The Christmas Star

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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

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Review – Christmas on Monument Circle Indianapolis

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It has been several years since we headed downtown to check out the huge “Christmas tree” and decorations on Monument Circle, Indianapolis. We usually just drive around the circle, take in the sights and then move on. I am not a fan of the one way streets, the crowds and the parking situations so driving through is enough for me. But since it was 60 degrees outside, on this December 1st, and I wanted to gather information for my readers I grabbed my camera and we headed downtown for an adventure.

We did have trouble finding a parking spot and the closer you got to the Circle the worse the traffic was but we finally found an empty parking meter. Since it was after 9:00 p.m. we didn’t have to pay so that was nice.

The “tree” was just as wonderful as I remembered it but I don’t know that it was worth parking and walking around the monument. There really wasn’t a lot there. Of course there was the tree, the large toy soldiers and sailors that stood along the edge of the monument and the beautiful Nativity scene in front of Christ Church Cathedral. I believe I would have enjoyed it just as much from my car window.

Christmas Tree at Monument Circle Indianapolis

I did find two reasons that you might want to get out of the car and walk around the Circle: The Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop and The Chocolate Café – The South Bend Chocolate Company. Both shops were open late on Saturday evening and had plenty of tasty treats to offer.

Since I like to include a little fun learning in my activities I wanted to share a few interesting facts I found in an article by Julie Sickel, a writer with the Indianapolis Star. The title of the article is “Here are 50 Facts Relating to the Long-Running Holiday Tradition”. I am going to list a few of my favorite facts but you should read the article to find the rest of them.

1. More than six miles of electrical wire and more than two miles of garland are used for the Circle of Lights.

2. There are 52 strands with 4,784 colored lights strung from the top of the monument to its base.

3. The colors of the bulbs represent different branches of the U.S. military: green for the Army, clear for the Air Force, blue for the Navy, yellow for the Coast Guard and red for the Marines.

4. There are 26 12-foot-tall toy soldiers and sailors and 26 10-foot-tall peppermint sticks surrounding the Circle. (This would be a great counting opportunity for your kids)

5. The ceremony’s most revered annual guest is Santa Claus, who arrives after the lights are switched on.

6. The switch to light the Monument is flipped by a child 12 or younger.

7. For more than two decades, the lucky child has been chosen through a coloring contest.

8. At 284 feet tall, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument is about 21 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty and 16 feet short of a football field.

9. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is the largest in the nation to be dedicated to the common soldier.

10. The 38-foot-tall bronze figure atop the statue is named “Victory” but also is called “Miss Indiana” by Hoosiers. She faces south to welcome soldiers returning from battle.

Here is a fun observation my daughter made when she was about 10 years old and I still see it every time we go to see the Christmas lights. (I’m going to give you some hints before I tell you what we actually saw. I want to give you a chance to see if you see the same thing we did.)

  • As we drove towards the Circle my daughter kept saying that she saw a certain character from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special created by Rankin/Bass. I looked all around and couldn’t find it. I thought it was a character at the foot of the tree or in a store window. As it turns out, it was an illusion created by looking at the monument through the lights. Take a look at the picture below and see if you can figure out what character we see. Leave a comment as to who you think it is. Once you have made your guess you can click on the picture to see who the character is that we see.

Do you see a character from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

If you don’t see what we saw, then click on the picture below. I have created an overlay of the character on the portion of the monument that we saw it. See if that helps you see it when you look back at the Monument picture.

Do you see a character from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

So can you see him too or do my daughter and I just have vivid imaginations? If you take a drive downtown to look at the lights please leave a comment and let me know if you saw him. We usually see him as we are driving towards the Circle not once we are really close to it. Have fun enjoying the sights, lights and fun this holiday season.

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Review: Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

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Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo Review

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Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo Review

Disclaimer: I was given 4 tickets and a parking pass to attend Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo. However, I was not influenced by the promotional materials. All opinions and insights are my own.

The temperature was approximately 34͒ F, which was double the temperature from the day before (thanks goodness). We bundled up our little Texan (my 4 ½ month old grandson) and headed out to enjoy Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

This was the welcoming view we received as we entered the zoo.

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

I couldn’t wait to get inside to see how the rest of the zoo was decorated. It was even more beautiful and magical than I remembered. My pictures hardly capture the beauty but you can at least get an idea.

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

One of the first animals to greet us were the seals. One of them was barking quite loudly. We walked over to take a look but he was hiding among the rocks so we didn’t get a good look at him from up top. We did get to see him swimming from underneath though.

We were waiting on some family members to show up so we decided to walk over to the gift shop to wait inside. We didn’t want the little one getting too cold. On our way, we ran into one of Santa’s reindeers.

