This diversity craft is easy to do and uses materials you probably already have! More importantly, it teaches children about unity in diversity, and how we can celebrate our differences while still coming together to create something beautiful. For those getting ready for Ayyám-i-Há, the nine-pointed stars also make a great decoration!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars
Today more and more people are coming to appreciate the joys and strengths in our diversity. Yet others confuse this celebration of differences as fundamentally divisive. This simple diversity craft teaches children that this does not have to be the case!
When we recognize our essential unity as a human family, there is nothing to fear from recognizes our differences. Instead, we can celebrate them. After all, what a boring world it would be if we were all the same!
This diversity craft teaches children about unity in diversity in a visual way, and it’s incredibly easy to do.
Why a nine pointed star? First, it lets you use three different colors, so it’s very beautiful! Also, since nine is the highest single digit, it is often used as a symbol of unity.
What You Need:
Tissue paper in at least three colors. You can also use Kite Paper, which is less likely to wrinkle and so makes for even more beautiful stars.
Tape – regular tape works fine, but if you have double-sided, even better!
Piece of light weight cardboard (like from a cereal box)
Ahead of time, trace a nine pointed star onto the light weight cardboard. Separately, use the nine pointed star to trace just one of the star’s triangles. (Just trace the points from the star then connect them to make a triangle). Cut out both the star and the triangle to make your templates.
Use the triangle template to cut out triangles from the tissue paper, 3 per star. (Depending on the age of the children, they can do this step or you can prep ahead of time).
Have the children each pick out three triangles, each triangle of a different color.
Using the star template to see how to position the triangles, have them layer the triangles on top of each other to make a nine pointed star. Use tape between each layer. If you don’t have double side tape, just make a little loop out of the tape so that it sticks to both triangles. Note: I originally used glue instead of tape, but it ends up looking mottled even when dry, so I don’t recommend it.
Now you have a cute, multicolored nine pointed star! What’s beautiful about them is that the three colors are seen distinctly in each of the points, but – especially when you hold the star up to the light – the colors also blend to make new shades together! A super simple but powerful way to teach children about the beauty of unity in diversity.
I spend most of my time on this blog writing about children – great books for them, fun learning activities, and tips to parent them. But today I want to focus on you, and a new, online book club designed just for you and your grownup friends!
Maybe you need some motivation to read, or maybe you already read voraciously but are dying for someone to talk to about what you’re reading. Either way, we’ve got you covered! The new ADM Global Reads for Grownups Book Club just kicked off this year, and we’re dedicated to reading great, multicultural books together. Don’t miss it!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
A Book Club for You! ADM Global Reads for Grownups
I love to read, and pre-kid I was an active member of our library’s book club. But with young children, I couldn’t find time to read – much less take part in a book club!
As my little ones get older, I have a little more time to read, but I’ve also discovered the wonders of online friendships – with amazing folks from around the world! So I decided to start an online book club, where we could read and discuss together, in our own time.
There would be no need to meet together at a certain time, instead we could just jump into the discussion when we were able. And no need to apologize for needing to skip a month or two – we could take time off as we needed it, and join back in as we were able.
We all want to nurture a positive self image in our children but sometimes are unsure of how to go about it. Guest writer Viki de Lieme from ParentsEnlight shares with us a simple but powerful practice to strengthen your child’s self esteem as well as build your relationship!
Helping our little ones build a positive self image and a strong self esteem is much more than praise; here is a simple, yet mindful practice that will enrich your daily activities, empower your child, and even help grow their vocabulary.
Strengthen Your Child’s Self Esteem and Positive Self Image
Mindfulness is on the top of the list of traits somewhat lacking in modern parenting. We’re busy, we have so much to do and so little time, and thus so many parents resort to praise whenever their children engage in a desired activity. Praise however, was already proven problematic.
When Possible, Avoid Praising Your Child
Children’s brains are different than adults’ brains in so many ways. They lack the knowledge and experience that we, adults, have already acquired. They lack the ability to evaluate and judge words, instead – they feel our words. What we process through our brains, children process through their hearts. And this means a whole lot about the way children experience words, about the way they fathom our words.
