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5 Fun Christmas Activities for the Kids

Christmas time is an exciting time of year. Australian Christmas involves sweet mangoes, long summer days and gorgeous sunsets, blue skies and crystal-clear oceans. Everyone loves Christmas time, it’s a time for giving, receiving, eating and relaxing. But no one loves Christmas more than kids! Christmas is the event of the year for children. There is nothing more exciting than decorating the Christmas tree or baking Christmas cookies. Below are some fun funky Christmas activities your kids will love!
 

  1. Cooking
    Get creative in the kitchen with your kids. Stock up on a variety of coloured food dye and Christmas decorations. There are a variety of Christmas recipes online but leave the decorating up to your kids – let them use their imagination and express themselves.
  2. Origami
    Christmas origami can be slightly challenging, but extremely rewarding. Origami requires concentration and following steps, a perfect holiday activity to keep the kids entertained and still engaged.
  3. Christmas Cards
    Something your family members will adore is handmade Christmas cards. If you take control of the initial design, you can pass it on to your children to fill in the blanks, but make sure you give your children some creative freedom because your family will appreciate their artwork.
  4. Christmas Tree Decorations
    Get creative with painting and sticking glitter onto borbals and plain wooden stars etc. A trip to Kmart will lead you to a range of plain decorations that your children can decorate with all sorts of fun colours and textures.
  5. Christmas lights
    Even if you’re not particularly interested in the full house Christmas light extravaganza, you can get creative simply. Even if you simply put lights up in your house, or in trees in the backyard – your children will love them!

Christmas time may not necessarily be your favourite time of year, but while your children are young it will most definitely be theirs. Get creative with your children and they might even make things easier on you. Not to mention, Christmas holidays can be long for your kids so keep them entertained and engaged with some fun crafty learning activities.

Helping the Kids Go Green

When it comes to teaching the kids to go green, the earlier you do it, the better. In a time of drought, excessive waste and air pollution, education is key, so children know there’s consequences to waste. 

 

  • Get them in the garden

Going outdoors is good for our mental health thanks to all that sunshine and fresh air. Getting the kids to help in the garden and acquainting them with the animals, flowers, and the other plants, will teach them to respect the environment. The worms, the birds, the snails, and the ladybugs all deserve to be there as much as they do.

 

  • Save your scraps; salad scraps, egg shells, veggie skins, and more can be saved and turned into your own compost heap.

Children need to know where their food comes from and that it’s possible to do more with it than just eat. Pulp from juicing, food scraps and clean water can be reused in the garden. It will definitely help them in the future when they do science at school and study the environment.

 

  • Turn off the taps

You are meant to brush your teeth for about three minutes. The tap doesn’t need to run the entire time.

Teach the children that when the water is running without purpose, it’s getting wasted; always ensure all taps are turned off properly. Put a bucket in the shower to catch the cold water before it turns hot, and use it to water the plants – you can even catch the pasta water when you strain it as the starch gives the nutrients in the soil an extra boost.

 

  • Take them to Bunnings

At Eskay we go on excursions to Bunnings with the kids and they love it every time. Besides the amazing sausage sizzles, you can turn it into an ‘educational’ shopping trip without them even knowing.

Tying into our first point, take them to the gardening section to get them invested in the work. Ask them to pick their favourite plant or seedlings. Getting them a pair of their own gloves definitely helps getting them more involved as well.

 

  • The many uses of paper

Paper doesn’t need to be thrown in the bin. Kids are crafty, so encourage their creative side. Old newspapers, magazines and even drawings can be recycled. If they like a picture in a magazine, cut it out and start a scrapbook. Do some origami. When Easter comes around, shred some newspaper to make padding for an Easter basket. Even cardboard boxes have the chance of a second life as a spaceship or a cubby house.

Capturing Wonder

By Holly Wells

Educator, Platypus Room at Karana

 

Environments for children in my eyes can create somewhere to transport. Transport as a means of transporting time, space as well as your thinking. Allowing children to create or explore in ways you may never have imagined. I must say it is one of my favourite things about walking into the Platypus room at Karana. Its as though you are placed a little bee hive. Little bees at work, exploring questions that they feel are need to be answered. More so play than work I must admit… The children decide the resources they research, how to use those resources, where they will be best explored and how much time they need to answer all those unanswered questions…

 

 

Environments are introduced by us with the intention of providing unhurried and valued learning by the children. We aim to create environments that provoke, using resources that inspire.

