Saturday, December 8, 2012

Whole Hearted Holidays - I Love Candy Canes!

It's already been a fun holiday season. Thanksgiving was everything we hoped it could be... some great food, a few crazy hours of shopping and lots of family bonding. But mostly it was filled with thankfulness!

I now turn my focus to some of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. Recently, I had the opportunity to share some of these ideas with the families at a local preschool. I hope that you enjoy these activities as much as they did! Don't miss the bonus Christmas Bingo game at the end of the post!

Candy Cane Reindeer Craft

With your child, take half of a brown pipe cleaner and wrap it around the arch of the candy cane then bend the “antlers” in zigzags. I put a dab of glue at the back of the "antlers" so that they would not slip. Next, glue two small googly eyes and one red pompom to make a face on the short side of the candy cane. I used hot glue but if you want your child to help I'd recommend a tacky glue or very careful adult supervision! If you don't have the materials I mentioned, feel free to use what you have on hand. A button would be a cute nose. You can make eyes out of construction paper. Black "antlers" would look just as cute!  As you can see in the picture below, my reindeer are a little different from each other. Here are the language skills that we addressed while doing this activity: following directions, describing your antlers, vocabulary, colors and actions (wrap, bend, glue, etc).

Candy Cane Snack
This is a quick and refreshing snack, plus it's a nice healthy alternative to the sugar of a real candy cane (not that I mind a little sugar, but this is really good too!) Slice fresh strawberries and bananas and lay them in a candy cane shape alternating fruit slices. Yum! If you don't have strawberries, feel free to use another red fruit like grapes or watermelon. Some language skills that you could address are: colors, describing flavors/sizes/shapes, following directions, action words (cut, put, eat, etc.). You could also talk about pattern making. This is a simple pattern (red-white, red-white), but you could do a more complex pattern like red-red-white (strawberry-grape-banana or strawberry-watermelon-banana).

Candy Cane Books
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
Sheila Ray's Peppermint Stick by Kevin Henkes
Mouse's First Christmas by Lauren Thompson

Candy Cane Poem (author unknown)
Look at the candy cane, what do you see?
Stripes that are red for the blood shed for me.
White is for my Savior who is sinless and pure.
“J” is for Jesus my Lord, that's for sure!
Turn it around and a staff you will see.
Jesus, my shepherd, was born for me!

Here is the print out that has all of the activities on it: Whole Hearted Holidays: Candy Cane Activities!

Bonus!!! Here is a fun activity that you and your child can do while you are driving around looking at Christmas decorations or when walking in a store. As you see an item on the bingo board, mark that spot off. You can play a quick game by stopping when you fill one row or one column or you can make it a long game and wait until the whole board is filled! Print out multiple copies so that you can play lots of times! This activity is a great vocabulary builder and a good way to work on making phrases ("green stocking," "tall tree," etc) or sentence building ("The candle is in the window!"). Check it out at: iHeartSpeech Christmas Bingo!

Enjoy all of the Candy Cane activities! Come back soon. I have a fun Candy Cane Hockey activity that I did with a group of kiddos at my school. I know you can your child will love it!!

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