Friday, December 16, 2011

Advent ~ Weeks 2 & 3

Our weeks this December have really been focused on the Christmas spirit. As part of our advent calendar, we are doing a different holiday activity every day. We also added in plenty of other fun play, learning activities, baking and cooking :)

I finally made my own Play Dough and it turned out great. It is so easy to make that I plan on only making home-made play dough from now on. I added green food coloring and glitter to it to make it a little more Christmasy... 

 We made little snowman and reindeer bells... This was a little craft kit that I got from JoAnn's...

 We celebrated St. Nikolaus on December 6th. We cleaned out boots and put them in front of our door and St. Nikolaus was so kind to bring a little treat. Mandarin oranges, chocolate reindeers and a gift to share.

 On a different day, we decorated our gingerbread house. The kids absolutely LOVE this every year :)

 We made beeswax candles, which was also a big hit!

 We also made yummy granola, some of which we will give away as Christmas gifts...

 We made big Christmas stars to decorate our windows....

Tot School

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Activities ~ Week 1

We started our advent activities on December 1st. Click here to see our activity advent calendar. We did something similar last year and it was a big hit with the kids. Every day, the kids pick a special activity that we will do on that day. 

My mom sent us this super cute reindeer calendar. I wrote little cards that have the special surprise for the day written on them and Smiley gets to find the correct number each day (Lovebug helps). 

On Day 1, the kids were surprised with out Little People nativity scene that they got to set up... (excuse love bug's bed hair, this was right after she got up).

 Now that it is getting dark so soon and has cooled down quite a bit, much time in the late afternoons is spent with activities inside. Smiley's continues to love cars and especially enjoys it if mama or daddy play with him. Daddy plays cars with him for at least 30 minutes every day, which Smiley absolutely loves... (and there usually is some wrestling involved too).

 Lovebug particularly enjoys puzzles and other fine motor activities, in addition to playing with her stuffed animals and playing dress up ;) Here she is working with connectors that we got from Lakeshore when Smiley was a little one.

 Mommy got her Christmas present a little bit early. A juicer!!! I am so thrilled. I got the one that Carisa recommends on her blog. It's a bit pricey, but oh so worth it! While I put it together, the kids had fun coloring the box and pretending it was their house (the box is still in Smiley's room with a bunch of blankets and pillows).
The kids help me wash the veggies and fruit for our juice and Smiley puts everything in the juicer. He loves to be a helper in the kitchen! And I love that my kids drink a juice made from kale, cucumber, celery, and apples. We call it Green Power Drink ;)

 We have a juice every afternoon and the kids always ask for seconds.

 It is a great way to use up all the organic produce from our CSA box every week :)

Smiley also likes to help me bake bread. Sometimes we do it by hand and sometimes, like this week, we use our bread machine.

For one of our sensory activities this week, I gave the kids a baking pan filled with beans or popcorn kernels and a few trucks. The kids had fun playing with this for quite a while :)

Tot School

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Advent Activity Calendar

Wow, things have been so busy around here lately and I just haven't had any time to post. However, I hope things will change and I will be able to post more during the advent season :)

We started the tradition of an advent activity calendar last year. I like to include as many activities as possible and steer away from too much materialism. The kids enjoy these activities so much and I am sure the will be lots of fun for mom and dad too :) In the future, I would like to include more community service activities, but love bug is still a bit young this year. 

Take a peek into the activities we will do this year. I will try to post pics frequently as well, capturing these moments...

December 1: Set up the nativity scene
2: Get Christmas books from the library
3: Play Mary and Joseph and reenact their long journey
4: Make a Christmas box for kids in need (Smiley and Lovebug will each pick things and wrap their individual Christmas boxes)
5: Bake Graettimaenner (a Swiss tradition of baking a dough man for St. Nikolaus)
6: Celebrate St. Nikolaus
7: Make a gingerbread house
8: New PJ's for the kids
9: Make beeswax candles (rolled with beeswax sheets and wicking)
10: Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn and hot chocolate
11: View Christmas lights
12: Go ice skating (first time for the kids)
13: Make Christmas stars (window decoration)
14: Make Christmas cookies
15: Make gifts and cards for friends
16: Pick a Christmas Tree
17: Decorate our Christmas Tree
18: Make and Bake Salt Dough Ornaments
19: Paint our Salt Dough Ornaments
20: Visit Santa 
21: Each child gets to pick a new ornament
22: String popcorn and cranberries for the tree
23: Walk in the moonlight to see the moon/stars
24: Write a note to Santa, bake cookies for Santa and get carrots for the reindeers ready

What are your advent plans? Will you have a calendar? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tot School ~ Pumpkins

Here are some of the activities that were on our tot trays this week...

Lovebug sorted our critters, by type (here ducks) and then by color. 

She worked on these Melissa and Doug shape puzzles...

She worked on this number puzzle... 

and this transportation puzzle (we had a big puzzle week, apparently). 

Yet another puzzle ;)

Working with our connectors (from Lakeshore). She loves sorting them by color... 

 We also took a fun trip to the pumpkin patch, where each child got to pick their own pumpkin. We had a great time :)

 The trip started with an educational intro on pumpkins...

Then we went on a hay ride and finally we got to pick our pumpkins..

Check out Carisa's blog to see what other tots have been up to this week...