Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas Tree Craft for Kids

This is a fun, easy Christmas tree craft that would be easy for a toddler or preschooler to do for Christmas. To make this project you will need:

tree lights

  • Green construction paper
  • Red, yellow, blue, purple construction paper
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

On the green construction paper draw the outline of a Christmas tree and cut it out. You can find a template of a tree here.

Fold the tree in half lengthwise and use the hole punch to punch holes all over the tree.

Cut out small squares of different colors of construction paper. Don’t forget to make a star for the top of the tree.

Have your child glue the small squares of paper on the BACK of the tree, covering each hole with a square of colored paper. When you turn the tree to the front side, it will look like the tree is covered with tiny lights.

If you want to hang the tree in a window, use tissue paper instead of construction paper for the “lights” and the light will show through the holes when you hang it in the window.

Copyright 2014, This article may not be reprinted.

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Top Holiday Gifts for Preschoolers

If you are looking for a holiday gift for a preschool aged child, here are some of the popular gifts you can buy for children ages 3 to 5 this year.

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Learning Devices

There are many electronic devices created with the preschooler in mind. Electronic devices for this age range are primarily learning oriented, virtually all of them are great tools for teaching preschoolers important beginning reading and counting skills.

Leapster has a number of great learning products for preschoolers. The LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet is featured as a 2012 Holiday Hot Toy at Toys R Us this year.

The LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet features a camera, video recorder, 4 GB of memory, and access to more than 300 game cartridges that can be purchased along with this game system.

It comes with 5 apps, including Pet Pad, Cartoon Director, Learning Songs, and an interactive Art Studio. The child can also download a free app of his or her choice.

If you are looking for a less expensive device (the LeapPad Explorer retails for about $100), you can still purchase the LeapFrog Leapster2 learning system for about $50. You can also find a lot of great games for the Leapster 2.

Pretend Play

Preschool aged children love to use their imaginations and “play pretend”. You can find a lot of great toys to stimulate a child’s imagination.

For girls there a number of great kitchen play sets available on the market, in all different price ranges. Boys love kitchen sets too, but they also have some great barbecue grill play sets for boys who want to grill like dad.

The Easy-Bake Oven has never gone out of style. Girls love them today as much as they did 30 years ago. You can also find pretend salons, tea sets, medical play sets, and more.

Preschool aged boys love to play dress up as much as girls do. There are many superhero and action hero costumes made just for boys in this age range that you can purchase any time of year, not just at Halloween.

Arts and Crafts

Preschool aged children love to do arts and crafts. You can find play dough and paints of all types and colors. There are many art tables and easels available for this age range.

Etch-a-Sketch is still a popular toy for preschoolers. There is also Magna Doodle (including a travel sized edition), AquaDoodle, the AquaDoodle Mat, and Fisher Price Doodle Pro.

Books and Games

For books, Where the Wild Things Are Book: Anniversary Edition, by Maurice Sandek, is a popular choice. The Treasury of Curious George Book by Margret and H.A. Rey is also a great gift idea for a preschooler.

There are many fun games created with the preschool aged child in mind. Children this age are just starting to be able to sit down and play a good board game with the family.

Candyland is still a family favorite, and loved by preschool aged children. Richard Scarry’s Busytown is also a fun board game, as well as Memory, the Cootie board game, and Hi Ho Cherry-O.

For children who have a Nintendo DS, there is a Bubble Guppies game that is really popular among preschoolers right now. You can also find Go, Diego, Go! Great Dinosaur Rescue for Nintendo DS, as well as Nickelodeon Team Umizoomi & Dora’s Fantastic Flight for Nintendo DS.

If you are looking for a holiday gift for a preschooler, you are only limited by your imagination. Children of this age love games, books, and activities of all kinds, especially activities that stimulate their imagination. Whatever your budget, you will be sure to find something your favorite preschooler will love.

Compassion at Christmas

by Teresa Bell Kindred

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Her name is Reina Gricelda Piris Sinay; a long name for a little girl. I first met Reina when she was just three years old. Actually, we have never met. I read about an organization called Compassion at and I signed up to sponsor a child, and that is how our relationship began.

Reina lives in Guatemala. When she was three she was living with her father, mother, and grandmother.

When she was four her father left and a few months ago I received a letter saying her mother had left as well. The grandmother is sick (Reina always asks for prayers for her) and so I am afraid that Reina is taking care of the grandmother more than the grandmother is taking care of her.

Every so often I receive letters from Reina. A translator actually writes them for her. This is what her last letter said.

Dear sponsor,

Reina greets you in the love of Christ. She loves you very much and prays for you. Reina is studying and soon will be in 4th grade. Her teacher says she is a very smart girl and she will pass 3rd grade. Reina thanks you for the gift you sent her in August. She got four yards of fabric, two pairs of shoes, a bottle of oil, rice, beans, soups, sugar and matches. Reina wishes God blesses you for what God put in your heart! She says they really needed these things. May God multiply them for you! She sends many hugs.

Today is December 1st and for weeks stores have been putting up Christmas trees, playing Christmas music and doing their best to get us in the mood to shop. Before you make your next trip to the mall please read the article below. It was written by someone at Compassion.

Written by: Becky Tschamler

I heard the other day what many would call “good news.” According to the Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, the recession is over.

Only the thing is, the “good-ness” of this news is relative … it’s only true for those of us living within certain geographic boundaries (read: the developed world.)

So, while we may be seeing signs of economic improvement in our part of the world, many other parts of the world are still in dire straits.

I recently received a report from our staff in Guatemala that says there are 54,000 families seriously lacking food. Fifty-four thousand. UNICEF says that almost half of Guatemalan children suffer from chronic malnutrition.

