Making Memories with the Polar Express

Print Friendly

Making Memories with the Polar Express

As I mentioned in my review of Big Splash Adventure, we received a special deal on our room and the ability to purchase tickets for the Polar Express train ride. Our 3 year old, great-nephew had never seen Polar Express so we had a little pre-trip fun a few weeks earlier.

Before the Trip

I figured the train ride wasn’t going to be special if Jeremiah didn’t know anything about the Polar Express. We scheduled an overnight visit for a special movie viewing. For dinner I made hot dog stockings. I got the idea from Cute Food for Kids. I wanted more than just plain hot dogs. I thought it might work if I wrapped crescent rolls around them; like pigs-in-a-blanket. I was wrong. They weren’t horrible but I believe I will just use the hot dogs the next time.

Making Memories with the Polar Express: hot dog stockings

Making Memories with the Polar Express: hot dog stockings

I decorated Jeremiah’s chocolate milk container and cups for our popcorn to look like snowmen. I got both of those ideas from Creative Kid Snacks: Snowman Milk Chugs & Snowman Popcorn Cups.

Making Memories with the Polar Express: snowman milk and popcorn cups

Making Memories with the Polar Express: snowman milk and popcorn cups

Making Memories with the Polar Express: strawberry Santas

Making Memories with the Polar Express: strawberry Santas

Jeremiah helped me make fruit Santas. He loves to help me cook and create in the kitchen. We made these cute little Santa Strawberries I found them on Pinterest which says they came from the Wholesome Cook. I tried using tiny chocolate chips for eyes but I really think they are too big. Next time I may try chocolate sprinkles.

We also made Santa-kabobs. (I renamed them) They are actually called Grinch Kabobs by Nourishing Minimalism. I changed the name because we were watching a movie about Santa not the Grinch. I use plastic, coffee stir sticks for my skewers. They seem to be safer than a sharp stick for little hands and mouths.

Making Memories with the Polar Express: creating Santa kabobs

Making Memories with the Polar Express: creating Santa kabobs

We gathered the food, changed into our pajamas, turned off the lights and settled in to watch The Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks. If you have never seen the movie, it’s about a little boy that can’t decide if he still believes Santa is real. A mysterious train shows up in the street right outside his front door, on Christmas Eve. It’s there to pick him up, along with other children, and take him to the North Pole. I’m not very fond of the animation. It’s a little strange, to me, but I really enjoy the storyline. There are plenty of laughs and plenty of action. And something I am quite fond of, lots of music.

Jeremiah enjoyed the movie and the special food; especially the Santa kabobs. He ate at least six of them. We didn’t tell him anything about our plans for the following weekend. Since he is only 3 years old, his concept of time is a bit askew. When he knows there are plans coming up with us, he drives his mom nuts, daily, asking if we are there to pick him up.

One of the other things I did, in preparation for the trip, was purchase a MP3 of the soundtrack from the Polar Express. We love to listen to music in the car so I thought this would be another good way to expose him to the music and story of the Polar Express.

The Announcement

We were able to have an extended weekend with Jeremiah, which worked out nicely. We picked him up Friday evening and didn’t get him back home until Monday evening. Our reservations at the Big Splash Adventure and for the Polar Express train ride were for Sunday night; which meant we had several opportunities to listen to our Polar Express soundtrack. Jeremiah likes to sing along, which is absolutely adorable. Of course, I sing along with him.

We waited until Saturday morning to tell Jeremiah about our trip and the ride on the Polar Express. I wish I had taken a video of his expression when we told him. As he began to understand what we had just revealed to him, his eyes grew wide and what started out as a sweet little grin soon grew into a huge smile that brightened his whole face.

Jeremiah is a thinker. That is why we told him a little early about the ride on the Polar Express. I knew his little mind would go to work and he would probably have some questions. Sure enough, within just a couple of minutes, he asked, “Will we go on the ice?”

If you are unfamiliar with the movie, there is a scene where the train tracks are frozen under several feet of ice. The train can’t stop before it hits the ice which results in it sliding and spinning across the frozen lake. We assured Jeremiah that it was too warm for ice and we would be just fine.

Preparing for the Ride

When you go to the Polar Express website, they encourage the children to wear pajamas (like the children in the video). Parents are welcome to join in the fun and wear their pajamas too. Well, I’m just a big kid so I bought us all pajamas that matched (as closely as I could get them).
We dressed in our pajamas and our slippers and got ready for our adventure.

There are a few mistakes that I made and I want to share those with you so you can be a bit more prepared than I was.

1.  This was my first visit to the French Lick Scenic Railway. I thought there would be a depot for us to wait in until it was time to board the train. That was mistake #1. There were a couple of tents set up with different activities but no actual building.

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Activity Tents

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Activity Tents

Making Memories with the Polar Express: It rained...a lot!

Making Memories with the Polar Express: It rained…a lot!

2.  Pay attention to the weather report then dress and prepare accordingly. Because of the incorrect assumption, under #1, we were not prepared for the rain…not just a little rain…a ton of rain. By the time we walked from the car to the tents, stood in water and puddles (as it ran through the tents), then walked (through the rain) to our passenger car (which of course was the last one), our slippers were soaked! To add insult to injury, we didn’t have any umbrellas. I hate umbrellas. I feel I get wetter from the water dripping off the edges than I do just walking through the rain. In this instance, I really wish I had an umbrella.

I hope I haven’t given you the idea that this ruined our experience because it didn’t! I just wanted to give you a heads up so you don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

The Train Ride

Now for the fun stuff; the ride itself. I don’t know if Jeremiah could have been anywhere nearly as excited as I was. I was excited to experience the Polar Express and I was excited to witness Jeremiah enjoying it.

As we reached our passenger car, the conductor was standing there in the rain to greet us. We boarded and found our seats. I kept hold of the tickets until the conductor came by to punch them. Then we each handed the conductor our individual ticket. He punched it until it “snowed” little dots all over us.

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Conductor & tickets

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Conductor & tickets

The music from the Polar Express soundtrack played over the speakers. As the train started to move out of the station, we were introduced to the elves that would be serving and entertaining us. They were so cute and bubbly.

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Our elves

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Our elves

During our ride to the North Pole, the Polar Express story was read. The conductor came by a couple of times to show us the pictures in the book. At the appropriate times in the story, the elves would come out and sing with us.