When a child is doing something he is truly enjoying (drawing, building), or something that his heart told him to do (help you around the house, bring you a glass of water), he is following his internal motivation to get his needs met – either his need for creativity and entertainment or his need for love and connection. Whatever it was that he did – he did it for himself, even when his deeds ended up pleasing you. We are, all of us, selfish that way. We want to make others happy – because it makes us happy.
What Really Happens When We Praise a Child?
Praise is a motivation shifter. Praise takes inner motivations and shifts them into external motivations. If the child was happily drawing to meet his own needs, he will now know that when he draws your needs are met, too. And thus next time, instead of following his heart to the canvas, he will consider your needs, too. And if you’re not that connected that day? If meeting your needs doesn’t meet his own needs at the moment, the canvas might end up white and deserted.
More often than not, what we consider as confidence building (good boy! You got this!) and self image boosting (I told you you can make it!) is actually everything but that.
So How Can You Boost Your Child’s Self Esteem?
The practice I’m sharing with you now is one of my favorite mindful parenting practices, because with so little – it achieves so much. I advise parents to children of all ages to begin using these cards, yet it is best practiced with children over 4 who can play this game, too. To practice this, you’ll need to hold on to your praises (I know it’s hard, kids are so great!) and set 5 minutes each evening to discuss your day with your little one using this mindful tweak on gratitude cards.
Gratitude Cards – With a Mindful Tweak
Usually gratitude cards are used to thank people for doing, in our case – these cards thank our little ones for being. All you need to do is print these cards out and laminate them (just so they would live longer). Then, at bedtime, or any other moment of peaceful connection, take the cards out and put your day’s experiences into positive traits. Not only that your little one will learn the true meaning of his actions, but he would also learn the proper names for his inner needs. Your gratitude towards his deeds will teach him how proud you are of him, but it will achieve that through his heart, without that switch in motivations.
In addition to naming the trait behind the deed, you can ask your little one which other traits were involved in the same did, you can ask him to switch and find the traits he recognized in your deeds today, you can ask him how these deeds made him feel and stress that pleasant deeds derive pleasant emotions. There are, really, endless possibilities to this card game, all of which boost your child’s self esteem and positive self image by touching his very heart, and enhancing the connection between the two of you.
Here are a few examples taken from conversations I had with my own son:
Lately my little one is all about picking up his toys, putting dishes into the sink, turning lights off and whatnot. Everything we were modeling for the past three years if finally showing 🙂 At bedtime (I always do this during bedtime) I brought out the cards and told him how responsible it is of him to put everything back in place (surely there was more detail in our actual conversation), and how proud I am for his growing sense of responsibility.
He then said “responsibility? I am responsible”? We named the trait, made him feel good about what he had done, and made him acknowledge is strength – on his own.
When taking extra time to build the “perfect” (to him) tower, or complete a more challenging puzzle, I thank him for his perseverance. Especially if there were a few “failures” on the way. This teaches him that not making it is a huge part of eventually making it, it teaches him that practice makes perfect, and it teaches him that hard work gets things done. Whenever the perseverance card is pulled out, I always ask him how completing the task made him feel, and whether this pleasant feeling was worthy of the unpleasant feeling the “failure” caused him. By now he already knows that he is perseverent (he says it himself), a trait that will follow him for the rest of his life, and that small “failures” are a part of the big picture of success.
The authenticity card is definitely one of my favorite cards. We live in a world where most children (and adults, too) are catering to the needs and feelings of others, on the expense of their own. Mindfulness is about being present, with ourselves, at every given moment. Being authentic to ourselves, and expressing ourselves authentically. I pull this card out when my little one tells me what he thinks, what he wants, and what he doesn’t want (whether I like it or not). Not too many kids out there are thanked and appreciated for not hugging aunt Sophie when they don’t want to – yet the ability to refuse an activity that doesn’t meet our needs is one of the most important abilities when these little ones enter their teen years and beyond. “No” saves lives and there’s no better time to teach this, than now.
