Advent Activities (20th December)

Make some Christmas Sensory Bottles

Sensory bottles are great for younger children. You might have seen them before – filled with all sorts of interesting things such as buttons, beads, water & glitter, rice…

So today’s idea is to make some sensory bottles on a Christmas theme!

What you’ll need:

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    Plastic bottles (with lids) – these can be individual pop bottles, or the larger 2 litre ones… really whatever you have to hand!
  • Miscellaneous Christmassy items (ideas below)
  • Water
  • Glitter/ sequins/ food colouring
  • Strong glue & sticky tape

Christmassy item ideas:

  • Tinsel
  • Sprigs off the Christmas tree
  • Jingle bells
  • Decorative beads (the type you can pop on the tree)
  • Pieces of candy cane
  • Fake snow

What to do:

First, soak your bottles to remove any ugly labels! You want to be able to see inside.

Next, pop some christmassy items into a bottle. You can either mix lots of different items together in one bottle, or make individual bottles with different individual items (for example: one with tinsel in it, one with jingle bells, and one with fake snow etc).

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Now you could finish here. Pop the lid back on (securely) and use glue and/or tape to fix it in place. OR, if you wish, you can fill the bottle with water, so that the items inside float around. Try adding a few drops of food colouring to the water or popping in some glitter as well. Alternatively, you could make a bottle with only water and sequins inside. Just be very careful to seal up your bottles tight – you don’t want leaks!

Additional warning – with home made sensory bottles, I find that extra supervision may be required, just in-case the children do manage to open the bottle and try to drink the contents!

 

I hope you enjoy this super simple DIY activity! Please pop back tomorrow for another Activity!

Signature

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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

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

Day 14: Read a Christmas Story

Day 15: Paper Snowflakes

Day 16: Christmas Movie

Day 17: Ice Play

Day 18: Christmas Around the World

Day 19: Christmas Colouring

Advent Activities (18th December)

7 Sleeps to go!

Find out about Christmas around the World

Do you know how they celebrate the holidays in Iceland? Do you know how to say “Merry Christmas” in Finnish? Well why not find out?

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This can be a brilliant opportunity to explore how some countries are very different to ours, and some are similar! Remember to relate back to what the children already know and have experienced – make comparisons, as this helps them to understand!

There are lots of wonderful websites out there. Here are a couple I found through Google *NOTE* I am not endorsing these sites, nor have I fact checked them:

whychristmas.com – this site has links to lots of different countries and cultures, with information about how each of them celebrate at Christmas time.

history.com – this site is one long page with snippets of information about Christmas traditions around the world.

the-north-pole.com – this is another site with clickable links with information about Christmas is various counties around the world.

 

After exploring some of the many different traditions and customs, why not try some out for yourself? Adopt something new this festive period (for example, have you heard the one about hanging a pickle on your tree?)

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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

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

Day 14: Read a Christmas Story

Day 15: Paper Snowflakes

Day 16: Christmas Movie

Day 17: Ice Play

 

Advent Activities (15th December)

It’s Friiiiiday!! We made it to the end of another week! Have you been following my advent activities? If so, I hope you’ve come across a few ideas you like. Today we’re getting crafty while we:

Make some paper snowflakes

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Image from pixabay.com

These paper decorations are wonderful for developing those fine motor skills, co-ordination, concentration, shape skills, and creativity. And of course, you can link it with your learning about the weather, the seasons, symmetry, and the science of the states of water! But mostly, it is wonderful fun!

What you’ll need:

White paper

Something circular to draw around (a small plate will do)

A pencil

Scissors

OPTIONAL: Glue, Glitter, Sequins etc

 

What to do:

Draw around your circular object (plate?) and cut out so that you have a circle of white paper.

Fold in half, half again, and half again (it should look like a slice of pizza).

Snip into the edges – triangle snips work the best, but you can experiment with all kinds of shapes. Your child might need a little help with snipping – especially if your paper is slightly thicker.

When you’ve made all of the cuts you like, unfold the snowflake and marvel at the wonderful designs!

OPTIONAL: Spread a little glue over your snowflake and sprinkle with glitter, or add sequins.

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No 2 snowflakes are the same, so enjoy experimenting with all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes and designs. Once they’re finished (and dried if you were using glue), why not hang them up so that they look like real snowflakes falling?

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Previous Doors:

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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

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

Day 14: Read a Christmas Story

 

Advent Activities (14th December)

With all of the chaos and noise that surrounds this time of year, here’s a nice relaxed activity for the day:

Read a Christmas Story

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Image from Pixabay.com

Reading with children has a whole bunch of benefits, from building relationships, to developing those important reading skills, so take some time this Christmas to settle in with a good book. Here are a few of my suggestions (NOTE – I have included links to amazon.co.uk but I am not saying that you need to buy the books, or if you do, I’m not saying you should necessarily buy from amazon!):

The Jolly Christmas Postman – Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Follow the postman as he delivers Christmas greetings to the characters from many well known fairy-tales! This book has the added appeal of ‘extra pieces’ that your child can pull out of the envelopes and look at/ play with (such as little cards and even a jigsaw puzzle!)

Mog’s Christmas – Judith Kerr

Mog the cat is unsettled by all of the strangeness and hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations! She tries to escape, but ends up in amongst it all again!

The Snowman – Raymond Briggs

This is a book version of the classic film (singing ‘Walking in the Air’ is optional but encouraged!) I love this book because it is all pictures and no words, allowing children at all levels of language and reading development to access and enjoy it. It’s also a lovely story of friendship and magic at Christmas.

The Christmas Eve Tree – Delia Huddy

An ugly little tree arrives in the city, but no-one wants him! That is until a homeless boy asks if he can take the tree with him, and this is the start of a magical Christmas eve for them both. A lovely story from a slightly different angle to some of the other books you might come across.

Dear Santa – Rod Campbell

This book is more suited to younger children. It’s a beautiful flap book where your children can discover a new present on every page!

The Night Before Christmas – Clement C. Moore

No Christmas is complete without this classic poem, and there are lots of beautifully illustrated versions for you to read!

The Nativity Story

If you want to read about the meaning of Christmas, there are so many books with the Nativity story – and these are written in ways that are suited to different age groups -so take a look and pick one that suits you best!

 

Do you have a favourite Christmas story book? Let me know @EarlyYearsIdeas

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Previous Doors:

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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

Day 11: Feed the Birds

Day 12: Go for a Walk

Day 13: Festive Playdough

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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    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!

Signature

 

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Image from pixabay.com

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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    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!

Signature

 

Previous Doors:

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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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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!

Signature

 

Previous Doors:

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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