Making Memories with the Polar Express

Making Memories with the Polar Express

One of my favorite songs is Hot Chocolate. I bet you will never guess what happened when they sang that one. Yes, we each got a cup of hot chocolate and then they brought us a Christmas cookie! Yum!

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Hot chocolate and cookies

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Hot chocolate and cookies

Thank goodness the family sitting in front of us had been on this adventure before. If something was said to give us a hint of what was about to happen, I missed it. But the family in front of us, got up and started frantically cleaning the fog off their windows. They did tell all of us that we needed to start watching out the windows on the right side of the train. We cleaned off our windows and started watching. Before we knew it, Christmas lights appeared on several buildings and there in front of one of the building stood…..none other than Santa Claus and some elves. We had reached the North Pole! I have a confession to make here and now…I am a sentimental sap…I teared up at the sight of them (and I’m tearing up again, just writing about the experience).

As we pull into the North Pole, the train came to a stop. We didn’t get off but someone special boarded the train. Can you guess who it was!?!

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Santa

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Santa

Yes-siree! It was the jolly man, himself, Santa Claus. He entered from the back of our car so Jeremiah didn’t see him but when we said, “Jeremiah! Look who just got on the train. It’s Santa Claus!”

He scampered up onto the seat and peered to the back of the car. He was so excited. He asked, “Is Santa going to come see me?”

We told Jeremiah that he was, but Santa had to greet all the children on his way up to us. Now, I wasn’t really sure how Jeremiah was going to handle meeting Santa because he had been kind of bashful during the trip so far. We tried to get him to move to the aisle so he could see better, but we wanted to stay between window and me or between my husband and me.

He watched as Santa worked his way up the aisle. When it was Jeremiah’s turn there was no problem getting him into the aisle. He rushed out and hugged Santa’s legs. Santa picked him right up. They had their picture taken together (which I haven’t received yet but I will add it when it comes in) and Santa gave him something special.

If you haven’t seen Polar Express, you might not know what the gift was so I will tell you. One of the themes of the movie is that anyone that no longer believes in Santa can’t hear the Christmas bells. So Jeremiah’s gift from Santa was a beautiful silver bell. I will tell you right here and now that all of us could hear the bell, because we believe in Santa Claus.

Making Memories with the Polar Express: jingle bell and hot chocolate

Making Memories with the Polar Express: jingle bell and hot chocolate

The ride from the North Pole back to French Lick was filled with singing and dancing. Jeremiah finally got comfortable enough to go out into the aisle and dance with the elves.

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Dancing with elves

Making Memories with the Polar Express: Dancing with elves

It was a magical night where memories were made. Sweet Dreams!

Making Memories with the Polar Express: sweet dreams

Making Memories with the Polar Express: sweet dreams

Has your family ever been on a Polar Express train ride? If so, I would love to hear about your adventure.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for the post. I just wanted to share the fun we had and give you some ideas as to how you could recreate it. There are a few affiliate links throughout the post.

Click on an item below to learn more about how to make or purchase it (affiliate links included):

The Polar Express
Polar Express CD & mp3
The Polar Express storybook
Plastic, coffee stir sticks
Hot dog stockings
Snowman milk chugs
Snowman popcorn cups
Santa strawberries
Grinch kabobs (or Santa kabobs)

Related Posts

Big Splash Adventure Review
Jolly Days Winter Wonderland Review
Review: Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo
Review – Christmas on Monument Circle, Indianapolis

Posted in Christmas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

December Family Friendly Events 2014

Print Friendly

December Family Friendly Events 2014

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year. It brings so many happy memories of childhood and the anticipation of Christmas morning. I have found quite a few family friendly events for you and your family to enjoy during this blessed month.

If you are wanting to cut your own tree and haven’t done so yet, I have listed some of the area Christmas tree farms. Even if you all ready have your tree, they have lots of fun activities going on, at these farms, so be sure to check them out.

And if you find activities or tree farms that I haven’t listed please leave a comment so I can add them.

Have a wonderful and blessed holiday and remember that Jesus is the real reason for celebration. God bless you and your households.

Christmas Tree Farms

Dull’s Tree Farm Thorntown, IN
Evan’s Whispering Pines Danville, IN
Jay’s Tree Farm Mooresville, IN
Piney Acres Fortville,
Stonycreek Farm Noblesville, IN

 

December 19
Friday

Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 20
Saturday

Family Friendly Events: Bongo Boy Music School

Family Friendly Events: Bongo Boy Music School


Kid’s Rhythm Club – Shake, Rattle & Roll – for ages from the Womb to 36 Months
Bongo Boys Music School has added a new event! Shake, Rattle & Roll for the little ones in your family. You are never too young (or too old) to get your groove on. All materials, instruments & drums will be provided by Bongo Boy Music School and REMO.
Bongo Boy Music School
8481 Bash St. Suite 1100
Indianapolis, IN 46250
(Located in the Castleton Area about .3 miles north of 82nd street on Bash St.)
9:30 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.
$5.00 per child (Parent’s are free)

Kid’s Rhythm Club for Ages 3 – 12 yrs old
Do your children love beating on pots and pans?…using your end table as a drum? Check out the Kid’s Rhythm Club at Bongo Boy Music School every Saturday. Children will explore rhythm making and rhythm making games. Recommended ages are for kids 3-12 but all ages are welcome. Older kids and parents play supportive rhythms while younger kids explore rhythm on various instruments. Parents must stay with their children and are encouraged to participate.
Bongo Boy Music School
8481 Bash St. Suite 1100
Indianapolis, IN 46250
(Located in the Castleton Area about .3 miles north of 82nd street on Bash St.)
10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
$5.00 per child (Parent’s are free)

Free crafts for kids every Saturday at the Lakeshore Learning Store. This Saturday your child will be able to make a beautiful card holder. Lakeshore is an Educational Store that has wonderful toys and craft supplies for use at home or in the classroom.
1300 E. 86th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46240
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Free

The Artsgarden, of Indianapolis, is a wonderful place to take the kids to expose them to all types of free cultural events. It is a very informal atmosphere so feel free to stop in for a few minutes or stay for a whole performance. The Indianapolis Artsgarden stands 17 feet above the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets and connects to Circle Centre Mall. Today you will be able to enjoy the Indianapolis Youth Wind Ensemble at 12:00 p.m.
Free

