Climbing Family Trees: January 2006

Climbing Family Trees

More great stories, poems, and helpful hints about genealogy and searching for your family's roots from the twin authors of "Climbing Family Trees: Whispers In The Leaves"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Family Fun Jar

Here's a new twist on that “Journal Jar” idea. Put ideas for creative, fun activities onto colored slips of paper and then into a decorated mason jar or even one of those round, cardboard oatmeal boxes. The family can draw out ideas for fun activities every week on a designated day, at family reunions, or whenever the family wants to create fun memory. Here are just a few ideas of activities to get you started:

Buy several candy bars, enough for the family plus some extra. Put them in a pile in the middle of the circle of chairs so that everyone can see them. Put a pair of dice in a pie plate. Then you just start sending it around the circle. Everyone shakes the dice into the pie plate when it comes to them. You have to roll a double, 7, or 11 in order to choose a candy bar from the pile. When you roll a double, 7, or 11 you can choose a bar from the pile, or you can take your candy from whoever has the one you want. When you take a bar, you should put it under your chair. You can’t put it behind your back so that it is totally out of sight, but you can hide it a bit so that some people might forget about the one that you have. It gets fun when you start taking the candy from other people. When all the candy is gone from the pile, or at the end of a designated playing time, whatever candy you do or do not have, is what you get.

Pass around a roll of toilet paper. Everyone tears off as much as they 'need'. Then for every square they have to tell something about their day.

Draw It Out - Everyone picks a name of a family member and tells no one. Then they have to draw something about the person that will help others guess who it is.

The Blanket Game - divide group into 2 teams. Have each team gather on their own blanket. They must, as a team, turn the blanket over without touching the floor, if they touch the floor they must straighten out the blanket and start over. The first team to accomplish this wins. Size of blanket depends on size of group. If it's a smaller family use crib blankets.....

Play crab soccer using 36-inch balloons. You can get them at any party store. You'd have to play inside though. One balloon should last for the activity, however have a spare in case it pops. Everybody removes their shoes and get in a crab position (bellies up). They can't use their hands to hit the balloon - only their feet. If you want to make it real fun, throw 2 balloons in at the same time.

Make a family collage. Put things on it that are things to do with your family. When you are finished have judging (the kids don't know they are being judged) The categories will be fun such as using up the most space on the page, the most creative, etc.

Have a relay with three different teams. Each person has to run down to the end and put on an item representing a member of the family, then quickly take them off and run back. Each person will do this until one team wins.

Hold a no-charge carwash for neighbors and friends.

Play FROLF (Frisbee golf)

Set up flags in a park and have the family see how many throws it takes to hit the flag on each hole with the Frisbee. It's scored just like golf.

Go fishing!

Write letters to missionaries or military servicemen and women who are far from home.

Start a love bucket--decorate a bucket and fill it with treats with a note attached calling it a love bucket, asking the receivers to pass it along and then deliver it to someone in the ward.

Gather together all of the ironing and take turns helping mom or dad iron it.

Heart attack someone's house--tape paper hearts on shishkabob bamboo sticks and put them in his yard.

Have dad (or somebody else) teach the family how to change a tire.

Make "Cookie Mix in a Jar" and take to a family you know. Use wide mouth fruit jar. Add in layers: 2 1/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 cup chocolate chips. Cut a nine inch round fabric circle. Cover lid with fabric. Tie with a ribbon and attach recipe/card folded in 4th with hole punched in upper center corner.
Recipe card: Cookie Mix in a Jar. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove bag of chocolate chips. Empty contents of jar into bowl. Add 2 eggs, 1 cup softened margarine and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Yield: Approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Take your favorite family meal, with the recipe, to someone who needs a little TLC.

Have a progressive room cleaning party (each other's rooms)

Hold a 'Family History Night' and ask each person to come prepared to act out an ancestor's story or experience through charades, or through drawings.

Go to the library and check out records that have songs that were popular the year mom and dad or grandparents graduated from high school. Ask mom and dad or grandparents to show everyone the dances that went with the songs.

Split up into groups, each group with their own bag of props...i.e. poster board, bandanas, newspaper, pillows, a silk flower, clothes pins, straws, crayons, tape, scissors..felt, etc. Each group chooses a nursery rhyme or a fairy tale and makes up a skit based on that...but with a gospel twist, i.e. the three blind mice...who are spiritually blind and deaf in 1 ear...the farmers wife as the temptress..who lures the mice over to her...then chops their tails off, then have the spiritual part..where the mice and the farmers wife are all converted.

Play a board game

Start by playing, singing, saying a variety of different TV jingles/slogans and have the kids right down what the product is. Use everything from diapers to beer. Then start a scripture and have the kids try to finish it (write it down). Since, most of them will know all the jingles and very few scriptures you can go right into a discussion of the powerful influence of music and the media and that we need to be selective about what we choose to let into our minds.

Plan, plant and maintain a family garden

Interview family members, including grandparents, about their personal history on video tape and make several copies for family members.

Put together a family recipe book, including the favorite of each family member.

Make a family quilt and donate to a women's shelter, local hospital, etc.

Make seasonal pillowcases, i.e.. Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day, and give them to the pediatric unit at a hospital.

Organize a round robin letter to include extended family's missionaries, college students, married siblings. Each family write part of the letter and mails it onto the next family member to add to the letter.

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