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Posts Tagged ‘Holiday’

10 Ways To Pack More Gratitude Into Your Life

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Inspired ways for families to embrace and celebrate the spirit of the season — and beyond.

By Angela Zimmerman

It happens every holiday: You’re so caught up in shopping, traveling, cooking and planning that you forget to focus on the stuff that really counts. From honoring family traditions and treasuring togetherness to practicing compassion and counting your blessings, the real magic far exceeds the chaos that has come to saturate the season.

This year, why not put gratitude on your to-do list? You’ll feel better, your kids will be happier, and it’ll bring you closer together than any toy or trinket.

Gratitude is a unique character strength in that you can actually teach it to your kids — rather than, say, crossing your fingers and hoping they’ll figure it out. It’s a quality that transcends religion, philosophy, culture and ceremony. It has been scientifically proven to boost happiness.

It doesn’t always come naturally, though. Kids can be self-centered — and with the rampant consumerism at every turn of the holiday season, it can be hard for them to look beyond the shiny storefronts and their own wish lists. But by teaching, modeling, reinforcing and nurturing gratitude, you’re giving your kids a gift that will last well beyond the holidays — and hopefully a lifetime.

Try these tips to really drive the messages home.

Create A Grateful Home Environment

Have a discussion with your kids about what gratitude is and what it means to feel grateful. Find natural ways to weave it into your family life, whether it’s pausing before a meal or ending each day with a moment of reflection. Encourage your kids to think about what they’re grateful for every single day, whether it’s the sun in the sky, the fluffy family dog, or participating in the school play.

Ditch The Gadgets

Put the devices down and spend time together as a family around the dinner table. You don’t have to keep the convo positive 100 percent of the time. But even as you discuss current events or something that happened during your kid’s school day, make an effort to find something to be grateful for. You can always just say, “Thank you for sharing.”

Watch TV  And Movies That Inspire Gratitude

Television shows and movies— especially those with relatable characters and easy-to-follow storylines — make a big impact on kids. Use the time together to teach kids the value of being aware of and thankful for the good things in their lives — and the rewards of taking the time to return kindness.

Play, Read And Watch Together 

Co-viewing and co-playing have proven benefits for kids, beyond just being fun and a bonding experience. Kids of all ages can reap the benefits of being read aloud to, and watching TV or movies as a family offers an opportunity to cuddle and share the experience of seeing and hearing the same thing. And, of course, playing video games as a family promotes teamwork, problem-solving and perseverance — all attributes that make for a well-rounded kid. Take advantage of these times to share your values.

Express Yourself 

Say what you’re grateful for — out loud. You can make it a family ritual or privately capture thoughts in a gratitude journal. Daily, weekly, monthly — any amount of time spent acknowledging all the good stuff in life is a super-beneficial habit.  

Give Back 

Serving others instills in kids a sense of pride and appreciation for their blessings. That can be done financially, through volunteer work or social activism and outreach. Check out this list of charitable apps and sites and this list of online resources that help kids do good

Send Thank-you Notes 

Sending cards through snail mail can really make someone’s day, but sending online thank-you cards or an email is also a valuable way of voicing appreciation.

Read Inspiring Stories 

Reflecting on the hardships that people endure can really put things in perspective. Read the acknowledgements section in a book and discuss whom the author thanked and why. Need ideas? Try books about the Holocaust, memoirs, stories about social justice and grief and books that simply inspire kids to be grateful.

Take A Walk Down Memory Lane 

Flipping through scrapbooks (hard-copy or online) or scrolling through social media memories is a fun way to look back at good times with friends and family. A birthday cake by candlelight, pics of last year’s snowstorm, two friends arm in arm … these memories are precious, and sometimes are just the spark of recollection can brighten a dark day.

Focus On The Positive 

Even in the midst of scary news, endless wonderful things are going on every second around the world. Counterbalance some of the sad stuff. Sites like Good News Network and Today’s Good News vertical are good ones to check out.

 

This article was written by Common Sense Media from Huffington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Holi…daze.

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Create Calm.

Daze. Do you ever find yourself in a daze during December days? I call in the Holi…daze. I have found myself, dazing out the window…worrying. At times, I have found myself paralyzed.