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo: Santa's Reindeer

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo: Santa’s Reindeer

 

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo: The Oceans Building at the Indianapolis Zoo

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo: The Oceans Building at the Indianapolis Zoo

 

Our next stop was the Oceans’ building. It was a warm place with lots of interesting animals to interact with.

 

 

 

Petting sharks was a hit with the whole family (no matter what the age).

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo, Petting Sharks

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo, Petting Sharks

We enjoyed spending time looking at the penguins; even though they seemed to be resting.

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo: Checking out the Penguins

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo: Checking out the Penguins

There were so many wonderful things to see in the Oceans exhibit.

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo:  Oceans Exhibit

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo: Oceans Exhibit

It was too dark for me to get a good picture of the polar bear but he was sitting right next to the window. We were able to get a good look at him.

We then walked over to the Dolphin Pavilion. I found out, from my sister, that we were supposed to have been offered tickets for the dolphin show when we went through admissions but it wasn’t mentioned, so we didn’t have tickets. My sister and her family came in after us and they were offered tickets so they got them, but then didn’t go to the show since we couldn’t. I thought that was really sweet. We did go underneath and watch the show from below. It was interesting from below too. I think it would have been nice if they would have the audio for the show running through speakers down below so we knew exactly what was going on.

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

It was getting late for my grandson so he got fussy, because he was ready for bed, so we cut our trip short. We are hoping to get back there this week, if the weather permits. Regardless of whether we get back this year or not, we will be back. It was beautiful and the snow made it magical. I hope you and your family gets a chance to enjoy Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Snow and Lights during Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

Snow and Lights during Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

You might also be interested in:

Review – Christmas on Monument Circle Indianapolis

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Indy Island Aquatic Center Review

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Indy Island Aquatic Center Review

Indy Island Aquatic Center

Indy Island Aquatic Center

November 1st, 2014, Indianapolis Indiana, we were heading to the Indy Island Aquatic Center at Raymond Park. The high this day was 43 degrees. That sounds like perfect weather to think about going swimming doesn’t it. And isn’t this the way you envision being dressed to head to the pool?

Indy Island Aquatic Center: Early November and we want to go swimming.

Indy Island Aquatic Center: Early November and we want to go swimming.

My secret is out. I love the water. I grew up in the water, my kids grew up in the water and now it’s time for the next generation. It has been many years since I was last at Indy Island. We used to take the kids there when they were young. A couple of them have winter birthdays and Indy Island was a nice alternative for a party place.

The indoor facility is open year round with heated pools. We thought the water and air temperature, in the facility, was a little cool, the day we visited, but it was tolerable.

The kid-sized pool goes from a zero entry level depth to 3 feet. There is a water playhouse with a slide and lots of water spraying in different directions. Jeremiah spent a lot of time in this area. I spent a lot of time at the foot of the slide watching him come down.

Indy Island Aquatic Center: Action Shot

Indy Island Aquatic Center: Action Shot

There is a large water slide for people at least 48” tall. There is a separate 3 lane lap pool that goes from 3 ½ feet to 6 feet. There is a spa for adults only and tons of deck chairs.

It’s not like one of those huge water parks with tons of attractions but considering the admission price, it’s an awesome deal.

The indoor pool is open Wednesday and Friday from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.. Saturday and Sunday, it’s open from noon until 5:00 p.m.. The cost is extremely reasonable. For 3 to 17 years, it’s $4 during the week and $5 for weekends and holidays. Adults are $5 during the week and $6 for weekends and holidays. Senior Citizens (ages 55+) are the same as the youth. Children 2 and under are free.

Birthday Parties

If you are looking for a fun place for a birthday party, you should check out Indy Island. For $80, your child can celebrate their birthday with 7 of their friends. This price includes 2 adults. You will get the party room for 55 minutes. Indy Island will cover four tables with tablecloths and set 10 place settings for your party. You can bring your own decorations, if you want, but you won’t be allowed in the room early. This means you will be using part of your child’s party time to decorate. My suggestion would be to let Indy Island do their thing. If you really want to bring something, make it a few balloons and/or simple centerpieces you can quickly place on the tables that they have prepared. You can not bring outside food or drink, other than the cake and ice cream. They provide 2 pitchers of punch. After the party, head to the pool for some fun. The pool is included in the price. For $100, they will also serve hotdogs and chips. If you have more children or adults that you want to invite, additional children are $5.00 and adults are $6.00.

Whether you are looking for a way to beat the winter chill or an alternative site for a birthday party, be sure to check out the fun at Indy Island Aquatic Center at Raymond Park.
Located at:
8575 E Raymond Street
Indianapolis, IN 46239
Phone:(317)862-6876

*Disclaimer: I was not asked or compensated, in any way, to do this review. I chose to do it simply to help families find affordable fun activities to do together.

