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Kids New Year’s Resolutions: Ways to Make a Difference in 2016

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Kids New Year's Resolutions: Ways to make a difference

It’s that time of year again. Every January, people vow to improve themselves. Judging by how crowded the gym gets, lots of those resolutions are about fitness.

But New Year’s resolutions aren’t limited to working out and losing weight. They’re also not just for adults. We’ve got some ideas for kids New Year’s resolutions to make a difference in themselves and the world around them.

Help Around the House

Get your family started on recycling. Look into weekly pickup for glass, plastic, and aluminum. Find out how to dispose of electronics and hazardous household waste, like batteries and paint cans. Your regular waste management service may have special days set to pick up these items. Donate gently-used items, or check out sites like Freecycle or Craigslist.

Adopt a household chore specialty. Be the go-to person for a particular job. Need some ideas? Official light bulb changer. Morning toilet flusher. Dishwasher empty-er. Table setter or clearer. Pooper scooper. Toilet paper roll monitor. Get creative!

Volunteer

Kids New Year's Resolutions: Take care of your neighborhood

Take care of your neighborhood. Shovel the sidewalks in the winter, rake leaves in the fall, and pick up litter whenever you see it. (Be sure to wash your hands afterward!) It’s good citizenship to care for the community, and your neighbors will be so grateful for the help.

Make blankets and toys for shelter pets. We can’t adopt every pet in need, but we can help make many of them more comfortable. Check out this no-sew fleece blanket tutorial, and these DIY dog toy instructions. Kids will look forward to the monthly shelter visit to drop off their creations.

Write letters to deployed service members. Our military love to get mail! It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone serving overseas. You can connect with service members through Operation Gratitude and Adopt a US Soldier. They’ll be thrilled to hear from you. Plus it’s a great way to practice writing outside of school.

Visit local retirement homes. Got a musical talent to share? Bring your instrument and sheet music. Many facilities also have a piano. You can play checkers or do puzzles, or read aloud to residents. Just coordinate with the facility director beforehand.

Start a Cool Hobby

Kids New Year's Resolutions: Start a cool hobby

Share a skill or favorite pastime of yours. Do you know how to knit or sew? Play chess or cards? Take photographs or edit video? Teach your kids! Even if you aren’t an expert already, you can learn too. Make a weekly date to pursue the hobby together. Be sure it’s something that interests your child too, so that it’s fun for you both.

Take a class. Find something cool that you can keep doing through the year. How about cooking, martial arts, yoga, or computer programming? Check your local recreation or community center — many offer affordable classes for kids.

Plant a garden. Start with seedlings indoors. Then transfer them to pots and move them outside in the spring. Kids love watching seeds sprout and eating vegetables and herbs they’ve grown themselves. Visit Kids Gardening to learn anything you’d ever want to know about gardening with kids.

Learn Something New

Kids New Year's Resolutions: Learn something new

Speak another language. There are lots of apps and websites to help kids get started with basic vocabulary. But we prefer those that teach useful phrases and sentences, like Little Pim and MUZZY. Both of these programs offer a wide range of languages. Start with a free trial.

Get smart on upcoming election issues. We know politics aren’t polite conversation, but civics is a great learning opportunity. The presidential election will be a hot topic in 2016. Help kids understand what they’re hearing in the news and form their own opinions. iCivics is an awesome interactive site where kids can learn about citizenship.

Focus on academics. Want to learn algebra? Know everything about the solar system? Become an expert on the Civil War? On BrainPop younger kids can search tons of topics and get answers made for them. Khan Academy is a smart online resource for older kids that covers math, art, science, history, and more. And there are hundreds of awesome educational apps for kids out there. Check Common Sense Media for helpful reviews before downloading.

Julie Marsh
Julie is a triathlete and a health-conscious mom of three.

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