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making magic moments

February 16, 2010

Here’s an idea I came up with over the weekend, to keep the family entertained through half-term and beyond. It’s simple, fun, free (largely) and works for all ages. You could make a one-person, adult version for your own inspiration, or a family one as we have done. We made it together, and had as much fun creating it as using it.

The Magic Moments Jar

You will need:

A large, clean jar with a lid – it needs to be big enough to get your hand into.

Ribbons, stickers, glass paints, labels etc. to decorate the jar as you like.

A few sheets of coloured paper, including yellow; some coloured pens and some scissors.


Ask everyone to think of things they like doing, while one of you scribbles them down on a sheet of paper. Choose plenty of everyday activities, plus a few special treats. We chose really simple things like ‘play outside’, ‘make a jigsaw’, ‘phone a friend to say hello’, ‘draw a picture’, ‘go for a walk’; and more special favourites like ‘have a picnic’, ‘a day in Edinburgh’, ‘a trip on a train’, ‘visit a museum’.

Fold your sheets of coloured paper into ticket-sized boxes, and have everyone (or everyone who can write!) help you to write out one chosen activity in each box. Save the yellow paper for  the special treats, which are ‘Golden Tickets’.

Cut out all the tickets, fold them each in half and put them in the jar.

Decorate the jar as you like. We put ribbons round the top of ours, a big label on the side and a cheery sun sticker on top. There, it’s done! Now you can each take it in turn to pick a ticket  out of the jar to give you inspiration for what to do. We decided together on a few rules for our Magic Moments Jar: any of us can use it whenever we like, but the Golden Tickets are reserved for special days (at the discretion of the grown-ups); you can use it alone or as a family activity; and the ticket you choose is for inspiration only, it’s not compulsory!

It is a very basic concept, I know, but it does seem to inspire: the boys stopped bickering and even daddy joined in with making it, and we have all enjoyed choosing (and doing) activities from the jar once it was finished. The children have been using it a lot, while Mummy was particularly pleased to pick ‘snuggle down on the sofa’ towards the end of a busy day. (‘Sorry, I can’t possibly empty the dishwasher now, I have to have my Magic Moment…’) What’s more, it adapts to any period of time, from ‘I’m bored, what shall I do for ten minutes while supper is cooking’ to ‘what shall we do a week on Saturday for a birthday treat’. So I offer it to you as an idea, and I hope you have fun with it.

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