New Year’s Eve Activity for Kids: Confetti Poppers

new years activity for kids1

New Year’s Eve Activity for Kids is how we roll now after 12 years of marriage and three kids. Before kids I was always looking for a fun activity to enjoy with my husband that involved getting all dressed up and dancing.   Once we had kids that type of thinking and even desire came to a halt because who has time and energy to go dancing as a mom.

Anyways, here’s a fun way to ring in the new year!  I’m having the kids make these and then they can pop them all they want.  I tried it with Cheerios and those are awesome for shooting if they want to have a Cheerios popping game after they pop the confetti. I found that using a thicker type of water bottle was best. We used a sports drink water bottle and that worked wonderfully because it didn’t fold in when popping like toilet paper tubes poppers do.

new years activity for kids

New Year’s Eve Poppers

Supplies:

recycled water bottle

confetti (we used the shiny kind!)

balloon

optional: I used decorative shiny washi tape to put around the bottles. It was so easy!

1. Just cut the bottom of a dry bottle off and remove the cap.

2. Then place the balloon over the top of the bottle.

3. This part is important–tie the end of the balloon. I didn’t at first and all of the confetti was slipping through.

4. Then place the confetti inside the bottle and pull the end of the balloon.

Pop away! You can place marshmallows or Cheerios inside.

 

Christmas Story ABC Ornaments Activity for Preschoolers & M is for Manger

Your preschooler is going to love this fun interactive activity-Alphabet Christmas Ornaments!

I’m so excited to bring you our 2nd annual 10 Days of Christ-Centered Christmas Activities & Crafts for kids!  Over 15 bloggers are joining in and sharing a Christmas kids activity, tradition, game or book inspired craft.

This year we get to participate in the family Christmas gift exchange. We haven’t been able to in the past because we lived overseas and it was complicated to get any mail.

My youngest son gets to give his youngest male cousin a gift this year!

I thought long and hard–What is something that would be fun to give him that his parents couldn’t buy on their own and that my boys could be a part of the process?

This is what I came up with and I absolutely love how they turned out!

Have you heard of the book M is for Manger by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley?  Well after coming across it I decided it is the perfect book to walk little ones through the Christmas story in a simple & fun way.

I knew this would be the perfect gift for his little cousin.

So I came up with this fun and interactive idea: The Christmas Story ABC ornaments. The ornaments make the story interactive and educational.

I love when I can combine a lot of things into one activity. With this activity they get to hear the story of the birth of Jesus, practice their ABC’s and even some fine motor skills as they dig through the letters and hang them on their own little tree or magnetic board.

Christmas Story ABC Ornaments Activity for Preschoolers & M is for Manger

supplies you’ll need:

(You can find all of the items below at your local craft store. I’ve included where I bought mine with the affiliate link)

optional: adhesive magnetic strips

  1. You’ll need to first paint your wooden craft ornaments.
  2. Once they’re dry you’ll add your ribbon and alphabet sticker on them.
  3. Then you add a thin layer of Mod podge to it with a paint brush to give it a shiny coat. Let it dry.

 

Finally, if you’re wanting to make them magnetic apply the adhesive magnetic strip to the back of each ornament. This will allow your preschooler to use them on a cookie sheet or on the fridge!

 Want More?

If you’re looking for an Advent Calendar focused on Jesus that will take your family through scripture here’s one that we are using right now and LOVE! Names of Jesus Advent Ornaments or these HERE that we’ve used in the past.

It’s for the busy family who wants to focus on Christ this seasons. It has both bible verses and a reading plan for the Jesus Storybook Bible that you can use for kids of all ages.

 

 

Our 10 Days of Christ-Centered Christmas Activities & Crafts blog hop is filled with lots of fun activities for the family. Our Fabulous bloggers are Inspired by Family, Chaos & Clutter , Paradise Praises, Encouraging Moms at Home, Crafty Moms Share, Thinking Kids Blog, Teach Me MommyProverbial Homemaker,  Suburban Soiree, The Awe Filled Homemaker, Future Flying Saucers, Adventures in Mommydom, Spark and Spook, Talking Mom 2 Mom, Clarissa R. West, Pichea Place  & Homeschool preschool. You can visit Here for the full schedule of activities.

