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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Say Cheese! 13 Ways to Make Your Kid Smile Today

Photo by the_moment (Flickr)

As parents, there is an essential, joyous goal that unites us: We wish for our kids to be as happy and healthy as they can be! If what we do for our precious children can be affordable and eco-friendly, all the better. Not only does this show them that the best things in life are free, but it fosters a deep adoration for all that nature has to offer. My list of 13 smile-inducing activities respects both the great outdoors AND your savings!

  1. Start a vegetable garden. Tending to a vegetable garden nurtures both the earth and your family. Give your kids a personal plant or patch to grow; this will encourage responsibility and caring instincts. Imagine the contentment and pride they'll feel as their hard work manifests in plant growth. Plus, picture the smile on their face when they bite into the healthy fruits of their labors at dinner!

  2. Go to the local playground and help clean it up. Now that spring is here, local playgrounds are in need of some TLC. Bag up dead leaves, touch up paint, and check for potential hazards. Kids will enjoy this special playtime volunteering and the chance to spill out pent-up energy.

  3. Spring clean with a garage sale and donations. Send your children on a scavenger hunt around the house for objects and clothes to sell or donate. They will love the thrill of finding potential hit items! Not only that, but you'll enjoy a fresh and clutter-free home while teaching your kids the bliss of giving.

  4. Open an all-natural lemonade stand. Urge your budding entrepreneurs to open up a nonprofit lemonade stand! Construct the shop with leftover cardboard boxes and other recycled embellishments. Garnish drinks with mint from the garden. Let your kids choose the charity they wish to donate proceeds to. The gratification of helping others will have them grinning ear to ear!

  5. Bring the pets for a walk. This one is easy and sure to sprout smiles of both the kid and furry kind! If the family pet isn't big enough to overwhelm your little one, pass the reins to them. Exercise, love, and play are best enjoyed together!

  6. Go bird-watching. Borrow a bird-watching book from the library and cast your gaze to the skies and trees. This one takes a bit of patience, but your kids are sure to be delighted when they spot a bird they recognize. Throw in some bird calls and you've got yourself a lively, educational party full of laughter!

  7. Volunteer at an animal shelter. My girls absolutely relish our frequent trips to the animal shelter. They are positively brimming with joy as they walk the giddy dogs and play with them. It makes me smile, too; the way they love all of the world's creatures is a dazzling gem to behold.

  8. Go wild with sidewalk chalk. Okay, so this one is not totally free. But it is possible to make sidewalk chalk at home! The pavement is a sprawling canvas just begging to be filled. Kids can often look very serious when at play like this; don't worry - their souls are smiling!

  9. Go to the library. There's just something about the library that is so grand and so cozy at the same time. I am always so enraptured by that swashbuckling glow in my girls' eyes as they are swept away by another literary adventure. Not only that, but the library teaches children the sheer joy that can be discovered in a quiet, solitary moment. As parents, we can definitely appreciate that!

  10. Tidy up a local trail. Once again, this is a wonderful way to burst into spring and put all of that bottled energy to work! Bring your kids to the local trail with rakes, bags, and gloves. The dead leaves you gather would be perfect for the compost, too.

  11. Explore on bikes. This is something of a family tradition of ours! On Saturdays when the weather finally welcomes us, we hop on our bikes and just choose a direction to go. We've discovered so many places, sights, and adventures this way!

  12. Smile at them. Life can sometimes feel like it's caught in a rapid, monotonous loop. It can be easy to forget to smile when we're hauling through our daily to-do list like pack mules. But we're blessed, aren't we? We have children; we have ourselves. So let's all vow to smile at our little ones more for no reason at all. Let's proudly wear the crazy joy they give us on our sleeves.

  13. Just be. Play is play, so just play! That's a bit of a mouthful, but it's completely true. Play is organic, lively, and free. So let it blossom! Abandon schedules, activity books, and time limits. Let your children explore play on their own terms. They deserve it, and they need to. Would you keep clipping a rose bush before it blooms? There are no smiles like the ones they get to make for themselves.

I hope you enjoyed the list! What do you do to bring smiles to your children's faces? I'd love to hear all about it!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

1 comment:

  1. My kids love when I read to them. They are 17 months and 3 years old, and their little faces light up when we sit down for story time! I love number 8 and 12.