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This is the perfect season to get jolly and make life magical for kids and adults alike. We are now at the tail-end of the longest year of our lives and parents throughout the world are especially tired. The collective need and longing for magic and holiday cheer can be felt everywhere you turn.

As the mother of four boys, I can tell you that our kids are no different. Their wish lists were carefully curated long before Thanksgiving. The countdown to Christmas is ON several weeks earlier than normal.

This year, more than ever before, I feel a great responsibility to make the next month not only memorable, but also magical beyond compare. Our family has decided to take our usual Christmas traditions and turn them into cheer-spreading opportunities.

We are determined to sprinkle happiness and joy as far and wide into our community as possible. 2020 was a trying year for all of us. Thankfully, these ideas are easily implemented and best of all, they don’t cost a lot.

How Your Kids Can Spread Joy This Holiday Season:

1. Write cards to the elderly.

During the past year, kids everywhere are missing the special connection they have with their grandparents and the elderly are longing for the love and attention they usually get from their grandkids. Due to worldwide COVID restrictions, nursing home residents have been left without face-to-face visitors for months. This holiday season, “adopting a grandparent” in a local nursing home may just be the type of cheer and happiness the elderly in your community need.

I reached out to our local nursing home and spoke with their lead nurse. I explained that I would like to send a card or a letter to their most lonely residents. Well, due to their visitation restrictions, ALL their residents are lonely. Before I knew it, I had committed to giving the nursing home 40 letters, one for each of their residents. Thankfully, I have a wonderful network of friends. Through social media, my campaign to “adopt a grandparent” has spread far and wide. This year, I may just be able to bring each resident TWO cards or letters. Many of the cards include a return envelope, so the elderly recipient can write back and hopefully start a pen pal relationship.

2. Make ornaments for relatives.

It is a Danish Christmas tradition from my childhood to have the kids add ornaments to the family’s Christmas tree decorations every year. These ornaments are handmade, often times of paper, felt or supplies found in nature. This year, as we get creative with our ornaments, we will make extras to give to relatives near and far.

3. Bake cookies for friends and neighbors.

Santa isn’t the only one who loves freshly baked cookies and milk. Kids and adults alike are tempted by homemade cookies and desserts. Nothing says “we are thinking of you” like dropping off a box of cookies on a neighbor’s doorstep.

We like to add a handwritten recipe card and a story about where the recipe came from. Knowing that someone’s grandmother passed down a recipe gives it a special personal touch.

4. Record each other reading a favorite book for a friend or classmate.

This holiday season, our two youngest kids have had a great time with their VTech® KidiZoom® Creator Cam. They take turns recording each other reading their favorite books and then we send the videos to their friends via email.

Due to continued COVID-restrictions, our kids have not set foot inside a school since March. Our kids miss their friends and the connections they made last year with their amazing school-family. Creating these videos with the VTech® KidiZoom® Creator Cam for their friends has allowed our kids to feel more connected, while sharing their favorite books, silly stories, and funny riddles and jokes.

5. Put together a care package.

The holidays this year will most likely be spent in much smaller groups than in years past. Putting together a personalized care package for your loved ones not only says “we are thinking of you”, but also gives them a chance to enjoy delicious food, drinks and baked goods as if you were there with them.

Our Thanksgiving this year looked quite a bit different from previous years. However, before the big day we delivered a personal care package for the grandparents and our other relatives. Our kids loved helping me put the care package together, picking things they thought the recipients would truly enjoy.

Care package ideas: local coffee, home baked cookies, snacks for the kids, kid-friendly crafts, a plant or flowers and a card signed by everyone in the family.

6. Decorate with Christmas lights for the neighborhood and community.

One of my favorite memories from when our kids were younger, was going for walks through our community during the month of December and admiring our neighbors’ Christmas light displays.

This year, our new neighbors challenged us to a friendly “Christmas light feud” and it is the best idea of 2020. My husband and our oldest teen were outside most of the day, decorating our entire front yard with Christmas lights in all colors, shapes and sizes. As I took our youngest kid out front to admire our Christmas lights, I found two families gathered outside our house, admiring the lights with their young kids. Remember, decorating for the holidays brings as much joy to your community as it does to your family.

Let your kids capture pictures and videos of the Christmas light decorations with their VTech® KidiZoom® Creator Cam. The images will be a great way to recall the happy memories you shared this holiday season.

7. Allow siblings to buy presents for each other with a small set budget.

As finances may be tighter for a lot of families this year, we are focusing more on quality over quantity when it comes to gift giving. We will sit down with our kids and have each of them pick gifts for their siblings, while sticking to a budget. I can’t wait to see the holiday magic flowing as each of them think about their brothers and their specific likes and interests.