These are our fabulous bloggers who will be sharing with you some fun & simple ideas in the next 10 days. Stop by each day to see what everyone is sharing!

 

 

Simple & Fun Names of Jesus Christmas Ornaments Advent Calendar

A simple and fun way for the busy family to stay focused on Jesus this season with our Names of Jesus Christmas Ornaments Advent Calendar.

There are so many Christmas traditions to add to your holiday season but this is one you’ll find yourself coming back to every year because it’s focused on Christ and it’s easy to enjoy.

The lovely thing about these ornaments is they make a beautiful keepsake to use for years to come.

You can keep them simple as pictured below by printing them off on card stock and hang them on string with some pretty ribbon.

Or you can add bling to your hearts content!

In the picture below, I used silver glittery washi tape. I love washi tape! It’s basically tape that’s pretty and comes in different designs and colors.

I have two ways you can use the Names of Jesus Christmas Ornaments Advent. One way is to have your child take out an ornament and hang it on the tree or wherever you choose to display it. Then go through the scripture reference on the ornament and read it as a family.

The second way is to display ornament, read the scripture reference on the ornament and then read the passage for that day using the Jesus Storybook Bible .

Our family will be doing both the scripture reference and the Storybook Bible! I’m sure there will be nights when we are running low on time so we’ll just stick to the scripture reference.  I love the Jesus Storybook Bible and though I have a teen in our house we still use it at Easter and Christmas to read through the Bible as a family.

Simply print off the printable and then cut and paste it to your mason jar lid and display it. You can do 10, 20 or all 24 days that lead to the birth of Christ celebration. Feel free to tweak it to meet your families needs and schedules.

This advent doesn’t have cute activities it’s just the basics of Christmas.

But I do have an Advent Calendar that is also focused on Christ but it includes fun activities to do each day. You can find that HERE. It’s the “24 Days of Christmas ADVENTures”!

Simple & Fun Names of Jesus Christmas Ornaments Advent Calendar

supplies: (affiliate links below)

  1. Cut out your names of Jesus printable and glue them to the back side of the lid of the mason jar. I found it easier to use a glue stick or double sided tape.
  2. If you’re decorating the outside of the band you’ll need to do that first. I placed silver glittery washi tape all around it but use whatever you want or leave as is.
  3. Then tie string or twine around one end to hang the ornament.
  4. Then insert the lid with the name so the name is facing up. Make sure it fits first and glue it on from the inside with a hot glue gun.
  5. Finally, add your decorations. I simply tied red ribbon over my twine with berries.

Each day pull an ornament out and read the name of Jesus. Then read the scripture reference that corresponds to the name of Jesus for that day. Finally end your time, reading the passage from the Storybook Bible. The lovely thing about using the Storybook Bible is you’ll get to journey through the Old Testament Bible stories that lead to the birth of Jesus Christ.

For Young Children:

If you’re kids are young figure out how to tweak this so it works for your family. One way we’ve done it is we have them choose one of the ornaments from our bag, then they hang it on the tree. Lastly, we read the name of the Jesus and read the Storybook Bible. This Bible does a great job at explaining the Bible in a way little ones can understand. We also own the Jesus Storybook Bible DVD’s (affiliate link). We used to have our toddler watch the stories on DVD instead of reading the story. When my kids were 4 we started reading it and watching the story. They love it!

For Older Children:

With older kids you can do all three parts of the Ornament advent: hang ornament, read the scripture and the passage from the Storybook Bible. I don’t think the Jesus Storybook Bible is too young for teens. I personally love it as an adult! There’s always a part that deeply touches me and I find myself crying through the story. But if your teens feel childish reading through it then read the scripture passage straight from the Bible.

Go HERE to my shop to get your own Names of Jesus Ornament Advent Calendar!

On SALE NOW for this week only!

You will also find in my shop our Christmas ADVENTures reading plan and activities. This advent has fun activities, a Christmas song and scripture reading.

 

Planting the Seeds of Gratitude When They’re Young Matters & Simple Gratitude Activities

Below I share 5 simple gratitude activities your young kids will love. It’s never too early to start!

As my kids get older I see how planting the seeds of gratitude when they were young really does matter.

Now that my kids are older I realize how important it was for us to cultivate the seeds of gratitude in them when they were little. I weaved thanksgiving into our day, on our walks at the park, at dinner, in our bedtime prayers and in song.

