Best Ideas for Kids 2011 Coming Soon!

Stay tuned for the Best Ideas for Kids 2011! I am honored to be hosting this blog hop with some amazing bloggers! Each of us will share our favorite post from 2011 and you're invited to join the fun by linking up your favorite kid-related post from the past year. Visit on January 2nd to be part of the blog hop and/or find some great ideas for your kiddos!

Hosted by these fabulous blogs:


Taking a mini-break to spend time with loved ones. We'll be back soon! Enjoy lots of food, family and fun this Christmas season!

Simple Hot Chocolate

Drink Hot Chocolate was Sweet P's first Action on her Advent Action cards. I didn't want her to have store bought hot chocolate so I came up with a VERY simple hot chocolate recipe. She LOVED it and has had it several times since that first day of December!

The Recipe: Simple Hot Chocolate

What you need:
8 oz. of Organic Vanilla Soymilk (or rice milk or almond milk)
1/2 to 1 tsp of cocoa powder

Heat soymilk for 1 minute in the microwave. Stir in cocoa with a mini-whisk. Serve in a teacup. Makes the perfect mug for a 2 year old!

This was after she and the Farmer played in the snow - the perfect time for hot chocolate!

Glitter Rice Snowflakes

This was our first experience with glitter and now I know why I've never used it! Glitter gets EVERYWHERE! Oh well, she still had a blast with the rice and the glitter (and could've done without the snowflakes!). I think they came out super cute!

The Craft: Glitter Rice Snowflakes

What you need:
Blue construction paper (we used 2 colors)
White rice
Glitter (we had a pack of several options)
Trays to contain the mess (which sorta worked!)

If your child is scissor-aged have him/her cut out the snowflake. I cut it out for Sweet P and then laid it on the tray. Squeeze glue all over the snowflake, then sprinkle (or dump) the rice and glitter on top! Shake excess off on to the tray and allow snowflake to dry. Then hang in the window!

You could also make these into ornaments, but I love the way they look in the window.

I'm linking up to these parties.

Felt Rudolph Activity

I saw this Rudolph on Pinterest and KNEW I had to make something similar for Sweet P. As you know, I.LOVE.Felt. LOVE it! But enough about that! This was super easy (took about 5 minutes) and Sweet P was too cute when we played with it! I added the pompons later for a variation.

The Craft: Felt Rudolph

What you need:
Light brown, dark brown, orange, blue, yellow, green, black, gray, purple, red, pink (and any other color you want) pieces of felt
Black sharpie
Colored pompons (optional)

Cut a head out of the light brown felt. Cut one circle out of each piece of colored felt including the dark brown. Trace your child's hand on the brown felt and cut out (these are the antlers). Draw black eyes on the light brown felt. Place on a felt board or other surface and play!

This is how we played, but there is also a Rudolph, Rudolph rhyme you can use as well.

We laid out Rudolph's head and antlers, but I kept the circles in my hand.

Me: Does Rudolph have an orange nose? (while placing the orange nose on the reindeer)
Sweet P: Noooooo. (while picking the orange nose off)
This continued through all the colors until red was all I had left.

Me: What color IS Rudolph's nose?
Sweet P thought for a second, then sang: Rudolph the RED-nosed reindeer!!!!! (and I handed her the red nose to place on his face)

So fun and such a great way for her to talk about colors.

Use pompons for a variation.

I'm linking up to these parties.

Tot Preschool: Nativity & Gingerbread

The first week of December we focused on the Nativity and Gingerbread People. We started our Advent tradition and readings on Monday evening of that week (TK was still here with us!).

Verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

Bible figures: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the angel Gabriel

Tot Trays:
Felt Gingerbread People: I got these last year and was excited to use them for this unit. We had SO much fun with these. We counted them and then did a song similar to 5 Little Pumpkins, then we did 10 little gingerbread and I made up a song about one going away. 

10 little gingerbread standing in a line, 1 walked away and then there were 9.
9 little gingerbread walking through a gate, 1 stayed behind and then there were 8.
8 little gingerbread praying up to heaven, 1 fell asleep and then there were 7.
7 little gingerbread picking up some sticks, 1 went to play and then there were 6.
6 little gingerbread playing near a hive, 1 ran away and then there were 5.
5 little gingerbread standing at the door, 1 went in and then there were 4.
4 little gingerbread climbing in a tree, 1 fell out and then there were 3.
3 little gingerbread going to the zoo, 1 got lost and then there were 2.
2 little gingerbread out to have some fun, 1 went home and then there was 1.
1 little gingerbread just for me, lying on a plate he looks good enough to eat!

What Color Are The Buttons? Each gingerbread baby had different colored buttons (there were 8). I asked "What color are the buttons?" And she'd say the color and put the appropriate colored pompon on the card. She even wanted to put a pompon on the gingerbread baby on the front!

Advent Wreath: I found a huge bag of craft supplies at a garage sale this summer and this was one of them. It's from Oriental Trading and although it was a little old for her, she helped glue on all the pieces. We use it for our Advent readings each week.

Size sequencing: We did smallest to largest and largest to smallest. 

Sensory: I can't remember what this stuff is called and it has recently been all mixed together, but she LOVED it for 2 weeks. She would play with this stuff all day! I added popsicle sticks and a couple of other tools for her to use with it.

J is for Jesus and Playdoh: I helped her roll the playdoh into J's, but she was really more interested in just playing than J-ing. 

Animal/People Sort:

Prewriting Practice: She LOVES these and loves to color on them after she traces the lines. Her lines aren't perfect, of course, but she does a great job.

