Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Are My Miracle

We celebrated Christmas this week at Mommy and Me with Maryann Cusimano Love's You Are My Miracle.  Each of our activities were based on the sweet pictures and poetry in her delightful Christmas book!  

Gathering Activities

 Mommy and Me Handprints

I gave each of the children and their mommies a copy of the book we read today as a Christmas present.  Each mommy and child placed their hand prints inside their copy during our gathering time.  

Christmas Sensory Bin 

We offered the children a fun sensory bin to explore while we set up for the day's activities.  We included green sparkly tinsel, plastic Christmas ornaments, jingle bells, gift boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes with lids to fill and match.  But the little ones' favorites were these really LOUD squeaky light bulb pet toys from Target.

Circle Time: You Are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love

 "I am your caroling; you are my jingle bell."

We read You Are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love this week.  This wonderful book was PERFECT for our Mommy and Me Book Club.  Each page shows sweet pictures of a mom and little bear enjoying traditional Christmas activities together. The words are beautiful, and I actually teared up as I read the lovely sentiments to my friends who were holding their young children in their laps.  I had my own miracle sitting by my side.  The author perfectly captures the relationship between a mom and her toddler.   "I am your parent; you are my child.  I am your quiet place; you are my wild."  "I am your decorate; you are my tangled lights." "I am your helper; you are my do-it-myself." "I am your steady hands; you are my rising star."  "I am your hush now; you are my lyrical.  I am your peace on Earth; you are my miracle."   It is a book you will want to read over and over again with your little one snuggled in your lap!  

After reading our story, I passed out bells to all of the children and we had a Christmas sing-a-long.  The children chose their favorites which included "Jingle Bells," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and of course Rudolph.   We even danced with our jingle bells during our closing circle song, "Shake Your Sillies Out."


Art: Life-Sized Gingerbread Boys and Girls

"I am your gingerbread."

Materials Needed: Large roll of brown butcher paper, scissors, crayons, glue, ribbon, buttons, large googly eyes, pom poms, foam stickers, pre-cut paper shapes

(We actually did the first two steps during gathering time.  That way the children could play with the sensory bin while we cut, and the gingerbread people were ready to decorate at art time). 
1-Have your child lay on the floor and trace their outline with a crayon.
2-Mommy cuts out the gingerbread boy or girl. 

3-Allow the children to use a variety of materials to decorate their people. 

This definitely was a cooperative project that needed both mom and child participation.  The children loved decorating life sized gingerbread friends with their moms!     

Snack: Sugar Cone Christmas Trees and Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows
 "You are my frosting goo!"  
 "I am your hot cocoa; you are my marshmallow."

DISCLAIMER: We normally try to eat a healthy-ish snack at Mommy and Me.  We made an exception for our Christmas party.  We acknowledge that there is no nutritional value whatsoever in this snack.  For most of our children, it was the most sugar they had ever been allowed to have in one sitting.  But these were so fun to make!

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

Materials Needed: Sugar Cones, green frosting, small candies, sprinkles, and large Popsicle sticks for spreading the frosting

1-Allow the children to cover their trees with frosting.  Some of the children wanted to do this on their own and others wanted a mom to hold the cone still, while they frosted. 

2-Add candies and sprinkles.


We washed down all of that sugar with hot (warm) cocoa  and marshmallows! 

Activity: Indoor Snowball Fight! 

"I am your fortress; you are my snowball fight."

We had a fun indoor snowball fight using polyfil (pillow stuffing).  After all of that sugar, they were ready to play hard! 

Activity:  Opening Presents!

"I am your wrapping; you are my surprise."

We gave each of the children identical gifts to open at the end of our Mommy and Me Christmas Book Club.  They were so excited to have something to open! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Room For A Little One

Room For A Little One by Martin Waddell

Gathering Activity: Sticker Nativity Set 

I found this super cute Sticker Nativity Set  that come in a pack of 12 on amazon.   They were the perfect size for our 2 and 3 year olds.  Some were able to peel and stick them easily. Others just needed Mommy to get them started, and then they could place them.    

I gave each child a set of stickers and a large piece of black card stock.  We allow the children to arrange the nativity as they wished.  It was really interesting to see how many of them actually arranged the stickers in the traditional way.  My little one placed Mary and Joseph in the stable.  When I asked her where she was going to put Baby Jesus, she replied, "With His peoples."  


Circle Time:  Room For a Little One by Martin Waddell 

I love Martin Waddell's Christmas story, Room for a Little One.  I collect children's books, and have over 75 Christmas ones.  The illustrations in this one are my VERY FAVORITE in any Christmas book EVER!!!!   Hands down!  The story tells a tale of a kind ox in a stable who invites a dog, cat, and mouse to share the warmth of his barn. He tells each in turn, "That there is always room for a little one here."  Then a tired donkey comes looking for a place to rest.  The animals warmly welcome him and Mary and Joseph into their stable.  And then Jesus is born in the beauty of this welcoming place.  

We sang “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” together after the story.

I had placed the pieces to a child friendly nativity set into a box.  I allowed each child to choose a piece and place it in our nativity.  We talked about the roles each played in the Christmas story. 

Art: Manger Craft

Materials needed: small clay saucers, paint, raffia, wooden doll peg,  small felt squares, twine

1-Paint the clay saucers brown.  

2-Fill bottom with glue. 

3-Add the raffia "hay". 

4- Wrap the peg in a small piece of felt and tie with twine or piece of raffia. (obviously this required parent help).

5-Add a glob of glue on the hay and place the baby on the glue. 

Snack: Christmas Star Cookies

We provided the kids with star cookies and yellow icing and sprinkles and they knew just what to do! 
(If you pour the sprinkles on their plate, they can grasp and place them on their cookies.  FABULOUS fine motor skill practice)!!!  


1-Always Room for a Little One Game

I drew a simple outline of a stable on  large brown butcher paper and placed it on the floor.  One child stood in the stable.  One at a time, each child asks if they can come in.  Those in the stable say, “There’s always room for a little one here!”  We played until ALL OF US were in the stable together.  One of our little girls very sweetly motioned her hands to come in when each child asked and then pulled them in to join her in the stable.  They took turns doing this a few times.   (I did not manage to get a good picture of the actual stable!  I was focused too much on their cute playacting)! 

2-Nativity Exploration 

We had different child friendly nativities for the children to play with and costumes!  We played Christmas music in the background while the children played.