Shape Ornaments for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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These Shape Ornaments were so simple to make and would be a great craft for toddlers and preschoolers learning to recognize shapes!  Little Brother enjoyed getting to decorate some ornaments for our tree while I was happy to sneak in a little learning.  :)

Here’s what you’ll need:  craft sticks, Elmer’s glue, paint (which we received compliments of CraftProjectIdeas.com), a paintbrush, ribbon, decorations, and a hot glue gun (or tacky glue).

 

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1.  Glue your craft sticks in the shape you wish to make.  We made a triangle for a tree and a square for a present.

 

 

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2.  Paint!

 

 

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3.  We let the first coat dry and then painted a second coat.  Let dry completely.

 

 

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4.  Start adding your embellishments.  We used leftover pom-poms from our pom-pom sorting activity.

 

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 5.  Use your hot glue gun to add the ribbon to the back (and we added a bow on the front of our square “present”).

 

 

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They look so cute on our Christmas tree!

Christmas Pom-Pom Sorting

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This Christmas Pom-Pom Sorting activity is super simple and great for both cognitive and fine motor development.  Classifying and sorting according to a common attribute is an important skill for preschoolers.  We chose to sort according to size, but you could easily sort based on color as well.  The tweezers must be held in the child’s hand similarly to a pencil, so it is great pre-writing practice as well!

Here’s what you’ll need:  tweezers, various sizes and colors of pom-poms (small, medium, and large), a marker, and 3 separate containers.  

 

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1.  Dump your pom-poms into a bowl.

 

 

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2.  Let your child use the tweezers to pick up each individual pom-pom and place it in the corresponding cup (small, medium, or large).

 

 

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 Big Brother was surprisingly VERY focused on this activity…he really enjoyed it!

 

 

 

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Check out more fun Christmas activities here or on our Christmas Pinterest Board.  

Minivan Express: A Fun Christmas Tradition

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One of my favorite traditions that we have established as our own little family is going around to look at Christmas lights in our pajamas a few days before Christmas.  It has now lovingly been coined “The Minivan Express” (inspired by Confessions of a Homeschooler).

The boys absolutely love this special night…and so do we!  It just goes to show that family memories don’t have to be extravagant or expensive.  Often times, it’s the simple things that are the most meaningful!

 

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I make their “golden tickets” out of glittery craft foam  and then write on them with paint markers.  I planned to reuse the tickets year after year, but the boys love to keep them…so I’ll just plan to make new ones every year.

 

 

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We get ready for bed like it’s a typical evening.  But when the boys pull the covers down to crawl in bed, their golden ticket is waiting for them!

 

 

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 We hop in the car…with snacks, of course!  Little Brother is munching on some waffle cookies that a neighbor gave us.  We also normally have hot cocoa (or juice), popcorn, and cookies.

 

 

 

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Once everyone is strapped in and settled, we’re off to see the best lights in town!

 

 

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Big Brother was so excited…can you tell?!?!  :)

 

 

Minivan Express Christmas Lights 500x333 Minivan Express:  A Fun Christmas Tradition

 This house was amazing.  They have a sign posted with a radio station and they have the lights “choreographed” to a loop of 4 or 5 different songs!

 

 

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I just bought these lap desks for this year at Michael’s for $5 each.  I thought they would be useful for keeping the boys snacks while we’re driving.

 

 

And the Minivan Express wouldn’t be complete without the proper music!  I’ve made a CD with the following songs:

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Jackson 5

“Happy Birthday, Jesus” by Kapena

“O Holy Night” by Martina McBride

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Ella Fitzgerald

“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

“Jingle Bells” by Frank Sinatra

“Breath of Heaven” by Jessica Simpson

“Little Drummer Boy” by Jars of Clay

“Silent Night” by Sarah McLachlan

 

What is one of your family’s favorite Christmas traditions???

