We’re 99.9 percent confident that each of our students and school families are excited about the upcoming Thanksgiving break week. But when that week has concluded, what memories will you and your family have made? While many of us will be traveling or welcoming relatives and friends for the big day of feasting and thanks, there are many hours in that week when a bit of planning could result in some unforgettable family fun activities. You don’t even need to stray far from the Charlotte, NC, area to create some new fall memories. We’ve compiled some of our top picks in the category of family bonding. What’s more, most of these suggestions have a painless educational component to help you make the most of this week.
The cool, crisp fall weather makes some of us want to hibernate by the fireplace with a cup of cocoa. An alternative to “vegging out” out at home could be visiting a park, historic site, or natural area around Mecklenburg County. Check out the county’s website for a list of parks and natural areas to explore. And when was the last time you headed to Morrow Mountain, Crowders Mountain, or Lake Norman? All three state parks are within an easy drive of NCA and any could be the scene of a great family fall hike or picnic. While most of the parks close at dusk this time of year, what about bundling up for a night hike to an area where you can see the stars or hear some owls? Enjoy God’s amazing world at a time of day when you might not otherwise be outside.
Share the Love
Look around your neighborhood and identify a few older folks who could benefit from your volunteered services to rake leaves or perform some outside chores. And we’re not just thinking about students helping – this is a great way for the whole family to get involved and demonstrate some of the Christian character traits that NCA emphasizes as it builds capable, compassionate, and morally courageous men and women. Families ready to take this idea to the next level might consider organizing a food drive, helping at a shelter, or visiting residents at a local nursing home.
You might not have signed up for a Turkey Trot 5K in advance of the holiday, but you could still organize your own impromptu family run! And P.S., it doesn’t have to be a run. What about a 5K walk or some other fitness challenge? Note to the kids: give your parents extra points for trying. They might not be able to keep up with you!
Lights, Camera, Action!
We admit that preparing the Thanksgiving dinner can keep parents a bit occupied, but you might give the NCA students in your home the responsibility to chronicle the day with phone photos and short video clips woven together into a fun documentary. Many of us have software on our computers that makes this a breeze. Check out iMovie or phone apps like Vine for some creative ideas to turn your holiday preparation into a short action-adventure movie trailer!
Family “Top Chef” Competition
While the kids might not typically volunteer for meal preparation, it might be fun to give them a competitive opportunity to prepare breakfast or lunch for the family during the break period. Parents can be the judges, and yes – presentation counts! This requires ingredient planning, math skills for measuring and time allotment, and a generous helping of sibling cooperation. A variation of this might be to put kids in charge of a make-ahead side dish for your Thanksgiving meal. You’ll be serving up some great educational lessons!
Write the Family Christmas Letter
Do you send a Christmas letter each year or aspire to do so? Consider letting the kids interview you and their siblings to draft a letter that will reflect special events from your family’s year. If they haven’t done this before, they could use tried and true open-ended interview questions that start with who, what, where, when, why, and how. While parents have ultimate editorial control of this project, it’s a great way to encourage students to review the events of the year, grow their interviewing skills, and fine-tune their writing skills. A student who enjoys visual arts more than writing might want to contribute a drawing or a photo they’ve taken.
Score Recycling Points
Is there still a pumpkin decorating your home as one season changes to another? Any that haven’t already been carved could yield a family project of toasting pumpkin seeds. Put the kids in charge of finding a good recipe for seasoned seeds or use this one, and turn an expired seasonal decoration into a tasty treat.
Just Say “NO” to Fast-Forwarding Thanksgiving
Make it a family goal to keep the Thanksgiving “gratitude attitude” front and center during this special week. While the world of retail urges us to sprint through this holiday to get to the main event of “Black Friday” shopping, let’s pause and be intentional in focusing on the many ways God has blessed us! Kids with a flair for drama might be persuaded to stage a retelling of the historic Thanksgiving story. Others might be more inclined to join in the dinnertime conversation focusing on gratitude. We urge parents to take the lead in expressing specific appreciation to God, to one another, and to the kids. It might be contagious!
Wonder What Northside Christian Academy is All About?
Here at NCA, we greatly value our school families and partner with them as we prepare students with the skills they need for college and for life. Through outstanding academics, diverse fine arts and athletic programs, and our Biblical worldview foundation, we keep the core values of Wisdom, Honor, and Truth front and center. Learn how Northside Christian Academy could impact your student for eternity!