December was filled with fun activities for the Blue Sky Daycare children. We kicked off the month's holiday festivities by learning how to bake pretend Christmas cookies. This was a great way for the children to learn about the cooking process, and since each pretend cookie came with a holiday-themed picture on the "frosting," we were able to name each image and talk about what each image represented.
One of the next crafts we completed was a jingle bell necklace. The holidays just wouldn't be complete without the joyful sound of jingle bells around, and the children were happy to make their own music by stringing beads and jingle bells onto cord.
The children were able to decide if they wanted to string their beads in a pattern or randomly. In the end, the most fun was listening to the necklaces jingle.
The children loved the fine-motor activity of stringing the beads and jingle bells, and they had more practice as they helped to make a lovely holly and berry garland to decorate the room.
Each day, the children excitedly shared the responsibility to add one ornament to a felt Christmas tree on the wall next to the calendar to count up to Christmas. This was a very popular job, and not a single day was forgotten! We noted the Winter Solstice and talked about how the days would slowly start becoming longer and longer.
The children and I also enjoyed singing and dancing to popular holiday songs like "Jingle Bells,"Frosty the Snowman," "Away in a Manger," "Up on the Rooftop," and several more. We also read lots of Christmas and holiday books including Jan Brett's "The Wild Christmas Reindeer," "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (you have to sing that one!), "A Christmas Tree Farm," and many more.
A bit further into the month, we began working on holiday ornaments for the children to give to their parents as a gift. We started with a simple candy cane activity that involved stringing red and white beads in a pattern onto a pipe cleaner. The children were vigilant and did a nice job following the pattern.
Next, the children filled clear plastic ornaments with brown paper shreds, added pipe cleaner "antlers," and glued on a pom-pom nose and googly eyes to create a funny-faced reindeer.
This was another wonderful fine-motor building activity. Getting the little brown paper shreds into the small mouth of the ornaments was a challenge, but the results were definitely worth it!
Our next craft was to make colorful holiday trees to decorate the daycare. The children enjoyed feeling the cool, slippery texture of finger paint as they painted paper plates, then once the plates were dried and cut, they did a wonderful job adding colorful jewels with dabs of glue.
A few days later, the children completed a reindeer ornament that they assembled by following directions and adhering foam stickers in the correct order. The children's listening skills were certainly given a workout during this activity!
Our last ornament project involved using peppermint candies to fill cookie cutter molds, then baking the ornaments to melt and meld the candies. This activity was fun for the children because not only did they get to unwrap, but they were able to smell and taste the minty candies before assembling their creations.
Perhaps the children's favorite activity was baking cookies together. The children loved measuring, pouring, dumping, mixing, and, of course, tasting!
With a little help from me, the children made four different types of cookies- chocolate crinkles, jam thumbprint cookies, gingersnaps, and peanut butter kiss cookies.
As you can see, the cookies were fantastic and delicious!
Another fun part of December at Blue Sky Daycare involved sharing gifts. For one week, there was a small gift for all of the daycare children to share. Among the most popular gifts were dress-up clothes. The children received a chef's outfit, a vet's outfit, a police officer outfit to play with, and they had tons of fun acting out various scenarios according to the roles.
All too soon, the sweet anticipation of the holidays gave way to the holidays themselves as well as the close of the year. I'm certain that 2018 will bring just as many joys and delights as 2017 has!