Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Are My Miracle

We celebrated Christmas this week at Mommy and Me with Maryann Cusimano Love's You Are My Miracle.  Each of our activities were based on the sweet pictures and poetry in her delightful Christmas book!  

Gathering Activities

 Mommy and Me Handprints

I gave each of the children and their mommies a copy of the book we read today as a Christmas present.  Each mommy and child placed their hand prints inside their copy during our gathering time.  

Christmas Sensory Bin 

We offered the children a fun sensory bin to explore while we set up for the day's activities.  We included green sparkly tinsel, plastic Christmas ornaments, jingle bells, gift boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes with lids to fill and match.  But the little ones' favorites were these really LOUD squeaky light bulb pet toys from Target.

Circle Time: You Are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love

 "I am your caroling; you are my jingle bell."

We read You Are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love this week.  This wonderful book was PERFECT for our Mommy and Me Book Club.  Each page shows sweet pictures of a mom and little bear enjoying traditional Christmas activities together. The words are beautiful, and I actually teared up as I read the lovely sentiments to my friends who were holding their young children in their laps.  I had my own miracle sitting by my side.  The author perfectly captures the relationship between a mom and her toddler.   "I am your parent; you are my child.  I am your quiet place; you are my wild."  "I am your decorate; you are my tangled lights." "I am your helper; you are my do-it-myself." "I am your steady hands; you are my rising star."  "I am your hush now; you are my lyrical.  I am your peace on Earth; you are my miracle."   It is a book you will want to read over and over again with your little one snuggled in your lap!  

After reading our story, I passed out bells to all of the children and we had a Christmas sing-a-long.  The children chose their favorites which included "Jingle Bells," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and of course Rudolph.   We even danced with our jingle bells during our closing circle song, "Shake Your Sillies Out."


Art: Life-Sized Gingerbread Boys and Girls

"I am your gingerbread."

Materials Needed: Large roll of brown butcher paper, scissors, crayons, glue, ribbon, buttons, large googly eyes, pom poms, foam stickers, pre-cut paper shapes

(We actually did the first two steps during gathering time.  That way the children could play with the sensory bin while we cut, and the gingerbread people were ready to decorate at art time). 
1-Have your child lay on the floor and trace their outline with a crayon.
2-Mommy cuts out the gingerbread boy or girl. 

3-Allow the children to use a variety of materials to decorate their people. 

This definitely was a cooperative project that needed both mom and child participation.  The children loved decorating life sized gingerbread friends with their moms!     

Snack: Sugar Cone Christmas Trees and Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows
 "You are my frosting goo!"  
 "I am your hot cocoa; you are my marshmallow."

DISCLAIMER: We normally try to eat a healthy-ish snack at Mommy and Me.  We made an exception for our Christmas party.  We acknowledge that there is no nutritional value whatsoever in this snack.  For most of our children, it was the most sugar they had ever been allowed to have in one sitting.  But these were so fun to make!

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

Materials Needed: Sugar Cones, green frosting, small candies, sprinkles, and large Popsicle sticks for spreading the frosting

1-Allow the children to cover their trees with frosting.  Some of the children wanted to do this on their own and others wanted a mom to hold the cone still, while they frosted. 

2-Add candies and sprinkles.


We washed down all of that sugar with hot (warm) cocoa  and marshmallows! 

Activity: Indoor Snowball Fight! 

"I am your fortress; you are my snowball fight."

We had a fun indoor snowball fight using polyfil (pillow stuffing).  After all of that sugar, they were ready to play hard! 

Activity:  Opening Presents!

"I am your wrapping; you are my surprise."

We gave each of the children identical gifts to open at the end of our Mommy and Me Christmas Book Club.  They were so excited to have something to open! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Room For A Little One

Room For A Little One by Martin Waddell

Gathering Activity: Sticker Nativity Set 

I found this super cute Sticker Nativity Set  that come in a pack of 12 on amazon.   They were the perfect size for our 2 and 3 year olds.  Some were able to peel and stick them easily. Others just needed Mommy to get them started, and then they could place them.    