Generosity had gone unnoticed, yet all kids are naturally generous (because making their friends/parents happy meets their need for connection). The more we celebrate it, the more we put an emphasis on their natural generosity, the better are our chances of raising truly generous adults, who give from their hearts and for the sake of giving (rather than from their brains and with the hope of receiving).
When my little one candidly offers his friends his own snacks, and especially when he gives out everything he has – without leaving anything for him (yes – that happens) – he later on finds true pride in being generous.
Celebrate Your Child’s Strengths, Every Day
This mindful activity is a powerful activity to enhance children’s positive self image and boost their self esteem. They love playing with the cards, learning the words, and looking for the deeds that fit those words. They love learning who they are, the love learning that all this positivity comes from within, they love learning how proud these traits of theirs make us feel.
Parents’ Role in Children’s Positive Self Image and Strong Self Esteem
Kids believe what we tell them. This is how it works, and this is why a positive, mindful language is the single most important tool we have in our children’s education. The more positive words we use, the more mindful we are about our own actions and about the actions of our little ones, the easier it will be for us to keep the deep connection and attachment with our children.
Is there anything else that we, really, want?
This deck of Gratitude Cards includes 20 of the most powerful and empowering traits: authenticity, compassion, courageousness, fairness, forgiveness, honesty, initiation, integrity, kindness, lovingness, loyalty, modesty, optimism, patience, perseverance, reliability, sensitivity, and responsibility. The cards are 14.8*10.5 cm and are optimized for print. Get your link, email it to the nearest photography store, ask for laminated cards and pick them up within the hour. It’s totally worth it 🙂
You can download your cards (for free) from ParentsEnlight and start practicing this amazing confidence and self esteem boosting activity.
About the Author
Viki de Lieme is the owner and head coach at ParentsEnlight. A Nonviolent Communication specialist, a human rights activist, attachment parenting advocate, and a firm believer in a better future through mindful parenting.
Want to help get more diverse, multicultural children’s books out into the world? Support Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 25, 2019 with free resources and a classroom kit offered on their website. And be sure to use #ReadYourWorld on social media and spread the word!
Welcome to our 6th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Here’s how to celebrate:
Link up your diversity book reviews below.
Join us tonight at our 6th annual Twitter Party! Follow @McChildsBookDay to join in on the diverse book discussions, discover new titles and authors and for a chance to win one of our twelve book bundles. Party time is 9 pm to 10 pm EST. RSVP here. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld.
We want to extend a huge THANK YOU to all of the Sponsors, Authors, Publishers, Organizations, Book Reviewers, Book Donators, Parents, Caregivers, Educators and Librarians who devote their time and energy to helping us to achieve our mission of getting multicultural children’s and YA books into the hands of readers. We appreciate you!
Teach your students all about the upcoming Lunar New Year with these wonderful Chinese New Year books for kids! They include picture books as well as easy readers and a chapter book. Some are straightforward informational books, while others are fairy tales that bring to life some of the aspects of the Chinese New Year, like the animals of the zodiac. Some focus on the difficulty of being away from family during this special holiday, or the challenges of finding your identity as a Chinese American.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
18 Chinese New Year Books for Children
Bringing In the New Year is a wonderful board book that introduces the youngest readers to Chinese New Year. In colorful illustrations, it demonstrates how a family prepares for the New Year – by, for example, sweeping out the old year and hanging up spring-happiness poems. Little ones will especially enjoy the depictions of the celebration with lion dancers, firecrackers, and a dragon parade!
A cute book to teach older slightly children about the holiday is Chelsea’s Chinese New Year. Chelsea and her Chinese-American family are getting ready for the Chinese New Year, and she can’t wait! Most of all she wonders how she will stay up so late the night before! Can be read as a simple story, or add in the fun facts that are seen in bubbles throughout the book. A fun look at the celebration through a child’s eyes. Includes a glossary, list of zodiac animals, and additional resources.
PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year also follows a young Chinese-American girl celebrating Chinese New Year, but with a twist – she is learning all about it from her grandmother (PoPo), who is visiting from China! The first thing she learns is that there are a lot of rules to bring luck for the New Year, like don’t wash your hair on New Year’s Day, and don’t use knives and scissors. Can she follow the rules to have the luckiest year ever?
This Next New Year is another great introduction to the customs of Chinese New Year. One thing that makes this book a little different is its emphasis on how people of different Asian cultures (and many who aren’t Asian at all!) celebrate this holiday, including the main character, a young boy who is half-Chinese and half-Korean.
In Li’s Chinese New Year, Li learns about Chinese New Year and the zodiac as he tries to decide which animal to be at his school’s Chinese New Year parade. Read to find out more about his teacher’s clever solution!
Home for Chinese New Year is a very sweet story about a father going to great lengths to return home for Chinese New Year. Jiajun’s father works in a city far from home, but takes a train, bus, three-wheeled motorcycle, and ferry before walking many miles to make it home to his family for Chinese New Year. Emphasizes the importance of being with family for the holiday, and the incredible efforts people make to celebrate this special holiday together, even if only for a few days.
A New Year’s Reunion is a very similar story of a little girl whose father builds houses far away and only comes home for a few days a year, at Chinese New Year. This book captures the mixed emotions the young girl feels – excitement as she waits for her father’s arrival but fear as he looks so different than she remembers, joy as they celebrate Chinese New Year together and finally sadness when he leaves again just a short time later.
A Gift also emphasizes the importance of family during Chinese New Year, even when it is impossible for everyone to be together. Amy’s mother is from China, and although Amy has uncles and an aunt there she’s never met, they always remember her during Chinese New Year. This year they send a special gift all the way from China, to show their love and bring her luck for the new year.
In New Year we meet a young boy who has just moved to Los Angeles from Hong Kong. At first he is excited to go to school, but he quickly becomes frustrated when he doesn’t understand anyone else, except for another Chinese student who is embarrassed to talk to him in Chinese. Yet with help from his teacher (also an immigrant, from Mexico) and his mother, he learns to be proud of where he is from. Through his art, he gains confidence and shares with the other students his special memories of Chinese New Year.
If the story of a little girl walking through the woods to give her grandmother a present sounds familiar, don’t worry! In Ruby’s Chinese New Year no one gets eaten by a wolf. In fact, all of the animals Ruby meets on her journey are friendly and want to help her take a special Chinese New Year card to Grandmother. A clever way to introduce children to the animals of the zodiac and learn about the true spirit of Chinese New Year along the way! Includes additional information about the zodiac and Chinese New Year crafts.
When Xingling learns from her PoPo (grandmother) about the Nian monster who used to terrorize the countryside every year on Lunar New Year, she never imagines it will come back to life! In The Nian Monster, this clever girl must figure out how to use the traditions of Chinese New Year to defeat the Nian Monster before it devours her and the whole city of Shanghai! Beautifully told story that not only showcases many of the features of Chinese New Year but also landmarks of Shanghai.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a fun retelling of the classic tale, this time set during Chinese New Year. Poor Goldy Luck just can’t catch a break. She tries to help her mother delivers a plate of turnip cakes to their neighbors (a family of pandas), but instead ends up stumbling into their apartment when they aren’t home, spilling the cakes, eating a whole bowl of congee, breaking a rocking chair, and – to top it all off – falling asleep in the little one’s bed! Find out how Goldy turns her situation around and finally finds some good luck to start off the new year. Includes a recipe for turnip cakes.
Inspired by the Danish folktale the Talking Pot, The Runaway Wok tells the story of a poor family in Beijing, who wishes they had enough food for a proper Chinese New Year feast to share with their neighbors. When the son finds an old, battered wok at the market, he is shocked when it begins to sing to him! Sure it must be magic, he brings it home, and soon the wok goes to work to make this a Chinese New Year to remember for this generous family and the other poor families of Beijing.
