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EARLY CHILDHOOD NEWSLETTER

Volume 5, Issue 21
December 3, 2007


A WORD ABOUT THIS ISSUE'S THEME

As your classroom bustles with children's anticipation of gifts to come, we hope they will also think about gifts to give.

You might wish to create a bulletin board that reinforces the idea of "giving" during the holiday season. Cut out from colored paper a large square to staple onto the bulletin board. Staple a large bow on the top and write across the square "A Gift of Happiness." Then give each child a smaller precut square of paper. Ask children to draw a picture of someone to whom they want to bring happiness. Record the name of that person on the bottom of each square. Place a small bow at the top of each child's square. Hang the drawings around the large gift on the bulletin board.

We hope you'll be able to make use of this issue's gift-making ideas for a variety of winter holiday celebrations.

Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter

 

 


ACTIVITY IDEAS

DANDY DREIDELS
Your children can make this fun toy to give to another child in celebration of Hanukkah. Gather for each child a clean half-pint milk carton. Tape closed the spout on each carton. Cut a small slit into the bottom center of each carton that will be just large enough to push a craft stick through. Let children paint their cartons and craft stick blue. (The cartons may need two coats.) When the paint is dry, help children use a silver glitter pen to add the letters nun, hay, gimel, and shin -- one letter to each side of the milk-carton dreidel. (For samples of the letters, see How to Play Dreidel.) Insert the craft stick into the slit at the bottom of the carton to complete the dreidel.

NIFTY NECKLACES
At Kwanzaa, many African Americans celebrate with colors of red, black, and green. Let your children make necklaces that honor those traditional colors. Give each child a shoelace or a piece of ribbon or yarn; wrap masking tape around one end of the strand. Cover tables with newspaper and let children paint ziti pasta with red, green, and black tempera paints (one color at a time). When the painted pasta is dry, show children how to string the pasta onto the shoelace to create colorful Kwanzaa necklaces.

PERFECT PINATAS
During Las Posadas celebrations, children in Mexico break a piñata filled with treats and then scamper to retrieve the goodies. Your children can make individual piñatas to give as symbols of this Christian holiday. Give each child a small white paper bag. Help children decorate bags with markers, fringed crepe paper, or tissue paper. Let children place wrapped candies or other small wrapped treats into their decorated bags. Gather the open end of the bag and tie tightly with colorful ribbon or yarn. Recipients can hang the piñata with string and try to break it open with a stick.

JOYFUL JARS
During Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, emphasis is given to prayer, fasting, and charity. Read to children by Suhaib Hamid Ghazi (Holiday House). Then invite children to create penny jars. Give each child a glass jar. Invite children to use tempera paint to decorate their jars with moons or stars. When filled with pennies, the jars can be given to support a charitable organization.

DELIGHTFUL DIYAS
The Hindi celebration of Diwali is a Festival of Lights. Many Hindus place lighted clay lamps called diyas around their homes during Diwali. Children can make simple diyas to share as a reminder of this holiday. Give each child a small ball of self-hardening clay. Help children shape a small bowl (large enough to hold a tea-light-sized candle) out of the clay. After the clay has hardened, let each child place a tea light inside his or her bowl. Prepare a note to send home with each child that explains Diwali and the symbolic diya. Ask that an adult light the candle.

CHRISTMAS CANDY CANES
Your children will be able to make these simple ornaments and give them with pride. Provide each child with two six-inch pipe cleaners, one red and one white. Help children twist the two pipe cleaners together. Next, children can bend over the top of the twisted pipe cleaners to fashion the shape of a candy cane. Add a little tag with the child's name and the year on it. This ornament can be hung on Christmas trees or attached to packages.


ON THE WEB

 

Check out the following Web sites for additional background and activities.

Family Tree Frames
Print out the Kwanzaa frame and let children decorate. Add a photo of a family member and you have a great gift.
http://www.billybear4kids.com/holidays/kwanzaa/family-tree/frames.html

Easy Holiday Gifts Kids Can Make
Find great things for kids to make and give.
https://www.greatschools.org/gk/

Making Holiday Gifts With Kids
A nice article that includes more holiday ideas for kids to make.
http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/about-us/get-cooking-fine-living-fans/in...

Menorah
Print out this page for children to color and frame.
http://www.coloringcastle.com/pdfs/jewish/menorah.pdf

Candy Cane Reindeer
Let children use candy canes to make a special reindeer.
https://family.disney.com/crafts/