Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola – This is another of the wonderful books by one of our favorite author/illustrators about doing for others and enjoying your ability to do so. The activity to go with this one is baking something for others and sharing it with them. We chose to bake cookies.
The Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Claire Counihan- We have this book illustrated through decorated cookies and candy. It is awesome! We could have chosen to make cookies for this book’s activity but we have planned that for a few other books. Instead, we each designed and illustrated our own 12 Days of Christmas Tree.
The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan and Jan Berentain – A fun book that reminds us there is more to Christmas than want, want, want. The girls got to help Daddy pick out gifts to give to someone in need and wrap them for the little boy and his mother.
The Mole Family’s Christmas by Russell and Lilian Hoban – This is a book we stumbled upon but fell in love with. Giving out of love is shown so clearly in this book and the magic of Christmas shows up in unexpected ways. The Mole Family wants a telescope for Christmas to see the stars so we went outside and used our telescope to view the stars.
It’s Christmas by Jack Prelutsky – We absolutely adore his poetry. The girls enjoy writing so they wrote some poetry after looking at this use of descriptions and rhymes and other poetic conventions. J just did hers aloud.
The Santa Claus Book: A Golden Super Shape Book – This book is just like one I had when I was little. I was so excited to find this one and some others in excellent condition at the library books sale a year ago. For this, we printed out a Santa Clause face with a countdown on it, even though it was pretty far along in the month when we got to this book. J really wanted to make a countdown using cotton balls for Santa’s beard. I did a search on the internet and found one she liked. I didn’t think to keep track of where I found it, so if you happen to recognize the one on the right and know where it is from, please let me know and I will give credit where it is due by including a link to the site.
The Nutcracker. The retelling that we read was very different from others we have read before and had lovely pictures. We painted nutcracker ornaments that were found at a local craft store. We also got to go see The Nutcracker Ballet performed live. A wonderful opportunity if you have it but there are plenty of videos and you can often catch it on television, as well.
The Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Book: A Golden Shape Book – This is another of the shape books that I remember from childhood. So much fun! My activity plans for this book were on the assumption that we would hit it during a school week and I have lots of cool printable sheets to go along with it. We may pull some of those out just for fun. We also could have made Rudolph cookies. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest. I liked these from Parents.com. The girls had never seen the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that I grew up watching on TV. I had bought it last week because we don’t have access to watching it unless we own it. So, we watched Rudolph. They loved it and have noticed several stamps on letters and things around the house that have the Rudolph illustration on them.
Max’s Christmas by Rosemary Wells – The girls seem to really appreciate this one because Max asks so many questions and is not satisfied with the answers he is given. We did not do an activity to go with this but one I do have one that might be fun. The last illustration shows Max with lots of wrapped presents and the girls have always enjoyed trying to guess what each was. A fun activity would be to hide various items under blankets or in wrappings of any sort and to have the kids describe the attributes of each, trying to guess what they are. Sort of like they try to do with Christmas presents, anyway.
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg – This one is new to us and we all fell in love with it. Next year, I hope this one pops up in our rotation sooner so that we can hand out candy canes. With it coming up on Christmas Eve, we didn’t have an opportunity. We had planned to hand out candy canes with a tag attached to them describing the colors and shapes and their attributes to help remind us of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. These could be handed out in a neighborhood, at church, or any gathering of folks. There are lots of free printable tags available to go along with this activity.
So that’s it. Finally. All of the books and activities we did during the month of December. There were lots and it kept me really busy trying to figure out the activity each night after they had unwrapped a book. Maybe next year I will be a little more on top of things and decide all of this before I wrap the books and forget which ones I wrapped. We’ll find out, I guess. At Home.