What’s Next ?

Wrapping
Paper Patterning

This is an easy learning activity to do with something so many of us are up to our eyeballs in right now ! Most wrapping papers are on sale right now and it’s not hard to find one that would work for this project. I made this during nap time but you could easily have your child color the backing , help glue , cut or if they are old enough do it all with little help at all!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some wrapping paper, card stock( all the same color), scissors and/or a paper punch , and glue.
  2. Start by choosing what pictures from the wrapping paper you will be using. I am using the penguin, riendeer and snowman from mine.
  3. Cut out 3-5 of each picture. Generally the older and more able your child is the more you’ll need.
  4. Cut out one square of card stock for each picture.
  5. Glue the picture on the card stock. Let dry.
How To Use Them
  1. Start by sorting them and labeling them with your child. For them to grasp patterns they need to be able to tell all the pictures apart. If they have a hard time with this, flip the cards over and play a simple “Can you find the penguin…” until they know what all the pictures are. Some kids stay on this step for days or weeks- don’t worry and don’t push, just play and they’ll get it . My son also liked counting them after sorting them into piles.
  2. If they can identify all the pictures, try a simple pattern ABABA… and see if they know what comes next. I find with really little ones helping them with verbal queues is really important so saying “Snowman, Penguin, Snowman, Penguin…” out loud while they do it with you they will get it. Try another ABABA… pattern. This is the step we’re at.
  3. If they master that try harder patterns, like, ABCABC or ABBABBA but if they are too hard go back to the ABABA.
  4. Ask your child to make some patterns too!

Holiday Gift Showcase

Twitter Finds!
Are you on Twitter yet? If not you should check it out, I have found so many cool blogs through twitter and more than that I have found awesome additions to my gift showcase! Here are my twitter picks !


I couldn’t pick just one item from just dots , you can tell that great care and talent went into making the dress pictured above, the detail is amazing. My second favorite is this headband, if you have seen my hair you know why I love this, I need something just like it, I am way to lazy to do my hair and this headband is a perfect solution when a hat just won’t do!


This item isn’t so much a Christmas gift idea but how cute would these be for thank you notes for your child to write to those who spoiled them over the holidays? Robots are huge in our house but if they aren’t in yours, there are lots of other designs over at Paper*Cakes


Look at this shirt! I love that it’s girly , my favorite color and has somehow made skulls look fun and flirty! How beyond adorable is this? Oh and it’s less than $20! There are other amazingly cute bohemian style clothes at Baby-Vagabond !


Thrifty Craft Mama lives up to her name with this awesome FREE pattern for felt pumpkin pie, I don’t know about you but my toddler is getting a kitchen this Christmas and this is a perfect and thrifty stocking stuffer! Check out Maryanne’s other awesome ideas at
Thrifty Craft Mama


Building blocks are a must have for every child, and these from Princess Time Toys are awesome. They make a castle but there are enough plain blocks that you don’t have to make a castle every time you play! I am kicking myself that I didn’t see these before I bought my son blocks for Christmas!

Don’t be fooled , this isn’t a toy for your child, it’s a dog toy, and it’s earth friendly, 100% recyclable, and made in the USA. I think it’s perfect for the environmentally conscious dog owner, not to mention I think an artichoke is much more pleasing to see laying around your house than a yucky old bone! Find it and more ( including bones) at Paw Luxury !
** Paw Luxury has offered my US readers FREE Shipping !
Just enter the code FIRSTFREE !**

Reading In A Winter Wonderland

The children’s librarian at my local library shared a tip with me yesterday, if you are getting sick of holiday crowds stop by the library, it gets very quiet as everywhere else gets insane. Here are a few winter books I found at the library yesterday.
“The Lonesome Polar Bear” by Jane Cabrera is a cute little book about a little polar who’s only friends are a snow cloud and snow animals that keep melting away. The book has a cute message about not giving up hope and to keep trying to make friends , a lesson that is worth wile for everyone. The illustrations are very cute and my son loved it!


“It’s Snowing!” by Olivier Dunrea is a beautiful book , that I read twice in a row because I just loved the magical flow of it and the stunning art work. My son was not too interested which doesn’t surprise me , the story is slow and I should have introduced it at bedtime for someone as young as he is. It is definitely worth a look and I am looking forward to reading this again when my son can sit a little longer and is interested in something other than bulldozers and dump trucks.