I gave each child a set of stickers and a large piece of black card stock.  We allow the children to arrange the nativity as they wished.  It was really interesting to see how many of them actually arranged the stickers in the traditional way.  My little one placed Mary and Joseph in the stable.  When I asked her where she was going to put Baby Jesus, she replied, "With His peoples."  


Circle Time:  Room For a Little One by Martin Waddell 

I love Martin Waddell's Christmas story, Room for a Little One.  I collect children's books, and have over 75 Christmas ones.  The illustrations in this one are my VERY FAVORITE in any Christmas book EVER!!!!   Hands down!  The story tells a tale of a kind ox in a stable who invites a dog, cat, and mouse to share the warmth of his barn. He tells each in turn, "That there is always room for a little one here."  Then a tired donkey comes looking for a place to rest.  The animals warmly welcome him and Mary and Joseph into their stable.  And then Jesus is born in the beauty of this welcoming place.  

We sang “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” together after the story.

I had placed the pieces to a child friendly nativity set into a box.  I allowed each child to choose a piece and place it in our nativity.  We talked about the roles each played in the Christmas story. 

Art: Manger Craft

Materials needed: small clay saucers, paint, raffia, wooden doll peg,  small felt squares, twine

1-Paint the clay saucers brown.  

2-Fill bottom with glue. 

3-Add the raffia "hay". 

4- Wrap the peg in a small piece of felt and tie with twine or piece of raffia. (obviously this required parent help).

5-Add a glob of glue on the hay and place the baby on the glue. 

Snack: Christmas Star Cookies

We provided the kids with star cookies and yellow icing and sprinkles and they knew just what to do! 
(If you pour the sprinkles on their plate, they can grasp and place them on their cookies.  FABULOUS fine motor skill practice)!!!  


1-Always Room for a Little One Game

I drew a simple outline of a stable on  large brown butcher paper and placed it on the floor.  One child stood in the stable.  One at a time, each child asks if they can come in.  Those in the stable say, “There’s always room for a little one here!”  We played until ALL OF US were in the stable together.  One of our little girls very sweetly motioned her hands to come in when each child asked and then pulled them in to join her in the stable.  They took turns doing this a few times.   (I did not manage to get a good picture of the actual stable!  I was focused too much on their cute playacting)! 

2-Nativity Exploration 

We had different child friendly nativities for the children to play with and costumes!  We played Christmas music in the background while the children played. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ten Fat Turkeys

Ten Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston

Gathering: Turkey Hats 
We found these super cute turkey hats on Family Fun's website.  We made a couple of modifications to better meet the needs of our group.  We used their template to cut out all the pieces, but we stapled in some places that they glued.

Materials Needed: Construction Paper, cereal box rectangles, paper grocery bag, Googly Eyes, Stapler, Glue Sticks

1-Cut out the pieces for the turkey hat BEFORE class, using the pattern found on the Family Fun Website.

2-Measure your child's head and use the stapler to make a headband with the grocery bag strips.

3-Glue the feathers on the back of the hat.  Glue the wings, one on each side.

4-Glue the beak, eyes, and waddle onto the circle face.

5-STAPLE the cardboard neck onto the hat and then staple the face to the neck so that it is 3-dimensional.

6-Wear your hat and do a NOODLE DANCE!

Circle Time: Ten Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston

 "Wibble Wobble, Gibble, Gobble. Do a Noodle Dance! Ten Silly Turkeys sitting on a fence!"

We read Ten Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston. This is a new book to me.  It is a VERY silly book with funny rhymes, bold and goofy pictures.  The kids giggled as each turkey fell off the fence, one at a time, trying to do something really crazy (like roller skate or swan dive).  The length is perfect for our twos and young threes.   There is no moral lesson, no deep meaning, and I don't think it is going to win any awards.  But the pictures tell the fun story and it made our kids (and adults) laugh, and that in and of itself holds merit for me. 

We sang turkey songs during circle time, of course! 