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Firefighters: Love to Learn About Community Helpers

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Firefighters: Love to Learn About Community Helpers
with Free Printables

Firefighters put their lives on the line for us each and every day. It is essential that we teach our children about the sacrifices they make to help others.

Schedule a visit to the fire station. Call first to see if they welcome visitors and what a good time would be to stop by. If the first station you call doesn’t welcome visitors, then try another one. I know there are many stations that would love to have you visit. One thing to ask, is if someone would be willing to put on a full set of fire gear. It is very important for children to know what a firefighter might look like if one would have to save them from a fire. Children need to be taught not to run and hide from them but to go to them.

I like to start my learning activities with a book and I recommend you do the same. There are a few listed below in the Story Time section. If you have another book, that you really like, please share it with me.

Below you will also find a craft and some ideas for pretend play. Be sure to enjoy this time of exploration and learning with your child.

Content:

Playtime
Fun Sheet
Craft
Story Time
Videos
Related Posts
Acknowledgements

Playtime

Does your child have a fire station or fire truck to play with? I love the Fisher Price Rescue Heroes. They were very popular with my preschool classes. I just scored several of them at a Goodwill Store. You would have thought I won the lottery. Playmobil was another things my preschoolers loved. They have a fire station and fire trucks.

Dress up is a fun way to explore the world of firefighters. Dress up is fun for boys and girls alike. I like to look for costumes after Halloween. That’s when they are really inexpensive.

Firefighters: Fireman D.I.Y. Costume by Parties for Pennies

Firefighters: Fireman D.I.Y. Costume by Parties for Pennies

 

 

You can find a D.I.Y. Firefighter costume on Parties for Pennies. Click on the link, or the picture, to see how to make this cute outfit: Fireman D.I.Y. Costume

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Fun Sheet

Community Helpers: Firefighter Fun Sheet

Community Helpers: Firefighter Fun Sheet

 

I have created a fun sheet to do with your child. Have your child color the firefighter and then color only the items that the firefighter would use. Don’t color the items that the firefighter would not use. Click on the picture to get the downloadable fun sheet.

The fun sheet is a great way for your child to develop their fine motor skills, as they color. They will learn to follow directions and will also reinforce what they have learned about firefighters.

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Craft

Fire Truck Shape Craft

Firefighters: Fire truck Shape Craft

Firefighters: Fire truck Shape Craft

Materials Needed:

Fire Truck template
Crayons, markers or paint
Paint brushes
Scissors
Glue stick
Optional:
magnets
lamination

Instructions:

I have given you several free downloadable templates to use with this craft. I had so many different ideas of things you could do, I just had to include it all.

First of all, you can use it as a simple craft.

  1. Print the fire truck with no color
  2. Print the fire truck shapes (with no words and no color)
  3. Let your child color or paint the pieces.
  4. Cut out the pieces. (either they can do this or you can, depending on where your child is developmentally)
  5. Glue the pieces to the fire truck.

* Another option would be to print the truck shapes with color and cut them out. Then let your child glue those shapes on.
** You could also cut the shapes out of construction paper and let your child glue them to the fire truck.

Another way to play with this is to make a puzzle out of it.

  1. Print the fire truck with color.
  2. Print the fire truck shapes with color.
  3. Laminate both sheets. (I get my laminating done at a nearby teacher’s store)
  4. Cut out the fire truck shapes.
  5. Add magnets to the back of the fire truck picture and to each of the pieces.
  6. Now your child can do the “puzzle” on a cookie sheet.

*You could also print the fire truck with no color for some extra puzzle fun.

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Story Time

 

DK Readers: Jobs People Do — A Day in a Life of a Firefighter (Level 1: Beginning to Read) by Linda Hayward
Reading Level: Ages 5 – 7 yrs old
Follow Rob Green as he goes through his day as a firefighter. Rob will have to be away from his family for a full day (24 hours). This book covers a couple of duties that Rob might have that I haven’t seen covered in other firefighter books. It explains that the firemen have to inspect restaurants and stores to make sure they are safe and have the simple fire equipment they need to keep customers safe. It also talks about a class having a field trip to the fire station. The firemen will also get to go put a fire out. Rob even sleeps at the firestation. This will be a fun way for your child to learn about firemen and the jobs they have to perform.

A Day in the Life of a Firefighter (Kids’ Career Library) by Mary Bowman-Kruhm and Claudine G. Wirths
Reading Level: Ages 5 and up
If your child is looking for a little more information about firefighters and not just a simple introduction, this would be the book to go to. This book explains the responsibilities of firefighters and the equipment they need but with a little more detail than some other books. If you have an inquisitive child that loves to sit and listen, I would recommend this book.

