Friday, December 10, 2010

Learning by Heart, Christmas Style (week 10)


“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom”
– Henry Ward Beecher

gingerbread house (3)Our very first ever gingerbread house; making it was a lot of fun
and very messy. :)
{ M is 4 years old }
Again this week we are taking it easy peasy, focusing on simple fun while preparing our hearts and home for Christmas.  I’m combining activities from last week with what I’m setting out for this week.  Do not feel overwhelmed by the number of activities – they are not all from one week!  

I picked up a lot of easy, pre-packaged crafts from Target and Michael’s.  These are just for fun.  I haven’t done this before because I’m not a big fan of pre-packaged crafts; if I weren’t sure that M has a ton of opportunities to create open-ended art (and if you know us, you know he does!), I probably would’ve passed these up.  However, they have come in soooo handy when I need a little time to finish up my own projects.
Christmas sensory bin – this has pretend snow (Cluster Stuff fiber fill – you can find this at Walmart), mini ornaments, a cinnamon candle, tinsel, “ice” (red, green, and clear gems that look like ice to me), pretty ribbons, jingle bells, glittery snowflake ornaments, pine cones, tongs, and a glass dish, and a tiny nativity set (really mini ornaments): christmas sensory binI think this will be the final sensory bin for this boy.  He is getting too old for this type of thing to hold his interest.  He enjoys looking at all the items, but then wants them to have more of a purpose.  This turned into a very messy art attempt with items scattered all over the place, resulting in this little bundle of ornaments strung onto a ribbon:ornaments on a ribbon

Christmas shapes and push pins – M places one of the little pictures on the corkboard, then outlines it with push pins (great fine motor work!):push pin shapes

Make-a-snowman – I found these great little face stickers at Michael’s and cut out some snowmen for M to make:Make-a-snowman
A couple of the finished ones – aren’t they funny?:build-a-snowman

Christmas play dough and cookie cutters:christmas play dough and cookie cutters M has picked this activity a few times this week.  I think he is really enjoying it.  He made holes in some with a straw, and we are going to let them dry.  I think I’ll put the dried ones out for him next week along with some glitter glue to decorate.  These may end up going to a couple of lucky grandmas. ;)mini play dough ornaments

Christmas arrangement – M loves doing this kind of thing!  I set out a variety of Christmassy things for M to poke into a block of florist’s foam, and a little star-shaped silver box to hold it:christmas arrangement
Making his arrangement (sorry for the dark photo; I’m still trying to figure out this new camera):christmas arrangement
Finished:christmas arrangement finished

Snowflake matching gamethese snowflakes are very detailed and a lot look similar, so it’s a great visual discrimination activity:snowflake match

Number matching – I printed this from Making Learning Fun, then wrote in numbers 1 –12 on both the numeral and the tree, and M matched the circles up with numbered stickers (he thought this was not “intewesting” at all; so much for that, I guess): number sticker match  

Ornament name spelling – I made these last year and M strung them onto a piece of string, which we then hung on the wall; this year I stuck magnets onto the back of them and he’s been spelling his name as well as “Mommy” and “Daddy” (cheat sheets are right there on the fridge for help):
magnetic ornaments for spelling names These ornaments are a free printable, but they
are simple to make on your own too!

Gingerbread Letter Matchwe used these to match up mommy and baby letters:gingerbread letter match 

Christmas rubbing plates –
I had these from last year and M loves them so I brought them out again. I simply used templates to draw shapes onto cardboard, then traced them with hot glue to give them raised lines.  Place paper over the top and rub with a crayon to see the shape rubbing plates
angel rubbing plate design

Christmas race game (I bought this last year, possibly from Target) – we roll the die and add numbers to get from the start to the finish line, then we subtract to get back to the start line:Christmas race game

Christmas patterning – these are also from last year.  I made my own, and then Kylie came out with some of her own and shared them with everyone.  You can find her lovely printable patterning

Jingle bell wreath activity – I set out some pretty gold jingle bells and a red pipecleaner so M could make a little jingle bell wreath for his room (or wherever in the house it ends up as the case may be, and is):jingle bell wreathIsn’t it pretty set out in this glass dish?  It was very appealing and the first thing M went for that morning.
Finished jingle bell wreath:finished jingle bells  It sounds so pretty too!

