Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas!! (Preschool Style)

To catch last year's ADVENTure, click here!
It is, literally, the most wonderful time of the year. 

To start the Christmas extravaganza off, here's a list of our favorite Christmas books we're reading!

  • Mo Smells the Holidays by Margaret Hyde (book applicable to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas and New Years)
  • Asleep in the Stable by Will Hillenbrand
  • Who's Getting Ready for Christmas by Maggie Kneen
  • That's Not Santa! by Leonard Kessler
  • The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden
  • Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki
  • Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
  • Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
  • Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
  • The Friendly Beasts by Tomie dePaola
  • Llama Llama Holiday Drama  by Anna Dewdney
  • I've Seen Santa! by David Bedford
  • Santa Comes to Little House by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  • The Golden Christmas Treasury by Rick Bunsen
  • Thank You, Santa by Margaret Wild
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (I love the one we have illustrated by Bruce Whatley)
  • Animals with Baby Jesus (That's one we made from 1+1+1=1's Nativity printable pack!)
We began the month out with a ton of material from 1+1+1=1 (which totally confuses my brain when I read it). This link here is the rundown of the plethora of printables, activities and exercises she offers that are different than many other's I've found.
From the above link there is a Nativity Pack we're having a lot of fun with!

Doing exercises like this

and this

 and making up size comparison games.

This nativity pack also included a graphing game that we actually had a lot of fun with! I know, "graphing game" sounds like a horrible way our junior high math teacher tried to fool us into thinking math was fun. It wasn't junior high and it was fun. Try it!

This was Bella's victory pose.

This is not really a preschool craft or activity but Bella helped me make it so...I guess it is now!

I've plugged Oopsey Daisy so many times and guess what? I'm doing it again. She had these action cards similar to some Halloween ones of hers that we really enjoyed so I had to use those again.
You can print yours out HERE.
The 4 of us squealed and laughed playing with these so, naturally, I highly recommend them!

These alphabet mazes were also a good time killer and helped with our introduction to lowercase lettters!

Christmas trees!
Somehow I thought my 11 month old could help me make her own tree. She was bent on destroying her sister's instead.

Bella loves the books Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends both by Jan Brett so after reading Gingerbread Friends one afternoon we made some of our own.

PS: Jan Brett offers coloring pages for her books at this link here!

Christmas play dough!

We made this play dough using Teaching 2 and 3 Year Old's recipe. It calls for added peppermint extract, glitter and vanilla extract. Genius!

Dude. Ok. I think the songs with little actions to them are cute when kids do them but I feel like SUCH an idiot doing them. But Bella really enjoys them so, alas, I broke down. Here are a couple that we've been singing this month:

(sung to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat)
(hold hands in pairs facing each other, just like in Row Row, but pretend to be in sledges whooshing through the snow!)
"Christmas day is coming soon,
Santa’s on his way!
Bringing toys for girls and boys,
On his magic sleigh!"

(sung to the tune of Are You Sleeping?)
"Christmas Pudding, Christmas Pudding,             (hold an imaginary bowl)
Nice and Hot (blow)  nice and hot, (blow)                   (blow on the hot pudding!)
Sprinkle on the sugar, sprinkle on the sugar,     (sprinkle imaginary sugar)
Eat the lot!  Eat the lot!  "                 (pretend to eat it & rub your tummy!)

ADVENTure 2013:
Last year our advent mittens were a serious hit with my then 2 year old. I bought the mittens at Hobby Lobby for a whopping $3 and added activities and other fun things to do each day to the back of them. With the introduction of the Kindness Fairies this year (mentioned below) it changed up some of our mittens so I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out!

Day 1: Watch a Christmas movie with egg nog! 
This girl. I tell you. She loves her some egg nog. We watched Santa Paws (lucky us) and had to ration the egg nog throughout the evening. It was a wonderful start to the Christmas season!

Day 2: A note from the Kindness Fairy, Floriella
Floriella had left her note for Bella that morning and when Bella returned from preschool she went down to get her Day 2 mitten and found Floriella with another note attached to her mitten! It read something like, 'Let's do something nice for the family today!'. I don't really know that that actually happened but it was a nice idea.

Day 3: Make something special for breakfast!
That morning we made Eggnog French Toast with a recipe I found from Adventuress Heart. It made for a cozy, festive morning :)

Day 4: Make a treat for a neighbor!
So, maybe I took an easy out here, but we have to make as many dozens of cookies as we can for a fundraiser for Bella's preschool. So we decided to put our efforts into making them for the school instead of giving them to a neighbor, which, maybe isn't the most generous thing to do to spread Christmas cheer...but it will make the school some money so, that's Christmas cheer, right?

Day 5: Take treats to daddy's work!

Day 6: Follow the clues to a special surprise!
Oh boy, Bella followed the clues to a new fairy friend, Brilliana!

Day 7: ...I've lost the mitten and have no idea what we did.

Day 8: Write a letter to someone!

Day 9: Make a card for someone!

Day 10: Follow the clues for a special surprise! Watch a Christmas movie!
Mom fail: I totally forgot to set up the "clues" to introduce the new Kindness Fairy. Bigger mom fail: it didn't dawn on me until after I finished reading the mitten. She gasped and started looking behind her where she had found a note the first time. It's then I had to fess up and say I forgot to get things ready. Her face melted and she let out a cliche "Awwww" of disappointment. And then, ever so quickly, I exclaimed, "Ohhhh I just read the wrong part!" and peeled off the "fairy clue" note I had taped over last year's "Watch a movie" action. She cheered and we ran up stairs. Phew.

Kindness Fairies:
We're also doing something different this year: we've introduced Kindness Fairies thanks to The Imagination Tree. It's an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf that encourages small, daily acts of kindness. That's not to say the Elf needed an alternative, necessarily, but let's just face it: he's a little creepy. And this way I don't have to buy an elf.
I love the playfulness of the Elf but don't care for anything else about him. I was going to have Bella's stuffed animals pull similar Elf shenanigans until the Kindness Elves were introduced and, oh, how perfect, I had 5 fairy ornaments I was going to surprise Bella with anyway. Thus, the Kindness Fairies will be making their appearance throughout the month!

First up was Floriella, who left a note and fairy dust for Bella to wake up to:
The first thing Bella said was, "What is all this glitter?" The next thing Bella said was, "I didn't do it..."

And there she was!

The next day, Floriella played a game of Honey Bee Tree with some of Bella's friends.
Jewels the monkey won.

She also had a note for Bella encouraging her to do something nice for someone at school that day. Bella told me she didn't do anything, though, even though I said Floriella would love if she did. Oh well, we'll try again.

  Also, she flew to daddy's work on a unicorn and wrangled a nasty dragon. She may be sweet with a side of hoaky but she can kick some tail. (Wow. Shameful pun.)

On one of her ADVENTure mittens, she was instructed to follow clues upstairs where she would find a new fairy friend, Brilliana! (BTW, I didn't actually name these fairies. Their names are on their boxes. Shh.)

When we came home from preschool there was a note on the garage door saying the fairies needed help! Bella found them up in the fan!

And then they got into our cookies we got from preschool. Geeeez.

Chillin with Ariel.