A Day with Firefighters by Jan Kottke
Reading Level: Ages 2 – 6 yrs old
This is a great book to introduce your little one to the responsibilities of firefighters. It has very simple text but covers the basic information your child will need. The illustrations are actual pictures of firefighters on the job. On another note, I was surprised when I picked up this book at the library. It came in a plastic bag with some paperwork and a DVD. I thought it was a movie of the book but that’s not what it was as all. It was actually a video of someone using American Sign Language to share the book with deaf children. It turns out there is an organization called The Shared Reading Project. The video is to help parents be able to effectively share books with their deaf child so they can become lifelong readers. You can search your library’s website for The Shared Reading Project and you will find several titles to choose from.

Fighting Fires: See More Readers Level 1 by Seymour Simon
Reading Level: Ages 3 to 7 yrs old
If you have a child that is really interested in different types of trucks then he/she will love this book. It doesn’t just talk about fire trucks in general but names and gives you pictures of the different types of fire trucks and the special job each of them does. I especially like the fact that the book explains how people used to pass buckets of water by hand to put out fires. This book impressed me because it covers fire fighting from a different angle than most books.

Fire Fighter! (DK Readers) – Level 2 by Angela Royston
Reading Level: Ages 6 – 8 yrs old
Your child will enjoy the excitement in this book as the firefighters do their jobs. It starts out as a quiet day in the firehouse. Your child will get to see the different things found in the firehouse. Then the alarm goes off and they head to a fire. They are worried that a child might be trapped in the burning house. Your child will get to hear about the different things a firefighter might experience while searching through a burning house for a trapped person. There are several different side notes and pictures of the equipment the firefighters use. This is a very sweet and informative book.

Firefighter (Benchmark Rebus) by Dana Meachen Rau
Reading Level: Ages 2 to 6 years old
I love the books by Dana Meachen Rau that are put out by Benchmark Rebus. They are so simple and easy to understand. I like the fact that they use pictures instead of words as part of the text. It will make your little one proud that they are helping with the story. In this book we learn about the many things that firefighters do and the equipment they use. This is a very cute book to introduce the job of firefighters to your child.

Fire Fighters (Community Helpers) by Dee Ready
Reading Level: Ages 4 and up
This is a great book to introduce your child to the responsibilities of a fire fighter. The illustrations are actual pictures of fire fighters doing their many jobs. The text is simple; just a few clear sentences to each illustration. Once you share this book with your child, they will have a better understanding of what fire fighters do and the things they need to perform their jobs.

  Firefighters (Neighborhood Helpers) by Cecilia Minden
Reading Level: Ages 5 and up
A little girl, named Elizabeth, believes she may want to be a firefighter when she grows up. She wants to learn all she can about being a firefighter. You will find a lot of information in this book about what firefighters do and the equipment they use. It even talks about some of the education they need. Although there is a lot of text in this book it is broken down into subtopics so if your child has a short attention span or just needs a break, it is easy to stop and start up again. There is a lot of additional information along the sides of the pages too. If I had a child that was really interested in firefighters I would definitely share this book with them.

  Fire Fighters: A to Z (Community Helpers) by Jean Johnson
Reading Level: Ages 5 to 8 yrs old
Every letter of the alphabet represents something a firefighter uses or does. There are a lot of wonderful pictures of firemen at work. The illustrations are in black and white but they are still very interesting. There is quite a bit of information about firefighters including an extra section in the back called “More About Fire Fighters”. I would recommend this book whether learning about firefighters or just wanting to reinforce alphabet recognition.

I’m Going to Be a Fire Fighter by Edith Kunhardt
Reading Level: Ages 4 and up
This story is about three little girls whose daddy is a firefighter. They get to go to work with him one day and they share all the things that their daddy does on the job. You will see some of the tools he uses and the many different aspects of his job. The illustrations are actual photographs of the firefighter at work and with his family. This is a fun way to learn about firefighters.

  I Want To Be A Firefighter by Dan Liebman
Reading Level: Ages 3 – 7 yrs old
This book has wonderful photos of firefighters at work. The text is simple which makes it nice for a younger child. Although the text is simple there is plenty of information to help your little one learn about firefighters. Not only does this book talk about building fires but it also talks about forest fires and fires on boats. You child will learn a lot from this simple but informative book.

  I Want to Be a Firefighter by Stephanie Maze
Reading Level: Ages 8 yrs old and up
This book is for a little older child. There is plenty of text and a lot of pictures describing the life and job of a firefighter. Your child will learn about the different places firefighters are needed, such as in urban areas or out in the brush putting out wildfires. Your child will also learn about the different kinds of training that a firefighter needs. There are a lot of interesting pictures of firefighters in action. If your child is a little older and interested in firefighters this will be a great book for them.

