Advent and the Letter M

Last Sunday was the first in Advent, a time when we begin to prepare for the mystery of Christmas and Jesus' birth. It's also a time when many of us put up our Christmas trees, hung lights, and visited Santa (although probably through a glass window). This week's themes include the letter Mm, our third installation on number sense (number representation), Advent, and the biblical story of Christmas, while next week will include more activities with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, etc. I hope it's a wonderful time of preparation for your family.

Number Sense Part 3: Number Representation

After learning that numbers are used to identify a quantity of something, and that counting items helps us learn the total amount of items, kids are better equipped to learn number representation. Number representation is the idea that the symbol for each number (ie: 1, 2, 3...) represents a quantity. For example, the symbol "3" is the same as the word "three," and the same quantity. There are some fun matching games out there, and printable cards that can be used to help children learn this concept. In fact, there are free downloads of cards and play dough mats to reinforce this that go along with most themes we would teach throughout the year. If you have play dough,a sensory tub for writing letters in, or have some pompoms or buttons around the house, you could do some Christmas-themed number practice as well. Of course, most books about counting have the number symbols in them also, which is helpful. Being physically active while learning is important when possible; check out this fun "Number Tunnels" activity, that we like here. If you want to stick with a holiday theme, there are some great Advent calendar and paper chain crafts that you can incorporate to teach the numbers (see below). Like when learning the alphabet, there's a lot we can do that don't require a bunch of prep work, but are fun and  seasonally appropriate; I hope you enjoy whatever you chose to do.

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Zoo Phonic: Mm, Missy Mouse

This week's animal friend is Missy Mouse. As we make the "mmmm" sound for Missy, put your finger tips to your lips as if you are nibbling on a piece of cheese. If you have been working with your child on tracing the letters in a sensory tub (ie: tracing with fingers in the sand), this may be a nice opportunity to switch it up to something holiday related, like sequins, gingerbread cookie crumbs, or sprinkles. You could also make holiday scented play dough to use with Christmas-themed mats (downloads and recipes linked in the gallery below). One of our favorite stories this time of year is "If You Take a Mouse to the Movies," by Laura Numeroff (read aloud video from Mrs. Albert included below). It has a mouse in it, and is Christmas-themed; what more do we need?

Advent

“Stop. Watch. Pay Attention. Something incredible is going to happen in Bethlehem.” These are Godly Play's version of the words of the prophets who spoke about Jesus' coming. As we get closer to Christmas, there are so many ways we can get ready. We can take time to intentionally stop and pay attention to the holiday sights, sounds and smells. We can read, watch videos of, or sing songs about the birth of Jesus. We can put together a nativity set and experience the story through play. The videos below include our friend Joy Studer telling the Godly Play Advent story, a read aloud of "A Christmas Goodnight" by Nola Buck," Christmas in the Barn" by Margaret Wise Brown, the animated song "Oh What a Special Night." I tried to include links for as many of the printables below because there are some great ones, like printable nativity scenes, advent calendars, worksheets for tracing practice, counting books and a 12 Days of Christmas puzzle. There are a lot of recipes out there for scented play dough, including the one I linked below. If you don't have access to gingerbread scent, I recommend switching to hot cocoa scented dough by adding cocoa powder to the mix. Doesn't it make you hungry thinking about all the yummy smells!