Family Friendly Events: Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

Family Friendly Events: Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo


Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 21
Sunday

Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 22
Monday

Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 23
Tuesday

Family Friendly Events: Christmas at the Zoo

Family Friendly Events: Christmas at the Zoo


Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 26
Friday

Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 27
Saturday

Kid’s Rhythm Club – Shake, Rattle & Roll – for ages from the Womb to 36 Months
Bongo Boys Music School has added a new event! Shake, Rattle & Roll for the little ones in your family. You are never too young (or too old) to get your groove on. All materials, instruments & drums will be provided by Bongo Boy Music School and REMO.
Bongo Boy Music School
8481 Bash St. Suite 1100
Indianapolis, IN 46250
(Located in the Castleton Area about .3 miles north of 82nd street on Bash St.)
9:30 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.
$5.00 per child (Parent’s are free)

Kid’s Rhythm Club for Ages 3 – 12 yrs old
Do your children love beating on pots and pans?…using your end table as a drum? Check out the Kid’s Rhythm Club at Bongo Boy Music School every Saturday. Children will explore rhythm making and rhythm making games. Recommended ages are for kids 3-12 but all ages are welcome. Older kids and parents play supportive rhythms while younger kids explore rhythm on various instruments. Parents must stay with their children and are encouraged to participate.
Bongo Boy Music School
8481 Bash St. Suite 1100
Indianapolis, IN 46250
(Located in the Castleton Area about .3 miles north of 82nd street on Bash St.)
10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
$5.00 per child (Parent’s are free)

Free crafts for kids every Saturday at the Lakeshore Learning Store. This Saturday your child will be able to create a New Year’s Noise Maker. Lakeshore is an Educational Store that has wonderful toys and craft supplies for use at home or in the classroom.
1300 E. 86th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46240
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Free

Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 28
Sunday

Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 29
Monday

Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

December 30
Tuesday

Christmas at the Zoo
This is such a beautiful time of year at the zoo. Stop by and enjoy the beautiful displays of Christmas lights and some of the cool weather animals. You will be able to see animals in action that usually don’t do much during the hot summer months. Enjoy seeing the polar bear, seals, walrus, tigers and brown bears playing in the cool weather.
Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
The zoo opens at noon but there are special holiday activities from 5:00 – 9:00 each night

 

 

Posted in Attractions and Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland Review

Print Friendly

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland Review

On Saturday, November 22, my husband, oldest daughter and great-nephew decided to head to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Even though it was on my November Family Friendly Events calendar, I totally forgot that it was the opening of Jolly Days Winter Wonderland. I was excited because I had never been to a Jolly Days’ event.

The lobby area is so festive with its snowflakes, over-sized snow globes and two-story Yule Slide.

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Two-Story Yule Slide!?! Oh, yes! Jeremiah was pretty excited about it too. Heather took him up and got in line.
Heather and Jeremiah waiting in line

My husband and I stood at the bottom to get pictures. It looks like so much fun.

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland: Yule Slide

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland: Yule Slide

I really want to try it sometime. I guess we will have to make another trip back there. You are never too old for the Yule Slide.

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland: Snow Castle

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland: Snow Castle

 

 

There are so many fun activities to participate in. Your child can “skate” in his/her socks on the special “ice” rink. There is a place for a fun snowball fight. The snowball fight is set for certain times so be sure to check out the schedule so you don’t miss it. The Snow Castle is beautiful but you can’t climb on it if you are too big. It has a slide too but it’s much smaller than the Yule Slide.

 

 

 

Jeremiah’s favorite part was the “ice” fishing. He spent a lot of time at each of the holes. He hooked quite a few.

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland: Ice Fishing

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland: Ice Fishing

We missed the area where you could “bake” holiday treats. I guess we will have to go back and visit.

There was one more thing we missed. We were too early for Santa’s arrival. He didn’t arrive until the 28th of November. He is there now so that’s one more reason we need to make another trip to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland: Santa's Place

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland: Santa’s Place

Have you made it to Jolly Days Winter Wonderland? What is your favorite part? Be watching for me on the Yule Slide. I’m gonna get my turn!

Related Posts

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo Review
Review – Christmas on Monument Circle, Indianapolis

Posted in Christmas, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Big Splash Adventure Review

Print Friendly

Big Splash Adventure Review

Disclaimer: I was given 4 day passes to Big Splash Adventure in order to conduct my review. However, I was not influenced by the promotional materials. All opinions and insights are my own.

I have been trying to get to Big Splash Adventure, in French Lick, Indiana, for over a year now. This past weekend we loaded up our 3 year old great-nephew and headed out on our adventure.

It was rainy and dreary outside, so I didn’t get any outdoor pictures, but it was warm and inviting inside. The lobby is decorated with children in mind.

Big Splash Adventure: Registration Desk

Big Splash Adventure: Registration Desk

There are a couple of activities for the children to participate in while registering.

Big Splash Adventure: Lobby Area

Big Splash Adventure: Lobby Area

It’s was the weekend before Thanksgiving so they had all ready started decorating for Christmas. Children could even get their pictures taken with Santa Claus during special hours. We got a little busy with our activities and forgot to stop by and get Jeremiah’s picture taken.

Big Splash Adventure: Christmas at the water park

Big Splash Adventure: Christmas at the water park

 

Big Splash Adventure

Big Splash Adventure

While you are registering, make sure everybody stays close because each person will need to come to the counter and have their special bracelet put on them. This was my first experience with this type of system and I loved it. The bracelet not only got us into the water park but it was also our room key and our ticket to the free breakfast buffet.

Our hotel room was clean and spacious. This was Jeremiah’s first stay in a hotel and he wasn’t really on board with the idea at first. He was worried about our home without us there. The things he comes up with just makes me smile.

Big Splash Adventure: inside hotel room

Big Splash Adventure: inside hotel room

Jeremiah was aware that we were there to go to the water park so he was ready to get his trunks on and head to the Adventure. We had taken him to a water park just a few weeks prior to this trip but it was nothing like Big Splash Adventure. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so let me just show you some of the awesome water activities you can enjoy.

Buccaneer Bay

This is a three story structure with ten platforms and nearly 50 interactive play features.

Big Splash Adventure: Buccaneer Bay

Big Splash Adventure: Buccaneer Bay

Buccaneer Bay has two slides. There are no height restrictions for this area so everyone can enjoy it. This was Jeremiah’s favorite section.

Big Splash Adventure: Jeremiah's favorite slide

Big Splash Adventure: Jeremiah’s favorite slide

Splish Splash Pool

This area is for the little swimmers. Children must be less than 40″ tall to play in here. There is a slide and some really fun tree bouncers for the little ones to relax in.