Uncle Rocky, Fireman by James Burd Brewster
Reading Level: Ages 3 and up
Uncle Rocky, Fireman is actually a series of books about Rocky Hill and his fire station. As of this moment, I have only read the first book but I can’t wait to get hold of more of the series. I love the use of sound words such as vroom, vroom and clang, clang, clang. Children love making noises and this story definitely encourages that. I love that the author uses technical terms without making the story difficult to follow. Your child will learn new words like turnout coat and smoke inhalation. I hope you enjoy following the adventures of Uncle Rocky as much as I did.
The author, James Burd Brewster, is offering a free download of his first book. Just go to his website: Glad To Do It!

  We Need Fire Fighters (Helpers in Our Community) by Lola M. Schaefer
Reading Level: Ages 3 and up
This is a simple little book that makes a great introduction to fire fighters. There is just one sentence per page. Each page shows a picture and explains something about fire fighters. You get information about the jobs they do and the things they need to carry out their work.

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Videos

Fireman Sam – distributed by Lionsgate
Recommended for ages 3 to 6 yrs old
Fireman Sam is a British animated children’s show. It is about Fireman Sam, the other firemen at his fire station and the townspeople of Pontypandy. Each episode deals with some aspect of a fireman’s job. The ones I watched covered things like forest fires, a fire because of paper close to the stove and fire prevention. I believe your child will enjoy these videos and learn a lot about being safe with fires while having fun at the same time.

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Related Posts

Community Helpers – Overview
Doctors: Love to Learn About Community Helpers
Dentists: Love to Learn About Community Helpers

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Acknowledgements

Some of the images for the Fun Sheet were created by Charlotte’s Clips
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Charlottes-Clips-4150

whimsy-clips-by-laura-strickland-square
Some of the images for the Fun Sheet were created by Whimsy Clips
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Whimsy-Clips

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LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis 2014 and a LEGO® Linky

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LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis 2014 and a LEGO® Linky

LEGO® KidsFest

LEGO® KidsFest

LEGO® KidsFest is coming to Indianapolis, November 7 – 9, 2014. I am so excited to be able to attend this year. The event is being held at the Indianapolis Convention Center. The Convention Center will be packed with tons of fun building opportunities and exhibits. There will be three acres of space providing lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO® models and displays and much more. Check out some of the awesome activities here.

Sometimes these events sell out so you might want to get your tickets early. Currently, there is limited availability for the Friday session as well as both Sunday sessions. The Saturday sessions are sold out. To avoid long lines and sell outs, click this link to purchase your tickets now: http://www.legokidsfest.com/indianapolis/tickets.html
There will be no tickets to sell at the door once a session is listed as “sold out”.

LEGO® Linky

LEGO® KidsFest learning fun.

Since my blog is all about fun learning activities, I thought this would be the perfect time to host my first Linky. LEGO® building blocks can be used for so many learning activities. They are great for developing fine motor skills. They can be used for sorting. I have seen them used for teaching and reinforcing math skills such as graphing or addition and subtraction. And let’s not forget they are great for learning to follow instructions and constructing things. You might have a budding architect on your hands.

For this link up I want to see all things LEGO®. Whether you are doing arts and crafts with LEGO® building blocks or doing math, please link your post here. Whatever type of learning activity you do with LEGO® building blocks, please share it. I can’t wait to see all of the wonderful ideas you guys have.

By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post to feature you on my site or through social media sites such as Pinterest. Pictures will only be used to feature the post that you shared and will always contain a link directly to your blog.



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LEGO® KidsFest Review

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LEGO® KidsFest Review

Disclaimer: I was given 4 tickets to attend LEGO® KidsFest, however, I was not influenced by the promotional materials. All opinions and insights are my own.

I have been so excited for the opportunity to review LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis. I am always amazed at the things people create with LEGO® building blocks. Tonight was no exception!

LEGO® KidsFest: Lego Creations

LEGO® KidsFest: Lego Creations

I’m sure my adult niece and I were more excited about this event than Jeremiah was. Of course, Jeremiah was a virgin to Lego building blocks. He turned 3 in July and doesn’t have any at home, and he also said he doesn’t have any in his preschool classroom.

This is the view we encountered as we entered the exhibition hall.

LEGO® KidsFest

LEGO® KidsFest

My niece and I were in awe and couldn’t decide which way to go first. Directly in front of us were several statue size creations so we headed toward them. I find it absolutely incredible the things that people create with Lego building blocks. My favorite piece was Lightning McQueen. It was as big as a real car.

