“Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey is a favorite children’s book for many. I particularly like the final illustration. It shows Sal and her mother in the kitchen after returning home from picking blueberries. Sal is standing on a chair stringing the canning jar seals onto a spoon while her mother pours prepared blueberries into a glass canning jar. It makes Me think this was a tradition for Sal and her mother.
This time of year causes Me to pause and reflect on family traditions. Traditions are significant events with special meaning that happen year after year. It was a tradition that my father wore his red sweater each Christmas. He must have purchased that sweater in 1960! It was tradition for my mother to give Me a Hostess Twinkie each year on my birthday. My husband recalls his mother making Tea Time Tassies at Christmas time. Each year, it became a tradition to give our children a Christmas tree ornament representing a milestone in their life.
The day before Thanksgiving our daughter-in-law’s family prepares food for the next day’s meal. They call it Chop Chop Day. In recent years, it has become our family tradition to create chalk drawings to highlight special events.
I know families whose tradition is to have the whole family volunteer and help others in their community. My family has been the recipient many years of home-made cookies delivered to our door by a family who lives near us. And, now, I have the pleasure of witnessing their grandchildren continue this family tradition.
Making memories together and starting family traditions provide children with lifelong treasures.
A place to start is in the kitchen: cooking and baking. Children enjoy helping to plan and while participating in the fun learn life-long skills.
Include children in brainstorming ideas and in the preparation. Talk about family favorites. Look at recipes and pictures of food. Children can help gather the ingredients and tools. Chopping, stirring, mixing, measuring, pouring involve the senses. It also builds vocabulary and introduces math and science concepts. This simple activity involves the whole child – socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.
Your family is special. You do special things with your family. Many of them have probably become your families’ traditions. I hope you will share your ideas (and pictures) with Me.
Let the family traditions begin!