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7 New Year’s Resolutions for Tech: Best Practices for the New Year!

Happy New Year! 2017 is coming to a close and it’s time to look at New Year’s Resolutions for the upcoming year. Burton, our resident tech expert here at iFamilyKC, has your new year’s resolution list for tech today on the blog. Take a look at 7 things you need to do this year…

new year's resolutions

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Tech: Best Practices for the New Year!

The beginning of a new year is ripe for resolutions: We make goal lists for our bodies, our lives, our hopes, our dreams… why not our tech? As we get ready for a new year I’ve been thinking about some tech resolutions that you can use to help you have a year free from technology problems. Whether you want to become more secure online, maintain a better life balance with your tech or just make a good new habit, I’ve put together a few small ideas that can make a big difference; and some tips to make them stick for real. Check out my tech resolutions and be your best tech self in 2018.

#1 Make sure you’re Cyber Secure

There are a number of things you can do to avoid opening yourself up to cyber criminals:

  • Change your online passwords.
  • Use password managers to sync your passwords across multiple devices – stop reusing passwords!
  • Use secure Wi-Fi networks and , never, ever conduct banking or make online purchases over a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Educate yourself about the latest phone and computer scams that are going around.

#2 Get rid of your unused gadgets

If you have gadgets lying around your office or house, then now is the time to start clearing them out. Whether it is a stereo system you received a replacement for over Christmas, or an old handset, then get it on eBay, take it to a charity shop or see if a recycling site that will take it.

# 3 Update all your computers and smart devices and get the last Operating System Software. 

Updates, whether Android, iOS, Blackberry or Windows don’t just appear for the fun of it .An update will normally bring a fix for a bug, or make your device run  faster, sometimes it will even introduce new features so they are worth doing, and staying on top of – don’t ignore them.

#4 Back up your devices to a cloud backup service

Backing up your computer or smart-device is something you don’t always think to do until you lose everything. There no excuse not to back up your information to the Cloud.  Services like Carbonite, Google Drive and Google Photos are perfect for saving your documents, photos and videos.

#5 Disconnect before bed

The blue light from your laptop, phone or tablet can mess with your sleep patterns making sleep shorter and less restful. Experts recommend powering down half an hour before bed.

#6 Manage your phone contacts

A year is a long time, and people change jobs and numbers so it’s worth going through, checking for duplicates, and making sure you have everyone you need saved. Save your contacts to the cloud in case you lose your phone.

#7 Check your Online Identity

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to think interactions with websites like Facebook, Google and other web communities are private, but in fact, it’s easy for anyone (particularly cyber criminals) to gather information about you just by doing a few quick internet searches. Google yourself to find out what information is out there about you.  Also, go to www.haveibeenpwned.com to see if your email address has been part of the many data breaches of recent months.  If it has, change your online account passwords immediately.

From iFamily to Yours,


Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


Homeschooling – Part I: 7 Great Options for Alternative Learning

When it comes to learning, there are many options available for your family from homeschooling to traditional public schools and just about everything in between. Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, is a homeschooling parent here in the community and is sharing some incredible options that are available to your family if you’re ready to explore k-12 homeschool options for yourself. Take a look…


Homeschooling – Part I: 7 Great Options for Alternative Learning

Hey KC! As you prepare to start a new year off on the right foot, you may be considering making some major changes in your family life. For a lot of families, homeschooling may be one of them. Most families tend to withdraw their child or children at the end of the year to avoid any chaos with planning and major changes. Another favorited time to start a homeschool journey is in between semesters. Again, there is less going on and families can make what I call a “clean break” from public school and an easy transition into homeschooling. If you are planning to go the homeschool route at any point, I have compiled a guide of different methods for you to choose from!

Each of these methods are unique in their own way and you never really know what is best for you and your soon-to-be homeschoolers until you try it!


#1 Project Based Learning

Project based learning is almost polar opposites to the learning styles of public schools. There are a lot of projects, hands on learning materials and your child really can “direct” themselves in learning about topics they choose. When doing PBL, it is important to remember that your homeschooler is in control. Try resisting the urge to correct their projects or be helpful when they are creating. Learn more about Project Based Learning to discover if it’s the right fit for your K-12 homeschool needs.


#2 Unit Studies

Unit studies approach is also similar to PBL when it comes to homeschools. Unit Studies focus on a theme and all of the subjects are based off of the chosen theme. For example, when picking a theme you would do research on the history of your particular theme, study the scientific process of it and make a replica of it out of clay. Unit studies really focus on your child’s interests and they are incorporated throughout the learning process.


