## 7 ways to use this FREE Color By Number Printables

My daughter is HUGE into coloring right now. Unlike her brother ( or her mom) she loves the challenge of staying in the lines. I created this simple free color by numbers printables for her to use but the beauty of it is that it’s completely adaptable. The colors are set but you can adjust the way your child reaches that number many many ways.

Gather your materials. You will need a light colored pencil for writing the info below into the circles, and markers or crayons. You may also want a clip board to keep it all together! You will also need the printable. Click on the image above and print!

• Use it for reading – Write the word for the digit in the circles. Have your child read the word and color accordingly using the legend
• Use it for writing – Write the number and have the child trace the pencil with marker. <— my daughter thought this one up and as you can see loved doing it!
• Use it for subitizing – Use tally marks in the circles and have your child translate them to digits and color accordingly.
• Use it for addition – Write simple addition equations with the sum being the number your child must use to identify the correct color.
• Use it for subtraction – Write simple equations with the difference being the number your child must use for coloring.
• Use it for counting – add dots to the circles and have your child count to find out what color they should be using to color in.
• Use it for number identification/ matching. Simply write in the number and use the legend to find the matching number and what color you need to use.

So many fun ways to use it! So I think you should print out a BUNCH. I loved watching my kids doing the same activity with their own adaptations together at our sun room desk!

Merry Christmas !

## Nativity Crafts & Activities For Kids

I had so much fun planning Christmas activities for my class this year. I never minded teaching in classrooms where we did not celebrate but I sure had fun this year teaching something I never have outside of Sunday School before. Here are some great ideas and nativity crafts that I used ( or wished I’d had more time to) in my classroom and a few for older kids too.  I hope you have time to squeeze one of these great nativity crafts into your playtime before Christmas.

## Nativity Activities & Sensory Play

Nativity Scene Find & Fill Scavenger Hunt is a great way to teach the Christmas story to young kids.
This Nativity Small World from Imagination Tree lets kids play with all the figures.
This nativity activity would be great with a Sunday school class or as a family tradition the way Toddler Approved does it every year.
I love this nativity sensory bin from Golden Reflections
Sun Hats and Wellie Boots has a lovely Nativity Tree.
You might want to see how Happy Hooligans created their nativity sensory box too.

## The Holy Family & Manger Crafts

This paper bag manger from I Can Teach My Child is brilliant!
I love this nativity wreath from Rainy Day Mum
How cute is this paper roll nativity scene from Happy Hooligans?
This nativity sun catcher from Housing a Forrest is beautiful.
I did this nativity scene sun catcher with my class this year. Not only does it help teach shapes it shines in any light.
This nativity silhouette from Joyfully Weary is simple and beautiful!

## Wise Men Crafts

I love these Paper Roll Three Kings from Red Ted Art
These Stick Wise Men from Made By Mollie’s Mom would make great puppets!
Don’t forget about the camels the three wise men came on. Red Ted Art shows us how to make the camels too.
My son loved making these Wise Men out of travel sized shampoo bottles.

## Angel Crafts

I love this sweet angel craft from Toddler Approved.
You can make a beautiful angel sun catcher like we did!
What’s not to love with these toilet paper roll angels from NurtureStore ?
Toddlers can have fun making this coffee filter angel too.

## Christmas Books Without Santa

Check out this book list filled with Christmas books without out Santa.

## Easy Snowflake Christmas Ornaments

I titled this craft as and easy snowflake Christmas ornaments because that was our plan with this activity but my daughter has chosen to leave her snowflakes as decorations for her floor so it looks like it’s snowing in her room. It doesn’t matter if you turn your snowflakes into something to hang on the tree or something to facilitate pretend play like my 4 year old did, the fun is in creating them. I was just digging through my craft closet looking for shiny things to glue on these foam snowflakes when my daughter saw the highlighters. They were still in their package and if there is one thing this girl loves it’s opening packaging. Those packages that drive most people nuts, she sees as a personal challenge. All she wanted to do was open the pack but then she saw how bright they were and together we decided to use them to make easy snowflake Christmas ornaments. The results were awesome. These simple little snowflakes are so pretty and my 4 year old totally got into making them carefully dotting the foam.