“Stella : Queen Of The Snow” by Marie-Louise Gay is my kind of book. If I were to quote all my favorite bits of this book I would write out most of it. I just love the writing, it’s simple but doesn’t talk down to the reader. The characters are sweet but not saccharine and I love how inquisitive Sam is . Stella is a know it all but not bratty about it at all! Sam has never seen snow before and Stella tells him all about it as they explore the first snow fall of the year.

Mele Kalikimaka

Christmas
Island Style

I don’t know about you , but we are in need of a little island get away, a real trip isn’t in the cards but at art time today we decided to make a little Hawaiian themed Christmas tree to transport us to a place a little warmer and a tad bit more exotic. Don’t be fooled by how cute this craft is, it’s also got a few great lessons hidden in it too. The sand and pom poms offer fun sensory discovery to make this a really worthwhile island getaway!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of construction paper ( 2 light, 1 of any color you want), green and brown paint, some pom poms, glue, some sparkly ribbon, scissors, a marker and sand.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of a palm tree trunk.
  3. Now draw the leaves.
  4. Hand those to your child to paint. We used do-a-dot dobbers but any paint will work. Let dry.
  5. Make a large dot of glue for each pom pom, I ended up adding more later .
  6. Add the pom poms. Let dry.
  7. Cut out the trunk and glue it on the 3rd piece of paper.
  8. Add a whole bunch of glue to the base of the truck and all around the bottom of the paper.
  9. Add the sand, if you don’t have ( or don’t want) loose sand try a piece of sandpaper cut to size. Let dry.
  10. Cut 2 small pieces of sparkly ribbon
  11. Glue them to the truck to make garland. At this point my son was knee deep in sand and had no interest in glue, so if I were you I would do this step before the sand.
  12. Cut out the leaves , glue on the trunk.
  13. Maliki Liki Maka !
More Island Cheer !

Ohana Mama Blog

From the very start Sarah over at Ohana Mama has been a huge cheerleader for us, and I can’t just ignore the amazing things going on over at her little bit of paradise . I don’t know if you heard but they are giving away an Ergo baby carrier , and lots of other great things! I love my Ergo and my son who is 2 still jumps in it, most recently at a failed attempt to see the mall Santa, my son was happy to be tightly snuggled next to mom and not in that bad man’s lap. Her Hawaiian Holiday Giveaway is almost over so jump in and win that Ergo !

Gift Bow Christmas Tree Craft

I was unpacking all my Christmas decorations and when I opened the box of used bows some were a little misshapen, which is perfect for this craft! So I gathered them and my son up and we made this tree that is now adding some shine to our foyer.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some strong paper my favorite choice are grocery bags, a marker, some green paint ( optional) , glue , a bunch of Christmas bows , some wax paper and heavy books!
  2. Start by drawing a large outline of a Christmas tree. As you can see there is no need for it to be perfect it’s just getting covered anyway!
  3. Paint the tree if you want, this fills in any gaps between bows and also adds some extra fun, but is totally optional.
  4. Add the glue , lots and lots of glue!
  5. Add your bows. Older children can try to make patterns , or stripes of different colors.I helped fill in the tree , after my son had done 5 or 6 by himself, I asked him which color he wanted and I found the right size in that color to fit. Older children can do it all by themselves though.
  6. Lay some wax paper on top of your tree and lay some heavy books on for about an hour, this will keep all the bouncy bows in place until the glue gets tacky.
  7. When the glue is dry cut the extra paper off and you have a fun and “Bow”tiful tree!
Additional Activities

Matching, Sorting and Counting Oh My !


All of these activities are crucial pre-math exercises, introducing your child to them with a novel manipulative like Christmas Bows is fun and memorable for little guys. We want to challenge children when they are learning so if 3 colors are too easy , add another, if they are struggling take one away. When kids are challenged the lesson will mean more and will sink in , however if it’s too hard, it will frustrate them and a frustrated toddler or preschooler is fun for no one!

  • There is no need for fancy containers , I just used matching construction paper but if you have something fun to pop the bows into go for it! Start with labeling the colors and matching them with the paper.

  • Next try counting them, each color, all together, whatever you want.
  • Find the largest bow and find the smallest.
  • With preschoolers you can play a guessing game , stuff all the bows in the bowl and ask them to make a prediction about how many bows are in the bowl, count and find out !