Toddler Tuesday: Christmas theme.

We’ve already practiced the letter C, but since it is the week before Christmas, we are going to do it again.

Here’s the link to the “c” curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I love their activities and use their stuff a lot.

They have a bunch of activities. We do about two a day for the week, starting with the dot art and pre-writing practice. Then we move onto the counting a colorings pages too.

What else are we doing for the preschooler this week? We are painting and doing art. It’s her favorite activity of all. Luckily, Michael’s is into their 70% Christmas sale and we can get lots of foam Christmas shapes to trace, color, sticker, paint, collage, at more with. I love them.

So it’s not super intensive, but it is fun.

Christmas tree and snowman review.

This week we are just reviewing things we have already done. It’s a great week for that. We also spend  lot of time cooking and making Christmas decorations and gifts. It’s fun for all the week before Christmas. Not to mention afternoons with friends.

To help Abby review her letters we do a Christmas tree and snowman review. Nicholas does his math and parts of speech review with them.

Reviewing letters and numbers.

To review letters, I print out the outline of a Christmas tree/snowman onto cardstock. Then I take colored paper and cut out circles. I draw circles on the tree/snowman page. Inside the drawn circles I place capital letters. On the cut out circles I place lower case letters. She has to match them.

I also have her draw a letter on a circle and match it to the letters on the tree/snowman.

We do the same thing with numbers.

When she places the numbers/letters onto the tree, she has to say their name/sound.

It is a simple review activity that she loves.

Reviewing math facts.

This works the same way as the letter game. I print out the outline and draw circles on it. Inside the circles I put numbers. On the circles I cut out, I put math problems – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Nicholas’ job is to put the right math problems on each number. He likes to race, so I time him. There are always more math problems than there are circles. When he finishes one, we can re-do it as much as he wants. I have baggies for each math operation, and a tree for each operation. It keeps it organized.

Reviewing parts of speech.

We have also been working on the difference between a noun, proper noun, and verb. So I did the snowman for his parts of speech review. Each circle on the snowman has: noun, proper noun, or verb written inside it. The bag is filled with circles with different words on them that are different parts of speech. I even through in some bonus ones – like pronouns – to make sure he doesn’t just try by guessing. He actually has to recognize what is what, and then do it. It’s a pretty awesome game.

Benefits of review.

Review has its place. You need to know the parts of speech in order to write well, and you need to know them cold. To do higher math, which is what we are working towards, you need to know your math facts down cold. You can’t spend time figuring out if 4×3 is 12 or 15 when you are working algebra problems – you just have to know it. Review helps solidify this knowledge.

Reviewing with games is even better because the kids don’t recognize they are confirming facts – they just know they are having fun.

History of Christmas trees.

The outline of the Christmas tree isn't perfect. But it gives the kids a lot of room to put in their gems.

The outline of the Christmas tree isn’t perfect. But it gives the kids a lot of room to put in their gems.



I like December. The focus of our lessons changes to more Christmas oriented lessons. Since I wanted to do the first step of our gem trees today, I thought I’d read the kids the history of the Christmas tree while we did them. This way I combine art and history all at once.

I’m all about using time wisely, so this was a great lesson for us.

Last night I took out the picture boards and drew the trees on them. I also made sure I had enough gems (I do – I got the big bag from Michael’s), glitter glue (so that if they don’t cover the whole tree with gems, at least it will glitter), and put the gems into bags so each kid had their own. The separate bag idea is awesome because it prevents fighting over who has the gems, who has more gems, and who took what color. This way they each have their own.

Then this morning I put the trees out for them.

IMG_2813

One finished glitter gem tree.

First they used the glitter glue to fill the trees. I got smarter this time – my kids will use all the glitter glue I put out, so I only put out some. Then they put the gems on the glitter glue – all while I’m reading the story of the Christmas tree.  When they were done, the trees were all glittery and sparkling. This will make tomorrow – painting the background – nice and easy.

IMG_2812

Another finished glitter gem tree. He’s going to have a lot of painting to do tomorrow.

So they heard the story of one of our traditions, and we got art done to help decorate the house.

Christmas trees are an important part of our family. My husband’s side is German, and Christmas trees are credited with being started in Germany. The tree is also the main decoration in our house, and it is where we hang our memories for the year. It is also a tradition to put certain ornaments on the tree – like garlands and a bird in a nest – for different reasons. Since the tree plays such an important part in our family, I like to have the kids thinking about the tree and what it means and why we use trees.

Here are some links to the history of the Christmas tree so that you can read the history to your family:

http://www.history.com/topics/history-of-christmas-trees

http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/trees.shtml

 

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