#3 Unschooling

Unschooling is one of the most unique approaches homeschooling programs where your child takes the lead. They learn things they want and daily living is their teacher. From a simple trip to the grocery store to daily chores, unschooling  allows your child to explore the world around them.


#4 School at Home (School In a Box)

This is one of the more traditional approaches to homeschooling. School in a box is very similar to the public school learning style. You can purchase a full curriculum and complete assignments through text books based on grade levels. There are also many online homeschools that meet this criteria as well.


#5 Montessori

The Montessori learning method is more rigorous in terms of language, numbers and life skills. Simple tasks like cleaning up after themselves or washing their own dishes teaches them more independence in their daily lives. If you’re considering the Montessori approach, dive into researching this homeschooling option before you make the choice.


#6 Classical Approach

This approach teaches children to think as opposed what to think. This approach focuses more on thinking, grammar and speech. With different stages of learning, the classical approach is very rigorous and requires more formal study habits from your homeschoolers.


#7 Eclectic Homeschooling

This approach combines the best of all styles. Eclectic homeschooling is a lot more relaxed than most methods but still maintains more structure than some.

With so many methods to choose from, it can feel overwhelming and confusing. It took me almost 2 years to settle into an eclectic learning method before I felt confident! Remember, no two families are the same, no child learns the same and every family knows what works best for them. I hope this list is easy to follow and helps you find the best approach for your family!

From iFamily to Yours,

Pitch Perfect 3 Hits Theaters Nationwide and Audiences are Singing Its Praises!

The Barton Bellas are back but are they better than ever?! We sent iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Ruth to check an advanced screening of Pitch Perfect 3 before it hit theaters nationwide today and she’s sharing her thoughts with you today on the blog. Take a look…

Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch Perfect 3 Hits Theaters Nationwide

Audiences are Singing Its Praises!

I came into this movie with mixed expectations. The first movie was my absolute favorite. It was witty and full of music. The second movie didn’t give quite give me the same zest that I was looking for but I enjoyed it enough to look forward to the next edition of the series.

The Story

The night of Pitch Perfect 3, I was revved up and ready to go. I waltzed into the theater with my best friend and sat down waiting in anticipation. The movie opened with some drama as Becca (Anna Kendrick) found herself loathing her place of employment. She had made it into the music industry, but it wasn’t quite what she had been banking on when she graduated college.

The scene moved to her apartment where we found some other former Bellas. They all had a similar back story. Some were hanging in limbo waiting for their careers to start. They had odd jobs and not much to look forward to.

An invite to a reunion continued disappointment for the girls but led to a brilliant idea. Aubrey’s (Anna Camp) father is stationed overseas with the military and she had learned of the USO tour. Being the keen eyed girl that she is, an invite to join the tour opened up a new opportunity for the girls to reunite as former Bellas and sing again with a purpose. The girls joined in line with several upcoming bands to tour four countries with DJ Khaled (played by himself). The girls quickly learned that they were not quite up to snuff with the other bands after challenging them to a riff off. Thus the story line began to blossom as the girls met their many challenges head on.

The Flow

This movie screamed with new surprises enough for any fan or newcomer to enjoy. The music was played down as bit as the girls didn’t follow their traditional mash-up sequences. Opportunities to sing were far from few but the story line gave you plenty to think about. I was able to see the characters evolve in a way that enriched the movie only to make it better. Simultaneous varying story lines cut with witty commentary and unexpected action sequences left the auditorium full of laughter.

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) had the best story line in the film. She developed from the awkward Bella seeking approval to an unexpected savior. Her character took many twists and turns which opened up to her back story and the strained relationship she had with her father over his criminal activities.

In the end, the Bella’s learned a lot about themselves. They are braver and stronger than they thought. The world has its ups and downs but opportunities present themselves under the oddest of circumstances. Becca, though offered an amazing opportunity in the music industry, hesitated with regard to her Bella family. She learned that true friends don’t hold each other back.

Final Thoughts

This movie was written with a great arch and the best story line of the three. It was so much more than a goofy comedy about college kids singing riff offs and challenging each other. The content was taken to a new level, a more mature level. A fantastic way to conclude the series.

