January has been a whirlwind, and with it have come some helpful reminders. The Tinkergarten Winter Season started (WAAAAWHOOOO!), and I found an awesome place to do pop up events, Guncotton Coffee and Gallery, and the families who have come have inspired me to try Tinkergarten in a new park in the spring. Will was away at a training for half the month, which was a good chance to practice some more intentional self-care and to reflect on changes we might want to make at home. I also got to lead yoga classes for our larger community and LOVED it. Tinkergarten Babies leader training starts soon AND, most importantly, I became an aunt! Both of these are challenging me to think back to what I did with HG when she was much younger - so expect to see some baby-friendly activities on Instagram throughout the month! Ultimately, this month was a good reminder of why I originally started making Month in Moments Calendars. The idea was to do activities as a whole family (or class), inspired by a book my mom used called Five Minute Miracles by Joni Hilton. I'm a certifiable lazy-pants grump some (ahem, most/all) mornings and some days, mornings are our only guaranteed family time. So, this month, I switched gears a bit with the calendar. I had shifted to longer, engaging tasks that could take an hour or more. Now, you'll see shorter activities that aim to bring a bit of fun, joy, silliness, mindfulness, and purpose to mornings. I'm going to commit to getting myself out of bed in time to do these with our family each morning, and I'm so excited!
You'll also notice that some days require a bit of advance prep. I'm excited about these days because it will give Will and I something to do that we don't have to come up with in the moment but that does not involve defaulting to turning on the TV right away. Look at picking pancake recipe, hole punching hearts, and choosing yoga moves as a fun and silly thing to do by yourself, with a partner, or with your older kids! Here's what you can expect to see this month:
Good Morning! Week (Feb 1-9): Chat about what your family loves and doesn't love about mornings. Maybe you can help each other troubleshoot frustrations. Then, we'll get playful! Wave to shadows, make a fort, squish your own orange juice, and more. I didn't know this, but National Weatherperson's Day is Feb 5 and Umbrella Day is later in the month, so we'll create weather wheels with the invitation to notice the weather each day. End the week by preparing pancake batter and then making it. Use this week to play around with how you'll fit these morning activities into your day! If mornings just won't happen, maybe these can be after dinner activities.
Mindful and Moving Week (Feb 10-16): Try yoga, Zumba, and dance parties. Make love notes using process art. Have a hug-a-lympics. Did you know hugs can boost self-esteem and immunity? Be sure to check out the books Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell and Hug Machine by Scott Campbell for this week :). Notice and name feelings using paper plate emojis and toss stresses and worries around and then shift them to something exciting in a snowball fight. Reframing big emotions can help us avoid stress by changing how our brain is perceiving a situation - instead of letting our brains start telling a story, when we shift what we are feeling and noticing, we can slow our brains down enough to stay in control of our reactions. For example, a kiddo might be sad because a friend was mean and starts thinking about all the ways they aren't worthy of being a friend. Instead, they might reframe this to, "I feel sad because ___ was having a bad day and said something mean to me. I'll ask ____ how they're doing today and hope they have a better day!". Yoga is also awesome for a cognitive or emotional reset (especially going upside down, like downward facing dog or a headstand). Add to your toolboxes this week!
Story Time Week (Feb 17-23): Last week, we focused a bit on slowing down the stories we're creating in response to emotions. This week, we'll work on creating our own imaginative stories. I've gotten hooked on dice, for warm ups in my yoga classes, for telling silly stories, for coming up with things to do so I don't immediately get on a screen, etc. I LOVE Show me a Story by Emily Neuburger and she had ideas for making some awesome story cubes. Try making your own story cubes this week and then use them in different ways, to tell, to draw, and to act out stories! You can order cubes via Woodpeckers or check the Bullseye Playground at Target or your local craft shop. You can also make paper cubes.
Invent Your Own Week (Feb 24-28): February 11th is Women and Girls in Science Day and Inventor's Day. We'll celebrate that a bit late, but in fun ways nonetheless! Taking ideas from the maker movement (read some cool benefits of the movement here - especially the point on novel play!), families can create a table top invention box (or table top makerspace) using random loose parts. Challenge each other to notice inventions and to create your own this week! Watch what play, problem solving, and creative thinking unfolds when you pose open-ended scenarios with open-ended tools to your kiddos (and yourself!)!
Download the A Month in Moments - February Edition here. It includes a set of printable invention challenges too!
Mornings can hectic and ungrounding - letting us start the day off-kilter. See what your family can do to start the morning connected with each other and excited for the day! Share what your family does in the morning to start the day off well or your attempts at these activities by using #watchwonderbloom!