Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book-Inspired Christmas Craft and Game

Quiet Bunny and Noisy Puppy - Low Case b&d Match

Christmas Read and Play ideas! We have read a fun book, made a fun Christmas decoration, engaged in a fun creative play, and reviewed low case b and d letters in a process. Please, visit our letter of the week activities here: Creative ABCs.

Quiet Bunny and Noisy Puppy

Our favorite book of the season is "Quiet Bunny and Noisy Puppy" by Lisa McCue. This book is one of a series of beautiful books about Quiet Bunny discovering the world. My Firefly loves all the books in the series, and this one is no exception.

Quiet Bunny is alone in the winter forest. His friends either hibernate, or flew away - there is no one to play with! This changes when a cute puppy comes from a farm nearby.

Low Case b and d Play and Review

Since it's a pretty kid-made Christmas decoration, it's always up for a quick review of the initial sounds and object to the letter matching. Can the animals find their homes?

Easy Christmas Ornament Preschoolers Can Make

Kids were given Bunny and Doggy silhouettes and letter cut outs. The supplies we used are pictured below. We cut ears, tails, and a bow from felt, used pom poms for noses and a bunny's tail.

Kids also enjoy the extension activity: making silly faces and additional animals from the scraps of felt and all the supplies at hand.

Christmas Read and Play Fun

Many Exciting Read and Play books and activities for December can be found here: Christmas Read and Play. What is your favorite Christmas book?

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Kiss under the Mistletoe

Mistletoe Art Preschool Activities

We learned a new tradition, sang a song, painted "Kiss under the Mistletoe" picture, and for our first ever art appreciation activity, observed a painting. All was a great success and joy. I guess, with the little ones, it's all about getting them interested and engaged. You can find the inspiration for our painting activities here: 30 Merry and Bright Paintings and Paints.

Art appreciation preschool activity: Mistletoe

Up for our observation was "It's time for mistletoe and holly... Daily oil painting by artist Deb Kirkeeide" which we found here: simplicity and beauty of this painting allowed the beginner's attention to detail.

A little mistletoe left shining in the sun on the snow. Questions we discussed:

What color is the snow? What colors we could see if the sun light reflects from the white snow? (This question appears complicated for little ones. It happened that we recently played with the sunlight and reflections which helped:

How many berries do you see on the picture? How many leaves? What are their shapes?
Can the sun light make the berries and leaves sparkle? Have you noticed it on the picture?
Do you like this picture? Why?

After the discussion, My Firefly chose the colors of the snow that she thought might be seen when the sun is shining. Here is here palette:

Easy paint project for kids

We used watercolor paper, but tempera paints for this activity because we needed to make handprints and stamping.

The snow is painted on wet. My Firefly "painted" the paper with water first. That turned out to be a great activity. She was motivated to practice horizontal/ vertical strikes since it is a sensory activity with water. Then she got a small brush and her colors. I removed brown from the plate because that's what she'd get when mixing several colors together.

Kiss under the Mistletoe

The paper was still a little wet when we painted the mistletoe. Leaves are handprints. At 36 moths old, My Firefly was able to paint her left hand with the dominant right hand holding the brush. I helped her with the prints to make sure she wouldn't smudge the print. Berries were made by stamping with the empty water bottle. If it's more comfortable, only a cap can be used to stamp. Finally, we shook some glitter over the wet paint.

We didn't know better, but dancing with "Mistletoe" by Justin Bieber. All My Firefly heard was about playing in the snow, Christmas lights, and following the star. She sang "With me... Under the mistletoe" and gave me some kisses and hugs. It was pretty cute.

More Winter Art Ideas from My Bright Firefly

21 Gorgeous Snowflake Ideas
The Art and Science of Snow
30+ Merry and Bright Paintings and Paints
Process Art: Christmas Handprint and Glitter Wreath

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Monday, November 24, 2014

30+ Merry and Bright Paintings and Paints

Easy Paint Projects for Kids

Take a look at paintings, ornaments, gifts and gift tags, DIY wrapping paper, greeting cards; as well as some creative ways that kids might enjoy. The beauty of Christmas can be expressed joyfully with the paint brush in a little hand.  It's all about fun with colors, scents, textures, and a joy of giving and sharing your best creations. Kids are getting hungry after hard working with brushes? Check out family fun in the kitchen ideas found here: Holiday Cookies.

Paint projects are kids' favorite! Painting projects are not only fun, but very beneficial for brain development and exploration of the world. The rich media of various paints and painting projects can be used for learning activities and creativity - the possibilities are endless! (As you can tell by this paragraph, we are in love with paints and brushes at this time).

