Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Books to Read to Learn About the Year & the Four Seasons

As we head into the start of 2015, and the month of January, it's a great time to start thinking with kids about what makes a year. One of the best ways to help kids understand about the four seasons, the 12 months, and the changes we see across a whole year is to read about it. This can especially be even more meaningful if you are able to combine the reading with a kick off of a year long project. (See the bottom of our post for a few year long project ideas.)

10 Books to Read to Learn about the Year & the Four Seasons
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We've put together a list of 10 books you can read to learn about the whole year and the four seasons. Some are favorites, others are new titles for us. 
(Click on the book images for affiliate links.) 

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's Eve Countdown Bracelets

We wrapped up our Christmas fun this weekend and started looking forward to the next big event: New Year's Eve. We'll most likely be home that evening but we're still looking forward to the fun of the night. As we look forward we're putting together a few new ideas to add to the festivities of the evening.

New Year's Eve Countdown Bracelets
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Last year we started the new tradition of New Year's Eve Bags for the Whole Family. We're hoping to continue that tradition this year. But we did start thinking this week about how we can prepare a little more for the coming night. Big Brother has been really engaged with the ideas of numbers and counting sequences lately so we put together these Countdown Bracelets. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

30 + Crafts, Activities, and Recipes to Keep Kids Entertained at Family Holiday Parties

We're blessed to have a large group of family and friends, which also means we're pretty busy at this time of year.We attend many family holiday parties over the course of the month of December. Since having had children I've found it can be really helpful to plan ahead and have a few crafts, activities, and recipes up my sleeve that can keep kids entertained (and let's face, just not too wild) while the adults get to visit. Although we're nearing Christmas Day itself, we still have several parties to attend. So here's our list of -- Crafts, Activities, and Recipes to Keep Kids Entertained at Family Holiday Parties.

30 + Crafts, Activities, and Recipes to Keep Kids Entertained at Family Parties

Friday, December 19, 2014

Easy Christmas Tree Pop-Up Cards

It's been a quiet post week as we've been focusing on lots of Christmas projects, parties, and fun. But I've also been down and out with a knee injury, which has made me a little distracted. However, we did want to share these Easy Christmas Tree Pop-Up Cards we've been making over the last week.

Easy Christmas Tree Pop Up Cards
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A few weeks ago we shared a tutorial post on how to create an easy flower pop-up card. To put a holiday spin on it we've been creating a small stack of these easy Christmas Tree Pop-Up Cards for family and friends. For the full tutorial, check out the original pop-up card post

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Tree Numbers (for the Light Table)

There's something about these dark days of December that instantly make us want to get out our light table to play. With the coming of Christmas we decided to do some holiday themed light table play and incorporated Christmas trees.

We've done some alphabet play with the light table before with our light table letter match activity, so it was fun to try a number activity. Lately Big Brother has been really interested in numbers, reading them everywhere we go and trying to count to 100. The "teen" numbers still trip him up just a little when he's reading and saying them, although he's usually pretty comfortable by the time he gets to the twenties. I decided to make this activity be focused on the numbers 1 through 20. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Fruit Wands

We go to several holiday parties over the course of this month, which can sometimes be hard as our boys can have moments of being picky eaters. It's hard sometimes at a large, busy meal to try and get them to really eat much of anything. So I'm often trying to thing of something I can bring that I know I can get into them easily. The one thing both my kiddos consistently love are fresh fruit and veggies. We like to put a fun spin on the traditional fruit and veggie platters though to match the holiday season.

Last weekend for our first holiday event we tried making Christmas Fruit Wands.

Christmas Fruit Wands
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Last year we had a lot of fun creating our Holiday Veggie Platter for several events. 

This year we know we'll make some of those again, but we also wanted to create something new. 
So we came up with Christmas Fruit Wands. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cardboard Christmas Tree

We have the tradition of getting our tree a little later in December, so that we can keep it up a little past New Year's Eve. A few years ago Big Brother started noticing other people had their tree up earlier than that, and started asking why we couldn't have one sooner. That's when we started the tradition of creating a cardboard tree.

Cardboard Christmas Tree
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The fun of the tree is that each year we build it, paint it, and decorate it — and at the end of the season we recycle it. That way we get to start fresh the next year. It's great to keep in either the boys' room or the playroom after we get our real tree as it's a little smaller. And, this could be a great idea for a classroom or preschool where they might not have room (or money) for a real tree.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gingerbread Baby Playdough

There is something so magical and fun about gingerbread houses, and the boys are looking forward to decorating a real one with their Pamma later this week. But until then we've started playing with gingerbread houses in other ways and reading several gingerbread books.

Gingerbread Baby Playdough
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One of our favorite books which includes a gingerbread house is Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett.


This spin on the classic tale tells the story of a little gingerbread baby who runs away from everyone. But instead of being eaten by the fox at the end, the little boy who made him also makes him a beautiful gingerbread house to live in. We've been rereading the book over the last few weeks and it inspired our Gingerbread Baby Playdough.

To begin with, we tweaked our basic playdough recipe to make it smell like gingerbread by adding some yummy smelling spices. We like to make a cooked playdough. so the directions below should be done by an adult as they involve using the stove. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bird Feeder Ornaments (As Inspired by The Night Tree)

We're really excited to participate in the Christmas Read + Play blog hop. We participated in the Halloween Read + Play collection in October with our Halloween Sticky Collage and loved all the great ideas we gained then.

For this series, over 20 bloggers have chosen a favorite holiday book and paired it with a fun play, craft, or learning activity. There are several great books and ideas to get you through the whole season! We love seeing what great, new ideas we can gain from all these other fabulous bloggers.

Bird Feeder Ornaments (As Inspired by the Night Tree)
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Several years ago I fell in love with the Christmas story The Night Tree by Eve Bunting.  It tells the story of a family who has a special Christmas tradition: every year they head into the woods to decorate a tree with popcorn, fruit, and seed balls. This tradition not only provides them with the opportunity to be together as a family but also to practice the spirit of giving by leaving treats for the animals of the forest.