Most recent posts in Activities (see full blog here)
I know, I know. I'm the same person who wrote about my problem hoarding traditions but I do still have plenty of favourites and, yes, I still add a new one here and there...I'm a work in progress!
Of course we get to our share of holiday parades, Christmas tree lightings, and Santa visits...but, that being said, I've been trying to focus on the traditions that are most important to our family and connect us to the community we choose to live our lives in, and so I've rounded up five of our favourite Maritime family traditions.
This post is part of a #MaritimeChristmas blog hop with some other local family bloggers.
If you're a Maritimer, well, actually, even if you're NOT a Maritimer, you've likely heard of Maud Lewis, especially after that blockbuster movie last year profiling her life. Her distinctive folk art and fascinating life story makes her a memorable artist, and she is particularly appealing to children.
This month's pick for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club is Maud Lewis 1 2 3. It's a board book filled with images of her colourful iconic paintings that encourages children to count items found in each piece of art (ex. 10 roofs, 4 blue tulips). One of the things we loved about this book was it's a bit of an I Spy style book so my children were both immediately drawn to it. We've talked about who Maud Lewis was and her impact on the Nova Scotia art scene and we were inspired to create two reading extension activities from this book to explore their natural interest in her style of painting and her life story - one Christmas card one, and one Christmas cookie one!
If you aren’t singing nursery rhymes while you do squats yet, you will be after you take one of the new Port City Strollers fitness classes!
Courtney Ceponis is the owner of Port City Strollers and she is launching a new strolller fitness program aimed at parents who want to put exercise back into their lives and have fun and connect with their child and other parents at the same time.
BONUS: She's offering free trial classes this month for anyone interested in trying out her fun classes before the regular program kicks off in January!
Watching my four year old struggle to use scissors takes every ounce of my self-control not to take the scissors from him and do it myself. He holds them awkwardly, the scissors often don't make it all the way through the paper, and cutting along the lines? Not a chance. It's so ragged and so crooked it makes my teeth hurt.
This activity is a super simple, supervised, activity that will go miles towards increasing your child's comfort level with scissors. Another bonus is that it turns learning how to use scissors from a chore into something fun.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that if you call something a scavenger hunt, kids will go crazy for it. No joke. Cleaning up toys, finding groceries in the store, even picking up garbage! November 28 is Giving Tuesday and we've come up with a fun way for little kids to clean up their neighbourhood AND help other kids learn about the environment.
Thanks to Nimbus Publishing who sponsored this post (and provided a book for a giveaway) so that we can help cultivate little readers who love local books! As always, all opinions are our own.
Most Haligonians know the story of how the people of Boston came to our aid after the catastrophic disaster of the Halifax Explosion; and, in turn, we send them a Christmas tree each year as a thank you. To help children learn about this story and tradition, Marijke Simons has written and illustrated a book called The Flying Squirrel Stowaways: From Nova Scotia to Boston. This book is our featured book for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club this month.
This month's pick is the latest picture book from Shauntay Grant, with illustrations by Erin Bennett Banks. It's a Halloween book, but not your typical spooky ghosts and goblins Halloween book. This one has a message about owning your choices and being proud of standing out from the crowd. It's sure to become a Halloween classic in our house.
Let's be honest. Thanksgiving is a holiday that may be a little lost on some kids. They eat a meal that they don't especially like (at least my kids don't), there are no presents, and dessert is usually pie which, for my kids, isn't even a REAL DESSERT lol
In order to help them understand it a little better, and to involve them in the meal's preparation, I set up a craft for them to create Thanksgiving Turkey Placemats for each of our dinner guests.
If You Could Wear My Sneakers (the 20th anniversary edition) by Sheree Fitch, with artwork by Darcia Labrosse, is a collection of poetry in that classic Fitch silly rhyming style that is adored by children and adults alike. Each poem deals with a serious topic though as the book teaches children about the 1989 United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child.
This is the August pick for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club and we've created a couple reading extension activities for this book to connect children even further with understanding their rights, and learning about poetry.
It can be hard to keep finding new books that your kids will enjoy reading, especially over the summer when schedules are off, routines go out the window, and (if they're like my kids) they're going through books like crazy. I decided to get my kids involved in this post by asking them what books they're really enjoying right now as suggestions for other kids to read. We'd love for you to share your recommendations in the comments as well!
The Land Beyond the Wall: an immigration story by Veronika Martenova Charles is about a young girl named Emma who lives in a land “where people speak in whispers and no flowers grow.” She escapes to Halifax and lands at Pier 21, knowing the cost of her journey is to lose everything, including her voice. She uses art to find her place in her new home and discover her voice.
This is the July pick for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club and we've created a couple reading extension activities and adventures for this book to help children better understand the story and the plight that many refugees still face today.
