Archives for January 2016

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Book Review: P. Bear’s New Year’s Party

P. Bear's New Year's Party

P. Bear’s New Year’s Party by Paul Owen Lewis is lauded by elementary school teachers as one of the best educational resources for teaching kids how to count and tell time. Available as a hardcover, a board book, and in paperback, this 32-page book can grow with your child. It’s perfect for a large age range, but tailored to 3-7 year olds. The elegant illustrations rely solely on black, white, and red for a vivid, timeless visual portrayal of the fictional tale that finds a dashing polar bear hosting a black-tie affair for New Year’s Eve. With every strike of the clock leading up to midnight, a large number of animals corresponding to the clock face shown on each page arrive at Mr. P. Bear’s door.

pbear2

The author does several things exceptionally well with this book. First, he spells out the numbers, so kids learn to recognize them outside of numerals. Next, he introduces young readers to exotic animals. (Orcas, pandas, and penguins are among the unusual animals invited to this polar bear’s party!) Third, every group of animals corresponds to the number on the clock face, helping kids make a connection between counting and time. Last, the strategic use of only three colors throughout the book brilliantly brings the pages acutely to life, with the color red highlighting the most important nuances. In addition, P. Bear’s New Year’s Party also expands children’s vocabulary, introducing new collective nouns like flock, herd, bunch, and pack.

The book also provides an opportunity for parents to share New Year’s traditions and explain the significance of a year’s time. From newborn to first grade, this book is one that can be pulled out repeatedly. With every read, your child will discover something new.

Review by Lindsay Williams

Our Big List of Snow Day Activities

Snow Day Activities

This week we had two “snow” days here in Chattanooga. We didn’t see any snowflakes, but it did get cold enough to ice over the roads and thus it’s probably best everyone was able to stay home.

The first day, my husband was home, and we just dawdled around. We played games, let the kids play with toys, watched TV. But by the end of the day my 7-year-old daughter was going crazy. She is not a very good homebody. I decided if we were going to survive day 2, we had to have a plan – especially since Daddy had to work (he teaches private school).

The kids and I came up with this big list of activities for us to do. No saying, “I’m bored!” They could just go to the list and pick a new activity! They loved this idea, and I think it’s something we’ll pull out for many at-home days. My kids are 7, 5, and 2, so these are more suited for younger kids, but you can brainstorm with your own children and see what you can come up with.

(No) Snow Day Fun

  • Have a pretend snowball fight (with socks or wadded-up paper)
  • Wear pajamas all day
  • Watch TV
  • Turn heat up, wear bathing suits, lay on towels, watch a beach movie, and drink smoothies
  • Play with play-dough
  • Draw and decorate a giant picture of a snowman (we used a piece of a cardboard box)
  • Tickle each other
  • Paint
  • Play with dry-erase books and crayons
  • Make believe
  • Dress up
  • Make cookies
  • Sleep in! (Every parent’s dream)
  • Build a “bouncy house” (put blankets and pillows all over the floor of a room and jump around on it)
  • Play with magnet people
  • Play with marble racer
  • Build train tracks
  • Take naps
  • Read
  • Be lazy on the couch
  • Play games – Spot It, Trouble, Uno Moo
  • Make something with cardboard boxes
  • Jump on the trampoline
  • Play with chalk blocks
  • Put on a show
  • Have a parade

Obviously, you won’t have all the same toys we have. I chose toys and games for our list that had been put away for awhile, so they were more exciting for the kids. But I hope this will give you some ideas for your next at-home snow (or no snow) day.

 

Weekend Links

Have a wonderful holiday tomorrow!

Three New Releases in Children’s Christian Books

Looking for a new book to engage your young readers and help them grow in faith? Check out one of these three brand-new releases!

Voyage to the Star Kingdom by Anne Riley and Amy Grimes – A parable of sorts, introducing children to Heaven and the fact that life doesn’t end after death. The “Star King” does thing His own way, and the people in this story must learn to trust Him. This self-published book was released January 8 and appeals to children of all ages, as well as their parents!

Blotch by Andy Addis – Another parable, this time about sin and how Jesus takes it away. Blotch lives in a kingdom where everyone has spots on their skin from times they have done wrong. Blotch decides to find someone who can get rid of the spots, and sets out on a journey. For ages 8-12.

One-Sentence Storybooks: Bible Animals by Nancy I. Sanders – Help your 3- to 5-year old learn how to read with these one-sentence storybooks. This 10-minibook set focuses on Bible animals. Using repetition and illustrations, children will learn new vocabulary and sight words. Each story has a devotion, prayer, and reading activity as well. Released December 24, 2015, from Tyndale House.

 

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One Year Classic Devotions for Family {GIVEAWAY}

From the listing: “Many parents are searching for ways to bond as a family while encouraging spiritual growth in their kids. The One Year Classic Family Devotions provides a full year of devotions and activities designed to strengthen family time and deepen spiritual awareness. Each devotion includes a story about children and other family members, fostering personal connection with the content. Lessons come from the child’s perspective at times and from the parents at other times. An activity page is included every seven days as an additional source of ideas for families to use in their time together.”

Do you want to have family devotions but struggle with where to start? This is a fantastic resource, from the creators of the One Year Bible and One Year Devotions for Women, Men, Boys, Girls, and so forth.

Here is an excerpt from The One Year Classic Family Devotions.

OY Classic Family Devos

The Old Mansion

Read 1 Samuel 16:6-12.

“I can hardly wait to see the old mansion!” exclaimed Ashley. She and her family were on their way to visit Grandma and Grandpa White, who had recently become caretakers of a large estate. As they drove, Ashley talked about her day at school. “There’s a new girl in my class—her name is Addie—and her clothes are totally not with it!” declared Ashley. “I was sooo embarrassed when our teacher asked me to show her around the school.”

“What does it matter if she doesn’t wear the latest fashions?” her brother Aiden asked. “What she’s like is more important than what she wears.”

“Oh, you just—” began Ashley, but Mom cut her off.

“Aiden is right, Ashley,” said Mom. “It sounds like you have an attitude problem.” Ashley scowled but said no more.

Several hours later, Dad turned down an overgrown lane that led to a large old house. Ashley frowned. “This can’t be the right place!” she exclaimed when she saw the house. “This looks more like a dump than a mansion!” But when her grandparents welcomed them and led them inside, Ashley could hardly believe her eyes. The floors glistened, and carpeted steps curved from the hallway to the second floor. “Oh, wow!” she exclaimed. “I can’t believe how nice this is! The outside looks so run down.”

“Yes,” said Grandpa. “The place is being restored, but the firm that was hired for the outside work can’t begin until next month. That’s why there’s such a difference between the inside and outside.” He smiled. “This house is a good example of why we shouldn’t judge by appearance.”

“We talked a little about that on our way over here,” said Mom. “We sometimes forget that God says the heart of a person is much more important than how they look or dress.”

Ashley looked around at the beautiful house and then out the window to the overgrown front yard. Mom’s right, she admitted to herself. I did judge Addie by the way she looks on the outside, and that was wrong. When I get back to school, I’ll try to find out what she’s really like.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Do you accept or reject people because of the way they look? Remember, God says it’s the inside that counts. A kind attitude is more important than the latest fashion. Think about someone you know who’s left out because of their appearance. Will you be a friend to that person? Find out what they’re really like. Do it for Jesus. – Lenora McWhorten

TO MEMORIZE:
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. John 7:24 (NIV)
Don’t judge by appearance.

__________

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Weekend Links

Happy New Year! Have a wonderful week.