Tot School ~ Christmas Fun Part 2

~ Ladybug is 44.5 Months Old ~Tot-School_thumb3_thumb_thumb_thumb_[2]


Theme_thumb1

We are doing 2 weeks of all Christmas themed school, you can find just about everything you will see pictured below in my Christmas Theme Collection post, and on my Christmas Theme Pinterest board.

image7 Christmas-Printables-and-More2

Last year I introduced the Christmas Fun Notebooks and Ladybug in particular was VERY excited to see hers back out this year. I refilled it with some of the same printables, and added tons of new stuff for her too!

She loves the Christmas Alphabet MazesCurly Hair-5294

We worked on her color to match page from our Just Color Christmas set…Curly Hair-5257

She really liked this one!Curly Hair-5258

She also did the listen and color page with me…Curly Hair-5292

The day I surprised my kids with the M&M Christmas Tree Game was a good day! Christmas Tot School-5206

Christmas Tot School-5207

They couldn’t believe I was going to let them eat them when we were done!Christmas Tot School-5209

We also played the sight word Christmas game all together, PacMan helped Ladybug, while Krash worked on his words independently.Curly Hair-5287

She made her own Christmas cards for a few special people and really put a LOT of thought and time into each one.  I let her do whatever she wanted!

Christmas Tot School-5242

By mid day, this is usually what our room looks like if we don’t do a clean up.  The kids were having fun with the sensory bin and the card making items. There was no point to clean it all up until the day was done.  Chaos rules the room on most days, but we almost always put it back together when the day is done.Christmas Tot School-5234


tub-of-fun_thumb1

The Christmas Sensory Bin began with the usual base of just red and green, with spoons, tongs, and a sorting tray. We continue to add little surprises to the bin each day {I have 12 total}.  On this day she was opening the bin of tiny toys {a random assortment of little Christmas toys; Weebles, mini Santas, a Christmas train, etc.}Christmas Tot School-5185

She was very impressed!

Christmas Tot School-5195

Christmas Tot School-5197

The new little surprises and bins kept coming, and the kids had fun each and every day!Curly Hair-5277

Sorting like items is a VERY favorite of Ladybug’s…Curly Hair-5272

Curly Hair-5274


Techy Tot

I bought a new school app, Montessori Numbers, last week and it is a great one!  It is a great number app; working on identifying, counting, and even writing numbers.  It has a wide ability range so is perfect for Ladybug and Krash.Curly Hair-5297

Best part, they both LOVE it!

Curly Hair-5299


Life-School_thumb1

Ladybug enjoyed making Christmas gift crafts with me one day while the boys were away with Daddy.  Curly Hair-5316

She also enjoyed having her curly hair back again for a day!

Curly Hair-5342

Curly Hair-5346

She really liked her snow globe, and decided to keep it as her gift to herself.

Curly Hair-5359


Insta-Tot_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1] Ladybug’s weeks on Instagram {I am using Printsgram to make the layout for the week!}

image

We are 1plus1plus1 on Instagram, follow us here!


A Few Popular Tot Posts…

Busy-Hands-Play-Dough-Box222222Printable-Theme-Packs1222222Where-to-Begin-with-Tot-School222222Following-the-Lead-of-the-Child12222[1]iPad-Easy-Readers4222222Tot-School-Printables4222222

See the Tot School webpage here!Tot-School-early-learning-through-pl[1]

New to linking up here? Read this first! Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

Sensory Bin Games

We have had a Christmas Sensory Bin for years now and it is always a favorite.  The bin itself begins with only the red/green base of items. The fun little Christmas additions come out one a day until they are all in the bin!

Christmas Sensory Bin-5009

 

    The Christmas Sensory Bin gets the most play by far, of any sensory bins we do.  The daily surprise factor is probably the reason.  I also am very intentional about playing some little games with the kids during the Christmas season too.  Here are a couple of the games we play together. You can play these with any sensory bin, not just a Christmas theme!

