Friday, December 27, 2013

13 most popular posts of 2013

Pin It
 
2013 has been a long and super year for me and for Crayon Freckles  whether you're a new reader or have been around for awhile, i thought i'd share the 13 most popular posts from this past year.  which ones were your fave?

 

 if you're curious about last year, you can check out the 10 most popular posts of 2012 here!
 
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas sensory bin {sensory play for kids}

Pin It
The Christmas season is upon us and I'm getting festive wherever I can in our preschool activities. This means putting together a Christmas sensory bin that is fun an contains various textures and colors. 
 
 
For this Christmas sensory bin, we used:
white rice {as a base}
green and red buttons
white, red, and green craft pom poms
jingle bells
white, red, and green decorative stones
Christmas erasers

It only took about 5 minutes to put together once I dug through our craft stash.  And my five year old loved it! He loved to pretend that the rice was snow that he has to clear out of the way with his toy cars.
 
 
 
Needless to say, he loves it and has spent hours so far playing with it.  And it'll be a super easy transition after Christmas to switch it over to a winter-based sensory bin!
 




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

10 children's books about Christmas {not Santa}

Pin It
Christmas is coming.  We all spend these last few weeks focused on finishing up the shopping for presents and counting down until Santa comes.  And so many children's books about Christmas cover these same topics.  Here are 10 great faith-based books that I found on my search for children's books that focus on the actual event of Christmas, as in Christ-mas, no Santas included.
 
(This post contains Affiliate links. I make a small percentage to keep this site running when you purchase. More here.)

Christmas is two weeks away.  So many spend these last two weeks focused on finishing up the shopping for presents and counting down until Santa comes.  And so many children's books about Christmas cover these same topics.  Here are 10 great faith-based books that I found on my search for children's books that focus on the actual event of Christmas, as in Christ-mas, no Santas included.

Who is Coming to Our House?
All the animals in the barn are tidying up their home in expectation of the guests that will be arriving soon.  Though they aren't exactly sure who the special visitor will be, there is a promise of wonder as they prepare.

The Christmas Cat
Baby Jesus is crying.  All the animals take turns trying to soothe him, to no avail.  But when the littlest of them, a tiny kitten tries, something amazing happens.

God Gave Us Christmas
As his family gets ready for the Christmas season, Little Cub begins to wonder what all the hubbub is about and wonders if Santa is the one who created the holiday.  His parents guide him and explain to him God's wonderful reason for the Christmas season.  This is one of my favorites because it contrasts Santa and God several times, with the importance of God's role in this holiday coming out on top every time.

Humphrey's First Christmas
If the smiling camel on the cover of this book doesn't make you smile, the message inside surely will.  This book is told from the point of view of one of the camels who brought the wise men to see Baby Jesus.  Through lessons learned on his journey and at his destination, Humphrey the camel realizes the power of giving.

This Is the Stable
This book is told in the This is the House that Jack Built style and tells the story of the stable that housed all the animals that stood witness to the birth of Baby Jesus.

The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas
Sam is curious about the contents of a sparkly silver box on the mantel.  But his mom says that they have to wait to open it.  As Christmas gets closer, Sam and his family find several ways to do acts of kindness and charity to help others.  When they finally get to open the box, he finds that all of their good deeds have been written on pieces of paper and put in the box.  His mom explains to him that all of those actions are part of their family's gift to Jesus. 

Room for a Little One
This book is the story of a King Ox who graciously opens his stable home to others for shelter.  So precious the way this large animal's tenderness is shown towards the other animals and people.  Especially in his sentiments, "there's always room for a little one."  Also, the illustrations in this book are exquisitely created (think Thomas Kincade). 

Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story
As the time for Jesus' arrival nears, all of nature begins to stir and anxiously await it.  When the song erupts in the heavens, the animals rejoice and stare in wonder at the little baby, their creator, who has come down to live with them.

Jesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree
The symbolism covered in this book is great!  It details what the Christmas tree and many of the symbols that decorate it mean.  It doesn't focus on the excitement of getting the tree set up to place presents underneath it, but the joy of what the ornaments on the tree mean to us.

A Star for Jesus
This story reminds us of the role that the star plays in both the Christmas story and in our Christmas festivities and decorations.  Note: the book does not take place in the manger when Jesus was a baby, like many stories of the wise men following the star. It is more biblically accurate as it details the time in Jesus' life that the wise men actually came to see him.
 
 What's your favorite Christmas book for children?
 
 




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Monday, December 16, 2013

kid-made time capsule ornament

Pin It

when i was a kid, my mom would buy me a Christmas ornament every year.  now that i'm grown, i look forward to putting all thirty-some of my ornaments on the tree.  the memories around some of them are hazy, but others are so vivid as many times, the ornament theme was based on my current interests.  so, every year, i buy an ornament for each kid based on each of their interests that year.  until now...
 
this year, i'm doing it different.  this year, i'm letting Bear {5 yrs} make his own ornament.  i saw these great plastic fillable ornaments at Hobby Lobby and inspiration struck.  i explained to Bear that he was going to get to make his own ornament and he was ecstatic.  so i sent him off on a hunt around the house to find things that reminded him of what he'd done or been really into this past year. 

the items he chose were: a matchbox car, a donut button, a plastic fireman, a bouncy ball, a small soccer ball, a fabric leaf, a stick, legos, and a kidney bean.  in hindsight, i do wish that i had asked him to write his name on a piece of paper and included that...
 

after he placed all of the items in the ornament, i put a thin bead of superglue around the edges to seal it shut so everything didn't fall out.  {i did make sure to let Bear know ahead of time that everything we put in there was not going to be able to be taken back out.}


then i used my handy dandy Silhouette Cameo to cut out Bear's name and the number 5 {his age} in vinyl to stick on the outside.  all that was left was to let him choose a ribbon to tie onto it and hang it on the tree.  and we've got an ornament that perfectly encapsulates his year old year better than any store bought one ever could. 
 
