Advent Activities (12th December)

Yesterday completely got away from me! I had an assessment in the morning (Which did not go to plan), Christmas choir rehearsal in the afternoon, and then the in-laws over for dinner before heading out to take some really giggly pregnancy photos!

In amongst all of that – I completely forgot to post my advent activity for the day!! So here it is (better late than never right?)

Go for a wintery walk

As anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows, I love a good walk! And this time of year is fabulous for going out and noticing all of the changes that are happening in the environment. Remember to wrap up warm, and pop on those welly boots!

Here’s a few ideas for walking:

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    Look for any frozen over puddles OR splash in the non-frozen puddles

  2. Go on a scavenger hunt. Before you head out, make up a little list of things to find. These can be items that you could collect (pine cones, sticks, a shiny stone…), or just sights to spot (5 Christmas trees, a picture of Santa, a Christmas wreath…).
  3. Go for a torch walk in the dark! I wouldn’t recommend this with a large group of children – because you’ll need to keep an extra close eye on them. High-vis vests are also a good idea in the dark.
  4. Make footprints in the snow! That is – if you’re lucky enough to have some. I am so jealous of everyone who has been sharing pictures of the white fluffy stuff.

 

Remember, walking is great exercise, and it’s really important for children to get fresh air, even if the weather is not ‘nice’.

Have a great day!

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Previous Doors:

advent-calendar-1780949_960_720Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Day 9: Christmas Puzzles

Day 10: Do Something Kind

Day 11: Feed the Birds

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Advent Activities (11th December)

2017-12-10 17.37.10Happy Monday! As I mentioned – yesterday I put up my Christmas tree! It’s a special one because this is the last Christmas that the husband and I will be spending as a couple (before baby comes along!), so in celebration, he actually relented and allowed me to get a real tree!

 

 

Moving on – it’s time to open Door 11 on our advent calendar! And today’s activity is:

Feeding the Birds

This is a great time to attract some birds to your garden, as they’re having more trouble finding food and will be glad of a little help from you and your children.

Here are a couple of super easy bird feeders you can make

Cereal hangers

What you’ll need:

  • Cereal that’s in the shape of loops (for example Cheerios)
  • Pipe cleaners

What to do:

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Image from pixabay.com

1.Thread the cereal onto a pipe cleaner until it is mostly covered. Remember the leave enough at the top to create a loop for hanging. Do this as many times as you like to make as many feeders as you like.

Bonus: Threading is great for fine-motor skills and co-ordination. You can also link in some pattern work if you have a cereal with different colours.

2.Hang your pipe cleaners in the trees!

 

Bread Hangers

What you’ll need:

  • Some stale sliced bread
  • OPTIONAL: Cookie cutter(s)
  • Some bird-seed
  • Butter (and a knife for spreading)
  • A pencil
  • Some string/ ribbon

What to do:

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    Image from pixabay.com

    Take a slice of stale bread and spread the butter all over. Spread it fairly thick as this is what will help the seeds to stick.

  2. OPTIONAL: Use your cookie cutter to make the slice of bread into an interesting shape.
  3. Press your bird seed into the bread and butter until the whole slice is covered.
  4. Use your pencil to make a small hole, and thread the string or ribbon through for hanging.
  5. Hang your bread feeder out for the birds!

 

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your feeders to see if you can spot any birds. And check back here tomorrow for another Advent activity!

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Previous Doors:

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Day 9: Christmas Puzzles

Day 10: Do Something Kind

 

 

 

Advent Activities (10th December)

Good morning! Today is the day I decorate my house and put up my Christmas tree! For the first time in over 8 years, we’ve treated ourselves to a REAL TREE! That’s because this year we’ll be spending Christmas morning in our own house (for the first time ever!) I just love the pine smell and the extra special-ness of it.

So what’s on our to-do list today?