Dependent on how you celebrate December and what you choose to put on your ‘to do list’, chaos may be created. I am challenging myself and all of you to choose to create calm. My 2017 mantra is “Create Calm”. I strive for this daily and don’t always succeed-but, I will continue to try and try again, like the “Little Engine that Could” because it finally did, right?

Create Calm. Calm may help our creativity, our circle of trust, our clarity. We are all balancing chaos during December: the holiday gatherings, school activities, shopping, working on year end deadlines, but…we don’t have to make lunches for kids for 2 weeks? That’s cause for decking the halls! I plan for December Days every year and it still hits me hard. So, I’m leaving you with some “how-to’s”. Here are a few tips that I try and follow during this month (hoping they are helpful):

1 . Lists Santa isn’t the only one who needs a list this time of year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s all good (said in the Pete the Cat-like voice). This is a time of year for fellowship, spending time with family and friends. Every night, I re-write my list of what I WILL do (include breaks, workouts, what you will eat, etc…every detail). In moments of chaotic craziness, this will act as your guide book when the “December Daze” decks you.

  1. Keep it Real. Will you really be able to accomplish all you have listed?

  2. Forgive and Forget. Forgive yourself or having the move a few things to the next day or 2 on your list and the hard part, FORGET ABOUT IT.

  3. Have fun. Focus on Friends & Family. Phones forgotten. The holidays equal fun. The definition of holidays is not to be in your ‘holidaze’. We’ve all witnessed or felt “dashing. dashing”-not through the snow, but through December. By creating calm, let us tattoo the traditions and thoughtfulness from the top of our head to our toes. Traveling through and really practicing playfulness, peace, and presence.

How will you create calm during December? Can you do it? I think you can…

 

This article was written by Rachana V.S. Garg from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

6 Winter Holiday Traditions from Around the World

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Help your kids get a sense of life in other countries by introducing them to a variety of holiday rituals celebrated around the globe during this time of year.

Here are a few examples to get your crew exploring different cultures—maybe you’ll even create a new family tradition!

Ethiopia: Here, many families celebrate Christmas on January 7—though most people actually refer to the holiday as either Genna or Ganna, after a hockey-like game that is traditionally played on that afternoon.

The Netherlands: Children set out pairs of shoes on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 6. In the middle of the night, St. Nick pays a visit, filling the shoes with small treats such as chocolates, candies, and toys.

Italy: Kids write letters to their parents promising good behavior (and apologizing for recent misdeeds), as well as telling them how much they love them. The letters are then placed under Dad’s plate on Christmas Eve; he reads them all aloud once the meal is through.

Mexico: December 28, Day of the Holy Innocents, is celebrated much in the same way as April Fool’s Day. Children—and adults—play innocent pranks. If successful, the trickster gives his victim a candy treat.

Sweden: St. Lucia Day, December 13, is the beginning of the holiday season; one girl in each home dresses as Lucia, patron saint of light, in a white gown and a crown of leaves—and then wakes everyone by bringing a tray of breakfast treats.

Korea: Families celebrate January 1 by making Duk Gook—also spelled Ddeokguk—or rice-cake soup. According to tradition, enjoying a bowlful on New Year’s Day allows everyone to advance a year in age.

Conversation Starters

Use these talking points—provided by the experts at patheos.com, a site dedicated to world religions—to help your kids understand the meaning behind certain traditions.  

Why do people light candles each night of Hanukkah?

“We light them to remind ourselves of an ancient miracle that occurred after invaders of Israel tried to force the Jewish people to practice a different religion. When they refused, the invaders ransacked their temple, destroying almost everything. The Jews pushed them out, then hurried to restore the holy site. The first time they lit the oil lamp, there was only enough oil for one day. Yet to their surprise, it burned for eight days and nights.”

—Rabbi Keith Stern, leader of Temple Beth Avodah, in Newton, Massachusetts

Why does Kwanzaa last for seven days?

“Inspired by many African nations that hold weeklong harvest celebrations, Kwanzaa was created in the U.S. as an African-American holiday. It draws on these traditions in order to connect African Americans to their African heritage. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to a different principle (including unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith) to help us honor our family, community, and culture.”

