Tuesday, November 30, 2010


There was a recent study, and much ensuing press, about kids with food allergies being bullied by their peers.  "Of those bullied, 57% described physical events, such as being touched by an allergen and having an allergen thrown or waved at them, and several reported intentional contamination of their food with allergen."  What can I say about that?  Of course as the mom of a kid with food allergies, I think it's awful, as is all bullying.

How the Moon Regained Her ShapeMany of you know how much I love Sylvan Dell's books; you can see a few of our raves about their books here, and here, and here.  We were fortunate to receive a copy of a timely book about bullying this month; How the Moon Regained Her Shape.  This book is Sylvan Dell's featured book for November, which means you can access the full text here on their website -- for today, at least! 

In How the Moon Regained Her Shape, the sun bullies the moon.  Where once the moon "danced across the sky, laughing as she twirled her skirts," after the sun's hurtful words, she stopped dancing, hung her head, and "her body began to shrink until she was just a sliver of her former self."  Ultimately, the moon's friends help her to regain her self-confidence and return to her former self.  The educational section in the back of the book features an essay by the author titled “How to Deal With Bullies," as well as information about the phases of the moon.

I would certainly recommend this book for any children having trouble with bullying.  Honestly, the Bibliophile didn't care for it much.  He made it all the way through, but then said that we should donate it to the library.  He is young, though (just turned 3), and thankfully has no concept of what bullying means.  The illustrations (and folktale-like text) are clearly Native American-influenced, which might also be of interest to particular readers.  I think the applicability of the message here goes beyond just bullying, to any situation which dampers a child's spirit (trying to fit in with new friends or at a new school, worrying what people think of them, or general self-confidence issues, for instance).

Additional bullying resources:
Comment: Have you or your kids experienced any issues with bullying that you would like to share?  Do you have other resources to recommend?

Disclosure: We received a publisher copy of How the Moon Regained Her Shape at no cost in order to write this review.  If you click on any links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Spy Christmas Tree Ornaments Activity

Last week, I was itching to put up our Christmas tree, but we weren't all quite ready.  So, I decided to pull out the ornaments and just play with them with the Bibliophile for awhile.  We opened the ornament boxes (I love these holders) and unwrapped the ornaments, talking about where each one came from (often, who made it or where we bought it while on vacation).  And once we had been through them all, we segwayed into a game of I spy with the ornaments.  This reminded me of an idea that I had last year. 

I created a quick book with photos of some of our ornaments.  I did a bit of a cheat here.  I used iPhoto to create a book, and then just saved the PDF and printed it for our quick use.  If I were going to purchase a book (which I might - I really think this would be a fun keepsake), then I would take photos with a better background than our old doodler, and I might add some information about each ornament, to make it more interesting in the longterm.  

I've uploaded our book just to give you an idea of what ours looked like (sometimes he dictated the text to me, so the language may sound a bit awkward here and there): 
Ispy Christmas Book                                                              

Now that our tree is up, we use the pages to play I spy with the tree.  If it seems too ambitious to take photos and upload them all, then you could also just do a quick word book -- "I spy an angel,"
"a Santa," "a reindeer," "something green," etc.

Companion Book --

 I Spy Christmas: A Book of Picture RiddlesThe Bibliophile recieved I Spy Christmas last year, when he had just turned 2.  I think it is time to dig it out again this holiday season.  It is a nice level of challenging without being frustrating.

I will be linking this post up with Tot Tuesday, We Play, STart, ABC 123, Play Academy, Our Worldwide Play, and Sunday Best.

Comment!  Are your ornaments, like ours, a mismatched group of homemade and sentimental keepsakes, or do you have a perfectly coordinated/themed tree each year?

Disclosure: if you click on any links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chronicle Books give-away

Have you heard about the huge give-away over at Chronicle Books?  In their "Celebrate the Haul-i-days" contest, one blogger will win their choice of $500 worth of books!

Here's how it works -- Post a list of Chronicle Books valued at up to $500 that you’d like to haul in, and you’ll be automatically entered into a drawing to WIN your list of books! And, one of your readers who comments on the post will win the list too!  Last day to submit entries is December 10th!

Here is our list:

Crafts --
Amy Butler's Style Stitches - 29.95
Every Day's a Holiday: Year-Round Crafting with Kids - 22.50
Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby: 24 Easy Projects for Newborns to Toddlers - 24.95
Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones: 20 Keepsake Sewing Projects for Baby and More - 24.95
Amy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects - 24.95
Girl's World: Twenty-One Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls - 24.95
World of Geekcraft: Step-by-Step Instructions for 25 Super-Cool Craft Projects - 19.95

Children's Books --
Taro Gomi's Play All Day  19.99
Out of Sight 19.99
Let's Draw and Doodle Together: Blue Apple Books 12.99
Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere!      $9.99
MoMA String-Along Books 18.99
Creature ABC 19.99
Faces, Faces Everywhere: Color and Draw Activity Book  12.99
Stereobook: Vehicles 24.99
Taro Gomi Collection 39.95
Duck! Rabbit! 16.99
The Giant Play and Learn Book 19.99
Baby Animals in the Wild 8.95
Ton 15.95
Flip-a Shape: Go!: Blue Apple Books 8.95
The Night Before Christmas: A Classic Illustrated Edition 7.95
Vincent's Colors 14.95
Little Ladybug: Finger Puppet Book 6.95
The Ugly Duckling/El patito feo 6.99
A Child's Garden of Verses: A Classic Illustrated Edition 6.99
Hush Little Baby 12.99
I'll See You In the Morning 6.99

Whew, that was fun!

