That’s right we skipped a week! Week 41 was all about miss Grace as she turned the big TWO! So we took a week off from Tot School to celebrate our sweet sassy little girl! We started back for weeks 42-43 doing all things Christmas, and oh my, what fun we had!
We focused a little more on fun experiences than our usual Tot School activities at home but we did attempt to put some focus on the letter C, the number 10, a Star shape, and the color Green.
We read several books throughout our Christmas themed weeks including God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer by Robert L. May, The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson, Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell, Elf on the Shelf’s Letters to Santa, Santa’s Snow Globe by Stephanie Moss, Counting our Way to Santa by Michelle W. Davidson, The Donkey in the Living Room by Sarah Raymond Cunningham, and the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.
Instead of our usual YouTube playlist we enjoyed several Christmas movies including, Rudolph, the Polar Express, The Grinch, & Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (Grace’s favorite movie). And we listed to Christmas songs on a local radio station in the car. Grace requested we sing Rudolph quite often…Ha!
We did not have our usual sensory bin either, but instead had several things available for Grace to tinker with throughout our Christmas theme.
Grace’s elf brought her a Gingerbread House of her very own when she arrived the first day. Grace loved playing with the house and decorating it in new ways almost every day.
In addition to the gingerbread house, we also had a lovely nativity play set (pictured in the background of the photo above) given to her by her Nana that we kept out for her to play with as well. She loved pointing out different animals and setting them up in the stable. I placed all the pieces in a basket next to where we kept the stable and Grace was free to go over and play any time with the nativity for the duration of our Christmas themed weeks.
This was the first year Grace caught on to her elf on the shelf, and every morning would say “elf” as we started down the stairs. We would walk around the house until she discovered where her elf was and she was so excited to show off her elf and her shenanigans to any visitors that came over.
Grace loved helping mommy decorate the tree this year and even helped put the star (our Focus shape) on top of the tree. Thankfully we didn’t have any accidents with the tree, even though those curious hands were all about the snowflakes and red and green balls! Several times I would ask her to point to a green (Focus color) or red ball and she would excitedly do so!
We snagged a pack of Christmas themed window clings at our local dollar store and Grace enjoyed decorating the front door over and over again with the stickers. She learned the words “presents”, “reindeer”, “snowman”, and “Santa” doing this and would point to them and say the words as we were coming and going throughout our Christmas themed weeks. Unfortunately they didn’t all make it to the very end because Grace loved sticking and peeling them off so much they simply wore out!
We practiced counting to 10 (Focus Number) with some red and green (Focus Color) ornaments for her felt Christmas tree. We snagged the tree at our local dollar store and the ornaments were saved twist off caps from her applesauce pouches. In addition to counting the ornaments and placing them on the tree she also enjoyed stacking them.
Grace had a special Mommy and Me date at a local art studio to make ornaments, decorate cookies, and a special Santa & Me keepsake plate! She loved painting with a paint brush, discovered she loved sprinkles more than the actual cookie, and after we finished all the activities got to meet Santa. All of this was even more fun with special cousins participating too!
Grace wrote her first letter to Santa as well after we read Letters to Santa. I’m just sure Santa can read Toddler! She loved coloring the special Santa paper, and after baking it with the included press, she left it with her Elf to take it back to the North Pole. The next morning, her Elf had brought it back and hung it on the tree just for her! There is a lot of Elf on the Shelf merchandise out there, but I have to say this kit was awesome! We received it as a gift, but would have totally bought it as it comes with several sheets of special elf paper that we can use for more years to come! And what an awesome keepsake ornament to have! The whole set includes a book, special paper for little one(s) to write or draw on, 2 markers (red & green), a press to use in the oven, and ribbon. Literally everything you need to make this happen!
We are fortunate enough to have a great University near by that offers an amazing FREE community Christmas event every year. We took Grace both nights of the event and saw Santa, Anna & Elsa, and a beautiful full size Nativity.
They also had a petting zoo, a train ride, bounce houses, various concerts and theater performances, and a lego land and craft station for older kids as well. Grace especially enjoyed all the snow machines they had going as well as the amazing candy cane ladies on stilts! We had such an amazing time as a family and with friends at this event!
Grace’s preschool also had a lovely lunch with Santa, where she was able to sit with Mr. & Mrs. Clause. She emphatically decided she would rather sit with the Mrs. rather than the Mr. and that was just fine…Ha! By the end of our Christmas themed weeks she could HO HO HO with the best of them, just wasn’t ready to sit on the big red guy’s lap! Side Note: Her Daddy is perfectly fine with this.
We also ventured out to a local farm for a beautiful hay ride through some pretty amazing Christmas lights, where we got to meet Olaf (Grace’s favorite) and the Grinch. Grace had lots of fun playing on their playground, riding their little train, and spending the evening with family.
The last week of our Christmas theme, we started reading The Donkey in the Living Room, which tells the Christmas story through various character’s points of view. Each morning there was a new character for Grace to unwrap and we would read what their take on the Christmas story was. The box set not only includes the book and wooden characters, but also opens up to become a stable. The stable stayed on our hearth, and every morning Grace was so excited to see what new character she would get to open and hold on to while we read their story and then would excitedly say “stable?” when we were done. She would then go put the wooden piece in the stable where it belonged. Not gonna lie…this activity brought tears to this Mama’s eyes seeing how reverent she was about her stable and the characters. Remember we have a nativity set she was able to play with everyday, yet for some reason the Donkey in the Living Room nativity was a very special thing for Grace, and will most definitely be a lasting tradition in our home.
As you can see we totally missed doing an activity with our Focus letter and guess what…this Mama has no guilt for that mishap because we had so much fun making memories with Grace and that was the most important thing. There will be plenty of time to focus on the letter C and all the other letters for that matter. We had a wonderful Christmas season celebrating with friends and family and starting some new traditions, and we sincerely hope all of you did as well!
If you’d like to see a sample of how I currently plan out themes for a week check out the Tot School Schedule 🍒 v2.0 page!
You can still see our original Tot School Schedule by visiting the Tot School Schedule 🍍 v1.0 page.
You can also see a list of this year’s themes on the 2019 Tot School Themes ☂️ page.
You can find all our daily songs, their tunes and lyrics by visiting our Tot School Songs 🎵 page.
Want even more resources for Tot School? Check out our Tot School Resources Page 📚 for some of our favorites!
EVERYDAY a little Grace 🌷