Craft by Numbers – Christmas Tree

Do you remember paint by numbers? I used to love doing them but mixing the numbers up ( yeah I was that kid) my son however is all about numbers and this was a fun way to make something festive but also let his interest in math be spotlighted. You could do this with shapes, or letters too.  I didn’t tell him that the final result was a Christmas tree so it was fun to have him “decode” the craft as we went.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some pom-poms in different colors, cups to sort them in,  construction paper, glue and a marker.
  2. Start by sorting your pom-poms by color into different cups, write different numbers on each cup. I wrote 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 on mine since we’d just been chatting about counting by 10s.  To have your child help sort the pom poms just put on of each color in one cup to use as a guide.
  3. Write out the numbers on the paper in a design. I did green outline, with random colors and green in the middle.
  4. Start gluing the pom poms on using the code.
  5. hmmmm what could it be?
  6. All done! Let dry.

Great Christmas Book!

a creature was stirring by Clement C. Moore and  Carter Goodrich  was a recent find at the library. Around the holidays ( any holiday) my son and I attack the stacks like soldiers on a mission and look for the sticker on the binding indicating it’s a Christmas themed book. This was one of the few we found yesterday , and what a find! The book is an adaptation of the classic ‘Twas a NIght Before Christmas with a little boy interupting the poem with his own rhyming story.  It’s an adorable story about a little boy who simply can’t sleep , wants to be good but is oh so worried Santa will think he is naughty. I adore this book, it’s simple and fun and a great addition to the classic that so many of us have been read and will read to our kids this Christmas.

Cork Painted Wreath

I love it when I can do one craft with both my kids. With a 5 year old son and a 18 month old daughter it’s not as often as I wish. This super easy but completely festive Christmas craft fit the bill, they both happily painted and now my kitchen is merry and bright with one on the pantry and the other on the closet door.  Holiday crafts are my kids’ favorite and unlike many of our other creations these are kept, stored and brought out year after year.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate per child, corks ( do you know how long it took us to save up these corks? Since 2006 I have been almost always pregnant or nursing. It took a long time… ), paint, a plate or two for the paint, some ribbon , scissors and hot glue.
  2. Start by cutting the middle out of the plate. If we were painting with brushes or something that offered more coverage I’d do the cutting after the paint dried but with corks you want to make sure they hit the wreath and not all in the middle of the plate.
  3. Add paint to a plate.  I put a different cork in each color to encourage my kids to try each color. Also the corks I used for my daughter who is presently trying to put all things not bolted down into her mouth , are the solid plastic? ones.  I did a bite test and they were solid. Still PLEASE watch vigilantly and make sure your children are ready and able to do the craft safely, you can always opt for finger painting .
  4. Paint!
  5. She was more interested in the feeling of the paint than banging the corks on her wreath. This is normal for toddlers, they are exploring and it doesn’t mean the craft failed.
  6. My son quite liked the marks the corks left and had a ball. 
  7. After they were dried I made bows and hot glued them on, then put them on my doors with painter’s tape.

Easy Peasy Wreath Cookies

Check out these cheater cookies we made when we needed something fast for a holiday pot luck, they were tasty and super easy for my son to help me make.

Fast & Mess Free Glitter Ornaments

christmas ornament

 We had fun making these Christmas ornaments and the best part there was no huge glittery mess! Christmas ornaments beg to be glittered and I don’t know about your schedule but mine just got crazy so I don’t have as much time for glue to dry , no need, these have zero glue. Both my kids love making these and even though we used them as ornaments they could easily be made into gift tags too.  I was inspired to make this after seeing this candle project from The Ivy Cottage on Pinterest.

  1. Gather your materials. I used card stock for the circles, I wanted to make sure the tape would stick permanently and knew from experience that it does on card stock. Also used glitter provided for me by the folks atcraftprojectideas.com , ziploc bags, scissors, hot glue and gun, and pipe cleaners. I had ribbon in the picture thinking I would hang them with it but the pipe cleaners were perfect!
  2. Start by drawing and cutting out the ornament. I made circles but any shape would be fine.
  3. Add the tape, it goes without saying I added it for my daughter but I also had to help my 5 year old the first time. The tape was so sticky .
  4. Add the glitter to the zip lock .
  5. Shake! Can you tell she loved this?
  6. add more tape.
  7. Pop it in the next color of glitter .
  8. Shake.
  9. Keep going until they are just the way you want them. 
  10. My son told me his has lightsabres fighting on it.
  11. As you may be able to tell after it was dark and sugar plums were dancing in my kids’ heads I hot glued some pipe cleaners on for hooks. 
  12. Hang up on your tree.

