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Calendar of the Season

December 2018

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  • Chanukah Also known as the Festival of Lights, Chanukah starts at sundown today and lasts for eight days. It is a Jewish celebration of religious freedom based on historical events of more than two thousand years ago. It is traditional to exchange gifts or gelt (Yiddish for money) in the form of real coins or chocolate wrapped in gold foil, to play a game of put-and-take with a four-sided top called a dreidel, and to light candles each night. Traditional foods include donuts and potato pancakes.
  • Puppets! Puppets are a wonderful way to enjoy art and drama and to develop language skills. They can be used with all ages of children. The youngest children can watch you perform and talk to the puppet. Starting at about age 3 the children can help make the puppets and put on simple "shows." You can make a puppet from almost anything. To read some great ideas on how to to get you started, click here.
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  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month This is a good time to check toys for broken parts, sharp edges and loose pieces that could be swallowed by very young children. If you are choosing a holiday gift for children you care for, make sure any toy is age appropriate and cannot harm the child. Getting children to help put toys away is another way to be safe around toys. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to check for recalled toys.
    Click Here
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  • Fun with Gingerbread! Gingerbread is an important part of holiday celebrations in countries around the world. The story of the Gingerbread Boy has been retold in many versions. It might be fun to make some gingerbread cookies and read the story.
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  • Monkey Day A day for monkeying about, Monkey Day is celebrated across the world by acting like monkeys, but has a more serious undertone about raising awareness of the theory of evolution, medical research and animal rights.
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  • Wright brother’s first flight In 1903 Orville and Wilbur flew their plane for 12 seconds.

    Make paper airplanes with the children and see if they can fly that long! Click here for instructions.
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  • Make your own play dough! Play dough is the perfect modeling material for children. Their small hands can pat, poke, pinch, roll and knead it into many shapes. Keep it in an airtight container to use another day, or let it dry into favorite shapes. It can be painted when dry. To learn how to make no cook play dough, click here.
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  • First day of winter Animals handle cold winter weather in a variety of ways. Some travel to a warmer climate. Others grow thicker fur coats so they can stay warm and active during the winter. Many animals hibernate during the coldest weather – they spend the warmer months eating and storing as much body fat as they can and then live off this extra weight as they sleep.

    Learn about hibernation as winter starts.
  • Lady Bird Johnson’s birthday Lady Bird Johnson was the wife of Lyndon Johnson who was president of the United States in the 1960s. She worked hard to protect natural habitats and especially wild flowers. She helped to create the Wildflower Center in Texas. You and the children can add color to this winter day by coloring pictures of wild flowers.

    Visit this link for a list of wild flowers to choose from.
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  • Christmas! Every family and culture has their own Christmas traditions. Try some of these ideas with the children:
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  • Kwanzaa This festive, non-religious African-American celebration was started in 1966. It lasts for seven days. On each day a candle is lit and the day focuses on one of seven principles: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.

    Visit this link to find Kwanzaa coloring pages for children.
  • Visit a Zoo Day Visit the local zoo or make your own with stuffed or plastic animals and blocks, or create a paper zoo.

    Visit this link to find zoo coloring pages for children then go to the library and find books about zoo animals.
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  • Bicarbonate of Soda Day Bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda, has many household uses including cooking, cleaning and medical uses. But it can also be used for a very simple and fun science experiment suitable for children ages 7 and older. To learn how to make a Baking Soda Volcano, click here.
  • New Year’s Eve The last day of the year is a good time to think about how to make the next year better. You and the children can choose simple "New Year Resolutions." Or create a keepsake of the year that is ending by making a time capsule or a scrapbook of memories. Include what are cool slang words, popular activities, clothes, games, names of popular songs or games, and a picture of the hottest toy. If you are making a time capsule, put a date on it and decide when they will open it – in a year, 5 or even 10. Don't forget to include a photo of you and the children!

    Tomorrow, the first day of the New Year, is a federal holiday. In some communities there are New Year celebrations and some families visit each other for New Year's Day brunch.
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"The flexibility the program affords us is outstanding. With other child care options, I always felt I was accommodating their schedule instead of my own."

Jill, host parent
New Jersey

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