LEGO® KidsFest: Jeremiah and Lightning McQueen edited

LEGO® KidsFest: Jeremiah and Lightning McQueen edited

Jeremiah’s favorite piece was the Hulk.

LEGO® KidsFest: Jeremiah and the Hulk edited

LEGO® KidsFest: Jeremiah and the Hulk edited

There were several pieces that were created especially for great photo opportunities, like the man-eating-shark and King Tut.

LEGO® KidsFest: Photo Opportunities

LEGO® KidsFest: Photo Opportunities

We then headed to Creation Nation. Here you can use LEGO® building blocks to make a creation to be added to the basketball-court sized map of the United States. Remember I said earlier that Jeremiah had never played with LEGO® building blocks before. I was interested to see what he would do. We gave him a base and he started creating. It didn’t take him long but the fact that he figured out how to make anything, as quickly as he did, surprised me. Can you figure out what he made?

LEGO® KidsFest: Jeremiah's first ever Lego creation

LEGO® KidsFest: Jeremiah’s first ever Lego creation

It’s an airplane. He was very proud of it and actually, we were pretty proud of his first LEGO® creation. For participating, he was given a LEGO® sample set to take home.

There were many, many opportunities for playing and building with these popular little building blocks. A couple of fun, unique, play experiences were the brick piles. There was one huge pile that children were walking on, building with, and even getting buried under. There were also a couple of smaller piles in the DUPLO® area. Jeremiah was a little unsure about getting into the pile of building blocks but like his mom pointed out, that was probably because, at this age, he is cautioned quite often NOT to be stepping on his toys. He did finally get in there and started digging and playing.

LEGO® KidsFest: Brick Pile

LEGO® KidsFest: Brick Pile

We enjoyed playing, building and creating in several different areas. Jeremiah enjoyed playing with the little pieces and using his imagination in the LEGO® Friends area, as well as, the Disney Princess (yes, boys can love “Frozen”) and the Hero Factory areas. In the Hero Factory is where Nicole and I realized we have a LOT to learn about these building blocks, if we are going to attempt to stay ahead (or at least keep up with) this little guy and his budding interest.

LEGO® KidsFest: Imaginative Play

LEGO® KidsFest: Imaginative Play

The three of us joined, as a team, in the LEGO® Challenge. They would take up to 6 people at a table. They then gave us a challenge of something to build with the building blocks at our table. Our challenge was to build a magnifying glass. Jeremiah wanted wheels on it. We were all recognized as winners and everyone received a prize of a Lego sample set.

LEGO® KidsFest: Challenge Zone

LEGO® KidsFest: Challenge Zone

It was getting late so we hurried through the Star Wars and Super Heros exhibits. We skipped the Master Builders and Mindstorms® exhibits since Jeremiah is so young. I have a feeling we will be hitting those in the future.

For our family, $22 a person is a little steep but this event ends up being a better value than I anticipated. With all of interactive exhibits and the free sample sets, that they give away at every turn, it makes for a much great value. For a video-free, family interactive, fun time, head to the nearest LEGO® KidsFest!

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Crouching Tigers Review: Martial Arts for Little Ones

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Crouching Tigers Review: Martial Arts for Little Ones

I was given the opportunity to observe one of the free classes that Crouching Tigers is currently offering at local libraries. If you haven’t heard of Crouching Tigers, it is a mobile fitness and martial arts program for children 2 to 7 years of age. The program is dedicated to the physical, emotional and social development of children.

I must admit to you that I have never been particularly interested in the martial arts. I never considered getting my children involved with them and have watched very little of it, but I realized that some of you might be interested, so I headed off to Glendale Library to observe the free class.

First Observation

If you are interested in your child participating, register them as soon as possible. These classes are popular and have been filling up.

Second Observation

Olivia Spahn, Founder, President and instructor, of Crouching Tigers, is AMAZING with children. She possesses the love, understanding and enthusiasm that few have when it comes to young ones.

Third Observation

The curriculum is well written for the young child. Each class is 30 to 45 minutes long. It is broken up into 5 sessions:

  1. Fitness and stretches
  2. Life-skills
  3. Martial arts
  4. Awareness and self-defense
  5. Games involving current lesson

There are a few brief instructions with demonstrations given of each session. Then the child is able to use the skill just taught. The sessions move along quickly which helps to keep their attention. It is emphasized to the children that these new skills are not to be used on friends and family.

Pictures from the Event

Crouching Tigers Review: Ages 2 to 7 years

Crouching Tigers Review: Ages 2 to 7 years

 

 

Ages 2 to 7 years old enjoying the class together.

