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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

December 20, 2019 - 3:44pm --

Happy Holidays!  Parents, all year long we have shared tips to encourage family bonding and December is no different.  During this month of busyness and so many extra tasks, let us focus for a few minutes on ways to end the year by creating special moments of laughter and connection with those we love the most.  Laughing together equals bonding!

We can be proactive and avoid boredom (or at least try to!) during winter break from school with a little effort.  As in previous months, ask the children what they would like to do during break, but here are some low-cost ideas to get you started.

 Sock’Em “Snowballs”- No snow outside? no problem!  Find all of the lonely white socks in the house and roll them up into “snowballs”.  Pair up and toss them to each other like a balloon toss.  With each throw, spell out the letters of each family member’s name or short sayings such as “I- l-o-v-e- y-o-u”.  You can also toss the snowballs into a laundry basket or shoebox for a safe target. 

 Mitten Madness- If you’re feeling adventurous, put on gloves or mittens and have contests to tie your shoes, zip your coat, eat some crackers, or pick up crayons to write your name or draw a smiley face.  You can time each other or count who completed the most tasks.  Be sure to use lots of praise as you root for your favorite player!

Ice Cube Craziness- Using tongs or tweezers, put small items such as cotton balls or pom-pom balls into each ice cube slot.  Goldfish crackers, raisins and nuts are other fun treats you can eat together when you are finished.  Give eye contact and smile; and add hugs, hi-5’s or fist bumps to reconnect with your opponent after your contest!

The most important thing to remember, especially when your children are young, is that these special moments are the memories you can carry with you forever!  Memory makers build family resilience.

For more ideas visit

Nina Solomon, Development of Living Skills Instructor, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County