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Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Mouse

Well, here it is. My last Christmas project post. You know what's ironic, this craft has been sitting on my desk since the beginning of the season--here it is, last post, and I'm finally getting around to it. I think it's because I've never made this, someone gave it to me, so I'm not familiar with all it takes. Well here it goes.

For the project you will need:

construction paper-grey and pink
candy cane
black crayon

First take a piece of grey construction paper, fold the paper in half. (My paper is white, I didn't have grey at home). Draw a shape similar to the one in the picture. Does the shape have a name? I'm not sure--anybody? Then let the children cut out the shape--keep the paper folded. (When I opened the paper up, it looked like a big raindrop, so I guess you could say you are drawing half a raindrop on the fold).

Now draw an ear shape on the grey and let the children cut that out. Draw that same shape a little smaller on the pink paper and cut out. Here are pieces you will have:

Now glue the pink ear shape inside of the grey ear shape.

Glue around the edge of your raindrop shape--the mouse body, but leave an opening near the bottom back edge--this is where the candy can will slip in for the tail.

On both sides of you mouse, draw little face with eyes, ears, and whiskers, then glue an ear to both sides. The face is on the pointier side of you shape.

Finally slip a candy cane in the back for a tail. He's good to go!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa Hand

I have two more posts before Christmas and then all my ideas will be exhausted--as am I. These last two I have the actual craft at home, but I forgot to bring paper to make it piece by piece. I hope you can understand the directions. The list of materials are the things I used, but remember nothing is written in stone.

For Santa you will need:

red, white, face colored construction paper
wiggle eyes
pom pom

First take a piece of white construction paper and trace the child's hand, have them or you cut it out. The other pieces needed from construction paper are a round circle for a face, hat shape from red paper, a white circle for the ball of the hat, and two "petal" shapes from white for a mustache.

After the hand is cut out, the circle for the face gets glued to the palm, then the red hat gets glued to the top of the palm, and the two "petals" around the nose area for the mustache.

Finally glue on the wiggle eyes and red pom pom for the nose. Some variations I think would be good--cotton for the ball of the hat, and cotton on the fingers for his beard. Have fun.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!

I didn't get a chance to make any Christmas trees with the children this year, other than the handprint one we created for the December bulletin board. I have made some trees in previous years. I hope you can understand these as I don't have many pictures.

The first one was very simple. First I let the children paint a Christmas tree with green paint on a large 12 x 18 piece of paper. The next day I raided the closet to find anything I could use for decorations: sequins, yarn, buttons, stickers, pom poms, pipe cleaners, etc. I used tacky glue as this helps hold these types objects better. Then I just let the children use their imaginations and decorate their tree.

For the second tree you will need:

green construction paper
hole puncher
tissue paper

This tree consisted of folding a 9 x 12 piece of green construction paper. Draw a Christmas tree pattern against the fold. Allow the children to cut out the tree, leave the fold in tact--you want to be able to open the tree, but not have it fall apart. Give the children a hole puncher and let them punch hole in the tree shape, through both sides at once. Now open the tree and let them put glue on one side of the inside of the tree. Give them tissue paper squares, or one piece of tissue paper and put it over the holes--like Christmas lights. Next, put an outline of glue around the edge of the inside of the tree--fold it over and glue the sides together. We then gave them stickers to decorate around the lights. Hang this up on a window and watch the lights glow.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Program

Today was our last class before our Christmas break. I just wanted to share with you a couple of pictures I took of the kids as we got set up for Mom, Dad, Grandmom, Poppy, etc. This class is such a different class from what I have had in a long time. They are very "lively." They know what they want, and when they want it. They sing their hearts out and enjoy putting on performances. They all came dressed for the occasion too. Usually we get one or two "dressed to the nines", but most of them really outdid themselves today.

So we sang and performed, everybody enjoyed and applauded, presents were given out, hugs and kisses, Merry Christmas' and Happy New Years'. It was a wonderful day and a wonderful way to end the 2008 school year.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Santa Claus is Coming!

