By Donna Erickson
Signal Contributing Editor
It’s officially fall. In some areas, kids might storm through the front door after school and toss their backpacks in the hallway. You may be home from work and there’s dinner to be made and maybe soccer practice to get to after the last bite.
Sounds like a busy routine. How do you choose which extra family fun stuff to fit in on your calendar along with a few must-dos?
I’ve discovered with my kids and friends in their bubble that the basic ABC’s can provide a simple, creative framework for visually highlighting the essentials: family outings, household repairs, discoveries and activities.
This year, my list includes not only must-do chores, but also fall excursions, new foods to try, service opportunities and family adventures.
The only caveat is that you need to find an open alphabet letter to describe the event. That helps keep all the ideas and inspiration under control.
Here’s how it works:
I listed all 26 alphabet letters on a medium-size white board hanging in our kitchen. Engage your child to make the A-Z list. Events and activities are described by their corresponding letter. Friends who drop by add ideas they would like to do with us, too.
For example, our 8-year-old neighbor was eager for me to teach him how to make applesauce with the new crop of Honeycrisp apples that had arrived at our farmer’s market last weekend. I brought out our peeler gadget for him to crank out slices for the kid-friendly recipe. Check off “A.”
The “B” is noted with “build a berm around our foundation,” to prevent a wet basement during the continuing rainy season. “C” reminds us to gather clothes to take to Goodwill, and “D” to deliver “Meals on Wheels.” Scanning down the alphabet to “M,” I’ve already released the monarch butterfly my 16-month-old granddaughter and I observed pop out of its chrysalis.
Soon, I’ll be shifting attention to “Z,” a reminder to compose a colorful zinnia bouquet from our garden before the snow falls.
No need to end a first round of A-Z activities when seasons change. Check off what has been accomplished and enjoyed, then erase or simply add a new event. Spelling out in detail from A-Z what has been done, and what is left to do, will continue to serve as a visual reminder to family of your active, giving and community-involved lifestyle.
By the way, good luck finding ideas for the letters Q and U.
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”
© 2020 Donna Erickson
Distributed by King Features Synd.