From iFamily to Yours,

6 Ways to Help You Unplug and Recharge to Relieve Holiday Stress

The holidays are upon us here in the metro area and, if you’re anything like me, you likely need to find some ways to releive stress during the busy next couple of weeks (especially while the kids are out of school). Burton Kelso, our resident tech expert here at iFamilyKC, has some great ideas to help you unplug during the holidays and get in some much needed holiday stress relief. Wondering if it’s all about popping in some relaxation music and calling it a day?! Think again, Burton’s out of the box ideas will help you get through the holiday season. Take a look…

6 Ways to Help You Unplug and Recharge to Relieve Holiday Stress

unplug and recharge

Let’s face it, we all love our smart devices and most of you probably can’t imagine a minute without them. I’m even guilty of it, but we all need to unplug sometimes and take a break from technology especially during the Holidays.  It’s important to capture those special moments, but you don’t have to post every photo on every social media site to show how your Holiday was. This Holiday, focus on putting your phones down and interacting with the people around you. Need help? Here are 6 ways you can unplug and recharge this Holiday Season.

#1 No Devices at Mealtime

unplug and recharge

Designate all mealtimes as periods where devices are put away and face-to-face conversation can be had. That’s how our grandparents used to do it! For added ambiance, play some relaxing music at mealtimes to help fill in the gaps in conversation.

#2 Discuss and Write Down Goals

unplug and recharge

Let your kids be apart of setting the goals and sharing their input. Schedule (limited) time that both the kids and parents can use technology.

#3 Stick to Your Guns

unplug and recharge

Like every good goal, it needs to be enforced. Parents, let your kids know you are serious and set tech time limits. Your kids can help keep you in line as well.

#4 Use Technology Together

unplug and recharge

If you must have access to the Internet and use technology, use it together. Look for games and activities on apps that everyone can play together.

#5 Don’t Check It If There Isn’t a Notification 

unplug and recharge

Kids watch and learn from their parents. If you are constantly checking your phone, your kids will too. Think before you check; use downtime to improve family time rather than your relationship with friends and coworkers. You’ll be surprised to discover how leaving your phone at home can help you with your holiday stress relief goals this year.

#6 Go Old-Fashioned Style

unplug and recharge

Challenge each other to have fun offline. Play versions of your favorite games that don’t require technology. Get creative! Do you plan to reduce or eliminate your technology use this Holiday Season?

From iFamily to Yours,


Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


Aerial Fitness for KIDS: iFamilyKC Kids Club Recap from Learning2Fly

Our team here at iFamilyKC is so excited to bring you exciting opportunities, share fun events with you, and introduce you to incredible resources all across the metro area every single month. One of my favorite things that we do is spend time with you out in the community. Did you know that we host exclusive iFamilyKC Kids Club events several times throughout the year (we average at least once a month!) at more than 50% off regular pricing for these activities?!

If you’re not already signed up for our inner circle, be sure to do that (it’s how we send you invitations to come hang out with us) so you don’t miss out on any of the fun happenings around town. We shared a fun morning with you at Learning 2 Fly in Mission earlier this month that I’m recapping today on the blog. Take a look…

aerial fitness classes for children

Aerial Fitness for KIDS: iFamilyKC Kids Club Recap from Learning2Fly

About Learning2Fly

Learning2Fly is located off of i-35 in Mission and the building is as unique as the classes they offer for kids and adults. The studio has a really calming energy to it is so warm and inviting you can’t help but feel at home as soon as you step in. The instructors at Learning2Fly focus on seven habits of good health in everything that they do. The main floor of their building focuses on physical health with silk rope suspended from the ceiling where participants can practice aerial yoga and other classes at the studio. The upstairs area has other silk ropes and a large space for learning and craft time, which the kids got to experience during the event.

aerial fitness for kids

Aerial Fitness 

Having good pyhsical health is such an important thing in life, and teaching our kids ways to keep our bodies healthy is an important life skill that will set them up for success later in life. The aerial fitness classes for kids that are offered at Learning2Fly aim to help kids maintain healthy, strong bodies by engaging them in fun workouts that the kids really enjoy. My own six year old made a comment as she was climbing the silk ropes at the studio, “this is hard,” she said. The instructors response was amazing and was a valuable life lesson in and of itself. She said, “It IS hard but YOU can do it!”.

7 Habits: A Chakra Circus of Health

Learning2Fly focuses on 7 habits of healthy bodies – from the inside out. The kids truly learn that they are creative beings, and what that means for their lives and our community, during art sessions at the studio. During the event, the kids spent time creating motivational artwork that they took home with them as a reminder that they are strong.

aerial fitness for kids

Learning 2 Fly offers classes, camps, and parties for children and adults of all ages and skill levels and I’m excited to go back and experience more of what they have to offer. Grab more details about classes, camps, and MORE at iAmLearning2Fly.net.