—Anthea Butler, Ph.D., associate professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia

Why do people exchange Christmas gifts?

“Each year, Christians honor the birth of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago. Shortly after Jesus was born, Magi, often called the wise men, came from the East to Bethlehem and offered the infant gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. As part of the Christmas celebration, we give gifts too—to our friends, family, and the poor and hungry—as a way of remembering the gifts given to Jesus.”

—Rev. Emile R. “Mike” Boutin Jr., co-pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Walpole, Massachusetts

Start Your Own Family Traditions

1. Capture memories

You’ll probably make videos of the gift-giving frenzy anyway, so why not use your phone or camera to record interviews with your kids too? It’s a great way to document their changes from year to year. Try these questions for your annual “exclusive.”

  • What’s your favorite thing we did together as a family this year?
  • Who are your best friends? What do you like about them?
  • How is school this year? Which subject do you enjoy most and why?
  • What do you daydream about?
  • What’s the nicest thing a friend or someone in the family has done for you this year?

2. Lend a hand all year ’round

Volunteering during the holidays gets kids in the habit of helping those in need, but so many families do it that most charities see a huge surge in donations and participation each December—it’s every other time of the year that they need attention. Get your family to keep up the bighearted action in the off-season by…

  • volunteering one afternoon a month at a food bank. For locations, visit feedingamerica.org.
  • sponsoring an underprivileged child abroad. Check out savethechildren.org to make an ongoing impact on someone’s future.
  • asking a local nursing home’s volunteer coordinator about activities your family can help out with regularly, like craft sessions or reading hour.

 

 

Pause and Reflect

3. Pause and reflect

Give your family a chance to think during the holiday rush: During December, share a half-minute of silence each night at dinner. Tell the kids to focus on whatever they like—something good that happened that they’re grateful for, positive thoughts for a sick friend, a wish for the coming year. These moments together each day will help you feel more calm, connected, and appreciative of what you have the rest of the year too.

4. Steal these reader rituals

A unique tradition teaches kids that they’re part of something special—your family—and binds this holiday to future ones.

“One year, the day before Christmas, I was about to snap. So I threw food in a pack and told my family we were having a picnic. Though confused, they went along with it. We live in a mountain valley, so getting to a secluded spot was easy. The downside: It was so cold that the food froze! Our ‘Doomsday Picnic’ has become a tradition (we go better prepared now!). It’s a time to relax—we love it.” —Lynnette F. Harris; Millville, Utah

“Every year during the holidays our entire family sits down to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It makes us realize that we are not as dysfunctional as we might think!” —Betsy Gravalec; Marietta, Georgia

“To help our kids really understand the holiday, on Christmas morning we throw a birthday party—complete with cake—to celebrate Jesus’s birth. Sometimes the kids seem as excited about the balloons as they are about the gifts!” —Kelly Wilson Mason; Ohio

“Rather than giving gifts to all 17 family members, we each draw a name and then give the money we would have spent on Hanukkah gifts for everyone else as a donation to charity. Before opening presents, we all share what we did with the money to benefit someone less privileged than we are.” —Carol Hochman Dierksen; Orlando, Florida

“Every year, when the first snow falls I make ‘First Day of Snow’ fudge, just like my mom did. You could make it any time, but it just wouldn’t taste the same.” —Kris Wittenberg; Eagle, Colorado

 

This article was written by Jane Nussbaum from Parents and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

25 thoughtful gifts for teachers to thank them around the holidays

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The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


driftaway coffee gifts mother's day
Teachers form the backbone of our educational system. They teach us everything we need to know in and beyond the classroom, and with endless enthusiasm, patience, and compassion along the way.

As the year winds down, it’s only proper to show them some love and appreciation. Teaching any age group — kids, teens, adults — is a difficult job that most of us can only attempt to understand. So, as you say goodbye before winter break, make sure to give your teacher the thanks they deserve. 

They have more than enough mugs in their cabinet by now that you probably shouldn’t default to giving them one, no matter how witty the slogan on it is. Instead, give them one of these 25 thoughtful and useful gifts. If you’re not already one of their favorite students, you surely will be after they receive something from this list.