Librarian: Have you given any thought to how many books you'd like to read this summer?
Miss M: Yes. One thousand.
Mr M: Eighteen.
We compromised on one hundred each but I have no doubt they'll do that and more in the library's summer reading club program.
Today the libraries across Halifax have their summer kick off parties for their free reading club. We're always eager to hear about ways to entertain the kids all summer and, you know me, if it's free, fun and educational ("edutainment!") I'm all over it. Our first stop in this quest for summer fun, as it often is, was to the library to sign up for the summer reading club and to grab a copy of their free (yes, it's free, all free! wheee!) programming for the summer.
Here are all the details on the summer reading program...
Be A Night Detective by Peggy Kochanoff encourages children to explore the natural world around them. It answers all those questions that kids ask us which, let's be honest, we adults really don't know the answers to (why don't lightning bugs get hot like light bulbs? Are shooting stars really stars falling from the sky?). To explore the book further we created a night time Scavenger Hunt and constellation scratch art for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club that we're sharing with you today.
This Scavenger Hunt will take you less than five minutes to organize and you can do it almost anywhere which makes it a great game to play if you're trying to pass the time. It's also an excellent way to get kids active and connected with nature. All you'll need is chalk, some pavement and a wooded area.
Atlantic Animal ABC, our May Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club pick, introduces children to collage art. The author, Angela K. Doak, uses all sorts of found materials for her collage work - from junk mail and scraps of fabric, to candy and gum wrappers! This art activity will teach little kids how to create their own Atlantic Animal collage art.
The Atlantic Animal ABC book by Halifax artist, Angela K. Doak, is our pick for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club this month. This fishing and matching game was inspired by the book's brightly coloured artwork and teaches little kids their letters, develops their fine motor skills (not to mention they'll have lots of fun doing it!). **Information on how to enter to win a copy of the book AND a print of Doak's artwork in the post**
The yard/property attached to our house is both a blessing and a curse. We are surrounded by trees that are so dense during the leafy part of the year that you can’t even see our neighbours’ houses. This is exactly the privacy and connection to nature that we desired when we moved in, so there’s the blessing. The “curse” is that the property is oddly shaped with minimal lawn space which basically makes it impossible to have a traditional playground structure on it...so here's what we're going to do...
One of our most popular posts has been 8 Halifax Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers. We went beyond soccer and dance classes and looked at some other fun organized programs and activities for families with young children to enjoy in Halifax. Now we're back with a few more that we think you'll love just as much!
*CONTEST* You could win a copy of this book!
Our selection for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club this month is for our littlest readers. Let's Read! is a board book that will grow with your baby from infancy to toddlerhood. It has bright colours, photos of real babies, lots of smiles and a wonderful, singsong, rhythmic text that you will love to read and will be as familiar as a favourite song to you and your baby in no time.
*CONTEST!* Kids and technology. Whatever your thoughts on it are, it's part of our world today. I've just started introducing my kids to apps and had a chance to review this KidloLand app recently. Here is my review, and I've got a three month subscription to their service to give away this week too!
This matching egg game is perfect for Easter and into spring and it has multiple levels of learning in it, but they'll never know! Colour identification, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, patterns, counting and matching are all at work here. Bonus: Makes an awesome quiet time activity!
I'm sharing our new favourite early literacy Easter egg-tivity (with supplies you likely already have, or can get at the dollar store). And, bonus, it's not only fun, it's also educational (sneaky learning is the best!).
Trying to teach your toddler or young preschooler how to spell their name? Yeah, that can be challenging, especially if their name has more than three or four letters *guilty as charged.* I came up with this fun egg puzzle to help my kids learn how to spell their names. All you'll need are some plastic Easter eggs, an empty egg carton, permanent marker, scissors and tape.
A Harbour Seal in Halifax is our pick for the Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club this month. This book is based on a true story from March 2015 and our virtual book club guide has a science experiment, a seal stuffy, a silly song and snack ideas.
Our friends at ORB recently sent us a couple boxes of their latest invention to test out. It's called Morph and it's like nothing we've ever played with before!
I am upcycling some of the kids' artwork into these super simple, yet super charming, greeting cards.
This month's Itsy Bitsy Book Club book is Abigail's Wish. It's the first picture book set in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, one of the first black settlements in Nova Scotia. The book is written by Gloria Ann Wesley, who is known for her beautiful poetry, and illustrated by Richard Rudnicki who has created gorgeous images for many of your favourite local books.
A collection of some of our favourite ways to embrace winter - both indoors and outdoors!
Little kids love sparkly things so for Valentine's Day we created these little bags of "gems" and chocolate, and then my five year old and I co-designed a card to go with it that you can download for free!
Here's my super easy tutorial so you can make custom clips for any occasion (especially adorable for a parade of Cupid babies on Valentine's Day).