Tag Archives: dress up

12 Days of Learning | Day 6: Holiday Stories

6 Dec

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Holiday stories, such as A Christmas Carol and The Night Before Christmas, spark children’s imaginations and add excitement to the holiday season for both children and adults. Fun stories about reindeer, Santa, special train rides, and a variety of other holiday symbols help us celebrate hope and giving. If you don’t already have a tradition of reading holiday books and stories to your children, make sure you add it to your family’s holiday plans this year.

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Reading holiday stories is one of the most educational activities of the holiday season because it helps children build their literacy skills, but it’s important to remember that the purpose of reading holiday stories is to have fun and enjoy what you’re reading. Don’t pressure kids to read a story aloud or sound out words if they don’t want to because they can learn new skills just from hearing you read. If your kids mispronounce something they choose to read, then the best way to help them is to read the sentence or word correctly without criticizing their mistake.

In addition to helping improve your children’s literacy skills, reading holiday stories also gives you opportunities to spend time together as a family:

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1. Set special times to read holiday stories. Younger children will enjoy reading a holiday story before bedtime each night. If your children are older and busier, however, it’s best to pick a few special times during the holiday season that you can sit together as a family to read your favorite holiday stories.

2. Create your own holiday story. Write and illustrate a fun holiday story as a family or have each family member come up with their own holiday story to share. You can even have the story spiral bound or placed in a binder to make it look like a published book. The holiday stories your kids come up with will make wonderful family keepsakes and childhood mementos.

3. Act out holiday stories as a family. Encourage your children to be creative and use their imaginations to act out their favorite holiday stories. Choose at least one or two stories that will let the whole family dress up and be a part of the performance. This is a great way to engage children during the holiday season and will help bring their favorite holiday stories to life.

Our Favorite Holiday Books for Kids

If you want to add to your holiday book collection, we recommend Stick Man, The Mitten, The Elf on the Shelf, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Polar Express, and Snow.

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Twelve Days of ChristmasThe Polar ExpressSnowCheck back Monday for Day 7 of our 12 Days of Learning!

Happy Holidays!

Costumes, Candy, & Halloween Drama

16 Oct

We’re fast approaching the time of year when you’re likely to see little ghosts, goblins, witches, and princesses roaming around town to look for a treat. Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children (and parents). Pretending to be a scary monster or sweet fairy is the epitome of fun for children, and the free candy certainly doesn’t lessen children’s excitement for the holiday. Choosing or creating a costume, decorating pumpkins, making a scarecrow or fall display, and trick-or-treating are just a few of the reasons why people look forward to October 31 every year.

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Costume Fun

Picking out costumes for Halloween with your children can be tricky since there are so many options to choose from each year. Google and Yahoo recently released their lists of the most searched for Halloween costumes in 2013. Minion, Batman, Minnie Mouse, pirate, Alice in Wonderland, zombie, vampire, Hello Kitty, and cat costumes are just a few of the popular costumes listed.

Try picking out a costume that children can add to their dress up closet and use to play dress up in all year round. Picking a multipurpose costume helps you save money and encourages children to use their imagination as they pretend play. Kaplan Toys offers a variety of quality Dress Up Fun costumes that children can use again at all times of the year. Career, dance, and multicultural costumes are just a few of the costumes featured in our selection.

Safety Tips

Be sure to put reflective tape on top of your child’s costume if they are not wearing reflective clothing on Halloween night. Don’t let the excitement of Halloween distract your family from taking safety precautions. Here are a few other tips for Halloween safety:

  • Be sure that costumes, shoes, and other accessories are the correct length and size to ensure that kids can see where they are going and do not trip or fall.
  • Costume accessories should be soft and flexible to prevent any accidental injuries.
  • Be sure to remove any choking hazards and to wear flame-resistant costumes.
  • Go trick-or-treating in groups.
  • Consider trunk-or-treats as an alternative to trick-or-treating in a neighborhood.
  • Take a flashlight with you, especially if you are going to be out after dusk.
  • Only trick-or-trick at well-lit houses or at trunk-or-treats.
  • Make sure your child knows to not accept candy from someone without parent or guardian permission.
  • Tell your children to not eat any candy that has been tampered with or opened.
  • Do not let your children snack while they are trick-or-treating unless you look to make sure that what they are eating has not been tampered with or opened.

~Sweet Treat~

Caramel or chocolate-covered apples are great sweet treats to make and enjoy with your children during this time of the year. You can even encourage your kids to eat fruit and nuts with this delicious dessert or snack! Have your children help you prepare the apples and toppings, and tell them about your favorite Halloween memories as a kid as you work on the apples together. The following recipe makes 5-6 caramel or chocolate-covered apples. Enjoy!

1.      Prepare the apples

Wash and dry apples thoroughly. Remove stem and stick a wooden craft stick into the stem end.

2.      Assemble the ingredients

Pick what toppings you want on your caramel or chocolate-covered apples. Mini M&M’s, chopped nuts, crushed cookies, coconut, and sprinkles are all great toppings. Prepare the toppings you choose and place them into individual bowls.

3.      Prepare chocolate or caramel

Melt chocolate baking chips or caramel bits in the microwave according to directions on the packaging.

4.      Dip the apples in chocolate or caramel

Use a spoon to help cover the apple in chocolate or caramel if you can’t get it all covered. Be sure to let the excess chocolate or caramel drip off or gently scrape some of the excess off at the bottom before you move to the next step.

5.      Roll the apples in toppings

Roll the apples in your favorite toppings. Be sure to try different combinations. You may need to press the toppings in some with your hand to ensure that they stick to the apple. Place the apple on wax paper once you’ve finished adding the toppings. Refrigerating the caramel or chocolate apples for 15-30 minutes may help the chocolate or caramel harden faster. You can also drip melted chocolate onto the caramel apple or vice versa as another topping option.

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Check out Allrecipes’ Caramel Apples and Chocolate-Dipped Apples recipes if you need additional help or inspiration.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

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