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Happy Kids = Happy Holidays!

by Melissa Thompson

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, the holiday season is upon us and we all know what that means…holiday break for kids is coming. Holiday break.  It sounds like fun. It should be fun. You start the break with images of snuggling up to read stories, making hot cocoa and going for adventures outdoors.  But sometimes it can be challenging for parents to figure out how to fill the hours of free time kids have over the holiday break. Before you know it, you are in survival mode – just trying to get through the break with your sanity intact.  That is why it is a prudent idea to start the break with a plan in mind. It certainly can’t hurt to have a few activities planned to fall back on to keep your kids entertained and engaged. Now is the time to plan ahead.  Here are five budget friendly ideas to keep your kids busy during the holiday break.

1. Creative Coloring 

A box of crayons and some paper can keep toddlers occupied, but as children grow, they may need a few more creative ideas for how to use those crayons to stay busy. Here are some creative coloring options:

  • Coloring wrapping paper. Who doesn’t need more wrapping paper for the holidays? This is a twofold activity. You get your wrapping paper at a low price, and you keep your kids busy awhile. Just buy rolls of cheap, plain-colored wrapping paper. (The cheap kind is thin, so darker colors work best.) Roll it out a few feet at a time on a table or a hard floor, and let the kids go to town.
  • Upside down coloring. Turn coloring on its head – literally – with this easy activity. Just tape coloring sheets to the bottom of a table, and turn your child into a tiny Michelangelo. This is a great way to keep them busy and build upper arm strength.
  • Color the windows. Kids love being able to use crayons on surfaces that are usually off-limits. Crayola makes some crayons specifically for coloring on windows. Grab a pack of these, and let kids decorate the windows for the holidays.
  • Try complex coloring sheets. Older kids may think freestyle coloring is boring. Try printing off complicated geometric coloring sheets. Kids can create gorgeous designs, and the challenge keeps them engaged longer. (Note: They may need colored pencils and a good sharpener to be able to tackle these detailed designs.) 30 Interesting Geometric Coloring Pages

2. Indoor Games

Probably the worst part of the holiday season is that it might be too cold to play outside for very long. And you probably don’t have a gym like your kids’ school does, where they can release their pent-up energy. Luckily, with some creativity and basic supplies, you can create your own indoor gross motor games to burn off that extra energy.

  • Obstacle courses. Obstacle courses are surprisingly easy to create, and you can customize them for kids of any age – even elementary-aged kids would love a superhero obstacle course. These can be heavy on the prep work, but one course could keep your kids busy the entire day. Worth it! Indoor Obstacle Course for Kids
  • Hopscotch. What better way to burn off energy than with hopscotch? Crafty parents can put together this adorable indoor hopscotch mat to use again and again! Here are some more ideas for indoor hopscotch: Indoor Hopscotch
  • Scavenger hunts. You may think scavenger hunts are just for outside play, but you’d be surprised. You can put together some fun indoor scavenger hunts. These are a great way to get kids to play independently or in teams while you get other stuff done. (Or just relax with a cup of coffee for 20 minutes!) You can come up with any number of scavenger hunts tailored to your kids’ ages and interests. Holiday Scavenger Hunt Ideas

3. Arts and Crafts 

Before the holiday break starts, plan some crafts for your kids to do during the break. Then, hit your local craft store sans kids, and pick up the supplies you need. Stick supplies for each craft into a gallon-sized bag, and write the name of the craft and any necessary instructions on it with a marker. This may seem over the top, but when your kids are in the throes of boredom two days into break, you’ll be glad you have an activity to pull out and run with. Here are some craft ideas to try:

4. Service Projects 

This is the time of year when many of us are trying to find ways to give back. Why not involve your kids in giving back this year? Some ideas include raking leaves or shoveling snow for older neighbors, baking cookies for local police officers or firefighters, or making up boxes of goodies for ill children through a program like The Jared Box Project. Another option is to make cozy fleece scarves for a local hospital or nursing home. Older kids can even plan, shop for and make a meal for ill or elderly neighbors, or the couple down the street with a new baby and no time to cook.

So, if your kids are bickering or complaining that they are bored, save the day with these fun, inexpensive activities and enjoy the holiday break!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: firstfridaykokomo.com

101 Things To Do In Memphis #91: Merry Marketplace

by Melissa Thompson

Merry Marketplace is Memphis’ premier holiday shopping event. Presented by the Junior League of Memphis, Merry Marketplace invites you to delight in the holiday season with fabulous special events and one-of-a-kind shopping at the Racquet Club of Memphis.


