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!

 

 

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.

 

 

16 Great Children’s Books About South America

I don’t want our kids to forget our life there so I did some research and found 16 Great Children’s Books about South America to add to our home library.

 

I have found that books make the world seem a little bit more reach and relatable to us. In a time when there is so much division between color and race it’s important to give our children a global worldview. So they don’t think every Hispanic person is eats tacos and there isn’t a difference between an Argentinian and a Mexican.

I was born in Mexico but I had the joy of spending close to a decade in South America with my children and husband. I love talking to my kids about my Mexican heritage but I also want them to know there is a beautiful world out there interwoven with beautiful colors, languages and traditions.

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month so what better time then now to celebrate! Make sure you check out the awesome giveaways below.

Living in South America

We loved living in Quito, Ecuador and regularly miss our friends and life there so hopefully as we add these collections of books to our home library our kids will remember some of the beautiful memories we lived. Living in Quito, Ecuador was not very different from living in the U.S. Yes there are differences but there were also so many things that were similar. I asked my kids after arriving in the U.S. what some of the similarities they noticed.

The things that were similar is both countries use the American dollar. You can find Spanish speakers and English speakers in both countries.

Some of the differences were children and adults always greet everyone before speaking to them or when coming in contact with them. Our kids grew up with a guard. You can always find a guard outside our home, at school or at the stores 24/7. Our vacations were things like hiking up volcanoes, walking through the Amazon jungle, or gliding through the cloud forest.

16 Great Children’s Books About South America

These 16 great children’s books about South America will make a great addition to your library!
 
They are perfect if you know a missionary who recently moved to South America or have family and friends living there. They’ll go great with your lesson if you’re teaching about these countries at school or in Sunday school.

These books are from different countries in South America not just Ecuador. Just click on any of the images above to get more information about each book. affiliate link

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2017 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our sixth annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Through the month (September 15 – October 15), you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway and link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

September 15 Embracing Diversity on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About Dominican Republic

September 18 Spanish Mama: Nazca Lines – Exploratory Art Project

September 19 Hispanic Mama: Fun Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Your Children

September 20 Inspired by Family

September 21 Spanish Mama: Folk Songs in Spanish

September 22 Mundo Lanugo

September 25 Spanish Playground

September 26 All Done Monkey

September 27 Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

September 29 Pura Vida Moms on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 2 Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes on Multicultural Kid Blogs

October 5 Spanglish House

October 6 Mama Tortuga

Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway!

Giveaway begins September 15 and goes through October 15, 2017. Enter below for a chance to win one of these amazing prize packages! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. In the event that a winner lives outside the designated shipping area, that prize will then become part of the following prize package. For more information, read our full giveaway rules.

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Grand Prize

From Mariana Iranzi: A digital copy of her new CD Primavera From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Arriba Abajo (digital copy if outside the US) From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US) From World Music with Daria: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Musical Craft and Coloring E-Book From Gus on the Go: Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) & single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app From Lectura Para Niños: A set of printable little readers, one for each letter of the Spanish alphabet. Designed to last the entire school year, with one new book each week plus several review weeks included throughout the set

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

1st Prize

From Mariana Iranzi: A digital copy of her new CD Primavera From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Arriba Abajo (digital copy if outside the US) From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US) From World Music with Daria: Set of maracas and a Spanish fan – US Shipping Only From Gus on the Go: Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) & single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 2nd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

2nd Prize

From Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: A print copy of Cántale a tu bebé with music download – US Shipping Only From 123 Andrés: A copy of the CD Uno, Dos, Tres, Andrés! (digital copy if outside the US) From Spanish Playground: Set of books, crafts, and toys from Latin America – US Shipping Only From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US) From Lee and Low Books: Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad; Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris; Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterreste; Marisol McDonald and the Monster/Marisol McDonald y el monstruo – US Shipping Only

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 3rd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

3rd Prize

From Carole P. Roman: Set of If You Were Me and Lived In… books on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, and the Mayan Empire – US Shipping Only From Mister G: A copy of the new CD Mundo Verde/Green World (digital copy if outside the US) From Sarah Aroeste: A copy of the new Ladino/English bilingual picture book Ora de Despertar/Time to Wake UpUS Shipping Only

Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway 2017 Bonus Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Bonus Prizes

We are giving away an extra copy of the CD Mundo Verde/Green World from Mister G (US Shipping Only) and up to 10 digital downloads of this brand new album: Watch a video of the title track!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

8 Proven Ways to Stay Fit and Have Fun as a Family

Kid tested and parent approved ideas! 8 Proven Ways to Stay Fit and Have Fun as a Family

We packed our lunches and set off to the park to enjoy the glorious Saturday!

When we arrived our boys challenged us to a game of kickball.

After a while, we took a break and lounged around on the grassy knoll making shapes with the puffy clouds over us.

Before we knew it our tummies were growling. We sat around the towel turned into a blanket and enjoyed our simple wheat bread sandwiches.

This is what we call a simple family fun fitness day. It didn’t cost us anything and we got some exercise. We enjoyed the outdoors and played together. I even got to squeeze in some reading. You probably envision weights and aerobic exercise when you think of fitness activities. And you probably don’t even think of fun. Well fitness activities are not limited to only that type of exerise.

I am always looking for ways to get my kids off the coach and enjoying the outdoors. Our family game nights or famly weekends are filled with these fun family fitness activities. You can even use them in your homeschool to get some physical education into your day.

Turn Fitness into Family Fun

Note, “track” doesn’t necessarily mean an official running track but it’s any area that is marked off with clear boundaries.

