Parents(or Grandparents),  participate in the games with your children.

Kids love it when Mom, Dad, or Grandparents play with them. This is also opportunity for you to teach taking turns and good sportsmanship with younger children and strategy to older ones.  Of course, the main benefit is the bond you make with your favorite people.

Most all games will have teachable elements for children.  The following are some of the classic games.  All these classics have “Jr.” versions for younger children who aren’t quite ready for the regular ones.

  •  Monopoly teaches focusing on cash flow, and counting cash
  • Yahtzee teaches decision making and math
  • Clue teaches logical thinking and problem solving by process of elimination
  • Scattegories teaches word retrieval and related ideas in specific categories
  • Scrabble improves spelling, vocabulary and conversation

Other games that are great teachers are Simon and Bop-It.  These two are great for the car and both come in travel size and regular size—both portable.

Stay smart.  Make memories.  Have fun.  Play games!

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Family running in field

Spring Break Time–Connect with Your Kids

Spring Break Time–Connect with Your Kids

 

Spring Break means great opportunities to connect and build better relationships with your children or grandchildren.  I can’t think of a better environment to truly connect than when school is out and you are spending light-hearted, fun time with the kiddos. View the article by Clem Boyd, published by Focus on the Family, to get a great resource for the how-to’s of building relationship with your children. He emphasizes: get into their space, keep it real, enjoy family time, do projects together, and be silly. He includes age appropriate ideas.

When choosing activities for Spring Break, movies are fun, but not interactive with your children. Make sure to include outings where you can engage in conversation with your kids. Also, don’t shy away from including their friends, as this can give you even better insight to their world and perceptions. Indoor games along with household projects and family mealtime can also be great opportunities. Don’t let these precious years go by without building these relationships and inputting into your kids’ lives. They want to be heard and understood by you. Your effort in attempting to close the communication gap will be time well spent!

 


 

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Grandparents smiling at grandchild

Grandparents–Priceless!

Grandparents–Priceless!

”Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent.” –Donald A Norberg

I have had the incredible blessing of being a well-loved grandchild, and I have had the pure joy of being a grandmother.  Both bring a smile to my face from ear to ear and memories that no one can take away.  My sisters and I relive times spent on the farm with our grandparents through our conversation almost every time we get together. My grandparents taught us new things, played with us, valued our new songs and skills, and let us do things we weren’t allowed to do at home. What memories do you have?  What lessons and new adventures did you experience with your grandparents? What value to your life do you attribute to that relationship?  Now that I’ve had a few years experiencing being a grandma, I’m trying to carry on the legacy that I so richly received by making the moments count with my grandchildren.  I strive to create those memories they will talk about for years to come.  You can too—make those precious moments count!

Today, we celebrate Grandparents!  If you’re fortunate to have one or more living grandparents, let them know of your love for them in a special way—phone call, note or card, visit, etc. Think of a list of questions to ask to know more about their childhood such as –Who were your friends?; What were the trends in clothes?; Can you tell me about your siblings?  A grandparent loves sharing this information with you and they are thrilled you are interested.  You will, no doubt, hear some funny facts that will teach you another side of that grandparent that you never knew.  If you have faced the loss of your grandparents, take the time today to go down memory lane and share a great memory with a friend.

“Grandparents are warm hugs and sweet memories.  They remember all of your accomplishments and forget all your mistakes.” –Unknown–

We can’t underestimate the value our grandparents bring to our lives.  Celebrate them!


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Child Laughing

Go Ahead, Make Me Laugh!

Go Ahead, Make Me Laugh!

 

Laughter releases outwardly the expression of your soul, lifts your spirit, and gives life and healing energy to your body. The Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”

What makes you laugh? Is it the giggle of a small child? The punch line of a good joke? A dry sense of humor? Maybe even laughing at yourself or everyday life mishaps?

Did you ever stop to consider what happens when you laugh? Stress hormones decrease; immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies increase improving resistance to disease. It truly is good medicine.

Laughter is like an electric current that runs through our nervous system. It creates great physical responses. Both hemispheres of the brain are activated–the left side decodes the words and the more creative right hemisphere understands the humor. Our emotional system then releases endorphins (natural feel-good chemicals) that improve our mood and promote happiness. Our abs and facial muscles can even benefit from a good laugh impacting our health.

Laughter is the social mechanism by which we make friends and connect with others. The next time, you run into an old friend who says “we need to get together”, do it! Send them a couple choices of dates and places then meet—make it happen! You will no doubt laugh together and leave having experienced all these benefits to your body, soul and spirit.

 

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