In The Runaway Rice Cake it’s the food itself that’s on the run. The Chang family only has enough rice flour to make one rice cake for the whole family to share for Chinese New Year, but when it is ready, it jumps up and runs out the door! The resolution to the story emphasizes not simply cleverness but kindness and generosity. In the end, the family is rewarded for their selflessness when they (and their rice cake) find someone in even greater need than themselves.
If you have a Curious George fan in your house, you won’t want to miss Curious George Dragon Dance. This time George’s curiosity leads him to investigate a Chinese New Year parade and help a new friend by becoming a lion dancer! Includes a craft.
Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year is different from the others because it follows a real life boy as he gets ready to be a lion dancer for Chinese New Year. It is chock full of beautiful photos of this family as they prepare for and celebrate in New York City’s Chinatown.
Max Celebrates Chinese New Year is part of an easy reader series. In this simple story, Max learns all about Chinese New Year as he helps his friend Lily and her family celebrate. A good introduction to basic traditions of the holiday.
The Year of the Dog is told from the point of view of a Chinese American girl, one of the only non-Caucasians in her town. According to her mother, the Year of the Dog is all about finding yourself, so the young girl struggles with her identity: Should she be called Pacy (her Chinese name) or Grace (her American name)? Is she American or Chinese or Taiwanese, or can she be all three? And can she find her own special talent before the Year of the Dog is over? Author Grace Lin started the Pacy Lin series because it was the kind of book she wished she could have read when she was growing up. Pacy/Grace faces problems any child will recognize (whether a crush likes her, getting a role in the school production of The Wizard of Oz), but these are sometimes complicated by her background (can Dorothy be Chinese?) The characters in the book are so well-written, and the story is both poignant and quite funny. And what pulls it all together is the idea of Chinese New Year, and how the concept of the Year of the Dog shapes Grace/Pacy’s quest for identity. While most children’s novels take place over a summer or over one school year, this one starts and finishes on Chinese New Year. Will one year be enough time to find herself? Highly recommended.
What are your favorite Chinese New Year books for kids?
Welcome to our fifth annual Chinese New Year blog hop! Lunar New Year, more commonly known as Chinese New Year, starts on February 5. It is the beginning of the Year of the Pig, and we have lots of great ideas for celebrating it with kids! Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, 2016 and 2015, and you can find even more on our Chinese New Year Pinterest board:
Inspire a love of learning in your children or students with these beautiful new diverse children’s books. They cover topics from philosophy and art to science, technology, geography, and math, so you’re sure to find something for everyone!
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
I (Heart) Art: The Work We Love from The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a gorgeous book guaranteed to turn any reader – young or old – into an art lover. I love that it encompasses such a variety of media and artists and that it is divided into themes, including people, animals, and transportation. And it can be enjoyed at different levels – younger children may simply enjoy the 150+ works of art, while older children can read more about the works in the accompanying text. This is a book to be savored and enjoyed again and again.
I have to admit that when I received Eggsistential Thoughts by Gudetama the Lazy Egg and its companion Gudetama’s Guide to Life, I wasn’t sure how to approach them. Were they philosophy books for kids, or satire? Fortunately my kids got Gudetama and his lazy attitude right away. They loved him! They laughed and laughed at the drawings (especially his little bottom), but they also imbibed some philosophical concepts, such as conflict management and optimism vs pessimism. Because ultimately Gudetama is profound and comical at the same time. Find out more about the Gudetama phenomenon in the context of Japanese culture, and just trust me, your kids will love these books, and so will you!
Another book sure to inspire a love of learning is The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague, a lovely picture book biography about a young African-American girl who pursued her dream of becoming an engineer, despite the racism and sexism she faced every step of the way. Encouraged by her family, Montague’s hard work and determination eventually paid off. She won over those that were initially against her, and she is now credited with pioneering new methods of ship design. I love that this beautiful picture book includes at the back a timeline of Montague’s life, a more in-depth biography for older children, and even an interview with Montague herself!