 

 

 

 

 

Learning Kicks

Crouching Tigers Review: Kicks

Crouching Tigers Review: Kicks

 

Crouching Tigers Review: Punches

Crouching Tigers Review: Punches

 

Learning Punches

 

 

 

 

My Conclusions

Olivia Spahn has done an outstanding job in the writing of the curriculum for Crouching Tigers. She obviously has an understanding of the young child’s short attention span and has effectively used that in the creation of her program.

Although, I can’t say I have found passion for the martial arts because of what I observed, I can say I am quite interested in the offerings of Crouching Tigers. I would love to get my great-nephew and, eventually, my grandson into one of their learning cycles. I believe they would have a lot of fun and would come away with some great life skills.

Your Opportunity

Currently, Crouching Tigers takes place in childcare centers, elementary schools and community centers in the Indianapolis and Cincinnati areas. If you do not live in one of those locations then you can check into starting your own franchise. Click here for more information on franchising. Classes start at just $45 for a four-week session, the program allows children to study eight styles of martial arts over the course of a four-year rotating curriculum.

If you live in the Indianapolis area, you still have a few more opportunities for your child to participate in one of the free classes they are offering at local libraries.

  • The Learning Curve@Central Library on Friday, October 17 at 11:00 a.m. (40 E. Saint Clair St.)
  • College Avenue Library on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 10:30 a.m. (4180 N. College Ave.)
  • Fountain Square Library on Monday, Nov. 10 at 11:00 a.m. (1066 Virginia Ave.)

Classes fill up quickly so register now at http://www.eventbrite.com/o/crouching-tigers-7301359235

I enjoyed my experience with Crouching Tigers. I’m sure you will too. Please stop back by and share your child’s experience.

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LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis 2014

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LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis 2014

 

***Update 10/17/14 Congratulations to Tania. She is the winner of the 2 tickets to the opening night of LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis, Friday, November 7, 2014, 4-8:30pm. For anyone still wanting to attend the event, tickets are selling out quickly. Get yours today. http://www.legokidsfest.com/indianapolis/
Indianapolis Convention Center
Halls I, J & K
100 S Capitol Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Disclaimer: I was given 4 tickets to attend the opening night of LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis as well as 2 tickets to use in a give-away. However, I was not influenced by the promotional materials. All opinions and insights are my own.

Please excuse my formality as I will be calling our beloved building toy by their formal name: LEGO® building bricks. This is a sponsored post and I have been informed that these wonderful little pieces are not called Legos or LEGOs but LEGO® bricks. Of course, those of us that grew up playing with them and watching our children and now our grandchildren play with them; we know what they are REALLY called. As stated above: “All opinions and insights are my own.” :)

I am very excited to have the opportunity to attend the LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis. Have you ever been to one of their events? It is packed with tons of fun building opportunities and exhibits. There will be three acres of space providing lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays and much more. I am amazed at the creations that people build out of these little bricks.

LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis

LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis

Sometimes these events sell out so you might want to get your tickets early. Click this link to purchase your tickets now: http://www.legokidsfest.com/indianapolis/tickets.html

I hope to see you there!

Fun Trivia

More than 400 billion LEGO bricks have been produced since 1949. (These little building bricks are just 11 years older than I am. How’s your math?)

The LEGO minifigure represents the world’s largest population of people! More than four billion minifigures have been produced in the last 30 years. This is almost 12 times the population of the United States!

Laid end to end, the number of LEGO bricks sold in a year would reach more than five times around the world.

With a production of about 306 million tires produced a year, the LEGO group is the largest producer of tires in the world.

LEGO is the contraction of two Danish words, “leg godt” which means “play well”. (Sounds like the LEGO® Corporation has the same feeling about learning that I do. It should be fun!)

“Leg Godt!”

LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis

LEGO® KidsFest Indianapolis 2014

 

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Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival Review

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Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival Review

Are you looking for some fun fall activities; apple picking, some interactive fun, a wagon ride or a pumpkin patch? How about all of that in one place? You will want to check out Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival Collage

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival Collage

Stuckey Farm has been one of my favorite apple orchards for many years. I first started going there on field trips with preschool classes. My husband loves it because he can pick his favorite apple there; the McIntosh.

This is Stuckey’s second year of celebrating fall with a Harvest Festival. We missed it last year but are really glad that we were able to attend this time. With our 3 year old great-nephew in tow, we headed off to the festival. The weather conditions weren’t the best. As you can tell from this picture it was a “little” windy, which made it very cold (therefore the expression on our great-nephew’s face).