A fragrant candle

 

Otherland

Gift an Otherland Candle, $36

These sophisticated coconut and soy wax candles come in scents ranging from refreshing Canopy (fig, ivy greens, mint) to rich Chandelier (champagne, saffron, leather). The beautiful look, delightful scents, and personalized matchbox make this candle gifting experience special

A detailed poster of the opening lines from famous novels

 

Pop Chart Lab

Gift the Pop Chart Lab ‘Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels’, $30

English and grammar teachers will appreciate this chart diagramming the opening lines from 25 famous works of fiction. After admiring the partitioned, color-coded picto-grammatical representations, they’ll want to read the books all over again. 

A portable tea set

 

Nordstrom

Gift the Zens Mobile Moon Portable Tea Set, $49.99

Don’t just give them the tea infuser. Give them the cups and a handy carrying case, too, so they can enjoy a hot cup at work or at home. The glass teapot has an integrated infuser plus two indentations for easy holding, and the tea cups are double-walled and resistant to high temperatures. All the pieces fit snugly in the eye-catching hardshell case so they can take their favorite tea from home to school and beyond. 

A cell phone stand

 

Amazon

Gift the Lamicall Cell Phone Stand, $9.99

The simple, sleek, and durable stand is the perfect way to keep their device upright at just the right angle as they work. While it’s a no-frills gift, it’s undoubtedly practical and useful. 

A fun tape dispenser

 

Amazon

Gift the Otto the Otter Tape Dispenser, $12.29

A cute twist to the traditional, ugly tape dispenser will instantly liven up their desk. 

Summer-themed leather luggage stickers

 

Away

Gift the Away Pool Stickers, $15

Teachers are just as happy as their students to start summer vacation. These carefree, colorful stickers for their luggage set the mood for the sunny summer ahead. 

A small potted plant for their desk

 

The Sill

Gift the Snake Plant Zeylanica, $11

Instead of gifting a flower bouquet, try an indoor plant. It lasts longer and requires less maintenance, but livens up their desk just as well. 

A unique bookend

 

UncommonGoods

Gift the Hero Bookend, $25

Whether they’re used in the classroom or for your teacher’s personal collection, or for lesson planbooks or comic books, these bookends make for a quirky gift. 

Rich chocolate-covered strawberries

 

Shari’s Berries

Gift Shari’s Berries Gourmet Dipped Fancy Strawberries, from $24.99

The top spot in our book for the best chocolate berries goes to Shari’s Berries, whose hand-dipped white, milk, and dark chocolate strawberries have our mouths watering just thinking about them. They’ll arrive chilled with an ice pack so you don’t need to worry about a mess arriving at your teacher’s door. 

A custom rubber stamp

 

Etsy

Gift a Custom Stamp, from $15

Gift the stamp they’ll always reach for first as they check and grade homework. You can get creative by submitting a picture of your teacher’s face or their favorite catchphrase. There are three different mount choices and many more size options. 

A coloring book full of phrases your teacher can relate all too well to

 

Amazon

Gift the Teacher Life: A Snarky Chalkboard Coloring Book, $8.99

There are some situations that only teachers can understand, and this adult coloring book perfectly captures them with humor and cheekiness. The illustrations are single-sided, so they can take the page out and frame it if they so wish. 

A coffee subscription

 

Driftaway Coffee Instagram

Gift a Driftaway Coffee subscription, from $39

Chances are the coffee in the teacher’s lounge isn’t exactly top-notch. Thankfully, Driftaway Coffee’s is, and keeps things interesting by sending new whole bean varieties every month and improving upon the next selection based on their feedback. By the end of the school year, your teacher will have a good idea of the type of coffee they really like. 

A personalized desk sign

 

Etsy

Gift the Personalized Desk Wedge Sign, $19.99-$29.99

The wedge is a solid natural hardwood while the sign is shatter-resistant fogged acrylic glass, allowing it to last through any teacher’s illustrious career. 

Mini hand sanitizers

 

Olika

Gift the Olika Minnie 3-Pack, $19.49

Sister to the original Birdie hand sanitizer that’s trying to disrupt an oft-overlooked industry, the Minnie is the perfect little desktop and handbag companion. Your teacher’s hands are bound to get dirty while interacting with a room full of kids, but this nourishing, non-irritating formula will fix that. 

