So, the books and activities have continued, though I have been slow getting them up on here. They are always fun, though we often end up somewhat rushed in the process of reading the books at bedtime. We always take the time to read them, though. They are just too much fun to miss. And most of them have a good story to go along with the fun.
Miracle on 34th Street – This is the traditional story by Valentine Davies and it is illustrated by Tomie dePaola. The combination is marvelous! This is a chapter book and so takes a few days to get through but it is totally worth it! The story is a heart warming tale of how belief in Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle in this story, make a huge difference in your life.
– Activity: We learned how to use a wood burning tool and burned I Belive into balsa wood ornaments.
The Farolitos of Christmas – Rudolofo Anaya presents a lovely tale about life in northern New Mexico and the family, friends, and traditions that make Christmas such a special time here. This book is a family favorite because we have roots in NM. The traditions touch a special place in our hearts and we fall in love over and over with the heart of the book.
– Activity: We made luminarios/farolitos and put them out. We will put them out again this week leading up to Christmas Eve.
The Christmas Cub – This is a sweet little book about Pine Tree and Pip, a little bear cub who has never heard about Christmas. Pine Tree introduces Pip to all the traditions of Christmas and the heart of Christmas. Pip thinks it is all wonderful and loves getting a gift. However, he soon realizes that he is not as happy as he could be and know just what he needs to do to make that happen.
– Activity: We made a felt Christmas tree activity for our felt board. We made both traditional ornaments and decorations but we also made some rainbows to go along with the story.
Olive, the Other Reindeer – I think just about everyone knows the story of the little dog that thinks he is a reindeer after hearing the song of “Rudolph” on the radio. This is a fun little novelty book about finding your strengths and helping others at the same time.
– Activity: We have a pop-up Christmas count-down book that has lots of play pieces that goes along with this book. We don’t use it as a count-down but we keep it around to play with. So, the girls got to get it out and play with it.
The Night of Las Posadas – This is another book that is a retelling by Tomie dePaola about a tradition in New Mexico. Las Posadas happens every year in Hispanic communities and New Mexico is no different. This book is another favorite of the family and we enjoy reading about the procession and the special things that happen in this book.
– Activity: We viewed pictures of real Las Posadas and looked up on a map of New Mexico where those processions were taking place. (There was a feature story in New Mexico Magazine, December 2014.) We also used an internet search to come up with some videos of the plaza in Santa Fe during Las Posadas so we could see and hear the song that is sung in the procession. We discussed some of the variations we saw in the book, article and video.
How Santa Got His Job – A fun look at how Santa got to where he is today, this book helps us see that everything in our past helps to shape who we are today. Without all those jobs in Santa’s past, he would be a very different Santa, perhaps.
– Activity: We discussed jobs and how different jobs have different requirements. The girls choose some jobs and talked about what some of the requirements would be for that job. (i.e. – banker should enjoy numbers and counting and money and staying indoors; landscaper should like to get dirty, plant things, and make changes)
The Donkey’s Christmas Song – A lovely little book about using your uniqueness to inspire others. The little donkey is afraid his bray is too loud but finds out it is the perfect thing.
– Activity: Honestly, I didn’t have an activity planned for this one and it ended up being a day where we didn’t have time to do much. One you could do is describe a scene, such as a nativity, and talk about each character’s unique abilities and talents, even imagining some. Then ask the children to pick someone else in the family or group and list some things that make them unique on a Christmas card and give it to that person.
I will have a part three to this series but it probably won’t get published any more timely than this one did.
We love our tradition of reading a book every night. I hope in sharing our books with you that your family will find some that are new or interesting. At Home.