At the end of our beautiful collection you will find
    Great Christmas ideas for kids: food, d├ęcor, creative activities and crafts, fun inside and outside. Brought to you by some of the best sites on the web.

Christmas paint projects for kids: Ornaments

Painting ornaments
Make Handprint snowman baubles from Messy Little Monster
Pinecone Parrot Ornament: painting pinecones is so much fun!
Baby's first Christmas craft: The gingerbread man ornament from Adventure in a Box
Kids get crafty - Christmas baubles from Red Ted Art
A simple paper plate Christmas craft for kids from How Wee Learn
Christmas clay ornaments for Toddlers to make from Craftulate
Christmas ornaments for kids - Doily painted angel from JDaniel4's Mom

Paints and Brushes

Christams confetti paint from Learn Play Imagine
Pom pom painting from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Holiday paint brushes from Teach Preschool
Snow paint from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Christmas fizzy painting from Gift of Curiosity

Christmas Art for Kids: Beautiful Pictures

Hello Winter from Artsy Craftsy Mom
Kiss under the Mistletoe art appreciation preschool activities
Making Christmas presents for family Footprint on Canvas from Play and Learn Everyday
Arctic theme Potato Print Penguin craft from Artsy Craftsy Mom
Shape Christmas Tree sponge painting from Buggy and Buddy
Funky Christmas Tree - a DIY Christmas on a budget from The Educators' Spin On It

Christmas Painting Games for Kids: Painting Cards

Make your own Snowman Card for Christmas from Artsy Craftsy Mom
Kids' craft Bauble Cards from Red Ted Art
Tree Christmas Card made with a salad spinner from Messy Little Monster
Adorable Handprint Christmas Tree from Fun Handprint Art
Turn holiday crafts for kids into Table Name Cards from Playtivities

Gifts, DIY Wrapping Paper, and Collages

Hand Made Recycled Gift Boxes from Lemon Lime Adventures
Foot print Wrapping Paper from How Wee Learn
Fingerprint reindeer and snowman Gift Tags from My Little 3 and Me
Winter Scape Collage from Artsy Craftsy Mom
Collage: Christmas Tree and Ornaments from Craftulate

Marble Painting

Marbled Christmas Tree with liquid starch from Buggy and Buddy
Rolling Marbles in a Box is fun and a great sensory play from P is for Preschooler
Liquid Watercolors and Shaving Cream Christmas tree from Simple Fun for Kids
Shaken Paint Ornaments from Simple Fun for Kids

Stamping and Mirror Painting

Mirror Painting Shiny Starry Night from In The Playroom
Potato Masher Painting preschool fun from In the Playroom
Sponge Painted Christmas Lights from No Time for Flashcards
Handprint Christmas Tree from Fun Handprint Blog

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all these posts and looking through the pictures. This is truly a treasure and joy of Christmas. I hope, you will find this collection entertaining and inspiring.


Happy Christmas Fun with your kids!

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christmas Holiday Cookies: Decorate and Enjoy

Christmas Cookie Idea

To the Kitchen! is a theme for November at Poppins Book Nook - just in time for festive holidays. We got out our favorite winter story book by Jan Brett and got busy decorating Christmas cookies.  You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook activities here:

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Our favorite book of the month is "The Mitten" by Jan Brett. This truly beautiful book, a folktale from Ukraine, offers a simple story line. It is not easy for wild animals to survive in the cold winter forest. They'd better be together and warm each other up! So animals squeeze into a single white mitten found on the snow. There is room for everyone. Yes, even a bear.

The illustrator's attention to detail makes her books so special and delightful. Pictured below, there is so much to notice on every page: the facial expressions of the animals, the "window" to the next page in a shape of a mitten... and wonderful samples of traditional European embroidery.

Christmas Cookies Preschool Activities

The wonderful artwork of the book has inspired us to decorate our Christmas cookies. My Firefly tried to copy my work and play with colors of the icing. So I had enough time to get into decorating myself. Yay!

Even through the cookies might not as beautiful as the patterns in the book, I'll admit, I enjoyed the process.

To the Kitchen

It's time for a Poppins Book Nook - a book club that goes live on the last Monday of each months.
You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook books and activities here:

The theme for this month is "To the Kitchen". This is a very exciting topic - it calls for all things holiday cooking and quality family time. Visit the hosts of Poppins Book Nook to find out what the kids were up to, their adventures and discoveries in the kitchen.

