Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Reading List - Early Chapter Books

During this time of year I love pulling out all of my Christmas books to share with my little ones.  Some stories I remember from my childhood while others are new to all of us however, each one is enjoyed.  We've been having a blast with our 24 Days of Christmas Stories ( see post here) .  Each night we gather around the tree as a family and open one new book from our pile.  Each child also gets to pick one book that has already been opened for me to read as well.  It is the perfect ending to what usually seems as an always busy day.

The OWL now is getting into easy chapter books.  He is still at the stage where he enjoys having some illustrations in the book. I've pulled our top four Christmas "beginner" chapter books that we've been making our way through:

1. Stanley's Christmas Adventure - the original Flat Stanley book was a staple in my 3rd grade classroom - however Stanley has expanded his line of books recently so be sure to check them out.  In this story the Lambchop family give Santa a helping hand.

Stanley's Christmas Adventure (Flat Stanley)

2. Triplet Trouble and the Runaway Reindeer - Triplet Trouble books are the baby sibling of the Magic Tree House books - three triplets - Ashley, Alex, and Adam usually find some sort of trouble.  In this book it is Cleo the Runaway Reindeer ( aka Dog) that is the catalyst for trouble!

The Runaway Reindeer (Triplet Trouble)

3. Horrible Harry and the Christmas Surprise - there is always drama in Room 2B with Horrible Harry and his classmates and they don't disappoint with their holiday drama!
Horrible Harry and the Christmas Surprise

4. Oliver Moon's Christmas Cracker -  this is one of our favorite new ( to us) series.  Oliver is a wizard in training and is always finding some "magical mayhem" in his travels!

Oliver Moon's Christmas Cracker

So if you have a little one who is ready for a bit more then a picture book, but still needs to have some illustrations along the way be sure to check out any of the Christmas themed books we've mentioned - or the other books in their series!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Decorate the Tree Bath Time Fun!

After perusing Bath Activities for Kids website a couple of weeks ago I've been thinking about doing more themed tubbies! My two had so much fun with their Peppermint Bath Paint, that I knew I needed to  gather up the materials to have another Christmas themed tubby.

Today was the perfect day for our Decorate the Tree tubby. We had our Holiday Jam session tonight with our Music Together group so we did our tubby earlier in the day. I wish I would have caught the look on the little ones faces when I called them upstairs for a surprise and they spotted the tub all ready to go!

The best part about this tubby was that I had everything I needed at home! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a wet piece of craft foam acts just like a bath decal - genius! Since my basement is filled with 10+ years of remnants from an elementary classroom I have a sheet or two of craft foam in my stash!  In fact, I actually found these pre-cut ornaments and lights from an old craft project.  I simply cut out the tree trunk and star. For the tree I used Crayola's washable finger paints. I tested it first to make sure it would indeed wash away and it did!

I did make some green peppermint bath paint for the kids by mixing - shaving cream, green food coloring, and peppermint extract together....

And I threw in some package bows to jazz up the bathwater.....
( These actually "stuck" to the wall as well when wet.)

The kiddos loved decorating their tree....

Who knew tubby could be so much fun!

Super easy to pull together and just as easy to clean up - simply turn on the shower and the Owl washed it all away for me, leaving no evidence of our tree decorating party behind! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

24 Days of Christmas Reading

There have been loads of posts on Pinterest having to do with wrapping 24 of your favorite Christmas stories   to open each day leading up to Christmas Day.  I loved this idea and looked forward to starting this tradition with my two!

At first I was worried I wouldn't have 24 books to wrap.  I knew I had quite a few Christmas books, but 24 is a lot of books. Well I shouldn't have worried because after I  picked out my 24 favorites I still had more then enough to fill our bookshelves in our reading area!

And even more to bring to each child's room for bedtime stories!! Clearly, there isn't a shortage of Christmas books in this house - the result of 10 years in the elementary classroom and a mother who loves Christmas books!  However, if you don't have enough for this year - no worries, visit your local library and wrap their books.  Just be sure to unwrap and read them before they are due!