Did you know that the first person to publish a book of photographs was a woman? Learn more in the new picture book The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs. The ethereal illustrations portray Anna’s fascination with plant life and her work as a botanist. She used incredibly detailed drawings to record her findings, but when cyanotype photography came along, she turned to this new technology instead. Her 1843 book on British algae is considered the first book of photographs ever published. A lovely tribute to this pioneer of science and art.
In many ways, Yasmin is a typical second grader: curious, full of energy, and still gaining confidence in her own talents. Her map of the neighborhood helps her when she gets lost at the Farmer’s Market, and she overcomes her initial frustration in order to contribute to a group project at school. But in the new early chapter book Meet Yasmin!, we also learn that in many ways Yasmin is beautifully unique: she calls her father Baba rather than Daddy, her mother wears a hijab, and Yasmin loves to dress up in her mom’s colorful saris.
Her family is Pakistani-American, and while the stories are ones any child can relate to, the cultural richness comes through in the details: a portrait of Malala in Yasmin’s bedroom, her mother ordering naan bread at the bakery. But what really shines through is the sparkling spirit of this young girl, especially her curiosity and love of learning.
Bonus materials at the back include information about Pakistan, a recipe, and a craft idea!
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board
I love word games; they are such a great way to get kids to engage with language and have fun with the vocabulary and grammar they are learning. They are also wonderful for getting their imaginations going! Inspired by some amazing new children’s books about magical creatures (see more below!), I’ve created a series of unicorn word games and writing prompts, complete with a printable.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Unicorn Word Games and Writing Prompts with Printable
The printable below can be used either for oral word games or as writing prompts. Just right click on the image to save and print! And don’t miss my reviews at the end of the wonderful books that inspired these games!
Clip art courtesy of Innovation Press.
There are four unicorn word games, presented here from the most simple to the most complex. The first two can be done individually, while the last two are done in a group. All, especially #2-4, can be played multiple times. The idea is for the students to be creative, so they should feel free to make silly sentences, not just straightforward ones!
1. Imagine. At its most basic, the printable can be used as a straightforward writing prompt, helping students get creative about imagining their unicorn. The very young can simply draw a picture if the writing is too much.
2. Pick a Letter. For this variation, assign letters of the alphabet randomly, or have students draw them out of a bag or hat. They then have to complete each part of the prompt using words that start with that letter. For example, if someone draws an “S,” they could say “My unicorn lives in Spain. Its favorite food is spaghetti. In its free time it likes to swim.” Again, students get to exercise their creativity but with an extra challenge.
3. Challenge Your Friends. In this variation, the students work in small groups. One student starts by completing the first sentence. (This can either be done by drawing a letter as in variation #2, or by their own choice). The next person completes the second sentence and the last person completes the final sentence – but they each have to pick words that start with the same letter as the word chosen by the first student. For example, if the first student says, “My unicorn lives in Queens,” the next student might say, “Its favorite food is quiche,” and the last might say, “In its free time it likes to quilt.”
4. Challenge Your Friends to the End. This variation is similar to the previous one, except that now each student must pick a word that starts with the last letter of the word chosen by the previous student. So if the first student says, “My unicorn lives in Bolivia,” the next might say, “Its favorite food is apple pie,” and the last might say, “In its free time it likes to eat.”
Magical Books for Kids
I was inspired to create these unicorn word games because of two magical new children’s books from the amazing Innovation Press. Be sure to check them out – your kids will thank you!
My children were drawn to Miss Turie’s Magic Creatures right away – I mean, just look at that cover! The artwork in this book is incredible, as readers join a little boy in a shop of magical creatures, all in hopes of finding the perfect pet. But, would you want to take home a dragon or a kraken? What would it really be like to have them as pets, breathing fire in your room or swimming in your bubble bath? A wonderfully fun read for children of a wide range of ages. All of my children love reading this book again and again. My older children especially like poring over the catalog of mythical creatures at the back, which explains in more detail each magical creature featured in the book.
