Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Tree Cards

 The boys made these simple Christmas tree cards yesterday to give to their teachers at school and church.  I googled Christmas cards that kids can made and found the idea here.  I just cut up strips of Christmas themed scrapbook paper, and the boys glued them on.  Then they used a star shaped stamp dipped in yellow paint to put a star at the top.
Putting all the materials in a muffin pan made it much easier for the boys to make sure they had one strip of each size to make their trees.  This craft went really fast, which was good because we happened to be crunched for time! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shaving Cream "Snow"

 One of our Advent activities was to play with shaving cream and pretend it was snow.  The boys were SO excited about this activity.  I gave them each a cookie sheet, a can of shaving cream, and some little figurines and let them play!  A immediately started digging in.
 K was more cautious (which was weird - this kid is never cautious!) and didn't want to get messy.  But he still had fun playing with his characters in the "snow," especially his Toy Story figures.
 A liked squirting the shaving cream on top of his figurines so they would be "hiding."
Afterward I put a stool next to the sink and let them wash off their characters and cookie sheets themselves.  I think this was just as fun for them as the actual activity - and it meant that all I had to do was wipe down the table.  We'll definitely be doing this activity again!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tot School: Enjoying the Christmas Season

I LOVE this time of year, and my kids and I have been having a blast doing Christmas related activities.  Here are some of the things we did over the past week:

1. The kids played almost every day with our Christmas Sensory Box.
2. We played with pattern blocks, using Christmas themed mats.
3. K and I made an O is for Ornament craft.
4. We did activities with our Christmas ABCs.
5. We played with Discovery Stockings.

 K used tongs to put pom poms in a Santa ice cube tray.
 We made trees from a Foam Craft kit I got on clearance after Christmas last year.
 We decorated a gingerbread house! 
K did more eating than decorating though ... :)

 I hope everyone else is enjoying this wonderful season, too.  Head over to 1+1+1=1 for more tot school ideas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Discovery Stockings

 I saw the idea for Discovery Stockings at Prekinders.  You get some mini stockings (I used 5) and put an object in each one.  I used a bell, an egg shaker, a mini present, a small toy, and a crayon.  You let your child feel the object (I let K shake it too to see if it made a sound) and they try to guess what it is.  This was a fun activity that was VERY easy to put together.
 Here is K feeling one of the objects.
Here is his "thinking" face, as he tries to figure out what it is.

Christmas ABCs

 I printed these cute Christmas ABCs cards from 1+1+1=1. I laminated them and attached them with a binder ring.  Then I gathered magnetic letters to go with each page, as well as a corresponding object for each page (I mainly used figures from our Little People Nativity Set). 
After reading through the letter cards with K, I separated them from the binder ring and laid them out on the floor.  He had to match each letter and object to the right card.
This wasn't something he wanted to do over and over, but he's done it once each day I've brought it out and has gotten much faster with it.
Other ways we've used these cards:
1.) I put the magnetic letters in a basket and the cards in a different basket.  I gave K the letter basket and kept the cards basket.  I would pull out a card and say, "It says A is for Angel.  I need a letter A.  Do you have one?" Then he would find the matching letter and give it to me.  I would ham it up and make a big deal out of saying "Thank you!" when he found the right one, which he liked.
2.) I laid out the cards on one side of the room and put the letters in a basket on the other side of the room.  I had K take a letter from the basket, run across the room and put it on the matching card, then run back.  I made a big deal about saying how fast he was and he was so happy with himself. :)  Whenever I can involve running or movement of any kind, I do, because K LOVES to move!

O is for Ornament

 It's Christmastime, so I thought we'd make a Christmas themed letter craft.  "O is for ornament" was the first idea that came to mind.  I happened to have some scrapbook paper with ornaments on it, so we used that for our ornament shape.  K traced the letter O with a crayon and then I helped him glue the pieces together.
He's always so proud of his letter crafts. :)  I saw another cute "O is for ornament" over at 2 Teaching Mommies, so you may want to check theirs out to see another version of this craft.  They also have some great Christmas printables.

