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 !

That’s French For Christmas !

Jingle Bell
Banner

I have been trying to work in some letter learning into our holiday crafts, this was today’s effort. This will work for any celebration , you can spell out Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Happy New Year… the sky is the limit. I chose to do Noel because 1. I want my son to understand that his mommy’s country speaks 2 languages and because 4 letters was the perfect amount for a 2 year old! In a class allowing each child to do one letter is a great option.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, paint , a plain kitchen sponge, thin ribbon, scissors, a marker and a few jiggle bells.
  2. Write out the letters on the cardboard. Don’t cut them all the way out, this way your child especially if they are young will be more likely to paint to the edges of the letter. Ho Ho Ho is another great option for Santa fans!
  3. Time to paint. Sponge painting is a great way to encourage lots of paint , within a toddler or preschooler’s attention span. We added yellow sparkle paint to our green for some flair
  4. Alternate between the red and green paint.
  5. Let all the letters dry.
  6. When dry cut them out, older kids can do this, but cardboard is tricky for little hands.
  7. Poke tiny holes in the top of the letters and thread your ribbon through.
  8. After adding your first letter add a jingle bell and tie a knot, continue with the rest of the letters and jingle bells.
  9. Hang it up!
Books !

” Madeline’s Christmas” was published after Ludwig Bemelmans passed away, it had been published as a book insert in McCall’s magazine in 1956 and as a book in 1985. The story itself is a curious Christmas tale about a rug seller who brings a little magic to Madeline and her friends. My toddler say for the whole thing and laughed at many of the rhymes, which if you have read others in the Madeline series you will know are awesome. If you are working on rhyming words check this and the rest of the series out!


“Babar and Father Christmas” by Jean De Brunhoff was one of my very favorite Christmas stories as a child. As an adult i have had some great belly laughs at some of it’s writing which I still think is awesome. Babar goes looking for Father Christmas because he wants to ask him to visit Elephant country. He searches all over Paris and finally ends up in the north pole and finds after much effort Father Christmas. I love the details in this book, as a child I would lay looking at the pictures of Santa’s workshop and imagine what visiting it would be like. As an adult I appreciate the smallest details like how Father Christmas’s flying machine ( not a sled) has P.N #1 on it , meaning of course Pere Noel #1.

There Are Endless Ways To …

robot kids craft

We are taking a little break from Christmas things because I had to share this robot with you! Everyone likes to make silly things, this craft will keep creating long after the glue dries. All the pieces have magnets on them so your child can put them together however they feel like. Please please be careful with anything magnetic with kiddos that still put things in their mouths, do not let them play with it unattended!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need 1-4 foam sheets, I am using a sparkle one which you can buy in a single sheet at a craft store. You will also need scissors, glue, a marker, magnetic strips and a fridge or cookie sheet to play with.
  2. Start by drawing your robot pieces on the back of the sparkly foam sheet. I drew a square, 2 small rectangles, 2 wiggly legs, a large rectangle and a small neck piece that I ended up not using.
  3. Cut them out.
  4. Cut out some small foam pieces to make eyes, buttons and other decoration on the robot.
  5. Glue the foam pieces on. Let dry .
  6. Flip the robot parts over and add the magnetic strips.
  7. Create your funny robots! ** Edited to add this picture of my son who loved it, he ripped most of the foam off but created new robots on and off all day. **