A personalized notebook, planner, or address book

 

Minted

Gift the Teach From The Heart Notebook, from $16

Give this one to the best teacher you know. You’ll be able to customize the cover design, interior cover, and interior format of the notebook. 

A novelty USB flash drive

 

Amazon

Gift the Classic Volkswagen USB 2.0 Flash Drive, $19.99

The wheels actually move and the headlights flash when they plug the stick into their device. This is one flash drive they’re won’t easily lose. 

A thank you card

 

Etsy

Gift the Donut Teacher Card, $7.29

Sometimes all it takes is a simple note to show your appreciation. Include a thoughtful, hand-written note to thank your teacher for all their hard work this year, and it will go a long way in helping them remember you. 

A pillow massager for their neck and back

 

Amazon

Gift the Zyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager, $44.95

If you’ve ever caught your teacher looking stressed or tense, you’re probably partially to blame — but you can fix that with this heated at-home massager that feels almost like a professional massage. It has four deep-kneading rotating nodes to relieve aches, knots and muscle tension. 

A tote bag

 

BAGGU

Gift the BAGGU Giant Pocket Tote, $20

BAGGU makes great bags and its machine-washable cotton totes are no exception. Help your teacher carry all those lesson plans, tests, and homework papers with this cute yet sturdy tote. 

Gift cards

 

Target

Buy a gift card from: Amazon, Target, Staples

At the end of the day, teachers will always appreciate a gift card, especially if it’s to a store where they can stock up on supplies. 

Comfortable waffle slippers

 

Parachute

Gift the Parachute Waffle Slippers, $29

These cushioned slippers are made with 100% long-staple Turkish cotton for extra absorbency and comfort. Ideal for lounging and relaxing, they’ll bring a feeling of everyday luxury, but without the luxury price tag.  

A smart home device

 

Amazon

Gift the Amazon Echo Dot, $19.99

In and outside the classroom, the small smart home device is endlessly useful. They can play Jeopardy, ask for recipes, listen to the news, turn lights on, play music, reorder products, and more. 

An organizer that looks like a common office supply

 

Urban Outfitters

Gift the Oversized Paper Clip Note Organizer, $12

This oversized paper clip is even more useful than its original form because it can hold and organize multiple pieces of paper, postcards, and photos.

A personalized key ring

 

Leatherology/Instagram

Gift the Leatherology Hotel Keychain, $15

The full grain leather keychain is a perfectly composed accessory that they’ll love to carry, especially if you personalize it (for only $5) with a monogram. 

Beautiful note cubes inspired by an American artist

 

The Met Store

Gift the Louis C. Tiffany Favrile Note Cube Set, $35

Known for his stained glass work, Louis C. Tiffany lends his colorful and delicate designs to these trays, which hold 500 loose paper sheets and 50 color paper clips. 

This article was written by Connie Chen from Business Insider and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

25 Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas That Take 5 Minutes or Less

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These quick and easy ideas will make moving your Elf so much easier every night.

It’s Elf on the Shelf season again, otherwise known as the time of year when parents everywhere scramble to move the doll before their kids wake up. We don’t blame you if you opt out, or just hide him in the fridge for the 14th time. But if you want to step up your game this year and surprise your kids with the Elf’s impish shenanigans, it’s actually easier than you think. We’ve rounded up some of the funniest and most creative Elf on the Shelf ideas on the Internet. The best part: Creating these funny scenes takes less than five minutes, and if you’ve got string, marshmallows and toilet paper at home, that’s pretty much all you need. Check out everything Elf can do this holiday season:

Trap your kid

Hang out with the Minions

 

Elf on the Shelf Banana

 

All you need is a Sharpie and a bunch of bananas. Via Fancy Shanty

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Get tied to the tracks

 

Elf on the Railroad

 

If your kid’s a train fanatic, just wrap Elf up in tape or twine and toss him on the track. Via Fancy Shanty

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Get all rolled up

 

Elf on the Shelf Toilet Paper

 

Uh-oh, looks like Elf got wrapped up in toilet paper and tossed down the stairs. Via Fancy Shanty

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Hit the gym

 

Elf on the Shelf Gym

 

All you need is a straw and two marshmallows to make it look like Elf is pumping serious iron. Via Dirty Diaper Laundry

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Scarf down popcorn.

