Our First Advent Calendar: 24 Days of Yuletide Fun

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After days of trolling Pintrest for Advent Calendar ideas, followed by more days of collecting materials and a very late night setting up, our first family advent calendar is up and creating christmas magic.

Instead of 24 Days of candy (and candy crazed kids) I opted for 24  of activities (with some candy here and there).

The whole kit and caboodle cost $100 including all materials, gifts, and activities (could be cheaper if you already have supplies).
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Materials:
Gift bags
String
Command Strip Hooks
Clothespins
Tags numbered 1-25 (25 if you want to include your xmas tree for the big day)
24 cheap craft items, books, gifts, and treats

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Go Away, Big Green Monster! Monster Face Craft

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It’s October! Monsters, skeletons, and Jack-o-lanterns are the perfect spooky characters to help us learn “All About the Body”. This week we’ve been learning about the face- the features, where they are, and what they do.

The book Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly is the perfect book to bring together learning and Halloween fun. Each page of the book features a different part of I’ve monster’s face. After reading the book I had the boys identify each part of the face and glue it on the monster in the correct location (well in Patrick’s case not quite correct). The other great thing about the book is its broad appeal. Ages birth-5+ would enjoy and learn from “Go Away, Big Green Monster”.

I just cut out the pieces the night before. The “long blueish green nose” was just blue because come one-who has teal construction paper. You could cut the purple hair out squiggly looking, but I thought it’d be a good fine motor activity for Maxwell to squiggle his own.

This activity is great for teaching:
—Position words (the nose goes ABOVE the mouth BELOW the eyes etc)
—Facial Features (I had Patrick 20 months point to each part of his face)
—Fine motor skills (squeezing the glue and precisely placing the pieces)
—Literacy (the book is pretty simple but great)

This video on YouTube is a great extension song-the boys ask for “the monster song” all the time.
Video: Go Away,  Scary Monster! Go Away!

Hidden Message Writing Activity

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Paper, matching crayons, and watercolor paints-bam you’ve got a hidden message writing activity.

My good friend Kristin shared this idea and I had to try it out. Both boys loved it and it was simple/fun enough that my husband was able to step in and be the teacher for the activity.

Tips:
-Lighter colors work best like white paper and white crayons or yellow paper and yellow crayons and use darker contrasting paint colors.
-To really focus on fine motor development try to have your kiddos only paint on the areas with crayon. Helps them prepare to write the letters themselves.
-Draw pictures and shapes for littler kiddos