Unicorns and Germs (Zoey and Sassafras) is the latest installment in the beloved series about a resourceful girl who uses the scientific method and creativity to help magical creatures. In this adventure, Zoey and her trusty cat Sassafras must find a way to help a baby unicorn with its hurt leg. (In one of my favorite jokes of the book, it’s revealed that unicorns are actually gigantic creatures, meaning that the baby unicorn Zoey helps is named Tiny – though he seems “ginormous” to her!) My kindergartner and I read this book together, and it was gratifying to me to see how the story makes science both practical and fun at the same time. And just plain cool because you can use it to help unicorns, hello!
Don’t miss these and other great books from Innovation Press and have fun with these unicorn word games!
Take your kids around the world this holiday season by hosting an around the world holiday party! It’s the perfect way for a school club or a homeschool group to celebrate this festive season.
Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids
Last year we started a World Explorers Club in our homeschool group. Each month we get together to learn about a different country with the kiddos. Earlier this month the World Explorers Club put on our second annual around the world holiday party. Everyone had a blast!
Each family picks a country to represent and shows how a popular winter holiday is celebrated there.
At our party this year we learned about Christmas in Sweden, Russia, Italy, UK, and the Netherlands; Hanukkah in Israel; Diwali in India; Chinese New Year in China; and Ayyám-i-Há. (The Bahá’í holiday of Ayyám-i-Há was a bit of an exception, since it isn’t based in any one country).
For their chosen country, each family prepares 1) a craft or activity, 2) a traditional treat. So, for example, last year our family did the Philippines, so the kids made a version of a traditional star decoration and sampled some homemade coconut milk cake. For India (Diwali) this year we brought ladoos to share and helped the kids make paper diyas. For Sweden, the kids crafted some adorable Christmas gnomes and decorated cookies, while for Israel (Hanukkah) they played dreidel to win chocolate coins.
We have done this two different ways, so see which works for your group! Both times, we set up “stations” around the room, generally one country per table, and the kids could spread out and take turns visiting each.
Last year, the food and the craft were at each station, whereas this year we moved all the treats to a food table and saved them until the end. They were only able to get the food after completing a quiz about the countries they had learned about!
The holiday quiz! They had to work together to answer the questions before they could have their treats 🙂
Whichever way you do it, make sure to have their first stop by a station where kids decorate treat bags. They’ll need one to collect all the crafts they will be making! This is a great activity for them to do as people are arriving and setting up.
Next year, we definitely have to add a Mexican style piñata!
December 13, 2018Book Reviews, ChristmasComments Off on New Christmas Picture Books to Brighten Your Holiday
The holidays are the perfect time to snuggle up together and share some cozy moments over a good book. Well, I have not one but five wonderful new Christmas picture books to share with you, all of them guaranteed to brighten your holiday! So take a break from the hustle and bustle, grab your kids and some mugs of cocoa, and curl up with these new holiday favorites.
Disclosure: I was sent complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
New Christmas Picture Books to Brighten Your Holiday
My kids love ninjas! So why I was very excited to receive North Pole Ninjas: MISSION: Christmas! to review. Who would have thought there would be ninjas at the North Pole? But they are so useful to do all those secret jobs that need to be done to spread kindness everywhere! The pictures are adorable, and I love the rhyming text, but my FAVORITE part is that it comes with 50 top secret missions of kindness that kids can do, like donating food to the local food bank, or drawing a holiday picture for relatives. What a great way to have kids focus on the spirit of the season!
Another book that really helps kids focus on what’s important is My Little Gifts: A Book of Sharing (Growing Hearts). This is a beautifully done book with plenty of cleverly done flaps for little hands to open. It helps children realize that gifts don’t have to be wrapped under the tree, they can be hugs and kisses, or helping someone, or letting your sister decide which jam to try. I should mention that this book is not specifically for Christmas, but great for any time of year.
All Aboard! The Christmas Train is soooo fun for little readers! It opens up into a train, plus each car opens up to see the passengers inside! My kids love laying this book out on the floor to read it. As their mom, I love that it incorporates so many fun little learning activities, like counting the number of skiers, or looking for Santa’s missing boot! So colorful and fun!
Decked Out for Christmas! is a really cute board book to help younger kids get excited about Christmas time. A group of mice pull out all the decorations (included a cheese star!) fit for a wonderful Christmas tree, but soon it becomes obvious they aren’t decorating a tree! Great twist and a special appearance by a present-giving mouse at the end.
I love finding bilingual books for all occasions, so I was happy to review Doggy Claus / Perro Noel (English and Spanish Edition). It is a sweet story of a shelter dog who wants to bring some holiday cheer to the other animals. In the end he discovers that the best presents aren’t toys but rather friendship. Really cute book with a great message!
Part of our character building classes is teaching children about heroes in Bahá’í history and how they can emulate their qualities. Bahiyyih Khanum, daughter of the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, is a leading Bahá’í heroine and holds a unique place in religious history. In these lessons, the children studied a prayer and learned about her qualities of service and leadership.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Bahá’í History Lesson: Bahiyyih Khanum
Also known by the title Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum was born in 1846, the daughter of Bahá’u’lláh and His wife Navváb. She was only a child when her family was forced from their homes and, along with the other members of her family, spent the rest of her life as an exile.
She also holds the distinction of being the first woman in religious history to lead a worldwide faith community. When her older brother ‘Abdu’l-Bahá died in 1921, Bahiyyih Khanum assumed the helm of the Bahá’í community, shepherding it through some of its most difficult times, as it prepared to transition to the leadership of the young Shoghi Effendi. Grownups can read more about her extraordinary life in Prophet’s Daughter: The Life and Legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum, Outstanding Heroine of the Baha’i Faith.
The children’s class activities outlined below were taught over two classes and focused on Bahiyyih Khanum’s qualities of service and leadership, as well as teaching about the Holy Family.
For some aspects, like the prayer book, we did half during one lesson and half during the other. The other activities you can divide between two (or three) lessons as you see fit.
Children’s Prayer: “O Thou Kind Lord”
At the beginning of each class, after our opening prayers, we studied the following prayer from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “O Thou Kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might…” (read the whole prayer).
The children made a prayer book from two sheets of construction paper stapled together. During the first lesson, we pasted on the cover a copy of a photo of Bahiyyih Khanum (from the resource pages of the Core Curriculum Preschool lesson book). On the first inside page, they pasted a copy of a the first paragraph of the prayer. On the opposite page, they traced their hands, to go along with the idea of “handiwork.” Their homework was to read over and begin to memorize the first paragraph of the prayer.
During the next lesson, they pasted the second paragraph on the next page of the prayer book, which includes “…enable them to render service to the world of humanity.” On the opposite page, they drew pictures of things they could do to help others.
On the last set of pages, they pasted the final paragraph, which includes, “These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.” Then we folded over a piece of card stock and cut out a shell shape, being careful to have the top (the “hinge”) of the shell on the fold, so that the shell can open and close.
They then drew a heart on the outside of the shell (for “loving-kindness”) and a pearl on the inside. They then pasted the finished shell to the page opposite the final paragraph of the prayer.
Holy Family Tree
Next we focused on learning about the life of Bahiyyih Khanum, first by helping the children understand how she fits into the Holy Family (the family of Bahá’u’lláh). For this, I drew on the expertise of my friend Melissa at Delighted Hearts, who worked with me to develop this beautiful Holy Family Tree, which children can use to help them understand the relationships between the members of Bahá’u’lláh’s family. Be sure to visit her website for the printable worksheet!
To learn about her life of service, I adapted a story from Prophet’s Daughter: The Life and Legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum, Outstanding Heroine of the Baha’i Faith about when Bahiyyih Khanum was very young. Though she was just a small child and not very strong, she would still help to serve tea using a very heavy samovar, an act of service that impressed Bahá’u’lláh’s guests. I loved sharing this story with them, because it shows that even though they are young, they can still serve others and teach the Faith.
Since the children were not familiar with the samovars commonly used in Persia at that time, a local Bahá’í kindly loaned one to use to demonstrate.