Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Countdown Day 24

Day 24 we will make a birthday cake for Jesus and decorate for his birthday.

A few years ago we started a tradition of having the kids make a birthday cake for Jesus.  As they are getting older I'm thinking of changing it up a bit, I'm thinking about making them individual cakes to decorate (they are getting more creative and sprinkling on some sprinkles isn't going to cut it I'm afraid).  I think it will be a fun time.
We haven't made birthday decorations before (well they haven't, I decorate for each of their birthdays) so I thought we would do that as a group.  Balloons, streamers, signs and all that. We don't usually do balloons because they are quite abnoxious but they love playing with them so we will make an exception, after all it is for Jesus :)

Christmas Countdown Day 23

Day 23.  Today we will make gingerbread houses out of graham crackers and tell the Christmas story one more time. 
 Every year we make gingerbread houses but I'm going to be honest...we do them after Christmas when I can find the kits for 75% off.  I'm cheap like that.  This year I figured we would make them out of graham crackers.  I'm not sure how it will go.  I've never done it that way before but I'm sure it will be a lot of fun.
After Christmas last year I bought a What God Wants for Christmas kit.  We will do that as a family on Day 23.  Again, this is something we haven't done before but I have heard that it is a great way to share the Christmas story.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Countdown Day 22

Day 22.  Today we will have a minute to win it party.  If you have never seen Minute to Win it, you are totally missing out.  We often use variations of minute to win it games at church with our kids and they are always a big hit. 
There are tons of minute to win it games online (just google Minute to Win It). 
These are the ones we are planning on doing...
1.  Face the cookie (this is a fav at church)--need cookies for each player.  When the clock starts, players may put one cookie on their forehead.  The cookie must remain in contact with the face (you may not toss the cookie from your forehead and try to catch it in your mouth.  If the cookie falls, the player may reset a cookie on the forehead and try again.  To complete the game, the player must get a cookie into his/her mouth in 60 seconds (it is harder than you would think.)
2.  Can you stack the cups with one hand in one minute.  We will be doing this with 21 green party cups, stacking them in a pyramid shape (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
3.  Christmas Cliffhanger. need a table and Christmas cards.  Prior to the game start, stand the cards horizontally along the edge of the table.  When the clock starts, contestant may start blowing the first card.  Contestants may not touch any card.  To complete the game, using only your breath, you must blow a card so that one side of the fold hangs over the edge of the table within the 60 second time limit.
Marshmallow Toss--Items needed...One wreath, Large Bag of marshmallows, one bucket
Have one person hold the wreath to their side and place the bucket behind the wreath. Players will have one minute to throw marshmallows through the wreath into the bucket. The player with the most marshmallows in the bucket after one minute is the winner!
Jingle Box--items needed--tissue box, 8 ping pong balls
\A player must shake all ping pong balls out of a tissue box that is strapped to the back of their waist. Make the box look decidedly "christmassy" and substitute ping pong balls with plastic Christmas baubles and decorate the box with red Christmas paper.
Do you hear what I hear?--items needed--7 gift boxes containing bells varying from 5 bells per box to 35 bells increasing in 5 bell increments, Table for boxes to be placed upon
Players must place boxes with different quantities of jingle bells inside in the correct order.
Snowball Fight--items needed--tape to divide room, paper for snowballs
Place a dividing line in the middle of the room. Players or teams will need to wad up the white paper and have a snowball fight. The player or team who has the least number of “snowballs” on their side after one minute is the winner.
The nut stacker--Items Needed:Candy cane, 7 larger sized in nuts and bolts (Check the size to make sure a candy cane could fit through the hole)
Hold the candy cane in one hand by the hook. Using the straight end of the candy cane (ONLY), pick up the nuts and place them one on top of another as high as you can. 

Christmas Countdown Day 21

Day 21.  Tonight will be another easy night.  We will have a Christmas movie night.  Sometimes it is just about relaxing and enjoying each other's company. 
Happy Watching!

Christmas Countdown Day 20

Day 20...Easy night.  Every year we find one night to drive around town and look at local light displays.  It actually takes a lot of planning ahead with all the crazy busy schedules now days.  I'm sad to say though we will not be able to see my favorite display...the Chrsitmas lady. 

Christmas Countdown Day 19

Day 19 we will be making one of my favorite Christmas snacks to make with kids.  I'm not sure why but I just love it.  And it is so easy.
What you need: 
Ice cream cones
green icing
candies to decorate with
1.  Place a cone on the plate
 2.  Cover the cone with green icing.
3. Add twizzlers (really you could go from here how ever you want, using whatever you want to decorate with.)
 4.  Decorate your tree.
 Eat and enjoy!

