This time of year is a time of sensory overload. The senses of touch, taste, sight, sound and smell are all embraced under the umbrella of having a good time. Make this a great opportunity to play, have fun, and learn together about family connections.
Parents are invited to use this time to interact with their children and make the most of developing relationships and traditions that will become part of the family forever. Festivals like Christmas are steeped in all kinds of traditions and family values.
The Grinch, Dr Seus’ character who tried to steal Christmas, makes a valid point:
“Maybe Christmas, he thought,
Doesn’t come from a store
Maybe Christmas ….. perhaps…..
Means a little bit more”
Celebrating this time of year doesn’t have to come from a store! You don’t need to buy that opportunity to connect with your family. Instead it is a wonderful chance to be with your children and make this a time to give of yourself: creating your own decorations, gifts and family traditions. Think of ways, through your senses, to have a wonderful time enjoying this sensational season.
How to start the celebrations using your five Senses this season.
The five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching, are all embraced by the Christmas season and the activities that parents can include in their holiday plans.
We see – colours, lights, trees, decorations, happy faces, cheerful smiles.
Use the sense of sight…….with these 2 little ideas…..
- Make a family outing of visiting the local Christmas lights, look up house light displays in your area, and go window shopping.
- Decorate the Christmas tree. Have a fun family evening playing Christmas music. Dress up with funny hats or crowns. Take photos that will bring back memories every year.
Use the sense of hearing to bring families together…. With just 2 little ideas….
- Take part in a ‘carols by candlelight’ evening. Go out together and sing favourite carols followed by a family meal – a picnic or BBQ.
- Make your own crackers for the Christmas table. Put personal messages inside and add jokes and crowns as well as a few sweets or a little gift just for the family feast.
We smell – gingerbread biscuits, pinecones and pine trees, spices and perfume, the beach, suncream, and rain.
Use the sense of smell to bring great family time together….try these 2 little ideas….
- Biscuit decorating is a must at this time of the year. Make biscuitdough and use cookie cutters to make stars, bells and other Christmas symbols. Have fun decorating together icing the biscuits for gifts or to hang on the tree.
- Go for a family walk and collect pinecones or native flora to decorate your christmas tree. Revel in the wonderful smells nature has to offer (be aware of allergies though).
We taste – cake, biscuits, candy canes, gingerbread, a celebration meal with all the Christmas trimmings, chocolate and nuts, sticky pudding and icecream.
Use the sense of taste to bake together…..try these 2 little ideas …..
- Have a tea and taste party together before Christmas! While you taste your baked treats package them for friends and share your baking talents. Bring out the dolls tea set for toddlers and enjoy a fantasy tea with little ones.
- Cook a favourite meal for the family on Christmas day. Let the children help with table laying, decorating and making place names.
Use the sense of touch …try 3 little ways to feel good connections with children this year.
- Sort out all your toys together and donate them to a charity. Look through your books and choose the stories you have out grown and add those in too. Reflect on the fun you had with special toys and books before you donate them. This is an opportunity to appreciate good times together and be thankful.
- Make your own wrapping paper instead of buying from the shop. You can design special tags and messages for the gifts. It could be messy with paint and stencils but get involved and make some for yourself too.
- Take the time to cuddle up with your children. This is a very busy time of year, so make a conscious effort to initiate and receive physical affection from your loved ones to help everyone feels connected and belonging, instead of rushed and lonely.
This is the season to be jolly and when you take time to spend with your children the little rewards will all add up to celebrating and making a real connection of joy and peace.
‘You give but little when you give of possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.’Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet,
Let this be a guide to the way to use sensory stimulation to bring you and your children together as you play and learn and enjoy participating in the holiday season. There are so many ways to connect and create and really get onto the children’s level as you give the best gift of all – Your time.
Read about more practical ideas to connect and create then continue to have play dates with your children using the new toys and games for the rest of the holiday season and time to come.