Monday, November 22, 2010

The Newest Holiday Tradition

Everyone has their unique family traditions during the holiday season . From the use of a special pie recipe to using the family china , the holidays are a wonderful time for families to bond . Each family makes the time their own through special activities and events . I have found that the holidays are a wonderful time for the family to “ get active “ together and avoid those extra holiday pounds. With a diversity of ages and activity levels in my household, I needed to come across some activities that everyone could participate in . Here are two of the most popular activities that we enjoy as a family .
The easiest group activity is  the post-feast stroll. Younger children can be wheeled in a wagon if they become tired along the way. Older children may want to ride their bikes or scooters. Bringing along the family pet can help make sure that even Fido is part of the activity. Post –Thanksgiving ,this is a wonderful opportunity  to see how people’s homes have been decorated , or a chance to perhaps bump into neighbors who may have been out of touch or away at college.
With a little planning , these walks can become a scavenger hunt , with younger children looking for items based on color and older children solving riddles or clues  to complete their checklist . Pairing older and younger children together can help to foster a sense of responsibility between family members. One year, I took the initiative to research our neighborhood and turned the family walk into a tour. Even Nana partook of the scavenger hunt , trying to guess which local buildings were once the site of a grist mill or Colonial burial ground.
Depending on location and weather, a post-feast walk may not be feasible. A great group activity could be a wonderful game of freeze dance . Either using CDs you already own or the music channels available for free on many cable networks, you can get the young and old up and “ grooving “ . The key here is to assort the music selection and make sure that everyone has the opportunity to “cut loose”. For those with physical disabilities , you can encourage them to move around by using a tambourine , or letting them use their feet to tap  out a rhythm on a squeaky pet toy . I have found that plugging the video camera up to the TV during the activity not only provides giggles as the family sees themselves on TV , but also can provide a video record of the fun that was had during the holiday.
Some other great family activities that incite movement and laughter are hula hoop contests and (of course) ,  hide and seek ! With a reminder that the emphasis is not on winning , even the most reluctant family member is likely to join in . In addition to the family time together, I have seen these new and active holiday traditions to be a wonderful way to give less healthy  family members a way to see exercise as more fun than dreadful .
Do you have any fun family activities that gets the family moving ? I would love for you to share !


Behty said...

Hi Mary,

I love this - especially counting time on the squeaky toy. Getting everyone involved on the level they can participate is really wonderful. You have put a lot of thought into this, and it shows! I'm going to try this, this year at my Thanksgiving gathering, and will report back.

Behty Harrison
Chair, Departments of Health and Wellness & Nutrition

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness said...

Hi Behty ,

Thank you !I would love to hear how it works. The squeaky toy invention arose as a method for a handicapped family member but is also viable for small children ( granted it is new/clean) .
I hope these activities add to your joy this holiday !


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