From iFamily to Yours,

Winter Activities for Kids: 10 Fun Things to do at Home

It’s hard to believe that Christmas break is already upon us here in the metro area. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been wondering what kinds of winter activities to do with the kids while they’re out of school this season. You’re in LUCK. Ruth, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, has put together ten great ideas for fun things to do at home over break. Take a look…

winter break fun

Winter Activities for Kids: 10 Fun Things to do at Home

Winter break activities make for fun times to enjoy family over the holidays between parties and get-togethers. After a few days your child may start to get stir crazy or maybe you don’t want them spending all their time playing video games or decorating your floor with playdoh crumbs. I’ve put together your winter bucket list of fun things that you can do over break.

Winter Activities for Kids

#1 Make Paper Snowflakes

Since winter is here but the snow has yet to make an appearance, you can decorate your place with paper snowflakes. Your kids will love creating crafts that range from simple homemade snowflakes to more labor intensive crafty snowflakes.

Winter Activities for Kids

#2 Blow Frozen Bubbles

If you want to add a little science into your break, try out this fun activity and make frozen bubbles on a really cold day. Try other fun science activities at home, too!

Winter Activities for Kids

#3 Have an In-Home Drive-In Movie

If you save some of those larger boxes from holiday gifts, then your kids can make their own cardboard box cars. After they are done, then you can park them in front of a movie and sell concessions with monopoly money. Use a tutorial for making a car to take the guess work out.

Winter Activities for Kids

#4 Make Some Healthy Winter Snack Crafts

If you want to make some edible crafts, try some healthy and fun options that can be done at home.

Winter Activities for Kids

#5 Indoor Obstacle Course

If your kids are getting stir crazy here is a fun way to burn off some energy. You can create an indoor obstacle course with everyday items.

Winter Activities for Kids

#6 Winter Sensory Play Activities

You can try your hand at making some winter sensory play activities. Kids of all ages love to play and get a little messy. Sensory play is a great learning opportunity.

Winter Activities for Kids

#7 Play Outside

Outdoor play in winter is important for your child and there are so many activities that they can try. So bundle up and have a little adventure!

Winter Activities for Kids

#8 Be Your Own Weather Reporter

The weather changes so much this time of year. It is a great time for kids to learn about the weather. They can make their own back yard weather station and report on the weather each day!

Winter Activities for Kids

#9 Do Some Exploring & Make Winter Murals

This is a great time to head outside and explore. You can look for any objects that they can collect and turn them into a craft project. This activity is for winter murals using real outdoor items. It’s so fun, that they can do it more than once and each time the outcome will be different!

Winter Activities for Kids

#10 Do a Snow Dance

If you are reaching the end of break and your kids are looking for an extra day or two off or maybe a bit of snow is on its way, then you can do a snow dance. There are a few fun rituals that you can do in hopes to bring on a snow day!

Winter break has so many opportunities for fun. I hope that you find some enjoyment in these family fun activities!

From iFamily to Yours,


Keeping Kids Active: Fun Workouts for the Family!

With the cold weather season, turning on Netflix and snuggling up on the couch can seem very appealing!  However, keeping kids active anytime of the year is important!  Brigette has put together a list of fun workouts and exercise-routines for the whole family to help keep everyone active all year around!

family workout

Keeping Kids Active: Fun Workouts for the Family! 

One thing we want as parents is to raise healthy, active kids! A way to ensure that our kids stay healthy is to find different ways to incorporate a kids exercises into our children’s’ lives! Now, let’s be honest here… What kid really wants to work out because they have to? Most of the time, our kids are “working out” because they want to, it’s a natural part of a kid’s life! So, if you are wanting your family to become more active, especially together, try these fun “workouts”!

#1 Nike App 

I love using this app for my workouts. Yes, it is a real workout, but it is so much fun. Plus, you are able to pick your level of intensity and style. You can focus on agility, speed and strength. This app is a great way to incorporate workouts at home.

 #2 Obstacle Course 

This is probably one of my kids’ favorite things to do. At our place, we have several sets of steps and a ramp. I start the kids off by racing up a ramp, then they head and down the stairs and end with different hops, jumps or skips. Really anything you come up I’m sure they will love!

