Winter Themed Activities & Printables (Learn & Play Link Up)

This post contains affiliate links.

It's officially winter, my favorite season of the year!  In celebration of this I thought I'd share all of my winter themed unit studies, activities, and printables in one place for easy access.  I hope you enjoy!  We had such a blast with every single activity included here!  










Welcome to the Learn & Play Link Up!!!
Learn & Play Link Up Every Thursday


Now it’s time for this week’s link party! This new link up is for all blog posts that include learn and play activities and hands-on education for kids. We are excited to read your blog posts and to see what you have to share! Please link up below and grab our button to display on your blog.
If you are a blogger, share your family friendly posts here. We are looking for things which include:
  • Montessori Education
  • Homeschool
  • Sensory Play
  • Tot and Preschool Trays
  • Fine and Gross Motor Activities
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Healthy Recipes for Kids
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Natural Living
  • Free Educational Printables
  • Family-Oriented Activities
  • Healthy Living
Your post will be shown on each host’s blog where we will individually pick features every other week. That means there is more of a chance that you will be featured!
Everyone, please meet our link party hosts:
learn and play party hostesses

Guidelines for Linking:
  • Please link up 1-3 posts
  • Follow each of the hosts on social media
  • When you link up, please add our button and place it at the bottom of your shared posts or link back with text link.
  • By entering a link, you’re giving us permission to feature an image on our blogs. Proper credit & links will ALWAYS be given.
  • Please visit a couple of shared posts and leave a comment for them
  • Remember that you must link back in order to be featured
Christian Montessori Network

Passion, Pizza Strokes, and Perseverance

I can still remember that first "Mommy & Me" swim class like it was yesterday.  In my opinion, Dinomite was doing fabulous.  But then as the class ended, the instructor approached me explaining that the class wouldn't work out for my son.  I was mortified, and can still feel the sting of the tears as they swelled in my eyes, mixing with the chlorine from the pool.  How can a "Mommy and Me" class not work out?  Back then, we didn't know Dinomite had autism.  To us his behaviors were normal. After all, he was our first child.  Thankfully the tears didn't fall, until after I had made it to my vehicle.

Once calm enough to take action, I was able to speak to a swimming instructor who was willing to help Dinomite be successful in the water.  At every "Mommy & Me" class Coach Sheri would greet Dinomite and join him in the water, giving him a one-to-one lesson, while the other children participated in the "Mommy & Me" class.  At times Coach Sheri and Dinomite would join others, but for the most part, they would work on their own.  Coach Sheri continued to do this until she felt my son was ready for a small class setting, where she would be the instructor.  Oh, how Dinomite loved Coach Sheri.  She was able to connect with him in ways that so many others could not.  His affection towards her is never ending.  He continued with her for some time, until we had to take a break from lessons.

Fast forward a few years to when Dinomite turned 7.  He desperately wanted to learn how to swim without a life jacket and requested lessons again.  My husband and I signed him up for a class thought to be at his level.

Dinomite tried so hard to swim in this class each week.  I would go to support him.  He would struggle with every stroke, trying to literally keep his head above water.  We knew by then that he had autism.  It was a well known fact that he struggled with coordination and muscle tone issues.  I spoke with the instructor, giving her a heads up, asking for confirmation he was in the correct class.  She assured me he would be fine.

Watching Dinomite try to swim was hard enough.  But then I'd sit and watch as he just couldn't pick up on social cues.  Other girls in the class would laugh at him, and at times be mean.  It was more than my mommy heart could bare.  I found myself holding back tears at every lesson.  Eventually I had to ask my husband to go, because I couldn't emotionally handle watching Dinomite struggle so much.

But then there was Dinomite.  Despite always finishing last or not finishing at all, he was determined to learn how to swim and would try his hardest to keep going.  Even though his classmates were mean to him, he wanted to keep going to class.  As I write this I tear up thinking about his passion for swimming and his never ending perseverance.  My son was the one teaching me a lesson about not giving up.  On more than one occasion I mentioned it would be okay for him to quit.

When the session was over, the instructor finally agreed that Dinomite should be moved to a lower class level.  Coach Sheri was still working at the facility and helped us place Dinomite in a class better suited for him.  Though he still struggled, it wasn't as noticeable.  He was the oldest and tallest among his peers but this didn't matter to him, because Josh was his new instructor.  Coach Sheri had recommended Josh.  We signed Dinomite up for this class specifically because of the instructor.  The session went well, but Dinomite was still unable to make much progress due to low muscle tone, coordination issues, sensory issues, and his ADHD tendencies.  Josh's class was huge.  It took every ounce of energy and focus Dinomite had to function for the duration of the lesson.  He would crash the minute we returned home.

