We all know that I love Vision Boards and write about them all the time. But did you know that you can create Vision Boards with your children or your grandchildren? Depending on their age, you can either do goal-oriented Vision Boards (appropriate for teenagers) or you can adjust the Vision Board ideas to fit into craft projects that you can do with younger ones. This week, one of my friends will walk you through some holiday Vision Board activities that she did with her children.

This is an update from a previous post. (Turns out, WP no longer likes Instagram, so I had to update those links to pictures. But we’ll roll with it!)

For those unfamiliar with my writing, I am Shopgirl Anonymous: retail gossip, management coach, and all-around American consumer trends blogger who has taken a sabbatical over the past year (after finally publishing my book) to focus 100% on the growing and homeschooling of my young family unit.  Jennifer and her husband, since their move to Florida, have gone from writing companion and friend to a significant part of my life and family. I have been inspired for the past three years by her prompts, visions, and insights in this blog, and am always honored to contribute when I have my own moments of visionary genius from time to time. So without further ado: 

The holidays are such a magical time for my little family.    While my eccentric husband is all about the big magical gestures of arranging for Santa’s personal impromptu visit to the house, or giant holiday extravaganzas in Italy’s Pavillion at Epcot, I enjoy taking this time to slow down and connect with the kids.  I like focusing on their dreams, ideas, and future. Below I will list four easy and insightful activities that will not only inspire your kids but give deeper insight to you, their caretaker.

The Holidays Chain

I didn’t grow up in a family that made a tradition of doing much more with Thanksgiving than just gorging ourselves with delicious comfort food and then watching television. For that purpose, I have never really understood the sentiment of the holiday, and last year I wanted to change that not only for myself but for the kids.  

After we ate an early dinner I cleared the table and laid out pre-cut strips of construction paper, red, green, and gold (okay, okay yellow).  I evenly distributed the “gold” strips so that each child had an equal number, and asked them to write what they were thankful for.  For the younger two, I was having to keep up, hurridly jotting down their excited conversation, while my eldest managed his own.

Next, I evenly distributed the red and asked the kids what they wanted Santa to bring them for Christmas.  This, of course, was an even louder eruption of excited exclamations as once again I frantically scribbled their ideas, one per strip.

Lastly, I evenly distributed the green, and now asked what they wanted to change the next upcoming year.  I wanted them to think big and small.  What habits of their own were we going to focus on, more honesty, fewer diapers?  Then I wanted them to think bigger, how were they going to do their part to change the world for the better this upcoming year like community service, or focusing on improving our recycling efforts.

We discussed everything on the chains as we carefully assembled our chain, red, green, and then yellow, and then wrapped it carefully around our Christmas Tree.

Dear Santa Board

Was there anything more exciting as a child than thumbing through the back section of toys in the JC Penney catalog?!  For myself, it was quite an important ritual to carefully thumb through the pages, circling in pen just the things I wanted Santa to bring me the most.  With my kids, I’ve taken this tradition a step further.  

Each Child picks a colored sheet of construction paper and across the top, we scrawl, “Dear Santa”.  I layout an Amazon and Target catalog, scissors, and glue. A wave of nostalgia overcomes me as my kids excitedly thumb through their pages, cutting out their favorite toys and gluing them down onto the sheet to be mailed to Santa.  

Santa has been kind enough each year to return their precious vision boards so that I have a memory catalog of their changing and aging wants each Christmas to place away in their scrapbook.

I Can’t Live Without

For children, sometimes, it’s difficult to channel awareness of thankfulness that we as adults can appreciate from life’s experience and occasions for grief or empathy.  For this reason, going around the table with a simple statement of “I’m thankful for…” seems to come out with just a jumbled prattle of predictable and anticipated rhetoric.  

“I’m thankful for books,” and then my oldest son looks to me, with a proud smile that he said what he perceived as the right answer rather than what was true.  My daughter recites her thankfulness for family and home, as practiced in school. And then my youngest, most honest, blabs out something to do with Scooby-Doo and the Miraculous Ladybug.

So, I changed the game a couple of summers ago, in an effort to teach my children to be honest and true to themselves by asking them what they couldn’t live without.  In the center of the page, I have written in a circle: I Can’t Live Without and then drew lines coming from the circle in every direction, like bursting rays of sunlight.  

Of course, the first couple of spaces were filled with responses they felt were expected of them: family, home, and food.  The next few spaces are filled with frivolous items of sentiment like toys, television, or gaming devices. Once all of that was out of the way and they had to start to reflect in order to fill the spaces, true considerations of sentiment began to peek through.

Then the kids took turns coloring each section how they chose.

The true impact though was perhaps in reflecting on our vision board:

  • What would life be like without these things? 
  • How can we appreciate and cherish them?

As a result, we found an even appreciation for it all.  

The Giving Tree

Shopgirl knows consumerism; from my perspective, a little retail therapy in your self-care routine is not all bad.  That being said nurturing a lifestyle of excessive want is not exactly a positive contribution to our mental health or those around us.  There needs to be a balance to our perceptions on giving and receiving, and there is no more difficult group of people to impress this lesson upon than children, who naturally possess a revolving dialogue of want.

The Giving Tree is a classic, a tale we have heard countless times, but its images representing the effects of an unbalanced tilt of want and the value of relationships over material possession is still unbeatable from my experience.  So, of course, I suggest starting this activity by sharing this iconic book with your little ones.

Next, trace your child’s arm to fingers on a sheet of construction paper and have them cut it out and glue it down on a construction sheet of a different color; the base of the arm lining the bottom of the sheet. Then on pieces of construction paper that are cut into the shape of leaves write the things they could give or share rather than receive. Glue these leaves amongst the fingers, building their own giving tree.

I love all these ideas from Jess, but the Dear Santa one reminds me of creating scrapbooks with my sister. It probably would have been smarter to give my mother a picture of my list instead of just putting my pictures into a scrapbook. (Doesn’t Santa read minds and know exactly what I wanted?) And that adorable, I Can’t Live Without one is just too cute.

If you’d like to find more creative ideas for projects with your kids, check out this post on her other blog for homeschooling ideas. 5 Activities That Explore the Art of Wassily Kandinsky With Kids.

To learn more about vision boards and how they can help you meet your goals, check out my Kindle book below.

Did you know that you can create Vision Boards with your kids? Depending on their age, you can either do goal-oriented Vision Boards or you can adjust the Vision Board ideas to fit into craft projects that you do with your kids. This week, one of my friends will walk you through some holiday Vision Board activities for kids that she did with her children. #VisionBoards #HolidayVisionBoards #HolidayChains #DearSanta #TheGivingTree #VisionBoardsforKids