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Riding the Wagaon

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Riding the Wagaon

We decided to grab a couple of bags for apple picking. Then we climbed onto the wagon, looking forward to a ride around the orchard. As we sat waiting, something to the left of us caught my eye. It was a tree with moving eyes. The tractor driver told us it was a talking tree, and we had time to go check it out before the wagon needed to leave. We went to investigate. The driver wasn’t kidding. It was definitely a talking tree. It asked Jeremiah his name and carried on a conversation with him. Jeremiah was very impressed and quite fond of the tree. As a matter of fact, he liked the tree so much we had to go back two more times.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: The Talking Tree

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: The Talking Tree

We went back and hopped onto the wagon for a ride around the orchard. On our ride we saw the fun play area, Adventure Acres, and a pumpkin patch. I had no intentions of going to the pumpkin patch because it had rained the night before, but once Jeremiah saw it he said he wanted to go. I told him we would wait until after we picked the apples to see how he felt, because he was pretty cold. He looked up at me and said, in his sweet 3 year old voice, “I’s okay now.” Of course, he was still shivering but I realized he really wanted to go to the pumpkin patch.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Adventure Acres

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Adventure Acres

Once we dismounted from the wagon, we walked into the orchard to pick our apples. I was after Red Delicious and Jonathan’s this day. I love watching my husband and great-nephew interact as they pick apples.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Picking apples

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Picking apples

Once the bag was full, Jeremiah wanted to carry it. He assured us he was strong enough. My husband gave him the bag and he made it several steps before he decided to give it back to Uncle Pat.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Carrying Apples

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Carrying Apples

After both bags were full, I asked Jeremiah if he wanted to go play or was he too cold and wanted to go home. I bet you will never guess what he wanted to do. My husband took the apples back to the car while Jeremiah and I warmed ourselves in the store. There are so many wonderful things to look at and purchase. We were able to watch some ladies make apple cider donuts (of which we bought a half dozen). They were delicious. There was a large variety of jams, jellies and honey. We even watched the bees for a while.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Inside the store

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Inside the store

Then we headed out to the play area. We were told that everything was adult friendly so one (or both) of us could ride with Jeremiah. There was a huge slide, decorated like a caterpillar. Jeremiah and my husband both went down it.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: 35 ft Tube Slide

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: 35 ft Tube Slide

Jeremiah and Uncle Pat raced on some pedal carts. Big thanks go out to the young man that pushed Jeremiah around the track. His little legs weren’t long enough to reach the pedals but the young man offered to push him. Jeremiah had a blast racing his Uncle.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Pedal Cars

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Pedal Cars

Next, the guys rode the barrel train which is pulled by a tractor. The cars are decorated to look like farm animals. They received a nice long ride around the outside edge of Adventure Acres.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Barrel Train

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Barrel Train

There were a couple of great climbing areas; some old tractor tires and some bales of hay stacked to look like a tractor.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Climbing

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Climbing

There were several other fun activities that we didn’t get to. There was an electronically timed maze game, for the kids, called Punchin’ Pumpkins.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Punchin' Pumpkins

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Punchin’ Pumpkins

There was also a large corn maze, which I wanted nothing to do with. I am no good with directions and get turned around easily. Associated with the maze is a fun “Secret Agent” challenge. If you kids are a little older, than Jeremiah, they would really enjoy it. Here is an entertaining video that explains more about the challenge. It’s worth watching even if you don’t plan on going through the corn maze.

Last but definitely not least, we headed to the pumpkin patch. I’m really glad we didn’t skip that part of the trip. The ground was packed fairly hard so we didn’t have a lot of mud to contend with. I enjoyed watching Jeremiah’s reaction to the vines. He was quite interested in the vines and what they were used for. My husband explained that the leaves and vines help bring food to the pumpkins so they can grow.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Learning about Pumpkin Vines

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Learning about Pumpkin Vines

Jeremiah wanted a “big, huge” pumpkin but we told him that he would have to carry it. He ended up choosing an adorable little one.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Pumpkin Patch

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Pumpkin Patch

There were still plenty of pumpkins throughout the large patch. You won’t want to miss out on that part of the trip.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: Pumpkin Patch

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: Pumpkin Patch

Stuckey Farm is located just north of Indianapolis, in Sheridan, Indiana. It sits right between Sheridan, Westfield and the Indianapolis Executive Airport. The Harvest Festival goes through October 26th. The cost to enter the festival is just $5 per person. That price includes all the rides and activities at Adventure Acres. You will want to bring some extra money for warm apple cider donuts and other yummy treats. Don’t forget you can also pick apples and pumpkins for all your special fall activities. If you aren’t interested in attending the festival, but still want your apples and pumpkins from Stuckey’s, then come on a weekday or during their special Saturday picking times. The special Saturday times are between 7:00am – 10:00am and 5:30pm – 8:00pm.

Don’t forget to stop and say good-bye to the talking tree. You might want to show off the cool pumpkin you picked.

Stuckey Farm's Harvest Festival: The Talking Tree

Stuckey Farm’s Harvest Festival: The Talking Tree

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