Gather your materials. You will nee some white foam snowflakes ( psst! They are at Dollar Tree right now!) , highlighters in various colors and if you want to turn them into ornaments you will need some sparkly pipe cleaners. I have glitter glue in the picture but we never used it. You could but the simplicity of the colors on the white were too pretty to need any glitter.

Mix one ( or more) kids, some bright and fun highlighters and snowflakes!

Don’t you just love simple things? I loved watching her mutter to herself as she carefully dotted the foam. I didn’t tell her to make patterns or keep the colors symmetrical but you could use this project to teach both. I just let her go.

If you are turning the snowflakes into ornaments cut a standard size pipe cleaner in two, poke a hole into the foam, and twist into a loop.

Or you can just keep coloring them ! We were doing this for so long I had to go downstairs and start dinner. When an activity goes that well I will find more supplies and make sure to leave them out in the playroom. Sure enough she found her way in there the next day to make more.

## Books About Snow

All our book lists include affiliate links.

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara is another fantastic book that will have you aching for snow. A little boy is lonely after his friends have all gone into hibernation for the winter when Jack Frost shows up. They frolic and play exploring all the fun that winter has to offer friends but when the first signs of spring arrive Jack is gone. The illustrations are perfectly simple and will suck you into a wintery world that you won’t want to leave. My kids love this book and after one reading at the library we bought our own copy.

Snowbots by Aaron Reynolds is funky, fun , and full of really awesome rhymes. The robot reality is a sweet one and my kids totally dug this book. We were picking favorite robots in the first few pages and loving the book more and more as we read it. The story is a familiar one but with the substitution of robots instead of humans basic snow day things get more interesting. My son loved the snowball fight and my daughter was all over the pink robot. I loved how they had cereal with gasoline and an oil bath. A huge hit with all of us.

White Snow, Bright Snowby Alvin Tresselt is a total throw back to another time and it’s awesome. I love books that haven’t been updated because they offer readers a chance to go back in time and get a glimpse of the past. The story is about a town expecting a snow storm and how it’s different residents prepare and deal with it. The animals , adults , and kids all go about it very differently. The character that stood out for me was the policeman’s wife who doted on her husband and cared for his cold with a mustard plaster. I told you it was a total throw back! I didn’t know they still used mustard plasters in the 40s but that’s why these books are such treasures for kids and parents alike.

Need more snow books? Check out our full list here!

## Easy Candy Cane Craft

These tape candy canes are my Christmas version of our insanely popular Tape Mummy. After a long day at preschool my daughter still wanted to make some crafts but I didn’t want to set her up for a meltdown. Instead I grabbed a few simple things and let her create. There is no waiting for glue to dry so these easy candy cane crafts are a great choice for class parties on the last day of school or as a 2nd activity at a cookie decorating party. They are so simple you can do it anywhere.

Gather your materials. You will need some red paper ( card stock would be perfect but all we had was flimsy construction paper… still worked out fine!), some tape in whatever colors you have, a pencil, and scissors. That’s it!

Start by drawing a candy cane on your red paper. My daughter wanted to make a bunch so we made them using only half a sheet per candy cane. As you can see my candy canes are far from perfect and I think that’s a good thing. If you want your kids to try to create you have to make it accessible. If we reject ourselves when we are less than perfect our kids will learn from our example. I don’t want to just be sloppy but I want to be accepting of my own efforts so they are not afraid to try.

Invite your candy cane creators to the table and let them loose with tape!

Some of our tape ( ours is a mix of masking, washi, and foil tape) was really hard to tear off. I started to reach over and just do it for her and she very rightly told me to stop that she can do it. It’s funny I don’t intervene like that with students, I always wait to be asked for help ( unless there is a danger) but with my own kids I guess I go auto pilot. I need to remember not to.

Pop the tape on!

And on.