This year I simply wrapped each book - nothing fancy - and put them in a basket by our tree.

However, there are many ways to elaborate the wrapping.  I love A Matter of Memories wrapping below.  

At first I thought of adding a number to each book - but then decided against it. The only book that I care when it is read is The Night Before Christmas - which I don't have in the basket yet and won't put in until the end.  Adding a number would make it a great advent/Christmas Count Down Calendar!  How simple would that be?  Maybe next year I will be a bit more organized and will wrap each book, # them and then have a corresponding craft/ornament/activity to go with each book.  Guess I won't be wrapping them at nap time on December 1st if I go with that plan.

Here are the books I chose to use - I chose a mixture of  Christmas and religious books that are geared to the younger crowd.

1. How Santa Got His Job - Steve Krensky
2. Auntie Claus - Elise Primavera
3. The Christmas Cobwebs - Odds Bodkin
4. The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever - Steven Kroll
5. Tractor Mac Saves Christmas - Billy Steers
6. The Dog Who Found Christmas - Linda Jennings
7. This is the Stable - Cynthia Cotten
8. The Littlest Elf - Brandi Doughtery
9. J is for Jesus - Crystal Bowman
10. The Story of Aloha Bear - Dick Adair
11. Llama Llama Holiday Drama - Anna Dewdney
12. Pockets Christmas Wish - Ann Bonwill
13. Merry Christmas Strega Nona - Tomie dePaola
14. The Pinetree Parabel - Liz Higgs
15. Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
16. I've Seen Santa by David Bedford
17. Thomas' Christmas Delivery
18.Auntie Claus And the Key to Christmas - Elise Primavera
19.Snowmen at Christmas - Caralyn Buehner
20. Arthur's Christmas - Marc Brown
21. The Spirit of Christmas - Nancy Tillman
22.Corduroy's Christmas Surprise- Don Freeman
23.Once There Was a Christmas Tree - Jerry Smath
24. Twas the Night Before Christmas - Clement Clark Moore

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Preschool Arts and Literacy Club - Baking

We had our latest meeting of our Prescchol Arts and Literacy Club yesterday.  Our theme this session was baking - and boy did we have a lot of fun!

Our routine is finally flowing and the children, even though it is a slightly different group each time, are beginning to know the flow.  For the first 30 minutes while everyone is arriving we have activities set up around the house ready for the children and parents to enjoy.  Our center activities were:

Gingerbread Play Dough - make and decorate your own cookies.

 If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Dice Game - I used this printable number assessment found here. The children would roll a 20 sided dice and then dot the number they rolled on their sheet.

Printable Number Clip Cards - also found here.

If you Give a Moose a Muffin Counting Game  - I found this online as a printable and of course can't find the link again!  Children place the numbers in the box and then count out that number of muffins on the plate.

Kristen, my partner in crime, created this great rhyming game .  The children must organize the words by rhyming words.

Of course since we are in the Christmas season we needed to have a few holiday selections.  This sensory project was perfect for not only our club participants, but also their littles. The older kids would pick a tree and then place that number of presents under each tree.  The littles enjoyed scooping, sorting, and playing with the little presents and drums, which can be found at Dollar Tree!

And especially for the littles - a cookie sheet covered with some wrapping paper and some present bows with magnets attached!

For our first book we read:

If You Give a Moose a Muffin Big Book

Then we crafted these adorable cupcake ornaments:

I just loved how they came out.  I simply hot glued a Christmas ball ornament into a paper cupcake liner. The kids then applied puffy paint, glass beads, and a red pom-pom for the cherry.
The worked diligently on these....

Our second book was....
Gingerbread Baby

The children were enthralled while Ms. Kristen read about that mischievous gingerbread baby! 

Then we all decorated our very own felt gingerbread men.

And two of our finished products.....

It was a great morning of learning with friends - of course a bit chaotic at times, but overall a fun productive time!