Big Splash Adventure: Splish Splash Pool

Big Splash Adventure: Splish Splash Pool

Lost River

One of my favorite spots was the Lost River. I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time in there. Jeremiah wasn’t too crazy about it. He was small enough that he had to wear a life jacket. For smaller children on the Lost River, there are special tubes that have bottoms in them so they can basically sit on top of them as they ride around.

Big Splash Adventure: Lost River

Big Splash Adventure: Lost River

Pirates Plunder, Scallywag Scuttle & Silver Beard’s Revenge

These 3 slides were too big for Jeremiah and my husband and I are not that adventurous anymore so we didn’t go down them. Although, they look like they they would be a lot of fun. You can learn more about each of them by clicking on their names above.

Big Splash Adventure: Big Slides

Big Splash Adventure: Big Slides

You can bring your own towels, if you would like, but Big Splash Adventure has towels right there for you to use. That was a great amenity because now all I had to worry about was getting wet suits home not wet bulky towels too.

Right outside, and connected to the water park, is a snack bar and arcade. As a matter of fact, you have to pass through the snack bar to enter the water park. You could order burgers, hotdogs, pizza and other items. It was convenient because you could order and eat in your swimming suits. You could take the food back into the water park and eat poolside or sit in the snack bar. It’s a bit noisy in the water park, with all the running water, so we chose to stay in the snack area. You can only carry food and drinks you bought at the snack bar into the water park but if you have one of their hotel rooms you could keep your own food in there. The hotel, water park and a couple of dining areas are all connected so you never have to leave the building once you enter.

We decided to go for a bit more substantial meal on Sunday so we visited the Boatyard Restaurant. It sits on the main floor just off the lobby. Pat and I shared a ribeye steak, baked potato and tossed salad. Jeremiah chose a grilled cheese sandwich and applesauce. We were all very pleased with our meals. The waitress was very sweet and the atmosphere was quite relaxing.

Big Splash Adventure: The Boatyard Restaurant

Big Splash Adventure: The Boatyard Restaurant

Between the lobby and the Boatyard Restaurant is a little gift shop called the Seaside Market. It has a lot of cute little water and beach themed trinkets, as well as souvenir t-shirts. If you forgot and left the kids swimsuits at home, you can pick up some of those too.

As soon as Jeremiah’s feet hit the floor, Monday morning, he was ready to head to the water park. We insisted on breakfast first, both for nutrition and energy. Although, Jeremiah does not lack energy! The breakfast buffet is included in the price of the hotel stay. In case you have any preconceived ideas, this is NOT one of those “continental” breakfasts you find at other hotels. This is an honest to goodness breakfast buffet. Items on the buffet included biscuits and sausage gravy, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, crispy fried potatoes, pancakes, french toast sticks, oatmeal and toast. There was also a line with dry cereals and fruit. We had orange juice, white milk and chocolate milk to drink, which was served by our waitress. The total of our breakfast bill came to $0 but we were sure to leave our waitress a tip for taking care of our drinks and checking on us.

Big Splash Adventure: Breakfast Buffet

Big Splash Adventure: Breakfast Buffet

I thought that the prices seemed kind of high for staying in the hotel, but when I was breaking down all you get, it’s actually an awesome deal. There are several packages that include 2 days at the waterpark and the free breakfast buffet for 4 people. If you figure what it would cost to go to the park for 2 days ($21.95 per adult per day) and I estimated what a breakfast buffet would cost elsewhere (approx. $8 a person), you would be spending next to nothing for the actual room.

Big Splash Adventure has many special activities and pricing throughout the year so keep an eye on their website. We happened to catch special pricing on a Sunday/Monday stay which included the ability to purchase tickets for the Polar Express Train Ride. By the way, I had all ready checked the Polar Express website and found out that they were sold out for this year. The only tickets available were through some of the local hotels, which included Big Splash Adventure. You will hear more about that part of our weekend in a future post.

In summary, our weekend was a blast. Everywhere we went things were clean and tidy. The staff was polite and friendly. If you are planning a vacation, to Indiana, or a staycation, I would recommend checking out Big Splash Adventure and all the great things the French Lick area has to offer.

Related Posts

Indy Island Aquatic Center Review

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Santa Claus Debate

Print Friendly

The Santa Claus Debate

The Santa Claus Debate: Does your family include Santa in your holiday celebrations?

The Santa Claus Debate: Does your family include Santa in your holiday celebrations?

Whether to let your child believe in Santa Claus or not has been a big discussion among the Christian community for quite a while and thus started the Santa Debate.

I grew up in a Christian home, went to a Bible teaching church and a Christian high school. I ran into a lot of people that didn’t want their children believing in Santa Claus. The household I grew up in, and the household I raised my children in, were not among the Santa unbelievers.

As a Christian, I believe that the main emphasis of the Christmas season should be honoring and celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that the important lesson from the season is the lesson of giving. During this time of the year, we should be finding ways to give of ourselves, expecting nothing in return. Much like God did when He gave us His precious Son, Jesus.

Jesus was the center of our Christmas season but we also believed in Santa Claus. Children believe in a lot of things when they are young that they will eventually out grow. They believe in monsters under their beds, that they will never ever want to leave home, and little girls believe they will grow up and marry their daddies. I do not believe it is harmful to let children believe in these things when they are young, but how you handle it when they start asking questions can be the tricky part.

I appreciate the way my mother handled the questions. She wouldn’t lie to us, but rather ask us questions to find out what we believed (and probably more importantly, what we wanted to believe).

When we would go to her and ask, “Is Santa real?” She would ask us, “What do you think?” Then we would have a discussion about it. Once your child gets old enough to look you in the face and ask if you are Santa, then its time to tell the truth. Of course, if you think they are still too young to tell them the truth about Santa you can try a few questions first like, “What do you think?” If they say they don’t believe you could be Santa, they will probably give you reasons like, “You couldn’t be Santa because you don’t have a sleigh.” If they give you an answer like that, then they probably aren’t ready to give up the idea of Santa but if they say something more like, “I think you are Santa because I saw some of the same toys that Santa brought in the back of your closet.” Then the jig is up and you should tell them the truth.