Or not. If your child is happy with one piece that is rad. I will say ” Are you finished with this masterpiece?” to be sure but if your child is sure, resist the urge to add more on to their art.

When it’s all taped down, cut it out.

See how it magically turns into a candy cane? Well maybe not magic, but my daughter loved it!

I told you they are simple but I think this time of year this is what you need. Something festive but FAST that doesn’t really make any mess.

Need more fast activities for the holidays? Here are some toddler activities to keep them engaged for a few minutes at a time.

## Artificial DYE FREE Christmas Treats For Kids

When I was a teenager I remember rolling my eyes at the parents who would put ” DO NOT GIVE RED DYE” on the health forms for day camp. I thought it was hogwash. Funny how a few years of maturity, your own kids, and a big dose of respecting other people will change your attitude. My kids both react to red dye and I will never forget my parents ( who thought I was nuts restricting it) falling all over themselves when they saw first hand how my then 3 year old son reacted after ingesting it.

Do my kids get some food color? Yes, but it’s something I really try to avoid. Not all kids have the same reaction but if you read this post Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Artificial Food Coloring by Megan over at Sorta Crunchy even if your kids don’t react to dye you will want to limit it anyway!

Most of the year it’s not hard to avoid dye especially when red is the main culprit. Around Christmas I start hearing the whining. ” But mom just a little won’t hurt! ” It’s true my son at 8 is starting to outgrow the hyper irritability that it seemed to cause but it’s so easy to let a little become a lot and why take the chance. We don’t have to anymore because over the years I have found wonderful alternatives. Here are two fun and classic Christmas treats with no artificial food dyes!

## Rudolf Candy Canes – with Naturally Colored Candy Canes

I think I first made these in Brownies in the early 80s. I have made them as small trinkets for classes I have taught for almost as long. 3 year olds at preschool and 14 year olds in my Babysitter Safety class all loved them. My kids do too. Now they can love them more because finding dye free candy canes isn’t as hard or as expensive as it used to be. I picked these up at Safeway but last year I bought these on amazon  Organic Candy Canes Peppermint  ( affiliate link)

If you aren’t sure how to make these candy cane reindeer here is a quick tutorial.

Gather your materials. You will need some candy canes, pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes and a hot glue gun.

Add the pipe cleaners by wrapping it around the curved end of the candy cane twice and bending to make some antlers.

Add hot glue to the end and a pom pom on top.

Add hot glue a little higher and pop on two googly eyes. Have a puppet show with them or, what we usually do with them, pop your reindeer on the Christmas tree.

## Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees with Naturally Dyed Candies and Icing.

We did these ice cream cone Christmas Trees many years ago with artificial dye ( see how little my son is?) but it was before I discovered just how poorly my son reacted to all the artificial colors. I have been meaning to do it again with my daughter so this time we did it more naturally.

Gather your materials. You will need some sugar cones. I didn’t check the ingredient list on these because my kids won’t eat it. They will pick off the candy and leave the tree. There are lots of all natural options out there, check out the shopping list below. You will also need some icing Wilton was dye free , and I used India Tree colors which are all natural to make the green. You will also need candy and stars for the top, two paper plates, some knives for spreading and my favorite candy holders… an ice cube tray.

Start by spreading some white icing on the bottom and sticking the tree on top.

Ice the tree in green ( now natural dye isn’t as bright but my kids didn’t say a word about it’s lack of vibrancy).

Taste a little here and there.

Add the jelly beans, sprinkles and chocolate chips for ornaments.

When you are done add more icing for snow with coconut for flakes! Use as a centerpiece for a holiday cookie decorating party or just to add to your decor. My kids ate theirs which was quite the treat.

Shopping list for Candy Christmas Trees
This list contains affiliate links.

White icing ( I can’t confirm this item as color free so check the ingredients on your icing or make your own to be sure! Ours was Wilton but I can’t find the exact item on line to provide a link)
Gourmet Jelly Beans

Trader Joe’s Mini Dark Chocolate Mint Stars