Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Sensory Bin

I hope to catch up on posting - Mia has been sick and ornery so I haven't posted in a bit :)

Sensory bins are becoming a fast favorite in our house!  Here is this month's:

The base is "fake snow" from a bag.  Also in there: plastic cookie jar, mini ornaments, presents, zipper pouch, mini lunch box, bows, erasers, wind up santa & penguin and Christmas tree. I also keep a tray of various sized bowls, scoops, a little rake, cups, funnel, etc. next to the bin.  Mia had a blast picking up the snow with a scoop and have it fall on the Christmas tree.


Here are some more fun Christmas bins:

Learn more about the basics of sensory bins here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stocking Stuffers

Some people have asked me what I put in those advent calendar boxes.  I thought I would post about it since many would make good stocking stuffers too. Here are some ideas we used:

- Pretty cards with the activities we will be doing "tonight we are going to see the Christmas lights!"
- Little figurines (I used some I had stowed away when Mia got them too little to use them)
- Wind up toys
- Coloring Crafts from the Dollar Store
- A stamp that says "thank you" so we can be ready to make cards after the holidays.
- I also just finished making felt finger puppets (I put 2 in each box so this knocked out three days ;)

These were inspired by ornaments sold by Red Marionette at Etsy

- Ornaments

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Tot Trays

This week we had fun with a few new Christmas themed tot trays!

First Up: Jingle Bell Push Through: I poked a few holes in a cereal box, wrapped it and put a small bowlful of jingle bells to push through. Turned out to be tons of fun! (Note: if you make one be sure to leave one end of the box open so you can get the bells back out!)

Christmas themed peg game (think Cracker Barrel).  Although Mia is too young to play the real version of this game she has fun putting them in the holes and making patterns from the snowmen and gingerbread men. I think I picked this up at the dollar store.

Foam Sticker Patterning/Matching Game: I saw an idea here about making a patterning game using foam stickers but wasn't sure if it would be too advanced for Mia. So, I made cards with only one sticker and some with multiple ones to try to make it challenging but not frustrating.  Mia loves it! She actually likes the cards with multiple stickers best.  She puts the first piece on and then says "What's it need?"  Because they are a little easier we lay them all out and it doubles as a matching game. We definitely will be adding this and its variations to our permanent rotation!

Advent Calendar

I can't ever remember doing an advent calendar as a kid (surely we did?) but this year I decided to make one for our family. I didn't want to spend any money on it but wanted something unique.  After searching a bit I found this post. Isn't that cute?

Here is our version:

I used this tutorial to make small origami boxes and pilfered some larger cereal boxes from our recycling.  I wrapped those in newsprint so the brands wouldn't show through. Then I decorated with stuff we had around the house: pictures, a dust jacket from a book, foam stickers, an old Santa card I saved, my scrapbook stash and wrapping paper.  I cut the ornaments from scrapbook paper and the 'metal' on them is tinfoil :)  Mia contributed some drawings and a popsicle stick reindeer.  She was very proud to see it on the wall when she got up this morning.  ("That's mine reindeer, mama!")