After the last class in the session, Josh gave Dinomite a high five and told him he'd see him next week.  Dinomite was enrolled in the next session, but we did not know who the teacher would be.  When the next session did start, Dinomite was absolutely crushed to learn that Josh was not his teacher.  He held tears back until we returned home, but then sobbed all night long.  For the first time, Dinomite wanted to quit swimming.  Josh had been the factor that made all of the struggles during lessons worthwhile.  Josh could make Dinomite smile and laugh, even if he couldn't do things just right.  Josh was someone Dinomite had connected with, just like he had so many years ago with Coach Sheri.

At this point, I wasn't about to let Dinomite quit, but I knew the current class situation would not work.  So, with the help of Coach Sheri, I was able to arrange private lessons for Dinomite.  While speaking to Coach Sheri I had mentioned the connection between Josh and Dinomite.  Like before, she worked her magic, and was able to set up private lessons with none other than Josh himself.

Josh and Dinomite have been working together for about five months now.  Dinomite looks forward to EVERY lesson, no matter how hard Josh pushes him.  He may not fully understand how to be socially appropriate 100% of the time, needing cues every now and then, but Josh has been so good with him.  Coordination and muscle tone still slow Dinomite down.  If he misses a lesson, regression occurs, but this doesn't stop Dinomite from trying to do his very best.  Dinomite most likely will never be on a swim team, bringing home ribbons and trophies, but he now has a new goal that goes beyond just learning how to swim without a life jacket.

We arrived at the pool a few minutes early for one of his lessons.  Dinomite watched as Coach Sheri was finishing up a training for lifeguards.  Josh was in attendance, practicing rescue drills.

"What are they doing?"  Dinomite asked.

I explained that the instructors in the pool were lifeguards, and that Coach Sheri was helping them improve their skills.

Dinomite leaned over to me and whispers,

"I want to be a lifeguard like Josh when I grow up."

After the training, he shared the news with Coach Sheri and Josh.  Both smiled encouragingly.

I wouldn't be surprised if someday Dinomite reaches this new goal.  He is the most cautious, rule following boy I know.  Combine that with years of lessons to improve his skills, and he'd be perfect for the job!

I sometimes imagine what would have happened, if I hadn't had the courage to find an instructor that would help Dinomite as a toddler so long ago.  What if I had succeeded in convincing Dinomite to quit lessons during the first session at age seven?  He would have missed out on so much.  It is amazing how Dinomite's passion for swimming, determination to learn the "pizza stroke,"  (as Josh calls it) and perseverance have led him to not only develop a life long skill, but create relationships and bonds that will influence his life forever.  I am so thankful to have been a witness to such an amazing experience.

Never forget that with the proper supports, our children can do anything they set their minds to.  My biggest thanks goes to Coach Sheri and Josh for all they have done for Dinomite in and out of the pool.  It has meant the world to me to watch my son blossom in so many ways.

A Christmas Movie Countdown

This post contains affiliate links.

Christmas time is full of opportunities to continue traditions and create new memories.  A tradition that we have enjoyed since we had our first Christmas together (ten years ago now!) is our annual Christmas Movie Countdown.  Every year, we choose a new holiday movie to add to our collection.  Each night leading up to Christmas Day, once the kiddos are in bed, we watch a different movie.  At first, we only had a few titles.  Ten years later, we have put together quite an extensive collection.  This year, we added a new twist to the tradition: our two oldest kiddos, Dinomite and Bulldozer, joined us each night and loved it.  Princess is already getting excited about joining us next year.

