Find & Fill Nativity Scene Game

We are a church going family and even though I am quite private about our faith I wanted to share this simple nativity activity with you. Every year since my son was 1 we have put out our Little People Christmas Story Nativity Scene Playset and played with it. I have tried to teach my son and now my daughter about who everyone is in it but it didn’t really stick. My 2 year old refuses to call the angel Gabriel anything other than the Tooth fairy .  I decided it was time to learn more about who these people were and the roles they played in the Christmas story. Kids play to learn so making it a game was just what we needed.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, pen , a basket, a nativity scene with figurines and a book about the Christmas story.
  2. Write out clues for each figure. Mine were super simple like ” I am the Son of God. I was born in a manger. Who am I? Find me in the dining room. ” Adjust the info about each person based on your child’s age and knowledge. I hand wrote mine because as always I decided to do this spur of the moment. My messy handwriting completely frustrated my son while he was reading . Type it out if you have the time.
  3. Read the story first ( see below for the story we read). I find that reading it first is the best way to create a connection with who each figure is. Let them identify the figures in the scene too.
  4. Next send the kids away and hide the figures. My favorite was the Angel on the soup can in the pantry.
  5. Put the basket of clues in the manger. Have your children tell you who is missing. Read the first clue.
  6. Find the missing pieces.  Ask your kids who they are and why they are important.
  7. Place them back in the manger and pull the next clue. My son read the clues but my daughter mimicked him much to my total pleasure. It was adorable and really great early literacy learning!
  8. Keep going until the nativity scene is complete.

Books About Christmas

What Is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great board book for little children about Christmas. It touches on all the fun and cultural aspects of Christmas in a positive way but reminds the readers that really it’s about Jesus’ birth. I like the book because it doesn’t make the rest of the traditions out to be wrong or bad but explains that the holiday’s Christian origin in a simple matter of fact way.

The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids by Brendan Powell Smith is actually one of my favorite Christmas books this year. I grabbed it at Costco because my son is all about Lego but I have read it over and over to my kids because it is a great telling of the Christmas story. Now it doesn’t sugar coat much so if you don’t want to read about mean old King Herod and how he ordered babies to be killed then skip it. It really helped explain the story of Jesus’ birth to my 6 year old and the Lego photographs were a great novelty.

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Recycling Think and Sort Game

easrth day activities for kids

There is no way I would have ever expected this game to be half as popular as it is with my son. He has always loved garbage and recycling, but he took what I thought would be a fun activity and made it something he uses with this other toys. Calling it his recycling depot he has plopped it down on our family room floor all weekend next to the lego fire station and ferry dock. Oh and he continues to sort and re sort the items too! He’s using his imagination, pre math skills and problem solving too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2-3 containers, some card stock, magazines , scissors, and double stick tape.
  2. Start by cutting out different recyclable and non recyclable  items. This is where they need to really stop and think . If you are doing this with a younger or easily frustrated kiddo do this step yourself and have the game ready for them to figure out. My son was reading when I did this step , it would have been too much for him to make and play the game.
  3. Tape them onto the card stock. I am using some of the 250 plus business cards that read notimeforflashcards,com  <— did you catch the comma? I digress. 
  4. Make simple recycle and garbage signs on some card stock and place in the containers.
  5. Ok time to play.
  6. Something I loved about this was how hard he thought about each picture. With the kleenex he said ” Well we throw away the tissue with boogers but recycle the box…” then thought for a while before deciding. After this super simple activity he has been asking ” Is this recyclable Mama? “About everything in our house!

Books

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches is awesome! I only wish that my son was old enough to enjoy it as much as I did. It’s not aimed at 2 year olds at all, but he did like to open it to the page with the recycling truck and point out all the parts to me. The book itself takes the reader through the complete process from crude oil, to bottle and then to synthetic fleece. I am not too proud to admit I learned s a few new things and had a few good laughs along the way with the books little bits of humor too. I think most 5 year olds would enjoy this book, and it’s easy to break it down for those unable to sit for this much text. Also the book was printed on 100% post consumer waste paper.

Little Pirate: Why Do We Recycle? by Innovative Kids is a really fun book about recycling with a pirate theme. Yes a pirate theme. Readers learn about recycling, composting and garbage along with two young pirates who need to clean up their ship. The pirates ask questions about different waste and the wise parrot fills them into the facts like the best bag to use while shopping is a cloth one, and what happens to the metal, glass and paper after we put them in the recycle bin.

Trash And Recycling by Stephanie Turnball is a great book ! I learned more about garbage and the recycling process reading this to my son over lunch than I ever knew! He loved it and despite being a pretty sophisticated book for a 3 year old immediately asked to read it again as soon as I closed it. It explains the whole process from curbside pick up, land fills, incineration and recycling. The idea for today’s activity came from the sorting of  recyclable garbage from this book!

Musical Hearts Game

musical hearts gross motor game for kidsWe aren’t stuck in a snowstorm but we are stuck waiting for our furnace to be fixed and moving keeps us warm and having fun.  You can write anything on your hearts from numbers they need to identify, to physical tasks like we did to something trickier for older kids. Customize it to your child and have fun.

  1. Gather your materials. I am using foam hearts because they stand up well to being stepped and walked on, but paper would do in a pinch, just dont’ expect it to be used more than once.  You will also need a marker and some music you can pause easily.Preschool Movement Activity
  2. Write out different tasks for your child to do when they come to this heart – mine were mostly physical things: Jump on one foot, crab walk, 5 push ups, break dance etc.. I also included sing the ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Preschool Movement Activity
  3. Lay the hearts out face down in a circle. Preschool Movement Game
  4. Start the music and play. It’s just like musical chairs only when the music stops you do the task on the heart that you were standing on when you stopped. We had a blast! He preferred Bon Jovi to kids music so we were rockin’ out!

I would let them walk ( to the music) longer than we did for the video, we were trying to get a good snapshot for the post. After I put the camera down we all played for another full round.  Fun family time !