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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Fourth of July Fun!

Four fun crafts for the Fourth

  1. The American Flag

Take a white sheet of construction paper and place it lengthwise on a table. Assist your child to cut out seven red stripes 0.62 in. wide and one blue rectangle 3.5 in. wide by 3.75 in. long from construction paper. Glue the rectangle lengthwise on the upper left corner of the white sheet, and then glue the stripes 0.62 inches apart starting with the red so the white and red colors alternate, but do not cover the blue rectangle. Next, ask your child to draw stars in the blue rectangle. Lastly, talk with your child about why there are fifty stars and thirteen stripes on the American flag.

 

  1. Red, White and Blue Firecrackers

Gather nine popsicle sticks. (Don’t eat all the popsicles at once!) Cut out a red, a blue and a white triangle from construction paper, and pick out some fun red, white and blue string or ribbon. Next, guide your child in gluing the popsicle sticks together in sets of three, edge-to-edge, one next to the other. After they have dried, glue one triangle to the top of each set of popsicle sticks, and tape the string to the bottom. When you finish, you will have three fabulous firecrackers.

 

  1. Painted Fireworks 

This is an easy one! All you need is blue paint, red paint, tape, a white sheet of paper and seven bendy straws. Wrap tape around the non-bendy ends of the straws so they are secured together. Bend the other ends so they are sticking out in different directions. Assist your child to paint the ends, alternating with blue and red paint. Once all the ends are painted, place them down on the paper. This is a great opportunity to explain patterns to your child. Add more paint and repeat this step in different spots on the paper.

 

  1. Uncle Sam Hat

First, take a white Dixie cup and paint evenly spaced red stripes around it, alternating white and red. Next, cut a half-inch strip of blue paper and have your child paint stars from one end to the other. Once the stars have dried, glue the strip around the wide end of the cup. Lastly, cut out a circle from foam, paint it red and glue the rim of the cup to the circle.

Baking Holiday Memories

Bake up some warm holiday memories with your children this season. Put on those aprons, the mess is part of the fun! Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet/dry ingredients, while the younger children participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl (be sure to point out that oil and water mix) and by stirring and creating cut-outs with cookies cutters. Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when it is time to decorate! Festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, pre-cut fondant in holiday shapes (or make your own), gumdrops and more are perfect for little fingers, and make for wonderful holiday cookie decorations. Don’t forget to taste test your creations! Giving and sharing provide a feeling of joy that you can reinforce by having your children deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center.

Baking with Children

  • Put on aprons. The mess is part of the fun;
  • Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet and dry ingredients, while younger children can participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl;
  • Show children that oil and water mix by letting them stir the mix;
  • Create cut-outs with cookies cutters;
  • Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when decorating your creations. Use festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, gumdrops, pre-cut fondant or homespun shapes. These are perfect for little fingers and make wonderful cookie decorations;
  • Don’t forget to taste test your creations;
  • Go with your children to deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center. Giving and sharing can make children feel good.

Fourth of July Fun

It’s the time of year when family and friends join together for barbecues and fireworks. Whether it is a publicly held event or a celebration in your own backyard, the Fourth of July allows for lots of fun and various activities for all ages.

When searching for that perfect spot to lay down a blanket to view the fireworks, consider that fireworks may not be suitable for all children. While many adults enjoy this holiday, loud noises and bright lights can be frightening and overwhelming for young children.

Before attending any event that involves fireworks, discuss with your child what fireworks are and why people enjoy them. Show him videos of fireworks going off so he has a better idea of what to expect. It is normal for children to have a natural fear of loud unknown noises, and some children may also be afraid of fireworks falling on them. Be prepared to help him cope with his concerns.

While waiting for the sky to get dark enough for the fireworks to start, some children may become bored. Here are some activities that will help her stay occupied:

·         Play eye spy with her. In this way you can incorporate learning through play by asking her to find items that are specific colors and shapes;

·         Bring paper and crayons, and ask your child to draw pictures of what she thinks the fireworks will look like. This also may make her feel more comfortable about the anticipated display;

·         Provide outdoor equipment for games and activities such as balls, kites and jump ropes to keep your child engaged while she is having fun. Do not forget the snacks and water.

 What are some activities your family does on the Fourth of July?