I was somewhere around seven or eight years old when I had to face the realization that my parents were Santa Claus. My mom thinks that I had all ready figured it out but I was enjoying the fantasy. It was my younger sister that brought the fantasy to an end. She was between three and four years old. She went to our mom, looked her in the eyes and said, “Tell me the truth! Are you and daddy Santa Claus?” Well, with a straightforward question like that mom had no choice but to tell her. Mom says that based on the reaction I had towards my little sister, I must have all ready suspected that they were acting as Santa Claus. I took my sister back to our bedroom and with tears running down my face I said, “Now you blew it!”

Other than being upset at my sister for blowing Christmas and Santa for me, I reacted pretty much the same as the boy talked about in the blog post, “Do You Still Believe in Santa?” I was quite impressed and thankful for all that my parents had done for us and given us, without any recognition. For all those years, the love and gratitude for most of the presents had gone to Santa Claus. Now I was realizing that it was mom and dad that had spent all that money and had stayed up most of the night putting together toys and setting them around the Christmas tree.

My parents were wonderful in the fact that even though we now knew the truth as to who Santa really was, he still came to visit as long as we wanted to “believe”. We did the same thing for our children. “Santa” wasn’t quite as extravagant in the years after the truth was revealed, but he still brought a few things and filled stockings.

Right now “Santa” only brings a few things for my husband and my stocking since the children are now grown and gone. Yes, I still believe in Santa Claus and I still enjoy being Santa Claus. I’m sure that I always will.

Related Posts:

The True Meaning of Christmas
Christmas Angels to Laugh and Learn With
The Christmas Star
Love to Learn About the Nativity

Posted in Articles, Christmas | Tagged , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The True Meaning of Christmas

Print Friendly

As I stated in my post, The Santa Claus Debate, although we included Santa in our Christmas celebrations, he was not the center of our Christmas holiday. Teaching our children the spiritual meaning behind the season was what we focused on. My posts for December are going to include different symbols of Christmas and their spiritual meanings. I will include crafts and books that you can use to make the learning fun.

As I was doing research for my different lessons, I found this story and thought it summed everything up very well. If you are not including Santa in your Christmas celebrations you could easily tell this story without putting Santa in it. If you need help with that, just let me know and I could edit it for you.

This story would make a great object lesson too. Find a very small table-top tree and purchase the different items that are talked about. We have stores here in Indiana where you can buy things for just $1. You could find most of the items for this story at one of those stores. The children could then help out in the telling of the story by pulling the different items out of a bag and adding them to the tree.

Have fun celebrating this very special time of year with your children as you teach them the true meaning of Christmas.

Teach the Children the True Meaning of Christmas

One December night, many years ago, I had just finished decorating for Christmas when I heard a noise at the front of the house. I turned on the porch light and opened the door. To my surprise just as I stepped outside, I saw Santa Claus climbing out of his sleigh. He placed his fingers over his lips, silencing me before I cried out.

“What are you doing…” I started to ask…but the words choked up in my throat as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner, the eager, boisterous soul we all know, was gone. He composed himself by clearing his throat, then answered me in a whisper. “Help teach the children.”

I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the sleigh. As I stood there bewildered, Santa stated again but more firmly, “Teach the children. Teach them the true meaning of Christmas. The meaning that has long been forgotten.”

I invited him in to warm by the fire as I tried to tell him that I wasn’t sure if I knew what he meant… when Santa reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant shiny star.

“Teach the children that the star is the heavenly sign of promise,” he said. “God sent a Savior to the world and the star was the sign of that promise being fulfilled. The countless shining stars in the heavens, one star for each person on earth, represents the hope of all mankind.”

Santa gently laid the star on the fireplace mantle and brought from the bag a bright red Christmas tree ornament.

“Teach the children that red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood that was shed for all the people by the Savior. Christ gave His life and shed His blood that every man might have God’s gift of Eternal Life. Red is deep, intense, and vivid — the richest color of all, and it is a symbol of the greatest gift from God.”

“Teach the children,” he said as he pulled a small Christmas tree from the bottom of the toy bag. He placed it near the fireplace and gently hung the red decoration on it.

“The deep green branches of this tree is a perfect background for this ornament. This is the second color of Christmas,” he continued. “The pure green color of this evergreen tree remains this color all year round. This represents the everlasting plan for mankind. Green is youthful, hopeful, and the abundant color of nature. The needles on the tree point heavenward — symbols of man’s prayers as they go toward heaven. Trees have been man’s best friends. They have sheltered him, warmed him, and made beauty for him.”

Again, he pulled something from his bag; I heard a soft tinkling sound of a bell.

“Teach the children,” he said, “that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring for every person too, that they might find their way back — it means guidance and return. It further signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord.”

As the soft sound of the bell faded, Santa lit a candle and placed it on the mantel. The soft glow from its tiny flame cast a glow about the darkened room. Odd shadowy shapes slowly danced and wove pictures upon the walls.

“Teach the children,” whispered Santa, “that at one time candles were placed on Christmas trees. They glowed brightly against the dark green branches showing man’s appreciation for the star of Bethlehem of long ago. Now, strings of colored lights have taken their place in remembrance of Christ’s birth.”

Santa turned the small Christmas tree lights on and placed a gift under the tree.

He pointed to the bow and said, “A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as all of us should be tied together, with the bonds of good will toward each other. Good will forever is the message of the bow and the gift, a gift of love.”

Santa reached for a candy cane, and held it out towards me.

“Teach the children that the cane represents The Shepherd’s staff. The crook on the staff helps bring back sheep that have strayed away from the fold. The candy cane represents the sweetness of giving not only at Christmas time, but also throughout the entire year. The spiral design is a symbol that we are, our brother’s keepers.”

Santa looked about the room, then again at the tree. His love and great feeling of satisfaction shone from his eyes. He could not help but sense the wonderment and admiration that I felt for him in my heart.

One last time, he reached into his bag and brought forth a large beautiful wreath. As he placed it on the door he spoke gently with love, “Please teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love: it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is one continuous circle that only grows greater and greater when expressed. The wreath, the circle of love, plays a double role. It is made of many things and has many colors. It reminds us of God’s unconditional love and the true reason for Christmas. Please teach the children.” (Author Unknown)

Related Posts:

The Santa Claus Debate
Christmas Angels to Laugh and Learn With
The Christmas Star
Love to Learn About the Nativity
Love to Learn the Meaning of Candy Canes for Christmas
Review – Christmas on Monument Circle, Indianapolis

 

Posted in Articles, Christmas, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Love to Learn about the Nativity

Print Friendly

Nativity Scene: A representation of the birth of Jesus, God’s Son. It usually includes Mary, Joseph, a manger with Baby Jesus, some Shepherds and animals. Sometimes you will see 3 Kings or Wisemen included in the Nativity scene even though they were not there the night of the birth.