    Listen Carefully!

    Listen Carefully Sensory Bin Game

    I get out a few items, 2 of each thing.  This game I photographed I happened to be playing with Krash, age 6, so this is on his level.  With Ladybug I only use two very opposite sounding items. 

    Christmas Sensory Bin-5109
    Take one set of the items and put them into a stocking {or other container in which the items can’t be seen}.
    Christmas Sensory Bin-5112
    Leave the other set of items on the floor for a visual reminder of what is inside {for older kids, don’t do this, make them use their memory!}.  Secretly reach into the stocking and grab one of the items and place it in a metal {or other hard} container that closes securely. 
    Christmas Sensory Bin-5115
    Have your child shake the container and listen to guess what is inside!
    Christmas Sensory Bin-5119
    Then have your child pick up the item they think it is…Christmas Sensory Bin-5116
      Then open the container to check!
      Christmas Sensory Bin-5122 Christmas Sensory Bin-5125



    Feel & Find

    Same layout as above, except you get another stocking {or something similar} and have your child reach in and guess by feeling. 

    Christmas Sensory Bin-5131

    Variations of the game ~

    • Challenge your child to find something specific, find something you describe {to work on listening skills and vocabulary} ex: “I am thinking of something smooth, cool, and small” {a small gem}.
    • Put 5-10 different items in the stocking but don’t tell your child what any of them are.  Have your child feel around and when s/he thinks he can identify and object just by feeling have him guess aloud and then pull it out to check!  To be sure my kids don’t “cheat” I have them find a matching object from the sensory bin and lay it on the ground in front of them before they pull it out to check.
    • For a younger child, put in just a few very different items and lay matching objects out and have her pull one out and match it.  If she can guess before pulling it out, great!  If not, just have her match once it is out!

    Christmas Sensory Bin-5136



    A few other ideas for play ~

    Hide and Seek ~ play a simple game of hides and seek with the items.  One person hides a few objects and the other finds them!

    Sorting ~ Match together all of like items in various combinations.  This is still a favorite thing with all of my kids.

    Counting ~ this is pretty obvious, but be sure to work on 1:1 correspondence with young kiddos.  Have them touch the objects one at a time as they count.

    Patterning ~ again a simple concept.  Be sure to introduce more complex patterns as they get older!


    If you haven’t read the Montessori Minute post about sensory play, be sure to read that to see why these bins are so wonderful for kids!  See a Behind the Scenes look at Sensory Bin play with videos here!

    Use this button to jump to all of my Sensory Bin posts anytimeSensory Bins



    Looking for more Christmas Sensory Bins?  Living Montessori now has a great collection post!

    Tot School ~ Christmas Fun

    ~ Ladybug is 44 Months Old ~Tot-School_thumb3_thumb_thumb_thumb_


    Theme

    We are doing 2 weeks of all Christmas themed school, you can find just about everything you will see pictured below in my Christmas Theme Collection post, and on my Christmas Theme Pinterest board.

    image Christmas Printables and More

    Last year I introduced the Christmas Fun Notebooks and Ladybug in particular was VERY excited to see hers back out this year.  I refilled it with some of the same printables, and added tons of new stuff for her too!

    Christmas Activity Notebooks

    Christmas Homeschool-5012 Christmas Homeschool-5013

    She loved the new Christmas Alphabet MazesChristmas Homeschool-5025

    Color by Number Christmas Tree {I think that one was from The Polar Express pack}, she loved it! Christmas Homeschool-5031

    Christmas Homeschool-5033

    She asked for Rudolph out of our Just Color Christmas set…Homeschool -5183

     

    We had a few tot tray activities that I have had for awhile, it is so nice to not have to make these things every year! Christmas Sensory Bin-5007

    She loved the cookie counting activity {this printable has been taken off of the blog I got it from originally} and we played for awhile!Christmas Homeschool -5168

    The Christmas Cookie Match is way too easy for her but she loved it!Christmas Homeschool -5170

