Take a break from the holiday whirlwind to unwind with your kids! We've got great ideas for family fun this month, including some goo-goo-worthy games to play with babies...and ideas that could be just the ticket for sucking in sullen teens!
We've also asked our gift gurus to weigh in on their fave gifts for kids at every age & stage...check out our sparkly holiday gift guide.
Foraging for your own Christmas tree?
Want to try your hand at snowshoeing?
Ages & Stages: Fun and games!
Getting School Ready: Taming test anxiety
Out & About:
Feature: Holiday gift guide
Media: ParentMap's featured media
From our readers: Letters to the Editor
About this issue
Be nice, or else!
“Life is not just fun and games” was a frighteningly frequent message our parents gave us growing up in the ’60s. And let’s just say that even if it were all fun and games, it would still have been a rough go in my house. My mom (“Bubbie” as we all called her) was all about winning.
Forget the comforting adage, “It’s not whether you win or lose. It’s how you play the game.” When Bubbie was in the game, philosophy and “touchy feely” went out the window. Whether it was one-on-one basketball with my cousin Lenny (age 7 at the time of his crushing defeat to Bubbie), a family Monopoly match or the (supposedly) kid-friendly gambling dreidel game at Hanukkah, Bubbie never felt the need to play anything but her very best.
The four letters on the dreidel stand for “Nes Gadol Haya Sham” — “a great miracle happened there” — and that’s what we all yelled the day that Bubbie (age 70-plus) finally let Maya (age 4 at the time) win a dreidel game (“Should you let your child win?”).
I’m not criticizing my beloved mom, I assure you — I’m rejoicing in her pure spirit, enthusiasm and tenacity to win. I love it that she did not appear the least bit worried about how feelings of defeat would affect the children.
Great spirit abounds throughout this final issue for 2009. “Making the most of a snow day” had me LOL! I must meet fellow Chicagoan Paul Andersson, who took to his rooftop with skis as a kid (don’t try this at home!) when the snow seemed sufficient to offer a soft landing. The holiday gift guide takes you from the creative to great reads like Pigs Make Me Sneeze! or NERDS: National, Espionage, Rescue and Defense Society. (And don’t miss the tutu giveaway — so cute!)
May I boldly suggest that before going out holiday shopping, sit down with your family, hot cocoa in hand, and select one of ParentMap’s 2009 Giving Together beneficiaries* to give a small bit of your time or resources? Their extraordinary and diverse work touches so many local families. Helping however we can will add meaning to our holiday season.
— Alayne Sulkin, Publisher/Editor
*Pediatric Interim Care Center, Children’s Home Society, Fostering Together, Outdoors for All Foundation, Rabuor Village Project, and College Success Foundation