Looking back on my favorite childhood Christmas memories, it’s the thoughtful Christmas presents that stick out to me. One year, my sister made a box out of craft paper and filled it with the small plastic figurines I loved to play with, scented pencils and coordinating erasers. I remember opening the box and being unable to focus on anything else for the rest of that holiday. Her gift came straight from her heart - and went straight to mine. It is my hope that our kids will give each other gifts as perfect and meaningful as my sister’s present was to me.

The holiday season is about giving. Giving your time and giving love. What a wonderful gift we give our children, by teaching them the joy of spreading holiday magic and cheer.

While this year was challenging in a lot of ways, it has also given us the unique opportunity to teach our kids gratitude for the things we have, appreciation for the things money can’t buy and a deeper love for holiday magic.

Tove Maren Stakkestad is a Danish/ American writer and author with a unique, sarcastic and relatable voice in the parenting community.

After spending over 20 years in the financial services industry, Tove followed her true calling in 2015 and started writing full time, primarily on her blogs Mama in the Now and Hygge in the Now.

As a mother of four boys, she reports live from the trenches of motherhood and successfully helps parents everywhere to parent with heart, humor and lots of Danish hygge.

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By Alison McKown of Just Add Confetti

Go! Go! It’s a party in Bumperton Hills! If your little ones love watching the popular children’s show Go! Go! Cory Carson on Netflix, then this is the party theme for you. Featuring Cory Carson and his pals, this celebration is full of easy and creative car-themed food and décor ideas that you will be able to recreate in a breeze.

My sons love watching the show and following their favorite little orange

car, Cory Carson. Cory navigates the ups and downs of childhood on the winding roads of Bumperton Hills as he goes to school, makes new friends and explores with his family.

The Backdrop

Creating a party backdrop, to be displayed behind the main party table, creates an eye-catching and exciting focal point for the entire party. All of your little party guests will be thrilled to see Cory and his pals larger than life on the backdrop.

In watching episodes of the show with my sons, I’m always inspired by the visuals and whimsical styling of the series. I love the bright colors and tactile textures of the illustrations and artwork. When it came time to create the backdrop for this party, I knew I wanted to recreate the hills and winding roads of Bumperton Hills! First, I started by taping two pieces of white foam board together and covered them with blue sky bulletin board paper. Next, I added large hills made out of green poster board. Then, I created roads out of construction paper and trees out of felt and pom poms. Last but not least, I added printed VTech® product graphics of the stars of the show—Cory and his pals!

After the backdrop was complete, I centered it behind the table. I next placed a photography backdrop stand around the sign. This created the framework that would be needed for hanging the balloon garland and additional signs. I also designed a large “Go! Go! It’s a party in Bumperton Hills!” sign, as well as several car-themed party décor signs, to be used throughout the party to further enhance the theme. With the photo backdrop stand in place, I was able to easily display the balloon garland and these additional signs to complete the look of the backdrop.

The Food

It’s time to fuel up and talk about all the fun foods we had at our Go! Go! Cory Carson party. Creative themed foods don’t have to be difficult to make and they add so much fun to any party! At our celebration we had Cory Carson cakes with mini cookie tires, fruit kabob traffic lights, spare tire donuts, motor oil chocolate milk, a windshield wiper fluid sport drink, and candy traffic lights.

The Place Settings

Each place setting was colorful and vibrant just like the show. I created a long road table runner out of black and yellow paper. Then I layered the place settings on top of the road and added the adorable toys from VTech’s Go! Go! Cory Carson® collection. Adding these toys to both the place settings, as well as the main food table, allowed the collection to double as party décor and really brought the car theme to life!

I created printable bottle labels and plate graphics to match the theme as well. I love printables because they are such a simple way to easily and inexpensively enhance a party theme. I layered each plate printable, of one of the collection’s characters, under a clear plastic plate to instantly transform the place setting.

At each place setting I also added a sweet party favor. Who doesn’t love some cookies for the road?! To create this party favor, I printed a VTech product graphic of Cory and then slid it into a clear treat bag. Then I added two chocolate cookies to represent the tires. So simple and sweet!

