Sticker Advent Calendar

 

sticker advent calendar
Growing up we always had the chocolate advent calendars and I usually ate it all by November 25th! I doubt I will be able to avoid this with my son but at 2 I still have the upper hand. Stickers are big treats in our house, so capitalizing on that and the fact my son has no clue there are calendars with chocolate in them ( yet) I made him this simple but cute countdown to Christmas.
  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, a scrap piece of paper, some double stick tape or glue, a marker, scissors, some sparkle glue and stickers.
  2. Draw a rough draft of a Christmas tree with the numbers 1-24 on it, I organized it with one on the bottom and the numbers going up the tree numerically. With older kids having the numbers all over the place would add a search and find activity too !
  3. Cut out a tree from your green paper. I folded mine in half to make it symmetrical and even though it worked , it made a yucky line down the middle. So I would do that with a scrap and make a stencil them trace it and cut out . That was the last of my green paper though so I was stuck with it.
  4. Add your numbers , use your guide so you don’t end up with extra or not enough space on your tree! If you have an older child you will want to have a larger tree so there is enough space for them to write the numbers themselves.
  5. I added circles around the numbers to give my son a clear spot for the sticker to go but there is no right or wrong way to do it!
  6. Add sparkles if you so desire,I can’t imagine a tree without some bling!
  7. Glue or tape your tree to the back paper, and add a title if you want.
  8. As the days go by add your stickers- I added them here for you to see what it would look like closer to Christmas.

Carve Out Some Time For

Reading!

We shouldn’t teach great books;
we should teach a love of reading.
– B.F. Skinner

I love doing dynamic learning activities, using all different senses, textures, materials but the one thing that all of us must be doing with our children is reading. I am not talking about teaching letter recognition or phonics right now I am just talking about instilling a love of reading, and the wonderful places books can take you! After a busy week a friendly reminder about how important turning off the tv, closing the laptop and snuggling in with a few books is exactly what I need. Here are a few books that are favorites of mine.


“Something from Nothing” by Phoebe Gilman is one of those books that you read and think oh I love it, but will kids? I am here to tell you yes! They love this old yidish folk tale about a little boy, his very special blanket and his grandfather who made it for him. Over the years Joseph’s blanket transforms into a jacket, a vest, a tie, and handkerchief and finally a button. The story is beautiful and kids love not only the repetitive text when the grandfather is sewing but also the continuing storyline of the mice that live under the floor boards who use the scraps of material for all sorts of things. There are no goofy gimmicks, no lights or sounds just a great story and beautiful illustrations in this gem!


“Wemberly Worried” by Kevin Henkes is a favorite of mine, the author has real talent for identifying with children’s emotions and he doesn’t skip a beat with this book. Wemberly is a little mouse who worries all the time, everything makes her sick with worry and nothing as much as the first day of school! What I love about this book is how her parents seem so supportive and caring about her anxiety, and how it still takes a little time for Wemberly to warm up to school, it’s realistic. Also check out the details in the illustrations, my favorite is grandma’s high top sneakers!


“The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz . You may know Karen Katz from her very popular board books, but she has written a number of great picture books too! Lena is learning about mixing colors with her artist mom when she announces that “brown is brown” her mom knows better though. On a walk around her neighborhood she sees that all the people she knows are all different and all beautiful shades of brown. What I like about this book is that it recognizes that we are all different, kids , especially little ones can be really confused when we tell them “We are all the same” they don’t understand what we mean because they can SEE that we aren’t. This book celebrates the diversity while also celebrating the beauty of each color of us.


” the alphabet tree” by Leo Lionni is a stunning book and the first time I read it to a class , at the start if the Iraq conflict was rather poignant. The book is all about letters that come together to make words and then after a caterpillar informs them that they need to say something they join together to make sentences. Up to this point the book is a brilliant teaching tool , but for me the best part is yet to come. When the words get together they decide to say ” Peace on earth goodwill toward all men” and then the caterpillar asks them to jump on his back so he can take the words to the president . Considering it was written in 1968 it’s quite the statement. A fantastic activity to do with your child after reading this would be to ask them what they would write to the president ? For younger children using letters on leaves you could spell out easy 3 letter words like they do early on in the story. All in all a brilliant book.

Football Craft

 

When I celebrated my first American Thanksgiving I discovered that pilgrims and Indians may be the historical symbols of the holiday but football is the down home one. So during a play date with a fellow football fan we made these fun footballs.
  1. Gather your materials. You will need 1 brown paper grocery bag, some newspaper, a stapler, some white paper, glue , scissors and brown paint or markers.
  2. Draw two footballs on the grocery bag, do not cut out.
  3. Have your child color or paint the foot ball brown. Let dry.
  4. While they do that , cut out 2 thick stripes , one think line and 6 short rectangles out of the white paper . These will be the laces and bands on the ball. I have a bunch in the photo because I had two little men making footballs!
  5. Hand your child some newspaper and start crumpling it into balls. Both boys were not into crumpling the paper, which surprised me, maybe they are still young, older kids love it, just watch out a few newspaper balls normally end up in the air!
  6. Time to glue, I usually put the glue on so my son knows where to put the laces and bands.
  7. Cut the football out and start stapling, don’t staple it all the way though.
  8. Stuff the newspaper in
  9. Now staple it all the way!

Books!

” Touchdown : My Football Book” by David Diehl is a short, to the point and completely entertaining little book. It explains so much about football in the absolute easiest ways. My son has started to show a love of football, helmets and tackling and this book is a great injury free way to harness that love!


” T is for Touchdown : A Football Alphabet” by Brad Herzog is a beautiful book that will delight even those of us who are never happy to see football season start. I admit even being an anti fan this book was fun and really full of information that even a football scrooge like myself can appreciate. Also it’s easy to read simply the letters and look at the pictures for little ones and has genuinely interesting blurbs for each page for older children.