It is a good practice to think often of the great gift God sent to us; His only son, Jesus. Not just at Christmas but all through the year. But with Christmas Eve here, what better story to share with your family than the story of the night Jesus was born. It doesn’t matter whether you read the story straight from the Bible or a simple version that will be easier for your child to understand, just be sure to remind your family what Christmas is really about.

There are many great Bible translations out there but I enjoy the Christmas story from the King James Version. That is the version of the story that I grew up with and it’s the one quoted in the Charlie Brown Christmas movie.

Christmas Story
Craft
Finger Plays
Songs
Story Time
Related Posts

Christmas Story

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
– Luke 2: 1-20 KJV (If you would like to find another translation check out http://www.biblegateway.com)

(top)

Craft

Flower Pot Nativity Scene

I first saw this craft on pinterest.com. After a little research, I found out that the craft was first posted on thebigmamablog.com You will find a couple different photographs of the craft created by different people.

Materials Needed:

2 medium flower pots
1 small flower pot
acrylic paint
2 medium wooden balls (for Mary and Joseph’s heads)
1 small wooden ball (for Jesus’s head)
fabric for their head coverings
white fabric to swaddle (wrap) Baby Jesus in
doll hair (or you can just color it in with a Sharpie)
roll of grapevine to create headpiece and staff
moss
silver pipe cleaner or aluminum foil (for the halo)
hot glue gun or Aleene’s tacky glue
Sharpie, fine point
hay (optional for manger)

Instructions:

1. Paint the smallest flower pot brown, to represent the manger.
2. Paint the two larger pots whatever color you want Mary and Joseph’s clothes to be.
3. Use the fine point Sharpie to draw facial features on Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.
4. Glue heads onto biggest pots.
5. Cut fabric and glue coverings to the heads.
6. Wrap white fabric to look like a baby wrapped in blanket.
7. Glue into smallest pot. Add Baby Jesus head.
8. Make a halo out of a silver pipe cleaner or twist a piece of aluminum foil and form it in a circle to make a halo. Glue to Baby Jesus’ head.
9. Use a brown pipe cleaner or a piece of grapevine to make a shepherd’s staff and glue to Joseph
10. Be sure to check the images out on thebigmamablog.com

(top)

Finger Plays

The First Christmas
(Action Rhyme)

Clop, clop, clop went the donkey’s feet,
(stomp feet like donkey walking)
Clop, clop, clop down the stony street.
(stomp feet like donkey walking)
Nod, nod, nod went Mary’s head.
(nod head up and down)
She was tired, and she needed a bed.
(stretch arms out and yawn)
Knock, knock, knock went Joseph at the door.
(act like knocking on door)
“Do you have room for anyone more?”
(hold hands up in a questioning motion)
“No, No, No!” the innkeeper said,
(shake index finger)
“I don’t even have one more bed.”
(hold up one index finger)
“Wait, wait, wait,” the innkeeper said,
(hold hand up, palm out, like police officer stopping traffic)
“You can use my stable for a bed.”
(put hands together under head, like sleeping)
“Shh, shh, shh…What is that I hear?
(hold index finger up to lips, then hold hand to ear)
The cry of Baby Jesus, oh so dear!”
(hold arms like rocking a baby)
– Original Author Unknown

Baby Jesus

Baby Jesus snuggles in deep,
(put hands together under head, like sleeping)
In warm but scratchy straw.
(scratch all over)
On a nearby hillside, shepherds hear,
(put hand to ear)
The angel’s song of awe.
(flap arms like angel wings)
They race to Bethlehem to see,
(run in place)
The king born in a stable.
(make animal sounds)
Then kneel before the Son of God,
(fold hands like in prayer)
A manger for his cradle.
(hold arms like rocking a baby)
- Original Author Unknown

(top)

Songs

Away in a Manger

Away in a manger,
No crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head

The stars in the sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The Baby awakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

I love Thee, Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle,
‘Til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

(top)

Story Time

Away in a Manger illustrated by Mike Jaroszko
Reading Level: Ages 4 and up
This is a beautiful picture book. Illustrations are put to the familiar Christmas carol. They bring the book to life and visual meaning to the beautiful words.

The Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas
Reading Level: Ages 4 and up
I love these illustrations to the Christmas story. They are cute whimsical images done in a muted water-color style. The text comes from the Bible. I have added this book to my Christmas library because this will be a fun way to share the Christmas story with my grandchildren.

I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas with your families. Give hugs and kisses to everyone around you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
based on Numbers 6:24-26

(top)

Related Posts:

The Santa Claus Debate
The True Meaning of Christmas
The Christmas Star
Christmas Angels to Laugh and Learn With
Love to Learn the Meaning of Candy Canes for Christmas
Review – Christmas on Monument Circle, Indianapolis

(top)

Posted in Christmas, Learning Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Love to Learn the Meaning of Candy Canes for Christmas

Print Friendly

Love to Learn the Meaning of Candy Canes for Christmas

Candy Canes: Although there may not have been any spiritual meaning to the candy cane when it was first introduced, Christians can find many symbols pointing us to Jesus from this simple Christmas treat. Some things to observe (taken, in part, from The History of the Candy Cane): 1) Shaped like a Shepherd’s staff, which attended Jesus’ birth and Jesus is referred to as the Great Shepherd 2) Turned upside-down it looks like the letter J for Jesus 3) The candy is hard like the Solid Rock (Jesus) who is the foundation of the church 4) The white of the candy represents the purity of Jesus 5) The red represents His blood that was shed (for more on the candy cane be sure to go to The History of the Candy Cane)

“Teach the children that the cane represents The Shepherd’s staff. The crook on the staff helps bring back sheep that have strayed away from the fold. The candy cane represents the sweetness of giving not only at Christmas time, but also throughout the entire year. The spiral design is a symbol that we are, our brother’s keepers.” (A quote from the story, “Teach the Children the True Meaning of Christmas”)


Crafts
Poem
Snacks
Story Time
Related Posts

Crafts

Candy Canes with Beads and Pipe Cleaners

There are actually a couple of easy crafts to do with pipe cleaners. Have fun making them and decorating your Christmas tree or hanging them around the house. They also make great presents for kids to create and give to grandparents, aunts, uncles or other family and friends.

