Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Countdown 2012

This year we plan to have an exciting count down for Christmas Day. To start with I organised a Children's Christmas Book Advent Calendar. To do this I gathered 24 Children's Christmas Books collected over the last 5 years and some new ones too, all wrapped up and marked for each day leading up until Christmas. This way, we will be reading one Christmas story a night!

We are also following this very interesting blog about Christmas around the world. For 32 days(from November 23rd - December 24th, 2012) you will get to “travel” to a new country each day learning about how the holidays are celebrated, making a creative craft, trying a new recipe, whilst learning a little something about geography.


Click Christmas around the world link to see how interesting this is.

Inspired be this we wished to share information about our Christmas in Malta so we participated in a Christmas Culture Swap through Worldwide Culture Swap. We have been linked to a family in the UK. Our packs have been posted and now we are both eagerly looking forward to receive each others pack. This is a photo of the pack we sent.

Our pack included:

  • Some information about Christmas in Malta
  • A homemade traditional grotta with nativity figures
  • Qagħqa tal-għasel – a traditional Christmas sweet
  • Recipe to do the Qagħaq tal-għasel
  • Ġulbiena seeds
  • Instructions how to grow ġulbiena
  • A Christmas Cracker covered in the Maltese flag with some gifts inside
Our packs have arrived and our UK partner has done a wonderful description of the swap. You can see the post on her blog.

We are also following Creative with Kids and Red Ted Art who are featuring a new creative Christmas activity right through the 24 days of Advent. There will be crafts, songs, activities and food. A great mix of things to do, brought by 24 experience Kids Activities Bloggers!

Other links I like for Christmas activities

24 Lunchbox ideas
Advent Calendars
Christian Advent Calendar
Nativity Printable
Sensory Nativity

I am also including my Christmas favourite activities on my Pinterest Christmas Board

This year I would also like to list our 24 Christmas Songs with a significant meaning for our family. This will be updated daily.

1. When a child is born - K's song for Christmas Concert
2. Baby's First Christmas - Reminds me of K and L's first Christmas
3.Joy the Christmas Mix - K's dance song for Christmas Concert
4. Ninni La Tibkix Izjed - Traditonal Maltese Christmas song
5. Ninu Ninu tal-Milied - Traditional Maltese Christmas song (old)
6. Caro Gesu Bambino - an Italian Christmas song
7. Feliz Navidad - a Spanish  Christmas song
8. Australian Jingle Bells - all about an Australian sunny Christmas
9. Rudolph the red nosed reindeer - a favourite for children with lyrics
10. The Polar Express - songs from this popular Christmas story
11. The Coca Cola Christmas song - This song reminds us of christmas family cheer
12. White Christmas - Michael Buble' (one for the mummies ;-)
13. Do they know it's christmas - Do we?
14. Last Christmas - one to remember my youth!
15. Jingle Bells - with lyrics
16. S-A-N-T-A - Santa is his name oh
17. Hush there's a baby - Cute Christmas song
18. Mickey and Friends - Disney characters singing
19. A Natale Puoi - An Italian cute song
20. Merry Christmas - Merry Christmas in 30 languages
21.Lonely this Christmas - A song I used to here at my dad's house
22. Thank god it's Christmas - Queen classic
23. Helu Bambin - A beautiful Maltese Christmas song
24. Instrumental Christmas music - 51 mins of Relaxing Christmas Music

Saturday, November 17, 2012

November Virtual Book Club - Charlie needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaula

The book we worked on for our November Virtual Book Club is 

Charlie needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaula.

Charlie needs a cloak, and this book tells the story, from start to finish, of how he goes about to make one from raw material. It takes readers through the year. From spring sheep shearing his whimsical sheep who help him with his work, to weaving, to dyeing, through sewing the new garment  by the winter fire. Too bad Charlie doesn't notice, as soon as he puts it on, that his favorite sheep is already chewing on his hem!The story is fun and educational, while the pictures are delightful telling a hidden story in themselves. The illustrations are humorous, which dePaola is famous for. 

The following are activities we worked on related to the book.


We decided to work on a Lapbook for this book. We used the pack from Homeschoolshare to download the resources.

Step by step how Charlie got the material for the coat: Shear, Card, Spin, Weave, Sew

Learn to draw a sheep

Learn to draw a sheep

Jesus is the good shepherd colouring and Bible verse

Different Red Coats

I had prepared various printouts of characters who wear a red coat and with a simple clue K and L had to choose the character asked for. Finally we glued the pictures in our Lapbook.


I wished to introduce knitting to my daughter. The best person to do that was my mum so we used a pack she had got as a gift to make and took it to grandma's house to guide her. The pack included a knitting wheel a crochet needle and balls of coloured wool. K was very happy to try it and is still in the process of producing her first knitted project.


We used the printable from the homeschoolshare pack and laminated the sheet to do threading.

Multi-sensory  Fun Activity

I printed a picture of a sheep on a blue and a pink paper and laminated them. I put shaving foam on them. K and L had to close their eyes before touching the material to use their sense of touch and smell and guess what is on the sheet. After this activity they thought of other stuff we could use to do the activity and their anwers were white liquid soap, marshmallow, popcorn, cotton .... We did actually try the liquid soap and the popcorn.

Follow this Blog hop for more activities related to Tomie dePaola books 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October Virtual Book Club - Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

For our October Virtual Book Club with 

we read Amy Krouse Rosenthal's book 

Duck Rabbit! 

This is a children's book that plays with the idea that shapes can be ambiguous. An early 20th Century psychologist, Jastrow, invented the figure that looks like the head of a duck and/or the head of a rabbit (the duck's beak being the rabbit's ears). The story by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is based on this charachter with the illustration of Tom Lichtenheld.

This amusing story looks at what happens when two different people look at something from different perspectives and come up with conflicting views as to what they see. In this case, the question is, “Is it a duck or a rabbit?” The reader will have to decide.

Jastrow duck-rabbit illusion
Duck! Rabbit!
Tom Lichtenhen illustration

With this book K and L observed  a cute way to present the idea that differing views of the world can all be equally valid - an important idea for kids to grasp in this increasingly polarized world. It also teaches kids to use their imaginations to see beyond the obvious. As the "argument" is quite playful I hope I will be able to use it as a lesson with K and L when an argument arises.That is we all have a different perspective and there is no need to make an argument on different opinions.

Visit this link for an Online version of the book

After reading the book I found some 
other Optical Illusions on-line to show to the children. Here are just a few of our favourite ones.

We discussed the 3 main types of optical illusions with examples.

Reverse Illusion

You can see the picture as one thing or something else .....

Duck or Rabbit?
Old couple or mexican scene?

Wineglass or faces?

Young girl or old lady?

Moving Illusion

It seems like the picture is moving but it isn't ....

Mind Illusion

You think that something that is there is not there, or something is not there but you think it is there ...

Try to count the black spots

If you stare at the blinking pink dots, you will see only one color, pink. If you look at the the +in the center, you'll see a circle of pink dots and a rotating green dot.
Now, stare at the + without moving your eyes.

Duck Rabbit Craft

K and L created a duck rabbit craft and acted out the book between them.

Follow this Blog hop for more activities related to Amy Krouse Rosenthal books.