The shopping begins Thursday, November 9th from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. Join us Friday, November 10th from 10:00am – 8:00pm and Saturday, November 11th from 10:00am – 2:00pm.

Check out the Events page for more details on all the FUN they have planned!

5111 Sanderlin Avenue 
Memphis, 38117

(901) 452-2151

By and photo credit: merrymarketplace.com

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Don’t Let the Holidays Stress You Out!

by Melissa Thompson

How to Have a Stress-less Holiday Season

The holiday season is just around the corner and chances are you are already stressing about preparing meals and decorating your home in addition to all the chores you do regularly.  One way to make things less overwhelming is to start early and take your time.  Consider following these tips for a stress-less holiday season:

  1. Don’t Strive for Perfection – Put down the Martha Stewart magazine and focus on what is important.  What is the point of having perfect decorations, meals and gifts if you are not enjoying yourself? Martha has a full staff to help her decorate, bake and shop.  Stop killing yourself trying to create an image of a perfect holiday and let yourself EXPERIENCE the season. Pick and choose what you want to do.  Baking with your kids, enjoying fall foliage on an afternoon walk, decorating the tree…whatever makes you happy.  You don’t enjoy entertaining guests? Then don’t do it. Keep it simple and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Holiday Decorations

  1. Shop Online – Avoid traffic, parking garages and crowded malls by doing your shopping online.  If a trip to the mall during the holiday season is something you look forward to, then by all means, go for it! But if fighting the crowds is not your thing, then put on some comfy pjs, fix yourself a cup of hot cocoa and shop until you drop…only you won’t actually drop because you won’t be so tired!  Shopping online will also save you a lot of time which you can use for RELAXING. Check out this site for unique gifts: World Market
     
  2. Delegate Responsibilities – Who said you must do it all yourself?  If you have older children, have them set the table and/or decorate the tree. If you have guests coming over, make it a pot luck…you provide the main course and have them bring side dishes and desserts. Have your spouse pick up what you need from the grocery store on the way home from work. With everyone chipping in, chores and events won’t feel so overwhelming.
     
  3. Find Ways to Save Time – Here are some ideas for saving time during the holiday season:
  • Don't be afraid to say NO. Stop wasting time on activities you don’t want to do.
  • Purchase pre-printed holiday cards and envelopes.
  • Keep your decorations simple.
  • Make a list of what you need at the store so that you can complete your shopping in one trip.
  • Better yet…order your groceries online and pick them up or have them delivered!
  1. Be Compassionate – The joy that comes from doing something kind for others may be all you need to relieve the stress that accompanies the holiday season. 

Take care of yourself and stress LESS!

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/12-Days-of-Tips-for-Buying-or-Selling-a-Home-During-the-Holiday-Season

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-How-to-Make-Your-Home-Feel-Secure

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-Preventing-Electrical-Safety-Hazards

The Season of Giving

by Melissa Thompson

The holidays are a time for togetherness and fun.  Whether you are decorating the Christmas tree or gathering around the Menorah or simply celebrating the joy of the season, spirits are high and love is in the air.  But unfortunately, the holiday season is not fun for everyone. For some people, it brings with it financial strain, stress and loneliness.  This is the time of year when those less fortunate need comfort and assistance more than ever.  Here are a few ideas of how you can make this a season of giving and compassion for those in need. (click links for more information)

  • The Cookie Letter – Make your 2016 Holidays extra special by honoring your friends and family with the Mid-South Food Bank Cookie Letter and provide the gift of food for people in need. For a $50 per letter minimum donation, you provide approximately 150 meals for those in need this holiday season. See The Cookie Letter for details.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis provides academic, recreational, and mentoring programs for young people in need in Memphis. You can help by sponsoring a child or providing a scholarship for a student or making a one-time donation.
  • Dorothy Day House of Hospitality is the only shelter in Memphis that allows families to stay together.  They provide food, shelter and clothing to homeless families and they work with them to get them back on their feet, even after they have moved into permanent housing.  The house is always in need of supplies, monetary donations and volunteers to provide childcare, tutoring, house repairs and more.  Click here to learn how you can help. How to Help

No matter how you find a way to GIVE during the holidays, bringing joy and comfort to others is the best gift of all! 

Happy Holidays from Melissa Thompson and the We Know Memphis team!

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