The wonderful bloggers that participate in the Poppins Book Nook are:  Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

More Cooking with Kids Ideas from My Bright Firefly

Beautiful Vegetables for the Holiday Table
Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!
Fun with Vegetables: Touch, Smell, Taste, Make Soup Together

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kitchen for Kids: Holiday Cooking

Food Groups Preschool Activities

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the best  for festive meals with family and friends. This also means busy time in the kitchen which can be overwhelming with the little ones running around. We are planning on including kids in some fun cooking. I thought it's a perfect time to review the food groups to help them make healthy choices at the holiday table. Our list of "cook books" we read for the holidays can be found here: In the Kitchen.

These great resources will get kids excited about cooking and food - looking forward to spend some sweet time in the kitchen with My Firefly. Well, yes, I am excited! Just look at these pictures!

Sorting food groups, Montessori style - free printables provided at Every Star Is Different.

Read the book, make a collage, and play a game. These Foods Collage fun activities are from The Preschool Toolbox Blog.

Experience the kitchen with your little ones! Colors, scents, tastes, textures: In the kitchen Tot School activities.

Fruits and Vegetables

Little hands that cook with books: vegetable group can be found at The Educators' Spin On It. They had fun reading and discussing books; and made a cool Vegetable Pizza Snack together!

Fruit and vegetable farm classification activities can be found at Teach Me Mommy. Where does it grow? - a question we need to learn for sure :)

Pumpkin Pudding and Pies made together is such an inspiration from Premeditated Leftovers.

Fruit Animal Snacks from Laugh With Us Blog are so fun and yummy!


Build a Tea Party - all time favorite!

Crusty Country Loaf from Small People Big Ideas is great not only for the taste buds, but also for fine motor skills.

Beautiful Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins can be found at Your Kids OT.

This Thanksgiving Cornucopia from B-Inspired Mama is a wonderful snack for kids and adults alike.

Protein Foods

How do animals grow on the farm and what they eat? The answers can be found at the beautiful Farm Small World created by Crayon Box Chronicles.

Meat, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans and peas have much needed proteins. Look at this yummy, healthy and fun to make 15 Bean Soup from The Educators' Spin On It.

Easy Meatball Biscuit Bites from B-Inspired Mama are fun to make and yummy.


Make your Own beautiful and tasty Yogurt Parfaits found at The Educators' Spin On It.

Kid made butter was found at Life with More Babies. So fun!

Happy cooking for the holidays!

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

R is for Reindeer. Shapes.

Reindeer Preschool Craft

For our letter of the week, we explored triangles and squares hands-on and made a handsome reindeer from given shapes.  We've read a beautiful Disney Frozen book and talked about reindeer's life and habitat. This post is part of our "Creative ABCs" series. You can find our previous letter of the week activity here: B is for Birds. Beans and Play Dough Birds.

Dancing with Jingle Bells

The kids loved their newly made reindeer: how he nods his head, the fun antlers and a soft tail, and  dancing with the merry jingling animal. The song we used for our reindeer free dancing: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

Floating Shapes: Triangles and Squares

At this age, our kids know their shapes. We are working on how to recognize a shape in a particular object, to build an object with shapes, and learning the characteristics of shapes.

Kids had a triangle and a square cut from a cardboard box. They made "floating shapes" by outlining on the preprinted paper with a marker. While doing it, we counted the number of sides for each shape.

Observation: the big triangle and the little triangle have the same number of sides - 3! The big square and the little square have the same number of sides - 4! Yay for our little discoveries!

Reindeer Craft for Kids

I folded the above triangle and square in two. Body: 4 cloth pins for legs, a pom-pom for a tail. We used the regular white glue which requires some patience: apply a generous amount of glue to a pom-pom, attach it to the cardboard with very little pressure, and leave to dry for at least 5 min.

Pictured below: the back of the head.
4 holes are premade with a needle for antlers and for ears.
Antlers: thread 1-2 chenille stems and bend the ends to form antlers.
Ears and a neck: thread a chenille stem through the holes and the center of a cloth pin, form the ends to make ears by wrapping around your finger.

To assemble the reindeer, put your jingle bell around the neck (optional) and pin the neck to the body. Attach the eyes, glue on the pom-pom for a nose, draw a mouth.

Check out our letter of the week activities: Creative ABCs

Happy dancing with your reindeer! :)

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

B is for Birds. Beans and Play Dough Birds.

Birds Theme Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

For our letter of the week, we explored birds. Our book about birds was very inspiring to make birds of our own. The main goal: discover hands-on that the birds can be very different and try to distinguish the main characteristics of a particular bird. This post is a part of our "Creative ABCs" series. Our previous activities can be found here: Letter of the Week Theme and Activities.

Seed and Bean Craft for Kids

I love the book we found for this week: "Bring On the Birds" by Susan Stockdale. There is a sentence per page and a new bird per page. With a simple pattern, this is a great visual aid to see and discuss the birds and a wonderful introduction to the new vocabulary. The reference guide to all the birds mentioned in the book can be found at the end of the book.