 

Elf on the Shelf Popcorn

 

Stash Elf in the microwave and it will entertain your kids for at least 20 minutes trying to find him. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Get tucked in a bun.

 

Elf on the Shelf Hot Dog

 

Elf tastes better with ketchup and mustard. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Make snow angels.

 

Elf on the Shelf Snow Angel

 

All you need is rice, flour, sprinkles, sugar or pretty much anything for Elf to make snow angels. Via Lil Blue Boo

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TP the Christmas tree.

 

Elf on the Shelf TP Christmas Tree

 

But not too much. You still have to clean it up, after all. Via Lil Blue Boo

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Email Santa.

 

Elf on the Shelf Email Santa

 

Just think of all the behavior reports Elf could make to the North Pole! Via Lil Blue Boo

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Do yoga with friends.

 

Elf on the Shelf Yoga

 

He IS pretty flexible after all. Via Picklehead Soup

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Make mischief.

 

elf on the shelf family photo idea

 

All you need is a dry erase marker, your favorite family photo and a sense of humor. Via Mandy with Multiples

babystribling.blogspot.com

Be the Sexiest Elf Alive.

 

Elf on the Shelf People Magazine

 

Or, he can be on the cover of any other magazine you have lying around. Via Picklehead Soup

pickleheadsoup.blogspot.com

Bust out of a box of Cereal.

 

Elf on the Shelf Cereal Box

 

That’ll give the kids a laugh when they go to make a bowl. Via Picklehead Soup

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Get stuck in the snack jar.

 

Elf on the Shelf in a Snack Jar

 

Any clear jar or container (or even a glass flipped upside down) works for this one. Via Picklehead Soup

pickleheadsoup.blogspot.com

Take a bubble bath.

 

Elf on the Shelf Bubble Bath

 

In marshmallows, that is. Mmmm, relaxing and delicious. Via Bombshell Bling

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Go fishing

 

Elf on the Shelf Fishing

 

Just round up a pencil, string and some goldfish, and you’re done. Via Rocking My 365 Project

Courtesy of rockingmy365project.wordpress.com

Go sledding

 

Elf on the Shelf Sledding

 

All you need is an empty toilet paper roll, cardboard and string, and Elf can have a snow day adventure. Via My Mommy Style

mymommystyle.com

Lead story time

 

Elf on the Shelf Story Time

 

“See, kids, Elf loves reading!” Via My Mommy Style

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Go on a date with Barbie

 

Elf on the Shelf on a Date

 

Can you feel the love tonight? Via Elf on the Shelf Ideas

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Nurse a milk and cookies hangover

 

Elf on the Shelf Too Many Cookies

 

He partied a little too hard on Christmas Eve. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Toast marshmallows

 

Elf on the Shelf Toasting Marshmallows

 

The best part? You can eat the marshmallows when he’s done. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Climb the Christmas tree

 

Elf on the Shelf Climbs the Tree

 

He’s a pretty rugged little elf. Via Just a Little Creativity

justalittlecreativity.com

Sip orange juice

 

Elf on the Shelf Drinks Orange Juice

 

Elf needs his vitamin C too. Via Frugal Coupon Living

frugalcouponliving.com

Work as a mechanic

 

Elf on the Shelf Mechanic

 

I hear he charges a very reasonable rate. Via Frugal Coupon Living

frugalcouponliving.com

 

This article was written by Audrey Goodson Kingo from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

International Civil Aviation Day

On December 7 of every fifth year, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) holds a special celebration of its anniversary. On this day, the ICAO Council creates a theme for each fifth anniversary. The theme they chose in 2014 for 2015 -2018 is “Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind,” which means to keep all countries up-to-date on the current standards of safety, security and emissions.