DIY Sensory Table that looks like a Manger

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This past summer our church adopted a new curriculum and completely (and permanently) transformed an entire wing of the church to look like Ancient Judea.  It is incredible.   Our small group was assigned the two and three-year old classroom with the theme “Away in a Manger”.  My very talented friend Kristen came up with the room design and the rest of us just pitched in here and there.

Our family signed up to provide the sensory table (which was supposed to look like a manger) along with a few other things.  We debated purchasing a pre-made table and then altering it to look like a manger, but ultimately decided to make our own using some weathered wood and two restaurant busing tubs.

Materials:

  • 2 — 4 x 4 x 6 pieces of lumber
  • 2– 2 x 4′s
  • Miter Saw (for angled cutting)
  • Circular Saw (to cut out notches in 4 x 4′s)
  • Package of 2 1/2″ screws
  • Drill
  • 2 Plastic Heavy Duty Bus Boxes (we purchased ours at Sam’s Club near the restaurant supplies–they were $12 for a package of two)
  • Sandpaper (for sanding rough edges)

 

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1.  Determine the desired height of your table.  Based on these measurements, cut the 4 x 4 posts using a miter saw at a 45-degree angle to create 4 angled pieces of equal length.

 

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 2.  Determine the center of your “x” and set the depth on the circular saw to cut half the depth of the 4 x 4 post for each of your four pieces.  Once the cuts are made, take your hammer and tap the loose pieces out.

 

 

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3.  After this is complete, you may need to sand or file to make a surface that can be interlocked with the identical piece.

 

 

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IMG 2228 DIY Sensory Table that looks like a Manger 4.  Create a frame using the dimensions of your tub(s) and attach using screws and/or nails.  Once complete, screw the frame onto the interlocking “x” legs.

 

 

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5.  To make the divider, measure the inside width of the tub and cut the board to fit.  This board will act merely as a spacer.  Below the board, screw a longer board to it, allowing an area to screw the board to the frame from the underside.

 

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IMG 2233 DIY Sensory Table that looks like a Manger 6.  Insert your tubs and your manger sensory tub is ready!

 

 

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Here is another area in the classroom (an obvious favorite).  :)

 

 

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Of course, a barn wouldn’t be complete without wheelyCOWS (which Prince Lionheart graciously allowed us to purchase at cost).

 

 

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Hanging Alphabet Christmas Lights

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This Alphabet Christmas Lights activity was lots of fun and extremely versatile.  Plus, it was excellent practice for matching capital and lowercase letters!  We used it as a bathtub activity (and my boys absolutely loved it)…but it could just as easily be adapted to use on a wall or even on the floor!

Here’s what you’ll need:  sheets of craft foam in various colors (or construction paper, if you don’t plan on using it in the bathtub), scissors, a permanent black marker, clothespins, suction-cup hooks, and string (we used the rubber-like string that is used for making friendship bracelets).  

 

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 1.  Make a pattern for a Christmas lightbulb out of an index card or piece of cardstock.  I just folded an index card in half and cut a lightbulb shape so that it would be symmetrical.  Then use the pattern to cut out 26 bulbs from your various colors of craft foam.

 

 

 

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2.  Once all of your lightbulbs are cut from the craft foam, write a lowercase letter on each bulb.

 

 

 

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 3.  Grab your clothespins and write a capital letter on each one.

 

 

 

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 4.  Attach your suction cup to your bathtub wall and cut your string the desired length.

 

 

 

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 5.  Add the clothespins (in alphabetical order, of course).

 

 

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 6.  Once you’re ready, dump all of your lightbulbs (with lowercase letters written on them) into the bath water.

 

 

 

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 7.  Let your child begin hanging the lowercase lightbulbs onto the capital clothespins!

 

 

 

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Encourage your child to continue until all letters are hung!

 

 

 

 

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If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll yank them off the clothespins just so the fun can continue!

 

 

 

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All done!

 

 

 Check out more ideas for Christmas here and on our Christmas Pinterest board!