With so many television and movie options available this time of year (everything from Hallmark Channel to horror movies), it is impossible to recommend the "best" choices for everyone.  Personal preferences with media are as varied as the shape of each individual snowflake, especially when it comes to holiday movies.  Therefore, we won't tell you what movies you "should" watch this year.  We are simply sharing our favorites here.  We provide a brief description of each movie, and why we like it so much.  If you have other recommendations, we'd love to hear about them!
It's a Wonderful Life is one of the most-beloved holiday movies of all time, and with good reason.  George Bailey is a down-on-his-luck man who learns what the world would be like if he had never been born, thanks to the intervention of Clarence, an "angel in training."  While the plot is very familiar and has been reused countless times in other films, it is the performances of the leads (Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore) and Frank Capra's perfectly paced direction that make this one an all-time classic.  It's incredible how different scenes in the movie resonate with more or less emotional intensity as one goes from single to married with children, enters middle age, and as one experiences life's unexpected crises of all sorts.  More than anything, It's a Wonderful Life is a story of kindness, love, family and hope, and inspires us year after year with that simple, yet powerful message.  Watch this movie Christmas night, after all the chaos of the day is through, and you're sure to end the day on a high note.
A Christmas Carol is even more well known and just as cherished as It's a Wonderful Life.  The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his Christmas Eve visitations from the Spirits has been produced for film and television dozens of times, but this 1951 version is our favorite.  Alastair Sim's performance as Scrooge is incredible.  A number of great actors have played this part very well, but Sim's transformation from the miserly, cold-hearted Scrooge to joyous, exuberant Scrooge is remarkable.  Although the colorized version is available, there is just something about this story that seems best suited to black and white film (well, in Jason's opinion at least.) This film is the most faithful to the original Dickens story from which it was adapted.  If you haven't done so yet, try watching this on Christmas Eve. It adds an extra layer of magic and emotional impact to the viewing experience that you just can't get any other way. 
Holiday Inn is best-known as the film that brought "White Christmas" into the world, but there is much more to it than one song.  Starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, with songs by the legendary Irving Berlin, Holiday Inn is non-stop entertainment and energy from the first scene to the last.  The story is not very complicated.  A burned-out song and dance man (Crosby) dreams of establishing a resort that is open only on holidays.  He discovers an unknown new talent who steals every show (as well as a few hearts), and engages in a friendly rivalry with his former collaborator (Astaire).  But, the music, holiday-themed set pieces and Astaire's incredible dance sequences (the tap-dancing firecracker scene is one of the best ever) make this one delightful to watch.  
A Christmas Story is the little movie that grew into a cultural institution.  It is also a rare Christmas-time movie that is actually about Christmas from a child's perspective.  Featuring hilarious voice-over narration by Jean Shepard (the author of the story from which the film is adapted) as the grown-up Ralphie, the story focuses on Christmas in 1940, when Ralphie was nine years old. We love it because it strikes the perfect balance for family viewing, despite a few instances of adult language.  Older children will relate to Ralphie's obsessive pursuit of the gift of his dreams, the daily grind of school and bullies, and his daydreaming and wishful thinking.  Adults can appreciate the delightful dynamics between Ralphie's parents, the nostalgia for Christmases past, and the little family quirks that will remind us of our own relatives, near and distant.  
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is another classic in the Christmas comedy genre, although a little more adult-oriented than the films we have featured so far.  The story of Clark Griswold and his quest to create a "good, old-fashioned family Christmas," this movie features all of the physical comedy, sight gags, and one-liners that the "Vacation" movies are famous for.  But it also has a lot more heart than any other entry in the series.  Add some really funny performances (from Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Brian Doyle Murray, and of course, Randy Quaid), and some classic John Hughes moments (the SWAT team invading the Griswold home to the tune of "Here Comes Santa Claus") and this one holds up well, year after year. Tuck in the little kiddos early, and enjoy!
Home Alone tells the story of Kevin, an 8-year old boy who is accidentally left behind as his family scrambles to the airport for a vacation to France for Christmas.  Everyone loves the sequences in which Kevin defends his home from the two hapless Wet Bandits (the incredibly funny Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), using various traps and weapons to slow down the crooks. But, for the adults, there is a very sweet story here about family, forgiveness, and love, highlighted by a fantastic soundtrack of Christmas tunes, a joyous John Williams score, and some hearty laughs from John Hughes' script.  This is the rare movie that appeals equally to the kids and adults in our family.
Elf is the most recent production on our list of Christmas favorites, but it fits in perfectly with Christmas favorites of the past.  Buddy is an elf who lives at the North Pole and works for Santa.  His world turns upside down when he learns that he is actually an orphan who stowed away to the North Pole in Santa's sack.  He sets off on a quest to find his biological father, and has a series of crazy adventures in the Big Apple.  Featuring an all-star cast (anchored by the undeniable Will Ferrell), another great soundtrack, and a wacky fairy-tale atmosphere, if you haven't seen this one, you are in for a treat.  We love Elf because it finds the perfect middle ground between kid-oriented fare like Rudolph and Frosty and more sophisticated titles like A Christmas Carol, making it fun for the whole family. 
Miracle on 34th Street is a movie that has been famously made and remade, with fervent fans of both versions on either side.  However, the truth is that you don't have to pick a side, because the two movies (in this case, the 1947 original and the 1994 remake) are so different that you can watch both and have completely different experiences!  The story is the same in both versions.  A man insists he is really Kris Kringle and works as a department store Santa.  He faces trial on charges that he is insane.  Of course, Santa wins and everyone is happy.  We have the remake version at home, and we love it.  It is shot just like a classic '50s movie, and features a great performance by young Mara Wilson.  There are little nuances in the acting and dialogue that you pick up on, and the emotional power punch scenes (like when Santa converses with the hearing-impaired child using sign language.) retain their power year after year.  Again, you will notice the presence of John Hughes in several of our choices (the man had a gift for holiday movies), and he is responsible for the writing and directing here. Loyalists of the 1947 film, keep your faith in the original, but give the remake a shot.  You won't be disappointed.