VTech’s Go! Go! Cory Carson Collection

Adding toys from VTech®’s Go! Go! Cory Carson® collection to the main food table, as well as the place settings, made them perfectly in-reach for play! After enjoying the party food and clearing the plates, the table runner road became the perfect setting for imaginative play with Cory and his friends—Freddie the firetruck, Halle the helicopter, Frannie the talent agent, Timmy the bulldozer, Kimmy the demolition crane and Cory’s little sister, Chrissy. My sons loved pushing Cory and his friends around on the paper road as the toys trigger fun sound effects. Also, you can press the light-up windshields to hear Cory and his friends talk about their specific color as well as to play four sing-along songs and six melodies. My sons also had a blast playing with the adorable Freddie’s Firehouse™ and DJ Train Trax & the Roll Train™ playsets. They thought it was so fun to recreate helping Freddie and Chrissy rescue Phil just like in the episode of the show that they watched. They couldn’t get enough of dancing and playing mixmaster with Roll Train host, DJ Train Trax. They got such a kick out of placing Cory and Chrissy on stage and watching them light up and do “The Chrissy”.

I hope you enjoyed our Go! Go! Cory Carson car themed kids’ party. I hope this party has inspired you to create your own Cory Carson celebration with your children, family and friends!

About the Author:

Alison McKown is a content creator, professional graphic designer and the founder of Just Add Confetti– a blog focused on creative and attainable party ideas, unique and easy gift ideas, recipes, and graphic designed printables. Just Add Confetti is based on the belief that every day should be celebrated. Alison believes that everyone (yes, everyone!) can be creative and can craft beautiful celebrations and memories with their children, families and friends. Alison is an advertising agency art director turned party blogger based in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two very active little boys. Follow along with Alison’s latest projects and ideas from Just Add Confetti on Instagram and Pinterest.

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Although the holiday season this year will sure look different, it’s important to keep your spirits up, especially for the kids. This means planning tons of crafts and activities as part of your countdown to Christmas to get the kids excited for the big day!

Hi, my name is Betty and I am the blogger behind Mombrite. With tons of holiday activities already on our list, I can’t wait to tell you more about how the KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2 is going to help keep us on schedule!

1. Teach the kids about time.

My daughter is a preschooler who is new to the concept of time. Sure, she knows when she has to wait “forever” in line, but she doesn’t really understand yet what a second, a minute, or an hour means.

The KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2 comes with a big screen so that kids can see the time clearly. For the analog watch, the big hand is marked by a red circle and the small hand is marked by a blue circle, which makes it easier for kids to distinguish between the minute and hour hands.

After your kid gets more familiar with how to tell time, then he or she can keep track of what is coming up next in his or her day.

2. Skip the tantrums.

The alarm function is very useful to keep all activities on track. For example, you can set a time limit on each activity, and program the alarm so that the kids get a 5-minute warning when time is about to be up, and then another alarm for when it’s time to move on to the next thing.

I recommend always giving your kids a 5-minute warning before the end of an activity. Imagine if someone tells you to stop what you are doing “right now!” while you are in the middle of a fun task. You would probably throw an adult tantrum too. Your kids need a little time to disengage so that they can transition to the next activity on the schedule.

And the alarm on the KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2 is perfect for that! If your kid has trouble transitioning, you may want to consider setting a 15-minute alarm, a 10-minute alarm, and a 5-minute alarm.

Because we all know, there is nothing that ruins the schedule more than a good ol’ rolling on the ground and screaming tantrum!

3. Allow your kids to know what’s coming.

The KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2 has an easy to access calendar. You can mark important events in the calendar so that kids know what exciting things are coming up instead of asking you a million times a day. With the calendar, kids will feel more independent and more in control of their schedule during a busy time like the holidays.

Review the calendar with your kid daily so he or she knows what to expect for the day and for the weeks ahead. Kids do well when they know what is coming in the future, especially when there is so much going on.

4. Allow kids to plan visually.

If your kids are too young to write, the camera is a great option for them to keep organized. Sit down with your kid and go through potential activities that you can do together for the holidays. Then he or she can use the camera feature on the KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2 to take pictures of the activities he or she wants to do to keep track of all the fun ideas.

Then you can sit with your kid to go through the pictures he or she has taken. Plan to do a couple of activities a day and put them in the calendar mentioned above. Now your kid has a visual plan of all the things that your family can do in the days leading to Christmas.

5. Keep the kids active.

With all the holiday preparation, it’s easy to forget to exercise. Especially with limited places to go these days, it’s important to make sure your kids stay active throughout the holidays.

The KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2 includes a pedometer to track steps. Your kids will be surprised at how many steps they will take in a game of tag or a quick game of basketball.

Schedule a time to exercise every day in your kids’ calendar and set a daily target step goal. And make sure you get moving with your kids too.

I hope the tips above help you and your family plan for the holidays. Your kids will love capturing those special moments on the smartwatch’s camera! The watch is durable and comfortable so they can wear it every day.

Happy holidays!

Betty Boiron is a homeschooling mom of two. An educator at heart, she loves teaching her kids through hands-on activities, with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). She shares all the fun activities she does with her kids on Mombrite.com.

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