Our family loves to snuggle up together and read Christmas picture books.
After all, who can resist a picture book, especially if it's about Jesus' birthday.
There is something magical about reading aloud together. It calms everyone down and bonds the reader with the listeners in a precious way.
We have collected Christmas picture books over the years and even now, I am adding to the collection for the grandchildren.
All of these Christmas picture books are inspirational and sweet.
The focus on the magic of Christmas: a baby in the manger who didn't belong here because He created the world He came to out of deep love for the people living in it. Some of the books focus on kindness and hospitality--2 important aspects of Christmas for our family.
Reading Christmas picture books aloud can be a meaningful Christmas tradition in your home. Why not start that tradition this year with these amazing Christmas picture books.
Here in Florida, swimming is part of life. There are lakes, pools, springs, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico to swim in.
I remember taking swimming lessons as a little girl at a neighbor's pool. I blew bubbles underwater and learned to float.
My children grew up in the water, too, but we taught them to swim ourselves, introducing them to the water while they were still in diapers.
I definitely recommend swim lessons if you can afford them. All children should be safe near water. You never know when you will have to swim to escape danger or help rescue someone.
The other day, we were swimming with my grandchildren and children in their neighborhood pool. Rusty got out of the pool, took off his floaties, and jumped back in. "He can't swim!" my son-in-law said sharply as I was watching him struggle in a state of shock. That jolted me and I scooped him up. My heart was pounding as I realized how quickly accidents happen.
It reminded me of my baby sister who did the same thing. Took off her floatie and jumped right back into our next-door neighbor's pool. My neighbor Tommy jumped in and saved her life. She had quickly sunk to the bottom of the deep end.
All children should be able if they jump or fall in a pool, lake, or other body of water to swim, escaping to safety.
If you are looking for lessons or teaching children yourself, here are some steps to take babies and toddlers on their first steps to swim proficiency.
Victoria lives in London with her Mum and Dad. Her Mum is Brazilian. Victoria goes to Brazil with her Mom to visit her family.
Mum and Victoria fly into San Paulo and travel to the Parana State where all Mum's relatives live.
Victoria travels from place to place meeting cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, a great-grandmother, and old friends of her Mum. There is great variety in the places she visits from a coffee farm to Itu where everything is REALLY BIG! Victoria sees micro monkeys, parakeets, fishing boats, churches, capybara (giant guinea pigs), casava flour, fruit trees, flowers, and watermelon juice.
The book uses bright, cheery photographs to illustrate Victoria's story of visiting her family in Brazil. I love the photos. They are amazing! They give a realistic picture to readers of family life in Brazil, but they also appeal to children with the bright colors, children, family love, and cute little animals. It really is like looking at someone's scrapbook.
I love to use picture books to teach geography to little ones. Victoria goes to Brazil would be enjoyed by children from ages 4 to 8, but it would also be a fun family read to kick off your geography studies in South America. Children will be introduced to a specific region in Brazil and you can see where it is on the map page. In addition, they will learn about industries, animals, plants, landforms, food, and culture.
With my oldest daughter, I couldn’t wait to get started with preschool.
We made little books about seasons, numbers, colors, and animals.
We played matching games with animals and their moms.
We put together puzzles and did all kinds of art projects.
Sometimes we cooked and Katie Beth helped me measure.
I continued to play games, cook, visit the zoo, and put together puzzles with my children but didn’t have formal preschool lessons with the rest of my kids. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but life became a blur of pregnancy, nursing, potty training, schooling older ones, and managing the home. So I focused on the important things and they sat in with all the older ones, often drawing, cutting out shapes, or putting together puzzles at our feet.
So, what is listed below are the essentials. This is not the limit of what you can do—the sky’s the limit with teaching preschoolers, but here are the things that will lay a foundation for the school years that follow.
We teach words to our little ones.
"Chair," we say pointing to a chair. They repeat it. So simple.
But, we also want to teach concepts to our children.
A concept is a general idea about a thing or a group of things.
What concepts should we teach to preschoolers?
I'm glad you asked.
Colors, shapes, and numbers are all concepts. Sometimes it can be tricky to teach the color red.