The Santa Clause is the latest addition to our collection, even though it was released over 20 years ago.  While not as highly revered as Home Alone or A Christmas Story, this is still an original story with tons of character, holiday fun and magic.  Tim Allen plays a divorced father who unwittingly becomes Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, due to an ancient contract that explains how St. Nick has managed to deliver presents to children for several hundred years now.   Allen's slow transformation into Santa is quite hilarious.  His son in the movie is adorable.  We like this movie's take on Santa's workshop, the elves and reindeer.  There is a powerful story about the bond between father and son that the whole movie is built on, which adults can appreciate.  Overall, The Santa Clause is a solid addition to our movie collection, and earns a place among the classics.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the live action version of the classic children's book and animated feature that are both holiday essentials.  This one has had mixed reactions over the years, with kids much more positive in their reviews than the adults. There is still plenty to like about this for the adults.  All of the moments from the book are here (and oh so many more).  There are some fun, clever songs, as well as the instant classic "Where are you Christmas?", sung by Faith Hill.  And, to top it off, it features Jim Carrey as the Grinch.  It's an over-the top performance in the extreme, as he has some really brilliant moments.  The village of Whoville, the makeup and the costumes are amazing and really bring Dr. Seuss' imaginative drawings to life.  Again, the kids are big fans, so fire this one up early in the season.
Little Women may not technically be considered a Christmas movie, but it holds a place in our holiday movie collection anyway.  In fact, it's not much of a stretch at all since several key scenes take place during the Christmas season.  Adapted from the Louisa May-Alcott book, Little Women tells the story of the March family, a mother and her four daughters, trying to get through tough times and the growing pains of life, as their father serves in the military during the Civil War.  We have the 1994 version, which we recommend because of its faithfulness to the book and because of the incredible cast of amazing actors. Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and Kirsten Dunst are just some of the A-list names involved.  All that talent translates into some powerful performances that make the movie soar.

The movies below are next in line to purchase for our countdown.  We have not seen them yet, but the reviews are good, and we think they would fill out our collection nicely. 

White Christmas is a natural addition to our library since we already love Holiday Inn, and this seems to be a nice companion.  Featuring Bing Crosby, with Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney, this is another song-and-dance classic from the 1940s, with a World War II theme featured prominently in the story.  Fans seem to like this one even more than Holiday Inn, so we are looking forward to it.


Holiday Affair is a lesser known film that sounds like just the thing we need in our collection.  A romance between tough guy Robert Mitchum and the beautiful widow and mother Janet Leigh, this is a lighthearted story that seems to benefit from the Christmas season shine.

What Christmas movies do you enjoy watching after the children go to bed, or with the older kiddos in your home?  We are always looking for new recommendations.

If you're interested in learning about other Christmas traditions our family has, be sure to read the post below!

Renae Today-September

September started out with an amazing time at Grandpa Ron and Grandma Toni's house for dinner on the grill, dessert, and a bonfire for roasting marshmallows.  The kiddos ran and played.  Adults were able to enjoy themselves as well.  It was the perfect end to the summer season.  If only I would have remembered my camera.  Sigh.

The very next week, we settled into our fall routines.  Dinomite continued horseback riding and swimming.  Bulldozer started his fall session of one-to-one gymnastics lessons.  Princess started gymnastics in a new upper level class setting.  She also started Kung Fu.  Sunshine started gymnastics in a very small class setting.  By the very end of the month Dinomite and Bulldozer had also started tennis lessons.  Needless to say between learning time activities, extra curricular activities and preparing for our upcoming trip to Disney World, we were pretty busy.  But that didn't stop us from having a lot of fun as well.