  1. Play Tag. Go to a track and then have your child try to chase you around the track. If he tags you then you’re it and you still stay on the track and you try to tag him.
  2. Wet Cops and Robbers. Go to a track or a park with an area where there’s a trail. Assign who is going to be the cop and who is going to be the robber then squirt each other with a water gun if it’s hot outside.
  3. Pass the Baton. Outline the area where you will run and pass the baton. It can be in a straight line or on a track course.  Have your child go to one end of your outline area. Run to your child holding the baton and then pass it to them and they take it back to where you were. You can time yourselves. Add a twist to it and skip to each other instead of running or jump rope to each other.
  4. Uno Fitness– Before hand, the Uno card had an assigned exercise. Get a pile of Uno cards and have each child pick a card. Then have each child tell the group what color card he got and what exercise is assigned to that color. So if he got a blue card then that one was assigned 10 jumping jacks. If they got a WILD card then they chose the exercise. Assign 2 minutes of the exercise to each card. Feel free to change the time to whatever is appropriate for your child’s age and ability.
  5. Nerf Gun. Go around a track and one person is given a gun and their job is to run around the track and shoot the other person. Once that person is shot they change.
  6. Obstacle Course. We found a park with a fun playground area and we turned it into our obstacle course. We had the kids jump over the tires, skip around the playground, crawl through the tunnels and slide down to end.  You can turn anything into an obstacle course. Bring along a few props like water bottles and rope.
  7. Last man out. If your kids are still at the age where they can’t handle losing then you may want to try another game. With this game, the children run around your track as many times as you choose and then you say, “The last man is out.” So the person to get to the “finish” line is out. You keep doing that until you have one child left.
  8. Water Balloon Fight! Give them a balloon for every lap they run or 10 minutes they are exercising. At the end of your fitness activity let them fill up their balloons with water and play!
  9. Organized Game. Your game does not need to be an official game with all of the rules in place. Instead come up with your own rules that will work with your child’s age and play a game of soccer, basketball or ultimate frisbee. All of these games definitely get you moving!
  10. Shark and Minnows Game. Mark off a rectangular area with clear boundaries. You need one person to be it. That person is the shark and will stand in the middle.  Have them run from one side to the other without getting caught after the shark yells, “Come minnows!”. If the shark tags a minnow then they stand in the middle with the shark and help tag.

Benefits of Staying Fit as a Family

I honestly believe the family that plays together stays together. Remember the focus here is not about losing weight but it’s about family fitness fun. Through play you are staying fit and connecting with your children. It gives us opportunities to discover new things about each other. We also get to model good sportsmanship and help our kids learn how to be good team players. Not to mention, you’re getting exercise and sunshine.

My hope is to get my children having so much fun they don’t even know they are staying fit in the process.

12 Must Read Christmas Books and Activities for Kids

We love the fluff that comes with Christmas like reindeer, elves, gingerbread men but one of my goals every year is to focus on the real reason for this season. Below I share 12 Must Read Christmas Books with Activities for Kids. One of the ways we focus on the real reason for this season is through our Christmas ADVENTures calendar we do daily (sometimes not) at dinner time. It’s easy, fun and it focuses on why Christ came.

christ-focused-christmas-books

My dream one day is to be a children’s book author. A girl can dream, right! So I enjoy filling our home with lots of books and thankfully our kids are still at the age where they enjoy the big beautiful and colorful pages full of adventure and meaning in the picture books we own.

As a result of my love for books, I recently did a 10 Days of Christ-focused Christmas Activities inspired by books with some fabulous bloggers so I wanted to put the book ideas and some of my own favorites all in one place for you.  I hope you enjoy our collection of 12+ must read books and there are lots! There are also some new ones that I can’t wait to add to our collection! Also, you can always add a Christ focus to any book even if it’s not faith-based. For example, with the book the Grinch we talk about greed and unkindness does to our heart but how God can change our hearts.

12 + Must Read Christmas Books and Activities for Kids

christmas-cookie-book

 

Go HERE for the fun book details and see how we made reindeer cookies from gingerbread men to give to street kids.

giving-heart-sparkle-box-1-2

This book is new to me but it looks like so much fun! I can’t wait to read it! Hop on over to Sunshine Whispers to get the details on the book and fun activity.

candy-cane-ornament-2

I love the whole series of “The Legend…” books. Such great stories that build character.  Stop by Teaching Mama to get the details on the book and cute ornament.

m-is-for-manger-book-2

M is for Manger is another book I had not come across but I’m loving it for little ones. Stop by Happy Home Fairy for the Baby Jesus hand print craft idea and book details.

simple-gifts-for-neighbors

This is not a Christmas book but you can definitely use it at Christmas as True Aim blogger did to make an ornament and teach kindness to her kiddos.

birdsofbethlehemsquarecreativefamilyfun

What a fun activity! Stop by Creative Family Fun to see this super cute craft and book details.

who-is-coming-to-our-house

This adorable Christmas book and craft is simple and absolutely fun! Stop by Simple Home Blessings for the details.

i-spy-christmas

I Spy Christmas is a fun book you can add a character building activity or fun activity to it. Stop by The Chaos and the Clutter to see what this blogger did.

a-carol-for-christmas-book

Stop by and see the fun idea Beautiful Messy Motherhood blogger came up with for this book!

the-crippled-lamb

A fun handprint manger idea is shared by Meaningful Mama stop by an check it out!

christmas manger craft

One of my favorite Christmas books and simple activity for kids to make! Stop by HERE to get the details.

santa book and craft

This is a family favorite book of ours and I especially love how they bring in Santa but making Jesus the focus! Stop by here to get all the details.

nativity-crafts

A fun nativity craft made from toilet paper tubes with this adorable book! You can see how to make this and the book details over HERE.

Your Turn!

Tell us in the comments below what are your family favorite Christ centered Christmas books?