Hello Mr. Turkey (If you are happy and you know it)

Hello Mr. Turkey, how are you, how are you? (clap twice)
Hello Mr. Turkey how are you, how are you? (clap twice)
With a gobble, gobble, gobble and a wobble, wobble, wobble (clap twice)
Hello Mr. Turkey how are you how are you?

Thanksgiving Day

"Said, Mr. Turkey, I want to play. Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.
But soon it will be Thanksgiving Day. Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.
Folks all say that means great fun, but I think I'll run, run, run.
And hide until the day is done. Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.

Turkey Hunt Flannel Board Activity

I have had this poem since I student taught 16 years ago.  I wish I knew who to give credit for.  

I printed turkey pictures off on the colors of construction paper mentioned in the hunt.  After I said each verse, a child came and chose that color and place it on the board.  (My board is getting pretty matted, I think I need a new one for Christmas).  When the moms were packing up to go home, the kids came back to this activity again.

I'm going on a turkey hunt, just for fun.

Don't need a bow and arrow, don't need a gun.

I'm going on a turkey hunt, so up and out of bed.

I'm looking for a turkey with his feathers painted RED!

I'm going on a turkey hunt. You can come too.

Let's look for the turkey with its feathers painted BLUE!

I'm going on a turkey hunt. It might take all day.

I need to find a turkey with its feathers painted GRAY!

I'm going on a turkey hunt, my eyes are so keen.

I'm sure to spot a turkey with its feathers painted GREEN!

I'm going on a turkey hunt. Id' better not wink,

Or I might miss the turkey with its feathers painted PINK!

I'm going on a turkey hunt, that bird's a funny fellow.

Especially the one with its feathers painted YELLOW!

I'm going on a turkey hunt. I think I see a track.

It must be the turkey with its feathers painted BLACK!

I'm going on a turkey hunt. I'll look all around,

Until I find that turkey with its feathers painted BROWN!

I'm going on a turkey hunt. I'll look all night.

Until I find that turkey with its feathers painted WHITE!

I'm going on a turkey hunt, I've spotted a turtle.
I must keep looking until I find a turkey painted PURPLE!

I'm going on a turkey hunt. It hasn't been boring.

I'm hunting for the last turkey with his feathers painted ORANGE!

Well, I went on a turkey hunt, just for fun ,

And I found those turkeys ~ each and every one!

Art: Handprint Bean Turkey 

I fell in LOVE with this adorable turkey I saw on The Idea Room. I was so excited to have our kids do this one!  Hers were beautiful. But alas, sometimes we do crafts, and they don't turn out the way I thought.  Not that I don't think our children's art work is beautiful, but this time it didn't turn out quite the way I pictured it would.  I think our problem was, we chose to trace the KID's hands for our turkeys.  They were just a little too small to actually tell they were turkeys after we added all the pretty beans and corn.  Or maybe the kids added too much?  Not sure.  But I think the key would have been to use MOMMY's hand and then let the kids create the collages.

Materials Needed: Paper plates, pencils, glue, a variety of beans, lentils, and dried corn.  Spiral noodles for the waddle.  (you don't need the staplers, they were just still there from the turkey hats).

1-Trace a hand (probably a mom hand) onto your paper plate.

2-Apply glue just on the inside of the handprint.

3-Create a collage using the beans, lentils, and corn.

4-Add a turkey noodle waddle.  (Then do a NOODLE DANCE)!

Snack: Turkey Gobbler Fruit Kabobs

Our area was out of melons the week of our Turkey Mommy and Me!  We ate the fun kabobs, pictured, but alas, we had no melon to create the body.  We also had yummy popcorn and pumpkin marshmallows! However what we had planned on making this guy.  You can find the directions here.

Activities: Turkey Pokey and Turkey Hop  

Turkey Pokey (to the tune of Hokey Pokey) Let the children pretend to be turkeys. Have them stand in a circle, and sing: You put your right wing in, You put your right wing out, You put your right in And you shake it all about. You do the Turkey pokey and you turn yourself around. That's what its all about! Gobble Gobble!  (Continue with left wing, Your tail feathers, drumsticks, beaks and of course at the end you put your whole turkey in)!

Turkey Hop (The song and instructions are found at macaroni soup).