Monday, November 26, 2012

SMMART MATH: Advent Holiday Calendar

Whatever holiday you celebrate in the month of can create an advent calendar to count down the days until THE BIG DAY(s)!
A special idea that I've heard from several sources revolves around creating your own advent calendar of traditions. Might be fun to write each day's holiday activity on a snowflake, folded up and tucked into your advent creation.

Advent Calendar ideas:
-You can decorate 24 little boxes with your children and fill each box with a piece of paper that tells the day's activity.

-24 Gifts-Wrap up 24 little boxes and each day your child can open one to discover the day's activity.
-Craft 24 little "poppers" or "crac kers" filled with a holiday activity each day. Check out these rocket poppers: (

...might be fun to make Holiday poppers and every day confetti, treats and an activity fall down on your child in a snow flurry...could create holiday snow chimes (without the rocket top)and wrap 24 toilet paper rolls in holiday scrapbook paper, fill, number and hang up by their strings...Tons of Fun!)
-Make a pop-up window calendar (cut windows out of one sheet of cardstock that your child has decorated... and paste onto a piece of paper where all of the ideas written out under each window)

-Egg Carton Advent (poke holes into the bottom of two cartons and attach them to a piece of cardboard. Wiggle a small strip of paper into each hole and each day your child can pull out that day's strip of paper with the activity for the day. Be sure to let your child decorate the cartons ahead of time.)
Here is a list of ideas that my good friends Arianne and Melanie (and family fun magazine) helped me come up with-some ideas are local to our area.

Advent Calendar…Christmas Tradition Ideas

Make your own Snowman Pizza (complete with olive buttons and mouth)
Cut out and decorate SNOWFLAKES, then hang them from your child's ceiling
Make cookies
Watch a nativity Christmas movie
Visit (temple square) lights
Act out the nativity

Go ice skating
Host a Christmas (princess) party for your child’s friends
Surprise a neighbor by doing something for them
Deliver neighbor gifts
Go to see decorated Christmas Trees (Festival of trees)
Decorate gingerbread houses

Decorate Christmas tree
Visit Santa
Attend the Nutcracker
Observe ice sculpture contest
Attend a (ward) Christmas party

Visit a live nativity

Watch a Christmas movie
Christmas craft

Let your child pick an angel from an “angel tree” Write Christmas cards
Make gifts for your child’s friends
Play in the snow
Make Snow Ice cream

Watch The First Presidency Devotional (
Make ice ornaments

Make bird seed crackers 
Read scriptural account of Jesus’ birth
Attend Christmas Concert/play

Write a Christmas Story
Read Greatest Christmas Pageant EVER
Zoo lights
“This is the Place” Christmas village

Play a holiday game

Draw your own nativity
Make a gift for your teacher
Wrap friend gifts and deliver them
Go to the library/craft time
Paint everybody's toenails in Christmas colours.
Make Christmas cards.
Make Christmas ornaments.
Set up the Christmas tree.
Make gift tags.
Bake Christmas cookies and decorate them.
Purchase a present to give to charity/Take food to food bank
Have a picnic for dinner.
Go out to look at Christmas lights after dark. (make a gift “award” to present to the house that your family likes the most)
Write a letter to Santa.
Make gifts for teachers and bus drivers.
Hold a family disco.
Go out somewhere special for dinner.
Eat fancy ice creams after dinner.
Watch a Christmas movie before bed.
Visit the grave of loved one

Create and deliver holiday party invites for a holiday party you host
Make a snowscape with shaving cream and action figures (in the bathtub or on a cookie sheet)
Blindfold your kids and have them  guess holiday scents and spices
Write a Christmas Story together
Write a letter to someone in the armed forces
Play secret santa to your neighbor
Act out a Christmas story
At dinner describe what you love about each family member

Hot cocoa taste testing
String popcorn and cranberry garland for an outdoor tree
Happy Holiday Memory Making!
Advent Calendar

Monday, November 19, 2012

SMMART ART (craft): Thanksgiving Pilgrim and Wampanoag Placecards

 Shhhhhhh!  These are a secret!  They are going to be the life of the party for Thanksgiving Dinner!  These cute little Pilgrims and Wampanoag will be tucked under a twine bow and secured to a dinner napkin to indicate where everyone should sit at the table on Thursday. 

Pilgrims need a pilgrim hat or bonnet and a large collar.  Wampanoag puppets can be decked out with a feather atop the head and some fringe somewhere.  Some puppets are holding corn, a cornucopia or a turkey leg for extra humor.

Afterwards, the kiddos can use these as puppets to create their own Thanksgiving stories.  You can bring a Mayflower and a turkey puppet, and maybe an ear of corn puppet to add to the play props.

These did take a lot of work, but you could also find a Pilgrim and Wampanoag clipart figure and just paste on people's faces.  I love how these turned are two of my favorites...


Saturday, November 17, 2012

SMMART Giveaway Family Review: Disney on Ice

A HUGE thank you to SMMART ideas for the Disney on Ice tickets. I took my six year old daughter and she LOVED it! She didn't move the entire show, she was captivated by all the Disney characters and the amazing ice dancing. I have seen several of the Disney on Ice shows over the past few years, but I think this one was my favorite, it took me back to my childhood. I loved the way they did some of the older Disney shows like "Pinocchio" and "Beauty and the Beast". But my overall favorite part was when the stage transformed into my favorite childhood Disneyland ride, "It's a Small World". I also loved the way the characters brought the audience to life as they asked us to clap, dance and even sing a long. The grand finale made you feel like the end of a magical day at Disneyland, with the fireworks going off over the castle and all the characters waving good bye to the children. When it was over I turned to my daughter and asked her if she liked it, with a huge grin on her face she said, "Yeah!" and gave me a big hug.
Thanks to our SMMART ideas reader giveaway winner for writing this review of the show!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012


This is another fun way to explore how water can be in a liquid state and an solid state when it's frozen! (

We poured water into cute little ice molds (from IKEA) and put a drop of food coloring in each one.  We observed the food coloring diffuse through the clear water.

When the water was frozen into its solid state, we headed outside.  Each girl had a waterbottle with a squirt top. 
Stack the ice cubes and pour a little water onto the top of an ice cube as you stack your tower.  The water freezes the two cubes together and acts like glue. 

Heads up...this was messier than I thought it would be.  The food coloring did get on the girls' gloves and coats(they're in the wash now).  Also, the girls couldn't hold the tiny cubes well with their thick gloves and ended up taking them off...which made for cold fingers.  The outcome was pretty though!

SMMART ART (craft): Thankful Turkey Legs

My daughter found this little Thanksgiving craft in the recent FamilyFun Magazine.  The girls had fun stuffing their paper sacks with grocery bags.  Then they twisted the bottoms and we wrapped masking tape all around the bottom.  The magazine suggested you put a napkin around the bottom, and they made the top part look more like a turkey leg...but our version was probably easier with just using the masking tape.

Then the girls wanted to write and draw some things that they were grateful for on the turkey legs.  They had fun hiding their turkey legs and having their sisters try to find them.


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