 
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Ornaments Kids Can Make

Pin It
there are so many cute and creative ideas out there for ornaments that kids can make. 
 
 
i've gathered a few that we've done here and lots more from other talented bloggers for you to check out. 
 
String Ball ornaments from Child Central Station
  
Beaded Twig Ornaments from Housing a Forest
 
Craft Stick Christmas Tree ornaments from Hands on: as we grow

Stained Glass Nativity ornament

 
 
Bird seed ornaments from JDaniel4's Mom
 
Molded Clay ornaments from Mama Smiles
 
Recycled lid snowman ornament from Inspired by Familia
 
Puzzle Piece ornament from Mama. Papa. Bubba.
 
Legend of the Candy Cane ornaments inspired by this printable at Happy Home Fairy
 
Simple homemade Penguin Cup ornament from Childhood Beckons

I-Spy ornaments from Teach Beside Me
 
Salt dough ornaments from here at Crayon Freckles

Button Tree ornaments from Under the Rowan Tree

Cupcake Liner Christmas Tree from One Perfect Day
 


Handprint snowmen bulb ornaments from Kids on the Grand
 
Pinecone ornament from Liberated Mind

Gumdrop Pomanders from My Blessed Life

Kid-Made Time Capsule Ornament from Crayon Freckles
  
 
have you made Christmas ornaments with your kids?
what materials do you use?
(share a link if you've got one)
 
 




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snowman Cutting Practice and Craft {Winter Activity}

Pin It
I know that Bear {5 yrs} has been working on cutting in preschool, but I hadn't seen him in action in quite some time {and I'm not one to just turn education over to the school and walk away}.  So I set up an invitation for him to both practice his cutting and to be creative by creating a paper snowman.
 
 
To set up the activity, I traced 3 different sized circles on white paper.  I also drew a triangle on an orange piece of paper.  The additional supplies I provided were ribbon, buttons, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, and stickers. 
 
When Bear asked what the project was, I had it laid out like in the top picture in this post.  I simply offered that with all the supplies there, I bet he could make something.   He responded "A snowman!" And then he quickly went to work, with a vision in his head. 
 
 
After he cut out the circles, he set about assembling his snowman.  
 
 
his wasn't the most extravagant activity, but it allowed him to practice cutting and make a fun little project while he was at it.
 




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Peace Christmas Wreath {Random Crafts of Kindness}

Pin It
When we first started talking about creating a random craft of kindness for someone, I knew exactly who my son and I could make something for.  We had a wonderful lady at our church named Joanie who was such a blessing in Bear's life.  Joanie handed out cookies after worship service, taught Sunday School, and served our church in so many other ways.  Bear looked forward to seeing  her in the office when I dropped him off at preschool on Mondays.  Joanie always seemed to get such a kick out of Bear and he just loved to make her smile.  So I thought that we could make a pretty Christmas wreath for her.
 
 
Notice I said all of that in past tense?  As we were in mid-process of making the wreath, sweet Joanie passed away, leaving a hole in our church family.  Bear was 5 years old and was remarkably accepting of all of this, with no questions.  Based on what we've spoke of before, he understood that we are given perfectly functioning bodies in Heaven.  While, the sadness of Joanie's passing could be registered on his face, his first comment was, "Well, at least she gets to meet Jesus and doesn't need her wheelchair anymore."  Oh, the simple and deep faith of childhood... 
 
Now, that I'm a little teary, I should probably share how we made this lovely wreath.... We got all of the supplies below for less than $20.

Materials Needed:
styrofoam wreath form
burlap ribbon
wooden peace sign
wooden stars
felt
floral bead sprays
silver permanent marker
silver glitter glue
hot glue gun
craft glue

How we made it:
My son colored the peace sign and some of the wooden stars using a silver permanent marker. 
 
We painted the Styrofoam wreath form tan to prevent any of the white from showing through from underneath the burlap ribbon. 
 
Then came the wrapping of the Styrofoam wreath form.  {Sorry I didn't get any pictures of this, it's a two-handed job}.  To keep the end piece of burlap attached to the wreath form, I hot-glued it.  I wrapped it tightly while Bear handed me the bundle of wrap through the hoop over and over and over. 
 
The felt flowers were a momma craft.  I made them using a spiral cut.  As I rolled them, I kept a line of craft glue going so that they wouldn't come apart on me.  After all of the felt flowers had dried, we were able to arrange them.  Before they were hot glued down, I wedged the bead sprays underneath a piece of burlap and hot glued them in place.
 
The final product was just beautiful.
 
So what to do with the wreath?  Funny enough, we had thought the "Peace" message of the wreath would be a great way to tie into the whole "sleep in heavenly peace" part of Silent Night.  Turns out, the message of peace the wreath shares means much, much more than that.  And we hang it every year in remembrance of the Joy that Joanie brought my son.
 
Sending prayers for all of you who are hurting and struggling for peace this holiday season. 
 




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...