Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year! Happy New Blog!

by Dale Ho

I'm not one to make New Years resolutions, however I can say that I am looking forward to a year filled with opportunity, endless possibilities and adventure awaiting behind every corner.

My passion is educating young children with a special interest in the overall healthy development of the whole child. 

Happy New Year!
It is with this in mind that I choose to focus my efforts on the 'family unit'.  For it is family that aids in the healthy development of the whole child -The Complete Family.

Here you will find posts that have an underlying focus on the family unit and will include topics relating to health & wellness, learning, travel, decor and more.
It is my intention to partner and collaborate with both individuals, organisations and brands alike to bring quality content to my readership for the new year.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Easy to Make Christmas Tree Ornaments

Acorn Ornament
by Dale Ho

There's still some time left for the kids to make these really cute Christmas tree ornaments.
For the acorn ornaments you will need:
Assorted pom-poms
How to:
  • Glue poms-poms throughout the acorns.*For extra sparkle you could add some glitter to the acorns*
  • Cut a piece of ribbon to be used to hang the ornament onto the tree, glue this to the acorn and let dry.

Reindeer Ornament
For the reindeer ornament you will need:
Craft sticks
One pom-pom
Pipe cleaners
Googly eyes


How to:
  • Glue three craft sticks together to form a triangle, this is your 'reindeer'.
  • Glue a pom-pom on for the nose (use a red one for Rudolph!)
  • Glue the eyes on, or you could draw them on too!
  • Wrap a pipe cleaner on either side of the reindeer head, these are the antlers.
  • Wrap a piece of ribbon onto the ornament to hang on the tree.

Happy Holidays!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Make a Recycled Christmas Tree!

Every now and then I come across some really cool activity ideas, crafts and games that I have to share.  

This particular one caught my eye, posted by @misstesl... it's a recycled newspaper Christmas tree with wrapped up recycled CD's used as ornaments, how cool is that?!
Step 1. Paint the background

Step 2. Paint recycled newspaper green, cut into strips
Step 3. Stick the 'branches' on background paper

Step 4. Add more branches and the newspaper wrapped CD's as ornaments

A beautifully finished Recycled Newspaper Christmas Tree!

You can find 'Miss T Esl' over at www.misst-esl-activities.com
"It's a relatively new website with some tried resources we used with children learning English as a second language. (We means some of my colleagues and me.) The idea is behind it to share some experiece with teachers who has just started teaching or whoever needs some idea that makes them a better facilitator. Trying to take kids out of their normal routine and teach through songs, art, hands on activities, games, roleplays, group projects, whatever they can use the language without noticing the learning process." ~Miss T Esl

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Learning opportunities, Creating tradition and Making memories

There's no denying there are windows of opportunity for learning all around us each day and the holidays are no exception. 

Literacy and social skills are just a few suggestions on today's list:
Have the kids write a letter to Santa. 
Thanks to Canada Post, Santa's Chief Postal Elf Holly T. Elf has 3 golden rules on sending a letter:
1. Make sure you include your return address!
While Santa knows where your house is, the postal elf team needs your address to ensure your letter will be delivered on time.
2. Send your letter soon!
All letters to Santa should be mailed before December 16 to give Santa enough time to send a letter back.
3. Remember Santa's address:
  • Follow a traditional Holiday recipe or let the kids create their very own.
  • Have F.U.N singing all those timeless Christmas carols together.
  • Take some time to read the Holiday classics.
  • Let the kids help you write, address and mail your greeting cards. 
  • And if you've got one of Santa's special scout elves of your very own -The Elf on the Shelf®suggest the kids write them letters periodically...and it's always exciting to receive letters in return ;)

Use these ideas to start a holiday tradition all of your own!!!

Whilst we're on the topic of
The Elf on the Shelf® and creating tradition, we had the wonderful opportunity to ask Chanda Bell, co-author of the best-selling children's book The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition to share her favourite holiday memory growing up with us.
"My favorite Christmas memory taken as a whole, was my Elf on the Shelf. I really do remember talking to him and whispering my Christmas list. He was magical, and my own personal connection to Santa Claus. I loved him like a family pet or a member of the family. Outside of our elf, Fisbee, I remember my Dad surprising my sister and me. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but my parents would work very hard to make Christmas special. At the end of Christmas one year, after Santa had come and all the presents had been unwrapped, my Dad told us he knew of one more gift. He told us it was down in the basement and that he was going to have to go get it. To our great surprise, he walked upstairs with a new bike—or at least what was a new bike to us. It had a basket with flowers on it. It was BEAUTIFUL, and a Christmas morning I will never forget. My sister and I spent all day outside learning how to ride our bikes and enjoying our new found freedom."  
                                                      ~Chanda Bell
Elf Pets®: A Reindeer Tradition