Comment!  Remember that you can be entered to win my list of books, if I win, by leaving a comment here.

Disclosure: I will be entered to win up to $500 worth of Chronicle Books.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up

Since Dad is still on paternity leave, we haven't gotten back to filling our "learning boxes" this week.  We've been having a lot of fun as a family. 

Bibliophile (just turned 3)

Giant Sticker Activity First WordsWe celebrated his birthday early, but the Bibliophile officially turned three this week.  He got a few more fun gifts from family that have entertained him, or promise to in the weeks ahead.  He had fun with this Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards today.  He also spent a long time with some new sticker books - The Most Incredible, Outrageous, Packed-to-the-Gills, Bulging-at-the-Seams Sticker Book You've Ever Seen (this looks really fun so far) and Giant Sticker Activity First Words (Roger Priddy) (this is actually our second copy of this one, by request).  And he finally got his own copy of Rally Race, so we can return the library copy!

We haven't used them yet, but I'm really excited to have gotten these to put into his learning boxes over the next few weeks:
Kumon My Book of Simple Addition
Kumon My Book of Simple Subtraction
Let's Sticker and Paste!
Equate game

We did our first Christmas tree craft of the season, using handprints - see our post here

We had a lot of fun decorating the Christmas tree, and I hope to do a post next week about a fun companion activity I came up with to keep the fun going.

After decorating the tree, we spent a long time with our Roger Priddy Christmas Carols book.  First we sang through the whole book together, then we went back and went through every single carol explaining what each word meant.  I was very impressed with the Bibliophile's attention span, and I loved this activity, not just because of the religious significance, but because I have wanted for awhile to work on comprehension more while we read.  When Daddy came in to say hi, the Bibliophile explained, "Dada, so, we are reading these, and there are a lot of names for Jesus, like 'Christ' and 'Holy infant.'" After awhile, he decided to come up with his own meanings for lyrics, and then we were just off and running into silly storytelling.

"Bookworm" (age 2 weeks!)

Melissa and Doug Friendly Fish Grasping ToyWe continued to read to our littlest one, when her eyes were open.  We have also been showing her a few little toys here and there, like a ladybug, whoozit, panda rattle, and this very cool fishy toy from her auntie in New Zealand.  What are your favorite infant baby toys?  I think I have three favs (other than books, of course!) from the Bibliophile's baby days --

Manhattan Toy WinkelManhattan Toy Winkel - ridiculous name, awesome grasping toy.  I bought one as soon as I found out I was pregnant a second time.

Rhino Toys Oball Original (Colors May Vary) 

Oball - the Bibliophile kept losing these and we'd have to run to the store and buy another.

Sassy Me in the Mirror 

Sassy Me in the Mirror - we had to clean the mirror often when he got to the kissing stage!

I will be linking this post up with Preschool Corner, Tot School, and Weekly Wrap-Up.

Comment: What have you been up to this week?

Disclosure: If you click on any of the links above and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas Pre-K / Kindergarten Craft: Handprint Christmas Trees

Today we did our first Christmas craft of the season: handprint Christmas trees.

red and green fingerpaint
big paper
a willing toddler's hand
brown marker

Squirt paint onto paper plates.  Press your artist's hand into the paint, and make a handprint on your paper.  I found it easiest to make the tree upside-down.  After the first handprint, each of the other handprints will be done at an angle, to create the triangular shape of the Christmas tree.

When you're done, draw in a trunk.

Once the trees are dry, you can decorate them with glitter glue, do-a-dot markers, and Christmas stickers.  I am saving the embellishment step for tomorrow.

Christmas Books

Here are a few of our favorite Christmas books --

Roger Priddy's Sing-along Christmas Carols (comes with a CD)
Sing-along Christmas Carols

The Snowy Day (Jack Ezra Keats)
 The Snowy Day

Dream Snow (Eric Carle)
Dream Snow

Away in a Manger (Thomas Kinkade)
Away in a Manger

and a few other reviews from our archives:
Heart of a Snowman
Amadi's Snowman
Here Comes Santa Claus
Eyelike Nature: Snow (board book)
Slinky Malinski's Christmas Crackers
Christmas Magic
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

I am linking this post up with Tot Tuesday, STart, Crafty Soiree, Red Ted Art, ABC and 123, Our Worldwide Classroom, and Sunday Best.

Comment: When are you putting up your Christmas tree, if you celebrate the holiday?  I'm aiming for the day after Thanksgiving, but I might jump the gun if we're bored in the next few days.  What are your favorite Christmas books?

Disclosure: If you click on any of the links in this post and purchase anything, we might earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.