 #3 Wild Card 

This workout requires not only physical power but brain power as well! Take a deck of cards and 4 exercises. We pick jumping jacks, squats, pushups and high knees. Each suit equals one exercise and the number on the card represents the number of reps. For example, if hearts equaled squats and you drew an 8, then everyone would do 8 squats. This game requires a lot of energy and focus so get ready to flex those brain muscles as well!

#4 Hiking 

When going for a walk or hike, most of the time you don’t realize how much work you are putting in. Different terrains require different levels of effort. Plus, being outside and enjoying nature is a great for everyone.

#5 Bike Riding 

Much like hiking, riding bikes don’t seem like much of a workout. But it is actually one of the best you can get! Using your legs to power a bike holding your own bodyweight uphill or downhill is a sure way to get your hearts pumping!

#6 Simon Says 

You can turn this classic game into a fun workout by incorporating high energy movements. Add mountain climbers, jumping jacks or high knees to add more intensity for your older kiddos.

#7 The Gym 

Nothing beats the good old gym! My kiddos love going because there is a T.V lol. But gyms have many different elements when it comes to working out. There are treadmills for running or walking, bikes for riding, medicine balls for tossing and weights for lifting. The gym is a great way to ensure that everyone finds something they enjoy doing!

When it comes to physical activities for kids, there is one important rule. That is HAVE FUN! No matter what game or where you are, having fun will ensure you and your kids a great time!

From iFamily to Yours,

Disney Junior Dance Party Live at The Midland Theatre

Sofia, Elena, Doc, and Vamprina (just to name a FEW!) for an epic Disney Junior Dance Party LIVE at the Midland Theatre on May 9th, 2018. We’ve got the scoop on all of the details you need to know. Take a look…
Disney Junior Dance Party

Are you ready to DANCE?!

Coming to The Midland Theatre Kansas City

May 9, 2018

Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour!

Get your tickets now before it sells out.

Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour is an ALL NEW interactive live concert experience. Sing along to Disney Junior’s greatest hits with your favorite characters:
Sofia The First
Puppy Dog Pals
Elena of Avalor
Doc McStuffins
The Lion Guard and more
Kids of all ages and their families are invited to get up and dance, play games and join the biggest dance party around!
BUY tickets to this exciting live concert experience here:
Disney Junior Dance Party Poster KC-3

Family Fun: Ninja Warrior Course Comes to KC!

Have you heard?! The BRAND NEW Ninja Warrior Course is NOW open at Sky Zone in Lee’s Summit! We sent Connie, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, to check it out and she’s sharing her thoughts with you today on the blog. Take a look…

ninja warrior course

Family Fun: Ninja Warrior Course Comes to KC!

Am I the only one who watches American Ninja Warrior and thinks “I could so totally do that?”  Or at least “I would so love to try to do that?”  Well, good news—your ninja dreams are about to come true. Sky Zone Lee’s Summit has just remodeled and added an all new Ninja Warrior section to their already amazing facility.  I was psyched to try it out, and so were my kids.

Family Fun in KC

My family and I attended Warrior Weekend earlier this month.  My kids were literally jumping up and down as soon as they saw all the cool new attractions.  Not to mention, they got to meet an American Ninja Warrior contestant “in real life MOM!!!”   The Classy Ninja was hanging out and helping participants through the course and completing it himself to the delight and awe of the crowd.

The Obstacle Course

The first obstacle we attempted was the Ninja Warrior course, which included some hanging barrels, ropes, swings and all sorts of assorted upper body challenges.  It was a little tough for my 5 & 7 year old, but they enjoyed attempting it.  The staff was fantastic about helping them though and encouraging them to keep going.  For older kids and adults, it was challenging and fun.  The Classy Ninja basically made the course look like a cake walk, but that’s why he’s awesome, right?  The course allows you to jump through/past some of the more difficult obstacles if you have the legs for it, giving adults and older children an advantage.  Upper body is not my strength, so I pretty much gave myself an A for effort on this one.

The Warped Wall

Next, my son wanted to attempt the Warped Wall.  There are three different heights at Sky Zone’s new warped wall, and if you can make it to the top, you get to push a fun button like the one on the show and some fog comes out, making you feel like the Ultimate Champion.  Or at least that’s what people told me who made it to the top.  I’m going to blame my bum knee for this one, because I can, but in reality, I clearly haven’t done enough ninja training to master this one yet.  But it was really fun to attempt it and watching my son do a little happy dance when he made it up made it all worthwhile.  The fireman’s pole you get to slide down once you make it is definitely an added bonus.

