Sunday, December 5, 2010

On Our Shelves: December Activities

We have been busy here, cheerfully decorating and putting out materials for the Christmas season.
So far, we have put up our tree and have started to decorate it...

We also have put some Christmas themed works on our shelves in our homeschool room, and have laid out our two town scenes...the little Town of Bethlehem and our Old Fashioned Christmas Town.

Here are some photos of some of what we have been up to so far for the holidays...
Estimation, counting, sorting, patterning, more and less work for math using chocolates. Both boys loved doing a variety of math work using these chocolate filled containers...

Little Bro attempting to estimate how long he is "in jingle bells"...he was trying to show how big he is by comparing the length of the jungle bell strand with his length...he eventually realized that it would be helpful to lay down next to the jingle bells, instead of having the jingle bells on top of him. He had a great time using the jingle bells.
Little Bro working with a strand of jingle bells. He counted the number of bells attached to the strand and then, used the beads and the wooden numbers to show the total (21). He then measured the length of the jingle bell strand. He loved doing both of these math works...when he wrapped up the math, he then had a blast playing with the strand of jingle bells.
For more cool jingle bell ideas, please be sure to pop over and read Jackie's post at Ready, Set, Read! about Jingle Bells and then, check out the jungle bell shakers that she made and then, pop on over to see Little Wonder's Days neat post about Jingle Bells creations. Little Bro will wanna make some shakers for sure when he sees how nice they look on these two blogs!!!

Big Bro doing gift wrap work. This is actually such a nice work extension, as he had to measure the boxes to determine which pre-cut piece of paper would best match the size of the box (for control of error, only one piece of paper fit per box).He then had to wrap the boxes, tape them closed, and then, had work at stacking the boxes.

As an added challenge to this work, he had to tie a bow that was attached to an elastic band and then, had to figure a way to carefully stack the boxes so that they would all fit together only using one bow. This was very challenging for him but he loved doing this work. 12/15 Update to this post: Big Bro's friend from Raccoon School tried this work and loved it too.
Big Bro and Little Bro both enjoyed doing this Hershey's Kisses Addition Book. How fun to get to use chocolate candy kisses as they did their math work. Big Bro did the more complex addition problems near the end of the book. Big Bro also helped at showing Little Bro how to do the various addition problems throughout the book. Both boys enjoy doing math and eating chocolate, so this was a fun math activity...seemed to fit in nicely, as we had lots of chocolate on hand for our cookie baking and gingerbread house decorating...we also got to watch a biography about Milton S. Hershey and how the candy got its name, as Big Bro has been learning and reading biographies. Did you know how the kisses got their name? According to both this book and the biography we watched about Milton S. Hershey, the machine that these candies were manufactured on made a sound that sounded like "smooch" , "smooch", "smooch", so Milton Hershey thought of the name kisses. Here is a link to all things Hershey for you...yummy!!!
Little Bro doing pouring work, using a Christmas themed pitcher.
Big Bro doing World Stamps sorting work. As an extension, this time, he needs to find a stamp that corresponds to whatever countries we have studied up to that point as part of our Around the World in December activities. He has a good time checking out all of the different stamps.

Little Bro doing some hammering, pretending to be one of Santa's elves.

Counting work for Little Bro using bows and a number line.

Part of our Little Town of Bethlehem scene.

A photo of our Old Fashioned Christmas Town scene...

Knit finger puppets for the holidays. Both boys like to act out the stories we read together using these finger puppets. They also like to write and put on their own shows...
Both boys have also had fun over the weekend using our sensory table we have on our lanai, although the are hoping that the temps warm up, as it has been a little on the chilly side for us here in the Sunshine State the last few days. A huge thanks to Mari-Ann from Counting Coconuts, as she always has awesome ideas for sensory bins.  She is the real inspiration for me to have ever even tried to include sensory bins in our day-to-day, as when I was reading her blog one day, the boys saw the cool sensory bins she had for that month and asked if we could please have something like that for their work. Since Big Bro and Little Bro are a bit older than her son, in addition to our table being a themed sensory area, we are also using our table as a fun way to practice spelling. So, for this month, Big Bro has to sort through the sensory table and find the black and white tile letters to spell Christmas themed words from a word list. Little Bro has to find the beginning sounds for various words.