Today was the day! Excitement was the main ingredient on the menu. Yes, today we got a visit from Santa Claus. How wonderful! So much amazement, you just can't imagine. We are very lucky to have a member of the church volunteer his and his wife's talents as Santa and Mrs. Claus. They are also wonderful enough to bring a goodie bag for the children. It is a day the children remember and can't wait to talk about. It was great.
What was really extra cute today was one of the girls in the class. After Santa left, she went over to our dress up area and got white gloves and a red Halloween costume that looks like a dress--it's actually from one of the Star Wars movies. Anyway, she got all dressed up, went over to Santa's chair and wanted the children to come sit on her lap and tell them what they wanted for Christmas. So as not to break her leg, we set up a little sitting area where the exchange could take place. It was really adorable!

So Santa came to visit, the children all got to sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted, then they got their goodie bags. To commemorate his visit our craft today was a what?, that's right, a Santa. It is a very easy craft as time is not in excess today.

For the craft you need:

copy of Santa head
construction paper
red crayon
wiggle eyes
pom pom (red)
tacky (for eyes and nose)
lots and lots of cotton

I give each child a copy of the Santa face that I have run off on construction paper. First the children color the top of his hat with red. The glue gets put all over his hat brim, beard, and ball of his hat. I started off using a glue stick, but the children couldn't see when they had covered all the glue, so we switched to Elmer's. I put the glue on, only because we were short on time, if we had more time, I would have allowed the children to do this. After all the cotton was on, I used tacky to mark the place for eyes and nose. The children used wiggle eyes, and the pom pom for the nose. He's pretty cute.

The book I read today was a new one we just got from Scholastic. It is called "Santasaurus," by Niamh Sharkey. I thought the children might like it because dinosaurs are just ever so popular. The book is about a dinosaur family getting ready for Christmas. The children all want something special, but Milo's request is the most special of all. Does Santasaurus grant Milo's wish? The children enjoyed it.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Reindeer Sandwiches

My son's kindergarten teacher sent me this little activity. I did not make it, but I did find it on another blog you can check out too: silken-did you know (the picture below is from that site).

To make these you will need:

1 slice of bread
Red M&M's
pretzels-pretzel sticks or twists

Cut the slice of bread in half diagonally. Make your sandwich as usual--I would probably make peanut butter and jelly--but that's just me. Then on the outside of the bread add 2 raisins for eyes, an M&M for the nose, and pretzels for the antlers.

Here's a very rudimentary drawing of what it might look like with stick pretzels, no critics please:

I was thinking, if you would just like to use the bread without making it into a sandwich, you can cut the bread in half, then paint it with some brown food coloring. After you paint the bread you would add the eyes, nose and antlers.

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Nutter Butter Creations

I found a couple of very cute Christmas creations made with Nutter Butter cookies and thought I would share them with you. One is a Santa, and the other is Rudolph. I will say the Santa's look a little sweet, but I have a bit of a weakness when it comes to Nutter Butters so they're probably all good!

For the Nutter Butter Santa's I'll let you travel on over to Simple Servings. She has her recipe there along with a great picture.

The other ones I found were in the December issue of Family Fun Magazine. These creations were made by Jennifer Tate of Lima, Ohio.

For the reindeer you will need:

a package of Nutter Butter cookies
white icing
chocolate chips
red M&M's
pretzel twists

To make these you will be using the white icing as "glue. Put dots of white icing where the eyes, and nose should be. Use the chocolate chips for the eyes, then use a red M&M for the nose. Next put some white icing above the eyes and "glue" on a pretzel twist. There you go--good enough to eat. Have fun.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Homemade Cinnamon Ornaments

One of our Pre-K classes make these great ornaments. They are pretty easy and they smell SOOOOO good. I have started making them at home, because I just love how they make everything smell so cinnamony. The recipe actually came from one of our books "Month-by-Month, Preschool Almanac," by Annie Stiefel. There are many great projects and recipes in this book. (I got this book from Scholastic. I looked for it to show you a picture, but can't find one, or a purchase price).

Ornament Recipe:

1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons water
3tablespoons white glue
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup of cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients together until the dough has a clay-like consistency (add one or tow more tablespoons of water if it's too dry). Next, dust a work surface with cinnamon and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Have the children cut out ornaments using holiday cookie cutters. help children poke a hole in each ornament with a straw, then let them dry on baking racks. Drying time will depend on conditions. It may take about a day.

After the ornaments have dried, string a ribbon through the hole. We also decorate ours with sequins, glitter glue, etc. They really are a great homemade gift. The recipe yields about four dozen 2 inch ornaments.

These are the ornaments the class made. They haven't had a chance to decorate them yet.

