A Very Merry Preschool @ Home Part 1

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People keep mentioning how short the season between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day is this year, and as we check day after day off the calendar, I might just agree. After traveling ‘home’ to Louisiana for a Thanksgiving with family, we very quickly traded pumpkins for evergreen and transformed our home into as much of a Christmas wonderland as it’s going to be this year with a very hands-on 9 month old.  I twisted my husband’s arm to put up the lights outside before we left, and I am sure we were both thankful that task was done as we started a week full of Christmas tree festivities.

I remember three very specific Christmas ‘traditions’ from childhood – going on nighttime rides to see decorations, lighting the Advent wreath, and putting up our family ornament filled Christmas tree.  My Christmas seasons now with a family of my own continue these traditions, and I am truly blessed to experience the merging of my own childhood with those of my children in this way.

We light the appropriate candles of our Advent wreath before dinner, and a hayride to view Christmas lights is already on the calendar. I knew we would be picking out and putting up our Christmas tree this past week, as well as attending Sugar Land’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. As we keep these traditions, I am hoping to make memories throughout our day to day by playing and learning with our boys holiday-themed style, and with Christmas tree activities in the books, I chose several Christmas tree preschool activities to do throughout the week. I wish I could say that I created all of these, but turns out that my talent lies more in searching Pinterest for activities that others have perfected!

Very Merry Preschool @ Home Part 1

Arts and Crafts :: Christmas Tree Shape Puzzle

{See original post here}

Y’all know how Houston winters can be, and although we turned the calendar and rocked Santa jammies, the weather outside was far from ‘frightful’ at the start of this month. We took our first activity outside to grab some fresh air, and I also find that Wyatt gives the activity more attention outdoors.

glue

Skills – recognizing proportions, self-expression, counting, fine-motor development, identifying shapes, identifying colors, exploring textures, creativity, 

Materials

  • Construction paper {pre-cut for younger children}
  • glue

Directions

1. Pre-cut shapes before introducing activity, making triangles for Christmas trees, rectangles for trunks, and adding additional shapes for ornaments. Make three different sizes of each shape.

2. With your child, sort shapes into small, medium, and big.  *We skipped this step and sorted as we went along.

3. Glue appropriate pieces together to make Christmas trees and talk about proportions as you go. I loved hearing Wyatt smile and talk about ‘the little baby tree’ when he picked up pieces for the tiniest tree.

Christmas Tree Shape Puzzle

Arts and Crafts :: Christmas Tree Number Threading

{Original post here}

threading

Skills – counting, building vocabulary, fine-motor development, exploring textures, creativity, identifying shapes

Materials

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Plastic beads
  • Number cards

Directions

1. Lay out number cards in numerical order, and place one pipe cleaner under each one.  {You could have your child put cards in order first.}

2. Thread appropriate number of beads on each pipe cleaner, and push them to the center.

3. Push pipe cleaners together, and turn to create a triangle Christmas tree with the beads. This is a great time to point out the short top of the tree and larger bottom to reinforce sizes.

Christmas Tree Number Threading

Arts and Crafts :: Christmas Tree Floor Puzzle

{Original post here}

Tree1

Skills – recognizing patterns, self-expression, counting, building vocabulary, fine-motor development, identifying shapes, identifying colors, exploring textures, creativity, building self-esteem 

Materials

  • Painter’s tape
  • Construction paper

Directions

1. Using painter’s tape, create a large triangle on the floor {or wall}.  Make it larger than you think you will need, especially if you are doing with younger children. Arrange construction paper into as many pieces as you want and cut puzzle pieces. {I followed guide in original post.}

2. Scatter pieces on the floor and work with your little one to put the puzzle together. The hardest part for Wyatt was going across with the numbers and then back down. He wanted to place the numbers underneath, so keep that in mind when setting up.

I love this activity because it is geared toward critical thinking, number recognition, and has movement all at the same time. However, Wyatt did get a bit bored about halfway through, and when all else fails I usually pull out my go-to move and suggest helicopters rescue the pieces and bring them to the puzzle. Bringing in his interest helps us complete the task!

Christmas Tree Floor Puzzle

“Reindeer Games” :: Music Play and Food Fun

‘Tis the season, right, so why not have Christmas carol dance parties in jammies with bells around the tree by morning and sugary M&M games after naps?

That’s right! We put the tree lights on, grabbed some bells, and hopped around to “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bells” to warm up this past cold week.  I always forget how much fun I have when I become a kid again for activities like this one. Even John had a blast!

That afternoon {and I’m certain we will do this one again as it involves a family favorite candy} we played this Decorate a Christmas Tree game that I actually printed last year.  There were so many skills while playing this one, and of course Wyatt was totally into it to snag an M&M or two. We have graphed with candy before, and when we play it again, I will be prepared to bar graph our tree “ornaments” afterwards.

IMG_8600

Skills {Dance party} – coordination, physical fitness, self-expression, creativity, listening skills, multi-sensory play, develop rhythm 

Skills {Decorate a Christmas Tree game}  – fine motor development, counting, sorting by color, addition, comparing amounts

We squeezed quite a bit into our first December week and have taken a break since, but I’m ready to jump back in before this season passes us by.  Kelly will be back at it tomorrow with A Very Merry Preschool @ Home Part 2, but do you and your family have any must-makes or must-dos this year? Do share!

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Jenn is an English teacher turned stay at home mom to boys Wyatt {2010}, John {2013}, and Abram {2014}. South Louisiana born and raised, North Louisiana educated, and Texas “polished,” she has found Houston to be home with her husband for the past ten years. After infertility struggles, in 2010 she traded in A Tale of Two Cities for Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and has since been busy discovering ways to learn while playing, maintaining a semi-scheduled family life, and integrating both Texas and Louisiana culture into her family. Besides making memories with her boys full time, she enjoys reading, running, crafting, cooking, and football. Y’all stop by When In Doubt, Add More Salt to read more about family adventures with the boys and Jenn’s thoughts on hot summers and Pinterest pin attempts, and her love/hate relationship with March Madness brackets.

2 COMMENTS

    • It really is fun! And I think if you start early enough with boys they will give it the time of day. Some people argue that boys just won’t sit for this, but in small doses-sure! And especially if you involve their favorite vehicles somehow!

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