    Making patterns with Mary, Joseph, and Baby JesusChristmas Homeschool -5171

    I got this puzzle last summer at a discount store {JR I think?} and she loved it!!!Christmas Homeschool -5175


    tub of fun 

    The Christmas Sensory Bin began with the usual base of just red and green, with spoons, tongs, and a sorting tray.  Christmas Sensory Bin-5022

    Christmas Tot School-5104

    Each day I added something new to the bin. The day the cinnamon scented pine cones hit the bin was a good one, she loved smelling them!Christmas Sensory Bin-5145

    I have a post coming this week sharing more about our Christmas Sensory Bin Daily Surprises and the games we play using items from our bin!


    Life School

    Watching her excitement about The Sparkle Box project we have going on has been awesome.  Considering it all began with tears over wanting toys instead of chickens, I am extremely grateful that she has since asked about the box daily and when I ask her who it’s for she says “God!”

    Christmas Tot School-5053


    Insta-Tot_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[2]

    Ladybug’s week on Instagram {I am using Printsgram to make the layout for the week!}

    image

    We are 1plus1plus1 on Instagram, follow us here!


    A Few Popular Tot Posts…

    Christmas-Gift-Ideas-for-Tots4 Gift-Ideas...preschoolers4

    Busy-Hands-Play-Dough-Box22222Printable-Theme-Packs122222Where-to-Begin-with-Tot-School22222Following-the-Lead-of-the-Child12222iPad-Easy-Readers422222Tot-School-Printables422222

    See the Tot School webpage here!Tot-School-early-learning-through-pl[1]

    New to linking up here? Read this first! Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

    But I Want Toys!

    Yesterday I shared about our new Christmas Gifts for Jesus idea. What I didn’t share is the behind the scenes show that occurred when my children were introduced to this new idea. I knew the little 2 were a gamble and honestly had NO clue what their reaction would be. My camera caught a piece of reality, I think it is important to share this side of giving gifts to Jesus too. The side that isn’t so sweet and lovely, but a bit more sinful and selfish.  The side that shows it isn’t always easy to give selfLESSly.

    As I was asking my kids to come together so I could read the book, this is the look I got from Krash, my grumpster. He was busy playing army and didn’t want to be bothered. I didn’t even know I caught this shot, I was just testing my camera settings. This is unfortunately typical for him during this current season of life.  It takes all the prayers in the world for me to not lose it over his grumpy attitude.

    The Sparkle Box

    Thankfully, even after that beginning, all 3 kids ended up LOVING the book and were asking questions and pointing things out in the pictures. Reading time was fun and sweet. After the reading, when I explained what we were going to do, the reactions began. My oldest was thrilled and immediately began browsing and reading about different gifts-even remembering some we have given in the past.

    The Sparkle Box

    Krash was a bit confused but eagerly began wondering what this was all about. He didn’t remember from last year very well and he and Pac began discussing some of the items in the catalogs.

    The Sparkle Box

    The little one was sadly disappointed when she opened her catalog and saw chickens instead of toys.

    But I Want a Toy!

    The massive tears of disappointment soon began to fall. See the big ol’ tear on her cheek?

    But I Want a Toy!

    Yup, she was totally bummed, and even a bit angry it seemed. She ran over to find the Toys R Us catalog and proceeded to tell me she wanted toys, not a chicken. Then she told me she wanted toys and a chicken, for HERSELF.

    Years ago this would have devastated me and made me feel like a failure of a parent. I would have even been ashamed to write about it or tell anyone! But, now that I am 3 kids and 10+ years into this parenting gig, I know that she is small and is learning and growing spiritually in her own way. I didn’t take her reaction personally, and instead focused on the boys, who were still browsing through the catalogs happily. I silently prayed and joined in the conversation my boys were having.

    In just a few short minutes, suddenly Ladybug was up and asking me where her piggy bank was. She has a little bank that she plays with and it has a bunch of coins in it. It is her “play” money but she knows it is real money. She then went to her desk and began to put her money into the Sparkle Box.

