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Dear Nadine,
I want to make Father’s Day special for dad and my spirited kids? Any ideas? - Joyce, Edina

Dear Joyce,
Spending quality time with our kids is important and so is celebrating dad. How about keeping costs low and spirits high, with these family-friendly, Father’s Day ideas?

  • Switch Off — If your home is like ours, emails, texts, phone calls, video games and the TV can often interfere with togetherness. Agree that everyone will switch off the electronics this Father’s Day and switch on to a day of family fun, instead.

    When our family implemented this rule, the results were surprising. Our kids rediscovered the power of imaginative play, my husband dived back into the kitchen and got creative with his cooking, and I blew the dust of my soccer shoes and hit the garden with my kids. There were more family walks, more family talks and more time for one another and that made everyone happy.

    So ditch the gizmos this Father’s Day, and gift dad with love, attention and focus. Encourage your kids to chat to dad about his childhood, ask for fatherly advice and remind him he’s special. By the end of the day you’ll all be filled with family spirit and your doting dad will be walking on air!

  • Go Green — Talking of walking, make sure that dad and your spirited kids get outside this Father’s Day! Whether it’s a hike in the park, a bike around the lake, or a fishing trip, it’s been proven that being in nature for a mere 20 minutes daily, significantly boosts vitality levels!

    And of course getting outside not only lifts the spirits, it’s good for our kids’ minds and bodies, too! The National Wildlife Federation writes, “Time spent in the outdoors helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imagination and attention span and boosts classroom performance.” What’s not to love?

    Of course, here in Minnesota we’re blessed with a bevy of beauty spots to visit, not forgetting those 10,000 lakes. Consider taking the family to the William O’Brien State Park for 1,520 acres of hiking in the hills, or visit the Eloise Butler Wildlife Garden and enjoy some brilliant bird spotting or stroll around the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and learn about the flora and fauna. Or why not keep it simple and head to the park to fly kites?

    For Bonny Ramsey in Colorado, her daily trips to the park with her son grew into a much-loved tradition. “When Tyler was younger, we’d visit the park every evening after work. He’d bike or skate and I’d walk. Sometimes, we’d just hang out and chat and watch other kids do their tricks. When I look back now, I realize those evenings spent together were priceless, and they didn’t cost a penny!”

    So embrace the green this Father’s Day. Get your spirited kids running, jumping and exploring as a family. And I’ll wager any money, it won’t just be dad who’ll feel in the pink by tea-time.

  • Volunteer — You’ve finished the family walk, why not end Father’s Day on a high note and lend a helping hand!

    Did you know that almost 1 in 3 Americans volunteered last year? Why? Because it feels good to give back! Getting involved in volunteerism builds family bonds, teaches about social issues, and lets every family member know that they can make a difference in the life of another. That’s powerful stuff!

    Realtor Jenni Wood agrees, “I took my sons and niece to volunteer at a Homeless Shelter in Minneapolis. I was so proud of their willingness to help. We had a great time together, met some new people and got a glimpse of how blessed we are in our lives, and how important it is to give back.’

    Heather Jacks, founder of www.TheVolunteerFamily.org which lists over 30,000 volunteering opportunities in 40 states including Minnesota says, “Volunteering as a family gets people back in the community and the whole experience gives kids a greater self-esteem.” Volunteering builds dad’s self-esteem, too!

    There are lots of meaningful ways that your spirited kids can volunteer with dad this Father’s Day (see below). But whether they pick up trash on the trail near your home, take their elderly neighbor’s dog for a walk, or decorate cards for a soldier overseas, know that your family is sowing seeds of joy this Father’s Day and that’s enough to make any dad feel proud.

It doesn’t take a wizard to make Father’s Day magical. It just takes a family and their love. Wishing you, your spirited kids and their special dad, my best for a meaningful, wonderful ab-fab Father’s Day. — Regards, Nadine

Simple Service Activities for Spirited Kids

  • Decorate reusable grocery bags and fill them with their favorite non-perishable food items. Feeding America offers a Food Bank locator, searchable by zip code.
  • Box up their gently used clothing to donate to your local foster care foundation.
  • Donate their gently used books and DVDs to a local children’s hospital.
  • Collect used towels and pet toys for the local animal shelter.
  • Host a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a charity of their choosing.
  • Walk an elderly neighbor’s dog
  • Pick up trash in your neighborhood
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Nadine Penny attained her M.A. from the University of Denver in Counseling Psychology. Nadine lives in Minnetonka where she works as a medium, life issues reader and Reiki master. Contact her at nadine.penny@gmail.com and visit www.nadinepenny.com.

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