Edible Christmas for Kids - 12 Days of Christmas Part 2

We had so much success with Part 1 of this series we are sure everyone will love this one just as much.

This blog focus on 7 delicious EDIBLE Christmas activities to complete with your child. Happy eating!!

Snowman cupcakes

What you need: cake mixture, cupcake patties, marshmallows, icing mixture, orange lollies, green lollies and chocolate icing pen

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Christmas Pretzel Sticks

What you need: pretzel sticks, melted while chocolate, variety of sprinkles (preferably green and red)

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Chocolate Marshmallow reindeers

What you need: Marshmallows, lolly sticks, pretzels, red smarties, small white lollies, ribbon

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Strawberry Santas

What you need: strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate and white icing pen

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Christmas Pancakes

What you need: Pancake mixture, christmas cookie cutters

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Teddy Sleighs

What you need: candy canes, tiny teddies, small milky ways or mars bars, melted chocolate for glueing pieces together

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Grinch snacks

What you need: green grapes, toothpicks, banana, mini marshmallows, strawberries

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Hope you can enjoy creating some wonderful edible treats with your child.

Until next time

Kelly Pisani

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Christmas for kids: 12 days of Christmas Part 1

Welcome back to CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. We are so excited to start our 12 days of Christmas blogs. These blogs will focus on 12 Christmas activities to do with your children in the last weeks leading to Christmas. Each blog will focus on 3 activities. Happy reading.

In the first blog, I will go through the steps of three great christmas activities that you can share with your child or class. These activities have been a hit in my home with my 4 and 2 year old as well as in my classroom.

Salt Christmas decorations

This is simple and inexpensive and is great for all age groups. Follow my simple steps to create custom decorations that you can hang on your tree or use as gifts for family and friends.

Ingredients: 4 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 1/2 cups of water

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Roll dough on floured surface to about 2 cm in thickness
  4. Use cookie cutters to cut out christmas shapes. (I used a star, angel, gingerbread man, flower, heart and a circle)
  5. Use a straw to make a hole in the top of each ornament
  6. Put ornaments on tray and cook in oven for about 2 hours
  7. When cooled, paint and use glitter if desired
  8. If desired, use a vanish to protect them
  9. Put a ribbon through hole

These are photos of my children’s creationsIMG_2599IMG_2596IMG_2600IMG_2598

 

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Paper Plate Christmas craft

The simple paper plate can offer so many christmas craft opportunities. Why not try one of these ideas at home.

Santa mask, Reindeer, Wreath, Snowman, elves, bauble, Rudolf, Santa, Baby, Angel, Grinch, Lollies, Gingerbread man and party hats

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Footprint Reindeers

Children can use their own footprints to create this gorgeous reindeer face. This activity can be done on paper or cardboard, but for a special gift, could be done on a small canvas.

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Hope you have enjoyed these three Christmas activities in our first blog. Our next blog, which will contain another three Christmas activities will be available tomorrow night.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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7 Tips To Help Children Stay On A Task

Getting your child to stay on a set school task for more than 10 minutes can be a mammoth struggle in many households. I have spoken to many parents over the years, who believe that the homework struggle can add a lot of stress to their home environment.

In the same way, many parents of pre-schoolers also worry that their child who will attend primary school in the next year is unable to stay on a task for more than 10 minutes. This could mean that their child wanders from activity to activity, not really engaging with any task, they could only do a task for 2 minutes and then tell everyone they are finished or they could simply need their parents to sit with them during play in order to stay at an activity.

Whilst at school, children need to develop their own concentration in order to complete a task or work constantly on a task for a given time. Each task is given a time limit within the classroom and it depends of the type of task and the age of the child.

In the first year of schooling, it is expected that children can work for at least 10 minutes independently. This means that children need to work by themselves or with a group of children without teacher interaction. In the standard classroom the ratio of teacher to student is around 1 teacher to 30 students. If the teacher spent equal amounts of time with each student, in an average day of 5 hours of learning time, a teacher would spend approximately 10 minutes with each student.

It is important to help your child develop these focusing skills in order to enable them to persist at a task, complete a task and be motivated to do a task to the best of their ability. Here are 7 tips that can help children develop their focusing skills.

  1. Set routine

routineI cannot stress the importance of a routine enough times. Children thrive on knowing what is coming next and find comfort with predictability.

For a child aged between 5 – 12 years old, this could be seen through an afternoon routine. A timetable could be visible so the expectations are very clear for what they should be doing. The routine could incorporate things like outside play, free choice, homework, dinner, shower, reading, tv etc

For a pre-schooler, this could be seen through a visual timetable that has pictures of all the parts of the day and the activities that they will be doing. It would incorporate “quiet/rest time” which is a time in the day when they need to play independently without adult interaction.

  1. Physical activity first

physicalactivityBefore getting a child of any age to sit down quietly and complete a task, it is important that they have an opportunity to move their bodies around prior to this activity. Children of all ages can not sit still for very long (nor should they be expected too) therefore get them to do a physical activity before a homework task or quiet activity to expend some energy.

  1. Meaningful learning

meaningful tasksJust like adults, children will find it difficult to focus on a task that is boring. Boring activities are those tasks that are not meaningful to that child. Ask a child to complete a task that is meaningful to their own world, it will be hard to stop them from playing/completing it.

For children aged between 5 -12 years old, use their obsessions or talents to develop other areas that are weaker. Eg If they are struggling to write and they love soccer, get them to write a letter to their favourite soccer player and send it. Turn some homework tasks into games to make them more interactive.

For a pre-schooler, set up tasks they will help them to develop skills in an engaging and interesting way. For example, set up a few buckets of water and give them a variety of water equipment to let them experiment with. For example measuring cups, pipettes (medicine dropper), panadol baby dispensers, containers with holes etc

  1. Break tasks into small manageable activities

breakingChildren need guidance in splitting a task into more manageable chunks. Help them break the task into two smaller parts or even four smaller parts. They can write down each part or draw a picture of each part and tick each one off when it is complete. This helps the child follow a sequence, feel success throughout the task and focus on one step at a time. Trying to tackle a whole task at once can be very overwhelming.

  1. Use a timer

timerThis is a secret weapon for parents and educators. Time is a very abstract concept so a timer will help children be able to visualise the time spent on a task. Start off with quick tasks (cleaning teeth, brushing hair) to teach them about how a timer works. After they understand the concept start with tasks or play activities for 10 minutes and work towards increasing it depending on your child’s age.

  1. Self monitoring cards

monitorThis is another tool that educators use for the younger students. These are picture cards that demonstrate what the child should be doing if they are on task. It could have a picture of lips closed, holding a pencil correctly, feet flat on the floor, eyes looking at the task etc. The cards are placed on the child’s table so they can see them throughout the task. It is a great idea to discuss the cards before each task to remind them of what you expect.

  1. Set goals

goalsHave the child set goals for themselves that are realistic. This enables them to have ownership over their learning. A goal might be, I am going to write 2 sentences and then try and shoot a goal in the basketball ring.

I hope you have enjoyed the second blog in our series Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten. Encouraging your child to develop their own concentration and focus is important for children of all ages.

I will continue this School Preparation Series in January 2016. Next week we are going to start our 12 days of Christmas craft series. Make sure you stay tuned.

Thank you to everyone for your support of CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. Our blogs are reaching so many people thanks to the amount of shares and likes we receive.

Until next time…

Kelly Pisani

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