I have three boys and one child in particular was always just spilling over with gratitude. He was just wired to see life from that perspective. Unfortunately, not all of us are wired that way.

My other boys went through phases of saying thank you for everything and it was absolutely precious but as they got older they out grew it and we had to be more intentional about teaching thankfulness.

I do want you to know just because we did these things doesn’t mean my kids are always overflowing with gratitude and they don’t struggle with entitlement. But all I can do is plant the seed, nurture it, and pray that it grows roots! I leave the rest in God’s hands as I continue to imperfectly model it for them.

Gratitude Research

I found some fascinating research that shows how gratitude helps lower stress and overall makes us happier which then keeps depression at bay. When we spend a lot of our time dissatisfied with what we have and looking at what we don’t have instead of what we do have, I’m not surprised that it can lead to unhappiness. A person who is grateful tends to spend less time comparing themselves to others.

Gratitude also fosters empathy when we put ourselves in the shoes of others and realize the act of kindness you just received didn’t have to happen.

In a later study by Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things for which they were grateful. Not surprisingly, this daily practice led to greater increases in gratitude than did the weekly journaling in the first study. But the results showed another benefit: Participants in the gratitude group also reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others, or more tehnically, their “pro-social” motivation. ~Huffpost

Beyond Thank You

Most of us as good parents have taught our children the importance of saying “gracias and thank you” by the age of 4 but then comes the bigger job of cultivating thankfulness into gratitude.

Here’s the thing gratitude is an action of the heart so we not only need to teach them to say thank you but also to cultivate gratitude. Which can happen in many ways by modeling it ourselves. Asking them questions to think through what they are complaining about. Involve them in serving others.

One of my boys has always struggled with gratitude but he’s usually the one that reminds me to stop and be thankful. Those are the moments that remind me that all of the tending and nurturing of seeds is paying off. It’s in his little heart even if he choses not to do it.

Simple Gratitude Ideas Your Young Kids Will Love

  1. Make a Gratitude Tree- We did this at some point when they were little and we all loved it. You can draw a tree on a poster board and have your little ones tell you one thing each day they’re thankful for and you can write it on a leaf. They can add the leaf to the tree and by Thanksgiving you should have a tree full of colorful leaves.
    Here’s a different way to do it. Use a dry erase marker on your window to draw a tree then tape the leaves to the tree as you write what you’re thankful on each one. My sister in law gave each one her family a color so they know which ones belong to them.
  2. Songs are a great way to help our little ones get excited about gratitude. Teach your children a thankful song – You can sing–If you’re thankful and you know it. Clap your hands… to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it…”
  3. A game- A fun game you can play is Duck, Duck, Gratitude. Instead of saying “goose” you say “gratitude”. The person who is the “duck” is the one who shares what they are thankful for and then they pick the next person. You can keep or leave out the running around.
  4. I spy Gratitude  – Take a walk around your neighborhood and play I spy. Whatever it is they spy it’s something they have chosen to be thankful for. Once you guess they can tell you why they’re thankful for it. If they are too young for the “why?” questions still ask but you answer it or guide them to the answer. You can also play this in the car.
  5. Gratitude Hike/Walk- If they know the alphabet you can do an ABC’s gratitude walk/hike. If they’re too young for the ABC’s what I did while my son was in his stroller is I would have him name things he’s grateful for then I would tell him what letter it goes with. So if he said, “I’m thankful for birds.” Then I would say,  “B is for Birds.” I share HERE more about a gratitude hike. You can do this activity in your neighborhood or at the park.
  6. Me! Read a book about how unique they are! I like When God Made You or The Oak Inside the Acorn both are great books. (affiliate links) Ask them to think about one thing they did today they’re proud of. Gratitude doesn’t always have to come from observing the world around us but it can come being thankful about something you’ve done or like about yourself.
  7. Gratitude prompts – I have some great gratitude prompts you can download in my shop. We place ours on the table and use them at dinner.

 

 

One Powerful Family Activity to Prepare your Heart for Easter

This Christ-centered Easter family idea ithe perfect way to prepare your heart for Holy Week!

 

Two weeks before Easter, I’m hurriedly scouring the campus library at my college looking for a book focused on the passion week. I was looking for a book to help me meditate on the cross and His sacrifice.

