Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tot School Advent Calendar

Tot School
Xander is 22 months old.

We didn't do any real Tot School activities this week. We did read a lot of books, played with Playdoh, and colored (a lot, he's really into coloring now). I had made an advent countdown and each day we've been doing an activity. So far we've:

  1. Read a Christmas book with Grandma
  2. Made a paper chain. 
  3. Read a Christmas book with Daddy
  4. Made Christmas trees decorated with paper dots.
The book Ryan read him was A Wish for Wings that Work by Berkley Breathed. Our copy has a note written in it from Ryan to me, it was a gift for our 2nd Christmas together. At this age Xander didn't really enjoy the book, maybe next year. Our Christmas tree craft isn't actually tree shape yet, the glue had to dry last night and we've been busy running errands all day today. Today's activity is to watch Daddy's favorite Christmas movie with him (A Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton).

Xander is becoming much more talkative lately. His favorite word is "car" and now that he sits facing forward in the car (he got a new car seat last week) he spends trips pointing out all the cars. He also lines up his toys and has them have conversations. After I hung the paper chain (lazily flinging it over our leaf garland that has been hanging in the living room for since last year!) he sat underneath it and had Mozart and Shaggy Dog (2 of his stuffies) have a conversation (still mostly just babbling) about the chain. I love this new talking Xander! He's even said "Momma" a few times, just melts my heart.

He's also started saying the second syllable of apple, instead of just aaa. Of course, he's calling a tomato apple but so did European botanists when they first saw them. He just loves tomatoes, eating a whole one just like an apple.

That was our week, to see what other tots are doing visit Tot School. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Paper Chain

Today's countdown activity was to make a paper chain. I cut construction paper into strips with the plan being that Xander and I would decorate them and then make them into a chain. I should have just had Xander draw on sheets of paper and then cut that into strips-- would have been much easier, it was really hard for Xander to draw on the tiny strip!

I thought it would be fun for Xander to try pastels today--- big mistake. He totally lost interest in making the chain and was much more fascinated with trying to remove the pastels from their box and then put them back in, over and over. We did get a small paper chain made and I now have tons of paper strips ready for some other craft!

The last two photos are Xander having a fit because I told him that the stapler was "no touch" and the next one was taken a few seconds later, showing how fast he gets over being upset. He has lots and lots of tantrums but they're almost always very short lived. Oh my, I just noticed that the photos show the destruction in the living room. It was all clean a few hours ago! I wish I could just wriggle my nose and "poof" have a clean house like on Bewitched!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Advent Calendar

I wanted to make a countdown activity for Xander so that the holiday season is full of fun things to do and not just focused on the presents on the 25th. That isn't really a problem now, this is only Xander's 2nd Christmas, but this is something I want to do as a tradition every year-- plus it's a fun way to make sure I get through my to do list with him this month!

We actually have a cloth wall hanging advent calendar that has ornaments in each pocket that you can hang on the tree but using that involves a) getting the ornaments out before December 1st and b) having a tree. While I do want to get the ornaments out this weekend and hang some of our holiday gear I am not an early tree person. I have a total phobia of the tree getting too dry and burning down the house. We put the tree up mid month and I almost always take it down the day after Christmas.

I've seen lots of beautiful countdown crafts around the web, I think my favorite was some lovely sewn mittens that hold notes but seeing as it was November 30th and I hadn't sewn them that wasn't going to happen this year. :D Then I saw the perfect easy countdown for us on By Sun and Candlelight. She used foam trees and tacked them to a bulletin board, I'm not comfortable having the pushpins around Xander so I thought I'd add magnets to the back and put them on the fridge. I couldn't find any foam trees but I did find a package of snowflakes-- perfect! I numbered the fronts, attached self-adhesive magnets to the back, and wrote our holiday activity on the back. I'm actually going to be writing the activities the night before so that I know what our plans for the day are and make sure that we have the supplies.

Our first activity was read a Christmas book with Grandma. Xander was really excited to be held up to the fridge to take down the snowflake, less excited to hand it to Grandma to read the back! He'd start to hand it to her and then pull away. Finally she got him to let her read it.

They read the Christmas Cat by Efner Tudor Holmes and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, I was given this book one Christmas when I was a child and have always loved it.

In the second photo he is pointing out the owl in the illustrations, still loves owls! After my Mom finished reading him this book he ran over to get Go Away, Big Green Monster! for her to read. We still have it checked out from the library and he has asked to be read it every single day!
 I just love their expressions as they are telling the monster to "Go Away!"

Our activity tomorrow is to make a paper chain. I'm going to cut the paper into strips tonight and then have Xander draw and maybe paint some of them before we staple them into loops and make a chain to decorate the living room and then later the tree. To get ideas for your own holiday activity list visit The Activity Mom and Confessions of a Homeschooler. There are a lot of crafts on my want to do list, I'll have to sort through them and see which Xander would most likely want to do. Other things on the list are

  • decorate the tree
  • make an easy gingerbread house (I remember making one using graham crackers as a little kid)
  • Skype with Grandma and Grandpa Williams (and maybe some aunts & uncles & cousins too)
  • have hot chocolate with marshmallows-- I really want to try this with Xander but we'll have to call it something other than hot or he'll just refuse to try it and keep blowing on it even once its all cold!
  • make cut out cookies and decorate them
  • maybe go see the Zoolights
  • watch some of the older stop motion Christmas movies
  • watch (the animated) and read the How the Grinch stole Christmas
and many, many more activities. Really need to thin the list. But now I have to finish this as Xander has become bored with his activity of writing on a white board and then washing it up.