 

Recently we have been noticing a decrease in the amount of time children spend in our light area. A shift in interests, changes the aura or feeling towards the area. When I thought about the light area I wondered how it could be made more inviting. I thought about some NOW interests for the children. At the moment they are really excited to be hunting through the yard with baskets in hand to find all different kinds of things. Often bringing us creepy crawlers (sometimes unknowingly until the bugs wiggle or move- AH!). Some children chasing beauty in the patterns and structure of leaves and flowers. So off I went on a little search to see if we could purchase some pre made resin blocks that were filled with things that I thought would be of value. Possibly holding that beauty and wonder. Easy you may think… Its not.

 

So we DIY. Upon research I found that people make the same things I was looking for as jewellery. They were so beautiful and I was in awe of the process. As I watched videos and thought that they looked way too easy to achieve and I was most definitely going to stuff it up when I tried. Well I didn’t stuff it up, and they were super easy to make.

 

 

To make them I used a resin and hardener, Silicone moulds (I would suggest using a lighter coloured mould so you can see where things are placed), a jet lighter or little blow torch, a toothpick, tray and the items you want to use. To make the resin you need to gently mix equal amounts of the resin and hardener until the liquid is completely clear with no cloudiness. Depending on what you are putting in the moulds, you may need to do it in two stages. If the item you are putting in will sink you can do it in one go. However, if you have something like an insect that you think may float its best to pour a thin layer of the resin mixture on the bottom of the mould, place the item in and wait until its set before adding the rest of the resin mixture. I then, very carefully heated the top of the resin to bring the bubbles to the surface. Most of them do pop but there may be some you will need to pop with a toothpick or something similar to remove. Then leave overnight to set. EASY PEASY!

 

 

The kids and parents love them. They are used outside and the children hold them up to the sun. As the light shines through you can see cool little details. We also use them on our light area inside. We have had parents bring cicadas, spiders, a dragonfly, flowers from their family gardens that we pressed and dried.

 

 

The most special part of these creations to me is that each of the moulds holds an object that has meaning to someone or encapsulates a story. The children tell others stories about the encasings. Where they found it, how they felt, who was there to help them, why they thought it was awesome; These are just some of the different bits of information being passed from child to child. Kind of like a dreamtime story They are treated with the most care that I have seen for anything in our room. They understand these resin blocks are made with objects that are special to another person and hold an important story.

 

5 fun things to do after daycare

Daycare is done, but the kids are still full of energy and you need something to entertain them. What do you do when you’re stuck for ideas? How about some of these?

 

  1. Baking

Women’s Weekly has a whole range of cookbooks, including baking, aimed at little ones and big kids alike. Plus, your kids will have lots of fun getting involved in baking up their favourite treats.

You don’t need to bake something sweet for it to be ‘fun’. Make healthy lunchbox snacks like zucchini slice, savoury muffins, and homemade muesli bars. You can make it an afternoon event by doing the shopping first and having the kids get the ingredients off the shelves.

 

  1. Library time

In an age where screens are dominating our lives, it’s good to shut them off every once in awhile. If your kids want to play on the computer, have a time limit.

 

Try to steer the kids towards the junior section and have them pick out a book, or choose one for them. Get some reading practice in or play a game. Libraries have many child-friendly activities available. There’s arts and crafts, book hunts, and even chess.

 

  1. Little athletics

Finding a sport to enjoy will take some trial and error, but it’s going to help your children develop their fine motor skills and coordination. It’s also a chance for both of you to make friends. Popular sports include:

  • Swimming

  • Martial arts (taekwondo, karate, jiu jitsu)

  • Tennis

  • Football

  • Soccer

 

Daycare certainly keeps kids active, but after-school sports like these will give them another experience that can turn into a hobby. They might even keep up athletics all the way through school.

 

  1. Dress-ups

Lots of children want to be like their heroes, whether it’s a television personality or a Disney character. Playing dress-up after daycare is another way to unleash your child’s  creativity.

 

  1. Music

Some parents take their kids to music practice after daycare, and this can be a hit-or-miss. If your child shows interest, certainly encourage it but don’t force it on them. Music helps improve coordination, literacy, boosts self esteem and discipline.

 

The fun doesn’t stop after daycare if you do any of these five activities after pick-up time. Take out the recipe book, dust off the costumes, and look at some local sports clubs to see what you can do for your child.

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