Monthly Archives: November 2017

Christmas Activity Advent Chain

My mom always made an advent chain with activities every Christmas. It is one of my favorite Christmas memories. My sister and I looked forward to doing something new together every day. Now that Buddy is two, I think he’s finally ready for his own Christmas activity advent chain.

To start, I brainstormed a list of possible activities. I looked at my local park district and library websites for special events to do. Then, I found a bunch of easy activities on Pinterest. I also included some activities I remembered doing from my childhood.

Once I had my list, I made a calendar for what we’re doing each day. My mom said sometimes she had to switch links between days, and I’m sure I will have to do that too. I filled in the special events we will go to, and then I filled in the rest of the activities. There are several different categories of types of activities, and I tried to spread them out evenly.

I’m including all of my ideas below, even ones that I won’t use this year.

Crafts

  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Construction paper snowman
  • Use Christmas stickers to make a Christmas scene
  • Christmas coloring pictures
  • Make a paper plate wreath

Doing Things for Others

  • Make ornaments to give to family
  • Buy a toy for an angel tree or Toys for Tots
  • Draw holiday cards for family
  • Donate coins to Salvation Army
  • Choose toys to give away

Food

  • Eat a candy cane and read a book
  • Drink hot cocoa
  • Coca colas in glass bottles (a favorite as a child, but Buddy’s not ready for that yet)
  • Make toast with green and red sprinkles
  • Decorate Christmas cookies
  • Make chocolate dipped pretzels

Christmas Activities

  • Learn Jingle Bells and sing for others
  • Christmas dance party
  • Go to the library to check out Christmas books
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights
  • Play with “snowballs” (cotton balls)                        
  • Find a hidden surprise (this year it is a new ornament for our tree)
  • Make a tree with Play doh and decorate with sequins or pop beads.
  • Visit Santa
  • Set up the Nativity
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Read a Christmas story

I’d love more ideas to do this year, and to save for future years. If you have any great ideas, please share in the comments.

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Cooking with Kids: Apple Pie

Hubby loves to cook and bake. (I’m so lucky!) Both of us have been trying to teach those skills to Buddy whenever we can. A few weeks ago, apples were on sale, so Hubby and Buddy decided to make apple pie. Hubby has made this recipe himself, and adjusted it after several tries. (The full recipe is listed at the bottom of this blog.)
To start, Hubby peeled 9 apples. Then, he had Buddy put the flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl. He asked Buddy to give the salt a few shakes, and he pre-measured the other dry ingredients. 
While Buddy had lunch, Hubby sliced the apples. Then they added them into the dry mixture together. Hubby added a little lemon juice on top.
Hubby put a pre-made pie crust into the pie pan, and then he poured in the apple mixture. They added some cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter on top of the apples. Then Hubby put the pie crust on top. Finally, Buddy coated the top of the pie crust with an egg wash. Then it baked for 50 minutes at 425 degrees. 
This pie was amazingly delicious, and Buddy was so proud that he helped.
Apple Pie Recipe
6-7 large Granny Smith apples (or 8-9 small apples), cored/peeled
Dry Mixture:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
Pinch of salt
Mix apples/dry mixture, add one squeeze of lemon juice.
Pour apple mix over unrolled pie crust, top with cinnamon and nutmeg,
Add 1 tbsp butter cut into four small squares.
Cover with 2nd pie crust, sprinkle with light addtional cinnamon and sugar. Cut slits into crust to vent. Brush on an egg wash made from one egg and a tablespoon of water.
Cook at 425 degrees about 45-50 minutes.
Let sit for a couple hours to cool and allow liquid in filling to congeal.

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Floating Letters

Buddy loves playing in water. Several times this fall, he’s asked to play in our water table, but unfortunately, it’s just too cold. When I saw this floating letters activity on Busy Toddler’s blog, I knew it would be perfect. Buddy would get to play in water, but we could do it inside.

I pulled out Munchkin bath letters and numbers (affiliate link) for our water play. These were purchased months ago, but I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so they hadn’t been used. Buddy was very excited about playing with his new toys in the water. While the sink was filling with water, Buddy threw some letters in the sink.

Buddy pushed a chair over to stand on while playing in the water. He helped me choose some letters and numbers to put in the water. Eventually we dumped them all in the sink.

I gave Buddy a spatula to pick up the letters. He loved it! It was a different tool for him, and he enjoyed using it. It kept this activity pretty neat because it didn’t scoop up water, and Buddy wasn’t putting his arms into the water.

As we were playing, I asked Buddy to find different letters or colors. He was always so proud to find them. Buddy actually knew more letters than I thought he did. It was exciting to see what he’s learned at school.

I happened to pull out a toy boat from our swim bag earlier that day, and I left it on our kitchen counter. Buddy asked to use it with the letters. He wanted to pour water on top of the letters. “I’m washing the letters.” 

Buddy played contently for 45 minutes, and he would have been happy to play for longer. (A poopy diaper stopped our play, and then it was time to get ready for dinner.) There was almost no water mess until I let him use the boat, and then there was a little splashing. When we were done, we put the letters into a drying rack to dry. This activity was so easy and so much fun! Buddy really loved it, and I know we’ll do again sometime soon. If you have any other ideas for ways to play with our letters, please share in the comments.

Fall Tree Foil Painting

I love to do activities related to the season. When I first saw this fall tree painting idea on Munchkins and Moms’ blog, I knew it would be a perfect fall activity. It has been awhile since Buddy and I have painted together, and I knew that we would both enjoy this project.

Buddy was so excited when I told him we’d be doing a fall tree painting. I showed him a picture of what the final painting would look like so he could understand what to do. Then, I put brown paint on one paper plate, and red, yellow, and orange paint on another paper plate. We always use Crayola washable paint (affiliate link) because it is so easy to clean up. My favorite paper for painting is this paint pad (affiliate link), which never gets soggy.

I gave Buddy a brush to paint the tree trunk, and I helped him make the lines for the trunk and branches. 

Next, I rolled up a ball of foil, and Buddy dipped it into the red, yellow, and orange paint. Then he tapped it all over the page to make the leaves. He really wanted to make smeary lines, but I was able to convince him that tapping looked better. When the paint started mixing enough to look brown and gross, I got a new ball of foil to use.

While Buddy’s painting wasn’t perfect, I thought it was pretty good for a two-year old. He had a lot of fun, and he was  very proud of the final product. 

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