Feed Me Books Friday: Faith and Fine Motor

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An Early Present

I am adamant that B and T learn that not every outing or shopping trip means a treat for them. I avoid promising toys or special purchases in exchange for good behavior. Usually. But books are my weakness! This week while looking for a couple of gifts at the bookstore, I told B that if he was a helpful and patient shopper he could pick out a new Christmas book. I was almost as excited as he was when it came time to peruse the titles and pick out his reward.

“Building” a Better Understanding

Snappy Builder: NativityB loved handling all the new books and considering his choices, but as soon as I mentioned that one book included “39 pieces to build your own nativity scene,” he was sold. We brought home Snappy Builder Nativity. The story of the nativity is told in kid-friendly text that uses simple language in engaging rhymes. At the back of the book, 3 cardboard panels fold out to reveal the brightly colored pieces used to assemble the scene. Several pieces are used to complete the manger, which is flanked by a palm tree as well as a star and angel overhead. The rest of the pieces are the animals and people and their accompanying stands. The sturdiness and size of the pieces was just right for B’s dexterity; younger children would need considerably more help to avoid damaging the pieces. Once all the assembly was complete, B could enact the story with his figures as we read, which not only kept his fingers occupied, but deepened his understanding of the story as well. This is one impulse-buy I have no regrets about.

Appropriate for: preschoolers, primary grades.

Do you have any special books you enjoy with your children in preparation for the holidays? Hope you’ll share in the comments or link-up!



Bedtime Battles

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Close Your Eyes. But I’m Not Tired…

We’ve been challenged at bedtime more often than usual in the last couple weeks. B is insistent that he isn’t tired, while his behavior is evidence to the contrary. It’s hard to stay mad at his stalling behavior when he asks a question like, “How do you fall asleep when your mind is awake?” Then I realize, we all have these moments – when our body is exhausted but our mind is racing. Hard to guess what he’s thinking about: What he learned in preschool today? The book we read before bed? Santa? Whatever it is, he needs a tool to tune it out. While my initial, burning eyelids, frustration-laden response was to tell him to count sheep, I reconsidered and thought better of it.

Soothing and Satisfying
Count Yourself to Sleep (Song of God's Love, A)
Instead of a curt and annoyed directive to quiet down and sleep, I retrieved one of our favorites from bedtimes past from the bookshelf and gave both of us a refresher. Count Yourself to Sleep, by Lynn Hodges and Sue Buchanan is a lovely story told in verse of how a little otter settles down to sleep. Little ones are encouraged to “count yourself to sleep,” but not by counting sheep. Instead, they are encouraged to, “Count your good and perfect gifts, they all come from God.” The little otter provides some examples of things he is grateful for, which run the gamut from chocolate pudding to sunshine to Daddy’s lap, affirming for readers that there are no wrong answers. Just as I have been trying to commit to my gratitude journal each night, counting blessings is an ideal way to both settle down and foster a sense of satisfaction and content. Our board book version of this title also includes a CD with the text set to music, and once you learn the song, you won’t need to the book each night to remind you.

Helping our children learn to problem-solve gives them opportunities for cognitive development. Helping them establish a focus on gratitude and content not only promotes emotional development, but makes bedtime a little easier, too!

Appropriate for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, everyone!

Hope you’ll share your strategies for bedtime stallers in the comments and any books you’ve enjoyed recently in a link!


Must See Monday #3

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekends are catch-up time for me: I catch up on my writing, I catch up on my laundry, I catch up with my husband, and if I have any time left over, I catch up on all the fabulous posts that accumulate in my reader during the week. Every week I find awesome crafts, fun books, and super giveaways! This weekend kept me pretty busy, so I'm sad to admit I'm more behind in my reader than I'd like to be, but here's what I found so far...


Still thinking about handmaking some holiday gifts? Check out this list of tutorials at Oh Amanda.
Needing some holiday smell in your home? Check out these cinnamon ornaments from Little Page Turners.
Need an indoor activity to keep your little ones busy on cold or wet days? Print out this village from Tip Junkie printables for fun assembly and pretend play!

I need to just say that I love just about everything Christie posts about at Childhood 101. You'll probably find a link there in my list most weeks. This week, she shares ideas for creating family memories during the holidays.
Wanting to share more than just your own local or cultural holiday traditions with your child? Check out the resources at ABC and 123 for Christmas around the world.
Looking for some small, simple gifts for stockings or Hannukah? Check out these game suggestions from Let's Explore.

I didn't enter any giveaways this week - too busy! :( Hope I'll still find some good ones next week.


Feed Me Books Friday: Sorting out the Holidays

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What’s in the Mail Today?

We got our first Christmas cards this week, which was exciting for both B and me. While I love the efficiency, ease, and convenience of email, facebook, and texts, there is something special about getting a handwritten message delivered by the mail carrier. Christmas cards and vacation postcards are my favorite. I’m a notorious procrastinator, but these early cards, along with some recent posts by some of my favorite mom-bloggers, got me motivated to start working on mine. I’ll be sharing the result next week, but for now, I wanted to share what I’m doing to keep B busy while I work.
Busy Fingers

I enlisted B’s help for some of the card design (which you’ll see more of next week). But after his artistic input I needed a little work time to make it come together, so I got out some supplies for him to create some cards of his own. To keep him motivated, I made the recipient list totally up to him. It included some neighbors, some family, and some friends from preschool. He’s more freestyle than fill-in-the-blanks, so with some colored paper, markers, and glitter glue, he was ready to go. What was important to him was authenticity, which meant he needed envelopes, stamps, and addresses. I save the reply envelopes from various junk mail solicitations and bills I pay online along with blank or nearly blank envelopes from greeting cards or thank you note sets. He recycles them in his correspondence play. I also made up some stamp glue from a recipe at DLTK. I printed out a page of thumbnail size holiday clip-art, painted on the glue, and did the cutting for B so he wouldn’t end up with sticky fingers. He was happily productive (and so was I, thanks to a nap from T)! Then he remembered he needed addresses…

Who gets What?
The Silly Christmas Card Mix-Up (Suzy-Jane Tanner Lift the Flap Books)
B has expressed a lot of curiosity lately about addresses, phone numbers, and why our keys don’t open just any door. It’s the kind of curiosity I love to capitalize on for teaching rather than drilling out of context. He’s almost mastered our address, but phone numbers are still a little tricky. Children who learn their home address and phone number not only achieve an important safety skill, but it is also an marker of a preschooler’s social development when he can understand that he is a part of his city or town with a distinct place, or address, within that group. To capitalize on that curiosity and reinforce his understanding of the postal process, we read The Silly Christmas Card Mix-Up, by Suzy-jane Tanner. Reindeer sends cards to all his friends, but forgets the addresses, and they get all mixed up! His animal friends use clues in the cards to sort-out the delivery and get each greeting to the correct recipient. Flaps on each page allow children to participate in the story and help the animals “open” the cards. Once we read the book, we talked about the kind of information necessary for B’s envelopes. For some, simply writing the name of the person we would hand it to was sufficient. For others, that were going to the post office, we talked about why an address is important.

Appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers.

Are you preparing for holidays or family traditions? Are books a part of the plan? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments or read about them in your links!
[photo courtesy "sidehike" on flickr]

Also wanted to mention I'm being featured this Friday at ABC and 123! If you're not already a follower, you'll love all the great learning ideas shared at this cooperative! Stop by if you have a chance and leave a little comment love for me there!

Due to some computer/internet issues, my post is waiting happily on a computer where I can't get to it, I'll update with my book for the week as soon as I can, but in the meantime I wanted to get the linky up for those who are participating this week. FINALLY FIXED!!!

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