Simple Fun: Stirring Sticks

 I came across some stirring sticks at Target (I think they were 2 or 3 dollars) and thought they would be great for Tot School.  J likes taking them out and putting them back inside their container.
 I gave him an old Gerber Puffs container, and he had fun putting them in that as well.
 K enjoyed them, too.  He liked laying them out on the ground to make a big long line. We made two parallel lines and pretended it was a road for his cars.  We also used them to make shapes.  We used them as rhythm sticks and hit them together while we sang a song.
And I showed K how to make some letters with them - of course his favorite was the K!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Sensory Box

 The kids have been enjoying our new Christmas Sensory Box.  I used pasta for the filler, which is a lot easier to clean up than the beans I had in our last box.  It also contains plastic candy canes, bells, 2 Christmas themed ducks, Christmas themed mini slinkys, pom poms, Christmas erasers, and artificial jewels.
 At first the pasta was just plain, but I thought it looked kind of boring, so we gave it a makeover ...
 Much more festive!  The kids thought it was so cool to see the pasta change color.  I found a couple of good tutorials for dyeing pasta here and here.
 K and J digging in!
 We made a happy face with the pom poms and pasta, then K added the jewels to make a very big tongue (like a lizard, he said). K likes the fake jewels the best.  He and A like to pretend they're "magic jewels."  K also likes to pretend to wrap them up and give them to me as presents. :)
J really likes the slinkys.  Here he is trying to stick a little porcupine ball inside.  Sensory boxes are so fun!

Christmas Pattern Block Mats

 I found some Christmas themed pattern block mats here. We printed out the Christmas tree and presents.  We haven't used our pattern blocks for a while, so I was glad I found these and was reminded to pull them out!  I also recently saw (on Mama Smiles blog) an idea to combine pattern blocks and play-doh.  I think we'll have to try that too, sounds fun!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Spiderman Cake

 My little K turned 3 last weekend!  K has been obsessed with Spiderman for the last couple of months, so it was easy to decide what kind of cake to make him.  I do not possess cake decorating skills, but in my online search I found some ideas that were even easy enough for me!  I combined a few of the ideas and came up with this.  I just made two 8 inch rounds, and stacked them and frosted them red.  I used Wilton food coloring gel, and it took a lot to make it red (I was afraid it was going to be pink!  But I also found the color darkens with time).  Then I made lines in the top with toothpicks to use as a guide to make the spider web with black frosting (from a store bought tube).  K's favorite part was the Spiderman figure on top - he couldn't wait to take it off and play with it.  He also really liked the spider (made out of an Oreo Cakester cookie, I made the legs with the same frosting as I used for the web).
I think he liked it! :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Countdown

We have been doing a Christmas countdown during the month of December for the past few years.  Every day, the kids open one of these little drawers and take out a piece of paper, which has an activity written on it.  (I used to make my own countdown calendar each year, but found this cute version on clearance after Christmas two years ago - much less work for Mommy!) These are the activities we will be doing this year (though they are subject to change, based on our schedule or Mommy finding other great ideas to incorporate!)

1- Open up new Christmas pajamas and wear them tonight.
2- Decorate the Christmas tree!
3- Have Family Movie Night and watch a Christmas movie (probably the classic Grinch or Polar Express)
4- Go to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate K's birthday (he's turning 3!)
5- Learn a new Christmas song (I'll probably choose a Christ-centered one)
6- Get out our new Christmas Sensory Box
7- Make a Christmas craft
8- Unwrap and read a new Christmas book
9- Make Christmas trees or snowmen out of play-doh
10- Go to the mall for a family date.
11- Decorate our gingerbread house.
12- Make our own video about the true meaning of Christmas
13- Go see the lights at Christmas Tree Lane
14- Play with shaving cream and pretend it's snow!
15- Write a letter to Santa
16- Make reindeer chow (pretty much THIS recipe, with Christmas colored M&Ms in it - this stuff is SO addictive!)
17- Have a campout next to the Christmas tree
18- Make salt dough ornaments
19- Play Christmas charades
20- Take Christmas goodies to your primary teachers
21- Put on Christmas music and have a dance party.
22- Make Christmas tree treats with sugar cones, frosting, and candies.
23- Drive around and look at Christmas lights, then come home and have hot chocolate!
24- Read the story of Jesus' birth in the Bible, then act it out.
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