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By celebrating International Civil Aviation Day, our children can begin to see the positive influence that ICAO has on the economic and social development of the participating countries. Talk with your child and brainstorm ideas about how your family, friends and community can get involved to help countries in need:

  • Think about starting an aviation oriented pen pal project and include your local school or library to help facilitate it;
  • Consider holding a charity drive to collect items needed in less fortunate countries, and explain to your child how aviation will deliver the items you collect.

What are some ways that you can convey the message of “Working Together to Ensure No Country Is Left Behind” to your children?

 

THE GODDARD SCHOOL PUTS TOYS UP AGAINST ITS TOUGHEST CRITICS DURING THE 10th ANNUAL PRESCHOOLER-APPROVED TOY TEST

Preschoolers Across the United States Select the Top Educational Toys That Support Skill Development and Playful Learning.

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School® preschool system, is hosting its tenth annual Preschooler-Approved Toy Test. As the holiday season approaches, preschoolers at 50 Goddard School locations throughout the U.S. will be tasked with finding the best educational toys on the market for infants and children. The world’s leading toy companies are competing for the prestigious title of Preschooler-Approved Top 10 Toys of 2017.

Jacksonville II, FL Goddard Jacksonville Photo 1

Annually, The Goddard School’s Toy Test Committee, which comprises a group of early childhood education experts, reviews applications from nearly 100 global toy manufacturers. They judge each entry on specific educational criteria such as encouraging interactive, child-initiated play, inspiring creativity and collaboration and supporting skill development and playful learning. From there, the 25 toys with the highest scores are sent to 50 participating Goddard School locations nationwide to be tested by the preschoolers.

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The testing week this year takes place from Monday, September 25 to Friday, September 29. At the end of the week, the preschoolers will vote for their favorite toys. GSI will tally the votes to reveal the Top 10 Preschooler-Approved Toys and announce the results on November 1, 2017; next, voting will be opened to the public until November 10, 2017, on The Goddard School’s Toy Test page.

Vancouver, WA Photo 3

“Our students are busy at work uncovering the top toys that promote playful learning,” says GSI’s Vice President of Education, Dr. Craig Bach. “Toy Test engages the children through fun, play-based activities, which are the core of our educational philosophy. Learning through play enables them to build skills like critical thinking and creativity, which help prepare them for success in school, career and life.”

Jacksonville II, FL Toy Test 9

Past Preschooler-Approved Toy Test winners include brands such as Laser Pegs, K’NEX Brands, Learning Resources, and John Deere’s Gearation Board. For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

Three Fun Ways to Celebrate Groundhog Day

Most of us know the tradition. On the second day of February, every year, we watch the beloved cuddly creature come out from its burrow and predict if spring is on the way or if we need our hats and gloves for six more weeks of winter. Here are some ways to celebrate this holiday with your little one:twenty20_7fae5ce4-41b8-4386-a64f-186b28c931fb

  • Research different facts about groundhogs with your child. You can find out what they like to eat, how they hibernate and in what parts of the world this furry animal can be found;
  • Experiment with shadows. Ask your child what items she thinks will create a shadow. Then, use a flashlight in a dimly lit room to demonstrate how light can create the shadows of hands on a wall. Explain how this is similar to the way the sun will cause the groundhog to see his shadow on the ground;
  • Ask your child to predict the groundhog’s forecast. Will he say that spring will arrive early or that winter will last six more weeks? You can predetermine a prize for her if her forecast agrees with the groundhog’s prediction. Prizes can be as simple as her choosing the family dinner for one night. Another option is to create a different meal for either outcome. For example, if the groundhog sees his shadow, dinner will be chicken, and if he doesn’t see his shadow, dinner will be pasta.

What are some ways you celebrate Groundhog Day with your family?

The Goddard School Brings Holiday Cheer with Donation of Best Educational Toy of 2015 to Toys for Tots

“Choose for Charity” Comes to an End with Laser Pegs®
on Top in the 8th Annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – November 16, 2015 – Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School® preschool system, one of the largest early childhood education organizations in the nation, announces that Laser Pegs® 16-in-1 Space Fighter Building Set was deemed the top toy by public vote in The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test. GSI will purchase and donate 100 of the winning toy to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community.

