Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advent Calendar 2012

I've always grown up with an advent calendar- whether it be one filled with little chocolates, the simple paper kind where you opened the flaps each morning to see a new picture, or one that actually held little trinkets. Last year I made my first handmade calendar, mostly for the OWL whom was 3. We had a blast with it!

Here is this year's calendar ....

With 24 individual paper pockets......super simple!

The best part is it made with items I already had on hand:
paper pockets ( purchased at Dollar Tree)

Now of course, this calendar will have a one year use, but there are simple ideas out there where you can make a calendar with containers that will last for many years.  

Some ideas:

I decided I wanted our calendar to include activities - but you could very easily make one with a simple trinket/treat inside, or a combination of both. Inside each of our pockets is an activity for us to do that day.  Now to make it easier, much easier, on myself I first printed out a blank calendar template for the month.  I put each and every event we had planned already for the month on the calendar.  This included items such as: trip to Santa's Village, Santa's Land at the GYC, Edaville RR, Visiting Santa, Santa Train,Christmas Party, etc. All of these items will be activities for our calendar. Super simple - using things we already had planned to do.

Using a simple piece of scrap paper with a little sticker decoration I  wrote each activity down and placed it in the correct pocket.

After the events on my calendar were done I came up with a list of other activities we could do as a family to fill in the rest of the pockets. I made sure I wrote this on my printable calendar page so I knew what I was doing each and every day!  Here are some of the ideas:

Bake Christmas cookies
Make salt dough ornaments
Make Applesauce cinnamon ornaments
Write a letter to Santa
Watch a Christmas movie and have popcorn
Decorate Christmas cookies
Make a gingerbread house
Go out to see the lights after supper ( Edward St.)
Deliver cookies to neighbors
Make reindeer food
Buy canned food and deliver to food pantry.
Have picnic dinner in front of Christmas Tree
Make Christmas cards for friends
Make ornament for tree.
Set up nativity
Decorate trees
Play Christmas game
Put up train around Christmas tree

The beauty of this year's calendar is the pocket design - if I need to make a change or adjustment to an activity based on how the day is going, I can simply slip it out to make changes!

My plan this year is to take all of the photos from our Advent ideas/activities and make them into a photo book.

These sites have great ideas for activities to use for your calendar, especially with little ones:

Enjoy and have fun with your countdown to Christmas!

Candy Cane Bathroom Paint

Recently I came across a fabulous site that just specializes in bathtub sensory experiences! What fun ideas!  Be sure to check out Bath Activities for Kids for tons of theme based ideas that can easily be done in your tub.

Now tubby time in my house is usually daddy time however, when daddy is working late or has a meeting I take over!  Adding anything besides two children, a washcloth, shampoo/soap and a few bath toys to the tub would send him RIGHT over the edge so I have to be the one to add in the fun!

We started off simple, with Candy Cane Bathroom Paint/Foam.  The best part was I had everything I needed to make this at home: shaving cream, peppermint extract/oil, and red food coloring.

My two were VERY excited when I presented them with our tubby time addition!

The kids loved painting themselves and each other.  Then the OWL practiced painting his name. We took turns saying letters and writing them on the wall. 

As the paint entered into the water it turned our bathtub into a pink and white swirl candy cane of it's own.  The kids were ecstatic and the bath room smelled just like Christmas!  It was perfect! 

I can't wait to go back and find some more fun ideas - my two loved it and I'm hooked!  
Looks like I'm in luck for more Christmas/Winter Tub ideas since it is Christmas Week on their site and they will be presenting a different idea each day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

24 Days of Christmas Crafting Fun!

I'm always looking for preschool friendly crafts, especially around the holiday time.  This year my two each have a Christmas tree  in their rooms and I know making some ornaments for their trees will be right up their alley.  As we were unpacking decorations yesterday they both loved finding ornaments/crafts they had made last year.  I've found having a list of ideas and the supplies on hand make it much easier and a lot less stressful for mama! 

Now, thanks to Pinterest, ideas are SO easy to find.  This list is for super easy crafts that preschoolers can do almost, or pretty close to it, on their own.  These are ideas that truly for the 2-5 age range and from some of my favorite sites to follow. Hope you find a craft or two to do with your little ones!

First off, a special shout out to one of my favorite sites - Happy Hooligans ( you can like her on FB too).  She runs a in home daycare in Canada and her ideas are simply perfect for little ones:

simple snowflake ornaments cover photo

popsicle stick snowflakes

simple  button wreath

Don't forget to check back with Happy Hooligans as she will be adding more fabulous ideas daily! 

Now some ideas from other sites....

Day Seven - Pom-Pom Ornaments

Day Eight - Craft Stick Snowmen

Craft Stick Snowmen

pinecone christmas trees

Day Eleven - Paper Ornament Craft

Day Twelve - Macaroni Wreath

Day Thirteen - Paper Plate Tree Garland

reindeer ornament

Day Fifteen - Tissue Paper Wreath
Tissue Paper Christmas Wreath craft

Day Sixteen - Beaded Ornaments

Day Seventeen - Decorated Christmas Tree


Day Eighteen - Christmas Cards
homemade christmas cards

Day Twenty -  Paper Chains
Preschool Paper & Glue Crafts Activities: Make a Paper Chain


Day Twenty-Two - Fruit Loops Candy Cane

Day Twenty - Three - Christmas Bells

Day Twenty Four - Paper Plate Santa

Of course I always keep a basket full of the premade kits from Dollar Tree, Joann's, and Michael's  on hand too for the days where I need everything all in one place and ready to go for me!

Happy Crafting!