Do something kind

This is a bit of an abstract one. I can’t give you a list of ‘what you’ll need’ or a step by step method, but never-the-less, this is a time of year for spreading the love. So here are some really easy ideas:

  • Give someone a compliment
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    Image from pixabay.com

    Visit a lonely neighbour (or introduce yourself if you haven’t)

  • Help with the household jobs (especially if you don’t usually do them – I’m looking at you children!)
  • Donate a toy/ toys to charity (also a great way to make room for the new Christmas toys)
  • Buy an extra present and donate it – there are usually lots of local appeals going on at this time of year, or take a look at the Salvation Army.
  • Call someone that you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • Send a letter to someone who is working hard this Christmas (firefighters/ police officers/ doctors/ nurses…)
  • Buy an extra packet of rice in your shopping and donate it to a local food bank (more ideas for items they need HERE)
  • Hold the door for someone
  • Don’t complain – for the WHOLE DAY

 

Do you see where I’m going with this? Obviously there are tonnes of other kind things you can do, even volunteering your time for a local cause. I’m sure you can find something that will work with the amount of time/money that you can afford to give this Christmas.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Previous Doors:

advent-calendar-1780949_960_720

Image from pixabay.com

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Day 9: Christmas Puzzles

Advent Activities (9th December)

What are you up to on this cold Saturday? Might I suggest:

Do a Christmas Puzzle

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Image from pixabay.com

There are so many options out there of lovely themed Christmas jigsaws and puzzles. If you already have one, great! Pull it out, maybe pop on some relaxing music, and spend some time with you child(ren) working together. Puzzles are brilliant for problem solving, fine motor skills, co-ordination, concentration, and team work!

If you don’t already have a puzzle, here’s a super easy activity for you to try:

  1. Find some old Christmas cards (ones with a clear picture on the front are best, and the bigger the better!)
  2. Chop them into a few pieces (so that they become like a jigsaw puzzle) – if you’re chopping more than 1 card, it might be helpful to number the pieces on the reverse of the picture, for example all pieces from card 1 have a number 1 on them.
  3. Hide the pieces around the house or garden.
  4. OPTIONAL: Split your children into teams and make this a competitive game.
  5. GO!! Hunt around the house to find the pieces and complete your mini puzzles.

 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend in whatever you are up to!

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Previous Doors:

advent-calendar-1780949_960_720

Image from pixabay.com

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Day 8: Home-made Christmas Cards

Advent Activities (8th December)

It’s Friday! The weekend is almost here! What will you be doing? Well here’s one idea:

Make and send some home-made Christmas Cards

There are so many lovely ideas for making your own Christmas cards. Here are 2 really simple and completely lovely ones:

1.Hand Print Angels

What you’ll need:

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Image from pixabay.com

Coloured card

White paint

A paint brush

Glue (PVA or glue-stick)

Cream// yellow/ shiny paper (cut into a triangle)

A circle of skin coloured/ white paper

Glitter – gold or silver (if desired)

Pens/ pencils

Method:

  1. Fold your card in half to make a Christmas card shape.
  2. Paint both of your child’s hands using the white paint, and press them down onto the card – thumbs together and facing upwards. It should look like 2 Angel wings.
  3. Sprinkle a little glitter over the wet paint if you fancy a bit of extra sparkle.
  4. Stick the triangle into the middle of the handprints, with the point at the top. This is to be the Angel’s dress.
  5. Allow your child to draw a face onto the circle of paper, before sticking it at the top of the triangle.
  6. Once the paint and glue are dried, write inside your card!

 

2.Potato print baubles

What you will need:

Coloured card

A variety of differently sized potatoes

A sharp knife (obviously only to be used by an adult)

Some brightly coloured poster paints

A paint brush

Glitter (if desired)

Black felt tip

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Image from pixabay.com

Method:

  1. Fold your card in half to create a Christmas card shape.
  2. Cut your potatoes in half – leaving a flat, round(ish) surface for printing.
  3. OPTIONAL: carve out some details onto the flat side of the potato – stripes/spots/etc
  4. Spread some of the paint onto the flat side of the potato, and press it down onto the card.
  5. When you lift off the potato you should see the print left on the card. Sprinkle a little glitter over the wet paint if you’d like to add some sparkle!
  6. Continue with this method until you have as many bauble shapes as you’d like on your card.
  7. Experiment with adding paints of different colours onto the same potato for interesting patterns and designs.
  8. Use your black felt tip to draw a small square at the top of the bauble shape and the loop for hanging.
  9. Once the paint is completely dried, write inside your card.

