Traditions and plans for January

After a wonderful holiday season, January is the month for inspiring reflection in many areas. While I firmly believe that resolutions can be made at any time, there is something about a new year that inspires me to really think about things and get moving. It is usually the month that I am the most productive on my Project List (which I talked about yesterday).

This month I am also working on some trouble areas in my home. Purging and rearranging office and craft supplies is at the top of the list. I also need to spend some time in my girls closet (the current drop space for anything that doesn’t have a home), and take stock of what we have and need for baby boy items.

Our family celebrates two birthdays in January. My birthday is usually a low-key event, which is fine with me. I am happy with dinner at a restaurant, and a cheesecake for dessert. I usually choose a no-bake jello cheesecake mix from a box, which is inexpensive and tasty.

We also celebrate Anwyn’s birthday in January. She was born on Christmas Day, and we were convinced pretty quickly that celebrating a birthday on Christmas Day is not the best idea. Who wants to eat birthday cake on Christmas Day????? So now on December 25th we will tell her Happy Birthday, but January 25th is really her special day. She gets to pick the dinner that night, and that is when we will do gifts and parties, etc.

This year she is reaching the double-digit milestone for her birthday. It seems like we should do something significant this year, but I am not sure what. Perhaps a giant list of  “10 things we love about you” posted on her bedroom door? We are contemplating a decathlon themed party–10  stations/games/along the lines of minute-to-win-it?? I suggested ice cream with 10 kinds of toppings but she didn’t like that idea. I would love to hear your ideas for celebrating a double-digit birthday.

Reading books: You can find our snowy book list here.

Family Home Evening: this month we are focusing on our family theme for 2015, found in Helaman 5:12.

What traditions and plans do you have for January?

Snowy books to read in January

In January we like to read books about snow, especially since we won’t actually see any of the white stuff where we live in Florida. Hands down my favorite is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, but there are a lot of great books to choose from. Here is what we are reading this month:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara

It’s Snowing! It’s Snowing! Winter poems by Jack Prelutsky

Snowbots by Aaron Reynolds

The Snowman books by Caralyn Buehner: Snowman at Night, Snowmen All Year, Snowmen at Work, etc

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Thomas’ Snowsuit by Robert Munsch

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

The Mitten by Jan Brett

You can also check out my snowy book lists from years past: 2014, 2013 2012

What is your favorite snow book?

Snowy activities for January fun

As I mentioned in this post, my preschool theme for my children in the month of January is always SNOW. Today I am sharing some of the snow-themed activities we have done (or still will do) this month.

*Side note about the activities: In December I discovered something interesting. That month I made a list of the December craft activities and games that we wanted to do. I created a very simple advent countdown (think super simple here–I stuck six clothespins on the wall and then wrote the activities on red and green paper). The children took turns choosing an activity to do each day, and when we ran out I just added more activities to the clothespins.

This system worked so well for us! My 5-year old can often be heard “What are we going to do?” If I tell her “We are going to … (insert random craft activity)” she is often resistant to the idea. But when she gets to pick the activity from the wall (even when she can’t read and is just randomly selecting a piece of paper), then she is always happy to participate.IMG_9896

So I decided to continue the clothespin system into January, just changing the color of the paper. We don’t do an activity every day (probably 3-4 a week). But so far it is working well for us. I plan a list of activities in advance (most only take 20 minutes (or longer if the kids are really interested), all can be done with minimal prep and supplies I have on hand, and the kids have the freedom of selecting which activity we do. It’s a win-win situation for us!

S0…here are the snowy activities on our list for January.

Read The Snowy Day. Conduct an ice melting science experiment: sugar, salt, mitten, control (more details here from Joyfully Weary).

Make snowflakes using coffee filter papers.

Play a snowflake match game (snowflakes available in this packet here from Confessions of a Homeschooler).

Read Thomas’ Snowsuit. Have a winter dress relay race. Then do a snowball relay race (transfer cotton balls on a spoon to a bowl across the room).

Read Snowmen All Year. Make a shape snowman (more details here from Preschool Alphabet).IMG_9895Make snowflakes with marshmallows and toothpicks

Decorate popsicle stick snowflakes–use glitter.IMG_9892

Read Snowman at Night. Make a toilet paper night snowman (more details here from No Time for Flashcards).IMG_9894

Play with shaving cream in a dish. Pretend it is snow.

S is for Snowman preschool packet (download the packet here from Confessions of a Homeschooler).IMG_9897

Activities still to do

Play and learn with Arctic Animals games (download the game here from File Folder Fun)

Melting candy cane experiments (more details here from Teach Mama-technically not a snowy activity, but a great activity to do with the leftover Christmas candy canes!)

Make a snowman out of felt shapes.

Make crystallized snowflakes using borax (more details here from Silver and Chalk).

Make a snowman from a top-down perspective (more details here).

Snowflake painting using painters tape (more details here from Little Page Turners)

Snowy books to read in January

The theme of my preschool activities with my children during the month of January is always SNOW! There are a number of great snow picture books available, and here are a few of my favorites (note–I get all of these from my local library each January).

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner

479_original_1The Snowmen books are great fun. This month we have been reading Snowmen at Night, Snowmen all Year, and Snowmen at Work. The text of the books is good, but the fun thing is that each page contains hidden pictures (a cat, two ducks, a santa face, a t-rex, etc). The hidden pictures keep the children engaged in the book for a longer period of time.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

thesnowyday_custom-8ebc3ef66545745e1f433998f34758745d33c933-s6-c10-1This will always be a favorite with me!

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

bentleyA great book for learning more about and enjoying the beauty of snowflakes. We also enjoyed looking at the pictures in the non-fiction book, The Snowflake: Winter’s Secret Beauty.

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London

Froggy’s misadventures are always hilarious to children.

Stella Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay

A funny story about a wise older sister who has all the answers to her younger brother’s questions about snow.

Thomas’ Snowsuit by Robert Munsch

This book makes me glad that we don’t live in a cold climate where we have to wear snowsuits!

New titles discovered and enjoyed this year include:

Millions of Snowflakes  by Mary McKenna Siddels

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Snowbaby Could Not Sleep by Kara LaReau