Now in its eighth year, the Toy Test searches for the best educational toy of the year by engaging preschoolers to play with a selection of toys, provide feedback, and then vote for their favorite along with the public. Educational toys from popular toy manufacturers across the nation were first evaluated by The Goddard School Toy Testing Committee, which is comprised of early childhood education experts. The toys were judged on how well they supported educational skill development and encouraged child-initiated play and collaboration.

From there, the toys were sent to 50 Goddard Schools across the country where preschoolers tested the toys for one week. The children determined their Top 10 favorites before putting it to “Choose for Charity” public vote where people across the country could select their favorite of this year’s top toys as selected by the preschoolers.

The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Top 10 Toys finalists included the following (in suggested age range order):

  • Whoozit® Space Blankie by The Manhattan Toy Company (Suggested Age Range: 0+ months)
  • Rolligo by Fat Brain™ Toys (Suggested Age Range: 12+ months)
  • John Deere Learn ‘N Pop Farmyard Friends by TOMY (Suggested Age Range: 12+ months)
  • ModMobiles – Set A by Fat Brain™ Toys (Suggested Age Range: 2+ years)
  • Doctor On Call by Hape Toys (Suggested Age Range: 3+ years)
  • Lakeshore® Gear Builders – Starter Set by Lakeshore Learning Materials  (Suggested Age Range: 3+ years)
  • Lincoln Logs® 100th Anniversary Tin by K’NEX Brands (Suggested Age Range: 3+ years)
  • Joinks by Fat Brain™ Toys (Suggested Age Range: 3+ years)
  • 16-in-1 Space Fighter Building Set by Laser Pegs® (Suggested Age Range: 5+ years)
  • Tumble Trax™ Magnetic Marble Run by Learning Resources® (Suggested Age Range: 5+ years)

“Our annual Toy Test gives Goddard School children the opportunity to explore and discover a range of new toys,” says GSI’s Vice President of Education, Dr. Craig Bach. “It speaks to the heart of our curriculum, which is centered on play-based learning. The children benefit by developing problem solving skills, the ability to collaborate with others, self-confidence and creativity, and we benefit by seeing which toys, for example the 16-in-1 Space Fighter Building Set by Laser Pegs®, resonate with them, allowing us to better identify high-quality educational resources that children really enjoy.”

For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

The Goddard School® Announces Top Toy of the Year

Best Educational Toy as Tested by Children and Voted by Parents Announced Just in Time for the Holidays

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School preschool system and one of the largest early childhood education organizations in the nation, put this year’s most popular toys to the test by their toughest critics – kids! Across the nation, preschoolers at The Goddard School tested and voted on educational toys to determine the favorites. The Top 10 were then put to public vote. The Goddard School is excited to announce that the Giant Roller Ramps – Starter Set by Lakeshore Learning Materials has been Voted #1 in The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test.

Toy manufacturers from around the country submitted their best and most impressive educational toys for review by The Goddard School Toy Testing Committee, which is made up of early childhood education experts. The experts determined which toys were most successful at supporting educational skill development while encouraging child-initiated play and collaboration. The committee announced their choice of the top toys, which were then shipped to 50 Goddard Schools in 45 markets throughout the nation. Children ranging in age from six months to six years old tested the toys which inspired their creativity and imagination while also developing their critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills.

After “playful consideration” the children’s votes were tallied to determine The Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Top 10 Toys for 2014. The finalists were (in order by suggested age range):

“Our annual Toy Test gives Goddard School children the opportunity to explore and discover a range of new toys,” says GSI’s Vice President of Education, Dr. Craig Bach. “It speaks to the heart of our curriculum, which is centered on play-based learning. The children benefit by developing problem solving skills, the ability to collaborate with others, self-confidence and creativity, and we benefit by seeing which toys, for example the Giant Roller Ramps by Lakeshore Learning Materials, resonate with them, allowing us to better identify high-quality educational resources that children really enjoy.”

The public then voted on the toys online from November 3 to November 26, and the Giant Roller Ramps – Starter Set by Lakeshore Learning Materials was voted the Top Preschooler-Approved Toy for 2014. GSI will purchase and donate 100 Giant Roller Ramps – Starter Sets to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community.

For more information on The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.