Chanda Bell is also author of
Elf Pets®: A Reindeer Tradition.  
"Elf Pets® is a magical tale about Santa’s reindeer aimed at helping children show love, compassion and care for something outside of themselves. In my opinion, that is what Christmas is all about. So, Elf Pets®: A Reindeer Tradition is a book based on the idea that Santa’s sleigh will not fly due to a lack of Christmas spirit. Christmas spirit, according to the book is made up of faith, hope and love. So, Santa sends out his reindeer to be adopted by children everywhere and on those reindeer he places a golden heart charm. The reindeer’s job, once adopted, is to snuggle with kids and “store up the wonder” that will eventually help Santa take flight. Then, on Christmas Eve the reindeer grows full size and helps to pull Santa’s sleigh. The excitement for kids here, is that they actually get to play a part in helping Santa’s sleigh fly! As a kid, what could be better than that?"
                                                                           ~Chanda Bell

The Holidays are all about family, friends, celebrating tradition and creating new ones, making  memories, believing in magic and miracles do come true.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This Holiday season start a new tradition!

In keeping with the twelve days of Christmas, wrap twelve books using either festive wrapping paper or recycled paper.

Choose holiday or winter themed books from your existing home library or pick them up from your local dollar store.

Once wrapped they're ready to be placed close by your special reading spot. 
Each night have the kids choose one book to unwrap and read it together before bedtime.

This is a fabulous opportunity to promote literacy and spend quality time together as a family during the Holidays.

Happy reading!

*Activity extension* You can also take this time to introduce and reinforce news skills such as number or letter recognition. Write a number or a letter of the alphabet on each present, have a basket close by filled with corresponding numbers or letters for kids to chose one and match it with the correct present.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Boredom Buster Games

'Message in a Bottle'....how about 'Story Starter in a Bottle'.

I've got yet another literacy based activity idea for you and it's perfect for all ages! All you need is an old jar!!

Write or type various story starters on several pieces of paper and store them in a jar...next time the kids say they're bored have them pick a story starter from the jar :)

~Happy Reading! ~D

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Mystery Bag??!!

A Mystery Bag is yet another great way to promote and sustain literacy in children of all ages!

Collect a few items from around the house and place them in a bag. 

Close the bag up and have the kids take turns in putting one hand in -no peeking- and try to guess what's in there.  Encourage children to use descriptive words i.e. soft, fluffy, pointy, etc. You can also take this opportunity to introduce new vocabulary :)

Literacy goes well beyond the pages of a book!

Have fun! ~D

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What's In The Box?

No need for expensive gizmos or gadgets...just a box!

You ever notice what happens when you give a child an unopened box? Their imaginations are set all a glow, their creativity is suddenly unleashed! Their thoughts immediately start to race on the endless possibilities. What could possibly be inside the box???

Is it a submarine? A spaceship...oh oh, I know...it's a great big, hairy, blue elephant!

So how is this all possibly tied into literacy?  Simple, have the kids share their story with you. Suggest older kids write down their story idea...Is it a submarine in the box? How did it get there? Who does it belong to? What colour is it? Does it take you to magical places? What adventures would you go on?

Younger kids might want to draw their story, get them to tell you all about their picture after.  Some kids may simply want to tell you all about their story idea and that's OK ;-)

Literacy goes well beyond the pages of a book!

Have fun! ~Dale

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

*BOOK REVIEW* Meeting Miss 405

I got a chance to share Lois Peterson's  'Meeting Miss 405' with the kids in our Young Readers Group before we took a break for the Holidays, here are some of their thoughts on the book...

"I thought [the story] was sad because the main character's mom has depression. It must be very hard for her because she doesn't get to see her mom and people in her class are teasing her about it." 
~ Isabella 

"Tansy didn't like miss 405 at first because she didn't think she needed a babysitter but miss Stella taught Tansy lots of new things like calligraphy after school. Miss tansy didn't have computers and TV so they played games and talked together every-time. I like the end of the book, Tansy ended up liking Miss Stella a lot, Tansy's mum came back and Miss Stella made her a special present For Her Eyes Only!"

"Miss 405 was a awesome story. The book is about Tansy meeting and staying with Miss Stella while her dad was at work and her mom was away.  I liked Miss Stella because she was so nice to Tansy and taught her calligraphy.  Tansy is bullied at school by Devon because her mother suffers from depression, I like how Tansy dealt with her bully at the end of the book." ~Nick