    The Sparkle Box

    I didn’t say much, trying to enforce the lesson to the boys that this wasn’t about gaining praise from others. She sat there awhile, dropping her coins into the box and then announced that she was giving all of her money to God, “He’s gonna have a lot!” The pure joy on her face was priceless, and it did not come from my praise {since I had said nothing}. Maybe it came from the fun of dropping coins into something {probably} but my soft Mommy heart would like to believe that maybe deep in her little 3 year old heart something stirred.

    The Sparkle Box

    So, the Sparkle Box began with my baby girl, adding all of her coins to it, even possibly having absolutely no clue why. Each year we will continue to raise up our children in the way of the Lord, teaching them that when they give to others, they are indeed giving to Jesus himself.

    Matthew 25 verse 40

    My oldest son, who is ten,  is such a blessing to my heart. It wasn’t that long ago that he was crying over toys in our Operation Christmas Child box we put together because he wanted them. The spiritual growth we have seen in him is such an awesome reminder to me that we need to be patient, and just keep modeling.

    And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

    Christmas Gifts for Jesus

    Christmas Gifts for Jesus

    I wrote a Christmas Gifts for Jesus post last year, but this year I have something new to share about how we are now doing this as a family.  I can’t say it will be a yearly tradition, as this is the first year for us, but it is certainly something I hope works out as a family tradition in the future!

    I was introduced to the book, The Sparkle Box through a reader who sent me an email about it {thanks!}.  I loved the concept and had never seen the book so I ordered it that night.  When it arrived I read it to myself and began to pray about what the Sparkle Box could look like for us. You can read more on The Sparkle Box website.

    The Sparkle Box

    After feeling God’s idea for our family in my heart, I read the book to the kids, which they loved, and then brought out the Sparkle Box and shared our family plan for it.

    The Sparkle Box-5074

    I handed each of them a World Vision Gift Catalog and told them that we are using our Sparkle Box to collect money to give a gift to Jesus on Christmas Day!

    A few “rules” came along with this, to help them grasp the heart-meaning of giving. My thoughts behind this comes from the verses in the Bible about giving in secret.

    Matthew 6

    1. Nobody can open the box to count the money until we all open it together on Christmas Day.
    2. Nobody can tell anybody else how much money they put into the box.
    3. When putting your own money in the box, do it in private, when no one is watching. It is between you and God.
    4. You can give money in honor of someone to replace a gift you would have given.  My oldest asked about this and I told him I would rather him take the money he would use to buy me a small gift and put it in the box, along with a simple note saying he gave my gift to Jesus instead. I made sure he knew I did not want him to tell the amount, that’s between him and God.
    5. No picking up the Sparkle Box, the box is fragile and as money is put in {coins} it will get heavy and could break!  No opening the box, even to put your money in.  The big red bow keeps the top shut, but there is a small opening in the box where it folds where we can easily slip our money in!
    6. The kids are browsing through our gift catalogs to see where their heart is pulled.  As Christmas approaches I will have them each share the 3 things they would love to spend the Sparkle Box money on.  As a family we will vote, or possibly draw randomly if there are too many suggestions.  I plan to have the item{s} we plan to purchase decided upon ahead of time.  If we have extra money we will go down the list we create together and buy more for Jesus! As a family we usually use the The World Vision Gift Catalog, but will also be looking through the Compassion Gift Catalog online, and our Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog to choose our gifts.

    World Vision Gift Catalog 2012 gI_114455_Gifts-of-Compassion-Print-Catalog_150x195 

    On Christmas Day we plan to sit together and open the box and count the money all together. We will then find time to get online and order our gift for Jesus. I am hoping this will be a special time for our kids, as they see the power of us joining together to make a difference.

    I look forward to seeing how God uses this experience in our family. How does your family honor Jesus on His birthday? I’d love you to share some of your traditions in the comments!