December 18, 2008: We made our ornaments at home--the house smells great. I just wanted to show you a couple of pictures how they looked when they were finished.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cutting Day

Today we made the handprint reindeer with the triangle head shape and handprints for antlers. If you are a regular reader you know that I mentioned before how my class was having trouble cutting objects out. So, today I actually had some time to see what might be the problem. My finding, they are nosy. As I sat with each one to see how they cut the triangle out, I noticed watching where they were cutting was of least importance. There were only a few that still had trouble with the open/shut movement, but more than a few that had trouble with the focusing on the skill at hand.

So, if anyone has any ideas, please feel free to share. Thanks.

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Wet, Dry, Try

I learned a new phrase yesterday. I have been subbing in the Pre-K class this week as an aide and am learning more about Handwriting Without Tears(HWT). Yesterday was a number day, the children are working on the numeral/number 7. The teacher had the children use the wet, dry, try method to help learn it's formation and writing it. Wet, dry, try--try saying that five times fast.

Here is how it works. The teacher first presented the numeral 7 by using the blocks, one little line and one big line. Then they each got a chalkboard with the numeral 7 drawn on it. If you take notice the chalkboard has the happy face I talked about earlier, in the upper left hand corner. These chalkboards are not from HWT, we bought them elsewhere and added our own happy faces. They are also larger than the chalkboards you would get from HWT. Our boards are actually 9 x 12.

After all the children had their board with 7 written on it, she gave them a small wet sponge. They were supposed to "write" the 7 with the wet sponge, in turn erasing it. Then they took a paper towel and dried the wet line they made. When the board was dried, they then drew the numeral 7 by themselves with a small piece of chalk. In turn--wet(sponge), dry(paper towel), try(writing with the chalk).

Take notice(picture at top) to the size of the sponge and chalk the children used. Smaller items promote using the correct hand position for writing. I thought this was a pretty neat way to introduce writing the 7, so I wanted to share it with you. It is done for all the numerals and the letters too.

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What a Day!

My class learned a new word today: exasperated! I think that's all I need to say.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Great New Music Site

I was just introduced to a great new site, It was really fun. The two gentlemen creators of the site have compiled children's songs from all over and put them together on one site. My son and I had a good time with the songs over there. It is easy to navigate and just plain fun. Check it out and enjoy.

If you would like another point of view check out this link for another review:

Have fun dancing the afternoon away!

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The Christmas Band

Before I found the cute little Christmas "play" I posted we used to perform the song "The Merry Christmas Band" found in "More Piggyback Songs." This is really fun, it allows the children to play and experience music.

We got out all the instruments we had and only sang the lyrics that pertained to us. You will see when I post the song that there are a number of instruments mentioned, but we didn't have them all. We had bells, sticks, drums, and triangle.

I gave an equal amount of children an instrument, for example: 4 children had bells, 4 children had sticks, 4 children had drums, and 4 children had triangles. When we sang the first verse all the children played their instruments. Then each specific verse allowed one instrument to be showcased. Finally, the last verse allows us to play as a band again. It's an easy song to learn and perform.

Sung to: "Mary Had a Little Lamb"

Play the band, it's Christmas time,
Christmas time, Christmas time.
Play the band, it's Christmas time.
Merry Christmas time.

Ring the bells, it's Christmas time,
Christmas time, Christmas time.
Ring the bells, it's Christmas time.
Merry Christmas time.

Tap the sticks, it's Christmas time,
Christmas time, Christmas time.
Tap the sticks, its' Christmas time.
Merry Christmas time.

(Other verses)
Play the tambourines
Clang the cymbals
Beat the drum
Play the triangle

(Last verse)
Play the band it's Christmas time,
Christmas time, Christmas time.
Play the band, it's Christmas time.
Merry Christmas time

Betty Ruth Baker
Waco, TX

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Stick Reindeer

You probably have seen these in many places. They are very easy and can be made quickly. I have the basics here, but always feel free to add your own little pizazz. I made two of them. For one I used popsicle sticks, for the other I used tongue depressors.

For these you will need:

3 sticks per child (popsicle or tongue depressors)
glue (I used tacky)
eyes (used wiggle eyes for one, drew the other)
nose (used a pom pom for one, paper for the other)

For the reindeer you will be putting the sticks into a triangle formation. Only one edge will not be on the end, it must be put in a bit, some stick will stick out--these are the ears. Add two eyes and a red nose and the basics are done.

