Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas time!

My favorite time of the year! Busy as usual in our classroom but enjoying the memories around this time of year. We have done SO much already to decorate our classroom to get ready for Christmas!

I start off the month teaching the children that Christmas day we celebrate the birth of baby JESUS! Some look a little confused, "Well what about Santa?" I even get from a few. :) After a few stories, lessons about Jesus, and learning the words to Happy Birthday Baby Jesus, it all seems to click with them.  After my little ones had a better understanding of why we celebrate Christmas we made baby Jesus sleeping in the manager (inspired by this post). During story time that day I read, Christmas in the Manger, great little book that teaches them about the birth of Jesus.

 The day before we made this craft I had the children paint a star cutout using yellow tempera paint and a sponge. The next day the children glued on Jesus' face, the blanket (I cut rectangles out of white felt), and raffia for the manger. For a little extra fun we put drops of glue and added gold glitter for the stars! Love this craft as it represents the true meaning of Christmas. I sent home a pipe cleaner with each child in case the parents wanted to hang the star on their Christmas tree!

My son also made a baby Jesus craft. His teacher taught him about the meaning of the candy cane and how it signifies the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. One of my absolute favorite crafts he has made.
My son also made this baby Jesus ornament last year, which is my favorite ornament on our Christmas tree.

 For a special Christmas gift for the families we make angels using their hands and feet! I paint their hands and once it dries I take off their little shoes and socks and pain their feet. I love watching the children's face when I start to paint their feet. Too cute!!  Once everything dries I add their smiling face, laminate the angels, and add a halo (silver pipe cleaner).

Here is an angel my daughter made this year with her class. They painted a coffee filter with silver glitter paint to create the wings, added a body painted in gold, drew on a face and glued on hair! 

We made reindeer for the hallway bulletin board this month. I found this idea from A Cupcake for the Teacher, what an amazing blog!! Definitely worth checking it out! 

I traced each child's left and right hand to make the reindeer's antlers. The children added two eyes, and a bright red nose, that we dipped in red glitter!    I used my Cricut machine to cut out the letters and covered the words MERRY & BRIGHT in fine green glitter. I doubled up the bulletin board border to make everything blend together. 

My classroom bulletin board was a took several days to complete but I am so happy with the finished product! 

For the Christmas tree I had the children sponge paint the tree green, then add glitter on the star and brown construction paper to the bottom. I will be putting these in their notebooks once I take everything down.

 This was a fun craft- I had the children tear green paper (love to incorporate fine motor development whenever possible) and glue it onto white paper. Once they were done I gave them a pompom and some red paint and let them add some red "berries" to their collage. 
 Last craft the for board was the glitter stars. The children got a plate with green paint and two different star cookie cutters (both had handles making it easier for them to pick up). Once they children stamped a few stars of each size on their paper they got to sprinkle green glitter on top of the paint. Such a simple craft but it looks amazing when its finished. 

This was my hallway bulletin board from last year.  The children each made a present and on the inside each was a picture of the child.
 My daughter made a present this year, similar to the one's on the bulletin board. I love how cute hers turned out! Inside of her present was her "Christmas wish list".

Christmas of course is not complete without Santa and his reindeer! My class made the reindeer for the bulletin board so turned Santa into a Christmas countdown. My daughter made a countdown too!

These are the reindeer my own two children have made in the past two years! I love that I can hang them next to each other for everyone to see. 
Of course, Santa needs his little helpers, the elves! My little ones made elf shoes, I found the original idea from Musing of Me. I love this craft because it helps them learn simple AB patterns. The children will be learning a lot more about sequencing next year so I like to introduce them to it now so they are familiar with it. I show them a template I made that has the red/green pattern on it so they understand the project before we begin. After I talk about how the pattern goes they start to glue the stripes onto the white paper. They children all did an excellent job with this craft. Of course, their favorite part was picking out the sparkly pom poms to glue onto the shoes.

My daughter also made an elf in her classroom! Her face is priceless, isn't it! I'm pretty sure her teacher got the idea from Pinterest. I'd personally be lost without my pins, obviously :)

 We also made handprint wreaths. I painted each child's hand several times until I formed a wreath on 12X12 card stock paper. Once the handprints dried I had the children glue on red circles in groups of three. I hot glued a ribbon and little Christmas saying on the bottom to finish them off. Parents LOVED these! 
 For my students who have sensory issues, which I have quite a few, I traced their hands on green construction paper instead of using paint. I glued the hand cut outs together to create the wreath them they finished the rest.
 I made this wreath last year. I used Mod Podge to try to make the craft last longer, but I didn't love how it made the paper wrinkle. The children also used their thumbs dipped in red paint to create the berries which I also wasn't crazy about. So this year I changed it up quite a bit.

Here are a few other fun crafts made this year by my little ones. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas everyone!