Materials Needed:  

Materials for Pipe Cleaner Candy Cane Craft


White pipe cleaners
Red pipe cleaners
Red pony beads
White pony beads

Instructions:

1) Choose a pipe cleaner. It doesn’t matter if its red or white.
2) Pick a red bead and put it on the pipe cleaner. Loop the end of the pipe cleaner around this first bead to secure it so it won’t fall off.
3) Now take a white bead and slide it down on top of the red bead. Keep changing colors; next a red then a white, continuing the pattern.

Candy Cane Craft

4) Once you have the pipe cleaner filled, be sure sure to wrap the end of the pipe cleaner around the last bead so it doesn’t fall off.
5) Then bend the top of the pipe cleaner over to make the hook part of the candy cane.
There you go…a beautiful candy cane to decorate with or give as a present.

Finished Candy Cane Craft

Another simple candy cane craft:

1) Take one white and one red pipe cleaner.

Candy Cane Craft with Pipe Cleaners

2) Simply twist them together.

3) Then bend the top of the pipe cleaners over to make the hook part of the candy cane.

Candy Cane Pipe Cleaner Craft

(top)

Poem
I suggest giving each child a candy cane or use the pipe cleaner/bead candy cane as you recite the poem below.

Christmas Candy Cane Poem about Jesus

Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me
White is for my Savior
Who’s sinless and pure!
“J” is for Jesus My Lord, that’s for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!

(Poem found on ministry-to-children.com)

(top)

Foods for snack or meal time

I usually have a list of foods that would be great for snacks or meals but this topic makes for a rather limited variety of foods BUT I did find a great post, by Barbara Shelby. She has several ideas of things you can do with candy canes other than just eat them. For example, use them as stir sticks or smash them into pieces and use them in your favorite recipes. She even suggests crushing them into a fine powder and using them as a flavored sugar. For more detailed ideas go to her post, “Candy Canes and Peppermint Candy Ideas”.

Another fun way to incorporate candy canes into your meal time would be to make your child a Bento lunch. Bento meals are something new to me (thanks Pinterest). They are common in Japanese cuisine. One style of Bento meal is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items like plants (or candy canes). Here are a few links to blogs that have candy cane bento meals. Maybe they will inspire you:

Candy Cane Bento by Glory’s Mischief
Candy Cane by Bento-logy
Bento Lunch: Candy Cane Cheese by Bento School Lunches

(top)

Story Time

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
Reading Level: 6 and up
This is a sweet story about a stranger that comes to a small town to open a store. The mayor hoped it was a doctor. The ladies hoped it was a tailor that would make beautiful dresses. The farmers hoped the man was a trader that would exchange their grain for goods. Can you guess what the children were hoping the store was? Yes, they were wishing for a candy store and their wish came true. The man had a strange candy that they hadn’t seen before. It had red and white stripes and it hooked on the end. Do you know what kind of candy it was? Read the story to find out more about this wonderful candy and its special meaning for Christmas.
**I put the reading level at 6 years old and above because one of the things the story talks about is Jesus dying on the cross and the red blood that He shed. I believe it is appropriate but I wanted to make sure you were aware of this part of the story. I read the story to my 4 and 5 year old preschool class but I was teaching at a Christian preschool.

(top)

Related Posts

The Santa Claus Debate
The True Meaning of Christmas
The Christmas Star
Christmas Angels to Laugh and Learn With
Love to Learn About the Nativity
Review – Christmas on Monument Circle, Indianapolis

(top)

 

Posted in Christmas, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Christmas Angels to Laugh and Learn With

Print Friendly

Christmas Angels to Laugh and Learn With

Christmas Angels – Appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Christ

Luke 2: 8-10 “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’”

The Christmas Angels appeared in the sky, over the fields near Bethlehem. They announced the birth of Christ. You will usually find either an angel or a star on the top of a Christmas tree because of the importance of their appearances in the sky.

Following are some activities to do in relation to the angels. I hope you and the children in your life enjoy them.

Coloring Pages

If your child likes to color, here are a couple of free coloring pages from about.com
Angel coloring page
Cheerful Angel

Crafts:

Paper Plate Angels
I just had to share these adorable little angels I found online. They are made from paper plates. Click on Paper Plate Angels to go to the link. The one thing that I didn’t see mentioned, in the instructions, was the size of the paper plate. I used a small 6-inch sized plate. It made an adorable little angel. I was very happy with the size. If you want to put it on top of a large Christmas tree, I would use a bigger paper plate.

Christmas Angel from a paper plate.

Hand Print Angel
I have used this craft in my preschool classrooms. The parents always adore them. I love hand print crafts because they become a piece of family history. Be sure to always date the back of any special craft your child does and put their name on it. It will make a great conversation piece as you decorate for Christmas, in later years.

1) Trace the child’s hand three times. Have them keep their fingers together. Don’t spread them out like a fan.
2) Cut out the hand prints.
3) Use one hand print as the body of the angel and the other two as the wings. The wings will look the best if you be sure to place the hand prints so that the thumbs are facing down. (Refer to picture)

Christmas Angel craft with picture of child

Christmas Angel made from hand prints

4) You can either cut out a circle to use for the head or you can use a picture of your child’s head. They both make nice looking angels.
5) As a final touch, (which I forgot to add to one of my samples) you can make a halo out of a silver or gold pipe cleaner or make one out of a piece of aluminum foil. To make the halo out of aluminum foil, cut off an 8 inch by 1 inch piece of aluminum foil. Gently squish and twist it. Then form it into a circle and tape it to the back of the angel’s head.

Christmas Angel hand print craft

Story Time

“The Christmas Angel” by Hans Wilhelm
Reading Level: Ages 3 – 8
Your child will fall in love with this adorable little angel. All he wants to do is to travel from heaven down to earth; so he can sing his special song to the Son of God. But his wings are too small and he is not allowed to make the trip. Find out what happens to the scared little angel after his accidental fall off of a cloud.

“An Angel Came to Nazareth” by Anthony Knott
Reading Level: Ages 5 and up
This is a very interesting poem of an angel who came to a stable in Nazareth. The angel asks a camel, a donkey, a horse and an ox to pick which one of the four travelers they would carry. One of them would end up carrying “the greatest of them all.” Can you guess, before ever reading the poem, which animal carried “the greatest of them all”?

Please take the time to stop by my Facebook page, Love to Laugh and Learn, and tell me about any of the crafts or books that you shared with your children. I would love to see pictures too.