Christmas Countdown Day 18

Day 18 we will be reading the story of the Three trees.  If you have never read this story you should read it.  It is about three trees who want to be turned into amazing things.  As they are chopped down and fashioned into a feed box, a boat, and some thrown out beams they find themselves disappointed.  The story goes on to tell how those trees were holding the most amazing thing ever...Jesus.  I love it.  You can find it here
After reading the story we will do this sticker craft.  I ordered this several years ago from Oriental Trading so I'm not sure if this is still available.  It was supposed to be a 3D stand up tree but they were cut incorrectly so we never used them.  We will this year :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Countdown Day 17

Day 17 Christmas Bingo
Several years ago I found these Bingo cards at DLTK-kids.  They have all kinds of themes to print and you can print as many as you want for free.  You can print smaller cards if you want.  I prefer the larger ones.  I printed double the amount we needed and laminated them back to back so I could get more for my laminating money :)  If you want to make some for yourself here is the link to take you there :)
I expect that we will play this several times this night.  I don't think the kids will "win" anything for getting a bingo, if they do it will only be a piece of candy :)

Christmas Countdown Day 16

Day 16...Christmas discussions.  yes, you have seen this activity already.  Tonight we have church again so our activity will be during lunch time again.  (we need our naps :) ). 
When I first began my search of activities to do for the month of December I stumbled upon this site, teaching, but it is being updated. I still was able to find some fun discussion (and a few serious ones) questions there about Christmas stuff. (You can find the questions here). I put them all in this fun box. We will pass it around and have the kids pick out a question and have several people answer it before moving on. Some of the questions we are using are...
1.  If you could make up a new advent or Christmas tradtion for your family to start what would it be?
2.  If you lived in the time of Jesus' birth and heard about him, what gift would you bring to the manger?  Why?
3.  What is your favorite Christmas story?
4.  If you could be any character in a play about the Nativity, who would you be and why?

Christmas Countdown Day 15

Day 15...Snowball fight and a scavenger hunt.  I'm praying it doesn't rain this day.  Both activities can be done inside but would be way better outside.
When I was telling someone about this they asked how in Florida are we going to have a snowball fight. sometimes just have to get creative.  Awhile back I bought a case of copy paper at Office Max for 1 cent.  Love when they have those sales there.  So we are going to use one pack of the paper and wad it up for snowballs.  Wasteful?  Yes, very.  But also very fun :)
We will also do a scavenger hunt.  I love scavenger hunts.  For this particular scavenger hunt I have these puzzles (I have saved these for years, originally I purchased them from Oriental Trading.) 

 I wrapped each individual puzzle piece in a box (I've been saving and having friends and family save boxes for sometime now) and wrapped each of the 15 pieces per kid in their own individual kind of paper.  For example, 1 kid will find 15 boxes wrapped in this red snowman paper.  The boxes will just be hidden around the yard (or the house if it rains).  The kids will search the yard collecting their 15 boxes, open them and assemble their puzzle.  The first one done wins (they don't win anything except bragging rights but they love it). 
Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas countdown Day 14

Day 14...On the 14th of December we have to be at church at 5:30 for our Live Nativity so we are going to do our activity after school. 

We will be making this shape Christmas tree.  I will have the shapes drawn out on construction paper for them to cut out and glue togehter.  We will then decorate them with glitter (everything is better with glitter right?)  I found the idea for this craft at DLTK kids.  If you would like to make it there are instructions and a template here.
Christmas Tree Shapes Craft

Christmas countdown Day 13

Day 13...easy night.  Tonight we are just going to watch a movie and relax.  We have a super busy weekend ahead.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Countdown Day 12

Day 12 is a Wednesday.  We have church that night so we will do our countdown activity before after school but before we head to church for dinner.  We are going to be making a special snack.  This is not a creation of my own.  I saw this idea in a magazine but I love it so I'm sharing it.
Here is what you will need: 
a plate
pretzel twists
yellow circle gummies (I looked at several stores and couldn't
find yellow ones, I ended up with orange life saver gummies (this is
for the halo))
ice cream cones
a banana
large marshmallows
(this picture shows a bowl of water...according to my recipe
you were supposed to use it to help the pretzels stick to the didn't work for me)
1.  insert a toothpick into the ice cream cone. 

2.  Attach a marshmallow to the toothpick and add another toothpick into the marshmallow.

3.  Add the pretzel "wings".  I just jammed mine in...they stayed long enough. :)

4.  Add a slice of banana for the head.
5.  Add a gummy halo.  Enjoy your creation :)

Christmas Countdown Day 11

Day 11...Snowman night. 
Tonight we will color some snowman ornaments I found on clearance (yes, already, in November) at Michaels.  After our ornaments are colored and hung on the tree we will watch one of our favorite classic movies...Frosty the snowman :)

Christmas Countdown Day 10

Day 10 we will be enjoying some candy canes while reading The Legend of the Candy Cane.  If you have never read it you can read it here.  I love how you to use the candy cane as a way to share Jesus with kids. 