Gingerbread Baby Letter Match: We only did A-H because she wasn't too into this. She did enjoy the fact that there was a boy on the uppercase and girl on the lowercase letters. 

Felt Gingerbread Dress-Up Doll: See link for details


Gingerbread Man Puzzle: I laminated, cut out and glue the puzzle to magnets. Sometimes these puzzles are hard to put and keep together so the magnets really helped.

Gingerbread Man coloring sheet: Sweet P was all about coloring this week. I'd say "Can you color his buttons orange" and she'd color that area. 

Gingerbread number dot: I traced our foam gingerbread boy and created this. Sweet P lost interested after number 10, but we walked through the rest of the numbers since we have just started doing and recognizing teens. She also traced around him with the dot marker!

Christmas collage: She'd been asking to do the Christmas collage ever since she saw me cut out the pictures for it and then wasn't really interested when we did it. She did like putting on the Christmas stickers. 

Gingerbread house coloring sheet: She did this with the Farmer one afternoon.

Gingerbread Man stickers: I traced this gingerbread man too. I held the sticker book and asked her "What sticker do you want for his eyes, his buttons, his mouth, etc." We had so much fun with this and she put all the stickers on! I was so impressed with the mouth!

Gingerbread Coloring poster: This was an advent gift that week.

Mary & Joseph wooden figures: She also colored this with the Farmer while Baby Brother and I went to MOPS.

Other Activities: 
Christmas Sensory Bucket: We did a lot of matching pairs and sorting in a muffin tin with the items in her sensory bucket. I found several pairs of awesome tongs at Hobby Lobby in the holiday section for 99cents!

Reading books from her Christmas Book Advent Calendar:

Playing with Nativity Magnets:

Playing with her carmat:

Decorating Christmas cards for Holiday Mail for Heroes: See link for details.

Making pizza:

Making a gingerbread house: See link for details

She also decorated a gingerbread man on

 Montessori Monday 

Simple Snowflake Ornament

I can't take credit for this because our dear friend Amy came up with the idea. She had a Happy Birthday Jesus playdate last week and had a craft ready for us to make, but the kiddos were playing to hard to be bothered with a craft! Amy packaged up all the pieces for the craft (isn't she awesome?!) and sent them home with us.

While making Christmas Candy on Friday as our Advent Action, we made our ornament while waiting on the toffee to boil. She even threaded the ribbon through the hole for hanging it up!

What you need:
Foam snowflakes (Walmart or Target or even Dollar Tree)
Snowflake ribbon (or any type of ribbon)
Stamp and silver ink
Silver sharpie
Snowflake stickers (or other Christmas stickers)
Large jingle bell

Amy stamped all the snowflakes and I gave Sweet P a silver Sharpie when we got home to add other decorations to the edges. She threaded the ribbon and I threaded the jingle bell onto the ribbon. Wa-la! Simple snowflake ornament!

Then she posed for me so I could get a pic of her hanging it on the tree.

So cute and so simple! Thanks Amy!

2 mos Stats

Can't believe our little man is already 2 mos old! And he's growing like a weed!!!

I thought Sweet P was a chunky monkey, but Baby Brother weighs 3 more pounds than she did at this age!!

2 month stats
Height: 25 1/4 inches
Weight 15lb 13oz
Percentile: 99%

Felt Gingerbread Dress-up Doll

Last week our theme was Gingerbread People (more on that coming soon in a tot school post) so I decided to make Sweet P a felt gingerbread person modeled after the foam gingerbread boy TK gave her.

I did clothes for a boy and a girl, but the gingerbread(girl?) never got out of her dress (I had to dress it in the boy clothes for the picture!). She also LOVED putting both bows on its head and calling them pigtails. Sweet P loves all things girl (and calls her brother a girl on a daily basis. The Farmer finds that drives me bonkers.). Everything is a she/girl (unless she knows for a fact it is a boy). But any asexual toy becomes a girl (ESPECIALLY if I call it a he on accident, she says "IT'S A GIRL!"). Anyway, on with the gingerbread!

I used the foam g-boy as a template and cut out a brown piece of felt. Actually, I used his vest as a template as well. I freehanded the dress and other bits (frosting for the arms and legs, mouth, bows) and added pompons for buttons and cheeks.

Isn't it just the cutest little thing? 

I glued on googly eyes, then put all the pieces in a little art supply container and set it on a tray for her. It got played with several times last week.

I'm linking up to these parties.

Another Healthier Gingerbread House

Last year we made these gingerbread houses (er, huts) and I knew I wanted to do something similar with Sweet P again this year. Since my attempt to make a house didn't go so well with natural peanut butter, I knew it'd completely fail with almond butter so I decided we'd skip 3 dimensional and make a flat gingerbread house. It worked great!

Here's what we used:
Trader Joe's Cinnamon Graham Crackers
Shaved coconut
Pumpkin seeds
Trader Joe's strawberry fruit bar
Almond butter

I simply arranged the graham crackers so that it resembled a house, stuck it all together with almond butter and handed it over to her. Oh, I also cut the door and chimney pieces for her.

At one point I tried to make a peanut a doorknob. She said, "I don't want a doorknob." Okiedokie. 

She had a ball making it and wanted to eat it right away, but I convinced her to save it to show the Farmer (he was coming home in 5 mins). She was so excited that she was yelling at him through the door when she saw him in the window. Too funny. Maybe next year we'll attempt another 3 dimensional version.