The very best snowed-in Christmas ever!

CABIN FEVER DAY FIVE. Pictured here are a few of the more severely affected members of the family. The snow stands at knee height here in the mountains east of Albuquerque where I’m spending the holidays, and the crazies stand at about an eight on a scale of one to ten.

Fortunately, there’s still plenty of room for more insanity, like this video of my two-and-a-half year-old grandson snowboarding. It was filmed, produced and translated from Toddlerese by his Auntie M and Uncle Mark, a couple of very creative people who decided to do something other than sit around and watch the snow come down. Watch the results!

The real secret of spending time together is just enjoying one another’s company and staying in the moment. Our family loves to have fun, which often results in some serious silliness.

I have found the best way to relate to my grandson, who I only get to see every few months, is with the simplest of games – all made up and very easy.

Kids need to learn that relationships are important. By taking time to play with your children and grandchildren you send the message that they are valuable. Being with them in the here and now is the best “present” ever!”

Here are a few of our favorites:

Come Back Here, Come Back Here: This game takes a few tries before little ones catch on. I recommend it for ages two and up. Sit in a chair and bring the child close, facing you. Then tell them to go “over there” for some reason. Just as they start to go, say “come back here, come back here!” and trap them with your legs. This leads to lots of laughter and general happiness.

My Turn! This is good for little ones about 18 months to 3 years. Here’s how we do it: Have one person, Daddy or Mommy perhaps, bend their head down close to their lap. Say to the child, “Where’s Daddy?” Let about five seconds pass, and then Daddy pops his head up! Everyone says, “Here’s Daddy!” Watch your child’s delight!!

Then the next person takes a turn. Pretty soon, the child will be saying, “My turn! My turn.” This game occupies my grandson for a long time. He ends up giving directives to the person of his choice: Grammy’s turn, Auntie M’s turn, etc.

Up One! This game requires stair steps and is great with kids about 2 1/2 to four or five years of age. The child sits on the bottom step. Hide a tiny object, like a button, in one hand and show your closed fists to the child. Ask, “Where’s the button?” Tell them to point to the hand that has the button. If they make a wrong guess, show them the button, and try again. My grandson repeatedly seleted the wrong hand at first, even though I showed him the hand with the button. Now he gets it, and will change his decision. As soon as he guesses the right hand, he gets to move up a step. Make sure to say: UP ONE! This is really fun for kids.

Don’t forget finger plays like Where is Thumpkin and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Invite your child or grandchild to climb onto your lap or  sit on the floor in front of you. It takes a try or two, but they will come back for more if you make it fun.

Merry Christmas everyone! Visit me on Facebook!

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