Advent Calendar Blues



The Advent calendars are out and I’m looking forward to opening door number two, three times tonight.

We get a little bit of a story, maybe an activity and another part of Christmas story to form the picture. The Nativity Scene.

It’ll be a time of stillness and quiet as they deftly open the tiny doors and pull out the fragile box. There’s anticipation as we wonder if, if there’s anything inside and what activity we will do.

Originally we had something in everyone of the boxes but that was too overwhelming for me and us. Stillness, anticipation and waiting are all part of Advent. This time we’re embracing it.

With moving and dropping an advent calendar or two, the little post it notes have disappeared in some of the boxes. The plan was to update and add but who wants to do that in January? The calendar was put away in January. Next time I remember this is just as I pull out the calendar in time for Advent.So that was last week during Thanksgiving….

It used to bother me but now I’m at peace.


What we need in December

We need pauses during Advent.

We need pauses during December. It’s not like we don’t have many things we are doing already.

The Advent calendar is something that we primarily do together, just the boys and I. There are certain Christmas traditions we do together because I’m usually here.

As I walked past the Advent Calendars all lined up on the stairs today I wondered how many of these traditions they would remember. You see when I look back on memories from childhood it’s not the regular everyday traditions that I remember the quickest. I remember the time I spent with far away relatives, gifts a person shared once, an event with my dad.  These are mainly one off events and actions.

Where are the many reflections I should have of the people who were there day in day out. The Nativity plays and the Advent activities.

It made me pause on the stairs for a moment.

we do what we do

While we’re opening the doors and easing out the boxes- soak in the joy, excitement of these advent traditions. Feel the warmth of our children as they delight in the activity or action of the day. Let go of feeling bad when the door is just a door. It wasn’t it was a pause and a moment of connection.

Not all of the children will recall these precious times with you.  That’s okay! Really that’s okay.

In years to come they’ll recall the trip to the Christmas Market or seeing Rudolph for the first time with someone who arrived one time…… that’s okay…

Advent activities aren’t just for the children preparation,It’s preparing us too a treasure of memories for us to dine on.

Welcome stillness, pause and wonder into your homes.

What will your advent memories be of this period?


Shaving cream numbers

Each child is singing a different song at home.

The LO’s current fun song of the numbers 1-10 at the top of his voice.

Plus, the LO is into Hide and seek with his own variation. When you go to find him and you are near he jumps out yelling, ” Surprise!” and scaring you out of your skin. Combining his present interests and some sensory fun his older brother (MO) and I started making a sensory number surprise bag.

First we cut out numbers from recycled cereal boxes. We wanted it to be the colourful parts.

Using a sandwich bag , we filled it with shaving foam and drop of food colouring.

Added a random number, squeezed out the air then taped down the bag to the table. ( No leaks!)

Who can resist not pushing on that bag? The MO who had to of course, making sure all the air was out.

[Read more…]

Using maps for big and small

Maps are fascinating.

I was excited to get the question :  How do you use maps in your home? from MaryAnne and our cross blog conversation. (See the bottom of this post for more information)

It’s never too young to start looking at a map together and just getting to know what’s there. We’re big fans of maps and include them in everyday things. Today we did an activity using maps.

We spent a good time just talking about the map. I started with the general question what can you see? It’s a fascinating opening question to see the baseline. The LO pointed out quite a few things. We have a US, World and Flag place mats in our rotation of place mats so he’s likely picked up information then as we’ve talked about places at dinner. It’s an easy way to map play and develop global knowledge.

Today we were focusing on the sizes: big and little using frames. The LO moved the frames around the map.

Keeping activities fun

I’d seen an activity about Pin punching around Africa. It looked like a really exciting way to combine a few things we’ve been working on. I loved the idea of the opportunity for focus, concentration. Plus, how exciting is it for a little boy to be using a pin and being able to poke!

My son is favouring his left hand and the added bonus of the fine motor skills, strength and persistence mean that this would be an exciting way to explore the idea of big and little.

We gathered together our materials and set about finding a small place and a large place on the map. I did mention that Africa was a continent and not a country. Having a political map helped with that as he could see the other lines of the countries. He also tried to pin down those lines, when he was distracted.

The spontaneous conversation with Australia was there too. He was quick to point out no lines and how it was fat but small. So he was able to compare the different sizes of land mass. I love the conversations that happen while we’re playing together.


Being a sensory seeker- the LO was keen to touchwhat he was doing. So he traced the map with his fingers first and was keen to do again on the other side where it was bumpy, quite a few times.

We started with Africa and worked together taking turns to pin around the land mass. We didn’t get all of Africa and didn’t follow it perfectly.

We did the big reveal at the end. He was impressed and was quick to compare both the new dotted map and the original map. He was very excited for me to set up Australia and keen to do it all alone.

He totally loved this activity and while I was making tea set himself up on the table to do another country. He was happy telling his older brothers about big and little places.

Cross blog conversation

I’m having a cross blog conversation with Mama Smiles about bringing global local to our homes without going anywhere. Plus integrating global ideas into our everyday interactions without it being a festival or special day.

A cross blog conversation involves two or more bloggers engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue across a series of blog posts. The goal is to ask – and answer – thought-provoking questions in order to share useful information with our readers.

Our first question: What global games do you play or have influenced you?    My response :: Mama Smiles

Our Second question:  How do you use maps in your home?

Come back and tell us what you do with maps. In the meantime, pop on over to Mama Smiles where MaryAnne will answer the question: How do you use maps in your home

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