Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Time: Trim a Tree

When it's time to get in the spirit of Christmas, little ones like to make some fun themselves!! Let them experiment with these cute trees, making ornaments, magnets for the fridge, or even gifts ... handmade gifts are always well-received :)

To get started, you'll need some tree shapes cut from fun foam - you can pre-cut your own or pick up a pack at fabric/craft stores. Have on hand some plastic beads, shiny stickers or sequins, sticky foam pieces or cute colored buttons. Teach your child, using a white glue squeeze bottle, how to make small "baby" dots of glue and then have them pick a few places where they want to place a "decoration." Keep adding until each tree is just the way your little one wants it! When complete, they should be left to dry on a flat surface.

While you're waiting for them to dry, get in some counting practice - count up the ornaments on each tiny tree. Use leftover beads or buttons to play a pattern game … lay out a two or three part pattern and see if your child can continue it with "what comes next?" Then, if you're making your tree a gift, design a gift tag or a card to put it in. Gift giving teaches lessons about sharing and thoughtfulness that are wonderful to pass along to your children. Spending time with them and sharing experiences is the best gift of all!

When the trees are dry, decide whether you want to punch holes or glue on ribbon loops to hang your trees up as an ornaments or holiday decorations, or attach magnets to the back to hang on your fridge. Either way, you have some cute new crafts made by your fabulous kiddo artist!

Have fun!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thankfulness: A Thanksgiving Project!

Saying thank you is a wonderful way to build social skills with your child. Whether your child received a gift or had a wonderful visit with someone, a homemade thank you card is the way to go!

Fold some paper in half - construction or computer paper is fine … or look for cool card stock papers, available at your local craft store. Show your child how cards typically open, book-style, and show them how words go in a left-to-right progression.

Then, go on a letter search - use all those catalogs that are coming in the mail! Help your child find all the letters to make the words "Thank You!" and get some cutting practice in … so good for small motor practice! Your child can arrange the letters on the card, practicing that left-to-right progression again, an early reading skill :) When thats done, help brainstorm what to say.

Thanksgiving time is also a great time to practice these skills! Get your child in the habit of looking for things to be thankful for - it can be a lifelong thing! And … so many other skills come into play with a project like this!

First, you and your child will use language and planning skills to come up with a list of things to search for that your child is thankful for. Then, hone small motor and visual discrimination skills while searching for pictures and words that fit your list. Get out your scissors and cut, practicing small motor skills. Now, make a placemat of things that your child is thankful for. It could be laminated for use at the table on Thanksgiving - and beyond!

Your child will delight in finding photos and words that represent things he or she is thankful for! (And get lots of practice at so many things!) You could even make it a counting project … add a new thankful thing each day :)

Have fun!