The Importance of Father’s Day

Each year, the third Sunday in June is a day dedicated to showing our dads just how important they are. We should remember to appreciate our fathers for everything they do for us year-round, but Father’s Day is a great opportunity to make sure they know how much we love them. While it is important to spend this day with Dad, however, don’t forget to showGrandpa and your uncle some love, too. This can be done with a phone call or by sending a card or small gift.

If you cannot be with Grandpa or your uncle on Father’s Day, plan a trip to make up for it. Fishing and camping trips are wonderful ways to step away from reality and focus on family bonding. As for Dad, ask him how he would like to spend Father’s Day with the family. Some ideas include mini golfing, a child-friendly construction activity such as building a bird house or simply playing catch in the backyard. And lastly, be sure to tell Dad how much you love and appreciate him and everything he has done for you.

What are some activities your family does to celebrate Father’s Day?

Happy Mother’s Day

Breakfast in bed is great, but preparing breakfast together is a memory maker.  This year, send invitations to your children to join you in the kitchen for a special Mother’s Day occasion.

  • Choose a simple recipe with minimal ingredients and let the fun begin.  Encourage your children to measure, pour, stir and mix. 
  • Set the table with linens, flatware and glasses (or sippy cups).  Provide materials for your children to ‘decorate’ their own placemats.
  • Talk with your children regarding their interests, friends and ideas.
  • Take plenty of pictures and send your memories to family and friends.
  • Relax – this is YOUR day!

Valentine Hearts Memory Game

With Valentine’s Day approaching, you and your child can make and play this fun game together!

Materials

  • Red, pink and white construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils

Instructions:

Cut pairs of hearts from the three different colors of paper.

Draw two pictures of the same object on one side of two hearts. Draw simple pictures your child can recognize. Try drawing some of the following on the hearts:

  • A flower
  • A bumblebee
  • A heart
  • A ladybug
  • A puppy
  • A smiley face

After you have drawn a picture on one side of each heart-shaped card, shuffle the cards and lay them out facedown in rows. You and your child can take turns picking a card, turning it over and then trying to pick the card with the matching picture. Each time your child turns over a card, ask your child to identify the object you drew. You can also ask questions about the pictures. If your child picks a card with a picture of a puppy, you could say, “You picked the puppy! What sound does a puppy make?” This fun activity also encourages critical thinking. When you or your child makes a match, put the pair to the side and continue with the game until you have matched all the pairs.

Baking Holiday Memories

Bake up some warm holiday memories with your children this season. Put on those aprons, the mess is part of the fun! Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet/dry ingredients, while the younger children participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl (be sure to point out that oil and water don’t mix) and by stirring and creating cut-outs with cookies cutters. Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when it is time to decorate! Festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, pre-cut fondant in holiday shapes (or make your own), gumdrops and more are perfect for little fingers, and make for wonderful holiday cookie decorations. Don’t forget to taste test your creations! Giving and sharing provide a feeling of joy that you can reinforce by having your children deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center.

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

We see our family and friends, eat too much pie, enjoy a few extra days off from school and work, but beyond that… How can we demonstrate to our children the importance of both Thanksgiving and giving thanks?

The first Thanksgiving. First, let’s start by making sure our children know the story of the first Thanksgiving. Pick up a developmentally-appropriate book or find information online. It is important to discuss this story of hardship, friendship and sharing in an age-appropriate way.

A new tradition. Establish a new family tradition revolving around what your family is thankful for. This Thanksgiving, have everyone write or draw what they are most thankful for. Together, decorate a shoebox or journal to everyone’s answers. Make a point of adding to this box or journal throughout the year, and by next Thanksgiving you will have an amazing record of thanks. Add to this year after year—what a great treat it will be for the family to read through each Thanksgiving as your children grow!

Share. What are some of the things your children are most thankful for?

Easy Halloween S’mores

S’mores are a delicious treat but they usually require a campfire. These simple s’mores can be made without a campfire and are just as yummy!

Ingredients:

  •  Graham crackers
  • Chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • Marshmallow crème
  • Black and orange nonpareils

Spread four graham cracker squares with chocolate-hazelnut spread, and spread four graham cracker squares with marshmallow crème. Pair off the marshmallow and chocolate-hazelnut squares and sandwich them together. Place them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave them, uncovered, on high for 30 seconds. Once they’re nice and warm, sprinkle the gooey edges in black and orange nonpareils. Then enjoy!