This book inspired us to pull out our sensory bin that was used with this activity: Cookie Cutter Fun from 3 Dinosaurs. We had different kinds of beans and seeds, pasta, googly eyes, a nest with eggs (optional), and play dough.

Invitation to Build: Birds

Kids practiced making a play dough ball first. Then they decorated each bird with the beans or pasta from the tray. Pictured below, Crayola Model Magic is used. We did find it softer, more pliable, not messy than Play-Doh or home made dough... and more expensive. It holds the shape after air drying for a day without crumbling and can be decorated with markers.

My Firefly loved her birds, made them sing and fly, and asked to make more for several days after. We'll still need to practice making balls though.

Check out our letter of the week activities: Creative ABCs

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Elf on the Shelf - Part I

Fun Family Time Together

I can't wait for Christmas. Part of a reason is the best fun we had with our Elf last December. I managed to get everybody involved in the exciting adventures of our house elf. I just can't wait to see my kids' faces when they find out that the Elf is back in town! In this post: elf arrived, tricks in my son's bathroom, dancing shoes and snowballs, party with friends. Also, please check out how we stay warm here: The Mitten by Jan Brett.

I love Christmas shopping! Our house Elf jumped at us from the shelf of the local home and garden store: happy pretty elves filled several shelves. My Firefly fell in love with him. Little did she know about his adventures nature. The handsome guy is bigger, has a great support with the wires, and can sit on his own.

The quiet arrival of the cutest guest

All the messages and the elf's story come later: no intro messages or reading books attached. I thought it's better to have people use their imagination and shape the Christmas adventures as we go.

He just wanted to be loved first for how merry and bright, and friendly he was. The first day he hang from the boxes in the garage. He didn't say a word, but everybody found him and smiled.

Elf on the Shelf is making tricks in the bathroom

That's when I appreciated him: he is very easy to position and able to hold small objects on his extended hand or a bigger object by hugging it.

I wrapped chenille stems around the elf and taped the stems to the mirror. The right arm is around the toothpaste. The left hand is holding a cap. He drew a snowman with my son's toothpaste (I actually used My Firefly's washable white paint).


Elf On the Shelf is dancing and playing snowballs

The elf got tired dancing in high heels. He had already thrown one shoe on top of the wall sconce. But wait! He still has some energy to play snowballs with fluffy white pom-poms.

Elf on the Shelf has a party with friends

He invited two ginger men. They got caught at midnight drinking milk. Really?

Please, visit us back - the adventures of the house elf are to be continued. Are you planning on Elf on the Shelf activities this holiday season? Our Elf on the Shelf - Part II is here:
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Christmas Sensory Bin

Christmas Activities for Toddlers

Festive sensory bin, fine motor skills activities, arctic animals, playing snowballs, creating music with jingle bells, a craft and fun with stickers - I wish to inspire you, my dear reader, to make a creative Christmas bin for your little ones. It was weeks of fun and creative learning for my toddler last winter! You can find a collection of our Christmas Activities here: 10 Fun and Easy Christmas Activities.

Sensory Bin ideas for the holiday season

Sensory play is very important for toddlers - they learn through all their senses, including the sense of taste. I offered My Firefly this bin after she stopped taking non food items into her mouth; and somebody had to watch her playing for safety reasons.

What is Christmas without jingle bells? My Firefly loved hers. We jingled to the nursery rhymes and Christmas songs, rolled them down the slide and to each other, and included them in our learning activities. The slide pictured below is built into our Step 2 water table. Everything went down that slide. 4 senses are in use for this activity: hand-eye coordination, touch, sound, scented cotton balls - so great for the developing brain!

Sensory Bin Materials and Tools

The water table is decorated with Christmas themed foam stickers. I tried to create two areas for the animals: land is top white and water is blue and white.  The base for the land is big home-made pom-poms. The ocean is a mix of different textures: packing fillers, cotton balls, big blue buttons, and foam shapes.

I included the tongs and different jars for transferring and pouring practice - great for fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination... and developing pretend playing.

We helped animals move around while discussing what each of them likes to do. Well, the penguin pom-poms mainly liked to be peeled and ripped apart.

Pictured below, our sensory bin is in action. I am looking forward to create a new holiday sensory bin this season!

Arctic regions and snow explorations
are so exciting for toddlers and preschoolers at this time of year! Our favorite activities can be found here:

Play with Light at Home: Northern Lights
Polar Bears and Lullabies
21 Gorgeous Snowflake Ideas

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