Related Posts:

The Santa Claus Debate
The True Meaning of Christmas
The Christmas Star
Love to Learn the Meaning of Candy Canes for Christmas
Review – Christmas on Monument Circle, Indianapolis

Posted in Christmas, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Christmas Star

Print Friendly

The Christmas Star: A heavenly sign that the wise men were able to follow to find the birth place of Jesus

“Teach the children that the star is the heavenly sign of promise,” he said. “God sent a Savior to the world and the star was the sign of that promise being fulfilled. The countless shining stars in the heavens, one star for each person on earth, represents the hope of all mankind.” (A quote from the story, Teach the Children the True Meaning of Christmas)

Matthew 2:2b “We saw His star when it rose and have come
to worship Him.”

Matthew 2:9 “After they had heard the king, they went on their way,
and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them
until it stopped over the place where the child was.”

The Christmas Star and the Christmas Angel would take turns setting on the top of our Christmas tree. To me, both are important because each one announced the birth of God’s Son. Here are some different activities to use during this blessed holiday season as you remember the real reason for the season.

Finger Play

A Shining Star
(Action Rhyme)

On the very first Christmas night,
(Put hands together; lay head on hands as if sleeping.)
A wondrous star shone big and bright.
(Hold hands above head; move fingers like stars shining.)
It marked the spot where the baby lay,
(Pretend to rock baby.)
So kings and shepherds could come to pray.
(Fold hands and kneel.)
- Original Author Unknown

Crafts:

Cinnamon Ornaments
Cinnamon ornaments were something that I made with my children when they were younger. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we would make ornaments to give to family and friends as presents. They were always a big hit. This is a wonderful gift that also makes your house smell delicious. I am using the recipe from allrecipes.com because I have no idea where my recipe has gone.

Ingredients
1 cup ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons glue

Directions
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Mix in the applesauce and glue. Work the mixture with your hands 2 to 3 minutes to form a ball. If mixture is too wet, add more cinnamon. If mixture is too dry, add more applesauce.
2. Lightly dust a clean surface with cinnamon. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and use a toothpick or straw to make a hole at the top for hanging with a ribbon.
3. Dry in a slow oven 200 degrees F (100 degrees C) for several hours, or air dry in a sunny spot for 4 or 5 days. When dry, decorate with gingham and/ or ribbon.

Popsicle Star
I have created a lot of popsicle crafts in my time and enjoyed every one. This would be a good one if you have children of different ages. The older ones can create the stars and the younger ones can paint them and add sparkles or buttons to give it a little extra “shine”. Although I’m sure that some of the older children will want to add their own artistic touches to the stars. (This craft came from kaboose.com)

Materials Needed:
• 10 Popsicle sticks, coloured or plain
• Hot glue gun or ordinary glue
• Length of fishing line
• Paint or markers, glitter, etc.

Instructions:
1. Draw up a template of a star using craft sticks.
2. Place one stick inside one line then add some glue to the top. Position second stick on this.
3. Continue step 2 until all 10 sticks are in place.
4. Attach some fishing line to one point for hanging.
5. Decorate as desired. Using the colors yellow, gold, red and green make for a great Christmas star. Try different colors for theme parties, or use glow-in-the-dark paint for a magical bedroom at night.

Homemade Paper Stars
I recently found this ornament on the Family Fun website. I have never done this craft before but I can’t wait until my great-niece, nephews and grandkids are old enough to do this with them. It looks like it could get messy but sometimes messy is half the fun.

Materials Needed:
• 3 (9- by 12-inch) sheets of construction paper
• Blender
• Very hot water
• Folded cloth towel
• Plate
• 3-inch star-shaped cookie cutter
• Sieve
• Glitter
• Rag
• Baking sheet
• Ribbon loops

Instructions:
1. Tear 3 (9- by 12-inch) sheets of construction paper into small pieces, about the size of a domino, and place them in a blender. Pour in about 1 1/2 cups of very hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile put a folded cloth towel on a plate, add a paper towel and top with a 3-inch star-shaped cookie cutter.
2. Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Pulse the blender until the mix is pulpy, about 30 seconds. Ina sieve set over the sink, drain the pulp, then spoon some into the cookie cutter to the top, taking care to fill the points. Sprinkle with glitter. Use a rag to press the pulp down into the cookie cutter until most of the water is gone, then gently push the star out onto a baking sheet. Repeat to make two more stars.
3. Bake them for 2 hours or until the moisture has evaporated (they should be firm and lightweight). Let the stars cool, the glue ribbon loops to the backs for hanging. Makes 3 stars.

Snacks:

Here are a couple of healthier alternatives to cookies, as you are making crafts and reading books together.

Crispy Cheese Stars from FamilyFun.com
I love cheese so these look extra yummy to me.

Ingredients:
• Flour tortillas
• Sliced cheese (cheddar, provolone, or mozzarella)
• Chili powder or paprika

Instructions:
1. Heat the oven to 350º. Use the larger cookie cutter to cut out stars from flour tortillas (about 5 per 10-inch tortilla). It’s easy for kids to do if you use a rolling pin to roll back and forth over the cutter. Bake the stars on a foil-covered cookie sheet for 5 minutes.
2. Use the smaller cookie cutter to cut out an equal number of cheese stars from the sliced cheese and place them atop the tortilla ones. Bake the stars for 2 more minutes or so until the cheese melts.
3. Sprinkle the stars with chili powder or paprika and let them cool before serving.

Star Fruit – A little fruit with your cheese is always a good thing.

Story Time

The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister
Reading Level: Ages 4 – 8
Here is another great book from the author of “The Rainbow Fish”. The sparkling silver stars add so much to the illustrations. A wonderful story of how the shepherds, the Wise Men and even the animals followed the star to Bethlehem, where they welcomed the Holy Child.

Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Reading Level: Ages 4 – 8
I love the way this story describes how all of creation was anticipating the arrival of our Savior. It talks of how the trees, the flowers and the animals were crying out, “It’s time. It’s time,” as the birth of Jesus drew near. This was a very different way to look at the Nativity scene. No shepherd, no wise men but all of creation celebrating: “Heaven’s Son sleeping under the stars that He made.”

Related Posts:

The Santa Claus Debate
The True Meaning of Christmas
Christmas Angels to Laugh and Learn With
Love to Learn About the Nativity
Love to Learn the Meaning of Candy Canes for Christmas
Review – Christmas on Monument Circle, Indianapolis

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Posted in Christmas, Learning Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments