With two weeks left until Halloween, the last place I want to be is anywhere that sells Halloween costumes. I don’t need to leave the house to hear the sounds of chaos or multiple children pleading for something they don’t need all at the same time. But don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER excited for Halloween and to share a few more costume ideas that you can make for your whole family, still in time for Halloween!
There are few things cuter than baby hands or feet. I can’t get enough of the way those little toes curl or the way those little hands clap with glee or manipulate things around them. Ok, except for the hair grabbing, poking me in the eye, or trying to pull off parts of my body like a nose or nipple… yikes! But seriously, those sweet toes and fingers are the cutest torture devices that exist.
Because they’ll grow way too fast and because messy play is so much fun, why not create some keepsake crafts to decorate with during the holiday season, using those adorable hands and feet!
It’s always magical to see children learning from a young age to appreciate and celebrate their heritage as well as the diverse heritage of others. I’m one of those people who loves the word diverse, y mas en español, diverso, porque todo suena mejor en español. I can’t help but mention here that I recently had a conversation with a man who shuddered as I described my high school alma mater as diverse. He claimed that “diverse” is a word that democrats have stolen and made dirty… don’t get me started on that. So I just want to say it again: (Dear Sir) I LOVE THE WORD “DIVERSE”!
“I don’t want to be generous,” he said as we stood in a Target aisle full of toys.
“I know, love. Being generous is hard…”
“It’s TOO hard mommy,” he interjected.
“… but it will make other people SO happy.”
“It will make other people so happy?” he said with puzzled big brown eyes, head tilted to the side.
As teachers, sometimes our hands are tied by school or district policies when it comes to exposing our little learners to cultural or religious holidays. I was always glad to be allowed to teach holidays, as long as these were taught in an all-inclusive way that made children aware of the diverse ways and days people celebrate but didn’t promote one over another.
We have made it to my favorite time of the year: The Christmas and Advent season! I recognize and respect the diversity of holidays and ways people celebrate them, but for me, it’s Christmas and there are a lot of family Christmas traditions that make me all warm and gooey inside.
As promised in Teaching Gratitude, here are some recommendations for 15 books that help accomplish just that. I spent some quality time making this list and book descriptions as useful as possible. (I hope you find it SUPER useful!) In my opinion, recommended target ages are helpful but VERY flexible, and they’ll often differ from source to source. (I cited the range I most agree with.) The books on this list can be used year-round, not solely at Thanksgiving time.
Happy reading and teaching gratitude!
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (Ages 5-8 per Scholastic)
Honestly, this book is great for all ages, as it can lead to some pretty deep reflection and conversations. I’ve also read it with great success to Pre-K students to celebrate Earth Day and discuss gratitude for and stewardship of our planet and environment.
Check out the 1973 animated short film of The Giving Tree with soothing narration from the author himself. There are some controversial interpretations of this book (which for fun, I encourage you to look into), so pre-read it and be prepared to guide the conversation in the direction that you want. Available in multiple languages, called El arbol generso in Spanish.
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr (Ages 3-6 per B&N)
A little something for everyone, but mommas will love this one: “I am thankful for walks because they are special times for just you and me.” Aw. Let me go for a walk with my kids now and cry.
November is here. Along with the holiday music and all the planning we busy ourselves with (who is hosting what and when, coordinating adorable outfits, travel plans, conniving to get people the most perfect gifts, food shopping, gift buying…is your head spinning like a dreidel yet?!?), November causes us to pause and reflect on all we are grateful for. As parents and educators, our thoughts also turn to being intentional with how we model and teach gratitude to our children.
Of course, children won’t learn to be grateful from one day, week, or even month of thanksgiving, but we can use this time to reflect on what we are doing right, what we might do better, and put some of our ideas into action.
Let’s face it. They won’t always let us do this.
As I was crafting our Halloween costumes for this year and envisioning years of such wonder, I realized that someday my three amores will have an opinion about their costumes and it probably won’t be coordinated and so innocent. Still, with the tips of my fingers burned off from hot glue gunning eyes and fuzz, I imagined that as they get older I’ll nag them to select a costume with plenty of time for me to create it for them.
Then to my horror, a little nagging voice admitted that some day they might decide to make or buy it themselves. Scary, right? I told my husband when that day comes, it will be the beginning of the end. He said “of your sanity?”. (Sweet man, you are lying to at least one of us.) I replied, “No! Of their childhood!”
Even if time is short, with some help from Amazon, Primary.com, the Goodwill store, a raid of your own closets, and a bit of easy crafting, you can still look adorable and coordinated while your sweet little ones will still let you! Felt and hot glue will be your best friends!