Sunday, November 25, 2012

Searching for Santa!

As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, you may be hearing more and more about SANTA! That means that it's time to make plans to search for Santa in the night sky!

Take a cardboard tube and help your child wrap it in a festive color of construction paper. Glue or tape in place. Then, your child can get creative with how to decorate this hand-made telescope - with some festive touches! Set out paper pieces, foam decorations, glitter or stickers of their choice to personalize it - it's now a Santascope!

Attach a little printed note like this:

"On Christmas Eve when Santa
Goes flying through the night,
Look for his sleigh and reindeer -
What a wonderful sight!"

Your child can search the sky for the Jolly Old Elf right before bedtime .... maybe they'll catch a glimpse!


Make a Rudolph ornament while waiting for Christmas to get here!

You'll need some craft sticks and sheets of foam (tan and white), two googly eyes and a red nose made from a pompom or another piece of foam, red this time. First, glue two craft sticks in a V pattern and then use another to go stright across, about a half-inch below the tops of the other sticks. To complete the antlers, add two more craft sticks in a wider V.  Finally, add the foam pieces: a large piece of tan for the face, small piece of white for the forehead, two tiny ears - then add the nose and eyes.
Add a little string or ribbon and Rudolph is ready to hang around and help you decorate!

Have fun!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Books to Love: "The Great Gracie Chase" by Cynthia Rylant

"The Great Gracie Chase: Stop That Dog!" written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Mark Teague is a wonderful book for kids of all ages. Your little ones will fall in love with Gracie, an adorable, good dog who loves living in her quiet house. Then, her life gets disrupted by some painters and Gracie decides to leave, beginning a chain reaction of people who follow her to get her back home.

Well-written books can be so much fun to read - sometimes, again and again! Action-packed books like "The Great Gracie Chase," filled with great images and descriptive language, make it so easy for children to visualize the characters and action taking place.

Kids will love the bright pictures and funny portraits of the various characters who join in the chase. Try some of these activities:

  • After reading, try to recall the order of the appearance of the various characters and record them in a list - see how many you can get before checking back in the book.

  • Talk about the parts of the story - the beginning, the middle, the end - and about how the chase keeps building, adding people and then narrowing down to the end, like a cycle.

  • Children can draw their favorite parts for retelling. Introduce transition words like first, next, then and finally, to help them put their stories in order.

  • Trace a black and white picture of Gracie for little ones to color and make into a Gracie puppet, attaching a craft stick for a handle. 

Have fun with it!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Make a Thankful Book

Make a "Thankful" book, just in time for Thanksgiving!

Choose whether you want it to be a book of "Things" or a book of "People," then get started with an easy template of "I am thankful for ..." pages. 

If you decide on an "I am Thankful for People" book, help your child come up with a list of important people, like friends, cousins, grandparents, etc. Then, your child can take, find or draw pictures to assemble into a little book. Don't forget to complete it with labels or captions about each picture.

To make a "Thankful" book of Things, use the same idea, generate a list and add pictures ... I'll bet some favorite toys, pastimes and special things would make a nice book that your child would love to "read" again and again!

A book of their own will be a great resource for your child who is just starting to ask about names of important people in his/her life or how to write something like "legos," "animals" or "books." Use it as a resource for learning the spelling of loved ones' names and as a writing tool for early writers.

Super simple and super fun!

Have fun - and, be thankful!