The Rock Wall

I knew better than to even attempt Free Climb, the rock climbing wall, but it looked like a fun challenge.  There was plenty of staff there to help get people safely on and off the wall and my 7-year-old made it about half way up before he decided he wanted to move on.

The Jousting Pit

Our final stop was the foam pit that houses both the Sky Joust and the Sky Ladder.  This was by far my kids’ favorite spot.  My 5 year old was determined to master the Sky Ladder by crawling, and she never made it past the second rung.  It’s a rope ladder suspended at varying heights across a foam pit.  This was another one I did not attempt, but looked like what I imagine it must be like to try to wrestle a pig.

There was lots of trying to balance and hold yourself upright, while the ladder constantly shifts underneath you.  My kid couldn’t get enough.  My 7 year old’s eyes lit up when he saw the jousting.  Probably because I rarely let him play with swords at home.  You balance on a Bosu Ball on top of a pillar and try to knock your opponents off into the foam.  Let me just say, this was my favorite.  Something about being up so tall and getting to knock people around with a jousting stick made my day.  And my son giggled so hard he snorted, so that was a win for me.

You have to go check out the new attractions.  They add some much needed variety to an already highly entertaining venue.  My kids did get worn out after about 40 minutes in the “Ninja Zone” as they called it and spent the last bit of our hour jumping on the trampolines and playing dodgeball, but again, isn’t that the point?  They were sweaty and tired by the time we left.  They slept well that night and thanked me profusely for taking them.

For more information on Sky Zone’s brand new attractions, visit them online at SkyZone.com/LeesSummit

From iFamily to Yours,

10 Cool Christmas Gifts that Won’t Clutter the House 

Merry Christmas Kansas City!  If you’re searching for gift ideas that are unique, affordable and won’t clutter the house you’ve come to the right place!  Ruth has put together a list of 10 cool Christmas gifts that won’t clutter the house.  Take a look…


10 Cool Christmas Gifts that Won’t Clutter the House 

(Read with a little bit of sarcasm. :))

Every year, it seems like there is an endless toy parade in the living room. Kids unwrap Christmas gift after gift and the mountain grows adding to what they already own. The kids are excited to be rolling in presents. They are more excited about the opening process than the actual toys themselves. After they have shredded the wrapping paper like the wild animals that they are, they (of course) want to open all the boxes at once. They beg to have us cut every twist tie and release every miniscule piece from its plastic prison. As good parents, we ask them to wait and open only one at a time. This leads groans and complaints. The world must be ending. Their fragile emotions are shattered because we are obviously the meanest parents in the world.

Following Christmas day, we are left with a sea of tiny parts ready to be lost and toys they are already bored with, because they weren’t as exciting as they believed they would be. The trash overflowed into a series of black trash bags that will puzzle the sanitation worker and our neighbors who don’t realize that hosting a holiday means 14 plus people will be exchanging gifts. So what can we do to mitigate this mess?

This year my husband and I are requesting a change of pace. We are asking for less tangible gifts. While we appreciate the thought put into the gifts and the joy put on tiny faces, we know our kids are spoiled at Christmas. We are requesting gifts that won’t clutter the house and add to the waste.

Here are a few Cool Christmas gifts to give the kids that won’t clutter the house:

  1. A gift card to a restaurant or store that they enjoy.

Ideas: Sporting Goods Store, Outlet mall,

  1. A gift certificate to a fun and educational place to visit.

Ideas: History Museum, Bowling Alley, Human Foosball, Coding workshops, Language or music lessons, dance classes, Create 2 Day,

  1. Tickets to see a play at an area theater.

Ideas: The Storybook Forest

  1. Memberships to local attractions.

Ideas: Union Station, College Basketball Experience, Legoland, SeaLife,

  1. Tuition for a camp or activity they want to participate in.

Ideas: Gymnastics Classes, Ceramic Café,  Piano Lessons, Sports Programs, Horseback Riding, Ceramic Studio,

  1. Gift certificate to a local play center or indoor park.

Ideas: Urban Air, Sky Zone, Paradise Park, Aerial Yoga, Gymboree, Jump City

  1. A donation to a charity organization in their name.

Ideas: The Farmer’s House, Charlie’s House

  1. A weekend getaway to a fun place they would enjoy or a waterpark themed hotel.

  2. Gift card for movie rentals.

  3. Practical items that they may need but with fun characters on them, bath wash, soap, tooth paste and a brush, a new loofa, etc.

Whatever you choose to do this holiday, these ideas can be family fun that everyone can enjoy together.

From iFamily to Yours,