Finally, I find a book and I walk away ready to dive into a few weeks of preparing my heart for Easter.

I’m not sure how this desire came about but I haven’t stopped since my college years.

Are you Easter People?

I confess I’m an Easter person!

I love all that this season reminds us of, like growing, starting again, new life, the cross, His love…

No, I don’t practice Lent, religiously giving up things. Not that I am against Lent but many times we enter with a project mindset instead of using it as a means to draw closer to Him.  I have come to realize that polite fasts alone don’t truly prepare me to be awed by His resurrection.

So, I rather spend days and sometimes weeks before Easter marinating, pondering and meditating on His love and sacrifice me. As I begin this preparation, I ask God to help me see his sacrifice, work, and love with a fresh perspective.

I don’t want to lose the awe and wonder for His Love for me at the cross in this week or throughout the year. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of us who have grown up hearing those familiar Bible stories every year.

We are Easter people and Halleluajah is our song! ~ Pope John Paul 11

Christ Centered Family Easter Idea: Prayer Station

So now my heart’s desire is to be an Easter family. I want my little people to be Easter people!

We prepare our hearts a few weeks before Easter with a morning Prayer Station. I start this Easter Prayer Station family activity two weeks before Easter. Then on Easter week, we enjoy our simple and Christ focused Easter Advent for Busy Families which we do at dinner. You can use this advent for little kids and tweak it for older children.

related link: Easter Advent for the Busy Family with a free printable!

I created an area near our dining room for our prayer station. On a small table, set a candle and a jar full of verses. Every morning each child comes downstairs and lights the candle, picks a verse from the jar and prays the verse.  I have a 5 step praying scripture process that I use but for the kids, I have condensed it.

I’m all about Easter egg hunts and baskets but I decided a few years back that I was going to lay spiritual foundations in all of our holidays. So we enjoy Easter bunny but we focus on the Cross.

related link: Fun Easter Food–Carrot Shaped Calzone

Praying Scripture for Kids

  1. Pick a verse from the jar. It can be any verse.  Start with prayer and ask God to “Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word.” (psalms 119:18)
  2. Read the verse you picked out loud. Then personalize the verse by adding your name to the verse.
  3. Open your bible and write the verse out in your journal. Then, write the answer to the following question in a prayer — How will I live differently today if I lived out this truth?

We all participate in this activity and we only do steps 1 & 2 when we first wake up. Then we go get ready for the day. When we come down for breakfast we get our Bibles look up the verse and do step #3. Here we write out a prayer in our journal. If they have more time they can answer the question in the “ponder” section.

My favorite part is after we are all done each of us takes a turn sharing what we read and what the Lord showed us through it.

Remember you can do this anytime of the day. Try it right after dinner or before they go to bed. For our family, it works best to do it in the morning.

There is no special meaning to lighting a candle. The candle lighting creates an ambiance of reflection and quietness for our minds. Though my husband reminded me the smoke of the candle goes up which can be symbolic of what happens with our prayers. Our kids love lighting the candle so it works out great!

Free Printables

I created this Praying Scripture for Kids printable to set at the table to guide our children. Feel free to use it year round! Download your FREE printable here: prayingscriptureforkidsI explained to our kids #3 is a prayer we write out.

And this free printable– Easter prayer Station Verses! Feel free to come up with your own verses for your Easter prayer station. I made this printable with the verses to help facilitate the process. Download your FREE printable here: EasterprayingstationVerses (1) then cut out each strip out after the dashed section. Each strip includes a section with: verse, personalize verse (the red print is what was changed to personalize the verse), pray and a ponder section.

Bring it up a notch

I enjoy Easter egg hunts, dying eggs, and the chocolate Easter bunnies, but let’s go beyond that and take our Easter family traditions to another level!

Let’s be Easter people and set meaningful traditions for our children to build on as they grow older.

 


Guess what? This year I decided to make a printable kit for you all– Easter Advent Kit for the Busy Family! The kit is simple and fun and has Christ-centered activities, scripture readings & more!


Just join our subscriber list below and you can get the Easter Advent Kit for the Busy Family printable to download immediately!

 

Here are some of the books I have used since college to help me prepare my heart. Some books I have not read but they are on my list to read. I am currently reading and loving 40 Days of Decrease!

Now