On one particular warm day it began to downpour.  We couldn't resist putting on raincoats and rain boot and go out and enjoy the weather.

We also started our 12 Months of Family Service Projects with a food drive.  All of us delivered flyers up and down our street.  None of us had a clue that there were 60+ residences on our street alone until that day.
On the date mentioned in the flyer, we went around again, collecting nonperishable goods.  Sadly only 6 residences participated. Still, the kiddos were excited and felt the effort well worth it.
When we arrived at the food pantry we were greeted by the kindest woman.  She would not let us leave until all of the children had been given treats as a thank you.  
Though I was not happy about this at all, the kiddos were EXTREMELY excited and couldn't wait to go home and sample everything.

Another highlight of the month was picking fresh vegetables from our garden.  They were late growing, but were still delicious!  Now that we know we can be successful at gardening, we'll plant more next year.
With cooler weather, we were able to make homemade pizzas once again.  The kiddos love making their own personal pan pizzas.  If only Dinomite would enjoy eating them as much as he enjoys making them.
September really flew by this year.  Though it went quickly, it was so nice to sink into routines.  Consistency in schedules always helps the kiddos!

Animal Activities (Learn & Play Link Up)

As we grow closer to the start of the new year I'm super excited about all of the unit studies yet to come.  January's units will be animal themed.  I thought it would be great to kick off the our studies with a few animal features linked up this week!  All of them offer fabulous ideas.  I hope you enjoy!





Welcome to the Learn & Play Link Up!!!
Learn & Play Link Up Every Thursday


Now it’s time for this week’s link party! This new link up is for all blog posts that include learn and play activities and hands-on education for kids. We are excited to read your blog posts and to see what you have to share! Please link up below and grab our button to display on your blog.
If you are a blogger, share your family friendly posts here. We are looking for things which include:
  • Montessori Education
  • Homeschool
  • Sensory Play
  • Tot and Preschool Trays
  • Fine and Gross Motor Activities
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Healthy Recipes for Kids
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Natural Living
  • Free Educational Printables
  • Family-Oriented Activities
  • Healthy Living
Your post will be shown on each host’s blog where we will individually pick features every other week. That means there is more of a chance that you will be featured!
Everyone, please meet our link party hosts:
learn and play party hostesses

Guidelines for Linking:
  • Please link up 1-3 posts
  • Follow each of the hosts on social media
  • When you link up, please add our button and place it at the bottom of your shared posts or link back with text link.
  • By entering a link, you’re giving us permission to feature an image on our blogs. Proper credit & links will ALWAYS be given.
  • Please visit a couple of shared posts and leave a comment for them
  • Remember that you must link back in order to be featured
Christian Montessori Network

Preparing Children for Their First Fine Arts Experience

In Montessori Elementary education, children progress through a series of phases that encourage learning outside of the classroom.  Maria Montessori has said, "To go out of the classroom in order to enter the outside world which includes everything is obviously to open an immense door to instruction."

It has been my goal this school year to encourage learning and study outside of the classroom when possible and financially feasible.  The holiday season is filled with many opportunities to do so, especially in the areas of fine arts and music.  This is the perfect time for preparing children for their first fine arts experience.
Preparing children for their first fine arts experience
This post includes affiliate links.

The Montessori "Going Out" Experience

Paula Polk Lillard, in her book, Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood, states "If  'going out' experiences are to have this positive outcome for the children, they need detailed preparation for specific outings."

Preparation for fine arts performances and experiences can be executed in many ways.  Once a specific experience is selected by students, the teacher helps with all preparations.
  • How will the children get to their destination?
  • What do they need to bring with them?
  • What will they wear?
  • How long will they be there?
  • What will they do, while at the place of interest?


An Invitation from a Child

Once introduced to The Nutcracker Ballet through our very first Nutcracker Unit, Dinomite asked me if he could take me to see the ballet.  His sincere request melted my heart, while at the same time set my mind in motion, thinking about all the ways I would need to prepare Dinomite to have a successful first fine arts experience.

Dinomite was very specific about the fine arts experience he wanted to attend.  I agreed with his request, specifying that it would be important to prepare by reading Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffman. 

Preparation

A knowledge of the story being presented when applicable can significantly enhance any fine arts experience.  Reading the story beforehand can also confirm if the performance will be enjoyable for the child.  If the child does not enjoy the story in book form, there is a good chance, the child will not enjoy the live performance.

Once we read the story of the nutcracker, our next step in preparation for the ballet was listening to Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker - Complete Ballet and doing a brief study about the composer.  