"Does Mom mean pillow?' our little lambs wonder as she points to a red pillow. I would say, "Red pillow" after my children understood pillow. "Red cup, red blanket, red heart," I would continue, making sure to add the noun itself.
What are other concepts to teach preschoolers?
Sorting toys are easy to make and great fun to play with. Here is a simple and easy sorting toy set to start with.
You will need to purchase four small multicolored plastic storage containers with matching lids.
You will also need to purchase a set of large buttons in several colors, making sure to have colors that match your storage containers.
Cut a slit in the lid of the container large enough to slip a button through.
When it's time to play, pull out all the containers and put its matching lid on each one.
Place the containers in a row and put the buttons in a bowl. Let your little lamb pick up a button one at a time and put it through the slot on the correct container.
First published in 1949, The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon, is a delightful tale about two kittens named Brush and Hush with green eyes. Dressed like house painters, Brush and Hush have buckets and buckets and buckets of paint--all the colors of the world!
Brush and Hush love to mix colors together by splashing colors into one another. However, the playful kittens have a problem: they cannot make green.
On their quest to find green, they mix colors together and produce all kinds of colors. Brush and Hush love each color they produce by mixing colors. An accident that knocks paint buckets over, spilling colors everywhere creates brown. Brown is exciting to them, too.
Finally, the adorable kittens get so pouncy that they knock over all the buckets, creating all the colors in the whole world.
The Color Kittens is one of my favorite picture books. I love Mrs. Brown's writing--it's playful, exciting, and fun. I love the illustrations. Everything is so bright and colorful! I love how much Brush and Hush love to play and get so excited over each color discovery.
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion is a delightful read aloud. Your little lambs will love the zany Harry who, in order to avoid a bath, buries the scrub brush in the backyard.
The little pooch heads off on a series of adventures starting with playing where men are fixing the street. His next stop is the railroad yard. His next stop is a construction site where he plays with other dogs. He stops to slide down a coal chute where a truck is delivering coal.
Each adventure gets Harry dirtier and dirtier.
Finally, Harry heads home, but his family doesn't even recognize him because he is so dirty.
It's time to read a classic picture book aloud to your little children. Petunia is a charming story that has delighted children for generations.
Petunia is a silly goose who finds a book. She thinks that owning a book will make her wise. Unfortunately that's not true and she becomes puffed up with prides and dispenses terrible advice that brings harm to the other animals on the farm.
A terrible accident humbles Petunia who decides to learn to read so that she can discover true wisdom.
Yes, Petunia learns a life lesson that just happens to be biblical: Pride is bad; humility is good.
Once you've read Petunia aloud to your little ones, it's time to have some hands-on fun together.
Here are some suggestions:
Would you like to read a delightful story about a San Francisco cable car named Maybelle?
Maybelle the Cable Car by Virginia Lee Burton, author of The Little House and Katie and the Big Snow takes us on a trip to San Francisco during a time when cable cars were threatened to become obsolete.
Bill the Bus is convinced that he is the future and he doesn't need cable cars around anymore.
But some people wanted to keep the cable cars around.
What would happen?
You'll have to read the book and find out.
Your children will love the story and the enchanting illustrations. After you read the book aloud, it's time for some hands-on learning fun.
Here are some suggestions based on Maybelle the Cable Car.
Lyle and the Birthday Party by Bernard Waber is a classic picture book about a loveable crocodile named Lyle who lives with an American family.
This is a great book to read aloud to your little lambs. When you finish reading it, try out some of the hands-on learning fun suggestions in this blog and make some memories.
The story begins with Lyle helping the parents plan their sons party. Lyle helps decorate, blow up balloons, and hangs streamers. As the party goes on, his struggle with jealously over the son’s birthday party intensifies. Eventually his shame over his behavior comes across as sickness and it lands him in the hospital where he reaches out with kindness to the other patients. At the end of the book, he is surprised by a party in his honor. Lyle is a good example of overcoming jealousy by being kind and generous to others.
Your little children will love this book! They will want to hear this classic over and over again.
Lyle experiences planning a party, going to the hospital, and being surprised by his own party. What fun!
Here are some activities you can do with your little lambs after reading the book aloud.