Little Bro selected this ornament as his special ornament for this year. He got to select it at the store and got to place it on the tree. Before Christmas comes, Dear Hubby and I will relocate his ornament, along with a funny glass pickle ornament and the boys will have to find their special ornament, along with the glass pickle, on Christmas Eve for a special Christmas Eve present. This is a little twist on the German tradition of the Christmas Pickle ornament hunt. Dear Hubby's family had a Christmas pickle on their tree, so part of our new tradition is from Dear Hubby's family tradition...

Big Bro selected this ornament as his special ornament for this year. He will look for this ornament and the Christmas pickle ornament on Christmas Eve.

Little Bro has been enjoying his new Little People Nativity set. In addition to these figures, the set features the Three Kings / Three Wise Men, the animals, and a shepherd. I made three part cards for him to use with this set. Will take some photos of Little Bro using these cards and doing this work sometime this week.

Transfer work for Little Bro. He selects the items to transfer, along with the plate and the tweezers he wishes to use for his work...

We have also been doing some of the neat Christmas Around the World activities suggested in the  
Expedition Earth materials made by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler.
If you have not seen Erica's awesome Expedition Earth material, please be sure to take a look.
I ordered it as a pdf and have been very happy with it.
Big Bro and Little Bro are enjoying doing the various activities that she suggests as part of Christmas Around the World.  She suggests using Children Like Me and Christmas Around the World, so we are doing just that.

This is a neat collection of Advent stories. We are reading one per night.
Well, that is what we are up to here in the Sunshine State.
Hope that all of you are enjoying your days in December.

Here is a link to My Montessori Journey's post about her December classroom activities. There are many neat ones that you may want to try in your classroom or homeschool.

Please be sure to visit Deb over at Living Montessori Now to see her post about turning Christmas crafts into Montessori activities.

In her post, Deb gives links to cool Advent and Christmas craft inspirations from some other neat a big shout out not only to Deb at Living Montessori Now, but also, to all of these other crafty ladies who have shared some neat holiday themed fun on their respective blogs:

let's go fly a kite

Oopsey Daisy

Blissfully Domestic

A Little Learning for Two

Play and Learn with Dana

Playful Craft Creations

My post is linked up with the Montessori Monday posts at One Hook Wonder. Please be sure to pop over to One Hook Wonder to check out her nice Montessori inspired blog post, along with a great giveaway she is doing for Advent.

It is a cool wooden spiral Advent is what she is giving away:
"the spiral ring, 1 brass candle holder for the last spot, and 23 pegs on which you can glue stars, hearts, or whatever you desire"...


Unknown said...

Awesome works!! Thank you for sharing.

Jackie Higgins said...

Thanks for sharing the link to my post! That was very kind of you. I love all of your ideas. I'm not so good at incorporating math, so I'll have to copy all of your ideas. I love the measuring activity. Big Bro looks very happy to have completed his task!

Anonymous said...

Wow! You have a great assortment of activities for this month. Thanks for mentioning my link!

Little J's teacher had a fun work with Hersey's kisses last year. She put a basket of kisses and a spindle box with numbers 0-10, then the kids counted out the appropriate number. They were allowed to eat one kiss from a different basket when they finished.

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Thanks so for the kind shout out and introducing me to your site. I am adding you to my reader and grabbing a button.

Anonymous said...

I *love* that gift wrapping work! What a fantastic way to incorporate math and practical life! I bet he loved that!

Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now said...

Great Christmas ideas! Your chocolate and jingle bells math works and gift wrap work are such fun additions during the Christmas season! And thanks SO MUCH for the shout out and link to my blog! I just linked to your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page at

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

Love the measuring in jingle bells :0

You have been so busy and have so many great ideas :)

Caz said...

Thankyou for linking with us! I love the activities you have been doing, so much variety and so many things that look fun as well as educational. The gift wrapping is a great idea (and good practice! :-D) and the town scenes look amazing.

Tracy said...

You have some great ideas for combining the holidays with learning. It can be hard to keep them focused with all the anticipation that is building up.

XYZZ said...

What great ideas - I especially liked the wrapped one and the jingle bells estimation. One question: how in the world did you keep your boys from EATING that chocolate?! ;) Thanks for linking to Montessori Monday.

Deb @ Living Montessori Now said...

Now I featured your post in my activity of the week at

Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now said...

Your post was featured again! This time I linked to it in my activity of the week at

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