You can vary this by wrapping pipe cleaners around the stick by the ears for antlers, you can put on a string to hang it, or you can put magnet on the back to hang it on the fridge. You can even have the children color the sticks with a crayon. Let the imagination run wild!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Handprint AND Footprint Reindeer

Now, we have made a reindeer with a candy cane, a triangle and handprints, now we are going to use handprints and footprints. These are very easy and really cute. They are hanging all over our preschool room. They bring a smile when you look at them.

You will need:

2 shades of brown construction paper
wiggle eyes
red pom pom

Trace around the child's shoe or foot, and have them cut it out. Then trace around an open hand, if they are able, have them cut it out, or you can do it.

After all the pieces are cut out, glue the antlers(hands) to the back of the footprint. Turn the reindeer over and glue on the wiggle eyes and pom pom nose. I used tacky to glue on the eyes and nose because it's a little stronger. Regular glue should work fine as long as you don't move it until it is dry. Also, draw a mouth. Ours have smile mouths, except the one my son helped me with. I'm not quite sure what's up with the mouth area.

Hang a few of these around your area, they could bring a smile to you.

Another version of this craft was done by son's kindergarten teacher. They had actually stamped hands and a footprint with paint on the side of a 12 x 18 piece of paper. Then next to it was the poem at the bottom. Then it was laminated to make a placemat. When doing this project you would probably not use wiggle eyes, and you would use maybe metallic red paper for a shiny nose.

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Candy Cane Reindeer

I have a cute little reindeer made from a candy cane. Now first, you must know that since all the pieces are very small it can be quite a challenge to the fine motor skills. Second, no matter how hard I tried, I had a very difficult time getting a picture that wasn't blurry. The clearest picture I got has a shadow in the back, sorry.

These are really cute for a party favor.

You will need:

candy cane
small red pom pom
small wiggle eyes
glue ( I used glue dots)
brown pipe cleaner

If you have a full sized pipe cleaner the first thing to do is cut it in half. Now twist the pipe cleaner at the top of the bend for the antlers.

After the antlers are on, add two wiggle eyes, then a small red pom pom to the very end for a nose. That's it--your done. Enjoy.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Handprint Poem

I have done many different Christmas gifts for parents over the years. I used to buy wooden shapes--stockings, stars, gingerbread men, etc., at our local craft store, paint them, date them, then either put a magnet or a string on them. After some time, and the classes started growing, the expense started to set in.

Later I made some really pretty wreath magnets from felt and sequins.
I also put the date and the child's name on the back.
Then I went on leave as a teacher for a while. (I think it was child number 4?) Anyway, the new teacher started doing a handprint poem for parents--it gets rave reviews, so I continued.

Many of you have probably heard the poem before, it starts: Sometimes you get discouraged, because I am so small, and always leave my fingerprints, on furniture and walls......(I have a copy of the poem below). Well I buy some pretty document sized paper, print a sheet out for each child, at the bottom I have their name and the Christmas date. Then I will have them put a red, green, or red and green, handprint on each side of the poem.

We then "wrap" these for Mom and Dad. Our wrapping usually consists of using a 12 x 18 piece of paper folded in half and taped up the sides. I have the children decorate the outside, by stamping, coloring, cutting, etc., and writing their names. Then when their gift dries we slide it inside. We then present the presents on the last day of class. I actually have all of my children's gifts still. I always added a picture of them that year and then laminated them on my own. They are quite a keepsake.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Paper Poinsettia

Poinsettias are a beautiful flower to have around this time of year. Here is one that you can make and hang on the wall.

You will need:

construction paper (I used red)
yellow paper circle

Each child should get a 9 x 9 piece of construction paper. I drew a pattern which will make it easier for them to cut. The children should cut on the lines, but NOT go into the circle. This is to make the petals, you don't want to cut the paper apart. I used the bottom of a small drinking cup to make the circle in the center, then used a ruler to draw the lines from the conrers to the outside of the circle.

After all the lines have been cut, every other corner is folded to the center and glued down. I put some glue in the circle (used a glue stick), then added glue on top of the first point folded in, more glue on the second point folded in, etc. I also pressed on the fold a little to keep the petal from popping open.

After all the folds are done you have something that looks like a pinwheel. Turn the flower over and glue a yellow circle in the center. It isn't quite flat so it gives a great 3D effect hanging on the wall.

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