While the food crisis is not new, the reasons behind this reiteration of it are different from before.

Whereas before the skyrocketing cost of food was almost solely responsible for the crisis, this time Guatemala is experiencing something like the Perfect Storm – a combination of adverse weather, poor soil and the effects of the global economic downturn have lead to a severe food shortage.

On the other side of the globe in Uganda, the situation is equally heartbreaking. The last report our staff submitted said that more than 4,500 of our children and their families are suffering from famine.

Kids are not attending school because they don’t have the strength to get through the day. People cannot take their HIV medication because it has to be taken with food.

And they have none.

Since the onset of the Global Food Crisis last year, we have distributed millions of dollars worth of food, medical treatment and nutritional counseling.

Together with your help, God blew us away with His abundant blessing during our Global Food Crisis Day on March 11.

We were able to meet the needs of many children like Doris, an 11-year-old girl from Guatemala who was malnourished, surviving on a diet of vegetables and chicken giblets once a day, and provide her with three meals of chicken, beef, vegetables, eggs, milk, Incaparina mixed with beans, corn flakes, rice and Protemás.

But for others, as the crisis goes on seemingly without end, it’s hard not to get discouraged.

There actually is good news, though: This economic imbalance has not taken God off guard. Actually, He knew we’d be in this predicament. That’s why He gave us clear instructions about what to do.

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” — 1 John 3:17-18, NIV

And there it is plain as day — the key to solving this crisis.

While this side of the world might indeed be pulling out of the economic free-fall we’ve been in, those on the other side aren’t yet.

So, what I’d like to suggest is that this “recovery” is actually our opportunity. It is not an ending of something, but a chance to fulfill our purpose.

As we pull out of our economic tailspin, we have the chance – and the responsibility – to step up for those still spinning.

I have to tell you that when I received the letter from Reina and saw that sweet little girl holding shoes and fabric, with beans, soup and cooking oil at her feet, I cried. There are so many children like Reina, in need of just the bare necessities that it is overwhelming. The temptation to say, “The problem is too big and I am only one. How can I possibly make a difference?”

One of my all time favorite quotes is by Edward Everett Hale who said, ” “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Today I give thanks for Reina and the blessing she is in my life. Please pray for her (and children like her). You can make a difference. There is something we all can do.

Christmas Nativity Gift for Teachers

by Alysia Schwarz

Several years ago, I had an inspiration and put this Christmas gift idea together. I’ve done it for several of my kids’ teachers since and it has always been very meaningful for them. I’ve also done it for my daughter’s gymnastics coach and my son’s speech therapist. It is my hope that this gift be a way that more parents can bless more teachers.

What to do:

  • Buy a nativity set. Generally, I get an inexpensive one costing less than $10 because it really isn’t about buying an expensive one.
  • Wrap each piece of it individually and attach slips of paper from the attached paper for the appropriate parts (it is good to number them so you can easily send them in the right order).
  • Send one to school each day with your child.

Download the wording for this nativity gift. The document is in Adobe Acrobat format and can be viewed and printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: Permission is used to copy/alter this project as long as it is not for monetary gain.

Enjoying Christmas with Toddlers


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The holiday season can be stressful if we try to do too much, but throw in a couple of toddlers and things can become very overwhelming quickly, not to mention stressful for your kids!

Here are some toddler tips to help make your holiday season more enjoyable for the entire family:

Try as much as possible to include your toddlers in holiday activities. At this age they like to “help”, and if you include them in what you are doing it often reduces the possibility of temper tantrums.

My boys enjoyed helping me decorate our Christmas tree. We debated whether or not to let them touch the tree, but we found that they really just wanted to play with the ornaments. We put all breakable ornaments up out of their reach and hung non-breakable ornaments where they could touch them and play with them. Every morning they pull the bottom ornaments off the tree and throw them on the floor. For the most part they leave the tree alone the rest of the day. At night I hang the ornaments back up, and the next morning we start over again. The boys think this is really fun.

I turn our outside Chrismas lights off and on at the same times every day. The boys look forward to when I turn all the lights on and remind me if I forget. They love looking at our lighted “reindeer” out the front window. You could also take the family on a drive around the neighborhood to look at holiday lights.

When you’re visiting friends and family during the holidays, try to minimize any disruption to your toddler’s schedule as much as possible. If your toddler continues to eat and sleep at the same times as normal, he or she will be much better able to cope with holiday festivities.

Try to resist the urge to give your toddler too many holiday sweets. At Thanksgiving I made the mistake of giving our boys a tiny taste of homemade fudge, and then they wouldn’t leave me alone. It’s amazing how boys who can’t remember not to bite each other can remember where mom hid the candy.

The holidays are a great time to introduce new DVD’s and CD’s to your toddlers. Yes, Elmo has a decent Christmas DVD. It’s a nice change to the other two Elmo movies we watch every day.

I did a lot of my Christmas shopping online this year to avoid dragging the boys to the mall. I’m too tired to go out after they go to bed at night. It’s nice having things delivered to your front door! Many web sites offer free shipping this time of year.

Don’t feel like you have to buy your toddlers tons of presents for Christmas. At this age they’re more interested in how much they like a toy, not how many they have. Now if I can just convince the rest of our family of that. If your toddler receives too many presents for Christmas, put some away for a rainy day or for when the toys he or she is playing with lose their appeal.

Toddlers love books. Don’t forget the “reason for the season”. Read the nativity story to your toddlers and introduce them to the baby Jesus.

That’s about it! I love this time of year and these simple tips have made our family’s holiday season fun and nearly stress free!