 

I’m sure friends and family will love these home-made designs! Enjoy!

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Previous Doors:

advent-calendar-1780949_960_720

Image from pixabay.com

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-Dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Day 7: Christmas Baking

Advent Activities (7th December)

Bake some Yummy treats

This is no time to go on a diet! And baking is a brilliant way to practice some simple maths skills (weighing and measuring), literacy skills (following instructions), and even learn about science (changing states).

Gingerbread People

A classic Christmas biscuit! Here’s what you need:

350g Flour

100g Butter

175g Light Brown Sugar

1 Egg (beaten)

1tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1tsp Ground ginger

1/2tsp Cinnamon

4tbsp Golden Syrup

Gingerbread person cutters

Icing sugar/ piping icing

 

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Mix together the flour, spices, and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and rub in the butter. Next add your sugar to the mixture, before stirring in the golden syrup and the beaten egg.

Stir until your dough comes together. Chill in the fridge (wrapped in clingfilm) for around an hour. Roll out your dough on a slightly floured surface, and use your cutters to make your gingerbread shapes.

Place your gingerbread people onto a baking tray (on baking paper) and cook in the oven at around 190 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden.

Once cooked, let your gingerbread people cool completely before decorating with icing.

 

Top-hats (dipped marshmallows)

This is super easy and only involves melting chocolate so you don’t need to put the oven on!

Marshmallows

Chocolate chips/ chunks/ bars that you can melt (I find that milk chocolate is best)

 

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Image from pixabay.com

Melt your chocolate – you can do this in a variety of ways. Either pop it in a microwave safe bowl and heat (CAREFULLY) in short bursts, stirring in between, or place in a bowl over a pot of steaming hot water. Either way, be aware of your health and safety procedures and ensure that no little fingers go touching hot apparatus.

Next, dip your marshmallows into the melted chocolate until they are half covered.

Then pop your marshmallows onto a sheet of baking paper and allow to set. OPTIONAL – add a smartie or other sweetie to the top of your marshmallow (the side with the melted chocolate).

 

Shortbread biscuits

Here’s one of my favourites. I LOVE shortbread 🙂 All you need is:

60g Flour

40g Butter

20g Caster sugar

Splash Vanilla extract

Biscuit cutters

 

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Image from pixabay.com

Mix together the flour and butter by rubbing them through your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

Add in the splash of vanilla and sugar, then begin to squeeze the mixture together until it becomes like a dough. You may want to add a tsp or so of water if your mixture is too dry and crumbly.

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface and use the cutters to make your biscuit shapes.

Place your biscuits onto a baking tray with baking paper, and cook at around 180 degrees for around 15 minutes or until golden.

 

 

There are SO many more ideas online, so get into that kitchen a cook up a storm!

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advent-calendar-1780949_960_720

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Previous Doors:

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letter to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play

Day 6: Scented Pictures

Advent Activities (6th December)

Halfway through the first full week in December! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (my final assessment for the year is on Tuesday).

Looking for something to try today? Pop on your favourite Christmas tunes and get creative with some:

Seasonal Scented Pictures

Very simply, this involves ‘painting’ with spices. When I last did this activity, I cut out some gingerbread-man shapes out of paper, but you don’t need to do that as any piece of paper will do! Alternately, any Christmas shape will do!

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Image from pixabay.com

To create your ‘paints’ just mix whatever spice you fancy, with some slightly watered down PVA glue. My spice suggestions include: ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, and cinnamon, but you can use whatever you like (or whatever you have in your cupboards!)

 

 

I also usually allow my children to sniff the spice jar, so that they can tell me if they like it or not. It’s also a great opportunity for some lovely language.

Mix a good helping of the spice into the glue mixture, and start painting! The added bonus is that this special paint has a really interesting grainy texture.

 

If you do try out any of my ideas – or have any wonderful ideas of your own that you’d like to share – please tweet to me @EarlyYearsIdeas

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advent-calendar-1780949_960_720

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Previous Doors:

Day 1: Paper Chains

Day 2: Reindeer Cam

Day 3: Salt-dough Ornaments

Day 4: Letters to Santa

Day 5: Christmas Role Play