It’s Christmas, David! – Review & Giveaway

It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon.

Being a kid is hard. Being a kid waiting for Christmas to come is even harder and David Shannon remembers what it was like. As parents we try so hard to teach appreciation, gratefulness and patience but it’s so hard to be any of those things when you are little and very very excited! In this book we follow David as he gets scolded for trying to grab Christmas cookies, for peeking at gifts, and my son’s favorite naughty behavior, writing his name in the snow…with pee.  Over the years I have had readers say that they aren’t a fan of the original No! David because they worried it would spark naughty ideas but that is not what these books do. Young kids have a very natural sense of what is right and wrong and they are laughing because they know what he is doing is wrong and even David knows that he has messed up, as he fears Santa will leave him nothing but coal. Of course we all know that David is not a bad kid ( Are there bad kids? I don’t think so! ) and his heart is in the right place even if sometimes he makes bad choices. Both my kids loved this book and I loved the underlying message to parents that being a kid is tough especially when parents are busy.

Now here is the best part! This book was supplied to me by Scholastic Book Club to review and is featiured in their December Book Club fliers ( so if you get them look out for it! ) and they are also giving me one to give away.  Hooray!

To enter for a chance to win your own copy of It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon all you need to do is leave a comment on this post  telling me the title of your all time favorite book.

The giveaway will close  Sunday December 4th 2011 at 10pm PST.  The winner will be chosen by random.org and please only one entry per person.

COMMENTS CLOSED

Disclosure : I was not paid for this review although I did get to choose the book I recieved free to keep and giveaway. All opinions are mine .

Santa’s Workshop Pretend Play

christmas pretend play

I love having a project set up for my son when he gets home from school before he gets involved in his own play . Yesterday he arrived home to this simple Santa’s Workshop set up. This wasn’t a long afternoon of play , but it was 30 minutes of smiles and giggles and pretending he was an elf! He also did some crafting, some deep thinking , reading,  a little writing and of course imaginative play. Remember that your set up need not be worthy of a Broadway production, just good enough to support play.

  1. Gather your materials. I made 3 stations in this workshop a building station, a toy testing station and a wrap station.  My materials included paper bag, glue ( I switched it to a glue stick), scissors, wrapping paper, construction paper, markers , plain paper , a clip board and some toys.
  2. For the Duplo Building Station I used black construction paper down the middle of the table to act as a conveyer belt, made simple buildings with the duplo and provided duplicate blocks in containers for my son to build. There is actually a really great lesson in duplication here. Following directions is an important skill and lego type toys are a great way to work on the skills non verbally.
  3. The Wrap Station is our craft component – I provided glue, scissors, markers , snowflake confetti, wraping paper scraps to cut and glue and paper bags.
  4. The Toy Testing Station had some reading for him to do , and questions to answer after he tested the toy. I snuck some circle drawing in too!
  5. Think he was excited to see it? He said to me ” Do I really get to pretend to be an elf? Really?”
  6. Getting into the elf character .Building the duplo !
  7. Making the gift bags.
  8. All wrapped up.
  9. Off to test a toy.
  10. Test results.
  11. Happy, busy and at the North Pole … at least in his imagination!

Santa Book

How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow is a great book to go along with this activity. The book is styled as an expose about how Santa and his many many elves get all the work for Christmas done. I will caution you now that this is a long book, with even longer asides. I made my son head up to bed with me and the book early inorder to get it read and still have time to chat about it after. I love the “insider” feel about this book and so did my son. There were many asides thta made both of us giggle especially the comment about how many requests Santa gets for ponies each year. I loved that it encouraged kids to write to Santa but I have to say I sorta miss that it didn’t include much about magic. Still I can’t tell you how much my son loved this book ( I knew he would) and how impressed I was when he asked me if I thought this was how it worked. That opened a great discussion about how we imagine the North Pole and how stories andmovies are just one person’s imagination and no one knows the truth . This is a completely secular view of Christmas too so if you are looking for a religious book this is not for you but you can try these ones.

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