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.

 

 

Valentine’s Day “Heart Attack” Family Activity

Valentine’s Day “Heart Attack” Family Activity is simple and a meaningful way to remind our children what this holiday is really about!

Ever since I first dated my husband I would “Heart Attack” him on Valentine’s Day. I pretty much did this until a few years ago.  I absolutely loved plotting my mission to fill his office, car or desk full of cheese Valentine’s Day decor and stuff.

That was fun to do for my sweetheart but I also want my kids to know Valentine’s day is so much more than a romantic holiday. It’s about serving, smiling, calling, noticing the tired cashier at the grocery store, pausing in your busyness to see the beauty that you’ve been given. It’s receiving God’s love and letting it overflow to others.

As a mom, I have the joy of planting these seeds of love in the hearts of my little ones. I want them to know love and service starts at home by giving it to each other.

For several years now we have “Heart Attacked” each other! Each year it looks different depending on the age and stage of life they are in but the basics usually stay the same: share words of affirmation with each other, give each other an act of service and share God’s love.

LOVE is a verb.

On Valentine’s Day we can visually, verbally share our and His love with each other.

Valentine’s Day “Heart Attack” Family Activity

How to “Heart Attack”

This is the basic idea: we give each other a note of appreciation (our 3yr old used to scribble his love), we ponder God’s love, and everyone in the family receives an “Act of Love Coupon” (a gift of service or time) they can redeem later. You can do it all on the day of V-day or throughout the week.

The Details

I start the “Heart Attack” on my own or with my husband!  The initial attack involves my husband and I write about 3-4 notes for each of our boys telling them what we love or appreciate about them. Then we place them on their bedroom doors or bedroom mirrors. One year we inflated balloons and added the notes to the end of the balloons.

Then for the next few days leading to Valentine’s Day we heart attack one member of the family at a time. If you have less time then double up on family members in one day.

The day before choose who will get “Heart Attacked”.

At some point leave the “You’ve been Heart Attacked! note and the hearts in the chosen member’s mirror, closet or door with kind words written on them.  My boys really like to hide the notes in each other’s room. My boys really like this activity. They like it so much that they have collected their hearts from previous years.

Print out the above FREE Heart Attack printable HERE. Then cut out lots of hearts.

Print out the love coupons HERE.

Print out the Hearts about God’s love HERE or these HERE.

What to Write on the Heart

Each person will write out a note for the family member on the back of the hearts. It will say,
I love you!
You’re _______. (strong, kind, determined, creative, huggable…)
You make me laugh when…
When I see you ________ it makes me happy.
You’re really good at _____________.
God made you ______________.
It makes me so proud to be your mom/sister/brother when you __________________.

The three things I want my children to remember about Valentine’s Day is:

  • Love is both spoken and shown.  It’s not just a feeling it’s also an action.
  • We love because God first loved us!
  • Everything you do, do in love.