Attending a ballet, orchestra performance, or any musical performance for that matter, includes a significant auditory sensory experience.  In order to fully prepare your child, music should be introduced before attending the live event.  Observing your child's response to the music is extremely important.
  • Does it cause anxiety?
  • Is it too loud?
  • Is your child enjoying the music?
  • Does it effect their behaviors?  

Once you have established a positive relationship between your child and the music, you are ready to move forward by introducing other aspects of the fine arts event.

In the case of preparing to attend The Nutcracker Ballet, Dinomite needed to practice sitting in the dark for 90 minutes to 2 hours watching ballet with a brief intermission for bathroom breaks etc.  If he wasn't able to do this successfully, his experience would not be successful.  So, we watched The Nutcracker Ballet at home on DVD.  Dinomite loved it.

We were now ready to purchase tickets.  Dinomite was present as I ordered tickets online, studying the seating diagram to understand where we would be in relation to the stage when we went to the live performance.  We were very blessed to obtain front row seats.

Once tickets were purchased, it was time to discuss and teach the social etiquette required at our performance.  Paula Polk Lillard states, "There is always a discussion of behavior expected in the situation to be encountered:  how to behave in a music auditorium if it is a concert, for example.  Montessori noted that too often adults assume that children know how to behave in society.  They neglect to give them specific preparation for specific situations."

Dinomite and I reviewed social etiquette for the performance several times, until he felt confident about what was expected of him.

The Big Event

The night of The Nutcracker Ballet performance arrived.  We dressed up in our Sunday best and headed to the theater, allowing for ample time to find parking etc.  Dinomite purchased two sugar cookies for himself at the refreshment stand before the show started.  Knowing that no flash photography was permitted during the performance, we took several pictures before the start of the ballet and during intermission.
Preparing children for their first fine arts experience
Dinomite's first experience at the ballet was better than I could have ever imagined.  It was absolutely perfect.  Not only did he enjoy the show, but made a friend with another seven year old sitting next to us.  Dinomite was an example and modeled the behaviors we talked about before attending.  To our surprise, his new friend's family purchased and gave Dinomite a nutcracker of his very own during intermission.

Every Child Is Different

Fast forward one year.  This time Princess and Bulldozer asked if they could attend the ballet.  I led them through all of the steps of preparation Dinomite had done the year before.  Princess and Bulldozer showed their readiness for the performance, but unlike Dinomite, I knew they needed more preparation.

It is important to consider the individual needs of each of your children preparing to "go out" of the classroom.  All children are different. Some may require more preparation than others.

In this case I turned to Deb Chitwood's Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy for guidance about teaching aspects of our evening I hadn't had the need to review with Dinomite.  All lessons were successful, tickets were purchased, and the four of us attended the ballet.
Preparing to attend The Nutcracker Ballet

Making Memories

Before attending the performance, Princess had asked about when and where we would eat and drink.  We decided to make our own sugar cookies this year to pack with lunches to eat on our way to the performance.

Dinomite asked if we could budget money to purchase our own nutcrackers.  Dinomite, Bulldozer, and Princess all sacrificed money used to eat out, in order to have enough for their nutcrackers.

Once again, we took pictures before the performance and during intermission.
Preparing children for their first fine arts experience
Dinomite, Bulldozer, and Princess each purchased a nutcracker and brought one home for Sunshine too, who was at home with Daddy.
Preparing children for their first fine arts experience
All of them enjoyed the ballet and can't wait to see it again.  They were well behaved and even received compliments from those sitting around us.

My favorite moments included:

  • Princess whispering to me, "Look!  They're shrinking!"
  • Bulldozer quietly cheering to himself when the battle between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker was about to begin.
  • Dinomite yelling, "Bravo" to the Russian dancer after a fabulous performance, as instructed by the woman introducing the show before it began.  

Then there were the questions.  Princess wondered how it could snow on stage, but not in the audience.  She also asked how fog was made.  I definitely see more fine arts experiences in our future, with requests for backstage passes to better understand how everything works.

If you love the story of the nutcracker as much as we do, you'll want to visit the posts below.
Nutcracker activities and printables

Nutcracker activities and printables

Nutcracker themed Christmas Party

This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Fine Arts Series.  For more ideas about incorporating Fine Arts activities and experiences into your child's Montessori education, be sure to visit the links of all other participating.
12 Months of Montessori Learning Series
Study at Home Mama
Our Montessori Art Program  Grace and Green Pastures


Preparing children for their first fine arts experience

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