After we read this story we will make some peppermint bark (although not a traditional recipe). 
 I really despise peppermint flavor so I decided to go only with melted chocolate sprinkled with crushed candy canes (a traditional recipe would also add peppermint extract).  We will make both milk chocolate and white chocolate bark.
While our bark is hardening up we will make this cute craft I found at Catholic Icing.  You can find an explanation here if you want to make it too.  I'm going to encourage our kids though to stripe the candy according to the story :)
After we have finished our craft we will enjoy our peppermint bark.  I'm expecting it to be a great night :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas countdown day 9

Day 9 this year will fall on a Sunday.  The kids have their church Christmas program and all church party that evening so our activity will be done at lunch time. 
We will lead the children in retelling the Christmas Story.  It will be an easy day on the countdown but a very important one.  They need to be able to retell the story.  If we don't teach them what Christmas is really about we have failed them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Activities for kids

I love Thanksgiving time.  I think it sometimes gets a little overshadowed by Christmas.  (Don't get me wrong, I love all things Christmas).  I've tried to make a point several days this month to talk to the kids about being thankful.  Really though it is something we should do all the time, not just the month of November. 

Here are some activities I'm doing with our kids and some I'm doing with my toddlers at church:

Pumpkin painting (yes, I'm the crazy lady that thinks painting with toddlers is a good idea).  I found tons of pumpkin coloring pages just by googling pumpkin coloring pages.

I have already done a post about my favorite Thanksgiving/Fall can find it here.  It is a turkey made using kids hand and foot prints.  Love it!

We are also going to be doing some pumpkin bowling in our toddler class.  I often use themed bowling games for our little kids.  I merely change out the tags on my bowling pins :)

Another favorite of mine is pin the feathers on the turkey.  I also use the pin the...on a lot with little kids.  I don't usually blindfold them but they do so love to add their pictures to a paper.  With the turkey feathers we will talk a lot about colors with the toddlers.

We will also making this cute guy.  I found him at my favorite site DLTK-kids.  If you want instructions or patterns you can find them here.
Making this cute guy with my toddlers on Sunday.  Check out my blog later today if you are looking for other thanksgiving ideas for kids.

One last activity we will be doing is making a Thanksgiving crown similar to the one here.  It was also found at DLTK-kids, here are instructions if you are interested.
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The message Bible)

Christmas Countdown Day 8

Day 8...make cookies.  I remember making cookies when I was little.  So much fun, messy, but oh so fun.  I still really enjoy it.  We bake lots of cookies to give to our friends with fruit baskets (we buy the fruit from our local high school in support of their band program). 
 As you can see, cookie baking at our house is a family project.  The kids really get into it but after their pan goes in the oven they are over it and ready to do something else :)

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chistmas Countdown Day 7

Day 7 this year happens to be a Friday.  Friday's at our house are often movie nights anyway.  Tonight we will probably have some yummy pizza and fun Christmas snack while watching Elf (my favorite Christmas movie)

Too easy?  Not every activity has to be super intense.  It is about enjoying your time together.  Light a fire in the fireplace and cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy an easy family night.

Christmas Countdown Day 6

For Day 6 of our Countdown I will tell the kids the nativity story using the pieces of a Nativity scene.  I first found this idea on
It originally was meant as 4 Sunday lessons but I choose to do it as one long one.  I love that it gives Bible reading selections for each nativity "character" and has questions already prepared.  If you are interested in checking it out to use for yourself you can find it here.
After we tell the story we will color these stand up Nativities I ordered a few years ago from Oriental Trading.  I could not find that they carry this still.  However if you wanted to order something here are some other reasonably priced color your own nativity crafts at Oriental Trading.
Gift giving, receiving, Santa, lights, decorations and all that is fun I think, but we must teach our kids the real meaning of Christmas.  Don't let the all the festivities take away from what is most important.

Christmas Countdown Day 5

Day 5...make an edible nativity.  I originally saw this idea on another blog that I love...Motherhood on a Dime. 
Gather your materials...
teddy grahams (baby Jesus)
graham crackers
animal cookies
people shaped cookies
yellow food coloring
fruit roll up
pretzel twists
1.  Start putting your stable together.  I put icing on the bottom of the cracker too.  It helped it stand up really well.
 2.  Add your Mary and Joseph. (Use the fruit roll up for a head covering for Mary.
 3.  Make your manger by attaching 4 pretzel twists together with some icing.
 4.  Color your coconut (hay)
 5.  Add your manger.
 6.  Add a teddy graham (Jesus)
 7.  Add some animals to your scene using some icing to make them stand.
8.  Enjoy your sugar high :)
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Luke 2: 6-7