Ornaments to color and lace – These are the kind that have black fuzzy lines, which made it easy for M to color without going outside the lines:black velvet ornaments to color

Christmas window clings – I like to put these out on M’s shelves as just “something fun to do”; we change them with every season:window clings

I set up an activity to make a Christmas countdown paper chain:paper chain activityThis was actually done on Nov. 30th, I’m just a bit late with posting it. M cut all 24 strips of paper and we chained them together with Christmas stickers. The finished chain:finished paper chain

Another “fun&busy” foam magnet craft:magnet craft
finished fridge magnets

Ice skating” on wax paper – this is so much fun, sometimes the entire family does it, hee hee.  Try it out if you are looking for a high-energy activity on days too cold to go outside!ice skating on wax paper

A first attempt at making paper snowflakes:paper snowflakes

Art –
I’m no longer posting about M’s weekly art box and his creations, but I think I’ll post my favorite artwork each week as part of our school posts.  This was my favorite from this week…art box paintingIt’s M on a pogo stick, and was drawn with glow in the dark paint. :)  Honestly, I think he wants a pogo stick for Christmas, but since the kid can already out-bounce Tigger, I’m pretty sure I’m not ready for him to have one!

Marshmallow building:
marshmallow building
We used big and small marshmallows and toothpicks to create a few things.  This was supposed to be a science activity of sorts… how can we create a bridge that will stay up, or one that can bear weight, and that kind of thing.  It turned into more of an art project than anything. :)  I thought M would enjoy the engineering aspect of this, but perhaps we’ll have to try it again at a later date.  For now we are a bit sick of marshmallows (they are hard to resist, you know!).marshmallow building (1)
 marshmallow building

There’s been a lot of sledding with Daddy:sledding
And a lot of shoveling:shoveling This is M shoveling out our backyard so it will be easier for the squirrels to find acorns, ha!  He loves those squirrels, rabbits, and birdies. :)  He’s made several bird feeders with bagels and peanut butter and we have had a lot of fun watching the squirrels fight over them!  It reminds me of when I was a child and loved all the little animals so much. :)

I’ve been in high gear cleaning and organizing mode lately.  We’ve been going around the house, stripping it bare of anything unessential. :)  I get like this sometimes and can’t stop myself.  M has been a huge help with sorting things into small containers and baggies, and being my “take this somewhere” and “go find me this” guy. :)  So, a lot of life school has been going on, and I am grateful to have a helper. :)  It feels good to purge before the influx of stuff!

This is the last of school for the year.  I’m hoping to post some fun Christmas arts and crafts projects, but no more school posts until some time in January!

I’m linking this post up to Preschool Corner, Friday Wrap Up,and Weekly Wrap-Up; be sure to check them out! 

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. oo love the marshmallow building activity and the picture of M on the pogo stick :-)

  2. Wow! What A LOT of GREAT, FUN activities for the kids! Thanks for a bunch of wonderful ideas!


  3. That's a lot! We made our first gingerbread house this year,too!

  4. The snow looks like fun -- well, maybe not the shoveling part! ;)

  5. Busy times! Your gingerbread house looks great, and I really liked marshmallow activity. We will try it out eventually too.

  6. I'm bookmarking this post! So many great ideas and links. Thanks!

  7. Looks yall are just having a crafty Ole' time! i love when they are little.. sigh!

  8. Lots of great ideas as usual! I especially like the rubbing plates. Well, those and the jingle bells and the flower arranging. :)

  9. You may have found the snowflakes here:

    btw. I love your blog! thanks for sharing so many printables and ideas.


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