Wednesday, December 30, 2009

15 Minutes : Play It : Bubble Wrap Stomp

image via here
Ring in the new year with this idea from Family Fun. Buy bubble wrap (the large bubbles work best) and spread out on a hard floor just before midnight. At the end of the countdown, stomp! It sounds like firecrackers and is a fun way to start the year.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quick Share : Christmas Music

image via Amazon

We have quite a few Christmas CDs playing during this season, but this is one of the very favorites: First Christmas Record for Children. It was first released in the early 40's and 50's, and it contains music from such legends as Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Gene Autry, and even Captain Kangaroo. Famous names aside, my husband enjoys the nostalgia from this childhood favorite, and my children love the songs and poems. The whole "record" just feels like old-fashioned Christmas.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

15 Minutes : Know It : Merry Christmas in other Languages

image via here

Christmas is celebrated all over the world. Pick a country that you can learn about with your children and learn to say Merry Christmas in that language. Here are just a few to get you started... (via

Arabic: Milad Mijad
Brazil: Feliz Natal
Chile: Feliz Navidad
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Gl├Ždelig Jul
German: Froehliche Weihnachten
Hawaii: Mele Kalikimaka
Philippines: Maligayan Pasko!


Friday, December 18, 2009

15 Minutes : Make It : Christmas Bow Wreath

image via
Purge your saved bow collection by making this easy wreath with the kids. We made one last year and put it up in the playroom.
paper plate
glue and scissors
Christmas bows

How To:
Cut out the center of the plate. Glue the bows around the remaining plate rim. Hang where the kids can see their creation.


Monday, December 14, 2009

15 Minutes : Read It : This is the Stable

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I bought This is the Stable last year because it was half-price after Christmas. Last week we read it for the first time this season, and I was impressed again with the beautiful, vivid, even whimsical illustrations. The words are calm and lovely and simple. We like it very much.

Available at
Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

15 Minutes : Make It : Paper Trees

image via
This Christmas craft caught my eye because two of my kids spent an hour yesterday punching hundreds of holes in a piece of paper. (Maybe I should post that as an activity by itself!) The layering of several pieces of paper makes the "lights" shine through. And if we don't like that effect, we can always glue on some of those bits they already punched out.

Find the full instructions at Family Fun.


Monday, December 7, 2009

15 Minutes : Play It : The Picnic Game

image via here
The Picnic Game is a favorite at our house. Besides the sturdy box, besides the pretty illustrations, besides inspiring nutrition...this game is absolutely perfect for every age. Spin the spinner, choose a food from that group (or lose an item to the ants), and collect a full meal. We made one change to the rules: instead of spinning to get a plate, we always start with one. (The rules indicate that players can't collect food until the spinner lands on plate--talk about frustration and tears.) Honestly, even two-year-old gets it, yet 10-year-old still deigns to play with us.

Find it cheapest at
Land of Nod.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

1 Hour : Play It : Tinkertoys

image via here

I forgot all about Tinkertoys until we visited my brother's house. Maybe it was because this was the only toy there that my son spent all of his time playing and building creations. If Santa brings a set to our house, I think we will all (re-)discover our inner tinkers.

Amazon has the 66-piece starter set, as well as larger (more expensive) sets.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Quick Share : Printable Hidden Pictures

image via here

My kids love those hidden pictures, and I like the printable ones from Highlights because they have illustrations of the hidden items at the bottom of the page. Here are some good ones for winter:

And many more for any holiday or just any day.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

1 Hour : Make It : Monogram Tags

This project from Martha Stewart is a fun way to have your kids help wrap gifts and practice the alphabet and spelling at the same time. Use scrapbook paper or recycle old christmas cards and have your child trace a letter on to the paper. Cut the letter out, punch a hole and tie with ribbon.